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

Ledbury Celebration & Food & Farming Awards

We have some sad news and an opportunity for you to recognise a local food hero.

Ledbury Celebration

Our now traditional annual food festival in Ledbury on the last day of the Ledbury Poetry Festival in early July has become an extremely popular event featuring the very best of local food alongside fabulous live poetry and music, and a taste of heritage.

We were unable to run the Celebration last year due to the Covid emergency, and after looking at all the options we regret that we are again not able to run the event this year. 

There are still too many risks and uncertainties for a small group like the Ledbury Food Group to take on running such an event, which depends for its atmosphere and success on the free and safe circulation of its many visitors and producers.

Please continue to support our local food and drink producers and retailers – we will continue to gather information on what you can buy or order and from whom on our Local Food Information page.   Look out for our updates as and when restrictions are eased.


Hereford Times Food and Farming Awards 2021

Do you have a Local Food Hero?

Perhaps a local food supplier who has helped you through the past year? 

Perhaps a local food retailer whose produce and service is consistently special?

Or do you have a favourite local café or restaurant? Perhaps one who has gone the extra mile?

You can now nominate your favourite Food Retailer, Farm Shop, Restaurant Café or Tea Room or Producer for recognition in this year’s Hereford Times Food and Farming Awards.

To find out how to nominate your favourite visit: www.herefordtimes.com/awards/foodandfarming

Full details of how to enter are there and are also available in the Hereford Times newspaper with an entry form for posting.

Nominations close at midday on Thursday 8th April.

The Ledbury Big Breakfast at Home – This weekend!

It’s now time to start planning for your special Big Breakfast at Home for Big Breakfast weekend – Friday to Sunday 29th to 31st January. 

To help you we’ve collected a range of breakfast recipes including one from Chris at the Scrumpy House Restaurant – click here to view.

Whether you are treating yourself by cooking up a recipe, or assembling a breakfast e.g. your own Ledbury Big English Breakfast, we have local shops selling locally produced food to “build” your breakfast at home including:

  • Our local butchers – Gurneys (The Homend), Waller’s (The Homend) and LDA Meats for bacon, sausages, eggs, black pudding and ham, much locally produced.
  • Handley Organics (High Street) for large range of cereals and nuts to make porridge or a “Ledbury” muesli, local jams, bread flours, organic dairy products, fruit and vegetables.
  • Ceci Paolo (High Street) with Herefordshire yogurt, local cheese, locally smoked fish, bread flours and lots of other breakfast options.
  • The Nest (Hereford Road) with its huge range of local produce to choose from plus its special Homemade Scotch Eggs. Check the Nest on Facebook for any special offers.
  • Our two greengrocers Jenkins (The Homend) and The Fruit and Veg Shop (Bye Street) may still have local apples and pears as well as the normal range of fruit and vegetables.
  • The Ledbury Country Market – on Friday 29th January 10am to 12noon – featuring its normal range plus charcuterie and dim sum.

And if you don’t want to cook you can order a takeaway (call and collect) from the Scrumpy House Restaurant at Westons, Much Marcle (Phone 01531 660626).

Details of shops that can provide deliveries or call and collect can be found on our Local Food Information page.  Please order in good time to avoid disappointment.

Please observe Government regulations when shopping and in the home.

Share your breakfast with others by social media or Zoom – not in person!

Send us pictures of your special meal to bb@ledburyfoodgroup.org – we will put the best on our website.


Enjoy your breakfast!

Almost but not quite – no Big Apple 2020 for Much Marcle

The apples are coming in, the presses are at work, and it’s almost that time when the Big Apple has welcomed visitors to the Marcle Ridge for the past thirty years.  But, sadly, not in 2020.  The event, which was scheduled for 10th and 11th October, has been cancelled.  The community organisation behind the Big Apple had come up with a programme and a delivery plan designed to keep the event within COVID-19 secure guidelines, but the latest changes proved a step too far.  “We’ve been outrun by the virus”, said spokesman Jackie Denman.  “We’d like to thank the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council for their advice and support – they really tried to help us make it happen.  In the end, the decision to cancel was our own.  The timing just wasn’t right.”

Messages of support followed the announcement late last week.  “Everyone agreed that we had made the right decision, but they also took the trouble to tell us that we would be much missed.”

This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards, to see, hear and smell cider being made and to taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar for many people.  Apple growers and cider makers depend heavily on events for sales of their produce, and almost all had already been cancelled.   “We tried so hard to keep the Big Apple going, especially because we were almost the only apple event that was still in this year’s calendar.  We’ve put a special area on our website at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2020/, with information about the producers that would have been there, and some ways to get hold of their produce.”  Many familiar Big Apple venues are there, including Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding, Lyne Down, Pope’s Perry, Westons, Dragon Orchard and Jus Apple Juice.

A Poem from Sara-Jane Arbury

The Big Apple has started to plan its events for 2021, including Blossomtime on 2nd/3rd May and Harvestime on 9th/10th October.

Support our local cider makers!

This May holiday weekend should have been the Big Apple’s thirtieth year of running Blossomtime in Putley, but sadly it won’t be happening this year.  This annual opportunity to enjoy the orchards full of apple blossom and to taste many different local ciders, perries and apple juices has become an established part of the calendar in this corner of Herefordshire. 

The new product from last year’s harvest is becoming ready to drink – and there’s no stopping it!  Many craft makers depend on local events and tourism and hospitality businesses to sell their cider, perry and apple juice – and so they are taking a big hit from lockdown. 

This year’s blossom is the start of next year’s cider – but first there is a need to sell last year’s stock.  Normally, Putley Parish Hall would have been heaving with visitors buying cider, perry and apple juice.  The nine producers who had arranged to be there have been working hard to find extra ways to make their drinks available within the licensing laws – whether that is through online orders, local deliveries, click and collect, farm shops and village stores.  

So the Big Apple is supporting them through a special information area on their website at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/blossomtime-2020/.  Many regular Big Apple venues are to be found there including Once Upon a Tree, Gregg’s Pit, Woodredding Farm, Pope’s Perry, Yew Tree Farm and Jus Apple Juice.  And two special guests who each won awards at last year’s Big Apple Cider and Perry Trials: Bartestree Cider, last year’s Champion Perrymaker, and Halfpenny Green Cider, winner of the bottle fermented/conditioned cider.  So please support our local makers.  Take a look to find out how you can get hold of your favourite tipple – or try something new – or better still, try several! 

This piece has been provided by the Big Apple Association

April Recipe – Ginger Simnel Cake with Spring Flowers

I made this rather different Simnel Cake one Easter when our friends were coming to stay and it was voted a big hit with all concerned.  I just hope that with the present odd shopping situation, you will be able to buy all the necessary ingredients.  I won’t be making one this year as we have so much Christmas cake left.  My husband has been on a very strange diet – low fibre – and unable to eat dried fruit.  I make my Christmas cake for him, so there is a lot left!

Slightly different this month as the recipe is on the BBC’s “Good Food” website – use the link below to get to it:


Ginger Simnel Cake with Spring Flowers

Wishing you all a happy Easter, although I realise it will be far from normal.

Full details of the Ledbury Big Breakfast now available

Trumpet Corner Tea Room 2019

Join us for Ledbury’s Celebration of Breakfast over the weekend of Friday 31st January, Saturday 1st February and Sunday 2nd February – the 8th Ledbury Big Breakfast.

19 local venues in and around Ledbury are taking part on one or more days in this event organised by Ledbury Food Group to celebrate our local food and drink producers and retailers and a healthy breakfast. The event takes place at cafes, pubs, hotels, butchers and delis in and around Ledbury.

Again there is lots of choice from the lightest to the heaviest breakfast including eggs in all ways, a breakfast stack, a “fruity oat jar”, homemade baked beans, haddock with muffins, avocado and bacon, cider sausages with trimmings, breakfast baps, marshmallow pancakes, kedgeree, celeriac rosti, a vegan fry-up and locally produced charcuterie. Continue reading “Full details of the Ledbury Big Breakfast now available”