On Sunday you will be 1.. 365 days old. Wowzer. You are such a big girl. I wrote this poem just for you and one day we will read it together:
This time last year
This time last year
I hadn’t met you
Hadn’t squeezed your chubby legs
Or smoothed your soft skin
I hadn’t felt your fingers curl around mine
Or heard you say mama
For the very first time
This time last year
You were still in my belly
Kicking and punching
When I relaxed to watch telly
You were almost ready
But just not quite
Waiting for when you felt the time
Its been a wonderful year
But amazing and happy
The best one so far
Each day you discover something
And I in turn discover
One of the best parts of being a blogger has to be when you get invited to events that are really relevant to you. I was recently invited to attend The Welsh Menu Live which is a food festival held in S. Wales and it was a really fun weekend.
The event was spread over three days (sat-mon) with a launch dinner held on the Friday evening.
I’ll share the launch dinner menu with you just to make you drool a little:
Tutored taste of Gower menu
Selection of Canapés
Crostini topped with Welsh Goats Cheese & Cherry Tomato
Deep Fried Cockles
Gower New Potato Crisps
Cream of Leek & Potato Soup
Smoked Salmon with a Lemon & Dill Crème Fraiche
Topped with a Micro Herb Salad
Smooth Chicken Liver Parfait with a Welsh Oatmeal Cracker
Medley of Salt Marsh Lamb with Cherry Tomato & Rosemary Chutney on
a bed of Crushed Gower Potatoes with a Red wine Jus
Welsh Cake flavored Parfait on a Biscuit Base with Merlyn Anglaise
Freshly Brewed Tea & Coffee
I know ..WOW. Each course was delicious and cooked to perfection but my favourite had to be the leek and potato soup which had truffle oil as a special ingredient. It was truly scrumptious.
It was a really enjoyable night with each course being fully explained as to where it came from and how it was cooked BBC newsreader Jamie Owen was the compere and as the night wore on ..and the free wine was consumed his chatter become funnier and funnier.
Anyway on to the actual food festival. I attended on both Saturday and Sunday and saw demonstrations from Jo Wheatley ( winner of GBBO 2011) and Luke Thomas – if you haven’t heard of this guy read about him here and you will be amazed. Both demonstrations were really interesting and the end result delicious .. We tasted chocolate macaroons from Jo and Welsh Lamb with braised lettuce and goats cheese from Luke and it was fabulous.. And free 😉
We attended wine tasting demos, watched live music in castle gardens, ate street food and witnessed a live cook off in the local market and we loved it.. The only slight criticism I had is that there were not enough food stalls.. When I am at a food festival I want to be surrounded by a million flavours and enough samples to keep me going till dinner! Ha maybe I am just greedy. Although there weren’t as many as I’d like the quality of the stalls that were there was just fantastic. The preservation society, Cowpots and Taste of Persia to name just a few of my faves.
I wish there were more events like this in my local area although I don’t know if my bank balance could take it, I managed to squeeze an awful lot of goodies under Izzys pram!
Some pics below of a wonderful weekend:
Crostini topped with Welsh Goats Cheese & Cherry Tomato
Deep Fried Cockles
Gower New Potato Crisps:
Smoked Salmon with a Lemon & Dill Crème Fraiche
Topped with a Micro Herb Salad
Pulled pork from The Munchbox street food:
Delicious burger with beetroot purée from Got Beef gourmet burgers:
The Got Beef van:
Me munching on said burger:
A cava cocktail using raspberry vinegar from The preservation society:
Blurry pic of Jo Wheatley making macaroons, they tasted so good:
Themarket cook off:
Amongst other things I bought :
Garlic cheese and bubblegum ice cream from Cowpots (www.cowpotsicecream.co.uk)
Raspberry vingegar, sweet chilli jam and garlic&chilli rapeseed oil from The preservation society ( http://the-preservation-society.co.uk/ )
Baklava from A taste of Persia ( twitter: @tasteof_persia ) … so good.
Strawberries from Murton Farm Gower
I was pretty impressed with everything above and will definitely purchase again.
Hopefully the event will be back next year and I really do urge you to visit if it does.
As today is my last day of maternity leave ( big sad face) I have spent the morning reminiscing over this amazing year and on trawling through a thousand pics on my iPhone I found these few pics from the week before Izzy as born last September.
Firstly there is a pic of our good friends wedding, I felt and looked like a whale but I was glad we could attend:
I also seemed to do a LOT of baking that week starting with butterfly cakes:
Then cheese and potato pie:
Ending with a pineapple upside down cake:
I took pics of little shoes:
And the cot all ready for a precious bundle:
On the day my waters broke Andrew trying on a funny mask at a local charity shop:
And finally three weeks early our beautiful baby girl :
Just a very quick recipe for you as I made these last night and they were so easy but soooo good.
We are currently having a meat free fortnight,not for any ethical reason really but I like to try out new veggie recipes occasionally and of course it makes the weekly shop a lot cheaper!
Stuffed portobello mushrooms
2 mushroom halves
100g cream cheese ( I used light cream cheese)
2 cubes of frozen spinach defrosted and drained of excess water
Teaspoon of garlic puree or 2 crushed cloves
Chilli flakes ( depends on how hot you want it,I added a 1/4 teaspoon)
Freshly ground pepper
50g of parmesan grated
Mix cream cheese with spinach,garlic, chilli and 1/2 the parmesan and fill your mushroom halves. Sprinkle over remaining Parmesan and season with black pepper. Place in a preheated oven at gas mark 4 (180) for 20 mins until golden in colour.
I served mine with veggies and cauliflower cheese but it would be equally nice with a simple salad.
So a few weeks ago we arrived home from the most amazing four days at Camp Bestival in Dorset. Exhausted, grubby, tanned and very happy. I was excited before we went but I could never have imagined just how good this festival would be.
There was so much to see and do all day long that it was more than a little overwhelming, the size on the festival site is incredible and at first it seems that you will never find your way about but we quickly got to grips with everything and by Saturday we felt like Camp Bestival regulars.
It is so much more than a music festival. It’s somewhere I could have happily taken my parents as well as my child and I know that they would have enjoyed it.
It was impossible to see everything we wanted to but I managed to see/try most things on my list which you can read here
Here is my Camp Bestival Diary 2012:
Day 1: We arrived at around midday on Thursday 26th and found out car park and camping plus plot with ease. Camping Plus is something I would definitely recommend. It costs an additional £100 per plot (not per person) but your camping spot is laid out for you, nobody can go into your space and there are posh showers and toilets just for camping plus customers. There are also special cafes/stalls which rarely had huge queues. I would do this again for sure. The rest of the evening was mainly wandering around the site and then chilling outside our tent watching what seemed like an Olympic contest for biggest and best tent going on all around us.
As I am not earning at the moment (maternity leave) we were hoping to keep to a fairly small budget for eating out so we look lots of foodie bits with us as well as the camping stove. New blog post coming soon all about camping food. After a lovely relaxing meal in the sunshine ( today has been so hot) we got set up for bed and had an early night.
Day 2: On waking up and setting up for breakfast we discovered our gas bottle was in fact now empty. Oops. We made a short trip into town and then back to the beautiful festival site just in time for a quick lunch at the tent and back into the midst of things..
It’s hard to explain how much there is to do, eat and watch here .. You could walk around all day long and still not cover everything. So far today we have watched extreme sports, various bands and musicians, eaten ice cream, drank coconut water straight from the shells as well as trying tightrope walking , had lots of freebies and sun bathed. What a glorious day.
When you are in a crowd of 30,000 people you don’t expect to bump into people you know let alone people you vaguely recognise from a profile pic on twitter but that’s what happened.. After an organised meet with the lovely Aresidence,Melkshammum and bluebearwood earlier in the day I bumped into Abi (midwifetomum) Neil (higheight) and their gorgeous daughter Bo whilst taking an evening stroll, it was really nice to meet the people behind the tweets and we arranged to meet for drinks the following eve.
We ended day 2 watching Hot Chip with a sleeping baby across my lap sprawled on the grass near the castle. Perfect end to a pretty perfect day.
Day 3: All of the activities and fun seem to be wearing Izzy out and she had a lovely long sleep last night. Yay. This means we are all bright and refreshed today and ready for an action filled day. A nice big bacon butty breakfast by the tent and we head down to the castle stage to watch The Gruffalo.. A huge crowd of tired and hungover parents are soon cheered by an unbelievably lively albeit slightly inappropriate Dick & Dom and when The Gruffalo starts every childs face in the audience lights up and its amazing. Izzy unfortunately slept through most of The Gruffalo but she woke up in time for Mr Tumble and I’m so glad she did as he was fantastic. I hadn’t really appreciated how good he was until he was on stage but he was fab, myself and Izzy loved it.
Quick break back at the tent for lunch then it was off to meet Shrek. Woop. Should I really have been more excited than my child to see the REAL Shrek in person?! Probably not but I was and we even got to have a pic with him and Donkey. Fun. Izzy is obsessed with her shrek toy and she seemed happily shocked to see a lifesize version.
It’s a little cooler today which is good news as although I love the sun it’s been a constant struggle to keep Izzy cool then warm (in the shade) and she is covered in a thin sheen of suncream at all times. Having said that the camp bestival site has plenty of shaded areas to chill out in for when the sun is just too strong as well as baby chill out areas and soft play tents. The chill out tent had lots of bepathen freebies too which was nice.
After a lazy few hours of strolling along eating ice cream and allowing myself a cheeky glass of Pimms whilst doing the hump watching The Rizzle Kicks we headed down to the Kids field to meet up with the lovely Abi,Neil&Bo. We walked down to the bandstand and sat down ready to chill out listening to Howard Marks reading an unusual version of Jack and the beanstalk. Lots of fun. This was a unique experience. His melodic voice calmed even the most boisterous children and five minutes in they were hanging on his every word. His version of Jack and the beanstalk with explanations of what a widow is and his own take on the moral of the story was truly a delight. Probably one of my fave CB experiences.
After the bedtime story we were hungry and had the most delicious chicken nachos from the funky and friendly Luardos. If you see their pink van at any festivals you just have to try their food. It’s the best street food/festival grub I have ever tried. Sprawled on the grass eating our food whilst Izzy played with new friend Bo we listened to Gekko- I’ll be honest I’d never heard of these guys prior to this and maybe if they hadn’t been on immediately after HM I wouldn’t have thought to watch them but I’m so glad I did. I loved their set and loved their obvious shock and glee when the enthralled audience demanded an encore. Will be keeping an eye/ear out their future gigs. After the it we checked out the Young British Foodies tent.. This as my third visit to the tent as I just loved walking round the stalls but we made our first and only purchase there which I think was the best decision we could have made.. RIBS! Seriously the best Ribs I have ever tasted from the Ribman. Ahh heavenly.
Next on our list of things to do was heading to the castle field to watch Kool and the gang. I was so excited as growing up my dad loved them and so I often heard their songs around the house. Kool and the gang were in a word EPIC. I rarely use that word but wow I loved it. A few songs they started with were well before my time I’m sure but we bopped along anyway but when they began to play their biggest hits such as: ladies nights, get down on it, Cherish ( my dads fave) and the massive crowd pleaser Celebrate it just became one of my favourite festival experiences ever. Such a happy lively group of singers and so energetic! The crowd were happy and it’s one of those songs which everyone will have personal memories attached from parties and their own previous celebrations. If you get a chance to see KOTG live – Do it.
Day 4: Tired today after a busy day yesterday so we have a lazy morning and wander around the festival site we then queue to see The Wall of death making sure Izzy has her ear defenders on. What a fab experience! If you see the wall of death at any events or festivals make sure you go and look inside. So much fun and Izzy was enthralled. We have a quick lunch and then head to see Rolf Harris take over the Castle stage. This was fun, we sang along and listened to his stories before going to The Dingle Dell for some poetry followed by a secret gig! Lianne La Havas was this years secret performer and she has an extremely beautiful voice and it was nice being part of such a small performance. We headed back to the tent after the secret gig and packed everything up ready for our journey home tonight and within the hour we were back out and ready to treat ourself to some festie food..after all we had packed the stove away.
I chose to have a lamb flatbread kebab.. Yum. I was even inspired weeks later to make flatbreads after eating this, you can find that recipe here and Andrew chose Chicken &Chorizo Paella both were from lovely food stalls in the castle stage field. We also had some fresh lemonade from the Paella stand which was gorgeous. Whilst munching the opening song of Dub Pistols set started and the crowd loved it, We have seen Dub Pistols perform live 3 times and they are an amazing live act that really get the crowd going. We couldn’t have ended the festival on a better note. We left just as The Happy Mondays got started and it was a peaceful exit and journey home which I imagine would have been slightly more stressful if we had left on the Monday morning.
Overall it was an absolutely amazing festival experience. We are really hoping to go again next year and I would say its suitable for ALL ages.
Check out our Camp Bestival photo diary
Early bird tickets are available now so go to www.campbestival.com and buy yourself a guaranteed fantastic holiday experience for next year!
* I was lucky enough to be offered free tickets for this years festival in exchange for an honest review.
A few weeks ago I realised that I was feeding Izzy a lot of ready made baby foods. Ok so I had an excuse as we had been away and it just wasn’t possible to prepare food for Izzy at festivals otherwise but since being home I have been determined to change her diet and introduce new foods and textures.
In the last few weeks we have tried lots of new foods with various levels of success.
You can find the recipe here
I adjusted the sugar levels slightly as was a little too much for my liking but otherwise I kept it the same.
Izzy had these for breakfast served slightly warm spread with unsalted butter and she loved them! She also had some the following day served cold as a snack.
We ate them too with lots of maple syrup and they were so good.
Cheese and tomato slice
I used puff pastry sheets cut into squares, I then scored a 2cm border around the square and poked a fork in the middle a few times just to break the surface not to go through completely. I then put a little passata in the middle and spread it with a knife, sprinkled with cheese and added some chopped cherry tomatoes and peppers. For mine and Andrews I added red onion and freshly ground pepper. I baked in the oven until puffed up and the underneath was cooked completely.
Izzy really enjoyed this immediately which I didn’t expect as I thought the texture would be too different for her but it was a success and we enjoyed them also served with a light salad.
Best served warm straight from the oven but obviously check it has cooled enough for your child especially the tomatoes!
You could add almost anything to these.
Omelette/scrambled egg combo
Spinach (baby leaf)
Full fat milk
Chop spinach and tomatoes into very small pieces and saute until soft in the butter. Beat eggs with some full fat milk (Ingredient amounts depend on how many of you are eating) and pour over your spinach and tomatoes then sprinkle with grated cheese. Leave egg mixture set and then used a fork scramble it up and ensure egg is fully cooked before dishing up.
Izzy absolutely loves this and her dad does too.
I realise these recipes probably don’t seem very exciting to us adults but to a baby discovering new food it’s a whole new world of flavours.
I have also noticed that on the days Izzy has protein rich dishes such as omelettes or chicken curry which she also loves that she seems to sleep longer and is more settled. Yay.
Back in June, organic baby food brand, Plum, ran a competition to win a sought after place at the
first ever Plum Cookery School.
Five lucky mums were invited down to Buckinghamshire where the Cookery School opened its doors to reveal some of the tasty secrets behind Plum’s recipes and offered expert advice to support parents through the weaning process. The cookery school was made extra exciting with two special guests, celebrity chef Rachel Allen and child nutrition expert, Beverley Glock, who were both
a great help and really lovely as you will see in the new weaning videos.
I was one of those lucky mums and myself and Izzy had a fab time.
Plum’s new videos are designed to ensure that other mums can take advantage of Rachel
and Beverley’s advice whilst learning lots of cooking tips, eating fabulous food and having many of
their weaning worries resolved.
Click here to see the Plum Cookery School action in the third of Plum’s weaning videos. This video
covers stage three of weaning, where Beverley Glock cooks up two tasty dishes, including a Beef
Stroganoff that the whole family can enjoy. Please ignore my lack of camera skills.
If this video has got tummies rumbling and you can’t wait to learn more, all you need to do is
head on over to Plum’s You Tube channel (www.youtube.com/plumbaby).
The Plum cookery School in pictures:
If your little un hasn’t yet tried Plum products I’d recommend you give them a whirl as they taste amazing. Plus at the moment you can get a free coupon to download on Plum’s Facebook Page, now is your perfect time to introduce your baby to Plum! They are going thick and fast though and they only have 10,000 to give away, so hurry!
On our last night at this years Camp Bestival I had an absolutely amazing lamb kebab.. The flatbread was cooked in front of me and the most succulent lamb was added along with a superfood salad and a special sauce. It was one of my festival highlights..what can I say? I am a foodie after all. When I got home I tried to recreate said kebab and it was very good but not quite the same, I used Pitta breads instead of flatbread and it made a huge difference. So in this weeks challenge I decided to master making my own flatbreads and it was definitely worth it.
I found a simple recipe in my River Cottage Everyday book and it was fairly easy and so much tastier than any supermarket stuff:
Flat bread ingredients:
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
150ml warm water
Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Add the oil and water and form into a dough with your hands.Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Cover the ball with an upturned mixing bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.
When you are ready to cook and eat the flatbreads, roll the dough into a sausage shape and divide into 8 balls. Flour the work surface and roll out the dough to around 2-3mm thick, using plenty of flour. I find that the dough needs to rest once rolled out for at least 3-5 minutes.
Place a heavy-based non-stick frying pan – or a cast iron griddle – over a high heat and when it’s good and hot, turn the heat down a bit. Have a plate lined with a clean tea towel so you can put your cooked flatbreads on it to keep them warm and soft.
Shake off any excess flour and carefully lay a flatbread in the hot pan. Let it sit for a minute or two, until the dough looks ‘set’ on top and has started to lift away from the pan. Flip over and cook for another 30-45 seconds. Wrap the cooked flatbreads in the tea towel to keep warm while the rest are cooking.Serve the flatbreads while they are still soft and warm. Once cold, they won’t be quite the same. But they can be recycled by tearing them into pieces, brushing with a little oil, then crisping them up in a hot oven to make dipping chips, or flat croutons for soups or salads.
Of all the recipes I have posted this is definitely one you should all try! Let me know if you do.
I know you are all eagerly awaiting my Camp Bestival review which should be posted later this week but just to whet your appetite here are some of my favourite pics from this years quite frankly amazing festival of fun:
Izzy in her little tent while we put up the big tent..she got tagged:
Dining alfresco, one of my camping creations:
Playtime with dad:
Sleeping through the Gruffalo:
Dancing to Rolf Harris:
Uh oh I’m being watched…
Gonna carry on anyway..
We met Shrek!!!
Bopping away to Mr Tumble:
Playing games outside the tent with Dad:
And on the last night waiting for Dub Pistols: