Category Archives: BBC

Interview with Olly Smith at BBC Summer Good Food Show 2012

While at the BBC Summer Good Food Show 2012, I was lucky enough to be handed the opportunity to interview Olly Smith. A full video of the interview is above. Apologies again if there are any sound interruptions etc, video editing is not my strong point. Many thanks to Olly, Ginny and James for the interview. It is greatly appreciated :-)

Interview with Glynn Purnell at BBC Summer Good Food Show 2012

When I visited the BBC Good Food Show Summer, I was lucky enough to interview Glynn Purnell. Here is the video of the interview. I hope you like it. Apologies for any sound interruptions on the video etc. Video editing is not my strong point. Many thanks to Glynn, Claire and Ginny for allowing me to do the interview. It is greatly appreciated :-)

BBC Summer Good Food Show 2012

A few weeks ago, I went to the BBC Summer Good Food Show at the NEC. I look forward to the show every year as it is a great way to meet lots of like-minded people in one place. Upon arrival and after a quick coffee in the press area, I went to see my friend James on the Gourmet Life stand. He was joined on the stand by Duncan of Relish Publications who were promoting the launch of Relish Midlands (more to follow about this in another post soon).

Following this, I went to meet the lovely people at Riso Gallo UK who were showcasing the wide range of products they have on offer and had chefs on hand to show you how to cook it. On the stand they were cooking courgette, chorizo and pea risotto and they even made a chocolate, meringue and strawberry risotto too. I received a selection of their products to review and will telling you more about them soon.

After this, I went over and met Tracy from The Gingham Chicken who make some of the most inventive fudge I have ever seen. I loved the lemon meringue one!

I next went to Samuelson’s of Whitney and tried their delicious lemonade and virgin mojito.  They tasted like how drinks used to taste and were very yummy. I brought three bottles.

Next up was the My Secret Kitchen ladies who were wowing the NEC with their creations as they always do. I especially loved their maple caramel sauce.

Next up was a revelation to me, a frozen dough company called The Northern Dough Co. who make fresh dough in the factory, freeze it straight away, you take it home, defrost it when you need and then make fantastic pizza.  We have loved what I brought at the show and need to stock up again. Thomas enjoyed it too. It is that good!

One of my final stops of the day was to Grandpa Lew’s, a Derbyshire based business selling the finest pies and sauces they can. I enjoyed their Curried Potato, Cauliflower and Pea pie and an Atomic Buffalo Brownie. Before leaving the show I went and saw old friend’s Tim at Macarons and More and Kate at Gower Cottage Brownies.

While at the show, I was lucky enough to interview Olly Smith and Glynn Purnell. Their interviews are next up on the blog so stay tuned. I had a fantastic time at the show and think it one of the best shows yet. I can’t wait for the winter show to arrive in town. After walking round all day and working on James’ stall for a while, I was even more tired than what I had been looking after Thomas all day! :-)

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! :-)

The Pink Whisk October Challenge: Apples

This month, Ruth from The Pink Whisk is challenging us to bake something using one of the ingredients of the moment- apples. I love cooking, baking and drinking apples so I knew I had to take part in this challenge. There are many things you can make with apples including cakes, tarts, crumbles, pies and so forth.

For me, the simplest and the best thing to do with apples is make a crumble. It is one of the first things I was taught to make as a child and was left on my own to make as I got older. I know it is not really original or fancy but my opinion is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! My recipe is very traditional. It does not use oats or anything in the crumble mix. I do not even put any cinnamon in with the apples. If you have good local apples like I did, you should just let them speak for themselves. My recipe below is a bit vague as it depends on how many apples, you have and the size of your baking dish as to how much you need. You just need to use your own judgement and don’t forget you can freeze any left over crumble mix for another time.

Apple Crumble

Ingredients

  • Apples, local if possible, chopped into chunks (1 large or 2 medium sized apples filled up my little Le Creuset dish above)
  • 125g butter, unsalted, cut into small chunks
  • 250g plain flour (always do half fat to flour, however much crumble you make)
  • 125g caster sugar plus a couple of extra tablespoons for the apples
  • Lemon juice

Method

  1. Put the apples in your baking dish and add some lemon juice in with them to prevent them from browning.
  2. Put in a couple of tablespoons of sugar in with the apples and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crumble mix by rubbing in the butter into the flour until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. This may take a few minutes depending on how soft your butter is.
  4. Add in the sugar and mix well.
  5. Top the apples with the crumble mix (don’t do it too neatly- rustic looks better) and bake in a moderate oven until golden brown and bubbling. Eat with custard, cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Happy Cooking! :-)

A Night at Odettes

Stuart and I are fans of the Great British Menu, the BBC TV programme. We have watched it since the start and we were particularly taken by a young chef, Bryn Williams who appeared in series 1 and got to cook the fish course for the Queen’s 80th Birthday banquet. Therefore, on our second night in London, it was a fairly easy decision as to whose restaurant we wanted to eat at.

Odette’s is located in Primrose Hill and Bryn has worked there since 2006, becoming the chef patron in 2008. We arrived at 7.45pm on a wet and windy Sunday night to find a quiet yet buzzing restaurant, barely noticeable on the High Street unless you knew it was there.  We were seated promptly and left to make up our minds from the fabulous looking menu. Having already looked on-line, we had a fair idea as to what we wanted and when Stuart mentioned that he would like the Roasted turbot, braised oxtail, cockles & samphire for his main (the dish that Bryn cooked for the Queen), we were informed that there was only one left and needed to reserve it, if Stuart wanted it. We did as we were told and reserved it for later.

As an Amuse Bouche, we were served a Cream of Mushroom and Wild Garlic Velouté which was delicious, light, full of flavour but not overpowering. For my starter, I had Roasted wood pigeon, foie gras, pickled cherries, chocolate, vanilla salt (minus the foie gras- pregnant people can’t eat it!) and Stuart had Crab lasagna, salt & pepper squid, shellfish sauce. My starter was amazing. All the flavours worked really well together and the roasted pigeon leg, which was wrapped in filo pastry was like a spring roll. It was delicious. Stuart’s starter was great too as the crab and the squid really worked well together and did not overpower each other.

Stuart’s roast turbot and oxtail was fantastic. I can see why it was served to the Queen. It is a combination that really should not work but it does. The rich oxtail compliments the turbot and brings out it flavours. I only got to try one spoonful of it. Wish I could of tried more. My main of Loin of Elwy Valley lamb, potato fondant, baby gem, peas & mint was perfect too. It comes from Bryn’s family farm in Wales and is melt in the mouth tender. I  wish I could cook lamb half as good as this at home. It was yummy! If I had not of been in public, I would of licked the plate clean.

As a pre dessert we were served panacotta with berries.  The panacotta was rich and creamy, but not so rich that you could not finish it. For dessert I had Lemon curd arctic roll, cranachan & raspberries. I have loved arctic roll since I was a child and was interested to see Bryn’s take on it. The lemon curd in the arctic roll gave it an extra dimension and moved it beyond the ordinary. He can start selling it in supermarkets at any time. I will happily buy it. The crunch of the cranachan and raspberries brought more textures to the plate and cut through the richness of the arctic roll. I will eat it again at anytime.

Overall, we had a fantastic evening at Odette’s. We would like to thank Bryn and his team for a fabulous meal. We will be as soon as we can. In the picture above, I am wearing a Diamond Dress from Lush Mummy who make glamorous maternity wear and I have been lucky enough to be sent some. I will be doing a full post about them and their clothes on Jo’s Nursery soon.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Fresh From The Oven: Sandwich Bread Loaf

This month’s Fresh From The Oven challenge was hosted by myself and I decided that we should make a new favourite bread of mine, a Sandwich Bread Loaf. This was orginally made by Michel Roux Jr. as part of the BBC TV Series ‘The Great British Food Revival’. The recipe for the loaf is here.

I like this loaf as it is very simple and easy to make. The addition of the Golden Syrup keeps the loaf moist and provides an extra sweetness. The loaf keeps well for a few days and ideal to take to work for your sandwiches or it makes excellent toast once it is a couple of days old. As I have made this before, I decided not to make it in a loaf tin and made it into a fat baton shape instead. The result was excellent :-)

I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did making the loaf :-)

Happy Cooking!

BBC Summer Good Food Show 2011

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!

Happy Cooking! :-)

A Night At The Wild Garlic Part 3: The Apartment

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!)

  • 1 slice of thick local bread, toasted
  • 1 field mushroom and 1 chestnut mushroom, peeled and chopped with stalk removed
  • 1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large knob of local butter, for frying
  • 1 small bunch or parsley, finely chopped
  • Rocket leaves, to serve with it, if desired

Method

  1. Melt some butter in frying pan, add in the shallots and fry until softened slightly
  2. Then add in the mushrooms and fry until cooked through. Add in the parsley at the last minute and serve on top of hot toasted bread.
  3. Put some rocket leaves on the side if you like and enjoy!

I would to thank Mat and all team at The Wild Garlic for a an amazing stay. I will be back again soon. :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

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

A Night At The Wild Garlic Part 2: The Meal

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 midsfoodbloggers@hotmail.co.uk 

Happy Cooking! :-)