23 January 2014

Earl Grey Butter Biscuits

Photo: © childsdesign
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It's amazing how so few ingredients can go towards making such a delicious treat and these butter biscuits are very easy to make. No need to worry about having lots of space to roll out dough, as these biscuits require such a simple method to shape them. Just by pressing a fork on the dough to flatten them, gives a good shape with a pleasing ridged pattern on top – perfect for catching the sugar crystals for added crunch.

We must stress that it is important to use a good quality Earl Grey tea. You may have noticed that cheap Earl Grey tea (especially the stuff in tea bags) contains little white flecks. These are artificial flavouring pellets which will not give a great finished result.
Good quality loose leaf tea is fragranced with real Bergamot oil which is essential for a good biscuit and a cuppa of course.

These little biscuits are a fitting partner to be enjoyed with afternoon tea or coffee or as part of a dessert with ice cream and a fruit compote.
They have good keeping qualities and will remain crispy when stored in an airtight container. We dare you to see just how long they last, that's if you don't succumb to their irresistible butteriness too soon!

Ingredients Makes about 18-20 biscuits
  • 1½ tbsp Earl Grey tea (try The Kandula Tea Co)
  • 9oz / 255g plain flour
  • 3oz / 85g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 6oz / 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling

Method
Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5.
Lightly oil a couple of baking sheets or cover them with baking parchment.

Grind the tea leaves finely (but not to a powder) using a pestle and mortar.
In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and Earl Grey tea together.
Add the butter and vanilla extract and rub in working well with your hands. It helps if you have warm hands, as this will make the dough come together well. You can also do this in an electric mixer using the paddle. Don't worry about overworking the mixture as this is key in getting the consistency right. When the dough is smooth and no cracks appear then you're ready to start making the biscuit shapes.

Take a small amount of dough and roll it in the palms of your hands until it forms a ball about 3cm in diameter and place them on the baking tray about 7cm apart.
Next using the back of a fork press down on the balls so they flatten out.
Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Place in the oven and bake until light golden brown for about 20-30 minutes.
When they're baked take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly before carefully removing them with a palette knife and placing on a wire rack to cool.

Store in airtight container.

16 January 2014

Trade news from The Artisan Food Trail


As The Artisan Food Trail has grown since its launch back in 2011, a variety of services and benefits have been introduced to assist our members in running their food businesses. As part of these ongoing developments we are in the process of putting together a series of email newsletters specifically aimed at the food trade.

The Artisan Food Trail website is proving to be a valuable resource for people looking for artisan foods and appeals to both consumers and retailers. Following regular enquiries from retailers looking to stock particular products and requests from AFT members who are looking to supply, the natural response was to create something to help our members link up with the trade.

Delicatessens, farm shops, cafés, restaurants, chefs, hotels, to name but a few, are all outlets which may be looking for food products with a point of difference. By signing up for The Artisan Food Trail's trade newsletter they will receive information on new products, produce, offers and more besides.

Visit the AFT website and sign up today

13 January 2014

Caffè Culture Show partners with The Artisan Food Trail


The Artisan Food Trail are partners for this year's Caffè Culture Show which takes place on the 14th – 15th May at Olympia, London.

For the first time, the trade show will include a village of local producers and The Artisan Food Trail will be exhibiting in this area. There are opportunities for AFT members to exhibit too which means this is the ideal event for our members to meet business owners from the café bar industry, as well as benefit from being alongside AFT in a dedicated area.

Caffè Culture is the only event in the UK dedicated to the café industry which will introduce buyers and suppliers to one another. Attracting buyers looking for those products which set them apart and bring customers to their doors, The Artisan Food Trail hopes that its members will take full advantage by exhibiting at the show.

Caffè Culture has brought a new artisanal focus for 2014 realising that people are looking for products with a point of difference as an antidote to mass-produced items.

AFT members wishing to exhibit should get in touch with The Artisan Food Trail.
Other non-members are welcome to contact us if they wish to become members (if eligible) and take advantage of the opportunity.

For more information about the show, full details can be found on the website: www.caffeculture.com

Register for tickets

10 January 2014

AFT member Yare Valley Oils shortlisted for Producer Of The Year award

Norfolk producer Yare Valley Oils has been shortlisted in the East of England Co-op's Producer Of The Year awards and now it depends on your votes on whether they scoop the title for 2014.

The East of England Co-op says:

"We're passionate about local food, and we want to recognise the very best local producers on our Sourced Locally range."


There are six shortlisted producers
and as a little incentive the East of England Co-op will be entering the voters into a prize drawer to win £100 of shopping vouchers.


Yare Valley Oils, run by three family members, began trading in 2010 and first started selling to East of England Co-op stores in 2011.
The oil, which is grown and pressed on the farm, is rich in omega 3 and enjoys a nutty flavour that is ideal for frying, roasting, sauces, baking, marinades and salads.
Read more over on the Co-op's website to find out why Yare Valley Oils has been shortlisted.

Here at The Artisan Food Trail we would be very grateful for your support for one of our members, so please vote for Yare Valley Oils.
Vote now!

3 January 2014

BBC Food & Farming Awards returns for 2014

Photo: © childsdesign

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Just before Christmas The Artisan Food Trail was contacted by the BBC asking us to become involved in publicising their BBC Food & Farming Awards.
Promoting the best of British food and supporting the producers making that food is very important to us and is at the very heart of what we do, so we feel flattered that the BBC considered The Artisan Food Trail in playing a part.

The BBC Food & Farming Awards took a break last year, but in 2012 some AFT members were nominated (including ourselves!) and then some even made it to the shortlist.
As soon as the nominations process opens on 5th January, we would really appreciate your support in putting forward those food producers you admire.

Over the years the awards have recognised people like school dinner lady Jeanette Orrey, who went on to help thousands of school cooks across the UK, 2012’s Farmer of the year Guy Watson, for his success with Riverford’s veg box scheme and national retailers like Sainsbury’s for its work supporting small scale producers.

Winning an award can make a huge difference to an individual or a business. Last year’s winner in the Best Food Market category was pHd student Emily Boothroyd who set up a farmers’ market inside Sutton Bonington University campus, she explained that “winning an award was life changing! It gave me the confidence to change my career path entirely, markets are now my life”.

Two restaurant chefs, a prison cook and a celebrated food blogger are leading a BBC mission to find the very best in British food and farming.

Raymond Blanc and Richard Corrigan are being joined by Al Crisci, the founder of the Clink restaurant in Highdown prison and blogger Jack Monroe, on the 2014 judging team of the BBC Food & Farming Awards.

Valentine Warner, food writer, cook and judge says:
“The BBC Food & Farming Awards belong to everyone because it’s a celebration of the most delicious and important things in our lives. It’s a real chance for the public to share the food stories that really matter to them”.

Chef, Richard Corrigan says:
“We’re always amazed by the stories that come in to us as judges, and we never know where in the UK the nominations will take us… from visits to cheese-makers and dinner ladies to farm shop owners and national retailers… but we care about each and every one, the stories are inspiring”.

People can send nominations (via www.bbc.co.uk/foodawards) in all ten categories; individuals and businesses can also nominate their own work.

The categories are as follows:
Best Food Producer
From bread to butter, cheese to chocolate - tell us about the people and businesses using quality ingredients, lots of skill and dedication to create an excellent, fairly priced, finished product.

Best Drinks Producer
Brewers, distillers, wine-makers, juice producers - tell us about the people using carefully sourced ingredients and skill to produce an outstanding drink.

Best Food Market
We're looking for a regular market that brings together a wide range of great producers and serves a local community by providing fresh, quality, affordable food.

Best Street Food or Takeaway
From street food pop-ups to high street institutions, celebrate the people taking the takeaway and street food to a whole new level.

Best Initiative in British Food
A specific idea or initiative that’s making a positive difference to how and what Britain eats, and is showing the industry the way forward.

Outstanding Farmer of the Year
A farmer, young or old, male or female, livestock or arable who has made an outstanding contribution to farming with cutting edge thinking and creative ideas.

The Radio 4 'You and Yours' Best Food Retailer
Tell us about local shops that enrich lives, high streets and communities by selling delicious, great quality, affordable food.

BBC Cook of the Year
Do you know someone who is preparing tasty, healthy meals on a budget in a hospital, school, care-home or other workplace and deserves to be celebrated?

Derek Cooper Lifetime Achievement Award
Named after The Food Programme's first presenter, this award is for the individual or organisation whose life’s work has brought about real change in our relationship with food.

Food Personality of the Year 2014
Which personality in the last year has inspired you to think differently about food? A writer, broadcaster, blogger, television chef …


Your nominations are important to us


The Artisan Food Trail would like to ask you to consider the people/businesses on the food trail and include one or some of them in your nominations.
Each and every one has such pride and passion for what they do. They make amazing food, share their knowledge and are seriously making a difference to the face of British food.

Maybe you think The Artisan Food Trail is also a worthy contender?
We’ll leave that to you.

The BBC Food & Farming Awards are open for nominations from Sunday 5th January 2014 and close on Monday 27th January 2014.

For further information on the awards and to make your nomination
please visit
www.bbc.co.uk/foodawards

Plus, keep an eye out for the Food Programme's Twitter feed, @bbcfoodprog using the hashtag #bbcfoodawards for all the latest updates.

The best ideas that come through the judging process will be featured on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme and a special edition of the BBC Food & Farming Awards, also on Radio 4.

Presenter of the Food Progamme and one of the founders of the Awards in 2000, Sheila Dillon encourages you to get online to nominate ‘‘They’re your awards set up to highlight the achievements of people, mostly working under the media radar, who add to the quality of all our lives.’’

The eventual winners will be announced at the annual BBC Food & Farming Awards ceremony, to be held at the St Georges concert Hall, Bristol on Thursday 1st May. Shortly after, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a programme featuring the winners and judges.