Category Archives: pork

Conwy Rural Producers dinner at Coleg Llandrillo

Back in October last year, before life became a tad fraught, I attended the Conwy Rural producers dinner, a showcase for some of the best produce in the area. Hosted by the catering department at Coleg Llandrillo in Colwyn Bay in their training restaurant The Orme View, the evening brought together selected producers, local businesses, restauranteurs and chefs to try out a variety of dishes made from wonderful local produce and it gave Llandrillo catering students the opportunity to show off their talents. Supervised by the wonderful team of Mark, Glenn and Mike (they pay me to say that you know!) they put together a creative and interesting menu.

I spend most of my time too-ing and fro-ing around Anglesey and Gwynedd so it made a change to head off down the coast in the other direction.  Even though it’s just 20 mins drive away I rarely get up to places like the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre or get the opportunity to meet up with other Conwy Food producers and businesses, so it was a pleasure to venture out of my usual domain.

I’m also lucky that I know the college lecturers well. I’ve worked closely with a couple (Mark being one who regularly joins me on jobs and keeps me in order) and that gave me access to the frantically busy kitchen. I enjoy taking pictures of people when they are busy. The rest of the evening was hilariously surreal. In between speaking to producers and annoying the chef’s and waitresses with my camera, I sat chatting to the other occupants of my table. These included the quiet but friendly owners of a local farm, the pretty blond owner of a local B&B who it transpired was vegetarian so couldn’t eat most of the food, myself, the host of the event John Rooney from Conwy council, and the manager and chef from a local restaurant. The latter of the last two proceeded to order copious amounts of wine, which he tried to ply both myself and the blond woman with. We were both driving so not drinking. We then spent the rest of the evening watching him get drunker and more outrageous. As we got ready to leave he asked me if I was sure he couldn’t give me a lift somewhere….I declined, stating that I was driving. He turned to the blond and asked her the same thing…she too declined. A jokey comment about ‘independent women’ floated around the table, and his passing remark, before his colleague ushered him from restaurant towards the waiting cab...’yes, you independent women…I bet you’ve got toys as well’.…an awkward silence descended over the table, broken only by me dissolving into peels of laughter. Chefs, I know them well. Crude to the last!

The menu

**Pant Ysgawen goats cheese in a ginger crumb with beetroot cake and chutney (produce supplied by Tan Lan Bakery, Cae Melwr Farm and Cegin Croesonen

**Courgette veloute with brioche flavoured with truffle oil (Produce supplied by Cae Melwr Farm)

**Welsh black beef steak tartar (Produce from AL & RO Jones)

**Elderflower sorbet

**Seared loin of pork with slow cooked belly served with braised potato, squash and apples (Produce supplied by Pigging good Pork, Cae Melwr Farm and Bryn Cocyn Farm)

**Carrots cooked in duck fat (Produce from Belmont Farm)

**Lamb Scottadito (Produce from O E Metcalfe)

**Ice cream served with soft fruits (Produce supplied by Bodnant Welsh Food Centre and Bryn Dowsi Farm)

**A selection of Bodnant cheese

**Coffee (supplied by Chris Martindale at Caffi Cristobal/Cilydd)

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The Orme View Restaurant is open to the public. Attending a training restaurant is a great way to try out new food, prepared by the trainess, at a fraction of the price of a restaurant. You never know you might be tasting the early creations of the next Bryn Williams, Angela Hartnett, Jamie Oliver or Tom Kerridge. Opening times and contact details are below.

Lunch: Tuesday – Friday 12:00 for 12:15
Dinner: Wednesday Evening 19:00 for 19:30
Contact: Joan Hammond 01492 542 341

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Filed under British food, local produce, North Wales restaurants, photography, pork, reviews, Sources and suppliers, Welsh food, Welsh produce

Fabada Asturiana (Spanish pork and bean stew)

** Just to begin…I composed this post last week when the household was fully engrossed in a nightly dose of European football. My internet crashed on Tuesday evening and I have been without access to the cyber world since. Of course the European Championships have now come and gone (for those not watching the final was last night) but the post was written and awaiting publication so here it is…

I know football isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’ve enjoyed watching the European Championships, especially some sexy football from some equally sexy players (yes cliché I know, but I’m a sucker for a man with strong thighs and dark-eyes…all those Mediterranean Lothario’s win me over any time!). So to celebrate some sexy Spanish football, here is a recipe for one of the most popular dishes served at supper club over the Spring. Fabada Asturiana is a traditional Spanish pork and bean stew (Fabada typically large white beans and Asturian region where it originates).

It’s simple, but still strong, robust, full of depth, authentic and very tasty (like a Spanish footballer perhaps!). Despite its simplicity it’s not a shy retiring stew; it really is full of meaty oomph! Served as a smaller starter or as a main course it is definitely not for the vegetarian; it’s a real celebration of all things pork. To recreate this great dish, which I didn’t get to take a picture of (but I will add one next time I make it) I used the very best local ingredients from some of my favourite suppliers.


450g dried haricot or cannellini beans (soaked over night), olive oil, 150g dry cure smoked bacon cut into cubes, 2 cooking chorizo cut into small chunks, 1 morcilla (a Spanish type of black pudding, but I used a locally made black pudding instead), 700g lean pork fillet, cut into small chunks, 1 large red onion finely chopped,  4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or crushed, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 bay leaves, a good pinch of chilli flakes, pinch of saffron, 200g shredded swiss chard, spring cabbage or spinach

The day before, place the beans in bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak over night.

The next day rinse the beans and place in a pan with cold water. Bring to the boil and then immediately drain and rinse with cold water again. Do this again then leave to drain.

In a large clean pan heat the olive oil then add the onion, bacon lardon, pork fillet and chorizo. Fry for a few minutes until beginning to brown then add the garlic, chilli, bay leaves and paprika. Stir fry again for another couple of minutes then tip in the drained beans saffron and about a litre and a half of water (or light vegetable stock). Bring to the boil then turn the heat down low to simmer.

Keep the heat very low so the ingredients can simmer gently, for anything between one and a half (the length of the average football match) to three to four hours (if it goes to extra time and penalties!). You want to make sure the beans are cooked and the stew is nicely thickened but basically you can leave it as long as you need to.

When the beans are almost done add the morcilla and let it simmer for about fifteen minutes more, then add the swiss chard or spinach. Once this has wilted down you are done! Check the seasoning (you may need a little more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste) and serve with some crusty bread to mop up the juices.

This is great on a cold damp day (we’ve had a few of those lately!) but it is also good served along with a fresh summery salad and a glass of Spanish red wine or traditional Asturian Cider.

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