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PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:00 11 October 2016

The Acle

The Acle "Tasty" Food and Drink Festival returns to Acle Academy this month. Pictured at last year's festival are (from left) Eleanor Hayles, Wendy Green and Alisanne Webb

Archant Norfolk © 2015

Childhood memories of guinea fowl remind Judith Taylor of the importance of teaching children about where food comes from

We used to keep a few guinea fowl in our orchard when I was a child. My father would tell me these hardy little birds were good guard dogs and indeed they were, alerting us many a time to Mr Fox stalking the chicken coop.

Guinea fowl, which are related to both the chicken and partridge, are pretty, dark grey birds with a sprinkling of white pearl-shaped dots on their bodies and wings. There are a few varieties of guinea fowl, the most common being Meleagris, which comes from a story in Greek mythology. The Prince of Macedon, Meleager, was killed by his mother. As his sisters wept in grief they were turned into guinea hens and their tears formed the pearl-shaped markings found on the birds.

Originating in West Africa, where they are still an important food, they have been reared for the English table since Elizabethan times and appear on Roman mosaics. The meat, which is best eaten around now, is gamey but not too strong although it dries out very quickly while cooking, so I find it best to pot roast or casserole it to retain its moistness.

Foodies’ favourites

Aylsham Food Festival is a three-day celebration of local food for the whole community – there will be cooking demos, markets, a gala dinner and the Big Slow Brunch - all in and around Aylsham from September 30 at 8.30am until October 2 at 1pm. Find out more at www.slowfoodaylsham.org.uk

Acle Tasty Food and Drink Festival is in its third year and will be held at the Acle Academy on October 2. This family-friendly event features local producers who will have tasters for visitors to try and to buy, GCSE students from the academy will be demonstrating their culinary talents, there’s a vintage afternoon tearoom experience, top Norfolk chefs going head-to-head and a bake off competition. Tickets on the door are £2 adults, £1 children, under-fives free; www.norfolkfoodanddrink.com

Get the kids cooking

If you’ve read my column before you’ll know how exasperated I am that most children don’t know where their food comes, from never mind how to cook it. So I was delighted to hear about Kiddy Cook, which teaches children that food and cooking is fun, inspirational and creative while educating them about the importance of healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Frances Webster has been running Kiddy Cook Norwich since 2010 and works in schools encouraging the children to cook with seasonal, local ingredients in a healthy and fun way. Frances also runs birthday parties where the children can make cupcakes, edible jewellery and bake biscuits (see the website, www.norwichkiddycook.co.uk)

Kiddy Cook will be at Halloween at Holkham in the Victorian kitchen of the hall, from Thursday, October 27 to Sunday, 30, where children can make terrifyingly tasty “spooky cookies”. She also takes part in the Forests Feasts events with GroWild adventure activity camp at White House Farm, Sprowston; see www.doodles4kids.co.uk

Judith’s book of the month

The Little Pasta Cookbook published this year by Murdoch Books (£9.99) contains 80-plus recipes, from comforting pasta dishes to enjoy on a chilly autumnal evening to lighter dishes for lunch in the garden. It also has a section on which pasta is which.

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