2016. The review. Pt 3

September

This was a very manic time as my job change, to being the chief reporter for a newspaper, began to hit in and my etc writing – in theory at least – reduced to one day a week to make way for all the breaking news and council meetings.

As such it is not really a surprise that a visit to The Salterns made for both a nice article and nice escape from the office.

The newly created holiday apartments at Chichester Marina occupy an enviable spot next to the water, making it bizarre to think the building was previously used for offices – which is somewhat ironic going on my previous comment.

But that is neither here nor there, look at them!

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Swoon!

October

etc Magazine always likes to touch on the big topics, as well as the aspirational and fluffy ones. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I took the opportunity to learn more about a pioneering treatment by a Sussex-project.

November

For this month’s editions it all got a bit arty. For West Sussex I wrote about a design school with a difference starting up, while I headed over to the East for a cultural tour taking in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings.

The latter might win, just because I got to sit in this ridiculous deckchair..

Laura at The View, Eastbourne.jpg

In all seriousness however, the exhibitions were fascinating, the hotels beautiful and Hastings old town might just have stolen a bit of my heart.

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December 

While Brighton-based Joosr, which reduces books such as A (not so) Brief History of Time into 20 minute reads, might have changed my view on e-readers – which is no easy task – spending the day with some of the counties’ best young chefs takes some beating.

Yup, I’m back on the food again and this time it was the Young Chef and the Year Cook Off at the Amex Stadium. I basically follow around the judges, which this year included Matt Gillan, and taste a lot of sublime dishes – then write about it before the food coma hits in. I’m sure you can tell it is hard work..

Rachel Burroughs' pollock starter.JPG

Another bizarre claim to fame ^^ that’s my hand in the official pics. Note how my nail varnish matches the jus!

2016. The Review. Pt2

May!

I do love a food special, and this month proved to be a feast.

As well as learning about the wonders of sheep’s milk with Top Paddock Dairy and tucking into proper pub grub in Oving , I had the wonderful opportunity of time-travelling thanks to the Repast supperclub.

The latter, as bewildering as it might sound, was the simple but brilliant idea of Haywards Heath chef Sam Bilton.

Our culinary adventure was back to Venice’s rich past, and from start…

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(polenta squares topped with salted cod and mushrooms)

To the end…

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(fritelli – almond filled donut fritters)

It was amazing.

June

I’m sticking with food and I’m not even sorry, I mean how often to you get to talk to a chef whose signature dishes are all made using hotel room appliances?

From steaks steamed in the shower to a full English he insists is ‘better than the what you’d get in the buffet downstairs’, the aptly named George Egg has come up with in-genius ways to create it all.

July 

Mermaids, flamingos and badgers in bowties – time for something a bit different.

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My two favourites for July were Brighton fashion band Sugarhill Boutique (above) and the equally bright and brilliant Eastbourne alphabet by artist Clare Dales.

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August

Lewes-based VRAC teas  would have claimed the top spot this month, if it wasn’t for my behind the scenes visit to Chichester’s Timothy Roe jewellers.

I mean this Goodwood bangle by them is reason enough that it was special..

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…but for me it had a personal connection as this jewellers is where my engagement ring (finally) came from and I got to find out how it was made.

*Finally because I was the one choosing it, not because I am a bunny boiler. But I’m sure, one day, I’ll get around to sharing that story on here.

2016. The review. Pt1

Nothing like thinking in November ‘I should check that long-neglected blog’ and seeing the last headline is about New Year’s Resolutions…

I assure you I’ve been writing everything but this thing.

Partly to prove it, and partly because I’ve just put the December magazine to bed, I thought it’d be a good time for a bit of a stock check.

So * insert top of the pops countdown music here* in at January we had…

Learning about fly fishing

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I love how random this is already.

The highlight was managing to catch another hook out of a tree, which I’m still convincing myself take skill. The lowlight was catching my own hair…

February

Has to go to Edible Arrangements

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A brilliant and inspiring company which works to match your table decorations with your menu. Honestly, check it out!

March 

This is a toughie but as much as I loved writing about Truth and Tails – books for children with a social twist – and experiencing the Light Technique in Brighton, there was on topic I featured that has blossomed into a hobby…

Calligraphy, with Kirsten Burke

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Just look at that concentration! And excuse to own quills… (Picture by Stewart Grant)

April 

Being a bit of a random fact fan, it has to be the story which lead me to learn the cut flower industry is worth more than the music industry (average of £36 per person).

Crosslands Nursery

 

 

Recipe book roulette, week 1 – 10

I don’t, generally, do New Year’s Resolutions.

I think I went for about a decade of saying ‘to quit smoking’ every time I was asked during that first day back at school/work conversation people always have. But people soon sussed I was cheating/not taking it seriously as I don’t smoke anyway.

But like usual, I digress.

My point is this year is different, and I have made a slightly different resolution to go with it. The plan is to cook a new meal from one of our recipe books every week.

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And so far, we’ve loved it.

We both enjoy cooking so have been taking it (mostly) in turns. And we’ve both served up highlights for me – my personal one being tackling, triumphantly, a crab soufflé.

While my partner’s plates of Jamie Oliver’s super squid, feta and (veggie) chorizo with mint cous cous make me smile just thinking of them. Mostly because it was delicious and just minutes after his elaborate marriage proposal was revealed.. but I might have to come to the latter another day.

Time for food..

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^ The aforementioned cous cous dish.

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^ A close up of the crab and ketchup souffle from One by Florence Knight

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We are trying to score them as we go, more to keep track than anything, which can be seen HERE on my Instagram.

I strongly recommend it, we just try to plan ahead – pimp the shopping list – and make it on a weekend so we have more time (usually for the washing up).

Maybe I should have started making resolutions a while ago?…

Wrapping up 2015 with a big bow

There is something almost ironic about not having the time to take stock.

Even when I do try, it always seems to turn into a ‘to do’ list making exercise.
What I’ve done being met by, then clouded over by, what I haven’t – yet.

credit Peppercorn Photography

credit Peppercorn Photography

Being busy is something we can all relate to. It is just the reasons vary person to person.
Lately I’ve been learning a lot, including that I didn’t really know what ‘busy’ was.
Aren’t the lessons which come with owning your own house are numerous and broad?

Anyway, rather than talking about rewiring, textured wallpaper and weeds (you can find more than enough of that in my weekly columns) I thought I would take the chance to look at the shiner side of life – quite literally – and do a must overdue update for my magazine section.

June (I know, I know) is a tough month to pick a favourite article from, namely because it is the month of our food special.
I really enjoyed getting to know the Hastings-based Baked by the Sea girls who offer cream teas by post, and meeting the mastermind behind the wasabi vodka and watercress gin of Winchester’s Twisted Nose.

It’s a tough job isn’t it?

credit Peppercorn Photography

credit Peppercorn Photography

Then there was the beautiful fashion of Shoreham’s Sula, beer making in Brighton, spending time at Caroline’s Dairy’s ice-cream empire and being inspired by the hyper-real artistry of Janine Shute.

In the end, I went with the one I find myself talking about the most – partly for its quirkiness and partly because spirits are having a great time of it at the moment.

So for more of my chat with Paul Bowler, founder of Twisted Nose, and his work to offer a tipple with ‘a real home, real roots, local flavour and a local story’ see HERE.

July was a slightly easier task as I fell head over heels for Christmas Cottage in Hampshire. I mean just look at it ..

Picture: Fox & Sons

Picture: Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons

And the amazing interior remodel was inspired by a pub.

AND the owner was really lovely and offered me a game of boules next time I was local.

It was just the full package, as you can find out HERE.

Pic: Mi Elfverson

Pic: Mi Elfverson

Pole dancing, arts festivals and illustrator Lauren Child made sure August was far from dull.

But as someone who spends far too long at their desk, a chance to get out into the countryside made for an extra special piece.

The story was about Walk&Talk4Success, which does what it says on the tin really offering business mentoring and support but on the move.

I met the group at Wakehurst Place and spent a lovely walk sharing ideas and solutions.. it was simply brilliant.

If I am being honest September was a two horse race for the title of ‘favourite’, in the running is Amanda Saurin and her amazing company As. Apothcary  who opened my eyes to natural beauty – in the best sense.

Then there’s The Future Kept which isn’t given justice by the description ‘online lifestyle stop’.
I pretty much want to own everything it sells and live in the photos on the website.

The Future Kept JPEE JPE6 Hastings Sept15

The Future Kept

The Future Kept

The Future Kept

See what I mean?

But, seeing as my list has some home but no skincare, As.Apothecary has to be the victor. And, in a job where I get to meet some amazing people, because I openly admit if I had to work anywhere else it would be for Amanda.

AS.Apothecary

AS.Apothecary

Something arty would have to sneak in my list somewhere, and for October and November I was lucky enough to have my two passions come together – seeing me write about amazing creative people.
Kate Sherman captures time passing through the laborious medium of painting – a contrast I just really, really, like…

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

John Napier might be a name you don’t know, but chances are you’ll know his work.
He’s created sets for the likes of Les Misérables, Cats and Starlight Express. The helicopter in Miss Saigon? Also his.
Not bad for someone who admitted to me for November’s magazine, that he once believed theatre design ‘was about drawing rooms, choosing the colour of the sofa – I thought that was pretty much it’.

John Napier. Picture: Julian Napier

John Napier. Picture: Julian Napier

For someone who edited an annual food special this year.. (me).. I feel like we could do with something edible on the list. For December this is a choice between Kyoto Kitchen, a Winchester restaurant giving its own twist to Japanese cuisine, or the Sussex Food and Drink Awards Young Chef cook off – which was a mouthful in more ways than one.

It seems right to choose the one which made me think more about my cooking, and only one made me want to mousse a pumpkin. .

Stephanie's Pumpkin Starter

Sussex Young Chef Grand Finalists, Stephanie Haywood, Michael Sutherland & Ryan Tomkinson

Seems a good a place as any to end this post, and year.

Roll on the next one : )

Cooking with Vikings and other Danish adventures

Pictures by BrknRib Photography

Pictures by BrknRib Photography

I found myself in the forest on the last day of my foodie tour along the coast of North Jutland, Denmark.

Trust me to start a story near the end hey? But I have good reason.

While I will do a post about the rest of the remarkable journey, for me it was not only a stand out moment from the trip but an experience I will remember forever – and as a result it deserves a mention of its own.

I ended up playing sous chef, partly thanks to my fellow colleagues having had a little to much to drink the night before, and what resulted was unlike any cookery programme I’ve ever seen.

As I recall HERE it felt like I was, in a way, fulfilling a role I’ve always felt fit for.

Viking jibes were among the more inventive I got at school for being a redhead. And ones I was quite happy with.

Granted I don’t go in for all of the past times attributed to the bearded seafarers, but I found myself feeling oddly at home gathered around a campfire with their modern day enthusiasts.

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Picking up some skills like fishing net stitching…

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And generally getting very, very hungry

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Laura Denmark Vikings pictures by BrknRib Photography

Picture by BrknRib Photography

Our host Jesper Lynge, aka Kjøgemester Oldfrue – who resembled a giggly Brian Blessed – had a real feast planned.

With salmon smoked over wood chippings, mussels cooked in cider and a mushroom porridge (above left) which was far tastier than the description would make you think.

My main job was chopping veg, but even that wasn’t ordinary, as I was handed a blade with a bone handle – after Jesper had showed us how sharp this ‘knife’ was by shaving part of his arm.

But somehow I managed to play a part in turning the table of ingredients, made from half a tree, into one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever devoured.

Most people I’ve mentioned any of this too have asked ‘what about drink?’ And the answer to that is we supped mead out of a communal horn between raising a toast to Thor. Obviously.

Pictures BrknRib Photography

Picture BrknRib Photography

My full feature, written for etc Magazine, can be seen HERE 

Danish rye bread cake – tastes nicer than it sounds

As my previous post – HERE – reveals May’s ‘diary’ themed cake club meeting saw people share baby news and an insight to busy lives.

While I used it as a chance to recreate an unusual bake I’d eaten when I met Danish Vikings – I would promise my life isn’t always that random, but my job as a feature writer often helps ensure it is.

Anyway. This was it.

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I know. It doesn’t scream Vikings. There’s no long boat, or horns (the latter of which I learnt was a lie anyway) but I promise it did have links to the historic troublemakers.

With the recipe for the Viking crumble cake being sent to me by the lovely Mrs Jesper Lynge.

(He looks like this)

Picture by BrknRib Photography

Picture by BrknRib Photograph

She plaited his beard at one point and it was hilarious, but that is neither here or there.

Hisilicon K3

For the Viking Crumble Cake, you’ll need:

100g (Danish) rye bread
100g finely chopped hazelnuts
6 eggs
200g cane sugar
1 tsp baking soda
Jam, whipped cream and roughly chopped chocolate (for filling)

Start by buttering your chosen tin(s) – I split it into two that I usually use for Victoria Sponges – and prehead the oven at 200oC.

I didn't have a blender..

I didn’t have a blender..

Method

  1. Blend 100g (Danish) rye bread with 100g hazelnuts.
  2. Beat up 6 egg yolks with 200g cane sugar.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff.
  4. Mix the blended ryebread and hazelnuts with 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
  5. Mix the blended rye and nuts with the egg yolks
  6. Carefully stir the egg whites in the mix
  7. Put the cake mix in a buttered springform pan sprinkled with sugar
  8. Bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes at 200 degree Celsius
  9. Slide the cake in two cake layers
  10. Put jam and whipped cream on top of the first cake layer
  11. Put the next layer on top of the cake and cover with whipped cream and chopped chocolate

It was a weird process, but the result is actually pretty yummy. The rye and nuts make for a great sponge which balances the sweetness of the toppings.

Hisilicon K3

Umm.. appetising! 

Leftovers make good trifles

Leftovers make good trifles