New Leicestershire & Rutland Cookbook celebrates region’s best

The Leicestershire & Rutland Cookbook is the ninth is a series of regional books published by Meze. Working with a local food writer (in this case, me!), Meze approached businesses we knew we liked and invited them to join in.

The aim? To celebrate our wonderful local food culture by profiling each business, in words and stunning photography, and to include one or two of their recipes. The result is a handsome book that hopefully does justice to the burgeoning food scene in Leics & Rutland.

It features over 30 business, many of them already favourites with GFC members*, and has a forward written by Tim Hart of Hambleton Hall and Hambleton Bakery. It includes high-profile restaurants like Michelin-starred John’s House and media favourites Kayal and Paddy’s Marten Inn, but also rural microbusinesses such as Sloeberry Spirits, and exciting, fast-growing businesses such as Rutland Charcuterie and Cocoa Amore.

The Fox & Hounds, Exton is just one of the pubs featured

The Fox & Hounds, Exton is just one of the pubs featured

It celebrates local markets, too, and highlights hot spots such as Leicester’s St Martin’s with its fast-expanding range of independents like Gelato Village, St Martin’s Tea and Coffee and Crafty, 45 West, and the soon-to-open Leicester branch of Delilah’s.

Personally, it was a joy to talk to pioneers such as Matthew O’Callaghan, the man behind so much of Melton Mowbray’s success in promoting itself as England’s Rural Capital of Food, and Peter Tydlesley of Bradgate Park Trust, who has helped make venison from the park widely available.

Indeed venison was one of the most popular ingredients in the book’s recipes – ranging from John Duffin’s fallow deer with smoked beetroot, quince and chocolate, to the more humble but equally delicious keeper’s pie from Bradgate Park Trust.

James' Cafe Bistro - another favourite in the book

James’ Cafe Bistro – another favourite in the book

There are also recipes for cakes, scones, tarts, salads, cocktails and canapés as well as ambitious main courses with fish, prawns and beef and poultry. And to complete everyone’s enjoyment, Market Harborough wine merchant Duncan Murray Wines has provided the perfect wine match to enjoy with every recipe.

This is an exciting time for food culture in Leicestershire & Rutland. There’s a lot happening, but there’s scope for more. If this book encourages more people to take advantage of the riches on offer, and maybe even inspires someone to follow their passion and set up their own food business, I will be a proud man.

The Leicestershire & Rutland Cookbook is available for £14.95 from each of the businesses featured in the book and from Waterstones in Leicester.

* The full list of GFC member businesses featured in the book are Hambleton Hall and Hambleton Bakery, Charnwood Brewery, John’s House, Berkeley Arms, Bewicke Arms, The Fox and Hounds at Exton,  Rutland Charcuterie, Delilah’s Fine Foods, Gelato Village, Dickinson & Morris, Farndon Fields, Walker and Son’s, 45 West Bottle Shop, Distillery and Gin School, Sloeberry Spirits, The Rutland and Derby, the Marquess of Exeter, Duncan Murray Wines and Everards Brewery.

Tim Burke
The author:

Leicestershire editor Tim lives in Leicester has been a journalist for 30 years, and over the last 12 years he has been restaurant critic for Metro, Great Food Club and the Leicester Mercury. He is also author of 2016 publication The Leicestershire and Rutland Cookbook.