The perfect preserve partnership

Treboom Brewery’s Kettle Drum Best Bitter, has, until recently, only been available over the bar. But thanks to Sally Hargrave of The Harrogate Preserves Co. it can now be found lending its fruity flavours to her delicious Ale, Fig and Apricot Chutney.  It’s a superb example of local companies partnering up for mutual benefit, as well as the power of social media.


Until now, Sally bought bottled beer from the supermarket to add to her extremely popular chutney. Sally said, ‘One day I was standing in the supermarket and thought it crazy not to be using a named beer from a local microbrewery’. She appealed via Twitter, and Treboom Brewery of Shipton-by-Beningbrough, York stepped forward. John Lewis of Treboom said, “Jane and I think there’s nothing better than a wedge of blue cheese or Wensleydale, a generous helping of chutney washed down with a pint of best bitter”. They jumped at the chance of collaborating with Sally, ‘its all our favourite things rolled into one package, we are very excited to be involved’.

Sally soaks the figs and apricots in the beer before making the chutney. ‘The result is fabulous, said John, ‘Our Kettle Drum Best Bitter is made with Cascade and Northdown hops, flavours which work very well in the chutney recipe.Both Treboom Brewery and Harrogate Preserves are small Yorkshire producers who share a similar outlook, high quality small-scale production and the personal approach. “We were just delighted to be asked”, said John, “its just the sort of thing we love to do”.

Harrogate Preserves Ale, Fig and Apricot Chutney can be found in delis and restaurants across Yorkshire including: Yorkshire Pantry in York, Weetons, The Cheeseboard and Fodder in Harrogate.

Chili Chocolate Pork with Mango & Watercress Salad

The sweetness of mango contrasts and compliments the meatiness of pork, combining sweet and savoury in one dish. Serve with basmati rice or crispy potato wedges.

Pork Medallions

Serves 2

4 pork medallions
1-2 tsp chili powder – depending on how hot you like it!
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium mango, ripe but still firm
1 handful fresh watercress leaves
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, or half a red onion, finely chopped

Preheat the grill to high


Rinse the pork steaks and pat dry with kitchen roll. In a small bowl, combine the oil, chili powder and the cocoa. Then use your hands to rub the mixture evenly over both sides of each pork steak. Do this in advance, to give the meat time to marinade, even 15 minutes ahead of cooking will help.

To make the salad, chop the mango into cubes. Do this by slicing the mango in half lengthways, down each side of the stone. Then score the inside of the mango into cubes, lengthways and then across. And then for the fun bit – press the skin back through so that the cubes pop out like a hedgehog. Slice the flesh off, and then repeat with the other side. You’ll be left with a bit around the stone which you can just slice off, then cut the skin off. It sounds way more complicated than it is, trust me.

Chop the shallot or red onion, and add to the cubed mango with the watercress and the fresh lemon juice. Add a splash of olive oil if you wish, and mix together. Pop back in the fridge til you’re ready to cook the pork.

Place the pork under the hot grill, giving each side 2 minutes on high, before flipping back and turning the grill down to medium for 4-5 minutes on each side. Check with a knife that they are done to your preference before removing steaks from the grill. Place on a plate, lightly cover with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with the salad and some fluffy basmati rice.

First published on

Buy local, shop local, act local

My heart goes out to all those affected by the decision to cancel the remaining two days of the Great Yorkshire Show.

It won’t have been an easy decision to make, and is a brave move on behalf of the organisers. As well as an administrative nightmare, I presume. The weather is not helping anyone right now, but that is cold comfort for those affected by this.

I hope that next year it can come back bigger and better than ever, undefeated by the weather and supported by many, many visitors.

The exhibitors, however, will be struggling with expenses, vast amounts of stock, and the loss of perhaps vital exposure to a vast customer base. This will be a huge blow to those independent artisan producers for whom the Great Yorkshire Show provides an annual boost to the coffers, which in many cases they will have been relying on. It’s hard enough to run your own business at the best of times, and with the economic situation as it is, many were finding it hard before this blow.

So what can we do to help? It’s not as if there’s going to be a ‘Save the Great Yorkshire Show Exhibitors Fund’, although I hope insurance will help to repay stall costs eventually.

But there’s one simple step we can take. Spend our money locally.

Support your local producers who may be affected by this: buy local, shop local, act local. If we pull together, in true Yorkshire spirit, we can help strengthen and sustain our community.

And buy tickets for next year’s show. Don’t take it out on the organisers, they have done what is right for the safety of their visitors. Go next year, and carry not a grudge for those who had to make a tough and painful judgment. They need your support too.

Find out more at

This blog post was first published on ApplePiewithWensleydale.

A Little Bit of Love

Every so often a truly innovative way of looking at food comes along.

And it astonishes you.

Check out ‘A Little Bit of Love’ by Tom Martin. He was inspired by the divine artisan jams and chutneys produced by The Harrogate Preserves Co.  All their jars are beautifully wrapped and signed off ‘…with a little bit of love’. 

Copyright Tom Martin

It’s a painting, not a photo. An acrylic on aluminium composite, measuring 100 x 140cm, to be precise.

Isn’t it amazing?

Tom is being represented by the Plus One Gallery, London.  You can view ‘A Little Bit of Love’ at their London’s Calling Exhibition, which is at the Gallery from 4th – 28th July.

To find out more about The Harrogate Preserves Co, and where you can buy their products, explore their website at or find them on Facebook at

5 ways with…fresh asparagus

I don’t know about you, but I snap my asparagus.  I was once told by a grower that the stalk naturally breaks at the point where the fibres soften.  Ever since then, I’ve been snapping my stalks and haven’t looked back.  

Asparagus, summer vegetable

There’s so much you can do with this vegetable, and English asparagus really is the best.  Buy direct from the farms if you can, chill until use, and eat as soon as possible after picking. Quite apart from using it in salads or as a side dish, it lends itself to a bit of creativity:

  1. Soft boil some eggs, lightly steam your asparagus – and use the spears as soldiers to eat your eggs!
  2. Parboil your asparagus, then wrap each stalk in strips of parma ham, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and pop under the grill for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and the ham has crisped.
  3. Lightly coat your asparagus in olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, and either griddle or grill over a high heat for 3-4 minutes until tender
  4. Add steamed asparagus spears alongside the pared zest and juice of 1 lemon to a basic baked risotto
  5. Parboil your asparagus, then refresh under cold running water.  Mix equal amounts of sour cream and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add crumbled grilled bacon, finely chopped spring onions and black pepper, stir until combined.  Use the asparagus spears to scoop up the dip!

Simple French Cooking for English Homes

Apple Pie with Wensleydale

As part of the Classic Voices in Food series, Quadrille Publishing is reissuing this work of culinary genius.  And I can see why. 

Being given the opportunity to review the book has given me a chance to try out some truly wonderful recipes, as well as absorb several pieces of fine advice which still hold true today.  Published as a hardback, this new edition would make a fine present for a dinner thank you, or for an avid cookbook fan.

First published in 1923, Xavier Boulestin did much to help dispel the myth that French cooking is complicated and difficult.  He was the first television chef, working with the BBC in the early experimental days in the 1930’s.  I love his succinct writing style, and the fact that he clearly trusts his audience: he appears to be a precursor to the modern Jamie school of splashing, drizzling and throwing.


View original post 429 more words

5 ways with…purple sprouting broccoli

It’s that time of year again; the sound of the season changing is ringing in my ears. And what better way to celebrate than by embracing the deliciously flavourful purple sprouting broccoli?

1. Simply steam the broccoli for 5 minutes then serve with Oven-cooked Pesto Salmon: preheat oven to 180°C, top a salmon fillet with pesto, bake for 15-20 minutes until the fish is perfectly cooked.

2. Boil for 3-5 minutes before dabbing with a smidgen of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix it up by adding to fresh fettucine and some crushed garlic.

3. Panfry with soy sauce and sesame seeds – serve alongside rice as an Oriental side dish, or throw in some noodles and a dab of sesame oil to transform it into a main dish.

4. Turn it into a deliciously warming soup. Add some blue cheese to give it an extra zing!

5. Steam then serve with Serrano ham, toasted almonds and a glass of chilled sherry on the side

Simple mushroom soup

In cold weather you can’t beat a steamingly fragrant bowl of easy to make fresh soup, preferably with a crispy warm roll, buttered and ready to dunk … to dress this up a little you could use wild mushrooms, and serve with toasted and grilled slices of French bread, topped with goats cheese or Gruyere. Mmmm.

Mushroom soup

Makes 6 portions


  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into half moons
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or mixed herbs
  • 750g – 800g wiped, sliced mushrooms, any variety (I used button mushrooms and 2 portobello)
  • 1 pint stock / bouillon (I use Swiss Bouillon – you won’t need to add any salt if you do this)
  • Dash of olive oil
  • 125g cream cheese
  • Ground black pepper to season
  • Crème fraiche and parsley to decorate if you wish


In a large pan over a medium heat, sweat the onions in the olive oil until golden and clear. Add the mushrooms and cook until the moisture starts to seep out of them, and they start to reduce in size whilst becoming slightly browned.  Add your garlic and herbs, and carry on cooking until half of the mushroom liquid has evaporated.

Add your stock, or bouillon, and bring to a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before adding the cream cheese, and then blend using either a hand whizzer or a food processor.  Season to taste.

You can freeze this at this stage if you wish, once defrosted you may need to add a little milk to thin.

To serve, bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes, then pour into warm bowls and decorate with a spoonful of crème fraiche and either chives or parsley if you wish, plus a twist of black pepper.


Prawn Linguini

An easy mid-week supper of delicious pasta sauce with prawns.  The garlic just melts away to leave a mild taste, so don’t worry that it seems so much. This is one recipe where it really is worth using butter over oil – after all, it’s not a dish for dieters, and if it’s only an occasional indulgence…

Serves 2

Prawn pasta


  • 200g linguini
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1oz butter
  • 200g king prawns, cooked, peeled and washed
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • Black pepper


Put the pasta on to boil and whilst the linguini is coming up to boil, chop or crush your garlic, and your parsley, and melt the butter in a large bottomed pan (a large frying pan is ideal; you need the space for the sauce to reduce quickly). 

garlic, butter, pasta

On a low to medium heat, sauté the garlic in the butter until soft, about 7 minutes.   Before the garlic colours, add the white wine and allow the liquid to reduce by half as it simmers. Then add in the parmesan and stir as it melts. Bring back to the boil.

Parmesan, garlic, butter

You can leave it at this stage if you do not wish to have any dairy in your recipe but I have found it better to add in the parsley and crème fraiche, and bring the sauce back to a simmer before adding the prawns. 

prawn, garlic, butter

Cook until the prawns are heated through (which should be about the time your pasta is ready!) and then toss the drained pasta with the sauce. Serve immediately, with a grating of parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper on top.

prawn pasta parmesan

If you wish, you can add in frozen peas to the pasta water near the end of cooking before adding the other ingredients.