Tag Archives: Netherton Foundry

Nellie Knows : The Wokingham Paper : 27 March 2015

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I was thrilled to be asked by the Editor if I would like to be a columnist for The Wokingham Paper, the new weekly paper for Wokingham.  Of course I jumped at the chance!  Here is my first column which was printed on Friday 27 March 2015.  The paper is now weekly and you can pick it up for 50p from shops and newsagents across the Wokingham Borough.

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“It’s a time of new beginnings with a new paper for Wokingham, the clocks going forward, the Easter holidays are fast approaching and gardens all over Wokingham are showing signs of fresh new shoots and lush green grass. What’s not to be happy about?

We really are very lucky living where we do and Wokingham is often quoted as being one of the best places to live. Having lived in the borough all my life I will have to agree. I grew up in Hurst when Dinton Pastures was just fields which subsequently became gravel pits when the aggregate was used for the A329M, now it is a hugely popular country park that attracts heaps of visitors yearly. I moved to Wokingham 25 years ago tempted by the bright lights and by the time I realised the bright lights were infact the level crossing lights it was too late and I’d already put down my roots in the town and it’s where I am raising my family.

The town centre is going through many changes and I would urge you to get involved and have your say. I’m a big fan of independent shops that give a little bit more and I assure you the town IS still open, yesterday I spent 2 hours after school running errands in town and picking up bits, not only did the shopkeepers welcome thecustom they also gave the customers some good old fashioned customer service with a smile. And that to me means a great deal.”

Sport

Popped into John Wood Sports to pick up a stud spanner for one of the girls’ football boots, whilst there they asked about the football teams the girls played for and supported. One of my girls plays for Ashridge Park U14s and one of them plays for Wokingham & Emmbrook U10s and are undeniably proud of their clubs and their achievements. Back in the day girls didn’t play football so it is refreshing to see so many girls getting involved and my husband is often badgered to go into the garden (or next door to retrieve a ball) or the park for the girls to practice their skills.

Books and reading

One of the great pleaures of my childhood was reading. I grew up on a diet of Famous Five and Mallory Towers, then I started reading pony books and the Flowers in the attic series. I still read loads and review books for authors and publishers which has introduced me to many great authors. A number of our local book shops and libraries have author events which are hugely enjoyable and very popular. I regularly keep an eye on Wokingham Libraries, Bookends and Chapter One website and Twitter feeds to see who is coming along and over the coming months I will be arranging a number of events which you will be able to learn more about in this column.
Shopping

One of my hobbies is shopping, not just for buying new things but also finding new things and am often asked where I find things. Quite simply there’s loads of places to look and in supporting local shops I am playing a small part in keeping our town centre alive. Sometimes it might be considered easier to buy something online because it could be cheaper but when you add in the P&P and the time spent finding out how to reclaim your parcel if you are not in then that all takes time. My children often (regularly) complain that I spend too long in shops but I like the personal touch.

Food and drink

According to my friend Fiona I cook like her Welsh Nana cooked, which is opening the fridge to see what’s there and then creating a tasty and wholesome meal for all the family. If she times it right I will send her home with a dish of food for which she is grateful for (funny how she always manages to time it right!). I’m a big fan of slow cooking and have known Netherton Foundry for some years, they have a great range of cast iron cookware which can be found in Robert Dyas as part of the Theo Paphitis SBS selected items. Just this morning I threw in some tomatoes, chopped onion, garlic and carrots together with some mince and seasoning so that by the time the children are home from school or clubs, the homework is done and the kit required for the following day is located I can just lift the lid of the slow cooker and supper is ready.

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Delicious Indonesian Food from Mama Eti’s : Review

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When an old school friend (when I say old I mean young obviously) asked me if I would like to try his Mama Eti’s range I jumped at the chance because I love friends, food, cooking and small businesses, so obviously Mama Eti’s ticks all those boxes!  Jeremy sent me a box of what I can only describe as deliciousness, so many brightly coloured jars containing ingredients and flavours with simple to cook instructions, I couldn’t wait to start whipping up a feast.

IMG_6281Jeremy’s wife, Tina, grew up in Bandung, a tiny and very picturesque village in the foothills of Western Java where she had an idealic but very humble upbringing surrounded by extinct volcanoes, rice paddies and trickling streams.  Moving to England and living so far away from home, the two things she missed most about Indonesia were her family and her mother’s cooking so she used to recreate her mum’s dishes in her kitchen at home, where the smells and flavours immediately transported her back to her village.  It was then that she struck on the idea to cure the homesickness and develop a business which keeps both alive here in England.

The first curry paste we tried was the Sumatran Chicken Curry which was bursting with flavour and the combination of lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf and galangal make this dish uniquely Indonesian, combined with the fiery chillies (I left out the birds eye chills just incase anyone complained) give it the personality that is undeniably of Padang Cuisine. All I had to do was fry the contents of the jar, add in the dry ingredients and brown the chicken before adding the Coconut Milk before leaving to cook in the slow cooker.  It was so yummy that there was nothing left after everyone had gone back for seconds.

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I’m not normally a lamb curry kind of girl but the Sumatran Lamb Curry was decidedly moreish and Big Welsh said it tasted just as nice a few days later.  Influenced by the trading links between the Middle East and Sumatra, it’s a coconut based curry with subtle hints of cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and clove.  I fried up the ingredients and added the lamb leaving it to soak up the flavours for before putting it in the slow cooker.

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Last night we had the Beef Rendang which is the most famous of all the banana leaf curries.  Beef Rendang is a dry but succulent curry typically eaten at festivals and ceremonies, so if you like your curry with an abundance of flavour you will just love Rendang which we did and again there was nothing left!  I dished it up with a mixture of rice and a big bowl of broccoli that was wolfed down.

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The instructions are very easy to follow and the additional ingredient Coconut Milk is one that I have in the cupboard all the time so I was able to throw open the cupboard doors and start cooking straight away.  I’ve always got tins of bamboo shoots and a fridge full of vegetables so could easily add in some of those if I have unexpected guests.  Everything you need is included which makes it ideal for a cupboard staple in our house.  The allergens are highlighted on the packaging and for a milder taste they recommend leaving out the bird’s eye chilli.

We are yet to use the marinades though with the BBQ season fast approaching we will no doubt be trying out recipe and suggestions and will be adding the relish to our lunches without a doubt.  Other products in the range include a Sate sauce which I know I will love as well as Nasi Goreng which I know will complement fried rice and the Fragrant Chicken Soup Spice Paste will find its way in to some recipes I whip up.

If you just so happen to be around Birmingham on the 2nd Saturday of every month head to Brum Yum Yum in Kings Heath and sample their live cooking and take away one of our spice pastes to cook at home.  Be sure to tell Jeremy I suggested you pop along, but don’t ask him to tell you any of our school horror stories!

PS.  Those lovely folk at Netherton Foundry are offering customers a 5% discount when you enter POMPOMS at the checkout – just in time for the glamping, camping and garden cooking season!

Slow cooked tomato sauce

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I love my slow cooker and use it most days. Sometimes twice a day. Over the last week or so I’ve made Tarragon Chicken, Beef and Mushroom, Roast Chicken, Slow Pork with cider, Thai green chicken curry, I’ve used it as a keep warm dish for meat whilst I’ve fried the onions and leeks to name but a few uses. It’s so easy and anything goes!

This morning I picked up my order from Tesco and dashed home up make a tomato based sauce for the cauldron of bolognese sauce I’m making.

I always use a variety of leeks and onions (red, onions, shallots, white, spring) which I throw in followed by a generous slug of olive oil

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After which a pile of red peppers (you’ll never catch me cooking with green peppers, ugh)

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In go the tomatoes (I’ve used cherry tomatoes today)

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A bay leaf (if you’ve not got any I’ve got plenty – this was my 99p plant from Safeway ages and ages ago!)

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Maybe a sprinkling of herbs (fresh, dried or frozen) and then lid on and leave to bubble away on low heat.

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Give it a quick stir as and when, adding in a small glass of red wine until it’s all reduced into a mushy mass of tomato sauce to be used in soups, stews, pizzas, bruschetta or marinades. If I’m doing a big chilli cauldron I’ll put in some red chilli peppers to give it some kick but whatever you add it’s up to you!

Enjoy!

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Kitchen Gifts

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I really enjoy being in my kitchen, it’s full of food, drink, mugs, jugs and bowls, ancient crockery that I can’t bear to throw out, equipment I can’t do without, books, more things and then some!  Finding a gift for a “kitcheneer” can be quite hard but I’ve cobbled together some ideas that might be of interest.

I love my slow cooker from Netherton Foundry, I have written about it here on the blog before and am thrilled that they are offering a 5% discount to shoppers if they enter the code PEACOCK at the checkout.  I have just ordered a frying pan and wok for Big Welsh, isn’t he lucky!

Hidden amongst the cupboard of things that come out on a whim is the bread maker, we go through baking spurts but my bread maker is an old favourite and there is nothing nicer than coming downstairs in the morning to the smell of freshly baked bread.  Of course bread needs a stylish place to live (albeit for a very short time with my gannets and endless guests) and I love my bread bin from Ellas’s Kitchen Company which is sturdy, has a drop down lid and space underneath for the board.  When the kitchen is how I want it then my next purchase will be a kitchen cabinet!

My favourite plates are from OKA, big enough for a decent sized portion or used as charger plates they are tactile and stylish.  I also love the mugs and they are next on my list!

Talking of mugs I have plenty and my favourites are from Emma Bridgewater, Bodlon, Ty Cariad and Dots and Spots.  Of course there is always room for more!

I counted my tea towels and I have 25 (and that’s just in the dresser never mind the laundry pile!), as with mugs there’s always room for more!  I have ancient ones from Cath Kidston and Portmeirion as well as Licorice, Ella’s Kitchen Company, Nettle Green and Bodlon and have been told by those lovely people over at Deckchair Stripes that they have an offer on at the moment.  Guess I will be up to 35 tea towels by the end of the week!

Another great purchase is my vintage enamel casserole from The Foodie Bugle, if you’re in Bath then you are in for a treat as they are opening their new shop and if their pop up is anything to go by you will become hooked!

I make no secret that I don’t like cling film which is why these natty bowlovers are ideal!  They are an ideal gift, as are easy to wrap, light to post and are extremely useful!

One thing that I absolutely love and don’t have yet (“yet” that’s a big fat hint!!) is this gorgeous set of utensils from Ceramica Blue, it’s stylish, practical and necessary (yes necessary!).

Oh I could go on for hours, but I must make a start on lunch!

Kitchen garden

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Opening my back door I look at my kitchen garden, it’s new and full of plants from the Common Farm Flowers Plant Sale and my ancient mint bath from Hungerford Arcade that cost me £5 ages and ages ago.

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This morning I was preparing a stew to slowly cook in my Netherton Foundry Slow Cooker and needed fresh herbs. I have a pair of herb scissors but I much prefer the way I was taught by an old girl who lived in the village.

Take one mug or cup and a pair of scissors

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Cut the required herbs and put them in the cup or mug

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Chop chop chop, snip snip snip

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Herbs ready for the slow cooker.

There’s exciting news about a Netherton Foundry and Peacocks & Pom Poms collaboration coming soon. I can’t wait.

Cooking with Netherton Foundry

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For as long as I can remember I’ve loved cooking.  My grannies were great cooks who effortlessly created feast upon feast for hungry family and friends, my mother catered for hundreds with every party she threw, going to stay with friends and spending time in their kitchens was always great fun and at school my friends and I tried to work out quite what it was that happened to be on our plate!  I did cookery but didn’t pass the ‘O’ Level, let’s gloss over that, but undeterred I knew I could cook and apart from my very disastrous spinach and lentil roulade I’ve never made such an awful mistake again!

Cooking for me is both a hobby and a necessity, my family need to eat but it’s something I enjoy doing so I invest in my equipment, choosing products well so they’re built to last and fit for purpose. Not only that but it needs to look good. One such item in my kitchen is my slow cooker, it ticks all the boxes and then some. I’ve got links to Shropshire through my ancestors the Izons so it came as no surprise I started following Netherton Foundry who have a fabulous range of cast iron cookware, clocks and miscellany that are ideal for kitchens and perfect for gifts.  I particularly like the fact that they have used my favourite quote which is my justification for useful and beautiful things!

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris  1834–1896

I’ve started my collection with a Slow Cooker which sits happily in the corner of the kitchen, is used and admired in equal measures and now I would not be without it!  Next on my list is a frying pan and Big Welsh who is the best at stir fries clearly needs a wok!  I’m also a storage queen so the pan rack would be ideal!

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. For those campers and glampers there’s a glamping pan! I’ve also just heard there’s a nut roasting pan – THAT is a necessity!!

The ordering process was very simple and my box arrived within a few days, well packed and with recipes which are fabulous and feature my kind of food!  

Since then I have been tweeting Netherton News and telling them my recipes and other kitchen stories, so when they asked me if I would like to collaborate with them and tell you about them, of course I said a great big smiling YES, so when you you head to the website and place an order with Netherton Foundry you can get a 5% discount when you put PEACOCK in the checkout.