Category Archives: TV

BBC Good Food Show Summer 2013 Highlights

I’ve just about recovered from the BBC Good Food Show Summer – as ever it was an awesome show, with well over 100,000 food and gardening lovers coming through the doors! I’m still buzzing with inspiration after meeting so many fantastic producers, chefs, bloggers and food lovers during the show. Here are a few of my highlights, I’m afraid I was having too much fun to take many photos so you will have to use your imagination for some of it!

Backstage snacking

As part of the show team I get backstage access so on Emily Cloke‘s birthday we took some Ooo Meringues behind the Belling stage and ate them with the lovely Simon Diss… then along came Rachel Allen who is even more beautiful and lovely in real life as she looks on the TV!

Katy Truss and Emily Cloke

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Brompton Cookery School AKA Marcus Bean’s new gaff!

Earlier this month I was invited to the launch of the lovely Marcus Bean’s new cookery school and B&B – Brompton Cookery School and Bed and Breakfast. It is a beautiful farm conversion nestled into the stunning Shropshire countryside, with bed and breakfast accommodation, state of the art cookery school, kitchen gardens and incredible views across the surrounding National Trust estate. Of course, all this made so much better by Marcus Bean and his beautiful family at the helm, after recently purchasing the business.

Marcus Bean

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The Michel and Monica Experience

Imagine being able to cook up close and personal with your favourite celebrity chef… well, I got to live the dream at Cactus Kitchens where I had a day cookery course with none other than Michel Roux Junior and Monica Galetti! It was truly an experience I will be telling the grand children about and I’m so excited to share it with you here.

Cactus Kitchens are based in Clapham, just of the high street. The recently renovated building is stunning and the kitchen has been designed to the highest quality specification. We were told Michel Roux helped with the design so it’s not surprising! The kitchen is actually above the Saturday Kitchen television studio, so as you go in you can see where James Martin et al spend their Saturday mornings!

There are 12 workstations and the demonstration area, where everyone sits very close to watch the chef cook the dish, giving you tips and the opportunity to ask lots of questions too. As it’s so relaxed and informal, if you want to get up to see something up close you just hop off your stool and take a peek.

Your  own workstation is kitted out with everything you need, even Global Knives! You face another student on the opposite workstation, so it’s nice to chat to them and discuss the dishes and laugh when things go wrong!

Our first course was a celeriac and crayfish gratin, almost like a quiche filling but in a little ramekin dish instead. The basic recipe is eggs, cream, fish, spices and vegetables (celery and celeriac) but it got me thinking about all the different things you can put into this dish. It is also served at room temperature, and can be refrigerated first, so it makes the perfect dinner party starter!

The main was a fish stew with chorizo – another great dinner party dish as you can prepare the stew in advance (ingredients as seen below plus flour, white wine, stock and spices). Once you are ready to serve, you place the fish into the pan, turn off the heat and let it cook through the residual heat.

We used sustainable, budget friendly pollack, then sprinkled it with saffron.

The final dish not only looks impressive but tastes delicious too!

Dessert was this beautiful rhubarb upside down cake. I loved making it so much that I made it for my family the following weekend!

Made with perfectly pink forced rhubarb which is in season now.

I hate washing up, so one of the nicest things about the course is the luxury of people clearing up after you!

The whole day had been perfectly planned out with wines chosen by the Saturday Kitchen experts to go with our lunch and dishes that we had cooked. I only wished I wasn’t driving so I could have had more… and more of the delicious champagne we were served too!!

The Many Faces of Monica Galetti

Monica always gets caught out on MasterChef: The Professionals as her facial expressions give her away as she watches people cook. We got a taste of this on the course as she cooked in front of us and answered our questions… Add in your own captions here!

I love this picture, it really shows Monica’s warm, friendly side. This really shone through on the course as she talked about her young daughter and home life, showing a side you would never get to see on the TV!

At the end, after eating the fruits of our learning and labour, we had the chance to sit and chat with Michel and Monica. They were more than happy to sign your apron (a great souvenir from the day!) or cook books and have pictures taken too!

There are a range of chefs you can choose from for the courses (FYI they aren’t cheap) and as you can see from my coverage here, you really get quality time with the chefs and are in the most luxurious surroundings. The ability level required for the course wasn’t particularly high, although if you were a really good cook you could still get a lot from the tips and support from both the celebrity chefs and the brilliant gentleman (oh gosh I’ve forgotten his name!) who heads up the kitchens there, who really knows his stuff. There are enough people there to help if you get stuck, and to make you drinks when you want them too. Oh, and you get a lunch (with wine) with the chefs and get to take any leftovers home to impress your loved ones! As you can tell, I had a really good time!

Take a look at the Cactus Kitchens Website for more details on the courses, and let me know if you have been or are planning to go on one!

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Pre-Show Madness

I can’t believe our Scotland Show opens in just three days! Three weeks later it will be our London Show at Olympia and then the biggie at the NEC at the end of November. I always try to get organised before the shows but they just seem to sneak up on me.

I wanted to take a breather to tell you whats going on at the shows that I’m excited about…

Great British Bake Off – sessions on the Super Theatres at Scotland and London and its very own theatre at the Winter NEC Show! Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood at all shows, winner at London and NEC and finalists and others at the NEC!!! Will definitely be hanging out backstage to snaffle some tasters!

Good Food Champions – brand new area of the shows that I introduced based on my desire to highlight some of the best producers at the show. From oils to ethical veal, liqueurs to scotch eggs, smoked fish to fresh venison you are sure to find something to get your mouth-watering!

Producers Bursary Award Winners – all of them small, outstanding producers and brand new to the BBC Good Food Shows so go and show them your support. Look out for fresh cookie dough in Scotland, crystalized edible fresh flowers and foraged ingredients in Birmingham and natural seaweed seasonings in London. Take a look at our tasting day here.

World Cheese Awards – nearly 3000 cheeses all out on display is an incredible sight. I always make sure I’m hanging around this area of the show when they announce the winners (Wednesday afternoon). Two years ago Philip from the Cornish Cheese Company won supreme champion and it brought tears to my eyes seeing him win. It was also pretty fun watching him get through bottles of champagne in the bar that evening!

BBC Food and Farming Awards – held at the show on the Wednesday afternoon, I’m making time to watch the awards ceremony this year as the shortlist of nominations is so exciting! You can add a theatre seat to your booking if you have tickets for the Wednesday.

Right, back to work… hope to see you at the shows and please just ask if you want to know more about any of the exciting stuff going on at the shows!

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Introducing my Food Find of the Week

I have decided to introduce a new element to this blog, a weekly post dedicated to my ‘Food Find of the Week’. I regularly meet wonderful producers, retailers and food lovers, and find new products, books, cool shops and places to eat and drink –  it seems a shame not to share my favourites here on my blog, and by going weekly I have no excuses but to post!

I speak to a mix of well established, popular producers that you may already know and people who may just be in the development stages of their business – I love asking questions about why they came to do what they do, why their products are so great and whether there is anything new in the pipeline.

Look out for my ‘Food Find of the Week’ on Wednesday!

Oh, and just in case you thought any differently, please be assured that I will only write about things I genuinely love/ like/ am excited about on this blog.

 

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Baking at River Cottage HQ

One of my 30th Birthday gifts (from my lovely sister) was a baking day at the River Cottage. We stayed in Axminster for the weekend, had a wonderful meal at the River Cottage Canteen, and made the most of being by the seaside by including a fossil hunting expedition. The baking day was full on, with a great mix of learning, watching, making, socialising and lots of eating!

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BBC Good Food Show – The Lovely Bits and My Highlights

There was so much going on at the BBC Good Food Show Winter this year that I’m pretty certain I missed a lot of it! With 13 theatres at the show, featuring the Great British Bake Off, Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef and the very best line up of chefs possible, there was just too many places to be at the same time! So what was I doing if I wasn’t watching the chefs?! Well, I was in my element in the Producers’ Village – tasting, talking, learning and loving every minute of it! This blog gives a little  some of my personal highlights from the show.

‘Pizza Time!’ I loved getting this text message from Tim Croft from Paddy’s Hooked on Fish – he had a deal with Amy and Chris from The Northern Dough Co (delicious frozen pizza dough) on the stand opposite… he provided the Queenie scallops, and they provided the dough, tomato sauce and cheese. Scallop pizza. I’m so glad he shared. Amazing with black pepper and a squeeze of lemon!

I always stop and consider my audience before pronouncing the word chorizo. Obviously its a spanish product, so perhaps you should pronounce as the Spanish do, which is chor-ith-o. I feel a bit of a twit saying it like that, so I usually go with chor-itz-o or chor-ise-o. I came across Ana, from Flavours of Spain, (who knows more about chorizo than anyone I know) teaching one of our visitors how to pronounce it the Spanish way. This photo catches it perfectly, don’t you think?!

I didn’t get round to eating any, but don’t these oysters from Rossmore look great!?

I almost bought this Moorlands Cheesemaker’s cheese making kit for my sister, but after asking a few strategic questions to find out if it would be a hit, we concluded that it would all be a little too smelly for her. If my flat wasn’t the size of an average person’s lounge then I would have bought one for myself.

Judy Goodman and her family rear wonderful geese – just look at the lovely way they are presented in the picture below. Goodman’s Geese are Jamie Oliver’s favourites and I can certainly vouch for them after having one at the centre of my  Christmas table for the past few years. If you haven’t tried goose then its a must – so much more luxurious than turkey.

I was very excited to taste the World Cheese Awards World Champion (we hosted the World Cheese Awards and the results were announced on the Wednesday of the show) which was a 10 month Ossau Iraty made by farmhouse producer Fromagerie Agour. I was also delighted that the Cornish Cheese Company came second overall (they were supreme champions last year). I’ve got some in my fridge to take home for the Christmas cheese board.

The World Cheese Awards judging is a spectacular occasion – over 2,500 cheeses all laid out to be judged by the ‘who’s who’ of the cheese world. Favouring Blur over Oasis back in the day, meant that seeing Alex James (from Blur) and his floppy hair perusing over the cheeses did make me go a little weak at the knees!

Beautiful freshly ground spices from Spice Boys London – it was their first BBC Good Food Show and I’m sure you will agree a great addition to the show.

I was delighted with the all round success of Simon Diss at the show – host of the Magimix Theatre. It was his first time presenting at the BBC Good Food Show and we all agreed that he was brilliant! Look out for him at future shows and follow him on twitter (@simondiss). His estate up in Cumbria also rears delicious Geese and Turkeys for Christmas, has an award winning farm shop and sounds rather idyllic – The Cowran Estate.

Now, this is a little bit embarrassing, but I featured on some of our show graphics this year at the Winter Show. It was a welcome to the Producers’ Village message (my area of the show) with a few of my highlights on it. Rather embarrassing when I had to walk past, but I’m still pretty proud of it (and so is my Dad)!


Anyway, I could go on and on, but thats enough for now… I would love to find out what I missed though – what were your highlights?


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BBC Good Food at Westfield – Backstage and After Hours

Over the weekend we took The BBC Good Food Show on tour to the luxurious Westfield London Shopping centre – bringing a selection of our favourite producers, the very best talent and a little taster of the magic we create with our shows. This post will take you back stage to see what goes on behind the scenes and give you a glimpse of the goings on in the green room!

First we will start with the stage – we were really proud and James Knight Pacheco was a brilliant host over the weekend!

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Pop up BBC Good Food Show at Westfield London!

Over the last couple of weeks the team have been busy getting things ready for our first ever pop up event at Westfield London. We have brought together some of the very best MasterChef and BBC Good Food Show talent for our Cookery Theatre and have gathered a selection of the most popular producers and retailers too. Continue reading

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Easter Treats

Easter is a great opportunity to eat, drink and be merry – I have been back in North Norfolk (West Runton to be precise) staying with my sister and have certainly made the most of it this year. So, while I sip on a cup of tea and nibble on the ear of my chocolate bunny, I will recount some of the highlights…

My sister had been warned by her local council that she needed to clear her allotment and start using it, which is fair enough due to there being such a high demand for allotments these days. She has been focusing on fitting her new kitchen, so the allotment has taken a back seat over the past year. So Good Friday was spent turning her allotment from this:

To this wonderful, tidy allotment ready for planting fruit and vegetables for the year ahead:

Its a lovely place to be, with the sun so warm and view out over the North Sea. Obviously there were a few hot cross buns here and there and scampi and chips as a treat for lunch over in our local pub garden. I love the feeling of being really hungry after exhausting work – the food always seems to taste better too.

On Saturday my boyfriend and brother and law went fly fishing for trout. The lake was nearby to a lovely farm shop (Groveland) so I picked up some lovely meat from their butchery for a BBQ and spent a small fortune on bits and pieces from the farm shop too. The catch of the day was a 2.5 lb rainbow trout, which we put on the BBQ stuffed with lemon and onions.

While waiting for the boys to return my sister and I had some wonderful Norfolk asparagus, bought fresh from the farm shop, which we dry fried, sprinkled with sea salt and dipped into melted butter.

I rewarded the boys with some aptly named ‘Sunshiny Beer’ from the Norfolk Square Brewery, which was refreshing after their long day in the sun. I don’t like beer so much, so didn’t try it, but my boyfriend thought it tasted very malty, sweet with a slight hint of honey.

On Easter Sunday we invited over my Grandparents for a roast which we had planned to eat outside in the sun. Unfortunately the cruel North Sea decided to cast its cold foggy shadow over West Runton so we were forced inside, but it was lovely all the same. We had a huge roast chicken that my sister had bought recently at the Aylsham farmers market, with fresh vegetables, roast potatoes, cranberry sauce and some seriously good gravy.

I was on dessert duty and had been inspired by Raymond Blanc and his kitchen secrets to make meringues, so I made a huge Pavlova, some lime and lemon curd with the leftover yolks, whipped up some cream and then topped it with fresh raspberries. I must say it did impress and really tasted delicious.

The research and preparations…

I adapted a lemon curd recipe from an american website, as it was the first I saw that used the yolks of the eggs only. I had a mixture of lemons and limes so replaced some of the lemon zest and juice with limes. It was easy to make and really tart and creamy.

I used Raymond Blanc’s recipe for the Pavlova, which I think worked really well.

I whipped up some double cream and filled the hollow I had created in the centre of the meringue, crisscrossed the lemon and lime curd across the top (this could look neater if done using a piping bag) and then placed a raspberry onto each of the crosses. I was really pleased with the finished the result, and think it makes an easy (especially if you buy the meringue and curd!) and impressive summery dessert.

This last bit didn’t last too long!

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MasterChef Live Challenge

Sometimes it’s not so great working for the BBC Good Food Shows and MasterChef Live – it means I can’t enter the MasterChef Live Challenge!!

It’s a chance for  members of the public to cook their signature dish live on stage for John Torode and Gregg Wallace, at the BBC Good Food Show Summer in June.  

It’s a great opportunity to really show off your cooking skills and potentially get your talent noticed… it doesn’t cost anything to enter  so why not give it a go (or put one of your talented friends or family members forward) – click here to go to the application form.

 John Torode said “This is your chance to be judged like all the MasterChef elite from the series but LIVE. This is no time for a risotto or crumble but your opportunity to truly impress us with your culinary creations.”

Gregg Wallace added: “If you’re thinking about cooking an omelette you can go home now!”

I certainly wouldn’t consider an omelette (I’m not very good at them!) and risotto is almost as bad as trying a chocolate fondant on MasterChef. It’s a real talking point in the office… I’m not sure what my signature dish would be – what would you cook for the challenge?! 

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Raiding the Norfolk Farmers Markets

I am back in North Norfolk this weekend, which is where I grew up and regularly go back to visit family. My sister had planned a visit to her local farmers market in Aylsham, where she buys most of her meat for the month ahead and various other bits too. Obviously I tagged along, and also persuaded the rest of our party (the brother-in-law and my Dad) that it would be fun to visit the Creake Abbey market too.

We were all glad we made the effort as the North Creake market has really grown and improved since the last time we went about 5 years ago. I met some great new producers such as Crush Foods (rapeseed oil, pesto and dressings), Fielding Cottage (goats cheese) and Mr Kew’s Pies.

We bought a little more than we should but got some great stuff. So, back to London I will be taking racks of both mutton and lamb, some stewing mutton, some rare breed smoked bacon, smoked chipolatas, rapeseed oil and dressing, rosewater (from one of the great little shops in Creake Abbey), some posh pork scratchings and a little yellow soap duck. The picture below shows our haul – my sister’s prize buy was a giant (6kg!!) chicken that she will be roasting tomorrow with friends.

 

 

Tim Kinnaird was looking very happy (as always) and had a tempting stall full of macarons, marshmallows, brownies and delicate little cakes too. We couldn’t help but buy some salted caramel and violet and blackcurrant flavoured macarons which were delicious. I also discovered that Tim is thinking about selling his cakes at the BBC Good Food Show Summer which would be awesome!

 

I was delighted to find that Bray’s Cottage‘s famous ‘Crackle’ hadn’t yet sold out and that I had a chance to try all the posh pork scratching flavours too – Fennel and Juniper, Lemon and Pepper and Smoked Paprika and Rosemary. Really naughty but REALLY nice. The guys in the BBC Good Food Show office will be pleased on Monday with my souvenirs!

Let me know if you would like to know more about either the Aylsham or Creake Abbey Farmers Markets, or any of the produce or producers mentioned here.

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Kitchen Secrets (my new favourite cookery programme)

Just finished watching the first episode of Raymond Blanc’s new series, Kitchen Secrets, and I thought it was brilliant. For a change I didn’t get distracted by other things (twitter, tea, napping, etc) which is what sadly often happens these days.

Every dish looked delicious – like something I would love to eat, something I would also like to put the effort into cooking and something that was simply stunningly beautiful on the plate. I was particularly awed by the lobster, so I might just have to shout over the fence to my favourite new neighbour (Alan the fish monger) and see if there are any deals to be had on the finest giant Scottish lobsters.

Today, while buying some rice noodles from Amazon*, I came across the book accompanying the series and all going well it will be on my desk when I get to work in the morning! I really enjoyed his last series, and don’t have any of Raymond’s writing in my collection, so pressed the all too easy to press ‘add to basket’ button.

So it shouldn’t be long before I’m recreating those dishes and posting the results on here… Or if I’m really lucky someone will book me a table and pay for a meal for me at Le Manoir. Time will tell.

*These were not available from Tesco online – just one frustration of my first online supermarket shopping experience.

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