The great food of Leicestershire was celebrated on Monday when the top prize was awarded at the finale of the Leicestershire Cook Off for the dish that best reflects the best that Leicestershire has to offer.
The competition was not insignificant. This was not a comp for good enthusiasts – no sir! One professional chef, one trainee chef, one serious cook and one baker competed for the prize and the honour of being crowned. There was a crumble cake with apples and mulberries, a venison dish with a wonderful spicy sauce bringing together Bradgate Park and the flavours of the sub continent, a pork dish with a delicious mustard sauce, and the Leicestershire Loaves.
There were three Leicestershire Loves. Rosie baked some rye bread with fennel, cumin, and coriander to reflect the diversity of Leicestershire‘s folk, a soda bread with Leicestershire Stilton, and a whole wheat loaf made with locally milled wheat and cheered up with Everard’s Tiger beer, oats and honey. What’s more, Rosie was the only contestant who had to make her own dish as the chefs in the kitchen did not have the time to bake her recipes for the competition’s lunch!
Judges included food writers, Leicester’s great and good, and professional chefs like James Tanner who came from the far away West Country to judge the competition. He was heard to mumble “broccoli soup” as he stuffed some more soda bread with stilton into his mouth! It was a close vote and even we, at our table of Rosie supporters were torn from time to time: Did Rosie’s bread beat the venison, the pork, or the cake? They were all extremely good….
In the end after much eating, a consultation with the audience, and earnest discussion, The judgest gave the prize to Rosie, making her the first winner of the Leicestershire Cook Off for creating dishes that reflect the diversity of the county she loves! In addition to a great deal of praise and adulation from all of us here at Virtuous Bread, she won £1000 worth of cookery equipment and vouchers for High Cross centre in Leicester.
You can take a bread baking course from Rosie in either Leicester or North Norfolk where she retires from time to time to get away from her fans! Click here to check them out and book a course with her. As one of the first Bread Angels, Rosie now also has a thriving home bakery where she bakes bread and delivers it locally, in Clarendon Park, Leicester, where she lives. She also teaches the course to help people set up home bakeries – to enable them to work from home, earn a bit of money and provide good bread locally. If you want to buy some of Rosie’s bread you will have to go to live in Clarendon Park where the bread is on sale every week at the Butcher’s shop on the Queen’s Road. If you are lucky, Rosie can deliver some to your door. Watch this space and we will post the recipes for Rosie’s winning Leicestershire Loaves shortly.