Wednesday 27 June 2012

Chef's Room wants best recipes in Wales

The Farmers' Union of Wales has teamed up with top Welsh chefs to produce a book of Welsh food recipes.

It is asking the public to submit their favourite red meat, poultry, dairy and dessert dishes for a chance to feature in the book. The overall winner will receive a Welsh food hamper worth £100.

The team of chefs judging the competition includes Gareth Johns of The Wynnstay Hotel, Machynlleth; Bryan Webb, Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo, near Corwen; Hefin Roberts, Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn, Beaumaris; Stephen Terry, The Hardwick, Abergavenny; and Margaret Rees, Slow Food Carmarthenshire group leader.

Culinary legends Ann and Franco Taruschio, pioneers of the food revival in Wales at the Walnut Tree Inn, near Abergavenny, will write the book's foreword.

Recipe entries must make use of Welsh produce only, highlighting where the food is sourced from, together with a description of why this is their favourite recipe.

The first prize winner for each of the categories will receive a copy of the book and a Welsh food hamper worth £20. The closing date for entries is August 31.

Entries must be submitted to Farmers' Union of Wales, Llys Amaeth, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3BT.

For further information contact Anne Birkett, Press Officer, on 01970 820 820 or by e-mail:

Bryan Webb will judge the red meat section.

Stephen Terry,will judge entries for the poultry section.

The dairy recipes will fall under the of Margaret Rees, a pioneer in creating greater awareness of the importance of buying traceable foods from our farmers and artisan food producer.

Hefin Roberts, will judge the dessert menu.

The overall winner will be chosen by Master Chef of Great Britain Gareth Johns, winner of Best Welsh Cheeseboard 2008 and 2011 at the British Cheese Awards, Local Food Heroes 2008-9 Highly Commended (Wales), Penderyn Welsh Restaurant of the Month for June 2008 and first Welsh winner of the Michelin Gastro Pub Award.

Herefordshire needs you

As a member of the Herefordshire Flavours Awards steering group I would like to make all your readers aware of the new look awards. We have been meeting regularly over the past six months to breathe some new life into Flavours. We all come from different backgrounds but are, in some way, involved with food professionally and live in Herefordshire.

Herefordshire is a beautifu county and has much to offer and much to be proud of but are we taking it for granted? We are determined to put local food and local food businesses on the map and to encourage young people in the industry. We intend to reward quality and endeavor with PR and marketing opportunities as well as awards.

We also want to involve the public and are looking for nominations for the best butcher in the county in our "Beef up your butcher" competition. The nominees will be entered into a prize draw to win a hamper. The best butcher and runners up will have outstanding marketing opportunities. Later on in the season there will be a best dressed Herefordshire food and drink window category.

This year we have changed the “Best Food and Drink Producers” category. There will be no out-right winner but the best products will be judged, gold, silver and bronze. Judging takes place in mid July so please don't delay. Best ‘Young Chef in Education’ and the ‘Young Chef in Industry’ is also imminent. So please even if you are not directly involved please take an interest, talk-up the awards and better still if you know any one that fits any of these categories tell them to get in touch for Herefordshire's sake

For details of these and the other awards for 2012-2013 please contact Liz Hill on 01432 268430 or visit

Tuesday 12 June 2012


Broad beans are one of my favourite vegetables and when they appear at the green grocer’s I know summer is here. Many of you of course will grow your own. Even better as you can pick them at the optimum time before they get too big and while the beans are still sweet and tender. Some will say why bother they are just as good from the freezer! And so they are but nothing can compare with a seasonal vegetable, freshly picked, freshly podded and then popped into the pot to be cooked.

For me the broad bean is the epitome of a traditional British summer time family feast, served either with roast or boiled ham or salmon. In my childhood, before the advent of farmed salmon, fresh salmon was strictly seasonal too and it used to appear at more or less the same time. My mother was what she used to describe as a plain cook. No fancy foreign food except of course, for curry, but she could cook a Wye or Severn Salmon to perfection. She served it with mayonnaise, the first broad beans and new potatoes from the garden tossed in mint and butter. It was my father’s favourite meal.

My father died in June (many, many years ago), the broad beans were ready for picking, the first potatoes for digging. My mother cooked a salmon and the whole family sat down to the feast. No one said much, but everyone thought the same thing and as we enjoyed the feast, tears rolled down our cheeks. Not that this has ever dimmed our enthusiasm, but rather intensified the enjoyment. Memory also plays an important part in taste.


12 small new potatoes (500 g)

1 kg young broad beans, in shells

500 g peas in their shells

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 level teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoon dry white wine

Handful of mint leaves, chopped

Salt and white pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Put the potatoes in to cold water, add salt, bring to the boil and simmer until not quite tender (15 - 20 minutes). In the meantime shell the broad beans and peas.

Cover the base of a saucepan with olive oil, add the chopped onion and cook over low heat until soft (5 minutes). Strain the potatoes and cut in half unless very small, and stir fry for a few minutes, then add the beans and peas, stir again and add salt to taste and a pinch of white pepper and the sugar. Add a ladle of hot water, stir and carry on cooking over low heat until the broad beans are tender. Add the wine as the pan dries out.

When the vegetables are tender, transfer to a serving dish add the chopped mint and serve at once.

Monday 11 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Cider cup

Cups and punches are festive, traditional and practical when large numbers of people are involved, so what better choice of drink to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. They can be mixed in advance and the sparkling elements added when ready to serve. Use chilled ingredients rather than adding lots of ice which can make the punch watery. In the past before the advent of ice trays, blocks of ice were added which cooled the punch down quickly but melted slowly. Simply fill a plastic container (say a litre) with water and freeze it. Ten minutes or so before serving your punch add the ice block turned out of its container and proceed with the party.
Enjoy this Diamond Jubilee Year. “Long live Queen Elizabeth II!” and don't forget Hereford's Diamond day July 11th 2012 when HRH Queen Elizabeth II comes to town.

1 wineglass of brandy (apple brandy if possible)

1 vanilla pod

25 g sugar or more to taste depending on the type of cider used

Bunch of mint

1 L best local cider

500 - 750 ml soda water

1 thinly sliced lemon and extra lemon juice

1 dessert apple cut into wedges and sprinkled with lemon juice

Put the brandy in a punch bowl or large stainless steel pan. Slit the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the brandy. Add 25 g sugar, a bunch of mint and leave for at least an hour or until required.

When ready to serve add the ice block and top up with the cider and 500 ml soda and stir well. Taste and add extra sugar and soda as required.

Add the fruit, stir again and serve with a ladle.