Discover even more about Cider

Thirty UK cider and perry makers have launched a new campaign to encourage the British public to explore the world of cider.   Local cider makers taking part include Once Upon a Tree, Tom Oliver, Weston’s, Little Pomona, Newton Court, Pearson’s, Butford Organics and Ross on Wye Cider and Perry.

The cider makers are uniting around three common themes: diversity – of both style and occasion, community – whether it’s cider’s rich heritage or orchards for the people, and sustainability – cider’s impeccably green credentials.

Over the next months, you are being invited to Discover Cider, with a chance to win mixed cases of cider by sharing your own cider stories.

There will be opportunities to visit producers and to meet the makers via a programme of events and tastings, virtual and otherwise, including the Cider Critic whose “virtual” tastings of products from a range of cider makers is available on the website.

There are links to local cider makers’ websites where you can order cider for delivery and discover even more about each producer.

Simon Day
Simon Day

Simon Day, production manager for Once Upon A Tree ciders says, “I have seen the need for a co-operative approach to cider marketing for a number of years, however several attempts to get something working have stalled for one reason or another, but mainly because there are just too few hours in the day.”

“Lockdown has provided the urgency among cider producers to come together to advance some form of co-operative marketing group, and the time to make things happen.  Gabe Cook (renowned industry expert aka the Ciderologist) steered a growing number of progressive producers to come together and discuss the needs of cider makers generally, and in these challenging times of Coronavirus specifically.”

The Ciderologist

“Some cider makers have seen sales reduce by 80% over lockdown, as their route to market was blocked (pubs, restaurants and events) and the recovery, although happening, is slow and sales are still significantly lower than normal.  We have seen redundancies and closures in the industry, with the smaller scale producer hardest hit.  Something had to happen to help raise cider’s profile, to protect jobs, and to help protect our dwindling orchard landscape.”

“By working together, and with Gabe Cook at the helm, the hope is that we are able to amplify our key messages that we all share as producers: To introduce our ciders to new consumers and show off the variety of cider that is available; highlight our environmentally sustainable credentials and share our cider stories.”

“Early results are encouraging, with a number of online events and conversations happening and will continue to build over the remaining 9 weeks of the campaign.   Our hope is this will lead to increasing demand with existing retailers and introducing exciting cider ranges to brand new stockists, particularly outside our usual “cider bubble”.

“I believe there will be a lasting legacy to our current activity, and #DiscoverCider will continue as a hashtag and website for some years to come, and most excitingly this will open the door to new collaborative approaches to help all British cidermakers in the future.”

You can find out more at www.discovercider.com and via its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. 

Do help an important local industry if you can!

September Recipe – Blackberry Bakewell Pudding

Ingredients

225g. / 8ozs. blackberries
50g. / 2ozs. blackberry jam
175g. / 6ozs. softened butter
75g. / 3ozs. caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
175g. / 6ozs. ground almonds
40g. / 1 1/2ozs. plain flour
50g. / 2ozs. icing sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsps. flaked almonds, toasted

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C / fan 160C gas mark 4.  In a medium bowl mix together the blackberries and jam.  Spread evenly over the bottom of a 1 litre / 1 3/4pt. baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the eggs, then gently fold in the ground almonds and flour.  Spoon mixture over the blackberries and smooth the surface.  Bake for 45 minutes.
  3. Sieve the icing sugar into a small bowl and whisk with just enough lemon juice for a runny yet thick icing.  Top the pudding with the toasted flaked almonds and the, using a teaspoon, drizzle over the icing.

Tips

If you are avoiding gluten make this with a gluten-free flour.

It can be frozen ahead.  Bake up to the end of step 2, cool completely, wrap well in clingfilm and freeze.  Defrost thoroughly at room temperature overnight.  It can be  enjoyed at room temperature or, to serve warm, preheat oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas mark 4 and bake on the middle shelf for 25 minutes.  Decorate before serving.

You can use different fruit in this recipe of course, plums are still in season as are damsons (use the appropriate jam), or pears, chopped small with a ginger jam or marmalade would be lovely, although obviously a different colour from the traditional bakewell. I have a lot of blackcurrants in the freezer and intend to use those.  Even apple, stewed first, would work, although it would be a pale colour.

Local Food Updates – Thursday 3rd September plus Thanks

Please continue to support our local food producers and retailers, and “Shop Safe Shop Ledbury”.  

We have updated our Local Food Information Page on our websiteclick here to access the page

Ledbury Country Market – is re-opening fully at the Burgage Hall on Fridays from Friday 18th September initially between 10am and Noon. Entrance from Church Lane – one way system for social distancing.  Please wear face-masks.   A full range of local food products, Chinese delicacies and plants and flowers will be available.

Their order and collect service is continuing – you can register for this service (order by Tuesday evening – collect on Friday AM from the Burgage Hall, Church Lane) at www.ledburycountrymarket.co.uk or phone 01684 540595 – send order forms to orders@ledburycountrymarket.co.uk or phone orders to 01684 540595

Food Deliveriesdetails of those who continue to provide delivery services have been updated.

Local restaurants, pubs and cafésThanks for supporting those that are now open.   Trumpet Team Room reopened on 1st August now run by Annie Badham and the Market House in Ledbury is now open again.

Please wear a face mask in shops to protect all those who work hard to serve us – “Shop Safe Shop Ledbury”…

and thanks to all those who contributed to Janie Clarenne’s recent appeal via Justgiving to help her take her husband Pascal of Chez Pascal on a last visit to France – the target sum of £5,000 has now been exceeded.

Would you like to help Pascal and Janie Clarenne (Chez Pascal)?

Many of you will have enjoyed Pascal’s special pastries at Chez Pascal – Ledbury’s “little bit of France” lately in New Street.

Janie and Pascal had to close Chez Pascal permanently following Pascal’s diagnosis with cancer earlier this year.

Janie has launched a fund to help Pascal to visit France one last time as follows:

Pascal has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and is battling his illness with great courage.  It has been a difficult year with the loss of our business and Pascal’s declining health.  My wish is to take Pascal to France when he is feeling stronger.  He will need additional medical insurance as he is on oxygen 24/7.  If anyone would like to make a donation to this, please donate to help – it would be gratefully received.  I will keep you all updated on Pascal’s progress. Janie x

You can contribute at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/janie-clarenne

 

Thanks

August Recipe – Ratatouille in Tomato Pancakes

Pancake batter:

125g. / 4 1/2 ozs. plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
300mls. / 10fl ozs. milk (full fat is best)
a little olive oil for frying
2 tbsps. tomato puree
2 tbsps. water
1 tsp. dried basil

Ratatouille:

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 aubergine, diced
2 courgettes, sliced or diced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. tomato puree
2 tbsps. red wine
pinch of caster sugar
salt and pepper
2 tbsps. chopped basil
4 tbsps. grated Parmesan

Method:

  1. To make the pancake batter sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the egg and gradually work in the milk and beat to form a smooth batter.  Whisk in the tomato puree, 2 tbsps water and the dried basil. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the pancakes, heat a little oil in a good non-stick crepe or omelette pan. Add a ladle of batter and swirl to coat the base.  Cook for 1 – 2 minutes until golden and then flip or turn over and cook the other side.  Slide on to a plate and keep warm whilst cooking the remaining pancakes, oiling the pan between each one.
  3. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, red and green peppers, aubergine and courgettes.  Fry stirring for 5 – 10 minutes until they begin to soften, then add tomatoes, tomato puree, wine, sugar, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, then stir in the chopped basil.
  4. Use the ratatouille to fill the pancakes. Roll up and serve straight away, dusted with Parmesan.  Or, prepare the pancakes in advance, roll them up and place in a baking dish, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and reheat in a medium hot oven. .

Tips:

I don’t bother to let my pancake batter stand and it is still fine.  Do make sure you use a good non-stick pan, that is essential.  You can make the pancakes the day before and store in the fridge.  i put a sheet of kitchen paper between each one.  They also freeze really well but I wouldn’t try and freeze the ratatouille mixture, there is too much water in courgettes and aubergines for them to freeze well.

July Recipes – Courgettes

As courgettes are so readily available this month here are two recipes.

PUREE OF GRILLED COURGETTES WITH GOAT’S CHEESE AND HAZELNUTS

This recipe is for a starter but it would make a light lunch.

675g/ 1½ lbs similar sized courgettes
a little olive oil
40g / 1½ oz butter
¼ nutmeg, grated
75g / 3oz goat’s cheese log
40g / 1½ oz chopped hazelnuts
salt and pepper

Top and tail the courgettes, cut them in half lengthways and smear oil all over.  Heat the grill high and grill the courgettes on both sides until blackened in places.  Then put them in a food processor with the butter, grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper.  Whizz until smooth and scrape into a gratin dish.

Crumble the goat’s cheese into small pieces and sprinkle over the puree.  Scatter on the hazelnuts, drizzle over a little oil and put under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbling.  The dish can be kept warm in a low oven for up to half an hour.

Tips – Grilling the courgettes instead of steaming them dries them out a bit and also adds a pleasant smoky taste.  Serve with crusty bread.


FLORA’S FAMOUS COURGETTE CAKE

For the cake:

60g / 2 oz raisins, optional
250g / 9 oz courgettes (2 – 3) weighed before grating
2 large eggs
125ml   / 4½ fl oz vegetable oil
150g / 5½ oz  caster sugar
225g / 8 oz self raising flour
½ tsp. bicarb of soda and ½ tsp. baking powder

For the icing:

200g / 8 oz  cream cheese
100g / 4 oz  icing sugar, sieved
juice of 1 lime or more to taste
2 – 3 tbsps. chopped pistachio nuts

For the filling:

Lime or lemon curd

Preheat oven to 180C / gas mark 4.  Line 2 x 21cm / 9 inch sandwich tins and grease.

If you are using raisins put them in a bowl and cover with warm water to plump up.  Wipe the courgettes with a kitchen towel and grate.  The coarse side of a box grater is best.  Put them in a sieve over the sink to remove excess water.

Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy.  Sieve in the flour, bicarb and baking powder and beat until combined.  Stir in the courgettes and add the drained raisins.  Pour into the tins and bake for 30 minutes.  Leave in their tins for 5 – 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a rack.

If you cannot buy lime curd a good lemon will do with a little freshly squeezed lime juice added.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth, add the icing sugar and beat and stir in the lime juice to taste.  Put one cake on a plate and spread with the lime or lemon curd.  Put the other cake on top and smear thickly with the cream cheese icing.  If you feel the icing needs firming up put in the fridge for a while.

Just before serving scatter over the pistachios.  Serves 8.   


NFU seek support to maintain farmed food standards

Trade deals in respect of farmed food products will define what standards should apply to produce traded between countries.  The UK Government is currently developing new trade agreements with foreign countries as part of the Brexit process.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has launched a petition asking for your support for their campaign to ensure that standards agreed in these negotiations on imported food to the UK should be to leading world standards, recognising the UK’s high standards of safety and welfare.

Some might argue that standards in the UK could or should be at more sustainable levels than now in many differing ways, but relaxation of import standards would create a lower base from which improvements could move forward, quite apart from any economic or health implications.

The NFU state: “Farming throughout the UK has high standards of safety and welfare with an ambition to be net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.  There are very strict controls on farming methods allowed in the UK.”   They ask that such standards should apply to all food which is imported here so what we eat is safe, traceable and produced to high welfare and environmental standards. 

To find out more about the reasons for the petition and an opportunity to “sign” it, visit https://www.campaigns.nfuonline.com/page/56262/petition/1?locale=en-GB.

Feel free to pass this information to others who may be interested.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts on this issue at ask@ledburyfoodgroup.org – it could change radically farming in this country.