Wednesday, 17 April 2013

This little piggy went to market...

There's just something about a food market that I love.
Strawberry Garden in Arndale Market.
I went to the supermarket the other day and I was craving fruit, but as soon as I walked to the fruit and veg section, I couldn't smell anything. I had never really noticed this fact before and it really disappointed me. It actually prevented me buying fruit and veg.

So, I wondered why in a supermarket, even with loose vegetables around, why isn't that sweet, fresh scent in the air as you walk in the doors? Yes, a lot of the produce is packed so the smell is concealed, but even when you remove them, there is no real smell and definitely not a rich taste. Processed, waxed and modified produce lays the shelves of a supermarket. It is even smaller than what I can find at the market at nearly 25% higher the price. 

Market food is fresher and cheaper than supermarket produce.
One memory particular that made me love the market is one Pink Lady apple. When I was in Sixth Form, in my 'free' I would tend to roam to town and go to market. As soon as you walk into Tommyfield Market, Oldham from the east entrance, there is a food market. The smell is amazing as you walk in. But it was that Pink Lady that sold me. It was enormous and the best one I ever tasted. I've never been full off an apple since that one, but its taste still remains in my memory. 

On the subject of smell, there is a mobile market in Manchester on Market Street, near to the Barclay's bank. The smells that dominate the air as you walk past are just amazing. Sweet and inviting, just as nature intended. This alone would make me suggest to anyone that market fruit is much more appealing than supermarket fruit. 

So, please give the market a try and get more fresh fruit and veg into your diets! It's also nice to be supporting local independent businesses and  local producers. 

Be the piggy that went to market, rather than the one who stayed at home. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Inside the box... Nettle tea

Inside the box... Nettle tea
Heath & Heather Nettle tea
After stumbling upon fennel tea a couple of weeks ago, nettle also caught my eyes on the shelves. Nettles ae a scary plant to come across in the countryside due to their stinging properties. However, when brewed, this plant is actually lovely to taste. A milder substitute to green tea (which does hold that bitter taste), nettle has a bunch of health benefits too.


Nettle leaves are a natural multivitamin packed with iron, potassium, vitamin A, B's, C and D, basically an all rounder. It is also packed with vital proteins and acids that are essential to the body. It's high iron count helps towards healthy circulation and lower blood pressure. A super leaf.


This tea also works as an antibiotic. When suffering from a cold/flu, nettle helps to stimulate your antibodies and fight the disease head on. It has also been shown to help asthma sufferers when feeling rather chesty and phlegmy.


Like most teas, nettle is also a diuretic. Nettle increases a healthy urinal tract and can dissolve kidney stones, if you are prone to them. In terms of abdominal pains, it can ease the discomfort of diseases and disorders such as IBS. However, nettle has a laxative affect, so please take care in terms of dosage.

Other benefits:

  • Helps calm skin conditions such as eczema and hay fever
  • It's high calcium count helps frail nails and bones
  • Encourages a healthy pregnancy by producing good milk and preventing anaemia 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Recipe: Apple and Berry Cobbler

Cobbler is a fantastic Sunday dessert to accompany your hearty roast dinner. 
Finished product: Warm with the juices of the fruit bubbling. Best served with custard. 


  • Five Bramley apples
  • Around 300g of Blue and Blackberries 
  • 30g Butter
  • 50g Soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 255g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 100g cold butter

  1. Peel and core the bramley apples, then slice finely.
  2. Place the apple slices and berries in the pie dish.
  3. Melt the 30g of butter and pour over the fruit.
  4. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the fruit and then mix together so all are evenly coated.
Your filling should look like this. Evenly coated and moist.
Leave the filling to one side whilst you make the cobbler. 
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C
  2. In a mixing bowl, place the flour and cinnamon, then rub until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Once rubbed, stir in the sugar.
  4. Beat the egg and four of the five tablespoons of milk together in a small bowl and then add to the dry mix.
  5. Mix the two together until a soft dough is formed. 
  6. Knead out of the bowl for five minutes and then roll until around a couple of centimetres thick
  7. With a glass or a round cutter, cut out as many rounds you can from the dough. (I got around 8 rounds)
  8. With your finger poke a ridge into the rounds and with the remaining milk, brush over each round.
  9. Sprinkle some brown sugar over the top of the rounds and bake for around 30 minutes. (If your tops are golden, but the fruit isn't quite done, place some foil over the top so it can be placed back in the oven without burning your cobblers for a further 10 minutes.)
  10. When ready, serve with custard or ice-cream, which ever is to your liking.
    A great dessert for those that love tart flavours.