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25 May 2016

Visit Oakley Grange Farm on Open Farm Sunday

Photo: © Oakley Grange Farm
Open Farm Sunday is the farming industry’s annual open day. A day when hundreds of farmers all over the country welcome visitors onto their farms to discover the world of farming.

On Sunday 5th June 2016, Artisan Food Trail member, Oakley Grange Farm will be opening their gates to visitors for free from 10am – 4pm ( the café will be open as usual from 8am –5pm).

This will be a great chance to get up close to some farm animals as Oakley Grange will be giving guided walks where you can learn all about the animals and how things are done on the farm.
Afterwards, why not relax in the café with something to eat and drink.
You could even take home some local produce from their deli.

Bring your wellies!

To find out more about Oakley Grange Farm visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.
Further details about the event are on the Open Farm Sunday website here.

When: Sunday 5th June 2016 10am – 4pm
Where: Shepshed Road, Hathern,
nr Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5LL

10 May 2016

Commended condiments

Photos: © Susannah's Sauces
Susannah Ferguson's love of food and her want to encourage younger palates to become more adventurous spawned her cottage industry business making a range of savoury and sweet sauces known as Susannah's Sauces (naturally).

Recently we had the privilege to try the fruits of her labours when she sent some jars to us for testing.

Susannah has developed her sauces to make food more appealing and delicious and believes the key to this is to use fresh ingredients.
She completely avoids the use of any artificial additives or preservatives and all her products are gluten free.

She says:
“My philosophy is everything in moderation. It’s the quality of ingredients that really counts, fresh, wholesome and locally sourced where possible.
What is the point of eating something that is full of artificial preservatives and additives and has been sitting on a shelf for a year or more. It probably won’t do you any harm, but why not eat something that was made fresh last week? Who benefits by adding artificial ingredients? It certainly isn’t the consumer who eats the product.”

Flirty French Dressing and Bewitching Butterscotch are old family favourites, the others having been added over time.

The savoury sauces…

Flirty French Dressing
As with all oil and vinegar dressings, some separation occurs so the jar first needs a good shake to mix everything together.
On opening we can see the dressing has a greenish hue from good quality olive oil. The smell is not overly vinegary, there’s a hint of garlic and whole grains of mustard are clearly visible, giving it substance and texture.
The flavour is quite smooth and mild – the mustard not too hot, so that it is subtle enough to enliven foods rather than overpower them. The garlic is detectable and not too strong, the seasoning well balanced and the vinegar has just the right amount of tang.
The consistency is good and coats well.
Although this is fundamentally a good dressing, we did find that it was perhaps a little too sweet for our tastes.
It is naturally good on salads but also doubles as a marinade for chicken, pork or vegetables.

Scrumptious Savoury Sauce
This sauce as a mightily long ingredients list, and nothing wrong with that, everything in the jar you’ll want to eat.
It has a creamy thousand island dressing sort of colour, which initially gave us a surprise when tasting as it didn’t seem to match what we were expecting!
The aroma is creamy with a hint of vinegar and doesn’t even begin to give away the flavour within.
First taste is strong of green olive, then comes a deep savoury note from tomato followed by a fresh herby fragrance, mainly mint and basil.
Use a s a dip with crudités, slather over a jacket potato, but it really comes into its own with a sizzling steak straight off the barbecue.

Succulent Tomato Sauce
Is it okay to have a favourite? Because of all the ‘savouries’ this one's ours.
A tomato sauce that is obviously packed full of tomatoes. The colour is nice and natural – a deep burnished orange-red and it smells rich and ever so slightly spicy.
The texture is gorgeously smooth and knowing there are no bulking agents or thickeners used, it has to be pure tomato goodness.
The flavour is deeply savoury with all that natural umami from the tomatoes with the garlic and onion in perfectly balanced attendance. A little more excitement is added in the form of fragrant, peppery basil.
It could be used as a condiment like ketchup for meats such as chicken, pork, beef or lamb or use it hot for a pasta sauce or over meatballs.

Tasty Tarragon Mayonnaise
Although we were sent the full range of sauces to try, the mayonnaise suffered a slight trauma in transit. Nothing to worry about though. UPDATE! We received a replacement and have now tested it. you can read the review here.

The sweet sauces…

Bewitching Butterscotch
In light of the recent health stories about sugar it seems almost criminal to be putting a very sweet concoction in a good light. But if you can’t have a treat now and then, life would be pretty dull.
This butterscotch sauce is everything it should be; gooey, sticky and sweet. Its buttery toffee smell is indeed bewitching and will have you sticking a spoon in the jar even before you’ve decided whether it’s to accompany ice cream or a pud.
It has an irresistible caramel flavour which liquefies in the mouth.

Spectacular Chocolate Spread
This is truly for chocolate lovers and surprisingly, not too sweet so will appeal to the more sophisticated palate.
A properly thick, dark chocolate spread with a fruity aroma.
It has a super rich and velvety texture in the mouth revealing the quality of the Belgian chocolate used. Susannah has also added some coffee for an even richer aftertaste adding pleasant bitterness.
It spreads straight from the fridge and is delicious on all manner of things from a simple slice of bread to a filling for pancakes or cakes. You can even make a hot chocolate drink.

Susannah has taken enormous care in using high quality ingredients in all her sauces. She believes that you can’t make a good food product with poor ingredients.
Her range of sauces is sold at numerous food fairs around the country and at a few selected farm shops.

We will continue to use what we have left after sampling and will post any recipes or meals using them at a later date, so look out for them.

We are pleased to award Susannah's Sauces our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their: 

Flirty French Dressing
Scrumptious Savoury Sauce
Succulent Tomato Sauce
Bewitching Butterscotch
Spectacular Chocolate Spread

To find out more about Susannah's Sauces visit their page on 

5 May 2016

Flying the flag for British confectionery

To celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, Fudge Kitchen launch their Best of British selection: nine miniature moments of British fudge history, gift bound by the Union flag.

Fudge Kitchen is truly flying the flag for British tradition, artisanal skill and product excellence. They are introducing the first of their new nine miniature selections range with the ‘on the tin’ name of Best of British.

Each beautiful 190g box of nine bite-sized pieces of meltingly smooth, handmade butter fudge, with impeccable provenance. The fudge uses locally sourced ingredients – the cream originating from some of the best British dairy farms.

The three traditional British fudge flavours are all natural and gluten-free.

Toffee Caramel
A Great-Taste winner and King of Fudges. Fresh whipping cream from a Sussex dairy which encourages cow hugging to ensure healthy and happy cows (yes, really!), combined with light brown and white sugars and handmade salted caramel. Hand-decorated with caramel chocolate.

Inspired by Penuche. Handmade with Taste of Kent award-winning Channel Island double cream from a local, Kentish dairy, which has been caring for their pedigree Guernsey herds since 1930. Combined with unrefined dark brown and light brown sugars and a pinch of top notch Madagascan vanilla. Hand-dusted with edible bronze glitter.

Clotted Cream
The classic fudge. Hand produced with thick, clotted cream from the South of England’s most successful dairy, which has specialised in producing local, high quality dairy products in Dorset since 1958. Combined with white and light brown sugars and Madagascan vanilla. Hand-drizzled with white chocolate.

The Best of British fudge selection is available to buy online from www.fudgekitchen.co.uk and selected retailers.

All photos:  Fudge Kitchen
To find out more about Fudge Kitchen visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here