Dorset Food Fight


We’re having some fun this week and launching the first ever #DorsetFoodFight to find Dorset’s best food and drink companies. 

No waste, no mess…it’s virtual 😉! 

To nominate your favourite Dorset food or drink company, post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #DorsetFoodFight and @ mention the companies’ name. The deadline for nominations is midnight on Sunday and on Monday we will hold a head-to-head poll on Twitter between the top 4 nominated companies! 

Ding ding ding…get your nominations in! 🏅🎖🏆

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The Deli Kitchen: A Beautiful New Cafe by Brewery Square, Dorchester

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A child-free day, my first for several weeks,  and I couldn’t wait to enjoy a lovely leisurely coffee at the newly opened Deli Kitchen cafe by Brewery Square in Dorchester. It’s only been open three weeks and already is building a great following from the local businesses and shoppers.

 

The Deli Kitchen is the brain-child of Liz Meradith and her husband Aidan. The interior is beautifully curated with a rustic, industrial feel with many elements made by them and their family.

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The Deli Kitchen stands out in this area of Dorchester, providing a regularly changing menu of homemade, locally sourced foods. Most interestingly there are enticing platters to choose from – meat, fish or vegetarian – and a lovely counter of ‘salad-box’ options, as well as sandwiches, and almost everything has a gluten-free option.

 

 

Liz has taken great care to find great local suppliers and she’s constantly looking for more. So far they stock the following brands – either for sale in the Deli, or used in their ingredients; Baboo Gelato, Mrs B’s Kombucha, The Dorset Dairy Co, Dorset Nectar, Liberty Fields, Mere Park Creamery, Chesil Smokery, Dorset Spice Shed, A Jar Of … and I’m sure there are more!

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Liz has plans to widen the scope of the business soon; there is an alcohol licence pending which would enable them to provide local craft beers and ciders alongside the meals, there are plans for outside and office catering and even the idea of a Deli Kitchen van making rounds in town to deliver lunches to the offices.

Its a thoroughly lovely cafe with a great atmosphere, delicious local foods on the menu and really passionate owners.

Follow The Deli Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Come Back Summer! Very Berry Smoothies Recipes

Let’s pretend that summer hasn’t abandoned us for this year with some simple and totally delicious berry smoothies using local and seasonal fruits.

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August is peak harvest time for Dorset blueberries (I still find it surprising that this super-food is grown in Dorset – they seems so exotic!), and summer raspberries are in full swing too.

Blend 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries with one banana and a dollop of yoghurt for a delicious fruity pick-me-up. If you want to make it more substantial for breakfast, you can include some porridge oats and if you want to hide one of your 5 a day greens you can put a handful of baby spinach in and I promise, you won’t even know it’s there!

Most brilliantly, you can prepare the ingredients each smoothie mix in separate ziploc bags, freeze and then just take out the one you want. Easy Peasy!

Jam-Packed with Local Goodness: An interview with Tracey Collins of A Jar Of

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Yesterday I visited a sweet and fragrant, magical world – The Jammery, where Tracey Collins, owner of A Jar Of, makes all her mouth-wateringly delicious jams, sauces and chutneys.

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Tracey was incredibly welcoming (especially considering I had two of my three children with me) and we had a lovely chat about her growing business whilst the children emptied the boxes of jam jar lids all over the floor…

What prompted you to start A Jar Of? We lived near London but had a plan to move to the country and start a small holding with holiday lets. The logistics ended up taking longer than we expected and although I had left my job as an analyst, I needed something to do before the move actually happened. I started making cakes to sell at farmers markets which was successful, but difficult to manage a stock of perishable items. I had always made jams and preserves as Christmas presents but suddenly had the idea to make them for sale. I optimistically took 60 jars of jams to the first market (using a stand with no banner and home-printed labels). I was staggered to sell almost everything, but I’ve never looked back. 

Where do you sell now? I have 24 stockists, throughout Dorset who stock my jams and preserves – I ship out around 800-1000 jars a month. I also take part in Dorset food festivals and markets where people can come and meet me and buy. A list of stockists and events is listed on my website here.

Where do your ingredients come from? As much as possible, I use ingredients from Dorset. I use cherries from Cherry Picked Hampers, blueberries from Puddletown, gooseberries and blackcurrants from my garden and I forage the hedgerows for sloes in the autumn.  All the fruit and vegetables are seasonal, so my stock changes through the year. 

What is your idea of a perfect Dorset weekend? It would definitely involve getting to the coast and walking some of the coast path with our dog. Golden Cap and Durdle Door are my favourites. And I love eating out – my top recommendations are The Crab House Cafe in Wyke Regis and The White Post which straddles the Somerset/Dorset border at Rimpton – their food is simply beautiful. 

http://ajar-of.co.uk/

You can follow A Jar Of on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

Chard: the prettiest of vegetables.

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I love chard. I really do, it’s so easy to grow (it really requires no more than planting a seed and two months later you have a small bush), it’s so pretty with it’s bright red, yellow or white stems AND it gives you two veg in one – crunchy stalks and spinach-like leaves. Plus its incredibly good for you – packed with vitamins A, C and K with anti-inflammatory properties and it helps to balance blood sugar.

Mr P has to put up with a lot of chard on the menu – I grow so much of it (along with potatoes) that most of our summer meals consist of chard and garden potatoes of some variation or other. Luckily he doesn’t complain too much! It is really at it’s best now – if you don’t grow your own lots of the farm shops will stock it.

My favorite way is to sauté chard – it’s so quick and easy. This makes the perfect partner for meat or fish.

 

  • 1 large bunch of fresh Swiss or Rainbow Chard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Ground black pepper

Rinse the leaves under the tap. Remove the leaves from the stalk – this is best done by holding the stalk in one hand and using the other hand to tear the leaf away from the stalk.

Roughly cut up the leaves, and chop the stems into short lengths. Keep the stems and leaves separately as the stems will be added first.

Sauté garlic in the oil (or butter) on a medium heat for about one minute or until fragrant.

Lower the heat and add the stalks. Fry them gently for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped chard leaves, toss with the oil and garlic in the pan. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes. Turn the leaves and the stalks over in the pan.

If the chard still needs a bit more cooking (remove a piece and taste it), cover and cook a few more minutes.

Serve immediately.

 

Coronation Chicken Recipe: from The Dorset Dairy Co

Alex Rawe (co-founder of The Dorset Dairy Co) has shared her family recipe for Coronation Chicken using their Dorset Strained Yoghurt of course as the secret ingredient.

(Read the interview with Alex here.)

“My grandmother used to mix strained yoghurt with mayonnaise in her potato salad because she said it made it lighter. This was the first recipe that I tried out on Dan and since then, I’ve used our yoghurt as a healthier alternative to cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese and various other ingredients.”

Coronation Chicken

Ingredients

500 g chicken breasts

2 ½ tsp madras curry powder

170 g mayonnaise

150 g Dorset Strained Yoghurt

4 tbsp mango chutney

1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

60 g sultanas

60 g flaked almonds

Large handful fresh coriander, chopped

Serves 4

Method

Put the chicken breasts into a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 15min or so, until the chicken is cooked through. This will prevent the chicken from going dry. Drain and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, place the sultanas in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to plump the up.

Toast the curry powder in a small frying pan, stirring until it smells fragrant (about 40sec). Empty into a large bowl and mix the Dorset Strained Yoghurt, mayonnaise, mango chutney and Worcestershire sauce, along with plenty of seasoning.

Tear the cooled chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the yoghurt mixture, along with most of the flaked almonds, the drained sultanas and chopped coriander. Stir well and serve with a garnish of flaked almonds and coriander.

Thanks Alex for sharing your recipe! x

The Dorset Dairy Co: An interview with Alex Rawe

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The herd of Fresian-Holsteins at Crib House Farm

I first came across The Dorset Dairy Co about a year ago when I bought a pot of their amazingly scrummy Dorset Strained Yoghurt from The Brace of Butchers in Poundbury. I am always a sucker for good branding and beautiful packaging and the pots really caught my eye in the fridge. The yoghurt is absolutely delicious – smooth and creamy, perfect by itself or using in recipes instead of cream! It’s now a regular on my shopping list whenever I go to the butchers.

The story behind The Dorset Dairy Co is touching. We all know how difficult it has been for dairy farmers to eek a living out of selling their milk to the supermarkets. Dan and Alex took the plunge and created a new product using the milk from their herd of Fresian-Holsteins. And huge congratulations to them, it’s delicious, beautifully branded and made with care and love.

Alex Rawe, co-founder of The Dorset Dairy Co has given us some insights into the backstory of The Dorset Dairy Co.

What is the story behind setting up The Dorset Dairy Co?

Dan is the third generation of the family to embrace the world of dairy farming and started working full-time on the farm in Stalbridge when he was 18 years old. I was brought up in London and worked in corporate finance, but I kept up monthly visits to my grandparents in the quiet village of Hinton St Mary in North Dorset. After meeting Dan (on Tinder!), I did not take much convincing to quit my job and move to Dorset!

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Alex & Dan, founders of The Dorset Dairy Co

Dan wanted to turn the farm’s milk into something special and I wanted to promote a return to unprocessed, natural, farm fresh foods. We had a great time experimenting making cheese and yoghurt on the AGA, and we found that, by straining set yoghurt through cheese cloth, we could achieve a thick, creamy texture, which was an instant success with our family and friends. As a result, The Dorset Dairy Co developed its first product, Dorset Strained Yoghurt, otherwise known as Dorset’s answer to Greek yoghurt. Dan designed the yoghurt facility himself and built it on the farm with the help of friends and local contractors. Meanwhile I teamed up with Gemma-Lea Goodyer, a brilliant Dorset graphic designer, and Luke Lench, a fantastic Dorset photographer and website developer, to establish a brand synonymous with tradition, health, a clean label and provenance. We launched in the autumn of 2016 and have been growing ever since.

What products do you make?

Dorset Strained Yoghurt is created using nothing but natural ingredients and traditional techniques. By using milk straight from the farm’s herd of Friesian-Holsteins, we know that it’s of the highest quality and comes from a high-welfare cow, born and bred on the farm. The herd roams the pastures at Crib House Farm for as long as the weather permits with the bulk of their winter feed consisting of farm-grown silage. The condition of the cows and the overall herd management often receives high praise by visiting vets and dairy specialists. 

We currently produce two types of yoghurt, Whole Milk Dorset Strained Yoghurt and Fat Free Dorset Strained Yoghurt, available in 180g, 500g and 800g pots. The Whole Milk yoghurt is smooth and creamy while the Fat Free yoghurt has a tangier flavour. They both make a filling breakfast or snack, not to mention a handy ingredient in cooking. 

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The range of Dorset Strained Yoghurt

 

What is the process for making your yoghurt?

Dan fills up the milk trolley with fresh morning milk, wheels it across the yard into the yoghurt room and pumps it into a vat. We do not homogenise the milk or add thickeners or concentrate, nor do we process the yoghurt to make it smoother – meaning each batch is unique. All we do is pasteurise it and add the live bio cultures required to make yoghurt along with probiotics, as we believe these come with health benefits. We then pour the mixture into cloth bags and hang them up to strain out the water and lactose, the old fashioned way. This results in a luxurious creamy texture – proper yoghurt, Dorset style – which tastes delicious, is packed with protein and essential minerals and is also low in sugar.

We are very much an artisan producer: not only does our product not have a food chain, but our straining process is not mechanised. We use over 3 litres of milk for 1 kilo of yoghurt and we have yet to come across any company in the UK that produces yoghurt in this manner.

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The straining process

 

Where can customers find your products?

Through 3 local distributors we supply around 65 retail outlets in the South West (mostly Dorset village shops, butchers, farm shops) on a weekly basis. We supply our local independent supermarket directly every week (Dike & Son) and local restaurants, hotels, schools and nursing homes through a fine food distributor. Our largest single outlet is Farmdrop in London, an online farmers market.

A list of stockists can be found on our website: http://thedorsetdairyco.com/contact/

The Dorset Dairy Co will be running an in-store tasting at Felicity’s Farm Shop at Morcombelake on Saturday 15th July from 10am-12pm.

They will also be at Newton St Loe on 28th August (10am-5pm) for the Newton Farm Shop‘s Open Farm Day, offering retail pots and sharing favourite yoghurt toppings.

 

Interview: Caroline Drever from Dorset Shellfish

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My family have been buying freshly caught crabs from Caroline and Steph from Dorset Shellfish for years. My dad often disappears on a summer Saturday morning to meet this mother and daughter team. He comes back laden with fresh crabs making the perfect feast for a family get together.

How did your business start? We started by selling the crab & lobster which my partner caught. He’s a commercial fisherman in Weymouth with our son.

What types of shellfish do you sell? Crabs and Lobster

On which part of the coast do you put down your pots? Between Portland Bill and Swanage. 

Where and how can customers find you? At Dorset Farmers Markets and Food Festivals. There is a link to where we are each week on our website here

What is your favourite shellfish recipe? A dressed crab with topped with a creamy sauce, grated cheese. Grill for 5 minutes – delicious! 

www.dorset-shellfish.co.uk               07881632311            dorsetshellfish@hotmail.com

You will find Caroline and her family serving a delicious array of dishes on the quayside in Weymouth this weekend for the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t resist summer strawberries?

Are you like me, and can’t resist summer strawberries? Have you got a glut in your garden? Or maybe you need an excuse for another trip to Pick Your Own?

Once you’ve had your fill of fresh berries and cream, here are some ideas of what to do with the rest.

1. Strawberry Sorbet Lollies

These are so easy to make, and my kids absolutely LOVE them. This simple recipe comes from one of my top food heroines – Dorina Allen at the Ballymaloe Cookery School.

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To make about 6 lollies you will need:

  • 400g fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 100ml Sugar syrup (boil 100ml water with 50g sugar for 2 mins)

Whizz up the strawberries with the cooled sugar syrup and strain through a sieve to remove the seeds. Pour into the lolly moulds and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Hey presto, a delicious fresh strawberry sorbet lolly.

 

2. Victoria Sponge with Fresh Strawberries

Nothing says English summer as much as a fresh Victoria sponge.  In the height of summer, I like mine with whipped cream and chopped strawberries in the middle. This delicious recipe from Jamie Oliver is THE ONE in my opinion!

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3. Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote

Another easy-peasy recipe, and so delicious for breakfast (with yoghurt and granola) or for tea (with scones) or for pudding (with cream or ice cream).

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Simmer 4 stems of rhubarb (trimmed) with a little sugar to taste. Take it off the heat once the rhubarb is soft (around 8 minutes) and stir in 250g chopped strawberries. Let them soften gently as the mixture cools. Store in a jar in the fridge.

 

Meat-Free Monday Recipe – Pea and Potato Samosas from the McCartneys

We all know eating meat everyday isn’t good for us or the environment, but it’s not always easy for everyone in a family to agree on a veggie dish. Anyway, seeing as we have a pack of filo pastry in the fridge, and most of the other ingredients can be rummaged from the fridge and store cupboards, tonight we are trying these samosas from the excellent Meat-Free Monday site, launched in 2009 by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney.

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Ingredients

  • 400 g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
  • 150 g frozen peas, cooked and drained
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • seeds from 4 cardamon pods
  • ½ teaspoon black onion seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 rounded tablespoon mango chutney
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 270 g filo pastry
  • melted butter, to brush (or oil)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Add the peas and cook for a further 30 seconds. Drain and set aside. Tip the cumin, coriander and cardamon into a frying pan and toast over a medium heat for 1 minute. Coarsely grind the onion seeds using a pestle and mortar.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for 30 seconds then add the spices. Continue to cook for 1 minute, then add the diced potatoes and peas. Mix well and cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, add the chutney and chopped coriander and season well.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on the work surface and brush with melted butter. Lay another pastry sheet on top and cut into strips 7 cm wide then brush with the melted butter. Put a spoonful of the potato mixture onto the top left hand corner of each strip. Fold over to make a triangle and continue folding down the length of the strip to completely encase the filling. Repeat with the remaining filling and pastry. Arrange on baking trays and bake for 25 minutes until golden and crisp. Serve with pickles and relishes.

 

Additional notes

“Samosas can take almost any filling you can dream up but this potato and pea combination proves that simple is often best. Make sure you make a large batch.”