Monthly Archives: July 2012

National Parks Week

Lake District / Cumbria - Wast Water

Ok, so our weather may be atrocious and some of our preferences and politics questionable, but I am fiercely proud of Britain.

Where else can you experience such varied and beautiful topography in such a small space; see such stunning architecture; experience genuine history and enjoy so much culture?

National Parks are amongst our genuine treasures, and places of which we can be justifiably proud. They are areas of protected countryside that everyone can visit, and where people live, work and shape the landscape.

The UK’s 15 National Parks are part of a global family of over 113,000 protected areas, covering 149 million square kilometres or 6% of the Earth’s surface.

There are 10 National Parks in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland:

■ England – Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the South Downs and the Broads which has equivalent status to a National Park.

■ Wales – Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia

■ Scotland – Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

Each park is so distinctly different and spectacular in its own way, it would be very difficult to choose a favourite (although I do delight in the towering crags of the Lakes and the delicacy of the wild flowers on the Pembrokeshire coast.)

This year’s National Parks Week is a celebration of our beautiful winning landscapes that have inspired mountaineers, sailors, cyclists, runners and Olympic athletes to aim higher and train harder.

Sebastian Coe, now Lord Coe and the man in charge of our 2012 Olympic Games, was brought up in Sheffield and used to train in the Peak District National Park before going on to win Olympic gold medals in Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984) and many other medals in a glittering athletic career.

The hope is that a visit to a National Park will inspire everyone to get fit and active too!
There are activities and events for all ages and abilities in all areas of Britain. See for more details.



Fat Rascals recipeAnd after all that exertion, you’ll need
some sustenance. Try these Fat Rascals,
which originate from one of the
National Parks; the North
Yorkshire Moors.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook.


P.S. The main image is Wast Water, Lake District.

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Fat Rascals

Fat Rascals recipeThere is lots of history behind these biscuits, and they may originally have been cooked on open turf or peat fires on Whitby Moor. 

Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 18 minutes
Calories per biscuit – 200 Kcal
Fat per biscuit – 9g of which saturated – 5.8g
Makes – 10
Suitable for vegetarians

Plain flour 250g (9oz)
Salt pinch
Butter 110g (4oz)
Currants 50g (2oz)
Light muscovado sugar 2 tbsp
Milk 3–4 tbsp
Caster sugar for sprinkling

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Butter a baking sheet.

2 Sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Rub in the butter, then stir in the currants and sugar. Add the milk and bind to form a dough. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface and then roll it out to about 1cm (1⁄2in) thick.

3 Use a 5cm (2in) cutter to cut out rounds and place them on the baking sheet. Re-roll and cut trimmings as necessary. Sprinkle caster sugar over the tops. Cook in the centre of the oven for 15–18 minutes. These will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook.

Summer Food Festivals

The Big Cheese

I love food festivals and I love fireworks and luckily this coming weekend, there’s an event that combines both!

Set in the shadows of one of Europe’s largest castles the town of Caerphilly comes to life as people of all ages come to The Big Cheese.

This festival is an extravaganza of street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, troubadours and of course, cheese!

It’s also British Food
fortnight, which
encourages us to
‘buy British’.

And how could we resist with such a wealth of fantastic local producers exhibiting their wares. There’s always so much to whet the appetite that it’s best to limit the money you take to a food fair or you will be dragging a suitcase-full of goodies home with you!

Here some more forthcoming foodie events (hopefully there’s one local to you). Enjoy!

Feast East
28 July, Linton, Cambridgeshire. Taste of Anglia’s 18th food and drink festival.

Clitheroe Food Festival
4 August, Clitheroe, Lancashire. A day fully packed with glorious, quality Lancashire produce and the Ribble Valley’s top chefs.

Tastefest Food & Drink Festival
18-19 August, Goudhurst, Kent. TasteFest will be celebrating food and drink from across the South East.

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival
18-19 August, Newchurch, Isle of Wight. A vast array of eats, sights and sounds to suit all tastes and ages.

Bolton Food Festival
24-27 August, Bolton, Lancashire. Cookery theatre and a speciality market offering great food and drink produce.

Big Onion Festival
25 August, Elveden, Suffolk.
Showcasing a host of local food and drink producers from the Suffolk area.

Newlyn Fish Festival
27 August, Newlyn, Cornwall. A stunning display of locally caught fish and seafood in this showcase of the best the region has to offer.

Celebrate cheesy British produce with one of these tasty snacks.

British Food Fortnight recipes

Cheese and Apple Parcels

Gloucester Cheese and Ale

Brie with Redcurrant Jelly


Brie with Redcurrant Jelly

Brie Cheese and Redcurrant JellyMade in Somerset, according to traditional French methods, Somerset brie is considered by many to be as fine as French brie, with its straw colour and creamy tangy flavour. Serve it coated in breadcrumbs, as a really simple, light lunch – delicious!

Preparation time – 5 minutes
Cooking time – 5 minutes
Calories per portion – 271 Kcal
Fat per portion – 21g of which saturated – 10.5g
Serves – 4
Suitable for vegetarians

Somerset brie 150g (5oz)
Egg 1, beaten
Fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs 50g (2oz)
Butter 25g (1oz)
Vegetable oil 1 tbsp
Redcurrant jelly 2 tbsp
Water 1 tbsp
Curly endive lettuce to serve
Redcurrants to garnish

1 Cut the cheese into four equal-sized slices. Dip in the beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs.

2 Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and fry the cheese slices for about 10 seconds on each side, until the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

3 Meanwhile, put the redcurrant jelly and 1 tbsp of water in a saucepan and heat gently until the jelly melts.

4 Place each cheese slice on a bed of lettuce and drizzle with redcurrant sauce. Garnish with the redcurrants and serve immediately.

Cook’s tip
Ensure the cheese is well chilled, otherwise it may melt before the breadcrumbs are crispy.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook

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Gloucester Cheese and Ale

Gloucester Cheese and AleAn English variation of Welsh rarebit, this filling snack was originally served after the meat course of the evening meal at inns or posting houses. These days, it is perfect for a light lunch, served with a tomato salad and a glass of real ale.

Preparation time – 5 minutes
Cooking time – 10 minutes
Calories per portion – 290 Kcal
Fat per portion – 16g of which saturated – 9.6g
Serves – 4
Suitable for vegetarians

Brown ale 150ml (1⁄4 pint)
Double Gloucester cheese 175g (6oz), grated
English mustard 1 tsp
Cornflour 2 tsp, blended in 1 tsp of water
Wholemeal bread 4 thick slices

1 Pour the brown ale into a saucepan and add the cheese, mustard and cornflour. Heat gently until the cheese has melted and the sauce thickens.

2 Meanwhile, toast the bread. Pour the warm ale and cheese over the toast (you might like to grill for a little extra colour at this stage), season to taste, and serve immediately.

Cook’s tip
Take care not to overheat, or the cheese and ale mixture may separate.

Recipe taken from Around Britain Dairy Cookbook

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Cheese and Apple Parcels

Cheese and Apple ParcelsSweet juicy apple goes well with this tangy regional cheese in a puff pastry case. Quick to make using ready-made puff pastry, these parcels make great picnic food. Serve with a herb and leaf salad.

Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes
Calories per parcel – 226
Kcal Fat per parcel – 15g of which saturated – 6.9g
Makes – 12 parcels
Suitable for vegetarians

Ready-made puff pastry 500g pack
Egg 1, beaten to glaze
Cheshire cheese 175g (6oz)
Dessert apples 1 large, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into small dice
Chopped parsley 4 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Make the filling. Crumble the cheese into a bowl and mix the apple into the cheese with the parsley and seasoning.

2 Roll out half the pack of pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and, using a saucer or bowl as a guide, cut out four, 12cm (5in) rounds. Stack the trimmings on top of each other then roll them out and cut out another two rounds.

3 Brush the edges of the circles with a little beaten egg then spoon some filling onto one side of each of the rounds. Fold the other side over the filling and press the edges together well to seal. Knock up the edges with a knife blade then flute them.

4 Place the pastries on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Score each pastry three to four times across the top. Bake for 15–20 minutes until risen and golden.

5 While the first batch of pastries is cooking, roll out the rest of the pastry and make the second batch, as above. Serve warm with salad.

Cook’s tips
Use a 600ml (1 pint) pudding basin as a size guide for cutting the pastry.
Cooking one batch at a time ensures a better rise for all the pastries rather than switching trays over halfway through cooking.

Recipe taken from
Around Britain Dairy Cookbook.

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