Easter is here – and so is Spring …

This month Easter chocolates and the arrival of Spring …

  • Easter is coming and we celebrate one of our great local suppliers – Davenport’s Chocolates.
  • Sunday, 20 March marked the Persian New Year, ‘Norooz’, celebrating the first day of spring. To mark this event we share with you a recipe for Persian Kisir salad (adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s book ‘Persiana’).
  • The arrival of spring means the first signs of new produce and one of the tastiest and most fleeting is wild garlic. 
  • We also want to share a lovely recipe for wild garlic and potato soup.

Davenport’s Chocolates

Hand crafted in Tyneside by Jane Williams and her team of chocolate artisans.

Davenports eggsJane trained as a classical chocolatier under Master chocolatier, Philippe Burger and preserves the traditional Swiss method of ‘enrobing’, whereby tasty handmade centres are delicately coated in smooth, rich chocolate couveture.

Jane’s team are multi-skilled with a passion for chocolate and at Davenport’s there is no mechanised production line, every task is completed by hand with care.

Davenport’s chocolates are available all-year round at mmm… and at Easter we are stocking these Davenport’s hand-crafted chocolate eggs:

  • Vintage Collection dark chocolate eggs
  • Vintage Collection milk chocolate eggs
  • Signature Collection milk chocolate eggs
  • Floral Collection dark chocolate eggs
  • Fudge Mallow Milk chocolate eggs.

Persian New Year – Kisir

KisirKisir is a bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses and fresh herbs.

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s book ‘Persiana’, this dish is great for sharing as part of a feast.  

You can also add feta cheese or similar and scoop up in gem lettuce cups for a nice pre-dinner snack.

You will need:

  • 250g Suma bulgur wheat (or try Zaytoun Palestinian Maftoul as an alternative)
  • 160ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp Asharun Spices harissa paste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp Mutti tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp Arabica Spices pomegranate molasses
  • 5 tbsp Zaytoun extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 x 20g bag mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1 x 20g bag flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 100g fresh pomegranate seeds.

Tip the bulgur wheat or Maftoul into a shallow bowl and pour over the hot water.

Allow to absorb (this should take 15 mins) and then transfer to a large bowl for mixing. 

Add the harissa, lemon juice, tomato puree, pomegranate molasses, oil, salt and pepper to the bulgur wheat and work into the grains using your hands.  

This will allow the grains to absorb all the lovely flavours.

Once you have mixed well, and the grains are well coated, add the tomatoes, spring onions, herbs and pomegranate seeds, and stir well until combined.  

Check the seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and lemon juice as required. 

Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving at room temperature.


In season – wild garlic

Wild garlicWild garlic is now in season and thrives in woodlands and around deciduous trees, especially where there is a marshy area or pond.

These leaves are delicious raw in salads, or in dressings such as Trotters Wild Garlic Pesto (a must have at mmm… and due very soon).

The taste is quite mild, similar to chives but with a hint of garlic.

Be sure to wash the leaves well before using.

A great way to use them is sliced very finely and tossed in olive oil, then simply tossed through a salad.

Moz’s favourite use for them is with mashed potato – simply slice finely, and stir through buttery mash.

To make delicious croquettes, you need to chill the mash, and form into small balls or sausage shapes.

Then dip them into beaten egg and coat with panko breadcrumbs. Shallow fry in rapeseed oil until brown and crisp – a great alternative to roast potatoes.

Once the plants have flowers, you can also deep fry the flowers as a garnish, or dip in a light batter for tempura – delicious.

Wild garlic and potato soup 

You will need:

  • 2 tbps Baste and Bray Extra Virgin Northumbrian rapeseed oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped finely
  • 200g white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 400g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (we love Marigold Vegetable Bouillon)
  • 60g wild garlic leaves, washed, dried and finely shredded
  • Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
  • Creme fraiche or sour cream for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Gently fry the shallots until softened without colouring.

Wild garlic soupAdd the diced potatoes and sweet potatoes and the stock.

Bring to the boil, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Add the wild garlic leaves, reserving a few shreds for garnish.

Transfer the soup to a blender, or blend in the saucepan using a stick blender, until smooth.

Check your seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining shreds of wild garlic, and a swirl of crème fraiche or sour cream.

Serves 4.


Upcoming events at mmm… and glug…

  • Poetic Licence (distilled in Durham) free in-store gin and vodka tasting – Saturday, 2 April from 1pm
  • Hepple Gin (distilled in Hepple, Northumberland) free in-store tasting – Saturday, 23 April (tbc) from 1pm.

The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight

We are delighted to have increased our range of garlic-based goodies from The Garlic Farm on the The Isle of Wight at mmm…

The range, which is seasonal so please check for updates, includes:

Garlic_hampersExtra large Iberian garlic – this garlic has been grown for the Garlic Farm by their partners in Spain.The variety is very similar to our own Iberian Wight which produces large round cloves of medium strength garlic.

Great for Mediterranean and tapas style dishes where you do not want to over power the fresh simple flavours of the cooking.

Oak smoked garlic bulbs – smoked garlic is partially cooked; expect it to keep 4-6 weeks from date of purchase. This is outstanding stuffed inside a roast chicken and slow cooked.

Black garlic – if you have not had this before, it really is quite special. Naturally heat-aged over a period of months this garlic is a highly sought-after ingredient in top restaurants world wide.

It’s perfect sweet syrupy flavour and garlic undertones make it a very versatile ingredient with a host of culinary uses. It is also delicious simply as a snack without the fear of garlic breath.

Garlic mayonnaiseGarlic mayonnaise – a thick, smooth & creamy garlic mayonnaise tasting as it should. There’s no turning back.

Toasted garlic mayonnaise – a mayonnaise that has an addictive quality with creamy garlic flavours. Add liberally as a topping to a traditional steak sandwich served with French fries, and fresh crisp salad.

Perfect with grilled meats, or when used simply as a dip.

Garlic mayonnaise with mint (limited edition) – mayo, garlic and mint? Try this with Lamb kebabs or mix into a new potato salad.

Garlic mayonnaise with chilli (limited edition) – our classic garlic mayo with a bit of bite. Perfect as a dipping sauce, with sausages or why not try a chilli mayo coleslaw?

Garlic Farm hot garlic pickle at mmmHot garlic pickle – finely chopped garlic mixed with many complex flavours including distinctive black onion seed, chilli and cumin.

A fantastic partner for sausages and red meats and pies. Also serve with Indian curries such as lamb or as a condiment to South Indian dishes.

Fig, apple and garlic chutney – a fruity temptation from the Garden of Eden. This rich fruity chutney partners well with cheese and game dishes.

With the perfect sweet/sour balance it also compliments curries, casseroles and rice dishes.

Vampire relish – hot tomato salsa with garlic – a blood-red tomato salsa with serious garlic undertones makes this the ideal associate for home made burgers and sausages and a must for pre-barbecue snack with tortilla chips.

Try Vampire Relish as an alternative to tomato sauce or to stir through your pasta dish. Alternatively, this delicious tangy relish is simply addictive when used as a dip.

Garlic, olive oil and white balsamic vinaigrette – a classic vinaigrette that will enliven any summer salad. The perfect blend of Greek olives with garlic undertones.

Chilli and garlic dressing – great for enlivening salads, pastas and fish dishes, this is an outstanding gourmet dressing with a real garlic and chilli kick.

Gourmet Mediterranean mix – the perfect antipasti mix of Cornichons, Silver Skin Onions, Sweet Snacking Garlic Cloves & Sun Dried Tomatoes. Can be served as a snack, tapas or tossed into salads.

Sweet snacking cloves in oil with chilli – whole garlic cloves marinated in oil with chilli flakes.

A slightly fiercer bite and very popular with all those who like the tanged heat of chilli with their sweet and crunchy garlic clove. Ideal to pass around as tapas or crunch with a beer or wine.

Gourmet Mediterranean mixSweet snacking cloves in oil with herbs – whole garlic cloves marinated in oil with mixed herbs. Sweet and crunchy without the biting heat of fresh garlic.

This won’t linger on the breath yet assures you that its garlic goodness is still there. Ideal to pass around as tapas or crunch with a beer or wine.

Sweet snacking cloves in oil with herbs – whole garlic cloves marinated in oil with mixed herbs. Sweet & crunchy without the biting heat of fresh garlic.

This won’t linger on the breath yet assures you that its garlic goodness is still there. Ideal to pass around as tapas or crunch with a beer or wine.

Garlic puree – easy to use garlic purée – the essential aid for the gourmet chef. Suitable for almost any dish where garlic is required and especially when time is of the essence.

No peeling, crushing, slicing. Just open and squeeze!

The garlic salt collection – enhance almost any conceivable dish with a simple twist of one of our four garlic salts.

Each has its own distinctive character and application and deserves it’s space in the spice cupboard of the garlic lover.

Want to know more?

Thanks to The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight for the garlicky information on this page.