Sunday, May 20, 2007

Masham Sausages

Those of you who read this blog often will know I have a certain fondness the peaceful idyll of Masham. And why not? I’ve already mentioned chocolate supremos Joneva, and obviously the beer heritage is second to none with both the Black Sheep and Theakstons Breweries within walking distance of one another – but there is another supplier you must visit if you spend the day in this North Yorkshire foodies’ haven.

So simple, yet so easy to mess up...

The Masham Sausage Company and their outlet shop - Beavers Butchers - make, without a doubt, some of the best sausages I have tasted. I know what you’re thinking; It’s only a sausage; get a grip – but that’s my point. It’s not 'just' a sausage. Sausages, along with sandwiches, preserves, pies and any other ‘basic’ staples of our diet – are so simple to make, yet so many get it wrong. I wonder how many vegetarians made their decision to shun meat after an encounter with a poor, badly-made sausage?
The Masham Sausage Company’s secret, as far as I can tell, seems to simply be the use of the finest source meats and ingredients – coupled with a forward-thinking ethic not usually seen in ‘Traditional’ meat companies. That’s it. That’s all there needs to be. When their Chicken and Garlic sausage tastes as good as any Cumberland or simple Pork, you know they are onto a good thing. With up to twenty-odd varieties available, along with Black Puddings, Bacon and mail-order and delivery services to hand, there is really no excuse not to try this great, great shop out.
Oh, the inspiration for this post? A lazy sunday lunch of Masham Pork Sausages, thick onion gravy and golden, home-made yorkshire puddings - washed down with a pint of Black Sheep Yorkshire Square Ale. If that's not gorgeous simplicity, then i dont know what is.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

News Round-Up, 05/2007

Good Stuff fave North have two pieces of great news this week – firstly, they are opening a sister bar, Further North, in Chapel Allerton – see website for more details; also, North are installing a new hand-pump which will mean a dedicated - rotating, mild, porter or stout…Salt’s Deli are now offering hampers filled with epicurean goodies for you to take to the cricket at Headingley - and have also announced they are going on the road by attending various farmer’s markets across Yorkshire; Leeds – 1st Sunday of the month, Sheffield – 4th Sunday of the month, Wentworth – 2nd Sunday of the month, Rotherham – Last Wednesday of the month, Selby – 1st Wednesday of the month, Headingley – 2nd Saturday of the month - Occasional – next appearance 9 June… Bolton Abbey Foods are now offering 2007 season Spring Lamb for sale – full details on their website…

Daleside Brewery - Ripon Jewel vs. Daleside Blonde

Daleside Brewery were the main sponsors of the Ale Tent at last weeks Dales Festival of Food and Drink, and seeing as though they were a brewery I was pretty unfamiliar with, I decided to do a little sampling myself!

First up, I was greatly impressed with their Ripon Jewel ale. I had heard good things about this before but I really didn’t know what to expect – it was a really refreshing, caramel-esque beer, which was very easy to drink despite its 5.8 abv. Fans of American micro- brew beers such as Sierra Nevada would love this. Unashamedly flavourful, I would recommend this with your heartier meat dishes, if you were into food pairing and all that…

On the other end of the scale, I feel the Daleside Blonde (4.3 abv) deserves a mention. Daleside decided to make a full-bodied cask ale, but then ‘lager’ the brew using cold-conditioning. The result? A beer that is pretty much a Lager, but with a really complex taste, not dissimilar to a high-end pilsner such as Jever. I took a crate of this stuff home and it really impressed, especially after a couple of days in the fridge. I plan to get more of this stuff for the summer, and it would go down a storm at a barbecue. Think lager has to be bland? Think again.

Daleside are pretty eponymous at the festival these days, but I think this is with good reason. Yet another highly recommended brewery to come out of North Yorkshire.

Daleside Brewery Ltd,
Camwal Road, Harrogate,

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wing Lee Hong Chinese Supermarket

Ok; bear with me – I’m going to get to the point soon enough.

You may be thinking “What is this guy doing putting a piece about a Chinese supermarket on his blog for? It’s neither independent nor local!’. You may be thinking "Does this place, huge as it is, need any further publicity?"

Well, I guess you’d be right on both counts; but, like I say, I have a point to make.

I didn’t even see it get built. It just popped up, a multicoloured, unashamedly modern chinese supermarket in the middle of grey old Leeds. But it changed me; it really did – the Chinese supermarket was no longer a place to fear – it was a place to indulge yourself, to find all those arcane ingredients that your Peter Gordon cookbooks had been blathering on about for years. Galangal. Nam Pla. Tamarind Paste (hang on – isn’t a tamarind a kind of monkey?! ). Yep, all those things are here, and in bountiful quantities – fresh veg and fruit with names you have never seen in print before are laid out before you the way Cox’s apples are at your local Blandermarket.

The freezers ache and groan with fish, meats, dumplings, rolls, any kind of oriental treat you could think of. And did I mention the noodles? There’s a whole wall of them – every colour, shape, length and province you could imagine – and a few more besides. You wish your condiment larder looked like the aisles of this place – jars filled with crushed chillies, ginger, hot sauces, pickled things, small fiery things for sushi – everything you want, at super reasonable prices.

But that’s not all!

Oh no. it’s the only place I can think of in Leeds where you can pick up one of my personal faves – Kirin Ichiban Lager. This stuff goes down so well with Dim Sum it should be made compulsory drinking at every oriental-themed meal time. The next time you see a great recipe on tv using things like Pancake Rolls or Miso Stock – don’t sigh and turn the channel. Go here.

The point I’m trying to make is this; I want this place to exist. I’m glad it does. So, it’s going on the blog!! The more people that know about it, the better!

Oh, and the website has some pretty good recipes on it, too.

Wing Lee Hong Co.Ltd.
Hereford House,6 Edward Street
Leeds LS2 7NT

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Beer Tent - Dales Festival pt 2!!!

…Judging by the already-heaving marquee at just after 11am. The Dales Festival of Food & Drink isn’t just about local suppliers and hog-roasts…no, it’s about beer too. Lots of it, from the county that regards itself as the best in the UK.
And I intend to take full advantage of that.

Where to start, where to start….

Well, upon being faced with at least 50 kegs of beer I fought the urge to go for some of my favourite brews (Copper Dragon, Black Sheep and Rooster’s in particular) and heeded the advice of my partner to ‘go for something you haven’t tried before'; and therein lies the beauty of the Beer Festival. It’s about the tasting, not the boozing. Honest.
Anyway, this seemed like a good strategy and with an excellent pulled-pork and stuffing sandwich lining my stomach I began.

First to be tried was the Goose Eye Chinook Blonde. Goose Eye is a great micro-brewery from Keighley, and I had sampled their excellent beers before. The Chinook was very hoppy, pale in colour and with a fresh, grassy aroma and, to my palate, a really long flavour. Not a bad start!

Next up was the Old Moor Porter from Acorn in Wombwell. I’m a bit of a porter aficionado and this brew makes me wonder why more people, especially those who like stouts, don’t try porter. The Old Moor was dry but with subtle hints of chocolate and coffee; not as overpowering as some porters, this was really a really impressive tipple.

Finally, after a little more food and more shopping, I tried the Captain Oates Mild from Abbey Bells Brewery – seeing as though it’s 'Mild in May' month. Again, this was a darker mild, with a similar overall taste to the porter, with coffee notes on the nose. However, this was particularly refreshing and a beer I would happily try again.

The sight of all the kegs lined up truly was a sight to get the tastebuds tingling, and a good reminder of the number of excellent, truly independent brewers we have in the North. Abbey Bells, Bradfield, Cameron’s, Hambletons, Old Bear, Ossett and Suddaby’s all were represented among many, many others, and the only downside to the day was that I couldn’t try them all.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Men with A Mission - Stonch's Beer Blog/A Pint of Ale

You'll find a couple of news link over on the link bar - Stonch's Beer Blog. For all those interested, nay, obsessed with beer (like me!) then you'll love this blog.
Stonch is on a mission to visit and document every pub in London - and still finds time to try brewing his own, which, by the looks of it, won't be long in coming. His article on Sam Smiths pubs in London is excellent also.

Also, I stumbled across a local blog here in Leeds, run by two lads who simply love beer and the pubs and bars this region has to offer. Thier blog is called 'A Pint of Ale', and is an informative read.

This are great blogs written by Beer Lovers for Beer Lovers - and i am pleased to link them both. Drop by.

The Dales Festival Of Food And Drink 2007

Well, it’s that time of the year again. The Dales Festival of Food & Drink is in full swing, and opening day was as manic as usual.
I’ve visited loads of food festivals, but this is easily my favourite. Stalls seem to grow in number and ambition each year, and the beer tent seems to offer more and more choice. In short, if the weather stays good, it’s a foodie’s paradise.

Over the coming weeks I will be bringing profiles on the suppliers that impressed me the most, as hard as that may be. The standard of this market is incredibly high – and a fantastic advert for local produce.

Raydale Preserves were in attendance as usual, and their excellent Jams and Jellies grow in range year on year. The Rushyford Game stall had a massive queue at lunchtime and their range of game and venison pies and sandwiches looked awesome.

Most impressive, however, were the sausages from The Yorkshire Dales Meat Company. Everything a sausage should be – porky, meaty and cooked to perfection. Their humble sausage sandwich was easily the hit of the weekend for us. Also impressing was the mackerel pate offered by Mackenzie’s Yorkshire Smokehouse. It lived up to the standard set by their bacon, which is outstanding. Smeared thickly on crisp toasts it made the perfect light supper on the return home.
The Pies and pastries on the North Country Lass stall looked absolutely perfect, and Loopy Lisa’s fudge proved that people still have sweet teeth when it comes to home-made fudge. Keep an eye out for profiles of these companies and many more over the forthcoming weeks on The Good Stuff, and a full run-down of the excellent beer festival.

Loopy Lisa’s
4 Loop Lane, Butterknowle, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham DL13 5JR
Tel - 01388718794
E-mail: loopylisasfudge@hotmail.con

Yorkshire Dales Meat Co.
Mill Close Farm, Patrick Brompton, Bedale DL8 1JY Tel. 01748 810042