BBC Spring Good Food Show 2016

BBC Spring Good Food Show 2016

Look at these beautiful photos my friend Mrs E took when we went to the BBC Good Food Show last week. I kindly got given free tickets this year and we really made the most of our visit; starting early and taking in a number of interviews and demonstrations in the Supertheatre. I certainly recommend getting at the show earlier; we managed to get round most of the stalls while it was still relatively quiet with the Harrogate International Centre getting busier as it got closer to lunchtime.

I think the Good Food show in Harrogate is always a fun day out for foodies as it gives visitors an opportunity to try new dishes, see demonstrations for gadgets and explore new trends in cooking and drinking. This is the third time I have attended the show since living in Harrogate and I still walk out having learned a new skill and eager to try a new recipe. I think Mrs E and I both most enjoyed watching the Hairy Bikers who were hilarious and produced dishes that made me excited for my lunch despite having only just finished my breakfast.

The only real bad part of going to the Good Food Show is that I always get into trouble or bringing home kitchen gadgets (this year was no exception). Lets just say there will be a heart shaped cake appearing on this very blog at some point in the not too distant future. Now its just the question of convincing D that we really must have a set of Kitchen Aid Appliances, a vegetable box delivery and several cases of Prosecco.

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Christmas Gift Ideas – For the Foodie

Well its now December and Christmas Themed blog posts are well underway – but I can’t bring myself to think about Christmas shopping while it’s still November. Of course, this has its drawbacks in that I always end up getting into a mad panic as the days go on thinking “what do I buy Mum/Dad/big brother/D/the bunnies?”. The answer to my life problems always seem to spring from a good list so I hope if you have not completed your Christmas shopping you enjoy perusing my gift guides (no Dad, you won’t be able to guess from these what you’re getting!)

1. Radnor Preserves – Jam Selection

Gift selection

Jam always goes down exceptionally well as a gift in my house, and these handmade jams would look the business on any Christmas breakfast table. Twists on popular flavours will add a certain decadence to any slice of toast (or croissant if you prefer). I am desperate to try Blackcurrant and vanilla.

2. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Jerusalem

To anyone who has been in my house it is no secret that I have a stack of cookbooks. However, this is on my wishlist. My father owns a copy of this and it is filled with truly wonderful recipes that I am desperate to try. Everything that has been cooked for me from this book makes my stomach very happy indeed.

3. Pinnygirls Aprons

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I got sent an email advertising these aprons and I absolutely fell in love. Possibly these are more something for the female foodies out there – but how lovely would these be to wear when you are cooking for a crowd, or just to cheer yourself up when baking on a rainy day? They brighten up your outfit and your kitchen effortlessly and they probably make it look like you went to a great deal of effort preparing any dish.

4. Sophie Conran Carving Set

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Enhance your silverware collection with this beautiful carving set. Especially handy for carving your Christmas dinner with a flourish. This has heirloom written all over it.

5. Their favourite tipple (I have added one of mine to illustrate my point)

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Call me boring – but most people love to receive some nice whiskey, champagne, wine or something they wouldn’t normally buy themselves. Every time they drink it will feel like a treat – and doesn’t everyone deserve to feel treated?

6. Betty’s Chocolate Connoisseur’s Gift Box

Betty's

I thought I’d rep a local brand on the blog, but this gift set is a veritable feats for any chocolate lover (you’d just have to hope they shared this with you!).

7. Arthur Price Cheese Knife Set from Debenhams

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I never met a cheese I didn’t like. these cheese knives are the perfect gift for any cheese lover. I mean, obviously if you adored cheese possibly a big cheese wheel would be a better investment, but wouldn’t that start to pong a bit outside of the fridge come Boxing Day? Anyway, these knives look beautiful and mask what fools might call “excessive cheese consumption” with an air of sophistication.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my Christmassy gift guides and other festive posts!

BBC Good Food Show Harrogate

Last weekend Miss B and I visited the BBC Good Food Show when it came to Harrogate for the first time. Judging by the hoards of people in attendance it was a roaring success. We sampled more than our fair share of the various spirits available and walked around the Harrogate International Centre in a bit of a dreamy haze until we sorted ourselves out with some good old Yorkshire Tea.

I really recommend attending various food shows if you enjoy cooking (and food in general). I have picked up so many useful tips by watching cookery demonstrations since I started blogging. Miss B and I watched Brian Turner, Lisa Faulkner and James Martin prepare some wonderful dishes – but nothing I think most people couldn’t manage at home. This is obviously part of the charm (in my opinion), nobody wants to forlornly watch a cookery demonstration of something delicious knowing they have no hope of making it for themselves. I actually found James Martin’s demonstration pretty funny (and the samples of gin had worn off by then).

Anyway, I really really want the Good Food Show to return to Harrogate next year. The range of produce (both local and from further afield) was amazing. I’ll have to blog some of the things I learned at a later date.

Did you attend the Good Food Show? What did you think?

A massive thank you to the people organising the Good Food Show for sending me a Press Pass and a complimentary ticket. You made 2 girls very happy. To find out more about upcoming food shows click here.

A few things to love

You may have noticed I have been slightly quieter than usual lately (apparently I’m no quieter in the flesh!). I seem to be arriving home from work later and then, full of good blogging intentions, parking myself on the sofa all evening. Anyway, here are a few things that have been putting a smile on my face.

1. Cadbury with Ritz and Lu. I was lucky enough to be sent a few samples of these and being the chocoholic that I am I got wildly excited. In actual fact these are the perfect size to have as a post run snack (I basically only run to justify chocolate). I particularly love the Ritz bars, salt and chocolate always work amazingly together in my opinion.

DSCN1854cadbury dairy milk with ritz crackers & lu biscuits

 

2. Taylors new range of fruit tea.

I am particularly loving the sweet rhubarb tea after Miss B gave me a cup when we were both working late. I am one of those tea lovers who feels her troubles melt away as she drinks her tea. These are quite simply perfect. Plus, since moving to Harrogate I drink so much Taylors and Yorkshire Tea (just trying to blend in the locals).

3. Growing herbs. Making all my pasta, chicken and salads just a little bit more tasty this week. Plus they brighten up my kitchen and I can kid myself that I have green fingers while I keep them alive.

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4. The BBC Good Food Show which is on in Harrogate this weekend. I get far too excited about food shows. It’s the equivalent of the Toy R Us trips my mother used to take my brother and I on as a child.

Finally a non music related love:

5. New music. So I have a new boyfriend who happens to do a bit of music journalism. Perk for me as I get to see lots of new bands. Current favourites are Natives and the Summer Set. Perfect music to dance around the kitchen while I bake cakes (I categorically deny that I do this).

 

 

La Oliva – Harrogate

Living with a Spaniard has its perks. For one thing I don’t think I’ve ever eaten such wonderful chorizo in my life and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten such beautiful guacamole (she’s also half Mexican). However, knowing where to go for delicious tapas is certainly up there with other reasons why I adore living with A.

Now, it is with deep regret that I write that A was actually in Spain when I organised a girls trip to La Oliva in Harrogate. However, a night of gossiping, trying different dishes and most importantly for a Friday night, drinking wine.

La Oliva is a pretty new kid on the block when it comes to restaurants in Harrogate, only being a month old. However, the food, staff and restaurant atmosphere were all lovely. Considering there were 10 of us dining we were all really well looked after and the dining atmosphere was very relaxed as tapas should be.

Anyway, here is an assortment of pictures I took on the night:

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My bouche it was amused
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Jamon, hurry up
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Bravo patatas bravas
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Don’t clam up on me now baby!
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You’re my lobster

Now on the whole I found the food to be excellent. I wasn’t struck on the lobster ravioli sauce but the wonderful pigs cheeks more than made up for this. My favourite has to have been the Iberian ham, I could have just sat eating ham all night to be honest. Now as a greedy omnivore I found plenty of things on the menu I was dying to try, however as the menu is particularly Spanish, if you aren’t big on red meat and fish (or follow a vegetarian diet) you might struggle to find something on the menu that you fancy.

The staff are all really knowledgable about their food and wine and recommended us some lovely things.

La Oliva is really well worth a visit, especially if you’re in a bigger group. Tapas is always more fun with a larger number.

Definitely book before coming here at the weekend. I have a feeling this restaurant is going to become popular. Find out more on their website.

Baltzersens, Harrogate

Sometimes you find a little place that you adore so much you almost don’t want to tell people about because you love it that much you want to keep it to yourself so that you can still get a seat without waiting too long or your favourite cake running out. Well for me Baltzersens is that place, great atmosphere, fantastic cake and good coffee. I mean, I’m fully aware that I am no expert when it comes to coffee but I know what I like and I like Baltzersens coffee. I am always walk past this coffee shop staring at the cakes like a cat stares at birds in the garden. This place is Scandinavian influenced and uses local produce and I simply love visiting.

Anyway, when Miss B came to visit me I knew as a coffee lover she would appreciate a trip to Baltzersens. We had coffee and cake (well I had waffles and coffee) and it was simply glorious. The staff here are always friendly and helpful and I really like that fact that there is a wide selection of cakes including gluten free options that look as wonderful as everything else.

Here’s what we ate and drank:

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Chocolate and cherry slice

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Waffle with cream and Nutella
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It’s just as well I’ve taken up spinning again, eh?

If you’re in the area Baltersens is well worth a visit. It does tend to get busy but I’ve never seen anybody wait too long to get served.

You can find out more here.

 

Harvest crumble bars (apple and blackberry flapjacks with crumble topping)

The other week Ed and I had a very companionable afternoon picking blackberries in Harrogate. I obviously got my new jumper full of thorns and we both ended up walking home nursing nettle stings.

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Anyway, armed with a large container of frozen blackberries (or brambles as my family calls them) and some beautiful apples very kindly given to me by my mum and FN at work Harvest crumble bars were born. I took these to work earlier and they were very popular. The fruit goes nicely with the flapjack base and the colour and texture of this is simply wonderful. As this recipe uses pretty Autumnal fruit you can adapt it with any berry and apple or pear combination you fancy; you could use frozen fruit in the depths of winter too. In addition it would also work really well with rhubarb.

To make these you will need:

For the flapjack base

250g porridge oats

125g brown sugar

125g butter

3 tbsps golden syrup

For the fruit layer

5 apples (approximately)

Approx 400g berries (I used the blackberries I picked that my mum ended up freezing)

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crumble topping

60g butter

60g Demerara sugar

75g plain flour

25g porridge oats

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a large square baking tin. Make a start on your flapjack base by melting your butter and sugar together.

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Add this to your brown sugar and porridge oats. Once this is well mixed add this to your baking tin and make sure it is flattened down evenly across the tin.

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Peel and chop your apples and cut into 1cm pieces. Add to a pan with your sugar, berries and vanilla. Cook on a medium heat until the apple is soft and the fruits have released a good amount of juice. Cool for a few minutes.

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I actually used some crumble topping I had frozen. However you make it by rubbing the butter, flour, sugar and oats together into breadcrumbs like I did in a previous crumble recipe.

Before layering up your flapjacks cook your flapjack layer for 6-8 minutes to prevent it from going too soggy. Remove from the oven. Add the fruit evenly across the flapjack layer.  Sprinkle over the crumble topping so that the fruit is lightly covered.

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Bake this for around 15 minutes until the crumble topping is golden brown.

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My housemate S and I ate one of these each fresh from the oven and I can assure you that they taste equally lovely hot or cold.

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Bon appetit!