Summer’s not over yet!

The weather shows no sign of change as the kids prepare to go back to school, although I did see the first dewy morning as I left the house at first light.

bbq garden view people

BBQ’s are still very much an option for a quick fix evening meal – making the most of the warm evenings and family meals.  But, if you are after something different, why not try our recipe for turkey kebabs or chicken fajita packets.

chicken fajita Packets 2

234Our free range chicken nuggets are even easier, the kids sit down with your version of a home cooked takeaway and you could have our chicken kievs, filled with succulent garlic and herb stuffed chicken breast.

We have plenty of cooking sauces from chilli con carne using our grass fed award winning mince or our sausage and onion casserole using our free range pork sausages1054A

If you are looking for gluten free sauces, how about our Little Turban Curry Sauces, mild enough for the little ones or a little spicier for those wanting more heat.

We even have an Easy Cook page from Goulash to Sweet and Sour Chicken to make it that little bit easier.

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Escape to the New Forest this Summer

New Forest Escapes, rent five very special homes on or near the seaside in the New Forest National Park. They specialise in luxury, beautiful and eccentric properties, all have been designed to be a relaxing and interesting family bases from which to explore and enjoy the New Forest.
 
They have summer holiday availability and offers on breaks in July, August and September, starting from £40 per person per night at Eat me Drink me Cottage that sleeps 8 + kids.

Whether you’re wanting ‘Swallows and Amazons’ beach adventures for all the family or you’re coming to birdwatch, cycl the Forest or celebrate a milestone birthday. They can help you organise a story-teller to wow you with tales of Roman soldiers walking out of a parting sea, a chef to do an Alice in Wonderland tea, or just sandcastles, marshmallow cooking and sparklers on the beach – just ask.

Pitts Deep sleeps 9. Metres from the door is the amazing beach in the pics which few others visit or can reach. It is utterly glorious and still a hidden secret.

Pitts Deep Special Offers:

29th – 5 Aug. 7 nights.
12th – 19th Aug 7 nights.
26th – 2nd Sept 7 nights.

Was £3900 per week now £3600 per week. Or £514 per night, or £57pppn.

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Gins is right next to the Beaulieu River, and sleeps 8 + kids, in super-duper luxury. You can travel from here to Bucklers Hard by boat taxi and eat at The Master Builders Hotel with 10% off your food bill with our discount card. Perfect crabbing, reading and picnicing from the jetty which has a park bench on the pontoon on the end too….

Gins Special Offers:

25th -29th Jul. 4 nights.
Was £2000, now £1700. Or £500 per night, now £425 per night, or £53 pppn.

12th to 19th Aug.
19th-26th Aug.
26th-2nd Sept.
Was £3450p/wk now £3000. Or £53pppn

Or we can do short stays in these dates. Approx £500 per night.

5th to 7th Sept.
Was £2000, now £1700. Or £500 per night, now £425 per night, or £53 pppn.

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Don’t forget, you can get your locally sourced/produced food delivered by us and put away, just select what you want from the website and we will do the rest. How about a free range Sunday roast or a grass fed British steak on the BBQ.

Contact: www.newforestescapes.com    +07723319970 for more information.

Eat Local Stay Local

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.

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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.

Gins MF kitchen2

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.

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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.

Gins MF jetty back to house low res

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”.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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How to cook a whole leg of lamb

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

Whole 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.

Ingredients:
Whole Leg of Lamb
Olive Oil/Rapeseed Oil 3 tbsp
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
Garlic 6 Cloves
2 Steams Fresh Rosemary

Method:
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.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

How about serving your lamb with PINK’S Basil & Garlic Pesto

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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.

What’s In Season for March

The evenings are getting lighter, the days are becoming warmer and everyone can feel that Spring is right around the corner, even the birds know it, their morning song starts way before my alarm now!!!

Sure sign of Spring

Sure sign of Spring

Even the fruit and vegetables are starting to become spring like.  Right now the veg at its best is:

Cauliflower, Celeriac, Cabbages, Leeks, Parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli, spring onions, swede and young carrots.

Our purple sprouting broccoli and white sprouting broccoli are looking very fine. The white sprouting broccoli should be marked “fragile – handle with care”. With its tiny heads held within the tight curls of its protective leaves, this variety needs to be in the pot for even less time.

What about the Meat well…Think of Spring and Lamb comes to mind. Lamb recipes are full of the taste of spring and below are some cracking recipes created just for us, using our Free Range Meat.

A Simple Stew of Lamb – “I love the simple things in life. They always please, no matter what” – Marie Rayner

Navarin of Lamb – “The recipe was influenced by two other recipes, the memory of how a Colman’s casserole mix used to taste, plus what was already in the ingredients cupboard! So simple to make – the recipe works beautifully as the payoff in flavour is wonderful provided you cook it low and slow.” Jenny Davies

Lamb Koftas – This recipe is suitable for the AIP (autoimmune protocol diet), paleo, primal and elimination and clean eating diets. There are no grains, no dairy, no gluten – just a big plate of nutritious loveliness. – Jo Romero

Spring Lamb Salad  – A great treat for Lamb Lovers – Melanie Edjourian

Eat The Seasons!

 

Celebrating British Food

We have just come to the end of British Food Fortnight, the biggest annual celebration of British Food and Drink.
Buy British Food FortnightEvery year, since 2002, British Food Fortnight has become an opportunity to promote the benefits of buying and eating from our home produced British Larder.

Britain has so much to offer but it sometimes gets overshadowed by the supermarket giants and their ability to showcase ripe strawberries at the end of September! But with new labelling laws, we can now see where the food has come from – Peru, South Africa, Kenya, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and the list goes on. Have we all forgotten how to eat seasonally?

Choosing British means you will be supporting the local farmer/producer.

Take Charlotte Brown’s Handmade, Catch, Wild Island, Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, Hampshire Honey, Hampshire Chutney Co – all products are produced locally from produce collected within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Charlotte Browns Handmade

Catch Isle of Wight

Fruit and vegetables always seem to taste better when you know it has just been picked! It is also cheaper if bought in season than out of season. This also affects the carbon footprint.  Seasonal food = Local = little or no carbon footprint, Out of Season Food = more expensive to cover the cost of transportation and freezing or chilling = large carbon footprint.

Wild Island Dressing from Isle of Wight

Cold Pressed Oil Company Ltd

Farmer’s Choice has teamed up with local farmers and producers to bring you the best Britain has to offer. A very high percentage of our products come from Hampshire/The Isle of Wight/the South Downs, and all our meat is British Free Range, reinforcing our ethos of Supporting the British Farmer!

Eat Seasonably Chart

Eating British fruits and vegetables in season is better for your health and your pocket. Foods in season contain the nutrients and minerals that our bodies need at particular times of the year.

British beef and sheep industries are the envy of the world; sometimes exporting our breeding livestock as they are much sought after by farmers in other countries. Our British chicken is the safest chicken meat in Europe!

British pig farmers operate by UK law to standards of welfare that are higher than those of nearly every other EU member state. “Buying pork that is not British means there is a 70% chance that it comes from a farming system that would be illegal in Britain” – extract taken from Love British Food. Farmer’s Choice make sure that not only is all our meat British but it is ALL CERTIFIED FREE RANGE.

Enjoy your Delivery

Mother Nature shows us that at the moment, apples, courgettes, cabbage, cauliflower, plums and squash are all in season.  With the change in temperatures comes the change to our diet, it’s time to dust off the slow cookers and build up that immune system ready for the temperature drops.

We have lots of seasonal recipes online for you to cook your local, seasonal produce, delivered by Farmer’s Choice, direct to your door!

Farmer's Choice Free Range Ltd

Godshill Orchards – Isle of Wight

Thatched Cottages in Godshill

Godshill is a picturesque English Village with a medieval church, thatched-roofed cottages and winding main street, boasting some of the oldest architecture on the Isle of Wight.

It can justifiably feel proud that it has within its parish boundaries the only cherry orchard on the Isle of Wight.

Godshill Orchards

Back in 1992 the cherry orchard was conceived, planned and implemented by two well known, distinguished native Islanders and the following year the husbandry of the enterprise passed into the hands of the Medway Family.

The Medway Family, initially from West Wight, formed a partnership with the Pierce family and continue to improve the proud record of cherry production on the island.

Rob Medway and Stuart Pierce (with the support of their families) tend the orchard which contains about 5000 trees, varieties include Colney, Hertford, Lapins, Merton Merchant, Merton Glory, Sasha, Stella, and Sunburst.

Cherry Trees bursting with life

We initially had a flying visit to the orchard at Easter but it wasn’t until we went back in the middle of May that the trees were showing signs of the juicy fruit.

Cherries

Rob and his son Simeon took us on a tour of the orchard showing us the fruits of their labour.

These little fruits come with so many old wives tales and claims. Rob has researched these and published a book on his findings – “The Compleat Cherry”.

We all know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” but Rob’s research turned up information that cherries may be even better for us. From arthritis to inflammation, eye care to blood pressure the cherry, it would appear, is a super fruit.

Cherry Blossom

The cherry season is from the middle of June until the beginning of August, but with new varieties introduced this could extend the season by a further couple of weeks – good news for us not so much for the pickers.

Cherries need to be picked quickly and put into the cold store. They are picked in the evenings when it’s cooler then put into the cold room from where they are sold/moved to the mainland the next day – Fresh and Local.

After a very nice slice of homemade ginger cake and a cup of tea we were driven to a secret location on the Island to see their latest venture – APRICOTS. UK grown apricots. 1 of only 3 known orchards in the UK to grow apricots and the size of this orchard makes them the biggest apricot producers in the UK.

Apricot Orchard on the Isle of Wight

Back in 2010 they planted 10,000 trees but it would be a further 3 years before they saw any fruit – that’s a long time to wait to see if you’ve got it right but, with the assistance of the apricot growers in France, this year will see a harvest.

Growing Apricots

Simeon, Rob’s son, is in charge of this orchard and tells us it’s been a steep learning curve.  He had recently gone through the orchard thinning out the fruit, which would appear wasteful, especially after a few years of no fruit, but it is a necessity to produce a tasty fruit for picking this year.

Thinning out the Apricots

Apricots should be available from the 14th July and we will keep you informed as to when they arrive.

They will also be growing green gages and pluots (a cross between a plum and an apricot) – so watch this space.

Along with this delicious fruit, they also produce Coulis, JamsChutneys and Juice– each one just as tasty and moreish as the fruit.

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