Sunday, 20 September 2009

British Food Fortnight: Time to tuck into local fayre



As British Food Fortnight commences, it's time to get your tastebuds at the ready and celebrate the best of our country's home-grown produce and culinary talents.

And on a personal level, I am really looking forward to the opportunity to explore the regional fayre of the East of England, in particular in my local county of Suffolk.

It's only recently that my interest in British food has come to the fore. With the exception of supporting Welsh lamb - representing my affinity to my home country - I used to zip around the supermarket without a care in the world about where my food came from. And my taste in more continental and exotic foods fuelled this. By comparison British food seemed boring, unadventurous and downright plain.

But something's changed over the last few years. There is something about British food that now excites me. No longer do I buy cheap cuts of meat that have been flown half way round the world just to be disguised in a hot spicy sauce. Indeed the opposite is now true, with regionally sourced meat being bought from our local butchers, it is the perfect opportunity to discover how best to cook it for maximum flavour, without necessarily adding any fancy accompaniments.

Added to this is the magic of seasonality and the opportunity to enjoy buying fresh food at its best, when it is supposed to be eaten or at least preserved for the winter months.

So for the next two weeks I am going to ditch the lazy habits that have crept in over the summer relying on pasta, cous-cous and rice and get back to enjoying good old British grub.

I am going to take every opportunity I can to put local food on the table, while experimenting with regional recipes from around the country.

And living in Suffolk, this shouldn't be too much of a challenge. We are blessed with shops that delight in local produce, including Barwells in Bury St Edmunds (recently featured on the Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain and now famous for its St Edmundsbury Purse), which takes animal welfare seriously and sources its meat from approved Suffolk and Norfolk farms and game from the local Denham Estate.

As well as a fabulous twice-weekly market, we also have a farmers' market at Wyken Vineyards, where even local wine is available. Now Suffolk may not be necessarily known for its expertise in this area, but Wyken and the nearby Ickworth Vineyards offer a range of excellent British wines that are a real match to the more traditional wine producing regions of the continent.

Further afield, there are opportunities to explore the delights of the Suffolk and Norfolk coast with locally caught fish. And talking of the coast, one of the highlights on this year's calendar has to be the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival, which kicks off on the 26th September, playing host to over 70 local growers and manufacturers of Suffolk produce.

So over the next couple of weeks, I plan to do very little except enjoy some tasty delights and I will be revealing some of my favourite discoveries around our local area. Of course, I will be commenting on the packaging too. Let's not forget, this is The Rubbish Diet after all.

But before I venture off around the county in search of local fayre, I'm thinking the best place to start is to dig up the rest of the potatoes from our garden and gather the remainder of the runner beans that are hanging from their beanstalks.

And of course I shouldn't overlook our eggs. Collecting the daily eggs from our chooks in the garden is one of the best pleasures ever and when it comes to local, you can't get better than that.

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To find out how you can get involved in British Food Fortnight, which runs from 19th Sept to 4th October, visit www.lovebritishfood.co.uk

7 comments:

the traditional gourmand said...

Yum, great post! Makes me wish I lived in England :)

Anonymous said...

I was at the Royal Berkshire Show over the weekend, and found the Stark Naked Foods stall. They are based in Eye, so not far from you, and make really delicious pesto from local herbs. The packaging is plastic, unfortunately, but I didn't get chance to talk to them about it. Their website is http://www.starknakedfoods.co.uk/ and definitely worth a look.

Hazel

John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

Great to see the chickens still going strong and the 'grow your own' a success.

British Food has an important role in making us more self-reliant in a world of potential food shortages. Eating seasonal food can be the consumer's approach to complement the producer's effort here.

Maisie said...

I am trying to do this with Lincolnshire produce as much as possible.

I have my organic veg box which comes from Woodlands Farm where the Hairy Bikers visited and I shop regularly in Louth which they also visited.

After this I try to stick to British, as much as possible.

lunarossa said...

I'm also trying to consume local products as much as possible. They're slightly dear but they are worth it! Just found this in case you and your readers are interested:
http://www.teamgreenbritain.org/nectar
Sign up with Team Energy for free to get 100 free Nectar points. Just make sure you tick the box on the page linked. Even though you don't want nectar points, the site looks interesting. Ciao. A

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ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

Hi Folks - am all apologetic for my lack of attention here. If it's not the limp wrist it's my tickly nose.

But anyhooo...

Hello to The Traditional Gourmand, yep we are blessed to have some fabulous local food over in these parts and there seems to be more and more choice available as the years rush by. :-D

Hi Hazel - thanks for the link to the Stark Naked foods. I think I bought some Pesto from them once...I remember trying to eat the whole tub during the run up to Zero Waste Week last year... very tasty but I think I needed a smaller dose LOL :-D

Hi John - the chickens are most definitely going strong. They are doing fabulously. I have some tales to tell about my growing habits though...well quite a few, watch this space. Not all great news though :-D

Hi Maisie - I see the Hairy Bikers came around your way too. Aren't they great for profiling local food in this way. I've been thinking about getting a veg box again as I'm often too busy to go shopping to the market these days, even though I try and get there when I can :-D

Hi Antonella - Thank you for the tip off about TeamGreenBritain. The points are good too. Can always do with more Nectar points. Next thing is to find out where I should use them :-D

Hello to the Daily Reviewer. What a lovely surprise. Thank you very much for letting me know. Am chuffed to bits :-D

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