Forman's Notebook

Articles on the world of food, videos, recipes and seasonal inspiration.

Home Grown

Written by , Posted in News

We think it’s important to know where your food comes from, and we’re proud to say our suppliers are small independent artisan British companies. With strong messages and traditional methods, these suppliers produce the best quality home grown food.



Elizabeth King started her family bakery back in 1853 and the standards she set are maintained today by the Hartland family. They use the original 1853 recipe which starts by making hot water crust pastry, bringing boiling water and lard together then pouring onto strong wheat flour and adding sea salt to taste. It rests overnight then fresh shoulder pork from British pigs provides the fulling and the pies are then baked to perfection. The final addition of scrumptious jelly is made form the juices of slowly simmered trotter stock. Simple, fresh and fine quality ingredients are the basis for every pie, and you can purchase them HERE.


Meg Rivers’ interest in baking began as a child in the family owned teashop. Always passionate about healthy eating, she later started baking cakes for her children, using only natural ingredients. Over the years the business continued to grow, gaining plenty of awards along the way! Following Meg Rivers’ untimely death in January 2001, ownership of the business passed to Julian Day, a family friend and former colleague.In 2002, the business moved to a brand new bakery in the nearby village of Blackwell. Baking continues using Meg Rivers’ original recipes and methods and with the same commitment to producing high quality delicious food. At Easter time you can purchase Meg River’s delicious Simnel Cake from us, but for now why not try these scrummy Shortbread Biscuits.


The Country Victualler was set up in the early 1970’s as husband and wife team, based at Winkburn Hall, Nottinghamshire. Richard Craven-Smith-Milnes continues to personally supervise the family business and their hams, smoked duck and chicken are second to none. Originally created by a Colonel Dickinson in the small village of Alderton, The Country Victualler is the sole maker of the fine flavoured, naturally moist Alderton Ham. The hams are steamed and them baked with a marmalade glaze for a flavour that is simply unrivalled. Rick Stein rated this ham ‘essential’ for Christmas back in 2005, and we think that still stands today.


Artisan Gerard Coleman trained as a chocolatier in Belgium, aged just 25, before returning to London and founding Artisan du chocolat in 2000. From a 300 sqft room in East London to a state of the art 18,000 sqft factory in Ashford Kent, Gerard has strongly imprinted his philosophy on Artisan du Chocolat. He has surrounded himself with a small team of dedicated production and retail staff who share his vision. Absolutely everything is about the product. Gerard creates the essence of true luxury: memorable and exceptional chocolates crafted for pleasure. (We’re particularly fond of the Salted Caramels!)


Claire Symington, who started her career as a chef with Prue Leith at Leith’s restaurant in London, is one of the leading lights of the British taste revival. The 200 acre Seldom Seen Farm in Leicestershire is where she and husband Robert settled, some 20 years ago, when Claire decided the only way to ensure top quality produce was to produce it herself. (Did you know Seldom Seen was originally a soft fruits farm?!) Claire now plays mother goose to over 2,000 honking beauties, all of whom are raised to impeccable free range standards. Seldom Seen are the makers of the 3 Bird Roast: a goose, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with a pheasant. Each joint is made entirely by hand by Claire’s expert team of pluckers, boners and stuffers. The extra effort and care that goes into the their product is totally worth it, you can certainly taste it!


Harris Forman founded H. Forman & Son in 1905 and they have stuck to his original technique and recipe ever since, through 4 generations. The London Cure used in the East End to smoke uses a little salt to preserve the fish and a light oak smoke that brings out the flavour of the delicate raw ingredients. Forman’s is one of the only salmon smokers to survive the mass cull of smoke houses in London brought on by the onset of salmon farming and the introduction of mass produced smoked salmon from Scotland. The secret was to stick to quality and the high standards that had been the hallmark of the company since 1905. Each fish is cleaned and filleted by hand. They’re then cured in dry rock salt. You won’t find any added brine to increase weight, or added sugar. All this is done in East London, under the watchful eye of Lance Forman, descendant of Harry Forman, who founded the business a century ago. H. Forman Smoked Salmon can be found HERE on our website.


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May 2016