Tag Archives: pork pie

Time for a lightweight title

I think that title fits the bill. I’ve being trying to be more serious recently after a reading a book with a chapter on Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO as those in the know call it). You will often find it mentioned in spam emails and under titles like How I raised myself from Failure to Success in Blogging in Five Easy Steps. 

However, seriousness isn’t my natural state and I have been gradually relaxing. If you have read my new blog (pies-and prejudice.com) you will have noticed that the titles are much more factual on that one. It’s a strain but I’m managing it. Gems like Brockleby’s Stilton Pork Pie, devoid of puns and alliteration, are the ones, it seems, that will attract the search engines. Once I’ve attracted the search engines I will attract readers and once I have readers success is sure to follow. Success, in this case, can be defined as the offer of free pies.

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Brockleby’s Stilton Pork Pie or the lunch of Professor Quatermass?

See what I did there? Or was mention of the other blog so subtle that you missed it? And the possibility of free pies? Oh yes, I’m getting very commercial.

Meetings today.

Catching up with paperwork after that.

Taking pictures for an ID guide to hedgerow foraging for a school that is coming next week.

Resisting temptation to include poisonous plants as this is bad for repeat bookings.

Looking through baking books for inspiration. I have just been through Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads. It cost me £3 from a bargain book shop, against a somewhat optimistic £14.99 cover price for a 140 page paperback. Well, is white bread, white tin bread, batch bread, cottage loaf, milk loaf great bread? I don’t think so.  How about Named Bread, which is bread made into letters? Then you get into the breads with random things in them – halloumi and mint, peanut bread and a variety of fruit breads. I’m sure they are all good breads in their own way, but 100 Great Breads might be claiming a bit much. Some good recipes though, and I can feel my love of bread coming back.

Also having a look at his How to Bake (cost me £8 from TESCO – lost count of the number of recipes, but definitely over 100 varied ones – not all bread).

It’s time to start planning a gradual escalation of baking effort for the group as we work towards our Christmas party. Wednesday was simple biscuits, Monday is saltdough poppies  and after that it is ten weeks until we produce the Christmas centrepiece.

Julia bought me a set of cutters from Lakeland yesterday whilst buying jam supplies. I want to use them now…

 

 

 

It’s started!

Yes, after wrestling with a number of issues, including technology and stupidity, I’ve finally posted on the new food blog.

If you visit I apologise for the garish header photo it was one of the few I had on the camera that contained food and could be cropped to the right size. I will modify it when I have time, though it will remain garish. It doesn’t quite work with the theme, so I may well change that.

You can get very lazy (and forget an awful lot) if, like me, you start a blog and don’t alter the settings.

We had visitors today and we ate my review samples for lunch. With my palate it wasn’t possible to tell much from a quarter of a pie, so I will be repeating the tasting next week.

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As I’ve committed myself to eating soup for tea on days when I eat pork pies it looks like the soup maker will be getting a lot of use, but that’s all for the good as every soup I make is another blog post.

As I have already said, there’s a lot more to food blogging than you think.

Take photography. I was refused entry to the kitchen today because Julia wanted to use it for jam making. I set up in the centre, but then several people decided to have an early lunch and spread their food out in camera shot.

Eventually I set up in the kitchenette at the centre but it’s very hot in there and most of the greenery I was using for props gave up and wilted almost instantly.

To be fair, that’s how it’s designed. It’s a triple glazed room that faces south and catches heat for the rammed earth wall, which acts as a storage heater in winter. Unfortunately you can’t switch it off in summer …

Got to go now – only one photo today because I only took pork pies. However, if that is your thing you know where to go to find more…

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New tricks

I’ve always wanted to write a food blog. This blog was supposed to be about food and farming, as well as the group, but it sort of wandered away and became a ramble through life with digressions into birds, butterflies, the evils of modern life and anything else that came to mind once my fingers hit the keys.

This is probably not the way to become rich and famous from blogging, though with the exception of Jack Monroe I can’t actually name anyone else who has become rich and famous from blogging. There will be some, I’m sure, but I just don’t know them.

A friend of mine, who is neither rich nor famous despite being a top notch food blogger, once told me he didn’t have a clue what my blog was about. I was glad to hear it, because until then I thought I was the only one who didn’t know what I was doing. Incidentally, I’ve never read the article in the link before, and was surprised, when reading it, to find I was mentioned at the end. So maybe I am a little famous. Catch his blog here.

Over the weekend I have been reading a book about how to write a food blog, and as always, when faced with advice on writing I become scared. I’m not the world’s greatest writer, but I get by. I have always tried to stick to George Orwell’s advice after reading it as an earnest 16-year-old. The six rules are at the bottom of the page to save you reading through the whole essay.

I’ve drifted over the years, but I like to think I’m still writing passable English. However, after reading the new book I’m starting to worry about tinkering with my writing style. Once you start to think about the nuts and bolts you aren’t far from breaking it.

Writing is a bit like a kitten – it’s cute, magical and alive. But if you attempt to take it apart to improve individual parts I’m worried I’ll end up with a mess and have to play with my own wool.

Moving quickly on from that image, I’m also having to learn not to eat food when I see it. That’s always been a problem. I buy food, I think “photo” and I find myself looking at a pile of crumbs.

That’s why I had a special session today practising food photography. I’m not sure I’ve got the hang of it yet, but it’s a start. One pie is from Pork Farms, and that’s going to be my “control pie”: the other is from Hampson’s Garden Centre in Wakefield. (I was in Leeds yesterday dropping Number One son off – he starts his new job today).  I thought I’d drop by and pick some pies up, buying a big meat and potato pie for tea and three pork pies. After eating one in the car park I kept the other two for photography and testing. As luck would have it the luscious, savoury, jelly-filled piece of pork pie perfection turned out to be the best of the bunch. The other two, reserved for the photographs, were just not as good.

There is more to this food blogging than meets the eye.

 

George Orwell’s Rules

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are
used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you
can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.

 

 

Keeping busy

 

Sorry about the lack of activity over the last few days, we’ve been a bit busy.

For instance, while I was talking to a visitor on Thursday afternoon, the peacock came to call.

On Friday morning we visited Abbots Bromley, home of the Horn Dance. There was no dance, but there was a prize-winning butcher. I bought a pork pie and a Moroccan lamb pie. They both had lovely crispy crusts and plenty of densely packed meat. As usual, I didn’t think to take a photo until they were gone. At the risk of being a bit of a Philistine, I did find them a touch dry, as I like a bit of jelly in my pie and prize-winning pies tend to be a bit too meaty for me.  It’s probably a good thing I don’t do a food blog as I’d probably be frowned at for remarks like that.

After that we went to the National Arboretum. It’s the second time we’ve been and it was somehow less impressive than the first time, even though they have done a lot of work. I think this is because it’s now more cluttered and because a lot of the memorials now seem to be made from modern materials. We have to visit at least once more, so we will have to see.

We saw a Little Egret amongst the Canada geese, which was nice, and there were loads of dragonflies and damsel flies on the pond that cost £35,000 to build. Yes £35,000. To put it in context our butterfly garden cost £32.50 plus a lot of volunteer time and donated plants. I’m thinking of building a wildlife pond next – just need to see if someone will give me £35,000 to do it!

And yes, we did see a few memorials too.

These are for the Cockleshell Heroes, 1914 Truce (with game of football) and the Women’s Land Army. There is also a replica trench to commemorate the Great War, though I’m not sure my grandfather would have recognised it.