On every foodies pre-Christmas calendar is the BBC Good Food Show Winter. I’ve been for the last 3 years, but this year is the first time I’ve been given a press pass. I went along last Sunday to try and pick up some last minute deals.
I’d been at work at Free Radio Live the night before, so me and my other half headed down early so we could get away by lunchtime and spend the rest of the day on the sofa with our haul.
Here’s a run down of all the lovely goodies we picked up!
All the way from Scotland, Mackies crisps come in a range of interesting flavours. We picked up some in venison and cranberry, haggis and cracked black pepper, scotch bonnet chilli and honey and mustard to name a few. At £1 a bag these were a steal, and definitely better value than supermarket luxury crisps. The honey and mustard ones didn’t make it til the end of the day, they were delicious with a really good, hot mustard kick. I can’t wait to try the rest!
Little Doone Balsamic Vinegar
I love balsamic vinegar. The stuff doesn’t last 5 minutes in my house as it goes on everything, including salad, roast dinners, gravy, cheese, bread, you name it. Steven and I discovered the Little Doone stall by literally following our noses. Their balsamic vinegar comes in a selection of flavours, all made from natural ingredients with no nasties. We had a taste of them all and decided to buy 3 bottles as we couldn’t pick our favourites! We went for the lemon infused balsamic as an all rounder to go with most things. I picked the ginger balsamic which was rich, sticky and had an almost oriental flavour which would go brilliantly with Chinese or Thai flavours. Then the piece de resistance was the raspberry balsamic. This was so delicious I could have drunk it, the tangy, sweet raspberries with the intense savouriness of the balsamic was a perfect match. I’ll be surprised if that one makes it until the end of December!!
Stainswick Farm Rapeseed Oil
Rapeseed oil is now being touted as the British alternative to olive oil. It benefits from a similarly high smoke point which makes it ideal for cooking, and it takes flavours really well. Stainwick Farm had a wide selection of different flavoured oils to choose from and some great discount offers for multiple buys. After a quick look I made a beeline for the white truffle infused oil, which was, as expected, delicious, so that went straight in the bag. I can’t wait to crack that open to drizzle on chips with some parmesan shavings, very indulgent! Ste likes his spice, and after sampling all 3 chilli infused oils, he decided on Chilli Zing, hot enough to feel it, but with a lovely flavour. Finally we both spotted the smoked oil. I have never seen smoked oil before and I was really intruiged, the flavour is quite strong but I really liked it, and thought it would work really well when trying to create that barbecue flavour without having an actual smoker, so we chose that as our final bottle.
My experiences with home brewing so far haven’t been great, but I love the idea of making my own beer to share with friends. We were beckoned over by the gents at the Moonshine Brewing stall after spotting my bag of pork scratching. After all, you can’t have scratching without a beer! They showed us their idiot proof home brewing bag, which simple requires you to add water to the bag, top with the packet of yeast and leave for 2 weeks to do its thing. I’m partial to a lighter beer, while Ste prefers dark, so as it was £25 for one or £45 for two we decided to give it a go and got both the Cheesemakers Golden ale and Dark Adder dark ale kits. We’ll be brewing them up this weekend in time for our Christmas party so check back in a fortnight for the results!
I’m not a great fan of Christmas pudding, as I often find shop bought ones aren’t great in flavour or texture, and after making 3 Christmas cakes I haven’t got the patience to make a pudding as well! However, not wanting Ste to be left out, we stumbled upon the Burtree Christmas pudding stall. With 3 flavours to choose from he was spoilt for choice. We had a sample of all 3, and even I thought they were delicious, but the standout winner for both of us was their gluten-free Christmas pudding with cider and orange. It had such a delicious, fruity flavour we had to get one. We met another customer who said their main reason for going to the Good Food Show was to pick up one of these puddings, so I think we made a good choice.
Spice Kitchen UK
I have waxed lyrical about Spice Kitchen UK on more than one occasion on my blog, but I have to say, my praise is well deserved! Sanjay and Shashi were both at the show with chef Tom and a huge selection of products to play with. I already have the North African and Middle Eastern spice tin and have bought the Moroccan spice tin as a Christmas gift, so this time it was Ste’s turn to get some spices. Shashi helped him pick out this beautiful Indian spice tin with award winning Garam Masala, while I got stuck into the special festive loose leaf tea mixes. We ended up leaving with the tin, masala chai, cranberry and Clementine and spiced orange tea, as well as a mulled wine spice mix and of course, a copy of Spices and Spandex kindly signed by the charming Tom. We’ve already added curry to our Christmas party menu, so our guests are going to be in for a treat!
If there’s something that meat loves, it’s a good rub. In fact, in my experience, fish can also benefit from a little rub! So when we spied Spicentice rubs, we had to pick up a few to test out. Their final day offer was 5 rubs for £10, so we took full advantage and walked away with chimichurri, ras el hanout, barbecue, tandoori and chipotle. All of them smelt delicious and had plenty of ground spices and herbs, so I’m looking forward to putting them to good use.
The Wild Peanut
Peanut butter divides opinion in our house. Ste hates it, I love it, and one of my favourite things to do with it is put it in a banana smoothie. So, when I saw that The Wild Peanut had a peanut butter called I’m Bananas with real banana powder, honey and no sugar, I had to give it a try. It tasted amazing, and you could definitely taste the banana, so I picked some up as a little guilty pleasure for me to have for breakfast.
A good pork pie is a thing of wonder. Crispy, flaky pastry, good quality meat and just enough jelly. Unfortunately, good pork pies also appear to be a bit of a rarity, so we had to grab one of the slow cooked pork pies from Tottle Pies. Their classic pork pie had already sold out at 11am, so the other options were cheddar and ale or stilton. I swore off stilton in my teens as I just couldn’t bear the smell, but the older I get, the more I like it. The saltiness of the cheese coupled with the lovely slow cooked pork in this pie was just delicious, so we grabbed a small one for us to share. It has already been eaten, which is testament to its tastiness.
Mr Vikkis Chutneys
I love a good chutney, whether to serve with cheese, popadoms or crisps, having a good selection is a must in my storecupboard. We came across Mr Vikkis early on in the show and were drawn to the stall to investigate their Great Taste Golden Fork award for their Banana Habanero chutney. It sounds strange, or like it would taste like a spicy banana, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This chutney is absolutely delicious, hot, fruity and so tasty I could practically eat it with a spoon. The garlic pickle was also fantastic and really spicy. We took them up on their offer of 4 jars for £15.
I first encountered Woodalls Charcuterie at last year’s Good Food Show. Their delicious air cured ham came home with me and was devoured very quickly, so when I saw them again I had to stop by. They also had a final day offer on, with 5 packs of their meats for just £10, so we went for it. With Cumrian ham, Royale ham, smoked pancetta and Cumberland salami, this little selection will make a great addition to my antipasti platter at Christmas. If it makes it to Christmas that is!
As you can see, we picked up rather a lot of lovely items! I love the fact that we’ll be able to share all of them with friends and family over Christmas, and create a buffet table full of unique products from independent brands and producers.