We Love Sprouts – December News

6th December 2016


It’s huge thanks to you that we are winners of two of Hertfordshire Life’s inaugural Food & Drink Awards – Pride of Hertfordshire and Best Independent Café.  What fantastic recognition for all the hard work from our wonderful team. It’s been nearly 40 years since we started selling veg from a shed in the field and 5 years since we opened the Cafe – an exciting journey to where we are now.  Thank you for all your support and friendship on the way. We are so proud.




Seasonal vegetables have really come into their own with the sharp frosts developing their sweeter flavours.

Brussel Sprouts – For many they invoke unhappy memories when boiled to oblivion but cooked correctly they are sweetly tender and delicious – healthy too packed with vitamins A and C, iron, potassium and fibre. Can be eaten raw, sliced thinly in a salad with hazelnuts, roasted with caraway seeds until crisp on the outside and tender in, or boiled or steamed until just cooked with a little bite and served in any number of ways – tossed in melted butter with chilli flakes, with nutmeg, fennel seeds, toasted almonds, crispy bacon, lemon juice or chestnuts.

Look out for sprouts sold on their stem as this keeps them fresh as they continue to ‘live’ off the nutrients in the stem – the tops can be eaten too – use as greens shredded and tossed in butter or add to stews or soups.




Red Cabbage – another love or loathe it veg with memories of being brutally pickled.  Again treated well it adds welcome colour to the table.  Best eaten raw in a salad – mix with grated carrot, orange slices, pumpkin or sunflowers seeds and dress with a vinaigrette; or quickly stir-fried to retain its bite and tang – add cooked chestnuts for a festive dish; when braised add bacon to contrast the sweet and sour, or juniper berries to go with game and caraway seeds for pork or goose.  Remember when cooking red cabbage that it reacts dramatically to even slightly hard water, the alkaline turning it to murky unappetising navy blue – which is why recipes call for acidic vinegar or wine to preserve its rich purple.


Corney & Barrow wines

If you’re looking for wine ideas for your festive table Rob our wine guru recommends:

As an aperitif, the Biddenden Gribble Bridge sparkling wine – young and dry, light and refreshing, it is made with a blend of Reichensteiner, Scheurebe and Pinot Noir – just like all things Christmas, it has that touch of the Germanic in its origins too!

With pigs in blankets, a big bold red is in order with this snack.  The Cabernet Sauvignon from Vina Mar – a lovely wine awash with rich blackcurrant and gentle touches of bell pepper & baking spice.

Roast Turkey, the Panul Sauvignon has just enough zip and freshness to complement the turkey. Great though these whites are, always bear a Beaujolais in mind too as soft reds can really bring out the best in not just the bird but the trimmings also!

Christmas Pudding, Go right down the middle and play it safe with the C&B delicious Ruby port; nothing screams Christmas quite like jolly old England and nothing evokes that better than port & pud! The richness will be there, soporifically so, but you can rely on the Ruby to bring out subtly fruitiness and that raisin goodness at the end of the meal.






The shop is bursting with fabulous gourmet food and drink and top quality fresh produce to cater for your guests as well as inspired foodie presents.  Please see our Christmas pages for a flavour of what’s in store.







We are still taking orders for turkey, geese, beef and other meats, whole and half cheese and hampers.




Please use link to order form, run off, complete and give to one of our staff.



In the Cafe,

Dan is serving a Christmas menu with dishes such as:



  • bubble & squeak with grilled white pudding, poached egg, and crispy bacon; smoked salmon pate with pickled cucumber and avruga caviar
  • roast turkey with the trimmings; sirloin of beef or hake supreme with tiger prawns & chorizo;
  • desserts include steamed Clementine pudding with syrup and custard; warm panettone with an orange & vanilla syrup as well as Christmas pud with brandy.



Please do book a table – 01920 821246.

If you’re given some panettone you might like to try making Dan’s recipe for bread pudding below



A number of delicious tasting opportunities this month:


Friday 9 December – Two tasting – Priors Hall Pork & Cheese

Priors Hall supply us with their delicious pork products – gammon, sausages and bacon.  James and Richard Menhinick have their own state-of-the-art cutting plant on their farm in Dunmow where they rear and process their own pigs and prepare all their own handmade products.  The pigs are raised to the highest of welfare standards – bedded on home grown straw and fed home grown grain – the meat is superb.  They also supply meat such as turkey breast rolls from local farms with the same high standards – there will be an opportunity to taste these too.


Cheese – Ben, our cheeseman will be giving you the chance to try our favourite festive cheeses:




Wookey Hole is the award-winning West Country Farmhouse cheddar produced from milk sourced only from Dorset; handmade it is then aged for up 3 months in Wookey Hole Caves, an ancient tradition that gives the cheese its delicious rich and distinctive nutty and tangy flavour.

Vacherin – is only made in winter months when the cows have been brought down from their pastures high up in the Jura mountains.  It has a soft centre and is indescribably creamy and gorgeous – there’s no other like it.  Delicate with an orangey pink washed rind, it has a lingering rich flavour and bound by a band of spruce which permeates the cheese, it also has a distinct and pleasant aroma.

Colston Stilton – this perfect award-winning Stilton is handmade by Colston Bassett Dairy which has been making traditional cheeses for over 100 years.  It has a rich cream colour with blue veining throughout and smooth, creamy mellow flavour with no sharp acidic taste from the blue.  Melt in the mouth, it is always popular on the festive cheeseboard.


Sunday 11 December – Goupie Chocolate

We’re rather fond of Goupie – the delightfully scrumptious handmade treat made to an old family recipe.  Distinctive triangle chunks of chewy chocolate with a hint of crunch.  As well as original, it is available in a number of different flavours and presented in triangular packaging too – perfect for sharing around the festive table.


Goupie Chocolate New Packaging


Saturday 17 December – Three tastings – SloeMotion, Panettone & Cheese

SloeMotion, the family run business from Yorkshire who make deliciously moreish sloe-based liqueurs – sloe gin, sloe whisky, sloe vodka, sloe port will be giving you the opportunity to try their famous drinks.  The liqueurs are also available in miniature gift sets or packaged with a hip flask – an ideal solution for certain members of the family we feel.




Panettone – Tenuta Marmorelle, our suppliers of gorgeous produce from Puglia, are bringing the Borsari panettone for you to try. Traditionally made using the best ingredients and beautifully packaged -these quality panettone are exceptional.


Cheese – Ben’s with us again bringing the Wookey Hole Cheddar, Colston Stilton as well as French Truffle Brie for you to try – this decadent cheese is made with Brie and a layer of winter black truffles running through the centre – a melt in the mouth combination with the delicate yet powerful truffles sitting well with creamy, nutty brie.  The best cheeses are made with fresh truffles which are only in season from November to March.  Do join us for a taste.


We wish you and your family a very happy and peaceful Christmas and best wishes for 2017.


The Pearces


Panettone Pudding

6 eggs

300 ml cream

100g caster sugar

750g – 1 kg panettone

Butter for greasing


Rub butter all over the inside of a baking dish. Slice the panettone and layer in the baking dish, allowing the slices to overlap.

Make the custard by mixing the eggs with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Gradually add the cream. Pour half the mixture over the panettone, leave to soak and add the rest.   Leave to stand for 30 minutes to absorb the liquid.

Cook at 160⁰C for about 40 minutes – it should wobble when comes out of the oven but be cooked. Leave to sit for 15 minutes before serving