Belinda Williams is the founder of Yorkshire Provender soups, which was born in the kitchen of her home, near Bedale. The company is growing at a rapid rate thanks to its inventive recipes and the fact that it tastes properly homemade. Belinda, who devises and tests all the recipes in her home kitchen, refuses to use stabilisers and thickeners and everything is fresh, including the garlic and herbs. Yorkshire Provender stockists now include the Co-op, Waitrose and Booths, among others. Here, she answers our Q&A:
Q: Which parts of Yorkshire do you love best?
A: Colsterdale and Coverdale. They are both close to my heart as I spent many happy years there as a child and when I was first married. The River Ure is my favourite river. It ran at the bottom of the field below our house when we were growing up just outside Masham. We spent hours and hours in the summer holidays playing, swimming, partying and camping out down by the river.
Q: Do you have any favourite Yorkshire shops?
A: I am not a great fan of shopping but, for meat, I like my local butcher Cockburns of Bedale, and for groceries Campbells of Leyburn. Waitrose and Booths are my favourite supermarkets. As for clothes, I like Jigsaw, Brora and Hobbs, and Russell and Bromley for boots.
Q: Where are your favourite cafes, pubs and restaurants?
A: Newby Hall Garden Restaurant for afternoon tea and summer lunches, the Blue Lion at East Witton for Sunday lunch or winter dining, and the Friar’s Head at Akebar Park, Leyburn, for larger groups.
Q: Where do you take inspiration from when formulating your soup recipes?
A: The vegetables, a favourite supper dish and moments that create nostalgia. So a beautiful basket of fresh asparagus and garden peas was the inspiration behind our asparagus vichyssoise. Cauliflower cheese with baked ham is my favourite easy supper, which I turned into our cauliflower and fountains gold cheese soup with pulled ham. Picking and skinning beetroots with my mum as a child in the family kitchen was the inspiration behind the beetroot and horseradish soup.
Q: If you had to choose just one day out in Yorkshire, where would it be and what would you do?
A: I would always head for the hills. Probably by bike up to the head of Colsterdale and over into Pateley Bridge back through Kirby Malzeard and Masham to home… lovely!
Q: Do you have a favourite Yorkshire walk?
A: From East Witton up Coverdale down over the bridge at Braithwaite and back over the river at the stepping stones at the back of the Cover Bridge inn…. and always leave time for a wee dram.
Q: What’s the best thing about Yorkshire?
A: The people and the Dales.