Thursday 1 March 2012

London here we come.....

Off to London today with my fabulous friend Ruth Waters of  Coco Bean Wales...maker of scrumptious award winning brownies...I say, award winning don'tcha know!! We'll be selling our wares on the Southbank in London as part of the Real Food Festival's St Davids Day celebrations for Wales in London Week.Been baking like the clappers all week to make sure I have enough stock to take...did I forget to mention that hubby is off to beautiful Saundersfoot  harbour this Sat & Sun for the Spring Food you can imagine the cooking that has gone on this week. Have got mini Bara Brith loaves all boxed up and a mountain of the welsh rarebit muffins....amongst lots of  other goodies..

Having never driven through London before, Ruthie is going to drive up and I'll drive us home...can't miss us, we'll be the ones causing chaos on the roads in London tonight, might catch us on the news!!! (hopefully not)
After the rugby result last weekend we'll also be wearing our Welsh jerseys with pride...ok, so Ruth is from Essex but no matter, I've just told her to let me do the talking as I sound Welsh enough for the pair of us. In fact I had a tweet from my friend today saying how great it was that 'Stella' has been such a success on tv and that my chances of being understood when in London have greatly improved..cheek!!

Myself and Ruth plan on working a lot more together in the future and have even come up with the most fantastic dessert combining our talents....more news to follow on that. Check out her website and online shop at .  I can personally recommend the brownies and her own recipe chocolate bars...I'm especially fond of a salted toffee brownie or two.....or three (when it's that sort of day!)

Will be posting pics and reports of the London trip on Twitter as we go through the just got to finish  packing, mustn't forget sweeties for the journey...hmmm...can't go wrong with a Murry mint in my where did I put those daffodils & my flag..../.....??

Sunday 19 February 2012

Bad,bad blogger......

.....and I thought keeping a blog would be fine and dandy & could update every couple of days or wrong was I??
Been keeping busy these last few (ahem) weeks since I last blogged. Regular produce markets we attend have been fairly quiet but the shops we supply have been busier.Not normally this busy early in the year, maybe it's down to the fact we've had a mild winter and people are out and about a bit more....not complaining,mind you.
    Have had time to make a few cakes and have been making 1 or 2 a week since early January. It's something I love doing, creating a unique cake for someone's special occasion that they can't get anywhere else.I can really only do them the beginning of the year as once Easter comes it's food festival silly season and I don't have the time. The cake this week was a 3 tier Toy Story themed one, stood nearly 2 foot high and weighed a ton! (12",10" & 8") But it's one of those big, showy off cakes,just right for a big party...colours lovely and bright & I was very pleased with my 'Rex' on top

   Application forms for food festivals have come in early this year...a lot of them seem to clash,which is a real shame.We'll be doing many of them for the 3rd year running and a couple of newbies!  Really chuffed we've been able to get into Ludlow Spring Festival this year. A few of the festivals organisers like you to apply now and complete paperwork to express an interest...but the thing is, they don't let you know that you've been accepted  for quite a while and in the meantime another  event has been booked in it's place.
   Trade exhibition day at Withybush showground on Tuesday...Ryan will be there, not that we have a lot of spare time to supply another business mind you!  Next weekend is the Get Welsh in Swansea 2 day festival, Sat & Sun....we'll be in Castle Square, find us by the fountain ( Note to self : remember not to drink too much coffee this year ...sound of running water & all that!!)

   Back to cakes, and how is this for a monster wedding cake...apprently it's 17 foot tall weighs 15.032 pounds which is heavier  than 5 Volkswagon beetles and can feed over 59,000 people. Made in Connecticut for an attempt at the Guiness World Record ...had to be American didn't it?!

Sunday 22 January 2012

Food Fair at The National Botanic Gardens of wales

Next weekend we'll be back at the beautiful national Botanic Gardens of Wales, warm & cosy in The Great Glasshouse, for a Food Fair, showcasing the best local produce in the area...that'll include us then!  We'll have the usual delicious mix of sweet & savoury food...we're also serving our award winning chicken & coriander curry, hot with rice .It's the last weekend for free entry too!

Take a look at the Botanic's website...many events through the year, including the West Wales Food Festival   May 12th &13th ...

Right... now off to walk the dog & kids... the weathers' quite good today...will go down to the beach I think,then back to baking!

New Ideas & an old pud

 Did the first farmers market of the year at Penclawdd yesterday...other markets started earlier but we usually find that the beginning of January is too soon for customers to want to buy anything much, as we're all still using up the Christmas food!
  We used that time to revamp the website ( still doing it!) and for Ryan to be taking new photos of our food, designing new flyers,labels and leaflets for the year.
     The cost of getting photos taken, leaflets, banners etc varies quite a bit and was something I had no idea of when we first started. But just being able to change the website as and when we want to... to add photos or text and  to be able to keep it looking 'fresh', ourselves, is fantastic and so much cheaper. On the down side it does take a lot of time and you have to take that into account ... whether it's better to pay and to hand that side of things over to someone else while you get on with the day job.

  The market wasn't too bad for the first one of the year..had a chance to take our new chiller unit with us which is a hell of a lot easier for displaying the pasties,curries etc. Had great reports from customers who'd had my Christmas cakes...I always like to hear that!  Despite the fact that many people are on diets this time of year, the luxury, boozy rum & sultana bread and butter pudding I'd baked went down a storm.  


 It's based on an old Gary Rhodes recipe that I've tweaked slightly over the years and you always have the option of adding rum as I did yesterday...brandy or sherry or whiskey works well too, for a little winter warming effect of course! One of the main points for a smooth set custard is to bake the pud in a water bath, I think it's very important for a  proper silky custard....that and don't overbake, otherwise you'll end up with scrambled egg!
Variations are endless, use white bread, brioche or panettone...spread the buttered slices with with marmalade,chocolate spread...add berries, mixed spice or'll always have something in the cupboards that'll  transform this humble pud.

 Here's the basic recipe as printed in The Telegraph it's enough for 6 or 8 generous portions


12 medium slices white bread, crusts cut off
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 vanilla pod or a few drops of vanilla essence
400ml double cream
400ml milk
8 egg yolks
175g caster sugar, plus extra for the caramelised topping
25g sultanas
25g raisins

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Butter the bread. Split the vanilla pod, place in a saucepan with the cream and milk and bring to the boil. While it is warming up, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl.
Allow the cream mix to cool a little. Strain it on to the egg yolks, stirring all the time, to make the custard.
Cut the bread into triangles, or halves, and arrange in the dish in three layers, sprinkling the fruit between two layers and leaving the top clear. Pour over the warm custard, lightly pressing the bread to help it soak in, and leave it to stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before cooking, to ensure the bread absorbs all the custard.
The pudding can be prepared to this stage several hours in advance and cooked when needed.
Place the dish in a roasting tray that is three quarters filled with warm water and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the pudding begins to set. Don't overcook it or the custard will scramble.
Remove the pudding from the water bath, sprinkle it liberally with caster sugar and glaze under the grill on a medium heat or with a gas gun to a crunchy, golden finish. 

Tuesday 17 January 2012


Hello & welcome to our blog! The plan is to be able to tell you all about our travels around the country as a small food producer, at various food festivals and events...and what it's like to be a foodie on the move.
I'll be telling you about other food producers we know & meet, putting links to their website for you to read more about the people & the lovely food that's available out there...and some of the best festivals to visit.
  I'll do my very best to put regular posts on's just warming up for the year now but from Spring onwards things get a bit frantic & I'll be playing catchup!

  Apart from that, let's not forget about my love of cooking..anything and everything,all things sweet & savoury, the more varied the better.Always on the hunt for new recipes and ingredients and I really enjoy a good nose through old dusty cookery books to turn up a gem of a recipe!
I love a good natter about cooking and the chance to swap a few tips and recipes, so please,comment away - send any old or unusual recipes you have or tried and trusted ones are often the best.As I tell people, I'm not a chef, I'm a cook. Feeding family & friends is what makes me..and them.. happy!

If you take a look at our website you'll find a lot of info about our food and where you'll find us.Ryan (hubby) is master of his website,that's his territory..this little blog will be mine and a chance to add a few pics,bits&pieces as we go through the year.....hope you enjoy!  

Friday 13 January 2012

What started as .."I'll just have a quick look at this blog writing malarky & maybe I'll  have a go.....has turned into "It's 1.30 in the morning and I've been at this for 4 hours!!!"  How time flies when you're fiddling about with templates,fonts & colours....far too much choice for someone like me.....

Thursday 12 January 2012

So Masterchef started again this week, been a fan of that show since the early Lloyd Grossman days. Would have loved to have a go - but no way brave enough to try...that invention test would finish me off!
   Then again,that's really how my interest  in cooking started...  by necessity.
   I moved away from home in 1987 to start my student nurse training, in those days it meant living in shared student nurse accomodation with 62 others. The individual rooms in the old building were spread over two floors, with one small kitchen on each floor...with just a tiny 4 ring, temperamental  electric cooker and one of those huge first generation microwaves! In brown, they were always brown.....A few of us would get together and pool our food resources.We all had a small fridge in our rooms but they rarely contained anything resembling a decent meal..but if you wanted a party, the drinks were there! We'd gather in the kitchen,putting our various bits of food which were at various stages of (ahem) freshness  and try to work out what we could cook that's what I call an invention test.
      Ever had a curry with beefburgers,tofu & swede? No? well I have and it wasn't too bad....wonder what John and Greg would make of that!!