BBC Good Food Show Summer 2016

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I’m home from another fantastic day at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham.  Today was day one of the show which runs for four days until Sunday 19th June, so there’s still plenty of time to book your tickets online, or alternatively, you can just turn up and pay your admission fee to gain entry.  However, if you pre-book your tickets online and use my code BL20, you can grab yourself a cool 20% off your admission price!  That’ll give you even more money to spend on delicious produce.

As it’s the summer show it’s also the BBC Gardner’s World Live show too, so there’s a huge amount to see outdoors in the way of plants, furniture, exhibitions etc.  My fave was this lovely girl that I saw beside the path on my way back to the car.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

I’ve spent the day walking, eating, drinking, chatting, watching chefs (& friends) on stage, not to mention cuddling these two fantastic Italian Chefs and have brought home a whole cacophony of goodies with me.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

Lexus UK are once again sponsoring the show, and I watched a good friend of mine, Julie demonstrate her cupcake decorating skills with Marcus Bean on the Lexus stage.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

I’ve met some really lovely food producers who are all incredibly passionate about their products (and rightly so too!) My haul includes:

The ever delicious gluten free sauces from Debbie & Andrews. You can find them on stand F685.  I came home with Sweet Chilli and Chicken & Mango flavours.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2016

I can’t wait to get cooking a delicious tagine with the gluten free Harissa Sauce and a delicious pasta dish with the Pesto sauce from Taste Collectiv. Go and say hello to Mark & Victoria on stand F181, and treat yourself to their range of 5 sauces.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

I’ve got delicious and fresh tasting Aloe Vera drinks from Grace Aloe Vera on stand F110, (to which I have to admit I was really pleasantly surprised about; not just on the flavoured versions but on the original flavoured ones too).

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2016

Lots of lovely gluten free macaroons, madeleines, savoury crackers and cereal bars from Mrs Crimbles on stand F90.

BBC Good Food Show 2016

My mouth was on fire with the Chilli Fudge from Tan Rosie. Who knew you could use scotch bonnet chillies in fudge? Their family recipes are inspired from their heritage in Grenada and Carriacou. Go and find them on stand F632 if you dare…! HAHA!

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

I wasn’t brave enough to try the Fire Candy from the lovely guys at the  Black Liquorice Company – but I dare you to try some yourself!  Their flavoured liquorices are delicious though.  You’ll find them on F195.

Who knew that you could make a pestle & mortar out of Himalayan Salt, let alone cook on it or build a wall from it?  Visit the Salt House on stand F302 to find out more on this one.

I tasted a lovely variety of oils, balsamic vinegars and grape musts from Casa de l’Oli.  I think my favourite one was the 5 year old Blanco Balsamic vinegar, teamed up with their lime olive oil.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

I bought home some delicious coffee fudge from the Fudge Kitchen (but it’s all gone now as it didn’t last long with my husband and daughter to share it with!).  They have lots of different flavours to choose from over on stand F179. (Nice sash by the way!)

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

For lunch I enjoyed a gluten free Chicken Italia burger from Heck Sausages (stand F97), whilst to follow I bought a deliciously creamy coffee ice cream from the Salome Dairy (stand F916) which just filled the last little space I had left. (Sorry, no photos here – I was hungry!)

I also came home with a bottle of locally (Northamptonshire) produced rhubarb gin from my favourites and the multi award winning Warner Edwards (stand F460)

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

As well as the most beautiful new apron from my favourite knife manufacturer I.O. Shen Knives who you can find on F682.  How beautifully does this go with my blade tattooed knives?  I’ve already been told this is a ‘Man Apron’ and therefore has been bagged by my husband for himself! Thanks Nat x.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2016

If you like peanut butter, then you’ll love these guys over at Proper Nutty Butter.  Produced in Yorkshire with ‘Nowt but Nuts’ and love!  You’ll find them on stand F638

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

I also have delicious tasting pea flour snacks from Yushoi Snappea Rice Sticks over on F662.

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2027

I wish I could go back every day for the next three days of the show, as there is so much more I’d love to share with you, however, I’m having knee surgery tomorrow morning and have to be in hospital at 7am, so sadly only one day at the show for me this year.

If you’re going to the show over the next few days, have a wonderful time.  I wish all the exhibitors and organisers a successful show and hope the visitors have an amazing time too.  See you all for the Winter show in November.

As an official BBC Good Food Show blogger, I am provided with free entry into the show.  Some of the samples detailed above were provided to me free of charge by the exhibitors to try and review – thanks to those who continue to support me and my blog.

Ludlow Food Festival 2014

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Ludlow Food Festival was on over the weekend of Friday 12th to Sunday 14th September in the beautiful market town in Shropshire.  Along with two very lovely foodie friends, Carmela and Julie, who I met up there on Saturday 13th September, we enjoyed our first visit to the Festival.

Starting off our day with a bread making demonstration from Rob Swift, a fifth generation baker of the Swift Bakery dynasty, we sat both entertained and educated by his talent and skills as he showed us how to make a brioche, poached pear, strawberry and chantilly cream stack.  We were also treated to a demonstration of how to make aratha buns (a sweet, steamed Asian bun) that we would have the pleasure of enjoying later in the day as we ate our way around the festival. I reviewed Rob’s book, Born to Bake, in a previous post.

A quick, flying visit to Momo No Ki to sample one of their delicious Ssam’s Bun, made using Rob’s aratha buns, which is filled with pulled pork, sour cherry hoisin sauce, pickled cucumber and spring onions and we were back at the stage for our next demonstration.

Marcus Bean was next up, where he created a chicken, basil pesto and courgette risotto recipe from his new book that has just been published, simply called ‘Chicken’.  More on this book on a future post though as I treated myself to a copy.  Marcus is the chef face of ITV’s This Morning programme and is a talented, self taught, chef who won the Iron Chef competition a few years back.  Along with his wife, they own the Brompton Cookery School in Shrewsbury.  The Brompton also had a pop up cookery school at the show, where visitors could enjoy a free cookery class.

A quick change of seats where we managed to get on the front row, we were then treated to a demonstration by Chris Burt, Executive Chef of both The Peach Tree and Momo No Ki (which translated means the peach tree) in Shrewsbury.  Chris was joined on stage by Sam Gray owner of Middlefarm, author of Doing it in Wellies and host of BBC’s from Plot to Pot.  Chris created a recipe of a pork ‘Wellington’ using Sam’s British Lop pork for the pastry filling.  This was served with a beautifully presented garden of baby vegetables.  It was an event of new books, as Chris also has a book recently released, entitled Momo No Ki, after his Asian inspired restaurant.

Leaving the stage, we toured the show, visiting, sampling and purchasing foods from the amazing producers who we’re exhibiting their wares, from cheeses and ciders to cakes and sweets. We visited favourite spun iron cookware specialists The Netherton Foundry‘s incredibly busy stand where they had a fabulous display of their pots, pans, woks, slow cookers and tagines.

We spotted this little fella munching on a punnet of strawberries; how cute is this?

We chatted, ate, drank, and had the odd hug and kiss from Rob, Marcus and Chris along the way. Returning three times to Momo No Ki we tried every item on their menu, including the Notorious PIG; crispy pork dumplings in Korean BBQ sauce which are delicious!

A quick tour around the outside of the Festival at the markets, boutiques and artisan shops in the town and we were back on the road and headed for home with a long 2 1/4 hour journey ahead of us.  If you get the chance to visit the Ludlow Food Festival, I can thoroughly recommend it.  See you next year!

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2014

I spent a wonderful Thursday on 12th June at the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham as part of the BBC Good Food Show Blogging community.  It’s a show that I thoroughly enjoy going to each year; walking around, taking in the sights and smells of some of the amazing food on display, and sampling the delectable delights of producers who put their heart and souls into their products in which they truly believe.

One day simply wasn’t enough as sessions of meeting the Bursary Stand Award winners was arranged, as well as a visit to the Super Theatre, which this year was hosted by chef Marcus Bean, proprietor of the amazing Brompton Cookery School in Shropshire, which saw us watching Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry ‘Do Lunch’.  Later we were treated to meet and interview Paul Hollywood.  Did you know that Paul’s favourite ‘dirty food’ is a hot dog with fried onions in a floury bap?! Marcus also very kindly arranged for the lovely Mary Berry to come and say hello and have her photo taken with us (thanks Marcus!)

Each of the Bursary Award Winners are young companies with small turnovers, but who have a fabulous product to bring to the market. It’s a tough competition as they are given a complimentary stand at the show to help grown their businesses.  I’m sure it’s such a difficult decision for the judges to choose their worthy winners.

 
Firstly, we were introduced to The Preservation Society, which was set up by Angharad Underwood during her maternity leave from work.  She produces an array of preserves, syrops and chutneys, many of which we were able to taste and enjoy.  I later went back to Angharad’s stall and treated myself to three bottles of her delightful syrops to enjoy later with some added sparkling water.

 

Next we were introduced to The Cornish Charcuterie Company, which is run by a husband and wife team, Richard and Fionagh, both former city bakers, who moved themselves and their family to a 350 acre farm in Bude, Cornwall to follow their food passion and dreams in an all together, slower and more organic way of life.  They produce a range of pâté, salami, chorizo and rillets using pork and beef that they rear on their farm.  Other products used in manufacture are sourced as locally as possible too.  I love the story behind the creation of their logo. The thumbprints used as the body of their animals is in recognition of their hands on approach to their animals, their farm and their business.  I’d already bought myself a jar of the chicken liver pâté to bring home and enjoy prior to being introduced to Richard.  I can thoroughly recommend this to pâté lovers everywhere; it’s delicious!

 

Next we were inspired by 19 year old Founder and Managing Director Ben Nichols who set up So Smoothies from his parent’s Nottingham kitchen at the age of 17. Initially created to quench his own thirst, Ben (after tidying up the mess he made in the kitchen before his mum got home) approached local shops with his samples and now sells to 45 outlets locally and UK wide.  The smoothies are non pasteurised and preservation free so provide a healthy, fresh tasting drink. We sampled each of Ben’s current varieties, all of which were really lovely.  Soon to be launched, as the first in the UK, is a 30% reduced sugar smoothie which uses Stevia to replace the sugar, making it a healthier alternative.  I wish Ben a huge amount of success with this launch.

 

Our final Bursary Award Winner was Nik Sinclair from Sinclair Condiments in Milton Keynes who brought us a curious Hot Banana Ketchup to taste. After the initial banana taste, you’re greeted with the heat of the chilli which provided the most bizarre combination, but one that really does work!  Along with a Roasted Red Pepper sauce, they also produce a range of 10 sauces to include Sweet Chilli (hot!) and Tomato Ketchup along with a Scotch Bonnet sauce to really fire up your taste buds!  I was given a bottle of their Tomato Ketchup to bring home and try.  My daughter loved the taste as it has a much higher tomato content and less sugar than the leading market brand.  This is still produced in small batches from his home.
 

 

A few other treats were purchased to accompany me home from the show, namely: 
 
Belgian biscuits and biscuit butter.
 
 
Some amazing Italian citrus olive oil from Soralina, winners of Theo Paphitis Small Business Award.  More on this in another post where I’ll share with you a recipe for their citrus olive oil, lemon and rosemary cake which I’ve developed.
 

 

 
Three bottles of Ketchup and sauces from the Great British Sauce Company, including a sweet curry sauce which went brilliantly with some chip shop chips at the weekend.
 
 
My new, incredibly sharp and delectably gorgeous I.O.Shen knife which is not just beautiful to look at, but an absolute dream to use. So much so, that I don’t think I’ve actually used another knife to prepare food with since this arrived home with me. A worthy investment indeed!
 


As a member of the BBC Good Food Show Blogging community I was given a free admission pass to the Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Samples were received from some of the exhibitors where stated above.  Other products were purchased personally.


Book Review – Born & Bread – Robert Swift

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I had the pleasure to meet Robert Swift, a 5th generation family baker from Richard C Swift Ltd in Shropshire at the Brompton Cookery School recently.  Rob is clearly an incredibly passionate man when it comes to yeast, dough and bread. Looking at his lineage, you really can say that it’s in his blood!  We were given a potted history of the family business which is traceable back over 150 years to his great-great-great aunt, Hannah Swift, when she began her bakery in 1863.  Long before the commercial bakeries with their artificial proving methods were ever thought of, this innovate and hardworking lady was producing bread using only four simple ingredients; flour, water, salt and yeast along with a fifth secret ingredient; a huge pinch of love and passion.  Something that is the ethos of the business still today.

You’re introduced to the family line in Rob’s book, ‘Born & Bread’, starting with Hannah and continuing through to Rob today who has introduced a sixth generation into the business in the form of his two children, who will no doubt grow up with the family passion and continue to grow the business and traditions into the future and beyond.

Along with his wife, Lucinda, he has also developed a new company, Bread2Bake, which provides master classes and services an ever-growing number of farmers’ markets, food festivals and other shows with demonstrations.

I was lucky enough to have front row seats to one of Rob’s masterclasses as part of the BBC Good Food Show Midlands Blogger event at Marcus Bean’s Brompton Cookery School in Shropshire in May.  After a very early morning in the bakery, Rob brought along some of his prepared dough and introduced us to the methodology of creating a dough that would rise every time with only the simplest of ingredients.  He then went on to teach us how to shape and flavour the dough to produce an artisan loaf that was truly delicious and perfectly turned out.

We were treated to a host of different breads that Rob had made for lunch to go with the amazing quiche that Marcus made for us, along with British tomatoes and other delicious artisan foods from stallholders that would be attending the BBC Good Food Show, Summer 2014.

Kindly, we were each given a copy of Rob’s book Born & Bread to re-create our own yeasted wonders at home.  It’s been the book which has become my bedtime reading each evening for the last couple of weeks and one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading and digesting (not literally, I’m sure you understand!)

In the book, Rob introduces you to the life of bread, through the stages of Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity, helping you to understand what goes on in each of these stages to produce the perfect loaf.  It includes the mandatory section on ‘Tools of the Trade’, none of which are expensive or difficult for the beginner to get hold of.  It then gets into the science of bread and ‘The Gluten Framework’ which (as an inner geek) is fascinating and insightful to understand, but of course you don’t have to be a geek to read and understand the book as it’s beautifully and very clearly illustrated with photographs throughout. You’re introduced to each ingredient thoroughly and taught their function in the chemistry of baking the perfect loaf.

Then on to the important part of the book – the recipes.  From a basic white dough and how to create, nurture, check, prove, shape and bake it through to the wholemeal loaf, via Brioche, Focaccia, Iced fingers, Ludlow Brewery beer bread, Pain au Chocolate, Poolish starters, Savoury Breads, Soda and Sourdough breads and sweet breads and cakes.  In all a whole cacophony of 160 pages of delicious and totally mouthwatering creations.

Rob, Sir, I salute you and your heritage. Thank you for bringing your passion into the kitchen and from your heart to those who are lucky enough to witness it first hand. Here’s to the next 150 years business for you and your family.

I was given a copy of Robert Swift’s book, Born & Bread, free of charge as part of the BBC Good Food Show Blogger event.  I was not under obligation to review it, positive or otherwise, but am genuinely impressed at the content.