The below article and recipe originally appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post on Wednesday 12th October and can be found on their website HERE
Having lived in many different cities and towns over the years, the one thing that really sets Nottingham apart from the rest is the love of a good party.
In the past few weeks alone we have paid host to the wonderful Spiegeltent in the market square, the Goose fair and now we have the return of the beer festival at the castle.
Each one of these events, and all the ones that proceeded it are an excuse to hunt down those foodie treats that often come with such happenings. Items that can only be found at these regional celebrations, things to tickle the tastebuds.
Goose fair was originally started out as a trade event some 700 years ago. Famous across the surrounding counties for its cheese, not to mention the geese themselves. These things were not destined to be household pets at the end of the day!
Nowadays you may struggle to find cheese not sat atop chips, nor a goose that isn’t primarily made of fiberglass at the fair. That isn’t to say good eats cannot be found though.
The baker in me heads for the batter based doughnuts, thick with sugar and cinnamon but I am also rather fond of a Nottingham staple, the Cock on a Stick. Only in a city where grown men refer to each other as ‘Duck’ could these sticky delights exist!
The beer festival starting at Nottingham Castle today is shaping up to be a modern classic on the yearly schedules. I don’t think I know a single person who won’t be attending at some point this year.
As always, baking is where I find the many joys of beer. The hoppy flavours work so well in breads whilst slow roasting meats were made to be cooked with earthy stouts. Cheese bakes, from fondue filled pastries to mac & cheese topped hot dogs all come to life with the addition of a little pale ale too.
So whilst you browse the wears on sale over the weekend, before the boozy effects start to take hold too much, remember to buy a nice bottle for cooking with for a few days after. Once the hangover subsides of course.
On another note, there will be a coffee morning in aid of Sneinton Cats next Saturday at Greens Windmill between 1pm and 3pm. This group of hardworking ladies dedicate their time to helping the strays of Sneinton and surrounding areas.
I will be there selling some of my own home baked goods alongside tea & coffee, games and cat competitions so come eat some cake to line your stomach before the beer festival shenanigans begins!
To honour the beer festival, I have come up with these fantastically flaky scones that use beer within the dough itself to create a wonderful malty wholemeal flavour. Filled with cheddar, stilton, spring onions and chorizo before being rolled into buns. The perfect accompaniment to any good stout or simply served as an afternoon treat, no booze required!
Beer, Cheese & Chorizo Scones
425g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1½tsp baking soda
150g unsalted cold butter – cubed
200ml pale ale or wheat beer
For the filling:
110g softened butter
2 large garlic cloves – either chopped finely or grated
1 large spring onion – chopped finely
225g grated mature cheddar
100g stilton – crumbled
150g diced chorizo
Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line the base of a 12” round loose-bottom baking tin
Sift the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and soda into a large bowl
Add the butter and work in with your fingers. You want some largish chunks of butter left so don’t work it much as if you were making pastry.
Slowly pour the beer and milk onto the dry ingredients whilst working together quickly with a spoon until a loose dough is formed.
Tip onto a well-floured work surface and use a rolling pin to flatten to 10” by 6”. The secret to a good scone is not to overwork the dough so try not to be too heavy-handed.
Mix the softened butter with the salt and garlic before spreading onto the rolled out scone.
Cover the butter first with cheddar, then stilton, spring onions and finally the chorizo.
From the long side of the dough roll the scone into a spiral, trapping the filling within.
Cut the rolls into 2” slices and place onto the prepared baking tin. Brush with a little milk.
Bake for 20mins before removing from the oven and leaving to cool. These will keep for 24 hours if kept in an air tight container although they are best enjoyed still warm from the oven!