Sussex Apples – How to choose?


Sussex is famous for apples (hence the vast range of fabulous cider brewed here) – but choosing is a more difficult matter, as we are not short of  varieties – all with their unique qualities and suited to different culinary uses.

With 11 new season varieties to choose from that are available now the mid-season fruit is picked – what would you prefer to use for your cheeseboard – as opposed to a quick snack – or to bake with?

Here is a quick checklist below to how to choose your perfect apple from the new season Sussex fruit:



The perfect cooking apple with a tangy, tart flavour and moist fluffy texture when cooked.



The classic Sussex apple.  Crisp and juicy with a russet skin and creamy white flesh.

Not for cooking.  Young apples are crisp and great for cheeseboards. As they mature, they are softer and delicious for snacking and tarts.


Charles Ross

A largeish apple related to Cox.  Sweet and good for a cheeseboard.

Again, crisp when young but more fleshy when mature.



Perfect for snacking and juicing. A really juicy apple with a bright red tinting on a bright lime green flesh.

Digital StillCamera

Ellison’s Orange

Sweet and fairly large with a hint of aniseed flavour.  Very juicy and the texture is more like that of a pear than an apple – so great for juicing.


Kidd’s Orange

A bright, sweet honey-scented apple – very juicy. Great for juicing and chopping into cereal for breakfast- or cheeseboards.


Lord Lambourne

A delicious sweet russeted apple.  Bright skin and deliciously rich taste – wonderful in salads and juices.


Red Devil

A bright red apple with red tinted flesh. Sweet and juicy so good for juices, snacking (if you like a more tart apple), salads and cheese board.  Beautiful pink juice.



A classic Sussex apple.  Very crisp flesh russeted and a distinctive honey flavour. Perfect for juicing and cheeseboards.

A marmite of an apple for snacking as some people are put off by the fibrous skin.



A perfect snacking apple. Crisp bright red skin and sweet flavour. Lovely on a cheese board with grapes or equally in a snackbox. Better when younger as not a great keeper.

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Sussex Apples – How to choose?

Yukon Gold – Culinary Treasure


Well it’s been a bit quiet on our email front lately – we’ve been busy beavering away with a new website for our new gift boxes and hampers – but more of that soon!

It’s good timing that as we’ve tipped into October and the wind and rain has whipped up down here on the South Coast, we can turn to our newly picked Yukon Gold potatoes from Morghew Park.  So all thoughts turn to deliciously buttery, soft and delicately flaky dishes that warm the cockles of the heart.

Yukon Gold are thin skinned, golden fleshed potatoes which are pretty much one of the earliest varieties to welcome Autumn. Originally a Peruvian variety, as most golden potatoes are, this made the journey to North America where it was dubbed Yukon Gold after the Yukon river.

People often avoid potatoes as carbohydrates, but they have such wonderful nutritional qualities that they shouldn’t be underestimated.  The Yukon contains nearly twice as much vitamin C as a regular baker and adds some potassium as well.

It’s also a highly versatile friend in your kitchen as it’s a robust roaster and chipper – and to that add hash browns and gratins as well –  but makes fantastically fluffy jacket potatoes as well.  They are little stars if you’re making Thrice Cooked Chips and of course, as crisps are utterly dreamy.


This variety has a very thin skin so needs some protection.  Store in the veg crisper drawer in a paper bag – or make sure a plastic bag has plenty of ventilation holes.  Keep away from light and remember these aren’t keepers.  Don’t store for more than a week or two, ideally, to eat them at their best.


Perfect Sauteed Yukon Gold potatoes – like roasties but crispy fried in the pan with clarified butter (which is actually very easy to make as well)…and pictured at the top of this page.

We have long argued at home whether Golden Wonder crisps are a Northern or Southern phenomenon…(fyi the North is winning out here).  Either way, they are THE crisps for kids of the 1970’s and 80’s and traditionally been made with Yukon Gold.  So no event worth it’s salt [and vinegar, heh] is complete without a very, very large bowl of freshly salted crisps – and homemade is possibly even better and worth the effort, if you can stop yourself from eating them all before serving. Not easy…


Yukon Gold Jacques Pepin Style – although we usually know them in the UK as Potato Boulangere…so named because French villagers used to put their dish of potatoes into the local bread ovens to cook slowly.  Actually, this is one of our family favourites so we often cook our pots this way – and as we have two veggies among us, we use a good quality low-salt stock and a sprig of rosemary from the garden for added flavour.  Deliciously flavoursome as a side with pretty much anything – and a warming dish to have on a cold evening which we often chuck some butter beans into for a warming easy one pot dish with a  steamed broccoli.

Nick’s sister introduced us to blinis one Christmas and it’s become a small obsession of ours.  Ethical caviar can now once again be a realistic purchase – with new production techniques which are harmless to fish, then blinis with caviar can be enjoyed with impunity – and what a delicious way to start a celebration with a soft pillowy Yukon Gold Potato Blini topped with salty caviar and creme fraiche.

By the way, for veggies, there is this abundantly luxurious recipe for aubergine caviar (eggplant) that makes a perfectly good alternative…or this version which includes quinoa for a similarly popping effect.


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Yukon Gold – Culinary Treasure

Recipe for Laura’s Beans


There is no picture which does justice to braised green beans and tomatoes!  This is one of the easiest and most delicious recipes which we have every Summer when the beans are plentiful and tender.

Some years ago, we lived in Turkey and met some wonderful people including the amazing Laura – who lives with her family on a leafy hillside surrounded by vineyards and grows and creates amazing food….

This is one of her staples from our raid on her recipe lists , which in Turkish is called Taze Fasulye – but we call Laura’s Beans and has become probably our all-time favourite supper dish – with rice (sauteed Turkish style in olive oil and then cooked, so it’s rich and slightly sticky to soak up the delicious sauce).

The beauty of this dish is that you can add to it to make it a meat or veggie supper which is very filling – either by sauteeing minced beef or lamb at the beginning with the onions – or adding chick peas at the end.

It’s a totally simple recipe as it pretty much looks after itself…which is an even more reason to cook it, as you can chuck it in a pan and just take a peek every so often.

Laura’s Beans

Feeds 4-6

1kg Green Beans of any variety.  Left whole or in manageable lengths

1kg fresh tomatoes of any variety, quartered

2 large onions, quartered

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

Small pinch chilli

80ml Extra Virgin olive oil

Good squeeze tomato puree

Drizzle pomegranate molasses (optional but delicious)


Optional 300g minced meat

Optional 400g tin of chickpeas


If you are using meat, then add a little olive oil to the a large heavy wide pan and sautee the meat with the onions. Once the meat is browned, then add all the rest of the ingredients.

If not using meat, then just add all the ingredients to the pan and mix together.

Cover the pan and gently simmer for around 40-50 mins, moving the beans around occasionally to stop the contents sticking.  If you have time, this is also sensational cooked slowly in the oven.

If you are using chickpeas, then once the beans are tender, add the chickpeas and continue cooking.

Season and serve with rice.

Note:  It sounds like alot of olive oil in this recipe, but honestly, a good olive oil makes all the difference and is part of the flavour of the dish. Turkish people serve this in quite small portions as a lunch dish, which is quite sufficient as it is quite rich.

We sometimes use more olive oil, depending on how lavish we are feeling…and often double up on the garlic…as everyone who knows us, knows how much we love that delightful little superfood!


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Recipe for Laura’s Beans

Happy Launching!

SHC Logo Web

Our new venture is coming along!

8th September

After two years of discovering, tasting (lots) and setting up, we are a hair’s breadth away from launching our new hampers.

For years we have been selling and sourcing fresh Sussex farm produce, but along the way, we’ve found some fabulous stuff out there.  Tucked away in all kinds of interesting places, we have silversmiths, brewers, leathermakers, jewellers and artists.  Fin and Farm is devoted to fresh Sussex produce so we have been trying to work out a way of incorporating handmade, beautiful things.

Setting up hampers is definitely harder than we thought it would be!  We love wicker hampers, but they aren’t everyone’s cup of darjeeling, so first off has been to find a perfect wooden box that can be kept and used…as well as gorgeous, tactile wicker, of course.

Anyway, boxes are generally Useful Things to have….At home, we have a ‘memory box’ with things added from family life over the years…photos, school reports and things collected on walks and holidays.  In the kitchen, we use wooden boxes for storing extra kitchen stuff like icing nozzles, biscuit cutters and party bits…and boxes for recipes and widgety things.  Now we come to think of it, we do have rather a lot of stackable storage!  Photo boxes and random cd’s all get swept into crate format, as we do love hiding away our family chaos!

So, inevitably, we got quite excited about boxes and hampers, given that they are unlikely to be crushed and sent to landfill…and we are not encouraging more waste.


This is our first attempt at producing a great box….now sorting, leather straps, stamping and sealing so all can be 100% safe and secure.  All our family members are perfectly happy to act as delivery guinea pigs so we can test how well they travel.

The fun bit this year – and the hardest – has been whittling down our list of what to bring you on day 1.  After months of hard thinking, looking at what things we would like for ourselves, our own families or our customers and suppliers – and what you will like – and discussing and cogitating over big glasses of Sussex wine (for reference only…) we’ve selected what we believe you will love.

sarah ketelaars-201

The wicker hampers will be stuffed full of mouthwatering Sussex-made sweets and gifts.  Award winning wines, orange blossom and earl grey turkish delight, gin truffles and chocolates with rum-soaked raisins (3 weeks soaked) boozy chocolates…the list goes on and on (!) so we will tell you more about everything shortly…

Anyway, we are nearly there just now and are looking forward to our launch party on 8th September – and there is no way this would go live without the amazing input of our designer Sarah Ferrari, who has painstakingly interpreted what we want for our site (and that we can’t wait to go live) – and the wonderful photography of Sarah Ketelaars.

So finally, we are just putting the finishing touches to everything (ie last minute fretting about nips and tucks) and this week managed to finally clink a glass to celebrate that we have got this far…


Happy Hampering! 

We will tell you more soon…

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Happy Launching!

Local game: Wild Venison and Pigeon



A bit about venison 

Venison, is meat from the Fallow deer (and others, but in Sussex, primarily Fallow) and is low in fat, high in protein and stacked with vitamins and iron. It has a wonderful flavour that lends itself to a variety of cooking methods. The meat is dark, lean and generally tender, though wild venison might be a little tougher than farmed, as the deer have had more exercise. Age has also an influence on the level of tenderness – the younger the animal, the more tender the meat…

Free-range, it has a slightly finer grain than beef, but it can however be treated the same way – with the haunch best for roasting, and steaks and chops fried or barbecued.

Nutritional facts about venison

Venison has more protein than any other red meat, which means that it keeps you full and satisfied for longer. It is also particularly rich in iron and full of B vitamins.

How to store venison

Store venison in the fridge, wrapped, for up to two days. If you’re marinating your venison, keep the meat with its mix on the bottom shelf of the fridge for up to two days, in a covered container. Take out of the fridge around one hour before cooking, to allow it to return to room temperature.

Cooking venison

Venison is very lean, so either cook it fast and high, or add extra fat (belly pork, bacon, or butter) to keep it moist. Tougher cuts (shoulder, neck and shin) should be braised or stewed or made into mince for venison burgers or sausages.

Brown in hot oil, then roast (about 10 minutes per 500g.). Grill, barbecue or fry (brown quickly, then cook for one minute on each side).





A bit about pigeon

Wood pigeon is very different from town pigeon; they are entirely wild and feed greedily both on vegetables grown in gardens and on crops in farmer’s fields. The meat is versatile with a lovely, wild gamey flavour. Wood pigeon is actually the perfect meat for anyone who wants sustainable and local food.

Rapidly seared and then rested, soft, succulent boned breast has the fine grain of a prime steak, but thanks to the diversity of its wild diet (seeds, acorns, buds, berries, green crops) it has a more complex earthy, woodland taste.

Ideal flavours to pair with wood pigeon

Fruits: blackberries, quince

Herbs: thyme, rosemary

Spices: cloves, chilli, ginger, cardamon, juniper

Vegetables: cabbage, celeriac, mushrooms


Cooking wood pigeon

 Season the birds with a little fat or butter and sear in an ovenproof pan first on their backs, sides and briefly on their breasts until golden brown, before turning over onto their backs and roasting in a pre-heated oven. Roast at a high heat for a short period. Slow cook or casserole older birds.

Here is a delicious recipe made with pigeon breasts. And as pigeon breasts are quite small, they are just perfect with salad and a really quick supper if you simmer the raspberry reduction first (or while getting on with other jobs!).

Wood pigeon salad with raspberry balsamic reduction

Serves 6 / Cooking: 45 minutes


  • Wood pigeon breasts
  • raspberries
  • 3 tbsp of water
  • golden caster sugar
  • 40 ml. balsamic vinegar
  • pine nuts
  • baby salad leaves
  • salt, freshly ground
  • pepper, freshly ground


  1. To make the raspberry balsamic reduction, heat the raspberries, water and a large pinch of sugar in a small saucepan. Break up the raspberries with the back of a spoon and stir occasionally over a medium heat until the raspberries have broken down completely into a puree.
  2. Remove from the heat. When cool to touch, press the puree through a fine sieve until only the seeds remain. Add the balsamic vinegar to the mixture and return to the heat. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half. It should be thick, but you should still be able to drizzle it over the salads. Set aside to cool.
  3. Toast the pine nuts lightly in a medium, dry frying pan. Arrange the salad leaves on 6 plates and sprinkle over the pine nuts.
  4. Return to the now hot pan you used to toast the pine nuts to the heat and turn it up to the high. Pan-fry the pigeon breasts for about 3 minutes on each side, making sure not to move them around the pan so you get a nice crust. Store them on a warm plate under kitchen foil while you’re cooking the whole batch.
  5. Slice the breasts with a very sharp knife and arrange over the salads. Drizzle generously with the raspberry balsamic reduction and serve immediately.





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Local game: Wild Venison and Pigeon

Sussex Organic Eggs from Springles Farm


As you know, at Fin and Farm, we are committed to only selling the best produce.  We’ve been asked about certified organic eggs (although all our eggs are absolutely free range and not fed with grain that has added growth hormones or other undesirable chemicals).

When we were researching eggs, the reality of what constitutes free range, in some cases, is pretty thin and welfare statements about access to fresh air, light and space can be manipulated.  This is why we carefully choose our farms and although organic eggs are subjected to tighter regulation, we wanted to see for ourselves before introducing them on our list.

So we visited Springles Farm in Barcombe this week and had the chance to meet Andy, the owner of the farm. He gave us a tour, where we saw the chicken-roosts and the large fields available for the hens to roam.

Andy and his team believe that their hens deserve a happy and healthy life, providing them with an environment that meets their needs. Hens –for example- have easy access to the outdoors (as you can see in the picture above). They must live in a place that gives them fresh air, light, space to exercise, clean food, water and plenty of bedding.

And as taking care of his hens is the most important thing for him, Andy feeds them with high-quality organic feed. The chickens are fed with Humphrey Feeds, which is produced by a family run local company which has 80 years experience of highest quality feed.



Lots of eggs are misshapen…which you’ll never see in the supermarkets… so we asked Andy about it, and he told us that funny shaped eggs are pretty common.  It take approximately 25 hours for a hen to produce an egg and all kinds of things can affect the shape of the egg… maybe a result of something simple, like being bothered by another hen who’s trying to steal her roosting spot or the food she has been eating. It happens all the time, but these eggs are often rejected by large supermarkets, so we are used to seeing only the perfectly regular specimens – sadly.

























Storing eggs

There are lots of schools of thought about storing eggs.  It is thought that if you do keep them in the fridge, then it’s best not to store in the door.  The constant change in temperature can cause them to degenerate quicker.

Eggs in the supermarket aren’t kept in the fridge, but they are at a pretty constant temperature and it does seem that the rule of thumb is that keeping them chilled gives them the same consistent temperature to keep them as fresh as possible.

Bring eggs up to room temperature before cooking to stop the yolks from breaking too easily.

Can you freeze eggs?

Apparently, yes – this blog from Home Farmer gives you lots of tips on freezing eggs.  However, it seems that the best use is for cakes as eating a gelatinous egg white doesn’t fill us with glee with our morning scrambled egg.


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Sussex Organic Eggs from Springles Farm

Local Game: Pheasant


smoked pheasant

Pheasant is native to Asia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. Roaming pheasant enjoy scratching around in woods; their ideal habitat and are so familiar in landscape.

Our pheasant is supplied  by Chanctonbury Game – in Sussex at the foot of the downs.  They are experts in preparing dressing wild game – all of it wild and never farmed.

Nutritional facts about game … there are real health benefits to eating game. Pheasant and partridge contain a high level in iron, protein, vitamin B and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Pheasant is also appreciated for its low fat content as it contains nearly half the fat found in a equal size of beef.

But what does the pheasant taste like ?

Wild pheasants generally have a gamey flavour characteristic of whatever the birds have been eating. Their flesh is pale, lean and firm. Cooking game can minimize their deep flavour by soaking it in salt water or milk, if you prefer a less rich taste. The breast meat is more delicate in flavour and tender than the legs, which tend to be darker in colour and more meaty.

Cooking pheasant

In general, young birds are more tender than older ones, and are best roasted or grilled. Older birds are better cooked slowly such as in a casserole or braising.

Usually sold in a brace – a hen and a cock – young birds only need quick roasting and benefits from covering with a layer of streaky bacon or regular basting during cooking. Older birds stand up well to being braised or are even robust enough to curry.

Some cooking tips for your pheasant…. Pheasant hens tend to be plumper and better for roasting. Cock pheasants take well to lengthier cooking times as they can be tougher and age is also a factor.

In a traditional spirit, here is a recipe for roast pheasant with white wine and Charlotte potatoes. This recipe was developed to keep the bird moist and experimenting with different traditional ingredients.

Simple Roast Pheasant

Serves 4


  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 pheasants (young hens are best)
  • olive oil
  • 1 pack (100g) pancetta lardons
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into thin rings
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped into slithers
  • 2 juniper berries crushed with a few black peppercorns
  • 700g Charlotte potatoes, cut on the diagonal into 3 pieces
  • 6 rashers pancetta or streaky bacon
  • 2 large glasses white wine

Preheat the oven to 200°C Mark 6. Salt and pepper the pheasants. In the bottom of a large, cast-iron casserole dish, add 2 tbsps of olive oil and brown the pheasants all over. Set aside. Tip in the lardons and fry until nearly crisp on a high heat. Add the onion, turn the heat down and cook for a few minutes, stirring continuously until soft. Add the garlic, a small sprinkle of salt, crushed juniper berries and peppercorns and cook for a further minute. Add the potatoes and stir it all together.

Sit the pheasant on top and cover the breasts with the pancetta rashers or bacon. Heat the wine and pour it over. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.



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Local Game: Pheasant