BBC Good Food Show Winter 2013

This week its the BBC Good Food Show Winter so as part of their Blogger Community, I took the day off work and headed over there to immerse myself in cheese, wine, gin, sausage rolls, oils, spices and everything in between. Oh.. and as usual, Mummy Bites was in tow and this year, with the hilarious (but welcome) addition of a shopping trolley!

So, after spending the day soaking it all up, here is my round up of some of the brands which caught my eye and perhaps, the new ones to watch! There is so much to see and do at the show that I would always recommend that you plan in advance to make the most of it all, otherwise you can end up wandering aimlessly for hours. There are several stages now to see - the Supertheatre, Magimix stage, Great British Bake Off and Saturday Kitchen and more.. so if you want to watch demo's, have a look in advance to ensure you know where you need to be and when!

Anyway, With just one day left for this years show, here's my round up of all the great things there. Perhaps I can tempt you to go to the Summer show next year.

Yorkshire Rapeseed Oils
We were drawn to the stand because of all the gorgeous yellow/green bottles lined up and soon got chatting to the guy. Yorkshire Rapeseed Oils  are taste award winners and a family run company. They do a range of flavoured oils and dressings including zingy balsamic and mint which would be perfect with lamb.

All I can say is wow - what amazing sauces - intense and with up to 97% vegetable content, they are well worth investing in. I tried the olive, asparagus and artichoke sauces and all of them were utterly divine. Soralina is a UK based family run business working with small artisan producers in the Abruzzo region of Italy to produce incredible olive oils, pastas and sauces.

Soralina olive sauce
Soralina olive oils

Edwards Cordials 
I was lucky enough to meet Edward and listen to his inspiring story. One of this years food show producers bursary winners, his brand is less than 1 year old and started with just one flavour of cordial made in his own kitchen. Now he has a whole range available and sources all of his ingredients from his local area. The flavours are fresh and unique and include Lavender and Rhubarb, Blackcurrant and Basil and Strawberry and Mint. I have a bottle of the Blackcurrant and Basil and have to admit, since Wednesday, its almost all gone!

Edwards Cordials

Bake at Home 
The stand caught our eye as it was beautiful - lots of vintage chic furniture piled up with artisan baking gift sets and cake mixes for the baker in your life. So on trend and totally cute, the kits would make great gifts for children and adults alike. I particularly liked the flowerpot bread making kits! Definitely ones to watch.

Christmas foodie gifts

Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company
The Beach Food guys have a great back story - they started back in 2010 with a small cafe on the beach serving fresh seafood and locally foraged ingredients. They then went on to become award winning street food heroes, touring the country visiting festivals and markets. They now have a range of products all close to their roots such as lavabread pesto and seaweed flavoured butters. I was totally impressed and have some products here with me at home to try! Blog post to follow :-)

Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire cheese
Cheese tasting
Garlic twist

And finally, I couldn't resist... teehee (sorry mum!)


Lunch with Aldo Zilli at San Carlo, Leicester

I love blogging but its not always easy juggling it with a hectic full time job. Sometimes though, something crops up which highlights just how fab blogging can be and makes it all doubly worth while. You could say last Friday was an example of that. An invite to San Carlo in Leicester to try elements of their new menu. Oh... cooked by Aldo Zilli. 

Aldo Zilli and Gingey Bites
Happy Birthday to me! 


Bloggers Meet & upcoming BBC Good Food Show Winter

The BBC Good Food Show Winter is less than 2 weeks away now and I'm certainly excited to get back there and pick up some festive treats. The winter show is definitely my favourite - sausages, cheese, wine.. all things yummy and festive! If you've not got your ticket yet, its not too late, plus save 15% with discount code GB15.

Last year I loved looking around the World Cheese Awards and the Producer's Village. Its great to be able to meet the people behind the products. The Bursary Award Winners are also worth checking out - these are small artisan producers who've impressed the judging panel enough to be given some free space at the show. Its a great space to find some up and coming brands and of course, try some yummy products. Don't forget to bring lots of dosh too as there are often some fab offers to be had.

This year I'm particularly excited to go to the new WineTubeMap wine tasting - I was lucky enough to catch up with Nikki from WineTubeMap earlier in the month when she treated myself and fellow GFS bloggers to a sneak preview when we met up  for a pre-show catch up. We met at Fiesta del Asado in Birmingham, a fantastic Argentinian steakhouse part of the wonderful Lasan group headed up by Aktar Islam. I've been before and knew we were in for a real treat. Read my original review here.

BBC Good Food Show bloggers

WineTubeMap is the brain child of Nikki Welch from Convivium Wines and is a fun way to learn about wines playing on the London underground tube map to educate you and help you discover what you do and don't like! She's teamed up with Hatties Wines to provide some cracking vinos to choose from! You can book onto one of three tasting tours at the Good Food Show with tickets costing just £8. Each tasting tour includes 12 wines from around the world so hop on and enjoy the journey! You can book online and find out more here.

WineTubeMap tasting tour ticket

And now, some pictures of the yummy food we enjoyed at Fiesta! My mouth is watering just looking back at these!

Padron Peppers and whitebait - apparently every 10th chilli is a hot one!
Sticky pork ribs
The open kitchen at Fiesta
Now THAT's what you call a mixed grill! 

Win a luxury 'Gentleman Jack' hamper with Hampergifts!

Here's a great competition to get you into the festive shopping spirit. As we're now less than 50 days to go, its time to get those thinking caps on and start that Christmas shopping!  If you're like me and like to buy personal gifts for your friends and families, this is a tricky time of year to say the least with shops full of dull gift sets and hot chocolate mugs - these things are not for me! 

Hampergifts have 28 Christmas hampers to choose from - they have the classics you'd expect as well as some you wouldn't! Priced between £20 and £250 there is something for every budget and I particularly like the look of the White Christmas - it has a continental feel to it with Prosecco, dipping crackers with rosemary and apricots in syrup and Monbasillac wine. The Christmas Grande has a more traditional feel with award winning wines, Venison pate, port wine jelly and more. Proper luxury! 

So give you a real treat, I've teamed up with Hampergifts to give away one of their Gentleman Jack hampers worth £90 - a great gift idea for the whiskey lover in your life! I was going to say man but of course, it could be a woman too! 

The classic wicker basket contains a bottle of rare Gentleman Jack Whiskey - from the world famous Jack Daniels Distillery, Its the only whiskey in the world to be charcoal mellowed twice and the result is a silky, warm, distinctively smooth whiskey. Also incluided are award-winning crackers, hand baked savoury biscuits, spiced nuts, a gold medal-winning whisky marmalade, large rich fruit cake and a fiery wholegrain mustard. 

To win, simply enter below and GOOD LUCK! The competition closes in 1 week! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jamie's 30 Minute Meals To The Test - Asian Style Salmon & Noodle Broth

I find Jamie Oliver's books and TV shows great for inspiration mainly because his food is always so colorful and tasty! I've often heard people say that his 'quick' meals aren't actually that quick though - so - putting that complaint to the test, I decided to give the '30 minutes' series a run for its money with this Asian style salmon dish. So here we go... did it work?


Win tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Winter!

As you know, I'm a big fan of the BBC Good Food Show and I have 5 pairs of tickets to give away for the upcoming Winter Show at the NEC, Birmingham, 27 Nov – 1 December 2013.

You can win a pair of general admission tickets to enjoy a day at the Show and find out what all the fuss is about! To give you an idea, here's my round up from last years show! This year there will be over 50 chefs and experts from across the country on 7 different stages. The nation’s favourite TV programmes will be brought to life with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry live in The Great British Bake Off, James Martin live in Saturday Kitchen sessions and John Torode and Gregg Wallace live in MasterChef cook offs on the Supertheatre, sponsored by Tesco finest. Visit The Great British Bake Off Village where you will find The Great British Bake Off Stage featuring some of the most popular past contestants and winners including the 2013 winner. The MasterChef Masterclass will host demonstrations from current champion Natalie Coleman (read my interview here) as well as Celebrity MasterChef winner Phil Vickery. Plus Marks & Spencer will be bringing some Christmas sparkle to the Show on the Christmas Theatre. The Producers’ Village will be packed with some of the best artisan producers in the country including our pick in the Good Food Champions area as well as the Bursary Award Winners – perfect for picking up tasty stocking  fillers and unique ingredients for the festive season.

Not a winner? To book tickets and for more information on the BBC Good Food Show Winter please
visit or call 0844 581 1341 and don't forget to quote GB15 to get 15% off with Gingey Bites.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • All tickets are general admission excluding Saturday.
  • Tickets are non refundable and non-exchangeable. Ticket terms and conditions apply.
  • Tickets will be mailed out directly to the competition holder by River Street Events. It is the responsibility of the competition holder to forward tickets to the winners. Competition holder to confirm receipt of tickets and subsequent delivery to winners to River Street Events.
  • Tickets do not include a seat in the Supertheatre

The Smokehouse, Obar Braunstone Gate, Leicester


The review below is from when The Smokehouse opened as a pop up but it is now opened permanently so no need to worry, they aren't going anywhere! Yippeeee!

On Thursday I headed to the Obar on Braunstone Gate in Leicester for the launch of The Smokehouse. In true pop up style, this authentic southern state American restaurant is open for 4 weeks only so you'd better get in quick!

On a grill imported from the states, chef Liam Watson will be serving smoked meats, ribs and hot wings.. along with the classics of mac and cheese, corn and more. I caught up with him to ask a few questions:

I notice that you’re usually based at The Lansdowne. What would you say is your style of cooking?
Before I started this project I loved French and British cooking. I got a real kick when I could add classic French elements to menus that were usually a pub bistro style. But since I took on the smoke house I've been smoking, BBQs and all things American, it’s become borderline an obsession… what to smoke, what should the dry rub contain, how long to smoke it, how hot to have the smoker, should the BBQ sauce by spicy and sharp or sweeter with a bigger kick of molasses? The variations for everything that comes into the kitchen are limitless and as a chef that’s incredible to work with.

Whose idea was it to bring the grill to The Obar?
It was a combination of two ideas really. The owners of the business had the idea to launch a pop up restaurant in Obar. They knew it had to be something fun and definitely unique to the west end area of Leicester and worth a trip outside of the city centre for. That’s when they approached me to see what was going to be possible. I pitched the idea of the smokehouse to them and we were off and running.

What is your favourite thing to smoke? 
As a bit of a self confessed carnivore I love the ribs. We buy them in their whole racks, marinade them overnight in their dry rub before leaving them in the smoker for at least 7 hours. The final result is truly special and, unique in Leicester. But at the same time I love that through experimenting with the smoker we have found how well vegetables take on the smoky flavour. It’s been a revelation to us. Tomatoes and fennel with their high acidity take on so much flavour. As a chef, it’s fun to find things like this and get them on the menu - bits that people wouldn't necessarily expect when they arrive but leave still thinking about.

How did you come up with the menu? Have you picked things you have eaten yourself or is it more of an experiment?
It’s a combination of all of the above. We've taken a lot of inspiration from amazing restaurants like Pitt Cue in London, their style of serving really good food but not necessarily heavy American - exclusively burgers and ribs, showed that we could have the smoker, serve ribs and pulled pork, but with our own creative edge. Reading reviews, recipe books and everything else we could find on the style really helped get more ideas and assess what people would want to see on the menu. When it came to experimenting, that was the time when we really started to fine tune the menu and get the balance of our style of smoked food with the American classics we knew we wanted from the very beginning.

Are there any plans to roll out the pop up to the other Orange Trees?
Let’s see how this one goes. If the public like the concept and are voting with their feet then there may be a future for it. Right now we are just focused on getting this right, and making sure everyone who comes has an amazing time.

And now.. to the food! 
Firstly, the ambiance and decor was lovely, you couldn't believe you were actually sat in the upstairs of the Obar - usually the space for late night drinking, arts students and musicians supping on cocktails. The tables and chairs were a little small and uncomfortable but you know what? It didn't matter!

smokehouse interior
smokehouse menu and candle

To start we went for mackerel and hot wings, to share! The hot sauce was zingy and a perfect accompaniment, as was the smoky BBQ-esque table sauce. The mackerel was delicious, soft flesh and served with pickled cucumbers and peppers which cut through the rich fishy flavour. 

For mains, we again decided to order a few different bits and share them. We had the 14 hour pulled pork with a side of pulled pork chilli and the Obar pork ribs (St Louis cut) with BBQ glaze. We also had macaroni cheese.

pulled pork, ribs and mac and cheese
mac and cheese and pulled pork

If you have room left for pudding and that's a big if... then I would recommend the Sticky toffee and maple pudding with salted caramel bourbon sauce. I don't need to say anything else other than WOW.

sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel bourbon sauce

We took the waiters recommendations on beers and went for two from the Camden Town Brewery - Hell's Lager and Gentleman's Wit. The Gentleman's Wit is brewed with lemon and bergamot giving it a fruity tang which complimented the rich smoky meat perfectly.

Camden Town Brewery beers

Overall I wasn't sure what to expect - I knew that the theme would be excellent and the food would be nice but I didn't think it was be as excellent as it was. I can't gush enough about it and would urge anyone to get over before the pop up closes on 8 Dec! We loved every mouthful and every minute and will be heading back in the coming weeks with my Dad in tow!

The Smokehouse @ The Obar is open from 6pm to 9.30/10pm Tueadays to Saturdays. For bookings, telephone 0115 255 8223 or email The Obar is part of the independent Orange Tree Group of pubs and bars in Leicester, which also runs The Orange Tree in High Street, The Lansdowne in London Road, and The Basement in Wellington Street.

*We paid for our meal and my opinions are all my own! Apologies for the rubbish pictures, it was v dark and atmospheric!

Fudge Kitchen (shhhh... its nearly Christmas) Treats

I've been avoiding it but the time has come to finally admit to myself that Christmas is on the way. In fact, its only 50 days away! So, I've tentatively started my shopping and begun to think about what we're going to eat. Talking of what to eat, the lovely people at Fudge Kitchen very kindly sent me their Christmas Selection - a stocking filler of three gorgeous pieces of gourmet fudge straight from heaven.

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