The Taste of Spring and April News

6th April 2017


As we write in glorious sunshine, thoughts are turning to fresh flavours of Spring and leaving wintry comfort food behind.  Think rocket, spring onion, watercress, rhubarb and asparagus will be appearing soon too – have just enjoyed our first few spears.




These zingy peppery leaves are so much more than a garnish – related to mustard its pungent flavour packs a great punch in any number of dishes. Healthy too as it contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. Buy with dark green leaves and as it’s highly perishable pop the stems in water or wrap in damp kitchen paper and put in the fridge to keep fresher for longer.

Use to make wonderful colourful soups, quiche, hummus, smoothies, omelettes, pile into sandwiches, make a salad with orange and walnuts or a pesto to drizzle over pasta, see Dan’s recipe below



Easter14 -17 April

Our opening hours for the weekend:


Good Friday                  14 April  8.30 – 4.00

Easter Saturday           15 April  8.30 – 5.00

Easter Sunday              16 April  CLOSED

Easter Monday            17 April 8.30 – 4.00


Easter trees are now popular here – a tradition in many European countries where brightly coloured eggs are hung on small branches or twigs and arranged in vases. We have mock ‘trees’ in yellow and pussy willow for you to create your own stylish design with beautiful eggs and ornaments; also faux egg and twig wreathes, buckets for eater egg hunts, Gisela Graham’s ‘chicken’ jugs, mugs and egg cups – so charming we’re tempted to have a boiled egg every day for breakfast – they hold a chocolate egg nicely too as do the Herdy eggcups.




If it’s a chocolate treat at Easter – Lindt eggs and rabbits, Bonbon Gourmet finest chocolate hens, ducks, Belgian praline eggs and their hot cross buns fudge is tasty and smells – well like hot cross buns!



In the Garden

Great selection of plants in for you – with perennials, herbs, fruit bushes, small trees as well as the amazing gnarled old olive trees.




Meet the Suppliers:

15 April – Mossy’s Yogurt

Young food entrepreneur Amos Smith known as Mossy has revived a secret family recipe for bio-yogurt that has been handed down four generations – really popular when his auntie sold it in the ‘80s to the Aldeburgh holidaymakers.  Still homemade it is curiously tasty and original.



29 April – Northern Bloc Ice cream

Another business set up by young food entrepreneurs out of a desire to create great tasting ice cream that is natural, free from additives, colourings or artificial flavourings.  Northern Bloc is made to a unique, modern recipe by an Italian ice cream master chef; deliciously smooth in traditional flavours with a modern twist – ginger caramel, strawberry & black pepper, Madagascan bourbon vanilla, raspberry & sorrel sorbet.



Gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and the sorbet is good for vegans – likewise Little Bloc for kids is also egg free and has no refined sugar – mega mango, crazy chocolate and super strawberry flavours.



29 April – Prior’s Hall -Pork

Our suppliers of quality pork will be giving you the opportunity to taste their delicious sausages and bacon.  On their farm at Great Dunmow, the Menhinicks rear pigs to the highest of welfare standards with a fully traceable feed supply and use traditional recipes and methods for curing, smoking and preparing their hand-made products.  Join us for a taste of pork as it should be.


Cheeses of the Month

We’ve four cheeses for you this month that carry a 20% discount. Look out for the red star.



Slack ma Girdle (v) – not so raunchy as it may sound as it’s a cheese named after a cider apple. Soft and runny with a natural mouldy rind and delicate lemony flavour that develops to a buttery taste and creamy texture as it ages.  Made by the producers of Stinking Bishop because of the demand for a non-smelly cheese!

Rob our wine man from Corney & Barrow, recommends the C&B Vina Mar Chardonnay as an ideal match; it has waves of tropical fruit, melon and vanilla on the nose and is toasty and textured on the palate with unctuous, but not cloying, flavours of butter cream and citrus fruit- everything you might want in a pairing for a delicious, softer cheese.



Truffle Gloucester (v) – this is a decadent combination of a hard Gloucester and black truffles – a delicious one-of-a-kind cheese to enjoy with biscuits or melted on toast.

Champagne & truffles are a must says Rob and as the sun’s out why not treat yourself with a sparkling wine (in the absence of a bold red). Guy de Chassey is a Champagne which achieves aromatic complexity from a combination of young & old vine fruit, presenting youthful zest alongside more toasted brioche notes and cinnamon spice, providing the basis for a truly thought provoking pairing with much depth & intricacy.



Nababbo is a washed rind cheese made from goat’s milk. Made in Italy by the producers of Taleggio, it is rich with a subtle sour flavour. Serve on warm crusty bread or with fruit.

Rob suggests the Panul Sauvignon Blanc with its pale lemon colour and tints of green to pair with this cheese; it is an aromatic Sauvignon Blanc showing fresh, tropical and citrus aromas and flavours with additional bright, grassy notes on the palate.  This wine is characterised by its purity of fruit and refreshing acidity, which will cut through the richness of the cheese and compare ably with the sourness – which, if anything, will highlight the fruitiness of the wine a touch more.


Bleu d’Auvergne – the French blue cheese of creamy ivory colour and dark blue veining.  It is matured in cool cellars for one or two months before being wrapped in foil and matured for a further month to develop its assertive flavours, smooth texture and strong aroma.  It has a moist and sticky rind with soft paste and grassy, spicy, peppery, salty, pungent taste. Good for the cheese board but melts well so is perfect for cooking or crumbling over salads, steaks and vegetable dishes.

The Casa Felipe Carmenere has much to pair deliciously well with any blue – particularly one with a peppery spice. Aromas of cherries, plums and subtle notes of mocha, chocolate and spices pervade within the wine – also has a further pleasing weight in the mouth, with sweet tannins and a velvety finish. Another from Chile, Rob acknowledges, it is though the time of the ‘La Vendimia’ which has been taking place across the country for the last two months – harvest time for one of the great winemaking nations!


The Pearces



Watercress Pesto


3 bunches watercress

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp fresh Parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove

200ml olive oil



Put the Parmesan, garlic, pine nuts in a processor.  Blend for a few seconds until finely chopped.  Add the oil, honey, lemon juice, watercress and season well; blend until have a smooth purée consistency.

Superb for dressing pasta and with risotto.  Keeps in the fridge or freezes well.