Tag Archives: Local Food

Strawberry Fields Forever!

10 Jul

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Summer has finally arrived, and I am able to say that not only because we are able to keep the windows open without wearing a wooly hat, but also because of the evocative sound of the plink and thwack of tennis balls!
Wimbledon is over and the nation is in a collectively, albeit nail bittenly, good mood following Andy Murray’s heroic win on Sunday. I have to admit to not having been able to watch any of his matches in their entirety. This is partly due to the Lovelidor expressing his inner Border Collie and insisting on a maniacally repetitive game of fetch from the sofa to the garden, but mostly to the fact that I find it too much for my nerves and I resort to plotting the progress of the match by listening to the house erupt in cheers, screams and groans from the safe distance of the garden, and then of course running inside demanding “what just happened?!”
These days of course we can watch the match wherever we are, from secret desk drawers and under shop counters to huge public screens, but I remember when you had to watch it when the B.B.C. showed it, and for us this involved dragging the monolithic weight of the television out into the garden and watching Chris Evert in her pretty ribbons from spitefully finger nipping deck chairs. We also would not have dreamed of watching without the balancing feat of a glass of lemon barley water in one hand and a cream river covered mountain of strawberries in the other!
This year, to combat the dreadful spring, I have grown the strawberries tumbling from baskets suspended from a washing line which has been retired from active service. This concussion inducing arrangement, while very pretty, has resulted in a crop of, at an absolute push, six strawberries, not what could be described as bumper! So it has been necessary to go in search of a ‘Pick Your Own’ farm.

Now PYO along with DIY always sound to me more like an admonishment than an invitation and not altogether polite, but I continue undaunted along the winding single tracked lanes . It is glorious in the field, the straw is silky and sunbaked and the strawberries are sweetly succulent and of course I pick too many so I spend the journey home (much of it reversing into the ‘passing places’)reflecting on the possible uses for this greedy glut of fruit. Although there would be nothing wrong with eating them all just as they are with a ‘seize the day’ mentality, what follows are a few ideas to enjoy the strawberry season to its fullest!
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Brunch Break

15 Apr

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I have been keeping baker’s hours this week, and today was no exception, but with all the cooking done for the events and the market I was free to get out into the garden at first light. With pyjamas and wellies on, a pot of tea under a cosy and accompanied only by the dawn choir of birdsong in their cathedral of beech trees, I make a start on the planting.

The beans which have uncurled themselves and are now reaching joyfully skywards are the first to go under the polytunnels, carefully tucking a little fleecy blanket at one end to stop the draft. I know I sound like an anxious mother but I am new to this! I flirted with
vegetable gardening to get me through a tricky patch some years ago, then like many flirtations it became a dalliance and then a heady passion! Although any skill or success I may have is due to a religious adherence to the RHS allotment handbook and asking very nicely! I have yet to have anything but beginners luck but my annual sense of pride at the tangle of beans and regimented lines of lettuce is disproportionate!
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Thank Goodness It’s Friday!

12 Apr

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It’s going to be a busy weekend for Bailey & Bond, with the Cuckfield Market, a lovely little country market with some delicious Sussex produce available.
So far we have, ready to go, Red Pepper and Goats Cheese Filo tarts (pictured above), Caramelised Onion and Roquefort Tart, the more-ish Parmesan and Stilton biscuits.

A new addition to the stall this month is fresh soups. The flavours are Sussex themed, the first is a traditional local favourite, Parsnip and Cox Apple. As a nod to the town Peas Pottage, we are also serving Spiced Bean Pottage with pine nuts. Both of which are warming and delicious, perfect for a lazy weekend!

We are also catering a couple of landmark birthdays. One of the centrepiece pudding is a vast profiterole mountain, I lost count of exact numbers when the baking went well beyond three figures.

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Welcome to Bailey & Bond!

9 Apr

Welcome to Bailey & Bond! I’m very excited to be starting this blog, where I will not only be posting information about the company, menus  deals and offers but I will also be sharing foodie news, tips and recipes from my little Sussex cottage.

We will be uploading details of our full range of cooking services as well our seasonal menus over the coming week.  (so please be patient and keep checking the page!)