Recipes for September

Venison and Apple Casserole

1lb./ 450g. cubed venison, dusted in flour
2 tbsps. oil
8ozs. / 225g. shallots, peeled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
8ozs. / 225g. diced bacon
2 carrots, peeled and chopped and 2 leeks, chopped
small tin chopped tomatoes
3 tbsps. brandy
3/4 pt. / 15fl. ozs. good beef stock
desert spoon tomato puree
1 desert spoon juniper berries
2 – 3 Bramley or Cox’s Orange Pippins cut into chunks
Pepper and salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the venison until well browned, remove to a plate. Add diced bacon to the pan along with the shallots and garlic. Crush the juniper berries just enough to release their flavour and add to the pan.

Return the venison to the pan, add the vegetables, tomato puree, tin of tomatoes, stock and brandy. Bring to a gentle simmer, put on a lid and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add the apples to the pan and simmer for a further 30 minutes. If the sauce needs thickening mix some cornflour with cold water and add, stirring all the time. You could cook this in the oven on a low heat if you would prefer to do so.

Fresh Plum Cake

225g. / 8ozs. self raising flour
1 tsp. gd. cinnamon
100g. / 4ozs. hard margarine or butter
50g. / 2ozs. sultanas
50g. / 2ozs. soft brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 large eggs
4 tbsps. golden syrup
225. / 8ozs. plum, stoned and chopped

Preheat oven to 160 / Gas Mark 3.

Grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin. Rub the flour, half the cinnamon and the margarine together. Add the sultanas and 50g. / 2ozs. soft brown sugar and stir. Beat eggs and syrup together in a separate bowl, add plums, then stir into the flour mixture.

Transfer to tin and level surface. Mix the rest of the brown sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Cook in the centre of the oven for 45 – 50 minutes and then test. It should be risen and just firm to the touch.

Cut into squares to eat. This is best eaten warm with ice cream though you can eat it cold. It works just as well with apples and rhubarb.

Food Group celebrates Ledbury’s Food Heritage

As part of Ledbury’s contribution to this year’s Heritage Open Days, we are joining with Ledbury Town Council to celebrate the long heritage of local food production.

We are mounting a photo exhibition at the Market House when it is open to the public for Heritage Open Days.  The photos will reflect on local food production today at three farms in the Ledbury district. 

The exhibition is on 14th and 15th September.

Growing food has been a vitally important feature of Ledbury’s life for 900 years – for 400 years the Market House has been a centre for trade in local food.

This exhibition picks up the Heritage Open Day theme of “Edible England” and reminds us that local food production remains just as important today.  It visits three local farms – a sheep farm, a vegetable grower and an orcharding farm.  The photos show different seasons in the farming year.

The photos are the work of local photographers Pat Strauss and Ed Mustafic and previously featured in our exhibitions at The Master’s House, Ledbury.

Place: The Market House, High Street, Ledbury

When: Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th September

Times: 1100-1300 & 1400-1600

Make it a day visiting heritage buildings in Ledbury – and visiting one of our cafes for lunch!  Find details of heritage sites at:



When is local not local?

When it’s a jam!

Do you know how easy it is to create your own label jam?

What are you going to call it?

On sale locally recently was jam labelled “Ledbury Fine Foods” and “Great British Classics” complete with Union Jack.

Where do you think this was made?

Perhaps in Ledbury or its neighbourhood?

The answer is that the jam had in fact been made in Leicestershire by Bramble Foods.

We looked up Bramble Foods Ltd on the web. They are a well-established business in Market Harborough supplying a wide range of food products.

One of their services is providing personalised or own label products.

We have no problem with what Bramble Foods are doing – and there is nothing wrong with the quality of their jam.

But it is possible that product labelling may create a wrong impression in the eyes of the customer.

So…Beware! Remember when “buying local” to check the label if you don’t know the product.

Recipes for August


Serves 4

8 good quality pork sausages
1 tsp. fennel seeds
pinch dried chilli flakes
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsps. mayonnaise
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 bulb fennel, sliced or chopped
4 rolls, split in half

  1. Heat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6.  Snip the tops off the sausages and squeeze out the meat.  Stir in the fennel seeds, chilli flakes and half the zest, then shape into 4 patties.  Place the burgers on a greased baking sheet and cook for 25 – 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. 
  2. Meanwhile, mix the remaining zest and juice with the mayonnaise and seasoning, then stir in the onion and fennel.  Leave to stand while the burgers finish cooking.
  3. Place a burger in each roll with some slaw, serving any extra on the side


Makes 16 squares

150g. butter, unsalted
150g. dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
3 medium eggs
100g. caster sugar
100g. light brown soft sugar
30g. cocoa powder
75g. plain flour

For the topping:

125g. soft cheese i.e. cream cheese, full fat
1 medium egg
50g. caster sugar
150g. pack raspberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4 and line a 20cm. by 20cm. square baking tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or use the microwave in short bursts, stirring until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and both sugars with an electric whisk until the mixture is thick and foamy (about 5 minutes).
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into the whisked eggs and fold until carefully combined, using either a spatula or metal spoon.  Sieve the cocoa powder and flour over the top and fold again to make a smooth batter.
  5. For the topping, beat the soft cheese, egg and caster sugar together.  Scrape most of the brownie batter into the cake tin, reserving 2 tbsps. to make the swirl top.  Smooth the batter.  Press in half the raspberries.
  6. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin and tilt to create an even layer.  Add 2 tsps water to the remaining brownie batter to loosen it then dollop teaspoon sized amounts over the top of the cheesecake layer.  Swirl gently using a skewer.
  7. Scatter over the remaining raspberries and bake for 30 – 35 minutes – the top should still have a slight wobble.  Allow to cool completely in the tin before slicing and serving.  These will keep for up to 4 days covered in the fridge.  


If you wanted to cut down on the amount of sugar in the brownies, you could use 100g. of light brown sugar and 50g. of caster sugar.  It is all a question of personal taste but that should be fine.

Be careful if melting your chocolate in the microwave, do it in slow bursts.

Make sure the fennel is well covered with the lemon juice.  I wouldn’t make the slaw until the last minute, otherwise it could discolour.

We’ve updated our Food Information Page – AND new cafés to try!

Eating In or Eating Out?  Our Local Food Information Page has been updated to provide the latest gen on local food retailers and eating places for you to sample.

Many who set up delivery services during lock-down are continuing to provide these now – so if you are reluctant to go out, the food can still come to you.  Or you might just want a night at home with no cooking!

Find out more on the Food Information Page

For those venturing out, Ledbury has new or recently opened cafés to add to our fabulous range of cafés for all tastes:

Choccalistic, Homend Mews – 01531 637305 – Ledbury’s (fairly) new chocolate shop and tearoom (indoors and outdoors).

Pot and Page – 01531 248743 – newly opened in New Street, Ledbury featuring “plant based lunch and brunch menus”, and second hand books.

The Ledberry – newly opened in The Homend – 01531 632676 – a “multi brand boutique featuring an exciting range of clothing, homewares and accessories, as well as a secret garden for guests to enjoy light refreshments”.

The Sunrise Café – in the High Street – 01531 634111 – a basic café with breakfast options

In addition The Organic Café, High Street – 01531 631136 – is open again above Handley Organics with a whole new menu to explore.

In the Ice Cream World – award winning Just Rachel Luxury Desserts is now under new owners and has changed its name to Berry’s Luxury Ice Cream.  It should still taste as good.  Local suppliers are listed on the Food Information Page.

 Finally an apology

We have been unable to notify you of new posts on our website in the past couple of months – including our popular monthly recipes.  Hopefully this problem is now fixed.  Please find any blogs you missed at link to blogs page.

May Recipe – Spring Veg Spelt Pizza

Serves 2 – 4

For the dough:

250g. wholemeal or white spelt flour
1 tsp. dried active yeast (I used easy blend)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for greasing the bowl

For the beetroot chutney:

1 x 250g. pack cooked beetroot in natural juices, drained
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 small red apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I actually didn’t peel mine)
75mls. red wine vinegar
100g. light brown soft sugar
1 tbsp. thyme leaves

For the topping:

125g. ricotta (I would actually use more of the 250g. tub)
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 tbsps. finely grated Parmesan
6 tbsps. olive oil
6 stalks broccoli (cut in half if large)
50g. frozen peas
a handful of rocket, plus extra to serve
2 tbsps. toasted pine nuts

For the dough, mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl.  Dissolve the honey in 125mls. warm water and add to the bowl with the olive oil.  Mix to make a rough dough, tip on to a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.  Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm.  Leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  I use my airing cupboard for dough rising.

For the chutney, reserve a small beat for the topping, chop the rest into 5mm. dice and put in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients.  Simmer uncovered for 35 minutes, stirring often, until the beets break down a little and the chutney is sticky.  Transfer to a bowl or sterilised jar.  The leftovers will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Preheat the oven to 240, fan 220, gas mark 9.  Mix the ricotta, garlic, 3 tbsps. of the Parmesan, 1 tbsp. olive oil and some crushed black pepper.  Finely slice the reserved beetroot.  Knock the dough back, turn out on to a lightly floured surface, cut in half and roll each piece to make a thin base about 18cm. x 30cm.  Transfer to separate floured baking sheets and spread half the ricotta mixture over each base, leaving a 1cm. border.

Boil the broccoli for 2 – 3 minutes and pat dry on kitchen paper.  Top each pizza with the broccoli and sliced beetroot, then add dollops of beetroot chutney and scatter over the rest of the Parmesan, drizzle with 1/2 tbsps. olive oil and cook for 15 minutes until the base is crisp.

Meanwhile, add the peas to a pan of boiling water and cook for 2 – 3 minute until tender.  Put the rocket, peas, pine nuts and 4 tbsps. olive oil in a blender and blend until finely chopped.  Drizzle over the pizzas and scatter with a handful of rocket.


  1. I made this last night and it was very nice but quite a lot of work.  You could easily use ready made beetroot chutney, or some other form of chutney (e.g. caramelised onion) instead of making your own.   
  2. The pea mixture which is added at the end is just like pesto so, again, instead of making your own, you could use a jar of ready made pesto and thus save time and trouble.
  3. You could obviously use frozen broccoli if you don’t have any fresh to hand.  This would stretch to feed 4 if you accompanied it with garlic bread and a salad.  If you are not a vegetarian you can, of course, use some meat on the topping.  I leave that up to you.
  4. It was a nice dough to handle, kneaded well but I did add slightly more water than the recipe said, not too much!  Spelt flour is considered to be easier to digest and I use it a lot.

April Recipe – Slow Cooked Lamb With Beans

Here is a lovely recipe for Easter, or any weekend come to that:

 Serves 6

500g. dried white beans (I used cannellini from Handley Organics)
4 onions, about 750g. quartered
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1 shoulder or leg of lamb (about 2kgs. in weight)
1 tbsp. oil
250mls. white wine
3 large sprigs of rosemary
3 tbsps. chopped parsley

Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of cold water.

They need to be pre-cooked, so put them in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes.  Drain and reserve the water.

Heat the oven to gas mark 3/ 170C.  Either finely chop the onions, garlic and carrot or blitz them in a food processor.  Sear the lamb in a roasting pan, until it takes on some colour and then remove.  Add the onion mush to the tin, and fry gently for 5 minutes.  Add the beans, stirring them in well and then pour in the wine and 1 litre of the reserved bean liquid.  Tuck the rosemary sprigs in and then place the lamb back on top of the beans.  Season with plenty of salt and bring to the boil.  When it starts to bubble, cover the tin with foil, baggily but with sealed edges and place in the oven for 4 hours or turn down the oven to gas mark 1 / 140C after 3 hours and leave for up to 8 hours.  It will be fine to eat after 3.

Remove the tin from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and transfer the lamb to a board.  Stir the beans and taste for  seasoning, then spoon into a large dish and carve the lamb into shreds and chunks and arrange on top.  sprinkle a little more salt over, scatter over the parsley and let people dig in.


There are so many beans in this that I do not think it needs any other vegetable,  Though Nigella, whose recipe it is, suggests a plain tomato salad to be served afterwards with a little Dijon mustard dressing.  Evidently she loves mustard with lamb!

I think some crusty bread might be nice myself.  Maybe even a green vegetable such as cabbage to go alongside.

I am cooking this myself on Easter Sunday. 

Happy Easter