Posts filed under 'Food for the FEAST'

Perfectly Puddledub

How’s this for appetite?

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A father and son took a 600 mile round trip from Cambridgeshire to Scotland last December to bring home the perfect Christmas Day breakfast. They found the black pudding in the Highlands but the bacon came from Clentrie Farm in Auchtertool.

FEAST didn’t have so far to go: just a shortish walk to Edinburghtommitchell Farmers’ Market to find Puddledub Pork who kindly donated some of their finest for our dim sum filming session. But Tom Mitchell (on the right), who runs the family farm business in West Fife, was amused to hear this – true – story (which we found thanks to Googling the words Tom, Mitchell and Clentrie and with a click here it is). It adds to his already impressive reputation for producing the best bacon in Scotland.

For Tom, who is chair of Fife Farmers’ Markets, small-scale farming offers a chance to concentrate on quality at a time when people are increasingly interested in where food comes from and how it is produced.

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“A few years ago the food industry was in a terrible state and farmers were going bust, we simply couldn’t compete with cheap competition from abroad.”

Puddledub specialise in fresh pork, bacon and sausages though Tom says he also has Chinese customers who want not just belly but trotters and ears, “the bits and pieces we tend to waste.” [Editor says we’ll be asking Eric Wun the chef how he cooks those].

Farmers’ Markets offer the choice of good local food but they still have to compete with the relentless marketing power of supermarkets.

So Tom likes the idea of events such as FEAST adding live music to the fun of the food market. “I often think we are not so much in the food business as the entertainment business,” he says, “A lot of people see going to the Farmers’ Market as something to do on Saturdays, a place to be sociable and meet friends.”

You can find Puddledub Pork at Farmers’ Markets throughout the Central Belt every weekend and at Edinburgh Farmers Market on first and third Saturdays of the month. More on the Puddledub website.

September 2nd, 2007 Fay

Shaw meats for the wok

A big thank you to Barry Shaw for supporting FEAST with a donation of fresh chicken for the dim sum filling. Look closely and you might spot it on its way to the wok.

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A mix of fresh chicken, pork and spices ready for the wok at the FEAST filming session in Out of the Blue

As it happens Shaw’s stall of fresh game and cured meats and sausages was right next to the FEAST stage for the last appearance of the family business at the Eating Place in Castle Street. With a season of big food fairs just about to begin, the Cumbrian firm is now concentrating on Farmer’s Markets nearer home in the North West.

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Barry Shaw, a traditional butcher who makes a point of sourcing fresh meat from local Cumbrian farms, set up his business six years ago. But there’s a multicultural flavour to products ranging from pancetta and Parma style ham, to pastrami and salami which he learned to make in Australia when he was working there nine years ago. Not to mention the very British black pudding – with and without fat.

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New ideas are always tried on the family first and the three Shaw children don’t hesitate to say what they think. What’s the favourite? “Sausages always go down well,” says Barry’s wife, Angela.

We’ll miss them in Castle Street but you can visit the shop and buy online from the

September 1st, 2007 Fay

East Coast Organic stir fry

On a wet, wet Saturday morning we went along to Edinburgh Farmers’ Market to thank East Coast Organics for donating vegetables to add taste, colour and texture to the FEAST filming session.


Despite heavy rain bouncing off the roof, the guys on the stall were amazingly cheerful and people were queuing up to buy purple beetroots, yellow gourds, green beans and all the other healthy stuff they grow on an organic farm near Pencaitland in East Lothian. Every Saturday they are here from around 8.30 am whatever the weather but for the first time anyone could remember the boss, Mike Callender, was away on holiday catching some sun.

On the phone a few days later, Mike admitted that he hasn’t had much time for summer holidays with the family in the last ten years. But demand for organic vegetables has been growing steadily. And East Coast Organics, who have been coming to the Farmers’ Market on Castle Terrace ever since it began now deliver 1800 ‘eco boxes’ of seasonal fruit and veg, bakery and eggs to customers in Edinburgh and the Lothians every week.

Most of the produce is grown on site with the help of 10,000 square feet of polytunnels (where it always feels and smells more like summer) but East Coast Organics also work and trade with other local organic farms to give a viable alternative to selling through the supermarkets.

Mike, who has a degree in architecture but decided to do something completely different to earn a living, says he enjoys Chinese cooking. “When people ask what they can do with a vegetable they haven’t tried before I usually recommend soup or stir fry. Especially if you don’t really like something, flashing it up in a wok with soy sauce works wonders.”

See East Coast Organic website for other recipes!

August 21st, 2007 Fay

Trees can’t dance…but chillies can move

Chillies for the FEAST filming session were donated by Trees Can’t Dance as they began to gather this year’s harvest from their two acre site in Northumberland.


Of all places! Against expectations chillies from some of the hottest places on the planet are thriving on a windy hillside in the North Pennines. Between July and December crops with names like Thai Dragon, Korean Hot and Prairie Fire emerge from heated polytunnels to be turned into sauces, oils and ketchups for an increasingly discerning food market.

“This most unlikely business”, as the Trees Can’t Dance website calls it, was started two years ago by Dan May, a professional photographer who acquired a taste for chillies when he was travelling across the world. “When I came home I discovered it was hard to make the same kind of foods in the UK,” he says, “So I decided to start growing chillies myself.”

Now around 60 different varieties of chillies from all over the world are used to make a rapidly growing range of foods. The environmentally entrepreneurial Trees Can’t Dance (there are plans for a wind turbine to heat the polytunnels) also spot opportunities to export sauces to Mexico.

Luckily Dan May didn’t listen to a word of advice when he first thought of growing chillies. Any time he asked he got the same answer: “You can’t do it, it won’t work”.

But he could, it did and a hobby has turned into a full time job. See much more on the Trees Can’t Dance website – including the story behind the name. Oh, come on, you’ve got time to click on the link. It’s a good story.

August 20th, 2007 Fay


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