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!
Posted in BBC, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, Brian Turner, Midlands, Tested By Thomas
Tagged bbc, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Brian Turner, Midlands, Tested By Thomas
Happy New Year everyone! Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. We did. Now the festive season is over, its time to look at resolutions. Here is mine from last year and whether I achieved them or not.
- Post on my blog at least once a week – managed most of the time except for when being pregnant/having a newborn baby prevented it.
- Get fellow bloggers to get post on my blog and do some guest posts for people in return – did not really happen.
- To create a regular series of events for the Midlands Food Bloggers (with help of fellow Midlands based bloggers) – managed one main event with a couple of smaller events. Plans for more in 2012.
- To set up a blog for the Midlands Food Bloggers with a list of members, people/companies who support us and get people to regularly contribute - was set up in March 2011, looked after by myself and Louise of Comida Y Vida.
- Make more use of the lots of cookbooks that I already own – did not really happen.
- Expand my cooking repertoire – I now know how to make pasta so want to start making it regularly and cook more seafood dishes – have cooked a greater variety of dishes, not really seafood dishes though.
- Get better at food photography – my Dad is making me a food stage with a white background so that I have something to put my dishes on to take a photo of them. Stuart and I have just purchased a second-hand Canon EOS 400D Digital SLR Camera, so with practice I am hoping that the images on the blog will improve. – I am hoping this has happened. I think the images have improved but do you, my readers agree?
- Meet Sarah and her goats at Brockhall Farm - I met Sarah but not her goats at the Ludlow Food Festival in September.
- Go to The Wild Garlic Restaurant in Dorset - I went there twice but have only blogged about it once.
- Take part in more blogging challenges especially Fresh From The Oven and Forever Nigella – managed a few at the start of the year but did not really happen once I got pregnant. Hoping for better in 2012.
Therefore, my resolutions for 2012 are:
- Clear the large backlog of posts I have including my day learning to make bread at Loaf, my visit to the BBC Good Food Show Winter 2011, my visit to M Kitchen and various review posts.
- Keep making Midlands Food Bloggers bigger and better and host many more events in and around the Midlands.
- Start up my own monthly blogging challenge (details to follow as soon as possible) and try and take part in as many others as possible.
- Keep improving my food photography.
- Go to Simpson’s Restaurant in Birmingham.
- Go to BritMum’s Live and get sponsorship to attend.
That is it for my resolutions this year. Not as many as previous years but am hoping they are all achievable. I will be back as soon as possible with details of my new monthly blogging challenge.
Posted in Andreas Antona, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, Comida Y Vida, Forever Nigella, Fresh From The Oven, happy cooking, Loaf, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers
Tagged Andreas Antona, Birmingham, BritMums Live, Comida Y Vida, happy cooking, happy new year, Midlands Food Bloggers, resolutions, Simpson's Restaurant
After a cracking day out with fellow bloggers doing the Miele Masterchef Experience, I could not wait to get back to show on the Sunday and meet some amazing producers and I was not disappointed.
My first visit of the day was to Goodman’s Geese who produce free range geese and turkeys on their farm in Great Witley, Worcester. It is run by Judy Goodman, pictured above and their turkeys and geese have featured on many chef’s Christmas TV specials including Delia Smith, Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver. My turkey is coming from Goodman’s this year and I cannot wait to try it!
After this, I went to Gower Cottage Brownies which is run by Kate and she had won a Good Food Show Bursary Award, allowing her to come to show and let everyone know about her delicious brownies. I already knew about Kate as she is on Twitter @gowercottage and I looking forward to trying her brownies. They are amazing. I will be ordering a box of brownies to be delivered to me soon.
Another producer who I knew from Twitter was at the show too. Sarah of Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies (@Brays_Cottage on Twitter) makes the best pork pies I have ever tasted. I am not a fan of pork pies generally but these are different. They have no jelly in them, meaning that free range pork that is packed into them shines through. The pastry is light, flaky and yummy. Bray’s Cottage make four flavours of pork pies which are; onion marmalade, chilli, chorizo and the traditional. I like the chilli and chorizo ones the best. Sarah was also at the show because she had won a Good Food Show Bursary Award.
As a massive fan of chorizo, I was very happy when I found The Bath Pig. It is run by Mash and Tim (who is not looking at the camera!) and they make British (to a Spanish recipe) RSPCA Freedom Food Standard free range chorizo. It is some of the best I have ever tasted and I am already dreaming up recipes to make with it. I brought the spicy chorizo but I would really love to try their garlic and herb chorizo too.
Tim Kinnaird was not only at the show doing the Masterchef experience. He was their selling his home-made macaroons. Tim had four flavours which were lemon, rose, passion fruit and salted caramel. My favourites were the lemon and salted caramel ones. I had to eat lots to come to that decision. The macaroons were light, creamy and delicious. Tim has inspired me to have a go at making them at home in the New Year. Wish me luck!
Wandering around the show some more, I sampled some Worcestershire Plum ice cream from Churchfields Farmhouse. Another local producer who makes amazing ice cream using their own cow’s milk and local Worcestershire cream. I also found some British Cassis made by Jo Hilditch. It was lovely and I cannot wait until Christmas when I can try it in a Kir Royale. I saw Edd Kimber doing a demo on the British stage and afterwards went home after a very enjoyable weekend for a Crabbie’s Ginger Beer and a well earned rest. This is just what I saw, tasted and did at the BBC Good Food Show, for fellow blogger’s viewpoints please look at the links below:
Posted in Alex Rushmer, award, baking, BBC, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, Bray's Cottage, British Cassis, cakes, celebrity masterchef, Churchfields Farm, Comida Y Vida, Dhruv Baker, Edd Kimber, Forever Better, Goodmans Geese, Great British Bake Off, Ice Cream, Invention Test, local, Masterchef, Masterchef Experience, Mat Follas, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Midlands Group, Miele, Miele Forever better, New Year, regional, Review, seasonal, Spanish, Thank you, Tim Kinnaird, Twitter, visit, West Midlands
Tagged 2010, bbc, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, Bray's Cottage, British Cassis, cake, celebrity masterchef, Churchfields Farmhouse, Edd Kimber, foodie, Goodmans Geese, Gower Cottage, Great British Bake Off, local, masterchef, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Miele, Miele forever better, Review, seasonal, The Bath Pig, Tim Kinnaird, West Midlands, Worcestershire
Last weekend, I had a fun filled foodie time at the BBC Good Food Show Winter. For the first time ever, I was armed with a press pass and ready to meet all the amazing producers at the show. I had one added bonus as well. Miele invited me back to take part in two Masterchef Master-classes and have lunch at the Masterchef Restaurant, similar to what I did at the summer show. As I did so much at the show, I have split it into two posts, one on the Masterchef experience and the other on the fantastic producers that I met.
To begin, I will start with the Masterchef Experience. I was joined by fellow bloggers; May, Mimi, Helly, Pippa and James. We are all pictured above with Edd Kimber, winner of The Great British Bake Off. For our first challenge, we had to do a Masterclass with Mat Follas. He won Masterchef in 2009 and the chef/owner of The Wild Garlic Restaurant. I met Mat in the summer and know he is a great guy, with an incredible passion for food. It was his idea to do a sweet version of fish fingers, mash and ketchup not so long ago. For the masterclass, we made chocolate and rosemary mousse. I was quite scared of making this as I have had disasters making it at home. However spending the first 20 minutes in a mild state of panic (my cream would not whip, my eggs refused to be separated and it felt like I spent nearly the whole time on stage with a hand mixer on the go!) I produced lovely (but possibly OTT on the rosemary) chocolate and rosemary mousse. Everyone was really happy with the results and I will make this again at home and share the recipe with you soon.
After some more celebrity schmoozing with Dhruv Baker, Masterchef winner 2010 and Edd Kimber, it was off to the Masterchef Restaurant for our lunch and well deserved break.
For my main, I had Chicken with a mushroom and Marsala sauce on parsnip mash with glazed baby vegetables which was cooked by Wendi Peters in Celebrity Masterchef Series 3. It was delicious. Everything complemented each other brilliantly and it tasted even better because I did not have to cook it! For pudding, I had Bread and Butter Pudding which was cooked by Dean Edwards in Masterchef Series 2. The pudding was dense but very light at the same time. The berries really cut the sweetness and were an excellent contrast.
Soon after this delicious meal, it was time for us to return to the Miele Masterchef stage again. This we were cooking with Alex Rushmer and Tim Kinnaird, both finalists in Masterchef 2010. In this session, we made Duck Breast with Crackling, Pickled Cucumber and Spiced Tobacco Caramel and Spiced Hot Chocolate. The duck was Alex’s dish and I was a bit sceptical about it at first. The thought of putting tobacco in food seemed crazy to me, however it worked and the duck tasted really good too. Tim’s hot chocolate was amazing. Spicy, sweet and hot. Just perfect. I will make these dishes again at home and share the recipe with you soon.
Overall, I had an absolutely amazing day and I would like to thank Susanna and Lauren from Miele for inviting me to take part and everyone else involved for all your help. It was great fun! My next post will be about the amazing producers I met so stay tuned for another post soon.
Thanks to James and Miele for some of the photos. It is much appreciated.
Posted in Alex Rushmer, BBC, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, celebrity masterchef, Chilli, Chocolate, cooking, Dhruv Baker, Edd Kimber, food, Forever Better, Good Food, Great British Bake Off, Invention Test, local, Masterchef, Masterchef Experience, Mat Follas, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Midlands Group, Miele, Miele Forever better, regional, Restaurant, Review, Thank you, Tim Kinnaird, Twitter, West Midlands
Tagged 2010, Alex Rushmer, bbc, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, celebrity masterchef, cooking, Dhruv Baker, Edd Kimber, Forever Better, Great British Bake Off, Mat Follas, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Miele, Miele forever better, Restaurant, The Wild Garlic, Tim Kinnaird, Twitter, West Midlands
I was recently invited to attend a tasting event in London but unfortunately I could not attend. The tasting event was for a new range of Findus products called ‘Fresher Taste’. As a child, I adored Findus Crispy Pancakes, especially the minced beef and onion one. Therefore, I was quite disappointed that I could not attend. A few weeks later, a parcel popped through my door and to my surprise, it contained:
- 4 vouchers to get free Findus Fresher Taste dishes
- A £10 voucher for Odd Bins (I brought Three Peaks Chardonnay with it as it goes well with fish and chicken)
- A blindfold (so that I could blind taste test the dishes- I didn’t!)
- A memory stick with a video on about the Tasting Event (See bottom of post for video)
- And a lovely letter saying that as I could not go to the event, that they were bringing the event to me!
The Findus Fresher Taste range is designed to give busy people frozen food that tastes as good as fresh. It has been created by the Findus head chef, Serge Nollent and uses prime cuts of fish and chicken. The see-through packaging acts like a roasting bag, retaining the natural moisture and flavours of the dish and allowing the meat or fish inside to self-baste. Each pouch is vacuum packed to help the food stay fresher. All the nutritional value is kept in and it takes less than 10 minutes to cook in a microwave.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Findus Fresher Taste range. I tried all of the dishes which are:
Roast Chicken Breast in a Sun Dried Tomato Dressing with a side of potatoes, peppers and courgettes
Wild Pacific Pink Salmon in a creamy White Wine and Asparagus Sauce with a side of Potatoes, beans, carrots and peas
Tender Chicken Breast in a Vintage Cheddar and Bacon Sauce with a side of broccoli, green beans and peas
Flaky Cod Fillet in a creamy Mornay Sauce with a side of potatoes, broccoli, carrots and parsnips
I am not a great lover of ready meals, especially the frozen ones but these were quite good. A couple of points that they could improve on, in my opinion is the size of the fish/chicken and the vegetables. The fish/chicken was lovely but needed to be a bit bigger I think. (This might just be me being greedy!) The vegetables had a lot of water in them from being frozen and this made the potatoes (that been sautéed) very soggy and lots of water went on the plate as I served the veg. It was not very attractive. The sauces that all the dishes came with were delicious. They did taste fresh and you could tell the quality of the ingredients. I can see me possibly having one occasionally when time is tight and I am hungry.
Many thanks to Molly and Caroline for sending me the surprise parcel. It was much appreciated
PS: I will be at the BBC Good Food Show Winter tomorrow and Sunday so if you see me, please say hello!
Posted in BBC, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, comfort, cooking, Findus, Findus Crispy Pancakes, fish, food, Fresher Taste, Good Food, local, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Review, Thank you, Video Post, West Midlands, wine
Tagged bbc, BBC Good Food Show, BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham, comfort, cooking, Findus, Findus Crispy Pancakes, Findus Fresher Taste, fish, food, foodie, local, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Review, West Midlands