Week-End Pictures: Fresh & Fantastic Aldeburgh Food Festival

At the week-end, I attended the sixth Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival. I was very impressed by the extraordinary abundance of local products. Compared to the last Hampton Court (London) Food Festival which offered little with long queues and manyer grumpy faces (probably due to the high prices), this festival had a party atmosphere.

It was packed but cheerful and dynamic, it appeared extremely well organised. Local producers were so enthusiastic that I could have bought everything. The celebration run over two weeks with the week-end events in Snape Maltings.

I came back with a week supply of fresh vegetables and flour, to try, from an independent local miller which I need to check out the state of play with millers and flour. My friend at the Wye bakery will be able to help me out with this research, so watch this space. 

I have got  one last plea: Please, do ask me again next year.

Do Not Try This at Home

Durian ice-cream

Durian Ice Cream, a Tim Anderson's creation. Tim Anderson was Masterchef winner 2011 - The youngest to be awarded the title and the guy that loads of us wished on to win for his maverick way of combining and looking at food.

He won. And went on to cook and display more weird and wonderful dish such as this cold extravaganza. For Malaysia Night, hosted in Trafalgar square and organised by Malaysia Kitchen to showcase the cuisine and culture of Malaysia, Tim combined cream, honey, durian fruit to create this incredible Durian Ice Cream.

Tim Anderson

Durian is a fruit found in South East Asia mostly Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. It is used in sweet and savoury dishes. Known as the King of Fruits, its particularity is its smells. It can't be put any-other way: this fruit stinks. In some places, it is banned from public transport, one needs gloves or a tea-towel to extract the seeds before boiling, frying or roasting them. Tim went the cool way with his delicious Durian Ice-Cream.

Green Tomato Chutney

How on earth did I get from this:

to this:

might remain a mystery for a long time unless it was a case of beginner's luck and a little pinch of mischief (well, quite a big dose of mischief) taking liberties with a recipe written by the revered old dame of preserves, Marguerite Pattern 

This Green Apple Chutney now with Lazy Ginger is just to die for. I was thinking of giving it away during the festive season but unless Christmas is bought forward by a few months, I don't fancy the chances of friends, acquaintances and these who helped with the allotment to get their hands on one of these jars. 

This chutney has a sharp taste however the vinegar comes through only slightly. The sharpness of the green tomatoes and vinegar combined is rounded by the addition of apples which are of the eating kind not the cooking one and by the fact that the sugar went in the mix from the start. Yes, you read correctly, whereas recipes usually add the sugar at the end of the process, I did at the beginning. Why? simply because I lost my concentration, realised my mistake straight away but the sugar was already sinking among the ingredients and try to fish sugar grains in the midst of chopped tomatoes, sliced onions and grated apple....

Green Tomato Chutney with Ginger
Ingredients900g green tomatoes
450g onions

1 tbsp lazy ginger +
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ginger
450g apples (cooking) weight when peeled & cored
450ml malt (I used distilled white malt vinegar)

half to 1 teaspoon mixed spice
350g sugar
300g sultanas
salt & pepper to taste


Chop and core the  tomatoes
Chop the onions finely and dice the apples
Put all the ingredients & seasoning in a pan and bring to the boil

Simmer until tender stirring from time to time until consistency of hot jam (took about 1hour )
Spoon into hot sterilised jars and seal down with waxed circles.

It is recommended not to eat it straight away (as if you could) Leave it to mature for a month (if you can)

Plum Cobbler "Best Pud, No Cobblers"

I have fallen in love. Yet again. This time, I am besotted with a pudding which is a rare thing because a long time ago I convinced myself that I was not a great fan of desserts. 

I am in love with Plum Cobbler's sharp taste and its satisfying stodgy topping. I love its name too. Cobbler, it is so evocative. By looking at the final product you can just imagine a cobbled street, the way the dumplings fit together on the top of the warm stewed plums. Cobbler also meant football and there, you might have to stretch your imagination a little bit but nothing stops you to shape the topping  like little balls.

Now for the recipe. First of all, let me tell you, what infuriated me but came as a blessing in disguise at the end. I could not find a recipe which looked like it would work properly so soon I decided to mix  a couple of recipes up , the result, best pud this side of September and that's no cobblers.
Doing further research, I read that Cobbler comes in a savoury version so I might just fall out of love with the sweet dish and fall in love...yet again, again, with the other one.

In the meantime here is my version of Plum Cobbler.


750g  ripe plum                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
170g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp water

200 g (7 oz) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
30 g (1 oz) cool unsalted butter, diced
30 g (1 oz) light muscovado sugar
100 ml (3½ fl oz) semi-skimmed milk, plus 1 tbsp milk for brushing

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/ conventional180C/gas 4. Butter a 1.5 litre ovenproof pie dish.
  2.  Halve, stone and quarter the plums. put them in a saucepan with sugar and 1 tbsp water. Bring to the boil, then cover and cook gently for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the fruit into the prepared dish. 
Now for the topping
  1.  sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar 
  2.  Make a well in the centre, add the milk and mix to a soft but not sticky dough.
    Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Roll out to a rectangle about 1cm (½ in) thick and the length of the ovenproof dish. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut into strips about 1.5 cm (¾ in) wide
  3. Bake for 45 minutes.

Give Away #10 : Win 3 of 3 Kerrygold Butter Vouchers

Every little bit helps, this is why I am really pleased to be able to pass three £1 pound vouchers to three readers. It sounds a little confusing doesn't it : nine vouchers in total, kindly offered by Kerrygold.

I would go as far as saying that spreadable butter is the new sliced bread though I don't really think that sliced bread is really great on the other hand spreadable butter is. The process as far as I understand it, goes like so: olive oil is recombined with solid butter to make a spreadable consistency. The taste of olive oil is extremely faint, if non-existent.

As this give away seems to go by three: three vouchers, three winners, three pounds it seemed fitted to have three methods of winning:

Method #1: Click on the subscribe button on the left hand side to get regular Pebble Soup updates and to validate your entry, leave a comment in the comment box saying that you have been doing so.

Method #2: Follow me on twitter (@solangeweb) and to validate your entry leaving a comment saying that you have been doing so.

Method #3: Answer the following question in the comment box : What is your favorite topping on toast?

Good luck- and thank you for entering- This competition closes on the 26th September. It is open to UK and Irish residents.

My Last Fling with Summer: A Pebble Salad

September marks the end of summer. It should be a little sad and melancholic but depending how you look at the glass it could be focused on the harvest celebrations and probably the best time to eat seasonally in the UK.

Blackberries and their magnificent colour, best in a sorbet.
Courgettes and their cluck, the choice of recipes is endless however Courgette and Cheese Loaf is a favourite on Pebble.
Artichoke, if anybody has a recipe for Artichoke Mousse, please, push it my way and you could become my best friend ever.

Look in your fridge, in the vegetable basket, out there on the patio or in the garden and you will have the basis for a perfect Pebble dish. Mine was a Pebble Salad with basil, cress and the last of the last of the peppers until next year. What do you do with this:
Peel the peppers which takes a bit of time but it is worth it, tear the basil, toss in the cress in, crumble some goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil , lots of black pepper and a little salt. Good bye Summer

Here is how to peel peppers

List of vegetables at their best in September
Butternut squash
Pak choi
Runner beans
Watercress + Salad Leaves

Curious Ingredient: Lavender & Lavender Ice-Cream

An ex-colleague of mine favorite tale from the kitchen is about that Christmas when she baked the turkey after she flavouring it with lavender rather than thyme, having mistaken the two plants when picking herbs in her parents' garden.

For some reason, she was using thyme to flavour the Xmas turkey. Whatever is our take on her culinary skills, what stuck in my mind on hearing the story, was that lavender might be better bought than picked for fear of mistakes.
Therefore when I contemplated making Lavender Frozen Yogurt, I had no intention to try my luck in the neighbour's flower pot and called upon a firm which specialize in flowers: Uncle Roy a firm operating from Moffat in Scotland  which was formed in 2003 in response to Roy Anderton-Tyers dislike of English Mustard. Since its beginnings, the company seems to have made a name for itself as a provider of good quality flavouring oils, condiments, sauces and other weird and wonderful things such as edible flowers. Edible Lavender Florets cost £2.75 from the site and there is a list of retailers.

However if you felt brave enough to pick your own. I have since been pointed out in the direction of a very comprehensive post: Which lavender can I use to cook with? by Vanessa Kimbell, with pictures, bliss.

I never tasted lavender in food before, despite spending part of my childhood in Provence. I would describe it as "there is nothing like it" & if  the ingredient was an unknown quantity it would be impossible, at least, for me to name it". Or in short as my friend Anne said when trying out the lavender frozen yogurt: "this is bloody delicious, WOOOW".

Lavender Frozen Yogurt

Makes 1L
200g caster sugar
200ml water
2 Tbsp lavender buds
300ml Greek yogurt
300ml creme fraiche or sour cream
Juice of 2 limes

Combine the sugar, water and lavender buds in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat and simmer the syrup for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the syrup is cool, strain and discard the lavender

Combine the Greek yogurt and creme fraiche in a large bowl. Whisk in the lavender syrup and lime juice. Chill the mixture for 1 hour, then churn in an ice-cream maker, according to the manufacturer's, cover the surface directly with greaseproof paper or foil and put in the freezer.

Give Away #9 and the winner is...........

the last person to leave a comment: Marian Coburn. Thank you all for taking part and for sparing the time to pick a recipe from BakingMad.com. Marian plumped for Chocolate Cake Pops.

Cake pops are enjoying a recent popularity. They really do "pop up" everywhere and seem to be an efficient if not over the top way to use up leftover cakes. With the autumn celebrations descending upon us sooner than we hope, we are very likely to see many more of these little creations.

This has been great fun, so keep dropping by, I try to offer a give-away a month.

Marian: Could you kindly contact me using the contact button on the blog or twitter to give us a postal address- If the prize has not been claimed within a week - it will be drawn again


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