Yorkshire Puddings, the best!

Being a Yorkshire Lass I have a love of the Yorky, for years I would go between home made with the Be-ro recipe, and others, aunt Bessie’s! I then used my Mum’s recipe with more eggs as instructed and loved this. But………… then I watch lots of telly, lots of James Martin, and lots of cooking programmes lol.

So I made my recipe and you can make it according to how many folks you have for dinner that day. I use a normal coffee cup, then there is some left over for the teen child to make pancakes for her breakfast.

One cup of plain flour

pinch of salt

one cup of eggs

one cupof water and milk

Mix the flour and salt, the put the cup of eggs in to flour and whisk like billy ho, trying to smooth the lumps out as you go, and they will go.

This is the  mix without the milk and water in it, nice and full of air.

Yorkshire pud mix

Next add a cup of half water and milk, I find if I use all milk it does make a difference to the rise you get. I used fresh farm eggs for this and the yellow is thanks to the gorgeous yellow yolks.

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Once you add the milk and water mix, the colour changes so don’t worry! still full of air and light mixture. I then put the mix in a jug to rest, this can be done a day in advance.

I use muffin tins for the Yorkshires, with vegetable oil, I put the oven on 8 Gas and put a few drops of oil in each muffin shape, apart from the 2 middle ones, they don’t ever get hot enough to develop your Yorkshire properly. JMO.  Once the oil is hot and smoking you can pour your mixture in to each one. If you try for about a third full, you will make a light pudding and not a doughy one. I put the muffin pan in the oven and then they usually take about 20 minutes, but I have been known to open the door and turn the tray around, kinda depends on your oven, mine is quite forgiving.

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These beauties are the result, we had 10 and that was enough for us on Easter Sunday, the more folk the bigger the cup!! Enjoy.

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Allotment times

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This was early May and a sad looking allotment waiting for some love, we had even left some canes in over the winter, a bit forlorn and definitely neglected.We planned to get started a bit earlier with weeding this year as we left it far to late last year and as a consequence didn’t get all the growing space we needed. WP_20160417_010

This is our fruit bush bed, we have redcurrants, white currants and blueberries, the difference a couple of weeks has made to this bed is just lovely.

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There are loads of fruit on the bushes, we need to stop the birds from knicking them again after last year!!! we have used some crocheted bunging our friend made us, seems to be doing the trick so far!

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The end of our allotment is our burning bin, I say ours, my other half is known far and wide for his fire starting abilities! The raspberry canes are bare in early May. Last year we must have had about 21lbs of fruit, and as a jam maker it is just brilliant. One of our best crops ever for a little investment from Aldi 2 years ago.WP_20160516_005

Now the mister does not usually weed but we had done about 4 hours this day between us, you can see the amount of weeds in the mint bed, and our cucumber home. On this day I pulled a lot of the mint out as it has taken over, I really want to get the whole bed out to use for veg, so have started a tub of mint from cuttings. I can only say I won’t plant it in a bed again, it is so invasive, but irresistible for the smell. (there is a mint sauce recipe on my blog)

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In early May I started my tomatoes, I decided to do them all from seed this year, and start 3 or 4 varieties, I don’t eat tomatoes! I do however cook a lot with them and use them for jams and chutney’s. Indigo rose intrigues me as it is meant to taste like tomatoes and plums!

these are them in early June, this week. I am pleased with them. untitled

They have been planted on in to tubs and I am for the first time ever keeping some in the green house we had given. I have been told this is the best way, but in my heart a lot of them are going outside as well, we have always had results this way.

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These little beauties are a specific yellow courgette, although every year I have ended up with yellow courgettes from a seed packet of green ones! There were only 8 seeds in the pack and I got seven seedlings which all turned into good growers. Will report on the taste, they are also meant to be prolific croppers! GetAttachment (17)

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Much to my delight we have 7 cucumbers, tiny but there! again this is the first time i have used the green house for this, usually they all go outside and never had a problem getting a great crop! So my market more and crystal lemon cucumbers will be up t’allotment.

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so this is our greenhouse a week ago, I have so very much to plant on and to put up at the allotment, I have peas to go in, and pumpkins, all kinds of squashes. I will update when the allotment is planted up but now……………..digging and weeding for another evening.

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Barter books

Barter books in Alnwick, Northumberland is an oasis of calm, a place to mooch, find a seat and read, or in my case wait. My teen has been going to Barter books for the last 4 years and loves it, she is my pride and joy a book geek. Twice a year when we are on holiday in Beadnell we have to go, and sit and enjoy, then if we haven’t waited enough we have return wait a few days later!!

The thing is about Barter is that the wait is as good as the book selection. You can pull up a chair and watch life go by, pick up a book or your camera and settle in. This is my favourite place to sit, in the snug on a chesterfield sofa, a coffee and a home made chocolate cookie. I love to sit watching these gorgeous lamps swinging in the breeze every time someone walks in, its mesmerising and peaceful despite the huge footfall for the shop.

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Simply the best part of the snug area is you can take your pooch along for the browse, it is a rarity that you can wonder round and have your best canine mate with ya! Even better there are biscuits for dogs on offer as well. You can while away an hour chatting to other folks be they dog lovers or not, finding common ground in Barter is easy and comfortable.

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A bit of history  the book shop is located in part of a superb old Victorian railway station designed by William Bell in 1887. The building is one of remarkable size and grandeur for a small market town. This is because, as seat of the Dukes of Northumberland, an impressive train station was deemed necessary in the 19th century to impress visiting royalty.The branchline, itself, however, was closed in 1968 with the notorious Beeching cuts.(Beeching cuts – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Beeching cuts (also Beeching Axe) refer to the reduction of route network and restructuring of the Railways in Great Britain outlined in two reports, The Reshaping of British Railways (1963) and The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (1965), written by Dr Richard Beeching and published by the British Railways Board.

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The rather wonderful Mr above is posing under the Song of Solomon,
The full reading is worth looking up, its a lovely verse.
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I love spending time looking through the travel books, whiling away a few hours dreaming of planning my adventures, and finding out about the local area to boot!
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The gorgeous centre piece at Christmas next to my favourite indoor chairs, with my teen in the view.
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If you are in Northumberland, this wonderful idyll is so worth a visit, book lovers, people watchers, biscuit eaters, a place for everyone.
The history of the book shop was taken from the website for Barter books and is an easy to navigate site, have a browse of the books, give the shop a ring, they are a brilliant resource for the book lover.
 http://www.barterbooks.co.uk/index.php
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The Old Barn @Esholt Afternoon Tea.

picnic table view

We bought a living social voucher for this afternoon out, as I don’t often do things like this with my other half, so it was a real treat to do something a bit different for us. Not the usual household cleaning, shopping rush.

The Old Barn is just what is says, a barn, plenty of room, the tables are not to close together, there are comfy sofas to wait until your table is ready, the upstairs is for hire as a party/wedding venue and a fair amount of couples had arranged to be there to have a look on Sunday.

The afternoon tea was with wine, but we asked for a pot of tea instead, and there was no problem topping this up with hot water. Your meal is served on a picnic table, and in summer you can have your afternoon tea outside in a lovely area, we were more after the log fire as it was Feb!

There is so much choice on the picnic table, starting with a delicious cup of hot vegetable soup, which we both enjoyed, served with a croûton it was a firm favourite.

We then had bucket pie, which was lovely and hot, it was beef and mushroom pie with a puff pastry crust and was just so nice.

bucket pie Although this photo makes it look enormous!  lol. we ate this with a small trowel! part of the experience.

There was a gorgeous chicken and mushroom tart, which was so tasty, the chef manages to put so much punchy taste in these miniatures.

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Forgot to take a photo before we had a bite!

The small pork and apple sandwich with pork crackling was just lovely, I even got my other half’s crackling, I don’t understand non crackling eaters lol.

WP_20160221_012There was devilled eggs, my other half does not like eggs at all so this was a no for him, I had one, but it is mayonnaise, and this is my nemesis so just tasted it, beautifully presented though. devilled eggs

Something I have never tried before and would not have thought would ‘work’ was a small clam shell, with water melon balls, topped with prawn mayonnaise. Work it did, this is actually something I will try to put up at home for a starter in summer. We left that part of our meal for last and used it as a palate cleanser and it worked well. One for the recipe kit. water melon

Puds!!

 

Plenty on the picnic bench to choose from, and my other half’s delight, he is a real sweet tooth chap, I actually gave my fruit scone with jam and cream up for him!!

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A lemon crumble pie was to rich for me but the other half managed 2!! The chef likes sparkles. !

lemon pie

my favourite pud was the raspberry shot with sparky cherry, I don’t even like cherries but this was good …

you may have guessed I love taking photos and I know they look very close up, but I do love details!

Raspberry shot with fresh raspberries.

I am by no means a milk drinker, and sometimes have to force myself for the sake of the old bones, but this chocolate milk shake, served ice cold was lovely, I had 2 as the OH does deffo not do milkshakes lol. milk shakeWP_20160221_046Mini eclairs were served with this lovely chocolate heart, which was super full of choc flavour!

So I would definitely say go, have a picnic afternoon tea, and enjoy, we will go back soon, we also noticed they do a carvery, which looked wonderful, so may take Mum and Dad out for a meal once her knee is working well again. They are doing Easter meals and Mother’s Day meals which we are thinking about. We noted that dependant on the time of year you visit, the picnic meals change with the seasons.

Just to say our server, a lovely blond young girl, actually shared a sense of humour with the other half, dealt with us beautifully and was there if we needed anything. A fab worker they should be proud of.

I so enjoyed going out to Esholt which is the village where Emmerdale was filmed prior to them building a set at Harewood House. The old Woolpack is just around the corner.

The village has been dealt a terrible hand in the recent floods, the fields and walls are really damaged and look like they will be struggling in the area for months to come.

The old barn at Esholt are on twitter and facebook

 

 

 

 

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Home made mint sauce recipe

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Allotment mint.
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Nothing can beat the taste of home made mint sauce! I have a herb bed on the allotment, and have loads to make into this delish sauce. It’s an absolute wonderful partner to new potatoes, tho as i am not fond of lamb dont know how it partners lol.

Ingredients

bunch of mint
pinch salt
4 tbsp boiling water
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 level tbsp caster sugar

Preparation method
Strip off the mint leaves, sprinkle with salt and chop finely.
Place into a jug, add the sugar and pour over the boiling water, stir and leave to cool.
Stir in the vinegar and taste.
Add more water or vinegar and adjust seasoning to suit your taste.

You can pop this in a jar and keep in the fridge for a week or two.

Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of bbc food website.

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Allotment Diary

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For months and months i have planned to get our first year on the allotment documented, a plethora of things have got in the way, including the allotment!
So finally i have a day to get started. We got our allotment in November 2013, it had not been worked for a long time, and was terribly grown over with grass and weed.
Due to the weather and work we struggled to get a good start, but did get in our paths and our salvaged pallet collars.
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So we went from a field to a field looking like the Somme! We paddled around there for weeks! the Mister putting paths in and a compost pile that had been accumulated over at least a decade, this though filled the majority of our raised beds.
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The start of our flagged path, we rescued a lot of the flags from the area we live in, then went to a reclamation yard for some that had been sourced locally, it was important that as much as we could we got from round and about, even if we paid a small price for some of them.

April 14
The Mister put the path leading down the middle of the plot just for ease, we decided just to have one main path, some pathways made of reclaimed bricks, and some walkways made of rescued pallets, which meant that when we needed to weed, we could just move them and not lose much space.
The intention was to put the bricks between the raised beds, as these would be more of a permanent item.
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The pallet walkways are so easy to put together and for ease are the best form of getting place to place and lifting as you go.
Onion patch full of weeds. June 2014
This photo fills me with dread!! After a week of in May just as the ground should have been ready for planting, I got ill with a chest infection so couldn’t go up to the plot. When we did go up, the onion beds and almost everything else had been taken over by weeds. It took the best part of 2 weeks, every day up there for 4 or 5 hours at a time to get the ground back to how it should be, free for the crops to grow.
This photo is after hours and hours of backbreaking work.
Onions late may 14
The beans, and raspberries all were under seige!
Thought we would never get it done!
The weed man!

We got there!
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Come June/July we had such a fantastic sense of achievement, when we saw our first crops growing and producing.
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Lots and lots and lots of strawberries, such good croppers. This continue until October.
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Our first crop of onions was like magic! my best crop for me of 2014, we use so many onions in our house, so this was our most useful grow.
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Best onions in the world, sweet tasting, fresh!
my first onions 2nd week July 14

One of our other brills sucesses were raspberries, we bought the canes (2nd year) from Aldi and planted them out in the Feb of 2014, amazingly for us, we must have had around 15 lbs of fruit from them, every day when we went up to the plot to work, we worked and then collected, as a jam maker it was so great to use my own produce for my makes.
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As a first year went, we put hundreds of hours in to our plot, it was very much something we did together, which to be honest was the very best part of the adventure.
We continued to harvest until late October, we have had the best onions, cucumbers, yellow courgettes, so many strawberries that they were hard to keep up with.
I have hurt from top to toe and back again, found odd ways to weed to save my body from hell,! spend time with my other half, and tried the best courgette fritters !

We still have a tonne of work to do, part of our plot is stil all hard grass, so that is a priority as it is land we need for crops.

This is our plot a year after we started digging and growing, our winter crops ready to pick were savoy cabbages, kale and herbs, still well worth a trip up to pick and plot again for this year.

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Afternoon Tea with the lovelies.

I was born at Waterton Park in Wakefield, which is now a luxury hotel and wedding venue. My wonderful friend Julie arranged a fab suprise for my recent birthday, she organised for afternoon tea for us in the house.WP_20150320_16_25_40_Pro

As we entered the huge wood double doors, there were two gold men door knockers! One was smiling on the left door and one was grumpy! The staff explained that the smiling one smiled because the door rapper on his head is stuck so no one can use it to knock on the door! the grumpy man has a door rapper that works, and that is the one everyone uses to knock! what a fab story!
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Very grumpy door knocker!
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Afternoon tea consists of delish sandwiches, they are set out on the tray, but you can request different ones if they are not to your taste. I had mini bagels with cream cheese, cucumber and smoked salmon, they were subperb!
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We enjoyed as well, beef and chutney sandwiches which were absolutely beautiful, we did eye up the very last one! who was going to get it.
Spending time with people who want the best for you, and have your interests at heart is a tonic, Julie understands the best and worst of me, and lovely Bev, is always there without fail to offer hugs, virtual or physical!
Enjoying time together is these surrounding was just so good.

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I don’t have a remarkably sweet tooth, however the pistachio macarons were fantastic, I took the small fancies home to the family!

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After our wonderful meal, we took a walk around the grounds of the house, there are some fantastic views, and as I walked around I was listening to my Mum in my head, that’s the room you were born in, that lake is where your uncle came fishing when you were there!!
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A fantastic afternoon with Julie and Bev, and a massive bloomin thank you for treating me Julie, you dont know how much i loved it.

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Yarndale.

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Yarndale is held in Skipton auction mart, it is described by the lovely website as ““creative festival celebrating all things woolly and wonderful”
We set off the Mister and I, (yes he agreed to take me!) enjoyed a ride out to Skipton, we parked in the Skipton BS head office and paid £2.50 for all day parking, shuttle buses run by volunteers from SCAD ran, they were a little on the small side tho, so we waited for 3 buses to come and took about 35 minutes. There were huge waits, but the blokes were full of good cheer who were driving and gave us loads of tidbits of local news.

Going into Yarndale, I had booked tickets and printed off, there were 2 lines, luckily we were in the shorter one, it only took a couple of minutes to get in and we got a brochure included, you had your hand stamped so you could go in and out at will.

My favourite finds for the day were not actually wools/yarns, but the creative works there. Seeing the mandala that were made by people from all over the world were wonderful, a real joy to see.

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The colours were amazing and were put in place on a staircase so they could be seen from all over the mart.

So for a woman who said I would never ever do needle felting again, I fell in love with 2 exhibitors who did amazingly beautiful projects.

There was Marmalade Rose who made me fall in love with felting! The skill and beauty of her makes stopped a lot of people in their tracks.
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this was my absolute favourite things of the day.

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these felted flowers are just beautiful, I picked and the Mister bought me one to compliment an outfit for a wedding next week. The are so unusual and delicately gorgeous.
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this photo in no way does this flower justice, ( bad light today when taking photos.)
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I bought a gorge card of the large framed artwork,
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Marmalade Rose can be found here https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/marmaladerose.art?fref=ts
or here. http://marmaladerose.blogspot.co.uk/

Another fantastic woman, Shona Riaz, another lady of the felt, breathtaking work.
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The most beautiful shawl made by felting, it was so beautiful,
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Shona made a statue with felting, it was bloody amazing and everyone, but everyone stopped to look at her. Yes people this was made by felting. How amazingley beautiful is she.
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Shona, showing people who she felts, and explaining her projects, she took time with everyone and was really approachable and welcomed people to take photos of her work. .
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Shona Riaz can be found here. Please visit her page, it is rather amazing. https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/ShonaRiaz?fref=ts
Shona’s website is here. http://www.shonariaz.com/

What came accross from both Marmalade Rose and Shona, was they had time to chat and share news and makes. Very welcoming people.

So in such a large place, there were all sorts there, there were wooly jumpers.
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Posers
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and a man head in hands!

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The Yarndale wesbite is full of information and there is a shop which sells gorgeous Yarndale stuffage.

http://yarndale.co.uk/

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White Chocolate Cheesecake. A Mary Berry adapted recipe.

Sliced cheesecake.

I should explain I had to have a photo of a slice, as everyone tucked in before i got a pic of the full cheesecake lol)

I absolutely love this Mary Bery recipe, because it is very rich, I probably only make it 3 or 4 times a year. I have made it with vodka soaked strawberries for a cake club, which gives it a real kick, and for work mates I have used my allotment strawberries!
Preparation & Quantity

Serves 8

Pre-heat oven to 160°C/Gas 3/ Fan 140°C

Grease and line the base of an 8” (20cm) deep spring form cake tin with non-stick paper.

Ingredients
For the base
2oz (50g) butter
1oz (25g) Divine 70% Dark Chocolate
5oz (150g) digestive biscuits, crushed

For the filling
10oz (300g) Good quality White Chocolate, broken into pieces
14oz (400g) full fat cream cheese
150 ml (¼ pint) soured cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To serve
Dusting of Divine Cocoa Powder
About 225g (8oz) fresh strawberries or raspberries

Method.
Melt butter and chocolate in small saucepan over a low heat.

Melt digestives and butter, with dark chocolate-white chocolate cheesecake base(

Stir in crushed biscuits and press evenly over the base of the tin – chill in the fridge. (make sure your biscuits are bashed within an inch of crumb!

Break the white chocolate into a bowl and melt very gently over a pan of hot water (do not allow the chocolate to become too hot), stir occasionally with a spoon until runny and smooth.

white chocolate-cheesecake.

Whisk the cream cheese and eggs together in a large bowl until smooth, add soured cream and vanilla and whisk again until completely smooth with no lumps. Stir in the melted chocolate and Cheescake mixed with chocolate
mix together.
Just ensure there are no lumps as this affects the end product.

Pour in the tin and spread evenly over the chilled base. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes until firm around the edge and just set in the middle. Remove from the oven. Using a small palette knife run the knife around the edge of the tin and then allow to cool and chill. Remove the outside ring and lift base onto serving plate.
Note. When I take the cheesecake out of the oven, I usually release the spring, this prevents a crack occurring in the middle of the cake.

This recipe was taken from http://www.divinechocolate.com/uk/recipes/desserts/mary-berrys-wonderful-white-chocolate-cheesecake where you can find some beautiful recipes.

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Foraging, an eye opening learning experience.

Our ladies group has had a variety of speakers and craft sessions over the past year, and as I was looking up something I have a fledgling interest in, I found Edible Leeds, and Craig Worrall, who guides foraging walks around Leeds as well as fungal forays. Craig also presents wild food talks and demonstrations at food festivals.

Craig gave a brill talk to us, a very interactive discussion made it fun, with loads of questions about Craig’s history in foraging and why he does it, Craig explained about his feelings of losing connections with our environment, and relying on supermarkets for fresh foods, some of which can be found, or alternatives in the local places around us. Craigs discussions give a chance for reflection about the things we eat, and where they are sourced, making me think about how we can at least if possible to learn about our environment from a knoweldegable forager. Foraging, go on! have a taste.

Craig brought freshly picked examples, of locally sourced greens, he even took time to bring examples of what NOT to touch! We had a chance to taste things like wild sorrelly, and of all things, the dreaded thing you hear about, Japanese knot weed. The JNW tasts a bit like rhubarb, our girls are an intrepid bunch and went all out tasting all the things Craig had brought.
One of our very firm favourites was Craigs Pontak Sauce, we used fresh bread to dip in, what a wonderful full flavour, it made me think of a really good balsamic. Here is a recipe for Pontak sauce, I am sure if you look you will find a few tweaks for people’s own recipes.

pontack sauce

Makes 1 x 350ml bottle

500g elderberries
500ml cider vinegar
200g shallots, sliced
6 cloves
4 allspice berries
1 blade of mace
1 tbsp black peppercorns
15g root ginger bruised

Place elderberries in dish with vinegar put in very low oven for 4-6 hrs or overnight. Remove strain through seive, crush berries to obtain max juice.
Put juice in a pan with sliced shallots, spices and ginger. Bring back to boil and cook for 20-25 mins until slightly reduced. Remove from heat and strain.
Return to pan and bring back to boil then boil for 5 mins. Pour into warm sterilised bottles and seal. Store in a dark cupboard and enjoy.

I think this is one of those sauces that ages well, and Craig did say the longer you can leave it the better.

Another lovely taster was Craig’s home made recipes was Sweet Chesnut Jam with calvados and honey, an amazing tasty treat.
Craig got his recipe from Pam Corbin river cottage and there is a recipe here, I would imaging as with most preserves you can adjust to your own taste, but very well worth a go!
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/8782495/River-Cottage-Baking-recipes-buns-and-puddings.html?image=14

explaining the finds
Craig made some things from foraged foods and he had brough 2 quiches, made from wild garlic, and goats cheese, it was absolutely gorgeous and a very sought after recipe.
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Seeing things like wild garlic in quiche, makes it easier to see what is possible with very little knowledge of foraging, wild garlic grows in abundance in our area.
This is wild garlic in flower just up on Roker Lane in pudsey, Craig said that if you go and look under the older leaves, you may just find some tender young leaves, although the season is almost at an end. The flowers however remain a beautiful sight!
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Craig makes his own wild garlic in oil and this is very very popular with our ladies group, Craig brought along a tasters, and we had it on our quiche, oh my, its my new favourite!
This can be made by blitzing wild garlic leaves, with sunflower oil, not using strong oils like olive or rapeseed.
Wild garlic in oil

We had a fab evening with Craig, who is so very passionate about his work foraging, we thank you Craig for passing on some knowledge to us and giving up your time to spend it with us.
Craig has a blog edible leeds http://edible-leeds.blogspot.co.uk/
where you can find a walk or a foraging foray for mushrooms. Craig can also be contacted at edible.leeds@gmail.com

Craig is leading a walk in Bramley on Sunday the 25th of May, you can book a place by emailing for more info.

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