Archive for Local produce

Delicious and nutritious food, to your home

See menu below for this week’s “SPECIALS” a balanced healthy meal cooked from scratch using fresh locally purchased ingredients. All our dishes are prepared this way not just the specials, we offer a combination of delicious flavours AND nutritious ingredients. There are a lot more places offering home delivery than there were at the beginning of “Lockdown“, fish and chips, pizza, kebabs etc. and while they all have there place as occasional treats they don’t really provide a sustainable diet. For a taste of homely cooking with quality ingredients, order yourself one of our dishes; or order one for a friend and we’ll deliver it straight to them!

This week we have cauliflower cheese, local award winning butcher’s sausage (DW wall and sons on the high street) garlic (or mashed) potato and a selection of fresh vegetables. For the non meat eaters we will substitute a vegetable samosa and pakora.

For lunchtime delivery phone before 11.00AM or supper delivery phone before 3.00PM, the number to call is 07983 941856. If you’re connected to the answer phone when you call please leave a message and we WILL call you back

Supper Solutions Specials

To complement our regular menu here are a couple of specials available as of today. Phone 07983 941856 to place your order and arrange your home delivery. Please note the photographs are how we have served these dishes in the cafe in the past, food is delivered in containers not on plates (at the moment!) Either of these dishes make a delicious, nutritious hearty meal other menu items available on our supper solutions page.

Cauliflower cheese with local award winning butcher’s sausage and fresh vegetables.

Break-fast

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It was certainly dinned into me as a child. Remember, “Go to work on an egg.” Those lucky Ready Brek children with their glowing auras of warmth and smugness?

But that wasn’t always the case. The word comes from the phrase, to “break your fast.” A religious term, denoting the end of night and the beginning of a new day. But up until the 17th century, it was considered an uncouth and unnecessary meal. Only peasants and manual workers needed to eat before lunch. It was thought of as indulging in the sin of gluttony, and people, men especially, were frowned upon for taking it.

It was also a very different meal from today. In antiquity it consisted of flat breads and a sort of porridge.  In the middle ages, copious amounts of beer or wine were helped down with a piece of bread and cheese. No meat was consumed, not until the late 15th century anyway.

The Edwardians gave us the traditional English breakfast, that “golden age” as we view it, when the upper classes had the leisure to indulge in their country life style. They believed that they were continuing the Anglo-Saxon custom of hospitality in offering breakfast. I don’t quite understand this, although the Anglo-Saxons did bake bread, and keep chickens for their eggs and pigs for their meat. So maybe they did eat bacon and eggs for breakfast.

Today the term has taken on a whole new meaning “Break really fast!” Snatching a piece of toast out of the toaster, making a smoothie, or filling a bowl with cereal while downing a cup of tea/coffee. Only on our days off do we still make time for breakfast. Then, we pour ourselves a juice, cook bacon, sausage and egg, maybe accompanied by mushrooms, tomatoes, (insert extras of choice!) butter the toast and spoon on the marmalade. It is still in our family a favourite way to start a day at home.

At Pea Green we do a wide assortment of breakfast foods, from porridge and pancakes to an “any time” complete with local bacon and “thick Ludlow” sausage. Sample our hospitality, pop in and get a great start to your day.

 

 

Fruits of the Earth

I recently found out that there are fifty thousand edible plant species on earth, and we manage to consume just a hundred of them. Yes that’s right, just a 100 varieties out of all the cornucopia this world provides. In the late seventies, I along with a million other people bought a book called “Food for Free” written by Richard Mabey, a slim paperback which I read more for the pleasure and information it provided, than because I wanted to go foraging.

Like all of us I have picked blackberries in autumn, ate hazelnuts, and young shoots of hawthorn, (bread & cheese). I’ve picked mushrooms, and prickly sloes for gin. My mother as a young girl was sent out to harvest the hedges for rosehips during the second world war, as they were a good,”free” source of vitamin c.

But there are so many wild plants we not longer value, from the humble dandelion, best gathered fresh in spring, a great leaf for salads, young tips of nettle, a good substitute for spinach, to green sea weed which is becoming quite trendy dried as a condiment. We have become disconnected from the countryside, viewing it as a vast play ground interspersed with industrial sized farming units, which provide us with the “correct” food to eat.

Now I realize that there are plants out there that are poisonous, or just taste plain strange to our modern palette. But with a good reference book, or in the company of an experienced forager, the walk you take for pleasure could also give you ingredients for a meal.

 There are so many recipes for “wild food” out there, from Elderflower fritters, to a four herbs vinegar,

(Cut basil, borage, mint and chives just before plant flowers. Bruise the leaves and pack them into a glass jar. Heat white vinegar and pour over the leaves. Cover and infuse for fourteen days shaking occasionally. Strain and store in glass bottles with screw top lids.)

that whole books are devoted to recipes, drinks and tonics made from natural products. If you have a favourite wild food recipe, we would love to hear about it. Why not drop us a line?

Pea Green has been celebrating summer with something slightly different, a wonderful fresh tabbouleh medley, made from puy lentils, sweet baby orange tomatoes, lemon, mint and spring onions. Served with our Asian Slaw and new potatoes, an exotic mix which is going down really well.

Take the few short steps across the car park. escape the glare and come into the cool, shaded Pea Green café for a taste of summer.

 

Friendly Lions & Wise Old Owls

I have a long connection to Herbs going right back to childhood. They were clouds of fragrance and spice as I brushed passed them in the gardens of which ever National Trust property we were visiting, a fleeting glimpse of another way of life. They permeated many of the books I read, from, The Little Grey Rabbit series to Tom’s Midnight Garden.

More prosaically they were one of my favourite television programmes. I was lucky enough to grow up in the era of the late great Oliver Postgate, and The Herbs were memorable. They were a motley bunch from; a very friendly lion called Parsley, through to Dill the Dog, Bayleaf the Gardner, and  Sage the Owl among others. They were enchanting, and herbs have been that for me ever since.

Herbs seem to create a slower way of life. They need to be picked, washed, chopped or shredded all the while releasing their wonderful aromas. The mere whiff of sage and onion and a whole roast dinner is conjured up.

There are over 14 different mints, of different strengths and flavours. I love mint, and have grown a range of them. It is probably my favourite herb. I could write a whole piece on just this versatile plant. It goes so well with new potatoes, but it can also compliment peas, lamb and chocolate. We use it in our Asian Slaw which is a lovely fresh garnish and pretty salad accompaniment. (Chef’s Tip, Moroccan Mint makes the best tea.)

Parsley is a vibrant, peppery herb full of calcium, iron and vitamin C. It can be used as a breath freshener. There are many varieties of this herb, but the most common are flat leaf or curly.
A firm favourite in white sauce over fish, but it can also be used in soups , stuffing, crusts and salads. We use it as part of our mushrooms in garlic.

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme,” Add a Bay Tree, some mint and a pot of Basil and you have a good range of herbs. Now we can buy “fresh” herbs of all sorts in all seasons. But a few pots of herbs on a sunny window sill, or in a plant holder in the garden, to cut and come again, will give you scent and flavour for minimum effort, all summer through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk This Way Too

A couple of times a week, I take the long way round to work and a very different walk it is. A trip to Ludlow town is always a pleasure, it is so easy to moan about the steep streets, (I’m sure they put a brick under its slabs last night!) and to forget to look. My husband has given me a love for architecture which enhances any town centre visit. Ludlow just keeps on giving.

I start my journey by walking up Frog Lane towards the town walls. What a great name! Even if it was named for its damp water meadows. I wonder if it’s inhabitants were thought to have webbed hands and feet?

I turn left, passing the tiny black and white cottage, conscious that I am walking the boundary of the old leper colony, its gardens and hospital. I so want to think it was a place of peace as well as isolation.

The town wall gardens are vibrant, with their newly minted greens and blues, the Blue bells look as if enamelled against the bricks.

A woman is pushing a buggy and walking her dog and talking on her MOB all at the same time. I wonder if she noticed the shadows cast by the trees over the pavement, or heard the birds twitter patting in their branches.

Wheat sheaf Inn passed, looking spick and spam with its new coat of paint I turn under the last remaining gateway and enter Ludlow. It always makes me smile to remember that we live “beyond the pale”, outside the town’s protecting walls. Although if I remember some of my local history right, most of the local rouges lived inside the town. Perhaps we were better off outside, if looked down on, literally.

What’s not to like about Broad Street? It has been voted the most attractive street in England, and it certainly enchants me. Not just the gracious Georgian sweep with those enticing hidden walled gardens, but the gorgeous glass façade of the Wesleyan chapel, the yellow paint of the medieval, the Victorian pillared and covered shopping arcade, Bodenhams, leaning and creaking on  the top corner, as if its holding up the café next door. (Always be De Greys to me). A Ludlow institution now sadly gone.

The Butter Cross is the icing on the Broad Street plate, though not in the street but looking down it, as if keeping an eye on the comings and goings. When it was the home of local government, I’m sure they kept it all in their sight.

So, left at the top and the real purpose of my visit, buying local produce for the café. First stop Walls the Butcher’s. Charlie’s on form today and singing at the top of his voice from the cellar.

They certain cram a great range of locally produced and butchered meats from a very tight space. They are there from about 6.30 most mornings, and I have never known them to be anything but helpful and cheerful.

We are very fortunate to have three local butchers in the town when many towns have to rely on super-market meat. Now one of the best pieces of advise my husband ever gave me, and bare in mind that this is from a man who has worked in the catering industry most of  his life, is ; “Always look the person you are buying your meat from in the eye.”

Next on the round is Prices the Bakers. We have been using Price’s a long time. They were still baking in the old original bake House in Quality Square then. Turning into the square on a cold morning to the aroma of bread and cakes baking was wonderful.

Their shop was formally an old coaching inn and has some great history hidden behind its walls. But I am on a mission and today just order and receive freshly baked bread.

Last stop is round the corner in Mill Street to Farmers Fruit and vegetable emporium.  It really is the way to shop for perishable goods. I love the range they have, the seasonal quality and the display of flowers entices me in.

The Butter Cross clock is chiming out over head as I  make my way towards Galdeford and Green Pea.