Sunday, 27 July 2014

Blackcurrant & Ginger Yoghurt Cheesecake

Ok so this is not technically a cheesecake in the traditional sense, as it contains no cheese – yep this is a cheese-free cheesecake. It does however still look like a cheesecake, taste like a cheesecake and contain lovely thick Greek yoghurt – which is still milk/dairy and as this forms the base of cheese, then I’m still calling this dessert cheesecake.

On my recent visit home to my parents I also managed to arrange to see some of my old friends. I was invited to dinner with one friend and her family and they have the most amazing garden complete with a vast array of homegrown fruits and vegetables. They put Tom and Barbara from The Good Life to shame. Homegrown tomatoes, cabbages, leeks, green beans, spring onions, beetroot, lettuce, cherries, apricots, apples, pears, quinces, gooseberries, blackcurrants and figs!! Figs! I didn’t know you could even grow figs in this country. I was in love with their garden and could have quite happily lived in there, snuggled under a bush, feasting on the delights. Sadly the figs weren’t ripe at the time of my visit but I did leave with an array of tomatoes and a huge bagful of freshly picked blackcurrants. I am so jealous and can’t wait to have my own garden so I can (attempt to) grow my own fruit and veg too.

I wanted to put the blackcurrants to good use and decided to use them to top a cheesecake. I adore cheesecake but don’t make it that often as unless you are having people round I find a whole cheesecake can be a bit rich for one person! As the warm weather has finally arrived I was also worried that cheesecake might be a bit too heavy for a summer dessert. I then remember the cheeseless yoghurt cheesecake I invented a few years back and decided to do the same again here. Using yoghurt rather than cream cheese makes for a lighter, softer and more summery cheesecake.

I wanted the blackcurrants to really stand out, so cooked them slightly and then used them as a topping for the cheesecake, rather than stirring them in. Fresh blackcurrants are amazing. They have such a distinctive sharp zingy flavour, that really is the essence of concentrated Ribena. It’s quite a sophisticated grown up fruit flavour, almost like a mature Port. It’s very unique and I loved how plump and juicy these currants were. I find pairing ginger with fresh zingy fruits always works well and so used some fiery stem ginger biscuits as my cheesecake base.

The finished cheesecake tasted amazing. The blackcurrants were the star of the show, becoming even more sweet and intensified in flavour after their bake in the oven. They retained their lovely juiciness and zing which then complimented the smooth and creamy yoghurt cheesecake, with its lightness and freshness. This was then finished with a little peppery ginger kick from the stem ginger biscuit base.

Oh it was so good, I ate far too much of it on the first day, but I just couldn’t stop myself going back for ‘just another small slice’ and then to ‘just neaten up the edges’. I drizzled each slice with some of the reserved blackcurrant juice which added extra glossy fruity goodness.

I’m convinced yoghurt cheesecakes are the way to go. They are lighter and fresher, meaning you can eat more of them without feeling guilty or bloated! A well known brand of full fat cream cheese has around 235 kcal and 22g fat per 100g whereas full fat Greek yogurt has only around 100 kcal and 5g fat per 100g. That’s less than half! Imagine what you could get it down to if you used low fat or 0% fat Greek yoghurt too. Now you really can have your (cheese)cake and eat it too!

Blackcurrant & Ginger Yoghurt Cheesecake
Blackcurrant Topping
150g fresh or frozen blackcurrants
80g caster sugar
100ml water
¼ tsp arrowroot or cornflour

Ginger Biscuit Base
150g gluten free stem ginger biscuits
50g butter

Yoghurt Cheesecake
500g full fat Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp cornflour
50g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Start by making the blackcurrant topping. Place the blackcurrants, sugar and water into a pan. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble gently until the blackcurrants have released some of their juice and liquid has turned purple. Dissolve the arrowroot in a little water and add to the pan. Stir until combined and then remove from the heat. This will help thicken the liquid slightly. You can use cornflour, but this will turn it slightly cloudy.
Drain the syrup into one bowl and place the blackcurrants into another. Set aside to cool.

Make the biscuit base. Heat the oven to 180C. Line the base of a round 6 inch deep springform tin with baking paper.
Crush the ginger biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. You can either do this in a food processor at place them into a bag and attack it with a rolling pin.
Melt the butter and stir in the biscuit crumbs. Mix until well combined and then tip into the base of the tin. Press the crumbs down well to form an even layer. (A good tip is to cover it with clingfilm and then press down with a potato masher, then remove the clingfilm)
Place the base into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Then remove from the oven and set aside.

For the yoghurt cheesecake, take 1 tbsp of the yoghurt and mix it with the cornflour until you have a smooth paste. Mix this into the remaining yoghurt and stir well.
Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla and whisk together until you have a smooth, thick mix.
Pour the yoghurt mix over the ginger biscuit base and smooth the top.
Carefully spoon most of the blackcurrants (without their syrup) over the top of the cheesecake, making sure to scatter them into an even layer. They should stay on top.
Place the tin on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
It should be slightly risen, lightly golden brown and puffed around the edges. Give it a gentle shake and if it wobbles in the centre slightly then it’s cooked. If the whole top wobbles then leave it for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature for 1½ hours before covering the top with clingfilm and placing in the fridge to chill and set for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
It may relax, sink back down and crack slightly on cooling, this is fine.
When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the inside of the tin before carefully releasing from the tin.
Transfer to a plate and serve drizzled with some of the reserved blackcurrant syrup.
Makes 1 x 6 inch yoghurt cheesecake.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Seabrook Lattice Crisps: A Review

I was recently sent 2 large sharing bags of Seabrook’s new lattice crisps varieties to try. I don’t eat crisps very often but when I do I often choose Seabrook crisps as unlike other brands, all their crisps are gluten free and vegetarian. A lot of crisp companies use wheat based flavours for their crisps making them unsuitable for people with coeliac disease, so to have a whole range of safe crisp flavours to choose from is great.

When the bags arrived I was delighted by the shape and design of the crisps. Rather than being thin and flat, these were thickly cut and lattice shaped for extra fun and crunch. I was also pleased to see they were all hand cooked and made in Yorkshire. Although I’m southern born and bred, I now live in Yorkshire and have become rather proud and protective of it, so was pleased to see they were local. Extra bonus points.

The two bags I was sent to review were Sweet Chilli and Cheese & Onion.

Sweet Chilli
Quite thick crisps, not thin and ‘crisp’ like most crisps, these had more crunch and bite. I liked the hashed lattice shape. They reminded me a little of potato waffles we sometimes had when I was a child. Unfortunately my samples were delivered via post meaning quite a lot of them had been broken, so I got mostly pieces rather than whole crisps.

On opening the bag I stuck my nose in and was surprised to find they had hardly any aroma other than fresh potato. If I’d have been blindfolded I’d have guessed these were ready salted flavour. That being said, I suppose it could be due to the fact the bag claims they use no artificial flavours, so they are indeed natural and neutral smelling. This should therefore be a plus point rather than a minus.

After tipping them out I was struck by the red/orange coating on them and the little flecks of green. I eagerly tasted one and at first was taken aback. My first flavour was of nacho cheese…cheese…on a chilli crisp? As I chewed and swallowed a warming glow built up until I was left with quite a sweet chilli kick in the back of my throat. I looked at the ingredients and was intrigued to see that along with some garlic and cayenne (ah there’s the spice!) there was also red pepper powder, apricot powder (how unusual), paprika, anise and fennel. The flecks of green turned out to be parsley. I got the heat and the sweet, but there was still something a little odd about them. I ate a handful more and still the underlying flavour was of cheap nacho cheese. I have no idea where it came from though. I got a second opinion and ‘cheesy’ also came up again. Maybe the mix of spices, garlic and apricot powder created some sort of flavour combination that confused by taste buds but there was definitely more than just chilli going on. Or perhaps they didn’t clean the line before starting the next flavour and some of the cheese flavour was left over from a previous crisp batch, who knows? I’d be interested to try another bag and see if I get the same result.

That being said I loved the thickness of the crisps. This gave them a great crunch and texture. I was also impressed that they were not too greasy, as my fingers weren’t coated in oil after eating them. The warming heat from the chilli also lingered for several minutes after eating them. These would be great with dips.

Cheese & Onion
Next up was the actual cheese flavour. I’m not a big fan of cheese and onion crisps so my expectations of these were slightly lower but I’m pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised. On opening the bag I was pleased to see that a lot more of these crisps had survived the post and were in fact still whole. Again I stuck my nose in and apart from a very faint cheese aroma, the crisps smelt neutral and of fresh potato.

When tipped out there was a mix of pale and lightly golden crisps with a lovely thick crisp and crunchy texture. I took a bite and the flavour of cheddar cheese instantly flooded my mouth. It was a really nice strong cheese flavour, that actually tasted of a smooth and creamy Cheddar cheese, rather than just a generic cheap cheese flavour. It was surprisingly creamy, without too much tang. I was converted!

The onion flavour came through as a second note and again I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed sweeter and more mellow than some cheese and onion flavours I’ve tried. To me they tasted more like chives. I looked at the ingredients and my instinct about the onion was correct. The onion came from shallots which are sweeter and mellower versions of onions, so I was sort of right that they weren’t as harsh as regular onions. I could imagine eating these tucked into a cheese and salad sandwich, which I used to sometimes do with my packet of crisps at school for a bit of added crunch. It made me feel such a rebel.

Overall it was a mixed review for me, although definitely more on the good side. I loved that they were:
  • Gluten free and Coeliac UK certified
  • Yorkshire based
  • Vegetarian
  • All natural ingredients
  • Great crunch and thickness
  • The fun lattice shape
  • The Cheese & Onion actually tasted like real Cheddar cheese

 The things that weren’t quite right for me:
  • The strange nacho cheese flavour in the Sweet Chilli crisps
  • They are only available in large 120g bags. I’d love to see some single serve bags.

 Would I buy again? Yes, but I’d want to try some of their other flavours. I’m not usually a cheesy crisp fan and so to have both flavours tasting cheesy was a bit of a shame. Their Sea Salt & Red Wine Vinegar flavour and the Salt & Black Pepper both sound great.

Note: Although I was sent the crisps for free I was under no obligation to write a good review and all thoughts and comments are my own.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Tea & Cake at Fancy, Bedford

This weekend I am back in Bedford visiting my family. We had planned to go fruit picking at a Pick Your Own farm, but the wet weather put a kibosh on that idea. By the afternoon it had brightened up and my Mum and I decided to venture out for a walk around Bedford Park.

This is a quiet, very green park with a good circular walk with lots of open space and lush green trees. There are free tennis courts at the front and plenty of open space for playing football, rounders or having a picnic if you wish. We spent an hour enjoy the stroll and chatting before heading to a nearby café for a slice of cake and cup of tea at Fancy.

Fancy is situated on Roff Avenue and is quite understated from the outside but walk inside and you discover a lovely gem of a place. The counter is lined with cake stands each displaying some delicious and slightly different types of cakes. The reason I love this café so much is that they also offer cakes for a variety of diets, gluten free, egg free etc. All the cakes are handmade on site which is another lovely touch.

When we ventured inside we were greeted with a wonderful display of tempting cakes. I was delighted to discover they had three gluten free cakes on offer that day. Very impressive for such a small café. I had a choice between Lemon & Polenta, Coconut & Lime or Fig, Almond & Dark Choc Chunk.

My Mum and I decided to share a slice as they were serving very generous portions and we settled on the Fig, Almond & Dark Choc Chunk cake. What a great choice this turned out to be! It was a very moist light cake that I suspect was made with ground almonds, it had pieces of dried fig and dark chocolate chunks stirred in. It was finished with a scattering of flaked almonds on top.

The little nuggets of dried fig added a little pop and crunch from the seeds while the dark chocolate chunks meant you had a sudden burst of intense rich chocolate every few bites. The almonds kept it light and deliciously soft and moist. It was the best gluten free cake I’ve ever had out of home. It looks quite dark round the edges, but this wasn’t burnt, instead it tasted slightly chewy and caramelised which only added to the flavour. We both loved it and I’m longing to try and bake something similar myself. It was fantastic to have such a tasty and unusual cake when out and about, a real treat.

Fancy’s tea selection is also very impressive. While my Mum chose a pot of traditional tea I selected Lemongrass. This had a lovely fresh citrus aroma and a mellow well-rounded lemon flavour. Not as sharp as fresh lemon, definitely more aromatic and like lemongrass. Again we both loved how the tea was serving in individual teapots with assorted floral china teacups and saucers. Just like a dainty cup of afternoon tea should be.

The café seating is an assortment of mismatched wooden tables and chairs which gave it a charming homely feel. They had a small lunch menu printed on brown paper bags attached to clipboards which was another nice touch. The owner did make it clear to me when we visited that they can’t completely guarantee the cakes are free from certain allergens as they do also bake ‘normal’ wheat cakes on site. I’m very sensitive but have never had any problems in the twice I have eaten their gluten free cakes, so I think they are quite clued up about keeping things separate and cross contamination. All in all it made for a lovely afternoon and I highly recommend you stop by Fancy for a cup of tea and delicious slice of cake if you are ever in the area.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Rother Valley Country Park

Sorry for the long delay in posting. I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth! The weekend after my last blog post was Fathers Day so I went home to visit my dear ol dad and spend some time with the family. The weekend after this I had planned to go to Bradford to explore the Curry Festival that was on, but on the Friday I became unwell and have spent the last week ill in bed with gastroenteritis. Not fun.

I'm still not back to full cooking/baking exuberance - jacket potatoes and rice currently feature a lot in my diet - so instead I thought I would share with you a few photos of a walk I enjoyed a few weeks ago around Rother Valley Country Park.

The park is located in Sheffield, in Rother Valley (bet you'd never have guessed) and comprises of 750 acres of parkland including a large lake with a variety of walks around the perimeter with a few meandering paths further afield. You can also go cycling along the paths or canoeing, sailing or even jet-skiing on the lake itself.

It's a little hard to find and we nearly missed the entrance as you need to follow the road signs rather than use the sites postcode, as apparently, according to their official website, this takes you to a random industrial estate, no where near the entrance to the park. So no Satnav allowed!

When A and I arrived it was an unusually bright and sunny day and being out amongst the greenery, trees and sparkling lake it made for a lovely morning stroll.

I loved the sunny bright yellow field of buttercups.

We ended up back at the start and found a little cafe for a drink. They were serving food too, but it was mostly sausages rolls and sandwiches, so not really gluten friendly, so we settled on a drink and ice cream instead. I don't normally drink fizzy drinks, but I became ridiculously excited about spotting a can of Rio in the chiller cabinet. It's a drink I remember being allowed as a treat in my childhood. I haven't seen it for years and didn't know you could even get it any more. I had to have it!

Rio is a tropical (Orange, Guava, Apricot, Mango & Passion Fruit) exotic fruit juice drink made with lightly sparkling spring water. It's slightly sweet, fruity, a little exotic in flavour thanks to the slightly unusual fruits and it makes for one very refreshing drink. Ah it tasted just as I remember. The perfect end to a lovely walk.

If you are in the area, I'd recommend a visit. You do have to pay for parking, but its £3.50 for the whole day. Next time I think we'll take a book and a picnic and make a day of it.

Next weekend it's the Allergy and Free From Show in London. It's on from 4th - 6th July and is the foodie event I most look forward to each year. For a coeliac, there is something so amazing at being able to walk into a room, a room full of food stands, people giving cookery demos and tasters, and knowing you can eat ALL of it. I get very over excited each year and can't wait to attend this one.

I love discovering new companies and products not available in supermarkets. Freshly cooked pizzas, cheesecakes, brownies, breads and desserts. Go hungry and indulge in the delights! Most things are gluten free and some are also dairy, nut or soy free too. It not only caters to people with food allergies, there is also a health section for people with skin sensitivity or hay fever etc. Click here for some free tickets! Anyone else going?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Coconut, Mango & Lime Chia Pudding and Running Race for Life

Chia seeds are quite new to me. I’ve seen them used a lot on American blogs, and have just started to hear whispers of chia seeds being used in specialist breads in the UK, but as yet they are relatively unknown and unused.

Chia seeds are quite unique in that they have the ability to swell up, and thicken liquids into gels and gums without any heating. The seeds look like pale grey sesame seeds, but are crisp and crunchy in such a way that they give a little ‘pop’ when you bite into them. They can be eaten in their raw state sprinkled on top of salads or cereal, as you would other seeds, or, their unique thickening abilities can be harnessed are used to create different tastes and textures in recipes.

They are also a bit of a ‘superfood.’ Chia is an ancient seed that has more Omega 3 ALA (19.3g/100g) and dietary fibre (37.5g/100g) than any other natural food. It is also a great source of protein (20.4g/100g) and other antioxidants. I was persuaded to try it as I have been trying to eat more protein recently as I’ve been training for taking part in the Race for Life event, that I ran this morning!

I was inspired to try creating a chia seed pudding after seeing a recipe on the fantastic blog Not Quite Nigella. I was intrigued at how these tiny crunchy seeds could create a thick almost porridge-like pudding. I had a very ripe mango in the fridge and decided to puree some to stir into my chia pudding to flavour it. To enhance the tropical feel I used coconut milk instead of regular milk and added a little lime zest. The coconut milk was the kind you can not buy in cartons from the supermarkets for pouring on your breakfast cereal, not the thick kind in tins used in curries.

I was amazed that even as I was stirring the ingredient together in a bowl I could feel the texture starting to thicken, you don’t even need to crush the seeds. I set the pudding in the fridge for a few hours before taking another peak. It had completely thickened up and was sturdy enough to support the weight of a small spoon when placed upright into the bowl!

I feared I may have made it too thick, but it turned out to still be soft and spoonable. The seeds had swollen in such a way that they now resembled a cross between quinoa and tapioca. They had a gummy, almost gelatinous outer layer with a crisp seed encased in the middle. It really was a most unique texture. Soft and granular with the crunchy popping seeds. The closest thing I can relate it to it tapioca pudding. If you love tapioca you’d love chia pudding, if that frog spawn texture is not your thing, then you probably won’t be a fan.

The flavours of the coconut, mango and lime worked really well together, giving it a tropical edge. It wasn’t too sweet and could easily be eaten for breakfast rather than a dessert if desired – something I know some people already do. It’s a shame it’s grey coloured, as I found that slightly detracted from its overall appearance.

I loved the novel experience of eating the chia pudding, but I did find the texture a little odd, personally I’m not a big fan of tapioca and this was a little too similar. I do love the pop and crispness of the seeds themselves though, so will try baking them into a cake or some biscuits to see how they turn out. They are worth eating for their nutrition value alone and I’m sure some clever people will be able to create some amazing foodie creations with chia given their unique thickening abilities. I can see chia becoming more and more popular.

Have you tried chia pudding or chia seeds? If so, what’s your favourite way to eat it?

Coconut, Mango & Lime Chia Pudding
(Inspiration taken from Not Quite Nigella blog)
½ large mango
30g chia seeds
1 tbsp agave or honey
Grated zest 1 lime
110ml coconut milk (the kind sold in cartons for adding to your breakfast, not the thick kind used in curries)

Remove the flesh from the mango and put into a small food processor. Blitz until a rough puree is formed, a few chunks are fine.
Pour the mango puree into a bowl and stir in the chia seeds, agave syrup and half the grated lime zest.
Stir in the coconut milk, mixing for 30 seconds until the mix starts to thicken slightly and a few bubbles appear.
Cover the top of the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge to set. Anything from 3 hours to overnight is fine.
Once thick and set, divide the pudding between serving bowls or glasses, top with a little extra diced mango and a sprinkle of lime zest.
Eat and enjoy
Makes 1 – 2 generous portions

As mentioned briefly above, today I also took part in the 5k Race for Life event in aid of Cancer Research UK. Myself and 10 other women who are all part of the Wonderful Women group I belong to, decided to get together and run the course to raise money. I’ve spent the last 3 months trying to get fitter on the treadmill at the gym and until this morning had only managed to get to 4K without having to stop for a rest.
We all met at Meadowhall (a big shopping centre in Sheffield where the race began) this morning at 9:30am where we, along with thousands of other women all dressed in pink, set off for the run.

I am delighted to say I did it! I ran the course and finished in 31 minutes, 4 seconds. A personal best. It was a lovely sunny day and the atmosphere was fantastic with people cheering us one. It’s not only made me fitter, but we’ve raised lots of money for a great charity and all got a medal at the end to show for it.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Roasted Pepper & Pesto Quiche

Last weekend was dismally wet, grey and overcast, the ideal weather for staying inside and baking. I had a mix of red, orange and green peppers in the fridge that I’d bought on a whim without a plan of what to use them for. Peppers can be a bit dull and almost bitter when raw, especially the green ones, so I decided to roast them, which transforms their bitter crispness into wonderful soft, sweetness that tastes of the Mediterranean.

To keep up the Mediterranean theme I combined the peppers with the rest of an open jar of pesto, which together made the filling for a delicious quiche. The weather may have been dull and cold outside but I was determined to bring a little sunshine into the kitchen for lunch.

I made the pastry using a little buckwheat flour. Buckwheat sounds like it should contain gluten, but it’s actually a grain related to the rhubarb family and is naturally gluten free. It has a nutty earthy flavour that some people dislike, but I personally love it. It has good binding capabilities, helping to keep the pastry crisp and easy to work with without becoming too crumbly, which can be a problem with gluten free pasty. A good trick is to roll out the pastry between two layers of clingfilm and then use it to help you flip and line the tin without it breaking apart.

The combination of intense basil pesto and sweet silky roasted peppers tasted wonderful and I loved its bright and colourful appearance. The pesto layer partly disappeared into the eggy filling during baking, so it didn’t leave too much of an obvious layer, but the garlicky herby flavour was definitely still apparent.

It made a delicious light lunch and brought hope of sunny days (hopefully) to come. It was also great the next few days to take to work. I can never decide if I prefer quiche hot or cold, both ways are good.

Roasted Pepper & Pesto Quiche
Shortcrust Pastry
200g gluten free plain flour blend (I used 120g white rice flour, 60g buckwheat flour, 20g tapioca starch)
90g butter
1 egg
½ tsp xanthan gum
1-2 tbsp water

2 peppers (I used a mix of red, orange and green)
3 eggs
250ml milk
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp pesto
8 cherry tomatoes

Roast Peppers
Heat the oven to 200C. Slice the peppers into chunks and place onto a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes. Give them a toss and roast for a further 10-15 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise around the edges.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the pastry.

Pastry Case
Have a 8 inch fluted tart tin to hand.
Mix the flours and xanthan gum together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, add your butter, (it should be soft, if not blast it in the microwave for a few seconds) along with half the flour mixture, the egg and 1 tablespoon of the water. Beat with a spoon or spatula to form a paste. (Yes I know this goes against all traditional pastry making!)
Add the rest of the flour and bring the mixture together to form a dough, switching to your hands at the end. Add a little more water if it seems dry. Knead the dough gently for 1 minute to ensure everything is well combined.
Roll out the pastry between two large sheets of clingfilm to the size and shape of your tart tin, plus an extra 1-2 inches for the sides.
Peel off the top sheet of clingfilm, and use the base sheet to help you flip the pastry into the tin and press it down gently. Trim off the excess and patch up any cracks with the off-cuts of pastry.
Prick the pastry lightly with a fork and place on a baking tray.
Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes at 200C until just starting to brown.
Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce your oven to 180C.

In a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk and a little salt and pepper. Dissolve the garlic powder in 1 tsp milk and add to the mix.
Spread the base of the baked tart tin with the pesto. Arrange the roasted peppers on top and scatter in some quartered cherry tomatoes.
Place the tart into the oven and then pour the egg mixture over the top, using the jug to help you.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the middle is set when gently shaken and is lightly golden on top.
Allow to cool slightly before serving. Also tastes delicious cold.

Makes 1 x 8 inch quiche

Monday, 26 May 2014

Exploring Sheffield Food Festival

This weekend there has been a food festival going on in Sheffield. Street food, market stalls and local restaurants have been lined up snaking throughout the city centre. I had planned to explore it on Saturday, but the weather was so dreadful with torrential rain that I postponed until Sunday when the weather was slightly improved (although still raining)!

The first sight that greeted me was a real shire horse in a pen. This was a stand displaying naturally grown veg with plants arranged in vegetable plot style design. I’m not entirely sure what the horse was about, but I think the stall was from a local farm and they had brought along the horse to attract people. He really was a lovely specimen.

The first food stand I visited was a stand called Karkli, a new business selling pouches of Indian snacks made from fried lentil flour. I loved the spiky shape; they reminded me of spiky edged caterpillars. They were very crunchy and at first all you could taste was a savoury saltiness but there turned out to be a few cumin seeds in the mix and after a few chews you were left with an aromatic spiciness. Very good.

I then explored the rest of the stands on offer.

The Yorkshire Crisp company was giving tasters of their hand cooked tubs of crisps with some new interesting flavours. Not all of them were gluten free, but I got to taste a Hendersons Relish flavour. Hendersons Relish is a bit like Worcestershire sauce with the added benefit of being gluten free and vegetarian. Yorkshire folk are very protective and proud of this relish, (don’t ever say it’s similar to Worcestershire Sauce within anyone earshot or they get very offended) and my boyfriend eats it on everything!
I also tried a sweet chili and lime variety, which was nice but more of a paprika flavour to me and I didn’t detect the lime.

A bakery stand had some very cool Lego cupcakes. Those Lego bricks and even the little Lego men were edible!

Another stand had some beautiful looking gourmet marshmallows in a whole assortment of pastel colours and flavours. The black cherry & anise one looked amazing and such a fabulous colour.

A Mediterranean stand was selling olives, cheeses and sundried tomatoes. I tried a taster of feta and wow, it was amazing. It was more like a stiffly set cream cheese than any feta I’ve ever had before. It was so smooth and creamy, it just melted in the mouth. I bought a slice and had it with some roasted peppers for lunch today, so delicious.

I wanted to buy something for lunch from one of the pop up restaurant stands and there was quite an assortment to choose from.
Caribbean – goat curry anyone?

A selection of salads and roasted meats from The Showroom looked very inviting

I was drawn to the stand selling fat burritos stuffed with rice, beans and meat of your choice. I couldn’t have the burrito, as wheat tortillas aren’t gluten free, but I asked if I could have the filling of the burrito just on its own which they were happy to do for me. I was given a plate of a little bit of rice, bean chilli, jalapeno salsa and a couple of corn chips. I was slightly disappointed at the small portion but it was warm and filling which is what I needed as it had started raining again. The salsa had a gentle heat to it.

It made for a fun morning out, and I hope there is another event next year.