Buying late night dinner at Creake Abbey Food Hall

Creake Abbey Food Hall & Cafe
Creake Abbey Food Hall & Cafe

It was Thursday night and the cupboards were bare. We were wondering what to do for dinner when I remembered I’d seen a post on Twitter earlier in the day from Creake Abbey Food Hall, saying they were open until 8pm on a Thursday.

We’d been meaning to go back after acquiring some delicious local lamb (and not so local olives) on their opening day last month. It seems such a good idea to have a late night opening once a week, and rare among the local delis, so we jumped in the car and headed down.

We arrived just as they were closing up but Steve, the owner, and Tom, the manager, couldn’t have been more welcoming. A glass of wine was offered almost the second we walked through the door (a Mexican white, surprisingly good, and they also have a red from the same producer).

They chatted about how things have been going since the opening and showed us around the cafe.

Eventually we remembered we’d come to buy something for dinner and chose some of the meat balls from the well stocked butcher’s counter. They had minted lamb and spicy beef, so we took a handful of each.

It was then that I noticed the pie: a great hulk of pastry and meat, with a thick wedge already cut. It turns out it is made by the landlady of the pub near owner Steve’s village, close to Halesworth in Suffolk. According to Steve, it won recognition at a local food fair and deservedly so.

Made with chicken and pork, it had a wonderfully herby flavour, spiced with plenty of pepper. The pastry, so key to the success of any pork pie, was thick and hearty.

We added that to our list and, suffice to say, it was stuffed in faces before we’d finished the drive home.

It is good to see this new venue growing. The range of produce is interesting, from local favourites like Candy’s Chutneys, to an extensive and well curated butchery counter.  Combined with the warm welcome, the location among an already established collection of shops at Creake and smart ideas like late night shopping on a Thursday, they look set for deserved success.

We’ll be back to try the cakes in the cafe, some more of the olives, their great selection of meat and maybe even the eclectic wine choices.

Google Maps link.

Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market

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Yesterday saw a gloriously sunny day for the monthly Creake Abbey Farmers’ Market in North Creake. Now, we have been to Creake Abbey before, and aside from the English Heritage Abbey ruins, there is a fabulous cluster of shops and cafes; but more on that later.

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As far as local produce is concerned we have been spoiled for choice since moving up here. It is a bastion of artisans and the market was well curated. We could have walked away with a lot more than we did. Good sense had to kick in at some point, but not before we made a number of choice selections.

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First stall we came to was our first purchase and that is a good start! WOW muffins,  or Without Wheat Muffins, were offering free samples and were so good we bought a box of 9 ‘muffinettes’ despite having no food intolerances between us. We brought them down to visit some friends today and they were praised highly.

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Jamoroc Spices were our next hit. Run by a husband and wife team from Jamaica and Morocco this stall featured a full range of spices (complete with fab little containers), sauces and dips. We went all out and got a mild and hot sauce for ourselves and another as a gift.

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Next came another of my favourites. We have come across the Marsh Pig range before, which is stocked at our local, The Blakeney Delicatessen. But there is such a wide range of flavours and I can’t seem to resist the free samples. I always end up buying some.

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The last highlight of our day was the English Spirit Distillery. Despite having only just passed noon the free samples were flowing. This little distillery based in Dullingham, Cambs (a few streets away from our last home no less!) has turned out something special. We walked away with The Old Salt Rum, blown away by its banana and caramel notes. This was used later that evening in some very rich hot chocolate and couldn’t have been nicer.

A couple of venison burgers, and a shoulder of lamb later we decided we had to leave the premises. It was a lovely day and in lovely settings. I’m sure the sun helped a bit too but highly enjoyable and very recommended. The market is the first Saturday of each month barring January. Check it out.

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Fudge

Fudge at Blakeney Farmer's Market
Fudge at Blakeney Farmer's Market
Fudge at Blakeney Farmer’s Market

Yesterday saw the first Blakeney Farmer’s Market & Craft Fair in the Village Hall. There was a wealth of delicious homemade food – of which more to follow in other posts – but first and foremost we must talk about the fudge. Unfortunately we didn’t catch the name of the lady who made it, but the fudge stall was exceptional. No sooner had she offered samples of a few of the varieties than we found ourselves signing up for her tremendously good value 3 half bars for £5 in cherry almond, chocolate and caramel.

The plan is…was…to use it in some homemade ice cream recipes, but a small amount may have been eaten this afternoon already.

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