March & April Food Bites

Great brownie bake off

Fans of the Bake Off can try their hand at competitive baking in the Great Bridgnorth Brownie Bake Off organised by the town’s Fairtrade group. During Fairtrade fortnight, which runs until March 8, the group will be giving talks in primary schools to raise awareness the benefits of involvement with the Fairtrade Foundation. The Bake Off takes place at Bridgnorth Baptist Church on Thursday 5 March at 7pm. With prizes and categories for young and old, the only stipulation is brownies are made with Fairtrade sugar and cocoa/chocolate, baked at home and brought along to be judged on the night. Entry is free. And the judges? I’m just waiting for my invitation….

Local chef in final

A Shropshire chef had a career high as one of 10 finalists in the Game Chef of the Year competition. Karl Martin of Old Downton Lodge near Ludlow, who was part of a shortlist whittled down from hundreds of top-class entrants, competed at a cook-off final in Scotland. Karl had to produce two game-based dishes, with judges looking for freshness and innovation. The title was won by Martin Zahumensky, chef at London’s Playboy Club, formerly of Michelin-starred Hibiscus in Ludlow. “It was an incredible setting and a fantastic opportunity,” said Karl.

Top chef appointed to hotel school

New College Telford, which launched the National Hotel School at the Whitehouse Hotel last year, has announced the appointment of Sean McNulty as its first chef lecturer. With a career spanning more than 30 years, Sean is one of only three Master Chefs of Great Britain in Shropshire. His move to the Wellington school means students are assured of tuition by the crème de la crème of teaching chefs. New College now offers foundation degrees in partnership with the University of Derby.

Forage and Feast at Acton Scott

Acton Scott Historic Working Farm is offering a new series called Forage and Feast led by expert forager Liz Knight. “Foraging is a truly satisfying experience: not only are you finding food for free out in the fresh air, you’re treating your tastebuds to something completely new!” said Liz, who recently featured on James Martin’s Home Comforts.

The series tracks the seasons with courses in April, June and August. On Sunday 19 April, participants will make herb butters, soft cheeses and milk puddings. Visit or call 01694 781307 to book. Each course costs £80, which includes lunch and treats.

Oyez to Old Henry

Two rather jolly characters are celebrating being awarded regional awards at the recent Campaign for Real Ale West Midlands Beer of the Year competition. Hobsons Old Henry and Town Crier brews picked up gold and bronze respectively. Hobsons, in Cleobury Mortimer, first brewed Old Henry in 1994 and later bottled the auburn ale when the brewery started its own bottling plant in 2002. Regional winners will go on to the national Champion Beer of Britain contest in August.

17th century breadmaking

Get back to basics with Bake and Make at Moseley Old Hall on Monday 9 March and Monday 13 April. The bread-and-butter course runs from 10am until 1pm and participants take home a loaf and butter made from scratch. Refreshments and a tour are included. Tickets £16. Call 01902 782808 or email

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