So – my first visit to the BBC Good Food Show (the Winter edition at the NEC in Birmingham) and I have to say I was not disappointed. I am often disappointed by much hyped HUGE events – but not this time.
As a first-time visitor to the show, I hadn’t realised that double decker shopping trolleys (and all manner of crates on wheels) were de rigueur for this sort of event. I was, to be honest, rather amazed at the size of some of these contraptions – these people hadn’t come to browse at all – they’d come to SHOP! And one had obviously come to get cookbooks autographed by celebrity chefs since she never seemed to leave the book signing area and had quite the stack. Don’t me wrong – I sampled lots of stuff while I was there, made a purchase or two and noted several items to look into at a later time – but there wasn’t stuff leaping out at me saying ‘YOU MUST HAVE ME NOW!!!!’
The day became a bit of a sample-laden blur but the moments that stuck out for me were:
The breakfast sandwich at Little Somboon Kitchen was quite simply one of the best sandwiches I have ever had in my life. And I have had a lot of sandwiches. I could easily have stayed at that booth and eaten there all day.
You know it’s getting toward the end of the year when the trend predictions for the next year start showing up. You know it’s getting toward the end of the year when the trend predictions for the next year start showing up. As usual, I prefer to create a list of lists and not a list of my own. Why? I don’t predict things – I discover them as I wander, directionless across an unmapped culinary landscape.
And Whole Foods always seems to want to be near the front of the line so not a surprise to see the headline ‘Whole Foods Market reveals top food trends for 2018‘ already. That said – not sure where the Whole Foods team has been since the whole floral infusions, free ranging tacos and other bubbly has been mainstream and upfront for ages.
OK, so the new Nigella is in hand and I have been perusing it – haven’t had time to cook or bake from it yet but that will come soon. I’m seeing a lot of warming, comforting things – and though she claims to not have a theme for each book, warming, home cooking IS rather a trait of hers. Nothing fancy or fussy here. Just as well since fancy and fussy are not my style.
I read cookbooks like other people read fiction, so I spend a lot of time (particularly on rainy days) thumbing through them and a well-written, well-produced book gets a lot return visits on days such as that in this household. Happily, this is one of those books.
High in the hills of South East London there’s a portal to another time and place. Not a police box or wooded park, nor the back of a wardrobe. It doesn’t announce itself with strobing lights or whooshing noises. It’s almost diffident really … except that it seems kind of impossible. It’s an unpaved lane, pot-holed and dusty, lined with squat little cottages that leads into the briefest of shaded woods and then bursts into a glorious vista of the entire city. It’s invisible from either end – I doubt if many more people than those who dwell on the lane even know of its existence.
Charming though all that is, that’s not what makes this spot the aforementioned portal. What makes this lane an enchanted pathway to the past is that recently it’s been simply covered in blackberry-laden brambles.
The past I’m speaking of is, of course, my past. My childhood, to be exact.
When I first ventured down this lane a few weeks ago, and my eyes fell on the jet clusters of berries swarming over the lane walls, I was instantly back in a hot English summer of my childhood picking blackberries alongside the train tracks with my siblings and my Granny.
Wearing both my Fabulous Foodie hat and my Banburian hat, I head into the Puritans Radio studio to join Peter Evan Jones for the monthly ‘Jones on Food and Travel’ show. And once again – thrilled that my fellow Fabulous Foodie, Wine Hero Patrick Loomer was there to talk wine, taste some samples and generally chat food. And we welcomed first time tasting panelist, Emma Ives who dove right in with all the enthusiasm you could want in a radio show food taster.
1:38:35—1:49:18 Deborah is joined by Patrick Loomer, co-contributor to Fabulous Foodie, who is also a Wine Hero (yes, that is his real title) to talk wine.
1:50:29—2:19:43 Panel tasting (with first time panelist Emma Ives joining Deborah and Patrick) try dressings, Turkish delight and jams and flavoured crisps. And a ton of thanks to Emma who found all these awesome links:
I generally eat way too much at the Banbury Food Fair and this year was no exception. I never set out to eat my way across the marketplace and across to the bandstand then back down toward town hall. It just sort of happens – one small bite and sample at a time.
I sampled cheese, infused gin, breads, oils, tapas, olives, and fudge all before lunch. And as the day was fine (blue skies right until the last hour) and quite warm even before noon, there was was also iced coffee, a fruity lemonade and a soft drink. I can only barely remember what came after lunch since lunch was a HUGE steak sandwich (from ToroPoco) followed by a luscious affogato (from monkeypuzzle who also produced the excellent iced coffee) and a GIANT donut (from doughnutterie).
But I vaguely recall Saira Hamilton offering me a sample of chilli mojito after her demo and having a bit of risotto courtesy of the amazing Rosemary Shrager. I missed tasting Andrew Scott and Nick Bennett‘s demo creation this year. But if it was as good as last year’s – I have no doubt those who did get up there enjoyed it thoroughly.
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.