Lynne’s Venetian Marmalade with Gold won a gold award at the World’s Original Marmalade Awards at the weekend. This gold award in the hard fought prestigious competition which takes place every year at Dalemain near Penrith in Cumbria is rather appropriate since the Venetian Marmalade contains 24carat gold. Beaten to a thin film the gold leaf is created by the last artisan gold beatIng company in Venice, Mario Berta Battiloro. It is then added to the marmalade where “the rich amber colour of the marmalade and the dazzling sparkle of gold dotted through it gives it a luxurious and unique look” said Lynne. She also won a silver award for her Seville Orange Marmalade with Gin and a Twist of Lemon!
LADY WATERFORD’S FLODDEN MARMALADE WINS PRESTIGIOUS BRONZE AWARD
Award winning marmalade maker Lynne Allan, who runs Lady Waterford Preserves as part of the Old Dairy Concept Store in Ford, has won a coveted bronze award in The World’s Original Marmalade Competition, which was held at Dalemain House in Cumbria at the weekend.
She went back in history 500 years to create a special Flodden marmalade to commemorate the famous battle, which took place in 1513 and beat off competition from accredited marmalade makers throughout the United Kingdom and abroad to win third place in the Any Citrus Marmalade category.
“Once again we are delighted to take a bronze at this amazing marmalade festival,” Lynne Allan said. We entered three years ago and won Silver for our Lady Waterford’s Marmalade with Chips and since then the competition has got even stiffer. The artisan section is a hard fought and highly prized section of the competition with the likes of the Ludlow Food Centre taking part and a host of other excellent marmalade makers.”
Lynne believes there are genuine reasons for inventing a Flodden Marmalade. “To begin with The Scottish King James stayed at Ford Castle before travelling into the hills to join his troops at Flodden. He may even have eaten some marmalade before he left, not on toast as we do today, but as a sweetmeat, served in thick slices for dessert at the end of a feast or dinner. And, who knows, it could have been the last thing James lV tasted, because he was killed during the battle along with 10,000 of his soldiers.”
Marmalade really does have a fascinating history. For example it was a very special gift in the reign of Henry V111, equivalent today to a case of fine wine or champagne. And in the King’s letters and papers of 1524 it is recorded that Hull of Exeter gave him one box of marmalade and Henry was delighted with it.
The marmalades are judged for taste, aroma, set, looks and style and the two-day festival draws thousands of people interested in the hugely popular world of marmalade making.
Lynne makes her own jams and marmalades to sell and serve exclusively from the Old Dairy coffee shop and new parlour kitchen where they have the latest AGA on hand to make all their preserves. The winning recipe for the Flodden marmalade uses, rather fittingly, blood oranges to signify the connection to the battle!
THE AGA SAGA
What is it about an AGA, sitting proud as a peacock in a country kitchen, that makes grown ups go weak at the knees? Estate agents tell us that a house with an AGA will sell more quickly than one without. But why? You could hardly describe it as an all-singing, all-dancing cooker glistening with knobs and grills and fans. On the contrary it’s quite square and heavy and made of cast iron with a couple of lids that you have to keep lifting up to get at the hot plates and different ovens for certain kinds of cooking and it all seems a bit complicated and unnecessary when a modern, domestic oven might do just as well.
But this quirky, iconic cooker has a few surprises up its sleeve, as we discovered on a recent visit to the AGA foundry and factory in Shropshire, not least of which is a long pedigree that goes back to 1922. It was invented by a Swedish engineer (a Nobel Prize-winner no less) called Dr Gustaf Dalen, who wanted to create an efficient cooker to free his wife from the drudgery of constantly cleaning and fuelling an old fashioned coal and wood range. But the good doctor, who was blinded after an industrial accident, also wanted to cook on it so the lift up lids and the ovens with no temperatures to worry about made it ideal, for the essence of the cooker was simple. A small heat source that conducted various levels of warmth to different parts of the cooker, all made possible by the transfer of radiant heat via cast iron components.
This handy hot box had another plus point. Because it was always on, it turned out to be the perfect solution for warming up draughty old manor houses, farmhouses, vicarages and cottages. Not surprising then that over the last three-quarters of a century the British have taken the AGA to heart. For many it’s become a way of life. Long before central heating hit our homes the AGA took centre stage. Warm kitchens full of delectable cooking smells, clothes drying on and around it, endless amounts of hot water – the AGA became the king of cookers.
And not much has changed today except there has been a revolution in the way an AGA works. Of course it’s still a wonderful heat source, keeping kitchens toasty warm and turning out delicious food, from crusty bread to slow cooked casseroles and gorgeous roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. But the use of electricity as a heat source, instead of solid fuel, oil or gas, gave those clever engineers in Telford a few ideas. Why not allow the AGA to switch on and off at will, they thought. Why not send it to sleep so that it takes very little time to come up to temperature? And while we’re at it let’s give it a programmer that will do it automatically. Better still, add a touch screen control panel so that every part of the AGA is individually controlled. Finally, just to show how damn clever we are, let’s programme it to receive text messages from a mobile phone or via web access using a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone! Oh yes the AGA cooker has hit new, twenty first century heights.
THE AGA SAGA AS TOLD AT THE OLD DAIRY
Keith and Lynne Allan, who run their country concept store at the Old Dairy in Ford, have become AGA Ambassadors. One of only a handful of businesses selected throughout the country their role as Ambassadors is a new one, devised by AGA to show off the latest versions of their iconic cookers and it means the Old Dairy will have a permanent, working AGA for all the daily baking.
“We are complete AGA nuts,”said the Allans. Every day we bake in our AGA at home but now we’ll be able to cook and demonstrate at the Dairy, right in front of our customers’ eyes and noses, with all the advantages that brings! Guest cooks and chefs will appear from time to time, along with regular cookery classes.”
A kitchen shop will also sell AGA cookware together with vintage kitchenalia. Anyone interested in buying an AGA will be directed to their nearest distributor, which in the North East is Walter Dix in Gateshead, who have been installing AGAs for seventy years, or Lillie Heating in Selkirk for north Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. Lillies have been installing AGAs for more than thirty years.
The AGA cooker has a long pedigree. It was invented by a Swedish engineer (a Nobel Prize-winner no less) called Dr Gustaf Dalen, who wanted to create an efficient cooker to free his wife from the drudgery of constantly cleaning and fuelling an old fashioned coal and wood range. But the good doctor, who was blinded after an industrial accident, also wanted to cook on it so the simplicity of the lift up lids and ovens with no different temperatures to worry about made it ideal.
The Dairy’s new AGA is a cutting edge, five-oven iTotal Control. With two large hot plates, it has a roasting oven, baking oven, slow cooking oven, simmering oven and warming oven, all independently controlled by a pad of buttons. “You can even send it a text message telling it to switch on or off, or send it to sleep,” said Lynne Allan excitedly.
The Allans have recently returned from a two-day visit to the AGA foundry and factory in Shropshire where they saw the cookers being made. “It was fascinating to see them emerge from the sand cast moulds and then after cooling go to the factory for enamelling,” they said. “Most of all, though, everyone is talking about the new electric AGAs. From being on all the time they can now be switched on and off at will, saving up to half the running costs. On the other hand if you want to leave them on to keep your house warm you still can. The AGA will do whatever you want.”
Most people interested in cooking dream of owning an AGA. Marco Pierre White has two. But one is more than enough and if you can’t make your mind up the Old Dairy in Ford can go a long way in helping you take the plunge.
FLODDEN MARMALADE TOASTS A 500 YEAR HISTORY
Award winning marmalade maker Lynne Allan, who runs Lady Waterford Preserves as part of The Old Dairy in Ford, has gone back in history 500 years to create a special Flodden marmalade to commemorate the famous battle which took place in 1513.
And, she believes, there are genuine reasons for inventing a Flodden Marmalade. “To begin with The Scottish King James stayed at Ford Castle before travelling into the hills to join his troops at Flodden. He may even have eaten some marmalade before he left, not on toast as we do today, but as a sweetmeat, served in thick slices for dessert at the end of a feast or dinner. And, who knows, it could have been the last thing James lV tasted, because he was killed during the battle along with 10,000 of his soldiers.”
It turns out that marmalade really does have a fascinating history. For example it was a very special gift in the reign of Henry V111, equivalent today to a case of fine wine or champagne. And in the King’s letters and papers of 1524 it is recorded that Hull of Exeter gave him one box of marmalade and Henry was delighted with it.
Perhaps he had heard of its restorative qualities. In Tudor times the sweet comforting taste of quince marmalade flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, mace, almonds and preserved eringo roots was considered a potent aphrodisiac! And then there were its medicinal advantages to consider. Certainly Mary Queen of Scots believed in it. She ate it as she crossed from Calais to Scotland in the hope that it would combat sea-sickness. Apparently it strengthened the stomach “and kept the meat therein till it be perfectly digested!”
The earliest surviving records of marmalade arriving in the Port of London go back to 1495. It came directly from Portugal and was shipped by Portuguese traders who knew it as marmelada. Made from quince and rosewater it continued to be imported, arriving in barrels and chests in quite large quantities. During the sixteenth century, as the technique of making marmalade from quinces became better known, it was made in England using Seville oranges because they are rich in pectin. A Book of Cookrye dated 1587 recommends soaking and boiling the oranges in water to remove the bitterness and then “beating them small with a spoon.”
And what of Lynne Allan’s recipe for Flodden marmalade? “Well, you won’t be surprised to learn that we use blood oranges,” Lynne told us with a smile. “along with Seville oranges (well, quite a few) and red grapefruit. It’s taken a bit of experimenting with but we now think we’ve got a really delicious marmalade, which also happens to have a touch of humour about it and if all those ingredients work well together we might have a winner at The World’s Original Marmalade Awards in 2014.”
Flodden marmalade is available from The Old Dairy in Ford, a country concept store (opposite Ford Castle) on Ford & Etal Estates.
For more details contact:
TELEVISION PROGRAMME SALVAGE HUNTERS DROPS INTO THE OLD DAIRY
A crew from the popular television programme Salvage Hunters spent a day at the Old Dairy in Ford this week filming for a new series.
The programme, which is screened on the Quest channel, features Drew Pritchard, who has his own architectural salvage business in Wales, and his mate Tee on their nation-wide travels. And unlike the experts from other antique programmes they don’t wear pin stripe suits or dapper jackets and ties. Cloth caps and mufflers are the order of the day as they tour the country in a white van!
Ignoring ordinary antique shops and auction rooms they’re on the lookout for something most of us wouldn’t even recognise as valuable, homing in on basements and attics of stately homes, run down farm buildings, factories and even scrap yards for their booty.
“They chose the Dairy,” owners Keith and Lynne Allan told us, “Because we’ve got a good range of architectural salvage and a horde of quirky bits and pieces on display and I think they’d also heard about our champagne bar made out of marble fireplace shelves!”
The Old Dairy happens to have some marvellous views of the Cheviots and they were covered in snow so the views were spectacular. One cameraman captured the outside shots, including some newly born lambs in an adjoining barn, and the rest of the team concentrated on the inside where they found a number of pieces they wanted to buy and include in the programme.
“As for what they actually bought we’re not allowed to tell you,” the Allans confessed. “But they purchased five different items and one of them was destined for Drew Pritchard’s outlet in Liberty’s in London.” The programme will be screened later in the year.
For further information please contact Keith or Lynne Allan.
Igneous Stone Branches Out
Jedburgh based Igneous Stone Surfaces, which specialises in the supply of granite and marble kitchen work tops, has opened a workshop and showroom at The Old Dairy in Ford. Tracii Marchington, who founded the business in 2005, had been looking for the right opportunity to expand her business and when she happened upon The Old Dairy during a chance visit to Ford she was instantly taken with the look and ambience of the place.
“It’s a country concept store selling antiques, vintage and retro accessories as well as all sorts of other things, old and new,” she told us. “There’s a delightful, quirky feel to the buildings, along with a beautiful coffee shop not to mention a champagne bar! So I thought this would be a perfect place to showcase my marble and granite around a purpose-built kitchen.”
And that’s precisely what she’s done. She has taken over the old hay loft and created a kitchen showroom with lots of accessories such as pastry boards, chopping blocks and cake stands, all of which make perfect Christmas presents. She can also advise customers on the installation of brand new kitchens as well as giving old kitchens a facelift with new marble and granite tops.
If you would like to visit her showroom, The Old Dairy in Ford (opposite Ford Castle) is open from Wednesday to Sunday 11-5pm.
For further details please contact Tracii Marchington 01835 862863
HAVE YOU MOTORED TO FORD LATELY? IT’S GOT A COUNTRY CONCEPT STORE MODELLED ON ANTWERP!
Anyone motoring to The Old Dairy in Ford lately will have noticed a new sign on the buildings. It reads: A Country Concept Store and the owners believe it is the first of its kind in the North East.
The store is the latest move by Keith and Lynne Allan who have been developing their architectural antiques and interiors business in a 1930s redundant dairy farm on Ford & Etal Estates and over the last three years, despite the gloomy economy, have seen it go from strength to strength. But what is a concept store?
“Well, I suppose it can be anything you like but the important rule to follow is that it should be quirky with a diverse mix of stock,” say the Allans. So convinced are they about their new look that they have just returned from a four day visit to the Flemish city of Antwerp, the home of concept stores, where they explored for themselves the many and varied takes on what makes a true concept store.
“It was quite a revelation,” said Keith Allan. “And while diamonds and beer are big attractions in Antwerp, over the last decade or so the concept store has become a tourist attraction in its own right.” No wonder. They found shops large and small selling anything from a £30,000 sports car to a pair of stilettos all under the same roof!
Antiques, vintage and designer clothes, luggage, books old and new, porcelain, perfumes, stationery, you name it there it was waiting to be bought. But it didn’t stop there. One establishment had a fully operational hairdresser and travel agent as part of the concept and some have high quality coffee shops and in one case a restaurant so good it could have had a Michelin star,” said the Allan’s.
“It was also interesting to see the reaction of customers shopping in these stores. They all seemed to have a smile on their faces and when you have happy people they are much more likely to part with their money if they see something they like,” said Lynne Allan.
“So, at the Dairy we have accumulated a dozen different dealers around us specialising in knitting wool, vintage lace, baskets, fabrics and French antiques. There is Arts and Crafts furniture, old garden tools and locally grown herbs. There’s a photographer, with his own take on the local scenery, a stonemason making enormous troughs and an upholsterer with her own workshop.”
Architectural items such as doors, beams, fireplaces, mirrors, baths and brassware dot the buildings and there’s a small car for sale. And cementing all this together is the Restoration Coffee Shop which specialises in artisan coffee and freshly baked cakes and scones, soups and sandwiches. “We have our own hens, which customers can view from a special window, and of course we bake with the eggs and sell the surplus. There’s a marble bar made from Victorian fireplace shelves, on the terrace and it overlooks the River Till valley and the Cheviots beyond. In the autumn wild geese return from Greenland and as you sip a cappuccino or a glass of something you can listen to the piping calls of oystercatchers and curlews. Not even Antwerp can offer that!”
For more details please contact:
Keith and Lynne Allan
The Old Dairy in Ford,
Northumberland TD15 2PX
Tel: 01890 820325, 01289 302658
Mobile: 07710 902905
LADY WATERFORD’S MARMALADE WINS PRESTIGIOUS SILVER AWARD
The Old Dairy at Ford in Northumberland is celebrating a hugely coveted and internationally recognised Silver Award at The World’s Original Marmalade Competition, which is held in Cumbria every year.
Lynne and Keith Allan, who run the Restoration Coffee Shop at The Old Dairy, together with their country store of architectural antiques and vintage interiors, entered one of their marmalade recipes called Lady Waterford’s Orange Marmalade with Chips in the Artisan section. They beat off competition from accredited marmalade makers throughout the United Kingdom as well as countries like America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to win their Silver award in the Seville orange medium cut category.
“I can’t tell you how delighted we are to take the silver award at this amazing marmalade festival,” Lynne Allan told us. The artisan section is a hard fought and highly prized section of the competition with the likes of the Ludlow Food Centre taking part and goodness knows how many other excellent marmalades makers.”
The Allans started making their own jams and marmalades last year to sell and serve from their Restoration Coffee Shop using garden-picked and local fruit wherever possible. The winning recipe is a Victorian one that dates back to when Lady Waterford came to Ford Castle in 1859.
“Lady Waterford was a remarkable woman. Over a period of thirty years she did so much for the village of Ford and the people who lived around her. She knew Ruskin and Gladstone; Landseer painted her portrait and her sister was Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria and so we thought it rather fitting that we should name our preserves after her as a sort of dedication to the special legacy she has left us in Ford,” said Keith Allan.
The World’s Original Marmalade Competition takes place at Dalemain near Penrith in Cumbria and attracts entries from top marmalade producers keen to have their marmalades judged by such well known figures as Lady Claire MacDonald, food writer and hotelier from the Isle of Skye, baking guru Dan Lepard and Jonathan Miller, New Product Development Buyer at Fortnum & Mason.
The marmalades are judged for taste, aroma, set, looks and style and the two-day festival draws thousands of people interested in the hugely popular world of making preserves.
The Festival is in its seventh year and was started by Jane Hassell-McCosh, whose family has lived at Dalemain for an incredible eleven generations.
Meanwhile the Allans have now got the marmalade bit (or should that be bits) between their teeth and are already making plans to enter next year’s competition where they’ll be hoping for gold.
Keith and Lynne Allan
The Old Dairy (opposite Ford Castle)
Telephone: 01890 820325
Mobile: 07710 902905