Last weekend, the BBC Summer Good Food Show came to the NEC in Birmingham and I was one of the many thousands of people to attend. The summer show is the only Good Food Show I will be attending this year as the winter one is scheduled for two weeks after my due date at the end of November.
We arrived early on the Saturday morning and we (Stuart and my friend Marie were with me) headed straight Tim Kinnaird’s (Masterchef finalist 2010) Macarons and More stand, where he and his lovely assistant Sophie were selling his wide variety of macarons and ready to make hot chocolate. I went there early as he usually sells out quick and I was glad I did. I went back at 2pm and found out that Tim had already sold out of Saturday’s stock and had moved onto Sunday’s. Tim will shortly be dispatching macarons by post and I hope he puts me down for one of the first orders!
We next headed to see Kate at the Gower Cottage Brownies stand. Kate makes the best Brownies ever and dispatches them all over the UK. When she saw that we had been to Tim’s stand and had got stickers all over us, she gave us each a sticker of her own and as I was running out of space, my sticker ended up on my growing bump. I think I may have to charge soon if people will use it for advertising!
We next went to see Sue at the My Secret Kitchen stand. My Secret Kitchen is a nationwide food tasting company, making their own foods and bringing them into people’s homes for them to taste and buy. I really enjoyed the Chocaberry Cheese Ball Mix , which was an instant cheesecake mix and the Tapenade with smoked garlic which was delicious.
We also visited the Kin Knives stand where the girls sharpened my knife which I brought at the show last year. Thanks Girls! Too be honest, I was not as impressed with this year’s show as much as I have been in previous years. There did not seem to be that many producers and nearly every stand sold olive oil, some sort of hot sauce, chutney’s or a useless kitchen gadget. I will visit again next year, with my baby, however unless the show improves, I may give a wide berth after that. Did you visit the Good Food Show? What did you think? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.
In my last post, I reviewed Simpson’s The Cookbook, well you can now WIN a LIMITED EDITION copy of the new Simpsons Restaurant Michelin Cook Book: Download some FREE Recipes to win: http://tinyurl.com/67s7qso Good Luck!
After a wonderful meal at The Wild Garlic, it was time to retire to fabulous apartment on the second floor above the restaurant. The apartment design was inspired by Angie Lewin and is decorated in 50’s/60’s style to compliment her artwork in the apartment. The apartment is a not an hotel room or holiday cottage, its a retreat. The fantastic staff of The Wild Garlic will leave you alone as much as you like. You have your own key and can come and go as you please. I loved it as you are right in the heart of the village and you get a real idea of what is going on, in the restaurant and the village. One small negative is that it is on the main road so you can get a bit of road noise at night. This did not bother me however, if you are looking for a country hideout away from noise, this may not be the ideal place.
When you arrive you find, bread, milk, butter, apple juice, tea and coffee things and even a bottle of wine in the kitchen. Inspired by the local produce in the apartment and in the local fruit and vegetable shop (see post here for more information) , I made myself mushrooms on toast for breakfast before I left and here is my recipe for it:
Mushrooms on Toast
Ingredients (Serves 1 hungry person!)
I would to thank Mat and all team at The Wild Garlic for a an amazing stay. I will be back again soon.
PS: Midlands Food Bloggers Members and Supporters can now get a Gourmet Life card for three months FREE! If you would like more information, please see the post here
PPS: Sorry for the delay between posts. If you would like to know why there was a delay, please see post on Jo’s Nursery here
After going shopping for supplies for the restaurant that afternoon, I was really looking forward to my meal at The Wild Garlic. Before service started, I was given a tour of the kitchen and met all of the team. The restaurant is quite informal in its layout with polished wooden tables and chalkboards listing daily specials and drinks on. Mat has also put a black peppermint plant on each table which adds to the rustic vibe and makes the place smell nice too.
As I knew the food at the restaurant was going to be great anyway, I asked Mat to surprise me for my meal, taking into account that I could not eat certain things due to being pregnant. To nibble on before the meal began, I had some bread from a local bakery with olive oil, balsamic and spicy nuts. For my starter, I had Goats Cheese Pannacotta, with Beetroot, Apple Crisp, Poached and Powdered Rhubarb. I am not a great fan of beetroot but it was the perfect compliment to the creamy goats cheese pannacotta. The powdered rhubarb was a revelation too. It tasted like cumin or something. The flavour was so rich and earthy. Mat enjoys using science in his cooking, but believes that the science should happen in the kitchen and not on people’s plate and I think this dish is a perfect example of that.
The Amuse Bouche was Spring Vegetable and Wild Garlic Veloute. It was light but creamy at the same time. Very yummy! For my main, I had Rose Rose Veal Fillet with Almond Butter and Potato Fondant. The veal was amazing. It was perfectly cooked and the almond butter complimented it beautifully. Also on the plate, were raw vegetables and pickles which added an extra dimension to the dish.
For pudding, I had the dessert platter which consisted of five individual desserts: Lime Tart topped with Meringue, Ginger Cake and Custard, Chocolate Brownie, Citrus Crème Brulee and licorice ice cream. To be honest, the entire platter was amazing. I cannot single any dessert out as they were all excellent. My favourite though was the licorice ice cream, as I have loved licorice since I was a child but have never had it in ice cream form. I could eat by the bucket load and I may develop a pregnancy craving for it, just so that I can have more!!!!!!
I finished the evening off with a decaff coffee and a chat with Mat and his staff. I would to thank Mat and his team for a fantastic meal in the restaurant. I think it is one of the best meals I have ever had. Please check back soon and I will tell you about my stay in the apartment above the restaurant.
*If you want to hear my about my pregnancy experiences of the trip to Dorset, please read the post on Jo’s Nursery here*
Midlands Food Bloggers
As some of you may know already, I am the founding member of the Midlands Food Bloggers and I am pleased to announce that with the help of Louise of Comida Y Vida, we now have a community blog. We are also having a meet up on Saturday 4th June in Burton Upon Trent. If you would like to find out more, do a guest post on the new blog or attend the meet up please visit the new blog for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week, I went on a gastronomic tour of Dorset. Dorset is place I have wanted to visit for a while, as it has always looked so lovely on the River Cottage TV Series and after I heard, 2009 Masterchef winner Mat Follas was opening his restaurant in Beaminster, called The Wild Garlic I knew I definitely had to go!
This is the first of three posts about my experiences at The Wild Garlic. I had such a good time and I want to tell you all about it. If I did one post, it would be very long so I have broken it up into three bite – sized chunks for you. After this, there will be a post about my meal at the restaurant and my stay in the apartment above the restaurant. Finally, my series on Dorset will conclude on a visit to the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster.
I arrived at The Wild Garlic during a busy holiday weekday lunch service. I was greeted warmly by Mat and all his staff and shown to the apartment upstairs. More on this in another post. I put my stuff in the room and wandered back downstairs. Mat invites to go on a walk to get some supplies for the restaurant. This turns out to be a very short walk as we get the supplies from both the butchers and the fruit and vegetable shop across the square.
Our first stop was Nick Tett Family Butchers. From here, Mat purchased lamb loins, skirt steak, goats cheese and a few other bits and pieces. Everything in the butchers had local, free range or organic attached to it or in some cases all three. This is the kind of butchers shop that I would like to have over the road from me.
Our second and final stop was Fruit and Two Veg, a little bit further down the road pass the butchers. In the shop was a vast collection of local fruit and vegetables including asparagus, strawberries, spinach, rocket and mushrooms. I was in heaven. Mat and his sous chef brought lots of things for the restaurant from here, so many that I lost track but I know I ate a few of them in my meal that evening.I would love to have this shop around the corner from me.
Before, I even had my meal at the restaurant I was very impressed. As sometimes, restaurants say things are local but how local is local? In Mat’s case, local means over the road, which is the best kind of local. Don’t you agree?
I will be back soon with another post telling you about my fantastic meal at The Wild Garlic.
Next week is Go Green Week (7-14th February) which is a student action week set up by People and Planet to raise awareness of climate change. This year’s theme is ‘Love Your Future, Love Your Climate’, as it falls so close to Valentine’s Day. What does this have to do with food I hear you ask?
Well, it is estimated that halving your meat and dairy consumption could take 10% off each person’s Carbon footprint. (Source: People and Planet) To encourage students to eat more local fruit and vegetables, I have been asked by the University of Worcester (where I work) to do a cookery demonstration to students and staff showing them what they cook with our fantastic local fruit and vegetables.
This has made me quite nervous as it is my first ever live solo cookery demonstration. I do not have other people around me, like when I did the Masterchef Experience at the BBC Good Food Show here and here, and I do not have the ability to edit, like I did when I made my first cookery video a couple of weeks ago. However, I have decided to give it ago and I will be making (with fruit and vegetables kindly supplied by Worcester Produce) the following:
I am hoping that someone will be able to video the event for me so that you can all see the demonstration too. I will be putting my recipes and pictures up as soon as I can after the event. If you would like to more information about what else the University of Worcester is doing to celebrate Go Green Week, please see here. If anyone has any tips for doing cookery demonstrations that would help a complete novice, it would be greatly apperciated.
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:
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.
A while ago, I was sent a copy of ‘When You Entertain’, a recipe book from Coca- Cola. This is a modern version of a book originally written for Coca-Cola in 1932 by legendary American hostess, Ida Bailey Allen. The new book is written by a collaboration of celebrated British Foodies; chef Tom Aikens, ex Blur bassist and food addict Alex James, 2008 Celebrity Masterchef winner Liz McClarnon and food blogger, Julia Parsons of A Slice of Cherry Pie and founder of the UK Food Bloggers Association. It is edited by renowned journalist Tiffanie Darke.
The book is divided into four categories; Weekend Brunches, Family Mealtimes, Saturday Night with Friends and Easy Lunch. Recipes include, Caveman Corn and Chicken, Spicy Crab Mushrooms, Braised Lamb Shank with Honey Roasted Garlic and Gammon and Peas Pudding. There are even some inventive recipes that use Coca-Cola in the book and they include, Coca-Cola Ginger Cake, Coca-Cola Chicken Salad with Garden Potatoes and Coca-Cola Sticky Ribs.
However, as soon as I saw Coca-Cola Marinated Steak (a recipe from Julia Parsons), I knew I had to give it ago. In the book, it is served with coleslaw and corn but I decided to serve it with Cool Beans (a recipe from the book by Alex James) and my potato wedges that I sometimes serve with steak. The steak marinade was simplicity in itself: onion, garlic, Coca-Cola, Worcestershire Sauce and Dark Soy Sauce. Put it in a freezer bag and leave it in the fridge for as long as you can and griddle or BBQ it until it is cooked the way you like it. The beans recipe is slightly harder and made harder still when you do not read the recipe properly like I did. Doh! You are supposed to cook the beans in a low oven for 24 hours however; I did not notice this until 2 hours before I wanted dinner so I have made an adapted quick version below.
Jo’s Quick Cool Beans (Adapted from a recipe in ‘When You Entertain’ by Alex James)
Serves 4 as part of a main course
Many thanks to Laura for sending me the book