Category Archives: Bread

Northallerton – Farmers Market, and High Street Shopping

Last Wednesday, Laura and I decided to go to the Northallerton Farmers Market, which is held on the 4th Wednesday of every month.
Northallerton is about a 45 minute drive (depending on the whim of our SatNav) from where we live in Easington Colliery.
We arrived in Northallerton at about 9.30am.
The high street was busy with market traders, shoppers, and cars. I drove along one side of the high street looking for a parking spot, missed one, then drove back along the road in the opposite direction, missed another spot, and then third time lucky, found a spot and parked. Laura chucked some coins in the pay and display machine, and off we all went for a mooch about.
I say all, because we took Barley, our Lurcher with us. No doubt he thought we were going to the beach as that’s where car journeys usually end, but he was very happy being somewhere busy, well, much busier than where we live, and he received a lot of attention from people stopping to chat to us about him, and to stroke him. He seemed to be of great interest to the people of Northallerton, no doubt due to his good looks.
The brown plaque to the left of the door says - 'The Fleece Inn. The oldest pub in Northallerton, where Charles Dickens is said to have wrote Nicholas Nickleby.' ????#pub #building #architecture #Northallerton #Hambleton #NorthYorkshire #England
So, enough about the dog, more about Northallerton. We had a good wander, looking at the town, popping into the church yard, and then sightseeing over, we began the main event, we started on the food shopping – the reason we’d gone to Northallerton.
Our first purchase was 4 Lobster and Crab burgers (£7) and some Rollmops from the Carricks Fish van.
Fish. Market. Northallerton. #fish #food #market #Northallerton #Hambleton #NorthYorkshire #England
I cooked the Lobster and Crab burgers for our lunch the next day, and they were might tasty. They had a lovely strong fish flavour, we could really taste the lobster and crab; they weren’t full of fillers, and the texture was really good. Impressed.
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We continued strolling along the high street, browsing the market stalls and the shops.
Our next purchase of the day was some Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb. Laura said she’d make rhubarb crumble, it’s a favourite of mine, but I’m still waiting……. I could make it myself, but sweets are not part of my kitchen duties. Hahaha!
I also picked up half a dozen eggs. Not really sure why, because we had about a dozen at home in the fridge, but when I get into food shopping mode, nothing can stop me!
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National Espresso. ?????? Like London. But not. ???? #doubledeckerbus #redbus #coffee #cafe #market #Northallerton #Hambleton #NorthYorkshire #England
We were pleasantly surprised by Northallerton, it was really nice to be somewhere that felt alive, unlike so much of Britain with its boarded-up shops and dying high streets.
Northallerton is a thriving market town, with a decent number of good food shops, and we spotted at least two butcher shops that stocked a wide range of fresh and cooked goods, as well as several small independent shops, which gives it character; it’s not all big chain shops; betting shops and take-aways, that you see elsewhere. There were lots of pubs too, but unfortunately Barley can’t drive, so we didn’t imbibe.
One of the butchers we spied had pies in the window, they looked tasty, and I couldn’t resist them. Laura went in and purchased a pork and black pudding pie, and a pork and apple pie, while I kept a very firm old on Barley who was seriously eager to go in the butchers and help Laura.
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The meaty aromas coming from the butchers (Thompson J, 125 High St Northallerton, North Yorkshire DL7 8PQ), were driving Barley a little crazy.

After the pie purchase, we continued walking until Laura spotted a market stall selling baked goods. Laura perused the stall for a while before deciding to purchase some vegetable samosas. I reheated the samosas a couple of days after we’d bought them, they were fairly large, had a lot of filling; various vegetables, obviously as they were vegetable samosas, and a good amount of spice, they were might tasty indeed. Another good buy.
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Last but not least to go into our shopping bag, was some bread from Olivia’s Bakery and Cafe. I bought a sourdough loaf, a baguette, and a trio of rolls.
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The bread was excellent quality. The baguette reminded us of the ones we used to buy when we lived in rural France. The sourdough was as good as any I’ve ever made, and that is high praise indeed.
All three of us enjoyed our trip to Northallerton Farmers Market, and I’m sure we will return.

Blog post by Richard Randall

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2015

On Saturday the 18th of April we headed to the Bishop Auckland Food Festival . Luckily for us we had a chauffeur, o.k. maybe not a real chauffeur, no cap and uniform etc. But a friend opted to be the designated driver for the trip. Happy Days!
The Stanley Jefferson
We motored from Easington Colliery to Bishop Auckland, where we easily found parking in the town centre. While the goal was the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, our first stop was The Stanley Jefferson (5 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NJ), a Wetherspoon pub which is right in the centre of Bishop Auckland.
We ordered 3 classic breakfasts; a basic fry-up consisting of egg, bacon, sausage, hash-browns, tomato, baked beans, and toast. Cheap and filling, grub – no complaints from us. To help wash the food down we ordered a pint of Maximus (Maxim Brewery) for me. Mrs. R had a pint of Coffee Porter, also from the Maxim Brewery. Our chauffeur had to make do with a cup of tea.
Maximus Beer
coffee porter
IMG_2834Breakfast and beer out of the way we headed into the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, which started just outside The Stanley Jefferson where several stalls were selling various cooked food items; pies, burgers, hotdogs etc.
Having had our fill of beer and breakfast, well, at least two of us with regards to the beer, none of the cooked food that was available in Bishop Auckland Market Place was really of any interest to the three of us.
In fact when we started browsing the fresh food stalls, the small samples on offer were also of little interest, given our full bellies.
IMG_2832Despite having deliberately eaten before we started shopping; so as to stop ourselves buying absolutely everything we saw (we always try not to food shop on an empty stomach) , we (Mrs.R and I) managed to ignore our bursting waistlines and make a few purchases.
Our chauffeur, who will hence force be called Paul,  also got in to the ‘retail therapy mode’.
Given the beer and carb buzz from breakfast, I can’t remember the exact order of our shopping, so the rest of this blog post is a bit of a blur.
Bishop Auckland Food Festival

Bishop Auckland Food FestivalWe wandered round looking at the food stalls, stopping whenever the goods got our tastebuds tingling.
I think our first purchase was a couple of rosemary sourdough rolls. We ate them that same evening. They were nice bread rolls, we could taste the rosemary, but their sourdough heritage seemed a little slim.
I’ve made a lot of sourdough bread over the years, and this bread really did not have a sourdough flavour, or texture.
Mrs.R said she didn’t think they particularly tasted homemade either, more like basic supermarket white bread rolls – she said they were very ‘white bread’ – literally.

IMG_3221Next stop was the Northumberland Cheese Company stall, where we purchased a small block of Elsdon goats cheese, and Paul, having tasted their Cheviot cheese, and the Blagdon Blue, decided to buy a block of the Cheviot cheese.
The couple running the cheese stall seemed happy to chat to us about the various cheese they were selling, they were friendly, and now they’re famous – that’s them below.

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Elsdon Goat CheeseWhen you have bread and cheese, what could you possibly want next?
The obvious answers is sausages.
While we may have been a little South of Geordieland, we could not resist buying a pack of Geordie Banger Sausages from the Geordie Banger Co stall.
Geordie Banger
Geordie BangerThe guy working on the Geordie Banger Co stall was cooking a fresh batch of sausages for customers to sample, but we didn’t want to wait to taste them, the seriously good aromas coming from the pan was enough to make our mouths water.
The Geordie Banger is a pork sausage with leek, mushroom, and onion.
I grilled the Geordie Banger sausages for our lunch the day after purchasing them. The sausages were very tasty, good and meaty, excellent flavours, and no nasty gristle or chunks of fat that some sausages have in them. They were excellent, and we’d definitely buy them again.
geordie bangerBangers bought, we then headed into the grounds of Auckland Castle to explore the other sections of the market.
Paul was keen to get to the Arts and Crafts tent, because he had his heart set on a tweed man-bag, but sadly he could not find one.
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Bishop Auckland Food FestivalPaul was gutted about the lack of tweed man-bags, but suddenly his eyes lit-up with joy – he’d spotted a market stall selling cupcakes.
I’m not sure how many cupcakes he bought and scoffed, but by the time Mrs.R was served she had to limit herself to just one cupcake – a Caramac cupcake.
Mrs.R wasn’t too disappointed that Paul had almost left the cupcake stall bare, because she said she doesn’t particularly like cupcakes, but that she had a craving for some full-on sugar.
It wasn’t until later that evening that Mrs.R finally ate her Caramac cupcake, which was as she’d expected a serious sugar-rush. In fact it was seriously sickly sweet, and a good reminder to her of why she rarely eats them, and why she doesn’t consider cupcakes a favourite sweet treat.
cupcake
cupcakeWith all of the cupcake excitement, Paul was the over-excited one, not Mrs.R, I decided it was time for a refreshing drink, so treated us to a 9ct Shimmering Blood Orange Vodka with Lemonade from the Raisthorpe Manor stall. The drink was pleasant, lots of ice, a couple of pieces of strawberry, a piece of cucumber, and for just £2.50.
Raisthorpe ManorBy now Mrs.R was feeling a little guilty, at having left our dog, Barley, at home to fend for himself, so she was over-the-moon when she spotted a stall selling dog treats. We purchased a small bag of Wellybix lamb flavoured dog treats for the mutt, which slightly lessened the guilt Mrs.R was feeling.

Later at home as we unpacked our shopping, Barley was very interested in the dog treats. As soon as he saw the bag, he got busy sniffing and salivating, and having eaten a generous amount to test the taste and quality, he said Wellybix dog treats are his new favourite – but he would prefer us not to go out without him, surely these treats can be ordered by post.
wellybix
I also had guilt issues at having left Barley our Lurcher at home, but buying dog treats would have done nothing to assuage my guilt, so there was only one thing to do – and that was to head to the Tipple Tent for a beer.
IMG_2839First up was a pint of Griffin’s Irish Stout from the Hill Island MicroBrewery (Fowlers Yard, 7 Back Silver Street Durham DH1 3RA).
The people on the stall were friendly, the beer smelt good, and it tasted really good too, it was a decent stout. We would have happily stayed for a couple more pints, but we didn’t want to abuse our nominated driver.
IMG_3217Griffin's Irish StoutMrs.R and I shared the pint of Griffin’s Irish Stout while multi-tasking – seeing what else was on offer in the booze tent. The last stall we looked at also sold beer, and we thought it would have been rude of us not to try a pint of that beer too. We ordered a pint of Black as Owt from the Yard of Ale Brew Company. This beer was also pretty decent, although a much lighter stout.
It was as I paid for the pint of Black as Owt and Mrs.R took a photo of the beer pump that we were treated to a proper belly-laugh. A guy standing at the stall watched Mrs.R take the photo, turned to his girlfriend and said. ”Beer Nerd!” Hahaha! A more accurate description would be ‘Photo-Nerd’ as she’s obsessed with taking photos.

black as owtA pint of Stout in our hands, we left the Tipple Tent, but for some illogical reason we could not take our drinks out of the Tipple Tent area. A bloke wearing a security vest told us that alcohol was not allowed out of the area. We thought this was very odd for several reasons. The main reason being that the Bishop Auckland Food Festival website stated that you could take drinks to food areas, and what was even more odd was the fact that you could also buy drinks in other parts of the Bishop Auckland Food Festival area.
This silly rule meant that we had to stay in the Tipple Tent area to finish our beers. But on the plus side we found some seating, and the sun was out.

Back in the food stall area, having caned our beers; because we didn’t want to sit down for ages supping them, we made a few more purchases.
I picked up a Pork and Black Pudding Pie from the The Crusty Pie Company. I am a fan of pork pies, if they’re good quality, and this pie was extremely good. I really wish I’d bought more of them. Delicious!
Pork and Black Pudding Pie
pieBoth Mrs.R and Paul purchased a jar of Wild Flower Honey from the South Durham Honey stall. There were several different types of honey available, but having tasted the Wild Flower variety they said it was so good they didn’t need to try the other flavours. The Wild Flower Honey is not too sweet, with lovely floral flavours.
wild flower honey

Our last purchase of the day was a small pot of Lemon Curd Cheese from the Leaside Cheesemakers stall. We haven’t eaten any yet, but I did have a tiny taste and it’s nice, very creamy, a good amount of lemon flavour, and sweet. I doubt it will be in the fridge for very long, before we scoff the lot.
Leaside Cheesemakers
Summary
The three of us had a very good morning at the Bishop Auckland Food Festival. In fact it was far better than we had imagined. There was a very good range of fresh local produce, ranging from bread, meat, game, cheese etc. Paul said it was definitely worth the drive.

Disclaimer: Paul neither likes tweed man-bags, or cupcakes – but he loves driving, so hopefully he’ll be our ‘Chauffeur’ for the Bishop Auckland Food Festival next year.

Organic Spelt Flour Bread

The other week we paid a visit to Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm Shop in County Durham.
To my pleasant surprise they sold Spelt flour. I’ve not seen it for sale in this area before (County Durham) and I haven’t baked with it for several years.
In fact the last time I baked bread with Spelt flour was when we lived in the South of France.
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This flour is produced by Sharpham Park (Street, Somerset, United Kingdom BA16 9SA) and is a mix of 60% wholegrain and 40% white Spelt flour.
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I used my standard bread recipe, which is 500g of flour, 300ml of warm water, 7g of yeast, generous splash of Olive Oil, and a large pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt.
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The bread turned out extremely well, and was full of flavour.
I’ll have to buy Spelt flour online in the future though, because the shopping experience at Haswell’s Homer Hill Farm Shop was not one that I would want to repeat.
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Blog post by Richard Randall

Paul Hollywood – Quick And Easy Irish Soda Bread

If you would love to have a go at bread making but are put off by all the kneading, proving and waiting, soda bread is the bread for you. Paul Hollywood shows breads you can make from start to finish in under an hour. No kneading, no proving – just mix, shape and bake.

Frankenstein Bread

Today I made a fresh loaf of dread using dried yeast and had some dough left over. I also had a sourdough that had been proving overnight and was a sponge. It was a bit on the small side, so I decided to combine the two. I knocked out the sourdough sponge and the melded both together. I did not mix them, but rather introduced them to each other.
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The next step was the complex one. The sourdough needed 12 to prove and the regular dough only 2 hours. In the end I proved it for going for 8 hours. It proved well. Next step was to bake it. This was also an issue. Partly because the sourdough also included a good measure of olive oil. All was looking good, but in very short time the crust burnt slightly because it was made up of the sourdough. I managed to catch it before it was a complete write off.
I let it rest for an hour and then it was ‘taste test’ time. It tasted great once I cut off the burnt crust. I will try this idea again but next time have the wholemeal sourdough in the centre of the loaf.
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By Richard Randall

Sourdough Fruit Loaf

Feeling the need for something a little sweet, I decided I would make a sourdough fruit loaf. I did not use a particular recipe, but instead used my normal bread recipe and just added fruit.
Ingredients:

  1. 500g plain white flour
  2. 4 tablespoons of sourdough starter (leaven)
  3. 400ml of water
  4. 2 teaspoons of salt
  5. Chopped fruit; apricots, dates, and sultanas soaked overnight in cider

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Method:
I mixed all of the ingredients together for about 5 minutes, then added the dough mix to an oiled bowl, and covered with baking foil. Then I left it for 12 hours to prove.
After 12 hours I placed it in the oven at 220c, with a baking tray full of water on the bottom of the oven.
I then baked the sourdough fruit loaf for 40 minutes with the foil on, and then a further 20 minutes with the foil removed.
I then let it rest for 2 hours.
The result was a fruity, moist, and seriously tasty sourdough fruit loaf. :)

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By Richard Randall

Easy Sourdough Bread – Tin/Pot Loaf

This is a super easy bread to make. In fact it is now going to be my new ‘go to’ bread when I’m not experimenting with new recipe ideas.

Ingredients:

  1. 250g Organic White Flour
  2. ½ teaspoon of good quality Fleur de sel or Himalayan Pink Salt or your choice of good quality Sea Salt.
  3. 2 tablespoons of sourdough leaven (starter), ideally fresh liverly.
  4. 200g of water
  5. I added a small amount of sunflower and fennel seeds, but they are not necessary.

Sourdough Bread
Pre-Baking Steps:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl for a few minutes.
  2. Oil an oven pot or tin.
  3. Pour the dough mixture in to the tin.
  4. Cover the tin with cling-film or a plastic bag.
  5. Store in a cool place overnight (10 hours+). If you store the dough in a fridge make sure you take it out and leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours before it goes in the oven.

Sourdough Bread
Baking:

  1. Preheat the oven at 240c, with a ramekin or baking tray filled with water, on the bottom of the oven.
  2. Cover the baking tin with foil, or place a lid on the oven pot (with your dough in it) and place it in the oven for 20 minutes at 220c.
  3. After 20 minutes remove the foil/lid and bake for a further 20 minutes at 190c.
  4. Test the bread to see if it is cooked by tapping the top. It should sound hollow. If it does not, or if you are not sure, recover with the foil/lid and bake for a further 10-15 minutes at 150c.
  5. Place on a wire rack to cool for 1-2 hours.
  6. Enjoy!

P.S. My starter is 30% Organic Rye Flour and and 70% Organic Wholemeal Flour.
By Richard Randall

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