Having worked in food and drink now for over 20 years, I know that the industry continues to present us with many new challenges, yet this has ensured the most exciting and rewarding career I could ever have imagined. And no matter what level you reach, your life is still governed and dictated by long hours and lots of red tape. The highs however have always outweighed the lows for me, and I still get incredibly excited year on year when we plan our menus for each season. And I love the winter as much as any other time of year.There is nothing better than wrapping up warm and walking to a lovely, cosy country pub in the winter and tucking into hearty food that’s good for the soul! This is how I would love to spend all of my Sundays at this time of year – not always possible with all that life (and work) throws at us but when I can it is a real treat, and something I look forward to all week.
Friends and family pop in for a quick pint or stay all afternoon with great chat, the Sunday papers and
hearty food indulgence. This is one pleasure that economic downturn won’t take away from us, in fact I’d rather enjoy a relaxing, cosy Sunday aternoon in the pub rather than treat myself to a new dress or even a weekend away. A proper country pub is sure to serve your favourite Roast on a Sunday – and hopefully sourcing their meat, fruit and veg from some of Cheshire’s best farmers and producers (we are indeed spoilt for choice in this region), and I also love to see an interesting – and seasonal – specials board. Big chunky stews and casseroles are heavenly on a chilly winters afternoon, and traditional dumplings made with proper suet are a must.
These very special winter dishes can also be made with cheaper cuts of meat; mutton is excellent at this time of year and the price of game is very good as although it is getting on for the end of the season, good quality is still (pretty much) guaranteed. Root vegetables like parsnips and swede for example can be cooked well with lovely flavours, honey and rosemary with parsnips is a favourite. Crumbles (with cinnamon and nutmeg) are very comforting in the winter (with homemade custard of course) and clementines are very good in winter months.
I will be introducing you to many local suppliers over the coming weeks and months, some very seasonal, so I hope you enjoy learning a little more about the fantastic produce which you can literally find on your doorstep. I will also be telling you a little bit about our local breweries but they like you to visit in spring and autumn so watch this space.
But before I go, some National Food Festival Dates for your diary:
Until Saturday, January 28 – National Farmhouse Breakfast Week
Sunday, February 5 to 12 – Bramley Apple Week
Monday, February 20 to 26 – National Chip Week
Monday, March 5 to 11 – British Pie Week
Look out for local pubs and restaurants supporting these National food festivals and if you’re laying on something special then please let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for listening … Izzy x