This weekend has been all about returning to Yorkshire to spend time with the family, back in the countryside and embracing everything this wonderful county has to offer. Now, before I offend anyone from either side of the Pennines, I’m a Yorkshire girl at heart and always will be but being a city girl in Manchester now – a place I equally love and have so much passion for in different ways – I have to be careful what I say here!
Being outdoors enjoying the fresh air and consuming local edible delights is what I love, so my mum and I went out exploring the beautiful woodland landscape, walking by rivers and canals and making the most of the autumn sunshine. Having just moved to a charming little cottage literally next door to the stunning Ripon Cathedral, this is the perfect spot to discover everything the city of Ripon has on its doorstep.
Alongside the walking and exploring came the eating. A Saturday afternoon shopping for new winter boots and other standard girly things turned into a local food expedition. As someone who has been to countless Yorkshire-based food festivals over the years, you could say it is something of an obsession of mine. When my mum suggested going to Booths Supermarket, I tell no lie, I was filled with excitement (while thinking, ‘Sh*t, am I getting old now at 25?!’).
Entering the modern, stylish, upmarket store, Booths immediately felt special without being pretentious. Before me were spacious aisles of variety and interesting/random food products that would be enough to make any foodie weak at the knees. From the fruit and veg section literally bursting with colour, I stocked up up wholesome onions, peppers, mushrooms, green beans and baby corn ready for the feast I was preparing for the family.
Meandering around the sauces and canned goods, chilled section, sweet treats and all sorts of herbs, spices and oils, the layout of the store took me on an international journey of edible specialities from all over the world. I could have bought everything in the shop, which sadly my bank card would not appreciate, so I admired rather than filling my basket up. However saying that, contrary to belief, the prices at Booths are very reasonable and not much more than your average supermarket.
It wasn’t just the exotic things that excited me, more so the vast offerings of local goods taking pride and joy on the shelves and fresh food counters among well-known brands. A few familiar faces included Womersley Foods oils and vinegars (their raspberry vinegar is a winner), Shepherd’s Purse cheese, Grumpy Mule coffee and Yorkshire Provender soups, all flying the flag for businesses doing their own thing and challenging tough economic times, especially in the competitive food industry.
I always love the visual display of food so the presence of the butcher, delicatessen, fishmonger and cheesemonger was an additional appeal to Booths. A lover of all things Mediterranean, the fresh olives, feta and sweet peppers were too irresistable to miss out on, not to mention the intriguing apple and cinnamon Lancashire cheese from the adjoined counter. Throwing in soft-cheese stuffed sweet peppers alongside packs of The Harrogate Sausage Company pork sausages, my ingredients for the meal ahead were complete. Oh wait, a cute little ‘pick’n’mix’ style machine caught my eye before we headed to the checkout. As a treat, we chose a selection of triple chocolate coconut balls, yogurt coated dried fruits, cinnamon dusted almonds and cocoa covered coffee beans to indulge our sweet tooths.
Being the typical Twitter geek I am, it was fun to engage with Booths on Twitter @BoothsCountry that very afternoon, who tweeted that ‘The love of food is timeless’, while also requesting that I post some photos of my creation from the ingredients I’d purchased. Naturally, this was going to happen! Below, you’ll see what I made from my purchases: a spicy sausage one-pot dish with peppers, mushrooms and onions, served with steamed fresh vegetables and of course, the delicious deli delights on the side. Booths, I’d just like to say, now that I’m back in Manchester, the store in Media City will certainly be welcoming a regular visitor!
As for the rest of the weekend, it involved more walking in the beautiful countryside, catching up with friends, chilling and going out for Sunday Lunch with parents, brother, cousins, Grandma & Grandma plus Aunty & Uncle; a fantastic reunion with special people in my life, before heading home to Manchester to be reunited with my other half (armed with a gorgeous bunch of flowers – he’s well trained!) 🙂 A cheeky stop at the delightful Terrace NQ for catch-up drinks was the perfect end to a brilliant weekend.
PS – Check out all of my photos from the weekend (there’s some stunning countryside shots!) on my Google+ page, or selected ones on my Instagram @SpamellaB..