Tag Archives: Deli

Beckworth Emporium, Northamptonshire

4 Aug

We travelled to Beckworth Emporium, in the heart of Northamptonshire, on an exceptionally hot day (in an exceptionally hot car). Gasping for air, we entered the Food Hall on a Tuesday afternoon to find the place teeming with excited shoppers – all, like me, soaking in the array of wonderful, original and fresh products.

As we were told the queue for a table would be around half an hour (a norm), my friend steeled herself within the waiting line so that I could have a wander around… Talk about a child in a sweet shop! I discovered some fantastic cheese, wasabi mayonnaise, locally produced gin and hibiscus flowers in syrup, just waiting to be dropped into a glass of bubbly.

I had to be dragged away.

We were seated in the Glasshouse; a gigantic sun-catcher of a room, and we basked in its heat. Friendly and efficient waiting staff took our order and drinks (thankfully as, with the sun, dehydration was kicking in!) arrived. Both my friend and I chose Luscombe drinks – a Raspberry Crush and a Strawberry Lemonade. Refreshing and delicious!Image

Together, we ploughed our way through the starter of a selection of breads and oils. In particular, the black olive bread (smeared with the sun-dried tomato and lemon fusion) was my favourite, ‘though dipping pitta into olive oil and balsamic will always be (in this case, yummy-) fun for me – I’ve not quite grown out of loving to play with food. And the olives! Thinking about them may lead me to begin another expedition out to this haven in the sticks…

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Bread & Oils; Beckworth Emporium, Nothamptonshire

Our first main was the Smoked Salmon and Crayfish Salad – a parcel of Scottish smoked salmon which, when pierced, out cascaded a plethora of crayfish tails. Hidden underneath this was a potato salad, with poppy seeds, carrot and a light, zingy, dill crème fraiche. The colours were magnificent!

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Smoked salmon and crayfish salad; Beckworth Emporium, Northamptonshire

My own main was the Deli Platter for One, which was perfect as, when confronted with a mass of delectable edibles, I am forever indecisive. A platter, with all of its ‘bits and bobs’, solves this problem… Diving into the smoked mackerel pâté, I knew my choice had pulled off – the platter, ‘though for one, was enormous and packed with morsels of scrumptious-ness. Blue cheese and I are best friends, so with my first little bite of it, I danced along in bliss through the rest (Milano salami, chutney, gherkins, more of that fabulous homemade bread… mmmm).

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Deli Platter; Beckworth Emporium, Northamptonshire

Just to tempt our bodies even more into exploding, we undid our belts and – between us – devoured the sweet (though not too sweet!) and gooey Maple and Pecan Slice.

With cream.

Clotted cream. (Which is, to me, the highest of all heavenly things.)

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Maple and Pecan Slice; Beckworth Emporium, Northamptonshire

Someone take me back.

Yours,

Joss

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Quest for the BEST cheese on toast #1

8 Apr

Cheese on toast: Quintessentially English, a favourite of the nation… Why then, do we constantly make it so carelessly? Bunging together back-of-the-fridge ingredients to create a ‘meal’ that has had all satisfaction erased. I love cheese on toast (as a student, it’s a student staple), but I know that fulfillment comes with attention. This month, on the 27th, England will celebrate National Cheese on Toast Day and I think that this simple snack should be getting more of the respect it deserves.

So then, a quest to find what makes the best cheese on toast: Everyone has an opinion to contend with and there’s an infinite supply of bread and cheese combinations to ensure than inspiration cannot fall short. A hard task, but someone has to attempt it…

On a recent visit to Leicester, we found ourselves retracing well-worn steps to the Christopher James Deli who are celebrating their 30th year with the motto, “Do you eat to live, or live to eat?“. At the deli, we invested in some Italian salamis, a hunk of taleggio (a soft cow’s milk cheese from the Val Taleggio region in Italy), an ‘Italian Job’ salad box and a pot of Patum Peperium Angler’s Relish (a sister, in the form of smoked mackerel, to the fabulously pungent anchovy flavoured Gentleman’s Relish). We asked within the deli whether or not the taleggio would be suitable for cheese on toast and their answer (coupled with a wink) was that it would be ‘filthy’. Perfect.

The bread we chose was a spelt loaf from Paul’s Bakery – a little bit of an accident that we chanced across one of their stockists that day but so glad we did. Since taleggio has been around since the times of the Romans, we thought that the ancient spelt (or its more dainty name, which I prefer, the dinkel wheat) – being revived by health foodies for the first time since the Dark Ages – would be ideal. Spelt as a health food is being exploited; we spotted a weeny, and I mean weeny, loaf in Waitrose the other day for a painful £4. It doesn’t have to be expensive though – buying online from bakeries or (unsurprisingly!) making your own is far better.

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I don’t like overcooked food – steak, eggs, toast, whatever it is, don’t serve me char; I would far rather it be raw. So then, only a light grilling of the thinly sliced bread (it felt crisp to the touch but without colouring) before the other ingredients were added. On went the ribbons of torn salami and blobs of taleggio to fill in the gaps; taleggio is mild enough for cheese on toast but too much and it becomes heady – don’t use slices like you would a cheddar. Under the grill a second time and snatched out as soon as the taleggio had melted fully. Voilà!

The result was a far more wholesome experience than I had anticipated. The taleggio, known for its mild but tangy flavour, held up well against the robust umami of the spelt – so much so that a week has passed and my tastebuds are still craving a repeat performance of the first notch in the cheese-on-toast-test bedpost. On our plate, we added fresh anchovies for a bite of salt. Phenomenal!

One thing I feel obliged to add is that, beware! The smell of the taleggio grilling is potent… 

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Taleggio and spelt #1

Yours,

Joss. 

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