Monthly Archives: December 2010

December chaos

To say December has been a roller coaster of a month would be an understatement, which will I hope explain the lack of pre-Christmas posts. The beautiful but destructive culprit was snow which arrived by the bucket full on the 17th December. In fact the last of it is still being washed away by the rain as I write.

We woke to an 8 inch glistening white blanket, thick enough to prevent all but tractors moving through the village, we were well and truly stranded. This was problematic in many respects, it stopped all business, no post and the worst thing for us was that we had no food in the house (I returned from London on Thursday night with the plan of going Christmas shopping on Friday). The local post office ran out of milk and bread at 8am in the morning, no deliveries could get through and our neighbour had forgotten to pick up our vegetable box the day before!! Forced to drink soya milk and eat leftovers, our neighbours took pity and gave us vegetables and salad.

One thing I did learn was that soya milk actually makes an OK macaroni cheese and forced to resort to war-time rations we were in fact able to make meals out of very little. The kids complained about the lack of snacks in the house, but in the end we survived and they coped. I have to say at this point I was still determined to run supper club on the Saturday and get to the farmers market in the morning to collect my salmon, cheese and meat orders, but as Friday progressed it was obvious that there was no thaw on the horizon and as the light faded and the temperature plummeted to minus 12 I knew there was no way I was getting out.

One of the supper club groups had already phoned to say they wouldn’t be able to make it so with a heavy heart I emailed the remaining guests and cancelled. I then emailed suppliers to make alternative arrangements since the farmers market was also cancelled. Saturday brought a fresh fall of snow (another 4 inches) and even less chance of getting cars out. The store cupboard was pretty bare so I decided to go off on foot to the local food co-op. Finding it open I got bit over excited filling my rucksack with as many dry goods as would fit; bread flour, fruit, pulses, you name it…of course it was only when I put it on my back that I realised the error of my ways. Forced to trudge back three-quarters of a mile through ankle-deep snow, in wellies, with what felt like rocks tied to my back, I wished I’d not bothered. Delirious that I’d made it without collapsing, I passed by the local shop where miraculously they were just receiving milk deliveries. Overjoyed at having fresh milk again I also decided to buy tonic water to go with my sloe gin, which was now ready….drinking the Christmas presents was the only solution…I don’t think the local shop has ever sold out of anything, but by Saturday afternoon they had sold out of both whiskey and ginger wine (whiskey Macs all round) and shelves were emptying fast!!

Mayhem continued with roads remaining blocked (where were the snow ploughs and gritters?) for many days after this. Those who ventured into Bangor told tales of utter chaos, pirouetting cars and slow-moving tail backs. I finally ventured in with friends on the Monday, fuelled by desperation to buy Christmas pressies. It took four hours to buy half a dozen gifts. It was hell.

Other casualties of the weather were my parents who were due to drive up from London on the annual present run; they never made it. I had work to finish as my contract with Moelyci ended on the 27th; I needed books from the library so I could finish 3 essays for college. I was desperate for the many Amazon orders I’d made to arrive and needed various bits and bobs so I could finish making my Christmas presents. By the time I reached the butchers on Christmas Eve to collect my meat order, it was closed.

Santa did come to our house though, in the end the postman made it to the village on Wednesday with parcels and deliveries (all but one of my Amazon orders arrived). I didn’t quite finish my work and never got the books for my essay, but they can wait until  after Christmas. Gifts and meat bought and we all had a fab and chilled day. I’m now looking forward to our private supper club tonight especially since just in the nick of time Conwy mussels called to say he had my order sorted.

Hope you all had a great and less eventful Christmas and wish you all good wishes for the new year xx

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Local food advisor website

I’m proud to say that the supper club blog has recently been listed on the Local food advisor website as one of the best UK food blogs. This is a great website with loads of really good foodie listings, from producers to restaurants and most recently to bloggers. Started by Allan and Maggie Ure in 2008 it aims to offer consumers and businesses with a central resource from which they can search for award-winning local, regional and national food producers.

Having built up a searchable database which includes not only food producers,but also retailers, local food restaurants and Farmers markets they have now added a section on food bloggers, particularly those who champion local produce and I’m proud to say that they contacted me!!

Good luck to them…and do check out their website, as there are lots of good suggestions and links

Denise x

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Two fruity crumbles for a winters evening


Some people think that a crumble is a bit boring or old-fashioned, preferring to top their fruit with a pastry layer, but for me the crumble comes ou on top with its buttery, crispy top layer acting as a blanket for the hot, tart, fruit beneath. It’s also so adaptable; you can use any combination of fruit and you can pep up the crumble with oats, cinnamon, almonds, chopped hazelnuts, or a handful of seeds so you get almost a different dish every time.

My favourite recipes are the simple ones, basic crumble made with Bramley apples and whatever fruit has been lovingly stored in my freezer from the summer, all ready to be whipped out on a cold winter night to give a little reminder of warmer times (I have black currants and red currants, stored but I’m sad to say I’ve eaten the blackberries already, no patience I’m afraid!). The other one I use is my mum’s creation. A basic crumble, but she used to call it ‘spiced peach struesel’ which gave it an air of the exotic and decadent. It is really just tinned fruit with cream and crumble, all in one dish. Its best made when all the fruit has disappeared from the trees and the freezer, perhaps in the depths of January when our own seasonal produce has run dry. It uses nothing more than tinned peaches of all things.

Crumble 1:

100g butter

175g plain flour

100g sugar (Demerara or brown)

50g rolled oats, (and a small handful of almonds, seeds, other nuts if you want)

Pinch of cinnamon

500g peeled, cored and sliced Bramley apples

250g mixed soft fruit…blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrant

75g sugar (or more or less depending on how tart you like your fruit)

Rub butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in rest of ingredients. Layer fruit in a shallow dish and sprinkle the sugar over. Sprinkle over the crumble so that the fruit is completely covered. Bake in a preheated oven gas mark 4, 180 degrees f, 350 degree c for about 40 to 50 minutes.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard


Crumble 2:

150ml double cream

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1000g tin sliced peaches in natural juices

75g butter

175g plain flour

75g demerera or brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Make the crumble in the same way as above. Mix together cream and lemon juice and leave for about 15 minutes. Drain juice from peaches saving about 4 tablespoons. Turn fruit into a shallow dish as before with the juice. Pour over the cream and then sprinkle over the crumble mixture. Bake in the oven (same temperature as above) for 40 minutes.

You can just serve this as it comes, it doesn’t need anything extra.


Eat while warming toes in front of the fire….although i think I say that about everything!!

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