Another summer holiday is about the begin – and we’re off to France. And though this is a self-catering holiday and we tackle the majority of meals ourselves as we do at home, the way we shop and eat during this now annual week in Brittany sets it apart from the rest of the year; not only because it is in a different country entirely. But the pace, times and types of meals we have change as well.
Breakfast is always purchased fresh in the morning – croissants and a loaf of crusty French bread (which gets us through lunch as well) with butter and jam. Now that we’ve been trying to cut down on bread, this means we’re eating more bread in a week than we normally do in a month. But – holidays are holidays and I’m not gonna sweat it. The French are very definitely on to something with this daily bread purchase though. If I am going to blow the bread limit, let it be exceptional bread and fresh to boot.
We are less than a month away from the Banbury Food Fair so as you can imagine all I really want to do is focus on that – and what a lot to focus on! Over 120 vendors, a full day of chef demos, vintage tea room, the flower and produce show … But that’s not until August 20 so what are some of the food headlines that caught my eye lately and what’s on the foodie ‘to be read’ pile these days? Cake, coffee and crumble as it happens.
Anyone who followed this blog during Nadiya’s GBBO season will know how delightful I found her. Her face was expressive to an almost lunatic degree; her choice of bakes (methods, ingredients, etc) always pushed things a little further but (unlike some) not just for the sake of pushing – because she wanted to know how it would work, she wanted to try a new taste. Her passion and love of food and baking was infectious.
So I was thrilled when she won that season and thrilled again when the BBC sent her off on the two part Chronicles of Nadiya so she could explore (and we could go with her) the recipes that laid the foundation for that passion and love of food. She always came off as very natural, if a bit nervous (and who could blame her) on GBBO and her shift from contestant to cookery presenter did nothing to dim that naturalness.
And so last night, Nadiya returned with her second show, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure and I am happy to report that she is still as natural as can be, the face still as expressive as ever and her enthusiasm for her topics on full show.
Good morning and welcome to the latest edition of the Fabulous Foodie News Peruse, wherein I am sorry to report that I am a tad grumpy. I know, I know, I was grumpy this weekend over the lack of cheese at the Chili and Cheese festival this weekend. I moved on from that, honestly. My current grumpiness is due to birds eating all the remaining cherries off the tree and both the pear tree and the plum tree seem to have … stalled somehow. Fruit is there, it looks ALMOST right. But it’s taking ages and ages to actually ripen.
July, as I am fond of reminding everyone, is ice cream month. At least it is in the United States and it has been since being proposed in Congress and signed into existence by presidential proclamation by Ronald Reagan in 1984.
President Reagan, who rather liked his sweets, also declared that the third Sunday in the month would be National Ice Cream Day. Now this may strike some as overkill but I’m not sure such a thing is possible with ice cream. I mean, I could go on and on about the stuff with no difficulties whatsoever as you can see – You Scream, I Scream. We All . . . Well, You Know.
Yesterday was the first Monday of the month and that meant a trip down to the Puritan’s Radio studio for another installment of the Jones on Food & Travel show! My role on the show is sort of two-fold. I have my own segment called Deborah Dishes on Food but I also serve as co-presenter, chief interrupter and producer of general background noise throughout the whole show.
Peter surprised me with the suggestion that we run down the list of local eateries as ranked by TripAdvisor, which I was happy to do. It made me realize, if nothing else, that there are a lot of places in town and in the surrounding areas that we really must try. ModParlPhotos and I are such terrible creatures of habit – we have our favourite places and dishes so we risk falling into food ruts. We really need to apply to same sense of culinary adventure we use on holiday to eating out at home. Anyway – that commentary runs throughout the show, in between some quite interesting and varied interviews. Continue reading “Jones on Food and Travel: July 3”→
The refreshing chill of iced coffee is well-documented. Some have even suggested we’re approaching an iced coffee tipping point. To that I say, “Balderdash!” Iced coffee is here to stay. Especially at TransAtlantic Towers where it absolutely central to my morning routine.
THE LOW-TEMP LOWDOWN
The iced coffee I drink most often is from the pitcher I keep chilling in the fridge at home. This is the coffee brewed by our usual grind and brew machine that has been left to cool and then is poured into a fridge friendly container and chilled. What could be easier? After all, we’re making coffee anyway; ModParlPhotos needs his coffee in the AM as well, though his preference is for a steaming cup of joe. No coffee goes to waste because I can just add it to the existing supply.
The temps finally cooled off and it was a toss-up as to what living things at TransAtlantic Towers were the most grateful: the plants, the cats or the humans.
The plants were largely OK because I made a point of ensuring it. Of course we bought a whole bunch of new herbs on the first day of the heat wave – got them re-potted that day too before it got too brutal out. Over the next few days of top temps, I was fully committed to keeping the new plants watered – so the thyme, mint, sage, rosemary and chili plant all came through it unscathed and were kept as cool as possible.
The cats don’t really care to be watered so I refrained. They managed to find cool dark places to hide between the hours of 10am and about 6 or 7pm every night. They complained but they kept eating and drinking water so they were clearly not in any sort of heat distress.
Cooking might be the last thing you want to do while on holiday, but there’s a lot to be said for self-catering holidays.
You get more room for your money on self-catering holidays than you do from all-inclusive.
You set the schedule – with young kids, this makes keeping to routine a lot easier.
You’re more in control of the menu on self-catering holidays.
You eat what you want when you want on self-catering holidays.
Makes managing dietary restrictions easier.
But I know the idea of having to cook (and wash up) makes it sound less holiday-like and more like just moving the housekeeping to a new location. But cooking doesn’t mean it must be done in the same way as you always do. Take a holiday approach to cooking: take some shortcuts, mix things up, relax your rules.
Let’s get the weather moan out of the way first thing: “SHEESH, it’s hot out! No, seriously – so hot.” Well done. We have fulfilled our clichéd social obligations. Now, on to something useful and constructive.
I don’t know about you but while I love the summer sun, relentlessly high temperatures with very little breeze – which is what we’re having here in my part of the UK at the moment – wears me right out. I become lethargic, cranky and even the simplest tasks seem like major undertakings. So what’s the solution? Well, if I was still living in Houston where heat and humidity are a daily fact of life except during a few weeks in January and February, the answer would be AC. But I am not in Houston – or even the US – so AC is not as common and the answer is circulating fans, lots of water and choosing a summer sun approach to eating. What do I mean by that? I’m glad you asked. Continue reading “The Summer Sun Approach to Eating”→