From Alice with love

Well, spring is here with a flourish, even with the snow the daffs and crocuses are popping through reminding me that the worst of the winter is over.

It was winter time when we moved to Ludlow two years ago and I remember the hustle and bustle of moving home, the girls and the pets. Weeks went by in a blur and nothing felt like it would ever settle.  Until finally, walking to work one day, I saw snowdrops in someone's front garden and it felt like we were home at last!

Ludlow is a fantastic mix of town and country, busy and slow, nature and people and I love that mix. Our move to Ludlow was a step up from the small villages Ian, my husband, and I grew up in. I love that I can walk everywhere and to everything.

We've lived all over the country but never where we could walk to town and do our entire food shop from individual independent shops each week.

We’ve always wanted to buy a delicatessen that we could put our stamp on, and make ours and Ludlow had just what we were looking for with the bonus it was in a busy, vibrant place known for its good food.

 Alice, Ian and daughters at the beginning, before the shop rebrand Source: matthew evans

Alice, Ian and daughters at the beginning, before the shop rebrand Source: matthew evans

 

We turned a former whole food shop into our delicatessen, Broad Bean. We stock the best quality food products drawing heavily from and showcasing a range of local producers. Ian was a former butcher to the Queen and we are growing an excellent charcutiere section.

I love good food and enjoy experimenting with interesting flavours using good quality, healthy ingredients. Every month I will share tasty recipes that celebrate seasonal fresh ingredients that can be bought locally.

This month I have chosen something a little unusual, filling the gap between hearty winter recipes and lighter spring fare.

 Bacon granola with a dollop of creme fraiche Source:letsgoludlow.com

Bacon granola with a dollop of creme fraiche Source:letsgoludlow.com

Spring Bacon Granola – a time between winter porridge and summer muesli

I am always in a quandary when Spring comes about what to eat for breakfast; not heavy porridge, not summery cold muesli. This recipe we found in a Nigel Slater book, has become a weekend staple in our house every Spring.

This recipe is amazing straight off the hob, but equally good cold or warmed through the next day, which appeals on both a practical and tasty level for a quick yummy Monday morning treat for breakfast to get me going through a very busy day.

It is also a truly adaptable recipe. I've made it so many times now I don't need to weigh anything. I throw in all sorts of nuts, seeds and fruit. Although I do miss hemp seeds when I don’t have any as they really add a crunch and cranberries add a sweet but tart touch in contrast to the bacon.

Feel free to substitute different nuts and seeds adding as much or as little as you wish and to use any ingredients in the back of the cupboard.

 Locally sourced British free range pork from Orchard Farm Source: Letsgoludlow.com

Locally sourced British free range pork from Orchard Farm Source: Letsgoludlow.com

I use dry cured smoked middle bacon, which I buy from Andrew Francis. It MUST be dry cured or you'll get soggy granola! If you like a less fatty bacon ask for short back instead. 

Andrew Francis' smoked bacon is locally sourced British free range pork from Orchard Farm with the rind left on which shows the place of origin and UK stamp. They dry smoke it themselves and the quality is great; a consistent amazing smokiness.

You can use standard oats but I prefer jumbo. Naturally, all of the ingredients are stocked in Broad Bean.

 Jewels of crispy bacon and cranberries Source:letsgoludlow.com

Jewels of crispy bacon and cranberries Source:letsgoludlow.com

Bacon Granola

Makes enough for 4 adults

Ingredients

6 slices of smoked middle bacon

 The best organic ingredients Source:letsgoludlow.com

The best organic ingredients Source:letsgoludlow.com

40g unsalted butter

200g jumbo oats

100g nuts (we use cashew and almonds)

100g seeds (we use pumpkin, sunflower and chia)

2 tbsps hemp seed

3 handfuls of dried cranberries

1 handful of dried chopped almonds or dates

creme fraiche or greek yoghurt to dollop on top

Method

1.    Put the butter into a frying pan to melt, chop in the bacon making it into small pieces      about the size of a stamp. I always cut off some of the fat, but you need some really. Cook this until it is very crispy.

2.   Add the oats and mix well.

3.   Add all the nuts, seeds and dried fruit, mixing to combine.  Cook on a medium heat so the oats soak up the buttery bacon juice and everything is warm and toasty.

4.   Tip into bowls, add a dollop of creme fraiche (my fav addition) or greek yogurt (an acceptable alternative) and marvel at how simple it is and how delicious.

5.   I keep the leftovers in the pan covered as it never lasts more than two days at our house, but you could box it up and keep in the fridge for up to three.

by Alice Evans - Alice@broadbean