I spend a large amount of my time scouring markets, shops, supermarkets and the internet for delicious ingredients. Here I would like to share with you my own personal store-cupboard of favourite suppliers and ingredients. Bon appetite!
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Jo Hilditch makes her amazing multi-award winning Cassis from British blackcurrants and the result is fruity and intense, Ribena for grownups.
If flavoured vodkas and spirits are your bag then get yourself over to Demijohn, and buy yourself a bottle of their lime vodka liqueur – it’s divine on its own, chilled as an aperitif, and is amazing in a Bloody Mary.
Savanna Light Cider
Once sip of this fantastic, low alcohol, cider is enough to take me back to the little bar in South Africa where I first tasted it. Try it at a Walkabout pub, or buy online from supplier of ZA goods such as this one
I first tasted the transcendent 2006 vintage Terras Gauda white wine at Petrus (back when Marcus Wareing was still in charge). I can quite honestly say it was the most divine wine I have ever tasted.
Yumberry ‘Yang Mei’ Juice
Everyone is always looking for the next superfood, and I think this is it, straight from the traditional Chinese medicine cabinet. Made from a fruit that looks like a cross between a cherry and a lychee, this lightly dry drink is reminiscent of cranberry juice but much more refreshing.
For something a bit special in your lunchtime sarnie, try Adlington’s outrageously good Oak smoked turkey
Aubrey Allen Butchers
If you live in Warwickshire, Aubrey Allen are THE people to go to for meat. I lived in Leamington Spa for years and their friendly butchers never let me down in terms of meat quality or service. Fortunately for those who don’t live in the county, they also do mail order.
Another meat purveyor I rate highly, their pork is some of the best ever. Mail order available.
Pig farmer turned TV presenter Jimmy Doherty has gotten rather famous of late, but I’m proud to say I’ve been buying his bacon (under the original company name – The Essex Pig Company) since he started. Well I am an Essex bod, like him. The streaky bacon is just superb if you like your rashers thick-cut and with a generous layer of fat and rind (which is just a thin strip of crackling, if you think about it).
Lyon Farm, Warwickshire
If you live in the county, seek out Lyon Farm produce at your local farmer’s market. Their lamb mince is spectacular. Contact: – Anne Beaumont Address: The Cottage Lyon Farm Beausale Warks CV35 7NZ. Tel: 01926 484094. Email: anne[at]lyon-farm[dot]co[dot]uk
If you live near the Welsh border these are the guys to go to for seriously tasty bacon and sausages. They also do mail order, although there’s no product list online so you need to know what to ask for!
Sauces & Condiments
Norfolk Cider Co
Go to the website, get onto the order form and order yourself a bottle of these guys’ cider vinegar, do it now! Quite simply the best vinegar on the market, good enough to drink on its own, fabulous splashed into a glass of tonic water, or if you really must gild the lily you can make a vinaigrette from it.
Savina’s basil paté is actually a super-luxurious concentrated pesto with a vibrant flavour. Stir a jar into 300g cooked spaghetti with a couple of spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water for an instant taste of Italy at dinnertime. Track them down at exhibitions like the Good Food Show
St.John & Dolly Smith’s Tomato & Scotch Bonnet Sauce
Not for the faint hearted, this sauce isn’t just about heat, it’s also fabulously fruity and damn tasty. Buy online or seek them out at any one of the dozens of chilli festivals held up and down the country each year.
If you’re looking for the ultimate chocoholics Christmas gift, buy a Chococo advent calendar – a stunning gift box with a unique handmade chocolate for each day of advent. Only available for pre-order from mid September-December
Lauden Fine Chocolate
Based in Leeds, Sun and Stephen at Lauden make some of the finest chocolates known to man. They capture the purest and most intense natural flavours and mix them with top quality chocolate to make a sublime experience. I particularly recommend their salt caramels, and their passionfruit chocolates. Pretty as a picture too.
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I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting ingredients – perhaps in the comments section below you’d let me know your favourite products…..