Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Handmade cards - local photos

We have a selection of cards featuring photos that were taken locally.  Perfect to sending to friends and relatives that love the locality, or maybe to those that have moved away, just a little bit different, not available in any High Street.

There are pictures of Ampthill Park, Holly Walk, Maulden, Houghton House and a few others.  

If you have a spot that would look lovely on a card - please suggest and I will wander over there on a sunny day and take a photo.

The exact style may not be available, but there will generally be something similar each week.

They are all blank inside, but often have a greeting on the outside. 

If you like one of the cards and need a greeting changed or added, this is often possible just contact us either on the stall or through the website (see link at side), and it can be arranged.  

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Carrot & Fruit cake with honey

Clearly there are lots of lovely cakes on the stall, but I know sometimes everyone wants to bake themselves - so I thought I would share some recipes - I have not made this one before - but was most impressed,  lovely and moist.

Honey is always on the stall, and carrots are available in season.

Put all of this lot in a saucepan (or I did a bowl and pop in the microwave)

125g - 4oz soft brown sugar
6 tablespoons of clear honey (although I reckon set will do)
175g - 6oz of grated carrot
125g - 4oz seedless raisins
50g - 2oz chopped dates
3/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
125g - 4oz butter
150ml - ¼ pint water

and bring to the boil - then simmer for 5 mins, leave to cool

then add:
1 beaten egg
and then mix together thoroughly:
125g - 4oz wholemeal flour
125g - 4oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

I used all plain flour this time as I had not got any wholemeal, and it still seem to work.

put the mix in a 23cm (9inch) cake tin and bake for 55 - 60 mins - 180c/350f/gas mark 4

Friday, 25 April 2014

Handmade cards - afternoon tea

Vintage, tea and cakes are very much the 'in thing' at the moment, why not buy a homebaked cake and match it in with a handmade card.

Some are stamped and then watercoloured, others have been cut from paper and card.

They are all blank inside, but often have a greeting on the outside. 

If you like one of the cards and need a greeting changed or added, this is often possible just contact us either on the stall or through the website (see link at side), and it can be arranged.  

These are just a few examples of cards, we cannot guarantee that they will be available, but there should always be some similar.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Market Day - spotlight on baking

Today was much busier than last week, maybe everyone was on holiday over the Easter period, or just out for days?  

Good to see everyone back, it was a good weather day for a market stall - no wind or rain, the sun even popped out from time to time, we can get quite battered out there on windy days :)

There was a good selection of baking and we started with quite a stall full, and apart from a couple of packs it was all sold.  

The quiches were very popular and could have sold more.  We do several sizes, and they are all suitable for freezing, so you can eat some and freeze some.

See you all next Thursday

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Special Diets

Dairy free victoria sponge
We have a new baker that has just started and she is baking delicious goodies that are suitable for gluten free diets, as well as dairy free, making some of them suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  Anything labelled suitable for vegans will be egg free.

One of her children is allergic to dairy, and as she is also a vegetarian with another family member a vegan it gives her the incentive to seek out recipes that taste fantastic, and available to those that have intolerances.

Dairy free choc chip cookies

Those suffering from Celiac disease need to follow a gluten free diet, and often miss out on delicious baking, so maybe we can tempt you on Thursday morning.
Gluten free carrot cake

This week you will be able to buy gluten free gingerbread loaf, dairy/egg free/ cherry & almond cookies and hopefully Lemon and poppyseed muffins.

Don't forget that all of our baking is freshly made, and much of it will be suitable for freezing, although the chocolate chip cookies are probably not best to be put in the freezer, and I recommend eating them :)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Duck Eggs

We often have ducks eggs on the stall, you can always ask for us to bring them or set them aside, send an email or let us know on the stall. 

There are several different breeds of ducks hence the different eggs, some are a lovely blue, and others white.  

The breeds are: Khaki Campbell, Silver Appleyard, and Indian Runner.  

They live in a orchard with a secure fence together with bantam hens, turkeys, geese and guinea fowl.   For more information about ducks go to

Jamie Oliver recommends using them - here are a few things that he says:
  • Duck eggs interestingly are lower in cholesterol than chicken eggs. 
  • They also have a longer shelf life because their shells are so much thicker. 
  • They are also a good addition to gluten free baking—what your baked good loses in structure by omitting gluten can be partially gained back with the denser albumen (egg white protein).
  • Duck eggs make baked items so much fluffier than chicken eggs.

see more of the article here:

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Join us

The Country Markets is a national organisation originally set up by the WI as a trading 'arm' and is now independent, it is basically a co-operative.  The country markets have their on website here:

Country Markets and they have loads of information on there about becoming a member, and we also have information on our website.

Once you have joined the market it will cost you a percentage of your sales (currently 10%) and nothing more.  If you sell nothing it costs you nothing.

Maybe you have recently retired, or looking to earn some money that fits in with a busy family life.  Perhaps you have an excess of produce from your allotment or garden, or a craft worker looking for a new outlet.  Or just enjoy baking, making and growing and want to get involved.  Anyone over the age of 16 can join. We can attend other events, not just the Thursday market, and join with other Country Markets for events.  You can advertise and tell all of your friends, relatives and customers that your produce will be on the market every Thursday, and you might get a loyal customer base.

So if you are someone that can:

  • Cook - such as cakes, pies, preserves, chutneys, savouries
  • Raise plants - from bedding plants to shrubs
  • Grow fuit or vegetables - seasonal from your garden or allotment
  • Crafts - hand make items like knitting, embroidery, watercolours, as long as they are hand crafted and quality finished, they will be considered
  • Or if you just want to come along and help for a couple of hours, to see what we do that would be great too

How is it run? 

  • The market is run as a co-operative, here are a few of the main points on how it is run: 
  • there are no minimum quantities
  • you do not have to contribute every week
  • a commission is taken on sales, presently 10%, which covers the cost of the stall and insurance etc
  • you will be paid once a month for your sales
  • packaging is available to buy - bags, card and jar lids
  • we give advice on Food Hygiene certification is available for cooks, as well as financial contribution (this can be done on line now)
  • and advice on how to package and produce labels
  • there is a rota to 'man' the stall and you would normally have one 2 hour shift a month, but the members are flexible and if you cannot help then arrangements can be made
  • bear in mind the stall is outdoors and whatever products you wish to sell will need to be displayed on a potentially windy and wet market stall!
  • Anyone over 16 can be a member and it costs 5p to join.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Rapeseed Oil

We have Griffin Farm Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil on the market most weeks, email if you want to make sure that there will be some available.

The rapeseed oil is from the family farm in Toddington, Bedfordshire.  This extra virgin cold pressed oil has 10 times the amount of Omega 3 oil and half the fat of Olive oil. It is very versatile and has a slight nutty flavour and high burn point.

Here is a website with lots of information about the oil, including recipes.  

The oil is perfect as a salad dressing, and can be used in most of the ways that you would use other oils.

Here are some of the benefits:
  • Rapeseed oil has a favourable balance of 'good' and 'bad' fats:
  • Less unhealthy saturated fat than all other cooking fats and oils - e.g. 50% less than olive oil
  • High in the healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9
  • It is also a rich source of vitamin E, a natural antioxidant
  • And contains plant sterols - which may contribute to the cholesterol lowering properties of rapeseed oil

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


We nearly always have jars of local honey, it is very popular and it is thought to have lots of health properties. 

We are often asked why some of the honey is runny and some set, so thought I would share the information from the beekeepers site:

The type of honey made by the bees is dependent on the types of foliage and flowers available to the bees. Crops such as oil seed rape (the bright yellow fields in the spring) produce large quantifies of honey that sets very hard, so hard even the bees could not use it in the winter, garden flowers tend to give a clear liquid honey. If the beekeeper wants to produce a mono honey i.e. clover, orange blossom etc. the beehive is put out of range from other sources. This can be difficult for the small hobbyist and a blend of the season’s honey is usually the result.

It is also thought to reduce the effects of hayfever, it must be local, and you need to take a teaspoon everyday for several months before the season starts, some of our customers swear by it.

As you can see we have both the clear and the set available.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


We will still have rhubarb this week on the stall, did you know that orange is a good partner?  so how about cooking it in a drop of orange juice or even adding an orange.  

There are lots of recipe ideas here: bbc good food

You may be interested to know that it was announced as a superfood here: NHS news

According to nutrition-and-you it has many health benefits:
  • Rhubarb is one of the least calorie vegetables. 100 g fresh petioles provide just 21 calories. Nonetheless, it contains some vital phyto-nutrients such as dietary fiber, poly-phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Further, its petioles contain no saturated fats or cholesterol.
  • The stalks are rich in several B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
  • Red color stalks contain more vitamin A than in the green varieties. Further, the stalks also contain small amounts of poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like β-carotene, zea xanthin, and lutein. These compounds convert to vitamin A inside the body and deliver same protective effects of vitamin A on the body. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for healthy eye-sight. Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protects against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • As in other greens like kalespinach, etc., rhubarb stalks also provide good amounts of vitamin-K. 100 g of fresh stalks provide 29.3 µg or about 24% of daily recommended intake of this vitamin. Vitamin K has a potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
  • Its stalks also contain healthy levels of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. However, most of these minerals do not absorb into the body as they are subject to chelating into insoluble complexes by oxalic acid, and excreted out from the body.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Walking in Ampthill

There are some lovely walks around Ampthill, you could park in the car parks at the park, have a walk around the park, or Coopers Hill, or up to Kingswood and see the bluebells, contact me if you want directions.

There are a number of links on the website: