The Village Show‎ > ‎

Tips & Recipes


Here is some advice to guide exhibitors as to what judges will be looking for and how to display exhibits to their best advantage. however, please also note that some classes have specific directions listed. Judges will eliminate entries which do not exactly meet the specifications in the schedule, however good they are.
Double-check all your entries against the schedule before you leave the marquee.

Where maximum sizes are specified, you are expected to use most of the space, not just one corner. Where accessories are allowed, these should not dominate the exhibit, merely enhance the natural materials. Give flowers a long drink before arranging, preferably overnight.

Pad the container with newspaper to take up space and help keep flowers upright.

A uniform shape and size is all important with all vegetables, so is presentation. Vegetables should be displayed as attractively as possible on plates or boards or directly on the table. Water thoroughly before harvesting for the show. Root vegetables should be washed carefully with a soft cloth and plenty of water. Beetroot - feed with salt water once a week for three weeks before the show to improve colour (one tablespoon to a gallon). Select roots about the size of a tennis ball and avoid specimens with poor skin colour at the base of the root or which don't have a single small tap root. Small side roots should be removed.
Broad beans - select pods of an even green colour, discarding old ones. Display lengthwise across a plate, with all stalks at one end.
Carrots - avoid pale coloured specimens or those that have turned green at the top.
Courgettes - select young, tender, shapely and uniform fruits not less than 4” and not longer than 6”, preferably with flower still attached. Display flat.
Lettuce - lift with the roots intact in the evening or early morning. Wash roots and wrap in moist tissue and plastic bag. Wash upside down, remove only markedly damaged outside leaves, and lay on the show bench with firm hearts facing the front.
Onions - avoid soft, stained specimens with thick, immature necks. Avoid overskinning. Tops should be cut and then tied or whipped using raffia or similar material and the roots neatly trimmed back to the basal plate. Can be displayed on rings or on soft collars.
Peas - select long pods which are nice and full, but not old. When cutting from vine, try to keep the waxy bloom intact without finger-marks and leave approx. 1” of stalk. Hold up to strong light by stalk to check for internal damage. Display on a plate.
Potatoes - choose ones which are medium sized for the variety, with shallow eyes and no blemishes. Display on a plate and cover with cloth to exclude light until judging starts.
Rhubarb - stalks should be fresh, straight and long. Foliage should be cut off leaving approx. 3”. Wipe clean and trim off any bud scales at the bottom.
Runner beans - the beans should be uniform and as straight as possible. They should include the stalk, so cut them from the vine with scissors or secateurs. Wrapping them in wet newspaper the night before the show helps to straighten them.
Shallots – bulbs should be thoroughly dried, be free from staining and loose skin.
Prepare as onions. Display on sand or similar material to keep upright on a tray.
Vegetable collections – presentation is important but so is the choice of vegetable as some carry more points than others:
20 points – leeks, potatoes, pointed/long carrots, cauliflowers, large onions, peas and tomatoes.
18 points – long beetroot, aubergines, runner beans, stump rooted / ball carrots, house or frame cucumbers and exhibition shallots.
15 points – globe artichokes, dwarf/French/broad beans, round beetroot, cabbage, capsicums, ridge/outdoor cucumbers, lettuces, marrows/squashes and sweet corn.
12 points – mange tout peas, pickling onions, rhubarb, spinach, cherry tomatoes and garlic.
10 points – courgettes, chives, leaf lettuce, salad onions, cress and radishes.
5 points – herbs.

Pick as close to the show as possible and pick more than called for in the schedule, so that reserves are available when setting out. Select fruit which is fresh, free from blemish, uniform in size, shape and colour. Cut from the plant and handle by the stalks and as little as possible.
Currants - must be ripe, but not over ripe and be left on the bunch. Choose the ones with the longest strings and largest fruit.
Gooseberries - leave the stalk on.
Raspberries should be clipped from the vine to leave the stalk on. if wet weather, cut pieces of fruit bearing canes and bring under cover and place ends in water until dry enough to cut. Berries look best staged in a line with stalks all one way.

Where a recipe is provided, it must be followed closely.
Cakes - with an even texture and level top will probably be looked on favourably.
Display on paper doilies for best effect. Judges may feel an excessive coating of sugar is hiding something.
Victoria sandwich – no cream, the jam should be raspberry and dusted with caster
sugar. The sponge can be made the day before and filled on the day.

Embroidery - judges like to be able to see the back of the work.
Photographs - look best mounted on paper or card slightly larger than the print itself.

1. Cooking times may need reducing for fan ovens.
2. Spoon measures should be level in all recipes unless specified otherwise.
3. Recipes should be followed in either ounces or grams, don’t mix units
4. Ovens should be pre-heated

Gingerbread loaf (class 65)
100 gms/4oz butter 50gms/2oz black treacle
100gms/4oz light muscovado sugar 50gms/2oz golden syrup
1/4pint whole milk 200gms/7oz plain flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspooon bicarbonate of soda 2 beaten eggs
75gms/3oz sultanas
1/2 lemon
100gms/4oz icing sugar
50gms/2oz softened butter

Preheat oven to 180c/350F/gas 4.
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (or use a liner).
Put the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a saucepan and heat gently until all ingredients melted and blended.
Cool slightly, then whisk the milk into the warm ingredients.
Sift the flour, spices and bi-carb into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour in the syrup mixture, then add beaten eggs and whisk until smooth.
Add sultanas and pour mixture into prepared tin. The mixture will have consistency of a batter.
Bake for approx 40 minutes, or until an inserted squewer comes out cleanly.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
For the frosting:
Finely grate zest of lemon and squeeze one tablespoon of juice.
Beat butter with the icing sugar until light and fluffy, then add zest and juice.
Spread over top of the cake.
Rubbed in Light Fruit Cake (class 68)
1 large carrot 225gms/8oz S/R flour
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice 150gms/5oz butter
175gms/7oz mixed dried fruit 2 beaten eggs
100gms/4oz soft light brown sugar 3 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 180c/350F/Gas 4.
Grease a deep 7inch round tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Peel and grate carrot finely.
Sift flour and spice into a mixing bowl, add the butter cut into small cubes and rub into the flour with fingertips until the mixture resembles fine
Stir in sugar and dried fruit and grated carrot.
Make a hollow in the centre and add the beaten egg and milk. Beat with a wooden spoon until it forms soft dropping consistency.
Spoon into the tin and smooth level. Make a dip in the centre and bake for approx 45 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.
Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
Sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar while still hot.

Raspberry Cordial (Class 76)
500g raspberry
500g caster sugar
3 tbsp red wine vinegar

Put the raspberries in a pan with the sugar and vinegar.
Mash over a low heat for 10 mins until smooth and syrupy.
Rub through a sieve into a clean pan.
Tip the seeds from the sieve into a bowl and stir in 300ml water, then sieve again to remove the last of the pulp from seeds.
Pour the liquid into the pan with the sieved pulp, stir well and boil for 1 minute.
Pour into small sterilised bottles and seal.
The cordial will keep unopened for a few months. Once opened, store in the fridge.

Download the entry form.