"The greatest Indian cook in Britain"Jay Rayner "The Observer"
"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Holmfirth food and drink festival.

Holmfirth is a little town in the Pennines just south of Huddersfield.  In previous posts I mentioned the town's vineyard and icecream. Today I visited its food festival.  Holmfirth hosts a lot of festivals through the year. A folk festival and film festival in May. An arts festival in June and lots of other quirky events like a duck race and a torchlight procession.
Probably Holmfirth is best known as the scene of the long running TV sitcom "Last of the Simmer Wine". The series is about three senile delinquents who meet at an establishment (which really exists) known as Sid's Cafe.Today the car park opposite Sid's Cafe hosted an open air food court. A tempting aroma wafted from the Pan House with Wurst, goulash and other goodies.  Not being a great meat eater I ordered a veggie hot dog. BIG MISTAKE. HUGE MISTAKE. Really really yucky. My friend who is a carnivore fared better with a Stilton and apple pork pie.  For dessert I had a sticky toffee cup cake from Racheys and my friend a slice of lemon cake which were scrumptious. That made up for the hot dog.Fortified with lunch I toured the stalls. Those that caught my eye were the Autumn Harvest Mushrooms
(luscious mushrooms - yellow oyster, eryingi, pink oyster, shimeji, girolle, shitake as well as truffle and porcinin butter), the Old Bridge Bakery (the Handmade Bread Company having sold out its stock as per usual).A Spanish tortilla which  I served it with a fresh salad tossed in fruity olive oil and a pomegranate balsamic vinegar dressing. Refreshing.

An olive stall, a venison and red wine pie stall and heard great things from the lads that were tucking into them who were   encouraging me to buy one... and the usual cheese affair.                      Now who's for some bajias? Mushroom of course, try my delightful Dana Jeera mushroom bajia recipe  A good tip: let the bajia batter rest before dipping yr mushrooms in the batter and frying.
                                      Dana jeera mushrooms bajias
(Serves 4)


14 tbsp gram flour
3 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp green rocket chilli
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp cumin
1⁄4 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
A pinch chilli powder
2 tsp ground nut oil
150ml luke warm water
750g whole medium sized chestnut or button mushrooms
Ground nut for oil for deep frying


Grate the ginger and finely chop the green chilli. Prepare the mushrooms by cutting the larger ones in half and keeping the smaller ones whole. Wipe them clean and avoid soaking them in water as this will make the mushrooms limp.


  1. In a bowl, sieve the gram flour and add the ginger and green chilli. Add a little water and using your hand beat the mixture to form a paste, making sure to avoid lumps. Mix in some more water and continue to beat.
  2. Once you have a smooth thick paste consistency, add the dry spices, 2 tsp oil and salt, and beat. Cover and leave the batter somewhere warm for 1 hour.
  3. Approximately half-fill a heavy bottom Lowu or a heavy bottom wok with groundnut oil, and heat.
  4. Take the batter and add a little more water to loosen the mixture to form a batter consistency. Mix in the fresh coriander leaves.
  5. (Test the oil by dropping a little batter into the oil if it rises to the top within a few seconds and becomes crispy then its ready.) Dunk the mushrooms into the batter and then place them in the hot oil. Give them a few seconds then frequently turn them until crispy and golden brown, drain off the excess oil and eat whilst hot and crunchy. Enjoy!                                            

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