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Ever since Dr Morgaine Gaye enthusiastically suggested in January on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch that our vinegars are excellent drinking vinegars, we have seen a lot of interest from cocktail bars and health enthusiasts, all looking for that "next elixir." But I was particularly delighted to hear from Chris Galvin of Galvin Restaurants that they wanted to explore the idea of using our vinegars in an alternative to alcoholic cocktails. And this week, Group Head Chef, Kevin Tew, kindly sent me the results of their trials:

Galvin "Pimms"

It’s Pimms but not as you know it…


This is the Galvin version of the classic drink, only alcohol free…

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Tomorrow, we will be featured in the Telegraph Magazine! The Blackberry harvest has been good this year and the Telegraph are showing a small family business who use blackberries for such a delicious vinegar.

The online version is already available on the Telegraph site if you would like to have a read. The photographer came to take pictures of me in my home town of Chipping Norton and used one of me in front of the Soda deli for the article, my local Womersley stockist.
We have a few great online shops if this article inspires you enough to want to buy a bottle and you will find those on our Where to Buy page. We also have over 400 outlets around the UK and you can find your nearest using the map on our website. From next Spring, we hope to have our own online shop. Do sign up to our Newsletter if you would like to be kept in touch with the timing for that.

Lastly, do rest assured that, unlike the wording in the article, we don't just "chuck all the ingredients into a bucket," we put them in very carefully...


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Grandfa and Oliver  

Food shows come and food shows go. As an exhibitor, you don't always know what to expect: plenty of opportunity to catch up with fellow exhibitors, a mad panic to protect your stock from being ruined in a downpour of English weather or lots of enthusiastic people eager to talk about artisan food production.  And so it was in Cheltenham last weekend where I attended the Food Festival for the first time...

On the way there very early on the first morning of three, I had time to work out that it was fully 29 years since I had been at school at Cheltenham College. Maybe I should not have been so surprised to find myself having become a grandfather to a very beautiful boy called Oliver in the same week!

The festival was in the beautiful setting of Montpellier Gardens. We were in a large marquee surrounded by lots of other lovely producers like Cotswold Gold, Grumpies Pies (thanks for the lunch!) and Artisan Smokehouse who use maple for all their smoking, which makes particularly their smoked duck taste really sweet and tender. Being practically unique, we rarely find ourselves having to compete with many other fruit vinegar producers so we enjoy talking to people about how to use them and how to be creative in the kitchen with a good glug of our vinegars. When possible, though, we try to ensure our vinegars are included in the cookery theatre or we work with a local chef to showcase a recipe. I had recently met a charming fellow called Wayne Sullivan at an event at the impressive herb and micro leaf growers, Westlands, near Evesham and found out he is a head chef in Cheltenham, so I asked if he would like to do a demonstration on our stand on the Sunday. He loved the idea and, fresh from having moved house, he turned up with his whole family to show just how easy it is to make a delicious salmon ceviche. And, being a chef, this was also a great opportunity for visitors to ask questions about food preparation and mixing flavours and what is ceviche! (Ceviche is, put simply, raw fish marinated in citrus juice or vinegar and spices; the acid in the juice denatures the proteins in the meat in much the same way as cooking would. The flesh becomes opaque, the texture firmer and dryer, yet the flavours remain spanking fresh. Naturally, our vinegars do the job beautifully).
So, on a day off from his role as Head Chef at the local Storyteller Restaurant, Wayne made a delicious salmon ceviche with our Strawberry & Mint vinegar and finished with our Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender for a punchy sourness.

Salmon Ceviche with
Strawberry & Mint and
Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender
by Wayne Sullivan


200g fresh salmon, diced as fine as you can make it
1 red chilli, finely sliced up to the seeds (or a little further up for more spice)
1 whole spring onion, finely sliced
10g coriander, finely chopped.
1 lime, zested & quartered
Sea salt
10ml Womersley Strawberry & Mint vinegar
Toasted ciabatta, crackers, biscuits (anything crispy)
Womersley Lime, Black pepper & Lavender Vinegar (for drizzle before serving)

Prepare all ingredient in a bowl as fine as you can as this will ensure the vinegar can infuse, cure and tenderise.
Try not to prepare too far in advance but the longer you leave it then the more cured the fish will be.
Simply spoon small quantities on to pieces of toasted ciabatta, drizzle over the Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender vinegar and serve.

This recipe was inspired by Wayne's time as head chef at Storyteller, an eclectic fusion restaurant in Cheltenham that blends traditional Californian cooking with modern and European techniques.

After training at a local college, Wayne worked his way around Gloucestershire, fronting up some premier kitchens as well as working for a while in Australia. He then went on to stage at Petrus under Marcus Wareing, and over in the United States at Wheatleigh Hotel, in Lenox, Massachusetts.


A big fan of Sat Bains, Richard Davies and Daniel Clifford, his ultimate goal is to have his own little place where he can cook food that people will come from all over to eat, preferably by the sea.
You can follow Wayne at twitter.com/ChefWayner 
Wayne Sullivan


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Why eat Game? It is Wild, Natural and Healthy. Game live in the wild and are free to roam: the ultimate in free range! Game is not domesticated, they enjoy a life in the wild. Venison, for instance, is lower in fat than chicken and game species have no artificial feeds, chemicals or additives, they are just as nature intended.

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to meet José Souto who has worked as chef at the House of Commons, Mosimann's, the Ritz and the Savoy Grill. When he was at the House of Commons, he also wrote a manual on game cookery and followed this up by taking up the role of chef lecturer in culinary arts at Westminster College. Since taking the post, José has built a good reputation as one of the country's leading game chefs, also educating others on the harvest and preparation of game. I met José at Covent Garden Market for a blackberry convention and he demonstrated how superbly our Blackberry Vinegar tenderised and flavoured a loin of venison. In a recent recipe leaflet for the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) José included this lovely recipe for Roast Saddle of Hare with our Blackberry Vinegar:

Serves 2

José likes to share his knowledge on game with chefs as well as home cooks, so if you are interested in learning a bit more about the harvest, preparation and cookery of game, there is a wonderful opportunity to attend a one day game seminar at Westminster Kingsway College coming up very soon:

This is a one of its kind event and is as popular as ever with many areas of the hospitality industry regarding it as a must in the CPD of their staff now that wild food and game has become such a large part of our menus. For students it is a must as the seminar covers all Game theory students need for VRQ and NVQ qualifications.
The Game seminar gives attendees the ability to be educated and have a good understanding about the wild game that is produced by our countryside and it also gives them the ability to understand its background and provenance, enabling them to give this information on menus and add value to the product as well as be aware of costs and potential profits that can be made from preparing your own wild game.
Whether you are a Chef, foodie or Countryman or Lady the Game Seminar will be of interest to all.
There are 2 dates in January this year: Monday the 21st and Monday 28th January. There is a little more information on the Westminster Kingsway College site, too. Let me know if you are interested and would like more information on how to book ASAP as places are limited and I will pass on your details to José.
Are you game enough?

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We are so delighted to report that our Raspberry Vinegar has been awarded Gold*** and Top50 in this year's Great Taste Awards and our Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Vinegar has won Gold**


 This is a particularly special recognition since Raspberry is the first one we did, following a traditional recipe, as we still do to this day. And our Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender is perhaps the most inventive recipe with its' fascinating fragrant and sour blend. The Lime one is the favourites in our home as a marinade for chicken breasts prior to pan-frying. And Raspberry is just sublime blended with Rapeseed Oil to make the perfect salad dressing.
In honour of these awards, here is a fantastic new recipe for you:
Rhubarb and Raspberry Vinegar Pasties
with Smoked Wensleydale Cheese
by Josh Angell
200g Rhubarb, finely diced (Yorkshire Forced, if available)
1 Red Onion, finely diced
10ml Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil
100ml Womersley Raspberry Vinegar
75g Dark Brown Sugar
250g Puff Pastry
100g Oak Smoked Wensleydale Cheese
3 Egg Yolks
Pinch Salt and Pepper
50ml Womersley Blackberry Vinegar
25g Wholegrain Mustard
50ml Rapeseed Oil
Rocket or fresh salad leaf
Pinch Salt and Pepper
1.Heat the finely diced red onion and rhubarb in a heavy based pan with the 10ml of rapeseed oil
2.Sweat off the onion and rhubarb, adding the Womersley Raspberry Vinegar at this point; also add seasoning and the dark brown sugar
3.Continue to cook on a low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally
4.When the contents have turned to a chutney-like state, set aside and allow to cool gently
5.Pre-heat oven to 180˚C, place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a flat baking sheet and set aside
6.Flour a clean, dry surface and roll out the puff pastry; using a 10cm cutter, cut discs of the puff pastry
7.Cut the cheese into 5cm squares and place on half of the puff pastry discs; place a spoonful of the chutney onto the cheese and then an additional disc of puff pastry on top
8.Seal the discs together using a fork and place the finished pasties on the baking sheet
9.Use the egg yolks to wash the pasties before placing them into the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
10.Whilst your pasties are in the oven, make the dressing; take a glass bowl and mix the Blackberry vinegar and mustard, along with the seasoning. Slowly add the oil, stirring continually to avoid the dressing splitting
11.Remove your pasties from the oven
12.Take your rocket or other fresh leaf, and dress lightly with the dressing.
13.Assemble on the plate and place your pasties on top; if preferred place an additional spoon of the chutney on top
14.Enjoy with a crisp glass of chilled chardonnay for that extra treat
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Well, if it does ever stop raining and the Summer arrives this year, you can try this lovely salad recipe by Simon Blackwell.
As promised in my last blog post, here is the amazing dish Simon (aka The Buff Baker) did for us at the recent BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham. Of course, you don't have to wait for the sun to come out: the flavours in this salad are so vibrant and Summery that it will bring a smile to your face

Simon doing the prep...

Fig, Strawberry and Mint Salad
with Strawberry & Mint Dressing
Serves 4
Bag of Baby spinach
2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
2 Tbsp Strawberry and Mint dressing
2 Tbsp freshly chopped mint
4 sliced soft dried figs (or fresh, if available)
6 large fresh strawberries, sliced and with stem removed
Rinse spinach leaves under cold water and shake off the excess, before placing into a large bowl.
Dress the leaves with Agave nectar and Strawberry & Mint dressing and toss thoroughly.
Add fresh mint, figs, strawberries and walnuts, give a few final tosses to mix and coat well.
Turn out onto a board finish with a splash or two of the Strawberry and Mint dressing.
This was consumed by the visitors in seconds!

Do come to see us at the BBC Good Food Show in Winter from 28th November to 2nd December, when Simon will be doing another great demonstration for us. You can book your tickets here.
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We were fortunate enough to have the aptly named Buff Baker, aka Simon Blackwell, doing a couple of recipes with our Strawberry & Mint at the BBC Good Food Show last week. First up was a tantalising salad which I will also post here soon, but since Wimbledon is nearly upon us, I thought you would love to have a go at this truly scrummy and very fruity Wimbledon Trifle.

Simon Blackwell, the Buff Baker

Womersley Wimbledon Trifle
Serves 4
12 Ladies Fingers sponge biscuits
500ml double cream
6 mini meringues
8 strawberries cut into chunks
75ml Strawberry & Mint dressing
75ml cold water
150g caster sugar
4 strawberries cut into fans for decoration
Whip the cream until thick but not stiff, so that it can be just about poured.
Add cut up strawberry chunks to cream.
Crush meringues and drop into cream.
Mix cream, thoroughly combining ingredients.
Heat water, sugar and Strawberry & Mint dressing over a low heat until sugar is totally dissolved.
Pour sugar syrup over the sponge fingers, allowing it to soak in completely.
Allow sponge fingers to cool.
Place two fingers in the bottom of each bowl and then cover with a generous layer of the cream mixture.
Repeat this until a generous pile of cream sits above the rim of each glass.
Place your fanned strawberries on top of the dessert and then refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Womersley Wimbledon Trifle

Simon was one of the brave bunch on BBC's "Great British Bake Off" in 2011 and he also did a very tasty vegan Drizzle Cake for us at BBC Good Food Show last November. 
He is currently spending much of his spare time supporting the very worthwhile charity, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably),which is a charity set up to reduce the high suicide rate amongst men under 35 years old: the single biggest killer of young men in the UK. You can follow Simon's work with CALM on twitter. And we hope Simon will be able to join us again at BBC Good Food Show Winter for another cracking recipe...
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Lotte Duncan, Thame Food Festival

Last year, I met the very cheery TV chef and food writer, Lotte Duncan, for the first time at IFE in London. At the time, Lotte was looking for stock for her new shop, "Lotte's Kitchen," so she enjoyed a thorough tasting of all our flavours on display. Sure enough, the first order came through shortly afterwards and now, Lotte wows her visitors with amazing dressings using our Cherry, Raspberry or Blackberry vinegars, in particular.

I was interested to see how Lotte uses our vinegars so was delighted when I spotted that she was doing an "Easy Summer Entertaining" cookery demonstration at Lotte's Kitchen. I immediately booked my place which was just as well, because it was sold out. Turning up on a balmy evening, the room was filled with 22 expectant women, all keen to learn a few Lotte tricks. Oh, and there were two other chaps there!
If you have never been to Lotte's Kitchen, let me tell you it is a veritable Pink Palace of Tasty treats. Talking to some of her regulars, I was delighted to hear tales of how much love and care goes into Lotte's dishes and how, for instance, salads are integral to her offerings rather than just a side issue.
On the evening, Lotte put everyone beautifully at ease with her entertaining and relaxed style as she constructed some fabulous recipes:

  • Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Salad with Raspberry Vinegar (recipe below)
  • Leek and Cheese Soda Bread
  • Whole Salmon baked with Rosemary, Orange, Bay and Cloves
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes with Leeks and Cream (lots!)
  • Pink Meringues with Clotted Cream and Strawberries

It really was a fun evening as we were all looked after so well, everyone got a plate of each of the dishes and some even had a go at piping those pink meringues onto the tray...
In fact, the evening was such a success that Lotte has already decided to plan another one on July 3rd. I can strongly recommend it, but book NOW!


  Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Salad with Raspberry Vinegar
by Lotte Duncan
Serves 4
8 rashers free-range dry cured, unsmoked streaky bacon
3 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
4 tbsp Raspberry Vinegar (or Cherry/Blackberry/Strawberry & Mint)
1 tsp Wholegrain Mustard
8 Medium, cooked baby beetroot (not in vinegar)
2 tbsp Chopped, fresh Mint leaves 
1 Cos lettuce, leaves roughly torn
110g Young Goat's Cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grill the bacon rashers until crispy, turning occasionally. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Make the dressing by combining the oil, vinegar, mustard and a little seasoning together in a medium mixing bowl.
Cut each beetroot into four (or smaller, if preferred) and add to the dressing, stirring to coat.
Combine the mint and lettuce leaves and divide them between four plates. Place the dressed beetroot pieces on top of the leaves. Break up the goat's cheese into little pieces and dot on top of the beetroot. Finish with two rashers of grilled bacon on top.
*Optional: decorate with rose petals, as in the photo.
Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Salad with Raspberry Vinegar

And here is a picture of those meringues- I challenge anyone to eat these beauties tidily!

Pink Meringues with Clotted Cream and Strawberries

Lotte Duncan is also patron of the increasingly popular Thame Food Festival which takes place this year on 29th September (yes, we'll be there!) Last year was our first at Thame and it was a very busy day in glorious sunshine. You can read a little more about the day here.


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Thank you, Kate. Lots more recipes with our Lemon here:
Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper Vinegar recipes

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You may have noticed that we don't publish that much in the way of salad recipes on here. Of course, you can use all of our vinegars on your salad, according to what style and flavour you are after. For instance, the Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender is great when you want a sour and fragrant, Oriental feel. The excellent deli of the Year regional winner in Leeds, Haley & Clifford have been using this for many months on their in-house salads, to the delight of their many loyal visitors. And our 2011 Gold** Taste Award Winner, Golden Raspberry & Apache Chilli is perfect for a sweet and heat treat. But, for many, the most popular is our Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper.

My father, Martin, was certainly in a particularly inventive mood when he devised this recipe. He loved his Gin and Tonic with a hefty wedge of lemon; those unfamiliar with his proportions would soon find out that these were certainly NOT "Tonic and Gin!" Another great love of his was the propagation of hundreds of varieties of Basil. In Summer, the poly tunnels in the kitchen garden at our home in Womersley bursted with the aromas of this huge variety, from Purple Ruffles Basil to Cinnamon Basil and on and on.... So, combined with his aromatherapy skills, it was with some alacrity that he set about combining lemon with basil and Juniper as well as some bay leaf. With all the buckets lined up, as usual, he eventually arrived at the very recipe we use to this day.

The citrus is so good at bringing out delicate flavours in seafood and fruit dishes, but it is as a salad dressing that it really shines. Those botanical herbal flavours mix well with the Juniper to produce a dressing of such freshness and depth that they really bring a salad to life. So I was delighted a little while ago to receive this beautiful recipe for a mixed salad including my personal favourite, Pine Nuts, and dressed with our Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper from Tessa Stuart.




The Lemon, Basil, Bay and Juniper Vinegar dressing in this recipe gives the salad a wonderfully citrus zing!


Salad leaves
1 bag of Mixed rocket and leaf salad leaves
¼ of a cucumber, thinly sliced
1 punnet of Pea Shoots
1 carrot peeled and cut into thin strips and thinly shredded.
Sprinkle of Roasted Pine Nuts

Dressing for the salad
10 ml Womersley Lemon, basil, bay & Juniper vinegar dressing
20 ml Rapeseed oil
Sprinkle of Maldon salt

Lightly roast Pine Nuts in the oven until golden brown.
Mix ingredients well together for the salad leaves to get lightly tossed in the dressing.
Sprinkle Pine Nuts over the top and serve

If you would like to buy some of our Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper to give Tessa's recipe a go, check your nearest stockist here or give us a call and we will send you some: 01608 646445.

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Ten years of boarding school at Summer Fields, Oxford and Cheltenham College I suffered in my youth...it wasn't all bad, though: every Friday lunch we were fed fish and some of it didn't even have batter! However, thanks to the excellent talents of Rob Green of Green's of Whitby, I now know that batter can taste exceptional with our Lime, Black Pepper and Lavender in the mix: surely the most imaginative twist on fish and chips with vinegar.


  "The Womersley lime, blackpepper & lavender works great on fish and chips. The lavender is not over powering but adds a great fresh, fragrant dimension to the dish that malt vinegar can not deliver.

1x Bottle Womersley Lime, blackpepper and lavender vinegar,
2x Fillets of Pollock, skinned and boned, dredged in seasoned flour
1 can Lager, 250g self raising flour, 1 tbsp of Womersley Lime, black pepper & lavender vinegar, whisked together to form a smooth batter. (It needs to be the same thickness as double cream, to thick and the end result will be stodgy)
Lemon, Tartare sauce, Womersley vinegar and mushy peas to serve!

For the Fish
Heat the oil to 190C.
Holding the tail of the fish, dip into the batter and make sure all the fish is covered.
Carefully lay the fish into the oil.
Cook until golden brown, turning now and then as soon as the batter has started to crisp.
Depending on the thickness the fish should take between 4-6mins
Drain on kitchen paper.

Serve your fish with chips and with the lemon, tartare sauce, mushy peas and lashings of the Lime, blackpepper & Lavender.

Rob Green, Green's of Whitby."



This week, we have been enjoying the North East region of Great British Menu on BBC2 which has showcased two new talents, Colin McGurran and Charlie Lakin, as well as returning chef, Stephanie Moon. For 2012, the chefs' task is to create a menu that captures the Olympic spirit - food that is breath-taking and awe-inspiring. Every great Olympian pushes their discipline on to new levels of excellence and that's the challenge for the 2012 Great British Menu chefs. We particularly loved Steph's podium pudding, what a terrific idea. Our bottles of Lemon, Basil, Bay and Juniper have been very much in evidence in the GBM kitchen and were used by Steph in her dishes. Of course, Steph also got to cook a fish dish this week and this reminded me that she recently did a beautiful Whitby Fish Mackerel dish also using our Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper.


Whitby Seafish Mackerel, Forager’s Salad, Pickled Baby Vegetables

The recipe for Steph's dish is available on her Wild Cooks blog page so give it a go and let us know how well it works for you.
This weekend, Steph is presenting the Cookery Theatre at Harrogate Flower Show and I even get to share the stage with her on Saturday afternoon: yikes! Unfortunately, Steph missed out on the final by one point- that Nigel Haworth is a very exacting judge!

Now, if only we'd had fish like this at boarding school all those years ago...


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A little while ago, I paid a visit to BBC Radio Oxford to talk to the charming Bill Buckley about vinegars on his Sunday lunchtime show. It was a funny feeling: a mere, ahem, 30 or so years earlier, I went to Summer Fields prep school on the opposite side of Banbury Road. Little could I have predicted that I'd be in a radio studio across the road years later...
For this visit, I thought it would be good to show Bill a couple of ways you can use fruit vinegars and so produced a savoury and a sweet canape and a Gluten Free drizzle cake with a twist. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Urvashi Roe for the inspiration for the canapes and Simon Blackwell for the cake: both British Bake Off Greats.


Smoked salmon with fresh herb salad,
Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender vinegar dressing
Usea quality smoked salmon for this dish.
Mixed garden herbs (chives, parsely, thyme) dressed with a little virgin oil
Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender vinegar to taste
Slice the smoked salmon thinly, sprinkle over the herbs and drizzle over the vinegar
Leave to stand at room temperature for about half an hour before serving


Blinis/Pastry cases with Mascarpone and Blackberries macerated in Womersley Blackberry Vinegar
6 Blinis or Pastry cases
A 250g tub of Mascarpone
Womersley Blackberry Vinegar
Place 6 blackberries in a smal bowl with a couple of teaspoons of Blackberry Vinegar and leave to macerate for a quarter of an hour
Blend a teaspoon of the Blackberry Vinegar into 100g Mascarpone
Level fill your pastry cases with the blended mixture and top with a juicy Blackberry
Urvashi Roe did these when we were exhibiting at BBC Good Food last November at the NEC. She made them look really pretty with the addition of edible flowers; sadly my photo does not do them justice, though:


Gluten free Lemon Drizzle Cake
 with Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Vinegar Drizzle
Ingredients for the cake:
125g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of one lemon
175g gluten free self raising flour (we used Doves Farm)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk
Ingredients for the Drizzle:
Juice of 1½ lemons
100g icing sugar
2 tbsp Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender vinegar
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4
- Butter and line a loaf or cake tin (make sure the lining goes well up the sides of the tin)
- Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and lemon zest and beat well
- Add flour and salt, folding gently until mixed
- Add milk and mix in
- Spoon cake mix into prepared tin
- Cook for 45 minutes until golden and skewer comes out clean
For the Drizzle:
(Make just before the cake is due out of the oven)
 -    Put icing sugar, lemon juice and Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Vinegar into a small saucepan
-    Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved and the vinegar has reduced the mixture to a viscous drizzle
-  When cake is ready, take out of the oven and pierce it all over with a skewer. Pour the drizzle all over. Make sure the cake is totally cooled before taking out of the loaf tin or it will crumble.
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Many thanks to Sabrina Ghayour for drawing my attention to this nicely written article by Jamie Oliver in the Daily Mail online (published in Femail on 9th March).
And, if you don't want to make your own Raspberry Vinegar, you know where to buy the best!

And here are a few lovely Raspberry Vinegar ideas and a recipe for you:

  • Blend with a fine Rapeseed Oil for a smooth and fruity salad dressing
  • Splash into a glass of fizz or mineral water
  • Drizzle over your Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings
  • Swirl into a hot toddy


(Serves 4)
  1. Pan-fry 4 boneless chicken breasts in sunflower oil; remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  2. Pour off excess fat from pan and add 150ml raspberry vinegar and bring to boil; reduce quickly until sauce is half original volume.
  3. Add 250ml of whipping cream and bring to the boil; simmer until slightly thickened.
  4. Season with salt and pepper; add some freshly chopped herbs e.g. parsley, thyme, chervil, basil, coriander, tarragon.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken; sprinkle with extra fresh herb. Serve immediately.
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Our little town of Chipping Norton is blessed with an abundance of bird life. We have the most amazing variety of finches, tits, songbirds and blackbirds. Mind you, this should not be such a great surprise, since the good people of Chipping Norton feed them well and there are plenty of trees and hedgerows for cover and nesting.
The Winter months have been unusually dry and mild this year, particularly compared to last year, so the birds have been able to come and have a bath in our pond all through the Winter. We are particularly fortunate to have a lot of blackbirds in our area since their song is so beautiful to wake up to. Our neighbours have a tall, spindly silver birch tree which acts as a good lookout perch for one particular blackbird to sing his little heart out and check that the way is clear down to the pond.
Our friendly blackbird's exalted position has obviously been noticed, though.... This morning, as I looked out, he was chased off his branch by the biggest, fattest pigeon you ever saw. However, he was in for a surprise since his considerable weight caused the treetop to bend swiftly and alarmingly....he held on....the branch swayed some more....he would not be beaten....until he was virtually upside down, when he made an unceremonious dismount and, in a flurry of down he gave up (presumably hoping nobody had noticed).

And all of this reminded me that it is about time I posted a pigeon recipe!

Last year, at the CLA Gamefair, I was fortunate enough to meet Chef Ralph Skripek of The Butler's Pantry, Derby. Ralph specialises in excellent Game recipes and has recently published a book on Game recipes called "Wild Chef" in which we are featured. Ralph is particularly good at challenging conventions so was delighted to taste our wares and see how they can "add a whole new angle to a dish." He was good enough to use a couple of our bottles in his demonstrations at Blenheim Palace last Summer and has now come up with a tasty Pigeon recipe for us using our Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper. So, the next time you find a tasty wood pigeon who has fallen off his last twig and could do with a good marinade, here is the recipe for you:

Marinated wood pigeon pan fried with smoked bacon on a croute


Marinated wood pigeon pan fried with smoked bacon on a croute, finished with a tossed spring saladette, fresh asparagus and finished with a zesty dressing
(serves two)
4 x pigeon breasts
Sprig of fresh rosemary
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
2 slices of thick cut seeded wholemeal bread
Assorted salad leaves (rocket, ruby reds & lambs ears)
8 x fresh asparagus
2 small cooked beetroots (cut into strips)
Little olive oil
Salt & pepper mill
WOMERSLEY Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper
For a fuller flavour, marinate the pigeon breasts with a drizzling of the Womersley dressing, the day before (preferably) and proceed with recipe as per below
1. For a quicker dish, season the pigeon breast with salt & pepper & place on one side
2. Prepare asparagus by trimming the end and peeling the outer bark layer from half way up the asparagus
3. Place in a pan of boiling water, cook until tender, remove and refresh under running cold water
4. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan with the Womersley dressing & a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
5. Remove the fillet from under the pigeon breast, add to the pan (once hot), top side of breast down
6. Pan fry for 3 minutes on each side and remove ‘to rest’
7. Add a little more olive oil & dressing to the same pan
8. Cut two croutes from the seeded bread using a medium sized pastry cutter
9. Chop the smoked bacon into small diced pieces, add to the frying pan with the croutes
10. Cook until croutes are nicely browned on each side and the bacon is crispy
11. Remove bread & bacon from the pan and place the bacon on top of the croute
12. In the middle of a plate, place the croute with the bacon & layer the asparagus on top
13. Add a handful of leaves to a bowl with some strips of beetroot, drizzle over some Womersley dressing & a little olive oil with a few twists of the pepper mill
14. Mix the leaves to coat & place on top of the asparagus
15. Slice the pigeon breast around the leaves
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After some months of Tweeting to each other, I was delighted to receive this guest piece from Chef Simon Jury recently and hope you will enjoy reading it, too:


"Duck and cherry, two of my favourite flavours. I love that gamey meat flavour of the cherry and fresh fruity freshness of the duck...... no, hold on, I think I may have got something mixed up there. I'm also a fan of flavoured vinegars but have found that many cherry vinegars are often lacking or are a bit sharp and, much of the time, too vinegary. Yes I know that sounds a bit odd saying they are a bit vinegary, there are just a lot of flavoured vinegars that really don't offer more than, well, vinegar.

"A few weeks ago, I happened to be talking on the subject of vinegars and dressings and Rupert from Womersley Foods joined in asking if I have tried their vinegars. To my shame I had to admit I hadn't. Shame because I've spoken to Rupert on Twitter for a while now and hadn't really looked at the products that Womersley do. So when Rupert offered a bottle to try, I jumped at the chance. Well I jumped after deliberating over which flavour to choose. I was allowed any bottle I wanted so I had to choose wisely. I saw the cherry flavour straight away and looking back, I'm not sure why it took me so long to decide.

"The package arrived and like an excited child on Christmas morning I tore it open and didn't wait to taste it, I tipped a bit out, dipped my finger in and couldn't taste a thing. This is no sleight to the vinegar, I had a stinking cold and hadn't been able to taste anything for days. A course of antibiotics later and the taste buds were back. I had another tasting session with a ciabatta loaf and dipping bowls with unrefined olive oil and the vinegar. The vinegar is great: fresh, full of cherry flavour and not the usual harshness of vinegar. You could get away with the vinegar on its own as a dressing as it is that smooth. Also it is the first cherry vinegar I've tasted for a while that actually tastes of cherry.

"Finally I got to match the vinegar to duck which I had been waiting for during my cold filled weeks. (Please note I did not have man flu, I really was ill!) I kept the duck salad very simple as the star here was to be the vinegar. I pan-fried two duck breasts, skin side down until the fat was rendered and the skin was crispy. I then turned the duck breasts over and took off the heat to continue cooking through while I made the salad.

"I made a quick red onion salad by peeling, halving & slicing one large red onion, added some chopped cucumber , quartered cherry tomatoes and a few sliced spring onions. I made a dressing using half and half of the vinegar and unrefined olive oil and a pinch of salt. That's all you need for the dressing as there is so much flavour and sweetness in the cherry vinegar. I put half of the dressing in with the red onion salad and mixed this to coat.

"To serve, I made a bed of peppery salad, rocket, watercress & baby spinach and piled the onions salad on top. The duck, now nicely rested, was sliced and placed on top. The remaining dressing was then drizzled over to flavour the duck breast and drip through the salad. Cherry and duck is always a winner and maybe a little bit predictable, but when it tastes this good, who cares?

"Many thanks for the vinegar, it really is great and found out a friend of mine is a big fan too..."

You can follow Simon on Twitter @Simonlovesfood 
Simon also has a lovely blog title: saidsimontothepieman.com

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As wonderful as it is to go out for dinner on Valentine's Day, I can't help feeling a little sorry for all those restaurants having to cope with rooms full of tables for two. And, is it just me, but there is something of an air of blokes putting in a minimum amount of effort to treat the one they love so much....
Of course, it is not always like that and many ladies will tell you they love being taken out for Valentine's dinner; also, and particular these days, many restaurants would far rather a full list of covers than a quiet Tuesday night.
Me? Well, I am a very lucky man. I'm married to a beautiful Kiwi who does nearly all the cooking at home. So, this year I decided that it would mean more to her if I put in the effort to make her a romantic dinner (albeit with our 11 year old son very much in evidence).

We both prefer unfussy food done well, so I decided to keep it fairly simple:
Smoked Mackerel Pâté
Warm Duck Salad with Blackberry Vinegar Dressing
Raspberry Yoghurt with Raspberries and Shortbread


Should you fancy giving them a go, here are the recipes:


Smoked Mackerel Pâté
Mum gave me her "Smackerel Pâté" recipe recently, so this was a good opportunity to try it out. It is so simple that the most tricky part was removing the bones from the fish!

2 Smoked Mackerel Fillets, boned and flaked
3oz Cream Cheese
1 tsp Horseradish Sauce
2 tsp Womersley Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper dressing
Black Pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until achieving a smooth consistency. You may need to add a little more Horseradish or Lemon Dressing to get the taste to your liking.

Serve with warm french stick or Water Table biscuits.

Warm Gressingham Duck Salad with Flaked Almonds, Pine Nuts and Blackberry Vinegar Dressing

I have the lovely Xanthe Clay to thank for this one. On January 26th, page 3 of The Daily Telegraph featured news on The Duchess of Cornwall's challenge for school children to devise a Diamond Jubilee dish. Next to this was a "Royal Recipe" from Xanthe Clay which featured our Blackberry Vinegar: that was a delightful surprise! I adapted it a little for last night's dinner (exchanging Mangetout for Fine Beans and adding Pine Nuts).



A bag of rocket salad leaves
2 Gressingham Duck Breasts
100g Fine Beans
40g Flaked Almonds and Pine Nuts
3 tbsp Womersley Blackberry Vinegar
2 tsp Wholegrain Mustard (I used Black Sheep's Riggwelter)
9 tbsp Cotswold Gold Rapeseed Oil
Salt crystals


  • Spread a handful of rocket onto two plates
  • Roast the nuts in the oven for around 2 minutes at 200°C until golden
  • Steam or boil the beans so they remain just firm. Drain.
  • Put 1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the duck breasts face-down for around 10 minutes then turn and continue to cook on a high heat for a further 4 minutes. A pan with a lid is handy- it spits a lot! Check that the meat is cooked so still pink in the middle then remove from the pan and leave to rest
  • Whisk 2 tbsp of the Blackberry Vinegar with the mustard and a good pinch of salt then add the remaining 8 tbsp of Rapeseed Oil
  • Slice the duck and arrange on the rocket. Add the beans and sprinkle over the roasted nuts. Drizzle over the dressing.
  • Pour off the oil from the pan, add the final 1 tbsp of Blackberry Vinegar and, over a high heat, reduce the remainder and keep rubbing the pan with a spatula to retain all those lovely flavours. Drizzle the reduced glaze over the dish and serve.


Ok, I admit it, I cheated a bit for pudding: some good quality Raspberry yoghurt and fresh raspberries in a glass with a heart shaped Raspberry Shortbread. But it did round off the meal quite well.


♥ Happy Valentine ♥

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My father enjoyed most vices in his youth and these caught up with him eventually, as he had a heart attack when still quite young. This did, though, have the effect of making him reconsider his smoking habit (which went from around 40 a day to zero!) and he barely touched another Gin after that scare.However, this event also resulted in him acquiring something of a sweet tooth.
As a family, we never really did puddings but, with my father's new tastebuds starting to quiver, he became interested in an area of our local farm shop which had previously gone almost unnoticed: the sweet section. Sadly, it is no longer there, but the next village to us, Darrington, sported an excellent butcher's which expanded to a popular farm shop employing a few locals. One of these locals was  a specialist in making Key Lime Pies and so we thought we would give one a go...fatal! From then on, the weekly shop always included at least one of these delights, always modestly decorated with a little twist of lime zest.
And so it was, many years later, that my wife and I found ourselves in an American diner in Boston with Key Lime Pie on the menu. I couldn't resist the idea. However, when it arrived, I sure could resist the amount: it was a VAST portion. The flavour did not quite evoke those childhood memories (how often do we find that happening) and so I assigned the Key Lime Pie to my memories.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, we offered to make the pudding for a friend's 40th birthday party and, in going through recipes, we found one for Key Lime Pie without eggs. We had a little play with it and wanted to introduce an element of sourness to counteract the rich sweetness which can overpower. So we tried using some of our Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Vinegar to the recipe and reduced the amount of lime juice. It was pretty good....not the same as those childhood ones, but a whole new fantastic experience.

Key Lime Pie

Serves 8
Takes just over 1 hour to make


250g Basics Digestive biscuits
100g butter, melted

405g Can Condensed Milk
Finely grated zest and Juice of 4 limes
1 tbsp Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavender Dressing
300ml Double Cream

To decorate:
30g Bitter chocolate, grated
Grated zest of 1 lime


  1. To make the base, crush and crumb the biscuits until they are like fine crumbs. Then combine this with the melted butter in a bowl. Press the mixture into the base and 4cms up the side of a 20cm (8") loose-based, greased cake tin.
  2. Place Lime juice and Womersley dressing into a large bowl. Add the cream and condensed milk and whisk until thick and creamy, approx. 1-2 minutes. Add the lime zest and lightly stir in. Spoon over the biscuit base and chill for at least an hour.
  3. Remove the pie from the tin and place on a serving plate. Decorate the top with the chocolate and Lime Zest.

Do try varying the balance of Lime juice to our Lime Dressing



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The Winter months can be a bit quiet for many of us Artisan Food producers, so this is a good time to try to generate a bit of publicity. So I was delighted when Vanessa Kimbell invited me to join her and presenter Kevin Saddington for their live radio show, "Kitchen Garden" on BBC Radio Northampton on Sunday morning.  We had a jolly good discussion all about the history of Womersley, the making of our fruit vinegars and a couple of recipes too, below. I "met" Vanessa on Twitter and have corresponded with her for many months, finally meeting her properly at the Real Food Festival at Earl's Court last year. I can still picture her first approach to our stand, beaming smile and enjoying all the food treats in the hall. Sure enough, we had a jolly good chat and I discovered Vanessa was once a grower of lavender but, as can happen when handling plants with strong essential oils, she suddenly became so sensitive to it that she can no longer use any at all....which is a shame, since my favourite vinegar dressing is our Lime, Black Pepper and Lavender! The Orange & Mace proved a real winner with Vanessa, though, as you can hear on our soundcloud widget.



During the show, Kevin played some appropriate Sunday morning tracks (and Abba's Dancing Queen!) while we all had a taste of our sausage casserole recipe (using our Blackcurrant and Rosemary) which we'd had at home for supper the night before as well as our own Lemon Drizzle cake recipe using our Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper to make it really moist and delicious...

Sausage Casserole with Womersley Blackcurrant & Rosemary Dressing


Takes 25 minutes approx. 

Ingredients: ·        

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil·        

8 Thick Pork Sausages·        

1 Medium Red Onion, cut into thick slices·        

2 Braeburn or other eating apple with the skin left on, cored and each cut into wedges·        

1 ½ tbsp Womersley Rosemary Jelly·        

300ml/ ½ Pint Chicken Stock (can be made using a stock cube)·        

1 ½ tbsp Grainy Mustard·       

2 tbsp Womersley Blackcurrant & Rosemary Dressing 


Method:  ·        

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the pork sausages and fry for about five minutes, turning them so they brown all over. Add the onion slices and continue to fry until the onion and sausages have turned a dark gold, stirring occasionally.

Turn up the heat, add the apple wedges and stir them in carefully until they have glazed in the pan juices.·        

Stir the Rosemary Jelly into the chicken stock until it is dissolved, then add the Blackcurrant & Rosemary Dressing and mustard. Pour this in to the pan and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes.·        

Reduce the heat and leave to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes until the sausages are cooked and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy gravy. Serve with your choice of rice or potatoes and veg

Lemon Drizzle Cake with

Womersley Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper Vinegar Drizzle

Ingredients for the cake: 

125g butter

75g caster sugar

2 large eggs

Zest of one lemon

175g self raising flour

Pinch of salt

4 tablespoons milk

Ingredients for the Drizzle:

2 tbsp lemon juice

100g icing sugar

2 tbsp Womersley Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper Vinegar  



-Pre-heat oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4

-Butter and line a loaf or cake tin (make sure the lining goes well up the sides of the tin)

- Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and lemon zest and beat well

- Add flour and salt, folding gently until mixed

- Add milk and mix in- Spoon cake mix into prepared tin

- Cook for 45 minutes until golden and skewer comes out clean  

For the Drizzle:

(Make just before the cake is due out of the oven)

- Put icing sugar, lemon juice and Womersley Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper Vinegar into a small saucepan

- Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved and the vinegar has reduced the mixture to a viscous drizzle

- When cake is ready, take out of the oven and pierce it all over with a skewer. Pour the drizzle all over. Make sure the cake is totally cooled before taking out of the loaf tin or it will crumble. 

Note: For a Gluten free cake, use Gluten Free flour and add extra milk.   

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Andrew Pern with a bottle
of our Raspberry Vinegar

Tucked away in the beautiful Yorkshire village of Harome, near Helmsley, is the thatched cottage of the Star Inn, home to one of Yorkshire's top chefs, Andrew Pern. The Star Inn has won many plaudits over the years since Andrew moved there in 1996, not least by Jasper Gerard, who wrote in The Telegraph in 2008 that "The Star is for jaded explorers on the verge of giving up the quest for the perfect rural pub."
Roux-trained, Andrew has won numerous awards including many years of a Michelin star and, last year being voted 19th in the National Restaurant Awards. He enjoys a great write up in the Egon Ronay Guide which states that "His and his team's cooking is quite exceptional..." and was a successful participant in last year's flagship BBC programme, Great British Menu. Andrew has also written a beautiful recipe book, "Loose Birds and Game" which features this exciting recipe, made with our Raspberry Vinegar...

Fallow Deer Pie with Liquorice Gravy, Scottish Girolles, Womersley Raspberry Vinegar and Curly Kale ‘Colcannon’
(Serves four)
I was sitting at home one night ‘in charge’ of the kids, there was a knock on the door. Standing there was Steve Smith, my Head Chef and a pie. We’d been talking about putting a Pie of the Day on the blackboard to keep The Star more ‘pubby’ and Steve conjured up this creation – combining deer and liquorice! In Yorkshire?! Somewhat dubiously, I tasted it, breaking open the shortcrust topping, to the steaming hot inside… and, I must say it is one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten. I can still taste it now, a beautiful, deep flavour with a slight edge of fruit coming from the vinegar, and the vibrant mash to mop up those lovely, liquorice juices. Who’d have ever thought you’d hear me saying that? A must-try-it!


For the Pie:                                                                 For the shortcrust pastry:
1kg venison, diced                                                      50g plain flour
A little oil for frying                                                    30g butter
16 baby onions                                                            Pinch of salt                            
½ bottle of red wine                                                  Cold water                             
1 ltr game stock                                                         
2 cloves garlic, crushed                                              For the Colcannon:
8 Pontefract Cakes                                                     4 Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp cornflour                                                          80g butter
1 sprig of tarragon                                                      20ml whipping cream
Seasoning                                                                    Seasoning
                                                                                    80g curly kale
100g girolle mushrooms
50ml Womersley Raspberry Vinegar
Deer Pie with Liquorice Gravy, taken from Andrew Pern's Book "Loose Birds & Game"


Colour off the diced venison meat in a little oil with the baby onions. Fry off until nicely browned, then add the red wine, raspberry vinegar, stock, garlic and Pontefract Cakes. Simmer for approximately 1½ hours or until tender. Thicken with cornflour, add mushrooms, tarragon and seasoning, then allow to cool. Place in a suitable pot or pots, and set aside.
For the pastry, rub the plain flour and butter together with a pinch of salt, until ‘breadcrumb-like’, add the water and combine together into a smooth paste. Do NOT over-knead, as it will make the pastry tough. Chill for 30 minutes.
For the Colcannon, first boil the potatoes until soft. Drain through a sieve and mash with a little butter, cream, white pepper and salt. Add the sliced curly kale, which will wilt with the heat of the potatoes and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin and using a little flour for dusting to a thickness of 3mm. Place over the pots of venison meat mixture and trim so that the rim is covered. ‘Crimp’ the edges to stick the pastry down and make a little hole in the middle (or use a pot Blackbird!) to let out the steam. Brush the pastry with the remaining egg yolk and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown. Warm the Colcannon and place on the plate with the pie alongside. Eat to your heart’s content!
Follow Andrew's Tweets on Twitter
If you would like to try more of Andrew's menu, do contact The Star Inn on 01439 770397 reservations@thestarinnatharome.co.uk  www.thestaratharome.co.uk/ 
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Christmas time is surely the season for Smoked salmon so I was delighted to receive this delicious recipe from fellow Tweeter, Bill King, today. After some Tweetery, I was delighted to meet Bill at Abergavenny on Sunday, full of enthusiasm for our vinegars and dressings. He left with a smile on his face and a bottle of our Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper, so I was keen to hear how he would use it...

Bill was a Local Government Officer who longed to be involved in food and was immensely keen on local food and quality ingredients. Cuts meant the chance to break free so, in anticipation, he went to Ballymaloe Cookery School, where "cooking is fun!" You can read about Bill's Ballymaloe experience on his blog, all 84 days of it, the highs the lows and the effect of being in the "Ballymaloe Bubble." Currently he is a "Freelance Foodie" (unemployed) but hoping to set up a deli - using his many local producer contacts and favourite ingredients with some in house production.

He is married to Janet who does not cook but enjoys food and indulges his foodie expeditions and expects to spend ages in a shop/stall whilst he discusses the product/ingredient and plan usage on the spot. Bill says that Janet's highest accolade is "YUM" whilst a 3* Michelin was rated "Alright"!!

Bill tells me that this recipe for Smoked Salmon Pate "really did lift the whole flavour sensation. I have used lemon juice in the past but found an amazing difference when the Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper dressing was substituted. Mrs K has just loaded a couple of homemade baguettes with the pate to feed a horde of ravenous midwives at their team meeting!" Can't be bad...

You can get a lot of pate from this recipe!


Smoked Salmon Pate
This richly indulgent pate has deep layers of taste and flavour and can be as coarse or fine as you like.
300g Smoked Salmon (I use Black Mountains Smokery for the deep smoke)
10 capers
2 small gherkins or cornichons, cut into slices
6 Black Peppercorns, crushed
3 Dessert spoons of Crème Fraiche
1 Dessert spoon of Womersley Lemon, Basil, Bay & Juniper Dressing
Tear the Smoked Salmon into large-ish pieces and place into a food processor with the capers, black pepper and gherkins. Process to a coarse pate.
Add the Crème Fraiche and pulse.
Then add the Womersley Dressing and process to a finer pate – you should still have some small chunks of salmon.
Serve with Melba toast, crudités or pipe onto crackers or blinis.
The dressing has natural companions for smoked salmon – Lemon and Juniper and the Basil and Bay add subtle background notes – and balances the lovely oily, smoky taste. I have never needed to add any salt but Halen Mon Sea Salt would be my salt of choice.
For small presentations I garnish with a little grated Lemon Zest; in a larger dipping bowl I would put thin slices of Lemon and Cucumber around the bowl.
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