Local Fruit and Veg delivered to your door

sns034Just a quick post to highlight the latest exciting addition to our local food directory – Barrow Boy. Barrow Boy are a great new service operating in the Moseley and Kings Heath area, that deliver fresh fruit and vegetables directly to your door. The friendly face of Barrow Boy is Pauline Findlay, who collects class 1 produce daily from Birmingham wholesale market, much of which is grown locally (especially the veg), and drops it off (in her Morris Minor) to you at your convenience. She even gives 15 minute time slots so you don’t have to stay in! There is a huge amount of choice, and the quality and prices are reportedly amazing. You can find out more on the Barrow Boy website or by calling 0121 777 0344. Please mention Loaf when you get in touch.

Loaf Needs YOU!

cabbageLoaf has recently got through to the second stage of an application to the National Lottery Local Food Grants scheme, for our application to fund a local food campaign in Birmingham. This is great news, but we haven’t got the cash yet, there’s a lot of work to do before that happens.

My hope is that the little funding that we’ve applied for will kickstart a social movement around local food in Birmingham. I’m convinced there is people out there who care about food, and want to do something about it. If that’s you then I’d love you to be more involved – I want to get together a campaign group who will bring drive, enthusiasm, and action to help kickstart this campaign. If you want to get involved please send me an email to tom@loafonline.co.uk. I envisage meeting up once every month or two to share ideas, plan stuff, and of course, eat and drink local refreshments! When there’s a few people involved I will set a meeting date for end of November / beginning of December. If you don’t want to come to a meeting but want to support the campaign in another way, get in touch too!

Loaf hits the headlines – part 2

bham mailWe’ve been featured in the local papers again, this time in the Birmingham Mail. We were on the front page of the Mail’s Food and Drink section on Thursday 29th October, with another half-page inside that section. It’s all good stuff, and the earth oven features a bit more prominently in the print version, and there’s a bigger photo on the online version too – you can read all about it here.

Loaf hits the headlines – part 2

bham mailWe’ve been featured in the local papers again, this time in the Birmingham Mail. We were on the front page of the Mail’s Food and Drink section on Thursday 29th October, with another half-page inside that section. It’s all good stuff, and the earth oven features a bit more prominently in the print version, and there’s a bigger photo on the online version too – you can read all about it here.

Green Drinks and Real Bread

real breadIn less than a weeks time I make my speaking debut representing Loaf, where I have the pleasure of ranting about my favourite subject, food, at Birmingham’s inaugural ‘Green Drinks‘ event. I am titling my talk ‘bread and the environment: towards a greener loaf’.  The event takes place at Locanta Resaurant in the Jewellery Quarter, from 6.30pm on Tuesday 3rd November. Full details at the bottom of the post.

I have a strict 10 minute time limit to introduce the topic, and my job is to spark off some lively debate. I’ll be talking about the problems with manufactured bread from the big bakeries to set the scene, logoand be profiling some alternative ways in which we can get our daily loaf, hopefully slightly ‘greener’. I’ll be talking about Sustain’s Real Bread Campaign too, which you can sign up to here if you haven’t already.

Green Drinks is a loose international network encouraging people who live in a certain locality, and who work or are interested in environmental issues, to meet up once a month to debate, network, drink, eat, and socialise. There are over 600 green drinks groups across the world. Find out more at www.greendrinks.org. Birmingham’s Green Drinks is being organised by Malcolm Currie of Globally Local. Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday 3rd November. Time: 6.30 for 7pm

Venue: Locanta Restaurant, 31 Ludgate Hill, St Pauls Square, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B3 1EH

Other stuff: You can eat in the restaurant whilst we talk, or just come for a drink. Ekran, our host, will be putting on some tasty fare, and I’ll be bringing a couple of loaves of sourdough for you to try if you never have before. It’d be helpful for Malcolm to know numbers beforehand, so if you’re thinking of coming along, drop him an email at dmc@globallylocal.net.

Holly and the Ivy Preserves

Holly and the Ivy, 23 Kingfisher Close, Sheldon, Birmingham, West Midlands, B26 2QF, United Kingdom
Local Products Available (<40 miles from B1 1AA): Wonderful selection of jams, jellies, chutneys, curds, mustards, oils, and vinegars, using lots of local ingredients, often bought at farmers markets.
Tel: 0121 343 0297 Email: info@hollyandtheivy.co.uk Web: www.hollyandtheivy.co.uk
Distance from B1 1AA by road: 6 miles
Stockists in Birmingahm or Solihull: Mail order and the following Farmers Markets: Moseley, Kings Heath, 24 Carrots (Jewellery Quarter), Solihull, Birmingham University, Harborne, Brindley Place


How d’ya like them apples?

It’s the season for orchard fruits; plums, damsons, and sloes seem to have been everywhere in the last two months, and now, apples are abounding, as are the festivals that celebrate them. In this post, guest writers Dacier Outten (of the excellent Tales from under Black Hill blog) and Mary Horesh, describe the Big Apple in Much Marcle, and later I plug the forthcoming Apple Day at Kingstanding Leisure Centre.

The Big Apple is a great little festival in the middle of an important fruit growing area. Every year the seven parishes of the Marcle Ridge country south of Ledbury in Herefordshire celebrate their heritage of apples and cider, and pears and perry.

cider apples at Much MarcleFor the avoidance of doubt both cider and perry are made by crushing and then pressing the fruit and the reason that most people don’t really know of perry is because the output of perry pears is usually consumed by the local demand. Perry was big in the fifties in the form of Babycham but real perry, whether still or fizzy, is a fuller bodied drink. Purists like us are annoyed by the appearance of products under the name of Pear Cider which is a contradiction in terms but it is presumably intended to create a new drink for people taken to be incapable of understanding the difference. Drinking either can of course make you incapable of anything especially with some hand crafted farm versions going to 8% ABV or above. If the drink is made from 100% pears then it is perry but if pear juice has been added to cider we would claim is a pear flavoured cider. Many mass produced products will fall back on imported concentrate when supplies are tight but not the genuine products you can find at this event.

A few years ago there was a lot of concern with all the orchards being grubbed up around Herefordshire but we can report that the cider business is growing and on the way to Much Marcle the sight of lots of orchards being re-established added to the glorious views of the Malvern Hills, Marcle Ridge itself and beyond to the Black Mountains. Such is the growth of cider that despite a hugely reduced acreage we are drinking record volumes of the stuff. This productivity has been achieved by growing traditional varieties as dwarf trees with high yields easier harvesting.

The big name producer in Much Marcle, the centre of the festival, is the family run firm of Weston’s Cider. Their works are well worth a visit especially if you take the tour of their modern cider mill/factory. We would claim that their Stowford Press Ciders and their traditional perry are right at the top of the mass produced roll of honour. Their traditional fizzy perry makes a sound substitute for many white wines at a fraction of the cost so a trip to their shop is both a bargain and an education all in one.

greggs pit orchardAt the other end of the scale is Greggs Pit which is found at the end of a farm track and situated in a cottagers plot with its small orchard of traditional fruit trees. The production process is what we would call “˜artisan’ with the result that award winning perry and cider is produced here. A custom built barn for the vats with an open front for the crusher and apple press never fails to prompt dreams of creating such a unit on our own hillside plot. The old cottage orchard has cider trees as well as cooking apples, damsons and other fruits. Not all is used for cider and perry but we are happy to report that redwings and other birds don’t let anything go to waste. Apples and pears are also bought in from nearby farms so that single variety brews can be created. If you have never tried top quality “˜champagne method’ ciders and perrys this is the sort of place you need to track down. At Lyne Down Cider you can try your palette at more traditional brews as well as fresh apple juice straight from the press.

Hellens Apple pressOn the Sunday at Hellens, the local ‘big house’, they get their old crushing mill going with visitors helping to push the crushing wheel round in its trough; a task usually carried out by a horse! Hellen’s Perry is made from pears collected on the Saturday and as with all of the events you can usually by a bottle or two. The house itself is well worth a visit and is one of those places that always seems to have been connected with many of the great events down the centuries but it, and its residents, seem to have survived by good judgement and luck. A return visit to this house on a quiet summer afternoon makes a great outing. During the festival the adjoining barns are devoted to the sale of fruit (Flight Organics) and the study of apples and pears (Marcher Network) and there are helpful experts who will try and identify the mystery apple tree in your garden. The variety of local food is usually well displayed at this event. Added to all this bustle was the appearance of the Leominster Morris dancers who drew a large crowd.

An essential visit during the afternoon is to the Memorial Hall where you will usually find an art exhibition as well as “˜a cup of tea and a slice of cake’ as Wurzel Gummage would describe his favourite refreshment. One year we were in front of a novice “˜Big Appler’ who asked whether they had any apple cake? Yes, came the reply, about fifteen different choices! We bought about five different types and sampled pieces from each. We have our own popular recipe which was found in a book on Yorkshire cooking where it is described as “˜Somerset Apple Cake’. Althought not a local recipe, we do not find this hard to live with as we all have a fondness for counties where apples are a specialist crop and so whether it comes from the land of the Wurzels’, Gloucestershire, Devon, Kent or Cornwall, or our own dear Herefordshire, if it’s good, we’ll have it. Especially with cream, in moderation of course, as with cider and perry.

A short distance from the Memorial Hall is St Bartholomew’s Churchwhere local produce and crafts were on sale in aid of church funds. A brief rest beneath the 1,500 year old yew tree might just restore the energies sufficiently for a visit to Awnell’s Farm.

Awnell’s Farm is run by the Countryside Restoration Trust, this conservation charity aims to protect and restore Britain’s countryside with wildlife-friendly and commercially viable agriculture. The trust is committed to promoting the importance of a living and working countryside through education, demonstration and community involvement.

It has another farm just down from us at Turnastone Court where the National Hedge Laying Championships will be held this coming 24th October, hopefully “˜with a caterer in attendance’. This usually means a beer tent at the very least. Taking farming back to sustainable practices by working with nature is a welcome contrast to some of the industrial farming that can be found in Herefordshire such as the ever present expansion of growing fruit under plastic and the efforts the Potato Barons which sometimes results in our precious pink soils being washed away in heavy downpours.

cider and perry pearsMost years the event has attracted large parties of cyclists. This is an encouraging feature although we sometimes thought that their awareness of pedestrians could have been better. Was it perry they had stowed in their drinking flasks we asked? Now in its twentieth year the number of visitors cars can be a problem but it is not yet on a scale which needs major management, and a parking space is usually available somewhere. Bringing a bike to tour the various events is a good idea and means that the car can be left at some distance. I think we will try it next year, although a good set of panniers will be needed for our liquid purchases.

For a community run event the Big Apple just shows what can be done. This lengthy article is not just the perry talking but it comes from people who know how important it is for everyone to reconnect with nature, our traditional sustainable local produce and the communities who still have the skills and vision to bring it all from farm and orchard to your table.

Dacier Outten and Mary Horesh

Finally I’d like to plug a community ‘apple day’ this coming weekend in Kingstanding. here’s the low-down:

Sunday 25th October 12pm-8pm, Kingstanding Leisure Centre, Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, B44 0EW

From 12-5pm there’ll be:

  • Live apple pressing, see and taste local apples turned into delicious juice with our amazing apple presses- why not bring along your apples to turn into juice
  • Apple trees, produce and plants for sale
  • Apple expert available on the day, bring a sample of any apple you would like him to identify
  • Traditional medieval Mummers play (3pm)
  • Display of over 50 varieties of apples
  • Fun apple games including Apple bobbing, Apple peel competition and Apple and Spoon race
  • Launch of “˜The Urban Orchard Competition’- enter for a chance to have a fruit tree dedicated to a special person of your choic

The event is brought to you by “˜PREPARE’ a project to harvest and distribute unwanted fruit in the Erdington area run by Artist in Residence Eleanor Hoad supported by Birmingham City Councils Community Arts Team.

For more information and Ceilidh tickets contact Kingstanding Leisure Centre on 0121 464 7890 or Eleanor Hoad on 07974 934 917 or eleanorhoad@hotmail.com

See the flyer for the event below:

appledayflyerweb

How d’ya like them apples?

It’s the season for orchard fruits; plums, damsons, and sloes seem to have been everywhere in the last two months, and now, apples are abounding, as are the festivals that celebrate them. In this post, guest writers Dacier Outten (of the excellent Tales from under Black Hill blog) and Mary Horesh, describe the Big Apple in Much Marcle, and later I plug the forthcoming Apple Day at Kingstanding Leisure Centre.

The Big Apple is a great little festival in the middle of an important fruit growing area. Every year the seven parishes of the Marcle Ridge country south of Ledbury in Herefordshire celebrate their heritage of apples and cider, and pears and perry.

cider apples at Much MarcleFor the avoidance of doubt both cider and perry are made by crushing and then pressing the fruit and the reason that most people don’t really know of perry is because the output of perry pears is usually consumed by the local demand. Perry was big in the fifties in the form of Babycham but real perry, whether still or fizzy, is a fuller bodied drink. Purists like us are annoyed by the appearance of products under the name of Pear Cider which is a contradiction in terms but it is presumably intended to create a new drink for people taken to be incapable of understanding the difference. Drinking either can of course make you incapable of anything especially with some hand crafted farm versions going to 8% ABV or above. If the drink is made from 100% pears then it is perry but if pear juice has been added to cider we would claim is a pear flavoured cider. Many mass produced products will fall back on imported concentrate when supplies are tight but not the genuine products you can find at this event.

A few years ago there was a lot of concern with all the orchards being grubbed up around Herefordshire but we can report that the cider business is growing and on the way to Much Marcle the sight of lots of orchards being re-established added to the glorious views of the Malvern Hills, Marcle Ridge itself and beyond to the Black Mountains. Such is the growth of cider that despite a hugely reduced acreage we are drinking record volumes of the stuff. This productivity has been achieved by growing traditional varieties as dwarf trees with high yields easier harvesting.

The big name producer in Much Marcle, the centre of the festival, is the family run firm of Weston’s Cider. Their works are well worth a visit especially if you take the tour of their modern cider mill/factory. We would claim that their Stowford Press Ciders and their traditional perry are right at the top of the mass produced roll of honour. Their traditional fizzy perry makes a sound substitute for many white wines at a fraction of the cost so a trip to their shop is both a bargain and an education all in one.

greggs pit orchardAt the other end of the scale is Greggs Pit which is found at the end of a farm track and situated in a cottagers plot with its small orchard of traditional fruit trees. The production process is what we would call ‘artisan’ with the result that award winning perry and cider is produced here. A custom built barn for the vats with an open front for the crusher and apple press never fails to prompt dreams of creating such a unit on our own hillside plot. The old cottage orchard has cider trees as well as cooking apples, damsons and other fruits. Not all is used for cider and perry but we are happy to report that redwings and other birds don’t let anything go to waste. Apples and pears are also bought in from nearby farms so that single variety brews can be created. If you have never tried top quality ‘champagne method’ ciders and perrys this is the sort of place you need to track down. At Lyne Down Cider you can try your palette at more traditional brews as well as fresh apple juice straight from the press.

Hellens Apple pressOn the Sunday at Hellens, the local ’big house’, they get their old crushing mill going with visitors helping to push the crushing wheel round in its trough; a task usually carried out by a horse! Hellen’s Perry is made from pears collected on the Saturday and as with all of the events you can usually by a bottle or two. The house itself is well worth a visit and is one of those places that always seems to have been connected with many of the great events down the centuries but it, and its residents, seem to have survived by good judgement and luck. A return visit to this house on a quiet summer afternoon makes a great outing. During the festival the adjoining barns are devoted to the sale of fruit (Flight Organics) and the study of apples and pears (Marcher Network) and there are helpful experts who will try and identify the mystery apple tree in your garden. The variety of local food is usually well displayed at this event. Added to all this bustle was the appearance of the Leominster Morris dancers who drew a large crowd.

An essential visit during the afternoon is to the Memorial Hall where you will usually find an art exhibition as well as ‘a cup of tea and a slice of cake’ as Wurzel Gummage would describe his favourite refreshment. One year we were in front of a novice ‘Big Appler’ who asked whether they had any apple cake? Yes, came the reply, about fifteen different choices! We bought about five different types and sampled pieces from each. We have our own popular recipe which was found in a book on Yorkshire cooking where it is described as ‘Somerset Apple Cake’. Althought not a local recipe, we do not find this hard to live with as we all have a fondness for counties where apples are a specialist crop and so whether it comes from the land of the Wurzels’, Gloucestershire, Devon, Kent or Cornwall, or our own dear Herefordshire, if it’s good, we’ll have it. Especially with cream, in moderation of course, as with cider and perry.

A short distance from the Memorial Hall is St Bartholomew’s Churchwhere local produce and crafts were on sale in aid of church funds. A brief rest beneath the 1,500 year old yew tree might just restore the energies sufficiently for a visit to Awnell’s Farm.

Awnell’s Farm is run by the Countryside Restoration Trust, this conservation charity aims to protect and restore Britain’s countryside with wildlife-friendly and commercially viable agriculture. The trust is committed to promoting the importance of a living and working countryside through education, demonstration and community involvement.

It has another farm just down from us at Turnastone Court where the National Hedge Laying Championships will be held this coming 24th October, hopefully ‘with a caterer in attendance’. This usually means a beer tent at the very least. Taking farming back to sustainable practices by working with nature is a welcome contrast to some of the industrial farming that can be found in Herefordshire such as the ever present expansion of growing fruit under plastic and the efforts the Potato Barons which sometimes results in our precious pink soils being washed away in heavy downpours.

cider and perry pearsMost years the event has attracted large parties of cyclists. This is an encouraging feature although we sometimes thought that their awareness of pedestrians could have been better. Was it perry they had stowed in their drinking flasks we asked? Now in its twentieth year the number of visitors cars can be a problem but it is not yet on a scale which needs major management, and a parking space is usually available somewhere. Bringing a bike to tour the various events is a good idea and means that the car can be left at some distance. I think we will try it next year, although a good set of panniers will be needed for our liquid purchases.

For a community run event the Big Apple just shows what can be done. This lengthy article is not just the perry talking but it comes from people who know how important it is for everyone to reconnect with nature, our traditional sustainable local produce and the communities who still have the skills and vision to bring it all from farm and orchard to your table.

Dacier Outten and Mary Horesh

Finally I’d like to plug a community ‘apple day’ this coming weekend in Kingstanding. here’s the low-down:

Sunday 25th October 12pm-8pm, Kingstanding Leisure Centre, Dulwich Road, Kingstanding, B44 0EW

From 12-5pm there’ll be:

  • Live apple pressing, see and taste local apples turned into delicious juice with our amazing apple presses- why not bring along your apples to turn into juice
  • Apple trees, produce and plants for sale
  • Apple expert available on the day, bring a sample of any apple you would like him to identify
  • Traditional medieval Mummers play (3pm)
  • Display of over 50 varieties of apples
  • Fun apple games including Apple bobbing, Apple peel competition and Apple and Spoon race
  • Launch of ‘The Urban Orchard Competition’- enter for a chance to have a fruit tree dedicated to a special person of your choic

The event is brought to you by ‘PREPARE’ a project to harvest and distribute unwanted fruit in the Erdington area run by Artist in Residence Eleanor Hoad supported by Birmingham City Councils Community Arts Team.

For more information and Ceilidh tickets contact Kingstanding Leisure Centre on 0121 464 7890 or Eleanor Hoad on 07974 934 917 or eleanorhoad@hotmail.com

See the flyer for the event below:

appledayflyerweb

Loaf Cookery School – poll results and plans!

bread ovenThanks to everyone who voted in our recent ‘what cookery skills you’d like to learn’ poll. The full results are at the bottom of this post, and they’ve been really helpful for me in planning what courses to start delivering. Coming out top is home brewing (you boozy lot!), near behind is breadmaking, dairy skills, and butchery, closely followed by preserving, british classics, vegetarian cooking, and wildfood. The results seem to have confirmed my hunch that there is a desire to learn forgotten traditional food skills – is this a sign of the recession, or is it just because they’re damn good fun?!

Breadmaking dates are already in the diary, so that’s a relief! There may also be a couple of evening workshops before Christmas too – I’m thinking maybe festive breads, cupcake masterclass, vegetarian Christmas, fresh pasta making – any comments welcome below. I’m also on the hunt for talented co-tutors in brewing, dairy, butchery, and preserving, so we can put together a nice programme for you in 2010. I have a few ideas for tutors, but if you do too, please leave a comment below. The British and vegetarian cooking will certainly feature, probably as evening workshops to start with, and wildfood and cooking will feature too, but probably not until summer 2010.

I’m also thinking about offering vouchers soon, in time for Christmas – what do you think? Make a nice prezzie?

I’ve also been wondering whether ‘Cookery School at Home’ might be an interesting thing to do. You invite a bunch of friends round to your kitchen, we lead an evening of cooking/bread/pasta etc. What do you think? Something you’d go for, or would you rather come to us? Any ideas/comments on the above or generally on the cookery school, are extremely welcome!

Better get ordering the matching aprons…

[poll id=”5″]

Loaf Cookery School – poll results and plans!

bread ovenThanks to everyone who voted in our recent ‘what cookery skills you’d like to learn’ poll. The full results are at the bottom of this post, and they’ve been really helpful for me in planning what courses to start delivering. Coming out top is home brewing (you boozy lot!), near behind is breadmaking, dairy skills, and butchery, closely followed by preserving, british classics, vegetarian cooking, and wildfood. The results seem to have confirmed my hunch that there is a desire to learn forgotten traditional food skills – is this a sign of the recession, or is it just because they’re damn good fun?!

Breadmaking dates are already in the diary, so that’s a relief! There may also be a couple of evening workshops before Christmas too – I’m thinking maybe festive breads, cupcake masterclass, vegetarian Christmas, fresh pasta making – any comments welcome below. I’m also on the hunt for talented co-tutors in brewing, dairy, butchery, and preserving, so we can put together a nice programme for you in 2010. I have a few ideas for tutors, but if you do too, please leave a comment below. The British and vegetarian cooking will certainly feature, probably as evening workshops to start with, and wildfood and cooking will feature too, but probably not until summer 2010.

I’m also thinking about offering vouchers soon, in time for Christmas – what do you think? Make a nice prezzie?

I’ve also been wondering whether ‘Cookery School at Home’ might be an interesting thing to do. You invite a bunch of friends round to your kitchen, we lead an evening of cooking/bread/pasta etc. What do you think? Something you’d go for, or would you rather come to us? Any ideas/comments on the above or generally on the cookery school, are extremely welcome!

Better get ordering the matching aprons…

[poll id=”5″]

PREPARE for a bumper harvest

After reading Hungry City, with it’s (rightly) sombre view of our current food system, I was in need of a bit of a pick-up; something to cheer the heart, warm the soul, and offer a little hope of a better way. Fortunately the next day I heard about PREPARE, a community fruit harvesting scheme to use surplus fruit from gardens and common land. When I heard it was in Birmingham, I nearly fell off my seat on the number 11 bus!

prepare applePREPARE is the brain child of Eleanor Hode, artist in residence for the ward of Erdington. Eleanor says the aim of the project  “is to harvest, process and distribute unused fruit growing in peoples gardens and on public land and to get it eaten! Either as fresh fruit or processed into juice, jams and pickles that are given away to local people”

Eleanor, who’s based at Kingstanding Leisure Centre, has got some funding from Birmingham City Council for the project and has got together most of the necessary equipment for harvesting (A bike and trailer, picking stick, 2 picking bags, sheet of plastic, storage boxes etc), and has had a positive response from local residents so far. However she can’t do it alone, so is on the look out for some keen fruit spotters, pickers, and processors, especially from the Erdington area. Of course there will be plenty of fruity perks for volunteers!

Later in the year Eleanor is planning to plant some fruit trees on 2 sites in the area and to throw an event for Apple Day on Sunday 25th October at Kingstanding Leisure Centre. There’ll hopefully be lots of activities, music, and some apple juicing on a press she’s planning to make. Loaf is planning to show our support, and will certainly let you know all about it on here. Eleanor is also on the look out for a top apple expert to identify varieties and share their knowledge on Apple Day, so if you fit the bill, or know anyone who does, get in touch with Eleanor (see below), or leave a comment on the blog and we’ll pass it on.

If you’re interested in similar initiatives it’s also worth checking out the ‘Abundance’ project in Sheffield that’s been doing similar things for a couple of years.

If you’d like to get involved with the project, you can email eleanorhoad@hotmail.com or get in touch with her on 07974 934 917. Eleanor also has her own page on the artsresidencies.org, and there’s a flyer below (click to enlarge):

PREPAREflyer2

Jewellery Quarter Farmers Market – 19th September, 9-3

24 carrots?
24 carrots?

If you’re around in Birmingham this weekend, be sure to take a detour and spend some of your hard earned cash with the great local producers at the Jewellery Quarter Farmers Market – 24 Carrots. It’s only the second market since starting out and the site is already up to capacity. It coincides with British Food Fortnight,  occurring during the Harvest Festival. They say on their website:

24Carrots is adopting British Food Fortnight as it’s theme for the second market! There will be a guest appearance by local resident OJ (Kerrang & TV) from 10am and live acoustic sets from 12-3pm from a number great local artists!

Definitely pay a visit to Loaf favourites Beez Neez Honey (lime flower is very good), Kiss Me Cupcakes, and The Tunnel Brewery. And whilst you’re there, pop by the community stall and say hi from Loaf, as sadly we can’t make it until October 17th. But there is a free cupcake awaiting us, so it’ll be worth the wait!

Jewellery Quarter Farmers Market – 19th September, 9-3

24 carrots?
24 carrots?

If you’re around in Birmingham this weekend, be sure to take a detour and spend some of your hard earned cash with the great local producers at the Jewellery Quarter Farmers Market – 24 Carrots. It’s only the second market since starting out and the site is already up to capacity. It coincides with British Food Fortnight,  occurring during the Harvest Festival. They say on their website:

24Carrots is adopting British Food Fortnight as it’s theme for the second market! There will be a guest appearance by local resident OJ (Kerrang & TV) from 10am and live acoustic sets from 12-3pm from a number great local artists!

Definitely pay a visit to Loaf favourites Beez Neez Honey (lime flower is very good), Kiss Me Cupcakes, and The Tunnel Brewery. And whilst you’re there, pop by the community stall and say hi from Loaf, as sadly we can’t make it until October 17th. But there is a free cupcake awaiting us, so it’ll be worth the wait!

Damson Sorbet – Recipe

damson sorbetIt’s a great year for plums. They’re literally dripping off the trees, and bumper harvests are even being left to rot on the trees in kent. If plums are booming, that’s certainly also true for their cousins, damsons and sloes, as I discovered on a recent sojourn through the country lanes of Kings Norton. Fortunately I had come prepared with tupperware galore, so filled my boots with plenty of both. The sloes came in handy for my ‘very early sloe gin’, but I was left with a pound or so of damsons – too many to eat, but not enough to make the effort of jam-making worthwhile. Sorbet it had to be then. Many sorbet recipes call for egg white to help keep the smooth texture, but I thought I’d experiment without. It takes a while to complete, so plan to be home for a good 3 hours. If you want a less-involved sorbet, the ‘quick plum sorbet’ from Jamie at Home is good, and would work equally well with damsons. Anyway, here’s what I did…

Ingredients

500g damsons

120g granulated sugar

300ml water

a slug of gin (optional)

Method

Cut the damsons roughly in half, but don’t bother taking out the stones. Put them in a pan with the water and sugar and boil rapidly for 5-10 mins until tender, and the flesh is falling off the stones. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the pan contents into it. Push the damson-flesh through the sieve with the back of a spoon until you’re just left with a pile of stones and skins. Do this thoroughly, for about 5-7 mins – you’ll notice the difference in flavour. Add the gin, and whack this in the freezer, setting your timer for 30 mins. After 30 mins whisk the mixture like a crazy thing for 30 seconds. Pop back in the freezer and re-set your timer for 30 mins. Repeat as before 3 more times, until you get to 2 hours. After another 30 mins, get an electric whisk out and buzz it for 5 mins on max. Pop back into the freezer and leave for at least an hour before serving.

A delightful early-autumn pud, hope you enjoy it.

Damson Sorbet – Recipe

damson sorbetIt’s a great year for plums. They’re literally dripping off the trees, and bumper harvests are even being left to rot on the trees in kent. If plums are booming, that’s certainly also true for their cousins, damsons and sloes, as I discovered on a recent sojourn through the country lanes of Kings Norton. Fortunately I had come prepared with tupperware galore, so filled my boots with plenty of both. The sloes came in handy for my ‘very early sloe gin’, but I was left with a pound or so of damsons – too many to eat, but not enough to make the effort of jam-making worthwhile. Sorbet it had to be then. Many sorbet recipes call for egg white to help keep the smooth texture, but I thought I’d experiment without. It takes a while to complete, so plan to be home for a good 3 hours. If you want a less-involved sorbet, the ‘quick plum sorbet’ from Jamie at Home is good, and would work equally well with damsons. Anyway, here’s what I did…

Ingredients

500g damsons

120g granulated sugar

300ml water

a slug of gin (optional)

Method

Cut the damsons roughly in half, but don’t bother taking out the stones. Put them in a pan with the water and sugar and boil rapidly for 5-10 mins until tender, and the flesh is falling off the stones. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the pan contents into it. Push the damson-flesh through the sieve with the back of a spoon until you’re just left with a pile of stones and skins. Do this thoroughly, for about 5-7 mins – you’ll notice the difference in flavour. Add the gin, and whack this in the freezer, setting your timer for 30 mins. After 30 mins whisk the mixture like a crazy thing for 30 seconds. Pop back in the freezer and re-set your timer for 30 mins. Repeat as before 3 more times, until you get to 2 hours. After another 30 mins, get an electric whisk out and buzz it for 5 mins on max. Pop back into the freezer and leave for at least an hour before serving.

A delightful early-autumn pud, hope you enjoy it.