It’s been quite a different year for me this year – about half in Edinburgh, half in Gloucestershire. One half saying goodbye, one half hello. So, let me indulge, this is my year in food. It is in no particular order, nor does it cover everything, but I think it sets the tone!
Make award winning sloe gin
Sloe gin is a gorgeous tipple. Drink a tot on its own or add to a cocktail. Simply delicious.
Its latin name is prunus spinosa which might give you a clue to its spiky nature. Do go armed with gloves! Look for the blackberry bushes and if you’re lucky you’ll find the sloe bushes also known as blackthorn. They can grow up to 6 or 7 metres high and live for 100 years! But the ones round here are much smaller. The fruits are mostly similar in size to a blueberry although I did find some woppers this year.
Spirit of the Year 2016
Drive down an ordinary road in Cirencester, park and walk down the path to Capreolus distillery (Capreolus is the latin name for a roe deer). To one side is the area where the ingredients are processed. On the other side is the distillery itself. It’s housed in the lean-to greenhouse of Barney Wilczak’s childhood home. The garage is now designated a bonded warehouse – there can’t be many of those in Gloucestershire.
Last week I ate in Bangkok. Bath masquerading Bangkok to be exact. It was a chilly evening when my husband and I walked into Thaikhun. There was an immediate assault on the senses: colour, noise, people and stuff. Look up and there are all sorts of items hanging from the ceiling including signs in a language we didn’t know, household utensils, some very old TVs, networks of wires wrapped round what looked like telegraph poles. We then noticed the bar to the left where much energetic shaking was going on and to the right a very shiny kitchen semi-open to diners. The space is large but cleverly split into different areas.
Inspirational food and drink producers
Think about autumn, and no doubt that phrase “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” will pop into your mind – can you remember the rest of the poem? No me neither, but it does evoke that golden time at this time of year.
The days are much cooler but they can be so sunny and crisp. Today I went to a Harvest Festival for the first time in many years. This Harvest Festival was a little different. It was organised by Jolly Nice at Frampton Mansell between Stroud and Gloucester. It’s aim? To celebrate their local producers who create a fascinating range of products stocked in the shop.
The day was dry, thank goodness, after the torrents of rain yesterday. It was the perfect opportunity to sample, discover and indulge. So let me share seven producers you should really seek out. Many sell online and at local farmers markets in addition to Jolly Nice.