Actually it doesn't need to be ice cream weather to enjoy a visit to Hadley's Parlour in Lavenham. We went on rather a chilly day but enjoyed tasting a selection of the handmade icecreams that really do offer satisfying, smooth and creamy flavours using locally sourced Fen Farm milk and cream, Elmsett Game Farm eggs, Maldon sea salt and Pump Street chocolate, to name a few. You can get very good coffee and mini cakes as well, if you are greedy like me.
Is this the best pub in Ipswich? An astonishing range of craft beers from around the world, a beer sommelier, gorgeous gins, street food on a Friday and the friendliest staff.
There's been a huge increase recently in the number of people who claim to be coeliac or have a dietary intolerance. One of my best friends is a diagnosed coeliac and she has my full understanding and empathy for the difficulties she often has to face when eating out. I'm always more than happy to cook something for her using potato, buckwheat, maize flour or other gluten free ingredient, and she never moans, complains, or gives restaurants a hard time when she goes out, despite being very ill if she does consume gluten in any recognisable amount. So when I recently heard at a local cafe, a customer asking if the soup, which was gluten free and had run out, had only been served to gluten free customers and another who was happy to eat bread pudding for dessert after asking for gluten free options throughout the starter and main courses I was very annoyed.
We are getting close to that suffolkfoodie AGM time of year, when we look for places to eat and drink that are new or interesting - and a real treat for us. We are currently working on our final list, but this will be at the top of mine.
Don't miss this four week celebration of food, farming, landscape and the arts at White House Farm, Great Glemham, near the Suffolk coast. Intermingling arts with food, farming and heritage crafts, farm suppers, festival talks and a pop up shop and a tea room. Festival talks include 'Unearthed' this Friday 12th May by local food writer in residence Tessa Allingham. Tessa, who co-authored Unearthed, is going to use the book and the stories in it to explore some of the things that are important to her, and that she loves writing about - food provenance, and the people who grow, rear, fish, farm, bake, cook and sell the wonderful food we have in Suffolk, as well as some of the wider issues about traceability and honesty in food that this subject invokes. The talk includes a delicious soup, bread and cheese supper afterwards.
Go eat doughnuts! It's #NationalDoughnutWeek raising money for The Children's Trust. Here we have (starting at the back) a traditional jam, a lemon meringue, a dulce de leche and a sprinkle covered cherry doughnut, all from The Ice Cook School at Rougham. £1 each. They're mine, so go and get your own; they are available everyday this week. PS...they have gluten free ring doughnuts too!
It's lovely to see a children's menu with mini portions from the main menu and not a breadcrumb, nugget or chip in sight. The Giggling Squid asked me to review their new children's menu which includes a selection of mild curries, finger food, noodles and rice dishes designed especially with "little people" in mind. I found a couple of little people (thank you Grace and Logan) and took them out for supper at the Bury St Edmunds branch. For £5.95 children get to choose two dishes each which come with free plain or sticky rice. Logan, who declared fussy eater status on arrival went for the Grilled Pork Skewers and Chicken Fried Rice, having first tucked into a bowl of the spicy prawn crackers. Grace with a more adventurous and self assured palate chose Spring Rolls and a Pad Thai with Prawns, which she declared as yummy. Sadly the roti pancakes were not available for pudding (an extra £2.00) but the icecream was, and arrived with some colourful slices of fresh fruit on the side. Portions are very generous, in fact possibly too large for smaller children, but parents can always help out!
- add prawn crackers for £2
- crayons and a colouring competition
- Grace chose Spring Rolls, Pad Thai Noodles with Prawns and Sticky Rice
- Logan chose Grilled Pork on Skewers, Chicken Fried Rice and Plain Rice
- add pudding for £2, ice cream comes with fresh fruit slices
- the restaurant
It will soon be time to think about jam making with summer fruit. My tips are from my 'Food for Keeps' course and will help you make perfect jam every time. Try making this delicious Fresh Apricot Jam.
- Never make more than 10lb (10 standard jars) at any time. The less time spent in cooking the jam, the better the final colour and flavour.
- Choose firmly ripe, fresh fruit, picked dry. Wet fruit will affect the set and flavour of the jam.
- Prepare the fruit removing any stalks and bruised flesh, only wash if necessary.
- Use a large, heavy based saucepan. The pan should never be more than half full.
- Add water only of the recipe says so.
- Bring fruit to the boil, then simmer gently to break down any skin and to extract the pectin.
- Pectin is a substance in fruit that reacts with acid when heated, creating the setting agent. Fruits vary in their pectin and acid content.
- Jam sugar has added pectin and is ideal for fruits that are low in pectin helping jam to set.
- Do not cover the pan as water evaporation is essential.
- Underboiling causes jam to be too runny and overboiling makes it sticky.
- Test the set by dropping a spoonful of jam onto a refrigerated saucer and seeing if the top crinkles when you run your finger or a spoon across it.
- Warming the sugar in a low oven (110C) will shorten the cooking time. Preserving sugar consists of large crystals of sugar which dissolve evenly producing less froth when boiling.
- Remove any scum with a slotted spoon once the jam is ready to pot. A nut sized piece of butter at the end of the cooking will help reduce the scum.
- Cool the jam for 5 to 10 mins before potting, then stir again to help evenly distribute the fruit and stop it from rising to the top of the jars.
- Always warm jars in a low oven to sterilise and prevent cracking from the hot jam.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
- choose firm, ripe fruit
- preserving sugar has bigger crystals which dissolve more evenly
- test for set by seeing if a skin forms when dropping some jam onto a chilled saucer
- always warm the jars in the oven
Cradle has got a real Hoxton/Shoreditch look about it and also the kind of place you could imagine finding Gwyneth or Madonna. The tiny cafe/bakery was buzzing with activity when we went for lunch last week and it's obviously quite the meeting place for the yummy mummies and the cool vegans of Sudbury. Simple and stylish, it's completely plant based with everything made from scratch on site, including nut butters and an excellent rooibos based fermented kombucha (so hipster, so refreshing). Bread is baked on site, with house milled rye, wheat and spelt flour used in the proper crusty loaves. There's also some very tempting patisserie on display. A small blackboard menu offers an interesting and surprisingly fancy range of dishes with thankfully no fakin' bacon but just prime, fresh ingredients superbly cooked.
- the kombucha story
- a simple blackboard menu
- a glass of kombucha and juice of the day (parsley,kale,apple, lemon and coco)
- kombucha fermenting
- pan fried polenta, spinach, bechamel and toasted hazelnuts
- pear danish pastry
- mushroom a la grecque with dill cream cheese, herbs on toasted sourdough - the house tartine
- drum roll please for a classic brioche Tropezienne with a creme anglaise ( and yes, even without eggs and cream it tasted better than most creme anglaises we've been served elsewhere)
- walnut and caramel tart with vanilla icecream
- hummus of wild garlic, half a loaf, olive oil and beet balsamic
When your oldest daughter wants a pair of Hunter wellies and a proper home-made afternoon tea for her birthday ...
- mini Easter coffee cakes
- salted caramel and banoffee eclairs
- herb cheese and quail egg tartlets
- roasted hazelnut Genoise with dark chocolate ganache
- mini lemon posset with brandy snaps
Why are all the decent pubs I've been to recently near Woodbridge? Last week I took Mr SuffolkFoodie to The Turks Head for a late Sunday lunch, as I'd been invited by Jemima the owner. Jemima was actually away on holiday, so I was sorry not to meet her. Still, I admire an owner who offers a review meal and shows such enormous confidence in the staff ... and the staff were brilliant, all quite clearly trained in their roles, and friendly, without hovering or being stifling. The Turks Head is a family and dog friendly gastropub with the Hasketon countryside providing some great local walks. (Handy PDF downloads for 11 guided walks are provided on the website). Even at 5pm, on an early April evening, the terrace was busy with families who looked as though they were stopping for mid walk refreshments. There's also a proper pentanque pitch, which has been added to my list of 'must investigate further, it could be fun' activities. The Sunday lunch is a set menu of 2 courses for £19 or 3 courses £24. I was hoping to try the Gressingham duck steamed dumplings which apparantly are a favourite of the regulars, but they had eaten them all, and so the replacement dish was an oriental duck salad with hoisin, which came garnished with wafer thin hot and piquant pickled ginger. A Caesar style, wild turbot salad had crunchy homemade croutons, whole anchovy fritters and with a very generous amount of wild turbot soldiers, a novel and very good take on the classic version. Spotted also on the menu was a foraged nettle soup which sounded tempting. The head chef, Mauri is a classically French trained chef who was born in India and has worked in many high profile establishments, the menu reflecting his eclectic range of cooking styles from around the globe. The highlight dish of our lunch undoubtedly being a local venison bhuna masala with rice, papad and raita. It is probably the best curry I've had between Southall and Leicester with powerful spicing providing the punch required of a great curry. Tender, pink roast sirloin of beef was topped by an impressive and very large Yorkshire pudding and was served with side dishes of tomatoey ratatouille, roasted carrots, celeriac and a cauliflower cheese. We finished with a banoffee pie (Birdy our delightful waitress telling us that the customers had petitioned when the pudding had been removed from the menu, so now reinstated) and Hamish Johnston selected British cheeses, which included a Perl Las, a Godminster organic Cheddar and Ellingham goats cheese. Behind the bar is a great range of local cask ales and my favourite Aspalls cyder and notably an excellent range of interesting soft drinks for the driver. There are three sittings for Sunday lunch starting at 12 midday with the last sitting at 5pm.
- Dogs are welcome
- Oriental duck salad with hoisin
- Caesar style wild turbot salad, croutons, anchovies
- Roast sirloin of Suffolk beef, Yorkshire oudding, red wine gravy with lovely seasonal vegetables
- Local venison bhuna masala, rice, papad, raita
- Banoffee pie, toffee sauce, caramelised banana
- British cheeses from Hamish Johnston
- Families are welcome
- the dining room
We were thrilled to receive this parcel in the post; a selection of cheeses from The Fine Cheese Co. Delighted also that we were sent a selection to review called Sisters in Cheese, a one off selection created especially with Mothers Day in mind - the three cheeses recognising women's roles as cheese-makers down the ages, and a tribute to today's 'dairymaids'. A very appropriate range in time for our own Mothers Day lunch where my three daughters thought that it meant a cheese each! We're all cheese lovers in my house and considering that all three daughters worked for me at some point waitressing in my restaurant where only English cheeses were served they've had to learn their stuff, so I didn't mind sharing.
The selection included a Sharpham Brie which is a raw, Jersey cow's milk cheese made in Devon on the Sharpham Estate. Rich, delicate and creamy with an unctuous texture. The cheesemaker is Debbie Mundford.
A baby Curworthy, a pasteurised cow's milk cheese dating back to the 17th century, and thought to be even older than Cheddar. Smooth, firm and mellow with a creamy flavour and made by Rachel Stevens.
Wigmore, a raw, Ewe's milk cheese with a gentle, delicate flavour and made in Berkshire by Anne Wigmore.
The Fine Cheese Co is based in Bath, with a branch also in London just around the corner from Harvey Nicks. If you are unable to visit then the online selections and cheese gifts are very tempting with a frequently changing cornucopia of cheeses to choose from. I even spotted our own Suffolk produced Baron Brigod. My parcel arrived in great shape, with ice pack keeping it cool and the cheese all in perfect shape. A handy caring for your cheese and cheese etiquette leaflet included too.
- well packaged including an ice pack to keep cool
- cheese and fridge etiquette
- unwrapped and bringing to room temperature