Saturday, 30 March 2013

Easter Eggs - crispy rice mallow eggs and cornflake nests

Great fun was had in the Lancashire Food kitchen yesterday, baking up some Easter treats for you all. Amongst the usual Easter nests we also had a go at making crispy rice mallow eggs which where great fun to make and very effective too. Luckily a couple of weeks ago I had bought some hollow egg shaped moulds I had spotted in my local pound store which are the only special equipment you need to create these treats.
Crispy rice eggs
  • 2 tbps butter
  • 2 cups marshallows
  • 3 1/2 cups crisped rice cereal
  • Oil spray for greasing egg molds
  • Decorations

Melt the butter and marshmallows in a large pan over a low heat until runny, stir in the crispy rice and then fill both halves of your eggs moulds and sandwich together, leave for about 10 minutes until cool before opening your moulds. Your eggs should now be set and can be decorated how your wish,I  choose chocolate and popping candy.

Easter nest cakes
These are simply delightful for easter egg hunts or just for taking into work to give  easter cheer. 
  • Cornflakes, crispy rice or shredded wheat cereals
  • Chocolate
  • Syrup
  • Butter
  • Chocolate eggs
  • cake cases
Melt the syrup, butter and chocolate in a pan, once melted remove from heat and stir in your cereal of choice, spoon into cake cases and place a few chocolate eggs on top , then allow to cool.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Ovenclean - The Original oven cleaning specialists

Ovenclean - Oven Cleaning Service

As an avid cook and baker one of the essential tools in my kitchen is my oven. I am lucky to have a fab stainless steel double oven which is a great workhorse and its very energy efficient  and assists greatly in the production of lots of cakes and bakes. However its also my nemesis as I absolutely loath cleaning it, its one of those jobs that gets put off, so that were Ovenclean comes in.

My idea of heaven is to be able to pick up the phone and book a nice man (or lady) who will come and give some love and attention to my oven restoring it back to its showroom shine. That's exactly what Ovenclean do, in my case my local contact was Bernard who arrived on an atrocious winter day to give my oven the Ovenclean treatment.

The before shot !

Ovenclean is the UK's leading professional domestic oven cleaning specialist, their specially trained technicians use the latest equipment and customised cleaning products to clean your oven, hob, aga, grill, extractor, range or BBQ and  put the sparkle back into your appliance.

Using an eco friendly system to remove all grease, fat and burnt on oven deposits, Bernard soon had my oven sparkling again, there were no fumes, no mess, no fuss or bother and wow does my oven now shine.

Bernard removed the parts he could and cleaned those in his specially equipped van and then refitted all the parts and cleaned the main body of the oven, at no time where there any nasty harsh chemicals being used (so great for those with pets, allergies or children), all I could smell was a pleasant fresh clean aroma as he did he wonderful job of restoring the gleam to my trusty oven. Plus I could use my oven straight away !

All in all the service took approximately 2 hour for my ovens and all I had to do was drink tea whilst Bernard worked away. I can't recommend Ovenclean highly enough, especially for all you avid cooks and bakers, your oven deserves a treat, no more nasty oven cleaning foams and potions and scrubbing for hours all to no avail, have your oven professional cleaned by experts.

If you contact Ovenclean they will have a representative in your area and will provide you with a personalised quote for whatever service you require to be undertaken. I think the pricing is affordable especially when you look at the results achieved, my oven never looked like this after I had cleaned it !

You can contact Ovenclean on 0800 840 7127 or by clicking on
                                          Ovenclean - Oven Cleaning Service

This is a sponsored blog post and I received my service complimentary from Ovenclean to enable me to review their service.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

King prawn Keralan Coconut curry, pilau rice and roti for #BoothsCheers

Our #Boothscheers parcel contained 2 packs of sauces from The Spice Tailor by Anjum Anand, our first dish was a King Prawn Keralan coconut curry, following the instructions on the pack (but ommitting the half additional red dried red chilli) creating a great supper dish was very quick and very easy. We were very impressed with the fresh flavour of the sauce and the gorgeous bright but not glaring sauce colour. I used king prawns for our dish but it would also be great with chunky white fish such as cod or hake, the only other addition was a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves. Delicious served with a pilau rice and homemade roti.

Roti for those of you not in the know is the quick and easy authentic flatbread ideal for scooping curry sauces and lentil dhals, made in moments and absolutely delicious I can't understand why more people don't make it, rather than buying nasty pre packed naan.


  • 100g strong wholemeal bread flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50ml ish of water

Mix all in a bowl until you have a smooth dough, roll and knead for a few minutes, then divide the dough into 6 pieces roughly the same size, now on a floured board roll them out into rough shaped circles about 12 - 15cm across. Now heat a good sized chunk of butter or ghee in a frying pan and fry the roti on both sides until lightly golden and puffy, serve warm with the curry.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

#BoothsCheers with The Spice Tailor


We lucky to have been invited to take part in #Boothcheers again, this time excitingly we have a very special guest, TV chef Anjum Anand who will be joining us to discuss Indian food and her delicious Spice Tailor range. 

In our lovely VIP parcel from Booths we also have received a bottle of Spice Trail Hungarian  Pinot Grigo / Irsai Oliver, wine specially blended to match Asian and pan asian food and a bottle of Wye Valley brewery HPA which again is a great match for spicy food.

Why not join in the fun ?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

CCC No 13 - At Coppers Tea room, Leyland

Hello,ello , ello what have we got here, South Lancashire  clandestine cake club being held in the former victorian police station now tea room Coppers in Leyland !


Complete with cells this former local police station has been converted in a delightfully quirky tearoom and coffee lounge, handily situated near the towns railway station. Its a great spot for afternoon tea and that's exactly what the theme of our March meeting was "Lancashire Afternoon Tea", the friendly staff serve a wide range of drinks, snacks and cakes , many featuring local produce.

My bake was a twist on the local classic Goosnargh cake but you can find out more about this cake here.

Once again our bakers rose to the occasion and brought along some beautiful cakes which where great interpretations of the theme. We also had our first male baker who brought along a fabulous Zingy lemon curd cake along with his gorgeous 9 month old son and his partner to help eat all the cakes. We also had two young foodie visitors who had make a great cake label for their mums bake and who also assisted in helping us eat our way through 10 cakes.

  1. Zingy Lemon curd Cake
  2. Imogens Sultana and apple farmhouse cake
  3. Coconut and raspberry cake
  4. Bakewell Cake
  5. Coffee cake
  6. Chocolate Roulade
  7. Passionfruit victoria sponge
  8. Raspberry Cakewell
  9. Goosnargh cake with Orange buttercream
  10. Battenberg Cake

Let the feast commence !

Wonderful cake label 

Raspberry Cakewell

Just some of the teapots in Coppers Tearoom 
Zingy lemon curd layer cake
Thanks to everyone who attended this cake club meeting and made it such a great sucess and thanks to the staff at Coppers who so warmly welcomed us. 

Our visit was also featured in the local newspaper

Goosnargh loaf cake with orange buttercream filling and icing

Given that the theme for the latest clandestine cake club was "Lancashire afternoon Tea", I decided to have a go at re inventing the Goosnargh cake as a real cake.

Goosnargh cakes are a traditional Lancashire delicacy which are more like a biscuit than a cake, however there is traditional English cake "The Seed Cake" that shares some similarities. 

The Seed Cake features caraway seeds in much the same way as a Goosnargh cake does so that  was the inspiration for the cake, given that this was cake club I needed to enhance the cake so I decided on a fresh orange buttercream, caraway and orange being a traditional pairing.

I used Nigel Slater's Seed Cake recipe which can be found here, please pay heed to Nigel's advice re the quantity of caraway you use as otherwise your cake will be horrid, I have ignored his advice however when it comes to gilding the lily and plumped for fresh orange buttercream which seem to go down well at cake club.

To make the orange buttercream filling and icing , I used softened butter, icing sugar, juice of 1 fresh squeezed orange and the zest of the said orange, whipped until not grainy in my trusty mixer. A lovely fresh contrast to the caraway in the cake.

I am entering this post into Farmers Girl  Nigel Slater Dish of the Month linky that she runs with Sue over at A Little bit of heaven on a plate.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Millstone Inn at Mellor

We've been exploring the Lancashire countryside and have finally made our way to The Millstone at Mellor, a delightful country style hotel / inn with a reputation for great local food lovingly produced by the team lead by Anson Bolton.

I follow Anson on Twitter but he didn't know I was visiting until after the visit and we paid for our food, just in case you were wondering and also I haven't been requested to carry out a review.

The Millstone at Mellor is a village inn and restaurant serving the local community and visitors from near and far, housed in a lovely old coaching house the Millstone features both formal and informal dining areas. The emphasis is on hearty freshly produced food which features lots of local seasonal produce. Beef from the Trough of Bowland lamb from Pendle, poultry from Goosnargh and seasonal fruit and vegetables.

The menu is imaginative and extensive enough to have something for everyone, yet not too long that you worry about the freshness of the produce. Anson works with local suppliers to ensure that his "Inn season" specials menu features the freshest local seasonal produce.

Millstone at Mellor is situated in the Ribble Valley (just) and should definately feature on any food lovers list of must visits  if in the area. Another plus point is that this is a Thwaites house, so they have some wonderful lovely locally produced beers on tap, such as Wainwright ( Mr Lancashire Food's favourite) amongst others.

                             Millstone | Restaurant

So on to our visit, we arrived for lunch and were warmly greeted and seated in our choice of the informal bar area, the millstone has a lovely homely ambiance and we were soon joined by other diners, in fact by the time we were leaving things were pretty busy.

Having never visited and a little unsure of portion sizes we decided to dive straight into the mains on the daytime menu, although we were sorely tempted by the "Inn season" specials menu which sounded delicious. Intrigued by the fish finger bap on the menu,  I ordered this as my main course, where as Mr Lancashire Food plumped by the Bowland steak, kidney and Thwaites Wainwright ale pudding.

I loved my fish finger bap, homemade golden battered goujons of fish served on a soft bun,with little gem lettuce and Caesar dressing and capers ,with a wrapped lemon on the side, the dish was also served with thick cut chips and a dinky little dish of homemade potato salad. £7.95

Mr Lancashire Food's pudding was accompanied by chunky chips, proper mushy peas and ample quantities of gravy . £11.95

We both loved our mains, proper chips and great tasting fresh British food, I was particularly impressed by the potato salad, the best I have had in a long time. For afters we initially had decided to share, but on reading the tempting sweets menu, I ordered the apple and plum crumble which was served with local Huntley's ice cream and double cream. Mr Lancashire Food ordered the ice cream sundae, when it arrived he was taken back to his childhood, this was a proper sundae, three flavours of ice cream, whipped cream, toffee sauce and all topped off with a billowing marshmellowly meringue.Both £5.95 a portion.

What a great experience we had and good value too for the quality of food we received, I would whole heartily recommend a visit.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Carrot, parsnip and leek soup

I hate to waste food, so often as not I tend to make a soup with vegetables that are getting a bit long in the tooth in the bottom of the fridge. This soup was made with the remains of a pack of multi-coloured carrots I had picked up locally, a couple of parsnips and a sad and lonely leek.
The secret to a good soup is to use a quality stock, I either make my own (if I have time) mostly though I use a quality stock powder such as Essential Cuisine, I find their stocks are really tasty but light at the same time and not over salted.
This is a wholesome soup rich in vegetables and is ideal to serve to vegetarian guests and it complements homemade crusty bread perfectly.

  • Carrots - peeled and finely diced
  • Parsnips - peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large leeks, washed and sliced into rings
  • A little vegetable oil
  • Vegetable stock or butter
  • Salt and Pepper

  • Warm a little vegetable oil in a large saucepan
  • Fry the chopped vegetables very gently (sweat) without colouring
  • Stir frequently to make sure no vegetables catch
  • Add enough stock to cover the vegetables, bring to a gentle simmer
  • Simmer, covered until the vegetable are softened.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Blend with a hand blender to your desired consistency
  • Add a little more stock to thin and taste for seasoning
  • Bring back to a gentle simmer, serve in attractive soup bowls

Royal Oak at Riley Green


STOP PRESS - Updated article 9th March 2013

The pub has now been fully re-furbished and has a full menu featuring some great local produce, we were kindly invited to attend the re-launch and to meet the Thwaites Shire horses too, who came out to celebrate the re-launch. We  were treated to some lovely Lancashire nibbles all washed down with some of Thwaites fine ales, of special note was the Wainwright caviar !

As you may have gathered here at Lancashire Food, we enjoy eating out and were excited to here that the team behind our favourite restaurant were taking on the tenancy of the Royal Oak at Riley Green.  This country inn is situated on the main road to Blackburn from Preston and Chorley, not far from Hoghton Tower, so its easy to find.

To the delight of Mr Lancashire Food this is a Thwaites house so the beers are good and his favourite brew "Wainwright" is available on draught. Chris and Mike  have introduced a menu which  focuses on quality , consistency and freshness, from local suppliers. The menu is currently shorter than they would like as they are planning alterations to the kitchen and dining areas in the very near future, but their is still plenty of choice.

Our visit was on a Saturday lunchtime and we were pleased to see that several other parties were already dining on entering the pub. We were warmly welcomed by the knowledgeable and polite front of house team and seated near the fireplace. 

We ordered drinks as we browsed the menu and made our choices. After a reasonable wait ( our waiter was keen to tell us everything is cooked from fresh) our food arrived. 

Mr Lancashire Food's choice was a steak and ale pie with the days choice of vegetables and twice cooked chips. The vegetables were deliciously tender and cooked from fresh and the pie well flavoured and packed with tender steak.

My burger was delicious, served in a muffin with cheese and tomato relish , the chips were amazing and the salad fresh and well balanced, no soggy sad lettuce here.

Both were well sized portions and good examples of pub food done well. We will be back and will be bringing friends next time who we are sure will enjoy the warm friendly pub environment and the great food and ales, the pub also welcomes families.

We did not give notice of our visit to the team and we paid for our food and drinks, just in case you were wondering.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Suet crust topped minced beef and onion pie

This week has been National British Pie week, well that sounds right up my street so in honour of this special event we had to bake a pie didn't we.

I love suet crust it takes me straight back to my childhood ( I remember it being used to top rabbit pie and hot pot mainly), a golden crusty top, soft fluffy underside and the delicious margin where the gravy touches the pastry. 

I though I would also dig out my retro vintage style pie dishes as well for this post, hope you like them, personally I love a bit of enamelware, very utility chic.

  • Quality minced steak
  • Large white onion finely chopped
  • Quality beef stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little vegetable oil
  • Gravy Thickner (Bisto or similar or cornflour)
  • 200g Self raising flour
  • 100g vegetable suet
  • Water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Milk for brushing top of pastry
  • First to make the pie filling, heat a little oil in a frying pan, quickly fry off the minced steak until browned , now add the onion, turn the heat down and cook until slightly softened.
  • Now add enough beef stock to the pan, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or so, you can add herbs, tomato ketchup, etc to give more flavour to the gravy if you like.
  • Once the minced steak is cooked, thicken the gravy via your prefererred method.
  • Set to one side to cool, before filling your pie dishes.
  • On to the pastry, mix in a large bowl the flour, salt and suet with a knife, adding just enough water to create a slighty sticky dough.
  • Tip out onto a floured surface and roll out to desired thickness , top your pies and trim the pastry accordingly
  • Cut a small slit in the pastry top and brush the pie crust with a little milk
  • Bake in a pre heated oven at 180c for about 30 minutes until the pie crust is golden and the gravy is bubbling up the sides of the pie
  • Serve with your favourite vegetable, I chose mushy peas.

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