This week we’re catching up with Lucy Antal from Grab Your Spoon. In her own words Lucy is a total food-lover who really enjoys cooking, eating and sharing the culinary delights of the world around her. So let’s grab a spoon and find out more.
Lucy has always loved being in the kitchen, it’s her *go-to* place when life is stressful, in the kitchen she can happily potter for hours. Lucy has been making jam, chutney, pickles and marmalades for years. A skill she picked up from her grandpa who was a great jam and jelly maker. Bramble jelly was a childhood favourite spread liberally on her grandma’s homemade scotch pancakes.
Lucy loves to experiment with flavours and explore new recipes, especially if she can use foraged or seasonal local ingredients. Grab Your Spoon was established as a formal business after Lucy was made redundant in 2013. Since then it’s gone from strength to strength.
And how are the preserves made?
All Grab Your Spoon preserves are made in small batches in Lucy’s EHO approved home kitchen making this a real cottage industry. Lucy has a series of tried and tested favourite recipes that she makes each month, these are the ones her customers love. One customer has a little boy who insists on having Spicy Apple Chutney on his cheese on toast so Lucy always makes sure she whips a batch up ready for the monthly market.
Lucy loves to come up with new combinations and flavour experimentations. Often the experimentation is inspired by gifted produce – like her new Damson & Gin jam which was inspired by a gift of damsons. Lucy has established a great network of support and often benefits from produce gluts.
A friend in North Wales has acres of wild garlic which he gifts her for her English Pesto made with rapeseed oil and hazelnuts – this is one of her seasonal specials in May. Another friend supplies plums in September. She also uses locally grown fruit and vegetables – Strawberries grown at the Claremont Farm in the Wirral which are turned into Strawberry Jam and utterly delicious Strawberry & Black Pepper Jelly for eating with cheese. Lucy sources Pumpkins for her Pumpkin & Ginger Chutney from The Farm in Burscough along with the green tomatoes for her Green Tomato Chutney.
Her spices always come from Matta’s on Bold Street, Liverpool. They specialise in international cuisines so it’s a great source of inspiration and fab place to pick up unusual ingredients.
What makes supporting local independent producers so important?
When you purchase preserves from Lucy you’re supporting the local economy, in turn she tries to buy as much as possible locally too therefore ploughing more money back into the local economy. For example her logo and labels are designed by Liverpool based illustrator Becka Griffin. Supporting local independent retailers helps keep a diversity of produce, builds communities and is more environmentally sustainable.
What does the future hold for Grab Your Spoon?
Lucy is gradually expanding her business recently taking on new hamper clients and offering bespoke preserves under client’s own labels for tourist businesses like B&B and boutique hotels. Her online shop is under development and Grab Your Spoon is set to become more widely available.
At present you can buy direct from Lucy at her market stall at Lark Lane Farmer’s Market on the 4th Saturday in the month. The Liverpool Cheese Company stock Grab Your Spoon chutney. You can also order small pots ideal for wedding favours via the Grab Your Spoon website
Fancy a little preserve making of your own?
Here’s Lucy’s award winning Seville marmalade recipe – winner of the Gold Award at the 2014 Marmalade awards. As an added treat Lucy is also sharing a marmalade cocktail!
And if you fancy trying out the Marmalade Martini you’ll need…
- 2 shots of Marmalade Vodka (available from Chase Vodka) You can just use plain vodka or gin
- 1 shot of Cointreau or Triple Sec
- Juice from 1 tangerine or 1/2 orange
- 1 dessertspoon of Seville marmalade
Pop all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes then strain into a glass and grate orange zest on top. Perfect!
You can keep up to date with all the Grab Your Spoon news from Lucy over on twitter @grabyourspoon