Hints & Tips

Hints and Tips for showing Cookery items

The schedule lists all the classes and you can decide which of them you want to enter.

Read the schedule thoroughly to make sure you  follow the rules. Don't forget that the judge uses the same schedule and applies the same set of rules. Pay particular attention to any sizes, decorations or display requirements that are called for.

Cakes: The judge will test cakes for Texture and Flavour.

Use the best quality ingredients, treat with care and a lightness of touch.

Victoria Sponge Cakes: They should be even in colour and layers should be equal in size. The top should be left plain: not sugared and without criss-cross pattern of cooling rack. The filling should be Raspberry jam.

Other cakes: Fruit cakes should have an even distribution of fruit. The top should not have burnt fruit pieces. Monitor during cooking and if necessary, cover over with foil to prevent over browning.

Individual cakes: Usually 4 or more will be required. They should be even in size, colour and shape.

Breads: The judge will test loaves for Texture, Even rising, Flavour.

Use fresh ingredients and the best quality Strong Bread flours.

Ensure that loaves are cooked through. Usually a hollow sound when tapped on the base will indicate this. Finishes can vary. Rustic bread can be left unglazed. Some breads have floured tops and some are simply glazed with milk or milk & egg wash. Display should be on a simple napkin or tea towel.

Jams: The judge will test jams for Flavour, Even distribution of Fruit, Set and Clarity. The presentation of the jar is also important.

Use fresh fruit and don't overcook as this spoils colour and flavour. Make sure that jam is set. To aid the distribution of fruit, jam can be left 10mins. before putting in jars. For jelly jams, these should be a clear set. Don't squeeze fruit through the sieve as this makes it cloudy.

Fill the jars to the top leaving about 1cm space. Use a well fitted wax disc.(cut to size if necessary). Disc should be flat with no air bubbles.

Ensure the jar is clean with nothing sticky on the outside. Use a simple label stating type and date.

Judges prefer not to see the use of Mob-caps. A simple taut cellophane cover is preferred but a metal lid can be used.

Chutneys and Pickles: All of tips for jams apply.

For Chutneys use even sized chopped ingredients.


Hints and Tips for showing Vegetables

The schedule lists all the classes and you can decide which of them you want to enter.

Read the schedule thoroughly to make sure you  follow the rules. Don't forget that the judge uses the same schedule and applies the same set of rules.

When showing any vegetables, keep it simple and as natural as possible.

Wash veg. and sponge down. Don't polish or scrub.

Keep the tap root on and follow the instructions about leaves.

Shallots Select some that are even in shape. The largest are not always the best. Clean and remove some of the outer skin but do not tear too much off. It is better to have a few marks rather than strip additional layers off. Bind the tops (string or Hessian). Keep this even and tidy.

Shallots can be displayed standing in sand on a tray/dish.

Onions The above also applies to onions.

They can be displayed to advantage by sitting them on a short tube or a stand.

Tomatoes Look for uniformity. Largest is not always the best. Don't choose over ripe fruit.

Keep stalks on.

Wash fruit and wipe but do not over polish. Don't tamper even if there are little marks on the flesh.

Display on a dish/plate. Can be dressed with a sprig of Parsley.

Truss of Tomatoes: Can have ripe/unripe fruit.

Better to have smaller complete truss than a large one with fruits missing. Leave natural, don't tamper.

Runner Beans: These should be straight and the same length. The pods should be almost flat and the seeds should not bulge. The beans must be fresh and the judge will snap one to check. It is better to have fresh uniform beans that may be slightly shorter. You will not get away with old ones. Beans may be displayed directly on the show bench or on a paper towel.  A short length of stem can be left on.

Beetroot: These should be of uniform size and circular in cross section. Clean  the beets and check for blemishes. Pick off dead leaves. Leaves should be left on and the tap root. The judge will cut one to check for uniformity of growth and freshness. It will be better to go for smaller quality beets.

Carrots: The schedule requires carrots to be trimmed.

Cut to leave about 2 inches. Do not tie up.

Carrots should be washed with the tap root left on. Carrots should be uniform in size with no blemishes or greening at the shoulder. Show directly on show bench.

Potatoes: They must be the same variety, of equal size, shape and free from blemishes.  Large egg shaped is best. Wash but do not polish. The eyes should be uniform and not too deep.

Always read the schedule because there are sometimes very specific requirements for potato classes.

Marrows: Must be Table Quality with solid hard skin. The judge will press the flower end to test if there if it can be pushed in a little. (A sign of freshness.) Marrows should be straight and about 12 -18 inches long.

If you require further guidance, please contact a committee member.

produced by P.Tanswell