Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Fffood Swap

Who likes food?  Put your hand up.

Ok, cool! I see you!  Now, who wants to swap some food?

Yes, 'swap', not buy - no small change necessary.  Intrigued?

Well, if you are, come on down and see what a fantastic local community foodie Fffood Swap is all about!  There'll also be lots more foodie fun and fodder for you, including a gluten free food demonstration from me where I'll be showing you how to make a delicious Lemon and Lavender Cake and some Summer Bircher Muesli with Perkier gluten free porridge mixes.

And if you have any produce from your garden, come and swap some for another person's carrots (or brocolli, or fruit and berries)  but even if you don't have your own home grown fruit and veggies, come on down anyway as we'll also be swapping old cookbooks, utensils and things you have in your kitchen that you don't use anymore.  Yes folks, this is modern recycling and reusing at it's best!  Just come along, it'll be heaps of fun.

All this is taking place on Saturday 31st August 2013 from 2pm - 4pm at the Subscription Rooms, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.  I'd love to see you there!

They'll be tea and cake served by The Canteen of Nailsworth too! Yum!

So what's food swapping all about?

Throughout history food has been swapped and traded yet in our busy lifestyles sharing over the garden fence seems to have dwindled and reliance on fast and convenience foods has grown.

The aim of the swap is to bring like-minded people together, reduce waste and save people money. With the origin of our food being questioned in the press lately, people are more keen than ever to know where their food actually comes from, so, what better way than to meet with the growers and producers face to face over a cup of tea and a cake down at a village hall.

Domonic White, founder of ‘FFfood!’ says, “We wanted to hold the event at a time when there is real glut of food, people harvesting from their allotments and baking for their children during the summer holidays. We are hoping it will be a fun, social event that brings the community together, creates a buzz around home produce and that it becomes a regular event in everyone’s calendar”.

The swap encourages people to trade home-made, home-grown, and seasonal produce with each other. Swappers will have the option to put their wares out on a display table or simply mingle with other swappers as they walk around.

A few commercial stalls will showcase local food and drink suppliers who share the same ethos as FFfood! If you are interested in having stall, please contact immediately.

So come along to the  ‘FFfood! Swap’ on Saturday, it's FREE!  Or for further information on swapping you can contact me or the team on  //

You can also WIN a fantastic foodie hamper - see the Facebook page for more info  or follow on Twitter @fffood_

Monday, 19 August 2013

Lemon and Thyme Drizzle Cake

Are you ready for another episode of Dishes Undressed? It's a good one this month - it's baking!

Yes.... get your Kitchenaids at the ready.  A really easy and deliciously chic little afternoon loaf cake you can eat all by yourself... or err.. share with friends and family ;)

Let's go!

Note:  When I say 'flour' in the video I used Doves Gluten Free Self Raising Flour.  I just forgot to say that. But if you aren't following a gluten free diet and want to use normal flour, the same amount of flour will work the same!

Dishes Undressed Recipe #3 Lemon Drizzle Cake from Golby Creative on Vimeo.

3 Lemons (3 tablespoons of juice in the cake, 2 tablespoons in syrup)
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
125g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour or / standard Self Raising Flour
100g Unsalted butter
125g Caster sugar
2 Medium eggs

3 tablespoons Icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Preheat your oven to 180 fan, 190 conventional and gas mark 5.

Line a baking loaf tin with baking paper.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, or Kitchenaid, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, add the lemon juice, half the lemon rind and the thyme leaves -  and then fold in the flour until just combined (don't overmix).

Pour the mixture into the greased and lined loaf baking tin.

Bake in your pre-heated oven for about 40/45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean form the centre.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing...

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mix slowly into a paste with the icing sugar, add the other table spoon and repeat,... until the mixture slowly comes together into a runny consistency (add more water if the mixture is still a little too thick).  

Prick holes in the cake gently with a fork just on the top and pour the drizzle syrup over and sprinkle with the remaining fresh thyme leaves.  The syrup will absorb into the cake and make it moist, sweet, and tasting like heaven.  

Enjoy it with a cup of tea and a dollop of fresh cream!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Food and coffee memories - Part 1

I've been meaning to write this blog post for a while and for whatever reason it's never actually made it to the keyboard.

For those of you who know me, you will know that I love coffee.  Coffee and cafes.  Coffee and brunch.  Coffee and people watching.  Coffee and friends and chatter and gossip.

Photography by Sally May Mills ©

I do have to make sure I only have a maximum of 2 coffees a day now because otherwise it affects my sleep, but I do get by ok :)

When I was out in Western Australia I drank quite a bit more.  Because it's totally different over there.  The quality of the coffee is amazingly good (tasty, not bitter) it doesn't affect me in the same way - and the Australian baristas make it so well too.  They are seriously passionate about the quality of the coffee and are total experts.  I learned so much from them and even went on a coffee workshop when I was there to learn more about these delicious little beans and their origins!

I made some great friends in WA, one in particular was my great friend Warwick.  I say ' great' because Warwick was a whole 6ft 4in tall and towered above me.  I met Warwick in 2009 when we were on a tour together in the South West region of Western Australia.  I remember this tall Kiwi guy who was really laid back and unassuming.  When I returned to WA in 2011 he was the best buddy a girl could ever ask for.  We shared a love of the great outdoors, the beach and coffee... and people watching.  Warwick introduced me to all his favourite coffee hang-outs and they soon became mine too.  Hanging out over great coffee was one of my favourite things to do, even if I would often be whinging like a whinging pom! (Thankfully he trained me out of this terrible british habit and made get a little more 'laid back' like the Western Australians!)

Photography by Sally May Mills © 

There were a lot of ups and downs during the time I spent in W.A;  I became homesick (yeah I don't know why, it's Australia, right?)  I also met up with a previous boyfriend and ended up (foolishly) falling for him again (the rest of that I'll fill you in on one day!).  Warwick did try to warn me, but as us girl's usually do, I didn't listen (Oops).  I guess you only learn the hard way sometimes.  Like the waves that came to the shore, I was learning which ones I wanted to ride and which to let go.   Thankfully, a cup of coffee was always close by to soften the blow.

Thankfully the happier memories still remain.  The mornings I spent having 'brekkie' and 'brunch' at my favourite cafes in Perth, and chatting with my new found friends...I will treasure forever.

Photography by Sally May Mills ©

There's so much more to Australia than the beach (which you hardly ever go to because it's just too damn hot)  the coffee and the food (and the blue skies) and people I met are what I'll remember the most.

Photography by Sally May Mills ©

I started reading a blog when I was over there called Crema and Crumbs.  Warwick and I would choose our next 'coffee place' to visit through this blog sometimes and when I returned home, reading this blog again bought back so many memories.  The photos really tell a story, and the colours and light really are that vibrant in Australia - Sally May Mills the writer and photographer behind the blog captures the cafe scenes and coffee perfectly - it's just how I remember :)  And she's kindly let me share some of her photos from her travels in this blog post for you all to see and experience a little bit of Australian sunshine and welcome too.

Check out her blogs Crema and Crumbs and Remote and Raw for more sunshine, food, coffee and travel inspiration.

As for the rest of my Australian adventures, memories and story .... To be continued.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

YO! Sushi

I love sushi.  I love it very much (but you don't get a lot of it around these parts of the west country).  So I was very pleased when I saw a big orange sign pop up in my hometown, Cheltenham this summer.  It could only be YO! Sushi. *Applause*.

Sushi for all, even if you don't like fish - plenty of veg, chicken, beef, noodles and rice dishes to choose!

The shopfitters quickly worked their magic on the old Pizza Hut unit on the Promenade, turning it into a new sushi haven.  Each morning on my way to the office this summer, I've watched the transformation unfold.

And today YO! Sushi Cheltenham opened it's doors to the foodie loving public of Gloucestershire.

Now, if you've not visited a YO! Sushi restaurant before, prepare to be amazed.  YO! Sushi isn't just about the great food, it's about the experience itself - self-serving and picking your plates which drive by in front of you on a conveyor belt (a bit like in the 1980's TV gameshow, The Generation Game).  And all dishes are freshly prepared by the chefs, right in front of you - watching them roll sushi is just so cool!

Basically, this is how it works;  Sit down, choose your plate, pick up your chopsticks (don't worry there are wooden knifes and forks for you folks who can't use chopsticks)  and eat.

Then start again.  If you get stuck (like me) and look at the food in front of you and wonder, 'what's that?'  you're given a handy little manual/menu that shows you pictures of each dish and tells you what it is and what's in it.

Once you've eaten and you've stacked up your plates.  The waitress then adds up your plates and you pay the bill.  TA DA!  The plates are all colour coded by price and if you get stuck, your little manual/menu that tells how much it is too (so you can decide whether you want to pay for that dish before you pick it up and eat it).  It's so easy.

And for you people who are still stuck in the stoneage and think that sushi is just raw fish, you couldn't be more wrong.  Sushi comes for all - vegetarian too (heaps of choice here, I love their fruit salad sushi and avocado sushi).  You see, although sushi is at the heart of the concept, there is a choice of Japanese inspired items too, including delicious soups, rice or noodle-based dishes, salads, tempura and hot classics like best-sellers Chicken Katsu Curry, Salmon Teriyaki and Yakisoba noodles.  Oh gosh there's so much choice!

Great service for Gluten Free and allergies too - they have this manual menu which lists the ingredients for every dish - and if you call ahead and tell the staff what your allergy is they will prepare your sushi especially - yes, they're that awesome.  Even a gluten free soy sauce especially for you!  A lot of the menu is gluten free, so it's a real breeze.

Take you're friends, hang out, have a beer, laugh at each other's chopstick skills and chat to the chefs while they're rolling sushi in front of you.  Saturday night food and entertainment has never been as good.  Enjoy!  (And if you go, can I come too?)


Monday, 5 August 2013

Dining out in Cheltenham

One of the things I love about going on holiday is dining out, al fresco, in the sunshine -  you just can't beat it.  I love lingering over every bite and knowing that I don't have to be anywhere, on anybody's schedule for the rest of the day.  When you're relaxed, you enjoy the food, the company and conversation that little bit more.  It's one of life's simple and perfect pleasures, don't you agree?

I've been working so hard recently, I've kind of forgotten to take a break and a holiday, Ooops.  But sometimes just a special 'time out' lunch or dinner with good company is just as great and does the trick  - especially in Cheltenham, when the weather is sunny, Cheltenham is really pretty and there's no excuse not to enjoy great food in the sunshine (and you can always pretend you're in the south of France.  I do).

// Yep, that's purple basil! //

I'm always keen to try somewhere new, so was a bit excited when I heard that the Hotel Du Vin in Cheltenham had released their new Al Fresco menu.  Reading a menu is so much fun, isn't it?  Seeing the choices and deciding what you fancy -  and it always makes it even more special when a lot of the menu is gluten free and I have a choice of not only one dish, but maybe two or three (a rare occasion)!  Which is where this menu scored extra points!

Not only did the menu have a great choice, but the team were so accommodating to me following a gluten free (and nut free!) diet that I felt so relaxed and welcomed - offering alternatives and recommendations - I really couldn't have asked for more.  This kind of service goes a long way!

I'll let the food do the talking now - as they say, a photograph says a thousand words, so I'll just share some of the photos from my delicious lunch 'time out' break. I'm taking my friends and family back for dinner soon because the Al Fresco menu ends on 31st August and I definitely had food envy when my dining partner had a perfect medium rare steak (Ooohhh!) so I want to try that.. Oh and everything else on the menu too!

 **Applause **

You can view and download the Al Fresco menu here.
Go on, treat a friend, a loved one, or someone special!!

And if you're looking for a great Christmas Party Menu (yet it's time to book up!) check out theirs... it's awesome! > have a look and book quickly.

Hotel Du Vin is on the Parabola Road, Cheltenham. You can't miss it.