Monday, 18 May 2020 19:06


    Bored and enjoy baking bread? Try your hand at Focaccia Art. #focacciaart

    Published in Trends

    If only you had a crystal ball. This is what ours is telling us will be on trend for 2019. In no particular order ...

    Chilled red wines- unoaked, lighter bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Cabernet Franc from the Loire and Tempranillo's. We know that reds don't always have to be served at room temperature so this year expect to find more restaurants offering to chill your red wine, especially if we get another heatwave summer.

    Gazoz- with the ever growing interest in things fermented and botanicals, Gazoz (main picture) is an Israeli soda based drink, made with natural fruit syrups (often from fermented fruits) fresh fruits, botanical infusions and herbs topped up with fizzy water. It's going to be this years addition to the increasingly popular shrubs and drinking vinegars of 2018. Find it on the menu at Bala Baya.Southwark. London.

    Rum- Gin might be left on the shelf in favour of rum, which we are very happy about being part Caribbean foodies. White, gold, flavoured, spiced, dark, premium and overproof, there is no single standard and it's no longer the sole preserve of sailors and pirates. Want to know more? Follow Ian Burrell our favourite Rum Ambassador or try a Rum Masterclass at Cottons. We must go again!

    Afro-Caribbean- well this is rather a broad area in terms of food and drink. The rise of North and West African cuisine is now well established. Mr SuffolkFoodie is from Durban so we are pinning our hopes on seeing more from South Africa, heavily influenced by the fruity and full bodied flavours of Cape Malay cuisine along with the French and Dutch influence of the European settlers. (Keep an eye out in the recipe book for our own family recipes). As for Caribbean cuisine look out for Rastafarian Ital cooking which is natural, plant based and organic. Plantains will feature too, we're getting bored with avocadoes and cauliflowers, plantains make great snacks. Tostones will be in!

    Lard - the big fat comeback. Butter prices have gone through the roof and restaurants are looking at keeping menus affordable and innovative. The Italians love it and it's a mainstay of Mexican cooking and it's not as bad for you as you thought. Love a lardy cake don't you? Get barding and larding everyone.

    Sardines- healthy, sustainable, delicious and affordable. One of our favourites and used in many types of cuisine from around the world. From spiced and fried whole in Indian recipes to the delicious Pasta Con le Sarde of Sicily, proving that they are versatile too. Bring on summer for some more delicious Portugeuse sardines cooked over the open fire.

    Breakfasts - using rise and shine orange and yellow food which is Instagrammable. We'll be eating food because it's photogenic and can be hashtagged 'feel good' or 'sunshine food'. So we are guessing mango, oranges, lemon curd, pumpkin, carrots, things with saffron and God forbid no more turmeric lattes.

    Grocerants - grocery stores and deli's with sit down dining, ready to eat, ready to heat food. The type of place that you go to buy the components of a take away supper then think dammit, if I eat it here it will save me washing up.

    Waste not want not - zero waste cooking with wonky veg and root to fruit dishes will stay in vogue and so will the meaty nose to tail eating we've enjoyed over the past few years. Fig leaves will be very popular, brussel sprouts are making a big comeback, look out for Kalettes, broccoli stems, radish tops and carrot tops. But let's make sure that it's tasty please?

    Bread - it's back. More ancient grains, sprouted grains, cornbread and vegetable stuffed doughs. Apricot breakfast bread, potato, pumpkin and onion baguettes, flatbreads, Earl Grey teacakes. You name it we will be kneading it. Sorghum will be the grain of 2019. Cheerio quinoa!

    Published in Trends
    Wednesday, 29 April 2015 14:23

    The Friendly Loaf

    I just drove home way too fast because I had a loaf of freshly baked bread in the back of my car.The smell was tormenting me and I wanted to cut myself a slice and spread it with butter.The loaf of Pakenham bread (made with Pakenham Mill flour) had just been baked by Mark Proctor from The Friendly Loaf Company which is based in Rede.The smell of a bakery always brings back childhood memories of visiting my Grandad in his bakery in Ixworth. Mark told me all about his Barm bread, which is an ale leavened bread.I'll try that next time. He also told me he has a job vacancy for a bakery assistant, to help him in the bakery and learn the art of breadmaking.Now that is a fine opportunity....




    Published in Bread and cakes
    Wednesday, 04 September 2013 21:31

    Zero Waste Week Day Three. Pizza please.

    Leftover French bread turned into a pizza for lunch today.  Did you know that if you run a stale baguette under the cold tap for a second and then place it in a hot oven for 5 or 10 minutes it's nearly as good as new?

    Published in Events
    Wednesday, 21 August 2013 09:05

    Lean in Tesco


    Very excited about being invited by Tesco to tour their bakery in Lowestoft - this was an opportunity to address everything we think is unethical about the mega-supermarkets and be reassured by them that they are making progress in the right direction. But not even the very big and extremely heavy goodie-bag-for-life stuffed with tiger bread and almond soya milk can make up for the corporate-speak-with-prize we took part in as part of their female only audience of bloggers and customers. If this is how Tesco top brass see their customers' world, no wonder they were in court this week. We may only be club card holders or housewives on the surface, Tesco, but underneath many of us are industry professionals. 


    Published in Supermarkets
    Monday, 01 October 2012 16:24

    Meet Malcolm

    Meet Malcolm our October Dish of the Day - you can just see him at the back! Malcolm is one of the bakers at The Suffolk Food Hall.  Their display of homemade artisan breads and baked goods is very impressive and so is the view from the Cookhouse Restaurant window.


    Published in Dish of the Day
    Friday, 06 April 2012 11:57

    Hot Cross Buns

    Allow three hours to include rising time. Makes 16 buns.


    1.5 tsp dried yeast

    5 fl oz warm milk

    1 oz caster sugar

    12 oz strong white flour

    1 tsp ground mixed spice

    1 tsp ground or grated cinnamon

    1 tsp ground or grated nutmeg

    1 teaspoon salt

    3 oz currants or mixed fruit – chopped a bit finer

    Grated zest of one lemon

    2 oz butter, diced

    1 egg, beaten

    1 tbsp flour and 1 tsp water mixed to form a paste - for the cross

    1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp boiling water mixed - to glaze


    Stir together the warmed milk, the sugar and yeast in a small jug or bowl.

    Warm a large metal bowl gently for a few minutes on a low heat or in the oven, then put in the flour. Mix in the other dry ingredients – the spices, fruit, salt and lemon zest and rub in the butter.

    Create a well in the flour and add the milk mixture, then the beaten egg.  Mix the ingredients until well incorporated. Knead for ten minutes until a good smooth dough is formed. Cover with greased cling film or a clean damp cloth and leave until double in size (usually about two hours depending on room temperature)

    When risen knock back the dough and knead for a further two minutes. Cut into sixteen equal pieces and roll into bun shapes. Put on baking parchment on a metal baking sheet a few cm apart and cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife. Leave covered to double in size.

    Preheat oven to 375/190 Gas Mark 5. Just before cooking dribble the flour and water paste across the cut.  Cook in centre of oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the buns are golden brown. Remove from oven and glaze immediately with the sugar water glaze.


    Published in Recipes
    Wednesday, 04 May 2011 11:57

    Real Bread, please!

    Real bread, please!

    My grandfather, Jim Farrow, was a Master Baker and ran the bakery and post office at Ixworth for many years. His son David also learned this trade and makes his own fabulous bread every day although the bakery has closed. I remember it well; the warm yeasty smell, the size of the huge mixing bowls, the heat of the ovens and the mismatched lino...although my childhood fantasy of ‘choose what you like from the shelves bursting with cakes, sausage rolls and pork pies’ was never fulfilled, as Grandad only ever offered us things that were months past their sell by date. And as a result of having fresh bread at home all the time, I tried to be best friends with children who had white-sliced. But now I have seen the error of my ways I love a nice wholemeal loaf, and although I don’t always make my bread, I do try to buy it from smaller bakers who have survived the supermarket onslaught when I can. In this part of Suffolk we are lucky to have Palmers, their family still making fresh bread every day, but although I say it myself, they can't make Chelsea Buns like mine!

    palmers bakery 

    Paul Campbell is the founder of Local Food Direct, a social enterprise working to give local people access to local food produced in Norfolk and Suffolk. He contributes part of our feature here. 

    One of the things I have noticed recently is how few genuine bakers there are around – people making delicious, fresh bread from good ingredients and without preservatives. Real bread is skilfully made from four simple ingredients: yeast, flour, water and salt – and in sourdough there isn’t even any yeast! Compare that to the extensive ingredients lists that are impossible to decipher on the packaging of industrially produced bread – they are worlds apart. When we talk about something being “the best thing since sliced bread”, I’m not sure we’re really on the right track. I’d take a freshly baked rustic loaf with a flavoursome crust above a preservative-filled, generic, perfectly sliced bread any day – even if does require getting a breadknife out.

    I was having a look online for some statistics to include in this post and I came across the Real Bread campaign ( It’s a lottery funded project run by ‘Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming’. I was interested to see that one of their criteria for “real bread” is that at least 20% of the ingredients are locally sourced – good on ‘em. Reading up on them I found the stats I was looking for – that 95% of bread in the UK is produced by a handful of industrial bakers and in supermarkets. The problem is that this bread is so over-processed that it’s not healthy any more, and has become part of the national problem of unhealthy eating. I recommend having a look at the Real Bread campaign’s “background to the campaign” page – it outlines the argument clearly. I see bread as another example of the shift our society has made away from local suppliers and towards mass-produced food – but I’m glad to say the tide is turning. We have more and more customers requesting ‘real bread’ with their deliveries and are really happy to work with Dozen Artisan Bakery in Norwich, where all the bread is baked using traditional methods and organic ingredients. As far as local produce goes, bread is one of the things that really is better when it’s bought locally – the closer you are to the oven it’s baked in, the fewer preservatives are needed, the better the ingredients will be, the fresher the loaf on your table will be and the better the taste.

    my chelsea buns

    So those of us who are the offspring of bakers, farmers and other food producers often take up these particular reins. The Telegraph recently featured ‘fresh young foodies’ and there were a few from Suffolk. Stephany Hardingham from Alder Carr Farm has developed a brand of ice creams – Alder Tree – which use the fruit from the pick your own business and the farm shop. ·And the Strachan family from Rendham have developed a specialist milk herd and supply milk from four farms to produce Marybelle products that include milk, yoghurt and ice cream and they sell it throughout Suffolk. These new food businesses are not just about profit, they are about putting a family and social responsibility first, and bringing delicious home-made food to our tables.

    Published in Bread and cakes