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 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
Inspired by last years road trip, Mr SuffolkFoodie and I returned to the U.S in February to catch the Daytona 500 and take a quick look at Miami (nice Empanada and Cuban coffee at the airport kiosk) before heading over to Barbuda, one of my favourite places in the world, where they weigh you, and your luggage before boarding the six seater Islander plane. Travel light if you want to fit in! My sister, founder of SuffolkFoodie spends most of her time in Barbuda, running the ArtCafe and cooking food for the few tourists that discover the beautiful, unspoilt, tiny island. It's modest in amenties but makes up for it a hundred times with the best beaches and friendly Barbudans who embrace visitors, happily sharing their limited resources. The extreme of Miami, where everything is massive, high cholesterol and hyped, except for the dogs.
- Daytona 500 crowd
- gator bites in the Everglades
- St Louis ribs at a car show
- Strong Cuban coffee and Empanada's at Miami airport
- Coopertown Cafe in the Everglades
- A Coopertown breakfast
- Lobster roll from a street food van Daytona 500
- funnel cake at the races
- island breakfast in Antigua
- weigh in at the airport
- sending supplies over to Barbuda
- quick side of the road snack in Antigua
- street food served with a smile in Antigua
- the flight from Antigua to Barbuda on an Islander plane
- limited supplies in the Barbuda shop
- our supplies arrive on the Lady Jen
- but there are always lobsters
- Byrons place
- barracuda on the beach
- charcoal making using Cinnamon wood and Jamaica wood
- sea urchins
- jelly coconuts
So while we are told to avoid burnt toast, charcoal remains the trendy detox, teeth whitening hangover cure. Popular in the good old U.S of A is the black coconut ash ice cream from Morgenstern. Noo Yawk.
The EADT Suffolk Food & Drink Awards 2017 close for entries at midnight on Wednesday 8th March. The EADT Suffolk Food & Drink Awards are a celebration of our flavoursome county. With its proud heritage of farming, coastal fishing and brewing, few places can boast the rich variety of produce found in Suffolk. The county’s producers and purveyors grow, rear, catch and cook some of the best food and drink to be found in Britain. From independent butchers, bakers and farm shops, to neighbourhood pubs, vibrant cafes and fine dining restaurants, the EADT Suffolk Food & Drink Awards recognise and reward them all. Enter or nominate a business now!
What's this all about then? I took 8 friends to the new Northgate in Bury for dinner on Sunday night. We started the evening with excellent cocktails in the bar. The bar staff were great, friendly and charming. Then it all went a bit downhill. My starter was good, main course satisfactory and dessert awful. The dessert wine didn't arrive until after the pudding and the coffee and tea order was eventually taken just before midnight. As for the faff to make the tea. Do I need to be told to warm the cup, wait for it to brew ( timer supplied for the countdown) in order to get two mouthfuls of English Breakfast brew? The most spectacular thing of the night was the bill.
- Line caught mackerel, beetroot, apple and parsnip (9/10)
- Sidecar of the Orient (10/10)
- Loin of venison, shank, sauerkraut and kale (6/10)
- Roasted pistachio sponge, salted chocolate, burnt apricot (1/10 for the apricot)
- Tea at midnight! Losing the will so ask for the bill.