Posted tagged ‘Christmas’

Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw lead line-up at Padstow Christmas Festival in Cornwall

November 19, 2014

Celebrity chefs Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth, Nathan Outlaw, Angela Hartnett, Mitch Tonks and Mark Hix will face the public as they perform their skills at this year’s Padstow Christmas Festival.


The four-day festive fiesta from December 4 – 7 sees chefs and local producers take over the streets around the town’s harbour for an event that includes 64 cookery demonstrations and workshops.

This year it includes a head-to-head cook-off between Phil Vickery and Brian Turner on Saturday December 6, presented by Fern Britton, aka Mrs Vickery.

Event organiser Tina Evans said: “This is our biggest event to date with more than 40,000 visitors expected to join us for the festival.

“Alongside a packed schedule of demos, we’ll have a spectacular fireworks display, lantern parade, Narnia-inspired grotto, activities for children, pop-up food stalls and live music.”

More information and a programme of events can be found at


Manna From Devon’s Pear and Mincemeat Frangipane

December 18, 2010

A gorgeously indulgent Christmas pudding from David and Holly Jones of Manna From Devon

Ingredients (Makes one 23cm tart)
Pâte Sablée
• 200g plain four
• 70g icing sugar
• 130g butter
• 1 egg yolk
• Finely grated zest 1 orange

• 5tbsp good quality mincemeat
• 100g caster sugar
• 100g butter
• 100g ground almonds
• 2 eggs
• Few drops vanilla or almond extract

• 2-3 pears poached in red wine
• 2tbsp flaked almonds


Make the pastry by sifting together the flour and the icing sugar on the to the table top. Make into a ring. Cut the 130g butter into cubes and put in the middle of the ring of flour and sugar. Add the egg yolk and orange zest. Pinch together all the ingredients with your fingertips to get an amalgamated dough.

Form into a flattened circle of pastry dough and roll out into a 23cm tart tin. Chill the case in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6 and bake the pastry case blind. Reduce the heat to 180C/Gas 4.

Put the butter, caster sugar, ground almonds, vanilla extract and eggs into the food processor and whizz together.

Spread the mincemeat into the pastry case. Cut the pears into wedges and arrange over the mincemeat.

Cover with the frangipane. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake in the cooler oven until golden brown and firm about 40 minutes.

Cool, turn out of the tin, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.

Pears poached in red wine with cinnamon


• 6 pears
• 400ml red wine
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 orange


Take the peel off the orange and put in a saucepan with the sugar and the red wine and the cinnamon stick. Squeeze the orange juice and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer to dissolve the sugar.

Peel the pears but leave the stalks on. Cut out a pyramidal piece of core and flatten the bottom if necessary so they can stand up.

Put the pears in the pan and put the lid on. Poach gently turning from time to time so the pears get coloured by the red wine. When they are tender put the pears in a dish.

Turn the heat up and reduce the red wine mixture until syrupy. Discard the cinnamon stick and orange peelings and pour the syrup on and around the pears.

Serve at room temperature with some Mascarpone or clotted cream.

Hot Toddy to keep the cold away til after Christmas

November 27, 2010

With the mercury dropping like, erm, a heavy metal outside at the moment, you need something warm inside you. If you’ve been out for the evening, why not get yourself a Hot Toddy.

slice optional

This warming alcoholic concoction has its roots in the 18th and 19th century, which even without taking global warming into consideration were cold centuries. It allows you to mix whisky with hot water and flavours to take the edge off the spirit. It’s a great drink and a top variation on the theme of other hot booze like mulled wine or mulled cider.


Whisky. I used Laphroaig but I think a blended whisky with a sweeter taste would work better, maybe Bells. It would also save the Laphroaig to be favoured on its own!

Honey: I used National Trust Killerton estate honey that I had in the cupboard but use what you have.



Boiling water


Simply put a shot of whisky in a mug and top up with boiling water.

Add a generous spoonful of honey and stir in

Add a couple of cloves and some cinnamon to taste.

Enjoy while wrapped up, shared with a loved one!

Godminster Organic, cheese from Somerset

November 18, 2010

What’s better than organic cheese? Organic cheese from Godminster of Somerset with a fruitcake on the side, of course.

Cheese and cake. In a box.

I don’t often get envious of other food bloggers’ competitions, I run some great ones myself, like the current Mann & Son Christmas hamper giveaway which you all still have time to enter!

But I was scouring the interweb the other day and the green Twitter monster reared his head. I saw Beth Sachs, who runs the excellent Jam and Clotted Cream blog, was offering a cheesy giveaway for Christmas in the form of a massive pile of assorted fromage courtesy of the Cheese Shed. And I immediately entered the competition. Twice.

And what better way to launch a three-paragraph preamble into a blog about a cheese I have recently tried and liked. Godminster Organic make cheddar cheese at their place in Somerset, and is one of the cheeses in the jam and Clotted Cream giveaway. The other week it took no cajoling at all for them to send me some, which was nice. Not only did they send me cheese, they sent me one of their Fruitcake and Cheese Combos.

The cheese was an award-winner in 2009 at the National Cheese Awards and it wasn’t hard to see why. The hard wax outer might make you think fleetingly of Mini BabyBell (shame on you) but once you get through it and put it to one side to play with later, you hit the motherload. The organic cheddar is creamy and bouncy and very very moreish. I had high plans for it – I envisioned a wire cooling rack abundant with cheese scones – but it didn’t last long enough to be made into such scones. And perhaps that is fitting, as I’m not sure that it does the cheese justice.

And then there is the fruitcake. Here I have to reserve some criticism. Not about the way it tasted, it was delicious and very much enjoyed by my office, with whom I share a lot of review goodies. But I have to report that attempting to cut a reasonable slice from it was impossible – it disintegrated at the touch of a sharp knife.

But that point aside, the cheese/cake combo is a decent call for Christmas for a relative perhaps of a certain age, but who also appreciates some good food. For the younger ones, well, Godminster do produce their own flavoured vodkas

Competition: Win a hamper from

November 15, 2010

OK folks, Christmas is fast approaching and even I have started thinking about buying presents, that means things must be serious. And what better time could there be for the return of the Foodies South West competition.

This week, as usual, we have a bit of a corker. Mann & Son was set up in Bovey Tracy in Devon in the same year that Queen Victoria took her seat on the British throne – 1837. And while Her Majesty might have bitten the dust, Mann & Son is still going strong. What is more, in a move that warms the heart it has now created its own online shop at

The online store is focussing its core sales on local Westcountry produce, like Luscombe’s Elderflower Bubbly, as well as working with those suppliers and family run businesses from Spain and Italy who share their passion for great tasting food. The company has also set up a Facebook page.

“Since my great, great grandfather first opened the doors of Mann and Son in 1837, there has been a lot of changes! We have survived and thrived because we have constantly evolved our business and the online deli is definitely the way to go to bring our products and gift boxes nationwide,” said James Mann, who runs the company with his wife Gill.

One of the key unique selling points for Delimann is that it does not wish to sell mass-produced foods that are available in the supermarkets.

Mrs Mann added: “Our products are those special little gems that, unless you have a top-notch Devon deli on your doorstep, would be hard to find. Like the wonderful Highfields Jams and Teoni biscuits – all delicious products made in the county which can be hard to buy.”

A big part of Delimann sales are projected to be via the gift and hamper market. To celebrate this milestone and to help one lucky Foodies South West visitor tick a relative off their Christmas shopping list, we have a Westcountry Wonderland hamper worth £34.50 (including P&P) to give away. It is just one of a range of hampers on sale at the new website and featuring a taster set of Westcountry goodies. I know, because I have road-tested it. God how my girlfriend loves that I do this blog…!

Full of the most fabulous festive products the region has to offer – there’s nothing quite like receiving this wonderful gift, despatched from our packing rooms on the edge of Dartmoor. It includes a Georgie Porgie Christmas Pudding (454g), Ottervale Chutney (200g), South Devon Chilli Farm Jam (227g), Mr Filberts Nuts (75g), Teonis bite-sized biscuits (100g), a bottle of Luscombe Cider (32cl) and Roskillys Fudge (100g).

All you have to do is send an email to us at by noon on Friday November 19, entitled “Delimann Competition” and including your name, address, telephone number and the answer to the insultingly easy question below:

Which flavour Luscombe Bubbly makes its appearance in the Delimann Christmas Larder Box? (For a clue, click here)

Please note: We love sharing our food tips, but we won’t share your email address details or anything else with anyone else, even if they ask really nicely. What we might do is email you with details of future competitions and new blogs on the site. If you don’t want us to do that, please say “NO MORE EMAILS” in your email.

Good luck!

Christmas pasty anyone?

November 12, 2010

A Cornish bakery is providing an early taste of Christmas with the launch of two new products and the return of a festive favourite.

Crantock Bakery's range of products for Christmas 2010 include a turkey and cranberry pasty, Christmas sausage roll, and Christmas pudding and custard parcel.

Crantock Bakery has partnered their popular Turkey and Cranberry Pasty with a brand new Christmas Sausage Roll, while plum pudding lovers will be thrilled by the new Christmas Pudding and Custard Parcel.

Crantock Bakery’s new product development manager Becky Hornabrook said: “Last Christmas high street shoppers loved our Turkey and Cranberry Pasty as it had the delicious taste of a Christmas dinner but without the stress of cooking it.

“This year we’ve been working hard to add to our range and are really pleased that while people are battling to finish all their Christmas shopping they’ll be able to pick up a slice of Christmas to keep them going and warm them up while they’re trudging round the shops in the cold.”

The Christmas Sausage Roll is made from minced pork and turkey seasoned with sage and cranberry, all wrapped up in light puff pastry.

The brand new Christmas Pudding and Custard Parcel blends deliciously rich Christmas pudding with creamy custard. The treats are encased in a crisp pastry parcel topped with a sprinkling of demerara sugar and ground cinnamon.

And the return of Crantock’s Turkey and Cranberry Pasty, dubbed “the world’s fastest Christmas dinner”, sees the baker pack in the key elements that make up the biggest meal of the year.

The pasties combine tender turkey breast with mixed vegetables, sage and onion stuffing and cranberries – all encased in a hand-crimped flaky pastry crust.

The products are available from Monday 8th November from a wide variety of bakeries across the South West including The Cornish Oggy Oggy Pasty Company, Cornish Bakehouse, The Newquay Pasty Company, The Mounts Bay Pasty Company, and other independent bakeries.