Friday, 18 April 2014

The Perfect Ploughman's Sandwich

The last time I ate a Ploughman's in a pub was after an energetic bike ride (mostly uphill) near The White Horse at Uffington, in Wiltshire. I was never so grateful to see a plate full of food (I don't do well on bikes). 

There was paté, lettuce, cheese and ham. And pickled onions, a tomato and some crusty bread to help it all along. And as I cast my mind back to that balmy May afternoon, I thought to myself: why not stuff it all into one sandwich? 

It would save on washing up. And it's easier to eat. And portable. A winner, surely. 

And so here it is. 

fully loaded ploughmans sandwich

There's paté and ham - the peppery, creamy paté contrasting with the Organic, thick-cut unsmoked ham. And then add your favourite Cheddar - I opted here for a rich, mature Davidstow Cheddar, hacked into crumbly slices. I've also used Apple, Roasted Garlic and Thyme jelly - to give a sweetness and replace the apple that's so often served alongside a good Ploughman's. 

The crusty bread roll is a must - somehow a soft, floury bun just wasn't chewy and sturdy enough. And you get a different, more intense and toasty flavour with a crusty roll, anyway. 

fully loaded ploughmans sandwich recipe

The pea shoots are there as a nod to our gorgeous British summers - and then of course there's a tomato slice for moisture and a sliced pickled onion. Because it just wouldn't be a Ploughman's without it. 

What do you think? Fancy one? 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Spanish Hamper from The Foodies Larder

A hamper packed with Spanish produce, delivered to your door? Er, yes please... 

It seems that you can get a hamper for almost anything these days. A champagne breakfast hamper for a special anniversary? You got it. Christmas hampers? Yep. But what about a hamper that's packed full of Spanish produce, things that you can't readily get over here in the UK. Cue: The Foodies Larder. 

foodie larder spanish cheese
Valdeón Cheese, from The Foodies Larder 
The Foodies Larder is a business that's based out in Andalusia, Spain - and they'll send you over a box packed with Spanish goodies. The foods in the hamper differ from month to month, depending on what's seasonal and available at the time. They sent me one to try out last month and the box contained Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from Catalonia's coast), Fuet - a coarse salami-type sausage, also from Catalonia - and Valdeón cheese - made from a mixture of cow and goat's milk in the Valdeón Valley. There was also some Organic Hot Chocolate and A 'Pinchitos' spice mix - great for making pork burgers or meatballs I found - and some Xamfaina chutney - a cool ratatouille-style mixture of peppers, tomatoes and aubergines. The label suggests that it's good with roast lamb - and I can testify to that - but we also loved it alongside some deli meats and cheese. 

foodie larder_
Fuet from The Foodies Larder
 One of the things I found with this hamper was that although it could be considered a bit pricey - the price ranges from £30 per month (on a pay as you go basis) to £165 for a 6-month period - it does make you think differently about Spanish food. 

Sure, pimentón and chorizo are available in most supermarkets now, and it's easy to think that you could add a pinch of one and a chopped up piece of another and you've pretty much nailed Spanish cuisine. That's not true. Previous hampers have included gems like Fig Bread with Walnuts, Turrón and Rosemary-infused Olive Oil. Also Rose Petal Jelly and Porcini Mushroom Paté. It really opens up your eyes - and taste buds - to the real flavours of Spain, beyond the mass-produced chorizo and the thick potato omelettes. 

Hamper from The Foodies Larder
March 2014 hamper from The Foodies Larder

Visit The Foodie Larder's website for more details and to see what they've put in previous months' hampers, too. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

News: I'm a Moderator for The Paleo Mom Community

You may have heard me talking a bit about paleo diets and the autoimmune protocol recently. And that's because of two things. The first is that I have been trying to fix my autoimmune problem through diet - something doctors said was impossible to do. It turns out it is possible, but it's blimmin' hard work and you have to avoid a lot of modern and processed foods to do it. But I'm nearly there. 

And the second reason is that I really believe that comfort food can be enjoyed on any diet - it doesn't matter how restrictive. 

Well. I'm thrilled to announce that I've been asked to be a moderator for the Paleo Mom Community - a forum dedicated to learning about, discussing and providing support on the paleo and AIP diets. 

TPM Community LogoLarge

I'll be on hand (along with the other moderators) to help give advice about the diet and provide support. It's a real honour to take part - and if you're following the AIP or paleo diets then why not head along and start up a conversation. 

Are you following the autoimmune protocol or paleo diet? 


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