Category Archives: produce markets

Supper club at Conwy Feast

As I mentioned in my earlier post Conwy Feast this year was bigger and better than ever. I’m a regular attendee and love to discover all the new features they add each year. They know how to keep it fresh and it’s always a lovely surprise to see old favourites and new additions, so you can imagine my excitement at being asked to take part in a special new event. A supper club which was held on the Saturday evening before Blinc.

It all began at the beginning of October when the organisers approached me with the idea of cooking a six dish tasting menu with matched wines alongside Jimmy Williams, Welsh culinary squad gold medal winner and head chef at Signatures restaurant in Conwy and Morfudd Richards, wine expert and restauranteur….home cook versus accomplished chef. I’d originally mentioned that I would like to do a demo so this idea came as a pleasant surprise!

Eeeek… I admit initially I was slightly terrified, rather daunted but also delighted that they’d asked me.It sounded ambitious, but I like a challenge so I didn’t hesitate when I said yes!

Guests paid five pounds a head and since we were very much testing the waters tickets were limited to sixty.  None of us knew what was going to happen, whether people would be interested, whether costs would be covered, so it was a real shot in the dark, but within three days of the tickets being released, half were gone; snapped up presumably by eager supper club and Signatures fans. It all looked very good.

Jimmy and I met, discussed menu’s and planned. He opened up his kitchen to me for preparation, which is where I spent best part of the Friday afternoon and Saturday.  I fretted over not being able to source all my produce locally, not being able to contact my mushroom supplier and whether my venison was too dry and Jimmy spent hours measuring perfect 4cm portions to fit into the tiny tasting dishes. Neither of us had done anything like this before so we were winging it from day one.

Our supper was to take place at 5pm in the True Taste kitchen immediately after Michelin starred chef Bryan Williams. I left the jam stall at 1.30 in order to head over to Signatures to meet up with Jimmy and finish off our prep only to discover my car blocked in. The culprit? The same Bryan Williams. I refrained from having a hissy fit. I kept my cool as he returned to his car looking a little sheepish. Car abandoned I managed to get a lift from one of the festival assistants. I can’t remember his name, I think it was John, but whoever my knight in shining armour was I was very grateful!

We’d been allocated an hour in the prep-kitchen to do our final preparations before the demo at five.  By four o’clock we were all packed into our borrowed van, trays of food precariously placed in the back with commis chef Sam wedged in beside it all in the hope he would stop the stuff from sliding around and my helper Mark driving. It’s all glamour you know!!

Jimmy and Sam in the prep kitchen

We arrived into a busy prep kitchen and promptly had to find ourselves fridge space, oven space, work surface space and plating space. Jimmy seemed to know everyone and I felt like the rogue cook in the camp for a bit, but the Llandrillo college staff and students were really helpful and I soon settled down to what I needed to do.

A little while later Morfudd arrived and grabbed me saying,

you must be Denise” as she planted a couple of kisses on either cheek before dragging me off to taste all the wine she’d selected for my food.  Next I was introduced to Sian Lloyd ITV weather and TV presenter who was hosting the event. With about five minutes to go before we were due to cook Sian asked,

so what are we doing”?

Jimmy and I looked blankly at each other “dunno” we both replied.

“Who’s directing?” she tried again. We still looked blank.

“well does anyone know what’s happening?”

waiting in the prep kitchen

We grabbed Fiona the organiser, who helped us map out a rushed itinerary, the ordering of how the dishes would be served and when the wine samples would be handed out and Jimmy and I decided who would cook first. While outside the they tried to work out who had paid for their tickets and who hadn’t. It was all done on the hoof, but by 5.15, only fifteen minutes late we were ready to go.

I described how to hot smoke fish and put my trout on to cook, Jimmy prepared his sea bass and the first samples were sent out to the waiting group of guests. We talked about our main courses and then I demonstrated my caramel (which for the record did end up burning…but not during the demo, it jut didn’t cool down quickly enough at the end).  All in all though for a new, untried event I think it came off very well. If overheard comments were anything to go by the guests loved it, they thought the food was fantastic and I for one didn’t even have a hint of nerves, in fact I had a ball.

Yes of course there were a few glitches, but hey it was a pilot and we all learnt from the experience. Jimmy says if we do it again he will put away his ruler and I reckon I need to work harder on my food ordering and costings (I definitely over spent on the venison!).

So are we doing it again next year I hear you ask? Well that is in the hands of the organisers. We have a year to work on it so watch this space!

 

Jimmy's perfect portions 🙂

The menu’s and wine:

Me:

Hot smoked local rainbow trout with horseradish cream on a bed of carrot and beetroot slaw (courtesy of Ellie and Rosie at Salad Club) and winter leaves

  • Las Medallas Manzanilla, Spain

Roast venison haunch with wild mushrooms, dry cure bacon and herbs, potato dauphinoise and buttered wilted kale

  • 2008 Rasteau, Cotes du Rhone villages, Dom de Escaravailles, France

Pear tatin with vanilla salted caramel and Black Mountain cream

  • 2007 Royal Tokajii Aszu 5 putt, Hungary
Jimmy:
Seared Anglesey sea bass on fresh tagliatelle with a Conwy mussel broth.
  • 2010 Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie, Loire, France
Shoulder of Welsh lamb, root vegetable dauphinoise and red wine sauce.
  • 2010 Zarcillo Pinot noir, Chile
Glazed lemon tart with raspberry sorbet.

  • 2007 Ballet D’Octobre, Dom Cauhape, Jurancon, France

My suppliers:

  • Beetroot & carrots and potatoes – Pippa and John small holders in Bethel who run a vegetable box scheme (otherwise known as ‘them two over there’)
  • Local venison-Williams & son, butchers in Bangor
  • Wild mushroomsThe Mushroom Garden
  • Dry cure bacon – Williams & son butchers, Bangor
  • Fresh herbs (parsley & thyme) and kale – Moelyci environmental centre (market garden)
  • Butter (unsalted) – Calon Wen
  • Salted butter-The Victorian Farm Food Company, Shropshire
  • Sea salt and vanilla salt – Halen Mon
  • Black Mountain liqueur –Celtic spirit company
  • Olive oil – Petros

On a personal note I want to say a massive thank you to all the producers that gave me free samples to use in my demo, to Mark and Sam for making lovely looking samples in the tiniest of dishes and for being the perfect commis chef’s, to the staff and students of Llandrillo college for being helpful and professional and being lovely to this strange woman who breezed in, in her flowery sundress and tights, to the organisers of Conwy Feast for taking a chance with this (and me), to Sian and Morfudd for being generally lovely and making the event relaxed and informal, to Jimmy for opening up his kitchen to me and of course to Sean, Sophie, Rosie and Becky for holding the fort, flogging my jam and chutney and being the perfect PR assistants for supper club.

Denise x

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Conwy Feast & Blinc in pictures: just a few of my favourite things

I think you will see a few posts popping up here over the coming week about the fantastic Conwy Feast. There was so much to see, hear and taste that it was a weekend that fed all the senses. With both Conwy Feast and Blinc (Wales’s first digital arts festival) running concurrently its no surprise that the usually sleepy, walled medieval town of Conwy saw around 25,000 people visit over the weekend. Even the sun shone for us!

And what a weekend it was!.Since it began in 2003 the Conwy Feast has rapidly grown into the second largest food festival in Wales. It attracts a wide array of foodies from all over the country and its patron Bryn Williams of Odettes in London returns to demonstrate year after year. Other regular visitors include the two Sian Lloyd’s (from BBC and ITV), chefs Aled Williams (of Cennin in Beaumaris) and Hywel Jones (Michelin starred chef from Lucknam Park) who like Bryn have flown the flag for Wales as part of the Great British Menu and Bryan Webb, chef and patron of Tyddyn Llan Michelin starred restaurant in Llandrillo near Corwen. This year also saw Morfudd Richards attend for my ticket only supper club event, where Jimmy Williams from Signatures restaurant and I cooked a three course tasting menu with wine. More on this in my next post.

For now though I want to share some of the sights and images that summed up the weekend for me. From the huge array of fantastic Welsh produce just waiting to be tasted, the great array of local musical talent that played across two stages and culminating in the amazing Blinc projections on Conwy Castle on Saturday night. What more can I say…we had a brilliant time.

Conwy mussel boats in the harbour

my little jam stall in Fresh: the new producers tent

Vegan cupcakes from Aderyn Melys...taste totally divine and look beautiful as well

yummy truffles on my next door neighbours stall

Pretty patterns on the handmade butter, churned on site from the Victorian Farm Food Co. in Shropshire

Gemma looking pleased at punch to see the labels she designed for me on the jars

Welsh produce from around the festival, old favourites and new discoveries

Pen-y-Lan sausages…very very moorish

The outdoor cafe with its ’30 mile menu’. Three courses made with exclusively local produce.

Apples and honey at the Anglesey Apple Company…they do the most fab fresh pressed apple juice

Cynan selling his local shiitake and oyster mushrooms from The Mushroom Garden…now regularly bought by Michelin star restaurants. I used his mushrooms in my supper club menu, they are the best.

Beautiful bread from Scilicorns bakery in Llanrwst….their polish bread is my favourite.

everything you always wanted to know about apples from Ian Sturrock grower of rare, organic, Welsh fruit trees and discoverer of the Bardsey Island Apple (which led to a resurgence in interest in rare breeds). I have two of his trees in my garden.

A bar full of Welsh draught beer

Charcuterie from Trealy Farm….Love by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall I can see why; I loved their sweet chorizo and venison chorizo so I just had to buy a selection while I had the chance.

Fantastic shutters in Elizabethan town house Plas Mawr, one of the fantastic locations for some of the Blinc digital installations.

And the grand finale….

Blinc: projections on Conwy Castle

Blinc projections on Conwy Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anglesey Oyster festival

Celtic spirit liqueurs...Black Mountain is amazing!

Local food festivals here in North Wales do bizarrely seem to happen during he Autumn months when the weather is at its most unpredictable. The first day of the 13th Anglesey Oyster festival coincided with the Ogwen produce market (where I was cooking and selling my jams and chutney). It was a wet miserable day and I wondered if it was as slow over there as it was for us in Bethesda. It didn’t look good for Sunday and I didn’t much feel like a wet trip out, but as the new day dawned, the rain miraculously disappeared. Thankfully it stayed away for most of the day but by heck was it windy!

The Anglesey Oyster festival started as a small yearly social event where island residents gathered to eat lots of oysters, drink lots of bubbly and be entertained by the best of local bands and musicians. Over the past few years though it has become much more of a general local food festival, with less emphasis on the seafood element. This year even more so since oyster stocks have become so depleted. A well documented virus has hit the oyster beds hard (which might explain why the prices were so high!….£7 for one oyster and a glass of bubbly, is it just me or is that just too expensive?)

So I managed to get myself together and popped over for a well needed day of rest and relaxation. Unfortunately with a couple of reluctant kids in tow and my camera running out of battery on arrival, it wasn’t quite the chilled afternoon I’d hoped for. But hey, I was out! I know, I could have left them behind but I knew they’d enjoy it when they got there and having a family day was rather nice. I also wanted to meet up with some of the producers with whom I do regular business to chat about the forthcoming Conwy Feast.

It’s a small festival. More of a glorified two-day produce market really, but worth a visit if you are visiting Anglesey or happen to live in the area. I think it’s just as good for kids to a point; prepare to be fleeced and probably a few quid lighter by the time you leave and don’t expect to linger so you can watch demo’s. All I heard for the first half an hour was

“Mum, can I have this…mum can we get this apple juice, you know I love it…mum I really neeeeed these peppermint creams”

and by the time I’d stated that was IT, nothing else. They became quickly bored and wanted to go to the park. I didn’t get to watch any of the food demos because of their boredom. I should have come alone!

The other problem with food festivals is the cost. They are not for those without disposable income unfortunately. It would be nice to encourage more people to enjoy local produce, but sadly prices seem to be prohibitive. It is the same at Conwy, but at least there are lots of tasting opportunities and plenty of entertainment for the £10 weekend ticket price (£7 Saturday and £6 Sunday if you just come for the day).

I continued to amble slowly, trying and acquiring as I went along. I knew most people there and am very grateful to Cynan at the Mushroom Garden for the bag of wild mushrooms (to try out in my menu for next weeks demo), Ari for the bowl of olives “just to nibble as I walk round” and Carol at Condessa for the free sample of Black Mountain, a delicious heavenly apple and blackcurrant infused brandy. I wasn’t however going to pay £7 for bubbly and one solitary oyster.

The Conwy Feast in contrast is very much a family friendly event. It is now the second largest food festival in Wales and attracts the likes of Michelin star chefs Brain Webb and Hywel Jones plus Bryn Williams and Aled Williams who have flown the flag for Wales on the GReat British Menu along with Hywel. There are kids cookery classes, various events across the town on several stages, demos, live music across three stages and this year the festival coincides with Blinc the first Welsh digital Arts Festival. It really is all going on in Conwy next weekend and I am as excited as a five-year old in a sweet shop, at being asked to cook there! Lets just hope the rain gives us a break.

 

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Alex James’s Harvest: the full foodie round-up

The Salad Club stall....it looked so pretty at night with all the fairy lights lit up....so much more alluring than many of the big food stalls

Another weekend another festival…well that’s kind of how it feels at the moment!  This time though I was working with award-winning food bloggers Ellie and Rosie of Salad club on their street food stall. There were four of us, helping the two of them, making a jolly band of six. The team members included Kirstin whose day job is at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, Izzi, who writes Shepherd Market Sweet Tart food blog, Clare, a friend of mine who stepped in at the last-minute after a helper dropped out and myself. It was a lovely gang and we all got on immediately, sharing our passion for good food and promptly adopting the role of protective foster parents over Ellie and Rosie’s ‘baby’. I don’t think I have ever been surrounded by so many avid foodies (with the exception perhaps of my appearance on Britain’s Best Dish) and it was a great feeling just being on the same food loving wavelength.

The festival itself was a strange one. Not at all typical or what I expected. It was predictably all about the food, while music from the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, the Kooks, KT Tunstall, Benjamin Francis Leftwich (the ones I got the opportunity to see) provided an added bonus. It was clean, polite and considerably posher than the usual festival I tend to frequent. Wellies were more a fashion accessory than necessity. I guess all this was understandable since the Cotswolds is a pretty affluent area and food festivals tend to attract visitors with a higher than average disposable income. It was clear that many of the visitors lived in the Oxfordshire and Cotswolds area as indeed did most of the traders. It’s not a festival than I would have chosen to go to had a not been working there, but we had fun all the same.

It was on the Friday evening as we got ready to open for business, that it all became a bit weird. Rebekah Brooks (of News International phone hacking scandal) wandered past the stall and Alex James, once cool bass player with Blur stood at an inflatable tent flogging cheese on toast, the cheese being from his less than convincing Asda range.  Jeremy Clarkson rolled up in his Range Rover and on Saturday David Cameron wandered past baby strapped to his chest. So having got myself all excited over hugging and being photographed with Alex I promptly went off him, after seeing his choice of friends and tasting his curry flavoured cheese (heavy on the cumin and not much else). You can call me fickle if you like, but I like a man with taste and a high moral code.

Alex chatting to Rebekah Brook.....unfortunately didn't manage to snap her and the PM cosying up in the same field..he appeared on Saturday

As a few of us stood around his stall tasting samples from his range, while being given the hard sell by his publicist. I felt quite depressed about the fact that people actually want to buy bread shaped cheese slices flavoured like tomato ketchup. I wondered what was the matter with ‘normal’ cheese, good old-fashioned mature cheddar and when did we lose the ability to cut our own cheese or add tomato ketchup when it’s cooked? As for curry flavoured cheese….less said the better I think.

The chefs table...which sadly I didn't get to sit at

I guess Alex’s cheese, and not getting the chance to eat at the chef’s table (a rather lovely festival ‘restaurant’ featuring dishes created by Stevie Parle and Yotam Ottolenghi to name two), were the two culinary low points of the weekend but the rest of the foodie stuff was just fantastic.

So good in fact that I don’t know where to begin: Brewed Boy selling the smoothest, creamiest Square Mile coffee…..

Real proper burgers from Meat Wagon…thank you Yani for keeping us fed….

Meat Wagon

Real proper burgers

Brownies and ice cream from Choc Star gave us just the sweet kick we needed as we grew tired on the Sunday afternoon…perfect with yet more coffee, this time from the Little Green Coffee Machine, our lovely adrenalin and caffeine fuelled, pirate themed, hoolahooping next door neighbours….

choc star menu

fudge brownies yummy

brownies and ice cream...even more yum!

The Little Green Coffee Machine

I came home with a whole smoked Brie offered at traders price by Hall’s Dorset Smokery. It was absolutely delicious, possibly even subtler in flavour than from my usual provider…..the excellent Prosecco from Saltyard….beautiful dried rose petals and buds for the wedding i’m cooking at this weekend from Herbal Pantry and Fair Trade chocolate from Plush.

Whole Smoked Brie from Halls Smokery

beautiful dried flowers and herbs from the Herbal Pantry

I was like an excited schoolgirl meeting Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, which as some readers might have gathered is my strange foodie crush and watching him cook and tasting the food from his demo made my day. Yes I did become a touch giggly, tongue-tied and a hot and bothered imbecile when I actually got to talk to him. I was slightly more composed meeting Stevie Parle from the Dock Kitchen and even managed an intelligent conversation about visiting his restaurant and the lovely Tamarind sorbet he made. Sadly I didn’t get to meet Yotam Ottolenghi, but I did watch his demo and taste one of his dishes, a simple prawn and feta topped stew which was lovely. He really is the master of spices.

Stevie Parle's demo

photo opportunity with Stevie

Yotam Ottolenghi

diving into his dish as it was passed to the audience

 

Hugh with phallic vegetables

me getting all hot and bothered

Jay Rayner Observer food critic and friend of Ellie and Rosie’s paid us a visit at the stall on Sunday. I didn’t tell him I knew his mother (having once worked with her in my earlier career) and I’m ashamed to say I totally abused my position mercilessly bending his ear about Moel Faban Secret Supper Club and thrusting my card into his unsuspecting hand while serving him wraps. I couldn’t resist. It was an opportunity not to be missed. He was very gracious but got his own back when I insisted I HAD to take a picture of him (for the blog of course). When he left the girls laughed at me and told me I was shameless. Oh well, you don’t get anywhere by being coy!!

Jay Rayner at the stall...is that two wraps you wanted? 🙂

It was also great to catch up with Charlie Beldam of Cotswold Gold. He’s come a long way since we first met at Ms Marmitelovers produce market two years ago, now having no less than nine Michelin starred chefs using his Rapeseed oil! It was great to discuss our personal triumphs and long may his continue, he has a great product.

All in all it was a brilliant, if slightly surreal, weekend. We all worked hard and the salad club wraps flew…the Saturday rush left us feeling like we’d been hit by a truck! It must have been one of the most popular foods on sale at the festival (it certainly felt like it) and deservedly so. We ate a few ourselves. The simple combination of flavours worked perfectly; hot smoky chorizo or halloumi, a creamy butterbean and rosemary hummus, fresh beetroot and carrot slaw with sesame and Nigella seeds and sharp salsa verde with a little kick of chilli…all wrapped up in a holy land bakery flatbread.

filling the wrap

finished and wrapped up...ready to eat

Ellie and Rosie had worked hard to perfect the formula and it was spot on. They were also the loveliest people to work with and for and they looked after us well; they fed us, kept us in beer, tried to make sure we had plenty of fun time and bought Prosecco for us all to celebrate. Even the sun shone, a nice little bonus considering the forecast had promised rain, storms and hail….which finally arrived on Sunday night…as we headed home after a  fantastic weekend.

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Hello i’m back!!…and here’s what’s in store for September and October

Phew!! Its been a whirlwind month at the Green Man festival and it feels somewhat strange being back in my own house and not having to get up at six every morning to cook breakfast lunch and dinner for 50 people every day.

What with the long hours and intermittent internet access I have little time to think about the outside world, living in a self-contained little bubble, where everyone becomes family (albeit a somewhat dysfunctional one at times).   I made a lot of great friends, had a whale of a time but I’m glad to return to the real world.

But now that Autumn is creeping up on us, the kids are going back to school and holiday time is drawing to a close its time to look ahead. With so many exciting things coming up I have no time to feel sad about the end of summer and I really can’t wait for the Autumn and Winter!

Our next scheduled supper club is Saturday 1st October and unfortunately (or fortunately for me) it is already full. But do not fear, there will be plenty of other opportunities to attend.

On Saturday 5th November we are planning a bonfire and fireworks supper club where we will be serving lots of yummy warming food for a cold November, mulled wine, spiced punch, treacle tart and parking topped off with a bonfire and some fireworks to ooh and aah to.

and then Saturday 26th November which will have lots of hearty, wintry dishes

During September look closely and you will also find me at the Ogwen local Produce market (Saturday 10th September and Saturday 8th October) with freshly made jams and chutney’s; I will also be helping out Ellie and Rosie from Salad Club with their food stall at Harvest at Jimmy’s in Oxfordshire (9th – 11th September)  and at Conwy Feast doing a food demo and again with my Jam and Chutney stall (22nd -23rd October) more details to follow.

On 13th September and 22nd November I will be running a seasonal cookery course for  Moelyci Environmental Centre. Contact Naomi in the office for more details.

If none of these dates suit then feel free to call or email to discuss private bookings and bespoke cookery courses.

Look forward to hearing from youor seeing you over the coming months

Denise xxx

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North Wales Daily Post food hero nomination and Welsh blogging awards

I was very excited to find myself nominated as a Local Food Hero in the North Wales Daily post on Tuesday.

It was a lovely piece that made me feel rather proud to have started my little supper club. I still love doing it as much as when I started, which unbelievably will be two years in October. We’ve come a long way since our first dinner. I’ve learnt many things; tried many new recipes, making up many of my own along the way as part of the journey and I’ve met some wonderful people from across Wales and further afield (Belgium springs to mind!) who I would never have met had it not been for these dinners in my living room.

There have been lots of nice articles about us in the press and of course the infamous Britain’s Best Dish appearance, which came about by an ITV researcher reading my blog.

Of course that’s not all, so many other things have sprung out of the experiment: I now sell my own jams and chutney (that have always been so popular at supper club) at the Ogwen local produce market and run a monthly pop-up brunch there, I have an increasing number of requests for private dinners and have bookings to cook for two weddings!

What next you ask? Well on the third of August I’m off to Crickhowell for ten days to cook for a very hungry Green Man festival crew, followed by another 5 day stint after the festival. More on this to follow. This will take me to the end of August when I will take my well-earned holiday!!

In the meantime, for those of you that enjoy reading my blog, have read my reviews or used my recipes, it would be fantastic if you could drop a line to the Welsh blog awards suggesting little old me!

Thanks everyone…keep reading and enjoying my foodie ideas and supper club dinners

Denise x

 

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The pop-up brunch club

My very first pop-up event and wow!! I’m totally overwhelmed by its success.

Supper club packed its bags and moved into the new Llys Dafydd square on Bethesda High Street, for the first of many monthly produce markets which will be held on the site. Llys Dafydd is almost a work of art in itself with many members of the community (artists, builders, gardeners) involved in its construction. From the beautiful wrought iron gates, to the stenciled slate designs, Bethesda has a rich history. A history so closely entwined with the slate industrythat it was only fitting that this be commemorated in its design.

My little slate kiosk and menu board...bilingual of course

My little slate kitchen was a pleasure to work in even though all the fixtures and fittings hadn’t quite arrived in time. The two ring electric hob was painfully slow to heat up and wasn’t big enough for a frying pan and a big saucepan side by side. Pete, my helper for the day went home and fetched his electric George Foreman griddle thing…which needed a drip tray, but we didn’t have one. We wedged tea towels round the base, which are now in the bin!. We couldn’t fit a coffee pot under the tap of the urn (so had to fill the coffee pots cup by cup). The stainless steel work surface hadn’t arrived so we used a trestle table, which was far too low to chop vegetables on and I made three times as much soup as I needed since the sun came out, making soup less desirable.

Other than these few teething problems the day went amazingly well. So well in fact, that we ran out the local butchers lovely dry cured bacon so had to run up the road to get more, 5 minutes before he closed for the day.  The butchers apparently had a huge queue of people outside, that had gone to him from the market. Many of the stall holders had sold all their stock by 11.30am (we only opened at 10) including myself (my jam and pickle reserves have run dry for the rest of this month) and I ran out of coffee in the cafe. One person said

“wow! proper fresh coffee from a pot, you don’t get much of that round here”. Half an hour later it had gone.

My suppliers really need a mention as they were fantastic for getting me the best local produce, at a great price. Moelyci that provided lettuce and onions, Pippa and John for carrots, coriander and beetroot, Mintons wholefood wholesalers in Llandrindod Wells for organic tea, coffee and sugar and Pobty Cae Groes, (Pobty is bakery in Welsh for all you non-Welsh speakers), the most local bakery anyone could wish to have at the end of their street and providers of the most ENORMOUS rolls and baps. So kind are they that they threw in a free bara brith (Welsh fruit bread), pack of lemon and poppy-seed muffins and loaf with my order. Green Fox supplied all of my environmentally friendly / biodegradable packaging and finally a massive thank you to Gavin at the local Londis who helped me out in my hour of need (after I’d been let down by a supplier) with Welsh butter, milk and Snowdon Black bomber cheese which made up my Welsh ploughman’s in a bun along with lettuce and my onion marmalade.

We had giant bubbles from Dr Zigs and music from local musicians Gwibdaith Hen Fran and of course a timely visit from the sun, which we’d feared would not appear at all, as we erected the marquees in torrential rain the night before.

As for food, the local community go for hearty fare. We are country folk and like to eat well, so tea, coffee and  bacon baps went down a storm. The BLT mawr (Welsh for large) and ploughman’s in a bap did OK too. Even though we will be eating carrot and coriander soup for the rest of the week, I don’t mind at all. Those that had it, loved it and I will be a better judge of quantity next time.

The one sad thing about the day was that I hardly took any pictures. I’m just hoping I can get a few from others that did and then I will share them with you.

Market dates for the rest of the summer are:

13th August

10th September

8th October

and then hopefully we will find an indoor venue for two pre-Christmas markets before we end for the winter.

Other dates for Moel Faban suppers and the supper club are as follows:

22nd, 23rd and 24th July: Pop-up cafe at  Gwyl Gardd Goll festival a lovely little festival on the Faenol Estate with Gruff Rhys, Badly Drawn Boy, Echo and the Bunnymen and Cate le Bon,  plus a host of my favourite local musicians…Mr Huw, 9Bach, Gwibdaeth Hen Fran.

29th/30th July: secret suppers…spaces still available so book soon to secure a place

Then for the duration of August I will be off on a little jaunt to Crickhowell as crew caterer at The Green Man festival followed by what will be a well needed holiday eating my way around Ireland.

Dates for September have not yet been set as I have other plans that need firming up, but don’t worry supper club fans, I know I sound horribly busy but we will be back with a vengeance by the end of the month.

 

 

 

 

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Press and new dates for July

My Britain’s Best Dish success, supper club and the new Ogwen Produce market (of which I am part) have all been in the press this week. There was this lovely piece in the Bangor Chronicle discussing all of them. The picture was taken at the Moelyci market garden while the second, showing a number of other local producers including Rhyd y Delyn cheese producers (one of my favourites), Delyth from Cegin Brysur with her amazing cakes, two local chocolate makers (i need to get their details!!), plus Chris with his fruit and veg.

 

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Food, sun, rain, cider, mussels, tv chefs and local produce: the weekend had it all

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View of the quayside and the food festival marquees from the top of Conwy Castle

Conwy feast; two days of food, changeable weather, tv chefs and a variety of activities. Generally I love the Conwy feast but this year it felt a bit of  a scrum. I don’t know if it was because some of the marquees had moved from their previous location (squeezing in beside the rest on the quayside) or that there were just more people there, but it felt too crowded, which made it almost impossible for me to see or do half of the things I wanted to.

The weather didn’t bode well on the Saturday morning with lashing rain and sideways wind. Thankfully and against expectation it had cleared up by midday. This was also the time that I managed to get the teenagers out of bed and ready to leave. So much for the early start! I’d also had to make a last-minute dash to my neighbours who were checking the Welsh translation on my flyers, he’d lost the flyer so the pair of them had to do a quick run through in order for me to make some corrections. There were a few…Welsh mutations are baffling if you ask me!!!

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Conwy Castle

Giant pumpkin

By the time we arrived the festival was packed. Although it was good to see so many people there supporting local producers and having a great time, it was impossible with kids to get through the crowds. We all lost each other, my mate couldn’t find us and the kids started to moan, they were hungry, it was too busy, they wanted to sit down, they wanted to meet friends, it was boring. I found it rather stressful too as I obviously had too many priorities, kids, meeting producers and tasting, making contacts and so on. With hindsight I should have had a ‘me’ day and a family day. Oh well we live and learn! All in all Saturday was a wee bit stressful, but we did get to do a bit of tasting. Conwy mussels for lunch, nice but a bit too salty and buttery.

The favourites of the day were the Anglesey apple juice, chocolate pudding from the pudding compartment , the usual cheeses from Y Cwt Caws and Derimon and from the Snowdonia Cheese Company plus various alcoholic beverages from Condessa and plenty of spiced cider!!

We also chatted to Ian Sturrock, who provided us with our organic apple tress and signed up to receive our weekly bread supplies (including speciality sourdough bread for supper club) from local artisan baker Mick Hartley of Bethesda Bakers . I believe he has been mentioned in the Guardian and he does pretty much the same as us in the ‘pop-up restaurant’ world except he has a ‘pop-up’ bakery. For those in the Conwy Llanrwst area we found out that Conwy food direct are planning a local food delivery service.

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Conwy mussels (mine are better though; these were too buttery and salty)

Apple juice and local apples

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the lovely, helpful assistant at the Condessa stall

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Medieval food

Sunday was better. The teens decided not to come, so did the other half. I ended up going back to the festival with my friend, her daughter and the little un. We hung out in the castle looking at  medieval food, tasting medieval recipes and doing kid stuff. We then went off to the quayside and watched Bryn Williams (of Odettes restaurant in London) poncing around with umpteen film crews around. But i did manage to do a bit more tasting and some shopping in the farmers market. While doing so Bryn and his film crew turned up again causing maximum chaos in the packed out marquee as he ostentatiously sniffed at the vegetables (while I tried to hide from the camera. I’m sure they thought I was a stalker). Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to see any of his demonstrations, or those by Colin Presdee (author of Food Wales), or hand out that many flyers due to the masses of people and the stroppy kids. But it was a good weekend even if i’m skint now!!

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Bryn Williams doing his thing

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Filed under festival food, Food festival, local produce, produce markets, Sources and suppliers