It’s asparagus time!

May 15, 2015

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I’ve just spent a great morning out at Cattows Farm near Heather in North West Leicestershire with farmer James Ludlam as he brings in the asparagus.  This quintessential early summer crop has become increasingly popular as people discover the joys of seasonal eating and Cattows Farm is one of the very few places in Leicestershire where you can buy it at the farm door thanks to their splendid farm shop.

 

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This 300 acre mixed farm now has four acres given over to asparagus and for six or seven week from the beginning of May it is a useful, labour intensive but high value crop for them. It also helps bring in the public in advance of the soft fruit PYO season in June. The majority of is either sold direct at the farm or used at their popular café – indeed  tomorrow (Saturday 16th) they are even doing an eight course  tasting menu featuring the likes of asparagus pate, pork and asparagus wellington, asparagus risotto and even coffee with candied asparagus. One or two local greengrocers and restaurants also take it but, said James, they have steered clear of the wholesale market and unrealistic demands of supermarkets.

It was great to see such great quality English food being grown, harvested and sold on site and marketed with flair and integrity. Even the trimmings are used as feed for their herd of Herford/South Devon crosses.

If you want to get you hands on a few bunches, you can find Cattow’s Farm on the Swepstone Road, a mile or so out of Heather, which itself is just to the West of Ibstock. The season traditionally lasts to Midsummer Day but is at its height over the next three weeks. It’s a lovely place for a visit with a great café and well-stocked shop. If you’re after a few recipes  – try visiting the  British Asparagus website.  Me? I’m off to knock up some hollandaise…

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Crafty Burger returns

May 6, 2015

Just a quick heads up about Crafty Burger. As I wrote here last month, chef Chris Ellison and his partner Andrea have joined the business to upgrade the cafe’s daytime offering and run Crafty Burger on a permanent basis from 6-9pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

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I joined some other bloggers at the launch night and was mightily impressed by the burger. I’ve had quite a few  “better burgers” recently as readers of my Mercury column will know and I’d say for pure meaty taste this shaded it.  I was also impressed by some of the sides, including beautiful little breadcrumbed cubes of pork belly.

I’ll save writing more when I’ve been back for another review visit but it’s definitely good stuff. If you are partial to the patty watch out too for the June launch of Meat Cure on Highcross Street. This will be their second branch and I hope they recreate what was on offer at the first venue in Market Harborough. It’s not easy to prise the masses out of Highcross, but these two should give Byron a run for their money.

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