We love going on a little jaunt to Johnsons the Butchers at Old Hurst which is nearer to Huntingdon than to Peterborough. It was a good peaceful drive out in the sunshine although there was a bit of a wind and the wind farms were in full swing as we travelled to our destination. Johnsons of Old Hurst is a working farm with a very lovely farm shop, a Café/Tea Room called the Eccentric Englishman which serves up a super coffee (Arabica fresh ground) or tea and a rib sticker of a breakfast which we indulged in this morning so more of a brunch than a breakfast. They also have crocodiles, Ostrich, and lots of other wild animals not native to this country including Deer, Capabari, Wallabys, parrots, unusual breed chickens, ducks, loads of including mandarin ducks, and there is a small walk around the farm. The farm also sells a lot of Game, and at different times of the year you get seasonal specialities on the meat front as well.
The Butchers is superb. I have bought some beef skirt just over 1kg to make my own Cornish style pasties for the freezer. We have also bought some of their own which are delicious and they are cooked. (Indeed because we have had a breakfast out each we are now stuffed so unusually we are only going to have a Cornish pasty each for tea). That will do very nicely. The pasties I will be making will be made and then frozen uncooked. I am going to make my own pastry for this. probably flaky but will see.
I have also bought a selection of different cheeses, a blue goats cheese called Ribblesdale blue; which I have had before and is a firm favourite.
A new cheese called Sticky Toffee Cheese
Amber Mist which I have had before. This is a whisky based cheese and sublime.
Red Devil which has chilli in it
I have also bought two small fruit pies a blackberry and apple and Raspberry and apple pies. They are big enough for us.
The Butchery Department is superb; I have come away with 1kg of beef skirt for the Cornish pasties, their chicken breast and sausage individual portion (known as Chicken Dinners and they are tasty). A yellow curry type chicken breast beef shin, two trays of stewing steak so that should keep us going for a day or two. Unfortunately they did not have any Marmite sausages today - we normally get a few and they are lovely.
They also have a superb drinks section - lots of different styled drinks (a lot of which I could do at home). Alcohol is pricey wherever you go and I would rather find my own way around some of the vodka or gin based drinks; however it is a superb selection.
They bakery counter (the bread is proper bread and very tasty and supplied by a good old fashioned bakery) and an excellent sweetie section. I tend to be mean when it comes to the sweets as a lot of them if I have the time or plan my time out I can actually make myself and have done so in the past. I have a lot of relevant equipment for this. That is one of the reasons I bought so much chocolate in Waitrose whilst it was on offer. I also use it in home made chocolate mousse as well. For instance I don't buy Turkish Delight or the different variants on this - I make it myself. It is not difficult to make and there is a process involved but each time I have made it, it comes up really well. If there is any left over I just shove it in a bottle of Vodka and you have Turkish Delight Vodka. No extra sugar is necessary as the Turkish Delight is so sweet.
The fresh veggie section is really good. I have come away with two very large cauliflowers and two Romanesco at 70p each and they are big and really fresh. So some of that is going into another batch of piccalilli the rest will go with dinners during the week. We like our fresh veggies. They had Bramleys at £1.29 per kg when I went in but as the veggie section was in the part where you pay I left it until then by which time they had gone. They use local suppliers and the veggies really do grow well in the deep rich dark peaty fen soil.
I am always very selective when I go to places like this as there is always a little bit of a mark up. I suppose where I tend to spend the most money is in the Butchers but then again this is not common place stuff this really is proper bacon, including Green bacon, Black bacon, smoked, streaky etc. sausages in all sorts of different variants and I mean it really is proper stuff with a lot of flavour. I did not buy as much as I usually do as OH is proper off his food at the moment.
However I really draw the line when they charge £5 for a bottle of fruit coulis to pour over ice cream as this is really simple and easy to make and for the lay out you will probably get at least a couple of bottles for the price of one bottle. I will pop up a recipe shortly for all to share. It uses the baby steriliser for processing the same sized bottles (so you end up with a long storage life on the bottle of coulis as well) as are being sold in the store.
We had our Turkey from here last year for Christmas Dinner (the one I did not cook because of my foot operation). Whilst in the shop I discussed with OH if we were having the Turkey from here again and he agreed. (This Christmas I am back on Turkey duty again). They are not taking orders at the moment but as soon as they are the order will be placed and the Turkey paid for. I also need to sort a shopping list out of some of the things I would like to have and then place an order for that as well.
I will also send off for the "Stinking Bishop" direct from the producer. I buy a whole one. It is expensive but we like it and occasionally very occasionally you have to have a little of what you fancy. Here is the link http://www.charlesmartell.com/products/stinking-bishop/. It is expensive but it does last a good six weeks. I always store it in a sealed box in the fridge. It is an acquired taste but we absolutely love it.
They did not have any pumpkins in the Farm Shop this week, however we saw a Pumpkin patch on someone's smallholding and I noticed that they were selling them from a stall in the grounds but we had gone by and I only saw it out of the corner of my eye. We absolutely adore pumpkin here. I make it into marmalade, we have it roasted, cooked, I freeze it and hopefully if I have the canner going this year I will be able to bottle it as well. Especially for pumpkin pie.
It was also a lovely drive back home in the afternoon sun. It makes you a little sleepy. Now back home but have had a nice little jaunt. Will walk the dog a little later. Am going to check on crab apples and rosehips and I may have a little walk with the dog sometime in the week if we do not have time today to collect some.
Right had better get a wriggle on.
Catch you later.