It’s been quite a different year for me this year – about half in Edinburgh, half in Gloucestershire. One half saying goodbye, one half hello. So, let me indulge, this is my year in food. It is in no particular order, nor does it cover everything, but I think it sets the tone!
Gloucestershire, you’ve got the most fantastic produce imaginable! We revelled in all the fruit in the summer and autumn, particularly at the Pershore Plum Festival and Day’s Cottage Apple open day. There’s fabulous milk from Jess’s Ladies and cheeses of such taste and variety and not to forget meats grown with care and vegetables galore. Drinks from Stroud Brewery beer (among others) and the amazing Capreolus Distillery. Is there no end to your bounty? I am hoping not.
Not just any beer but beer from toast! All 7.5 kilos of it. Having glimpsed toast beer being made in London on a TV programme in a bid to reduce bread waste, I was determined to have a go. Thanks to Stewart Brewing who offer the opportunity for anyone to make small batches of beer, it became a reality. It turned out a beautiful beer, with just a hint of grilled bread on the palate. Making toast beer.
I wrote 293 posts for Edinburgh Foody over 6 years. One of the questions I was most often asked was “What’s your favourite restaurant”. Ever diplomatic, I answered with the most recent (good) restaurant I’d been to. For those that know me, it’s no secret that Castle Terrace in Edinburgh has been my favourite restaurant for many years: Exceptional food, friendly service and amazing head chef Dominic Jack. We are on the search around the Severn – can it be beaten? Any excuse to eat!
Visiting le Manoir au Quat’ Saisons has been a long time wish. I had never thought I would get there and certainly not with the family, but this July we spent two luxurious days experiencing the highest level of service. Attention to detail was the order of the day, from a mini-sized dressing gown for a 4 year old, to the most incredible breakfast I’ve ever had, to amazing fine dining. Incredible. Go if you can.
I am so proud. My first win was a bronze award for my almond babka in the World Bread Awards – Sweet dough category – a great accolade for my bread making skills.
Just this month, I won the World Sloe Gin Championships. Thank you Gloucestershire for the amazing sloes this year.
Go on, enter a competition this year. It’s always worth a try!
Ten Women in the Kitchen
Down in Bristol, we attended a fund raising event for Action against Hunger. Ten fabulous female chefs got together to create a simply delicious meal whilst raising over £3,000. Certainly unusual to get so many women cooking together, but also from such a diverse range of backgrounds leading to an fascinating menu.
The BBC Radio 4 Food programme was on hand to interview the chefs. This broadcast has made the event even more special. Hearing the chef’s stories is fascinating. Apparently, no male chefs took up Josh Eggleton’s suggestion to use his venue. I am so glad they didn’t. Do listen to the episode.
Making connections has been so important over the last few months. Starting from scratch in somewhere new is both exciting and challenging at times. It’s been discovering where to buy ingredients that we love to use in cooking; It’s been seeking out great places to eat; it’s been making new contacts and friends not just in person but through social media too.
Much is said about the detrimental affect of social media, but it’s been great for me. Where else would I have found out about the event above? Where else would I connect with other bloggers in the area? And where else would I learn new bread making styles and techniques all over the world through Instagram.
So if anyone is up for guiding me further, do connect with me on the various social channels. Head over to Best Nine to discover your top 9 posts of 2016. Looking forward to reading about your year!