The Lakes and Cumbria Cook Book: A celebration of the amazing food & drink on our doorstep. Featuring over 30 stunning recipes. Me:ze £14.95
Simon Rogan – bare arms folded, in his chef’s whites - stands looking directly at the camera. He is a man with a vision and a man who knows his own mind. He considers “The Lake District is a truly exciting dining destination.” He has been able to create his own farm to provide the fresh produce he wants, not only for L’Enclume, his restaurant in Cartmel with two Michelin stars, but also for his restaurant in London. He finds the Lake District has some of the best suppliers and producers in the country.
Kevin Tickle, from Forest Side, says that he has “the whole of Cumbria’s bountiful larder to play with” as he creates his unique dishes. He’s proud of his Mushroom Broth. The broth is made with wild mushrooms, girolles, chanterelles and grey oysters, with garlic and vegetable stock and a generous helping of Madeira. And it’s made to be poured over a few pickled shimejis and a wild mushroom ragu.
At Dodgson Wood in Nibthwaite, John Atkinson and Maria Benjamin are raising the kind of meat that Kevin would appreciate. Maria has a recipe for Mutton Koftas. You roll the minced mutton in a paste of sumac, cinammon, cumin, chillies and treacle – that seems like the magic ingredient – and then, shaping them to the size of golf balls, you fry them before letting them simmer in passata for thirty minutes – sounds good, and they look delicious.
Nearer home, but looking equally delicious, are the apple pies served at The Apple Pie Cafe and Bakery in Ambleside. You need self raising flour, caster sugar, a lemon, sultanas and mixed spice and, of course, the indispensable two kilograms of best Bramley Apples. Cooked the right way, and Simon and Richard Fielding know the right way, “the apple itself cooks to a moist, airy, fluffy texture which make the filling almost cream-like”.
Fyne Fish, which opened seven years ago in Cockermouth, sources its fish from the Cumbrian coast as well as from national and international waters. Husband and wife, John and Sharon Helme, have that special recipe for fish pie. Potatoes, cream, butter, leeks and carrots, mushrooms, spinach, parsley, lemon and salt and pepper all combine with your choice of fish – it’s a very accommodating recipe – to create what they see as an indulgent fish pie.
At the Carvetti roastery in Threlkeld, Gareth Kemble and Angharad MacDonald dedicate themselves to finding the ultimate coffee. Their little indulgence is a frothy little drink which takes a mere five minutes to make and goes by the name of an Espresso Martini. You just need some instantly chilled Carvetti espresso coffee, a little (or a lot) of Lakes Vodka, a few millilitres of Kahlua and some sugar syrup to create a drink which they describe as “very stimulating”.
And there are many other stimulating dishes for eager Cumbrian taste-buds. You might try Beer and Onion Soup from the Hawkshead Brewery, or Hogget loin with artichoke at Rothay Manor or Morbier Tartiflette at The Square Orange or Ravenglass crab and marsh samphire quiche at Stockghyll Fine Food or another two dozen special dishes and drinks from all over the county, all with detailed recipes, mouth watering photographs and the personal recommendation of their creators.
But for me, the one I really fancy is the traditional fruit scones made by Phil and Cheryl at the Watermill in Little Salkeld. Dark golden, crunchy, oozing jam and cream, they look irresistible. And the key, as always, is the individual special ingredient from Cumbria’s “bountiful larder” - the self-raising flour freshly ground with the power of the River Eden.
Sounds and tastes idyllic.