Monthly Archives: February 2012

BBC Good Food Show Winter 2011

I have been trying to write this post for ages but it kept on getting put on the bottom of the pile. I would like to say sorry to Ginny and Sharan for it taking so long to write and thank them for a fantastic day

When Thomas was 4 weeks old, we went to the BBC Good Food Show Winter 2011 as guests of Belling.  As this was my first time taking a child to the NEC, I was interested to see how my experience would compare to previous visits. There will be more about this later. First, the most important thing, the food.

When we first arrived, we went straight to the Belling stand and were lucky enough to meet Brian Turner. He is a lovely guy, very funny and exactly like what you see on TV. We were then joined by Louise of Comida Y Vida, her Mum and Grace and Louise and Sous Chef J of Good Food, Great Fun and Gluten Free. Brian did three cookery demonstrations on the stand including a Get Set Cook! challenge (similar to Ready Steady Cook) where he showcased some of the show’s finest producers and recipes from ‘Tweet Pie: The World’s Shortest Recipe Book’ sharing recipes from the people of Twitter.

After having a great time at Belling, we went and saw old friends Tim of Macaroons and More and Kate from Gower Cottage Brownies. After a quick catch up with the gossip, lots of admiring of Thomas and stocking up on vast quantities of both their products, we then saw James Day of Eat The Midlands and Suree Coates of the King and Thai for lunch.

After lunch, we moved onto the The Little Round Cake Company, which is based in Shrewsbury and sells a wonderful range of cakes including Tweeners (bottom left of picture) which are big enough for two to share but not a massive cake. The raspberry and white chocolate tart (top left in picture) was my favourite. We then moved onto Life, Fork & Spoon by James Martin which is a revolutionary new ready meals concept by James Martin, delivering great food to your door. I am hoping to try it soon as it is only based down the road in Worcestershire. After a very tiring day, Thomas and I headed home for some much needed rest. :-)

Tested By Thomas

This is new thing that I have running across both my blogs and a page for it will appear on both blogs soon. Thomas and I have started travelling around testing out baby changing facilities and general reaction to children/babies in restaurants, pubs and so on. We will be reporting on our findings so the readers of my blogs can be informed and know where the best place is to take your children. You can read the first post on Jo’s Nursery here.

The Good Food Show was our first complete day out together and we were very impressed. The organisers of the show had set up a parenting room in a suite, adjacent to the show with bottle warming facilities, a fully kitted out changing area with free wipes, nappies etc. and lots of places to feed your baby. It was all every parent wanted and more. We used it twice. It was quite quiet though so whether it had not been publicised enough I do not know. The queues for the normal NEC changing areas were quite long so maybe it was not. I only used the normal NEC facilities at the end of the day as I was leaving and was I quite glad of the extra parenting room as I could only just get the pushchair in there. How they cope at peak times I will never know.   Parking at the NEC was quite tight too and I only just had enough room to get the pushchair and Thomas out of the car. Perhaps, the NEC could provide parent and child spaces somewhere too.

We would like to thank Ginny and Sharan for a great day out at the show. We look forward to returning in the summer when Thomas will be able to try some of the food for himself! :-)

Restaurant Review: Reubens, Eat Central, Merry Hill

Food Courts are not usually the place you would expect to find decent restaurants and good quality food. Well, I have found a place where you can. Eat Central in Merry Hill. I have started going there quite regularly since being on maternity leave as I can walk round there with Thomas, have a cup of coffee or something to eat and sort Thomas out in their excellent parent rooms.

I was recently asked if I would like to review one of the eateries in Eat Central as part of Merry Hill’s Food Explorer month. I selected Reubens – Light Indian Food as I have never tried it before and it is the newest restaurant in Eat Central. Reubens was set up in October 2011 by Manny Johal, a Wolverhampton based businessman who spent 10 years working in the catering industry before opening Reubens.

Reubens has many meal options. You can have Indian style noodle dishes, curries and assorted sides. I chose the 4 dish meal deal which costs £4.49 and it contained:

• Onion Bhaji
• Vegetable Samosa
• Chilli Chicken Noodles
• Lamb Curry

I was very impressed with all the food. It was fresh, hot and tasty. All of it was spicy but not too much spicy and it did not overpower anything else. My favourite was the lamb curry. It was zingy, spicy and fresh tasting. The sauce could of been a bit thicker for my taste but I loved it nonetheless. The noodles were excellent too.

Thanks to Katie for setting up the review and Manny for a great meal. It is much appreciated :-)

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River Cottage Rocks #2: Sunday Lunch

Thanks again to everyone who took part in River Cottage Rocks #1! Your dishes looked amazing. I cannot wait to see what you come up with now. The second theme is ‘Sunday Lunch’. This could be a joint of meat with vegetables, a slow cook meal or anything else you fancy, as long as you can take it easy, relax and enjoy a leisurely Sunday potting away in the kitchen.

Here is a reminder of the rules:

  1. You cook any recipe you like related to the theme from any River Cottage book, TV programme or from Hugh’s weekly column in the Guardian.
  2. You must not copy the recipes word for word onto your blog posts. Quite a few of the recipes are already online so please link to them if they exist or put the book and the page number on your blog post so other people can find the recipe.
  3. If you make a couple or more adaptations to the recipe then please put the new version of the recipe on your blog if you want to, but always link to the original recipe in the same way as described in 2.
  4. You can submit the recipe to other blogging challenges as long as the other challenge allows it. 
  5. Please link to the post announcing this month’s theme in your blog post or to the ‘River Cottage Rocks’ page on this blog if someone else is hosting the challenge.
  6. If you are on Twitter, please tweet about your post using the hashtag #rivercottagerocks and include @Jos_Kitchen in the tweet. I will retweet any that I see.
  7. Please email a picture and a link to your post to joskitchen@hotmail.co.uk by the closing date to have your post included in the monthly round up. 
  8. Please add your posts to the River Cottage Rocks group on Facebook too and we can get a bit of community spirit going.

You have until Monday 19th March to submit your recipes to this month’s challenge.

Happy Cooking! :-)

PS: Don’t forget to come and say hello in the Facebook group if you take part!

River Cottage Rocks #1: Everyday Easy – The Round Up

Here is the first round up of River Cottage Rocks! Thanks to everyone who took part. It is greatly appreciated. The second challenge will be announced tomorrow. :-)

No Love Sincerer

Fabulicious Food

VegHotPot

Farmersgirl Kitchen

Charlotte’s Kitchen Diary

Searching For Spice

Velvet Barnacle

Me

Product Review: Hotel Chocolat Open Your Heart To Me

If you are still looking for a Valentine’s gift for your loved one and they like unusual flavour combinations, then they may like Hotel Chocolat Open Your Heart To Me.  It is a 40% milk chocolate heart with a hollowed out centre containing truffles. Some of the truffle flavours are strawberry with black pepper, caramel with chilli and vanilla.

I was very impressed with chocolate heart. It was very creamy and delicious. I thought that the truffles were very rich and overpowering for my taste buds. The black pepper was slightly too strong for the strawberry and the chilli knocked out the caramel flavour. My favourite was the plain and simple vanilla truffle. I think this product is a very good idea. It is a nice treat having extra chocolate inside the heart, however I think the truffles need more work to make the flavours more discreet or just more simpler flavours altogether. I am not a chocolate connoisseur though and as the product is sold out on their website, it is obviously very popular. If you have brought this for your loved one or receive one yourself, please let me know what you think about it.

Many thanks to Beth at Jam and Cream PR and Hotel Chocolat for sending me the product to review :-)

River Cottage Rocks #1: Everyday Easy – My Entry

I am sure you have all heard about the devastating events that have taken place at River Cottage HQ. My thoughts are with Hugh and the rest of the River Cottage family. I hope you get everything sorted and are back to normal soon :-)

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I introduced you to my new monthly blogging challenge called River Cottage Rocks! The first theme was ‘everyday easy’. The take up has not been as much as I had hoped so I have extended the deadline for entries until Sunday 19th February. I do hope that lots of you will take part and show how much River Cottage means to us especially at this sad time for them. A reminder of the rules is below. Meanwhile, I shall tell you about my entry for the challenge.

As a busy mom, I am always on the lookout for a quick sweet treat to get through the day and these 10 minute chocolate cookies are ideal. 10 minutes to make and 10 minutes to cook. The recipe is on page number 393 in ‘River Cottage Everyday and is in the ‘River Cottage Family Cookbook‘ somewhere too. I love these cookies. I love how quick they are to make and how tasty they are. You can not just have only one. I adapted the recipe slightly by using milk chocolate chips and I made them using Tate & Lyle ‘Light at Heart’ sugar. The sugar is excellent and did not taste any different to normal sugar. You hardly knew that the cookies were actually good for you! The recipe seems very reliable and it is one I will be making regularly from now on. You can find the recipe online here.

Many thanks to those who have taken part so far. I look forward to seeing some more River Cottage recipes cooked or adapted soon. Go on, grab the badge above and lets gets cooking! :-)

The Rules

  1. You cook any recipe you like related to the theme from any River Cottage book, TV programme or from Hugh’s weekly column in the Guardian.
  2. You must not copy the recipes word for word onto your blog posts. Quite a few of the recipes are already online so please link to them if they exist or put the book and the page number on your blog post so other people can find the recipe.
  3. If you make a couple or more adaptations to the recipe then please put the new version of the recipe on your blog if you want to, but always link to the original recipe in the same way as described in 2.
  4. You can submit the recipe to other blogging challenges as long as the other challenge allows it. 
  5. Please link to the post announcing this month’s theme in your blog post or to the ‘River Cottage Rocks’ page on this blog if someone else is hosting the challenge.
  6. If you are on Twitter, please tweet about your post using the hashtag #rivercottagerocks and include @Jos_Kitchen in the tweet. I will retweet any that I see.
  7. Please email a picture and a link to your post to joskitchen@hotmail.co.uk by the closing date to have your post included in the monthly round up. 
  8. Please add your posts to the River Cottage Rocks group on Facebook too and we can get a bit of community spirit going.

 

 

Winner of the Lovetubs Hamper is….

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the Lovetubs Hamper is comment number 38, Valerie McCarthy. Valerie, I have sent you an email with what to do next. Thank you all very much for taking part. It is greatly appreciated.

I will be back with another post tomorrow. Hope you are all well. I am off for a bath and an early night!

Happy Cooking! :-)

A Biscuit Delivery!

This week, I have been lucky enough to receive a month’s worth of biscuits from Bakers Pantry. Bakers Pantry is a new monthly biscuit club where subscribers receive a month’s worth of biscuits from selected bakeries all around the country. This month they are sending out everything here.

I was very impressed with the courier delivery of my biscuits and how well packed they were. Nothing was broken. Included in the package is a map showing you where your biscuits had come from. I liked the look and taste of all the biscuits but my favourites were the fruit shortbread and the giant triple chocolate cookies. I have heard of some of the bakeries through buying the biscuits at farm shops etc. It was good to have them all at once and such a variety. £24 a month (delivery included) is a bit expensive in my opinion but if you or someone you know is biscuit crazy then it might make an unusual gift for them or yourself.

Bakers Pantry Competition

Bakers Pantry have a competition on their website offering 15 x 1 month subscriptions to their biscuit club so make sure you pay a visit here to enter.

Good luck!:-)

You can find Bakers Pantry on Facebook and Twitter

Many thanks to Beth of Jam and Cream PR and Bakers Pantry for sending me the biscuits to review :-)

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