Urban Food Awards

The 2016 Urban Food Awards are “London’s third annual celebration of the best enterprises, products and people in the capital’s good food and drink scene.” And I’m super-excited as I’m up for an award! So, cutting straight to the chase, I’m asking anyone who supports what I do to vote for Fruit Magpie in the category ‘Proper Preserves’ HERE before the deadline on 8th July 2016.

Still reading? Good!  Now let me tell you why I’m asking you to vote for me. Many awards are based purely on taste but the Urban Food Awards were created to celebrate “good food practices and people behind the products.” I try to make good food as well as possible by:

  • using high quality garden or allotment fruit that would otherwise waste
  • sourcing it locally (the majority comes from within a 5 mile radius of my house!)
  • sourcing other ingredients locally too if I can (the sugar is UK grown)
  • only using fruit grown without chemicals
  • reducing packaging and using recycled/recycleable materials wherever possible
  • home composting the parts of the fruit I can’t use
  • making a product which is vegan
  • selling it locally
  • employing locals when I need extra help (and paying them properly)

In early July the entrants with the most votes in each category will be shortlisted, following which the judging panel choose the winners. As the business is still small and new I am working doubly hard to get through this first round, so PLEASE VOTE FOR FRUIT MAGPIE! Thank you.

The Urban Food Awards are run by the Mayor of London, London Food Link and Borough Market

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pâte de Fruit

I was at a friend’s place yesterday, helping her with her National Gardens Scheme open garden by selling plants and generally giving horticultural help. Kindly she allowed me to bring along some fruit cheese for her visitors to try. As I set up a little corner with a plate of quince cheese and pieces of cracker, one of the other helpers was intrigued: what was this? As I explained her face lit up: “Ah, pâte de fruit!”

Anne was French and had been brought up with these little fruit jellies, rolled in sugar, as treats to be relished often but particularly at special occasions. She reminisced fondly that they had appeared without fail every Christmastime in her family. We Googled “quince” and found it translated as “coing”. So: Pâte de Coing.

I was fascinated by this new knowledge which drew together some references I’d come across previously about fruit cheese being cut into small squares, rolled in sugar and served as little jewel-coloured sweet treats. In fact a friend had recently sent me an article on just this so of course I am now on a mission to find out more…. and to make some! The picture shows my first effort: “pâte de rhubarbe”


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