Nadiya’s British Food Adventure (review, ep 1)

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.

Nadiya during GBBO

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.

Nadiya on her new show, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure on BBC Two
  • There were handy tips – aiming for breadcrumb sized results from rubbing butter and flour together? Tap the bowl onto the counter a couple of time and the larger clumps will come to the top so you can crumble them down to size.
  • A bit of competitiveness – racing the most awkward looking asparagus picking machines
  • Also a bit of innuendo about how large asparagus can get in a day – an innuendo I put COMPLETELY down to my gutterish mind and not Nadiya who probably has considerably more class than I do about that sort of thing. I was snorting like a 12 year old.
  • Food that made me want to go through the TV such as the absolutely scrumptious looking smoked haddock and cheese on toast. Sure the Eton mess cheesecake was beautiful and I am sure it was delish, but cheese will win with me every time.

What? You need a downside for balance? Fine – I will spend all eight episodes gnashing my teeth jealously at her near perfect complexion and her ability to carry off and shine in colours that would make me look like a Mardi Gras float gone wrong. There. Are you happy now?

Was this ground breaking TV? No. Of course not. You want ground-breaking TV? Go see what’s on Netflix.  This was a very well-done cookery show, made within a well-established and successful structure (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) and presented by a woman who has come to it via her skills, a genuine interest in the topic and desire to share with others. There’s nothing else I could possibly want in a cookery show presenter and Nadiya delivers all that and does it with the most amazing smile.

Grumpy Old Lady News Peruse

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.

So to kill time until harvest, a news peruse.

13 Genius S’mores Hacks for the Summer (via epicurious.com): they aren’t HACKS! They are variations, swaps, additions. A hack is a solution or fix to a problem or variant use. You’re still using the s’more for the same thing and using it the same way. There wasn’t a problem with the original s’more that needed to be fixed. I get so aggravated with the vast overuse of this word. Not just with food – but in other areas as well, article that talk about ‘hacking a dresser’ by painting it, etc.

This is not to say that food hacks do not exist. They do. Like this. How To Turn Any Vegetable Into Rice. The ‘problem’ here is the carb-filled nature of rice. The hack is taking something that is not rice-like and not commonly (until recently) used in the same way as rice – cauliflower – and making it more rice like and therefore a reasonable substitute that fixes the ‘problem.’

Restaurant Is Giving Customers ‘Instagram Packs’ With Their Dinner (via grubstreet.com)  Making a note to never, ever go here. You think I was grumpy when I ranted about the impact of social media on the popularity and creation of some foods? I’d be even worse if I was seated in this place. And I am in good company – have you read Resisting the Influence of Social Media’s Biggest Pushers (via Eater.com)? Do.

Speaking of Eater, I know everyone has already jumped on them about the whole mince on toast thing – it even has a name: #mincegate. But let me make very clear – I have absolutely no objection to mince on toast. Or pasta on rice or cauliflower rice or anything else you like. Seriously, when it comes to mince, I am very live and let live. It’s a lesson many could benefit from learning. What I quibbled with – as did the majority of responders – was the idea that said mince on toast was some sort of iconic (quintessential, was their word) British comfort food. Beans on toast, yes. Mince on toast? A nation raised an eyebrow and said, ‘Um. No.’ Of course some people got rather more heated about it and it made the whole Nigella’s carbonara kerfuffle look like a burst of heavenly harmony. But like with the word hack – it’s the inaccuracy of language that annoys. Not the food itself.

Whew. I was grumpier than I thought. Possibly it’s the hunger talking. I promise to eat something before my next news peruse 🙂

Hot as Heck News Peruse

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.

To mark the occasion of Ice Cream Month (and I disregard the national part because to me – ice cream knows no boundaries), the news peruse will be ice cream themed. Continue reading “Hot as Heck News Peruse”

Jones on Food and Travel: July 3

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.

The July show was absolutely jam packed and you can give it a listen here via the dropbox link – listen via your browser or download it for later.

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”

Get Your Chill On

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.

But sometimes, usually in the hottest part of the summer, the mood comes upon me and I will make some cold-brew. Continue reading “Get Your Chill On”

Post Heat-Wave Cool Down

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.
  • So I am casting my vote for the humans – who did the best we could with fan placement and adopting the Summer Sun Approach to Eating.

As it was a topic very much on my mind during the recent heat wave, I posed a question on the Fabulous Foodie facebook group: what foods to you use to keep cool? The answers were deliciously diverse.

Continue reading “Post Heat-Wave Cool Down”

On ‘Catering’ Your Self-Catering Holiday

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.

All you need to adopt a holiday approach to cooking is a bit of planning and a willingness to do things a tad differently. I have some thoughts on prepping for self-catering holidays which I’ve shared on the ‘Greater Gotham Going Global’ travel blog, and now I’ve got some tips more specifically about preparing for the catering part of  self-catering. Continue reading “On ‘Catering’ Your Self-Catering Holiday”

The Summer Sun Approach to Eating

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”

Armchair Travel for Foodies: A Bookshelf

I love to travel — well, not the airport part and increasingly not the airliner part. But the being there part. And I love to eat, learn about food, share what I’ve learned and then get up and do it all again the next day. These dual passions are very much at the heart of what I do. I write for both food and travel websites,  have a segment on the Jones on Food and Travel radio show, run the Fabulous Foodie blog as well as the Fabulous Foodie Facebook group and run a travel blog called Greater Gotham Going Global.

Sadly, like most people, I can’t always travel when I want (must try harder to win that lottery) and so I end up doing a lot of ‘armchair travel’ when not banking actual travel miles.

Luckily, there are a lot of other food and travel lovers with a passion and skill for writing who have shared their culinary wisdom. So there’s lots of material (travel guides, essays and memoirs, great cookbooks with a heavy helping of travel included, tv tie-ins, even inspirational fiction) to get us on our way – both in reality and virtually.

Continue reading “Armchair Travel for Foodies: A Bookshelf”

Foodie On The Road And On Air

Well, it’s that time of year again. Weekends spent exploring, thinking, eating, and writing about food. I said the other day, foodie festival season is now in full swing here in what the tourist guides call ‘the heart of England.’ And if you are even a semi-regular reader of this or my other blogs, you know how much I love a food fair. Of course, I’ve gone into some detail about my ‘home’ food fair – the Banbury Food Fair – and if you are a food fair aficionado, I recommend you check it out as well.

  • What I Learned at Banbury Food Fair 2016: Food fairs involve a lot of eating but it’s also about exploring, chatting and learning. The vendors at the Banbury foood fair – there are over 120 – are knowledgable and passionate about what they do. I love chatting with them. not all about actually eating.
  • Banbury Food Fair 2016 in Photos: My fave foodie photographer, @modparlphotos got some behind the scenes time at the demos in addition to snapping the stalls and we got a chance to with the chefs.

But of course, the Banbury fair isn’t until August so what is a food festival lover to do? Wait? Not on your life! The weather was beautiful this last weekend so we toddled off to the Warwick Food Fest, a relatively recent edition to the local food fair circuit (this is its third year). We were both impressed with the array of vendors, the set up and the food itself.  Some thoughts and pictures of Warwick Food Fest 2017 can be seen over on the Banburian. But serioulsy, does this not look DIVINE!

 

But a girl cannot live by food fair alone  Continue reading “Foodie On The Road And On Air”