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.

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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.

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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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Laverstoke Park Farm

Laverstoke Park Farm

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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Laverstoke wild boar

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.

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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.

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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.

All in One Sunday Breakfast

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 adultsbreakfast asparagus

Ingredients

Method

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.

Orange and Honey Pulled Gammon Recipe

orange and honey pulled gammon

Why should pulled pork get all the attention!

Serves 6

Ingredients

Method

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).

A Cut Above!

Do you know your meat cuts? Which steak to choose for a particular dish?

Beef is divided into large sections called primal cuts. These beef primal cuts, or “primals,” are then broken down further into sub-primals and then into individual steaks and other cuts.meat cuts illustration

The most tender cuts of beef, like the rib and tenderloin, are the ones furthest from the horn and the hoof. By contrast, the shoulder and leg muscles are worked the most, which makes them tougher.

Lets go through a few…

Sirloin Steak (1) also known as Entrecôte.

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A delicious flavoursome steak. Normally cut at 250gm. Easy and quick to fry or grill and great with a pepper, blue cheese or bernaise sauce. It has a strip of fat that runs along the top – this can be browned first, then the steak can be fried in the fat.

Sirloin is considered to be a prime steak, like fillet, but it has more flavour.

T-Bone Steak (2) thinner version of a Porterhouse Steak

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Sirloin on one side and fillet on the other, what a combination! Cut from the rear end of the joint. Make sure its cooked evenly, finish off cooking in the oven.

Perfect steak for sharing, with a slice of sirloin and fillet each.

Hanger Steak (3) also known as Onglet

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Once relatively underknown in the UK this has now become the cut of choice.

Cut this steak along the sinew to separate it into two and trim off the sinew.  You want to make sure that you cook it to medium-rare or medium. Unlike a ribeye steak, a hanger steak has a very coarse texture with a distinct grain running through it. Anywhere beyond medium, and it gets too rubbery to chew. Undercook it, on the other hand, and you get meat that is mushy and slippery. Rare hanger steak is simply not the same as rare tenderloin, ribeye, or strip. Use a thermometer, and cook it to the sweet spot between 51°C and 54ºC .

Bavette Steak (4) also known as Flank or Goose Skirt

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Part of the flank and like skirt, this steak has a full, rich flavour and should be cooked very quickly, served rare and sliced across the grain. This traditional old fashioned cut has made a comeback in British menu’s in recent years for it’s strong flavour.

A great cut for barbecuing.

Rib-Eye Steak (5) a boneless steak

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Cut from the rib this is a beautiful succulent steak ideal to cook on the bbq or in a griddle pan. Great with chips and salad.

You usually get two classic cuts from the rib, rib-eye (no bone) or cote de boeuf but there is a relative new steak – Tomahawk. This has a long rib bone, making it perfect for BBQ (it gives you something to hold while you eat it – caveman stylie).

Fillet (6) a totally tender boneless steak

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Fillet is prized as the most tender cut of all.  Ours have been described as “better than restaurant quality”.

With little or no fat, it is best served rare as you like. This is the cut used for carpaccio (the dish of raw meat, served thinly sliced).

Rump Steak (7) full of flavour

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Rump has lots of flavour and texture.  Totally opposite to fillet, rump can be cooked to whatever degree you like.

A great steak for griddling or frying with more flavour than sirloin.

doneness of steak

TIP

How to cook your steak the way you want it.

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!

 

February – What’s in Season?

It may be wet, windy and cold outside but fresh in from the veg patch is nothing but colour.  This months’ fresh produce is just full of yellows, oranges, purples and reds, it’s enough to will the sunshine back!

Season Citrus Fruit from Outside the UK

Seasonal Citrus Fruit from Outside the UK

The list of what’s good right now, from Farmer’s Choice, is surprisingly long:

Vegetables

Bananas*, Blood Oranges*, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage (red, white, green and Savoy), Cavolo Nero and Curly Kale, Celeriac, Chicory, Leeks, Lemons*, Limes*, Onions, Oranges*, Parsnips, Pineapple*, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Satsumas, Spring Greens, Swede

*In Season but not grown in the UK

Colourful Seasonal Veggies grown in the UK

Colourful Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

Fish and Game:

Crab, Haddock, Hake, Mackerel, Scallops, Rabbit, Turkey and Venison

How about some Simply cooked Hake with garlic butter on a bed of steamed curly kale or …Braised Venison with a warming Chilli and Chocolate Sauce…this can be eaten as a stew (just add potatoes or parsnips) or as a luxurious healthy cottage pie, top with mashed sweet potato.

Seasonal Braised Venison

Braised Venison

Lovely Low Fat, Low Calorie, Easy recipe that is full of flavour and good for you!

Take a look through our pages and enjoy eating the seasons.