Noble News

Welcome to Noble Isle News – a fragrant forum dedicated to the art of luxury bathing. Stay tuned for posts about the latest Noble Isle products, events and competitions; introductions to our cherry-picked ingredients and fragrances; and insider insights from the Noble Isle team about our noble mission to reinvent the Great British Bathtime.

An interview with Janet Oldroyd - Our trusted rhubarb farmer in the Yorkshire triangle

An interview with Janet Oldroyd - Our trusted rhubarb farmer in the Yorkshire triangle

Q: What inspired you to start growing rhubarb?

I left my job as a medical scientist to start our family but once the boys were born my father wanted me to take charge of the new rhubarb propagation techniques he wanted to adapt. Being quite handy with a scalpel I decided it was a more appropriate tool than the knives others were using. Such very small pot plants needed the careful touch, and we were one of the few growers to make it work. It all led from there really. My father’s enthusiasm and love for the crop was infectious, and what had laid dormant in me from my childhood took root (if you excuse the pun).

Q: When did you start your business and who has been involved from the beginning?

E.Oldroyd & Sons Ltd is a family business whose links with rhubarb began when my Great Grandfather (a Cambridgeshire strawberry grower) came to Yorkshire in 1930 and began growing rhubarb. My father clearly remembers the day his Grandfather took him behind that forbidden door where children were not allowed to pass. The sight before him took his breath away, such was the beauty of the growing crop. He instantly knew forcing rhubarb was what he wanted to do with his life.

Q: What do you like to do with your spare time when not working?

Farmers don’t get much free time, but when I do I love long walks with my seven dogs or taking my horse out, so all outdoor related.

Q: What is your favourite part of your job and the growing process?

It is very fulfilling seeing the crop growing well in the warm dark sheds and it always makes me feel proud when visitors gasp in amazement when inside the forcing sheds. Meeting the public to get their feedback is a bonus.

Q: Can you share with our readers a secret cooking recipe using rhubarb?

Rhubarb is so very versatile in cooking and I simply cook mine in a pan on the hob in pure orange juice, they just go so well together. Rhubarb and Custard is a much loved dish but I like to update it into something special like rhubarb panacotta or rhubarb crème brulee which both are simply rhubarb and custard.

Q: Do you have any favourite Noble Isle products - not just the ones containing your extracts! ;-)

Whisky and Water is a favourite.

Q: Can you tell us an interesting, quirky fact about rhubarb?

Rhubarb, originally called Rhabarbarum, is a native of Siberia and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years.

Our favourite Rhubarb Crème Brulée recipe for you to try at home:

Ingredients:

For the rhubarb

450g/1lb rhubarb stalks, trimmed, cut into pieces
1 tbsp clear honey 1 orange, juice only

For the crème brulée

400ml/14fl oz whole milk
150ml/5fl oz single cream
40g/1½oz caster sugar
4 free-range egg yolks
1 vanilla pod, split
100g/3½oz demerara or icing sugar for topping

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. For the rhubarb, place the rhubarb pieces into a shallow baking dish. Squeeze over the orange juice and drizzle with honey.
3. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, occasionally basting the fruit with the cooking juices.
4. Once the rhubarb is tender, spoon equal quantities into the bottom of four small heatproof dishes or ramekins and set aside.
5. For the crème brûlée, place the milk and cream into a pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
6. Place the sugar and egg yolks into a clean bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
7. Gradually add the milk and cream mixture stirring well. Strain the custard back into the pan and add the vanilla pod. Stir over a very low heat until the custard thickens, then remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod (you can rinse and dry it for use in other recipes).
8.Pour equal amounts of the custard over the rhubarb in the ramekins and leave to go completely cold.
9. Two or three hours before serving, sprinkle the top of each crème brûlée with the demerara sugar or icing sugar so they are each evenly and completely covered with a layer of sugar.
10. Place the dishes under a hot grill or heat with a cook's blowtorch until golden-brown and melted. Allow the tops to cool, then place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!


An interview with Katy Simpson - Noble Isle's Founder & Director

An interview with Katy Simpson - Noble Isle's Founder & Director

Q: Why did you set up Noble Isle?

I set up Noble Isle with 3 ex colleagues; between us all we had over 50 years experience in the Luxury Bath & Body industry. It was January 2011 and the country was preparing for the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William. Whether you were a royalist or not, everyone was looking forward to street parties, garden BBQ’s and we all got an extra day off to celebrate. London was looking its best on the day; spring time in the city, green trees, the beautiful parks and gardens, old next to modern architecture, the carriages, the horses, the uniforms of the soldiers – it all came together to look so new and contemporary. There was a real resurgence of British pride and communities were united. What struck me most was the amazing history of the United Kingdom and how modern and timeless everything looked despite being so old and steeped in tradition. I was so proud to be part of the British Isles.  All of this inspired us to create a truly British brand – a British company, making products in the UK, using British ingredients. I wanted to capture Britain in a Bottle.

Q: What does ‘Noble Isle’ mean?

‘Noble Isle’ was the first recorded term used for Great Britain in the 15th century. “This Nobill Isle, callit Gret Britanee”, declared James III of Scots while negotiating the marriage of his son to Cecily of England in 1474.  It is a strong and proud name and really captures the essence of the brand. My sister Claire, a Marketing expert, and I came up with the name one night whilst having dinner together in a Chinese Restaurant in Beaconsfield. As soon as I saw it written down – I knew it was right. The design route was clear with such a strong name.

Q: Why is Noble Isle different to other luxury bath & body brands?

Most importantly, we use British ingredients sourced from local celebrated producers within the British Isles. There is a really interesting provenance story behind each product. For years Britain has been a leader in sourcing and cooking seasonal, local food. We wanted to use the same concept for bath and body products – it adds depth to your story if you know the producer.

We are a truly British company. Many other British companies have been bought out by other businesses abroad but we make all our products in the British Isles – both our retail products and our hotel products. This is rare as many companies make their hotel products overseas for cost reasons. Noble Isle is a through and through British range.

Q: What is ‘Britain in a Bottle’?

When we created Noble Isle we travelled the length and breadth of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to source authentic, quintessentially British ingredients that celebrate our rich cultural history. All of the products feature extracts sourced from some of our most celebrated local producers, including Rhubarb from England, Sea Oak from Ireland, Barley from Scotland and Beetroot from Wales.

This is a big year for Noble Isle! Not only are we celebrating our 5th anniversary, we are also launching our first new fragrance in five years with an exciting new British provenance story – soon to be revealed…

This year we are going to be sharing our provenance stories with you in more detail by bringing new exclusive interviews with the people behind the ingredients and celebrating our wonderful partnerships with exceptional hotels and retailers across the UK and the rest of the world. We would like to ask our loyal customers to tell us about any local ingredient producers in their area in order to inspire our next range. Please join us on our journey via our social media channels or email us at marketing@nobleisle.com

Wishing you all the best of happy and healthy 2017.

Katy Simpson
Founder & Director 


Win a romantic weekend in London

Win a romantic weekend in London

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we have teamed up with the Draycott Hotel, one of our luxury five star hotel partners, to offer you the chance to win a romantic weekend for two in the heart of Chelsea.

The lucky couple will be treated to an overnight stay and afternoon tea at the Draycott Hotel, the perfect jumping off point to explore the cultural sights, shopping and gastronomical delights central London has to offer. The prize will also include a Noble Isle bath & body hamper worth £200.

If you are planning to spend the morning shopping in Chelsea and fancy putting your feet up for an hour, retire to The Draycott and experience the finest English afternoon tea that Chelsea has to offer. Enjoyed with either a cool glass of the finest Champagne or a range of the highest quality blended teas, experience a variety of quaint finger sandwiches, homemade scones, clotted cream and a fruity jam, not to mention a selection of tempting sweets and pastries, prepared daily by their wonderfully talented chef.

Competition ends midnight 14th February.

Enter the competition here.


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