Thursday, 1 October 2015

October 2015 - Debbie Johnson - Westshore Chillies

This months featured foodie is Debbie Johnson of Westshore Chillies from Hesketh Bank who grow, pack and sell chillies to some of the best UK retailers.

I met Debbie at the launch of a new Booths Supermarket in Lytham St Annes  and we got chatting.They produce a high quality product and use no pesticides or chemicals in growing their produce.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
The Secret Ingredient – Sally Bee.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Wholesome Healthy and fresh.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
 A house wife, working 7 days a week, I just never seem to find time to do the simple things, like taking care of my garden walking the dogs and keeping on top of my ironing!

Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
The Dish washer, at least I can put everything away and leave the sides tidy.

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
My husband Joe,
Sheridan Smith, fantastic actress,
Will Smith he just seems so funny.
Mary Berry she would have to bring dessert.
Richard Attenborough he would have great stories to tell and all my lovely friends so we could all enjoy the experience together.

What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Be kind to yourself, enjoy the here and now and life is not a race to the finish, take your time.

Describe your style in three words
Smart casual and neat.

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
New liquidiser, I like to make soup’s

What is your greatest achievement to date ?
My marriage, my two daughters and taking our small business successfully in to Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Trusting large companies and thinking they are friends. They are not!

Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect !
I was a model and due to work in Milan. However, I was a passenger in a very bad car accident, my career ended before it fully began. I have no regrets as I wouldn’t change my life although I would like to have a pain free knee.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September CCC - A Year of Cake Book Launch at Ebb and Flo, Chorley

September saw the launch of the second Clandestine Cake Club Recipe book and proudly yours truly has a recipe featured in the new book. To celebrate the publication of the new book which made a return visit to the small but perfectly formed Ebb and Flo in Chorley, an independent book shop owned by the brilliant Dianne, who is supportive of all things local and cake loving.

The bookshop is situated down a side street just off the high street and is an Aladdin's cave of all things bookish, we held our celebration upstairs and shared cake with all visitors to the book shop and also with our loyal bakers and cake clubbers. 


Here we are perusing the stock and enjoying coffee and cake

For the launch, I baked my Buckwheat, carrot and sultana cake which is gluten free and very moreish and is featured in the book.

Kate baked a delicious blueberry, pecan and buttermilk cake

Mr Lancashire Food baked a Chocolate Yogurt cake with a sticky decadent chocolate ganache on top

Carla baked a scrummy Date and Walnut cake

We had a great time as always and the cakes was wonderful, massive thanks go to Dianne at Ebb and Flo

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Banana and honey loaf cake - gluten free and no artificial sugars

Here at Lancashire Food we don't like to waste food and also where possible create recipes which not only taste good but do you good. This recipe ticks all the boxes for us, using ripe bananas for the majority of the sweetness for this cake and just a touch of honey its free from artificial sugars and being full of all things that are good for you it a "super" bake.  A great debate currently ranges in the food community about the amount of sugar in our diets and home cooking and baking gives you the control to adjust the amount of sugar added to your recipes. We like that, we use buckwheat flour here for its nutritional value but a basic plain gluten free flour would also work.

Please don't expect this to taste exactly like a normal banana loaf as it doesn't, but it still has some sweetness and as we are using honey you can adjust the sweetness level to your taste, I would suggest starting at 1/2 cup and reducing down from there as your taste buds acclimatise to less sweetness.

A couple of months ago we started hosting a local beekeepers hive in our garden and hopefully very shortly we might just (fingers crossed) get to taste some honey from our bees, its a fascinating process and has been very interesting watching the development of a new hive with all its trails and tribulations. In just a short couple of months we have had issues with wasps ( nasty things that attack hives ), the birth of a new queen and the balancing act of when to collect the honey. I have been stung twice once by a bee (yes a honey bee) and also by a wasp ( very painful and much worse than a bee sting).

So hopefully next time I bake this loaf we might be using our own honey .........

What you need
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (check gluten free if necessary as not all are)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 1/4 cup - coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk (any type nut, cows, goat)
  • 1 tsp cider or wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of local honey
  • 3 ripe bananas
2lb loaf tin, oiled and base lined.
If you don't have all the spices to hand sweet mixed spice or lebuken spice can be substituted

What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Mash the banana roughly in the bowl of your mixer
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Mix thoroughly and pour into prepared tin
  • Place in the oven and bake for approx 45 minutes
  • Cool in tin
  • Delicious served slavered with butter

We are linking up to Bake of the Week over on Casa Costello


Also to Recipe of the Week with Emily over on A Mummy Too

                                                            Link up your recipe of the week

Love Cake - Back to Basics over on Jibberjabber, as this is good basic banana loaf recipe at heart.


Simply Eggcellent - Theme being Cakes this month over with Dom at Belleau Kitchen (Happy Birthday !) which celebrates all thing egg.

                                                               simply eggcellent - September 2015

Credit Crunch Munch over at Fuss Free Flavours as once again we are using up manky bananas. A blog challenged created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food for all.

                                                 Credit Crunch Munch

And finally No Waste Food Challenge blog hop over at Foodie Quine this month. This challenge was created by Elizabeths Kitchen Diary.

                                                             Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Booths - New Lytham St Annes store to open

An Example of an Image Source

Booths, the North West based food and wine retailer, will open a new store in Lytham St Annes on September the 9th. The new Booths is over 36,000 square feet and will feature a cafĂ©, butchery, fishmonger and state of the art deli counters.  The store has created 90 new jobs.

Ian Jacques has been appointed as the new store manager, and has 31 years of experience of working at Booths. Ian started working at Booths Fulwood at the age of 14, while still at school—with the ambition of joining the Management Trainee Programme.  Following several years managing other Booths stores, in 2011 he was appointed manager of Booths in Knutsford, Cheshire, one of Booths’ largest stores.

“My team and I cannot wait for the new store to open,” commented Ian. “Lancashire producers are making and growing some of the finest food Britain has to offer, and our store is looking fantastic. I think customers will be excited about our new offer. What sets Booth apart is our close link to producers and exceptional produce.”

Booths is renowned for quality food and drink and sourcing fresh, local produce in season.  The vast majority of their fresh food is sourced within this region due to their commitment to working with suppliers in the four counties Booths operate in; Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria and Yorkshire.

Chairman Edwin Booths says “Booths is a supermarket retailer like no other—proudly Northern, family run and independent. Our regional roots and relative small size help to forge close relationships with our farmers & producers. We’re able to source exceptional food and drink from small scale producers who would normally avoid supplying the supermarkets. We’re committed to giving our producers a fair price and offering our shoppers great food and we’re very excited to open in St Annes.”

Image result for booths logo

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A year of cake - The new Clandestine cake club recipe book

Proud to say that we have a recipe in the new Clandestine Cake Club recipe book. A Year of Cake - features 100 new recipes from the club including my recipe for a scrummy gluten free treat of Buckwheat, carrot and sultana cake, with a fresh orange buttercream.

A delicious recipe if I do say so myself , I will be baking this cake for the celebration book launch we are holding at Ebb and Flo Books in Chorley on Saturday 12th September 2015, at 2pm.

The book is also currently on special offer on Amazon for the bargain price of £10 and apparently is already on reprint due to the volume of pre orders.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Cooking with Herbs - September 2015

Its with great excitment that this month we are hosting this month's Cooking with Herbs, whilst the lovely Karen is away travelling in Canada (lucky lady), hopefully she has left it in safe hands whilst she is away

As the new series of Great British Bake Off for this year is well underway and as always the bakers are being ccreative with their flavour choices. I thought it would be fun to theme this months linky to baking, cooking with herbs in Breads, biscuits and cakes. Please join in the fun as I am looking forward to seeing all your lovely baking creations, as I know we have lots of talented bakers out there.

You find the roundup if last months linky here - the theme being Herbal Flowers

So if you fancy joining the baking fun just follow the instructions below

September Cooking with Herbs
Bread, Biscuits & Cakes
Guidelines how to enter:
1. Post your recipe url to the Linky at the bottom of the appropriate month’s challenge, including your email and the title of your recipe or post.
2. Display the Cooking with Herbs badge (as shown above and below) to the relevant recipe post, with a link back to the monthly challenge post.
3. Add as many recipe links as you like, there is NO limit!
4. If you tweet your post, please mention #cookingwithherbs and @KarenBurnsBooth in your tweet – I will retweet all that I see. If a guest blogger is hosting, please add them into the tweet too! So for this month please tweet @LancashireFood 
5. The recipe can be one of your own or one you’ve seen elsewhere. You are welcome to republish old recipes/posts but please add the information about this challenge as listed above with the Cooking with Herbs badge.
6. If using a recipe from another person, book, website, chef or blog, you must link back to the original recipe and not reproduce the recipe in full in your post. You must also use your OWN images for the recipe and not the original images, unless you have permission to do so, with appropriate links and any other information requested by the photo’s owner added to the image.


Herb Flowers

September 2015 - Tim Proctor - Proctors Cheeses

Hi everyone, this month's choosen foodie is non other than Tim Procter of Procters Cheeses, also the man behind that amazing cheese brand Kick Ass Cheddar,  the cheese with a tasty cheddar twang yet a still creamy cheese.

The Kick Ass range includes several different varieties the newest been a Rioja with red onion chutney which I must say is absolutely delicious toasted, which I got to taste at the most recent Clitheroe Food Festival.

You can get in touch with Kick Ass on facebook, Twitter and even order via Amazon, plus its stocked by quality local cheesemongers as well. Procters Cheeses are based in Chipping right at the heart of Lancashire Cheese Country.

Myself and Tim Procter at Clitheroe Food Festival

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
Anything from Padstow chef Rick Stein.  I like his no-nonsense approach to cooking and the sourcing of ingredients

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Just like our world famous Lancashire cheese that is unique, in that it has 3 distinctly different varieties in one type of cheese – I think that sums up the county as a whole…hugely diverse and yet offering the best of everything.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
If I hadn’t become a cheese factor, I am sure I would have joined the British Military.  My secondary school days were spent as a boarder at Bentham Grammar School in North Yorkshire.  A lot of my friends were children whose parents were in the military and always took a keen interest in where they were stationed and the roles they had.

Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
The TV remote…I live in a house with 4 females, and I need to feel that I’M IN CHARGE

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
MALE: Robert De Niro as he’d definitely give the evening a bit of an edge.  
FEMALE: Cameron Diaz…nuff said really.

What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Make the very most of every opportunity that comes your way.  You WILL get the chances….TAKE THEM

Describe your style in three words

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
A new kitchen for wife Sue

What is your greatest achievement to date ?
Being married to the lovely Sue for the last 22 years and raising two beautiful daughters (Georgina 17 / Emma 15)

What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Sometimes being too soft with people that I actually don’t know that well, allowing them to mistake my generosity and good nature for weakness

Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect !
I have been known to sulk if I don’t get my own way ;-)


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Blackberry and apple geranium swirl

My lovely blogging friends, Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Janice who blogs at Farmers Girl Kitchen are currently running a campaign to encourage us all to enjoy seasonal blackberries and have created #GBBR or Great British Blackberry Recipe Round Up. So I'll be linking up this post to there linky.

                                                    The Great British Blackberry Recipe Round-Up

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will have no doubt noticed that along with courgette, blackberry recipes are quite common. I regularly post blackberry recipes as we have a large plant of the thornless variety "Loch Ness" in the garden, its a fabulous reliable variety and routinely spurs new plants, the plant I am currently picking from is a spur of a spur of a spur we moved from our previous home. The plant crops very well most years and produces large juicy berries so beloved for inclusion in jam, preserve and crumble recipes.

This recipe came about as I wanted to utilise the beautiful subtle flavour of a new scented leaved pelagonium for this year, "apple scented" and what better combination than apples and blackberries. I was aiming for a fool but decided to substitute the cream for yogurt instead to lighten the dish.

I have also been experimenting with my new camera too, not that I am trying to surpass Mr LF but just handy for when I am in the kitchen or he's not available. So far I am pretty pleased with the results. Anyway on to the easy recipe.

What you need

  • 1 cup of blackberries (retain a few whole ones for decoration)
  • A few Apple pelagonium (geranium) leaves (optional, still tastes great without them)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (0% fat works well)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • Qty of dinky glass pots or dishes to serve 

What you do
  • Whiz up the blackberries, sugar and pelagonium leaves in the food processor until you have a puree
  • Sieve the puree to remove the seeds,leaves and stalks.
  • In another bowl mix the vanilla, yogurt and creme fraiche to combine
  • Simply place alternate layers of the yogurt and puree into your glass pots and swirl using a cocktail stick
  • Chill a little before serving

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Chicken, potato and chorizo bake

Are you in need of a quick and easy supper dish, that's healthy and tasty and with hardly any washing up too !  Well this is the dish for you, a one pot dish that uses one of my favourite cuts of chicken, thighs juicy and extra tasty they are also a great economy cut too, providing plenty of flavour and flesh for your buck.

To enhance the dish I used fresh oregano from the herb garden including the flowers so beloved of the bees at the moment. Did I tell we now host a hive in the garden so I am much more aware of what flowers they enjoy and oregano is a firm favourite, along with cat mint and thyme.

What you need
  • Chicken thigh - skin on and bone still in
  • Chorizo - approx 1/2 a loop, chopped into chunks
  • 1 red pepper - seeds removed and chunkly chopped
  • 1 red onion - peeled and chunky chopped
  • Couple of large handful - washed baby potatoes, chopped in half or quatered if large
  • Small bunch of fresh oregano
  • Extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil - about 1 tbsp
  • Large metal baking tray
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
What you do

  • Pre heat the oven to 220c / 180c fan
  • Place all the ingredients in a large metal baking tray
  • Toss so all ingredients have a very light coating of oil

Bake for approx 30 minutes baste with some of the delicious juices, bake for another 30  minutes or so until golden.

  • Remove and serve with a freshly dressed green salad and a glass of something chilled.

We are linking up to recipe of the week over on A Mummy Too

                                            Link up your recipe of the week

And to Cooking with Herbs over on Lavender and lovage - who's theme this month is Summer Herb

                                           August Cooking with Herbs

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Chocolate and Pear Torte - Gluten free and so very tasty

The other weekend as per usual I was clearing out the fruit bowl as I was drawing up my shopping list of what I wanted to purchase for the week ahead. Just a couple of of pears remained still juicy but on the overripe side, my mind flashed back to a wonderful chocolate and pear tart I had eaten several years ago in an amazing trattoria in Tuscany, Italy. It was the sort of place were there was no menu and the choices were what was fresh from the market or the oven.

This torte is inspired by that tart, this one gluten free and a torte not a tart but equally beautiful and also doing a great job using up pears.

Its a simple recipe and is actually diary free if you use vegetable margarine as the chocolate flavour is coming from cocoa not chocolate.

Ideally you need a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin so you can remove the cake easily from its tin.

What you need
  • 150g plain flour gluten free 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g soft butter or vegetable margarine (I like the Pure range)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 50g Cocoa - I like Green and Blacks Organic
  • 2 tsp Choco inglese essence (optional)
  • 2 Conference pears - peeled, cored and quartered
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Oil spray
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Prepare your pears and toss them in the juice of the lemon to prevent them from going brown
  •  Prepare your tin, base line and oil spray so you are ready for the cake mix
  • In a large mixing bowl or ideally a stand mixer, combine all the other ingredients until you have a smooth mixture
  • Turn the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and then artistically place the pear quarters on the top, just slightly pressing them into the mixture
  • Place in the oven and bake for approx 45 - 60 minutes until the torte tests cooked with a cocktail stick.
  • Allow to fully cool in the tin and then remove. Serve as it is or with creme fraiche, cream or Greek yogurt.

The cake will store for a couple of days in a cool place covered with clingfilm or in a cake dome. A very satisfying bake and one that disappeared very quickly.

We are linking this post to Bake of the Week created by Casa Costello and hosted this month over at Jen's Food.

Casa Costello

Credit crunch munch as it uses some past their best pears, created by Camilla from Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours   and hosted this month by Food Glorious Food

No waste food challenge over on Elizabeth's Kitchen


We Should Cocoa - who's theme this month is anything goes created and hosted this month on Tin and Thyme

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Chickpea and lentil and spinach cheats curry

Chickpeas are a great standby staple and the other day I had a craving for a warming curry, weird I know considering its August in the UK, but the summer weather this year has been really disappointing and even quite cool on a couple of occasions. So I turned to my trusty store cupboard to provide a healthy vegan curry for our supper.

Raiding the cupboards and freezer, I came up with this wholesome tasty recipe which used tinned chickpeas, dried red lentils and some leftover frozen homegrown tomatoes from last year and a couple of chunks of frozen spinach leaves I had forgotten were in the freezer.

The recipe made plenty so had ample to freeze or to take to work in a container for lunch the next day and as you in control of the spice level you can make this curry as hot and steamy as you wish.

The other bonus is as you are using canned chickpeas you can also make this fabulous chocolate mousse for dessert using the retained canning juice.

What you need
  • 1 tin of chickpeas - drained but remember to retain the canning liquid for other recipes.
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes or the equivalent in canned or frozen tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (organic or homemade is best)
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney (optional)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam marsala
  • 3 blocks frozen spinach
  • 1 large white onion chopped finely
  • Coconut oil or vegetable oil 
  • 3 - 4 tbsp red lentils
  • Vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground pepper - to taste

What you do

  • Heat the coconut or vegetable oil in your pan
  • Add the onion and fry gently until starting to soften but not colour
  • Reduce the heat slightly and add the spices and cook for a few minutes moving about so they don't burn.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, using enough vegetable stock to cover the legumes and frozen vegetables.
  • Now bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the frozen vegetable are cooked and the lentils are almost undetectable. Stirring occasionally, this took about 20 minutes for me.
  • Season with freshly ground pepper increasing the spices if so required.
  • Serve with roti or boiled basmati rice
  • If you have any fresh coriander then this would be a good garnish
The dish froze beautifully and also benefits from cooling and reheating another day so that the flavours are more well rounded.

This post is being linked up to MLLA (My Legume Love Affair) created by The Well Seasoned Cook and Food and Spice and hosted this month on Allotment 2 Kitchen.

And also to Recipe of the Week over on at A Mummy Too

Link up your recipe of the week

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