The first of the blackberries and it's beginning to feel like autumn. I created this recipe for an article I wrote for the Herb Society. Tarragon usually survives in my garden until the first winter frosts and it lends a warming aniseed flavour if used generously in a Coq au Vin. It is excellent in egg dishes and with vegetables such as Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms and marrow. Its warm flavour makes it a perfect contrast to pulses and it is delicious with flageolet beans and nearly always better in cooked dishes than served raw. It is an essential ingredient of fines herbes and béarnaise sauce. However with its liquorice like flavour, fresh tarragon marries particularly well (and interestingly) in fresh cream desserts and served with blackberries or poached plums has to be the ultimate autumn dessert.
Tarragon Cream (makes 6)
600 ml double cream
150 ml milk
4 large sprigs tarragon
3 sheets leaf gelatine
140g caster sugar
Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water
Put the cream, milk, sugar and tarragon in a heavy based saucepan and bring slowly to the boil.
Or place together in a jug and microwave.
Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine, squeezing out any excess water out first.
Stir well and then strain through a sieve into a jug.
Divide the mixture between six ramekins or glasses.
Place in the fridge until set.
(Can be turned out like a jelly if preferred)
Hardly ever seen until this year but now it's trendy and on every menu. It grows like a weed in my garden. My favourite way to use it is to rub my salad bowl with a big handful of the stuff and it will impart a lovely savoury Bovril like flavour. When used raw in dishes it can be very overpowering. The first young stalks of spring are the best for a delicious delicate flavour.
Lovely waxy, nutty, knobbly Anya potatoes from Steve and Nick Lewin in Norfolk. They're a cross between a Pink Fir Apple and a Desiree potato and named after Lady Sainsbury. That's why you won't find them in any other supermarket.
We love the Rural Coffee Caravan. For the past 14 years it has been touring villages across Suffolk offering tea, coffee and company to people living in rural isolation. The charity visits more than 70 villages, some where there is no where to meet anymore and where the more elderly villagers just find it hard to get out and about. As well as refreshments it offers an information service, a bit like a CAB on wheels. You can imagine how sad we all were to hear that the caravan has been stolen. Fundraising is well on the way to help with a replacement caravan. Here is the link if you are able to donate.
If you go to your local park and pick elderflowers it isn't foraging. If you go to your back garden and pick up some windfall apples, it isn't foraging. If you have a basil plant on your balcony, that isn't foraging either. Foraging for edible wild plants and all the new names for what we used to call weeds is OVER - time to stop.
I'm loving the green chilli sauce that Buckshot sauces sent me. It's slightly astringent with lots of ginger and cumin and I am pouring it over everything! I can't eat a samosa without it. Maybe I am addicted. (We really liked the brown sauce too).
The place for a fresh local farmhouse breakfast on Saturday September 2nd will be the Heath Farm farm pop-up at Hesset village hall. We went to one last Saturday and had a tasty sausage bap (£3) and home-made sausage rolls (£2.50) cooked on the spot. You can have a full English breakfast with eggs laid that day, and a lamb and tzatziki-slaw bap for brunch too - from a small but tasty menu of locally produced meat which is also for sale on the day.
We are loving the look of the new café at Framlingham Castle which has opened following a major revamp by English Heritage. The menu includes Suffolk Grumbly, a regional dish made with sausage meat and a mustard and cheese sauce, and a Tudor Tarte Owte of Lent, made with ingredients you’re not allowed to eat during Lent – cheese, cream and eggs; cooked in a light pastry case. Lots of other local produce too, including Maynards juices, milk and cream from the Marybelle Dairy in Halesworth and beer from St Peter’s Brewery.
- beautifully incorporated modern facilities in the castle
- family friendly cafe
- delicious home made cakes
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.