Delicious fare is perfect for the festive season

Emily Quirk from Emily's Catering
Emily Quirk from Emily's Catering

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Seasonal food is important to daughter-and-mum baking duo Emily and Jeannette Quirk.

And we’re not just talking about Christmas goodies, but the freshest fruit and veg of the seasons all year round.

Portsmouth-based Emily and mum Jeannette will be showing off and selling the festive treats they create in their kitchens at their stall at Gunwharf Quays’ Christmas Food Fayre.

Trading as Emily’s Catering, they’ve been busy making brandy-soaked Christmas cakes from a family recipe, stollen, mince pies, gingerbread men and houses and other festive fare for the Portsmouth event on Saturday and Sunday.

But right around the food calendar they keep their eye on which produce is seasonal. ‘We try as much as possible to source local and seasonal ingredients,’ says 21-year-old Emily, who is a student at the University of Portsmouth as well as a businesswoman and baker.

‘We think it’s important to support other local businesses and that seems to be what people want.

‘I think things taste so much nicer with really fresh fruit and vegetables. At the moment we’re making apple and blackberry cakes.’

Emily and Jeannette focus on ethically-sound ingredients and have been involved in the Southsea Greenhouse project – a co-operative of local growers, allotment holders, traders, charities and other organisations who sell their goods at a unit on Southsea seafront.

Emily has been buying ingredients from the Greenhouse and then selling the finished cakes through the organisation.

Emily’s Catering makes Christmas, birthday and other occasion cakes to order and also sells baked treats and sandwiches through a mobile catering unit. But the part of business that Emily likes best is selling at food markets and fayres.

She says: ‘There’s usually a great atmosphere and people take a real interest in what they’re buying. They’re very concerned with their food being homemade.’

At the Gunwharf Christmas Food Fayre, Emily’s Catering will be joined by many other stall holders including Portsmouth-based Premier Preserves (homemade jams and chutneys), Gransteads Ginger (non-alcoholic ginger wine and ginger products), Simply Gorgeous Foods (cheeses and other dairy products) and Pondhead Farm (pies and pasties).

There will also be entertainment for children in the Central Square and performances inside the marquee from musical ensembles Bossard Quartet and Lydian Strings.

There will also be offers and samples from some of the restaurants at Gunwharf Quays.

The Christmas Food Fayre runs from 10am until 5pm Saturday and Sunday.