Lancashire Market, Preston

A few other food bloggers have written posts about markets they have visited, and now it’s my turn, because on Easter Saturday, the Lancashire Market comes to town. It’s a bit of a tradition now, I go mooch around the market, buy some tasty things and bring them home to eat whilst watching Doctor Who, because Doctor Who starts on Easter Saturday… except this year it hasn’t, and I don’t like it. I love Doctor Who. I don’t love waiting until autumn. Meh. ANYWAY…

So yeah, the plan was go to the market, spend more money than I could reasonably afford on delicious things, take photos and have a lovely day in town. Firstly on arriving in town, I had to get ingredients for tomorrow’s lunch, Rabbit Paella. Last year I cooked rabbit on Easter Sunday, and I am doing the same this year. Easter Bunny for lunch, kids! So the first stop was in the Preston Indoor Market to my favourite butchers, Adrian Livesey’s (Adrian was celebrating his 60th birthday today, working on a milestone birthday, dedication there)

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I think it’s a great thing to have a butchers that you can trust, and the quality at Adrian’s stall is always great, and the prices are always the best on the market, too. My favourite thing about his stall is that he stocks game, and a good selection of offal (aside from the usual livers and kidneys) that none of the other stalls sell.

Into the Lancashire Market, where the first stop was my college, Preston’s College’s stall. They had some of their own chorizo which was fortuitous, because I needed some for tomorrow’s paella. Also, from the bakery side of the stall Sara and I bought ourselves a Mary Berry Slice chocolate traybake cake each.

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As we meandered up the street, we were both immediately drawn to one particular stall. The beer stall from Lancaster Brewery. Well, it’d be rude not to, wouldn’t it (even if it was only just gone 11am!) Just a half, mind you.

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There were many stalls selling loads of impressive looking things that we just couldn’t justify spending extra money on or were too full already, this included these epic savoury rolls, massive pasties and impressive pies from Shirley’s Pies.

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Further along I spotted a cheese stall from Leagram Organic Dairy. My favourite was the Lancashire with Mint, I reckon this would go well in a Greek(ish) salad.

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Next up there were pies from The Real Thai Pie Company, whose beef massaman pie I have scoffed a couple of times before.

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More pies, this time from The Cumbrian Pie Company, who are according to their sign suppliers to BBC’s Masterchef, apparently they have supplied them with pork!

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Whilst we’re on the pies (which you may have heard, are quite popular in Lancashire) there was a stall from Pudding & Pie Café in Kirkham.

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Last of the pies was this gorgeous (and I know because I bought one) venison pie from The Moocher who also did some impressive looking pre-made meals (I don’t want to call them ready meals, because that makes me think of frozen low quality ASDA smartprice crap), one featuring something called “jack by the hedge” a foraged ingredient I had never heard of before. Fascinating stuff.

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I chose the most rustic pie where all of the juices had flown from it and caramelised and gone super tasty… and you know what? I made a good move there, the venison had a rich meaty flavour and the herbs and spices were bob on.

Other stalls in the market were selling cakes and biscuits, like these from William’s Bakery from Preston. They had a massive selection of various confections including “Tipsy Cake” which is made with wine. I know lots of people who would love that!

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By this point it was nearing time for lunch (because man cannot live on samples alone), and Sara got herself a chicken gyros wrap from a stall specialising in Greek style bbq food. The chicken was really tender and moist, and the tzatziki just lifted it. Unfortunately I didn’t get the name of this stall, but here is Sara’s lunch.

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I was quite satisfied with having my venison burger for lunch, but halfway through I put it away in a bag (it’s since been finished off), as I saw a sign that read Honest Crust. I’ve read about Honest Crust pizzas from fellow blogger, Manchester’s Bacon On The Beech, who has dubbed them “Manchester’s best pizza”. I can confirm that I agree with his findings, this is up there with some of the best pizza I have ever tried (perhaps a head to head with Marco’s in Hebden Bridge is in order?). I saw a colander full of wild garlic and asked “what pizza has wild garlic?… I want that one please”, and got a delicious portabello mushroom and wild garlic pizza. The base was light and fluffy, with those delicious charred bits that make wood fired pizza taste so great. Then the wild garlic, I love wild garlic, and I love pizza. These two things together, more of this please. The best pizza in Manchester, in Preston, for one day only… I hope not. I’d love for them to return some time! Also, thanks to the guy who didn’t mind me didn’t really get much choice in me photographing his pizza which had n’duja, a spicy spreadable sausage with tripe and belly and cheeks in it. If it wasn’t for wild garlic, I would have ordered that one.

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Of course, I wasn’t quite done yet, there was more to be seen at this market. It didn’t only feature food stalls, alongside the edible goodness there were a load of craft stalls. I’m not the sort of person who is into crafts, so I’ll admit I didn’t pay much of them any attention, but when I saw a dinosaur tail hanging off a rail, how could I not be drawn to that stall? This stall belonged to Okay Cokey, who alongside fabric dinosaur tails, sells jewelry and  dinosaur hoodies too! (I’m going to be ordering myself one of the hoodies soon, purple with orange spikes!) Here’s a photo of me looking at my most masculine with a dinosaur tail. I should let you know, I am available for modelling jobs in London, Paris and Milan.

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Another important thing you should know about me, is that I have an addiction to Creme Eggs, so when I saw a cupcake stall with a cupcake topped with A WHOLE FULL SIZED CREME EGG, all I could say was “shut up and take my money” (I actually did say this!). So, apologies to Cupcakes by Sophia for that!

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That wasn’t it for this Creme Egg addicted boy, Retro Shots Handmade Vodka Infusions were also there and tempted me with their “Creem Egg” vodka shot, so a little bottle of that had to be sampled (and bought). They have loads of flavours mostly based on classic sweets like Sherbert Lemons, Refreshers and Parma Violets, but if you have a screw loose they have a range of chilli infused spirits, including a vodka made with naga chillies. I stupidly tried this at last year’s Preston Food Festival, what a stupid stupid thing to do. Still, a perfect novelty gift for the chilli lover in your life.

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There were also a load of stalls selling pickles, chutneys and jams, and one of my favourites was Preesall Preserves whose delicious and refreshing gooseberry and mint jelly I am sorely regretting not buying.

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Finally, lets end on chocolate. Everybody loves chocolate, right? And anybody who says otherwise is either lying, or is wrong. Fact. One of the most impressive chocolatiers at the market was Chocolate Magic, and once again, it’s one of those  situations where I wish I’d had more money to spend, because I really do regret (much regret today, I’ve not told you about half the things I wish I’d been able to buy) not buying the salted caramel chocolate, with loads of flakes of sea salt embedded in it. It sounds so delicious!

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Then after a bit more ingredient shopping, going back to the butchers to collect my rabbit, I got on the bus home. However, my bus was 20 minutes late, so I decided to get on the bus that goes near home but still leaves me with a fair old walk, and what’s that I noticed in the hedgerows? Is it… could it be…? Is that jack by the hedge?

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After tweeting a handful of professional foragers, it’s been confirmed that I did identify it correctly, so tomorrow I think I shall add some of this garlicky mustardy wild herb to salad that I will serve in a bowl alongside my paella! What a great day to be a foodie!!

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