Taste Lancashire Produce Evening with Leagram Organic Dairy
11th July 2012
Disclosure: I attended this evening as the guest of Visit Lancashire, but I have not received any payment, nor even travel expenses for attending or writing this article.
This was the last in the current series of Taste Lancashire evenings, where Lancashire restaurants have been teamed up with a local producer to showcase both the restaurant and the producer. On this occasion the restaurant was the Sparrowhawk in Fence, and the producer was Leagram Organic Dairy of Chipping.
The Lancashire Foot is Lancashire's version of the Cornish pasty, once a staple meal for the county's miners. Here it was filled with Leagram's Lancashire and onions into a small starter-sized (phew) pasty. The other tarter, which I had, also featured Leagram's cheese, here in a very tasty, but nicely balanced rarebit topping on a piece of haddock that was just a bit too thin, and got lost between the rarebit topping and the tomatoes. The menu doesn't say, and I forgot to ask, but I hope they were Lancashire tomatoes: Blackpool, Ormskirk, Southport etc. were all centres of marketing gardening in the 20th century, and still produce tomatoes commercially, as does Burney's of Clitheroe (just the other side of Pendle Hill). I thought that if the tomatoes and rocket had been passed through a light dressing, that would have improved the dish a lot, as it was a little dry overall.
|Smoked haddock rarebit with tomato salad|
Rag pudding is a steamed suet pudding, not unlike spotted dick, often traditionally cooked in a shirt sleeve, and served in either sweet, or (as here) savoury forms. Unfortunately, it was a steamy hot evening and nobody on my table had the rag pudding. On reflection, my gastronomic curiosity should have won the day, rather than the "safe" lamb option, as I suspect it probably wouldn't have been as heavy and hearty a dish as it sounded on first reading the menu.
|Rump of lamb with rosemary hash brown, minted pea purée and balsamic jus|
Before dessert, platters of various Leagram cheeses were brought round for tasting.
Both the desserts were unqualified successes. The apple pie was reported to be have just the right hint of spices, and certainly looked the business. The ice-cream, made with Leagram's Lancashire Cheese, had everyone in raptures.
|Spiced apple pie with Lancashire cheese ice cream|
|Rhubarb & Custard Crème Brûlée with homemade gingerbread biscuits|
Remarkably for such a small place, there are two pub-restaurants in Fence, both with good names for food: The Fence Gate Inn and The Sparrowhawk. Obviously, this wasn't a "normal" meal at The Sparrowhawk, but the atmosphere, service and food all seemed to me a notch above their competition, and I hope to return soon.