Staffordshires Food and Drink Scene.

Slow-braised shin of beef

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Slow-braised shin of beef

Little Seeds Chef, Jake Lowndes, shared this sensational dish for the autumn/winter 2018 edition of Sauce magazine. The slow-braised shin of beef with carrot puree, crispy kale and truffle & chive chips is the perfect winter warmer dish.

  • Author: Jennifer Darby

Ingredients

Scale

For the beef
6 prepped rings of shin from your local butcher
1 stick of celery
2 carrots
1 leek
2 sprigs of thyme
500ml of red wine
500ml water

For the carrot puree
6 carrots, peeled & diced
60g butter
Water
Salt

For the kale
300g kale
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

For the chips
Potatoes
Truffle oil
Salt
Chives

Instructions

For the beef

  1. Chop roughly into pieces the celery, carrot, onion and leek.
  2. Sear off the shins on both sides in a hot pan, then place into a deep tray.
  3. Sear off the vegetables and place into the tray with the meat.
  4. Put the red wine, water and thyme and veg then cover the tray with foil.
  5. Cook in the oven on a low heat (around 125 degrees) for six hours.
  6. After six hours carefully remove the shins and pass the remaining liquid through a sieve into a saucepan.
  7. Reduce the liquid and skim any impurities off the top then put to one side.

For the carrot puree

  1. Place the carrots and butter into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer until soft then drain off.
  3. Place into a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Add salt to taste.

For the crispy kale

  1. Prep the kale by removing the middle stalk.
  2. Lightly coat the kale with oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place into a tray and cook in a very low oven at 90 degrees for three hours.

For the chips

  1. Cut the potatoes lengthwise.
  2. Fry or oven bake until crispy, transfer into a bowl and coat with truffle oil, salt and chives to your individual taste.

Bring the dish together

  1. Add a spoon of your carrot puree to the plate first.
  2. Next add a shin.
  3. Spoon over the sauce you made earlier.
  4. Serve with green beans and crispy kale.

Notes

If you enjoyed this recipe, head over to littleseedsathome.com and discover their brand new range of Food Boxes, where you can enjoy the Little Seeds experience from the comfort of your own home.

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World of Wedgwood ready for best Christmas ever

World of Wedgwood have revealed a spectacular line up for their Christmas celebrations this year, and for the first time in its history, World of Wedgwood’s celebrations include visits from…

World of Wedgwood have revealed a spectacular line up for their Christmas celebrations this year, and for the first time in its history, World of Wedgwood’s celebrations include visits from Santa Claus and a ‘Wedgwood grotto’.

Vistors to the Wedgwood Tea Room can indulge with an all-you-can-eat breakfast, complete with a visit from the one and only Santa Claus with his sack of gifts. You and your family can enjoy a Full English breakfast or continental breakfast with unlimited drinks served in the stunning Wedgwood Tea Room. Breakfast with Santa will be running on selected dates from Saturday 5 December until Wednesday 23 December, with five sittings available on each day between 9:00 and 11:00. Priced at just £15 per head, this really is a magical treat for all the family to enjoy quality Christmas time together.

As well as Breakfast with Santa, World of Wedgwood have also revealed that they will be offering a two-course Christmas lunch menu in the Dining Hall, followed by a visit to Santa’s grotto. On the menu, expect traditional roast breast of turkey with lemon and thyme stuffing, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce and roast gravy, or fillet of salmon en croute wrapped in puff pastry with creamed spinach and tarragon cream to name a couple. For dessert, the Dining Hall have really pulled out all the stops with sumptuous puddings such as raspberry trifle, profiteroles with chocolate sauce, Christmas pudding cheesecake, Bakewell tart and many more. Tables are available on selected dates from Saturday 5 December to Wednesday 23 December with tables available from 12:00 til 15:00. The two-course Christmas lunch is priced at £22 per person.

Wedgwood is synonymous with tea and the quintessential afternoon tea in World of Wedgwood’s Tea Room is enjoyed by diners all year round. From Thursday 3 December to Sunday 3 January, it is served with a fabulous festive twist for £25 per person. There is also a takeaway option for two which comes in a Wedgwood presentation box priced at £30 for two people, making an ideal Christmas gift for those who want to indulge in the comfort of their own home.

The Christmas weekend market takes place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 December, from 10:00 to 16:00. Over 40 outdoor stalls of festive gifts and treats from local producers and artisans will feature handcrafted gifts, Christmas cards and decorations, meats, cheeses, chutneys and festive favourites along with street food and music. With free parking and free entry, this is the perfect event to stock up on your quality Staffordshire produce in time for Christmas celebrations at home.

For the late night shopping event on Friday 4 December, from 18:00 to 20:00, the Dining Hall will be open and serving their delicious takeaway pizzas.

Mike Powell, UK Sales Director at World of Wedgwood, said: “We all know what kind of year 2020 has been and we want to give our visitors the opportunity to have some escape this Christmas. We’ve carefully created a programme of events that will entertain and inspire in a safe and comfortable environment for both visitors and staff.”

All events are subject to government Covid-19 guidelines with flexible booking terms and conditions for additional peace of mind.

 

World of Wedgwood
worldofwedgwood.com

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You Can Dough It: DIY pizza in a pan

Looking for a rainy winter’s afternoon activity to do with the kids? Stuck for date night ideas while restaurants are closed? We might have just the thing you’re looking for…

Looking for a rainy winter’s afternoon activity to do with the kids? Stuck for date night ideas while restaurants are closed? We might have just the thing you’re looking for – with an exclusive discount, no less.

As you might have seen on our Instagram Stories (you can follow us @staffordshiresauce if you don’t already), we recently got to try out You Can Dough It, the new DIY pizza in a pan kit from Staffordshire-based Parogon Group.

You Can Dough It box

Launched at the start of November as hospitality venues across the UK closed their doors to diners yet again, these aptly named kits are now available for collection from Thursday to Sunday at five of Parogon’s seven pubs: The Orange Tree (Newcastle), The Wayfarer (Stone), The Blockhouse (Baldwin’s Gate), The Seven Stars (Brocton) and The Red House (Lilleshall, Shropshire).

Order and pick-up couldn’t be easier. Simply visit the dedicated You Can Dough It website, choose your closest or most convenient participating venue from the dropdown menu, select your collection time and pay in advance. When you arrive, all you need to do is call the venue on the phone number provided and someone (wearing a mask, of course) will bring the box out to you.

You Can Dough It contents

The pizza box packaging doubles as a method of presentation, if you want to relish that takeaway feeling alongside the satisfaction of making your own pizza (almost) from scratch. From the moment it’s handed over you can’t fail to notice that distinctive aroma making your mouth water. Inside, all the components are nestled in plastic tubs, neatly labelled and ready to go.

Included in the DIY kit are two readymade dough balls (big enough to make two medium-sized pizzas), chunks of Fior di Latte mozzarella, a generous portion of San Marzano tomato sauce, ditto Grana Padano cheese, a few basil leaves, a seasoning mix of dried herbs and salt, a flour/semolina mix to dust your work surface, and some extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the top of your pizzas.

The only equipment you’ll need is a frying pan (or pans, if you want to make both pizzas at once). You can use a rolling pin to shape the base if you like, but it’s much more satisfying – and really easy – to stretch it by hand. It’s a good idea to prepare any extra toppings you like beforehand, too. We used some sliced chorizo, red onion and green olives (which was delicious, if we do say so ourselves), but all the ingredients you need to make a perfectly respectable margherita are provided in the kit – as shown in the photo at the top of this article.

Easy to follow instructions are helpfully printed on the inside of the box lid. It’s a really straightforward process with plenty of room to get creative and relatively little room for error – great if you want to get the kids involved. It’s as simple as putting the stretched dough in a pan and adding your toppings. You’ll want the underside quite well done before you transfer to the grill to finish off the top; as the instructions suggest, it’s worth checking you’ve got a good colour on the base by lifting the edge gently with a spatula.

Good quality ingredients make this kit worth the £15 price tag, in our opinion. The well-seasoned tomato sauce, firm mozzarella and crumbly Grana Padano, along with the airy, gratifyingly chewy texture of the base, allow you to recreate the experience of eating out in the comfort of your home. There’s minimal washing up to contend with, and it’s a relatively affordable way to support a local hospitality business at a time when many are struggling.

Only marginally more expensive than fast food takeaway pizza, the added value here is in the enjoyment you get from opening up that box and creating a delicious meal in not much more than 15 minutes. And there are few things more satisfying – especially after the year we’ve all had – than curling up on the sofa to eat hot, cheesy bread fresh out of the pan.

Exclusively for Sauce readers, use the code SAUCE20 when you order for 20% off. This offer is available until 31 December.

You Can Dough It
youcandoughit.co.uk

This review is part of a paid partnership with You Can Dough It. All views are our own.
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Free school meals during half term in Staffordshire

Across the county, charities, pubs, restaurants, cafés and many more organisations are all pulling together to help families in crisis this half term. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted vast…

Across the county, charities, pubs, restaurants, cafés and many more organisations are all pulling together to help families in crisis this half term.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted vast swathes of the population mentally, financially and physically, but the most vulnerable people in our communities face more of a struggle than ever to keep food on the table for their children. Now that school is out for October half term, families who usually rely on free school meals to make sure their children don’t go hungry during school hours are left to their own devices, which is a monumental difficulty for those who have lost all or some of their income due to COVID-19.

We believe that no child should go hungry and no family should struggle to feed their children when their usual line of support is temporarily halted.

Below is a directory of generous Staffordshire businesses who are offering free school meals or other forms of assistance to children and families during half term.

Trentham Bakehouse, Trentham
NØRTH Kitchen + Bar, Hanley
Klay Pizzeria & Bar, Hanley
The Glost House, Longton
The Rabbit Hole Tea Room, Hanley
The White Hart Tearoom & B&B, Leek
Cup A Cha, Stafford
Kaffeine of Penkridge, Stafford
55 Bar, Lichfield
Ultimate Vegan Cafe, Lichfield
The Olde House Tearooms, Kinver
Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID, Stoke-on-Trent
24 Market Street, Lichfield
Zest, Hanley

In addition, plenty of Staffordshire businesses and charities are urgently appealing for the support of the public. The Slamwich Club have launched ‘The Social Slam’ scheme to help support children and families of Stoke-on-Trent with meals during hard times – you can read about their initiative and donate by clicking here.

The Corner have teamed up with The Robin Hood to make 120 packed lunches to send to Men Unite, which will be distributed to their local food bank. Find out more here.

Affordable Food Stoke are accepting food donations which will directly make their way to those who need it this half term. To donate and find out more, click here.

If you think you can help vulnerable families this half term, please head over to the Alice Charity website to donate. The Alice Charity are a fantastic charity with the sole purpose of helping vulnerable families in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

If we have missed anybody from the list, please send us a message on either Facebook or Instagram and we will gladly add them to the article to spread the word.

#endchildfoodpoverty

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Halloween and autumnal activities in Staffordshire

Trying to keep the Halloween ‘spirit’ alive this year is pretty challenging, but it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve been busy scouring the county to find the best Halloween…

Trying to keep the Halloween ‘spirit’ alive this year is pretty challenging, but it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve been busy scouring the county to find the best Halloween and autumnal themed activities for you and your family to enjoy whilst staying safe. Here are our top picks.

 

Rock House Trail at Kinver Edge

This 4 mile walk boasts breathtaking views of both Staffordshire and Worcestershire. The gentle and accessible trail incorporates two different rock house complexes that visitors can explore. It is the perfect place to tell spooky ghost stories about the weathered carvings in the red sandstone to really set that Halloween mood!

Photo: National Trust. Nanny’s Rock at Kinver Edge.

 

Canalside Farm’s Annual Pumpkin Festival

Canalside’s Pumpkin Festival is back! It will be running every weekend in October and in half term from 10:00-15:00 up until 31st October 2020. Tickets must be purchased in advance on their website for just £2 per person (under 3s go free). Tickets will be released on the Wednesday for the following weekend, so regularly check the website and keep your eyes peeled to avoid disappointment.

Photo: Amanda White Photography. Canalside Farm’s Annual Pumpkin Festival.

 

World of Wedgwood’s Halloween Pottery Painting and Autumn Activities

World of Wedgwood are hosting Halloween Pottery Painting and Autumn Activities this half term. Visitors can paint their own Halloween themed pottery, enjoy an autumnal stroll through the Hem Heath woodland or even indulge with a luxurious afternoon tea in the Wedgwood Tea Room.

Photo: World of Wedgwood. Halloween Pottery Painting and Autumn Activities.

 

The National Forest Adventure Farm ‘Moonlight Harvest’ event

The National Forest Adventure Farm are hosting their new evening event ‘Moonlight Harvest’. Visitors can pick a pumpkin under the night sky, enjoy live performers, live music and funfair rides, take a torchlight stroll through the maize and can warm up with hot food and drinks from their licensed bar. The event is running every Friday, Saturday and Sunday up until 31st October.

Photo: The National Forest Adventure Farm. Moonlight Harvest event.

 

Tittesworth Water Circular Walk

Visitors to Tittesworth Water can enjoy a circular walk around the Tittesworth reservoir and experience the beautiful changing autumnal landscape. The walk also takes visitors past their conservation area which is ideal for bird spotting. The walk is around 4.5 miles long, and afterwards, you can reward yourself by enjoying a bite to eat at The Waterview restaurant, or head over to The Lazy Trout pub which is just a stones throw away.

Photo: Tittesworth Water.

 

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Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen opening in Leek

After launching Gallagher’s Home Kitchen back in March 2020, founders Jess and Chris Gallagher have now set up Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen in the heart of Leek, which is due…

After launching Gallagher’s Home Kitchen back in March 2020, founders Jess and Chris Gallagher have now set up Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen in the heart of Leek, which is due to open this week!

Gallagher’s Home Kitchen was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after both were due to start new jobs in the hospitality industry at the end of March. Both Jessica and Chris have an extensive background in the hospitality and food and drink industry and decided to launch their own homemade food service, to bring impeccable restaurant quality food to their customers in Cheddleton and the surrounding areas, in the comfort of their own homes.

After rocketing to success with Gallagher’s Home Kitchen, the husband-and-wife team have taken the next steps and have secured a premises at 58 St. Edward Street, Leek. Situated in a charming Grade II listed building, Jessica and Chris will be serving breakfast, lunch and hot drinks to the people of Leek, as well as supporting local artisanal producers by stocking their products in-house, such as LemonAid, ChariTEA and Bear Kombucha.

Jessica and Chris said “The aim is to create a modern British ‘grab & go’ deli, with a breakfast & lunch offering that is fresh, wholesome, and delicious. Everything will be prepared in house daily, ready for you to pick-up and enjoy in the office, at home, on site, on the school run, or even strolling about town! We are using great-quality, fresh ingredients from expert local suppliers, all coupled with sustainable plant-based packaging to create all our goods.

Running alongside, we will also be providing great coffee and stocking a wide range of fantastic deli-style items from some incredible artisan producers who are predominantly based in our very own Staffordshire; something we’re super passionate and excited about!”

Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen will be using Courtyard Coffee as their main coffee supplier, a small batch coffee roaster based in Eccleshall, who we had the pleasure of interviewing back in April 2020. You can read the interview here.

Although their daily home delivery service has come to an end to make way for their new venture, Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen have not lost sight of their original roots, and will also be offering their brand new Monthly Supper Club service for their faithful GHK supporters. They will be running a collection/delivery service on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of every month, so you can still get your fix at home. You can read our original review about Gallagher’s Home Kitchen here.

“It’s huge thanks to our faithful GHK supporters over the past 6 months, that we are lucky enough to be in this position, and so we are thrilled to also be continuing with a Monthly Supper Club starting early November!

We believe in contributing to a sense of community, whilst encouraging local independent shopping within our stunning market town, especially in these strange times.”

The grab-and-go delicatessen will certainly be a welcome addition to the stunning market town, and will officially be opening on Thursday 15th October 2020.

 

Gallagher’s Deli & Kitchen
58 St. Edward Street, Leek, ST13 5DL
gallaghersdeli.com

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#cancelthecurfew

Dear Prime Minister, This is a letter from the hospitality industry with a stark message. Our industry is dying and the 10pm curfew may be the final nail in the…

Dear Prime Minister,

This is a letter from the hospitality industry with a stark message. Our industry is dying and the 10pm curfew may be the final nail in the coffin.

Up and down the country, our pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, music venues, theatres, event spaces and all other businesses that fall under the hospitality industry’s umbrella are teetering on the edge. Some are suffering death by a thousand cuts, while others have been ignored and left to starve.

As an industry we directly employ around 10% of the working population and contribute £39billion in direct tax revenue. That doesn’t take into account the contribution from industries that rely on us, from brewers and distillers to farmers and wholesalers. If nothing changes then hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs, thousands of businesses will close their doors forever, billions of pounds of tax income will be lost, and the hospitality industry will never be the same again.
We have borne the brunt of the measures announced over the past fortnight. We are vilified as breeding grounds for the virus, yet Public Health England’s own figures show this is not true. In fact, the latest figures show that we have one of the lowest infection rates outside of the home.

We are doing our utmost to make our venues safe for our staff and customers, acting on each new set of guidelines as they are announced, regardless of the notice we are given. However, the measures announced over the past week are the end of the hospitality industry as we know it.

The 10pm curfew has been heralded as a measure that will help to drive down the infection rate across the country. This is patently not true when you look at the figures.

The figures for what it will cost the hospitality industry and the night-time economy are stark. It is estimated that it will cost £5.5million a day in Central London alone, and venues are reporting a 63% drop in revenue since the curfew was imposed. Thousands of venues rely on post 10pm trade, with many taking over 60% of their revenue in that time, some even more than that. These are not “non- viable businesses”, these are venues that have reopened safely since 4th July.

In fact, restaurants, pubs, bars, and everyone in between have spent thousands to become COVID- Secure. To open safely many have taken on debt despite the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over them. Prior to COVID-19 we were regularly checked by Environmental Health Officers and local authorities to ensure we were meeting rigorous standards. Since COVID, these standards have become more stringent, leading to a position where we are one of the most tightly controlled and regulated environments accessible to the general public.
A 10pm curfew drives the public from the safe environment of our venues and into areas with no regulations. From 10pm people flood the streets as seen over the weekend, overwhelming public transport and taxis, and begin to filter back to their living rooms and kitchens for “one more drink”.

We are not asking for unlimited handouts. We are asking to open our doors. To be allowed to do what we do best whilst keeping our staff and customers safe. We are asking for your permission to keep the hospitality industry alive.
Stop blaming hospitality, let us serve. #CANCELTHECURFEW

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Pumpkin Festival will go ahead at Canalside Farm

With the misty mornings and dark nights creeping in, autumn is certainly lingering just around the corner. What better way to see the new season in than heading out to…

With the misty mornings and dark nights creeping in, autumn is certainly lingering just around the corner. What better way to see the new season in than heading out to pick pumpkins with the family.

Canalside Farm, Stafford, are pleased to announce that their annual Pumpkin Festival is ploughing ahead this year – autumnal pun intended. The festival, which has been running for the last three years, has proved to be the highlight of the farm’s calendar and the owners were both excited and relieved to be able to proceed.

Co-owner of the farm, Anna Barton said:

“In order for the pumpkins to be ready for October, we had to plant them in June, so we had to take a huge leap of faith, as at that time, we were still in lockdown and weren’t sure if we’d be able to go ahead. So we are over the moon that with a little re-organising and careful planning to ensure everyone’s safety, we will be able to run the festival this October.”

Keeping customers safe during their experience is the highest priority at Canalside, and therefore the team have implemented pre-booked timed tickets this year to manage visitor numbers.

Anna explains:

“Normally our festival runs across the week of half-term and is very busy, but this year it will run across every weekend in October as well as half-term, so that the visitor numbers will be spread out. People will only be able to enter via timed tickets, which have to be pre-booked on our website, so we can keep a tight handle on the number of people that enter. All of the activities will be held outside at our pumpkin field, making it easy to social distance and our staff will be on hand at all times, to manage things.

Although we’ve been operating our PYO for over 35 years, we only started growing pumpkins in 2017. We were delighted by the reaction we had in our first year, so planted even more pumpkins and are hoping for around 10,000 this year! Children love the ‘Pumpkin Patch’ and it allows them to see first-hand how this spectacular fruit is grown (yes pumpkins are a fruit not a vegetable!) They seem to really enjoy going into the field and picking their own pumpkin, and it’s a really safe, fun activity for everyone.”

Canalside’s Pumpkin Festival will be running every weekend in October and in half term from 10:00-15:00 between 10 and 31 October 2020. Tickets must be purchased in advance on their website for just £2 per person (under 3s go free). Tickets will be released on the Wednesday for the following weekend, so regularly check the website and keep your eyes peeled to avoid disappointment.

 

Canalside Farm Shop and Café
Mill Lane, Great Haywood, Stafford, ST18 0RQ
canalsidefarm.co.uk 

 

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Trentham Bakehouse launches afternoon tea

We first met Curtis at Trentham Bakehouse back in February 2020, when he explained why he went from being a professional chef in high end restaurants to opening a bakery…

We first met Curtis at Trentham Bakehouse back in February 2020, when he explained why he went from being a professional chef in high end restaurants to opening a bakery in Stoke. In case you missed it, you can read our interview here.

Today we’re here to talk about the fact that Trentham Bakehouse are launching a range of very special afternoon teas, which we were lucky enough to try. Curtis and the team are offering three different options, each of which is presented in a beautiful picnic hamper complete with plates and cutlery. You have the choice of afternoon tea only, the sparkling afternoon tea with a bottle of Freixenet prosecco, or a luxury hamper which includes a bottle of yellow label Veuve Clicquot.

Picnic hamper with prosecco

Add a set of beautiful linen napkins, a big blanket and some glasses and you’ve got everything you need to head off to your favourite secluded spot and enjoy an al fresco feast this summer.  While everything comes in neatly arranged pairs, the hamper would easily be enough for a family of four or two couples to share. Unless you’re not into sharing, which would be totally understandable given the level of deliciousness we’re dealing with here, in which case you’re set for the next couple days!

Look away now if you don’t want to feast your eyes on a blow-by-blow account of this epic afternoon tea…

Let’s start with the quiche. In my experience opinions can be divided here, but this one’s oozy filling, rich with cheese and ham, could convince even the most quiche-sceptical. It has a puff pastry casing that reminds me of pastéis de nata. The sausage roll is another textbook case of perfect puff – light and flaky without being greasy – and it’s generously filled with tasty sausage meat seasoned with fresh herbs.

Picnic basket with quiche and scone

Possibly my favourite item in the whole hamper is the savoury scone. Crumbly and short, topped with an umami hit of cheese and shot through with onion seeds, it’s filled with chunky, moreishly salty bacon jam.

Out come the sandwiches next, and I would say they are more typical picnic fare than the dainty finger sandwiches you would associate with high tea – which is fine by me! The fillings in our basket are New York Deli, salmon and cream cheese, ham salad, and egg with lettuce, all served on the bakery’s own soft, floury white baps. They’re fresh and tasty with just the right filling-to-bread ratio.

Ham salad and New York Deli

It’s hard to know which sweet to tackle first, but the pineapple and passionfruit pavlova looks like a worthy contender. The only component of the afternoon tea that actually requires cutlery, it’s a kind of pastry-less twist on lemon meringue with a slice of lightly charred juicy pineapple, a squiggle of vanilla crème pâtissière and a scattering of super-tart, bright orange amazingness across the top.

Pineapple and passionfruit pavlova

The sweet scone is everything you want a scone to be: crumbly texture, strawberry jam and a vanilla crème pât, juicy raisins and a dusting of icing sugar.

Stick with me here because the rich, fudgy brownie has been turned on its head, pretty literally, and piped with a white chocolate frosting, then a chocolate sauce, then a sprinkle of even more delicious brownie crumbs. And the white chocolate and honeycomb flapjack is not like any flapjack you’ve ever had before, I promise. Then there’s a big, satisfying slice of millionaire’s shortbread with a smooth dulce de leche filling and short, crumbly base, topped off with creamy chocolate.

Flapjack, brownie, millionaire's shortbread

Last but not least is the alluringly shiny dark chocolate eclair, scattered with fudge pieces and filled with a thick, toffee flavoured cream. The choux pastry has texture and bite to it, with very little resemblance to the sad, chewy excuses for an eclair that you’ll find in the supermarket. Absolute heaven and definitely in the running for favourite item. 

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know there’s another very important part of afternoon tea that I’ve not mentioned yet. But there’s no need to worry, because Curtis and the team have got that covered too, with a selection of two different Teapigs teas included in the package. Maybe bring your flask?

Trentham Bakehouse picnic

This is an indulgent treat of an afternoon tea that takes as much care with the savoury elements as with the sweet. It would make the perfect centrepiece for a birthday or a special date (if this was the accompaniment to a wedding proposal, I can’t think of anyone who would say no), especially with the addition of the lovely chilled bottle of prosecco or champagne.

Add your own finishing touches to make it personal and the Trentham Bakehouse afternoon tea hamper will be a stunning experience that I’m willing to bet you’ll be talking about for months to come. Get it booked in!

Prices start at £40. Call, email or message Trentham Bakehouse on Facebook or Instagram to place your order with at least 48 hours notice.

Trentham Bakehouse
8 Atherstone Road, Trentham, ST4 8JY
facebook.com/Trenthambakehouse
01782 657812

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Let them eat buns

After working for almost 20 years as a chef, executive chef and chef consultant, Curtis Stewart has taken on a whole new challenge in the form of Trentham Bakehouse. Originally…

After working for almost 20 years as a chef, executive chef and chef consultant, Curtis Stewart has taken on a whole new challenge in the form of Trentham Bakehouse.

Originally from Manchester, Curtis now lives in Stoke with his partner Jenna and two young children. When the previous baker at 8 Atherstone Road – Dave – retired last summer after 22 years running The Bread Basket, Curtis and Jenna stepped in to take it on. A lot of Dave’s regulars still come in for their daily bread, or a sandwich and a chat, which has helped smooth the transition. But as far as Curtis is concerned there’s still a way to go.

“We’ve rewired, we’ve taken out walls, we’ve got new flooring down and new tiles going up,” he tells Sauce. “It’s been hard because we’ve not been able to close. I’ve been working on it in the afternoons, evenings and at weekends. My day starts at 3:00, and I’ve been here until 22:00 or 23:00 most nights, which is a bit mad.”

Curtis would like to grow organically, recruiting more staff so that their production volumes and product range can increase. As of March, The Slamwich Club on Hanley’s Piccadilly were the bakery’s only trade customers, but that side of the business is set to expand too. Curtis also has plans to introduce a new sandwich menu, combining his freshly baked bread with a deli-style offering of local charcuterie and cheeses. The aim is to offer something customers can’t get from the supermarket, but he recognises it will take time.

The next step is to build seating around the front of house area – a place for people to sit and enjoy a coffee (from Staffordshire Coffee, of course) and a pain au chocolat. The process of making pains au chocolat, croissants and the buns Trentham Bakehouse is rapidly becoming Insta-famous for takes three days. Stage one starts on Tuesday, so they’re ready for the weekend. With a new pastry chef on board to assist, Curtis is hoping to offer what has only been available on a Saturday, every day of the week.

“Monday and Tuesday are normally our prep days,” he explains. “We won’t normally do a brown bake on a Monday, because we are just gearing up then. Tuesday we will add a brown bake. Then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday we do white tin loaves and bloomers, organic rye, wholemeal, toasted wheat flake and malt barley loaves.”

However, it’s the traditional twisted buns filled with anything from cinnamon sugar to Lotus Biscoff spread that are fast becoming their bestsellers.

“I’ve been to a lot of bakeries and I think there has to be something that draws you in,” Curtis says. “The bun is very versatile, but there are loads of other things that we want to introduce as well, like duck egg custard tarts and cruffins.”

Viennoiserie will be the focus – a category of patisserie which uses a yeasted (or leavened) dough. Croissants, danishes, kouign-amann and cruffins all fall into the viennoiserie category because they are yeasted and laminated. With new ideas in the pipeline all the time, it looks to be these droolworthy pastries that will set Trentham Bakehouse apart locally.

“People don’t think certain things would work here in Stoke, but I think there is a lot of opportunity for small businesses,” adds Curtis. “If you’ve got a good concept there is a good chance that it will work. Because the market isn’t saturated here, there are opportunities to do something that nobody else is doing. People are always willing to pay for things if they think they’re getting value for money.”

Do you think a bakery is seasonal in the way that other places are?

“When you work with flour and yeast it is very unpredictable. You’re working with something that is alive. You see how differently the dough reacts when the seasons change. In the summer time, your window for working with it is very small; in the winter your window is very large.”

In terms of flavours, the winter has been a time of malts and ryes, but when it comes to spring time Curtis will be looking towards wild garlic and Canadian sourdoughs as well as alternative different flours, wheats and seeds. From a pastry perspective, spring and summer will be all about the mille feuilles, pavlovas, meringues – anything that is fruit-based or fruit-filled.

“The beauty of doing this is that there’s no blueprint; you can do as you want, when you want. Consistency is the only thing I’m searching for. It is the key.”

Trentham Bakehouse
8 Atherstone Road, Trentham, ST4 8JY
facebook.com/Trenthambakehouse

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