From Burdass-Reared Wold’s lamb to Ampleforth Abbey Apple Tart Tatin, Andrew Pern’s Black Pudding and Foie Gras is as firmly rooted in the food of Yorkshire as his Michelin-stared establishment is embedded in the village of Harome. Andrew’s Star Inn is a 14th century country pub in North Yorkshire which opened 13 years ago. He laughs as he recalls that it all started with just three people – himself in the kitchen, his wife Jacquie working front of house and her mother behind the bar. Now they run a total of seven interlinked businesses in Harome, including self catering cottages, a deli and a butcher’s shop, employing some 120 people.
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I’ve always liked to bake. As soon as I was old enough to co-ordinate reading recipes and using a wooden spoon, I was anxious for any cake-making excuse – and most of them involved copious amounts of chocolate. Over the years there have been many good chocolate cakes, from my early attempts using chocolate-flavoured cake covering and marg to (when I started paying for my own shopping!) butter and 70% dark chocolate. This cake, however, although it may not look like much, stands head and shoulders above the rest.
The third part of The Wine Geese radio documentary is on Lyric FM tomorrow morning at 8.30am. In this show, Tomas Clancy meets the far-seeing Francis Mahoney, devotee of Pinot Noir and the man who pioneered it in California 35 years ago. You can read more about Mahoney here and the programme will be online after broadcast on the Lyric FM Features page.
When I was small, picking blackcurrants was a big job. My Nana had several large, old bushes in the orchard under her apple trees. Every year, little fingers were pressed into service to strip the bushes of their black bounty so that she could make, or supervise the making, of the pots and pots of blackcurrant jam that were to see the household through the winter.
Seventeen gooseberries does not a summer make. I have a pair of bushes that were planted out next to the blackcurrant bushes last summer – one that should produce green berries, the other red. But this year, between the two of them, I could only hunt down a total of seventeen gooseberries. I think that they may be too sheltered where they are. There is a ditch behind them and the sycamores growing there tend, despite much cutting back, to hang over the fruit bushes. Come this winter, it may be time to move them to our developing mini-orchard at the back of the garden. The apple and pear trees wouldn’t give too much shelter at this stage.
Last summer, when we had the Mallow Farmers’ Market running outside Urru, we saw a lot of Patrick Frankel, a local organic vegetable grower. When he started coming to the market he had just started producing vegetables on his family farm near Doneraile and customers were delighted with the early fruit of his labours: spring onions, yellow and green courgettes, an assortment of tomatoes, new potatoes, peas and, my favourite, mangetout. I bumped into him a few times at the Killavullen Farmers’ Market, always making sure to stock up on the mangetout – great shredded and tossed raw into salads or briefly steamed and served as a side – but hadn’t seen him around for a while so I was delighted to see that the North Cork Organic Group had organised a farm visit.
Here’s a desert that’s perfect eaten outside in the late evening sunshine – or to cheer up a rainy day. There’s no real need for quantities as the amounts depend on how many people you are trying to make the strawberries stretch between, how big the glasses are and how greedy your audience!Chop up the fruit before dinner and toss with the sugar so that the juices start to run then assemble the sundaes just before eating so that the biscuits don’t get soggy. With each mouthful of sweet fruit, fragrant juice, cool yoghurt and almond crunch you could be almost forgiven for thinking that it’s summertime.