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18 March 2016

Competition time: Win a Yew Tree Alpacas gift voucher worth £35 & an alpaca adventure for two

The Artisan Food Trail has teamed up with Yew Tree Alpacas to give you a chance to win a fantastic prize this Spring. Not only are they offering a £35 gift voucher to spend on anything in their range, they are also offering an evening alpaca adventure visit (weekdays only) for two people between the months of June and August 2016.

Yew Tree Alpacas are a herd of 32 alpacas based in rural Hertfordshire and as well as selling all things alpaca – hand knitted alpaca accessories, yarns and gifts you can also visit the alpacas on one of their alpaca adventures.

  • Here are some great ideas for your Yew Tree gift voucher, including:
  • For stylish shopping set a of 3 differently sized (S/M/L) alpaca jute bags with cushioned handles (£12)
  • Two pairs (treat for you and your partner!) of cushioned sole Walking Socks (£33.00)
  • The Yew Tree knitting kit with two patterns and three balls of our own super soft 100% alpaca yarn + extra ball (£26.50 + £7.99- £34.49)
  • Three original design alpaca bone china mugs (£31.50)
  • A pair of snug hand knitted alpaca gloves and a pair of alpaca day socks (£22+£12.50-£34.50)

This competition has now closed

17 March 2016

Competition time: Win a £100 Hamper packed full of Hungry Guest goodies

We're pleased to be able to offer a great prize this month courtesy of one of our AFT members, The Hungry Guest.
This fantastic prizes includes The Hungry Guest’s Great Taste Award winning Granola and Lemon & Black Pepper Marmalade alongside a fabulous of haul of tasty goods all wrapped up in big hamper. 

Voted Deli of the Year in 2015 The Hungry Guest, based in Sussex runs an award winning artisan bakery, food shop, frozen food shop, two cafes (one in West Malling, Kent) and produce many of their range of products themselves.

The Hungry Guest’s passion for food is evident from the moment you step inside the food shop in Petworth. With its clean cut layout and diverse range of products available, the store successfully entices, excites and inspires each visitor.

At the back of the shop, they have the only maturing cheese room in Sussex, which offers a wide selection of cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy, Mons and Fromagerie.

Customers are positively encouraged to talk to the staff, reaping knowledge from their expertise. From the butchers and charcuterie experts to the cheesemonger and bakers, their knowledge and passion can make everyday food shopping a pleasure.

This competition has now closed

15 March 2016

Saffron & Pistachio Biscuits

Photo: © childsdesign
These little biscuits are an ideal accompaniment to a good strong cup of coffee – maybe even a Turkish coffee, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Each bite is sweet and perfumed with a crisp and slightly chewy texture.

Ingredients Makes approx 22 biscuits
3 tbsp milk
pinch saffron (30 strands)
6 drops Cardamom Spice Drops*
60g butter
90g caster sugar
125g plain flour
½ level tsp baking powder
60g semolina
40g pistachios, chopped

In a small saucepan warm the milk over a low heat. Remove from the heat and add the saffron to steep. Set aside. When cool add the Cardamom Spice Drops.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the flour, baking powder and semolina and add the milk to make a stiff paste. Add a little more milk if the mixture seems too dry.
Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 30 minutes, while heating the oven to Gas 4 / 180°C.

Place the dough between two pieces of cling film and start to roll out slightly. Peel back the top piece off cling film and scatter the chopped pistachio nuts over the dough. Replace the cling film and continue rolling until the dough is about ½cm thick.
Stamp out rounds with a 4cm round cutter.
Gather up the remaining dough and roll out again and cut out more biscuits. Do this until all the dough is used up.
Place on greased baking sheets, leaving a 3cm gap between each biscuit as they will spread a little and bake for 12-13 minutes.

Remove from the oven and when the biscuits have firmed up transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

* Notes on ingredients                                                                                            
Cardamom Spice Drops are available from Holy Lama Spice Drops. Buy online

14 March 2016

Chicken with Saffron & Green Olives

Photo: © childsdesign
This dish explores the flavours of Andalusia, a sun-baked southern region of Spain.
Saffron brings a subtle honeyed fragrance to the fruity olives and zesty orange making a wonderful sauce for succulent chicken.

Ingredients Serves 6-8

  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp raisins or sultanas
  • a good pinch of saffron  (24 to 30 threads)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and black pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 50ml sherry (medium dry)
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 150g top-quality, pitted, green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1tbsp orange zest
  • juice of half an orange (about 60ml)
  • a good handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • small handful mint, chopped
  • warm crusty bread to serve

Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the chicken stock, raisins, and saffron, over a low heat. Let the mixture steep while you prepare the chicken.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan (big enough to accommodate everything later on), heat the olive oil on medium-high.
Fry the chicken in batches for 8-10 minutes each until it is browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 4 minutes but don't allow to brown.
Stir in the flour and continue cooking gently, stirring all the time for another minute. Stir in the sherry and white wine and bring to a simmer stirring all the while.
Add the olives, orange juice and zest, and saffron stock, stir to mix.

Add the chicken and any juices back into the pan. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, for around 5 – 7 minutes more.
Serve the chicken in shallow bowls topped with the herbs and almonds.
Serve with the bread alongside for mopping up the juices.

7 March 2016

AFT Introducing: Thule Ventus

Photo: © Thule Ventus
Thule Ventus salt cured cod and pollock is of the highest quality and a hand-crafted artisan product. Only the finest, freshest and largest fish is sourced from Shetland’s famous fish market landed by locally-owned boats that make short trips and catch from sustainable, quota controlled stock.

All the fish is prepared in small batches using traditional family methods. The process that takes at least a month, to create a truly unique and special seafood. The fish is caught from the pristine, wild seas around Shetland and then cured in the pure Shetland wind.

Thule Ventus, based in Cunningsburgh, Shetland is very much a family business and its products are an embodiment of the island's rich heritage in fishing.

David Polson, owner of Thule Ventus grew up where salting fish and mutton was very much a part his of life. He and his father would go fishing in a traditional 17 foot wooden boat, known as a fourareen, as it could be rowed with four oars. They worked the hand-lines and set lines for pollock, skate, mackerel, haddock and cod. Their catch would be salted, with some set aside for supper, usually pollock, boiled with their livers fried and added.

On leaving school, David discovered that salt fish was the a staple of the worker's diet on the ferries which plied between his native island of Whalsay, and the Shetland Mainland. As far as the older ferrymen were concerned, mastering the art of salting and curing of fish was an essential rite of passage for all aspiring crewmen.

It is with his background and knowledge that David can bring, what he believes to be the finest cured cod and pollock available.

All fish is landed by local boats on to the Lerwick or Scalloway fish markets in the early hours. It is filleted by lunchtime and salted by tea-time. The fish slowly absorb the salt and give up their moisture as they make their own pickle.

The fish are checked regularly and once they have ‘taken enough salt’, the excess salt is removed and the drying process commenced. The fish hangs outside in the wind, before being finished off in a drying room.

To find out more about Thule Ventus visit their page on 
The Artisan Food Trail here.