Alton Show Cookery Theatre 2013

I had a great time in the cookery theatre on Sunday, catching up with some of Hampshire’s loveliest producers and compering for some really interesting and varied demonstrators. I took over the stove for the 2pm slot, cooking with some of the fantastic products sold by the stallholders in the local food tent. These are the recipes if you fancy having a go at home.

Giant caramelised onion cheese straws

These cheese straws make great finger food for parties and barbecues and are delicious served warm from the oven while the cheese is still gooey. High Weald Dairy’s Sussex cheddar has a lovely mature flavour that balances well with the sweetness of the chutney.

Makes 12

1 packed ready-rolled puff pastry

½ jar caramelised onion chutney – The Hampshire Chutney Co

150 g Sussex cheddar, grated – High Weald Dairy

1 egg, beaten

  • Preheat the oven to 220⁰C / gas 7.
  • Spread half of the pastry sheet with the caramelised onion chutney and sprinkle over ¾ of the cheese.
  • Fold the pastry sheet in half to enclose the filling then roll it out to its original thickness.
  • Brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese, then cut it into 12 thick ribbons.
  • Holding each ribbon at either end, give them a few twists then lay them on a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cheese straws for 12 – 15 minutes or until they are golden brown on top and the pastry has cooked through underneath.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little before serving warm.


Best-in-show burger

Parsonage Farm make the most delicious burgers from animals that have a happy life roaming the fields and munching on lush grass. The Hampshire Chutney Company’s chilli sweetcorn relish makes the perfect accompaniment for this all-American burger, made with only local ingredients.

Makes 2

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 portabella mushrooms

2 x 100% beef burgers – Parsonage Farm

2 slices smoked cheese – High Weald Dairy

2 black olive focaccia rolls – Slindon Bakery

2 tbsp chilli sweetcorn relish – The Hampshire Chutney Company

  • Preheat the oven to 220⁰C / gas 7.
  • Drizzle half of the oil over the mushrooms and season them with salt and pepper, then roast them in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers for 12 minutes, turning them every 2 minutes.
  • When the burgers have had their final turn, lay the smoked cheese slices on top so they start to melt a little.
  • Slice the rolls in half and lay a burger on top of each one.
  • Top with the mushrooms and a spoonful of chilli sweetcorn relish, then lay the other half of each roll on top. Serve with rib rub slaw.


Rib rub slaw

The combination of carrot, spring onion and red cabbage makes for a very vibrant coleslaw variant. The rib rub adds the perfect blend of sweet, salty spiciness and you can use the rest of the tub another day to marinade spare ribs and pork belly slices.

Serves 2

½ carrot, coarsely grated

3 spring onions, shredded

¼ red cabbage, shredded

4 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tsp rib rub – The Hampshire Chutney Company

  • Mix all the ingredients together and serve with the burgers.


Ginger ice cream with gooseberry vinegar

This might sound like a bit of an odd combination, but cold, rich ice cream with sweet and sour vinegar is actually a match made in heaven! I’ve used Yarty’s gooseberry and elderflower here, but it would also be amazing with their raspberry vinegar or their delicious rhubarb and ginger cordial.

Serves 1

2 scoops vanilla and ginger ice cream – Meadow Cottage Ice Cream

2 tbsp gooseberry and elderflower vinegar – Yarty

  •  Scoop the ice cream into a glass, drizzle over the vinegar and eat immediately.


Here are the links to my fellow demonstrators’ websites:

11am: Monty’s Bristro, Alton

12noon: Create & Cook Competition finalists

1pm: Newlyns Farm Shop and Cookery School, North Warnborough

3pm: Parsonage Farm, nr. Andover

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