Noble News

Welcome to Noble Isle News – a fragrant forum dedicated to the art of luxury bathing. Stay tuned for posts about the latest Noble Isle products, events and competitions; introductions to our cherry-picked ingredients and fragrances; and insider insights from the Noble Isle team about our noble mission to reinvent the Great British Bathtime.

INTERVIEW WITH OUR ENGLISH GRAPE EXTRACT FARMERS, CHARLES & RUTH SIMPSON FROM THE SIMPSONS WINE ESTATE

INTERVIEW WITH OUR ENGLISH GRAPE EXTRACT FARMERS, CHARLES & RUTH SIMPSON FROM THE SIMPSONS WINE ESTATE

Q: What inspired you to create your own vineyard?

We moved to France 15 years ago to follow our dream of producing ‘unexpectedly exceptional wine’ at our stunning southern French property, Domaine de Sainte Rose (www.sainterose.com). We have built a thriving business, with customers around the world enjoying an impressive selection of top quality, award-winning wines made from 14 different grape varieties. Not content with resting on our laurels, in 2012 we decided to take on a new challenge closer to our British roots and bought 90 acres (30 hectares) of land, south of Canterbury in Barham, Kent to start Simpsons Wine Estate (www.simpsonswine.com). Similar to our aspirations in southern France we wanted to be part of an exciting new wine producing area and could immediately see the potential of our two vineyard sites, which are situated on south-facing, freedraining, chalky loam soils, identical to those found in Champagne.

Q: When did you start the business and how would you describe the brand at present?

We bought the land in Kent in 2012 and planted our first 10 hectare vineyard in 2014. A second 10 hectares were planted in 2016 and a final 10 hectares will be planted in May 2017. We have chosen to plant only the three Champagne grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with a view to focussing on the production of high quality Method Traditional sparkling wine. In 2016 we created a state of the art winery in Barham, with the help of a Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Growth Programme grant and were delighted with the quality of our first harvest (from the 2014 vineyard) in October 2016. We are about to bottle the wines from that first harvest for their secondary, bottle fermentation (to create the bubbles!) and will then be allowing them to age for at least two years prior to release. You need to be patient in this business and with existing clients of our French wines already expressing interest in our English products, we are pre-selling wine from this first harvest even though it is not yet released.

Q: What is your favourite part of the wine making process?

Undoubtably the harvest is our favourite part of the process because it is such an exciting period. There is a lot of stress involved in the lead up to it and much weather-watching to ensure we pick at the right moment, but it is hugely rewarding to see the grapes that we have carefully nurtured over the growing season coming into the winery and there is much anticipation of what the quality of the juice will be like. As a team we have to work long hours, but there is a real sense of this being the culmination of one phase of work and the beginning of the next as we set to work making the wine.

Q: Can you tell us a interesting and quirky fact about your grapes?

Ordinarily one vine yields enough grapes to produce one bottle of sparkling wine a year! Its fun to look at it that way as you tend the vines.

Q: What is your favourite Noble Isle product?

Whisky & Water – because of the Scottish familial connection!

Q: What do you enjoying doing in your spare time outside of your business?

Spending time with our two gorgeous daughters, two dogs and two horses, preferably outdoors, as well as travelling further afield exploring different parts of the world! Our businesses allow us to operate between France and the UK, and we love the diversity of life and culture this affords.



Our Founder, Katy’s favourite Noble Isle recipe using English Sparkling Wine, for you to try at home:

SALMON WITH ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE - Serves 6


Ingredients:

- 50gr Butter

- 3 x Shallots – finely chopped

- 6 x 160gr salmon steaks

- 400ml English sparkling wine

- 100ml double cream

- Maldon rock salt

- Black pepper

- Dill – roughly chopped

Preparation:

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, then add the chopped shallots and gently fry for 2 minutes until soft but not brown.

Pop the salmon steaks on top of shallots in a single layer and add the English sparkling wine and gently simmer for 6-8 minutes.

Remove salmon and keep warm.

Now heat up liquid to a boil and reduce by half. Lower heat, add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, season and add dill.

Place salmon on serving dish and pour over sauce.

Serve with Jersey new potatoes and green beans.

Enjoy!


AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK NOONAN, OUR TRUSTED HEATHER HILLS HONEY BEE KEEPER IN PERTHSHIRE

AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK NOONAN, OUR TRUSTED HEATHER HILLS HONEY BEE KEEPER IN PERTHSHIRE

Q: What inspired you to start farming honey?

The honey farm was here when I first went to school and I loved the smell of the heather honey being extracted - I still do. The lifestyle of being a beekeeper out in the countryside visiting the apiaries in some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland helps as well.

Q: When did you start your business and who has been involved from the beginning? Is it a family business? 

The business was started in 1945 but my brother and I joined in 1991 when the previous owner was looking to retire. It is a family business and we have been lucky in that some of the staff have been here as long as we have. The farm has a great history of employing local people and it has produced some great beekeepers over the years.

Q: What do you like to do with your spare time when not working?

Being a Great Taste Producer - anything to do with food and drink! I have just signed up this week for a chocolate making course.

Q: What is your favourite part of your job and the farming process? 

The whole year is evolved around the production season and there is no greater feeling than seeing a good honey flow coming into a hive that you have nurtured all year. It happens on a warm, sunny day when the nectar in the plants is yielding - the worker bees return to the hive laden with honey and covered in pollen. The bees are happy and the karma is good.

Q: Can you share with our readers a secret cooking recipe using your honey?

One of the best recipes is traditional Cranachan. It combines the very best of Scottish products; raspberries, whisky and heather honey, with cream and toasted oatmeal. Add hazlenuts for more crunch and make it your own.

Q: Do you have any favourite Noble Isle products - not just the ones containing your extracts! ;-)

We all use the Noble Isle Heather Honey Hand Wash here at the farm but at home, I have the Whisky and Water.

Q: Can you tell us an interesting, quirky fact about Heather Hills honey?

The farm has 1300 hives and when full, at the peak of the season, 52 million worker bees. They carry out a lot of the essential pollination needed for the local fruit farms. The honey bee population is in decline and we want to increase awareness of the importance of bees in pollination and their continued survival. We offer several adoption packages – from adopting a bee to adopting a hive – where you can contribute to ensuring their survival and essential work. More information can be found on our website at www.heatherhills.co.uk/adopt-our-bees

Save 10% off your first order at Heather Hills Farm - use code NOBLEISLE17 at  www.heatherhills.co.uk or call  01250 886 252 to place an order. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other Heather Hills Farm offer. Offer valid 01 April – 31 April 2017. 

Heather Hills Farm has been traditionally gathering honey from the Scottish Highlands since 1945. Enjoy 10% off the finest award-winning speciality honeys and handcrafted artisan preserves – made with the fruit pollinated by our their own bees. 100% natural. No artificial flavours or preservatives – just as nature intended .

Our Founder & Director Katy’s favourite Noble Isle recipe using Heather Hills Farm honey, for you to try at home:

Honey, Blackberry & Bay Tart

Pastry

-       150gr plain flour

-       100gr ground almonds

-       2 x teaspoons of honey

-       90gr unsalted cold butter cut into cubes

-       1 x free-range egg

-       50ml cold milk

Frangipane

-       100gr unsalted butter

-       4 x tablespoons of honey

-       2 x free-range eggs

-       100gr ground almonds

-       2 x tablespoons of plain flour

-       ½ a Lemon – Zest only

-       ½ an Orange – Zest only

-       1 x Vanilla Pod / Scrap seeds out with sharp knife

-       450gr Blackberries

-       6 x  Bay Leaves

To Serve:

-       Crème Fraiche

-       Runny honey

Pre-heat oven to 200 c (180 fan)

Lazy pastry goes straight into food processor. Everything in, except milk, pulse to crumb like texture and then slowly add milk. Take out and form ball on counter top adding more flour if needed.

Wrap dough in Clingfilm and put into fridge to rest for 30 minutes or longer.

Butter your tart tin. Roll out your pastry onto flour counter until it is ½ cm thick. Ease into tin, pushing pastry into sides, trim off excess. Then prick the base with fork and back into fridge for 30 minutes.

Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill up to the top of case with baking beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. Take out the case, remove beans and paper, return to oven for another 5 minutes until firm. Then leave to cool.

Now to make the frangipane - I use a mixer for ease. Mix the butter and honey until smooth, add eggs and stir well.  Then add almonds, flour, citrus zest and vanilla seeds from pod. Mix together until you have a smooth thick paste. Scatter the blackberries on base of tart case, then pour on top the frangipane, add bay leaves on top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Remove bay leaves.

Serve with crème Fraiche and a teaspoon of honey. You can decorate the plate with fresh bay leaves from the garden, a couple of blackberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

Enjoy!


An interview with Janet Oldroyd - Our trusted rhubarb farmer in the Yorkshire triangle

An interview with Janet Oldroyd - Our trusted rhubarb farmer in the Yorkshire triangle

Q: What inspired you to start growing rhubarb?

I left my job as a medical scientist to start our family but once the boys were born my father wanted me to take charge of the new rhubarb propagation techniques he wanted to adapt. Being quite handy with a scalpel I decided it was a more appropriate tool than the knives others were using. Such very small pot plants needed the careful touch, and we were one of the few growers to make it work. It all led from there really. My father’s enthusiasm and love for the crop was infectious, and what had laid dormant in me from my childhood took root (if you excuse the pun).

Q: When did you start your business and who has been involved from the beginning?

E.Oldroyd & Sons Ltd is a family business whose links with rhubarb began when my Great Grandfather (a Cambridgeshire strawberry grower) came to Yorkshire in 1930 and began growing rhubarb. My father clearly remembers the day his Grandfather took him behind that forbidden door where children were not allowed to pass. The sight before him took his breath away, such was the beauty of the growing crop. He instantly knew forcing rhubarb was what he wanted to do with his life.

Q: What do you like to do with your spare time when not working?

Farmers don’t get much free time, but when I do I love long walks with my seven dogs or taking my horse out, so all outdoor related.

Q: What is your favourite part of your job and the growing process?

It is very fulfilling seeing the crop growing well in the warm dark sheds and it always makes me feel proud when visitors gasp in amazement when inside the forcing sheds. Meeting the public to get their feedback is a bonus.

Q: Can you share with our readers a secret cooking recipe using rhubarb?

Rhubarb is so very versatile in cooking and I simply cook mine in a pan on the hob in pure orange juice, they just go so well together. Rhubarb and Custard is a much loved dish but I like to update it into something special like rhubarb panacotta or rhubarb crème brulee which both are simply rhubarb and custard.

Q: Do you have any favourite Noble Isle products - not just the ones containing your extracts! ;-)

Whisky and Water is a favourite.

Q: Can you tell us an interesting, quirky fact about rhubarb?

Rhubarb, originally called Rhabarbarum, is a native of Siberia and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years.

Our favourite Rhubarb Crème Brulée recipe for you to try at home:

Ingredients:

For the rhubarb

450g/1lb rhubarb stalks, trimmed, cut into pieces
1 tbsp clear honey 1 orange, juice only

For the crème brulée

400ml/14fl oz whole milk
150ml/5fl oz single cream
40g/1½oz caster sugar
4 free-range egg yolks
1 vanilla pod, split
100g/3½oz demerara or icing sugar for topping

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. For the rhubarb, place the rhubarb pieces into a shallow baking dish. Squeeze over the orange juice and drizzle with honey.
3. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, occasionally basting the fruit with the cooking juices.
4. Once the rhubarb is tender, spoon equal quantities into the bottom of four small heatproof dishes or ramekins and set aside.
5. For the crème brûlée, place the milk and cream into a pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
6. Place the sugar and egg yolks into a clean bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
7. Gradually add the milk and cream mixture stirring well. Strain the custard back into the pan and add the vanilla pod. Stir over a very low heat until the custard thickens, then remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod (you can rinse and dry it for use in other recipes).
8.Pour equal amounts of the custard over the rhubarb in the ramekins and leave to go completely cold.
9. Two or three hours before serving, sprinkle the top of each crème brûlée with the demerara sugar or icing sugar so they are each evenly and completely covered with a layer of sugar.
10. Place the dishes under a hot grill or heat with a cook's blowtorch until golden-brown and melted. Allow the tops to cool, then place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!


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