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January 25-27


April 25, 2014

Just outside Ceres, a pretty village a few miles from Cupar, you’ll find Briery Hall, home to Chillilicious, Britain’s most northerly chilli farm. The family run business produces handmade chutneys, preserves and beautiful chilli-related artwork from their two and a half acres, and plans for the future see them turning up the heat in this corner of Fife.

The Galfskiy family were looking for somewhere to set down roots when they came across Briery Farm five years ago. Chillilicious began in 2010 when mum Patricia Galfskiy had the idea of turning her hobby of making chutneys as gifts for family and friends into a business. The Galfskiys always loved cooking and experimenting with flavours and spice, and now had space to grow more of their own chilli plants.

Chillilicious on the Farm

They started with a range of four products, three chutneys (mango and apple, apple and pear and red pepper) and a picallilli, all handmade in the family kitchen using Patricia’s own recipes and fresh ingredients. With a background in art and design, daughter Stacey came on board to develop the branding, website and a range of her handmade glassworks made from recycled glass right there on the farm.

Like many small businesses, Chillilicious began trading at local craft fairs and markets, and then attending the many chilli fairs taking place up and down the UK. They swiftly realised the business had potential when they began selling out at events and hearing feedback from regular satisfied customers.

Lead by customer demand, they have since expanded from one to two and a half acres and two poly-tunnels, growing 1000 plants a season. They’ve introduced new products too, including a chilli jam and new glass art from chopping boards to jewellery which are collected by chilli enthusiasts across the country. Chillilicious now have over 30 stockists in the UK, and continue to attend fairs, workshops and events continuing to build relationships with their customers.

products from Chillilicious UK

The focus for Chillilicious is on flavour, not heat. Stacey’s passionate about changing people’s perceptions of chillies as just heat and nothing else. “It’s not about being able to eat the hottest chilli or chilli sauce you can stand, but about enjoying the different flavours. Just a small amount of chilli can really bring out the flavour of other ingredients, working with them and not against.

40 varieties of chillies are grown on the farm, from the common “Apache” to the “Vampire Chilli” which turns a deep red colour to the spiral shaped “Bangladeshi Whippet’s Tail”. All are grown without pesticides; the Galfskiys are committed to biodiversity using natural predators to tackle pests such as aphids on the farm. Since moving there they’ve reinstated the old mill pond and seen a huge growth in wildlife as a result. They’re also looking at small scale renewables with solar panels and potential for underground heat sources, hydro-electric and wind power in the future

Chillilicious is a local enterprise, with a strong ethos on supporting other businesses and organisations across the food network in Fife. They use a local fruit and vegetable wholesaler to supply the rest of the ingredients used in their condiments. A partnership with Elmwood College in Cupar has seen student chefs creating recipes using Chillilicious products with the winners featuring on customer recipe cards. Collaborations with other local producers have brought new products into the range including oatcakes from a local baker, and chilli chocolate created in partnership with Fisher and Donaldson.

This sustainable growth for Chillilicious has been assisted by Business Gateway and the Fife Development Fund, as well as organic growth through quality products and a loyal customer base. Stacey is seeing more and more people becoming aware of buying local produce, and supporting businesses like Chillilicious. Says Stacey “They’re more interested to see what’s on the label. People like that it’s all natural, real ingredients made with chillies grown here in Fife and no unnatural additives or preservatives.”

chillilicious-selectionPhoto credits: Paul Watt Photography, Caroline Rye

As the face of Chillilicious, Stacey loves interacting with the public, continuing to convert them to the wonders of chillies at events across Scotland this year. It’s at the heart of their plans for development and expansion, with a new visitors area set to open on the farm this summer. Comprising a gift shop and gallery and a new artist’s workshop for Stacey, it will also include a bigger kitchen to allow them to increase production and employ two members of staff. There are plans for new products including a range of chilli fudge and new look branding to complement the growing business. A PYO poly-tunnel for visitors to pick chillies of all kinds to cook with at home is in the works, giving chilli-lovers another reason to visit this spicy part of the world.

This summer will see the third year for Chillilicious at the Crail Food Festival. Along with chutneys, chocolates, artwork and chilli plants they will also be hosting a children’s jam workshop as part of the programme of events at the festival.

Stacey’s Chilli growing tips

Hotter varieties need a warmer constant temperature to germinate from seed. For best results buy plug plants which are established.

Most chilli varieties will grow happily in our varied Scottish climate, in pots or raised beds. Keep them well fed with a seaweed or tomato feed. We use our own called ‘Chilli Focus’, available online.

Avoid pesticides by encouraging wildlife into your garden as natural predators. A small pond or a ‘bug house’ will help. We recently ordered some ladybirds online to control the aphids which are bad this year.

Chilli plants can last over the winter. Even if it looks faded after fruiting the plant will survive if the roots are still alive, so look after it to enjoy a second crop the following year.

Author: Caroline Rye
Website: lonelyonasunday.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: @the_elfherself

Producer: Chillilicious
Website: www.chillilicious.co.uk/
Facebook: Chillilicious UK
Twitter: @ChilliliciousUK


anster-cheese-scones-500x500.jpg

April 18, 2014

My assignment for this year’s Crail Food Festival made me very happy, not only did it involve one of my favourite foods but also one of my favourite Fife producers, the wonderful St Andrews Cheese company – who make their unique selection of Anster Cheeses.

So what makes Jane Stewart’s cheese so special?

  1. The unpasteurised milk comes straight from her husband’s own herd of Holstein Friesian cows, meaning that they have complete control over the whole process – from cow to cheeseboard.
  2. They use special cultures developed using bacteria to help give Anster Cheese its complex flavours and aroma.
  3. Unlike many cheese producers Anster Cheese mill their curd through a traditional peg mill which contributes to the lovely crumbly texture.
  4. The use of traditional cast iron presses also helps achieve just the right texture for Jane and Robert’s cheeses.
  5. Finally, Anster Cheese is allowed to mature naturally.

Ordinarily when faced with a lovely block of Anster Cheese I will simply munch away with an oatcake or 10 and perhaps a wee bit of chutney here and there. However this assignment involved me getting my pinny on and doing a bit of actual cooking.

After visiting St Andrews Cheese farm and chatting to their fabulous chef I decided to buy a huge block of Anster Cheese and one of Red Anster which is flavoured with garlic and chives.

My original intention was to cook a trio of cheesy dishes including Cheese and Chive Scones, Cheese Straws and a Cheese Soufflé. But I am ashamed to say that I completely ducked out of attempting the soufflé as after just returning from eating my way round Belgium it seemed a bridge too far!

Red Anster Cheese Straws with Paprika

Cheese Straws are irresistible aren’t they? You always mean to have one or two with a glass of wine before dinner and boom they are gone before you know it. They are great favourites with kids as well, if you don’t mind being surrounded by a carpet of flaked cheese straw at all times.

I briefly considered making my own pastry but to be honest (apologies to all the great bakers out there) life just seems too short when a respectable puff pastry can be bought. The results were very pleasing. Red Anster gave the cheese straws a lovely rich colour and the cheese and chive added to the flavour burst of the paprika.

Ingredients

175g shop bought puff pastry, paprika to flavour, two generous handfuls of
Red Anster, some flour to scatter on your work surface

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 200 ˚C
  • Roll out the puff pastry and scatter over most of the cheese before folding in half.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin.
  • Cut into 1cm strips, then twist the strips 3-4 times.
  • Lay on a baking sheet, scatter over more cheese and paprika to taste and bake for 12 mins, or until golden.
  • Leave to cool, then keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days (but let’s be honest they will never last that long!)

 

anster cheese straws

Anster Cheese and Chive Scones

This is familiar territory for me, having recently gone through savoury scone frenzy. Cheese and Chive is a classic and traditional combination which seemed just right for the noble Anster Cheese. The result was a lovely light scone with fabulous tangy cheese undertones. This is my standard scone recipe to which I add all sorts. Anster cheese and pancetta would also be a fabulous combo to try out.

Ingredients

350g self-raising flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 50g butter cut in pieces, 1 tbsp olive oil, two large handfuls of grated Anster Cheese, one small handful of chopped chives, 300ml full fat milk, 1 egg, beaten, to glaze.

Method

  • Pop the flour baking powder and salt in a bowl and combine
  • Add the butter and rub into the flour until you get a nice crumbly mixture.
  • Add the cheese and chives and combine.
  • Make a little well in the relatively dry mix and add the oil and milk.
  • Using a knife stir the mix into soft sticky dough. Don’t be tempted to add more flour as this soft stickiness makes the scones nice and light.
  • Flour your hands and a work surface and make a round from the dough which is around 3cm thick and cut into 8 pieces.
  • Pop onto a tray lined with baking paper and glaze with some beaten egg.
  • This goes into a preheated oven (200 ˚C) for around 20 minutes or until the scones have a lovely brown hue.

anster cheese scones

Anster Cheese represents everything that is great about local producers in the fabulously foodie Kingdom of Fife. They are fiercely passionate about their product and by adhering to traditional processes they make a stunning cheese for us to enjoy.

I like knowing the provenance of the food on my plate and it doesn’t get any better than this, a completely local process from cow to my cheeseboard.

Thank goodness for producers like Jane & Robert who are amongst a very merry band of wonderful people putting Fife firmly on the food map.

Author: Hazel Cameron
Website: www.the grumblingtummy.org
Twitter: @thegrumblingtum

Producer: St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company
Website: St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese
Read More: Visit to St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company
Read More: Risotto with Anster Cheese

 



April 11, 2014

It may not have made the headlines in the national newspapers, but did you know that The East Neuk of Fife is home to Scotland’s first commercial vineyard? Christopher Trotter has planted 200 vines in Upper Largo, just a few miles down the coast from Crail. This year he will bottle a wine made from the Solaris grape variety (specially bred to ripen in cooler climates) and if the success continues, he has said he will seek investment to plant vines on his entire 2.4-hectare site.

Scottish winemaker Christopher Trotter

Growing grapes to make quality wine in Scotland remains something of a pipe-dream (though who know what climate change might bring in 100 years?), but meanwhile there are plenty of Scots who have realised an ambition to own a vineyard and make wine in other parts of the world. In this year of ‘Homecoming’ it’s a nice time to consider those Scottish winemakers who are practising their craft in some seriously good wine estates around the globe.

A case in point is Gladstone Vineyards in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand’s North Island. Here, Glaswegian Christine Kernohan is MD and winemaker. She and her husband David emigrated from Scotland 30 years ago and took over Gladstone in 1996. She farms around 35 acres of vines, which are run on accredited ‘sustainable agriculture’ principles, and a new winery was built in 2005, complete with guest apartment accommodation. Gladstone’s wines are stocked by The St Andrews Wine Company.

Meanwhile, ‘El Escoces Volante’ is otherwise known as Norrel Robertson, one of the few Scottish Masters of Wine who makes wines in Spain under his own label, and under many other labels that can be found on supermarket shelves – you’ll find his Marquesa de la Cruz wines in Sainsbury’s for example. Like many others, Norrel trained as a winemaker in an English-speaking wine school, in his case in Lincoln in New Zealand.

Also based in Spain is Pamela Geddes. Pamela studied biochemistry at the University of Strathclyde before becoming a true flying winemaker. First, she touched down in Australia where she became sparkling wine maker for the giant Southcorp group, making their Seppelt sparkling range. Today, Pamela runs her own winery near Barcelona called Lobban Wines, and still makes some great fizz including the sparkling red wine, La Pamelita (available from Aitken Wines in Dundee).

wines at st andrews wine co

There are plenty of other Scots crushing and fermenting grapes around the world, and others who may not have been born here, but who celebrate their strong Scottish roots. A fascinating case in point is Glenguin Estate, one of Australia’s top wine producers. It is owned and run by Robin Tedder. His Scottish grandfather, Arthur William Tedder, had a distinguished military career which saw him became a Peer of the Realm, and adopt the title ‘Baron of Glenguin’, chosen because of his happy memories growing up in Glenguin, where his father had been the Customs & Excise officer at the local Distillery (now Glengoyne). Robin Tedder officially bears the title of 3rd Baron of Glenguin, and is fiercely proud of his Scottish roots. His wines are also available from The St Andrews Wine Company.

Article written by: Tom Cannavan
Website: wine-pages.com and thewinegang.com
Twitter: @winepages
Save the date for Wine Event: Wine Gang Live in Edinburgh on 29 November 2014

Fife Stockist: St Andrews Wine Company
Website: St Andrews Wine Company
Facebook: Follow St Andrews Wine Company
Twitter: @standrewswine

Fife Winegrower: Christopher Trotter
Website: Fife’s Food Ambassador
Twitter: @CTScotFood



April 4, 2014

When I’m on a self-catering holiday an important and very enjoyable part of the whole experience is always to try out some local food and drink, whether I’m abroad or just in a different part of the UK. Fife, with its acres of farmland and proximity to the sea is fast becoming the Kingdom of quality local food producers. So for holidaymakers this equals foodie paradise!

Balgove Larder Where could be more authentic for local food than a local farm shop? I suggest that if you want to sample the best of Fife and beyond then get yourself to the granddaddy of Fife farm shops, Balgove Larder just outside St Andrews. Here are 10 reasons why you should:

1. Farm-fresh

Since it opened in September 2010, Balgove Larder has grown phenomenally and is particularly famous for its huge meat counter, most of which comes from the farm itself. In particular I could not recommend the steak burgers to you enough, they are perfect for BBQs. Fruit and veg are also great with lots of choice – don’t miss the strawberries from the local Pittormie Fruit Farm and Tentsmuir in the summer. Balgove Larder is also starting to grow its own veg this year, so you can reduce your carbon footprint even more and buy veg fresh from the field.

balgove-butchers-500

2. The sheer scale of it

Following an expansion in May 2013, Balgove Larder is bigger than your average farm shop and it doesn’t do things by halves. It’s like a wonderful treasure trove of delicious goodies, a place where food shopping is a pleasure, not a chore. It really does have all the best local food and drink produce under one roof like nowhere else I know. Definitely not somewhere to go on an empty stomach, though: you have been warned!

Balgove Farm Shop

Lobsters from the East Neuk of Fife

Fruit and Veg

3. The steak barn

Did I mention the steak burgers? (*Drools*) Well you can eat them as well as some real steak on site during the summer months (from Easter weekend until September) at the Balgove Larder steak barn. Just a short distance from the shop building, it’s a truly charming and (thankfully) covered place for a relaxed, outdoor lunch or dinner in the country, sitting at long benches tucking into some of Balgove Larder’s delights. Not to be missed.

What’s more the barn is also just about to become the venue for something new in the area: The Night Market. This is starting on Wednesday 14 May 2014 and will offer a different range from the Fife Farmer’s market with produce from Fife and beyond, freshly prepared food to snack on while you shop, a variety of drinks (maybe even a cocktail or two), live music and a big emphasis on fun. I can’t wait to check it out! (http://www.facebook.com/The NightmarketSA and @NightmarketSA on Twitter.)

Year round Balgove Larder also has its popular indoor cafe, just beside the shop. There is a new seasonal menu coming soon.

Balgove Steak Barn
Delights of the Balgove Steak Barn including burgers and local beer

4. Hot smoked salmon

Balgove Larder stocks lovely fresh hot smoked salmon, which is my favourite type of Scottish salmon, from the nearby East Neuk fishing village of St Monans. The hot part describes the smoking process, not the salmon itself. It’s much meatier and less slimy than regular smoked salmon. Simply serve with a potato salad and some green leaves for a quick, healthy and extremely tasty holiday meal.

5. Ready meals

Too tired from all that sightseeing to cook tonight? Balgove Larder’s delicious ready meals are a cut above supermarket ones. They are made on site, using as much of the farm’s own produce as possible. Creamy macaroni cheese and hearty Beef Bourgignon are guaranteed to satisfy even the fussiest eaters in your group and there are lots of other meals to choose from.

6. Cartmel sticky toffee pudding

Admittedly not local (it comes from the village of Cartmel in the Lake District) but surely the best premium sticky toffee pudding in the UK is available at Balgove Larder. No fuss dessert heaven which is perfect for holidaymakers with a sweet tooth.

7. Dip Nation

Balgove Larder also stocks the amazing local Dip Nation dips. Combined with strips of either fresh carrot or toasted pitta bread, these are my first port of call for holiday snacks and new varieties seem to be appearing all the time. Dip Nation also do a great pesto for instant pasta perfection.

balgove-goodies-500
Goodies from Balgove, including salmon, ready meals, Cartmel sticky toffee pudding and Dip Nation houmous

8. Craft beer and cider selection

Local beers from St Andrews Brewing Company and Eden Brewery’s local beers are winning loads of awards for good reason and Balgove Larder has a great selection of them. I love St Andrews Brewing Company’s Crail Ale and Eden Brewery’s Blonde. If you’re not a beer person try the Thistly Cross Real Ginger Cider, a ginger-flavoured premium farmhouse cider from East Lothian. It’s my favourite cider ever and is perfect over ice on a summer’s evening. Well you are on holiday!

9. King-sized sausage rolls

Only once has Mr ENB managed to leave Balgove Larder without buying and promptly scoffing on site one of their hot and luxuriously large and meaty sausage rolls and that was under severe duress, which I suspect will be complained about for years to come! (Especially good if you have ignored my advice in number 2 above not to go to Balgove Larder on an empty stomach!)

10. Highland coos!

Last but not definitely least the farm’s Highland coos (cows) have a lot of personality which adds to any visit to Balgove Larder. Many visitors can’t resist stopping their cars to take photos of them in the fields outside, myself included! Black and white photos of these peculiarly Scottish characters adorn the shop walls and there are also brightly-coloured, extremely cute pig paintings in the cafe.

Highland Coo Balgove
Think someone needs their fringe cut! Highland cow, Balgove

So there you go – 10 reasons why you should make Balgove Larder part of your holiday in the East Neuk. Balgove Larder is on the A91 just outside St Andrews, on the way to Leuchars (just past the Old Course hotel) and is open 7 days a week. They will be offering a selection of their products at the Crail Food Festival 2014, including ready to eat homemade treats such as their popular scones and lots of things for you to sample.

Find out more about Balgove:

Website:  www.balgove.com
Facebook: Balgove Larder Farm Shop and Cafe
Twitter:@Balgove

By Sara Scott aka East Neuk Blogger at Rose Cottage
Website: http://rosecottageeastneuk.blogspot.co.uk
Twitter: @RoseCottageFife