Food & drink news from around Kent

PUBLISHED: 16:06 13 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:06 13 November 2015

A finalist gets stuck into making their dish at the Kent County Show

A finalist gets stuck into making their dish at the Kent County Show

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From hedgerow liquors to news of the latest Kent is Delicious cookery competition, open to all primary schools in Kent

Hedgerow liquors

Kent has long been renowned for beer and cider, but we also have a couple of new local companies seeing wonderful hedgerow liquors.

Nip from the Hip is a Kent-based company producing wonderful fruit liqueurs. The inspiration behind the company’s name comes from the wedding of co-owners, Alison and Paul, as Alison explains: “Members of the wedding party were given hip flasks as a gift, filled with gin- and vodka-based liqueurs made by my mother, Joy.

“Given the nerves on the day, having a ‘nip from the hip’ became increasingly common throughout the day!’

Their drinks contain local fruit, no additives or preservatives and flavours that include rhubarb vodka, raspberry gin and gooseberry gin, as well as blackcurrant rum.

Gillian and Louise from Wild Spirits of Kent were inspired while walking their dogs and seeing hedgerows heaving with fruits and berries. A passion for foraging for jams and chutneys developed into making sloe gin and other liquors.

Not all does all the fruit they use grow in Kent, but they also use premium dry gin and vodka which has been distilled in the county too.

Both companies sell via independent shops, as well as many of Kent’s farmers’ markets, visit: www.kfma.org.uk for details.

Kent is Delicious

The Diocese of Canterbury is inviting entries for its popular Kent is Delicious cookery competition, open to all primary schools in Kent.

Now in its fifth year, the aim of the competition is to raise children’s awareness of the quality and importance of local, seasonal produce by asking them to create a recipe using as many locally sourced, grown and produced ingredients as possible.

This year, schools are being asked to create a trio of tasty and local after-school snacks, including at least one hot dish.

Four schools will be chosen to go through to the final, which will be held at the Kent County Show on 8 July, where they will make their dishes for a panel of experienced local food and farming judges.

The 2015 winners were St. George’s CEP school in Wrotham and their teacher Annette Holmes said: “Our children gained confidence in preparing and making their own food and they loved the fact that other people tasted their dish and made positive comments.

“I would encourage any school thinking of taking part to do so. The children get so engaged that they don’t realise how much they are learning.”

The competition is organised by the Diocese of Canterbury’s Communities and Partnerships Framework, which has particular responsibility for rural and heritage issues, special interest groups, forging links with local authorities, as well as other faith groups and with charities.

Kent is Delicious is also supported by Kent County Agricultural Society (KCAS), Produced in Kent, and the Kent Farmers’ Market Association.

All the finalist schools receive Kent Farmers’ Market Association vouchers to help them create a hamper of local treats, and the winners receive free transport for Years 3 and 4 to the Living Land event at Detling held each year.

The deadline for entries is 27 May 2016. For more information schools can email kentisdelicious@diocant.org or visit www.canterburydiocese.org/kentisdelicious.

A fruitful Christmas

Swiss company Lubera has formed a collaboration with East Malling Fruit Research and together they have come up with three new fruit varieties perfect for Christmas dishes.

Pointilla berries are attractive red and yellow berries that are deliciously sweet but with a tang. Mini pear variety ‘Joy of Kent’ is great eaten raw and perfect cooked (see recipe below), while ‘RedLove’ apples produce wonderful rosy coloured juice. All are new to the UK market.

RECIPE

Spiced pear dessert

Ingredients

4 x ‘Joy of Kent’ pears

1 tspn cinnamon

1 x tspn nutmeg

2 tbspns unrefined brown sugar

1 x tbspn butter

Crème fraîche or cream to serve.

Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Cut each pear in half and stand on a piece of foil large enough to enclose both halves. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Add a small knob of butter. Wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray in the centre of oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. Serve with the juices from inside the foil and cream or crème fraîche.

All of the new fruit varieties are available to buy as Pointilla shrubs and apple and pear trees as well as five litres of RedLove apple juice all available online at: www.lubera.co.uk.

Brewery pit stop

The RAF Spitfires Rugby 7s team stopped off at Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham as part of a 250-mile charity bike ride.

The team, sponsored by Shepherd Neame’s Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale, undertook the mammoth challenge to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

They set off on Brompton folding bikes from RAF Northolt in Middlesex on Battle of Britain Day and covered more than 250 miles around the south east, including visiting Britain’s oldest brewer in Faversham.

Flt Lt Alex Blackstock, who took part in the challenge, said: “En route we also visited Biggin Hill to learn more about the Battle of Britain and also to pay our respects to the brave men and women who protected our country as we do today.

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