Neil and I often take a Sunday afternoon trip out into Northumberland, we live and work on the coast so its nice to take off for a couple of hours inland for a change. Last weekend we headed for the village of Ford. Its a typical “Northumberland estate village”, beautiful stone houses, with manicured gardens, a Castle, a post office, and a couple of artisan shops, plus the Lady Waterford gallery.
Just on the edge of the village is where we wanted to head – to visit The Old Dairy concept store, and take afternoon tea in their fabulous coffee shop – a bit of a contradiction in terms there but you know what I mean.
Its an eclectic mix of old furniture, bric a brac, and reclaimation finds, its all for sale, and in the coffee shop, bone china mis-matched cups and saucers, traditional old flatware, and just a total bombardment for the senses, with so much to look at, great food, the aroma of delicious italian coffee, and Keith’s dulcet tones in the background telling you about the last visit they had from the team on the Antiques Road Trip (don’t miss that in the next series on the box).
Lynne is a super baker, she turns out all sorts of savoury flans, soups with flavours you’d think wouldn’t work but they are delish. Lushous cakes and scones, sometimes with a bit of a twist in flavours, but I like nothing better than one of her warm fruit scones fresh from the AGA, with a dollop of clotted cream and one of her home made “Lady Waterford” preserves – hopefully strawberry if there is any left – its really popular so you need to be lucky, but if not there’s usually a great choice of other traditional country garden flavours.
Any way this week was all about marmalade, in 2016 Lynne entered one of her Lady Waterford Marmalades at the annual Marmalade awards in Dalemain near Ullswater – this is the Oscars of the marmalade making world, with entrants literally from all over the globe. Not only was she credited with a gold award, her Marmalade was honoured with the top prize of best marmalade in show – that’s known as a double gold for the uninitiated.
So this year for 2017 that was going to be a hard act to follow, so Lynne decided to do something a little out of the ordinary and started looking for inspiration – she and husband Keith have been spending some time in Venice over the winter – running select private cookery courses at the prestigious Gritti Palace Hotel demonstrating to Venetian chefs and guests, amongst other things, the art of scone making, which has been a winning combination in itself.
Whilst there they were introduced to the last artisan gold beater in Venice, producing fine gold leaf for all sorts of markets, but not least for use in the food industry by creative chefs and chocoliatiers. – You’ve guessed – Lynne brought some home and has incorporated this fine gold leaf into her latest creation – Venetian Gold Marmalde, which has won gold in the 2017 Marmalade Awards. Not the double gold this year, but still an unenviable achievement two years in a row – what next I wonder.
Tremendously well done Lynne, can’t wait to try it and introduce it to our more decerning guests….
To find the Old Dairy at Ford is easy its clearly signed right opposite the castle.
Open 9.30am-5pm Tues-Sun; also open on Bank Holidays