I’m proud of Chilbolton Stores

Malibu Camper Van from retro Camper Van Hire

Malibu – A Type 2 VW Camper Van hired from Retro VW Campervans. Highly recommended.

Jo and I have just spent a lovely few days meandering around Dorset in an old VW Camper Van. A great way to explore all those hidden villages and gems that are on our doorstep, but we’ve never been to, as we’re always on our way somewhere else.

During those few days we visited a lot of small villages similar to Chilbolton; tucked away, off the beaten track, which could take you back a hundred years in time. All of these villages had two things in common, a pub and a village shop. Sound familar?




There are Village Shops and then there are Village Shops

The sad thing was that in several villages the village shop was looking a bit forlorn. Empty shelves, limited stock, old fridges, no local produce, no nice cheeses or fresh bread and little to entice us to purchase more than a packet of crisps and a couple of drinks. This was even true of the Co-ops we visited, which although large had nothing in the way of fresh produce, meat or fish. If we had wanted a tin of beans and some frozen burgers or chips we would have been fine, but it’s a bit difficult to pop some baked beans on the barbie 😉

Free Range Meat from Parsonage Farm and Greenfields Pork

Proud of Chilbolton Stores

Although it meant our BBQ had to be content with sausages (from Hampshire – we were in Lyme Regis!!) and a Lynda McCartney Burger (which as bit ‘interesting’), I had a real sense of pride, when I thought about our own village shop, Chilbolton Stores. People often say you can’t do a ‘proper shop’ in the village shop, but I’ll challenge that. Whatever day of the week it is, you could always pick up something for dinner. Whether it’s fresh meat or fish, or a frozen ready meal, there is always plenty to choose from. In fact I would go so far to say that we have more choice in fresh vegetables, meat, fish and cheese than many of the Co-ops. So we may not have 12 different cereals or tinned meatballs, but you definitely won’t go hungry.

This this is a bit of trumpet blowing, but sometimes I think we need to do it. At the end of the day if Jo and I lived in Chilbolton, we’d be glad that we had a shop like Chilbolton Stores and we hope you are too.

Thanks for reading


Introducing Parsonage Farm

cow_2411288bAs most of you are already aware, we here at Chilbolton Stores love a local food hero.  We already stock many of your favourites from the farmers markets, meaning you can access local produce easily between market days: Greenfields pork and sausages, Lyburn cheese, River Test Smokery smoked fish, Taste cakes and marmalade and Lower Woodgate Farm eggs and meringues to mention just a few.

Now we would like to introduce you to Parsonage Farm beef and lamb!

Like us, Sarah and John are passionate about bringing you fantastic, quality products at a great price and a convenient venue.  One customer recently remarked “it really is the same price as the supermarket, or less, and not their finest range either, the standard stuff”.  So basically you are getting top of the range product for bottom of the range prices.  How do we do this you say?

Well, we buy direct from the farm, they butcher their own products and deliver, so there are no middle men or distribution costs to pay.  Add this to the fact that you only have to travel to the village shop to get it!

Quality, local, free-range produce, that is good value and convenient… where?  Chilbolton Stores is where!

For more information about Parsonage Farm, visit the Parsonage Farm Free-Range Meat section on our website

Delicious Game Pie Recipe

Game PieAs its the season for eating Game and with the cold nights drawing in, this is perfect for a weekend meal and certainly went down a treat on Saturday, with some of our friends in the village.

First get friendly with one of our locals with a shotgun licence and ask nicely, you never know what they might have in their freezer. Patrick was very obliging and a brace of partridge and pheasant later you’re on your way. A rabbit is always nice, but to be honest you can make this with all sorts of game and most butchers will do a pack of mixed game.

This is my recipe and as with all recipes its only a guide, please feel free to adjust.

Serves 6-8
1.5Kg of Game (I used Pheasant, Partridge, pigeon, Rabbit and Mallard)
4 large rashers of smoked bacon – streaky ideally
8 shallots – quartered
3-4 Bay Leaves
Half a bottle of red wine
A good slosh of brandy
A good pinch of mixed herbs
Red current jelly
2 500g Packs of Just Roll Shortcrust Pastry (I cheated, but you can always make your own)

First remove all the meat from the birds (assuming you’ve bought the rabbit and mallard diced); you’ll be able to use the breast and leg meat on the Pheasants, but really only the breast from the partridges. Put all of the meat in a bowl, pour in the wine, brandy and salt and pepper and herbs and then leave for a few hours to marinade.

Pop the carcases from the pheasant and partridges in a stock pot (big sauce pan) cover with water, add a carrot, bay leaf, celery and a few pepper corns and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about an hour or so and then sieve into a fresh pan. I then simmered it for another 30 minutes to reduce the liquid and intensify the flavour. You want to aim for about a pint of stock and if you don’t want to make the stock use chicken stock instead.

Get a large casserole dish, that can be used on the hob. I used a Le Creuset type of pot with a lid. Fry the shallots in olive oil until they have a little colour and then start adding the meat to seal. Once the meat is browned, sprinkle a good tablespoon of flour over the meat and give it a good stir. Then pour in the stock, add a few sprigs of thymes, rosemary and 3-4 bay leaves.

Bring to the boil and then turn down low to simmer for a couple of hours (you can do this in an oven at about 160 degrees centigrade). Check the seasoning occasionally and adjust as required. I also added a good tablespoon of red current jelly at this point.

About an hour and a half before you intend to serve prepare the pie. I used a 26 cm pie dish, oiled and then sprinkled with flour. Roll out the pastry and cover the base of your pie dish. Fill the pie with your meat and pile it up. Then put the second disk of pastry on top and seal the edge with egg. You’re aiming for a pie that looks like “4 and 20 blackbirds” will fly out.

Finally brush with beaten egg. If you do this twice with about 10 minutes between, to let the first coat dry, you get a fantastically glossy finish. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt (this gives the pastry a wonderful flavour) and bake in the oven for about an hour at 150-160 degrees Centigrade (depending on whether you have a fan oven).

Once the pie is golden brown, serve at the table with a mountain of mashed potato, cabbage, carrots (or whatever you fancy) and enjoy with a robust red wine with lots of body. A good Shiraz or Bordeaux will go beautifully.

I hope you enjoy


Lets Talk Hampshire (Free Range) Turkey

Hampshire Free Range Turkey from Chilbolton StoresI’m really excited this year, as I have been able to realise one of my ambitions since our first Christmas in Chilbolton four years ago; to find local Hampshire Free Range Turkeys. The problem has been that the largest turkey farms are in Norfolk and East Anglia and one our aims when we bought Chilbolton Post Office & Stores, four years ago, was to source as much of our fresh produce and meat locally, as possible. There are a few farms in Hampshire that provide free range turkeys, but unfortunately they’ve either been too far away or simply too expensive.

After talking with Mike Smales, who make the wonderful Lyburn Cheese, he recommended a farm on the edge of the New Forest, where he gets his. A few calls later and I’m talking enthusiastically with the owners of Noah’s Ark Farm. They really care about the welfare of their turkeys and raise them from a day old, letting them roam in the fields (when they are old enough) and graze in a natural environment. When the day comes in December, the turkeys are processed on the farm, which reduces the stress on the animals and also food miles.

All of the birds are slow growing Bronze Turkeys which develop over 22-24 weeks, compared to the fast growing birds in supermarkets, which develop in 14-16 weeks. The Bronze has the flavour of the traditional Norfolk Black, but also more meat, so is a great Christmas alternative to the white turkeys. The care continues during the preparation stages, with all the turkeys being hand plucked and hung for a minimum of 10 days, which improves the flavour and tenderises the meat.

This Christmas Chilbolton Stores will providing the option of either a traditional Fresh Turkey from Randall Parker (formerly Bennetts) or a Hampshire Free Range Bronze Turkey. As I will need to drive down to the New Forest to collect these, we will be delivering these only on the 23rd December.

I hope you all enjoy these this Christmas and you can download the Chilbolton Stores Christmas order form here


New Local Deli Meats & Fresh Soups

Today Chilbolton Stores took delivery of our new range of deli continental meats and fresh soups. Produced by local companies Atkins and Potts and Dorset Smokeries these are wonderful tasting and produced by local businesses which care about the quality of food. Not available in Supermarkets we hope every likes these new additions as much as we do..