Month: February 2015

Down on the Farm

I love spring. Of all of my favourite seasons, it is my most favourite. Before the air gets warm, the bird songs begin to change and then I know…it is only a matter of time. Some years, it’s just more time than others! Spring tantalised me at weekend. The sun was out and my grownup children suggested a visit to Home Farm at Temple Newsam on the outskirts of Leeds. So here are some photos of our visit as we explored the cobbled yards and rare breeds of livestock housed in the original buildings.

Riverford Recipe Box – Love Cooking

I have been a customer of Riverford Organic Farms for nearly two years now, so I was very pleased when Ian Carr, my local Riverford veg man, delivered my first Riverford Recipe Box. So, let’s see what Riverford has to offer in one of its Quick Recipe Boxes. Riverford recipe boxes are very easy to use, have minimal waste, include recyclable packaging and three quick, tasty recipes. It’s easy to see on the website what each week’s box contains and there is ample allergen advice, so that those with specific dietary needs can avoid any unwelcome surprises. Packed full of fresh, organic vegetables and meat, and all dry ingredients needed for each recipe, this box is not only convenient but also cuts down on waste. It allows you to try ingredients you might not otherwise have tried, in small quantities without having to invest in a whole bottle/box of something. Each recipe provides clear instructions for the chef. The Quick Recipe Box, implies that recipes included should take under thirty minutes, but some did take me a little longer. Bacon, Kale & …

Monastic Tea and Cake – Ampleforth Abbey

As recommended by a friend – What a lovely idea it was today, to drive up to the North Yorkshire Moors, and to discover for the first time, tucked into a valley, Ampleforth Abbey!! Ampleforth Abbey is a Benedictine community nestled in a peaceful valley, not far from Sutton Bank, and Byland Abbey (also my top places in North Yorkshire). During a browse around the new Visitor Centre, I discovered that the Abbey was founded in 1802, and the site now includes the monastery, a college where the monks teach, 2000 acres of land which includes an orchard from which they produce a variety of foods and drinks. And of course the Abbey church which has daily Mass and the Divine Office chanted throughout the day. Naturally the other reason to visit was The Tea Room, furnished with the famous ‘Mousey Thompson’ tables and chairs, situated off the Main Hall in the central building.   While the Monks are not charged with the task of running the teashop – that’s left to the lay community …

Loving Superfoods

February is the month of love and Valentine’s Day is on the horizon – here are some tips on the superfoods that will get you in the mood. Raw Chocolate Aside from being downright sexy itself, chocolate fuels the release of endorphins and serotonin due to its high levels of PEA (phenyl ethylamine) which induces excitement, attraction and euphoria. Raw cacao, the pure form of chocolate also contains tryptophan (an essential amino acid), which promotes a sense of wellbeing and relaxation – perfect for getting you in the mood. Almonds The sweet, nutty aroma of almonds is said to arouse passion in females, but if smelling them simply isn’t enough, eating them is also amazing for your health (and sex life). Almonds are packed with skin boosting fats as well as an abundance of vitamin E, magnesium and fibre to help keep you going. Honey Honey has long been associated with sexual desire as it is a great source of boron, a trace mineral that helps the body use and metabolise oestrogen, the female sex …

Loving Tea, a Squishy Sofa and a Good Book

I love tea, and I love a big squishy sofa, and I love a good book. The Tea You all know how I love tea, and how I go in and out of phases with flavours and ingredients. Lately I’ve found myself craving ginger tea and its flavour in general. So I am being soothed by a new tea from Brew Tea Co, ‘Lemon and Ginger’ which was delivered in exciting and pretty packaging. The Sofa My priority buy when I moved to my nest in North Yorkshire was a big sofa where I could curl up with a good book, and day dream while looking out onto my garden whatever the weather. http://www.multiyork.co.uk  The Book Life gets busier and we concentrate more of our time on flicking through snippet sized bits of info on our phones. All this is not good for our poor little brains! That’s why I love the Book Club at my local pub QOTT. This month we are reading Girl at War by Sara Novic – Growing up in Zagreb in …

Samuel Valentine – Urban Food Hall and Cafe

Samuel Valentine – Cheesemonger, butcher, wine merchant, delicatessen and bistro café – Allerton Bywater, near Castleford! This is my newly discovered place to visit for a relaxed and civilised lunch or brunch. Just not quite the location I would have expected for this busy urban food hall, on a main road through an old mining village, but a very pleasant surprise. This is a new venture by Cryer & Stott’s and is named after the directors two children Samuel and Valentine. I also discovered when I was searching for Yorkshire cheeses, that Cryer & Stott’s have had a chain of Yorkshire cheese shops since 1998 when they first opened a stall on Wakefield market. Back to Samuel Valentine – the food hall has a section of delicious looking artisan breads, a butcher displaying homemade sausages who was offering plenty of samples, pies and more pies and a deli counter and a whole counter of…cheeses! There in the middle of the clean and airy building is the café, with comfortable chairs where you can sit and …