Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Ludlow - a treat for food lovers

On our way from Bath up through to Holyhead, where we'd be catching our Dublin bound ferry, we needed a place to overnight.  The little Shropshire market town of Ludlow seemed as good as place as any and this was confirmed by a bit of research that told me that it was both 'one of the most attractive towns in England' and that it had 'a reputation as a centre for some of the best food and drink in England'.  Pretty much the ideal place to stop then - done.

The recently frozen weather all the way across the UK made our drive into Ludlow a fairly interesting one.  Massive snow drifts with cars and homes buried beneath and people working frantically to get roads clear and things back to normal.  Luckily we made it through and soon after finding our B&B made our way down to 'The Church Inn', a highly recommended pub with a great selection of ales.  The menu looked good, with the focus being creative pies and normal pub food.  We felt like something a little different and braved the evening chill in search of The Queens. It was a good call - a fantastic gastro-pub that celebrates local produce in a relaxed and unpretentious way. 

The town itself was a well organised mix of old and new, with an interesting morning market, an impressive castle and as an added seasonal bonus, a great covering of snow on the surrounding hillsides.  One of the highlights of our short stay was a visit to the Ludlow Food Centre.  A real superstore of local produce.  They've given me a recipe for a great salad, full of winning textures and classic flavour combinations.  Ingredients can obviously be substituted with produce from your local.   

Warm salad of English asparagus, bacon and boiled egg (serves 6)

  1. 6 rashers Smoked Gloucester Old Spot back bacon
  2. 4 slices Ludlow Food Centre Sourdough Bread, torn into rough cubes
  3. 50g shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
  4. 5 free range eggs
  5. 2 bunches asparagus
  1. 5 Tbsp rapeseed oil
  2. 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  3. 2 tsp Ludlow Food Centre wholegrain mustard
  4. salt and pepper
  • heat oil in a pan, fry bacon both sides until crisp
  • chop into inch sized pieces and keep warm in a low oven
  • in the same pan, fry the bread until lightly brown and crisp all over, keep warm with the bacon
  • toast walnuts (again in the same pan) until they take on a little colour
  • cook eggs in boiling water for 5 minutes, then rinse under cold water to stop them cooking further
  • whisk all dressing ingredients until combined
  • halve the eggs and lightly season
  • trim any woody ends off asparagus and cook in rapidly boiling salted water until just tender
  • drain well and divide between plates
  • add egg halves, sprinkle over warm bacon, bread and nuts before drizzling the dressing over

View over Ludlow

The Church Inn

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