My Yorkshire Puddings

This is brave of me. I’m opening myself up for a lot of criticism here. Everyone has their own way of doing it. Their own little twists and quirks, that they swear by! And nothing else can come close to their famous method, or worse, their MUMS famous method!! Because let’s face it mums always make the best Yorkshires! So I’m putting myself out there, on a limb, and sharing my yourkshire pudding recipe. I love this recipe because it’s easy, requires minimal fussing and delivers consistently risen and beautiful Yorkshires.


To any international followers of the blog, of which there are a few now, Yorkshire Puddings are a quintessential part of a British Sunday roast lunch. They are not sweet or a dessert! They are plonked on top of your roast, or sometimes your roast is plonked inside of them. This is confusing. They are a vessel for soaking up delicious homemade gravy. Oh no, do I now have to explain gravy…this could be never ending!

Let’s get on with making them. I use the little foil pie dishes that I make small pies for the shop in, and I keep them and reuse them for Yorkshires again and again. You can buy these in large shops or online, or get a Yorkshire pudding pan.  I tend to make 12 at once, and I put the ones that aren’t eaten straight into the freezer in a sealed bag, for another day. I always make them ahead of time so I can make sure the oven temperature is right when I do them. They only take 30 seconds-1 minute back in the oven to reheat at dinner time anyway.


Ingredients (for 12 decent sized ones):

300g plain flour

8 free range eggs

400ml milk

pinch salt

sunflower oil


1. Pre heat oven to 230 degrees centigrade. We need it HOT for Yorkshires so make sure there’s no littlies helping for this one!

2. Once oven is pre heated, put oil in the bottom and around the sides of the dishes/pan. If you use foil dishes make sure you have a sturdy tray to bake them on, and that the dishes are not too close together. Once I made this recipe and I didn’t have sunflower oil, so used olive oil. It resulted in an epic fail of flat Yorkshires as the olive oil didn’t get anywhere near hot enough! Be liberal with the oil. We all knew it was going to be unhealthy when we opted for Yorkshires! Put the oiled dishes/ tray into the oven to pre heat. We need the batter to go into hot oil!

3. Whilst the oil is heating up, make the batter. Combine the flour, eggs, milk and salt in a large bowl and whisk together, using some elbow grease. I never worry if the batter is not 100% smooth, they always turn out fine.

4. When the oil is preheated, we are ready to go. We are dealing with hot oil here and have to be quick with the oven door open so the temperature doesn’t drop too much, so be extremely careful. Take the pan/ dishes out of the oven. Working quickly, pour the batter in diving equally between the holes/tins. It should sizzle when the batter hits the oil. Sizzling is good!

5. Return to the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, until well risen, golden brown and firm. Be careful not to over cook. Remove from the oven and lift the puds out of the tins and onto a piece of kitchen towel or baking paper. The oil that’s left in the bottom of the dishes can be used another day.

6. When the rest of the roast is ready, return the Yorkshires to the hot oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute to warm back through.


Its not healthy, but if you’re doing it, do it right!




My independent Christmas

I’ve set myself a little challenge. To have an independent Christmas! The excitement we feel within our own business when orders roll in, is extraordinary. The satisfaction we get from knowing we make and produce the food that will make a families Christmas complete is immense. The pride we feel that people trust us with the most important family occasion of the year is humbling.


My homemade mince pies

One hundred percent of our own Christmas meal comes from ingredients we sell in our own shop, as does our tree and wreath! We sit around beaming on Christmas Day, knowing how delicious our food was, and how beatiful our tree looks, happily satisfied that we have given our all to make the Christmas of others special. As for the customers that have choosen to trust a business like us with their food, they have my utmost respect. They could have found something cheaper, they could have stuck a few extra bits in their supermarket trolley to save an extra trip, they could have bought something frozen a month ago to save the hassle of shopping near Christmas at all. But they didn’t. They chose to use a small business, one that puts quality top and has pride in their work, even if it’s more effort, even if it’s more expensive. They chose to use a business that truely cares about customers, that gets excited by their custom. But most importantly they chose to keep their money in the local economy. These customers keep small business thriving, growing and then hiring even more local people!


My homemade Christmas Cakes


So why on earth do I do the rest of my shopping for Christmas with the likes of Argos, Mothercare and other huge concerns that sell the same old generic plastic rubbish?! This year I have decided to put my money where my mouth is and do ALL my shopping with independent businesses.


Christmas morning after Santa came!

When I first had the idea, I asked myself why I use these places anyway, to work out if there was a possibility of changing. Is it price? Well no not really because one always assumes independents are more expensive, but they usually aren’t when you scratch below the service. The cold hard answer is, it’s easy. You have a huge list of people to buy for, it’s just easy to sit on the sofa and do it all in one or 2 hits from big retailers and get it delivered to your door. So if that’s the ONLY stumbling block I can think of, then I can do this! I’m prepared to put in more leg work to source more personal, quality gifts, from companies that care.


My beautiful big boy infront of our beautiful Christmas tree 2016

So what have I thought of my early browsing and purchasing? Well I can’t give too much information about gifts away yet, so as not to ruin the surprise for people I have bought for, but I will write my results up after Christmas! So far though I’ve noticed I’m putting a lot more thought into each persons gift. And it’s the thought that counts after all! I’ve also really enjoyed the diverse range of businesses that I’m using, and it’s opened up my eyes to just what creativity lies on your doorstep! I love that there’s so many small business and crafty individuals  around, enough to overcome any problem. An example is that I didn’t know how I would source Christmas crackers, and then I discovered some customers at our shop were hand making Christmas crackers to raise money for charity. Christmas crackers usually seem wasteful, both in terms of money and resources, but this year I feel virtuous about purchasing them for the first time ever!

The other unexpected thing I have noticed, is that it’s made me question what is an independent business. The other day I was browsing a company that makes handmade Christmas items, when I saw they had 60,000 Facebook followers. Not really what I would describe as a small business. So I had to make a decision as to whether they fell within my accepted list, which lead to me looking into their business. It was started a few years ago by 2 friends, who still run the business. Their production and offices is still completely in the U.K. and their products are still hand finished to the highest quality. I got the impression they were still new and a good season could make them, and a bad season could break them. This made me think my order would be important to them and cared about by them. This put them on my accepted list! I decided that any business that is delighted to get orders and the orders are important to them, is the sort of business I want to send my money to!

The other thing I have discovered is that Etsy is awesome!

I will keep you posted about how it goes, if I succeed and what I learn along the way! But for now, happy independent Christmas!


My Friends and Other Hungry Family!

I always talk about Family, Food and Farming…but there’s another very important ‘F’- Friends! Let me introduce you to Hannah & Vicki, 2 very special ladies that I first met back in a previous life at university. Since then we have all been through so much together, and grown up together. We have now accumulated 3 husbands and 6 children too! That’s one husband and 2 children per person! Since the most recent member of the gang arrived just 7 weeks ago (and the only girl in the younger generation) I decided it was time we got all 12 of us together for a Sunday meal.


As I’ve been doing really well losing weight and getting fit and healthy, I decided it shouldn’t be any ordinary Sunday lunch. It had to be a treat and a celebration. We don’t all get together often so it definitely was a special occasion, plus you don’t have a new baby to welcome everyday do you? So I wanted a meal where I didn’t worry about what I ate and I didn’t feel guilty for it. So I announced we would be having a 3 course lunch (has to be lunch as evenings out with kids are an impossibility), and it would be as swanky as possible with children in tow! So then I had this idea that I could blog about how it all went down…so here’s my recollection, which I hope you enjoy reading!


Getting ready for the dessert course!

So what do you need to do in advance to plan an epic meal for 12 people (really only 11 as the baby won’t eat food yet, but 12 sounds better!)?

1. Clean the house, only to apologise profusely that despite a day of tidying it’s STILL a tip. I like to think my home is warm and welcoming, and relaxed, and people never leave hungry. If you are coming to look at a clean and tidy show home, however, you will be very disappointed! Luckily my friends know this. They know they are ALWAYS welcome. Unless they are judging how tidy it is!!

2. Decide ‘the gist’ of what I’m going to make. Luckily I have a bakery attached to the side of the house so I don’t need to decide exact puds, I just need to have a rough idea so I have got the right things in. I decided that kids wouldn’t sit still for 3 courses, and they would want to play together when everyone first arrived so an antipasti platter starter would be best. I thought a casual starter that we didn’t need to sit for would allow me to get the main course finished off, would start things off casual and at ease, and would please the free range children. Plus there was minimum preparation needed. So main course was going to have to be a roast because a) it’s Sunday b)kids like it c)it can be trailored to suit any low carb/high protein/lots of veggies diet anyone may be following and d)I can put all the food on my breakfast bar and people can serve themselves so I don’t have to dish it up! So the desserts? I didn’t make my mind up ahead of time but I did decide that I was going to do 2 or 3 different ones so there was a choice…or you could try a bit of all of them! I was going to make a bit of the food the day before, but in truth I ran out of time wading through the mess in my house! Also I know I have additional ovens in the bakery so that takes the pressure off, and one friend lives 2 hours away, so I figured that if she told me when she was leaving I knew I had 2 hours to get it all done!


Starter tasting plate!

3. Do the shopping. This involves sending a list to Ben who was at the Cambridge shop. This is where my preparation went a little off track! You see, I hadn’t told Ben (apparently) that there were 2 families coming. He thought there was 1. So he thought I was ‘making a fuss’ with the amount of food I had put on my list and scaled it back. Also the words ‘vegetables to go with a roast’ disappeared off the shopping list somewhere between me pressing send and the words arriving on Ben’s phone screen. Luckily we have an onsite butchery so a bigger piece of beef could be retrieved and I always have loads of veg at home. Disaster averted. We shall say no more about it!

So the day arrives. I used to get nervous to cook for a lot of people but these days I love it, and I’m much more confident.

I assigned Ben 3 responsibilities to take the pressure off-

1) Cook the meat, this is Bens speciality anyway

2) Make the gravy, because quite frankly I’m no good at it, and he is

3) Source and serve drinks (he did work in a pub for years after all)

My morning went down like this…Leo wasn’t awake yet and me and Arthur were up (Ben was out feeding the animals). I thought this would be a great opportunity to get potatoes peeled and in water ready to par boil and sweet potatoes peeled ready for sweet potato mash.

Next get Leo up and we had breakfast. By the time we are done it’s about 10:30, Ben’s home, and ‘far away’ friend Hannah is about to leave her house.

“Take control of the boys Ben, I’m disappearing into the bakery.”

“oh, and I know I said you only had 3 jobs but you wouldn’t mind par boiling and then straining those potatoes would you?”

How can he refuse, he’s trying to get back in my good books for not knowing how many people were coming? (Oops, mentioned it again)

Anyway, first job was to whip up some shortcrust pastry, this would be the base for 2 of the deserts; lemon meringue pie and sugar free apple tart. I had a bit left over so I thought I’d make my mum a lemon meringue too as I remembered the filling recipe always makes loads. Whilst they blind baked I made lemon meringue filling and got those in the oven and then made the sugar free apple tart filling. I didn’t follow a recipe for this I just winged it so I also spent some time hoping it turned out ok. Next I made a walnut brownie, this would later be plastered with homemade salted caramel. Final piece of baking before returning to the house kitchen was Yorkshire puds, which went a little like this…

“oh no, the batter has made 13, that’s so unlucky…oh well we are baking so I’ll just call it a bakers dozen”

Next roasties went into the oven as first friends arrived. I prepared the veg while we chatted. Then excused myself to make the salted caramel…pretending I’d left it till they were there because it was so quick to make but really it was because I’d run out of time! Rest of the group arrived so I got my starter platter ready…which was mainly opening packets and pretty-fying it! We had 2 kinds of cheese, charcuterie that ben had cured down the farm; bresaola, English Serrano style ham & paprika lomo (these aren’t ready for sale yet but what’s the point in having friends if it’s not to experiment on them?!), charcoal crackers, silver and green basil olives, and COBS Bakery Cambridge loaf and seeded breads. I was going to make my own bread but ditched this idea when I decided I wasn’t going to make anything the day before!

Whilst we picked at this, the children played and I was able to get the veg ready, whilst not feeling in a rush as nobody was waiting for food…they had a whole platter to get through! Then when all the roast beef meal was ready, I put everything on our breakfast bar so everyone could help themselves to what they fancied. And go back for seconds easily!!

After everyone was sufficiently stuffed we thought it would be best to go for a walk around the fields before dessert and coffee. This was to get the walk in before it got dark, and to let the food digest a little. It’s lovely to take the little ones for a walk. Until someone kicks off. This someone belonged to me. And the trouble was that he didn’t want to walk past the digger, he wanted a go on it. At least being a bit fitter I managed to carry an unhappy 3.5yr old across an entire field.

Back home we tested out the trio of desserts, and had hot drinks. I *may* have tried all 3.

Apart from the digger incident all the kids had a lovely time, and all played together so nicely. I think everyone went home with full tummies. I had a wonderful time. It’s easy when you are busy to avoid organising stuff, but catching up with close friends is something I have to tell myself to make sure I never put off. Thanks to my amazing friend for all traveling so far to see us, even when I told them I was going to blog about our meal. I  went to bed happy that I achieved my brief; a swanky 3 course meal with children in attendance. And I went to bed even happier that I combined Family, Farming, Food and Friends into one great afternoon. See you again soon guys, for the next feast!


What an awesome bunch, we really need a selfie stick so we could all be in a picture at once though!






Our online store is open, with more than a ‘little’ help from our indie friends!

Our new and improved online store opened with a bang at an amazing launch party on Saturday. This is definitely not a post to plug that (honest), this is because I’m on cloud 9 after having a chance to meet and catch up with so many amazing and awe inspiring independent businesses. Many whom we have the pleasure of working with, and many who we hope we are lucky enough to work with in future.


A few years ago, I saw a headline in a national newspaper branding Cambridge as a ‘clone city’, saying the high street is full of chains and has next to no independents or character. I’ve had a bit of a rage simmering under the surface about this for years, and now again it rears its head and I can’t help but express my love and support for the independents, of which there are many!

You see, for every high street chain there is, there’s at least 10 times the number of independents working tirelessly, through blood sweat and tears to make a positive impact on people’s daily lives. And this extends beyond Cambridge! Independents may not have the money to have a fancy big city centre store, or the money to aggressively market themselves, but they are there, they are thriving, they are growing, and in their own way they are changing the world for their own families, the people they employ and the customers they serve.

I have a list of stores and business I never use; due to bad customer service, disregard for customer satisfaction, or unethical practice. One day I might share this list with you. But for today, let me just say that none of them are small independents! And I’d like to grow this list of nationals I don’t use, so I’m forever on the lookout for other indies to replace them with.

Our business only exists because of the whole host of indie business’ that work along side us; supplying us, providing services for us, shopping with us. We are all tiny players in a game where a mighty supermarket could just squash us all. We pay ourselves last, or not at all. We sometimes don’t know where the money is coming from to pay the bills. Yet we all hold hands and get through it together! We lose sleep, family time, money, sanity even. But we are united by a love for what we do, a pride in what we make, a respect for our suppliers, and an appreciation of our customers. And after our launch on Saturday, I’m more convinced than ever that we can do this together. We might not all be on the high street, but we can be there for our customers and offer them an alternative to the chains.

We need your help though, the more of us that get their names out there the better we will all do. If we can help one person to shop from their local indies, and help them avoid the supermarket, that’s pretty amazing. Nothing says you appreciate and recognise your indie business’ quite like spending your money with them. If you know anyone that makes quality food and drink please point them in our direction so we can hopefully give their food a home on our website. But above all, share with your friends and family the indie business that you use. There could be people dying to get away from chains if only they knew of a better option.

Aside of the food industry our lives have been full of friends and families running indie business, and they have all inspired and helped keep us sane. There is farmers, dj’s, spa owners, publicans, landscapers, nail technicians, therapists and personal trainers, to name but a few! I’d love to know more, because let’s face it; a life that is filled with interactions with real people, and not sitting listening to ‘your call is very important to us…’ on a multi nationals switch board is a life well spent. Let’s get sharing the indies we love and avoid the faceless, passionless, steam-coming-out-of-the-ears interactions as much as possible.

So special thanks to all those who helped, and continue to help, create the business that we have today. The future is looking bright for a more personal, enjoyable, passionate future that we all share together.

I don’t want to finish this post without a special thank you to Pina writer of the blog One Two Culinary Stew , who took loads of the lovely pics I’ve used today. Pina’s blog is great, she works selflessly to help promote good indie food business, and cooks lovely food too, do check it out, she was a huge inspiration for me starting my own blog. Thanks also to Anne Beamish of Independent Cambridge who has also provided photos, spoke some lovely words at our launch, and generally does amazing work to make sure everyone knows that Cambridge is NOT a clone city!!