Most local families have been touched by the grace of Hospice - I know mine has.
Howick Hospice, like all other Hospices, is a non-profit organisation committed to providing home-based, palliative care for those diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Services are free. Howick Hospice relies on voluntary support and financial contributions from the public. With a philosophy to be self sustaining, members of the organisation work hard at keeping a well-stocked charity shop as well as hosting the many income-generating events, planned on an annual basis. All donations are gratefully received.
Last year's project focussed on local restaurateurs who were given the chance to showcase their eateries by providing interesting recipes for a recipe book - all for a good cause. Supporting this initiative provided these business owners with the ideal opportunity to help raise the charity's fund bar that, in turn, will benefit the community.
The project for 2014 was this recipe book offering a meander through the Midlands' culinary talent - a compilation to embody the community it serves – and the Howick Hospice recipe book, FEAST The Midlands, was born.
Months back I was privileged to be asked for advice and guidance around the development of this book. It was an effortless task because I have been in the Midlands for many years and my excitement grew when I discovered all that was available on our doorstep. An in-depth understanding and appreciation of our beautiful surroundings are woven into the pages. Every recipe is a gem!
What would a local recipe book be without Notties' (Nottingham Road Hotel) lamb shank recipe or Bierfassl's hearty goulash soup? Pub grub at its best! Terbodore's apple cake is worth the drive and Tasha's Fudge has become a household favourite. Her pecan-butter, fudge-ice-cream pie looks delightfully decadent. We all know Jonty of Nicholson's stole Tanya's heart with his flavoursome soups - the pea and gammon is his piéce d'resistance. We then travel from La Lampara's Italian touch to the deliciously-textured salads served at Café Bloom and Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse; and from the white-chocolate cheesecake at Cranford Country House to the fresh sorbets for which Fordoun is renowned. I'm told one of Howick Hospice's favourite recipes is Dee's milk tart. Denise Larsen has been with Hospice for many years. She is gifted with many talents that include gardening, sewing, crocheting and her greatest ability is baking. She often spoils the Hospice team with wonderful treats. Try her Norwegian milk tart - it is heavenly. Every recipe in this book is an authentic reflection of what each eatery is offering.
It's a book to enjoy for many reasons. Perhaps to entice you to a place you haven't yet discovered or to remind you of a venue, such as Hartford House, that deserves a revisit. It could be that you find a favourite recipe that you thought was a family secret – now it's available for you to cook in your kitchen. The aim is to introduce you to all things foodie in the Midlands; for you to step away from your regular haunts and experience some of our very own, unique treasures. It's a guide to unusual culinary delights that promise to charm and to delight those who take the time to experiment. There is something about knowing how the final product should look and taste that makes creating it a lot easier.
This is a recipe book for all ages. When I get my copy I intend getting into my car for an exciting journey of exploration. Then I'll go home and whip up some of the dishes.
Here's to making many memorable moments with your copy of FEAST.
FEAST, The Midlands is on sale from the following outlets for R150:
The Ruby Orchid
The Lazy Lizard
Nuts about Books & Toys
Bookworld at Cascades
Fern Hill Hotel
The Farmer's Daughter
Maggies Coffee Shop
China Rose Interiors