Darby’s Mulled Christmas Punch – Recipe

Merry Christmas from Darby's Coffee and Arts Lounge.

Merry Christmas from Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge.

It’s cold.  Darby’s Coffee and Art Lounge on Flixton Road, Urmston are serving mulled Christmas punch.  Sorted. What’s more, Amy Darby, owner of Darby’s, has provided Urmston Independents with her extra special recipe. Enjoy!

Darby’s Mulled Christmas Punch
Makes one litre


800ml cranberry juice

200ml orange juice
1 tbsp gingerbread syrup
5 tbsp demerara sugar
and some dried mixed mulled spices wrapped in muslin.
Darby’s bought their mulled spices – which include dried fig and oranges –  from the Manchester Christmas Markets.


Put it all in a large saucepan and bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes

Call in to Darby's Coffee and Arts Lounge for warming winter treats.

Call in to Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge for warming winter treats.

If you enjoy the results of this recipe, you can thank Darby’s by giving their Facebook page a like or calling in to their Flixton Road coffee and arts lounge (M41 5AB) for food, drink or festive gifts.


Shrove Tuesday in Urmston

Shrove Tuesday is coming up on March 4th.  Pancakes are feel-good food; an easily concocted sliver of lovely, sugary stodge that come with the added bonus of being flippable.  We may not rival New Orleans’ Mardi Gras but here in Urmston we don’t do too badly on everyone’s favourite Tuesday.

Gloucester Road boasts its very own Pancake Corner, where you can gorge yourself on at least twenty different fillings.  Mama Maria’s on Flixton Road are offering free pancakes (with a main course) but if you feel like trying something a wee bit different visit Lily’s at Eden for a taste of these delightfully special cakes from Sugar Bun Sisters.

Pancake-Cupcakes: chocolate with Nutella and a Vanilla with lemon - on sale in Lily's at Eden.

Pancake-Cupcakes: chocolate with Nutella and a Vanilla with lemon – on sale in Lily’s at Eden.

These lavishly iced cupcakes are topped with the cutest mini pancakes. Choose (Choose? How is this possible?) between chocolate with Nutella or vanilla with lemon.

Other Urmston independents serving freshly flipped pancakes on the day include Darby’s on Flixton Road.

If you run an independent cafe in Urmston and you’d like to be included in this post, please get in touch.  I try to include as many Urmston indpendents and any that are left out are not deliberately excluded.  This website is for all independent Urmston businesses and is completely free.

Life is Sweet in Urmston: Candy Stripes Sweet Shop on Flixton Road

Sandra the sweet lady from Candy Stripes sweet shop.

Sandra the sweet lady from Candy Stripes sweet shop.

This is Sandra from Candy Stripes Sweet Shop, which recently opened on Flixton Road, Urmston.  Sandra traded from Urmston Market for a long time but took the decision to open her own shop due to demand from customers.

Sandra’s lovely little shop is situated just a stone’s throw from the wool shop (HMK Wools) and more or less opposite Nikki and Co.  As you can see, she stocks a huge range – the above photo is only a fraction of the sugary treats crammed onto Candy Stripe‘s shelves.

Just a fraction of the range at Candy Stripes Sweet Shop on Flixton Road, Urmston.

Just a fraction of the range at Candy Stripes Sweet Shop on Flixton Road, Urmston.

As well as jarred sweets, Candy Stripes boasts a pick’n’mic section and a slush puppy machine.  Sandra also stocks diabetic-friendly sugar-free sweets and chocolate and most of her sweets are vegetarian.

Candy Stripes Sweets recently moved from Urmston Market to a permanent shop on Flixton Road.

Candy Stripes Sweets recently moved from Urmston Market to a permanent shop on Flixton Road.

Small towns thrive when small, specialist shops like Candy Stripes Sweet Shop are supported by the local community, so pop in next time you’re passing or make a special trip and treat yourself to something sweet.

Inspiration for Valentine’s Day in Urmston

Romantic Britons spent £880 million on Valentine’s Day in 2012: it makes that small box of Maltesers you got seem rather insignificant, doesn’t it?  Just imagine the difference we could make to our little town if we tried to spend that money in independent shops, bars and restaurants in Urmston.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you should spend £880 million this Valentine’s Day in Urmston (around half that should be fine!), but if we redirect the money we’d normally spend on some sweatshop-grown tat towards some nice food or some artisan craft, we could keep more money in our local economy and make Urmston a lovelier place to live.

First, singletons: treat yourself to a cake from 
Richard’s: this one may fit the bill nicely!

Cake from Richard’s on Flixton Road.

Next, your romantic night out: Urmston is brimful of sybaritic pleasures – choose from tapas, Indian, Italian, pub grub or super-romantic traditional chips and follow up with a visit to Lily’s in Eden Square for cocktails.

Special offers at Mama Maria’s.

Mama Maria’s Italian restaurant on Flixton Road has advertised some special offers for Valentine’s/ Shrove Tuesday/ Mother’s Day.

Valentine treats at Candy Stripes Sweet Shop on Flixton Road.

You can also find lots of Valentine treats in Candy Stripes Sweet Shop on Flixton Road (opposite Nikki and Co, more or less).  Urmston Market (Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays) offers lots of Valentine possibilities from Belle Amour Home‘s giftware to pink champagne glitter jam from the jam stall.

If you are an independent trader in Urmston and you’d like to promote your goods or services here on Urmston Indpendents, please get in touch via email or by commenting below. This website is a free, community service and there are no charges for listing your business on here.

Baking and Cake Decorating Classes from Marie’s Bakehouse

Marie’s Bakehouse runs popular baking and decorating masterclasses for adults and children.  If your New Year’s resolution is to fatten up your friends in 2014, book in and start creating deliciously tempting artisan cakes.

Photo courtesy of Marie's Bakehouse.

Photo courtesy of Marie’s Bakehouse.

The classes are scheduled as follows and can be booked on Marie’s website.

Adult beginner’s cupcake class: Monday 20th January 7.30-9.30pm £30 a head.

Full day baking and decorating cupcake class: Saturday 8th February, starting 10am, £99 a head.

Celebration cake class: Monday 24th March 7.30pm start, £60 a head.

Children’s cupcake classes: Saturday 22nd March, 10.00am -12.00 noon for 6-11 year olds and 1.00-3.00pm for 11+ year olds, £20 a head.

Monthly modeller classes: all 7-9pm, £15 a head.  The classes are as follows:

  • Wed 12th February- cars
  • Wed 12th March- princess
  • Wed 9th April- train
  • Wed 14th April- mermaid

If you are an independent trader running classes and courses in Urmston, please contact us with dates, times, prices etc. and we shall feature you here on Urmston Independents.

Urmston Market: Jammed with Lovely Things

On crisp autumn Saturday mornings, I potter down to Urmston Market where my son chooses seven sweets from Candy Stripes sweet stall (his reward for a week of unremitting broccoli and lentil bakes) and I may buy flowers or fruit or suchlike.  This week I happened upon a new jam stall: Jampers, which sells all manner of imaginative jams including coffee jam, mulled wine jelly and even vodka and cola jam (ideal for those who want to bring a touch of Wetherspoons to their morning toast).  I came away with a jar of glitter pink champagne jam as well as some banana jam.

Both were excellent – the banana jam was lovely and firm and tasted of a sunny, far-off paradise while the glitter pink champagne was slightly runny and super sweet and tasted like fairytale castles and sparkly rainbows.  Suffice to say, neither of these little jars of joy lasted very long.  You can buy jam hampers (including Chrismas jampers and Duvet Day jampers) from the stall on the market on Saturdays or from Jampers’ website.

Strawberries from Barnes' fruit stall on the market.

Strawberries from Barnes’ fruit stall on the market.

After this feast I straight away set about turning another Urmston Market purchase – three punnets of strawberries and a lemon from Barnes’ fruit stall – into a batch of home-made jam.

Making jam with strawberries from Urmston Market.

Making jam with strawberries from Urmston Market.

I have been collecting jam-making equipment and paraphernalia for months now (some of it from VenningsUrmston‘s hidden kitchenware gem on Flixton Road) and hadn’t found the time to do anything with it, but there’s something about a visit to the market that inspires me to try something out of the ordinary.  It wasn’t a great moment when I realised I’d forgotten to halve the strawberries but I got past that with the help of my trusty Kenwood and was soon funneling ruby red rivers of jam into shiny new jars.  I love a story with a happy ending!

A happy ending for some strawberries from Barnes' fruit stall on Urmston Market.

A happy ending for some strawberries from Barnes’ fruit stall on Urmston Market.

Urmston Market is open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; its Christmas Market event is running on 14th December. The market needs your support: use it and enjoy it!