Friday, August 22, 2014
With a larder that is the envy of the rest of Britain, chefs in Norfolk never struggle to find the very best ingredients with which to create their menu. A new event for the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival aims to shine a light on the best produce in the region. stacia briggs finds out why Norfolk produce is worth shouting about.
Norfolk is famed for its abundant coastline and arable farmland which produces some of the finest fare in Britain.
From our fresh fish to our delicious dairy, our magnificent meat to our varied vegetables, Norfolk is the envy of the country and offers an incredible selection of tempting ingredients for even the most discerning of diners.
A new event aims to highlight the exceptional quality of the food and drink produced in our county and persuade more people into their own kitchens to make the most of what we have right here on our doorstep.
The Norfolk Showcase is one of the flagship events for the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 and features festival patron Richard Hughes, who is chef/proprietor of The Lavender House in Brundall, owner of The Richard Hughes Cookery School which won the inaugural UK Cookery School of the Year award and a director at The Assembly House in Norwich.
Two recipes from Richard Hughes which showcase the best of Norfolk produce:
Binham Blue Cheese, Pear and Walnut Trifle
400g Binham Blue cheese
2 ripe pears
1 dessertspoon walnuts
½ red pepper
½ small onion
2 dessertspoons whipping or double cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
small bunch flat-leaf parsley
• To make the pear chutney, peel, core and dice the pears and place in a pan.
• Finely dice a dessertspoon of onion and add this to the pears then soften them in a little butter.
• Add the sugar and vinegar to the pear mixture.
• Crush the walnuts in a bowl then chop and add the parsley.
• Slice the pepper and the remaining onion, then fry until soft.
• Soften the cheese with the cream using a wooden spoon.
• Place a layer of the onion mixture in a glass.
• Add a layer of walnuts and parsley
• Pipe or spoon the blue cheese mixture on top.
• Garnish with the red pepper and onion mix.
The event, sponsored by local home delivery supermarket StonesThrow Food Company which is based in Elveden, is a celebration of Norfolk’s larder and features an arrival drink, a two-course dinner with coffee, a cookery demonstration from Richard, a question and answer session and recipe sheets to take home.
Hosted by BBC Radio Norfolk’s David Clayton, tickets for the event cost £25 each (£200 for a table of 10) and everyone who books will receive a £10 grocery pack worth £10 (subject to delivery restrictions) which will in turn showcase the best produce from the area.
Richard Walters, managing director of the StonesThrow Food Company, said: “We are really proud to be sponsoring this important event. StonesThrow makes daily deliveries to household customers throughout Norfolk, supplying fresh, everyday groceries from some of the very best local farmers and food manufacturers.
“It’s a pleasure to be involved with The Norfolk Showcase at The Assembly House.”
Cromer Crab Thermidor
Serves 2 people
2 dressed Cromer crabs, brown and white meat separated
125ml double cream
100ml white wine
50g grated Smoked Dapple cheese
1 tsp Colman’s beer mustard
2 shallots, diced
the brown crab meat
• Soften the shallots in the butter.
• Add the white wine, and reduce by boiling to a glaze.
• Add the cream, and bring to the boil.
• Add the mustard and the cheese. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
• Stir in the brown crab meat.
50g fresh white bread crumbs
50g grated Smoked Dapple cheese
the white crab meat
• Mix the crumbs, the cheese and the white crab meat.
• Place the brown meat mixture into a gratin dish.
• Top with the white meat mixture.
• Place in the oven at Gas Mark 4/180°C for 10 minutes
Having taught cooking skills to professionals and amateurs alike for more than 20 years, Richard Hughes is keen to encourage as many people as possible into their kitchens to cook with the ingredients that are available here in Norfolk.
He will be demonstrating a range of dishes, including Cider Roast Pork Belly which uses free-range pork from Woodlands Farm in Swannington, and diners will feast on a meal that includes the pork belly dish, roasted cauliflower, Norfolk Peer potato salad and orchard spiced pudding cake with locally-brewed beer ice-cream (a vegetarian option will be available, please state dietary requirements when booking).
“I’m definitely not alone in thinking that Norfolk’s produce is amongst the finest in the country which is why it’s what I use in my restaurant – if the food produced here in the county wasn’t the best, it wouldn’t be on the menu,” he said.
“It’s important to me to encourage people to cook in their own kitchens and to be confident about what they cook – if you’re using local ingredients, you’re supporting the local producers that make Norfolk such a special place to live in and you’ll also be eating fresh, seasonal food.
It’s the largest event of its kind in the country and it’s right here in our fine county – the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 celebrates a delicious decade this year and has a programme of events guaranteed to whet every appetite.
The festival is a unique opportunity for producers, consumers, restaurateurs and businesses in Norfolk to get together to highlight the incredible food and drink offer in the county and encourage as many people as possible to take part in the celebration which this year runs from August 30 to October 12.
This year, Southwold-based brewery Adnams returns for a third year of sponsorship, joined by Norfolk-based law firm Spire Solicitors LLP, which has eight regional offices across the county.
“The Festival celebrates the wide variety and exceptional quality of Norfolk’s vibrant food and drink sector which delivers real and tangible benefits to the county,” said Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams.
Kevin Oelrichs. Partner at Spire, added: “The Norfolk Food and Drink Festival is a key event for raising the profile of our thriving food and drink industry and helping celebrate the abundance of fine producers in the region. We very much look forward to supporting the organisers as they plan the festival over the coming months.”
The Eastern Daily Press is media partner with the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival and its patrons are Richard Hughes of The Lavender House Restaurant and Cookery School and the Assembly House, Chris Coubrough of Flying Kiwi Inns, Vanessa Scott of Strattons Hotel and Galton Blackiston of Morston Hall and No1 Cromer.
The festival also has a new co-ordinator, Anna Stevenson, who sat on the original steering committee 10 years ago and co-owns The Mill Café Bar and Restaurant in Yaxham with husband Hugo along with her own public relations and marketing company.
Sarah de Chair, director of the festival, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Spire Solicitors LLP as our joint headline sponsor along with Adnams, which has kindly agreed to support us once again in such a landmark year for the festival.”
This year’s Norfolk Food and Drink Festival 2014 includes events such as the Battle of the Bangers, the Moveable Feast, Dining in the Dark and new events such as the Pop-Up Producers Weekend and Picnic and Norwich Restaurant Week. There will be events across the entire county, including satellite festivals for North Norfolk, Breckland, Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Waveney.
For more information, visit www.norfolkfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.
“I’ll be demonstrating some of my favourite recipes that use local ingredients and hopefully showing people that cooking isn’t frightening – the most important ingredient of all is confidence. Once you’ve got that, the rest is easy!”
The Norfolk Showcase is on September 4 and begins at 6.45pm.
Tickets for the event cost £25. For more details and to book a place at the events, call The Assembly House on 01603 626402. For more information, visit www.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk and www.stonesthrow.co.uk.