Author: Megan Hallinan

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. …

The Moretti Gran Tour 2017, Hyde Park

For the past few two years I’ve been to the Moretti Gran Tour in London and I’ve written about it on here. The first in 2015 was in Hackney (which I wrote about here) and last year it was just off Brick Lane (more here). As you might have guessed by the name, it’s an event from Birra Moretti, a beautiful Italian beer which is all too easy to drink, especially on these warm summer evenings. The Moretti Gran Tour has always been a celebration of Italian food and culture. The 2015 venue was enclosed and cosy, a real foodie’s delight. They also had a great little feature where you were given a ‘passport’ at the start of the night which you got stamped as you visited the various Italian food vendors – very appealing to geeks like me who like to ‘complete’ things! Last year’s event was a bit bigger and outdoors, but with an even broader selection of excellent grub on offer, including some beautiful seafood in addition to the pizza and pasta. …

iPhone Food Photography Class with Patricia Niven at Ginger Whisk

In recent times I’ve abandoned my iPhone when it comes to taking photos for the blog or Instagram – the snaps just never feel high quality enough, and I don’t feel like I can really achieve what I want to on a phone. So I was really intrigued when I heard about a new food photography class taking place at the recently opened Ginger Whisk in Chiswick which would focus solely on how to get a good snap on your mobile. They describe themselves as a ‘creative foodie hub’ in West London offering prop hire, photography, studio hire, event space hire, production services and a cooking school – it sounded like a dream to me! You can find out more about the business in this little video: The class took place on a Saturday morning last month and was hosted by Patricia Niven who I was really excited to meet – she’s a well respected food and portrait photographer, and I couldn’t wait to hear her hints and tips! Now please bear in mind that …

Horseback riding in the sea at Hooves, Jamaica

While we were staying in Jamaica earlier this year, we were really quite content relaxing in our beautiful resort, Goldeneye. But there was one activity we had our eye on – horseback riding through the jungle and across the golden sands of the beach! I think there are a couple of companies that offer this in Jamaica, but our resort recommended Hooves. They arranged a private transfer (with the most amazing driver called Laurel, one of the nicest, funniest people we met in Jamaica and we still speak fondly of her – we’re still in touch on Whatsapp!) and in around half an hour we were pulling up at the stables in St Ann’s Bay. Hooves is a family business which has been running for over 20 years, with a very experienced team who you can see have a fantastic relationship with the horses. Many of the beautiful horses were rescued and brought back to good health, and are now living a very happy life at Hooves. I was given my horse (named Lover Boy!!) …

Dining at The Forest Side, The Lake District

I’m becoming acutely aware that every time I try a new tasting menu, I say it’s one of the best I’ve had. But the tasting menu at The Forest Side really was spectacular, and I think a big part of this was down to the freshness and seasonality of the dishes. It boasts a superb kitchen garden within the grounds of the hotel, which I wrote about in my previous post about our stay (you can read here). This extended to all of the food and even drinks at The Forest Side. Upon arrival, while most people were sipping coffees and tucking into Afternoon Tea, we got started on the cocktails! I kicked off proceedings with a Flowering Currant Margarita, with blanco tequila, flowering currant, cointreau and lime. It was stunning! I stupidly didn’t write down what Tim ordered and looking at the menu it’s impossible to work out what it might have been – the menu and selection of foraged ingredients is vast! Those cocktails went down very nicely (and rather quickly!) so we …

The Spa at Goldeneye, Jamaica

It seems like SO long ago since our incredible trip to Jamica at the end of February and rarely a day goes by when I don’t find myself daydreaming about it. You can catch up on my previous posts about where we stayed and the food if you’d like to know more about the resort, Goldeneye. One of its many superb features is the ‘FieldSpa.’ The spa is located right on the lagoon and for us it was directly opposite our cottage – this photo was taken from our terrace. You can easily canoe or paddle board over to the spa, but we thought we’d go for a wander around the grounds leading up to it, which have cute little messages dotted around reminding you to be quiet and maintain the peacefulness of the area. There’s a vast menu of treatments at the FieldSpa with massages, body scrubs and wraps, it was difficult to choose. We were booked in for a couple’s session so we could relax and unwind together at the same time, but …