Thursday, 26 February 2015

Family Favourites at The Old Stables Vintage Tea Rooms Chorley for South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club

Last weekend South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club were warmly welcomed to one of Chorley's hidden gem's , The Old Stables Vintage Tea Rooms, just off the main street smack bang in the centre of Chorley. This quirky venue is in an old converted stable block and is stuffed fully of lovely vintage objet d'art and gift ware and the tea room serves a lovely range of meals, snacks and cakes. There afternoon teas are the stuff of legend, all served on vintage china.

We just loved our venue for our family favourites meeting and enjoyed chatting cake with Wendy and her hubby the owners of The Old Stables. Members enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and enjoyed a wide range of cakes brought along by other members.

Tea, cake and a warm friendly venue what more could we want. Nothing !

We loved these bears too who came to our tea.

Custard Sponge cake

Chocolate Fudge cake

Allbran Loaf Cake

Crushed Pineapple Cake

Orange and Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

Quick Chocolate cake

Lemon and Lime Drizzle cake (Gluten Free)

Lemon Layer Cake
The Old Stables is the perfect venue for a quick brew whilst in town shopping but also for their beautiful afternoon teas (ideal for Baby Showers, Hen Parties and special occasions) or just a bite to eat in a quirky friendly vintage environment.

You can find The Old Stables Vintage Tea Room on West St, Chorley very handy for parking and only a few steps from the shops.

You can also find them on Facebook

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Prune and raisin loaf cake - gluten free

Winter baking needs to be comforting and this loaf definitely hits the spot, ideal served with a good cup of tea. I have mentioned before that Mr LF is a member of a walking group and this has been tasted and approved by his fellow walkers, its also robust enough to survive being buffeted about in a rucksack or lunch box.

I love the sticky soft prunes which create large pockets of moist juicy fruitiness, this cake is naturally gluten free and improves with keeping, I have baked the recipe several times and would recommend that you use a quality cider or fruit juice as your soaking liquor as it really makes a difference to the overall flavour of the cake.

This version is taken from River Cottage Light and Easy and is also very similar to a tea loaf recipe I make a lot but instead of the raisins and prunes, I used the same quantity of dried fruit.

What you need
  • 150g raisins or sultanas
  • 150g soft pitted prunes
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 150ml cider, strong tea or fruit juice (apple or orange is good)
  • Oil spray
  • 1 egg - free range
  • 100g rice flour or gluten free flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed sweet spices
What you do
  • Soak the fruit in the cider,tea or juice for a couple of hours, stir in the sugar until dissolved in a large baking bowl. I leave it covered with a tea towel in the kitchen
  • Oil spray and base line a 2lb loaf tin
  • Pare heat the oven to 170c
  • Sieve the flour, almonds, baking powder and spices on to a plate ready for adding to the bowl
  • Add the sieved flour and egg to the bowl containing the soaked fruits, mix thoroughly and then turn into the prepared loaf tin
  • Bake for 50 to 55 mins until golden and well risen
  • Cool initially in the tin and then cool fully on a wire rack
  • Stores well in an airtight tin.

I am linking this post up to "Bake of the Week" over at Casa Costello, a general celebration of baking in all its forms.

                                                               Casa Costello

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Almond sponge topped apple pots

In winter nothing hits the spot like a warm pudding to round off a satisfying meal, this recipe is one I have been making for many years, originally based on Gino D'ACampo's miel e mandorle pots that I discovered was gluten free when I was entertaining a friend who is a celiac.

These are delicious served hot or cold and are easy to make, the recipe is a great way to use up apples left in the fruit bowl that are passed their best. I used a mixture of granny smiths and braeburn apples but other fruits would work as well. The pots are the perfect combination of fruit and moist golden sponge with a faint almond flavour, ideally topped off with a few flaked almonds. Serve with your choice of custard, creme fraiche, yogurt or cream.

What you need
  • 6 dessert apples (I used Granny Smiths), peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g ground almonds
  • Few sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
  • Lemon juice
  • Apple pie spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)

What you do
  • Preheat oven to 160c
  • To make the filling cook the chopped apples, the soft brown sugar, lemon juice and spices in a pan until slightly softened, add a splash of water if you like.
  • Place the cooked apple filling in four ramekins, divided equally
  • Whisk the caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy ( I used my mixer)
  • Add the eggs and ground almonds and whisk until you have smooth fluffy mixture
  • Top the ramekins with the almond topping and sprinkle with a few flaked almonds
  • Bake in the pre heated oven for 45 mins or so until golden and well risen
  • Serve hot or cold.

I am linking this post to "Recipe Clippings" created and hosted by Farmersgirl Kitchen, as I have said this a recipe I have used time and time again and proudly features in my recipe scrapbook.

And also to Credit Crunch Munch created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 all, hosted this month by Elizabeth's Kitchen, as I used some rather sad apples form the fruit bowl to create a great dessert dish.


Friday, 6 February 2015

Gluten Free Beef brisket, carrot and celery pie - with a delicious pastry top

I recently cooked a small brisket of beef in the slow cooker and this pie is using some of the left over meat from the joint, I actually managed to stretch the meat to 3 separate meals, along with this pie I also served the meat simply with gravy like a roast dinner and in a pan haggerty (that's a post for another day).

Brisket isn't the cheap cut it used to be but its reliable easy to cook especially if you use a slow cooker like I do and it produces delicious gravy too. I just cooked the brisket for 6 hours on high after smothering the join in a mix of Dijon mustard, BBQ spice rub, tomato ketchup and maple syrup. I didn't add an extra liquid.

This is frugal dish as it used a fairly small quantity of meat, the leftover gravy and carrots and celery to bulk up the pie filling. I then created a gluten free pastry top and if I do say so myself it tasted pretty amazing.

Fresh out of the oven 
If you don't have left over brisket or roast beef then this pie could be made with minced beef or lamb and any suitable vegetables you have to hand. The gluten free pastry was very well behaved, the secret being allowing it to rest in the fridge for about half an hour before rolling out and a liberally brushing with an egg glaze before baking so you achieve a beautiful golden top.

What you need 

For the pie filling
  • Quantity of left over beef -chopped into bite sized pieces
  • Carrots and celery - parboiled until just tender
  • Gravy - I used thickened cooking juices
For the pastry
  • 225g Gluten free flour (I mix my own)
  • 110g Butter
  • 20g Parmesan cheese - finely grated
  • 1 free range egg - beaten (reserve a little for glazing the pie)
  • A little cold water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum gum
What you do

  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Mix your pie filling and place in your pie dish
  • Sieve the flour, xanthum gum, salt into a bowl, add the Parmesan cheese
  • Rub the fat into the flour mixture until its resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the egg and enough water to to form a soft dough
  • Once you have formed your dough, Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Once rested roll out on a well floured surface and top your selected pie dish, crimp and trim and then glaze with a little beaten egg. 
  • Make a couple of cuts in the pastry top to allow steam to escape. With some of your spare pastry why not form some creative pastry shapes.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes or so until golden and cooked through
  • Serve immediately

The pastry is deliciously savoury,short yet flaky and undetectable as gluten free. The pastry does require slightly more gentle rolling out for its well worth the effort.

With an eye to Valentine's day I decorated my pie with hearts, as its made with love. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Simon Mellin - Roaming Roosters

This month our featured foodie is Simon Mellin of Roaming Roosters, award wining Simon and the rest of the team are Lancashire suppliers of free range meats to across the country in their innovative meat packs, which started from humble beginnings of a free chicken farm. Simon spotting a gap in the market has grown the business, and Roaming Roosters now also has a delightful bistro (The Olde Spot) and cafe (The Hayloft) in addition to an education centre on site. A true Lancashire success story. Young Entrepreneur of the Year Simon oozes a passion for quality free range sustainable produce and their amazing venue is set in some stunning Lancashire countryside.

Why not pay them a visit and just between you and me they make the amazing scotch eggs !


So Simon.......
  • What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication?
The Ginger Pig Meat Book which presents an in-depth look at meat, butchery and farming.

  • What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you?
Honest, tasty grub that keeps your belly happy and full!

  • If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ? 
What I started out doing, Race Engineer within GT Racing.

  • Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
As my role within the business is more operational it would have to be my iphone – it’s constantly stuck to my ear!

  • Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
It would have to be Chris Evans and Richard Branson, I find them both inspirational for different reasons. We could get Thomas Keller to cook!

  • What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Believe in your ideas, don’t let people lead you away or tell you they’re wrong, no matter how crazy they are! Be resilient and don’t let people knock you back.

  • Describe your style in three words 
Relaxed, honest, down-to-earth.

  • What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ? 
A cafetiere!

  • What is your greatest achievement to date ?
Taking Roaming Roosters from the back of my dad’s shop to create a successful retail outlet.

  • What is the worst mistake you have made ? 
Having a staff party on a Friday night! 

  • Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect ! 
I’m addicted to Jelly Beans.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

#BoothsMakesSoup - Health + Value + Flavour

Recently those lovely people at Booths Supermarket sent us a parcel containing two of their new soup bags, each of which contain all the ingredients you need to make a delicious soup. We received a pasta and bean soup bag and Thai sweet potato and noodle soup bag.

They also sent a fab new shopping bag and yes "I flippin' love booths" as I have had the flu recently Mr LF followed the recipe for the Pasta and bean soup carefully, substituting gluten free pasta for the macaroni supplied and he created a great wholesome tasty soup, perfect sick bed food.

Like most soup recipes, its not really complicated, just chopped vegetables cooked in stock with added beans and pasta.

Finished by adding the beans and the pasta, all the ingredients are in the bag except a tiny amount of oil and water for the stock cube. 

Below are the ingredients for the Thai sweet potato noodle soup, again easily made gluten free by subbing the noodles for rice noodles.

The soup bags were supplied by Booths free of charge for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Potato, spinach, pea and basil soup - a tasty vegan feast

Another week has passed and we have another soup recipe for you, this one does have some reseamblence to shrek's swamp but trust me its very tasty and great for making when you hardly have anything in the cupboards. For the sake of economy I use frozen peas and spinach and there is no waste either.


Vegan as it contains only vegetables, however if this isn't important to you then its delicious served topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese or swirled with creme fraiche or yogurt.

Thickened by blending half the ingredients in to the soup its low in fat and containes no flours or grains so its gluten free too.

What you need
  • Onion - peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes - peeled and diced
  • 3 blobs of frozen spinach
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little olive or rapeseed oil
  • Handful fresh basil
What you do
  • Fry the onion and the potato in a little oil add the vegetable stock to the pan, simmer until softened
  • Add the frozen peans and frozen spinach to the pan and bring back to the simmer and the spinach is defrosted. Add the basil 
  • Now blitz half the pan with a stick blender until smooth and retaining some chunky vegetables for texture.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  • Serve piping hot

We are linking up to "Eat your Greens" over on Allotment 2 Kitchen , the challenge being to cook with a green vegetable and for the recipe to be vegeterian.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Lancashire Hotpot - made with love and a perfect winter dish

I love Lancashire hotpot and as a born and bred Lancastrian so I should, its the perfect frugal comfort food which will happily blip away in the oven whilst you get on with other things. Requiring minimal effort you can still deliver a wow dish for your supper (or in a Northerner case tea) table.

I decided recently to experiment with different ways of cooking the dish and in my opinion this is the best method so far, ideal served with a green vegetable or just the traditional accompaniments of pickled beetroot or red cabbage.

What you need
  • Diced lamb pieces (ask your butcher whats the best and cheapest)
  • 3 large white potatoes 
  • 1 large white onion - peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots - peeled and chopped
  • Lamb stock ( I use essential cuisine - the best in my humble opinion)
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce (use gluten free brown sauce if necessary)
  • Cornflour
  • Thyme and rosemary - finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little rapeseed oil
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 160c
  • Heat the oil in cast iron casserole dish
  • Fry off the lamb pieces in batches until lightly caramelised
  • Remove from pan to plate
  • Fry in the same pan the onion and carrot until slightly golden, add the lamb back to the pan and add a tablespoon or so of cornflour.
  • Stir and add the herbs and sauce, remove from the heat
  • Stir again and top the vegetable and lamb mixture with potato slices
  • Pour enough lamb stock to just be visible on the top of the potato topping, put lid on casserole dish and place in oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Once the time has passed the vegetables with be tender and the meat cooked, remove the lid and place back in the oven for another 15 -30 minutes until the top is golden and slightly crispy.
  • Serve immediately with a green vegetable (cabbage / kale is nice) and traditional hotpot accompaniments

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Spicy roots soup, a classic winter warmer

In the spirit of eating healthy I have been prepping some easy lunches that I can take to work, I love soup but only homemade hits the spot for me. By making your own soup you are in control of the ingredients, the level of spicing and also the portion size, and I don't know about anybody else but I can't eat a huge portion of soup (i.e can sized) so taking a packed portion works out great for me.

The clipping from my scrap book that the recipe is based on, I think its from a Tesco magazine.

Recently I noticed in Aldi they had some BPA free snap lockable soup containers on special buy so I took the plunge and purchased a set. I am hoping that this will encourage me to take my portions to work for a nutritious healthy lunch, so far so good.

My new soup container
Its an easy recipe and uses the odd root vegetable you have in your fridge or vegetable rack, the recipe also uses very little oil so its low fat and has lovely gentle spicing which enhances the sweet earthy vegetable flavours in the soup.

What you need
  • 1 onion chopped (red or white)
  • 2 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • Couple of carrots, peeled and chopped ( I use organic if I can get them as I find they are sweeter)
  • 1 small swede - peeled and chopped
  • 1 large white potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large parsnip - peeled and chopped
  • A litre or so of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of dried red chilli (I used crumbled whole ones)
  • A little yogurt to serve - optional or some omega 3 seeds
  • A little rapeseed oil
What you do 
  • Gently fry the onion and garlic in a little oil in a large saucepan, until softened slightly.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes until they are starting softened and very slightly caramelised.
  • Add the spices to the pan and the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Blitz with a hand blender or in a liquidiser until you reach your desired soup consistency, you may need to add water.
  • Re heat to simmering point and serve swirled with natural yogurt or sprinkled with seeds
  • Delicious.
  • This recipe freezes beautifully

I am linking this recipe up to "Vegetable palette" over at A2K (Allotment to Kitchen), who's theme this month is Detox recipes. 


Also to "Extra Veg" over on Utterly Scrummy Food and also Fuss Free Flavours as this soup contains lots of extra veg.


And "No Croutons Required" hosted this month by Lisa's Kitchen a vegetarian challenge for soups and salads, co hosted by Tinned Tomatoes .

                                                           no croutons required 2015

And a new challenge "Recipe Clippings" as this is based on a recipe I have in my trusty soups scrapbook, this is hosted our on Farmers Girl Kitchen


And lastly Tea Time Treats, the theme this month being packed lunches and hosted this month over at Hedgecombers. A challenge jointly hosted by Lavender and Lovage.

                                                        Teatime Treat Linky Party logo

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