When it comes to things to do, places to visit and food to eat, you can’t beat Hampshire! Offering a wealth of attractions and events for all the family, from messing around on the water, wildlife walks deep in the heart of the New Forest, to a picnic full of Hampshire produce to enjoy on those perfect summer days.
Hampshire offers miles of idyllic countryside to explore, stretching from the South Downs National Park in the east to the New Forest National Park in the west and the North Wessex Downs in the north of the county.
With its unique mixture of rolling hills, chalk streams, country parks and bustling market towns, Hampshire’s countryside offers the perfect rural escape for short breaks or day visits for all the family.
We’ve teamed up with New Forest Escapes a small team who rent five homes on or near the seaside in the New Forest National Park. They specialise in luxury, beautiful and eclectic properties, all of which have a touch of magic. Each has a properly well set up kitchen and enough kit to cook and serve smart meals.
Would you like to arrive at your holiday destination, put down your bags and relax without having the hassle of going to the supermarket? How would you like your holiday food waiting for you when you arrive, already packed away? We are pleased to offer a unique local food and drink service supplying the best Hampshire has to offer, delivered and packed away at your holiday destination.
From five very special cottages on offer, catering from 6 – 10 people, from Beaulieu to Lymington – whether you’re wanting ‘Swallows and Amazons’ beach adventures for the all the family or you’re coming to birdwatch, cycle the Forest or celebrate a milestone birthday, New Forest Escapes help busy families create slow holidays. All holiday places have been designed to be relaxing and interesting family bases from which to explore and enjoy the New Forest.
Rachel, who runs the business, says, “Mainly I’m a match-maker. I match houses and people every day. Family get-togethers and 70th birthdays are our mainstay and we go out of our way to help busy people create slow holidays, full of cheap (and luxury) thrills. I signpost people to story-tellers, help organise Alice in Wonderland teas, or just tell people where the best sandcastle and marshmallow cooking beaches are near or at our houses. It’s great fun. We have very creative guests and I especially love helping people cook outside or find fab private picnic spots”.
Rachel says, “Our top picnic spots are:
1: on the beach at Pitts Deep Cottage. It’s 2 hours from London and has a beach 10 metres from the front door. The beach has private access so there are rarely other people there. It faces the Isle of Wight and gets all the evening sun – amazing for foodie treats and picnics”.
2: on the Gins Barn jetty (80 metres into the Beaulieu River). Great for low key picnics and it’s just the best place to read a book, nibble on cheese and biscuits, drink some good wine and boat-watch the passing traffic.
3: bonfire in the garden at Eat me Drink me Cottage with the kids. This is a great house for families with lots of kids than like to run wild. It sleeps 10, has a giant trampoline and best of all a bonfire area. Kids can forage for wood. Make their own fire. Cook their own sausages and scoff them down with hunks of fresh bread and tomato sauce. Then roast marshmallows for pudding before racing to the beach 1 km away down the lane and tracking the wild ponies that live there. Heaven.
It’s lovely to get away, but sometimes you want the freedom of your own place, in beautiful surroundings, and with all the comforts of home. What could be better than having fabulous British free range food from Hampshire/South Downs/Isle of Wight to enjoy on your Hampshire holiday!
When booking a holiday with New Forest Escapes enter NFE30 at the checkout to receive a discount.
In April, we spent a glorious afternoon being shown around the vast Laverstoke Park Farm owned by 70’s race icon Jody Scheckter. It couldn’t be farther from the F1 race tracks if it tried (although, during the month of August the farm turns over a few fields to CarFest, the brainchild of Chris Evans, in the name of Children in Need!).
Jody started his organic/biodynamic farm in North Hampshire, in 1996, wanting to produce the best-tasting, healthiest food without compromise for himself and his family. However, he soon realised that as a smallholder this meant he and his family would be eating beef continuously for eight weeks whenever a cow was slaughtered. It was at this point he decided to make the same food available to the public.
Out of pure curiosity, Jody went on a trip to see water buffalo. The more he learnt about them, from their higher-protein milk, and lower cholesterol meat, to their naturally curious and tactile nature, the more he knew that he wanted to have Asian water buffalo at the farm. They are called Water Buffalo as in the wild they inhabit swampy, wet areas.
Reared in large straw bedded yards, or grassy paddocks, the young buffalo are fed on a completely natural diet of hay, straw, a blend of GM free cereals or grass from clover rich pastures. Buffalo is full flavoured and tender. It can be prepared much the same way as beef without special handling. Buffalo meat is a tasty alternative to beef.
All the parks wild boar, live their entire lives outside, producing leaner meat which has a richer taste than pork. Wild boar are subject to the Dangerous Animals Act and are kept in a purpose-built outdoor facility incorporating some woodland, keeping them in as natural an environment as possible. From 2008 Laverstoke Wild Boar has not only gained numerous Great Taste Awards but also a Good Pig Award from Compassion for World Farming.
Today his farm holds 1,500 buffalo, 400 cattle (Traditional Hereford and Aberdeen Angus), Wild Boar (The original pig), Middle White rare pigs, 800 ancient breed of Hebridean sheep, chickens, turkeys, a vineyard, walled garden producing organic vegetables and herbs, soil laboratory, pet food and an Education Centre (which has already seen 10,000 children from nursery, primary, secondary, colleges and organisations such as Scouts. No longer a small holding, this farm utilises everything from the soil up.
The farm also has a licensed seven acre site to make their own compost and compost teas (liquid compost), producing around 40,000 tons of compost annually. They even take in green council waste. This is then monitored in their state-of-the-art laboratory and once finished turned back onto the farm for nutrients. This further enriches the soil for them to produce a ‘mixed salad’ containing 31 different herbs, clovers and grasses, feed for their animals. The team believe “you are not what you eat but what your animals eat”. So this near perfect soil goes a long way to helping produce their own feeds as much as possible.
Jody and his team are currently in the process of making sparkling wine (it cannot be called champagne for the obvious reasons). At present this is not for public consumption although we were told it was very very nice!
The 2500 acres of Laverstoke Park Farm and the parkland at Laverstoke are certified as biodynamic by Demeter and is classed as organic by the Soil Association. The team have established the only licensed Soil Foodweb Laboratory in Europe to study the activity of different groups of beneficial micro-organisms in the soil.
This recipe is perfect for those slow rising Sunday mornings. All you require is a hot oven and a large roasting pan – oh, and this seasons British Asparagus.
Serves 2 adults
- 250g Back Bacon Dry Cure
- 300g Asparagus
- 250g Mixed Baby Plum Tomatoes
- 200g Baby Leaf Spinach
- 250g Button Mushrooms
- Free Range Eggs
- 1 tbsp Chilli Infused Rapeseed Oil
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line your largest backing tray with greaseproof paper and drizzle with oil.
Lay the bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and asparagus evenly in the tray and place in the oven. After 10 mins turn the bacon and return the oven for another 10.
Remove from the oven and push the bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and asparagus to one end. Add the Baby Leaf Spinach and make a couple of holes for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the holes and return to the oven until the eggs are cooked (about 4 mins).
Remove and serve with crusty bread and a large cup of tea. Enjoy!
Store asparagus in the fridge with a damp paper towel wrapped around the bottom of the stalks and you can get away with keeping it for a couple of days.
Farmers Choice Free Range Ltd awarded for contribution to farm animal welfare
We are pleased to announce that Farmers Choice has been awarded a Good Egg Award by Compassion in World Farming in recognition of our commitment to laying hen welfare.
Compassion’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards recognise food companies that are making it their policy to produce and source higher welfare eggs, meat and dairy produce.
Compassion has run its flagship scheme, the Good Egg Award, since 2007 to celebrate organisations that source only cage-free eggs. The programme has now expanded to include the Good Chicken Award, launched in 2010, the Good Dairy Award in 2011 and the Good Pig Award in 2012.
Over 287 million hens, chickens, pigs and dairy cows and calves are now set to benefit each year as a result of award winners’ policies.
“We seek to source all our requirements (food, ingredients and other consumables) in a ‘responsible’ way, and in line with our values. To source local and seasonal produce to support British businesses, reduce haulage costs and the environment impact of transport” Director – Farmers Choice.
We source our eggs from Blackacre Farm and they are passionate about producing award-winning free range eggs that are delicious and nutritious. They have been farming for over 35 years and understand that truly free range hens, ducks and quails lay the very best eggs, and we totally agree.
Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming said: “It is so great to see Farmers Choice taking animal welfare into consideration as part of their sourcing policy. Higher welfare produce isn’t just the responsibility of the large corporations, but something that can be achieved at all levels. Well done to Farmers Choice Free Range Ltd – keep up the good work!”
Why should pulled pork get all the attention!
- 800g gammon joint
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, unpeeled
- 1 orange, cut into 3 chunky slices
- 1 tbsp runny honey
Put your slow cooker on to high. Unwrap the gammon joint and place it in the bottom of the pot of your slow cooker. Fill with water until the gammon is just covered and drop in the bay leaves, the garlic bulb and the orange slices. Replace the lid and leave to cook for three hours.
Once the three hours are up, carefully lift out the gammon joint using two forks, onto a roasting tray lined with a sheet of foil. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200ºC.
Carefully remove the string the joint is tied up with, and most of the fat, making sure to leave a thin layer of the fat still on the joint. Drizzle the honey over the top of the gammon joint, over the remaining fat, and slide it into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it during this time, you don’t want the honey to caramelise too much and burn.
Once you can see that the honeyed gammon joint is golden on top and sizzling, take it out, transfer to a plate or board and then shred it with a couple of forks. Serve straight away.
Perfect served hot, as it is, straight out of the oven – but it’s also perfect cold in a salad or breakfast hash with vegetables.
Get your ingredients online with our Easy Recipe Shopper
This is a fantastic Recipe from @joromerofood (twitter).
Nothing beats the tenderness and flavour of lamb at Easter. But, are you worried that you are going to overcook it, I mean, it’s not the cheapest cut of meat.
Worry not, this is by far, the easiest cut of meat to cook. Look no further for a fuss free approach to a perfectly cooked leg of lamb.
How to Cook your Leg of Lamb
This is a really tender cut so no need to over season or marinate it. Just season with herbs and garlic.
Remove the lamb from the fridge and allow to get to room temperature. This promotes faster, more even cooking.
Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking so it comes to room temperature.
Rub the lamb with olive oil/cold pressed rapeseed oil. Set the lamb in a rack inside a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and rub into the fat and meat.
Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Turn on the grill and position a rack below so that the top of the meat is a few inches from the grill element. Grill the lamb for 5 minutes or until the top of the lamb leg looks seared and browned.
Flip the lamb over and put back under the grill for 5 minutes or until the other side is seared.
Take the lamb out of the grill. Position the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Crush the garlic and rosemary leaves and rub into the top of the lamb.
Cover the roasting tin loosely with foil to keep the garlic and rosemary from burning. Put the lamb in the oven and cook at 160ºC, 325°F, Gas Mark 3 for one hour.
Take the lamb’s temperature and remove the foil. (Refer to the cooking suggestions for general roasting times)
Continue cooking the lamb (uncovered) until it reaches your preferred internal temperature. Check the temperature every 20 minutes until done.
Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
How about serving your lamb with PINK’S Basil & Garlic Pesto
Internal Temperatures for Bone-In Leg of Lamb
All of these cooking times take into account the fact that we grill the lamb first to sear it. They also assume a resting period of at least 15 minutes, during which the lamb actually continues cooking internally.
REMEMBER! These times are only guidelines. Depending on many factors, your lamb leg may roast slower or faster. Check after one hour and then continue roasting, checking frequently, until the lamb reaches your desired internal temperature.
Roasting Temperature: 160ºC, 325°F, Gas Mark 3
Rare: 51ºC (about 15 minutes per pound)
Medium-Rare: 57ºC (about 20 minutes per pound)
Medium: 60ºC (about 25 minutes per pound)
Well-Done: 73ºC (about 30 minutes per pound)
What is a Leg of Lamb? It is one of the back haunches of the animal, and the most common cut includes the upper part of the leg only. (Think of the thigh, without the lower part of the leg). For this recipe we suggest bone in, for the flavour. The bones hold so much flavour (think of rich stocks – all made from cooking with the bones). If you are concerned about carving a joint with the bone in, we have boneless and rolled.