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Review Of The Year 2010

2010 was my first full year of blogging so its seems right that I should look back and reflect on what an amazing year it has been.

In January, I did my first Fresh From The Oven Challenge, making Chocolate Buns. This formed part of my New Year’s resolution’s to be more adventurous in baking and make more bread. I also made cottage pie and did my first ever guest post on Nora’s blog.

In February, I made Valentine’s Cupcakes (that looked like boobies!) for English Mum’s Best Valentine Cupcake competition.  I reviewed my first cookbook, Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients and Nora did a guest post on the blog.

Image by Wendy from Peters Yard

In March, I celebrated completing my first year of blogging. The first meeting of the Midlands Food Bloggers was held at Loaf’s HQ in Birmingham, where we cooked pizza’s and tasted Peters Yard’s Crispbreads and Brock Hall Farm’s Goats Cheese for the first time. I went to my first Cupcake workshop at Kiss Me Cupcakes and I hosted my first Fresh From The Oven challenge, Kringel

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In April, I entered and won the Easter Cake Bake and made cupcakes for the Mad Hatter’s Shropshire Tweet Up. Helen did a guest post on the blog and I made croissants for the first and last time!

May started by making the ultimate spring time brunch and a crumble. Pizza Napoletana was the Fresh From The Oven challenge.

In June, Jo’s Kitchen was invited by Miele to do the Masterchef Invention Test at the BBC Summer Good Food Show. Marie and I took on a Giant Cupcake Challenge and I went on an archaeological dig and left my blog in the care of Gary, Linda, Louise and Charlene.

In July, I made my favourite childhood dinner of Fish Fingers, Mashed Potatoes, Peas and Parsley Sauce. I entered my second English Mum’s Big Bake Off and held a competition to win a Masterchef Apron.

In August, I made a sweet version of Fish Fingers, Mash and Ketchup with Mat Follas’s help and went on a foodie trip to Ludlow visiting the Ludlow Food Centre and Ludlow itself. Brioche was this month’s Fresh From The Oven Challenge.

September was a busy month so I only made some cupcakes and garlic and basil focaccia.

In October, I made some spooky Halloween cakes for English Mum’s Autumn Bake Off, went to my first 24 Carrots Farmers Market and attended the second Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up.

In November, I made Coca-Cola Marinated Steak, with Wedges and Cool Beans, and I went to Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden, London. I also reviewed the Findus Fresher Taste range of ready meals.

In December, I was invited back to the BBC Good Food Show Winter by Miele. I took part in two cookalongs and met lots of fantastic producers. I went to the new Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring, Birmingham. I learnt how to make pasta for the first time at Loaf and shared my Christmas wishlist with you. Finally, for a late seasonal treat, I shared my Mincemeat Flapjacks recipe.

Overall, 2010 was an amazing year. I met so many fantastic people, ate lovely meals, made lots of new recipes and I was lucky enough to review some great products. I cannot wait to see what 2011 will bring. Thank you to all my readers for being along with me for the ride. I hope you will stay with me for 2011. I hope you all have a great night tonight, whatever you are doing. I will see you early in 2011 with my New Year’s resolutions.

Happy New Year! :-)

BBC Winter Good Food Show 2010 Part 2

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:

Happy Cooking! :-)

BBC Winter Good Food Show 2010 Part 1

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.

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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.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Giant Cupcake Challenge

I am sure you all must think that this is turning into a cupcake blog. Well, I just want to reassure you that it’s not. I tried to do another post earlier this week, about one of my favourite meals as a child but I have been super busy and was unable to finish writing it so you will just have to wait a bit longer for that one.

Today, I would like to tell you about the challenge of Marie and I’s first paid cupcake and giant cupcake order. Yes, you heard me correctly, giant cupcake. Before we did this, I knew giant cupcakes existed (there is lots of info on the web about them) but I never ever thought I would attempt to make one. Marie and I made the cake for my work colleague, Lisa’s daughter Katie whose 10th Birthday it was and the cake was to share with all her friends and family.

As we had never attempted a giant cupcake before, I did a practice attempt a few days before. The results of which is below. The giant cupcake is effectively 4 Victoria Sponge layers put together and to make it, I used a double quantity of the Victoria Sponge recipe here. The buttercream icing quantity was 1 standard batch of icing which is 500g icing sugar to 250g of unsalted butter. I was not entirely happy with my first attempt. The cake was not as light or fluffy as I hoped but my work colleagues seemed to like it, as it was eaten very quickly. I am glad I made a practice one as it gave me a bit more confidence for the second one.

I was still a bit nervous when it came to make the real one that we were getting paid for, but I need not have worried. The sponge seemed much better this time and the buttercream icing was a much better consistency. I was not brave enough to attempt to pipe the icing on so Marie did that, as she has had much more piping practice than I have. The results were fantastic in my opinion and we just hoped that Lisa and Katie liked it too. Marie made 12 normal sized cupcakes to go with the giant one and it looked lovely with all them on the tray together. Driving the cakes to my work where Lisa was going to collect them from was one of the scariest things I have ever done. I was so concerned that the cakes were going to fall over and lose their decoration however I did manage to get them to work in one piece and Lisa and Katie loved the cakes. Marie is going to start doing more cakes from home, so if you have an event coming up and need cupcakes or a birthday cake and live within 25 miles of the Birmingham B63 postcode, please email joskitchen@hotmail.co.uk and I will put you in contact with Marie.

Many thanks to Sarah from Blue Door Bakery for the loan of the giant cupcake tin.

Tate and Smile!


I have recently been contacted by Lisa who has sent me lots of sugar from Tate and Lyle. Tate and Lyle have a fantastic new website called Tate and Smile which has lots of great recipes and inspiration on it. They also have a Facebook group called We Love Baking which is becoming an excellent baking community so if you love baking as much as I do, you really have to join. I will be doing lots of baking with the sugar soon so stay tuned for more recipes to follow.

Many thanks to Lisa and Tate and Lyle for the sugar.

BBC Summer Good Food Show


The BBC Summer Good Food Show is currently taking place at the NEC and I will be there tomorrow, with my friends Marie and Ali. Miele have invited me to take part in Masterchef Experience, by doing the Invention Test live on stage so if you are at show, please pop along to the Masterchef stage and watch me cooking live at 10am. I am very nervous but also very excited about it. I would like to thank Roxy and Nicola from Miele for the opportunity and I will tell you all about it next week.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend

Happy Cooking! :-)

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