Tag Archives: handmade

NEWS: Something Extra Special at the More London Christmas Market

10 Dec

Christmas shoppers are in for a treat this week: Shepherds Markets and More London Riverside are hosting a special Christmas Market with food, fun and Yuletide magic. Here’s the full skinny from the Shepherds Markets team:

Shake out your tinsel and dust off your baubles; Christmas is finally upon us and we’ve got everything you need to make the festive season extra special! From December 11th to15th, you can head to More London Riverside where our More London Christmas Market will showcase the finest artisan food gifts and hand-crafted presents.

With 20 different stalls each day, we’re bringing you more of everything you love at Christmas: more food, more entertainment and more unique presents! If you want to surprise your family and friends with exclusive gifts they won’t find on the high street, the More London Christmas Market is your one-stop shop!

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Fancy something inspiring for the kids? Make their faces light up with a handmade toy none of their friends will have – just one of many items available from our talented craftsmen. Need something luxurious for mum? How about a heaven-scented body cream or a beautiful pashmina (to keep her warm and on-trend this winter)? Hoping to transform turkey leftovers into appetising dishes? Try the delicious organic chutneys and sauces available from our amazing food traders.

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We know that shopping for friends who seem to have everything can be a nightmare but why not invest in an original painting or print from one of our art traders’ stunning collections? Alternatively, pull together a bespoke gift set or hamper with the aromatic oils, vinegar, speciality teas, honey and preserves on sale – a present for all the family! There will also be a range of Christmas stockings and cards to buy, as well as traditional Christmas cakes and puddings, helping you to create the perfect celebration at home.

You can tuck into hot and cold dishes from around the world while you browse our food and craft stalls, or sip a cup of warming mulled wine with a crumbly mince pie or roasted chestnuts. Local carol singers will be on hand to perform all your festive favourites and even Santa has been persuaded to fly in for a visit!

Entry is free, so there’s nothing “Bah! Humbug!” about this Christmas, only the true spirit of the season: supporting London’s most talented food and craft start-ups to bring you the finest gifts for family and friends. We can’t wait to see you at the More London Christmas Market and look forward to helping you make loved ones feel extra special.

Visit the More London Christmas Market at More London, More London Riverside, London SE1 2DB, 11am – 6pm, from Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th December 2013.

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RECOMMENDED: Secret Garden Confectionery

16 Oct

It’s National Chocolate Week and, in the spirit of showing support, I have been indulging in every kind of chocolate, stuffing my face without restraint. Trying to pick a favourite variety or bar was proving difficult, until a visit to the Tuesday food market in Thomas More Square, close to historic landmark and tourist attraction, The Tower of London.

I came home with a bag of Rocky Road chocolates by Secret Garden Confectionery – blocks of creamy, milk chocolate, studded with soft marshmallow and crunchy, puffed cereal. I was hooked after one bite. Challenged not to devour the entire bag in one sitting, I had to force myself to remember that I’d actually purchased the chocs to share with my two nieces, aged 5 and 7.

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I gave them half a block each, and remembered my manners long enough to reluctantly offer the bag to their grandparents. The problems started when they all began pestering me for more, declaring the moreish treats to be “delicious” and “yummy”. Secret Garden‘s Rocky Road is far too good to share, but denying them further access to such unbelievably tasty chocolate would have been exceptionally cruel. Fearing I’d be reported for some kind of human rights or domestic abuse, I had no choice but to succumb to their requests. Note to self: hide the next bag I buy at the back of the cupboard and tell no-one.

Secret Garden Confectinery is a regular at food festivals and Shepherds Markets’ sites across the Capital, where lovely co-founder and self-taught chocolatier, Belinda, braves the elements to showcase and sell a mouthwatering display of truffles, lollies, tablets and blocks.The seductive smell of cocoa, vanilla and spices draws you towards the stall just as much as the decadent vision of melt-in-the-mouth milk, white and dark chocolates.

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Made using ethically-sourced products, each beautiful treat is handmade – including the toffee and honeycomb centres – at Belinda’s base in Hertfordshire. The butter and cream used within each chocolate batch (produced in small quantities to ensure freshness), is also produced locally.

Despite such high-quality ingredients and an emphasis on fair trade, Secret Garden’s product range is reasonably priced – items start at a mere £2.50: a steal for artisan chocolate! With additional special offers available for multi-buys, it’s worth stocking up if you’re planning to put together some gorgeous food hampers for family and friends this Christmas.

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The smooth and tangy Milk Chocolate Orange Truffles are particularly addictive and the different flavoured tablet bars – crammed with fruits, spices or nuts – are sinfully sublime. There’s a luscious white chocolate Cranberry, Lemon & Macadamia; a heady Crystallised Ginger set in milk chocolate; a delectable Lime & Coconut white chocolate; a milk chocolate studded with tangy Sour Cherry, Orange and Hazelnut; and a superb Toffee Apple bar, also made with milk chocolate.

While Secret Garden‘s Rocky Road is the pathway to chocolate heaven, I also love the Chocolate Honeycomb blocks and large Chocolate Lollies – flavoursome, indulgent and rewarding; you can almost feel your brain cells doing Olympic somersaults in response to the Conga your tastebuds inevitability start dancing upon first bite. Nothing makes the body celebrate quite like the taste and feel of velvety, silken chocolate … a guaranteed high without the low of a hangover or withdrawal.

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Confirming my thoughts is the word of two discerning little girls. Having sampled Secret Garden‘s Rocky Road bites, some of the glorious tablet bars and the milk and white Chocolate Lollies, my nieces have given the range their official seal of approval: “Yummy”. Truth from the mouths of babes … you really can’t argue with that.

To find out where you can purchase Secret Garden Confectionery visit here.

Please follow @SGConfectionery on Twitter for details of their upcoming presence at Shepherds Markets locations across London.

REVIEW: One New Change’s Weekly Food Market Spices Up The City of London

2 Jun

Yesterday marked the launch of a brand new, weekly food market in the City of London’s classy and inviting shopping mall, One New Change. Introduced by chef, food writer and style icon Gizzi Erskine (pictured), the arrival of the market reflects Londoners’ growing demands for fresh or locally sourced produce, exciting new flavours and homemade delicacies. 

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There was something to suit all palettes and hunger pangs – from crumbly, handmade cheeses to mouthwatering cakes, biscuits and breads. With the enticement of free samples and cheerful conversation from an eclectic mix of sellers – all set against a backdrop of popular fashion retail outlets just a short walk away from St. Paul’s Cathedral – this new market offers the perfect pit-stop during a Saturday trip into London.

I’ve compiled a list of recommended items to buy from the market but, in all honesty, every stall has something so tantalisingly delicious, you’ll have a hard time deciding what you want to take home. My sweet tooth naturally veers towards confectionery and cakes – as indicated by my recommendations below – but there’s an abundance of savoury options to enjoy so I’ll be making a second trip down to the market within the next few weeks to buy a wider range of yummy goodies!

1. Handmade doughnuts by Cakehole (£1 each / 5 for £4 / 10 for £8)

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These lusciously light buns are available with a filling of jam, vanilla creme or chocolate custard. Lip-lickingly tasty without being too sickly, I came home wishing I could have purchased the whole stall. Family and friends all agreed that the vanilla doughnut I brought home was heavenly – but had left them all wanting more!

2. Bresaola by Picco (£4 per pack)

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This tangy, melt-in-the mouth beef – cured with rosemary, thyme and juniper berries before being thinly sliced – would be perfect in a sandwich, eaten on its own or enjoyed as part of a summer picnic, served with fresh bread, mozarella, rocket and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Utterly wonderful and an absolute must for any charcuterie board!

3. 70% Chocolate Brownies by Galeta (£2 each)

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Deliciously decadent, moist and satisfyingly gooey in the centre, this award-winning brownie is one of the best in the UK. You’ll savour every bite. Guaranteed.

4. Indian Spiced Shortbread & Mini Madeleines by Pistachio Rose (ask for prices)

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Aromatic, fragrant, light and seriously sensuous, Pistachio Rose successfully combine bold flavour combinations into elegant, delicately balanced, biscuits and cakes. They both excite the senses and satisfy curiosity. Outstanding.

5. Chocolates by Secret Garden (Bag of Truffles £4 / prices for bars and slabs vary)

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This small start-up, from North London, only uses ethically sourced ingredients. Their white chocolate, vanilla truffle melted in my mouth to deliver a luxurious burst of flavour, whilst a strawberry and balsamic alternative delivered an intoxicatingly sweet and sharp explosion, quickly followed by the sinful richness of intense, dark chocolate. Superb.

6. Chocolate Cake by Arapina (ask for prices)

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My mother has been making moreish cakes without any butter or preservatives for as long as I can remember. Thus, when I found out that Arapina also makes her signature chocolate cake without using any butter or unhealthy additives, I had phenomenally high expectations. A free sample of her creation thankfully dispelled all my fears. Packed with flavour, it was gratifyingly moist, rich, melt-in-the-mouth and not too sweet – everything I expect from a good chocolate cake. Thank you, Arapina!

7. ‘Biskies’ by Cutter & Squidge (ask for prices)

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Everyone who tried a free sample was quick to comment on the excellent flavour combinations of Cutter & Squidge’s rainbow display of ‘Biskies’ (such as milk choc with peanut and salted caramel; green tea with white choc and raspberry; or raspberry with lychee and rose). Looking a bit like a Macaron-Whoopie Pie hybrid, these are a moist and moreish cross between crisp biscuits and chewy cookies – hence the name ‘Biskies’! Addictive, original and a must-add to your bucket list of things to eat before you die!

8. 100% Raw Local Honey by Local Honey Man (ask for prices)

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Produced using beehives located, amongst other places, in Hackney and Essex, jovial Londoner Curtis (a.k.a the Local Honey Man) boasts an array of delicious varieties to satisfy even the pickiest honey connoisseur. Check out the White Rape Seed and Lucerne options but, whatever your preference, Curtis has the perfect jar of honey to sweeten your day!

9. Mexican Cheese by Gringa Dairy (£5 / 250g)

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This delicious Mexican cheese is made in Peckham and reminded me of fresh, salted ‘Anari’ found in villages across Southern Cyprus (which, if you’re unfamiliar with, is a bit similar to Italian Ricotta). Light, tasty and bursting with flavour, I might add it to my dinner party cheese board and have some fun asking my guests to guess where it’s from!

10. Chocolates by Chocololo (ask for prices)

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Delectable chocolates inspired by Provence, these are everything you’d expect… luxurious, smooth, pretty and sophisticated. They are slightly less rich and intense in comparison to some of the other chocolates and chocolate flavoured goods available at the market – which makes it far less sickly to devour more of them. Result!

11. Curry Bread by The Thornbury Deli (ask for prices)

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Light and airy with a perfect crust, the Thornbury Deli’s wonderful loaves are made even better with imaginative spices and other ingredients. Try the Curry bread or the Cheddar Cheese, Tomato and Red Onion loaf – both are divine!

One New Change Food Market, every Saturday from 10am

Gizzi Erskine Launches New Weekly Food Market

1 Jun

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Gizzi Erskine is one of the most exciting cooks and food writers of our time. Combining an infectious passion for food with a signature vintage style, Gizzi isn’t afraid to break from the crowd and tell it like is whenever it comes to anything edible. Thus, when I heard she’d be in the City of London to give a talk at the launch of a new weekly food market at One New Change (adjacent to historic landmark St. Paul’s Cathedral), I threw on the first thing I could find in my cupboard and hot-footed it down to the location.

Once there, I found an array of artisan food producers, selling the most aromatic and melt-in-the-mouth delights. My eyes feasted on handmade doughnuts by Cakehole, spicy Japanese-seasoned nuts from Kinomi, Indian spiced biscuits by Pistashio Rose, gooey chocolate brownies and tarts by Galeta, beautiful Mexican cheeses from Gringa Dairy, moreish Macarons by Cutter & Squidge, mouthwatering bresaola and Hungarian spiced salumi from Picco, arrays of honey from Londoner Curtis, a.k.a the charming Local Honey Man, oils from Morocco courtesy of Arganic and so much more!

My stomach rumbled appreciatively for the entire afternoon!  I stumbled upon so many delectable goodies, I actually need to list my favourites in a separate blog so that this post doesn’t turn into a dissertation!

Of course, I can’t leave you without sharing anything from London’s newest and most delicious weekly food market… so here’s a video of Gizzi Erskine’s afternoon speech. Sharing her heart-warming appreciation for both farmers and food markets and the important contribution they make to local communities and the food industry in general – indeed, many food buyers from supermarket and high-end retailers trawl the markets for luxury or unique products – Gizzi also discussed her brand new weight loss cookbook that can help shed extra pounds without compromising on taste or regular treats. It definitely made me feel A LOT less guilty about tucking into a handmade vanilla custard doughnut, chocolate brownie and flaky, spinach and feta croissant at the market…