Friday, August 10, 2012


Pieman Simon Haigh of Bolster Moor Farm Shop, Huddersfield, has been dubbed the 'Meryl Streep of the pie world' after the farm won all four categories of Meat Trade Journal’s National Pie competition in Harrogate. The farm won the best pork pie, savoury pie, steak and kidney pie and pasty. Handing out the awards, ex-Eastenders and Extras star Shaun Williamson described Simon as the 'Meryl Streep of the pie world'. Judges were particularly impressed with the winning savoury pie, a Jubilee Pie created by Luke Haigh, which has a pork and chicken filling, with a ‘Union Jack’ flag topping of blueberries.

Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival: August 9-12. St George's Square, featuring dozens of stalls including Jones' pies (and a pie-making demo), Bolster Moor Farm Shop, Hinchliffe's, Vox, Star, Sportsman, Nook, King's Head

Plus: Real Ale Trail, which starts on July 21 and ends on August 12. Taking part are: Herberts Bar, Rhubarb, Rat and Ratchet, Shoulder of Mutton (Lockwood), Stevo's Bar, The County, The Grove, The Head of Steam, The Kings Head, The Sportsman, The Star, The Vulcan and Zephyr.

Another enjoyable weekend at the festival and Taste Trail - a little more room at the festival this year helped browsing. Bradley's burgers and Yummy Yorkshire's parkin ice cream were the highlights for me, while Argento shone in the Taste Trail.

Pork Pie Appreciation Society Pie Competition results
1 Hinchliffe's, Netherton, Hudds
2 Bolster Farm, Golcar, Hudds
3 Lund, Keighley
A titanic tussle between Huddersfield's two premier farm shops and pie and sausagemeisters at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden, was shaded by Hinchliffe's.

Leeds butchers triumphed at the 2011 Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage & Products Competition, the the UK’s biggest and best-known regional meat trades contest.

Steve Martin, of Bentleys Butchers, Robin Lane, Pudsey, retained the pork pie supreme championship, while Paul Flintoft Butchers, of High Street, Kippax, was supreme sausage champion.

Steve Martin, who has been running the business for 20 years, said: “The pie is made using a secret recipe, which has been passed down over the years and tweaked by myself.”

Both the reserve supreme pork pie and sausage titles fell to a first-time competition entrant, Bolster Moor Farm Shop at Golcar in Huddersfield, launched in 2009 and owned by second cousins Simon Haigh and Andrew Whitwam.

The business clinched these honours with its first prize large pork (stand) pies and thin pork sausages, also winning first and second prizes in the speciality sausage class.

Bolster Moor Farm Shop butcher and owner's son Luke Haigh commented: “We're delighted to have brought home so many trophies for our sausages and large pork pies. A lot goes into perfecting our products to ensure they're champion quality. On a personal note, as the up & coming next generation of our farm shop business, it's great to be recognised in this way.”

Netherton Butchers at Hinchliffe Farm Shop, Huddersfield, won the black pudding championship and WR Wright & Sons Trophy, also finishing runner-up in both the large pork pie and thick pork sausage classes.

Gledhills Butchers, of Stanley, Wakefield, won the beef burger championship and WR Wright & Sons Shield, also becoming runner-up in the black pudding class.

Kendall’s Farm Butchers, of Pateley Bridge and Harrogate, won the speciality cold eating pie class with its pork, black pudding and apple pie, receiving the John Spencer Memorial Trophy.

The 23rd annual competition was organised by the Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers Councils and held at Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford. It attracted 300 entries from butchers across the county.

Among those highly commended as finalists at the 2011 competition were:
Small pork pie – Keith Dyson, Almondbury
Thin pork sausage – Villa Farm Shop, Huddersfield
Thick pork sausage – Bolster Moor Farm Shop, Golcar
Speciality sausage – Netherton Butchers at Hinchliffe Farm Shop, Huddersfield

Nov 11: Bolster Moor Farm shop, near Slades Road, Golcar, Huddersfield, has received a sausage award from Noddy Holder.

Their traditional pork sausages were judged the best in Yorkshire in a competition to mark British Sausage Week and 'sausage ambassador' Noddy Holder presented the farm with a gold disc. (Pic from farm's Twitter site).

The results of the Pork Pie Appreciation Society's 2011 Competition
1st Netherton Butchers, Huddersfield.
2nd Bolster Moor Farm Shop,Golcar
3rd Benson Mellor, Newark
4th Gledhills Butchers Wakefield

Nov 10: I've been meaning to highlight one of the best coffee shops in the country - Coffee Evolution in Huddersfield - and now I've got the perfect excuse. It's celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.

With so many chain coffee shops around, and many of them trying to pass themselves off as homely places, celebrating 10 years is a real achievement for an independent.

Coffee Evolution has a great feel about it. Its main shop in Church Street is light, thanks to its huge windows, and neatly laid out so all the seating is around the walls and windows - giving a quite different feel to chain shops. It doesn't have the rushed atmosphere of a chain either - it's a place to kick back and read the papers which are supplied in store.

The coffee is spot on - not too bitter or stewed (Hello Starbucks) and not served in buckets if you want a large one (Hello Starbucks again). There's a great selection of delicious bagels and homemade biscuits. The service is friendly and assured.

Coffee Evolution also has another branch in Greenhead Road.

To find out about the 10th anniversary celebrations, see here

Apr 10: Huddersfield's best restaurant (probably) is closing.

Weavers Shed owner Stephen Jackson is selling the Golcar eaterie. Last orders on May 1.

The 40-year-old told the Examiner: "After 17 years the lack of free evenings has finally taken its toll. You won’t find many chefs of my age working all the shifts. Gordon Ramsey certainly doesn’t – he just dabbles.

“I start work at 10am and finish around 11pm with a few hours off in between."

He's planning to open 'an upmarket cafe' in Marsden, Slaithwaite or Huddersfield town centre.

I'll never forget the meal I had there. The restaurant is a converted 18th century woollen mill which looks like an old vicarage. It's immaculate inside and the food is fabulous. I can still remember a butternut squash soup, which was the colour of old gold, thick enough to stand your spoon in, and so sweet and delicious.

Apr 10: Hinchliffe’s Farm Shop, in Netherton, Huddersfield has triumphed again at the annual Pork Pie Appreciation Society awards in Ripponden. It's the sixth win for the shop.

Fifty hopefuls from around the UK took part and a team of 12 judges marked each pie for construction, appearance and taste.

Society secretary Peter Charnley said: "The pie's got to be fresh crusty and crisp pastry. The meat has got to be spicy, very tasty and the pie should be well-filled."

Runner-up was Wilson's of Crossgates, Leeds. Third was Bentley's of Pudsey and fourth was Peter Middlemiss of Otley.

Nov 09: It's the Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage and Products Competition again, regarded by regular winner Hofmann of Wakefield as the world cup of pies.

The supreme champion sausage title this year went to Hofmann's, which won the thick sausage class and was also runner-up in three other classes – thin pork sausage and speciality sausage (pork and leek), and large pork (stand) pie.

Voakes, of Whixley Grange, Whixley - between York and Harrogate - was crowned supreme pie champion for the second year running. It also won the large pie and small pie classes.

The reserve supreme champion sausage and winner of the thin pork sausage was Paul Flintoft Butchers, of High Street, Kippax, Leeds.

Champion black pudding maker was H Weatherhead & Sons Butchers, of Pateley Bridge.

The beefburger title was awarded to J B Wilkinson & Sons, for its hoisin burger. Wilkinson’s has shops in Otley, Rawdon, Yeadon, Bramhope, Ilkley, Wetherby and Knaresborough.

Parkin Butchers, which has shops in Epworth, Doncaster, and Crowle, won the speciality sausage class with its tomato and basil sausage.

Woods Butchers, of Carcroft, Doncaster, won the speciality pie class for the second year running with its pork and leek cold eating pie.

Some 300 entries from butchers right across the county were received for the 21st annual contest, organised by The Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers Councils and held in Bradford.

SUPREME PORK PIE CHAMPION (Ted Jones Supreme Pie Trophy and 1,000 carrier bags): Voakes Pies, Whixley.
RESERVE SUPREME CHAMPION (Willis Hall Cup): Voakes Pies.

Large pork pie:
1 and the Norman Binks Cup – Voakes Pies
2 H Hofmann & Sons
3 Allums Butchers, Altoft, Normanton.
Highly Commended: Johnsons of Thirsk, Wilsons, Allums of Altoft, Gledhills of Wakefield, Woods.

Small pork pie:
1 and the Interbake Shield – Voakes Pies
2 Shaun Fairweather Butchers, Mirfield, Dewsbury
3 Ingfield Farm Shop, Southowram, Halifax.
Highly Commended: Hofmann's, Bentley's of Pudsey, Wortley Farm Shop, Woods, JA Mountfield & Son of Bubwith, Wilsons of Crossgates.

Speciality cold eating pie:
1 and the John Spencer Memorial Trophy – Woods Butchers of Carcroft
2 Voakes Pies
3 Johnsons Butchers, Thirsk.
Highly Commended: Weegmanns of Otley, Middlemiss of Otley, Kendalls of Pateley Bridge, Weatherheads of Pateley Bridge.

SUPREME SAUSAGE CHAMPION (ACP Shield and Lucas Ingredients products):
H Hofmann & Sons Butchers, Wakefield.
RESERVE SUPREME CHAMPION SAUSAGE (The Devro Quaich - a cup I think):
Paul Flintoft Butchers, Kippax Leeds.

Thin pork sausage:
1 and the Oris Shield, plus products from WR Wright & Son – Paul Flintoft
2 H Hofmann & Sons
3 Ellisons Butchers, Cullingworth.
Highly Commended: Keelham Hall Farm Shop, Roberts of Oakwood, Weegmanns, Colin Robinson of Grassington.

Thick pork sausage
1 and the Ripon Select Foods Shield – H Hofmann & Sons
2 Keelham Hall Farm Shop, Thornton, Bradford
3 JB Wilkinson & Sons, Rawdon.
Highly Commended: Beavers of Masham, Ellisons, Ken Balsdon of Summerbridge, Middlemiss.

Speciality sausage:
1 and the Gordon Rhodes Shield – Parkin Butchers, Epworth, Doncaster
2 H Hofmann & Sons
3 Sutcliffes Butchers, Skipton.
Highly Commended: Kendalls, Roy Dykes of Keighley, Paul Flintoft, Andrews of Wetherby, Keelham Hall Farm Shop.

1 and the Towers Thompson Trophy, plus donation of Kingdom Striploins from Towers Thompson - H Weatherhead & Sons Butchers, Pateley Bridge
2 Arthur Haigh, Dalton, Thirsk
3 Woods Butchers.


1 and WR Wright & Sons Shield - JB Wilkinson & Sons, Rawdon
2 Wortley Farm Shop, Wortley, Sheffield
3 Weegmanns Butchers, Otley.
Highly Commended: Parkin of Epworth, Roy Dykes, Kendalls, JB Wilkinson & Sons, Oxleys of Leeds.

May 09: The trouble with most pub snacks is that they're not substantial enough. You need a little more on a session - a ham roll, a chip barm or a pie. The Grove, in Huddersfield, has started selling pies, J Lord Pies (sadly not made by the Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord: "Would you like a 10-minute baroque organ solo with that pie sir?")

The Grove is famed for its snacks, as well its beers - high-end crisps (sea salt don't you know), crickets and Welsh jerky (not an annoying bloke from Abergavenny).

But now they've got pies and very good pies too. First of all the meat's not salty, there's no jelly but the meat's moist and has a nice peppery taste and the pastry's light and crunchy.

J Lord and Son, to give them their full name, are a father and son team from Bradford who started the firm six years ago and are perhaps best known in Huddersfield for their Pie Shed in the market. Dad John is in his sixties and joined the trade when he was 15, although he has done other things since, and the firm prides itself on quality local ingredients.

J Lord and Son website

April 09: Runner-up last year, Hinchliffe's of Netherton, Huddersfield, finished top this year thanks to celebrity judge Pete Waterman (X Factor a few years ago, pork pie judge now - the only way is up).

Hinchliffe's is a fine place - top-quality meat and veg and bottles of real ale are on sale, while outside there are rabbits and llamas to look at (not to eat I should stress). Personally, I prefer Jones of Huddersfield's pies. He was only a finalist this year.

This is the society's 17th annual contest at the Old Bridge Inn in Ripponden. It's open to all pie-makers, although Yorkshire butchers always dominate.

1 Hinchliffe's Farm Shop, Netherton, Huddersfield.
2 Brosters Farm Shop, Lindley, Huddersfield.
3 Bentleys of Pudsey.
4 Wilsons of Leeds.

Other finalists in no particular order:
Peter Middlemiss, Otley (great butcher); Andrew Jones, Huddersfield; E&R Grange, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield; Ingfield Farm Shop, Southowram, Halifax; Mellors Farm Butchers, Newark.

Oct 08: Voakes Pies of Whixley near York were the big winners this year taking the small pie and overall pie awards. They make 'em from pigs on their farm. The firm also finished second in the speciality pie class with a pork, chicken and sage & onion combination, and third in the large pork pie class.

The best sausage in Yorkshire is from Ellisons Butchers, of Cullingworth, near Bradford, their thin pork sausage won that class and the supreme championship.

The best black pudding comes from Kendalls Butchers, in Pateley Bridge.

FULL RESULTS (300 entries, competition held in Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford):

SUPREME PORK PIE CHAMPION, awarded the new Ted Jones Supreme Pie Trophy and 1,000 carrier bags from William Jones Packaging: Voakes Pies, Whixley.
RESERVE SUPREME CHAMPION, awarded the Willis Hall Cup: Bentleys Butchers, Pudsey.

SUPREME SAUSAGE CHAMPION, awarded the ACP Shield and Lucas Ingredients products: Ellisons Butchers, Cullingworth.
RESERVE SUPREME CHAMPION, awarded the Devro Quaich (a cup I think): Farmer Copley Farm Shop, Purston, Pontefract.

Large pork pie: and the Norman Binks Cup: Bentleys Butchers, Pudsey
2 Woods Butchers, Carcroft, Doncaster
3 Voakes Pies, Whixley.
Small pork pie: and the Interbake Shield plus £100 in gift vouchers: Voakes Pies, Whixley
2 P&I Hopkins Butchers, Birkenshaw, Bradford
3 Gledhills Butchers, Stanley, Wakefield.
Speciality cold eating pie: and the John Spencer Memorial Trophy: Woods Butchers, Carcroft, Doncaster
2 Voakes Pies, Whixley
3 Weegmanns Butchers, Otley.

Thin pork sausage: and the Oris Shield, plus products from W.R. Wright & Son: Ellisons Butchers, Cullingworth
2 Keelham Farm Shop, Thornton, Bradford
3 Paul Flintoft Butchers, Kippax, Leeds.
Thick pork sausage: and the Ripon Select Foods Shield: Paul Flintoft Butchers, Kippax, Leeds
2 Newby Hall Farm Shop, Boroughbridge
3 Bentleys Butchers, Pudsey.
Speciality sausage: and the Gordon Rhodes Shield: Farmer Copley Farm Shop, Purston, Pontefract (free range pork with ginger, chilli and lime, yum!)
2 Keelham Hall Farm Shop, Thornton, Bradford
3 Sutcliffes Butchers, Skipton.


1 Kendalls Butchers, Pateley Bridge
2 Woods Butchers, Carcroft, Doncaster
3 Weegmanns Butchers, Otley


1 Sutcliffes Butchers, Skipton
2 Sharlands Butchers, Paddock, Huddersfield
3 Weegmanns Butchers, Otley.

(alias Master Pork Pie Maker Competition)
47 entrants. Held at Old Bridge Hotel, Ripponden

Nov 07: This is regarded as the World Cup of pies, probably because it's in Yorkshire but also because it's the biggest regional event of its kind with 300 butchers submitting their bangers and growlers for the judges in Bradford.

The supreme pie and supreme sausage awards are the top awards.

Supreme pie award went to Hinchliffes Farm Shop, of Sunny Side Farm, Netherton, near Huddersfield. A family butchers who've been in existence since the 1920s who attract national interest with the quality of their food (mentioned in The Times) and who are former supreme sausage award winners in this competition.

The supreme sausage championship winners are Kevin Jubb Butchers, of Little Lane, Ilkley.

The best black pudding in Yorkshire came from Arthur Haigh Butchers of Dalton Airfield Industrial Estate, in Thirsk.

Best beefburger from Sutcliffes Butchers, of Skipton.

SUPREME PORK PIE CHAMPION, awarded the Bob Thirsk Rose Bowl and 1,000 carrier bags (!) from William Jones Packaging – Hinchliffes Farm Shop, Netherton.
RESERVE SUPREME CHAMPION, awarded the Willis Hall Cup (of Billy Liar fame) – Woods Butchers, of Carcroft, Doncaster.

SUPREME SAUSAGE CHAMPION, awarded the ACP Packaging Shield and Lucas Ingredients products – Kevin Jubb Butchers, Ilkley.
RESERVE SUPREME CHAMPION, awarded the Devro Quaich – Elite Meats, Harrogate.

Large pork pie: 1 and the Norman Binks Cup – Hinchliffes Farm Shop, 2 Woods Butchers, 3 P&I Hopkins, Birkenshaw, Bradford.
Small pork pie: 1 and the Interbake Shield – Woods Butchers, 2 H Weatherhead & Sons, Pateley Bridge, 3 George Middlemiss & Son, Otley.
Speciality cold eating pie: 1 and the John Spencer Memorial Trophy – Woods Butchers, 2 Brosters Farm Shop, Lindley Moor, Huddersfield, 3 H Weatherhead & Sons.


Thin pork sausage: 1 and the Oris Shield, plus products from WR Wright & Son – Kevin Jubb Butchers, Ilkley, 2 Keelham Farm Shop, Thonton, Bradford, 3 John Oxley Butchers, Leeds
Thick pork sausage: 1 and the Ripon Select Foods Shield – Elite Meats, 2 Hinchliffes Farm Shop, 3 Paul Flintoft, Kippax, Leeds.
Speciality sausage: 1 and the Gordon Rhodes Shield – Farmer Copley, Purston, Pontefract, 2 Elite Meats, 3 Keelham Hall Farm Shop.

1 and the Confederation Shield - Arthur Haigh, Dalton, Thirsk, 2 Woods Butchers, Doncaster 3 Drake & Macefield Butchers, Skipton.

1 and WR Wright & Sons Shield, plus product donation by Towers Thompson – Sutcliffes Butchers, Skipton, 2 R Illingworth Butchers, East Keswick, 3 Elite Meats, Harrogate.

Results from the competition website. The event's organised by Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers Councils

Sept 07: A man who attained TV fame for eating vast quantities of tripe has become allergic to the offal.

Mike Madden, 51, from Honley, Huddersfield, used to eat tripe - animals' stomachs - almost every night. But last week, as he tucked into his favourite dish, he felt a tingling and soreness in his mouth. It passed after a few days, but when he tried to eat tripe again, the problem returned.

A visit to his doctor confirmed that Mike had developed an allergy to the foodstuff.

He said: “I’m devastated. I must have eaten about 1,000lbs of the stuff since I started my exploits and my body’s just rejecting it now.”

Mike used to eat so much tripe that Queensgate Market shop Quality Butchers sponsored him for his various stunts. At every TV show or magazine shoot, he had to eat at least 2lb of tripe – and at £1.50 a pound, it was costing him a packet.

Mike’s passion for tripe has seen him eat the delicacy on The Big Breakfast, appear at the 1996 Comic Relief show with Dame Edna Everage and The Spice Girls and he’s even been on German and American TV screens.

He claims the offal, which he eats raw with vinegar, is low fat and is even great for hangovers.

Mr Madden is also an inventor who's developed a weather hat, a TV aerial hat, a portable bird-feeder and a fish walker

From Huddersfield Examiner

1 Wilson's of Crossgates, Leeds
2 Broster's Farm Shop, Outlane, Huddersfield
3 Michael Thewliss, Golcar, Huddersfield
4 Eddie Grange and Son, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield
(53 entrants)

Feb 2007: A Huddersfield lecturer has won a medal for making a sculpture of Darth Vader out of fat.

Gary Schofield, 33 from Holmfirth, was awarded the silver medal in the 'Works in Fat' category at the National Hospitality Show in Birmingham.

Chefs from all over the country competed to create a decorative work in fat with the entries being judged on creativity, workmanship, degree of difficulty and presentation.

It took Gary 24 hours over four days to carve Darth Vader out of a special type of fat which can stay solid for up two years. Lard Vader will now form a buffet centrepiece at Huddersfield Technical College where Gary teaches the Advanced Culinary Diploma.

He has previously won medals for his fat carvings of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

Info/pic: Huddersfield Technical College

The World Pie Eating Championship has dramatically changed its rules this year.

Instead of scoffing as many meat and potato growlers as possible within three minutes, contestants will have to eat one single pie quickly. There will also be a separate competition for vegetarians.

Organisers of the championships, which will be held at Harry's Bar, in Wigan, on December 13, say they have taken a leaf out of the government's healthy eating plan.

Bar owner Tony Callaghan said: "I realise it may be controversial, but this is the way forward for pie-eating at this level.

"We have also bowed to relentless pressure from the Vegetarian Society and agreed to introduce a vegetarian option to the competition, although vegetarian pie-eaters in the competition will be allowed to eat a slightly smaller version because of its rather more glutinous content.

"However, we will not preclude competitors from entering both championships - so there is every possibility we will have a double world champion for the first time ever."

But previous winner Dave Smyth, from Hindley, who won the first contest in 1992 when he ate four pies in three minutes was unhappy, saying: "Pies are supposed to be meat and potato and anything else just isn't normal."

Mr Callaghan said that entries for the contest on December 13 are invited from all over the world but early indications suggest that the competitor travelling the furthest comes from Ashton-in-Makerfield, about five miles away.

The cooked dimensions of the traditional meat and potato pie need to ensure a
diameter of 12cm and a depth of 3.5cm, and a pie wall angle from base to top of
between zero and 15 degrees. The vegetarian option will be 10cm by 3cm.

Info: Wigan Observer/Manchester Evening News. Pie pic: Greenhalgh's from (sorry) Bolton but they do make lovely savouries

'The World Cup of pies'

Best pork pie: H Hofmann & Sons, Wakefield
Runner-up for best pork pie (Willis Hall Cup for pork pie excellence): Wilson’s Butchers, Crossgates, Leeds
Small pork pie: Wilson’s Butchers, Crossgates, Leeds
Supreme champion sausage: George Middlemiss & Son, Otley
Best thin pork sausage: George Middlemiss & Son, Otley
Runner-up for supreme champion sausage: Hinchliffes Farm Shop, Netherton, Huddersfield
Black pudding: Woods, Carcroft, Doncaster
Burger: Kendall’s Butchers, Pateley Bridge

Hofmann's beat 300 butchers to win the title. Butcher Nigel Hofmann told the Wakefield Express: "It's like winning the World Cup. It's a big trophy." The Express says there's been a run on his "growlers" since the result was announced.

Willis Hall, co-author of Billy Liar, was a judge at the first competition in 1988 and as the Yorkshire Evening Post says: "He went onto pass judgment over many more pies before his death 18 months ago." A cup was named in his honour at this year's show in Bradford.

Results from

More than 100 people came from miles around for a taste of Doris Hirst's world championship-winning dock pudding at Cragg Vale, near Hebden Bridge, last month (May 2006).

Dock pudding is a distinctive West Yorkshire dish apparently only found in the Calder Valley and is made from dock leaves, nettles, oatmeal, onions, butter and seasoning. The dock leaves used are a sweet variety and not the ones for dealing with nettles and the pudding is served with bacon and eggs.Locals say the tradition goes back to the poverty-stricken 19th century.

Mytholmroyd Community & Leisure Centre has hosted the World Dock Pudding Championship every year since 1971.

In 2004 it was won by vegetarian chef Jetta from Hebden Bridge. There was a flurry of letters to the Hebden Bridge Times outraged because the dish is not vegetarian - “bacon is an essential ingredient” it was claimed. Jetta wrote back saying that "40% of the population of Hebden Bridge is vegetarian. We must move with the times or the tradition will die".

Traditional Recipe (although world champions always have a secret ingredient):
2 lb fresh, sweet variety dock leaves (polygonum distorta)
2 large onions, or 2 large bunches of spring onions
½ lb nettles
A handful of oatmeal
A knob of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and clean the dock leaves and remove the stalks
Wash and clean the nettles
Chop the onions
Fry the vegetables in the butter until tender
Add the oatmeal and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring to prevent the mixture from sticking.

Sources: Calderdale Online, BBC, Hebden Bridge Times, Hebweb

  • Thanks to Richard Carter on Flickr for the pic

    1 Hinchliffe's Farm Shop, Netherton, Huddersfield
    2 George Middlemiss, Otley
    3 JP Cryer, Halifax
    4 Wilson's of Crossgates, Leeds.

    The 14th annual championship was organised by the Pork Pie Appreciation Society and held at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden, in March. Sixty pie makers took part.

    Other finalists from the Huddersfield area were Andrew Jones, of Brighouse and Marsh, and Michael Thewlis from Golcar.

    Hinchliffe's baked this special wedding pie (pictured) for a founder member of the Pork Pie Appreciation Society in Huddersfield last year.

    Sources: Huddersfield Examiner/BBC

    Tuesday, March 06, 2012

    MITHERING: Moans, rants, whinges

    One of the poster adverts for Sky's new F1 channel sums up the 'sport' - a man about to change a tyre.

    F1 is glorified Kwik Fit where tyre changes, types of tyres, engines and other technical jiggery-pokery determine who wins rather than the skills of the sportsman.

    Why is F1 so popular and why does it get so much attention?

    I've been to Oulton Park motor racing track and understand the excitement of watching and hearing two vehicles tearing around and trying to overtake each other. I've watched motorcycling races where the bikes are almost horizontal and the competitors are almost brushing their knees and elbows on the track.

    But F1? The thrill of motorsport is one competitor racing past the other. In F1, this rarely happens. If one team has a technical edge, there is nothing the drivers of the rival teams can do.

    It's like one football team having the equivalent of Billy's Boots from the Eagle comic without the charm.

    Add to this the largely personality-free, overpaid drivers and the horrible 'pit babes' atmosphere. It all makes F1 possibly the worst sport on TV and radio.

    Thank goodness the BBC has given some of it up so it can carry on spending money on its local radio commentaries on rugby league and football - now they are genuinely exciting sports.

    I came across the most unappealing book title in WH Smith - When I Was A Nipper by Alan Titchmarsh. A quick flick through revealed it to be the biggest load of sepia-tinted hardship drivel I've seen in a long time.

    The blurb reads 'Born in Yorkshire in 1949, Alan remembers a time of relative calm, when it was enough to return home at night knowing that the house would still be standing'.

    Yes it's terrible nowadays. You can't go out for 10 minutes without these gangs of hoodies demolishing your house and taking it away for scrap.

    And notice the irrelevant Yorkshire reference. Is Alan trying to take Parky's title of Top Professional Yorkshireman?

    All the cliches are in there - outside toilets (it was cold in February), Sunday best, kids playing safely on the street, love of queuing. In fact the book seems to be a big list, although Alan does reveal some personal details such as when he was a teenager and girls were 'even more important than gardening'. I bet he was the Eric Olthwaite of horticulture.

    Then he later reveals that 'Kath and I were regular clients of Dolly and Simpson on Blackpool beach'. Dolly and Sampson were donkeys and Alan charmingly remembers how the donkeys would go at the same pace now matter how hard you kicked them.

    The subtitle of the book is 'The Way We Were in Disappearing Britain'. If Britain was disappearing then, has it completely disappeared now?

    Ice cream vans, conkers, harvest festivals are all featured in the book. But aren't they still around now?

    Perhaps worst of all Titchmarsh tries to make a virtue of this 'poor but happy' world. The blurb says it's a 'timely call to all recession-hit Brits to heed the lessons of austerity Britain: make do and mend, look on the bright side and take the knocks on the chin'.

    Hurrah! I've still got a smile on my face even though I've lost my job and I'll tell you why. See these trousers? I knitted them myself.


    I CAN’T believe people are whingeing about Jonathan Ross, a truly original and witty broadcaster and a sad loss for the BBC.

    You only have to remember the excruciating Parkinson, with his long-winded questions that even he looked bored by, and Wogan, with his unfunny smarminess, to realise that Ross was a breath of fresh air – a quick-witted performer who established a real rapport with most of his guests and members of the public.

    Only a humourless prude or the Daily Mail could describe Ross as crude – he had a Carry On-style humour leavened with self-deprecation and a real affection for women, unlike some of the laddish boors.

    As for his salary, which included costs for his production team, no-one seems to complain about Wogan, the most overrated broadcaster ever, and charmless Jeremy Clarkson.

    Do you think the licence fee will go down now Ross has gone? No, it’ll stay the same and we’ll get a load of bland presenters who don’t offend the professional whingers.

    I've been to several gyms over the years, in an attempt to keep my vast arse in check and make more room for cakes and ale, and all of them have one thing in common - dreadful, bovine dance music.

    Most of the songs seem to be one or two of the same notes on a synth, a woman saying 'rhythm', 'Hey DJ, 'Take me higher', 'Everybody' in various combinations, and underneath most of the songs the 'Huh/Yehs' from It Takes Two To Make a Thing Go Right.

    One song has the lyric 'What more can I say, you take my breath away' and even though the singer admits she has nothing to say, she goes on and on and on.

    I don't have an iPod (I like to have my wits about me in public) and I'm not sure it would drown out the gymnausea.

    I have thought about asking the staff to change the music, but I fear the tanned and toned gods and goddesses will look at me like a mad dad complaining about The Sweet's hair on Top of the Pops.

    There are plenty of uptempo numbers suitable for gyms - Weddoes' Kennedy for running, Maceo and the Macks' Cross the Tracks for cycling, Elmore James for sit-ups. Come on gyms - fix it!

    MIKA - WHY?
    Can anyone explain the appeal of Mika? He may be a kiddy's entertainer, with his cartoon expressions and loud clothes, but why is he so successful?

    I saw him on Jonathan Ross looking like Zoolander's brother, performing something which sounded like Fame crossed with Springtime for Hitler, in a voice that occasionally lurched into a car alarm squeal, with lyrics that either had been randomly generated by monkeys: 'Teenage dream is a teenage circus' or by the Ood: 'We are not who you think we are'.

    And he can't say golden ('gowl-din')

    1 Parkinson "I'm not the type to get a knighthood as I come from Barnsley".
    "Why would I not accept the knighthood? Are you joking, someone from Barnsley? I love being Sir Michael."
    He lives in Bray, Berkshire.

    2 Geoffrey Boycott Big hat. Shouty voice. I never hit that woman, the French courts were to blame.

    3 Yorkshire Cricket Club It's Trueman v Close v Boycott v Illingworth. Notorious big(heads) in epic bickering fest.

    4 Alan Bennett We went to a cafe in Keighley to avoid the drizzle but they'd done it up and it was all herbal teas. Mam asked for something soft as her teeth were playing up.

    5 Cilla Black
    Hat check girl in the Cavern. Brian Epstein. The Beatles. Look at me HURRRR, I've had it cut.
    Lives in London.

    6 Ian McMillan Lion-faced rhymester, beloved by the Lavinias who control Radio 4 when they realise they need a token Northerner on their pompous quiz shows.
    Straight outta Baaaaaarnsley!

    7 Barrie Rutter and Northern Broadsides Theatre Company Eeeh, it's t' Shakespeare in t'Northern accents.
    T' be or not t'be, tha knows

    8 Me
    Moaning, cynical and surly, just like proper Northerners are supposed to be.
    Tutting at "fancy London ways" even though I've lived there, thought it was a good place and most of the people were friendly
    Putting on a strong Northern accent when workmen are in the house.

    "Can I just ask do you think when you're going up for an award, any award, whether it's big..or...or..small and you suddenly look've just noticed your shoes aren't cleaned or...or.. your trousers aren't pressed...I mean what is that like? What does like exactly?"

    Parky, Parky, Parky - he may have been big in the seventies when he had massive stars letting rip, but he's ended up as some mumbling, long-winded professional Yorkshireman who's barely interested in his own questions let alone the answers from his guests, sitting knee to knee to them while he looks down at his shoes, acting as a straight man with feed lines for the comedians and revealing nothing of interest about his other guests.

    And he has the cheek to criticise Jonathan Ross, who apart from the occasional sycophancy towards big American stars, has a genuinely exciting and funny show.

    Bye-bye Parky.

    Camra fundamentalists
    Whingeing bores give real ale a bad name
    Two years ago I was serving behind the bar at the Huddersfield Beer Festival when the club we were in decided to show an important England football match. There was no sound, it was unobtrusive and several drinkers started watching. Just then, a man who looked like an extra from a pirate movie who had forgotten to take his blood pressure tablets, shouted: 'The whole festival is ruined'. What?!

    Sadly this is typical of the Camra fundamentalist, who thinks a TV and a jukebox shouldn't belong in a pub so everyone can hear them bellow their opinions about the legality of ordering a third of a pint of beer.

    They sit at the bar like limpets, trying to catch the landlord out with their knowledge of Maris hops while blocking the bar so others can't see what beers are on.

    And they drone on about the importance of a full pint - which pub has ever refused to top a pint up and who says filling a pint to the very top is so good? They give all Camra members a reputation for nitpicking jobworthiness.

    I Taught Men To Turn Over A New Page - that was the headline on a recent Observer piece "celebrating" the 20th anniversary of Arena magazine, in which founder Nick Logan "changed the face of magazine publishing".

    What a load of old cobblers! I remember buying one of the first Arena mags - it was 40 pages of suits, 10 pages about caneoing up the Amazon, 5 pages of £800 corkscrews and an interview with a boring model.

    Nothing about interesting women (or indeed relationships), little about music, sport, television or film - a magazine for the vain boss classes, whacking off in front of their mirrors in their Hugo Boss suits.

    Logan reckons it was the first men's magazine which wasn't top shelf or specialist but I didn't know any men who liked it - even in London.

    Once the mainstream media decide something is trendy and brilliant, no dissenting voices are heard and so, 20 years on, it appears that history records that Arena and its ilk were a fantastic success, even though the articles were overlong and humourless and the photographs were mannered - usually pictures of a ludicrous clotheshorse looking miserable because his flat was so minimalist he had nothing to sit on.

    The clotheshorse was sometimes Robert Elms.

    Ah Elms - the man who once went on Channel 4's The Tube in the mid-80s to explain the importance of having red stitching inside your jeans, even though no-one can see the stitching. When challenged about the stupidity of his comment, he called everyone "northern scum".

    Showing that criticising fashionable clothes is the last great taboo in the media (as fashion ads bring in shedloads of cash and some rich folk have more money than sense) Elms has had a successful career, culminating this year in his book about his clothes.

    This includes a story of how his gang of QPR-supporting mates saw off a gang from Coventry because the Midlanders' clothes were one month out of date.

    Here's an extract (from The Guardian): "Some of Coventry's top boys were sporting Fila, which had gone out of fashion in London at least a month before.
    Instead of launching ourselves at them, we were lambasting them for such gauche sartorial tardiness. As it dawned on them they'd been outdone in the style stakes, you could see their will for the contest wane. They'd been beaten and they knew it."

    Three things here:
    1 The depressing importance of inanimate objects over people which persists today. The fact you couldn't give a flying fork about anyone - their morals, their beliefs - just their shirts.

    2 The use of the phrase "gauche sartorial tardiness". Elms has obviously been to his Thesaurus for the most inappropriate and outlandish alternative for "one month out of date".

    3 The implausibility of the whole situation. As if some football hooligans are going to pull out of a fight because of their clothes, especially when they see Elms' gurning face.
    "Er Gaz let's sort this QPR scum."
    "Hang on Baz, look at our shirts - with this gauche sartorial tardiness we haven't got a chance."

    Elms' excuse for being interested in clothes is that it's "a working class thing" - like being working class is free pass to tw*tdom.

    Grunting gym weightlifters
    NYAAAAAARGH! Hey Mr Steroid no-neck, who are trying to impress bellowing like a buffalo that's been bitten in the balls?

    If it's too heavy, put it down. We don't care if you're lifting a supermarket, just shut up you chump!

    People who say 'Political correctness gone mad'
    Really mean they can't be as racist as they were before so they invent stories about black bin bags offending people.

    Would you say cripple anymore? Well you can thank political correctness for that!

    And as it's no longer politically correct to say political correct, call it good manners or respect for others.

    Lord of the Rings
    Overlong battle scenes, in which the goodies always beat overwhelming odds, punctuated by earnest discussions about whether the elves will help, or the goblins, or the dwarves, or Mr Wobbly from Wibbly Land.

    Or maybe the tall trees can defeat Christopher Lee. Ooooh, the tall trees are going to save us from Christopher Lee!

    And who are all these characters - Orlando Bland, what does he do again?

    It's all completely humourless and is desperately in need of Brian Blessed SHOUTING LIKE HE DID IN FLASH GORDON. "HAWKMEN, DIIIIIIVE!" (When he was in his patrol car in Z Cars did he shout: "POLICEMAN, DRIIIIIVE!"?)

    Lord of the Rings also needs editing but that would offend the prog-rock geeks who like it. Give me a Ray Harryhausen monster film any day.

    Incidentally Tolkien was a real ale drinker (probably) as he used to meet CS Lewis in the Eagle and Child in Oxford (a Good Beer Guide pub). Despite supping quaffable ale all they could produce was second rate Greek myths and second rate fairy stories.
    Blessed picture: Bradford University

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012


    Jan 12: One of the greatest art exhibitions is about to end. Jaume Plensa's amazing work is on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park until January 22.

    Huge heads are cast in stone, plastic and wire. The eyes usually closed. Are they asleep or dead?

    The stone figures look like they are made of marble and are beautifully lit - they look as though they are about to move so it's hard to move away.

    The plastic ones appear equally restful but have words like 'stress' on them. Perhaps they represent people putting on a front to hide the chaos of their lives. Plensa also uses sound - gongs and tinkling lines of poetry, the latter utterly complelling to look at and to listen to.

    The wire sculptures meanwhile are postioned so they look different from different angles. This is one of the most memorable exhibitions I've ever seen. Don't miss it.

    Feb 11: I recently bought Robert Haines' remarkable book, Once Upon a Time in Wales, featuring photos he took in 1971 of the people in the village of Heolgerrig and nearby Merthyr Tydfil.

    The book features superb black and white photos, mainly of men aged 40 plus, with mini-bios of each person. They look wistful and intense and, judging by their faces, their hard lives have taken their toll.

    Some of them ('Moses the Mouth Organ') remind me of characters in Under Milk Wood.

    Some of the houses look as though they haven't been changed in over 100 years and Haines captures the village as it was about to change. Houses and pubs were swept away in the years that followed.

    My dad knew the Merthyr area well as a kid and maybe I can some of him in some of the faces in the book.

    Once Upon a Time in Wales was published by Dewi Lewis Publishing of the UK and is available to order from all bookshops ISBN: 978-1-904587-57-6

    Thanks to Robert for allowing me to use the pics.

    I'm about to become a Flickr 'amateur' again. I paid to be a 'pro' for a year but I think the only advantage of this is a ranking system for most popular pics. Also, I've slightly lost interest in Flickr.

    There are too many pics are praised for the way they've been done up afterwards. A good pic for me is what you see there and then, otherwise the scenes lack truth.

    And there are too many earnest blokes trying to outdo each other for camera kit and making up petty rules for their various photo categories.

    Also I just haven't got the time to flick through all the Grim Up North pics every day

    So I decided to list most popular photos now while I have the chance. Would it be one of my many sunset pics perhaps? No - it's Michael Foot's Donkey Jacket, with 351 views in 10 months. A quickly taken snap in a museum on my phone that appears to be popular on Google images.

    Here are my top 10 with blurb:
    1 Michael Foot's Donkey Jacket (351 views. Taken March 2010)
    Michael Foot's 'donkey jacket'
    This is the 'donkey jacket' that Michael Foot wore at a Remembrance Day service in the early 80s. It was bought in Harrods.

    It's slightly galling that he was so villified then and has been almost universally praised since he died.

    His manifesto of 1983 - dubbed the longest suicide note by Gerald Kaufman (the man who claimed £8,865 for a TV on expenses) - included policies to set up a national investment bank, the scrapping nuclear weapons and the sale of council houses, restoring the link to pensions and earnings, reversing nationalisation of British Telecom, introduction of a minimum wage and stopping hunting. Mmm..sounds reasonable now.

    Michael Foot's coat is among the artefacts on show at the People's History Museum in Manchester. RIP Mr Foot.

    2 Best pub in Leeds 221 views, June 2008
    Best pub in Leeds

    One room reminds me of Great Aunty Mary's lounge, with its tasselled lamps and armchair, another room has wooden seats which give me pins and needles in my balls, yet another room has a wood-burning fire and a cashpoint machine, and the fourth is a concert room where old men sing older folk songs.

    The Highland Terrier with the Hannibal Lecter mask appears to have passed on, but John the landlord who occasionally looks hangdog is still there and so are the pints of Moorhouses, Elland and other good beers.

    Shake a fist at the monstrous offices which hem it in and prevent the pub festival from taking place. I saw the great Mik Artistik here, drawing portraits on paper bags and singing a blues song about his daughter selling shoes.

    The Grove is a great boozer and is a former Leeds Camra pub of the year.

    3 Ilkley Beer Festival (187 views, March 2008)
    Ilkley beer festival
    The First Ilkley Beer Festival, in the Kings Hall, with its lovely wedding-cake-icing balconies. Old Spot is a brewery from Cullingworth, Bradford

    Beer Festival review:

    4 Vomit at the Royal Festival Hall (180 views, October 2007)
    Vomit at the Royal Festival Hall
    Klaus Weber’s sculpture The Big Giving outside the Royal Festival Hall in London.

    The blurb: 'A group of male and female figures are cast rising out of, or simultaneously sinking into volcanic-looking mounds of rock. Their heads and hands protrude from the stone and streams of water gush from a different body part on each figure. The title of the work, The Big Giving refers to the native North American potlatch ceremony, in which the host’s status increases the more he or she gives.'

    5 You Get a Better Class of Graffiti in Huddersfield (161 views, July 2008)
    You get a better class of graffiti in Huddersfield
    Someone was scrawling this in the gents of the Star Inn, in Lockwood, Huddersfield, as I walked in during the splendid summer beer festival. I only know Leonard's Tower of Song LP. Was this from his real ale period? Cameraphone.

    6 Former Courage Brewery (145 views, October 2007)
    Former Courage brewery
    The former Anchor Brewhouse, once owned by Courage, near Tower Bridge. Brewing started on this site in 1787, the building was turned into flats in 1985. Scottish and Newcastle sold Courage earlier this year to focus on lager brands (Sigh!)

    7 Going Nowhere (135 views, May 2007)

    Going nowhere
    Hawes station on the old Wensleydale line, between Northallerton and Garsdale, that closed to passengers in 1954 (although the Hawes to Garsdale section remained open until 1959). A 17-mile stretch of the line has been reopened east of Hawes between Leeming Bar and Redmire and there are hopes of restoring the whole 40-mile line. The station is now a museum and tourist information centre and the tracks only run the length of the platform. Cameraphone pic

    8 West Riding Refreshment Rooms (129 views, August 2008)
    West Riding Refreshment Rooms
    This splendid pub opened in 1994 in the former waiting rooms of Dewsbury Station.

    The sign on the left is from Wilsons Brewery, from Manchester - chess board logo, nice beer. According to the quaffale website, the brewery closed in 1987 and the brand died out in 1998 (thought it was a lot sooner to be honest).

    The black and white sign refers to Kirklees Camra's second beer festival, or real ale exhibition, as it was known then (not sure of year)

    9 Spot the ball (118 views, January 2008)
    Spot the ball
    Richard and his dad watch Otley (in the black and white) beat Halifax at Illingworth, Halifax.

    The winger (far touchline) wore trousers but he did kick some crucial touchline conversions and anyway, as Ripping Yarns fans know, it's not shorts that matter, it's what's INSIDE that matters!

    10 Three Pigeons (108 views, May 2008)

    Three Pigeons
    The lovely Three Pigeons pub in Halifax, which won the national CAMRA/English Heritage Conservation award in 2007. Its art deco features and tiled fireplaces have been spruced up by Ossett Brewery who have kept the four-room structure.

    Dec 09: One of the most talented and underrated landscape painters, Peter Brook, has died at the age of 81.

    He was superb at capturing winter scenes of West and North Yorkshire - just the snow, the stone walls, a farmhouse and the wonderful light at this time of year. There is also usually a man in a flat cap with a collie dog in his pictures, depictions of Mr Brook and his dog. They are like his signature and usually raise a smile - the dog eager, the man hunched over against the elements.

    His pictures are deceptively simple but beautifully observed.

    Mr Brook was born in Scholes, west Yorkshire, and became a teacher in Rastrick, settling in Brighouse. He held his first show in Wakefield in 1960 and became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. His work was exhibited around the world.

    I first came across his work in the AC Gallery in Byram St Huddersfield which sells his paintings, mugs, books and calendars (well worth getting this Christmas).

    His paintings are also available to buy at his website

    There is an exhibition of his paintings at Harrison Lord Gallery, in Bradford Road, Brighouse this month.

    Sept 09: One of my pics is in a new collection of photographs by Flickr-ites in the Marsden area.

    I know I'm biased but the book, Marsden Moods, is a stunning collection of photographs that capture the reservoirs, hills, mills, festivals and, of course, sheep in all their glory.

    The project was developed by Flickr-ite docmattk, with the help of Blurb book producers.

    While I'm one of the point-and-hope brigade, with my little digicamera, there's some talented people out there with 'proper' cameras who know what they're doing. It certainly shows in the book, which will be launched at Marsden Jazz Festival on October 10 and is also available here

    Here are some of favourite photos in the book:

    by Stuart Vidler

    by Mint Imperial

    by Nuala

    by Stephen Walder

    by AndyHolmfirth

    by docmattk

    And this is my photo, taken on my stag do, after supping at the Riverhead (these two weren't part of the stag do but they were very entertaining):