Purple Sprouting Broccoli

purple sprouting broccoli

My seasonal favourite this month is Purple Sprouting Broccoli, and I’ve been merrily scoffing it in a wide variety of dishes recently from a cashew nut and sesame soba noodle stir fry to serving it lightly steamed with a grilled salmon and a lime butter dressing. Next on my list is this Chargrilled fillet steak with smoked chilli butter, mushrooms and PSB recipe from Paul Rankin – it sounds totally delicious!

The Well Hung Meat Company

The Well Hung Meat Company - photography by www.hewdesign.co.uk

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to attend any of the Brighton Food Society events, so an invite to meal provided by Well Hung Meat Company, hosted by the Food Society, and held at Flour Town in Hove, sounded like an ideal opportunity to get back into all things food. The invite basically mentioned meat and wine – how can a girl refuse?!
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Celebrating the first day of spring

First day of spring 2013

I don’t know about you but it seems as though this winter has gone on forever – I don’t think I’ve been able to feel comfortably warm since about October last year! I’m even past caring whether hot-water bottles are cool or not (mine’s in the shape of a penguin, in case you were wondering!).
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Celebrating Apple Festival 2012

Brogdale Apple festival 2012 www.hewdesign.co.uk
Apple crate www.hewdesign.co.uk
English apple orchards ©www.hewdesign.co.uk

All photography © Heather Elizabeth Wilkinson 2012

Autumn is my favourite season – the changes in light, misty mornings and the promise that we’ll soon be wrapping up cosily in hats and scarves. But of course Autumn brings with it some fantastic seasonal produce – pumpkins, elderberries, chestnuts, game, pears, and the daddy of English autumnal produce: apples.

Apple Festival takes place on 21st October each year and orchards and farms up and down the country organise festivities to celebrate this wonderful fruit. What great month to be an apple!

Brogdale Farm in Kent is home to the National Fruit Collection; the World’s largest collection of fruit trees and plants and home to over 3,500 varieties of apple, pear, plum, cherry, bush fruit, vine and cob nut cultivators.

Brogdale has been on my list of places to visit for a while now, so the Apple Festival (20th & 21st October 2012) was just the excuse I needed to hotfoot it to Kent. The festival itself is quite a family affair, with various food & drink stalls, crafts and live music (it’s safe to say that some of the bands were an ‘acquired’ taste).

Included in the ticket price is a guided tour of the orchards, each one being led by one of Brogdale’s knowledgeable staff, many of whom are volunteers. For me, this was one of the highlights of the visit. You can quite literally loose yourself wandering up and down the lines of trees looking at fruits of all different sizes and colours. And with names like the: Marriage-maker, Blackbird, Prince Edward it really is a fantastic way to spend a few hours.

And of course, no apple festival would be complete without a generous dose of apple sampling. At the heart of the festival arena was a large tent with over 400 varieties of apple on display and over 200 for visitors to taste and buy. To be honest, this part of the festival was a bit of a free-for-all, and you had to employ some elbowing tactics to stand any chance of trying the apples that had been laid out. Still, I managed to try plenty and came away a mixed bag (quite literally) of my favourites.

I decided not to cook with the apples I bought, preferring instead as an alternative to dessert. When produce is in season and so tasty it’s sometimes nice to enjoy it just as it is, don’t you think?

Apple & crab cakes

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This recipe has become a fav recently, though it has taken me a little time to get the balance of taste and texture just right. The distinctive flavour of the crab, combined with the subtle sweetness of apple. It might sound a bit crazy but the two really do work well together.
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Kentish Cherry & Dark Chocolate Ice-Cream

The English cherry season is so very short,so I get really excited when the first of the Kent cherries start to make an appearance. Fat, juicy and the most beautiful deep red, they really are in a different league to the smaller, tasteless imports available all year round in supermarkets.

I invested in an ice-maker a few months ago. Just a cheap and cheerful one, nothing fancy. Not sure it was the wisest move in terms of keeping my waistline trim, but I’m trying to be really good and use only occasionally (by occasionally, read twice a week so far – eek! Excitement gets the better of me some times. Must do more cycling…). The difference a machine makes is quite remarkable: no crystals or lumps. I’m a very happy camper indeed.

My recipe is currently featured in Crumbs Magazine too, but I’ve slightly tweaked the cream/milk ratio here.

So, here’s my current seasonal fav. The combination of sweet cherries & bitter chocolate is pretty special.

You will need
250g fresh cherries

3 tbsp golden caster sugar

80g good quality dark chocolate (70%)

150ml semi skimmed milk

150ml double cream

50g caster sugar

Serves four
1.)  De-stone the cherries and cut into halves. Place in a saucepan with the caster sugar and cook over a low heat until softened. Set aside to cool.
2.) Once cool, blend in a food processor until you have smooth puree.
3.) Break your chocolate into tiny pieces (alternatively, place it in a sandwich bag and crush gently with a rolling pin if easier).
4.) In a large measuring jug, add the milk, cream and sugar and cherry puree and mix gently until combined.
5.) Pour the mixture into your ice–cream machine and allow it to churn for a few minutes before gradually adding your chocolate pieces, one spoonful at a time. Timings will vary depending on the type of machine you have.All photography © Heather Elizabeth Wilkinson 2012

 

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