November & December food events in Manchester and Cheshire

I can’t believe we are in November already. November is a busy month for me with various family events and I will be attending bite n write and also a chocolate making workshop with Green and Blacks that I won via a giveaway on Tinned tomatoes. FOR this reason (and as some of the events are spread over the two months) this is a combined calendar of events for November and December. I for one can not wait for a day at the Manchester Christmas markets (but I’m saving it until mid December). Continue reading

October food events in Manchester and Cheshire

Another busy month for food and drinks events in Manchester and Cheshire.

Manchester

Manchester food and drink festival – 7th-17th October, It is an urban food and drink festival, there is no single location, rather the Festival takes over as much of the City Centre and surrounding districts of Greater Manchester as possible, with a huge programme of events
taking place, both indoor and outdoor. Includes Hugh Fearnly-whittingstall on friday 14th. See website for full line up.

Manchester real food market – 14th/15th and 28/29th October. Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. Fortnightly, friday and saturday, 10am-6pm. Launched in April 2009, the market boasts a brilliant selection of farmers and traditional producers, who twice a month bring their fresh home-grown and home-reared produce from local farms into the heart of the city.

Feast market – 5th to 16th October between 10am and 5.30pm. St Ann’s Square, Manchester City Centre.
What the website says – The Feast Market is a new annual market designed to bring together Manchester’s many food heroes under one roof. The event capitalises on a huge resurgence in interest in traditional British food and ingredients, showcasing some of the region’s best farmers and producers. Many of the stallholders are family-owned businesses who have honed their trade over decades, and more stalls have been added due to the markets growing popularity. Whether you are looking for an ethical alternative to the local supermarket to do your food shopping, a delicious and healthy lunch-on-the-go, or some interesting ingredients for the weekend, the market provides a unique open-air shopping experience.

Cheshire

North west food lovers festival – 21st-23rd October. Tatton park, Knutsford.Adults £7, concessions £5, under 12s free.

What the website says – This year’s festival is set to be the best yet. There will be over 120 delicious food and drink stalls selling the best produce available from across the region. As well as the opportunity to taste, sample and buy all the delicious foods and drink, there will be the ever popular celebrity chef demonstrations including Simon Rimmer and Andrew Nutter!

Cheshire food festival – 15-16th October, Walton hall and gardens, Warrington.

What the website says – Celebrating the fantastic local flavours from around the North West, the first ever Cheshire Food Festival at Walton Hall & Gardens, will showcase the finest local food and drink producers from around the region.  With crafts stalls and food demos in and around the historic hall, this 2 day event is the perfect recipe for the ultimate foodie day out.

Treacle market – sunday October 30th, 10am-3.30pm. Market place, Chestergate, Macclesfield town centre.
What the website says – A monthly high quality local food & drink and arts, antique and craft market. Bring a basket and stock up on wonderful locally produced beers, juices and delicious provisions.  If it’s the unusual or different you seek Treacle is the perfect place to spend a few hours and meet up with friends, browse the stalls and listen to live music too.

August food events in Manchester and Cheshire

Manchester

Manchester real food market 12th & 13th, 26th & 27th. Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. Fortnightly, friday and saturday, 10am-6pm. Launched in April 2009, the market boasts a brilliant selection of farmers and traditional producers, who twice a month bring their fresh home-grown and home-reared produce from local farms into the heart of the city. I’ve yet to visit this market but perhaps this is the month.

The Manchester picnic – 5th-7th August, Piccadilly gardens. One for all the family, with delicious food and drink stalls, large themed picnic area and bags of family entertainment. There’s even a teddy bear’s picinic on sunday. Stalls open 12noon – 6pm, free entry.

Cheshire

Food glorious food, part of The Cheshire game and country show – 27-30th August. The Cheshire show ground.  A place to sample and buy a whole range of local and regional artisan products.  Producers and retailers are complemented by the Country Kitchen cookery demonstrations and the Piazza, a specialist catering area.
Open 10.00am – 6.00pm daily
Adults £10.00 Oaps £9.00 Children £4.00 under 5s free

Treacle market – sunday August 31st, 10am-3.30pm. Market place, Chestergate, Macclesfield town centre.
What the website says – A monthly high quality local food & drink and arts, antique and craft market. Bring a basket and stock up on wonderful locally produced beers, juices and delicious provisions.  If it’s the unusual or different you seek Treacle is the perfect place to spend a few hours and meet up with friends, browse the stalls and listen to live music too.

A little further a field – The Wirral food and drink festival. 28th & 29th August, 10am-4pm – Claremont Farm, near Bebington, CH63 4JB.  Adult £4, Children £1.50, Family ticket 2 adults & 2 children £10, extra children £1 each. FREE Car Parking, FREE Shuttle Bus from Spital Train Station.
What the website says – live music, cookery demonstrations, the sheep show a humorous educational live stage show about sheep and wool, beer tent and lots of food and drink produces will be exhibiting their products.

Authentic spaghetti carbonara

Until a few years ago I used to love the rich, creamy carbonara sauces most Italian restaurants serve. Ok so it’s not the healthiest dish on the menu but it was a very occasional treat. Then suddenly I started to find the dish too rich for my tastes and stopped ordering it when in Italian restaurants. Maybe my tastes had changed or maybe I had had one too many rubbish carbonara’s. Then as I started to get more and more in to cooking I discovered that true Italian carbonara’s don’t include cream at all! At this point I started to consider the idea of making a carbonara myself.

I discovered Italian Foodies sometime last year and have been following the blog since then (and also working my way through the posts/recipes from before I discovered it). It has to be up there as one of my favorite blogs. It is full of mouth watering pictures and deliciously simple recipes (mostly Italian – my favorite kind). You might have noticed that I have a list in my side bar called ‘recipes I want to try’. I have been using this list to keep track of some of the recipes other blogs post that I want to try myself. Italian foodies authentic carbonara has been sat there for quiet sometime waiting for me to find the time to try it.

At the weekend we visited The Hollies farm shop in Cheshire. They were hosting a Great British food feast, with lots of local suppliers showcasing their produce and lots of food to sample. There was also a delicious hog roast and a showcase of 1000’s of pumpkins (the advertising said 4000 but I didn’t count them!).

One of the products that caught our eye was their bacon. So armed with a packet of local bacon I decided to try my hand at a real authentic (cream free!) carbonara. I wasn’t disappointed. The carbonara was simple to make and turned out fantastic, I didn’t miss the cream and it really allowed the quality and taste of the bacon to shine. I wanted to share this recipe with you all and also book mark it here so I can make it again in the future. For the recipe and step by step photos see here.

Last days of summer….

Last Saturday, on a gloriously sunny day, myself, my boyfriend, his sister and her boyfriend spent a day on a canal boat. We couldn’t have asked for a better day, the weather really made it. We had great fun learning to drive the canal boat and enjoying the weather as we slowly cruised through the Cheshire countryside.

The day before I prepared a range of goodies to enjoy throughout the day. I made a bottle of lemonade, baked a Bakewell tart, some mini pizza wheels and prepared a couscous salad. There was also a banana bread loaf and half a dozen or so blueberry muffins in the freezer so they were packed too.

The pesto couscous salad is something I came up with last summer and has been a regular summer lunch since then. Its really simple to prepare but very tasty to eat. Perfect for picnics, lunch boxes for work or just to enjoy as a quick weekend lunch. The quantities are quiet vague as it depends which flavours you prefer and can be adjusted accordingly. Sometimes I add a handful of pine nuts &/or some fresh basil leaves at the end. The recipe is at the end.

I also decided to try out an idea I remember seeing a magazine sometime back. The basic idea was to make a pizza, roll it up and then cut into slices and bake in the oven. The result is perfect picnic finger food. Delicious hot or cold.

Pesto couscous salad
serves 2

100g couscous
Chicken or vegetable stock, hot
1-2tsp pesto
handful of feta cheese, cubed
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
handful of olives, halved

  • Pour the hot stock over the couscous until the couscous is just covered, cover the bowl and leave for 5 minutes or until the couscous has soaked up all the moisture. Fluff up the couscous with a folk.
  • Add the pesto and stir through well.
  • Add the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Serve while still warm or once cooled.

Mini pizza wheels
Makes approximately 20

For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
5g fast action yeast
10g salt
300ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
For the topping
4 tbsp passata or pizza sauce
1 ball of mozzarella
Topping of your choice
1 tsp dried oregano

  • Mix together all the ingredients for the dough. Knead either by hand or with a mixer for 10 min until smooth and silky. Shape into a round and leave to rise in a covered bowl for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
  • Knock the dough back. Knead again very briefly. Divide the dough in two. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece out on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle which is about 1cm thick.
  • Spoon on 2tbsp pizza sauce onto each rectangle. Add the toppings of your choice (I did one with a couple of slices of torn up parma ham and one with olives and sun dried tomatoes), grate or tear the mozzarella over the two pizzas and finally sprinkle over the dried oregano.
  • Have the pizza so the longest edge is in front of you and then carefully roll it up like a Swiss roll.
  • Cut the roll into 2 cm thick slices and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Leave a good few cm around each one as the dough will rise slightly.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200C.

A walk in the forest

Last weekend, one sunny morning we decided to get up and go for a walk in Macclesfield forest (on the cheshire/peak district boarder). Don’t worry this is a food related post! We found a really tasty stall in the Trentabank car park – Nice Nosh and I thought I would share this with you in case any one is in the area.

After a good walk through the forest, we were feeling in need of a well earned sit down and some good food. Nice Nosh fits the bill well. It is a refreshment stall open most weekends and bank holidays, run my a friendly man, himself a keen walker with good local knowledge. There is a good selection of hot and cold drinks and food. Most of the food is home made (including a delicious looking selecton of cakes) and many of the recipes have Peak District Cuisine marks showing that local products have been used in the recipe. Some items on the menu have also been awarded the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark showing that the business actively support good environmental practices in the Peak District National Park. A good example of this is the recylcling facilaties for the food packaging – the stall has bins right opposite and you are kindly asked to seperate your waste into the appropriate bins for recycling. There was also a good selection of leaflets available of peak district food and the places producing and/or selling it.
Povey’s (a Staffordshire brand) oatcakes were a big feature of the menu. Both hot and cold fillings were available for white, brown rolls or staffordshire oatcakes/ I had never heard of staffordshire oakcakes before and was struggling to imagine a sandwich made out of the scottish style oatcakes. However they turn out to be quite similar to pancakes (much better for containing stilton sauce with bacon!) but with added oatmeal.

The pictures show one of the ones we had but don’t really do it justice.


Click here for further details.