February 2016 Letter from ‘The Ferns’ veggie B & B chatting about Nadyia Hussain, luxury nutroasts and hedgehogs

 Nadiya Hussain

Newport is very fortunate in having Nadiya Hussain  – the winner of Great British Bake Off 2015  – come to the Newport Show on Saturday 9th July.


The mum of three will be giving cookery demonstrations, talking about the competition and how it has changed her life. Newport Show takes places in the lovely setting of Chetwynd Deer Park and lake, about 1 mile outside Newport town centre. For visitors to my B & B it would be a half hour’s walk or you could drive there.

deer prk

Chetwynd Deer Park

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Newport Show

I watched all  of the episodes, and  was surprised at her  new ideas about  unusual flavours for desserts and cakes. Ditto Tamal – another contestant. It was interesting to see Paul Hollywood, taste, think about it, and in a rather surprised way, say, ” That really works!”

Thank Goodness Luxury Nut roast

luxury-handmade-nutroast-smallI am working my way through the range of the ‘Thank Goodness’ company; a business run from my town (Newport Shropshire). Bernadette who runs the business is not a vegetarian but her partner is, and so it came about that this lovely range of products happened through catering for two different styles of eating. Not only are they very good for you, but, in addition, it makes easier the vegan/ veggie in a  family of meat eaters.

veggie nutroast1The cook in a family of meat eaters might wonder what to give the veggie to eat, but here is your answer. It  would fit in with the meat and two veg brigade and you simply put in in the oven. So in December we tried the vegan nut roast which was excellent. This month we have tasted the Luxury Vegetarian Nutroast.

veggie nutroast2 Continue reading


December Letter from The Ferns chatting about vegan nutroasts, Nature’s Kitchen and ‘Bon natale!’

“Thank Goodness” nut roast company

In Newport we not only have me with my Veggie  B & B , but around the corner  from me there is a great  nut roast business called ‘Thank Goodness’ run by my friend, Bernadette McCarthy. I featured  her in my last blog with her ‘Shroppies Pie’. She has won awards for her delicious nutroasts

Today I am tasting  her ‘Luxury vegan nut roast’. The nut roast was easy to cook, just open up the top and put  it in the oven for 20-25 minutes

opening the packet

Opening up – prior to cooking

You can see just from opening it up, there are lots of interesting ingredients in there, and   we had  large portions.  I cooked it from chilled and it took only 20-25 minutes.   There were   lots of ‘big’ ingredients – chopped nuts  (some large some small – brazils, cashews, hazelnuts)  which give a variety of flavours and bite-ability. The vegetables are onions, carrot, courgette and mushroom plus lentils and the  nutritious quinoa.

vegan luxury nutroast


It had no egg in it  but held together really well. One of the reasons that people put egg in  anything is to hold it together. Bernadette told me that they did a lot of testing on all the recipes, and the addition of gram flour and peanut butter were the secret ingredients for holding it together – plus these two have additional  protein, which most people wouldn’t know about

Once cooked you can see how delicious it looked with the cranberries  peaking through – they added extra festive  flavour and colour.

I bought my ‘Thank Goodness’ nutroast from Greenfields Farm Shop Donnington, Telford  but other places to buy  are listed on their website.

Mike’s  verdict was “Fantastic! ” In fact this was as good as  or better than my nutroasts ( and I’ve been a vegetarian for 40+ years) , and its not often that I think to myself “This is as good as  my home cooked food”  –  but it was! It was lovely. We shall be having more at Christmas.

The beauty of these products is that at Christmas time or any other celebration, the fact that if you have a vegetarian or a vegan in your party or someone who wont eat the type of meat that you are serving, can be catered for with ease. No fuss! Easy peasy!

In 2016,  I shall eat my way through all of ‘Thank Goodness’ range! January will be the cashew nut pate which we shall try over the Christmas period.

 Nature’s Kitchen

Healthier Eating, Ethical Thinking


This is the motto of another  company that really interests me. I found them at the Greenfields Christmas Event last weekend, which included them selling vegan muffins. I have always had a desire to use little dairy and  fewer egg foods, so these looked just what I wanted. Their website  say that they produce “Healthier baked goods with a focus on seasonal, Fairtrade and vegetable based recipes.  I tried their  biscotti which were excellent and am hoping that they can supply me more muffins nearer Christmas.

The company can be found on twitter @NKShrewsbury  and on facebook/natureskitchenshrewsbury12308626_1651683861765902_8164188030236542325_n

Bon Natali !

Those of you who read my blog last month will have seen my very easy recipe for Limoncello (see below). Wonderful recipe from my sister Pam.

20145 cheewrsSo here we are  celebrating Christmas with my home-made limoncello  and damson gin   “Salute!” as my dad would say.

Merry Christmas!

Linda and Mike

Pam’s Limoncello

6 oz (plus more if you need it sweeter) sugar                   150 ml water

zest and juice of 6 unwaxed lemons                                        700ml vodka


Put the sugar and the water in a pan and boil for 3-4 minutes until syrupy. Then cool. Add the zest and lemon juice and the vodka. Bottle and shake daily for a month or so.






Letter from ‘The Ferns’ veggie B & B chatting about ‘Shroppie Pie’, porridge and home-made Limoncello

‘Shroppie Pie’

I recently discovered that one of my neighbours has her own business supplying vegetarian nut roasts all around the UK and also to Eire.  The company is called ‘Thank Goodness‘ and the aim of the company was originally to supply the odd member of the family who is a vegetarian with, say, a nut roast for an occasion where  there may be difficulty  sorting out a recipe for a non meat eater when the rest of the family are choosing meat as their main course.luxury-nutroast

Above is is one of her nut roasts. In December  I shall be reviewing her vegan nut roast, but today shall be looking at her new offering  – ‘Shroppie Pie’

shroppie pie2.jpg

So lets have a taste! In the oven for c 20 mins …..

shroppie pie1

The pastry was so light. You can see its crammed full of onions, celery carrots and adukis – those are the little round red coloured  beans that you can see. This was really a delicious pie.  I like to bake my own pies and nut roasts, but I shall be having some more of these as I cant make pastry like ‘Thank Goodness’ does it.  I shall be getting mine from The Green Fields farm shop at  Donnington or Priorslee, Telford  in the future. see   and Bernadette’s website is     Thank Goodness

Details of where to purchase the products are here too.


I make my porridge using fine oatmeal rather than porridge oat flakes. I am, intending to have porridge on the menu in the winter time at my B & B.

So here is my very easy method of making it.. . .


Take a tablespoon of oatmeal. I buy mine from Sherwood Wholefoods in Market Drayton

here is the link to their site  Sherwood Wholefoods


Stir in the dairy or soya milk. Water is OK but doesn’t make a creamy porridge. Start heating but keep stirring until it thickens



Once thickened, just leave on a low heat for 2-3 minutes


Serve with sugar, golden syrup or black treacle (to get extra trace elements and minerals) Beautiful!!



At this time of the year I sometimes  tell my readers about a  drink that I have been making as a ‘winter warmer ‘ or Christmas present. Today its the turn of Limoncello. The recipe is my sister’s. It is very easy to make and delish! The recipe is so easy that I haven’t  done any photos to illustrate. So here’s the recipe for Pam’s Limoncello

6 oz (plus more if you need it sweeter) sugar                   150 ml water

zest and juice of 6 unwaxed lemons                                        700ml vodka


Put the sugar and the water in a pan and boil for 3-4 minutes until syrupy. Then cool. Add the zest and lemon juice and the vodka. Bottle and shake daily for a month or so.

If you like, you can refine the drink by taking some of the zest out of the drink – this will settle in the bottom and so is easy to remove. You can see that in my photo  here, the left hand bottle is not as clear as the right hand bottle, where I have taken more of the zest out. It’s up to you! I have also done some nice home made labels in the shape of lemons to go with the bottles as they are going to be gifts


Enter a caption

It is best served from the fridge which gives it a bit of edge. I buy mine my bottles at Newport Cookshop