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.


BBC Good Food Show Bloggers at the Brompton Cookery School

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As one of the BBC Good Food Show Midland Bloggers, I was invited to join the rest of the team up at the Brompton Cookery School near Shrewsbury for a day of chatting, baking, tastings and inside information on the show.

Upon arrival at this beautiful cookery school in the middle of National Trust land in Shropshire, we were treated to rich coffees and wonderful muffins from resident chef and owner Marcus Bean.

After an introduction from Katy and Flo representing the BBC Good Food Show, we were introduced to Marcus and also to Robert Swift from Richard C Swift Ltd (a fifth generation bread baker with a passion for the dough that would be hard to top).

We were given an overview and lots of inside information on the show that I know you’re going to love when you attend next month!

We were given a tour round Marcus’ gorgeous and very well stocked cottage garden from where we foraged pine cones, herbs, wild garlic and flowers to include in the breads that Rob was going to get us to make when we returned indoors.

While Rob worked his magic with the dough that he’d been up from very early that morning preparing for the shop and the Ludlow Festival, Marcus set to work creating a wonderful wild garlic pastry to encase a fresh quiche using locally produced ingredients that we were later to enjoy for lunch as well as an amazing marmalade ham that he was making; the smells from the kitchen were amazing & made us all very hungry!

The history of Swift’s bakery and Rob’s amazing bread recipes were included in a copy of his book, Born & Bread, which we all received.  I’d thoroughly recommend Rob’s book for anyone interested in making bread themselves at home.

Rob taught us to flavour and shape breads that we brought home with us to enjoy.   I filled mine with a delicious combination of locally produced cheese, red onion and sweet chilli sauce.

While our breads were cooling we were treated to a fabulous lunchtime spread of Marcus’ quiche and ham, Rob’s British tomatoes and a selection of some of the amazing food producers who will be exhibiting at the show from fruit teas, to chutneys, sauces, cheeses, pâté, chocolate and meringues.  For dessert Marcus created the most amazingly light and creamy chocolate mousse with a delicious honeycomb topping created by a new to the UK imported chocolate from Vietnam.

As it was Marcus’ birthday on 9th May, we baked cakes to take with us which were judged by the birthday boy himself.  I’m very proud to say that the carrot and lime cake with a mascarpone & orange zest frosting won!!!! I’m now a very proud baker indeed.

We were given fantastic goodie bags to take home packed with some incredible ingredients, all of whom will be exhibiting at the show next month.

As part of the BBC Good Food Show blogging community, I’m offering my readers a discount of 15% on ticket prices. If you want to grab yourself the discount, then click on the image below to take you to the BBC Good Food Show website and enter the discount code of FYC20 at checkout.