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Copyright Beth Sachs 2018. Powered by Blogger.

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Win a Cheese Shed Christmas Selection Box

The Cheese Shed started life back in 2006 when Ian Wellens, James Mann and Gill Mann, set up the company with the aim of making little known Westcountry cheeses available to people all over the country. Their key focus remains the same today, selling local artisan cheeses from the southwest, primarily from small scale producers.

I am a cheese lover as most of you will already know, so when an opportunity came up to try a Cheese Shed Christmas  Box (and give one away!) I wasn't going to turn it down. I was the lucky recipient of the following;
A Christmas Three Box containing;
*Dorset Blue Vinney - a wonderfully crumbly blue cheese made by Michael Davies at his dairy near Sturminster Newton. He uses a semi skimmed unpasteurised milk which makes it low in fat (so you can eat more of it without feeling guilty).
*Black-Eyed Susan - my personal favourite. Made by Richard and Caroline Harbord on their farm near Bruton in Somerset. This particular cheese is covered in crushed black peppercorns giving it a nice subtle heat.
*Godminster Vintage Cheddar -  comes in a distinctive purple wax and has a real bite to it - just how I like my cheddar! I enjoyed this with some homemade runner bean chutney.
Please note due to working with small dairies exact contents may vary but will always contain a hard cheese, a brie and a blue.

    For your chance to win a Christmas Three Box all you have to do is;
    1.  Visit the 'Cheese Wall' on the Cheese Shed website and tell me what cheese you would most like to be on your Christmas cheese board.
    2. Answers can be left in the comments section of this post, on the Jam and Clotted Cream Facebook page or via Twitter (please start your tweet @jamandcream cheese comp).
    3. Competition will close at 5pm GMT on Monday 29th November
    4. Open to UK mainland residents only
    Beth Sachs
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    Halloween Cupcakes

                                                  (I think this was meant to be a red legged spider!!)

    As I said in the Gingerbread Skeletons post, I am possibly the least artistic person to walk this planet, so if I can decorate cupcakes anyone can. I kept the decorations simple, so spiderwebs, pumpkins and monster type things with long red legs were the order of the day! Feel free to be as adventurous as you wish.  Just make sure you set aside a good hour to clean up afterwards. Icing sugar gets everywhere!

    Thank-you to Silverspoon for sending me the products to try.



    • 250 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 250 g caster sugar
    • 250 g self-raising flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • For the icing
    • 220 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 400 g icing sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • Silverspoon writing icing, colourings and choco beans to decorate (as well as other sweets such as red laces, liquorice)

    Instructions: makes 18

    • Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper cases
    • Step 2: Put all the cupcake ingredients in a standing mixer (or a big bowl to mix with handheld mixer or by hand) and mix for 3 minutes until pale.
    • Step 3: Divide into 18 cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes.
    • Step 4: Leave to cool on a wire rack.
    • Step 5: To make the icing - Mix together the icing sugar and softened butter with the vanilla extract, divide between 3 bowls.
    • Step 6: Put 4-5 drops of green colouring in one, a mix of red and yellow colouring in the other and leave the last one white (make sure the icing is mixed thoroughly).
    • Step 7: Decorate cupcakes as desired. I got hold of the Halloween cupcake surrounds from Morrisons.
    Beth Sachs
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    Gingerbread Skeletons

    Gingerbread Skeletons
    Enough of the laughter - I tried my best! Hopefully for those of you that are artistic you can see the potential in these Gingerbread Skeletons for Halloween. The dough itself is very easy to make and is based on a Delia Smith recipe that now has many adaptions. It withstands manhandling by the kids so it really doesn't matter how much they play around it.

    White Designer Icing (from Silverspoon) was used to pipe on the skeleton frame. Just make sure you knead the icing  tube a little before use, it makes piping a lot easier.

    This would make an ideal half term activity with the kids.


    | Serves: 10 Gingerbread Men | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |


    • 75g Light Muscavado Sugar
    • 2 TBSP Golden Syrup
    • 1 TBSP Black Treacle
    • 1 TSP Ground Ginger
    • Pinch of Cloves
    • Zest of 2 Satsumas
    • 95g Butter, cubed
    • 1/2 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda
    • 225g Plain Flour
    • White Designer or Writing Icing to decorate.


    • Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c or Gas Mark 4 and grease 2 baking sheets.
    • Step 2: Put the sugar, syrup, treacle, 1 tbsp water, spices, zest of satsumas in a pan and bring to the boil. Once at boiling point remove from heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda and butter . Finally stir in the flour until you have a soft smooth dough (you may require more flour - keep adding a TBSP at a time until a soft smooth dough that is easily handled has formed).
    • Step 3: Leave the dough to cool (or leave it wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge for an hour). Then roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 10mm thick. Stamp out the gingerbread men with suitable cutters, place on baking trays and cook for 10 minutes.
    • Step 4: Let the gingerbread men cool a little before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
    • Step 5: When completely cool, knead the icing in the tube and begin decorating.

    | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 18th October 2010 |

    Beth Sachs
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    Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Sage Risotto

    Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Sage Risotto
    Those of you who follow me on twitter will know the night I made this I declared it the best risotto I had ever made and on reflection, I still believe that (not trying to pipe my own trumpet - it was the quality ingredients obviously).

    The slightly sweet nutty roasted squash together with the tangy Helford blue cheese I purchased at   Fifteen Cornwall Farmers Market was a match made in heaven, but the sage just gave it an extra special dimension. A sprinkling of toasted pine nuts if I'd had any, would have been a great addition too.

    A perfect, comforting autumnal recipe to be enjoyed with a large glass of wine.


    | Serves: 2  | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 45 Minutes |


    • 1 Butternut Squash, quartered and deseeded
    • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
    • 15 Sage leaves, shredded
    • 20g Butter
    • Glug of Olive Oil
    • 1 Onion, chopped
    • Splash of Vermouth
    • 300g Arborio Rice
    • 1 litre of Vegetable Stock
    • 100g Blue Cheese, cubed


    • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c. Place the squash in a roasting tray with the garlic, 6 sage leaves, a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes until tender. Put to one side to cool. Once cooled take the skin off and chop into cubes. 
    • Step 2: To make the risotto, heat the butter and oil in a large pan and then fry the onion until soft. Turn up the heat, then stir in the risotto rice and add the Vermouth.
    • Step 3: Add the first ladle of stock along with the remaining sage leaves then stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding the stock until it is all absorbed and the rice is cooked.
    • Step 4: Turn off the heat and stir in the blue cheese and cubed squash before serving.

    | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 13th October 2010 |

    Beth Sachs
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    Fifteen Cornwall Autumn Farmers Market

    Lowen and I ventured down to Watergate Bay on Saturday to visit the Fifteen Cornwall Autumn Farmers Market. Despite the wind (it was blowing a hoolie) the crowds turned up in force to enjoy the fresh Cornish produce on offer.

    There were about 25 stalls in the marquee, which had been erected on the Car Park above the restaurant, selling everything from fish, fresh bread and patisserie, jams and pickles, cheeses, duck, meat, chocolates and oils. The Eden Project also had a stall selling Christmas decorations (which sent me into a panic - better get on with the Christmas cake) as well as Halloween goodies.

    Here are a few photo's of just some of the foodie offerings.

    Cornish Coldpresed Rapeseed Oil from Simply Oils is produced from Rapeseed grown on the North Cornish coast. It has a really distinctive nutty flavour that I would quite happily enjoy by itself with some fresh bread for dunking.

    Cornish Orchards with a fine display of their hand crafted apple juices, ciders and vinegars made from apples grown on their farm at Duloe. I love their Apple Cider Vinegar.

    Some sweet treats from Rick Steins Patisserie .

    Baker Toms Bread. I bought some of the Sea Salt and Rosemary Foccacia (as seen in the photo) and a small White Loaf - both were excellent.

    Cupcakes and Brownie Bites (photo below) made by the Fifteen apprentices to raise funds for the Cornwall Foundation of Promise charity.

    Fresh Fish from local fishmonger Matt Stevens.

    Hanson Fine Foods selling some local artisan cheeses. In the photo is 'Miss Muffet' an  emmental style cheese from Whalesborough Farm. I also bought the delicious, if not a bit smelly, Helford White made by Treveador Farm Dairy. Its a very soft tangy cheese with an edible pink rind - delicious with bread.

    We came away absolutely stuffed and with rather less money than what we had arrived with!
    Beth Sachs
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    Chocolate Caramel Flapjacks

    At every market I visited in Brittany there was always a stall selling the Breton speciality caramel au beurre salé, a deliciously gooey buttery caramel. I ended up buying 5 large tubs of the stuff to take home with me, but I really wish now that I'd bought more - it's so good, especially on ice cream.

    This recipe is an adaption of a millionaires shortbread, but uses a flapjack base rather than shorbread - and I actually prefer it. These bars are best kept in the fridge to keep the caramel firm. Enjoy.


    | Serves: makes 16 squares  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes plus overnight chilling | Cook Time: 45 Minutes | Total Time: 55 Minutes plus chilling |


    • 200g Butter
    • 140g Light Brown Sugar
    • 60g Golden Granulated Sugar
    • 2 TBSP Syrup
    • 350g Oats
    • 250g Caramel - or just use a 397g tin of Carnation Caramel (you will just end up with a thicker layer of caramel)
    • 100g Dark Chocolate
    • 100g Milk Chocolate


    • Step 1: Preheat oven to 150c and line a 20cm square cake in with baking paper.
    • Step 2: Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and add in the oats.
    • Step 3: Pour the flapjack mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes. Let the flapjack cool.
    • Step 4: Spread the caramel onto the now cooled flapjack and put in the fridge to set (overnight).
    • Step 5: Melt the chocolate in the microwave and then spread on top of the caramel
    • Step 6: Place the tin back in the fridge until chocolate has set.
    • Step 7: Cut into 16 squares and keep in the fridge.

    | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 6th October 2010 |

    Beth Sachs
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    Bretagne in pictures

    A few foodie (and some not so foodie) photo's from our recent holiday in Brittany.

    Market at Lanion

    Perros Guirec


    Ile de Brehat

    Perros Guirec

    Rory in the sand

    Lowen at Tregastel

    Ile de Brehat

    Market at Morlaix
    Beth Sachs
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