Friday, 29 July 2011

A Taste of Greece : Grilled Aubergine with Mint and Feta

A Taste of Greece: Grilled Aubergine with Mint and Feta 
Warning! Never underestimate the taste of grilled aubergine, if you do you'll be missing out on a rich, smoky, flavour filled delicacy. This is such a simple recipe and inspired by the lovely Simon Hopkinson aka The Good Cook. Are you a fan of his work, like I am ? Recently, my Saturday mornings have been spent watching his programme and it is guaranteed to leave me in either one of two states; starving or salivating. No, not a nice image but I love how his recipes are themed on the classics and are approached in a simple but passionate way.
There is a slight difference with this recipe in that he uses parsley. I am using mint.
This entry contributes to the Bookmarked Vegetarian recipes event being hosted by Jacqueline over at Tinned Tomatoes and the founder of the event, Ruth. A big hello and thank you ladies!

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes

Portion Control:
Works well as a starter for 2 or light supper for 1

1 aubergine
1/2 garlic clove
25g of feta cheese
2 tbsp of olive oil
Bunch of fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper for seasoning

  • Pre-heat grill to high
  • Run a small, sharp knife round the top of the aubergine, 1cm/½in below the stalk and only just cutting through the skin; then make four evenly spaced, similarly shallow cuts, along the length of the aubergine right down to the end
  • Grill the aubergines for about 25 minutes, turning every 5-7 minutes, until evenly cooked with charred skin, and until the aubergine feels soft, but not too collapsed within. Transfer to a large dish and allow to cool for two minutes.
  • On a chopping board, finely cut the garlic, then finely chop the mint. Add the garlic to a small bowl along with the olive oil and stir. Leave to the side. This will be your dressing for the aubergine.
  • Peel away the aubergine skin in four long, narrow sheets using a small knife. Without cutting right through the stalk end, cut the aubergines in half lengthways and gently prise apart until you have two horizontal halves remaining attached at the top end.
  • Spoon the olive oil and garlic mixture over the aubergine.Season lightly with salt (remember that feta is salty anyway) and pepper, and crumble the feta cheese over the top. Finish lastly by scattering the mint over the aubergine and if required, more olive oil.
  • Serve warm, with freshly squeezed lemon and grilled pitta bread. Works even better when served with a chilled glass of wine. Cheers!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Book Review: Ocean Voyage by Mark Jordan

Ocean Voyage: A book of  gigantic proportions!
A couple of weeks ago, the book, Ocean Voyage arrived at the MeLikeyUK residence with an almighty crash, bang wallop! This book is big on creativity, imagery and ahem, size. It depicts, Michelin star chef Mark Jordan's journey at the Atlantic Hotel in Jersey and recounts his success, showcasing his signature dishes. It also pays a fitting tribute to his inspiration and mentors, including the renowned and much missed Keith Floyd.

Here are my thoughts on the book:

  • Mark's passion for good quality local produce, his love for the island of Jersey and the strong rapport he has built with his suppliers emerges powerfully in the book.
  • The photography is out of this world. A long time can be spent pouring over the pictures of the food and the island of Jersey alone. Mark's accomplishments are exquisite; showing finesse, flair and attention to detail.
From the Start: Pan-Seared Foie Gras, Apple Tart  aux Fine, Salted Caramel
From the Ocean: Pan-Roast Sea Bass Fillet with
 Fresh Garden Peas and Seared Jersey Scallops
From the Desserts:Raspberry Nougatine,
Pistachio Cream, Raspberry Reduction
The Contents Section
  • The Contents section is very cleverly laid out in the form of a menu: "From the Start", "From the Ocean", "From the Land" and "From the Desserts".
  • It is the perfect book for aspiring chefs and those wishing to emulate the fine dining experience at home. This book lends itself to various techniques which will set expectations to a superior level.
  • The Appendixes/Appendices section includes a list of useful shorter recipes which are often referred to in the main section of the book. These range from Parmesan Foam to Veal Jus. Indeed, it was from this section I had today's lunch ; "Linguine with Home Made Pesto". Simple ingredients, but packs a powerful punch in the taste ratings. 
Appendixes/Appendices section
From the Appendixes/Appendices Section: Home Made Pesto

  • The book goes beyond Mark Jordan's cuisine, but acknowledges the luxurious Atlantic Hotel and Jersey as a food lovers paradise . Having never been to Jersey, I am much more appreciative of what the island has to offer.
  • Practicality, accessibility and price of ingredients.
The dishes listed are very much akin to Michelin fine dining and they should be regarded in this light. The reproduction of some of these dishes could be rather intimidating to those amateur home cooks. Ingredients such as 3kg of lobster carcasses, Shimeji Mushrooms, Oscietra Caviar and Caper Berries would not be at everyone's fingertips. From a personal point of view, I would rather eat at the Ocean restaurant than spend money on top end ingredients where there is no guarantee they turn out as intended. However, this reflects my own ability to attempt Michelin style food at home, I am a lot better at eating it, than making it!
  • Complexity and time involved.
When I start a dish, I like to know how long it is going to take me from start to finish so that I can organise myself around it. To facilitate this, a section dedicated to time to prepare and cook the dish could be included. Some of the dishes themselves are very much "projects", referring to a series of different techniques to achieve some of the core ingredients.
  • Size of the book
It is a very minor point, I know, but the size means it does not fit on my bookshelf. Perhaps the photographs would have looked less stunning if the book had been smaller. Who knows?
    I have really enjoyed leafing through this book, and while I am not quite brave enough to attempt some of the dishes, I have been moved by the beautiful creations and the passion that has been exhibited throughout. I have yet to visit the island of Jersey, but this book has given me plenty of incentive to go to the Atlantic Hotel and the Ocean restaurant to sample Mark Jordan's cuisine.

    Overall MelikeyUK rating: 7.5/10

    Ocean Voyage is available to purchase here.
    For more information on The Atlantic Hotel and Ocean Restaurant click here.

    I would like to extend my thanks to The Dovetail Agency for sending me a copy of Ocean Voyage to review.

    Friday, 22 July 2011

    Bacon, Avocado, Roquefort and Walnut Salad

    Dive into Summer: Bacon, Avocado, Roquefort and Walnut Salad
    With a return to sunshine here in London, (yippee!) I raided the fridge (and fruit bowl) to make my simple Bacon, Avocado, Roquefort and Walnut Salad. This is so easy to put together and the ingredients complement each other really well. The roquefort provides the tang while the walnut brings the crunch. I say the fruit bowl as I often ripen my avocado pears next to the bananas. And before too long, they are ready to use.Works like a dream every time.

    Preparation: 8 minutes
    Cooking: 6 minutes

    Portion Control:
    Generous serving for 1

    3 rashers of smoked bacon
    1 small avocado pear, or half a regular sized avocado pear
    1/2 of 120g mixed salad bag, including rocket.
    20g of roquefort cheese, chopped into cubes
    6 Santini tomatoes (entirely optional - I am just addicted to these at the moment!)
    6 walnut pieces
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1.5 tbsp of white wine vinegar (you may want to use 1 tbsp of vinegar depending how strong you like the vinaigertte dressing)
    Salt to season.

    • Pre-heat grill for 5 minutes before putting bacon onto cook. 
    • Remove bacon as soon as both sides have been sufficiently grilled. Leave for a couple of minutes to cool down.
    • Remove peel from avocado pear. Cut pear in half removing the stone in the process. Each pear half should be cut into 4/5 slices lengthways. Cut each slice into 3.
    • Tear the bacon rashers into pieces.
    • In a large salad bowl, add the olive oil and white vinegar and salt to season and whisk with a fork.
    • Add the salad leaves, the avocado chunks, roquefort, tomatoes and bacon pieces to the bowl and toss gently ensuring all ingredients are lightly coated in the dressing.
    • Garnish with the walnut pieces.
    • Serve with warm crusty bread and a very, very large chilled glass of Viognier. Cheers!

    Tuesday, 19 July 2011

    Comforting Clafoutis

    Saturday 16 July 2011 was National Cherry Day and in a fitting tribute, I made my own French dessert of Clafoutis. It is quite a rustic yet, deliciously comforting pudding. I am contributing this recipe to the  Simple and in Season July Blog Event  over at Fabulicious Food. Thank you Ren! Also, I am forwarding this to Julia Parsons for the fruity round up on Cherry Pie Blog. Much appreciated Julia!.

    Bowl of Cherries
     Photo credit: JD Wheaton
    Preparation: 15 minutes
    Cooking: 30 minutes

    Portion Control:
    Serves 2-3

    250g cherries
    65g of self raising flour
    35g of ground almond powder (optional)
    4 tbsp of granulated sugar, 2 for batter mixture, 2 for syrup
    180 ml of milk
    30g of unsalted butter, 15g for batter mixture,15g for syrup
    2 medium sized eggs
    1 tsp of vanilla essence
    A sprinkle of salt
    Icing sugar for dusting (optional)


    • Wash cherries thoroughly and remove stalks and stones.
    • Slice each cherry in two.
    • Put oven on at 200 degrees Celsius.
    • Grease an ovenproof dish round the sides and bottom. I used a dish that measured 6'' by 4''.
    • Place flour, ground almond powder, eggs, vanilla essence, salt, sugar, butter and milk into a blender.
    • Whizz the mixture for about 40 seconds making sure that any residue is pushed down the side of blender and leave to rest.
    • In a frying pan, melt the remaining butter and then add the cherries. Shake the pan tossing the cherries ensuring they are coated in butter.
    • Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the cherries and stir the mixture for just over a minute or until you achieve a syrupy consistency.
    • Place the cherries and syrup into the greased ovenproof dish and shake to ensure they are evenly spread.
    • Pour the batter mixture on top of the cherries and place the dish on the medium tray in oven.
    • Bake for 25 minutes.
    • Remove the dish and immediately dust with icing sugar as required.
    • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Yum! Comfort all the way!

    Dessert pour moi: Clafoutis

    Friday, 15 July 2011

    The Walking Week - Tackling the Seven Sisters, Eastbourne

    Continuing my theme of walks this week and to cross off number 1 on my Keeping Fit Wish List is walking the Seven Sisters in the South Downs.

    There are a few of these signs in The Seven Sisters Country Park
    The Seven Sisters is a series of chalk cliffs forming part of the South Downs in East Sussex. They are positioned between Birling Gap and Cuckmere Haven.
    We started off in the seaside resort of Eastbourne just across from The Grand Hotel. As long as you follow the coastal route, you cannot go wrong.
    Our first challenge was to ascend Beachy Head. This is not part of the Seven Sisters series, but if walking from Eastbourne, it is something that has to be conquered! Beachy Head is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 metres above sea level, this explains why it is notorious for it's spate of suicides.
    If your fitness, is anything like mine (i.e. practically non-existent) you'll be puffing and panting all way to the top. It will leave you begging for mercy. Fortunately, this represents the most arduous climb of the walk and while the other cliffs are hardly plain sailing, they are certainly more manageable!
    View from Beachy Head with Eastbourne in sight
    Once you get your breath back, you are all immediately too aware of what is ahead of you. A series of green velvety undulating hills. Just gorgeous!
    The View Ahead from Beachy Head 
    An additional lighthouse was built in the sea in response to mist and low clouds hiding the light of the original Belle Tout(e) Lighthouse. It can be seen in the picture below.
    Looking at Beachy Head and Lighthouse
    Continuing straight ahead, the next striking vision is the original Belle Tout(e) Lighthouse. It has been referred to as Britain's most inhabited lighthouse as the location is used for various film and television programmes.
    Heading towards Belle Tout(e) Lighthouse
    The lighthouse was purchased in 2008 and turned into a luxurious bed and breakfast. Have a sneaky peak at the interior. Who wouldn't want to wake up to 360 views of The South Downs and the English Channel ?

    The view from Belle Tout(e) Lighthouse
    With the lighthouse behind you, you are faced with a great expanse.This is a perfect spot for a picnic. However, be wary, because it is so exposed, at times it suffers from strong winds and you might end up chasing your sandwich! Instead, we decided to settle down for lunch at Birling Gap where we could get a full view of the waves lapping on the edge of the cliffs.
     Birling Gap: A perfect spot for lunch
    Birling Gap represents the start of the Seven Sisters and taking this route they are passed in this order:

    • Went Hill
    • Bailey's Hill
    • Flat Hill
    • Flagstaff Point
    • Brass Point
    • Rough Brow
    • Short Brow
    • Haven Brow - last and highest of the Seven Sisters
    Funnily enough, there are eight peaks and not actually seven so I am not entirely sure which one should be excluded!
    Cuckmere Haven : At the foot of the Seven Sisters
    It does not take too much time to work your way up and down the Seven Sisters. But it finishes at Cuckmere Haven where you can give yourself a huge pat on the back. The walk from here is pretty level as you head out towards Exceat following the Cuckmere River. This should lead you to facing the Exceat Visitor Centre at the end of the track.

    The Cuckmere Valley, heading towards Exceat
    Depending on energy levels from here, you can take the 12/12A bus back to Eastbourne. If you want to challenge yourself further you can continue in the direction of Seaford for approximately 4 miles. This means crossing the Exceat Bridge and following the Cuckmere River on the opposite side.

    On the other side of  Cuckmere Haven, heading towards Seaford
    From Cuckmere Haven, you climb a hill to be walking parallel to Seaford Head Golf Club. Continue to follow the coastline until the hill descends and leads you to the town of  Seaford.
    Trains are not direct from Seaford to Eastbourne but you can change at Lewes.
    Throughout the year, Metropolitan Walkers lead walks in the South Downs, consult their website for further details.
    Alternatively, use Time Out Country Walks which provides a detailed guide of a similar walk in the area.

    Trains are direct from Victoria to Eastbourne
    Distance from Eastbourne to Exceat is 10 miles
    Distance from Eastbourne to Seaford is 14 miles

    For the whole outing and longest walk, allow 12 hours for travel, food and walk.

    Do you have any favourite walks? I'd love to know more about your choices!

    Tuesday, 12 July 2011

    The Walking Week - Lavender Fields in Kent

    Besides eating, making and thinking about food, one of my other passions is taking in the great outdoors, stretching my legs and discovering new and picturesque landscapes. This week I'm posting entries depicting scenic summer country walks.
    This post relates to "The Lavender Walk". We call it this, as we first discovered it during the Lavender Festival which takes place in the first two weeks of July in Shoreham, Kent. It brings a little bit of Provence to our doorstep. This is a relatively easy 8 mile circular walk.
    Our starting point was Eynsford train station where we parked for free (yes, you heard me free, but only at the weekend!).
    Ford over the river Darenth in Eynsford Village
    Crossing over the hump-back bridge in Eynsford village, we were placed nicely in full view of all those paddling, and casting their fishing nets in the ford. The Plough Inn on the right hand side was worth remembering as we called for a well deserved chilled Chablis at the end of the walk. Continuing down the road, we were met with the option to take a small grassy hill on the right with a yellow sign indicating public footpath. Following the incline, we immediately found ourselves isolated from the rest of the world and in a great expanse of vegetation. Looking over to the left, a former Roman acqueduct came into view.
    Former Roman Aqueduct in Darent Valley
    This forms part of the rail infrastructure for South Eastern trains and before too long, we were crossing over the tracks with some trepidation. The paths are relatively easy to follow as previous walkers have carved out a route on the terrain.
    A place we thought was a great spot to pause and watch the world go by was beneath this solitary tree. Feeling you are miles from London, with a view overlooking the Darent Valley, yet you are actually only a short car journey away!
    Single Solitary Tree
    Following on from this spot, we had to cross a few open fields. The striking difference from before was the colours that greeted us; a wave of poppies. A vibrancy of colour, against the parched sandy earth.
    A wave of poppies
    A few fields further on and we were traversing a wood (which I believe is Beechen Wood), to be parallel to Lullingstone Golf Course and then crossing over the golf course (10 seconds maximum!) to end up on Castle Farm Road. From there, we continued to hike up the road taking a left at the brim of the hill at a green public footpath sign. This allowed us to walk parallel to Shoreham village but from a great height, taking in some spectacular scenery.After walking for about 10 minutes, the path levelled out and we had the option to descend the fields into the village.
    Shoreham itself depicts a typically charming English village. You can stop for lunch and dine al fresco at The Two Brewers Pub or if you are in need of a sweet treat, walk further down the main street to come to The Honey Pot which serves a selection of cakes, scones, teas and coffees.
    Photo credit: The Two Brewers Pub
    Just down from The Honey Pot, a little bridge, beckons you to cross the River Darent.
    The Honey Pot. Photo by Kfoftis
    We followed the river in the direction of the left so that we were passing beautiful residences and cottages along the way. Oh to have a country house in Shoreham! Bliss!
    Village Life: Beautiful residence in Shoreham
    The river bank is a popular spot for families and dog walkers alike, it attracts a lot of buzz as people congregate to take advantage of the bursts of sunshine. The river bank route eventually led out to open fields where lavender crops were in full bloom and I was immediately reminded of the South of France.
    Lavender Field in view
    The scent of lavender intensifies as we approached the Hop Farm Lavender Festival. The festival prides itself in selling fragrant lavender bouquets, lavender cakes, biscuits, ice cream and crisps. Even lavender oils are used to provide massages.
    The Lavender Festival is in full swing.
    Photo Credit: The Hop Farm Shop

    Small windmill at Hop Farm
    There is an events diary which can be reviewed for tours and talks but the shop itself is open daily and specialises in selling local produce, some of which are made on site.

    Last Year's Festival :Cooling off in the River Darent
    Last Year, following a visit to the festival and farm shop, we were joined by the others on the grassy bank of the river to dip our toes in the water. Ah! cool and crisp water, oh now my feet were longing for you! However, this area is now continually cordoned off as a health and safety measure. It is a working farm and therefore has to observe strict health and safety guidelines. Leaving the festival we took the route that follows the river and passed Lullingstone Country Park and we eventually came out at the grounds of 15th century Lullingstone Castle .
    Lullingstone Castle
    We followed the main road back, passing Lullingstone Roman Villa  and crossing under the aforementioned aqueduct. This brought us back to the village of Eynsford where had a wee drink and soaked up the sunshine.

    Lavender season runs from June until early August, so even if you have missed the festival, you can still take in the wonderful views around Eynsford and Shoreham and stock up on goodies at the Hop Farm Shop.

    Trains run from London Victoria. If you are taking the train, allow 6-7 hours for the day . This includes travel, food and the walk itself.

    Thursday, 7 July 2011

    Caramelised Banana and Vanilla Smoothie

    Following yesterday's post, this is my second and final entry to the Food Blogger Connect Giveaway for a full weekend pass to the FBC 2011 event.
    Thank you Cusinart for sponsoring such a great giveaway! Did I mention it also includes the opportunity to participate in a cooking demo with Anjum Anand?
    To enter the giveway, you either have to come up with a smoothie recipe yourself, choose one from Cusinart or from one of Anand Anjum's books. Similar to yesterday, this is one of my own creations.
    I am not surprised, there have been many applications with some great flavour combinations so I wish all my fellow foodies the best of luck ;-)
    As a sweet treat, afternoon pick-me-up or even as a dessert, I like to whip up my caramelised and banana smoothie. Think of it as banoffee pie,without the biscuit base!
    The challenge with this recipe is to make sure you take the melted sugar off the heat in time before it burns.Practice makes perfect and a lot of sticky pans!
    Sweet Treat - Caramelised Banana and Vanilla Smoothie

    Preparation: 5 minutes
    Cooking: 5 minutes

    Portion Control:
    2 x 250 ml servings

    2 bananas, skinned and thickly sliced
    50g of caster sugar
    25 grams of butter
    1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons of cold water
    2 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream
    8 medium to large ice cubes


    • In a large frying pan, heat the sugar over a moderate heat, after about 1-2 minutes the sugar will start to caramelise around the edges of the pan. Stir the sugar with a wooden spoon until the sugar has changed to a golden amber colour, being careful not to burn the mixture
    • Remove from the heat and add the butter, vanilla extract and cold water to slow down the cooking process. Stir the mixture thoroughly ensuring the butter has sufficiently melted.
    • Empty the chopped banana into the frying pan and coat the fruit with the sugary mixture.
    • Put the frying pan back onto the heat and cook the bananas for a further 90 seconds ensuring both sides of the banana slices have been exposed to the heat.
    • In a blender, put in the ice cubes, ice cream and the caramelised banana and remaining juices.
    • Blitz the mixture for about 40 seconds ensuring the ice cubes have been sufficiently crushed.
    • Pour mixture into two glasses and consume immediately!
    All you need is a straw and some sunshine!
    Vanilla pods can be substituted for vanilla extract.This can be a sweet concoction, so those of you watching the waistline, may wish to use a lighter version of vanilla ice cream!


    Wednesday, 6 July 2011

    Strawberry, Lime and Basil Smoothie

    Strawberry, Lime and Basil Smoothie
    With Wimbledon season now over, my desire for fresh strawberries has not abated. Fortunately, the nice people at Good Natured sent me some to try. They are free of pesticide residue and are currently in stock at major supermarkets. I wasn't disappointed. The fragrance brought back memories of my last visit to a fruit market in Provence, and rendered me into a mouth watering degenerate. I wanted to create something refreshing and seasonal for Summer using the juicy qualities of the remaining strawberries and a smoothie seemed to be the obvious choice.
    Here is my first entry into this year's Food Blogger Connect competition where Cuisinart is giving away 2 tickets to attend the weekend conference. Successful winners will also have the chance to participate in a cooking demonstration hosted by the lovely Anjum Anand. What an exciting prize!

    Good Natured Strawberries - Check out these babies!
    Preparation: 5 minutes

    Portion Control:
    Serves 2 (250ml per serving)

    2 cups of strawberries, pre-washed
    Juice of half a lime
    2 generous scoops of vanilla ice cream
    6 medium to large sized ice cubes
    3 large basil leaves
    Squeeze of  clear runny honey (if required)
    2 small basil leaves to garnish

    • Remove stalks and chop the strawberries in half and put them in a blender along with the lime juice, large basil leaves, vanilla ice cream and ice cubes.
    • Blend the mixture for around 20 seconds and taste for sweetness. If required, add a squeeze of clear runny honey and re-pulse, making sure the ice cubes are sufficiently crushed.
    • Serve immediately while chilled and garnish with a small basil leaf.
    Dive into Summer!
    This smoothie makes for a lovely start to your day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

    Monday, 4 July 2011

    Eating my way through The Big Feastival, Clapham Common

    Big Feastival Logo
    Last week I was awarded two press passes by Get Involved Ltd  to The Big Feastival being held at London's Clapham Common.
    This promised to be a melange of music and pop-up restaurants created by Essex's own Jamie Oliver with the proceeds going to charity; The Prince's Trust and the Jamie Oliver Foundation. Having been disappointed with food festivals recently, namely Taste and the Foodies Festivals, I had mixed feelings about how I would find this one but in general, the concept was unique and prompted my immediate interest. What furthered my interest was the chance to see Soul II Soul perform on stage to relive my late teenage years!
    Friday was my day of choice and after being hooked to the first men's semi-final of Wimbledon (Tsonga Vs. Djokovic) we decided to head off for The Big Feastival (even when it meant missing my countryman, Andy Murray, playing the following semi-final).On arrival, we decided to head for The Big Kitchen where chefs were providing cooking demos, regrettably, we missed Michael Caines but with a few minutes to wait, Jamie Oliver appeared to cook-up some impromptu dishes.
    The Big Kitchen Line Up
    The Big Kitchen was held in a sizeable marquee and on a very warm Friday evening, this provided sauna-like qualities with the heat intensifying as more people entered.
    It wasn't too long before Jamie and Gennaro Contaldo emerged almost as a comedy duo with Jamie referring to a recent episode of Two Greedy Italians where Gennaro pulls octopus out of his speedos (Gladly, I missed that episode!).
    Jamie and Gennaro prepare to entertain
    Jamie cooked smoked trout using a biscuit tin, wire mesh and oak chippings to flavour and smoke the fish. He also prepared courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta cheese, mint and basil, while Gennaro made Panzanella. As the temperature soared in the tarpaulin, we started to wilt and made a quick exit to the great outdoors.
    We were blessed with the choice of pop-ups to amaze and dazzle our taste buds. 
    Each ticket or pass provided 3 meals from any restaurant. The tickets were retailing at £35, with special offers on the day from Kelkoo  quoting £15 per ticket. 
    Any drinks had to be bought with cash only which I think is a bit of a flaw in this concept. The nearest cash point is far from the event (across the Common) so your budget for drinks is dependent on the cash you have on you. If credit/debit cards had been accepted, we would have spent a lot more on refreshments so I think the organisers have missed a trick here.
    So who to visit and what to taste? I was delighted to see Trinity with a stall but less impressed with what they were offering; a Clarence Court Scotch Egg. I think if you are a fan of Scotch eggs then this would be for you, sadly I'm not an admirer.If only they had another option, what a shame!
    Our first choice and our favourite of the day was the offering from Cafe Spice Namaste:
    Welsh lamb kofta, coconut curry and cumin flavoured rice 
    This dish was absolutely superb, a taste explosion which left us begging for more. I'm pleased to say that the portion sizes at the event were very generous, so I was more than happy to share my dishes with hubbie.
    Following this scrumptious pleasure, we made our way over to the Malaysian restaurant Awana.
     Chicken Satay and Roti by Awana
    Awana were serving corn-fed chicken satay with roti (Malaysian bread). Marinated chicken skewers roasted over charcoal, coated in a thick peanut, piquant and sweet sauce was a tasty top treat.
    Next on the menu was the Pit smoke barbeque pork shoulder with slaw from Barbecoa.
    Beautifully, sweet tender pork that dissolved in your mouth enveloped in a tangy, moreish coating. Lovely, all in moderation of course!
    Barbecoa slow cooked pork shoulder and slaw
    With such a selection, where to next? How about Franklins pop-up who were serving a rabbit, bacon and beer stew.
    Frankin's Rabbit Stew
    I rarely get the chance to eat rabbit, so I was really pleased with this option, even though it was probably an unusual choice for a summer dish. The consistency of the stew was very thin, more like a soup than a stew, but I really enjoyed tasting the delicate rabbit among the cinnamon and clove perfumed jus.
    Being Scottish, I do try and honour the culinary traditions (deep fried Mars Bar being the notable exception, of course!) so when I saw Albannach's offering of "Haggis, Neeps and Tatties" on their menu, I thought I should give it a go. I've never really been a lover of haggis but I think the free shot of Malt Whisky for my hubbie was worth a try.

    Albannach's Haggis Neeps and Tatties
    Emmm, my thoughts?I'm glad I tried it, if only to confirm, I still have not been converted! My other half really enjoyed it, along with the serving of Talisker while I savoured the creamy, buttery, velvet mash.
    A little repose from feeding our faces was required as we walked around the venue to take in the sights and sounds of the feastival.

    The Main Stage
    It was a hive of activity with not just food taking centre stage.Wondering around we noticed lots of families with children having their faces painted, Musical Bingo was taking place at the WI Tent and a crowd had gathered for the Cocktail Making Class.Giant sized tea cups adorned the field as children and adults alike lined up to have their photo taken in and beside them.
    Seating was limited but there was a main long dining table available across from the BBQ Competition Tent.
    Dining Al Fresco at the Big Feastival
     We concluded our feast with, taking dessert from Vinoteca:
    Dark Chocolate Cremoso with Fresh English Raspberries, Coconut and Toasted Almonds
    Vinoteca's served chocolate cremeso showered with toasted flaked almonds, raspberries and a coconut tuile. As we delved in, we could hear Danny Rampling's dulcet tones as he rolled out the tunes.Jamie Oliver soon took the mic to explain he was about to hand out churros and chocolate to the gathering crowd. I thought this was a nice touch and showed how much Jamie was actually getting stuck in to the event and was not merely a name associated with the feastival.
    As the night drew in, we were invited over to the main stage where Soul II Soul were appearing.I loved every minute of their presence as they went back to the late '80's to perform classics such as "Keep on 
    Movin'" and "Back to Life". Well, what can I say? Jazzie B and Carron Wheeler - You Still Got It!! Big Time!

    Getting on down with Jazzie B
    All in all, a really super event for worthwhile causes. A good atmosphere, a great sense of community spirit and a nice mix of music and food choices. Bravo Jamie Oliver! for organising such a fun, lively and good natured event! Hopefully it will be repeated in the years to come.
    I think I can now cross number 2 off in the events section of my Wish List.