Year: 2017

Exploring Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

I am WOEFULLY behind on my blog at the moment. And I mean, woefully. Work has been incredibly busy and my whole summer was booked up with wonderful weddings and hen dos. Tim and I managed to pair some of the weddings with a few short holidays here and there to explore the surrounding areas, rather than rushing straight back to London for work. One of the weddings was over the Summer bank holiday near the gorgeous city of Bath, so we decided to spend a couple of days exploring Somerset. Despite both of us having lived in Devon for a number of years, and with family in Wiltshire, we hadn’t got around to seeing much of Somerset yet. But now we have a car, we wanted to change that. We stayed at the White Hart Inn in Somerton, essentially a pub and restaurant with rooms. I’m always a little cautious about booking ‘pub’ hotels but this was on Mr & Mrs Smith, which is usually an indicator of a good, quality hotel. Our bedroom …

Graham’s The Family Dairy ‘Milk Sommelier’ & Tasting Evening

I was recently invited to an event which got me excited from the moment I saw the subject in my inbox. I was being invited to a milk sommelier event. A MILK sommelier event! It sounded weird and wacky and it involved milk, and I loved it. It was being hosted by Graham’s The Family Dairy. Based in the heart of Scotland,  the dairy produces an award-winning, home-grown range of the highest quality food and drink, including milk, cheese, cream, butter, ice-cream, cottage cheese, quark, sour cream and yogurt. Established for more than 76 years, it remains a family-run company with a focus on farming, provenance, high quality produce and a quest to promote the best of Scotland’s larder throughout the country. And one of the many ways they’re doing this is by hiring their own very curiously titled ‘milk sommelier’, Douglas Wood. A former chemical engineer, Douglas is the owner of WoodWinters, an award-winning wine and spirits merchant with outlets in Bridge of Allan, Edinburgh and Inverness and supplier to hotels and restaurants across …

A potato tasting challenge with Billy & Jack and Idahoan

My blog might be called ‘Got to Be Gourmet’ but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the more comforting foods in life. When I was a kid, one of my absolute favourite things to eat was ‘tuna and mash’ (and I’m not talking about freshly mashed up organic potatoes from the fields surrounding our house in rural Yorkshire. Oh, no. I’m talking the powdered variety!) I must admit, I hadn’t tucked into this particular food stuff since then (although I have a vague recollection of there being a bit of a phase at Uni!) so when I was invited to an event by Idahoan recently, I was more than a little intrigued. The food snob in me might have scoffed at going to an event about ‘powdered’ potato. But it sounded particularly interesting – Billy and Jack, MasterChef finalists (who I just adored during that particular series) and now successful supper club hosts, were going to cook a dinner with multiple courses, some of which would include Idahoan potato and some of which would include …

Chateaubriand Sundays at Barbecoa, St Paul’s

Steak, steak, steak. There’s nothing I love more than a big juicy steak – I reckon at least half of my Instagram posts are steak (or at least meat!) focused and I’ve written about it countless times here on the blog, from restaurant reviews to butchery classes. But at the weekend, I had one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and I’d even go as far as to say perhaps the best steak in London. It’s a bold claim, indeed! Where did this miraculously feat of beefy wonder occur? The usual Gaucho, or Hawksmoor? It was in fact at Barbecoa in St Paul’s. Let me tell you more… Tim and I visited Barbecoa quite a few years ago for brunch. This was at peak ‘brunch popularity’ time and we set ourselves a bit of a challenge of trying somewhere new each weekend. Barbecoa was very much a treat – we’d been wanting to go for ages. And it was very good indeed (this was pre-blogging days, hence it’s not on here. I still have …

Beefeater ‘Punch Brunch’ at Florentine, Lambeth

An area of London that I really don’t know much about is Lambeth North (South of Waterloo), so I was looking forward to trying out a new brunch menu in the area earlier in the summer with my friend Laura. Florentine is an all-day dining restaurant and bar on the South Bank, right opposite Lambeth North tube station, and we were there to try out their new Bottomless ‘Summer Punch Brunch’. On offer was an expertly-concocted gin punch creation created exclusively for Florentine by Beefeater gin and the bar team. We were a bit confused when we arrived because it wasn’t mentioned on the menu anywhere – we were expecting there to be a separate ‘Punch Brunch’ menu but in fact, you could order whatever you would like from the menu, and it was £15 extra per person for free-flowing (bottomless!) punch while you brunch. Served from vintage jugs at the table, it was made with Beefeater Gin, Maraschino, Grapefruit, Elderflower and Kamm & Sons bitters – bursting with zesty and flavours, perfect for the summer months (full …

Farms Not Factories Event at Tramshed, Shoreditch

At the weekend for a friend’s birthday, her partner organised to have a hog roast which we prepared in their garden to feed around 30 people. I posted photos across my social channels and I was surprised and rather annoyed that I received a few negative comments. The pig was extremely well cared for and high quality from a good farm/butcher and I can’t tell you how much love went into preparing that pig for the dinner – over 6 hours of manually turning it, covering in oil, herbs and so on. And when it came to serving the pig, there was such excitement and a huge appreciation from everyone for the delicious food they were being given. This pig had a good life and was being celebrated. It wasn’t being churned up into cheap sausages or burgers. It was being given a good send off and in my eyes, that shouldn’t be criticised. High welfare farming is something that’s very important to me, and I’ve written about it a few times on the blog. …

Staying at The Malabar, Cumbria

Over the May Bank Holiday, we treated ourselves to a staycation. We started our trip in the Lake District at The Forest Side in Grasmere (you can read about our stay here) before hopping over to the Dales (on the border with Cumbria), around half an hour away. Here we were staying at The Malabar, a B&B which we’d come across on Mr & Mrs Smith which we fell in love with from the second we saw it online. It was established in 2015 by Graham and Fiona Lappin. Despite having never lived in the area or run their own business before, they took on the project of converting Garths Farm into the wonderful B&B it is today. But it wasn’t all a completely new prospect – Fiona’s family had worked in the hotel business, although she had carved a successful career in publishing. Graham grew up in the southern Indian state of Kerala where his father and grandfather were tea planters, although his career had been in banking in the UK, Hong Kong and India. …