Recipes, food and family views from Beverley

  • Tuscan Bean Soup with Pesto and Soda Bread

    This is a fabulously healthy meal of a soup, great for cold days and a good way of using up vegetables in your veg box.
  • Weekend in Brussels with teenagers in Winter, hmm

    Buy chocolates, find a bar, try different beer and eat chocolates, there you go, beer and chocolate, done. Repeat at least twice daily.
  • Almond Slices

    This is a cake from my childhood. A mixture of sweet almond sponge mixed with raspberry jam and sweet shortcrust pastry is the epitome of English Afternoon Tea. Go on try it, it's worth it.
  • Berry Yoghurt Ice Lollies

    Homemade ice lollies, lower in sugar and much healthier than the shop bought ones and just the ticket for this lovely hot weather we're having. The photo is of Rainbow Ice Lollies but you get the idea
  • Black Bean Brownies - low carb, gluten and dairy free

    High in protein, low carbs, low GI, sugar free, dairy free and gluten free but they do contain nuts. They taste fantastic and almost fooled my children
  • Plum and hazelnut mini pavlova or torte

    The issue with this recipe is it's so good you don't want to make this when you're trying to cut down your sugar intake and think that your willpower is so good that you can cope with a 'bite', you can't.
  • Raw Chocolate Coconut Bars aka Bounty Bars

    I'm trying hard to wean myself off sugar (again) but I have such a sweet tooth it's torture. Therefore I've been experimenting with sugar free, low carb sweet fixes, one of them are these lovely raw chocolate coconut bars
  • Chocolate Coconut Ice Lollies or Popsicles - low sugar, low carb

    If you're trying to cut out sugar, reduce your carbs or just want to eat healthily these ice lollies are a great way to get your ice cream and chocolate fix.
  • Cinnamon Ice Cream with Lotus Biscoff crunch

    I warn you, this is not a healthy ice cream recipe and it's dangerous moreish. It would be wonderful served with apple pie or crumble providing you can prevent the children from eating it all straight from the ice cream maker.
  • Creme Anglaise and Ice Cream Base

    This is Creme Anglaise or Custard and is an ideal base to use for making all sorts of ice cream. Serve warm as Creme Anglaise or custard with puddings or chill and add the double cream to make an ice cream base.
  • Glis Glis aka Edible Dormouse - austerity recipes

    I admit that I just clicked on a link to 'edible dormouse diet' thinking "wow, someone has actually put together a diet based on eating Glis Glis, that's amazing".
  • Rome - the Eternal City with kids at half term

    We didn't realise that 'close to the Pantheon' meant actually next to it, right slap bang next to it, open the windows and you look directly at it kind of 'close' to it.
  • Mini Pork Pies

    There is a fabulous butchery chain in North Yorkshire called Newboulds who make the best pork pies on the planet, especially their Midgets. These are mini pork pies and I loved these growing up in Redcar, I still buy some when I'm up visiting friends and family
  • Pear Crumbles with Chocolate Custard

    These delicious individual crumbles are a different take on a pear and chocolate crumble. The pears are poached whole, lying on a bed of chocolate custard with the crumble topping scattered over them, delicious decadent.
  • Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday

    Mothering Sunday is a traditional Christian festival that falls on the middle or 4th Sunday in Lent, this year it is Sunday 15 March. Each year it changes depending on where Easter falls and has been celebrated since the 16th century. This is different to Mother's Day, an American invention which falls on the second Sunday in May.
  • Chicken Ramen - healthy version of Pot Noodle

    This is my version of Chicken Ramen, a healthy Pot Noodle, popular at Wagamamas and Noodle Bars. Cook the noodles as instructed on the packet or buy fresh or straight to wok versions.
  • Pancakes with a superfood twist

    Healthy version of classic pancakes, this time using buckwheat flour and dairy free milk to make dairy free, sugar free fluffy pancakes.
  • Pancakes

    This is lovely served with freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.
  • Raw Carrot Cake - gluten free, dairy free, grain free, sugar free

    This cake retains all the goodness in the nuts and carrots as they are not cooked, it has the texture of a passion cake and is completely delicious. The recipe is gluten, dairy, grain and sugar free.
  • Goulash with Herby Dumplings

    This is a classic winter warmer recipe, originating in Hungary and heavy on paprika it's a delicious winter casserole that benefits from long, slow cooking and tastes even better next day.
  • British parents each week make 2 million extra meals for fussy children

    Mealtimes are an important part of the day to me, a time when the whole family can share their daily stories, experiences, woes, achievements so that we can laugh, joke, commiserate, or just chat with each other and catch up on what's been happening at school, college or work.
  • Salted Peanut Brittle

    A classic homemade sweetie, I have used salted peanuts which takes the edge off the sweetness. It's still full of sugar, rots your teeth but it tastes so good
  • Granola Bars

    These are great for lunch boxes and to keep the kids going for extra curricular sports. Add the acai and maca powder for extra nutrients as they are classed as a superfood.
  • Kale Cupcakes

    These are super cool orange-flavoured-green-cupcakes. They still contain the same calories, sugar and fat as a standard cupcake but the addition of the kale gives them extra nutrients.
  • Surprise chocolate, beetroot and blackcurrant pudding

    What's the surprise? Two of them a) it has a 'magic' chocolate sauce that starts on top and ends up in the bottom when it's cooked and b) it is the most delicious, unhealthy chocolate pudding recipe but with a healthy twist as it has a fruit and vegetable to give it some plus points.
  • Mulligatawny Soup

    This Indian soup is a whole meal in itself, adjust the chili if you prefer a milder version. Delicious with naan or cumin scented scones.
  • Mini snowball truffles

    A white chocolate version of my popular Ginger Chocolate Truffles, great for children to make as gifts.
  • Ginger chocolate truffles

    The easiest truffles in the world to make and ideal for young children to make for gifts. They are more like old fashioned 'rum truffles' as they are made with cake crumbs rather than fresh cream, they taste lovely.
  • Purple sprouting broccoli and pistachio pesto

    Purple sprouting broccoli is in season in the Autumn and Winter in England and it's packed full of vitamins and minerals which are not lost as you don't cook it in this recipe so you have heaps of raw veg which tastes fantastic
  • Healthy Oat and Choc Chip Cookies

    Healthy as they have no sugar and include bananas, oats, pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts, oh and chocolate chips too.
  • Stir Up Sunday - Traditions

    ‘Stir-up Sunday’ is the Sunday before Advent - the end of November – and everyone in the family takes a turn to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from East to West (clockwise) in honor of the three Kings making their journey, with their eyes closed whilst making a secret wish.
  • Plum Cake with Quinoa

    This delicious cake has a hint of gingerbread and the addition of quinoa to add moistness as well as extra protein and nutrients.
  • Parkin

    Parkin is the easiest cake ever.....even if you don't think you can make cake, you can make this. It's traditionally served around Bonfire night
  • Vanilla Fudge

    Making fudge with someone who means a lot to you is a right of passage for any child, be it a grandparent, parent, auntie or family friend. Just don't eat it too often and always brush your teeth well afterwards.
  • Grandma's Easy Fruitcake

    This is my Mother-in-law's recipe, it's lovely, light and super easy to make and stores really well. You could freeze one of the loaves (ha ha, sorry good joke!).
  • Chocolate Lipsticks

    My middle daughter is 15 years old tomorrow, so I figured this was a good excuse to have a go at making chocolate lipsticks.
  • Jelly Brains for Halloween

    These take around 20 minutes to set due to use of Geloozoon or Gellan Gum, a molecular gastronomy powder which makes instant setting jelly. If you don't have any of this in your kitchen (!) then you can use agar agar which sets pretty quickly or gelatine*.
  • Roast tomato, chicken and lentil soup

    This soup was made up from leftovers in my fridge. A few sad looking tomatoes and red peppers, left over chicken from a Sunday roast and some lentils to add extra protein. It was delicious.
  • Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb with a Moroccan Twist

    This is a fabulously easy meal that is equally good for a midweek family meal, Sunday lunch or supper for friends.
  • Chicken Tagine with Couscous and Harissa

    This makes a delicious family friendly midweek meal. You can start making it the night before or in them morning and allow it to marinade, if you forget just leave it as long as possible
  • Halloween Recipe Development

    The workshop teaches spherification (caviar pearls), reverse spherification (blackcurrant bubbles), deconstruction (chocolate powder), gelification (instant setting spaghetti jelly)
  • Ravioli and Victoria Sponge with the children at Saturday morning cooking club

    In Tring this week the children at Saturday morning cooking club made Mini Victoria Sponges to rival those on the GBBO while in Princes Risborough we made Ravioli and Tortellini
  • Cheese and Ham Ravioli

    Homemade pasta is really easy to make, you can mix it in a food processor or mixer using a dough hook. ‘OO’ flour gives the best results, if you can’t get hold of this then use a strong plain flour recommended for bread making.
  • Bean Burgers with homemade slaw

    These are not your average boring bean burgers; these are packed with flavour and taste fabulous, serve them with homemade coleslaw and if you don’t have time to make the curry paste then use some from a jar.
  • Ginger Snaps with spelt flour

    One of my favourite classic English biscuits, ideal for dunking into tea or coffee and super quick and easy to make.
  • Elderberry Cordial

    Elderberries make the most wonderful winter cordial and with the addition of the cloves the finished drink is lovely and soothing for winter sore throats. Top the cordial up with hot water and enjoy the deep autumnal flavours. Plus the berries are free.
  • Camp Bestival Packing

    Mojitos for tomorrow night and in an ideal world all we would need is three things: Tequila, salt and limes, we wouldn't need anything else to get us through the weekend as no food would be required or remembered. However, we have children so that's not going to happen *sighs wistfully*.
  • Neilson Lemnos - tennis, mountain biking and family photo

    The girls played rugby, tennis and did a few Zumba sessions, one of which was on the gulet cruise with TAG. This was apparently hilarious but there are no photos. Surf squad went off on mountain bikes to Manos beach for ice creams and doughnut rides.
  • Neilson Lemnos, childcare, clubs and photos

    How do we know what they've done every day? Do they tell us? No. So how do we find out? Clare Edmead Photography, that's how.
  • Neilson Lemnos - food, drink and waterfront

    have to say that the waterfront staff have the patience of saints. I've spent 22 years trying to windsurf, I got the hang of it two years ago here and got going in Kos last year so the lovely Mike, head of waterfront, put me in 'improvers' windsurf class with long suffering instructor Max.
  • Neilson Lemnos - arrival

    Our rooms are lovely, garden rooms on the ground floor with hammocks on the patio, fab idea Neilson. Sun tan lotion and cossies on straight into the massive pool, I was in first...children are wusses! I was also first in the sea!
  • Albufeira - holidays for 18 year olds

    She got home today, the two of them had a fantastic time but couldn't believe the behaviour of some parents in the hotel (swearing at small children and each other in front of small children) and some of the other people they met.
  • Neilson Lemnos - 3 days to go

    This will be my fourth time in Lemnos, I know I should be a bit more adventurous with my Greek islands but the truth is I love the Neilson beach club concept and Lemnos has the best windsurfing winds for me - pathetically awful, just about able to get up and it's taken me 20 years to get my 'Start Windsurfing' RYA certification.
  • Summer Berry Cupcakes

    A taste of summer in a cupcake. This is a great cake or pudding to take on a picnic, you could cheat and buy a madeira cake, make up the topping and assemble it at the picnic. It makes a lovely change to summer pudding
  • Don't wash raw chicken - Food Safety Week

    The most common cause of food poisoning is caused by the Campylobacter bug. You can't see, it taste it or smell it, if you've ever had campylobacter food poisoning you'll never forget it. The groups at the highest risk are children under 5 years old and people over 60 years.
  • Greek Meze

    On a warm summer's day these will remind you of holidays in the Med; Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Israel, wherever. They are delicious and lovely to make for snacks, lunch with a Greek salad and to share with friends.
  • Bikini body, week 3....the Ball and bacon butties

    The first goal was to wear my lovely pale green Ghost gown for Dinton Ball which took place last Saturday, 10 May. End of week 2 and 5 lbs lighter plus a good couple of inches gone too.
  • Low Carb Pizza - cauliflower base

    This pizza base is made from cauliflower, so it's low carb and suitable for anyone with a gluten or wheat allergy. It is surprisingly filling and tastes really good, don't expect a crispy base as it remains soft and easier to eat with a knife and fork than your fingers.
  • Giving up sugar and reducing carbs - week 2

    Cutting down on carbs and sugar has had an interesting and very welcome side effect on my children. I've also lost 5 lbs in two weeks and not felt hungry
  • Chocolate Banana Muffins - low sugar version

    These are my classic chocolate banana muffins but with the sugar removed, they're still sweet, use 50% wholemeal flour and my children didn't notice, at all, let's just hope they don't read this.
  • How to get in shape - give up sugar and reduce carbs

    How am I going to win back my body and look great in a bikini this summer? I loaded up with olives, manchego cheese and almonds and I didn't touch a crisp or chocolate, I luxuriated in my one gin and slimline and felt brilliant.
  • Bikini Body - giving up sugar

    I refuse to hit 50 with lumpy legs and found I couldn't get into my jeans, or I could, but I couldn't walk or breath, not good. How do I get my body into the shape I want? Train hard and give up sugar?
  • Warm chicken salad with matcha pesto dressing

    The dressing is delicious with either fresh pesto or a jar of pesto and the extra healthy bit is the matcha green tea powder, I like Tea Pigs.
  • Tarragon Chicken

    This is a firm family favourite, easy to make and it is delicious warmed up second day if there are any leftovers.
  • Summer Canapés with Edible Tulip Petals

    I love edible flowers, they add colour and texture to many different dishes and create a 'wow' factor on even the most plain, simple dishes. So when Janice at Greens of Devon emailed me to say they were launching edible tulips this spring I was so excited it was silly.
  • Plum and almond canapés

    This is an adapted version of my pesche alla Piedmontese recipe, you'll need ripe peaches, plums or nectarines as you won't be cooking them. Edible tulip petals are available from Greens of Devon.
  • Roast veg with cous cous and harissa canape

    This is a lovely recipe to make at home as you can use some of it for lunch or as a superfood salad and serve the remainder as a canapé that evening.
  • Watermelon and Feta Canapes on Edible Tulips

    Super dooper easy canapes that look spectactular served on edible tulip leaves from Greens of Devon.
  • Chicken Tikka Salad Canape

    These taste delicious and there is a great cheat here too. You could make the tikka yourself or you could buy it ready made, up to you. The edible tulips are available from Greens of Devon.
  • Easter biscuits

    A little like a Fruit Shortcake biscuit but made with orange zest to add more flavour. Always use currants as raisins are too big. Any shape cookie cutter will do but try not to make it too fancy as it will be difficult to cut out the dough with the currants in. Lovely served with a cup of tea during Easter weekend.
  • Upside down rhubarb crumbles

    The ‘crumble’ is a biscuit base, just a like the ones you make for a cheesecake and the rhubarb requires around 10 minutes cooking. They can be made the day before and assembled just before serving.
  • Ricotta Cream

    I love this and can eat it out of the bowl, but if I restrain myself it is fantastic served with stone fruit and ideal to take on a picnic or to serve as a canape, especially when Green's of Devon have their edible tulip petals in season.
  • Plum and Almond Bites

    This is an adaptation of my Pesche alla Piemontese recipe, these little canapes are delightful served on an edible tulip petal from Green's of Devon
  • Pesche alla Piemontese

    Deliciously ripe peaches stuffed with amaretti biscuits and almonds and baked until juicy. This works with ripe peaches or unripe ones, just cook the unripe peaches for a little longer until softened. Works well with plums and nectarines too.
  • No-cook Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake

    This is soo good it's untrue and the addition of the raspberries helps you kid yourself that it's slightly healthy, it isn't really. For a low fat version use low fat cream cheese or quark and omit the cream, it's just as nice.
  • Guacamole

    Super easy to make and much nicer than the shop bought stuff, mash it well to make it smoother or leave it chunky, add a little chopped red chilli for a bit more heat and serve as a dip or with chilli con carne or nachos
  • Flower Pot Bread

    These are great as a cooking project to do with children and equally impressive to serve for friends as a dinner party. You could alter the filling according to your menu, try pesto, goats cheese, gorgonzola or just leave the bread plain and use different grains.
  • Tomato, Feta and Spinach Filo Tartlets

    These are slightly lower fat than standard tartlets as they use filo pastry instead of shortcrust pastry but you make up for that by brushing the filo with melted butter. Super easy to make and they taste delicious
  • Bunny Buns or Carrot Cakes

    These Cakes are really yummy and ever so slightly healthy, thanks to the addition of the carrot, the cream cheese icing is delicious too. They are really easy and quick to make too.
  • Easter Nest Cakes

    Delicious chocolate cupcakes decorated to look like easter nests, great to make with the children for Easter
  • Hot Cross Scones

    These are a scone version of Hot Cross Buns, very quick to make without needing to prove the dough, serve warm with butter
  • French Onion Soup

    A delicious taste of France in early spring and a great way to use up onions, this soup will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days and is great for weekend lunch or to take to work and reheat.
  • Gorgonzola Sauce for Gnocchi or Pasta

    Super easy, super delicious recipe, serve with gnocchi or pasta as a sauce or as dip with crusty bread, crudités or breadsticks or even scoop out half the centre of a baked potato, mash with the sauce, replace and eat with a salad, yum.
  • Beetroot Felafel with Tahini Sauce

    Beetroot is packed with antioxidants and vitamins and is lovely grated raw with apples and carrots and sprinkled with lemon juice, this recipe makes the falafel purple, which gives them a real ‘wow’ factor.
  • Minecraft Creeper Cake

    My son is mad on Minecraft and asked for a 'Creeper' cake for his birthday, here's the recipe, the instructions are on YouTube. This took me 2 full days to make, it's not difficult, just labour intensive as making and sticking on all the 'pixellations' takes a long time.
  • Ginger Snaps

    A classic English biscuit, different to gingerbread as these have a 'crackle' effect when baked and are essential to dunk into a cup of tea
  • Bourbon Biscuits

    Bourbon biscuits are a classic English chocolate biscuit, sandwiched together with a chocolate cream, delicious with a cup of tea
  • Simnel Mini Loaf Cakes with Edible Flowers

    Simnel cakes are traditionally given on Mothering Sunday. If you don’t have a mini loaf tin you can use muffin cases. The icing uses freshly squeezed orange juice and gives a pale yellow icing, if Blood or Blush Oranges are in season these will give you a pale pink icing. Source the edible flowers carefully as you must make sure they are free from pesticides, Greens of Devon do a fabulous range of Edible Flowers
  • Flower Pot Cupcakes for Mother's Day

    These are amazing cakes that look just like a pot plant, they will fool anyone, just remember that the flower doesn’t have any water in it so put it into the tube at the last minute, do NOT eat the flower or the pot! You can buy the flower tubes from a florist and you could also buy some cellowrap and ribbons to wrap the flower pot in to make it look really authentic.
  • Buckinghamshire Bake-Off

    There is no pressure, no cooking on the day, no charming ladies encouraging you to 'cream' properly or chaps hovering criticising your 'rubbing in' method, you do all that at home with no one watching and bring your lovely cakes and biscuits along on the day.
  • WHO says sugar should ideally be below 5% of total energy intake per day

    The World Health Organisation is launching a public consultation on its draft guidelines on sugar intake. In 2002 the WHO guildeline was 10%, it's now looking like reducing to 5%.
  • Roast Pepper and Tomato Soup

    A simple soup full of goodness and just as nice served hot in winter or chilled for summer, serve with foccacia or lovely crusty bread. It also doubles as a pasta sauce, a base for spaghetti bolognaise or pizza topping. Younger children may prefer it in a small bowl to use as a dippy sauce for toast soldiers.
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

    This is one of my favourite puddings, the dates work really well to add at least a small 'healthy' item, you don't taste them either as they pretty much dissolve.
  • Buckinghamshire Bake Off - 22 March 2014

    HUGE announcement, I'm launching The Buckinghamshire Bake-Off on Saturday 22 March to raise funds for Sport Relief. Fabulous prizes, celebrity judges and cake, loads of cake.
  • Cherry Bakewell Tart

    This is my twist on a classic Bakewell tart
  • Jaffa Cakes

    This is a homemade version of the classic Jaffa Cake biscuit using old fashioned sponge drops made with the whisking method. Sponge Drops are the English version of a whoopie pie. Begin the day before as you'll need time for the jelly to set.
  • Eve's Pudding

    Eve's pudding is so named as the recipe uses apples, I've made a winter version using apples and a mixture of other winter fruits: blackberries and plums in this case.
  • Low Fat Sugar free Banana Breakfast Muffins

    A low fat and sugar free version of classic muffins with half wholemeal flour making them slightly healthier too. Ripe bananas and agave nectar replace the sugar to add sweetness.
  • Low Fat Blackcurrant Muffins

    Low fat version of classic muffins with half wholemeal flour to make them slightly more healthy too. There is no butter or oil in this recipe so the end result can stick to the muffin cases a little, bake in silicone to avoid that. If you can’t get hold of quark increase the skimmed milk to 200ml.
  • Yorkshire Cheesecakes or Curd Cakes

    I grew up eating these as cheesecakes, when I moved to London and ordered a cheesecake, this is what I expected. It turned up raw and I sent it back to be cooked and made a right fool of myself. I still think that raw cheesecakes are uncooked and these are proper ones, they are delicious.
  • Low Fat February

    I'm determined to get back into shape and into my bikini for the summer. It feels like a long way off but February half term has just finished, the nights are getting lighter and March is in a week's time, eek!
  • Fruit Jokes

    It's January, it's Wednesday, and we're all feeling fed up. So, whilst you're browsing for recipes or checking out my cookery courses, I thought I'd distract you with some jokes. This week - fruit jokes. Are you ready to be cheered up?!
  • Cardamom Ice Cream or Creme Anglaise

    Proper custard……..not a tin of Bird’s in sight, or you can turn it into ice cream
  • Gnocchi

    Mashed potato is one of my favourite foods on the planet, it's up there with chocolate and green curry so it goes without saying that gnocchi is going to be up there at the top of my food charts - because it's made with mashed potato.
  • Bread - Beverley's method

    This is Beverley’s basic white bread recipe, this will form the basis of a great loaf, pitta bread, pizza base, flatbread, fougasse, breadsticks and lots more.
  • The sugar bashing campaign

    It's been all over the papers this year, again in the Sunday press today 2014 is sugar bashing year. Just read The Times, The Guardian or The Independant. OK, I know it's January and it's 'diet month' so if it's not 'give up sugar' it's the 5:2 or 4:3 diet or something so I tend to give it short shrift.
  • A normal Saturday at The Glocks' (?)

    "We have 3 jars of umami paste in the fridge but no tapenade! What's wrong with house?" (meaning having 3 jars of umami paste in the fridge is entirely normal for all fridges everywhere but having no tapenade is an offense against society and it's outrageous that we don't have an tapenade in the fridge and she'll have to make do with pesto)
  • Sweet Potato and Orange Cupcakes

    These cupcakes have oranges and sweet potatoes in them so it makes them slightly healthier than standard cupcakes. If blood oranges are season this gives lovely pale pink icing and lots of 'ooohs and ahhhs' from children. Omit the walnuts for people with food allergies or who dislike them. These are my 11 year old son's favourite cupcakes, without the walnuts.
  • Snowboarding in Passo Tonale, Italy

    I spent a week snowboarding with 5 of my girlfriends some 9 years ago. The decision to choose snowboarding over skiing was purely down to the fact that myself and Lisa could ski well and the other 4 had never skied so we figured we'd all try something different - disaster. Nine years is a long time and you forget, it looks cool so let's have another go.
  • Adamello Glacier, Passo Tonale, Italy

    Feeling very self righteous on New Year's Day we ventured out at around 10am to almost empty and perfectly groomed slopes. No queues on the lifts, empty bars and restaurants and no queues for the toilets either, so worth going to bed just after midnight.
  • New Years Eve in Passo Tonale, Italy

    We are staying in THE posh hotel of the resort, the Grand Hotel Miramonti, it's about as close as you can get to the slopes, the food at supper is generally fabulous, the breakfast is best described functional.
  • Passo Tonale ski regions

    First day in the resort and the hell that is ski hire shop, doesn't change, it's still hell, expect the worst and if it's better then you have a bonus, nuff said.
  • Easiest ski check in ever

    Flight from Gatwick to Verona at 6.30am, check in 4.30am, get up at 2am to leave at 2.30am, pretty standard timing for ski holidays. However with the weather forecast of heavy rain and high winds we took a last minute decision to take advantage of Crystal Ski's day before check in option.
  • Family skiing holiday in Passo Tonale, Italy

    First week skiing as a family ever, in Passo Tonale, Italy with Crystal ski. Days before children we used to spend most of our holidays skiing, usually 2 weeks a year, Christmas and again end of season and a weekend too, so we were pretty good skiers.
  • Christmas with your AGA

    An AGA is fabulous to cook everything for Christmas. You can put sweet and savoury items in the ovens together and the smells and flavours won’t cross over, your kitchen will always be cosy and your dogs and cats will love the warmth.
  • Christmas Yule Log

    This is made using the whisking method, it’s lower in fat than normal sponges as there is no added butter, until you come to the buttercream topping so don’t kid yourself that it’s in any way healthier or low in fat, it isn’t, at all, no way.
  • Lebkuchen

    These classic German gingerbread biscuits are super easy to make and delicious, great for sharing or giving as gifts at Christmas.
  • Street Food Lunch Club - launches January 2014

    I've come up with a brilliant new idea.....come and cook lunch together in my cookery school kitchen, then we'll sit down and eat together while chatting about how it can be adapted to cater to the tastes of your friends and family, then we'll clear up, wash up and you can go home armed with a fabulous new recipe.
  • Sausage and Mash Cupcakes

    These are sausage and mash presented in a cupcake case rather than sausage and mash flavour cupcakes, not sure about this one, could be 'interesting'. Part of my new Confused Food range.
  • Veggie three bean chili with flatbread

    This vegetarian version of a classic chili con carne is packed full of flavour and goodness, lovely served with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole and home made flatbreads
  • Tiny Stuffed Jacket Potatoes

    Super easy canapes for Christmas and New Year, all you need is a bag of small Charlotte potatoes and some toppings, some of which you may find in your fridge or larder.
  • Cheat Cherry Brownies

    This is a very quick, cheat version of black forest gateau using shop bought brownies so all you have to do is arrange them on the plate, drain the cherries and whip the cream, you can even buy ready whipped cream
  • Parmesan Lollipops

    Fabulous canapes to serve with drinks, lollipops for grown ups. They are quick to make, ideal to get children involved to grate the cheese as it's cheaper than buying ready grated parmesan, if you have food processor use that, super quick.
  • Traumas of a chocolate labrador

    Jasper our chocolate labrador is in the wars again.
  • Lavender Shortbread

    Fragrant shortbread made with lavender sugar, serve with delicate Darjeeling tea for an elegant afternoon tea or give them as presents.
  • Lavender Sugar

    This fragrant sugar makes a fabulous present, attach a label with the lavender shortbread recipe handwritten to finish it off beautifully. Also lovely sprinkled over summer berries. This will keep for 6 months.
  • Vegetable korma and homemade chapatis

    This is a mild curry dish made with coconut milk and ground cashew nuts, it is not suitable for people with nut allergies. Add in a tin of chickpeas for protein and serve with raita.
  • Custard Creams

    The custard cream has been around for over 100 years. It was first made in 1908 and the swirly baroque design of ferns goes back to Victorian Times, the Victorians thought baroque ferns were really cool.
  • Melting Snowman Christmas Cupcakes

    Christmas muffins iced to look like melting snowmen, they go down a treat at Christmas.
  • Gingerbread Biscuits - rubbing in method

    It wouldn't be Christmas without gingerbread in our house, gingerbread biscuits to decorate and if I remember to put a hole in the top they may end up on the Christmas tree although it's difficult to get them to last that long.
  • Soured Cream Pastry and Sausage Rolls

    This is a wonderful cheat version of rough puff pastry and can all be done in a food processor very easily and quickly. It's brilliant with savoury recipe such as sausage rolls or meat pies and also works well with recipes such as mince pies and tarte tatin.
  • Sausage Rolls with Rough Puff Pastry

    Homemade sausage rolls taste wonderful and are worth the effort. This recipe uses rough puff pastry which is quicker than flaky pastry and there is an extra quick version included too.
  • Mini Christmas Puddings - children's version

    This chocolate fridge crunchy or tiffin recipe makes wonderfully easy and spectacular mini Christmas puddings, you could use thick glace icing instead of sugarpaste to drizzle over if you wish. Wonderful boxed to give as gift for friends and family.
  • Stollen

    Stollen is a yeasted dough, it can be made in advance, frozen and then iced when you are ready to eat it.
  • Oven Baked or AGA Risotto

    This is a cheat’s version of a risotto when you don’t have time to stand over it on the hob, you don’t get the same finish but it’s tasty and a great emergency supper.
  • Traditional Christmas Pudding

    Beverley's classic Christmas Pudding recipe, traditionally made on Stir Up Sunday, 6 weeks before Christmas.
  • Stir Up Sunday - time to make your Christmas pudding

    ‘Stir-up Sunday’ is the Sunday before Advent - the end of November – and everyone in the family takes a turn to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from East to West (clockwise) in honor of the three Kings making their journey, with their eyes closed whilst making a secret wish.
  • Palmiers

    These beautiful sweet or savoury biscuits are an ideal nibble to serve with drinks at Christmas or New Year. They're really easy too!
  • Cinder Toffee 'Crunchy' Cupcakes

    Just like the Crunchy bars you can buy. If you have time you could make the cinder toffee yourself.
  • Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

    This is a basic chocolate cupcake recipe with a strawberry cream centre to replicate a classic Strawberry Cream Chocolate.
  • After Eight Mint Cupcakes

    This is a basic chocolate cupcake recipe with a mint fondant icing finished with homemade chocolate mints in the style of the classic After Eight Mint. You can cheat and buy After Eight Mints instead of making them but they are great for a rainy day activity with children.
  • Oreo Cupcakes

    Oreo cupcakes is a basic chocolate cupcake recipe with Oreo frosting.
  • Apple and Blackberry Flapjack

    A fruit take on classic flapjack, this is a moister version due to the apple and blackberries and delicious for lunchboxes or a healthier alternative to cakes
  • Lemon Sherbet Cupcakes

    Lemony, fizzy iced cupcakes. Homemade sherbet is really easy, just don’t eat huge amounts of it as it is high in sodium and always keep the sherbet very dry or it will go sticky and lose it’s fizz.
  • Beverley's stress-free Christmas Classes and Dems

    Beverley's fabulous selection of courses and demonstrations are designed to ease you through Christmas. Gift vouchers and our Children's Cookery Programme make ideal foodie gifts that will last children and adults a lifetime
  • Squash with wild rice

    Traditionally squash are roasted or made into soup, this is a tasty alternative. I've used butternut squash which is around all year but when they're in season try different squash and give the wild rice a go, it's black with a nutty flavour. Great for Halloween or Bonfire Night
  • Rhubarb and Apple Oaty Crumble

    This is a classic crumble with a flapjack twist, delicious with rhubarb and apple or any other fruit combination that fancy trying, gooseberries work really well so do pears and blackberries.
  • Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

    Sticky Toffee Cupcakes are delicious served warm with ice cream and lashings of butterscotch sauce on the side on bonfire night or for a Halloween party
  • Great Pink Bake Off

    Breakthrough Breast Cancer's first ever Great Pink Bake Off is Friday 18 October, so get baking, get your friends involved, eat, bake, share and raise money for this amazing charity.
  • Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes

    A Victoria sponge is a sponge cake filled with jam and buttercream or fresh cream and then drenched in icing sugar.
  • Mushrooms

    Mushrooms, loads of them, different shapes, sizes and colours all over the woods.
  • Chocolate Week 14-21 October 2013

    Beverley adapted her signature Blackcurrant Chocolate Cupcakes using Divine Chocolate for chocolate week, those lovely people at Divine Chocolate have included this recipe on their website in the Celebrity Chef section too.
  • Thame Food Festival

    Whahoo, it's that time of year again, Thame Food Festival is tomorrow, Saturday 28 September.  This year it's even bigger and taking up the whole of the high street....Annual fun fair eat your heart out.
  • Nutrition for children

    Nutrition – a word we all recognise but what does it really mean? I asked a couple of children to see what they thought…. 14 year old “wait, let me find my food tech folder I’ve got the definition in there (not allowed), ooh it’s the stuff you eat that turns into stuff you use to make your body work”.
  • Homemade baby food is better for baby - it's official

    This is a bit of a 'der' moment.  Professor Charlotte Wright of Glasgow University has been interviewed all over the place today regarding her findings when her team took a range of pre-made baby food from brands such as Heinz, Ella's Kitchen, Boots, Cow & Gate, Hipp Organic and Organix and found that they were high in sugar and lower in nutrients than homemade.
  • Cookery School

    My cookery school is based in the kitchen of my 17th century converted mill on the outskirts of Princes Risborough. The classes take place around the kitchen table with everyone working together so they have a very informal and friendly feel, more like cooking with friends than a formal home economics kitchen.
  • Camp Bestival - Saturday

    Saturday was always going to be difficult, it wouldn't be if I would ever learn and just stick to my guns and stay at one stage, but no, I don't and still try and get everything in. so the plan was...
  • Camp Bestival - Friday

    Friday dawned sunny, warm and lumpy - of course the air bed had a leak!  Then it was the 30 minute queues for the loos as still down to 2 loos for the whole of our section and the water had completely run out too, grr.

    Bacon butties for breakfast, flat whites and veging out until the site opened, with time to kill there was only one thing for it, another coffee and this time with amaretto - we're on holiday!

    What was in store today?  I've learnt in previous years that the best action is around the Big Top and Pig's Big Ballroom, this is where all the exciting new bands get their gigs and it's usually much better than Castle Stage.  However, The Proclaimers were on at 5.30pm and no way was I missing that.

    Erths Dinosaur Zoo

    Erth's dinosaur zoo - had to see this as Small Boy loves dinosaurs.  It was pretty good, the presenter warned the audience that by the end of it there would be small children crying.....and she was right, the dinosaurs were very well trained and even the carnivore came out to eat, sorry meet the audience.

    Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer - this guy is fantastic, with his banjolele too, I heard him on Radio 4 on Sunday morning as he's doing his show at Edinburgh Festival, catch him, he's brilliant.  He is a hip hop artist in the Queen's English, chap-hop is what he calls it, love him.

    The Proclaimers Brilliant, totally brilliant, "and I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door, der der ler der........" became our theme tune for the weekend with a snippet of "der der ler der.." before everyone broke out into the chorus.  Thank you lads, a little bit of my teenage days transferring onto my kids, fantastic.  Ellie and Anastasia had problems with the trains and arrived at 7pm gutted to have missed them.

    After a mooch round the dingly dell with a promise to come back and see the fire show in the evening (never made it, too long a queue and too much else to do) we went back to the tent for fajitas and cocktails, as you do.

    The plan was to make our way to the Big Top to see London Grammar at 8.30pm, I've learnt from previous years that you can plan what you like but it's probably going to go pear shaped. It did, spectactularly.  We walked past the Wagamama lounge and discovered that David Rodigan, reggae legend was playing. That was it, an hour or raving it up, with kids going for it too and London Grammar didn't get a look in.  This was probably the best event of the whole festival.

    Next back over the Big Top for John Cooper Clarke.  Now this guy is a hero from my teenage days, a punk poet who I loved, my favourite being 'I married a monster from outer space'. I had a friend who new all the words to that.  Disappointed, he had an hour set, didn't engage the audience, ranted and was very boring. We didn't even stick around long enough to hear my favourite poem, if he did it.  Caught a little bit of Richard Hawley but not really my thing so off to Mr Teas with the kids for hot chocolate - naked hot chocolate in my case - no marshmallows or cream then back to the tent with little ones, big girls on 1am curfew and nothing else for it but to grab a blanket, put the light on, pour the wine and sit outside listening to the music and reading my book waiting for the others to get home.

    Star Wars Fancy DressCamp Bestival

  • Camp Bestival - Thursday

    Dingly DellThis is the first time I have made it to Camp Bestival on the Thursday.  I usually send Pete and Small Boy down on Thursday to put up the tent and I arrive with the girls on Friday lunchtime having deposited the dogs at their Aunty Sue's for a holiday weekend.  On Thursday our friend Grant cooks for everyone.  I love it when someone else cooks so this year I was determined to get there on Thursday so I could sit back and eat his yummy food.

    The lads got there before us and in past years Thursday has been very quiet.  We are in Camping Plus so none of that fighting for pitch and waking up in the morning with someone else's tent pitched on top of yours with a head sticking in your bed room space.  This is civilised.  Or rather, it's meant to be.  I did witness a couple of 'pitch wars' going on.

    1. Where someone had their tent pegs and ropes in someone else's pitch.  It's pretty clear, you pay £120 for a pitch that is outlined in thick white lines and you're meant to keep within the lines, that's your area for the weekend and you've paid for it.  If your tent is bigger than the line you buy two pitches.  This is what we do as we have a massive tent and it won't fit on - actually we buy two and Grant buys one so we have three next to each other so we can sort out the cooking stuff together.  It really hacks other people off when they pitch their pegs and ropes on your territory.

    2.  Someone had pitched in the wrong pitch.   A lady had booked two pitches together and was explaining to the bod that this tent was in the wrong place.  He agreed but said he couldn't ask them to move (why not?  They've pitched in the wrong place, flipping move it!) She explained, without raising her voice (not sure I'd be that calm) that she needed two pitches together as they were pitching with friends and sharing food/cooking stuff and couldn't do this on separate pitches.  Not sure how this was resolved but 3 hours and 3 loads later she was still talking to bods (multiple appearing now) and still hadn't pitched her tent, it was now 6pm and I was feeling very sorry for her.

    Anyway, our tent was up, Grant's tent was up, food out, Grant cooking, wine served, sorted.  Posh new loos on site, with the words 'eco' friendly and 'no water systems'.....worried, I had reason to be.  They lasted all of 10 minutes.

    By 8pm Camping Plus must have been 80% full, we were parked where we parked last year arriving on Friday lunchtime and we got there at 2pm Thursday.  The lads said they'd never seen it this full on a Thursday, the reason they arrived on Thursday is that it was empty with most people arriving Friday, not this year.   The loos lasted until about 8pm then they broke leaving a 20 minutes queue and only 2 loos working for our bit of the site - joy!

    Sitting under the stars with cocktails feeling smug that I'd packed the Bog in a Bag and allocating the area at the back of the tent the 'boy loo' zone we were sorted.  All we needed to do now was yell at any kids who thought they'd try and scoot through our pitch - it's ours, we've paid for it, walk round you horrible lot, it's really rude to walk through someone else's pitch, etc oh, and I wouldn't walk there as that's the emergency loo? See what I mean, pitch wars.

    Finally, Big Girl was left at home on her own for the first time ever as she wanted to come down on Friday by train with her friend Anastasia.  On the basis that she's almost 17 and was very well behaved on holiday we agreed.  This didn't get off to a good start when I had a phone call at 4pm to say that she'd forgotten to take her keys with her and she was locked out and currently at her Nanas.........OK so you're old enough and responsible enough to stay at home on your own are you?

  • Sausage Pasta Bake

    Super easy supper dish, try adapting this and using items in your store cupboard such as sun dried tomatoes, pesto or jars of artichokes or peppers
  • English Madeleines

    These doyennes of Englishness have drifted into the mists of time but I think it’s time for a revival as they are delicious
  • Iced Gems

    Tiny iced gem biscuits, iced with royal icing, fiddly but delicious
  • Aubergine Parmigiana (Eggplant Bake)

    This is a lovely easy supper that can be prepared ahead and warmed through on the day
  • Festival Food

    I spent a long time last night being grumpy and cooking for 6 people for #campbestival today, one of them being a 17 year old coeliac friend of Big Girl who I only found out was coeliac a couple of days ago.
  • Camp Bestival Food - for coeliacs too

    Last 24 hours before setting of to Camp Bestival @campbestival #campbestival, Pete's on his way to Go Outdoors to get last minute camping stuff and we haven't even thought about packing. Still finishing off unpacking from Kos last week so I have that to do before I can start cooking.
  • Mark Warner 15 Years On

    It is 15 years since our first Mark Warner holiday. Is it still as good? Yes, absolutely. We originally booked for the childcare and because we as parents got to have a holiday, 15 years on that is still the case.
  • Mark Warner waterfront = a really, really good day windsurfing

    A really really good day on the water

    I love the ski lift service here at Lakitira but I have been getting very frustrated at not being able to get back in to shore on my windsurfer. I bit the bullet and booked a one to one with the lovely Dave who I was assured was a hunk.

    The alarm went off at 8am, a ridiculous time in the morning on holiday, even worse the bars that serve decent coffee don't open until 10am. So caffeine-less I arrived on the waterfront at 8.50am thinking this was a really bad idea, I was still asleep and maybe I should forget this. I was soon buoyed up by the lovely Dave, yep as promised he's a hunk. Hmm maybe a Dave every morning could be a good alternative to coffee? No, behave woman! Control yourself. You're old enough to be his Mum......hmm that's wrong why? *rushes off to find a cold shower*

    We started off on the dummy rig on land, went over the basics then got the rig out. Bit of a panic as Dave had booked a Beach, which is the widest and most buoyant board but they all got nabbed despite the protestations of the lovely Harriet who was in charge at the desk. So it was a large Rio and 2.5m sail........and a tether.

    Dave was lovely, he shouted lots of good things about my technique and we then moved on to jibing and tacking......and.......I got it. Couldn't believe it, I actually managed to jibe, turn, tack, turn, fell off a couple of times but I did it, whoopee, wahoo, oh boy it felt good. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to carry on without Dave but I managed it without him telling me what to do. Came ashore, left my rig ready, had a coffee and 20 minutes later was back on the water.

    This time completely on my own. Zig zagged perfectly, steered, avoided other windsurfers and ended up way out to sea. I went over to one of the orange buoys then over to the other one and back into shore. Yes, I did it. I got back into shore. I felt so good I went out again, this time the wind picked up and I signalled for the attention of my knight in shining armour, the lovely Terry, to come and give me a lift back into shore. Terry is fabulous, he rescued me yesterday, in fact I think of him as my own personal knight, some people are fortunate enough to have a butler or a valet, I have a knight Sir Terry the Brave.

    Sir Terry rides the waves rescuing damsels in distress from fire breathing dragons and great sea serpents who capture windsurfers and try to drag their prey under the sea (this is why we fall off, nothing to do with poor technique). Sir Terry is a true hero. Sir Dave is also a valiant knight, teaching us ways to combat these pesky sea serpents using wind and water technology i.e. windsurfers that help us ride over the waves to distant lands.....ok I did feel that I was heading to Turkey at one point.

    Today I not only mastered steering, tacking, jibing and turning but also going fast and not being afraid of the wind but also......this is the ultimate invited to go into town with the waterfront guys for a party. That's it, I've made it, I've reached the pinnacle, there is nowhere higher to go. I won't go, it was lovely to be invited but I think it's probably best for all that I don't, could be very, very bad.

    I checked out town today. Town is Kardamena, I was warned by the Head of childcare not to let big girl, or any teenagers, go into town as it was a big 18-30 party town. I checked out a mountain bike and decided that I really ought to see a bit of the island and get a culture fix so off I went. Hmmm, definitely an 'un-culture' fix. Kardamena makes a night out in Aylesbury look sophisticated. It is awful, full of tattoo shops, booze shops, fast food and kebab shops, bars and signs for 'rooms to rent'.

    On the upside the beach is lovely and so is the harbour with some high price tag yachts moored. I don't think that any of the people on them actually ventured off the yachts though. The sea is crystal clear and turquoise and you can get naff boat trips from a number of sources. You can also hire quad bikes and book banana boat and doughnut rides. Thankfully there is nothing of this at Mark Warner; even though its only 15 mins cycle away it's sheltered from this completely. Thank goodness. There are a lot of boarded up shops which open up in the evening and turn into the clubs.

    Apparently Kardamena changes at night and the town you see in daytime is transformed by 4am to a club or rave heaven. Kardamena is fab for teenagers who want a cheap, party town, I'd have been up for that when I was 18 and I'd have been shinning down the drainpipe at night to go the clubs if i'd been here with my parents. I actually feel rather sad admitting it, but not now, I've grown out of that and I'm glad I'm in Lakitira.




  • Mark Warner Water Activities


    I've been attempting to windsurf for 21 years, first time was in Mauritius when we got married, since then there were a few gaps taken up again on Mark Warner holidays over the years. Last year in Lemnos I decided with sheer bloody minded determination that I would crack this windsurfing lark once and for all and booked myself onto a RYA Start Windsurfing course. I passed by the skin of my teeth and I'm sure that the beach front guys just felt sorry for be and took pity on my at the last minute. I had a mention awards on the last night for sheer bloody determination rather than natural skill, but hey, I got it.

    On Monday I did a refresher course with the lovely Ben who told me to get a rig out and just practice. My goodness I think that's probably one of the most scary things any one has ever said to me

    "Take a rig out on your own and practice"

    I'm allowed to take a rig on my own!
    Without supervision?
    With no instructor?
    Are you serious?

    I couldn't do this on Monday as it was very windy and advanced sailors and windsurfers only. So on Tuesday I did, and yes it is scary, after 21 years its like taking the car out on your own for the first time. Just wetter.

    The lovely crew on the beach offered a beach valet service, ie they go and get you the board and the sail and help you fit the UJ, or they did me. It could have been the pathetic look and pleading I did. Actually, no they were really really helpful and great for boosting my confidence, still not sure that they're completely mad for letting me do this.

    Didn't do very well, severe case of 'conscious incompetence', I know what I'm supposed to do, I can do it slowly but the wind kept getting the better of me and every time the sail caught the wind I dropped it in terror......I can't do this on my own, I need help? Massive bruise on my knee the size of a duck egg, pulled something in my back and my other shin is black and blue. Managed to get out eventually but hopeless at getting back in with an offshore wind, unknown on a rescue boat came to save me and give me lift back in. Thank you Charlie. I think this is going to be known as the Lakitira Ski Lift, you know, you ski down the hill and get the ski lift back, well this is similar, you windsurf out with the wind behind you and get the ski lift back in to do it again, simples.

    Today, Wednesday, I took the same rig out again, this time I came in with dry hair. Yeay, whoopee, apparently I was very loud when I got back and I've heard that most of the beach now realised that I managed to windsurf, sorry. I was so excited, got up, sailed out, turned (without falling off), the wind even caught the sail and I went fast ad didn't drop the sail in terror, I really enjoyed it, then got the ski lift aka Terry in the rescue boat back in again. I tried turning it round but the wind just kept flipping my sail up, back to where it was. Looking around all the dinghies were capsized so I had to wait for a little while but it was a good excuse to catch up on sunbathing. Terry mentioned that the waterfront staff were very busy today but he'd rather it like than the opposite as it can get very boring when there's no wind and no one needs help.

    These waterfront guys and girls are just so cheery, lets face it, they've been out since May putting up with guests who probably sail or windsurf once a year at best and probably have to go over the same thing week in week out. OK they are in Kos, it's hot, it's beautiful and way better than the UK. They do it with a smile, constant good humour and never a grumble, they are complete stars.

    I can now officially windsurf, it's taken 21 years but I can do it. My next challenge is that I want to be able to get back into shore again so I've booked Dave, who is apparently a hunk, for a 9am one to one tomorrow. Mike, the hunk in charge of lessons and ops says he's a hunk so we'll see in the morning. Worth getting out of bed early for, I'll let you know.

    Water polo

    Probably one of the most vicious water games there is, no rules, jumping, grabbing, drowning, yelling, anything goes, I love it. Half an hour of water polo is the most fun and probably burns off a huge amount of calories. Bless, a new English chap joined in today, after a couple of minutes he declared "you can't do that it's against the rules!", back came the comment "what rules!", there you go. I remember a couple of years ago all women were banned from playing as it got too rough and dangerous, not quite there yet and probably around 40% women today. Couple of big Russian blokes who are a bit of pain to get round though but brilliant fun.

    Imagine netball in the water with no rules whatsoever, yeay.

    Kids club sailing

    Small boy went sailing today, his first introduction to proper sailing and he thoroughly enjoyed it as they took the fun boats out and played pirates. Basically trying to board the other fun boats, trying to capsize the fun boats and generally being piratical, he now thinks sailing is brilliant and wants to do more of it. At what point do we tell him that getting his RYA qualification is not about capturing other Picos or Lasers but sailing them. Actually, that sounds like far more fun than just learning to sail them, maybe I should have a word with the RYA and get them to rethink the courses.

    RYA 1 - learn to be a pirate, steer your dinghy, jibe and tack to get away from other pirates, capsize drill in case you are attacked and capsized by other pirates or happen upon a dinghy that's been capsized on purpose by other pirates. You have to be able to right your capsized dinghy. Learn the basics of pirate speak:

    'ahoy me hearties' - hello chaps, I'm here
    'Ooo arrr' - by gum I like the look of your dinghy, maybe I ought to attack you and borrow it for a short while, would that be ok with you?
    'Avast ye scurvy swabs' - I say chaps would you mind awfully crewing the boat?
    'Avast behind' - watch out chaps, there are some awfully dodgy hoodlums coming up on our rear
    'Shiver me timbers we been hit lads' - oh my goodness I think I felt the boat rock a little, there is the distinct possibility that we have been hit by something not very nice.
    'Methinks you be swinging the lead' - listen up sweet pea, I have an inkling that you're not really pulling your weight around here and being a bit of a slacker, buck up lad, stop sunbathing on deck and grab the tiller.

    In order to be politically correct I must add that pirates are bad people, in no way am I saying that pirates are good fun and in no way would I ever encourage any one to be a pirate.

    Tonight is karaoke night, I can clear a bar in minutes with my singing voice, the resort may be saved as the kids show is on at the same time, or it may not......


  • Mark Warner accommodation at Lakitira

    Lakitira resort looked really big when I checked it out online, compared with Lemnos and San Lucianu and we were a little worried about the size. No need to worry as it doesn't feel huge at all, it feels roomy and has a very nice laid back vibe about it. The white washed hotel and village are surrounded by hibiscus growing up the walls makes a strikingly beautiful picture against the deep azure sky.

    The sounds are pure 'holiday', chirruping of the cicadas, lapping of the waves gently breaking on the sand and relaxing chill out music from the bars, interspersed with 'grunts' from the tennis courts. Well, it wouldn't be Mark Warner without that would it?

    Our rooms are amazing, we are in the village and have a two storey 'house', it is actually bigger than our first house. Downstairs there are 3 single beds and a huge amount of space, fridge and bathroom, with a large patio. Sufficient room for all three teenagers with messy detritus scattered everywhere but not overstepping the 'no walk' zones of each other's allocated space, if you have teenage girls you'll know this could mean the outbreak of World War 3. Marble stairs take you to the grown ups room with lockable door (necessary for any 'couple' time with teenage kids around, especially when they have their own keys and no issue about just walking straight in without knocking, need I say more?). We have twin beds, our own bathroom and balcony. The whole thing is absolutely massive and even better, there is NO television. Ok I know some of you would like a TV, if so book into the hotel as their rooms have widescreen TV. For us this is a dream so the are no arguments about watching it vs going outside and doing healthy activities. In previous years we have been bad parents and lied to the kids that the 'TV doesn't work unless you pay for it' and 'it's really expensive', or 'it doesn't work until 7pm', or 'it recognises your thumbprint so only adults can operate it'.

    Small boy took my instructions of 'quiet time, out of the sun between 12-3pm to the extreme yesterday as a bunch of the boys piled round to his new best friend Callum's room in the hotel to watch Men in Black, at least they were out of the sun.

    Both rooms have air conditioning too and the showers are brilliant. Not only do they work after 6pm (previous holidays the hot water has run out at 6pm and reduced to a trickle) but these are just like the power shower at home, yeay. The electricity works by putting your heavy key fob into the slot, bit tricky if you only have one key fob and there are 5 of you as the spares don't have a fob.....toothpaste tube works just as well.

    We even have our own entertainment in the form of a cat and her three kittens who live on the kids patio, they've been told not to try and stroke them (the children have been told not to stroke the cats that is, not the other way round) but they seem very sweet, catching lizards and playing with each other much to the kids entertainment. I like lizards so not so keen on this bit but its a good introduction to nature for the children.

    There is a beach towel hire facility which is €7 a week per towel and you change your towels every other day, so they can get grotted on the beach or in the pool and you just change them out, we brought our own but this means I have less washing so ours are remaining firmly in the suitcase. There are toiletries in the room too, it's the little things that matter.


  • Mark Warner Childcare

    The first time we booked a holiday with Mark Warner it was because of the excellent childcare, mean we could have holiday knowing that our 2 year old was been looked after and having a fabulous time and we all had a holiday.

    15 years later I'm really glad to say that this hasn't changed, their childcare is as excellent as ever. Mark Warner also have an exceptionally good 'lost child' procedure. We've seen this in action over the past holidays, always with a good outcome, but never had to experience it ourselves, until yesterday. Let me give you some history first.

    Around 7 years ago on our first French camping holiday we took our eyes off small boy, who was then 4, for a couple of minutes while we were tidying up the caravan, one minute he was playing outside the door the next minute he was gone. We were living every parent's nightmare. We shouted for him, we checked every room in the caravan, we asked the girls, no small boy. The French families around us heard what was going on and immediately sprang into action to help us look, it took 5-10 minutes, it seemed like forever and every outcome went through my head. Just as we were about to go to reception to raise the alarm he turned up. He thought he saw his sister heading in the direction of the pool and followed her via a new secret route he'd found through the pitches. Turns out it wasn't his sister so he made his way home but got a little lost. End of panic and the longest 5 minutes of my life. Consequently I've been a little paranoid whenever small boy goes missing.

    Yesterday lunchtime he finished Kids Club at 12.30 and was due to meet us at the pool, around 50 metres away, I was waiting the pool, his sisters turned up, no small boy, after 10 mins I walked over to kids club but it was empty, went back to the pool, waiting, no small boy. Decided to go and check the room, no, back too the pool, no, walked down to the snack bar where we were having lunch, no, bumped into husband, we both split up. Basically by 1pm we'd done the hotel twice and I approached reception with all sense telling me that he was off with his friends trying to find me but there is always that niggling 'what if' demon sitting only shoulder so I uttered the dreaded words "I can't find my son".

    Immediate description was taken, Mark Warner were alerted and Jono the resort manager appeared as if by magic. Within a minute 30+ staff had been dragged from their lunches and were about to go off on the search when my husband came running in yelling "I've found him". Relief and lots of apologies from me, did I feel an idiot or what?

    Reason tells me that he's 11 and will be off with his mates, but he's my youngest and I'm a paranoid mother, at no time did any of the hotel or Mark Warner staff say "he's 11, he's probably off with his mates", they may have thought that but didn't say anything, they took it seriously and for that I'm very grateful, this is why I booked with them in the first place and like I said earlier Mark Warner childcare is second to none.

    I do miss the children being in mini club and it was lovely no hear the mini club song, took us back a number of years, pity they don't have Indy Club singing this too.

    At the welcome meeting for Indy club we were warned that the legal drinking age in Greece is 16 and that the local town, Kardamena, is a big 18-30 venue and a party town, they recommended that we do not allow our teenagers in there for an evening, they don't have any trips into the town either. Basically the bars will serve anyone, anything, no
    ID needed. Indy's have their own supper at 8pm. Kidz Club have their own dinner at 7.30pm, so that means we get to have supper on our own, no children, omg we have to talk to each other and don't have to spend the evening scolding children, negotiating with them as to what they eat, grown up time, bliss.

    There is then entertainment for Indy's until 10.30 and for Kidz until 9.30, it used to be the babysitting service when they were little, now it's just a continuation of that, how much better can this get?

    Small boy asked if he could book a table at the Trattoria this evening for him and three of his mates as they wanted to eat together and not with all the rest of the Kidz Club, he went off booked a table, we had to confirm with the restaurant as they understandably didn't want to take an 11 year olds word that this was ok. At 9pm he and his friends all went off to supper on their own, in a different restaurant to us and had a lovely time. Just asked him how it went and he replied "brilliant", were you well behaved? "Of course, they're all nice boys". There you go, that's what the clientele of Mark Warner are like, 11 year old boys who book their own tables and eat with their friends, well behaved and 'nice boys', not sure I would have ever done that at his age. I'm am so proud of him.

  • Lakitira, intro to activities

    We had our first Mark Warner holiday when big girl was 2, she's almost 17 now, Pete spent a lot of morning watching the sun come up at various resorts with our small children, usually around 5.30am. He wasn't the only one, the was a real sense of togetherness with all the other Dads who were on early morning duty on the beach. Things are a little different now, it's trying to get them up in the morning that's the challenge.

    Motivation for getting up for a child's point of view is that club starts at 9am. In previous years we've had to go down to the restaurant to get toast and honey for big girl in order to get her to the beach for a 9am start, this year it's up to them.

    I had to be out for 9.15 Pilates taster, which was amazing, but at €18 an hour not sure i want to go for it, may just stick to the aerobics programme and yoga with the lovely Laura from the hotel is was just so sweet and made such an effort to find me afterwards to make sure I'd enjoyed it and persuade me to come to the music quiz tonight. Pete went off to play tennis and has booked into a course as well as doing social tennis this afternoon.

    After Pilates my focus was playing 'shark' in the pool with small boy, teaching Medium girl to dive and learning how to do butterfly stroke from small boy.

    Windsurfing refresher for 30 mins following which I'd hoped to rake out a windsurfer. Let me just set you straight here... I started windsurfing 21 years ago and last year managed to get my RYA Start Windsurfing qualification, almost had to bribe the instructors for it, so after 21 years I officially managed to get up, get the sail up, windsurf a little way, turn the thing round and get back to shore, so that tells you how good I am! Today was a blue/red flag day meaning only advanced sailors on the sea, no hope there then.

    After lunch I got very excited as the flag had gone down to blue so off I went to talk nicely to the beach crew. I love Mark Warner beach crew, they actually go and get your board and sail and put it together for you and then launch it in the sea. It may have been that they took one look at me, took pity and thought 'blonde' but I don't care, the lovely chaps gave a fabulous 'windsurf butler service' for which I was very grateful. All I can say is that I only fell off once, pretty miraculous and pretty impressive.......I did have to be rescued though. An offshore wind took hold and before I knew it I was getting very far away from shore, with the sail down, struggling to get it up due to the gusts and no hope of even getting into the recovery position as the wind kept whipping the sail over the board. Rescue boat came and, with my pride hurt, I had a lift back to shore. Felt better soon afterwards when talking to the beach crew as they all admitted that the wind is tricky and they've all been rescued frequently.

    Back for a spot of pool shark with small boy then yoga with Laura from the hotel who is part of the animation team who is just lovely. She made a point of finding me afterwards by the pool to ask if I'd enjoyed it and to persuade me to come to the music quiz tonight and aqua aerobics tomorrow.

    I asked medium girl tonight if she was enjoying herself, her response was

    "Oh yes, I've made some really good friends and I'm having the best time ever, I can't believe I've only been here two days, it feels like a week already, this is just brilliant". Praise indeed from a 13 year old.

    Lakitira isn't a purely Mark Warner resort, there are a few Italians, Russians and some French here. I love the Russians, this is probably not politically correct but I'm going to write this anyway. There are great games you can play with the Russians.

    1. Spot the boob jobs.
    2. Spot the inappropriate age mix in a couple
    3. Check out how much gold, gold lame, glittery stuff, high heels on the beach they're wearing and who gets the "bling" trophy of the day.
    4. Get together in the bar at the end of the day to compare notes.

    In Egypt a couple of years ago there were a couple of older men, dressed in full leather, heaps of gold jewellery accompanied by very skinny 20 year old blondes with obvious boob jobs, it was great fun playing 'spot the Russians', disappointingly there is no one like that here.

    I won yesterday by spotting a couple with a baby, the girl was wearing a nice white bikini from the front, nicely rounded, not skinny, but then she walked past to reveal a 'thong', now pushing a baby around while wearing a thong just seems inappropriate, especially when you haven't the body to carry it off, her husband was wearing speedos, tight ones with gold writing and squiggles all over which glittered in the sun, walked past, heard them speak........yeay Russians.

    A big plus with having other un-Mark Warner folks here is that there are even more activities to choose from. The hotel has its own animations team including Laura from yoga. They put on evening events such as the fab music quiz which we came second in, losing out on the tie breaker. Even better after the quiz they started up the Eurotrash music. That was it, in Mum heaven, the complete and total ability to embarrass your kids handed on a plate. We're talking Agadoo, YMCA and some new lovely Eurotrash pop songs with new actions. Oh yes I was up there with the kids, other people's not mine who were trying to hide in horror, no issues missing my noon pool Eurotrash pop songs at French Campsites, I have it in Greece too, Whaley I'm on holiday




  • Travel to Lakitira for our Mark Warner holiday

    Mark Warner, Lakitira - Sunday

    5.00am checking-in at Heathrow means a luxurious lie-in, you think I jest? Not at all, this means getting up at 4am with the sun coming up, a 30 minute drive and to be met by a fabulous chap from meet and greet. Actually got all five of us into Terminal 5, before it opened at 5am. If this had been Gatwick we'd have been up at 2.30am - there you go, luxury in perspective.

    Husband's brill idea to have breakfast at Giraffe went pear shaped, decision made on the basis that:

    "it's child friendly and they have a huge selection of things the kids will eat".

    Hmmm.....medium sized girl poked at her waffle and declared that

    "it didn't taste right",

    Small boy looked at his toast (the only item on the menu that he 'could' eat), poked it and declared that

    "it had bits and it was cold so the butter didn't melt',

    We had granola and yoghurt which was ok but out of a packet and they didn't have any skimmed milk to do me a skinny flat white. Ok I know I'm high maintenance but seriously the one thing I need in the morning to make me human is a skinny latte, cappuccino, flat white whatever, as long as it has two shots of espresso and skimmed milk it's fine. The words "we don't do skimmed milk" are not ones I want to hear any morning, never mind when I've been up since 4am.

    My suggestion was going to Pret a Manger, which was overruled by husband, this was where we ended up anyway to get croissants and pain au chocolate plus orange juice with no bits, which is what the children wanted anyway AND they had skimmed milk........husbands listen to your wives!

    Also I have to have a moan about the shops in terminal 5. I'm used to Gatwick for charter flights and they have it right, Next, Fat Face, Accessorize, Body Shop, just what you need to cope with last minute panics. In T5, it's MAC, Bobbi Brown, Ted Baker and Sunglasses Hut, great for us grown ups but pants for teenagers who need a mascara or a new pair of sunglasses or flip flops, well not pants, but flipping expensive.

    British Airways charter was superb, loads of leg room, lovely reclining seat pitch so both small boy and I went to sleep, no horrid cartoons either or unsuitable film content like we've had on previous flights, such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall with a 5 and 7 year old who just want to watch a film......not this one, think that was Thompson, so good old Mark Warner have done us proud here.

    Arrived on Kos, 15 min transfer and the luxury of having the lovely Mark Warner staff take our luggage to our rooms. In our case two gorgeous, very tall, blonde hunks. We followed them, that's how I know. I figured they were beach crew and got all excited about windsurfing until they confessed that they were tennis coaches, I was very disappointed but big girl seriously thought about doing some coaching if that was a sample of the coaches!!! Phwaor!

    Straight to the pool, I think I was the third one in out of our family, and first one into the sea, children can be sooo boring when they get older. Then we come to the club meetings, in the old days this was 'meet the nanny', however ours are now 11, 13 and 16 so it was a little different.

    Indy club for 16 yr old -, the are three groups based on age as big girl was worried about having 14 yr olds in with her, no worries they were in a different group. Legal drinking age in Greece is 16, so Mark Warner have this sussed and have drinks cards for parents to sign which are dated and given to the Indys each day with their booze allowance. There is a choice of beer and wine card and a spirit card. Spirit card was not signed due to an overload of Waikiki last summer, beer/wine allowance was restricted to two small beers or glasses of wine a day. We were also warned of the local town Kardamena, and strongly suggested that we do not allow our teenagers in there as its a big 18-30 resort and party town. Apparently the bars will serve anyone so the advice is 'just don't let them go there'. Breakfast is at 9am and activities start at 10am with Indy supper at 8pm in a separate restaurant and supervision until 10pm.

    Kids Club for our 11 and 13 year old - again split into age groups so they weren't together, a relief for them both. Small boy didn't want to go until he met another small boy who is now 'best friend' so that's the holiday sorted for him. Again they go to their own supper so that means that we get to have grown up supper together, no shouting at children, no nagging them as to what to eat....we have no idea what they're eating so can't get stressed about it. We have time for each other and get to talk to each other over supper,almost like having a holiday on our own, scary.

    At 10pm we went down to say 'goodnight' to the sea, the full moon cast a fabulous glow over the ocean and highlighted Turkey in the distance, the lapping of the sea made it even more magical, *sighs* we are on holiday.
    Continue reading

  • Mark Warner = Holiday Heaven for parents and kids

    Mark Warner Beach Clubs saved my sanity

    Ten days and 10 days I will be on a beach in Greece, Kos to be exact and my backside will be glued to a sunlounger for at least the first afternoon before I take to the water windsurfing, swimming and doing the things I want to do rather than what the children want to do.  How? Because we're going back to a Mark Warner resort.Lakitira

    I need to take you back 15 years.  Picture the seen, oldest daughter, Ellie, is coming up to 9 months and we decide to go to Majorca on holiday.  We rent this fabulous villa with it's own pool, just the three of us.  OMG it was awful.  Villa was divine but...

    • ceramic floors - Ellie has decided to learn to stand up and spends all her time pulling herself up on furniture and falling backwards.   So we move all the furniture together in this fabulously  huge living room to make a giant playpen for her and fill it with all the cushions we can find in the house.  The villa doesn't look as great now but at least we know Ellie isn't going to crack her head on the floor.
    • Cot - Spanish cots, hmmm, with wheels, within seconds Ellie has figured out how to jump in the cot and move, or rather shoot, the cot across the lovely slippy ceramic floor, guess who slept with us for the rest of the week.
    • Pool - totally freezing, none of us would go into it.
    • Beach - yeay we'll make sandcastles and paddle in the sea - Ellie hated the feeling of sand and refused to put her feet on it, screaming every time she touched it
    • Ellie was bored, she wanted other children to play with, we were boring.  We eventually gatecrashed a German holiday club with an indoor pool and winged it on the basis that that we were expats and had just moved to Germany, got away with it for 3 days but it was tricky.  Ellie loved it in the pool with other little ones, hated it when we left.
    • Food was a nightmare - after 2 days we discovered a very spicy gaspacho soup which was the only thing Ellie would eat.
    • The first time she smiled all week was on the way back to the airport when we stopped for an ice cream - not a great holiday

    It's January, Ellie is 18 months old, Pete my husband is in Japan for two weeks with work, I'm feeling desperate to go  on holiday and completely dreading it with the memories of Majorca.  Starting to think that I won't be able to have a week on a beach for at least 16 years.  In desperation I go into the local travel agents, explain my dilemma and they mention the magical two words "Mark Warner".  Not convinced I go home with the brochure.

    Once Ellie is in bed asleep, I read the brochure, it's like my Fairy Godmother has appeared, I can see light at the end of the tunnel and it's not 16 years away. When Pete returns from holiday he's told that we're going to Corsica in June for 2 weeks with Mark Warner and Ellie is booked into toddler Club - whahey.

    Mark Warner Childcare - this is what makes it a holiday for parents and for children. It may have changed now as we've not been back for a few years but last time we went the schedule was that clubs opened from 9-1pm and from 3-5pm, you have to book at the same time you book the holiday and if you have under school age children and go out of school holidays then you need to book early as they have strict nanny to child ratios depending on the ages of the children.  High Tea is served around 5-5.30pm for younger children and there is babysitting service or child supervision in the evening, for the older children there are usually evening beach games and events and videos on a big screen somewhere so they can watch films until you're ready to go to bed.

    915f1f8c-89bd-4740-b51b-94ec3c94d046 3b292d29-dc1c-4b34-95f0-6fc1040f9d49Once at the resort the kids don't have to go into the clubs, it's up to you, or them, how much they go, it could be just for an hour while you have your tennis or sailing lesson or it could be all day because they're loving it so much they don't want to be with you 'because your boring!' Be prepared for this and don't say I didn't warn you.

    The only downside is that Mark Warner clubs became the holiday standard my children expected, to them, this is what you did on holiday - tennis, sailing, windsurfing, pool games, painting, messy play, all leading up the last night show and presentations.

    Please don't start going off on a self righteous "I want to spend all my time with my kids, I don't want to shove them into a club and forget about them for two weeks, that's not what a holiday is all about", you won't, they'll love it and you won't see them down to their choice not yours.  If you want time for yourself and to see something of your partner (plus that special time in the morning to 'catch up on sleep') and you want your kids to have an amazing holiday and not have to listen to "I'm bored" then book Mark Warner.

    Did it live to all our expectations? Wow, yes, I really don't think that I'd have coped with family life over the past 16 years without Mark Warner.

    Our family rules for Mark Warner:

    • Children are booked into club for the morning, this is adult time, club starts at 9am and the children HAVE to be in club at that time (they don't but these are the family rules only).  It's amazing how many 'Do not disturb' signs go up on the bedroom doors once club has started.  Of course, we know that this is because parents need to go back to bed to catch up on the sleep from the night before, right?   I wonder how many babies were conceived at Mark Warner resorts?
    • The grown ups get to do what they want in the mornings - sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, tennis, mountain biking, aerobics, going back to the room for a bit of lie down (!) etc, afternoons are family time.
    • We meet up for lunch and collect the children from club, then we have quiet time until 3pm, this means going back to the room and being quiet and out of the sun, reading (yes this was days before iPads and DSs).
    • Children can go back into club in the afternoon if they wish or they can come to the pool or beach with us.
    • 5pm is high tea whether the children have been to club in the afternoon or not they go to high tea.
    • 6pm is shower, pjs and allowed back down to the bar for children's cocktails and crisps before one of us takes them back to bed around 8pm when we log in with the babysitter or nanny on duty and await the dreaded 'blackboard'.
    • At the end of the week there is the 'show' and the 'awards', I still have these given by the nannies to the children:
    • Ellie - San Lucianu 2001 - Disco Diva, Lemnos 2003 - Little Miss Giggles,  Lemnos 2004 - Pool Pest
    • Maisie - Lemnos 2003 - joint aerobics award with Mum (she came to aerobics every morning and was better than the adults at 4 years old)
    • Max - Lemnos 2004 Smoocher award for giving the nannies big kisses

    I had two holidays, Paleros and San Lucianu  while pregnant.  I'd just found out I was pregnant with Max in San Lucianu 2001 and got the Aerobics award then too, think it was helped when I told the instructor I was pregnant at the end of the two weeks and she was a little gobsmacked.  The water polo was amazing, this was held in the top pool which was very deep and consequently adults only, so everyone had to wear buoyancy aids but you put your legs through the arm holes and wore them as 'aqua nappies' to keep you afloat, it's was so funny.  Also because I was pregnant there was a '1 metre Beverley exclusion zone' meaning that no one was allowed to come within 1 metre of me, tackle me or be rough with me, hah, I was first to be picked for teams and scored so many goals it was brilliant

    The blackboard - every parents nightmare, with the babysitting/listening service if a baby or child wakes up the nannies used to radio down the restaurant where the parents are getting steadily more tipsy, sorry, eating supper, with the room number of the crying child, the board was then walked through the restaurant with the words "child crying in Room XXX", there was hushed silence as it passed the tables, if you were at the far end of the restaurant the feeling of dread got deeper the closer it came and no other parents rushed out, there was also the sighs of relief and grabs for the wine when the board passed your table.  I used to take two pairs of shoes to dinner, glam ones and 'legging it back to the room' ones. Occasionally a small child would appear with a grumpy looking parent at a table or a partner would request a tray and take food back to the room for their other half to eat knowing that there was no escape that night.

    So what about the adults?  You can do absolutely nothing, glue yourself to a sunlounger, do a little child spotting and listen out for the "everywhere we go-oo, everywhere we go-oo, people ask us, people ask us, who we are-re, who we are-re, where we come from, where we come from, and we tell them, and we tell them, we are the mini club, the mighty mighty mini club, and if they can't hear us, WE SHOUT A LITTLE LOUDER " and either wave, hide or pretend to be asleep under your hat and get off it for meals or you can go wild with the activities.

    sailing cd0b9ee5-be33-4c9c-994c-79204e383995Adults tend to split into the 'waterfront' and 'tennis' crowd - I'm definitely waterfront.  I had tennis lessons 4 years in a row with Mark Warner, always in the beginners class, on the 4th year I arrived and the tennis coach berated the coaching I'd had for the previous 3 years stating that no one could be that bad, when I told him it was all Mark Warner coaching he back-peddled a little until the end of the week when I was still in the beginners group and he agreed that actually I was awful and should stick to windsurfing.   I'm great at doubles because I just put off the other team as I'm so bad.

    Since our first Mark Warner holiday we've been back a number of times, to Corsica and Lemnos a couple of times each and also to Paleros, sometimes with friends, sometimes on our own, usually bumping into someone we know when we get there.  We stopped going when Ellie was in year 6 and we couldn't take her out of school any longer.  That was 7 years ago, since then we've been posh camping in France mostly with a holiday in Wales (awful rained), Turkey (OK but children disgusted that there were no 'clubs') and Mauritius (OK that was amazing, no comparison, heavenly).

    The children, now aged 16,13 and 11, all remember Mark Warner and this is the standard they expect from all their holidays, they couldn't believe it when we went to Turkey a couple of years ago on a 'normal' package that there was no 'club' and were really disgusted that they had to spend all their time with us.  Posh camping was 'normal' as there were clubs.

    Last year I had had enough of camping, albeit 'posh', Ellie discovered that there was a teens club and we didn't see much of her, I ended up surfing on my own which is great but not the point of a family activity, the two younger ones just wanted to spend all their time cycling round the campsite with their friends and we had to bribe them to even go to the pool.  Plus I spent two weeks cooking and washing up as the children all scarpered quickly afterwards.  When they were younger it was fine, we've grown out of it now.

    So back to sanity-saving Mark Warner, this time to Lakitira, Kos, kids booked into club, Ellie has already asked how many times she has to report back to us each day, with a request that it be midnight curfew and she'll grunt at us in the morning (we are negotiating on this currently).  Maisie and Max have just realised that Club isn't actually compulsory - this is where years of telling fibs comes back to bite you and we've had a little bit of 'shock and disgust' as they always thought that going to club in the mornings was not optional but they had to as we'd paid a fortune for it - never told them it was free, they've just found out, oops.  However, the discussion now is along the lines of "when do we have to come back to see you?  Can't we stay with our new friends all day? YES we can sign ourselves in and out of club and do what we fancy." Brilliant.

    I've already planned the stack of books I'm taking and fitting my windsurfing and aerobics plus early morning yoga in around focussing on my 'glueing backside to sunlounger' technique, Pete's planning on sailing and tennis, Ellie wants to learn to sail, Maisie just wants to off with new friends and Max is up for tennis and sailing lessons. Even better I DON'T HAVE TO COOK OR WASH UP for a whole week.......

    9 days and counting.

  • Cycling Safely on roads

    DaisyandMaisieHow to stay safe while cycling on the road

    Wear bright flourescent colours and lots of reflective stuff - make yourself be SEEN in complete gobsmacking "whoa, what the heck is that bright beacon a mile up ahead, wow that's bright......Oh it's a cyclist" style.

    This is pretty much the same as my previous rant, sorry blog piece about Walking Safely on Road, but you must cycle on the same side of the road as other road users, plus other rants:

    • Wear a helmet. No, I don't want to hear any arguments, OK, yes it's your decision, yes if you want to rant about your rights but this is coming from someone who has written off 3 helmets in her lifetime and I wouldn't be here now if I hadn't been wearing one.  One was destroyed when I went head first into a bollard while trying to 'bunny hop' up a pavement in the town centre (yes I was around 25, so not 6 either and I was trying to show off and came a proper cropper), the most serious one was on our mountain bike tandem whilst competing in the Polaris Challenge around 18 years ago in the Welsh Mountains when we spectacularly crashed into the side of a mountain doing 40 mph after hitting a rock in the track.  Large dent in my helmet which would have been my head if I hadn't been wearing one plus a fractured elbow but still managed to carry on cycling for another 6 hours.  I then drove (yep, with a fractured elbow) my lovely hubby to hospital the next day, men, total wusses!  Yes, days before children I used to do daft stuff like this, bit of an adrenalin junkie I was. so just wear one, it's not cool to be dead.
    • Don't cycle really closely to the outside edge of the road or kerb - LISTEN UP CAR/TRUCK DRIVERS, THIS IS WHY CYCLIST CAN'T PULL OVER, not 'won't'. Because a. there are potholes that if our wheels hit them we will be off our bikes in a heap, possibly in the middle of the road; b. the edges of the roads are usually very uneven or very word making cycling on them very dangerous as either we'll be thrown off the bike or if it's slippy we'll skid; c. there are these horrid things called manhole covers or drain covers which are metal and get hot and slippy in warm weather and cold and slippy in the rain - main word here is slippy = dangerous to cyclists.
    • Don't assume that other road users can see you, even if a vehicle is indicating, doesn't mean that they know they're indicating or have intention turning in that direction, ignore it until you see that they are actually turning that way.  Look the drivers in the eye and don't assume they've seen you even if they look you in the eye too.
    • Obey traffic lights, give way signs, stop signs and all the other road stuff that you would as a motorist, you're using the road and have obey the rules of the road, read the Highway Code.  This is a top rant for me.  I live down a lane with traffic lights on the end which up until 8am in the morning most motorists (and cyclists) assume that they can ignore.  I've stopped going out on my bike before 9am, tried it at 6am one morning and it's scary out there. Motorists ignore traffic lights, stop signs and give way signs, it's like a free for all on the roads on the basis that the highway code and speed limits are only in effect between 8am-8pm and those are the only hours that traffic police work, after that you can what you want. NO, NO, NO, these are not optional extras, this is still the law.  As a cyclist you still have to obey the rules of the road the excuse of "nothing ever comes out of that lane" do not apply so the next cyclist that rides into the side of my car when they've jumped the traffic lights at the end of my lane I am going to smack - you are idiots if you do this and put the rest of us sensible cyclists in a very bad light, plus you'll end up dead, so don't do it.
    • Ride on the pavements - but ONLY if there are no pedestrians.  This is the rule, if there are pedestrians on the pavements they have the right of way and you have to get OFF not take them out, this is very bad, you may not die but you may get a nasty punch if they catch you.  Even worse you are endangering them and especially children and elderly people.
    • When overtaking other cyclists and pedestrians on the road (the ones who are not walking towards the oncoming traffic that is) it is courtesy to let them know you are overtaking by shouting out "on your right", "coming round on your right", "overtaking" or something similar, if you a bell ring it, so they know you're there rather than making them jump out of their skin.  If they are pedestrians then an additional "you're walking on the wrong side of the road" may help too (done this twice this week already when two people jumped out of their skin when I cycled past).
    • If wearing spuds (SPDs)/clips remember to unclip before stopping and focus on which foot you've unclipped and put that one down - otherwise you'll end up in a hedge, in a heap and give any other road users a good laugh.
    • When indicating to turn right, look behind, indicate, if it's clear then pull out whilst indicating, check behind and in front again before turning.  DO NOT ASSUME that the Silver BMW 5 series has any idea of the highway code and that they are supposed to allow you to move out into the middle of the road to turn right at Longwick roundabout. Assume they can't see you and are just going to keep driving totally ignoring you, even when they come so close that you catch the kerb and end up in a heap on the pavement entangled with your bike, no they won't stop and help and neither will the other cars behind them.   When turning right unclip, wait and move to the middle of the road and check when all the 5 series with idiots driving them are out of the way.  Yes, I know the car and I will get you.
    • Keep your hands on the handlebars except when changing gear, indicating or braking.
    • Keep your feet on the pedals
    • Do not take passengers unless you have a tandem or a special child seat and make sure if you do have a child seat that the child is strapped in properly and securely and is also wearing a helmet
    • Do not do tricks and wheelies, this is what bike, skate and BMX parks are for.
    • Turn your iPod or MP3 player off, you need to use your hearing to hear vehicles approaching you from behind.
    • Make sure your bike is serviced regularly and ALWAYS check that brakes work before taking it anywhere.
    • Do a Bikeability course - they're brilliant.

    Advice from other websites worth checking out:

    Transport for London - cycle safety

    This is a great one for children - Tales  of the Road

    The Times has a great campaign running at the moment and lots of tips here

    Book your children and yourself on a Bikeability course, they're fabulous, well worth it.

  • Walking Safely on Roads

    Walking in the woodsHow to stay alive while walking on a road without a pavement and other rants...

    I'm a cyclist, both roadie and mountain biking and I'm a car driver and a walker so I suppose this is more 'guidelines for surviving in the countryside' and attempting to get other people to stay alive too. I live in the countryside, in the Chilterns to be precise, I walk my dogs in the woods and along the footpaths and I cycle both on and off road.  All this is from personal experience. Most of these 'rants' are relevant for towns and cities too,  I will apologise before I begin but just have to get this off my chest.  There is a separate rant about Cycling Safely on the Road

    None of this is rocket science, it's just basic common sense and a lot of it is in the Highway Code so why are there so many idiots out there with a death wish?  Think about it, humans are made from flesh, blood and bone; cars, buses, trucks and vans are a lot harder, go a lot faster and really hurt when you hit them or they hit you, as a human you are ALWAYS going to come off worse so make sure this doesn't happen.

    How to stay alive while walking on the road

    Walk on the wrong side of the road - by this I mean walk towards on-coming traffic rather than with the traffic and wear fluorescent colours with reflector strips are at the very least white, yes, whatever the weather and especially if it's a bright sunny day or dark.  Why?

    • you can see cars, bikes, motorbikes, trucks, whatever coming towards you and if they are coming straight at you then you can attempt to get out of their way.  Even if this involves diving into a hedgerow of nettles and brambles, you'll be stung and scratched but alive.
    • Wear really bright colours, preferably fluorescent and reflective stuff, as much as you can, you may look stupid but it's not cool to be dead.  You have to go out there with the mental attitude that every other road user is out to kill you and it's up to you to make sure that they are so aware that you are there, in their face, in their road, that they see you from a long way off and go round you safely.
    • If you are stupid enough to wear black or other dark colours because 'it's cool' then at least they can see your face, OK, this is a major drawback if you're dark skinned, then you'll just have to be uncool and wear bright colours but at least your eyes should be seen - so don't wear a cap or hood pulled down and don't walk along looking at your phone or playing with your iPod.  If you are walking 'with' the traffic and wearing dark colours you have no chance as you will blend with the road and drivers will not see you or realise you are there until they hear a 'thud'.  You will not see them either as you have your back to them.
    • Do not wear khaki, green or any colour that looks like tarmac, hedgerows or trees.  Why?  Seriously, I have to answer this one?....because you will blend beautifully with your environment and be effectively camouflaged.  You don't want to be camouflaged because other drivers will not see you, see above.
    • Turn your iPod or MP3 player OFF.  How can you hear a car coming if you have Biffy Clyro on full blast?  You are in a very unsafe environment and you need all your senses about you focussing on trying to stay alive.  Eyes - looking in the direction the traffic is coming so you know when you're in danger, Ears - hearing if anything is coming up behind you that may be on your side of the road or even if you're on a bend you may hear motorists coming in front so you can get of the way if necessary, Touch - to turn off your iPod/MP3 player/phone/whatever, Voice - to tell your friends that you are walking in a road and you need to focus, Taste - OK maybe we'll forget about that one, you should not be eating a doner kebab while staggering down an unlit country road late at night, very bad idea.
    • When walking down a country road pushing a buggy make sure you do ALL the above, no, it's not safer to push the buggy on the same side as the road as the traffic on the basis that a car will hit you first rather than the buggy, if you are facing the traffic you may have time to avoid any incidents and at least 'throw' the buggy (with the child strapped in) into the road side or hedgerow, if you get hit from behind you have no idea what's coming.  Also it's no good having loads of bright colours on a buggy if you're walking on the same side of the road as the traffic and you're wearing dark green and khaki because NO ONE will see you - Oh, yes, seen this one, yelled at the idiot Father pushing the buggy from the car window.
    • Think about cyclist, you can't hear them coming up on you from behind, OK they may not hurt as much when they hit you but if they are cycling at speed they can do you some real damage, and themselves, especially if they're clipped into the pedals, back to wearing bright clothes and walking towards the traffic.  You will jump a mile if a cyclist overtakes you and don't see them because you're on the wrong side of the road.
    • Read the Highway Code and do what it suggests.
    • Stay alive and safe


  • Party time Edelman Style

    Men's worst nightmare........

    I am man's worst nightmare, I know by uttering this simple phrase I can turn men to jelly, make them run from the room screaming, swear they are going to lock themselves in the shed with the cooking sherry and NEVER come out, no it's not "I Love You" nor is it "please put the bins out", they are wussy words compared to this......are you ready......are you sure you can cope with this......don't say I didn't warn goes......

    "What shall I wear?"

    *ducks to avoid male friends on the site throwing things in my direction through the computer - including Peter Glock*

    Who agrees?  I'm off to the party of the summer hosted by the wonderful PR company Edelman in Bedford Square in London, it starts at 6.30pm, the weather was supposed to be hot and sunny.......this is England....and it isn't.

    So what shall I wear?

    You'll either have to come and scour my wardrobe with me or wait until you see the result....

  • Camp Bestival Planning Session

    Camp Bestival Camping and Planning

    Camp Bestival Team Camp Bestival Team

    Friday is P day - planning night for Camp Bestival, our friends Grant, Daisy and Bertie are coming over for the weekend to do some serious Camp Bestival plotting and I've just had a brilliant idea....

    Have you heard of the Disco Shed? These guys are Latitude regular, it's a shed with a disco, really cool, and even better they have GNOMES.  No, don't stop reading, I haven't lost it honestly, well maybe a bit but that was a while ago.  I love gnomes, this goes back to my childhood, let me explain...

    A long time ago in a distant seaside town called Saltburn by Sea a little version of me used to go on the train from Redcar, where I lived, to visit Saltburn with my lovely Grandma as a day out.  It was only 8 miles away but for a small girl this meant a really, really long train ride (15 minutes is a long time when you're little).  Once in Saltburn my main focus was to go to the park and play on the swings because Saltburn had THE BEST SWINGS in the world, way better than the ones at Locke Park or Zetland Park in Redcar.  The road to the swings was filled with huge Victorian houses and in the garden of one of these houses were gnomes.  Loads of them, gnomes of all different shapes and sizes.

    Walking past the gnome house and stopping to look at the gnomes was part of the ritual of 'going to Saltburn' and that began my love of gnomes. Unfortunately my husband doesn't share this love of gnomes although I have tried to convert him and he has received gnomes for his past 3 birthdays usually followed by a request:

    "please don't buy me any more bloody gnomes"

    Garden gnome with elderflower cordial gnomes and eldflower cordial

    Other comments have been "what would you like for your birthday?" reply: "anything but bloody gnomes", fortunately I realise he's joking and loves them really.

    Anyway, I digress, so getting back to gnomes, sorry the Disco Shed. They're at Camp Bestival and hopefully bringing their gnomes with them too.  I love their website, it has gnomes.

    Now, a couple of evenings ago Grant emailed me about the Disco Shed and suggested that I may like to turn our Surf Shack into a disco shed, that would be brilliant but I've just had an even better idea.  We have a barn that houses the warehouse and office for the business which is bigger than the surf shack so this would be even better to turn into a disco shed, but it would be a DISCO BARN, yeay and I could play all my old records very loudly and there would be no way any teenagers would come near the place so I'd have it all to there's an even better thought.

    Cupcake made to look like an ice cream cone outside our Surf Shack Cupcake made to look like an ice cream cone outside our Surf Shack

    For now, I'm getting excited about the Disco Shed at Camp Bestival so if you're going come and say 'hi' I'll be hanging out with the gnomes doing 'bad' dancing or 'Mum' dancing as my teenagers call it.



  • Dangers of picking elderflowers

    I get so excited it's silly when I see elderflowers in full bloom, in fact, it gets to the stage that I have to stop myself pulling the car up in dangerous places to jump out and pick the sweet scented blooms and rush home to make elderflower cordial.

    Sieve the cordialLast week I nicked off work (I work from home and for myself so I get to nick off occasionally) and cycled up to Bledlow armed with my rucksack and secateurs to pick some.  Only problem was I grabbed my lovely road bike, my gorgeous turquoise bianchi and completely forgot that the last bit is across fields.  Thankfully my lovely hubby, Pete, wasn't around or I would have had a major 'talking to' about

    "you'll break your wheel"

    "it's not designed for off road"

    "you'll bust some spokes"

    Yeah, yeah.....anyway it coped brilliant, no busted spokes or wheels just me!

    When going off road on a road bike and wearing spuds you have to remember to unclip when you stop.......straight over into a hedge full of nettles, this was just before filming making elderflower cordial and I literally had an armful of nettle stings, plus a whopping great bruise on my knee and tram lines up my other leg from falling into the chain.  I am sooo grateful for maxi dresses.

    So ladies, beware, being a 'hedgerow witch' has its drawbacks, it may help you lose weight by cycling but it means that after you've lost the weight you can't get your legs out anyway cos they're covered in massive bruises.

    Elderflower Cordial

    Go make it anyway, it's delicious,

  • Style Police and Husbands

    The only issue with summer is that English men begin to get their legs out and need a little encouragement as to what is and is not acceptable to wear with shorts.........Recent text to my lovely husband..

    "Style police out to get Pete......don't care how long we've been married, you do NOT wear black socks with shorts, get back home and change them NOW or I'll leave your saddlebag outside the teepee!!! You are married to me sweetie that means certain standards have to be kept, this is not one of them. Thought you'd have learnt by now, if not, consider this a little positive reinforcement"

    It gets even better when you decide that your partners need a little encouragement into becoming a little trendier on the clothes front.  First step is to order the clothes, the second step is to get them to try them on which can be a huge challenge in itself, recently an order arrived from GAP...

    Conversation this evening when my husband opened the parcel from Gap:
    "I only ordered one pair, where did all these come from?"
    "I ordered more, those jeans are dreadful and you need to trendy up a bit"
    Medium sized daughter adds "he's 51 he can't be trendy any more"
    "He's 52 and yes he can be he's married to me, he has no choice"
    "Bloody hell these are pink, they yours?"
    "They're red and they're for you, try them on, take the socks off first"
    "Why do I have to take my socks off?"
    "Cos pants and socks on their own look bloody awful, take the socks off"
    "I. In the comfort of my own home, I can keep my socks on if I want to"
    "No you can't, you're married to me, take them off"..*takes socks off sulkily* "now try the red ones on"
    "They're not red they're flourescent bloody pink"
    "I like them"
    "I'm not wearing them" *tries purple ones on*
    "I like those too"
    "They're better than the red ones so ill keep them"
    YES, liked the purple ones in the first place but Pete would've whinged about those if he hadn't hated the red ones as much, of course I got what I wanted, still like the red ones though...

    There you go, how to get what you want, order something so vile that they will then compromise on the alternative which is the one you wanted them to wear anyway, wife power, yeay.  Now for the shoes.....

  • Superfood Salad

    Superfood salad is great for lunch, taking on a picnic or even in a tupperware container to work.
  • Buttercream or Frosting Icing

    Buttercream is icing used to fill butterfly cakes or for filling and topping larger cakes, it can be flavoured with whatever you wish, chocolate, coffee, orange, lemon, lime, strawberry and coloured to match.
  • Basic Cupcakes or Victoria Sponge

    Use this simple mix to make up basic cupcakes or your favourite sponge. For 12 cupcakes.
  • Elderflower Cordial

    Elderflower Cordial is free food, elderflowers grow on hedgerows from June to mid July in England, so all you need is a sunny day (elderflowers have a better aroma and consequently better flavour if picked when it's sunny) and a pair of scissors.
  • Christmas Muffin Mix

    This is a fab gift to give as a present, make sure you write on a label the instructions below
  • Italian Stuffed Peaches or Plums

    Deliciously ripe peaches stuffed with amaretti biscuits and almonds and baked until juicy. This works with ripe peaches or unripe ones, just cook the unripe peaches for a little longer until softened. Plums work just as well, double the quantity of plums as they're usually smaller
  • Despicable Me Rainbow Minion Cake

    Despicable Me birthday cake with rainbow sponge, made for my son's 11th birthday, here's how to do it
  • Homemade Tomato Ketchup

    This knocks the socks of the normal variety; it’s much healthier too.
  • Homemade Beefburgers

    Making beefburgers yourself guarantees that they are made with the minced meat of your choice, you can use beef, lamb, pork, venison, turkey and flavour them accordingly.
  • Quick Low Fat Refrigerator Mincemeat

    This recipe doesn’t involve any cooking or fat so the mincemeat will need to be stored in the fridge to prevent the apple from fermenting
  • Traditional Mincemeat

    Homemade mincemeat is amazing, cheat and buy the pastry if you must but never cheat on the mincemeat you will notice the difference.
  • Macaroon Mince Pies

    You will need 1 quantity of mincemeat, homemade is much, much nicer than shop bought, it's very quick to make and you can choose between my Traditional Mincemeat and Quick Low Fat Refrigerator Mincemeat and 1 quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry.
  • Pear and Frangipane Tart

    These are a firm favourite when holidaying in France, you could use stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines or plums instead of pears if they're in season and ripe
  • Roast Cherry Tomato Sauce for Pasta

    This is a very quick sauce, you can serve it with dried or fresh pasta or use it as the basis for a number of different dishes. Serve it whole or whizz it for fussy people.
  • Homemade Pasta

    Homemade pasta is really easy to make, you do need strong arms to do the kneading, however, you can do this in a food processor or mixer if you need to
  • Freeform Fruit Tart

    These very easy fruit tarts use sweet shortcrust pastry which is similar to a basic biscuit, they work well with rhubarb and gooseberries.
  • Summer Pudding

    Summer pudding is an easy pudding using sliced bread and summer fruit.
  • Real Cookery Classes for Real People

    Beverley GlockI launched Splat Cooking in 2001 as a cooking party company to encourage children to learn to cook and show them how much fun cooking is.  The natural progression to the parties was after school cooking clubs and cooking workshops, then I was asked by their parents to teach them so they could help their children cook at home too.  My cookery school was born.

    Over the years I've built on the school, making the courses bigger, longer, more intense, more adventurous, offering lunch, wine, very nice cookery folders, etc, and of course, more expensive to cover the costs, lunch and an assistant to help with the food prep and washing up.  However, it's still located in the kitchen of my 17th Century mill house as I've always backed away from suggestions to 'get a unit' or 'develop a purpose built cookery school' as my passion is encouraging and inspiring normal people to learn different techniques or just learn the basics so that they can cook a basic or more flash meal for their family and friends. The fact that the cookery school is in a home kitchen has always gone down well, usually met with a sigh of relief from people expecting a fire breathing stove and stainless steel everywhere.

    The point I'm getting to here is that I want to get back to basics, I want to teach real people how to cook real food and inspire them to be little more adventurous with their everyday routine meals.  So I'm reinventing the courses we offer to be just that - REAL COOKING FOR REAL PEOPLE.  In order to do this I'm paring down the courses and in doing so bringing the prices down.

    I ran a taster short course a couple of weeks ago, Pasta with Three Sauces, it was 3 hours long and was half the price of our normal full day courses, there was no fresh homemade cake, freshly brewed coffee and tea on arrival and no lavish lunch with wine.  Just 3 hours of learning how to make pasta and sauces to go with it with a cup of coffee and tea in the middle when we needed it, if my guests wanted lunch they were pointed in the direction of M&S on their way home.  The feedback was incredible and the course sold out in 2 weeks flat.

    Everyone on the course couldn't believe the price was so low (my overheads were massively reduced and I didn't need extra staff to help out, no fancy cookery folders either, everything on email afterwards), most of the guests had children and had time to drop them at school, come to the workshop and collect them afterwards, even though two of them had over an hours drive each way.  They all said that they had been put off by the prices of workshops at other cookery schools and that they would only go on those courses if it was a special treat and as a special 'day out' rather than learn to cook, they loved the pasta course and said they'd like more courses like this that were short and affordable....

    That's when it hit me, I've always wanted to get people cooking and learning about food, so by offering more of these Real Cooking courses I can do that, so here we go.  The first of these courses run in June with Breadmaking,on Friday 21 June, Healthy Summer Cooking on Friday 28 June and Summer Baking on Friday 5 July, all these courses run from 10am-1pm and are £40 per person, held by me, in my lovely farmhouse kitchen and if the weather is nice you get to have your cup of tea or coffee by the mill pond.  You don't get lunch, but there's an M&S Simply Food in the village, but you will learn to cook amazing food and take a little home with you too, you'll get the recipes but they will be on email or paper copies, if you'd like a nice folder then you can choose your own at another time, I'm going to teach you to cook.  Real Cooking for Real People.

    Tell all your friends and get booking to start cooking (yes, I know that was awful)


  • Camp Bestival - an interview with Dick and Dom

    Camp Bestival Fairy Free HugsThe sun's come out and I'm now allowing myself to get excited about Camp Bestival 2013, plus there are now only 96 days to go, double figures, yeay.  The highlight of Camp Bestival 2012 has to be my impromptu interview with Dick and Dom. Yes, I was the adult standing at the back of the audience at East Lulworth shouting 'bogies' very, very loudly and getting elbowed by medium sized girl for being embarrassing, I don't care, I LOVE Dick and dom.  However, they weren't giving interviews, well, officially anyway....

    Armed with my BBC Oxford mic (it's scary how many places a BBC mic will get you, even though it's local radio it's got those amazing 3 capital letters on it that open doors), I managed to edge my way to the back of the stage at East Lulworth where I spotted the regular bouncers and very attractive brunette whom I deduced may be married to one of them, a long shot but I went for it.  Started chatting to her, introduced myself and asked whether she thought they may be up for a quick interview about food after their show, after all they had been talking about Pot Noodles, she said she'd ask them (YES!  whoop whoop) and they did.

    So out the back of the tent with medium sized girl, who was not as excited as I was I must add, I secured an interview with Dick and Dom about their idea of festival food, this was first broadcast on BBC Oxford in August last year but here's the interview to get you in the mood for this year as they boys are back.

    Dick and Dom

    I love their views on the perfect food....Pot Noodle, is it the perfect food?  It has carbohydrate in the noodles, protein in the dehydrated meat, water which you have to add from the kettle and vegetables in the form of dehydrated peas and other things I'm surely that's the perfect food - no way!

    After the interview we were wandering around aimlessly (as you do at festivals) when I was tapped on the shoulder by a chap in sunglasses with a big grin and a 'hi, how are you doing?' yep, it was  Dick, this time the children were impressed with retorts of 'OMG you really are famous Dick from Dick and Dom knows you, wow', to my 10 year old son's eyes that was it, his Mum had made the big time.  He was gutted he wasn't there for the interview and so was my 16 year old daughter, maybe this summer they'll get the chance if you're up for another interview guys?


  • Fruit Leathers

    These are brilliant to make in the winter, OK it's getting warmer but it's still not there to turn on your oven and get pureeing, these are really good and although they do contain sugar they're slightly healthier than sweets

    Fruit Leathers

    Fruit leathers have been made since the middle ages as a way of preserving fruit for the winter months.  They are delicious, easy to make and also great for snacks and lunch boxes.  They can be made with frozen or fresh fruit and will last for months stored in an airtight container.

    Fruit Leathers   

    Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 2-6 hours.

    Raspberry Leathers
    500g raspberries
    25g fruit sugar or fructose

    Blend the fruit to a pulp, sieve to remove the seeds, add sugar, heat gently to dissolve the sugar and spread evenly and thinly on baking parchment or silicone paper on a baking tray.  Bake in a very low oven 70oc/gas 1/ simmering oven of an AGA until the fruit is a little tacky and peels off in one go.  This can be anything from 90 minutes in an AGA simmering oven to 8 hours (overnight) in a very low oven with the door left slightly agar.  Leave to cool, cut into strips and either store with a light sprinkling of cornflour in an airtight container or roll up and wrap in cellowrap, silicone paper or similar for presents.

    Strawberry and Banana Leathers
    400g strawberries, hulled
    3 banana

    Blend the fruit to a pulp, the strawberry pips are so small that I don’t bother sieving them.  Continue as above

    Apple and Blackcurrant Leathers
    600g apples, roughly chopped, cores removed, skins left on
    150g blackcurrants
    25g fruit sugar or fructose

    Cook the fruit and sugar until soft, sieve to remove the skins and stray apple pips and continue as before

    ©Beverley Glock

  • Fruit Leathers

    Fruit leathers have been made since the middle ages as a way of preserving fruit for the winter months. They are delicious, easy to make and also great for snacks and lunch boxes
  • Tate and Lyle Taste Experience launch - The Cake Hotel

    You have no idea just how excited I was to receive an invitation to Tate and Lyle's launch of The Cake Hotel, an edible house made with their new Taste Experience range of sugars.  Oh my goodness, this was definitely a 'clear the diary' day.

    So last week I arrived in Soho outside this lovely Victorian House eager to see what it was all about.  Wow, just wow, each room was dedicate to one of their new sugars.  Now, I've always been a fan of Tate and Lyle and if any one reading this has been on any of my courses or has my APP, Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea you'll know I rave on about sugar made from sugar cane being massively superior to the stuff made with sugar beet which shouldn't even be allowed into the same category of food substances.

    Those clever people at Tate and Lyle have created a new sugar crystal size with enables more flavour to be carried per grain, improve baking performance by creating more air bubbles for improved 'creaming' (again a point I harp on about incessantly) and increasing the ability to hold moisture and preventing our lovely cakes and scones from drying out quickly.

    Each sugar has distinct tasting notes to help identify the best use, these have been created by the fabulous Lorna Wing who's also come up with some amazing recipes.

    I could keep going on about sugar all day, but I really should talk about the fun stuff, the edible hotel.  This was put together by 14 cake artists taking more than 2,000 hours to bake and 900 hours to decorate and using more than 600 kilos of Taste Experience sugar - it's cake, of course it's a sugar overload, der! Let me take you an journey through the rooms....starting with a balustrade of macaroons

    Golden Syrup Sugars Golden Syrup Sugars

    British Inspired Golden Syrup sugar room

    Gorgeous bowls of sugar roses and peonys, sugar teaspoons, a doughnut croque en bouche, brandy snap bowls and the amazing logo of Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup the lion and bees in a cake, deliciously syrupy.



    Guyanese Inspired Demerara sugar room

    I've got to say that this was my favourite, a life sized sea turtle cake on a bed of sugar sand with duck eggs that had been blown and filled with cake mix so when you broke them there was cake inside, absolutely lifelike, just beautiful.

    Caribbean Room Treasure Chest Caribbean Room Treasure Chest

    Caribbean inspired LIght Muscovado sugar room

    My son loved photos of this, Pirate's of the Caribbean in cake, this treasure chest was beautiful, gleaming and glittering in gold and silver complete with gingerbread swords and dubloons, the chest itself is cake and totally edible.



    Barbados inspired Dark Muscovado sugar room


    The shells are all cakes, so realistic that I wanted to touch them to make sure but was too worried that I'd break them, so delicate and pretty.  The rich rum soaked fruit cake was to die for.






    Mediterranean Inspired Light Brown Soft sugar room


    It was a hard choice between this room and the turtle for my favourite and the meringue rug blew me away, made from 1,080 rainbow coloured meringue shells with cake cushions on the bed, a bath

    full of toffee popcorn, toast hearts with homemade jam, chocolate cake truffle bath bombs, edible book,


    ooooh just amazing.  OK I know I'm going on a bit about this being pretty good, but it was.






    Mayan Inspired Golden Caster sugar room

    In the deepest darkest depths of the basement, it actually felt like going into a Mayan pyramid and in the centre of the dark room, lit with a single light ...... a Mayan pyramid made of fudge with a Miss Cakehead lifelike edible heart and chocolate skull alongside, loving the hearts.


    Easter Island South Pacific inspired Golden Granulated sugar room


    Eating the brains of a giant Easter Island statue was a little weird but the chocolate cake was moist and yummy if a little decadent but then, it's cake, it should be.




    The credit for the work goes to the following amazing cake artists:

    Miss Cakehead as curator, Sarah Hardy Cakes, Cake for Breakfast, Sarah King, Miss Insomnia Tulip, Nevie Pie Cakes, Cakeadoodledoo, Carina's cupcakes, Conjurer's Kitchen, All Mine Patisserie, Rosalind Miller, Dan P Carter, Juliet Sears, Two Little Cats Bakery and of course, Lorna Wing, James Whiteley at Tate and Lyle and the team at Mischief PR







    british4 british3 British2 British1

  • Chicken Mole

    This is my version of Chicken Mole, adapted from a lovely one in BBC Good Food's magazine, I've changed it and made it a little easier but just as good. I've made this for 6 people plus leftovers which are great served with jacket potatoes, tortilla wraps or warmed pittas with salad for lunch or an easy supper the next day.
  • Gather and Hunt - Foodie Heaven in Marlow

    I love Marlow, a lovely town by the River Thames with a good choice of restaurants and cafes and for special treats a glass of champagne down by the river at The Compleat Angler.  The one downside about Marlow is the lack of a decent butchers, fishmongers and nice smelly foodie shops (OK well there is Waitrose and that's lovely but it doesn't really count as you can be in and out with no idea of which town you're in).

    What I mean is the kind of foodie shop that you're drawn to because it 'looks interesting' and then HAVE to enter because the smells that are emanating from the door are so tantalising that you NEED to find out what's inside.  Your eyes tempt your

    Gather and Hunt in Marlownose guides you and then, suddenly you are off the street and into an enchanted wonderland of food.  Welcome to Gather and Hunt.

    Martina Hunt is the passion behind this delicious shop that fits in so well into Marlow that it's difficult to believe that it hasn't been there forever.  Almost too good to be true, like Marlow can't believe that Gather and Hunt has recently arrived and doesn't want to admit that it's not been there for years.  It's the kind of foodie shop that makes such strong memories in childhood that you have to revisit when you grow up.  For us grown ups it's an excuse to have an impromptu dinner party, just because the selection of goodies is so divine I challenge you to leave empty handed.  If you really can't decide then they will put together a hamper, one of their specialities, either off the shelf or bespoke.

    One of the best touches (apart from the food) is the fabulous customer service from Martina and her staff, always on hand to make sure food shopping is fun, suggesting favourite products and gently coaxing customer's tastes to match new delicacies and products that they may like.  Products are sourced locally where possible; Milk comes from Lacey's Farm in Lane End, meat comes from Town Farm in Bisham, Brustressed-562x600ce from The Black Pig in Hambleden Valley makes the sausages.  Martina and her team know the stories and the people behind all the products and it's all interwoven with delicious tastings  and events too.

    Mojito marmalade, Trotter's Hot Pepper Jelly (the chap who makes this is only 25 years old and is from Scotland, OK he's not local but he'd just left uni, couldn't get a job and his parents returned from Italy with this wonderful condiment that they couldn't source in Scotland.  He found a recipe, fiddled with it and made it himself, then launched it as a business) it is amazing in chocolate cake, giant rye bread the size of wagon wheels, real ones, not the tiny marshmallow ones that have shrunk since I was a kid, fabulous chocolates, oooh I love this shop.  A combination of food, stories and a knack of putting the fun back into food shopping.  Abandon supermarkets, we need more Gather and Hunt's, this is how food shopping should be.

    Gather and Hunt, 63 High Street, Marlow     01628 482267

    [email protected]   @gatherhunt

  • Horsemeat Saga your meat locally and make your own burgers

    Homemade burgers take 5 minutes - chop 1 onion, mix with 500g minced beef, lamb, pork, venison or horse if that is your preference, add 1 egg, season with salt and pepper and mix together. For a finer textured burger whizz the mixture in a food processor, shape into balls, flatten to the desired thickness, cook under a hot grill, barbecue or on a hot griddle until completely cooked through. Serve with homemade chips, caramelised onions, sliced mozzarella and some posh ketchup, ta da.

    Want some help.....check out the video, Homemade Beefburgers

    The key to a great burger is to buy excellent meat, it should be 20% fat otherwise the burger will fall apart, so get to know your butcher, find out where they source their meat from, our local butcher in Princes Risborough, K&B Family Butchers, source as much as possible within 7 miles of the shop, it's expensive but good meat always has been and always is. If you want cheap meat then don't moan about what animal it came from, it's not rocket science. Cheap chicken nuggets don't use chunks of free range or organic chicken breast, if it's mush then it's going to be the parts of the chicken you wouldn't want to talk about let alone eat, again, if you want cheap don't moan about what you're eating when you find out, keep your head buried in the sand and hope you don't find out by accident. End of rant.Homemade beef burger and chips

  • Horsemeat Saga - Spaghetti Bologneighs and Corned Dog Hash

    I've tried to resist writing about the recent horsemeat saga for fear of upsetting people, but I can't resist any longer.  Please note that these are my views, my own personal views, I'm not trying to force these on anyone but if you're reading this then I assume that you are open to listening to other people's views on this situation - I hope so anyway.  Please no nasty letters.

    This is a labelling issue, the meat is perfectly safe to eat (as far as I can gather), so this is down to incorrect labelling.  I agree that if you buy something labelled 'beef' lasagne and on the back the only meat listed on the ingredients is beef then you don't expect it to be made from horsemeat. However, and this is a big however and I really can't stop myself from expressing this view, if you eat food that is processed and made in a food factory with a massive supply chain then surely you must expect something to go wrong at some time  as you are trusting someone else (or a number of other someones) to make sure that what goes into your food is what you'd expect to go into your food.

    Meat is expensive, it's getting more expensive and people are demanding cheap meat, if you want cheap meat then you're not going to get prime beef, or any beef for that matter, and the people processing the meat will try and serve demand with what they can get on the cheap, in this case horsemeat.

    If you want to know exactly what's going into your food then source if from your local butcher, ask him where it's come from (our butcher sources all their meat within around 7 miles unless it's New Zealand lamb - der!).  I will only allow my kids to eat sausages from our butcher as I know that he makes them from pork belly, I've made them myself (the show is on BucksTV) and you can watch him making them in the shop, yes they are expensive but we don't have them very often.  If you want chicken that tastes of chicken rather than flavourless something then buy free range or organic, it's really pricey so don't eat it every night, eat meat less frequently but buy the good stuff.  Use decent meat that you know where it's originated and cook from scratch.

    If you can't be bothered to cook from scratch, want cheap meat and buy meat products that have been processed to within an inch of their life then don't moan that there is something else than beef in there such as horse, pig, lamb, whatever.  If you're buying processed meats then you must realise that you're eating eyelids, brain, testicles, all the bits that wouldn't pass as food unless it was mashed up, processed and churned out as mush - that's why it's cheap, it's not rocket science people.  If you're happy to eat that then why is everyone shocked that there's horse in there too?  It doesn't say eyelids and 'parts of the animal that no normal person would ever like to think about eating' on the label does it?  No, it usually says something like 'pork' it doesn't say which part of the pig and it's never defined.

    Chicken nuggets are one of my pet hates, I've just looked up ingredients for one brand online, this is in a high end supermarket too, 25% chicken breast - if they're chicken nuggets and it's only 25% chicken breast then that means they're made of 75% of things other than chicken breast - let your imagination take you away.  I'm one of those Mother's from Hell who qualifies out with the restaurant, cafe, whatever whether the chicken breasts are chunks of chicken breast or 'reconstituted and mashed parts of the chicken that no person in their right mind would ever put anywhere near their mouth', if it's the former my children are allowed to eat them if it's the latter they're not.  Needless to say that it's rare for my children to ask for chicken nuggets for fear of being completely embarrassed in a restaurant by me.  One way of getting them to eat decent food.

    There was always a standing joke when I was growing up about the local Chinese takeaway and finding rats and dogs in their freezer.  My Dad used to refer to corned beef as corned 'dog' on the basis that it was so processed no one would ever really know what was in it, it tasted good to eat it and don't think about it - same with Findus foods or other highly processed foods.  Corned beef hash is amazing, as long as you don't spend too much time musing on what actually is in the corned beef.

    Basically it comes down to if you want cheap meals that someone else has prepared and you can't be bothered to cook it yourself from scratch don't moan about what's in it. don't go all' I can't eat horse' they're cute, what about lambs, piglets and calves, they're really cute and you eat them, if you're in France horsemeat is readily available in supermarkets. If you are concerned about what's in your food then learn to cook, source locally from a butcher you know and trust or go vegie - however, don't vegetables have feelings too?

    The real point, from the way I see it, is that all this food has been thrown away, into landfill, there are people out there starving, on the breadline, desperate for food, this food is safe to eat it's just mislabelled so why has it been thrown away rather than frozen and distributed to people who are hungry and would be glad of it instead of it now contributing to global warming.  Come on world wake up.

  • Christmas Eve sagas and nearly losing our dog to gastric torsion

    Having spent most of the previous week up North running back and forward to the hospital visiting Mum and trying to get her transferred down here as the NHS shuts down from 21 December through to 7 January I am now way behind on the cooking and shopping.

    All the cooking I was going to do to make up hampers for various members of the family has not happened - sorry guys, your hampers didn't get lost in the post, they just didn't power their way into existence. I spent the weekend running Splat Cooking's children's Christmas workshops and attempting to decorate various Christmas cakes - gave up and handed it over to the children.  Job done, excellent.

    Now, Christmas Eve to me means getting the turkey and gammon, making up the cranberry stuff, making mince pies and getting things prepared for Christmas Day, oh, how could I forget - wrapping presents, losing presents, forgetting where I've hidden presents and realising the ones that didn't get delivered as I was too busy up North to actually do any proper shopping. The culmination of Christmas Eve is the crib service then the neighbours in for mince pies and mulled wine finishing up with our lovely friends Debbie and John coming for supper with their kids.

    Stress level too high to go to the service, I send Pete and the kids off instead and get food ready, they come back around 4pm, take dogs out, feed dogs, clean kitchen floor ready for neighbours at 5pm.  Finally feeling Christmassy, two mugs of mulled wine definitely helps.  This is to go downhill rapidly......

    Party in full swing, mulled wine going down by the gallon and at around 6pm our lovely Sidney, 2 year old black labrador, asks to go into the garden (he doesn't actually 'ask', he's a dog, he can't talk, but  he goes up to the back door and scrapes it with his paw) but he doesn't come back in, and 30 mins later he's still outside, laying on the lawn looking very unhappy, he doesn't come back in when we call him either.  Most of the guests have left so Pete goes out and lifts him up, he's drooling dreadfully, his head is hanging down and he's really unhappy.  We ring the vet.

    We thought we'd gone past the days of one of us staying sober in case of an emergency with a child/toddler/baby as our youngest is 10, so we've both had too much mulled wine to drive - it's Christmas Eve for goodness sake, we're not intending driving for the next two days. We need to find some way of getting Sid to the vets, a 15 min drive away, taxi on Christmas Eve? Some hope.  So ring I Debbie, they're due over shortly, frantic message to get over here as quickly as possible, drop John and the kids, I'll cook if she drives Pete and Sid to the Vet Hospital, she's a doggy person and loves our Sid so no probs there.

    I feed the rest of the tribe, at 9pm Pete calls to say that Sid has bloat and gastric torsion - if you've ever seen the film Marley and Me that's what Marley died from, this is a big killer in dogs.  Suddenly our world has turned upside down, it's Christmas Eve and our dog may die.  Pete and Debbie leave Sid at the vets for them to try and sort him out and come home, they leave at around 10pm, we get the children to bed with some sense of normality  feeling very scared that when they wake up on Christmas Day we may have to tell them that Sid has died - so awful, horrid Christmas present.

    At 11pm the vet calls to say that she can't sort Sid out manually and will have to operate, she'll call us when he's out of theatre.  All I want for Christmas is for Sidney to get through this, I want my sweet little dog home.

    At 2am she calls to say that he's survived surgery and that if he makes it through the next 48 hours he's got a good chance of surviving.  We don't get much sleep.  Christmas Day dawns with much excitement from the kids and Pete and I feeling so desperately upset it's really hard to keep a jolly face on, cooking the Christmas lunch was the hardest thing I've done.  Rang the surgery for an update at 5pm, Sid was doing OK, they were cross that I'd called and asked me not to call, they'd call us if there was any news.  I don't care, he's my dog, I'm paying, I want an update, I will revert to my Northern roots and punch your lights out unless you give me an update.

    Boxing Day - panto, hmmm not quite as jolly as usual, wonder why?  Ring the vet, another telling off but they do say that he's taken a turn for the worse and is off his food and very lethargic - complete and total panic sets in, earlier reports were that he was doing well.

    Thursday 27 Dec - I'm due to drive up to see Mum for a couple days, I have to leave by 10am in order to get up there for visiting at 3pm so at 9am we ring the vets for an update, he's in examination and they'll call back once he's been looked at.  I leave at 10am without hearing, at 11am I've just got onto the M1 when Pete calls to say that they're not happy with him, he's not doing at all well and they need to xray him to see what's happening.

    I've now got the heartbreaking decision - my dog could die today, I want to be there if it happens as I want him to know that I'm there as well as Pete and the kids, I don't want my dog dying and wondering where I am and why I can't be with him.  I know this is a purely human response and emotion, I don't care, he's my dog and and I love him.  My Mum on the other hand is in good hands in hospital with no life threatening illness but who also needs my support, do I turn round and be with Sid or carry on to my Mum?  I carry on, in floods of tears doing 40 mph on the M1 in awful traffic.

    Pete calls at 12 noon to say that they've changed his meds and are having to sedate him as he's wriggling too much to be able to xray him - a good sign, I stop sobbing quite so much and can see to drive now.

    I arrive at James Cook Hospital at around 3.30pm, sit in the car waiting for Pete to call, I know if I go in to see Mum I am going to be useless, I'll take one look at her and dissolve in a ball of sobbing, tearful, heartbrokenness.  So I wait until Pete chases up the vet.......4pm he calls to say that Sid's fine, he's awake and licking all the nurses, I stop sobbing for the first time in 5 hours and go and see Mum.

    I spend three days up North, nothing moves on, nothing happens, NHS is closed until next year.  Sid comes out of hospital and is there to greet me when I get home, my special Christmas miracle dog. Happy.

  • Opticians' dodgy practices with NHS Vouchers

    If you have children under the age of 16 or under 19 and in full time education and who need glasses read on.

    As soon as a child has an eye test that shows they require glasses they are entitled to a discount voucher from the NHS, the amount is dependant on the prescription. My 16 year old's prescription is -0.5 and her voucher is for £37.50.

    Our optician showed her the frames in the shop, this is a small shop in a small town in Buckinghamshire so the selection was pretty awful.  She mentioned something about a discount on the glasses but inferred that this was in their shop, we were none the wiser.  When I said that there was nothing of interest and we would be going elsewhere to find frames I had to really press them to give me her prescription.  I asked if we should purchase the frames elsewhere and bring them back in to have the lenses fitted and was told 'no', it was better to have the lenses fitted at the same place as the frames were purchased, at this point they reluctantly handed over the prescription but only when I insisted that their range was limited (pretty awful and really boring) and I wanted the prescription to go elsewhere to find frames.  I was told that they had a discount voucher and I could come back and use it if I decided to get the frames there in the end, I said that I wouldn't and off we went.  There was no mention that this was an NHS voucher and that by law they are required to hand it over at the time of the eye test.

    So on Saturday, we trogged off to High Wycombe specifically to get her glasses, armed with the prescription.  Eventually we found a pair we liked, queued for ages and talked to the very nice lady who asked for the NHS voucher.  "What voucher?" i asked.  I was then told about the above and that by law the optometrist is required to give me the voucher and it is illegal to do what my local optician did.  I was also told that this was standard practice and that opticians hold onto them in the knowledge that customers have to go back to get them once they find out about them and they buy spectacles from the shop as they can't be pestered to go back to another again.  These vouchers come in a standard NHS issued pad and have about 3 lines to be completed so not much writing and no excuse not to hand them over.

    I went into said optician, Chilton Watson in Princes Risborough (yes I am naming and shaming, I've been a customer here for 15 years and I don't expect to be treated like this) and asked for my voucher.  When I complained I was told that they take a long time to prepare (rubbish) and they always tell customers to come back for them (we know why they do that don't we?)  This is illegal and opticians doing this need to be hung out to dry.

    So, rather than my daughter having her glasses now (they would have been ready in an hour on Saturday) we have to go back into Wycombe and start again which is going to delay her being able to see properly for another couple of weeks.

    Chilton Watson are well aware of my anger over this but this practice has to stop so please  make sure that you get your NHS vouchers and hang any opticians who try this on out to dry.  I'm sure there are some honest opticians out there but with this recently experience I will not trust any of them in the future.

  • Broken hips, NHS and distant Mums

    I thought I'd share with you my thoughts, trial and tribulations and terror of getting through the minefield that is the NHS.

    Let's go back to 17 December.  it's 8.30pm Small Boy has just finished his Christmas Concert in church, at last I'm beginning to feel a little Christmassy.  For the first time in about 4 years I've written a couple (yes I mean a couple) of Christmas cards and decided to stop lying about them being lost in the post every year and just come clean. So we're about to collect Small Boy when my mobile rings and it's Angela, my Mum's partner's daughter in law (now, you need to keep up here) would it help to have some history?

    History of my Mum's love life.  My Mum was happily married to my Dad until he died suddenly 20 years ago, she then turned into a lovestruck teenager when she met the lovely Cliff six months after my Dad died and they had a fabulous year together until unfortunately he died too.  It's a real bummer getting old. A few years later she met Jack at a dance at Middlesbrough Town Hall.  Mum and Jack have been together for around 16  years and he's the only Grandad my children have ever known. Angela is Jack's son's wife and they live a few miles away from my Mum.

    Angela called to say that Mum had fallen and broken her hip and she was in the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.  Bang goes me feeling less stressed and Christmassy - total evaporation of any feelings of relaxation to be replaced by sheer and total panic.

    We grabbed small boy and spent an hour trying to get out of the church car park whilst on the phone to A&E at James Cook who tell me that Mum is waiting to see the consultant and they'll probably operate on her hip in the morning but won't know anything until the next day anyway.

    We get home, I pack, put things in place to drive up to the wilds and frozen wastes of the North East not knowing what kind of state I'm going to find my Mum, not knowing if they'll be operating as I drive up, if Mum will survive the operation, nothing, sheer blind panic.  The only upside is that I get to stay at my best mate Nadene's house for a couple of nights so I know she'll take my mind off things.  The next worry is Jack, will he be OK on his own?

    I leave at 9am Tuesday morning and get up there without stopping in 4.5 hours, I have permission to go straight onto the ward even though it's not visiting time to see Mum as she's in a side room.  They've not operated as it's a clean fracture and will heal on it's own, she's going to be in hospital for at least 6 weeks.  Spend the next few days commuting between Nadene's, Jack's and James Cook Hospital.

    Mum decides that she doesn't want to go back to her bungalow and she wants to move down to me.  I am introduced to the NHS and the local authority hell of funding..........

    Middlesbrough want Mum to stay there, transfer to a rehab centre in Redcar for 6 weeks and have her home adapted so she can go back to the bungalow with a package of care, Mum doesn't want to go back to bungalow but the local authority doesn't give a damn about what she wants, what is important to them is that they keep the funding for her no matter what her wishes are.  Is there a way around this? Damned right there is.

    First step is to get her registered with a GP down here, my lovely practice accommodates this PDQ, as a patient she is now registered to my address in  Bucks and her bank accounts other things changed to this address too.  Next is to get the nurses and sister at the ward on my side.  They are lovely, and they like my Mum which helps.  Ah, then Christmas hits and the whole of the NHS, social services and occupation and physio therapy close down for two weeks from 21 December through to 7 January.  I come back home on 21 December to run the Christmas workshops leaving Mum in hospital.


  • Magimix - the easiest machine to use EVER!

    Small boy (aged 10) had a sale to raise money for his form's chosen charity today.  He decided that his team were going to have a bake sale, they were given instructions on what to make and he spent most of Sunday baking.  On the list were:


    So one huge traybake of brownies done, snickerdoodles had to wait until last night as they're better fresh, next was gingerbread.

    I had my lovely pink magimix out to test out some recipes ready for the BBC Good Food Show on Thursday so he decided to give it a go, gingerbread made in a magimix quote "wow, this the easiest machine to use EVER" - he was a bit impressed, now that's a 10 year old, so imagine what an adult thinks, if I didn't already have one it could well be on his Christmas list.

    Photos attached of the processing and the finished effort, i did the icing, finishing at midnight last night and went into school this afternoon with emergency supplies of shortbread which was needed as they'd almost sold out.  In the end they raised £325, brilliant.

  • It's Christmas - beat the recession and make your gifts


    Just finished Bill Buckley's Sunday Lunch show on BBC Oxford where we've been talking about making edible Christmas presents with the help of Rachel Allen on dial in, pity she couldn't have been in the studio but it was good to catch up as I've not seen her since the summer.

    Making Christmas gifts is a fab way of beating the recession and also a much nicer gift to give family and friends and teachers than something you've bought.

    Anything from a Christmas Pudding, mincemeat, stollen loaves to either a big Christmas cake, as Rachel says this is a great one to give to a family as they can share with their own friends over the Christmas period and it helps them with catering too.  Or make your normal cake mix and split it between 7 or 8 washed and lined baked bean tins.  If you don't want to eat baked beans for the next two weeks make a whole cake up and cut it into squares or use a round cookie cutter to make round shapes either eating the rest of the cake crumbs and off cuts or rolling those into balls and decorating them as mini puddings.

    Homemade fudge, popping candy chocolates and chocolate bark are all easy favourites but if you don't like cooking then you can make edible gifts.  Kilner jars can be purchased cheaply in homewares shops in different sizes.  Use small ones to make flavoured sugar - wash a sterilise them first and add caster sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of lavender (available from the herb aisle of big supermarkets) just mix and handwrite a recipe for lavender shortbread.  Add ground cinnamon to sugar instead to make cinnamon sugar or place a vanilla pod, slit down the centre to the sugar to make vanilla sugar.

    Use a large kilner jar to layer dry ingredients to make up Christmas muffin mix, or any muffin mix, omit the wet ingredients such as the eggs, butter and milk and add a handwritten label with instructions on what to add and how to cook them. You use the same idea for cookies.

    If you would like a little inspiration then Splat Cooking Silverstone and Princes Risborough are running Christmas Baking, Edible Christmas Present and Gingerbread workshops from  now through to December, there are Christmas cookie workshops too along with Christmas Cake Decorating to help you turn your fruitcake into a gorgeous winter wonderland.

    For details check out, i've started recording some YouTube videos too, the first one is on there with chocolate tempering instructions too:

    Chocolate Bark and tempering chocolate 

  • Oat Crunchies

    Oat Crunchies are like homemade Hob Nobs, quick and easy to make, delicious with a cup of tea and you could temper some chocolate and dip them to make chocolate versions
  • Halloween cupcakes and glow in the dark icing

    The children at Splat Cooking's Saturday morning club decorated Halloween cupcakes this weekend and here are the amazing photos.  We also made glow in the dark icing, although it's not really glow in the dark as you need a black or UV light to really make it shine but it does work.  You will need:

    Powdered fondant icing sugar, the turquoise packet by Tate and Lyle or Silver Spoon and either Illuzoon which can be purchased from specialise molecular gastonomy websites or if you can't get hold of that you can use tonic water (it contains quinine which reacts with the UV to make it glow in the dark) and some lemon juice as the tonic water is bitter.

    Mix the illuzoon with water as per the tub instructions or mix the tonic water with some lemon juice and then use either liquid to make up a thick sticky icing, use on cupcakes and here's the effect, they're fab …

  • Halloween Food

    Beetroot Hummus on YouTube

    Beetroot hummus is delicious and as good for Halloween parties as it is as a starter for dinner parties throughout the year, very simple to make but tasting amazing.  The YouTube version is already up and the recipe is here too.

    Pumpkin soup and soda bread will be up shortly so keep checking back.

  • Beetroot and Walnut Hummus - great for Halloween

    Beetroot hummus is healthy, packed with vitamins and antioxidants and also brilliant for using at Halloween parties for a gruesome purple dip.
  • Jam making goes underground

    Did you ever think that homemade jam could become a black market item?  I have a vision of those glorious women of the WI, the doyennes of the home made jam industry setting up illegal jam shops where Afternoon Tea is served in the dark with a haunting saxophone soloist playing in the background.

    Customers enter with a secret 'tap' on a dark door in a dingy back alley after walking round the block a few times to make sure they're not followed by the jam police.  Tea drinkers sip Darjeeling in almost silence using sign language to indicate which jam they wish to have on their homemade scones....blackcurrant, damson, gooseberry, raspberry, or dare I mention it..........strawberry (deep gasp for being so daring!)

    There are secret escape hatches, the tables turn upside down at the flick of a switch to switch the illegal jam for gin and tonics, the dark days of the jam trade have arrived.  Jars can be taken home but are so 'hot' people pay jam smugglers to do the trade for them, these jars of homemade jam are reaching record levels, exchanging hands for up to £10,000 a jar.  Illegal jam making has given the WI new kudos in the black market, these ladies have always known how to make fabulous cakes and jam, but now with their skills being driven underground they are making serious money.

    Don't panic, this is all pure fantasy but you never know what the EU directives for the FSA will do next.  If you're not aware of it there has been a new Directive reported widely in the press.  The Daily Mail this morning reported on it as did The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.  Illegal homemade cake making next?

    The point the EU Directive is getting at is that glass is permeable and as people who make bottle jam have no idea what on earth could have been in the jar before they used up the ingredients in it and washed it out (der!) that this could be something dangerous and could kill the luckless person who happened to buy the resulting homemade jam. OK so glass is permeable but really only for hydrogen and certain radiations, it's glass after all and I suppose we're injecting common sense here which obviously no one in the EU has any of as that's we have directives like this isn't it?

    I personally tend to keep only jam jars for reusing to make home made jar as sundried tomato ones are a real pain to get the grease out of so I tend not to bother, I don't go foraging around in other peoples recycling bins to drag out unsuspecting ex-hydrogen filled jars to fill with homemade jam, maybe other people do?

    Apparently you're allowed to reuse jars for personal use but not if you are going to donate the jars, given away and definitely not to sell, beware the jam police or things could get a bit sticky, even worse you could end up with jam on your face.

    Going Underground by The Jam - says it all really



  • Thame Food Festival

    Yesterday dawned lovely and sunny and we all breathed a sign of relief as it was Thame Food Festival and we'd waited a whole year for this amazing food festival and were desperately hoping that it wouldn't rain.

    I was kicking off the first dem of the day in the chef's theatre at 10am with a 40 min slot and 5 min turnaround before the lovely Laurie Gear from The Artichoke in Amersham took to the stage.

    When I arrived at 8.30am the chef's theatre wasn't built, ho hum, no need to panic, this is cooking at the frontline, after all it is a glorified tent so as long as we remember that when we agree to do these food festivals we're OK. Difficulties occur when chefs or TV personalities are booked to do dems at food festivals and they have high expectations of hot and cold running Home Economists to do their prep for them and champagne on tap, never happens guys, well, maybe if you're Nigella or Gordon but not for the rest of us mere mortals.....there's a Costa across the road, go get a takeway. By 9.55 it was mostly built with a bevvy of lovely chefs from Le Manoir running around cleaning everything, wow...Manoir slaves at my beck and call - joking guys, but seriously I'd like to take one of you home especially with 3 of you doing my washing and drying up, what service, thank you chaps.

    Only 5 minutes late but on stage with Phil Gayle from BBC Oxford, bless him he had no idea what was in store for him when I asked him to whisk the egg whites, how do you know if egg whites have reached stiff peak, watch the video and you'll see, I didn't warn Phil about this, fortunately he has a sense of humour.

    I then had a slightly crazy interview with Paper Sissors Stone, Thame TV's channel where we ended running around the high street trying to do an interview avoiding background noise of the many generators and the 30+ year olds making stupid faces, I can understand kids but come one, some of you were old enough to know better.  I'll blog when the piece is up.

    Then the real fun started with the Whizz Bang Workshops run by the Splat Cooking Team at Thame Town Hall.  This was brilliant, we had over 100 children throughout the next couple of hours doing foodie experiments such as:

    Deconstructed chocolate powder

    Exploring where our sense of taste comes from whilst having to taste chocolate, that was hard

    Eggsperiments - can a raw egg bounce? can you make green eggs and ham? The answer is 'yes' to both but you'll have to watch the video to find out how.

    Jelly - spaghetti jelly (my favourite), caviar pearls, instant setting jelly shapes, jelly brains

    The day was a great success with hundreds of children hopefully inspired to keep cooking at home.


  • GlitterGate - the drama continues

    After much goings on over the past few months the team over at Splat Cooking have just withdrawn EdAble Art Glitter from sale due to current labels being on contravention of the Food Safety Act 1990, here's the article for further info

    Splat Cooking are currently trying to source an alternative product as the other biggie on the market is Rainbow dust's Sparkle Dust but that has never been recommended to use on food and clearly states that it should not come into contact with food.  So it's rather frustrating and I'm certainly feeling like I've lost some of my sparkle (yes, I know very corny but couldn't resist) but as soon as I managed to locate some sparkles that are safe to glitter up my cupcakes I'll share it with you and Splat Cooking will def be stocking it so keep an eye out.

    In the meantime if you do have any Rainbow Dust or EdAble Art glitter around nows the time to make up some gorgeous glitter Halloween or Christmas cards and get ahead of the  game, your friends and relatives will be amazed and you could design future cupcakes on the cards and colour them in with the glitter, they'll look amazing.

  • Damson Jam


    It's September, it's sunny, grab your boots and get outside with the kids to gather damsons from the hedgerows and go home and make jam with them.  Damson jam is seriously good, homemade damson jam tastes nothing like the stuff you get in the jars in shops which is just about always way too sweet.

    Homemade damson jam is worth all the time it takes to remove the stones from the middle of the fruit, this does take time, serious time, probably the best of an hour of two if you're doing it on your own so don't - get the kids to help.  It is worth it too.  Also you don't use jam sugar, just normal granulated or caster sugar as damsons are really high in pectin so it sets very easily.

    Try it, it's really really good, also 1kg makes around 5 jars so you've got homemade Christmas pressies already waiting for Grannies and Aunts, damned efficient for September.

    Damson Jam Recipe

  • Damson Jam Recipe

    Damsons grow wild and are often found amongst blackthorn (sloe) bushes but be careful not to get sloes and damsons mixed up. They look alike but damsons are bigger, as soon as you taste them you'll know if you've got a sloe by mistake as they are so dry all the moisture in your mouth will vanish - an interesting experience.
  • Camp Bestival - Sunday, last day, sigh

    Feeling sad on Sunday as it's the last day, love this event, it's just so relaxing, in fact it was so relaxing I realised that I had absolutely no recordings for my BBC Oxford show Feeding the Family and I ought to get my finger out and DO SOME WORK WOMAN! So I attacked my mates Laiyee and Spencer and got some brilliant material from them, great advice on food from Laiyee and fab tips on camping cooking kit from Spencer, going to go and buy one of those triangia cooking stoves, they sound like the ultimate in camping stuff.  However, this is what happens when you leave the kids in the tent and nip off for 20 mins......

    I have come to realise that the key things you need when you go to festivals to sort out the food are:

    1.  My mate Grant

    2.  Lots of money to spend on the amazing food so you don't have to cook

    3.  If you want to cook you need WINE, in cartons from M&S or Tesco, or a box, but that may be a little too much, OK, OK, let's stop being silly, I'm supposed to be writing about feeding the family and trying to put on a sensible front, but let's be realisic and change that - once of those whacking great big cartons from the supermarket, preferably red as you won't be able to keep white chilled unless it's flipping freezing, or one of each just in case it's cold.

    4.  Proper camping cookware and a triangia (is that how you spell them?).  Pre cook, chill quickly and freeze the meat/poultry/fish then heat it through thoroughly until it's piping hot and serve.


    Ren Harvieu was amazing, so need to get her album

    The early edition was great for a Sunday morning

    Michael Winslow - brilliant and the kids loved him, we were all in stitches

    Rolf Harris, really disappointed we were looking forward to seeing him the most but couldn't hear a word as the sound wasn't working properly, bad show Camp Bestival

    Ethan Ash - watch out for this guy, brilliant.

    Fairy Free Hugs - the lovely Amy who was dressed as a fairy giving hugs out to everyone, lovely, lovely, lovely

    Best bit of the whole weekend was Dick and Dom, Bogies! They were on in East Lulworth and yes I was the adult shouting Bogies at the back, don't care, I love them.  Sneaked round the back of the stage and armed with my BBC mic I managed to get an interview with them for BBC Oxford. Made my weekend, their tips on food at a festival, something that is easily transportable, food safe, will last the weekend,  has all major food groups and 5 portions of veg.............Pot Noodle.  Thanks guys, you were brill.  Later on Sunday we were mooching around when a chap tapped me on the shoulder and said 'Hi, good to see you again, you enjoying yourself?' - Dick, my kids were impressed!  New best friend, not sure he knows that though.

    To round off the night were Happy Mondays, not my thing, should have gone with the teenagers to see Ethan Ash again but Blues Brothers were amazing, then off to the double decker for hot chocolate and toast with small boy before bed.

    A damned good weekend, counting down to next year.

    Ooh and the flying cow, that was class


  • Camp Bestival - Food on Saturday

    We got to bed around 1am, with the teenagers and Dads getting in around 3am after the silent disco which apparently was rubbish.  Morning dawned lovely and sunny and out came breakfast, Grant totally showed us up with:

    Smoked Salmon and cream cheese bagels

    We had a measly selection of pain au chocolat, croissants, waffles and cheerios of with crepes and sugar and lemon which were not great. But we did have the new Myspressi Twist show off coffee maker with nitrogen capsules, OMG total show off coffee making on a campsite, sorry Grant, that blows your smoked salmon out of the water.

    Lunch was on site at Chapati Man, our regular meeting spot throughout the week, listening to Jimmy Cliff and Rizzlekicks (brilliant) back for afternoon tea at the tent with homemade cakes then supper out at the Young British Foodies place.  The standard of food, as always, was amazing, Scallops with Garlic Mash - this is a festival for goodness sake, so middle class it's untrue but exquisite.

    The headline group for Saturday were Chic, didn't catch them as eating supper, Earth Wind and fire and then Kool and the Gang, bit too much of a good thing, could have done with one of them rather than all of them, Kool and the Gang were on at 9.45pm and were a bit boring for a headline Saturday night, more Sunday afternoon lazy music and after Rizzlekicks they just didn't cut it.

    Unfortunately the wind started up and it got cold so we huddled in Pig's Big Ballroom and caught the amazing Ethan Ash, the girls went back on Sunday night for his other set, he's really good. Then headed over for DJ Yoda's set, now this was good, way better than Kool and the Gang and Grant and I wished we'd gone straight there and not bothered with the Castle Stage.  We've had this before and really should listen to ourselves in future and just hang out at the big top.

    To finish off the evening Small Boy and I retired to the top of the double decker bus at midnight for hot chocolate and toast, heaven, we weren't first to be though, got back to find Medium Sized girl already tucked up with rolling pin in hand with the 'what time do you call this?' routine - Mums, you just can't get proper ones!


  • Thame Food Festival Exibition at Thame Museum

    I spent a lovely evening in the company of some amazing chefs on Thursday to kick of an exhibition of food photography by the lovely Debbie Jones of Imaging Essence. Lotte Duncan gave her usual cheeky style speech in the company of Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, Steve Love from McCormick Spices, Le Manoir as Raymond Blanc is doing a dem on the day too.

    Lovely flowing bubbly and amazing chocolate brownies by Made by Mums so now we're counting down 22 days to go.  Thame Food Festival is in it's 5th year and has expanded from its small beginnings promising to become and strong competitor for the likes of Ludlow Food Festival especially with Lotte and Raymond involved with with Alison Isherwood pulling it all together it's grown into a beauty.

    Julian and Sally Dorling have worked their socks off with the PR and marketing and the photos by Debbie are just gorgeous as always.

    Thame Food Festival is on Saturday 29 Sept and I'm kicking off the Chef's Theatre with a dem at 10am followed by Whizz Bang Food Science workshops run by the Splat Cooking Team in the Town Hall from 11am, it's all free so come along, it'll be amazing.

    Read this great review

  • Foodies Festival Recipes for Casillero del Diablo wine matching

    If you haven't caught my dems in Foodies Festival's Chef's Theatre this season yet then this weekend at Oxford is your last chance this year.  I've been working with the lovely people at Casillero del Diablo (@diablowine) to come up with three recipes to go with their choice of wine and here they are so you can practice at home.

    Rose - Garlicky Prawn Toasts as a starter

    Sauvignon Blanc - Chermoula Chicken with Garden Salad and Edible Flowers for main course

    Cabernet Sauvignon - Free Dark Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis for pudding

    The edible flowers I've used were all from lovely people at Greens Herbs

  • Garlicky Prawn Toasts

    Served on leftover baguettes or ciabatta toasted they are a quick and easy snack. If you don't have prawns then scallops or chicken work really well too, if you want a low carb version omit the bread and serve them on little gem lettuce leaves, they're delicious.
  • Free Dark Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis

    This recipe is based on Herve This' Chocolate Chantilly. It's 'free' as it's free from dairy, wheat, egg, basically anything apart from a really good quality chocolate and water.
  • Chermoula Chicken with Garden Salad

    The chermoula marinade turns into a delicious citrus sauce for the chicken which creates a fusion of colour and flavour served with a fresh garden salad and a scattering of edible flowers
  • How to identify a puffball mushroom? Or a football?


    A lovely gentleman just came to my door asking permission to go into the field next to us as he thought he'd seen a puffball mushroom growing in there.  This was too good an opportunity to miss so i went with him armed with video camera for what i thought would be a great opportunity to film a foraging piece about mushrooms, how to identify which are safe to eat, where they grow, etc.

    I called, Matt, the farmer, to get his permission, as it's his field and you can't just go walking across field without permission.  He was little taken aback and checked which field I meant only to respond "are you sure it's a puffball mushroom, there's been a football in that field for months!"

    OK so now into the territory of how to identify mushrooms from footballs.  The lovely chap was very embarrassed when I repeated the conversation but we went anyway, climbing over gates, talking nicely to the horses, avoiding horse poo to gaze lovingly onto the most wonderful........large white football.  Disappointing but he had a sense of humour and has promised that he'll keep looking and if he finds one he'll pop round with it, a puffball mushroom that is, not a football, we have one of those in the field next to us.

    They do look similar though don't they, don't think they'd taste similar though.

  • Camp Bestival Food - Friday night

    First night at Camp Bestival, on the menu:


    Afternoon tea with homemade brownies by Daisy, carrot cake and fairy cakes by Grant and flapjack by me (the one on my APP) with cups of either Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea.

    Olives, posh crisps and red wine out of a pouch, not bad, although it was M&S so you'd assume it was good quality. Then down to the proper cooking,

    Thai Green Chicken Curry with boil in the bag rice

    Chicken Fajitas for the children

    Now Grant and I approached the fajitas in two different ways, Grant  precooked his and chilled them, I decided that it was safer from food safety viewpoint if I cut the raw chicken to size and froze it then it would defrost slowly throughout the day in the cook box.  They both worked but my way took about 45 minutes to cook from scratch and never really browned, it tasted great but didn't look as appetising as Grant's fajitas, the curry was fab though.

    Next time would I change the way I made these, no I'd go and buy a Trangia as they get very hot and cook properly unlike the cheap Go Outdoors camping stove which was a nightmare as it kept collapsing and the flame burnt orange rather than purple, also going to get proper camping pans too.

    However the Tesco Value red wine in a carton was a winner, emmimently gluggable.


  • Valet service Camp Bestival Style

    We were in Camping Plus this year, they had showers, hot showers and very posh toilets, flushing and toilet paper too, wow.  The best welcome on Friday morning was the valet service for luggage from the field, this was amazing, I've been to the Touessrok in Mauritius and had my own butler but Camp Bestival valet service came into it's own...........tractors!

    Yes Tractors, two of them, one for your luggage and one for the humans, brilliant.  All we had to do was lug the luggage to the bottom of the field then the lovely chaps on the tractors would chuck the luggage on the red tractor and we'd sit in the blue one then we'd be driven up the hill to the top.  At this point the luggage was unloaded and we had to fend for ourselves until we found help, wheel barrows or rang husband to come and get us.

    The campsite was pure luxury, our own pitch with proper aisles so no tripping over lots of guy ropes in the middle of the night trying to get to the tent when everyone else had pitched up around and over us. Even better we made it in time for Stooshe who were fantastic.

  • BBQ Campsite Cupcakes

    These are cupcakes that you cook on a barbeque. They are fantastic if you want to impress the whole campsite while on holiday or just have fun playing at camping in the back garden in the summer, total ‘show off’ cooking.
  • Baking Cakes on a Campsite

    Yes it can be done, I've done it and have the photos to prove it.

    Take one basic cupcake mix, or muffin, or whatever recipe and flavour you like.  Make up the recipe as per the instructions, probably using a wooden spoon as you may not have electricity if you are proper camping.  As much as I love my KitchenAid I think my husband would have a hissy fit if I even suggested taking it camping, although, there's an idea, how cool would that be.  Total show off cooking in the wild experience, can you imagine the comments going round the campsite when you rig up your KitchenAid, maybe I'll try that just to see what happens (snigger).

    Anyway, based on not taking your mixer with you, make sure you cream the butter and sugar thoroughly then make up the recipe as usual.

    You probably won't have a muffin tray with you - no don't go and reach for one, you don't need it!  You do need baking parchment and tin foil.

    Cut 12 squares of parchment 16cm square and 12 circles of tinfoil about the size of a dinner plate, around 25cm diameter .  Scrunch up the tinfoil cases around a mug to form a 'cake case', grease these and line with the square of parchment, repeat with the rest of the foil and parchment.  Split cake mix equally between the 'cases' and place on a tray on the shelf of the barbeque.  Close the lid and leave them for 10 mins, check if they're done by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean they're done, if not cook for another couple of minutes.  You may need to keep checking them and moving them around as it's difficult to regulate the temperature of a barbeque.  Once they're cooked, remove, leave to cool, ice and eat.

    I made these for my daughter's birthday when we were on holiday in France, they were great but I did attract crowds on the campsite as word got round really quickly and everyone wanted to see how I was making them.

    If you have my APP Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea


    , facebook a photo to let me see how they turn out.

  • Festival Food

    Food planning for this weekend, last year we tried the tinned stuff, horrid, so this year in line with my BBC Oxford show I'm cooking real food, from scratch instead.

    What's on the menu for Camp Bestival?


    Pancakes with lemon and sugar or nutella (cheated and bought ready made crepes, I refuse to queue for 30 minutes for one crepe like last year)

    Pain au chocolat

    Cheerios with already frozen milk which will slowly defrost over the weekend and keep cold, may need to sneak in coco pops too for my chocolate fix - shouldn't have admitted to coco pops addiction, I'm supposed to be a shining example of healthy eating, mostly anyway.

    Orange Juice and smoothies


    Eating out - not doing lunch each day, no way


    Thai green chicken curry for the grown ups Friday night, I've chopped and frozen the raw chicken, taken the green curry paste, veg and coconut milk with me as I reckon it's safer to cook the raw meat than to cook the whole thing, freeze it and slowly defrost it there, also boil in the bag rice too.  Kids are on fajitas, again cooking them on site, the fajitas, not the kids.  RED WINE - doesn't need chilling, may have to sneak in a couple of beers too on the basis that they'll have to be drunk Friday night before going warm, hard life!

    Saturday - we're eating out

    Sunday - Pasta with pesto and roast veg, garlic bread cooked under the grill and lashings of parmesan, fussy kids can have pasta with parmesan and butter - I'll let them off veg one night, after all it's a festival

    Also taking crisps and olives for nibbles, let's face this is where middle England go to party so would be letting the side down not taking olives, posh crisps and making flapjack today to go too.

    One sleep until I go, Pete and Small Boy have already left to set up the tent, I gave them towels this morning and they looked at me like I was insane

    "why do we need those?"

    "to wash with"

    "but we're at a festival, didn't think you were allowed to wash, isn't that the idea?"

    Hmm, boys!

  • Camp Bestival 2012 - packing

    OK so I'm not as organised as last year, Pete and Small Boy are off tomorrow and we've only just started thinking of packing, unlike last year when this was all new and exciting.  The problem is now I think that I've done it once so this year is going to be a breeze, apart from I can't remember what on earth I packed last year so desperately looking for a cold beer as that will surely put in the mood and help me remember, yes?

    Essentials have been put out for packing - new, cool, espresso gadget for show off coffee maker is packed, that's me sorted.  Small boy is very disappointed at the knowledge that there are 'SHOWERS', we're in Camping Plus this year, last year we were in trog camping and found loos but nothing else.  We'd meet up with our friends (in camping plus) who had wet hair and query whether it had been raining in their part of the campsite, they'd reply 'we had a shower' to which we'd look at them dimly muttering something about us being the great unwashed in trog camping.  This means negotiating with a small boy who's idea of joy at camping is inability to wash, he'll be disappointed.

    I have my flash mic, in lovely bright pink pouch, very girly and sweet.  The show this year is all about eating 'proper' food and doing 'proper' cooking at a festival, food that the children will eat too.  That's in the next blog.

    About to drag children upstairs to pack, wonder if I'm going to have a repeat of last year's packing crises...... halving the clothes that medium sized girl is taking and had meltdown over her iphone and conversations along the lines of :

    'you won't have coverage' - 'you're taking yours, you wouldn't do that if there wasn't coverage' - last year was brilliant, there was no coverage at all on the site as it's in a hollow, only signal is in the tent, as we're not intending being there much there won't be any point checking the phones or having them around.  I relaxed so much last year as no one could get hold of me so I was blissfully unaware of any crises going on back in the office.

    'there's  no way of charging it' - 'yes there is, there's wifi and charging in the press tent' - hmm, the children know I have bought a solar charger this year so not getting away with that excuse.

    'you won't need to call, text or email anyone' - 'my friends will want to know what I'm up to and it just CAN'T wait until Monday'. Yeah right, the texts last year took 8 hours to get through.  We'd text a friend to say meet you at the Big Top at 2pm and they'd get the text at 9pm that evening.  Resorted to arranging for one of the adults to be on the Castle steps on the hour every hour to meet the kids if they'd gone off on their own somewhere - good, old fashioned meeting up techniques, no new fangled mobiles with no reception here.

    'well I'll have to take my ipod instead' - 'you're going to a music festival, there's lots of live music, you won't have time to listen to your ipod' current argument is so that they can practice the songs before seeing the bands.

    Small boys suitcase has been emptied of lego, DS games and pokemon cards so there is now room for more than 1 pair of pants in there plus other clothes. Had the conversation again about it being quicker just to wear the clothes he travels down in, sleep in them and just get straight up the next day, repeat until Monday - he's taking at least 2 changes of clothing, under duress.

    Haven't tackled teenager's bag, that's for tomorrow after some sleep.

    My packing - I'm not going down there until Friday morning with the girls so haven't even thought about that, will do a coating of St Tropez to do  tonight and ponder on shoes, probably my DMs, shorts, false eyelashes, mirror to put false eyelashes on with in the tent, sun cream, strappy tops, that should do me.  Bless them, they're already unhappy as they've seen the suitcases so I have two stressed out labradors who will be howling at our bedroom door tonight being needy.

    Beverley Glock is a food writer and broadcaster, she is the founder of Splat Cooking, her first book '500 baby and toddler foods' is published on by Apple Press and her APP 'Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea' is on sale on the APP store for iPad with the iPhone version due release in August 2012.

  • Plum Baby Cookery School - Recipe Development

    Anyone heard about the Baby Food diet?  This hit the headlines last year with Hollywood A listers losing shed loads of weight by eating baby food.  After a weekend of recipe development for Plum Baby Cookery School this concept now doesn't seem as bizarre as it did last week.

    On Tuesday I meet the Mummy bloggers who are runners up in the Plum Baby Cookery School competition and will be recreating this dish from scratch.  I've also been playing with some of the purees to see if I can incorporate them into every day dishes, well, why should babies have all the fun?

    Yesterday I made fruit muffins incorporating some of the fruit purees and reducing the amount of butter from 75g to 25g, the muffins were amazing, lovely and moist and no one in my household realised they were reduced fat.  That is, until I told them and their reaction was "oooh that means I can have two then" - no it doesn't, the concept of reducing the fat is that you have one and enjoy it, if you have two that defeats the object.

    This morning it's Sweet Cape Curry with Beef, I thought I'd try if before shooting off to the gym and then to the supermarket in case there are any ingredients I'm missing. So I tried it, the initial taste is 'it needs salt', but that's only because as an adult I'm used to adding salt to my food, babies don't have salt as it's very bad for them, they don't need it and if we never had salt we wouldn't miss it.  By the third mouthful I didn't notice the lack of salt, it was delicious, anyway I've just eaten the lot - for breakfast, couldn't stop, it really was yummy.

    I now understand why the baby food diet could catch on, Plum Baby Taste Adventures range is just as good as the tubs of ready to heat curries and noodles that are in the fridge section, lower in fat, all organic and this one's 96 calories a tub, with 5 pounds left to go before I hit the beaches in Lemnos in 2 weeks I may well try it.  Possibly a new niche for Plum Baby, we'll see.


  • Plum Baby Cookery School competition


    I'm thrilled to announce that I'm hosting the Plum Baby Cookery School and my co-ambassador is Celebrity Chef Rachel Allen.

    The competition has now been extended to 5.30pm on 12 June to get cracking if if you would like to take part in this amazing opportunity.

    Plum Baby will be opening their cookery school doors to some very privileged parents and babies to learn all about the weaning journey, take part in cookery lessons and become the stars of Plum's new weaning videos, a guide to help parents across the country sort out their weaning worries.  For details how to enter this amazing competition click on Plum Baby to take you to their website but hurry the competition closes on Tuesday 12 June at 5.30pm.

  • Plum Baby Cookery School

    I'm thrilled to announce that I'm hosting the Plum Baby Cookery School and my co-ambassador is Celebrity Chef Rachel Allen.

    Plum Baby will be opening their cookery school doors to some very privileged parents and babies to learn all about the weaning journey, take part in cookery lessons and become the stars of Plum's new weaning videos, a guide to help parents across the country sort out their weaning worries.  For details how to enter this amazing competition click on Plum Baby to take you to their website but hurry the competition closes on Monday 28 May.

  • Camp Bestival Memories - Interview with Martin Fry of ABC

    We are counting down to Camp Bestival kicking off on 26 July, that's 70 days to go. Another fab line up this year with Rizzlekicks and Stooshie but there is a legend in the line up this year, someone not to be missed, someone I am soo excited about seeing it's silly, a hero from my childhood - it can only be ROLF HARRIS.  I was looking forward to Camp Bestival anyway but with Rolf Harris performing that's just made my year.

    I'm recording another show for BBC Oxford there and guess who is top of my list to interview, yep, Rolf Harris himself.  Last year I had the privilege of interviewing Martin Fry of ABC, one of my teenage heroes and yes I do have all their albums and I know all the words.  So when I found he was giving interviews but was only doing four of them I thought I had no chance.  It's amazing what doors open when you're with the BBC, even if it is local radio, I got one of the slots.

    The others were ITN, Sky News and Festivents, all the interviewees were under the age of 25 and had never worshipped Martin Fry in the way an oldie like me did, they all asked the same questions....What's it like being back together in the band again? Martin looked positively bored but charmingly answered them without getting too animated.  When it came to my turn I introduced myself and explained that I didn't want to talk about the band or reforming but I'd like to talk about food.

    For a minute I thought he was going to throw me out of the press tent, especially when he asked if I was serious, but I stuck to my guns and got the longest interview of any of the other journos from him. Martin changed totally, became animated and obviously I'd struck a chord with a favourite subject of his, food and feeding his family.  The interview is attached to click on it and see what you think.

    It made my weekend and I'm really hoping I can repeat the honour with Rolf Harris, what do you think?

    Martin Fry interviewed by Beverley Glock at Camp Bestival


  • Cupcake Glitter - is it safe to eat?

    I've used Edable Art glitter for years, I make sure that the products myself and the team source for Splat Cooking are safe to eat, after all Splat Cooking is all about teaching children and adults how to cook safely so the items we sell have to reflect that.

    Over the years there have been other storms in teacups about glitter.  Some websites have stated that the 'glitter is not edible and is suitable for use on parts of the cake that will not be eaten', ie cake decorations that lay on the cake and can be removed. However, everyone who has ever used this stuff knows that no matter what you do it transfers.

    So we talked to the manufacturer, I've had lots of conversations with the lovely people at Edable Art over the years and I've seen toxicology reports from them as they've always been open and honest and I've satisfied myself that their glitter is 'foodsafe'.  I've had conversations with local trading standards chaps, David Gravy at Aylesbury is very aware of the cookery school and has been actively involved with us for the last 11 years of trading and is incredibly helpful.  We were advised to market the glitter as 'foodsafe' not 'edible', when we have new staff and cookery leaders join we make sure that they know not to call the glitter edible.

    However, as of Monday last week, this all changed - way before it hit the newspapers. Audrey, one of the team, did her regular check up with the FSA, there was a bulletin about just this, so she called Edable Art who were right on the ball and said that they knew all about the new guidelines and were putting together a Declaration of Compliance which they'd send us.  In the meantime he was very pleased to let us know that Edable Art glitter is fully compliant with the FSA Guidelines on Edible and Non-Toxic Glitters and Dusts (April 2012). This is the only glitter Splat Cooking sell.

    Things have moved on, in August we had a call from EdAble Art's local EHO who had purchased a sample of their glitter from us - without our knowledge of what it was form, bit underhanded I think, and they've taken it away for analysis but won't commit as to whether Splat Cooking ought to be selling it as a food additive or just as a decoration.  The Splat Cooking Team have taken the view that until the tests come back we're taking off any reference to 'foodsafe' and we're not using it at the parties or on any of the cakes, as soon as there is an update and the results come back I'll post it here.  As far as I am aware no one has been damaged by eating the glitter but at the end it's up to you if you decide to use it or not.

    If you have any queries please do call Splat Cooking on 0870 766 8290

  • Toddler Cookery Classes - Splat Cooking

    I'm very proud to be launching Splat Cooking's (@splatcooking) new toddler cooking club cookery classes.  The Splat Cooking team have put so much work into planning these new classes they promise to be educational, enjoyable, fun and inspirational for toddlers as well as their parents or carers.

    When my children were little there were a number of toddler classes that I just couldn't cope with, the ones that left me feeling like I needed to take myself out and have myself shot as I was so desperately bored.  Don't get me wrong, I loved being at home with my children when they were little, my favourite age was between 6 months and 2 years, when they're discovering the world and you are honoured to experience that with them.  Toddlers are amazingly good company, every new experience and discovery is unique and wonderful but some classes are just downright boring, and if I was bored stupid and dreaded having to go back, then how did my child feel?

    Some classes were brilliant, I thoroughly loved them and looked forward to going every week so did my children.

    Things about toddler classes i couldn't bear:  puppets (omg I hate puppets, why can't the people running the class just talk to the children like normal human beings), singing daft songs when it isn't a singing or musical class - why? Oh why? I have the most awful singing voice that can clear a room in seconds, so I totally hated being told to 'sing up' - seriously?  You want all the other Mums to run for the hills?

    Class leaders talking down the children in silly voices - when you laugh you get told off (or evicted, been there, done that), it's just too funny when the toddlers are looking at the lady and asking if there is something wrong with her voice for her to talk like that.

    So the Splat Cooking toddler cookery classes have none of this.  The focus is on food and cooking, each session is linked to a story book, such as The Magic Porridge Pot (Oaty lollies), The Gruffalo (mice bread rolls), Pizza Kittens (pizza) and each session begins with a story, then the children put aprons on, wash hands and make the recipe of the week with the help from their parents/carers.  Once the goodies are cooking there are related activities and colouring sheets to do as well as tasting ingredients and talking about the texture and flavour, it may be mango - dried, fresh, tinned, juice or bread - identifying different breads and trying different breads made with different grains.

    They have this amazing lady who is qualified in sign language and is starting the classes off with a few words of signing to help the children who's speech isn't that great, I think this is such a great idea.

    The classes launch on Thursday 3 May at Ballinger War Memorial Hall in Ballinger Common near Great Missenden, the classes last from 9.30-11am - as these are new they're hoping for lots of feedback from the initial parents as it's early days and they want to make sure that the classes are brilliant so initially 90 mins but they may reduce the time depending on  how the first few run, better to finish early than over run.  The classes are bookable termly in advance - they need to know how many children at each week to buy ingredients and food to taste and budget for aprons and recipe folders and utensils.

    I'll be there for the first couple to launch them then the amazing ladies at  Splat Cooking will take over with their wealth of experience.  So if you have a toddler and want to have a go at cooking, book now, before the spaces fill up.


  • 50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4

    The National Trust have launched a campaign to get children outside, I've been through the list and I reckon mine have done 37 of them.  Definitely fossil hunts on Redcar and Saltburn beaches, skimming stones - last week in Saltburn, we have heaps of fossils around the surf shack in the garden, and discovering what's in a pond and catching fish in a net from it - we live in a mill and they're always out on the boat on the mill pond, or in it (wild swimming) or over on the island (oh there's another one).

    Burying someone in sand scars me to death after you hear the horror stories of children being buried and killed when the sides of the sand collapse and suffocate them so although they've done it it's been very shallow sand and usually feet only.  Paranoid mothers.

    Camping out in the wild, does cub and guide camp count?  Or Camp Bestival? Or the back garden?

    Building a den - in the back garden with blankets and clothes horse or Wendover Woods in the proper wild. Flying kites - always take them to France and hit the beach with them, need to get bigger ones this year.

    Small boy will only apples if he can pick them straight off the tree - can be a bit of a pain that.  Stream damming in Hutton Le Hole - how to waste a whole day - perfect.

    Watch the sun wake up - they did this lots when they were little and we were on holiday, Dads meet on the beach with toddlers that were awake from 5am so they didn't wake everyone else up, sure you've been there but not sure this is really what they meant.

    Catching crabs in rock pools - I'm an expert crab catcher, so good that when we're on the Ile de Re I'm usually surrounded by children as they've ditched their parents to go over to where the 'crab lady' is as I'm sooo good at catching them, bit embarsssing really.

    Bringing up butterflies - I think we still have the kit somewhere, done this at least 3 times and planting, cooking and eating is one of the things we do at Cooking Club, and of course they've cooked on a real campfire - well, at cubs and guides def.  So we're up to 37 how many have you done?

    The 50 things to do before you're 11 and three-quarters

    1. Climb a tree

    2. Roll down a really big hill

    3. Camp out in the wild

    4. Build a den

    5. Skim a stone

    6. Run around in the rain

    7. Fly a kite

    8. Catch a fish with a net

    9. Eat an apple straight from a tree

    10. Play conkers

    11. Throw some snow

    12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

    13. Make a mud pie

    14. Dam a stream

    15. Go sledging

    16. Bury someone in the sand

    17. Set up a snail race

    18. Balance on a fallen tree

    19. Swing on a rope swing

    20. Make a mud slide

    21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild

    22. Take a look inside a tree

    23. Visit an island

    24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

    25. Make a grass trumpet

    26. Hunt for fossils and bones

    27. Watch the sun wake up

    28. Climb a huge hill

    29. Get behind a waterfall

    30. Feed a bird from your hand

    31. Hunt for bugs

    32. Find some frogspawn

    33. Catch a butterfly in a net

    34. Track wild animals

    35. Discover what’s in a pond

    36. Call an owl

    37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

    38. Bring up a butterfly

    39. Catch a crab

    40. Go on a nature walk at night

    41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

    42. Go wild swimming

    43. Go rafting

    44. Light a fire without matches

    45. Find your way with a map and compass

    46. Try bouldering

    47. Cook on a campfire

    48. Try abseiling

    49. Find a geocache

    50. Canoe down a river

    SOURCE: National Trust.

    Read More

  • APP - Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea

    My new APP has it's own Facebook page, please click and 'like' it.  The APP itself launches in June 2012 and will be available from that date on the APP store, if you 'like' it on facebook we'll keep you updated on events, competitions and appearances plus heaps of extra recipes and tips.

    I'm really excited, come and see me at Foodies Festival in Bristol on 113-15 July, I'll be in the Chef's Theatre as MC for the event and we'll have the APP on iPads on our stand for you have have a look at.  The Splat Cooking team are also running the Kids Cookery Theatre with lots of hands on cooking workshops

  • Bellaverde Broccoli

    This is amazing stuff, I've always thought the idea of eating 'trees' was cool but Bellaverde broccoli is even better than normal trees, they're big trees and they're sweet too.

    I'm really proud to say that I'm one of Bellaverde's Celebrity Mums and have one of my favourite family recipes up on their website.  My Chicken Fajitas with Homemade Tortillas and Guacamole is a firm family favourite and it's great to encourage the children to make the tortillas themselves as they are just so much better than the ones in the packets, just make sure that an adult does the heat work.

    You can substitute the chicken for beef or pork if you wish or remove the chicken and add in extra mushrooms for a vegetarian version.  The recipe is up in the recipe section of my website and you can check out the other fab recipes from the other Celebrity Mums, Nadia Sawalha and Sophie Conran too on Bellaverde's website

  • Beverley Glock's Fajitas with bellaverde® Broccoli and Homemade Tortilla Wraps

    These Mexican wraps are versatile, healthy and easy to prepare. If you don’t have any wraps then you can make them yourself using the recipe below, or serve the fajita filling with noodles, rice or as a filling for baked potatoes.
  • Interview with Peach Trees and Bumble Bees

    The lovely Ashley Fryer interviewed me last week for Peach Trees and Bumblebees, Ashley's fantastic recipe and foodie website blog.  It was one of those "should I give a proper grown up answer?" or "should I give a smart alec answer?", so figured I'd do 'honest' answers.

    Click on the link above for the interview

  • Pancake Day

    Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day, it falls the day before Ash Wednesday and can be between the beginning of February and mid March depending on when Easter falls.

    Pancake Day’s proper name is Shrove Tuesday and this is the night before the beginning of Lent. Traditionally an evening when families used up flour and eggs to mark the beginning of the fasting period before Easter.  This year Shrove Tuesday falls on 21 February.

    Pancakes are a flat, thin batter cake cooked in a hot frying pan – hence the name ‘pan-cake’.  They are cooked on one side then flipped (or tossed if you’re feeling brave) to cook the other side.  They can be sweet or savoury and can be eaten at any time of day and not just on Shrove Tuesday.

    I associate Pancake Day with longer days, more sunshine and spring flowers breaking through.  My childhood memories are of spending two weeks persuading my Mum to cook pancakes for Pancake Day, helping her mix up the batter and seeing if I could eat the pancakes faster than she could make them.  In the winter months pancakes are a standard Sunday breakfast in our house – what do you like on yours?  Lemon and sugar?  Maple syrup?  Freshly squeezed orange juice? Nutella?  Grand Marnier? Ham and cheese?  My vote is for lemon and sugar.

    Pancake races take place all over Britain, this is one those classic British traditions like the Pantomime, Boxing Day Dips and Morris Men, slightly mad but lots of fun (I know Morris Men aren’t mad and there are amazing traditions to their dances, I love them so please no letters!).

    The pancake race originates in a place called Olney in Buckinghamshire; the story goes that a housewife was cooking when she heard the shriven bell at church calling for the start of the service.  Not wanting to be late she dashed out of the house still holding her frying pan.  Olney has held a Pancake Day race since 1445.  In other parts of Britain men dress up in aprons and bonnets and run whilst tossing a pancake in a frying pan.  They have to toss the pancake at least once at the beginning and end of the race and the first across the line wins.

    for inspiration please try some of my pancake recipes:

    Basic Pancake mix

    Blueberry Pancakes

    Chocolate Banana Pancakes

    Orange and Fig Pancakes

    Drop Scones

  • Orange and Fig Pancakes

    Encourage children to make up the pancake mix and slice figs with a round bladed knife. If you’re feeling brave and have extra batter (!) then you can try tossing the pancakes to turn them over rather than flipping them with a spatula
  • Chocolate Banana Pancakes

    The only healthy thing about these pancakes is the sliced banana but at least there is no added fat in the mixture. Once in a while we need to have a chocolate overdose so what better time to it them just before Lent begins.
  • Blueberry Pancakes

    Delicious drop scones or mini pancakes served with a blueberry compote
  • Basic Pancake Mix

    Encourage children to make up the pancake mix. If you’re feeling brave and have extra batter (!) then you can try tossing the pancakes to turn them over rather than flipping them with a spatula. This is lovely to make with blood oranges, in season at the moment or with freshly squeezed lemon juice and little sugar or honey.
  • Pancake Recipes

    Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day, it falls the day before Ash Wednesday and can be between the beginning of February and mid March depending on when Easter falls. This article is all about pancakes with links to my pancake recipes too.
  • Chinese New Year

    This year is the year of the Dragon, a very auspicious year in the Chinese calendar.  New Year starts on 23 January and the celebrations continue for the next 15 days.  We're celebrating tomorrow evening with a Chinese Banquet and if you'd like some ideas then check out some of my recipes here or listen again to my Feeding the Family show on BBC Oxford today when my fabulous guests Kwong Lin from Noodle Nation (@noodle_nation), my children's absolute favourite Chinese Restaurant with branches in Oxford, High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Maidenhead talked about how his family celebrates.  Also on the show was the lovely Caroline MiLi Artiss, who has a huge following on her YouTube show and is currently writing her first cook book on South East Asian food, can't wait for that to come out.

  • Chinese Roast Pork Pasties

    Delicious little roast pork pasties, great for Chinese New Year, picnics or as canapes
  • Easter Recipes

    Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate with a little bit of chocolate thrown in for good measure.

    That seems to sum up the modern view of Easter, let’s face it the chocolate Easter eggs appear on Boxing Day in supermarkets and are usually right next to the discounted selection boxes, so what is Easter really all about?

    The origins of Easter go way back to pagan times, long before Christianity.  Our ancestors believed that the sun died in winter and was reborn in the spring.  The arrival of spring was celebrated all over the world long before religious meaning became associated with Easter.

    Our ancestors gave thanks to the gods for returning the sun to warm the world, bring forth life in the form of plants and baby animals and generally help humans stay alive by providing food and warmth.  The word ‘Easter’ is thought to come from name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess ‘Eostre’ which was also the ancient name for Spring.  Eostre’s sacred animal was a hare and since then rabbits have been associated with Easter. In America the Easter Bunny leaves baskets of chocolate eggs for children who in turn leave carrots out, he has been sighted in the UK although rarely.  Try come classic Easter Recipes then carry on and read more about how other cultures celebrate the rebirth of Spring.

    Simnel Cupcakes

    In ancient Egypt they held the festival of Isis to celebrate spring and rebirth as river Nile began to rise in the springtime and it was thought that the goddess was in mourning for her partner, Osiris, and the tears that she cried swelled the river.

    The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Cybele, one of the mother goddesses, one story is that Zeus helped her resurrect her lover Attis and that he is reborn each year in the Spring.

    Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.  Easter moves each year as the date is fixed as the first Sunday after the Full Moon which occurs on or after the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, so it can fall as early as 22 March or as late as 25 April

    Eggs, whether they are chocolate or not, are a symbol of continuing life.  They are forbidden during lent and are traditionally eaten boiled for breakfast on Easter Day.  The first eggs given at Easter were bird’s eggs, they were painted in bright colours and in the 1900s the first chocolate version was developed.  They have also grown, so rather than giving a small chocolate egg the size of a bird’s egg they can be found as large as an ostrich egg, it’s a bird after all but not quite what our ancestors had in mind.

    Hot cross buns were traditionally eaten at breakfast time, hot from the oven and those baked on Good Friday were supposed to have magical powers and would keep for a year without going mouldy, they would be rock hard but not mouldy.

    Simnel cake is another Easter Food, made for Mothering Sunday and decorated with 11 marzipan balls to represent the 11 true disciples of Jesus, not including Judas, it was not allowed to be eaten during Lent so was saved until Easter.  Wherever you are in the world and whatever you believe Easter usually marks the beginning of warmer weather, more sunshine and a general feeling of wellbeing and the end of long, dark, cold nights.

  • Christmas Recipes

    Christmas is a time for celebration in the deepest, darkest days of the year.  Humans have been celebrating the winter solstice, which falls on 21 December, for thousands of years.  It's time to gather together, keep warm and look forward to welcoming the Spring.  The time of year when we're half way through the worst, coldest weather, what a great time to have a celebration.

    Traditional foods use dried fruit as fresh fruit was difficult to come by before planes were invented so Christmas cake, mince pies, Christmas pudding, stollen and gingerbread.  The warming spices of cinnamon and ginger and smell of oranges conjures up Christmas to most of us.

    Chocolate and Ginger Christmas Pudding 

    Cranberry and Orange Mincemeat

    Traditional Mincemeat

    Christmas pudding is made on ‘Stir-up Sunday’ which is the Sunday before Advent - the end of November – and everyone in the family takes a turn to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from East to West (clockwise) in honor of the three Kings making their journey, with their eyes closed whilst making a secret wish.  The sprig of holly is a reminder of Jesus’ ‘Crown of Thorns’.  Holly also was supposed to bring good luck and has special healing powers.

    The term Stir-up Sunday comes from the opening words for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549.  The collect is the prayer of the day that ‘collects’ up the themes of the readings during a church service.  The original prayer used to start:

    ‘Stir up, we beseech thee’, - hence the term Stir Up Sunday.

    Another custom is to put silver or gold items into the pudding; each has a special significance:

    • Silver coins are supposed to bring luck to whoever finds them in their slice of pudding on Christmas Day.
    • A gold ring signifies that the finder will be married before the year is out.
    • A silver thimble or button signifies that the finder will never marry and remain a spinster or bachelor forever, or if people didn’t want to upset whoever pulled out the thimble the meaning was changed to ‘having a lucky life’.
  • Chinese Recipes

    Chinese food is full of flavour and colour and is much healthier than the versions we regularly sample in classic take aways.  Lots of brightly coloured stir fried vegetables, lean chicken, steamed fish, flavoured with soy sauce, ginger, citrus fruits and a little rice wine and served with steamed rice or noodles.  With a trusty wok it will take 10 minutes to cook a delicious family meal, encourage all the family to get involved with preparing it and it will be even quicker. Try some of my recipes out and let me know what you think.

    Chinese Dumplings

    Chinese New Year

    Chinese New Year falls between the end of January and the middle of February each year.  The exact date is dependent on the lunar cycle and the solar year not the Gregorian calendar used in Europe.  This year it starts on 23 January - the second new moon after the Winter Solstice and finishes 15 days later when the moon is full.

    New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is celebrated as a family gathering starting with a family supper on New Year’s Eve, a little like our Christmas Day lunch.  Next morning the children will wish their parents a ‘healthy and happy New Year’ and are usually given money in red envelopes.  It is tradition to clean the house thoroughly to ‘sweep’ away any bad luck and make sure that the house is clean to welcome in good luck for the New Year.   This is also a time to heal grudges and forgive any arguments from the past year and to start anew.

    Myths around Chinese New Year

    Legends tell of a fight against a mythical beast called the Nian.  This creature would terrorise villagers and devour livestock, crops and people on the first day of the New Year.  To try and protect themselves the villagers would leave food out on their doorsteps believing that if the Nian was given food it would stop attacking the livestock and people.  One day, one of the villagers saw the Nian run away from a small child who was wearing red.  They assumed that the creature was scared of the colour red and began decorating their doors and windows with red lanterns and scrolls and setting off firecrackers to scare the Nian away. The Nian never came back to the village again and to this day the colour red is used to decorate Chinese homes and businesses at New Year.

    Food Traditions

    Each day of the New Year celebrations hold an specific significance and some of these traditions focus on food:

    New Year’s Eve – a whole chicken symbolises family togetherness.  Noodles represent a long life and it’s supposed to bring bad luck to cut noodles so they are sometimes served very, very long. Spring rolls symbolise wealth as they are the shape of a gold bar.

    First day – the day for visiting grandparents and great grandparents - the most senior members of the family, fireworks are set off and children are given money in red envelopes.  Many people do not eat meat on this day and some think it is inauspicious to light fires or use knives on New Year’s Day.

    Fifth Day – the birthday of god of wealth, dumplings are traditionally eaten (see recipe).

    Seventh Day – a tossed raw fish salad is traditionally eaten together, tossed by each person in turn who makes a wish.

    Thirteenth Day -  only vegetarian food is eaten as a sort of detox as too much food has usually been eaten in the previous days.

    Fifteenth Day – the last day of the New Year celebrations is the Lantern Festival, sweet rice dumplings are made symbolising a rich, sweet life and the round shape signifies reunion.

    Tangerines and oranges are very popular as the words sound like ‘luck’ and ‘wealth’, the Chinese word for pomelo sounds like ‘to have’ and the word for fish sounds like the words for ‘wish’ and ‘abundance’.

  • Chinese Dumplings

    Chinese Dumplings are handcrafted morsels of deliciousness, also known as Pot Sticker dumplings as they stick to the pot.
  • 500 Baby and Toddler Foods - review by Liz at Rhoda Reviews

    I've been awaiting a review from Rhoda and Liz nervously.  Rhoda was the winner of a KitchenAid competition to win a KitchenAid Liquidiser and a copy of my book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods so she was totally unbiased, check out her amazing review blog to see for yourself.

    The books was more suitable for Liz so Liz took it away to play with it and you read her review here, it's fabulous, so thank you lovely ladies, I'm very proud and ever so thrilled that you like it and have found it useful.

    I'm working on putting some more recipes up on the site so check back in a day or so and you'll be able to try some out to tempt you to buy the book.


  • Rum Ganache for Breakfast

    Feeding the Family aired today at 1pm so at 9am I was busily prepping rum truffle mixture with David Greenwood-Haigh's wonderful Haitian Rum.  It's not actually David's rum but David, who is the chocolatier at Divine Chocolate, does a lot to raise money for Haiti and he kindly brought me back this fabulous rum.  As David was coming on my show today I thought it only polite that I'd make up his Rum Truffles so we could try them on air.

    To make sure I had the right quantity of rum I had to try the mixture (well, it would be rude not to) and it took me back to skiing, days before children, when we'd stop mid morning for a hot chocolate and rum. Actually rum ganache goes really well with porridge, with porridge in one hand and the spoon to lick out the bowl of ganache in the other it went down a treat.  A little dubious about rum at 9am but the sun is past the yard arm somewhere in the world and as long as I pretend I'm there it's OK.

    David was a fabulous guest as always, and give us insight in the invention of truffles and ganache by the world's first celebrity chef, Augustus Escoffier, if you'd like the hear the show and the wonderful story of truffle invention and where the word 'ganache' came from you can listen again to the show on BBC Oxford

    My edible Christmas recipes are up on the site too to download, I'll be making some more of the savoury spicy nuts for a do tomorrow night, they're yummy.





  • Foodie Advent Calendar

    Splat Cooking have just launched a Foodie Advent Calendar, from 1 December they're going to be putting up a different recipe a day for the 24 days running up to Christmas. The recipes will be related to Christmas and could fall into the following categories:

    • Edible Christmas presents
    • Christmas tree decorations
    • Nibbles and canapes for Christmas entertaining
    • Edible table centrepieces
    • Lovely Christmas food
    Splat Cooking are looking for people to send in their favourite recipes for adults and for children to make and are running a competition to award a bag of Splat Cooking goodies to their favourite adult and children's recipe so please start sending, you can either tweet to @splatcooking using the hash tag #foodieadventcalendar or email to [email protected] or post on Splat Cooking's facebook page
  • Croque en Bouche

    My big girl (15 years old) has just made croque en bouche as part of her Food Tech GCSE practical.  First time attempting spun sugar and she's done a marvellous job, in fact, her little brother thinks she's an absolute star as he's got to eat the left overs - I hope his dentist isn't reading this (!).

    The photos tell the story and she did say that her profiteroles have never turned out as well as they did tonight - that's an AGA for you.  She's now realised that spun sugar isn't difficult, it's not even that fiddly but you do have to work quickly and you need to keep it company but at the end you have a real show off dish.  Wonder if I can get her to do pudding for New Year.

    The profiteroles are filled with a blackcurrant cream and drizzled with blackcurrant coulis and chocolate shavings.  It tasted heavenly too.

  • Chocolate and Ginger Christmas Pudding

    Christmas puddings are traditionally made on Stir Up Sunday, around 6 weeks before Christmas. Gather the family around to stir the pudding in a clockwise direction and each make a wish.
  • Cranberry and Orange Mincemeat

    Homemade mincemeat is amazing, cheat and buy the pastry if you must but never cheat on the mincemeat you will notice the difference.
  • When making lavender and honey...

    When making lavender and honey cupcakes make sure you use lavender and not cumin seed, similar looking, totally different flavour!!!

  • My trusty @agarangemaster is a...

    My trusty @agarangemaster is at gull pelt churning out 100 cupcakes and scones, anyone have probs making cakes in an AGA let me know

  • Ruby, my @KitchenAid is workin...

    Ruby, my @KitchenAid is working hard making afternoon tea for 100 people for tomorrows @comedywithcake, couldn't do without her

  • On my way to @WaterstonesOxf t...

    On my way to @WaterstonesOxf to kick off their big baking weekend come and ice xmas cookies with me + my fab baby/toddler cookery book @12pm

  • Huge thank you to @Omega3Audre...

    Huge thank you to @Omega3Audrey for running @splatcooking's Stir Up Friday workshop today, fab event, yeay.

  • Christmas was in the air with ...

    Christmas was in the air with @splatcooking's Stir Up Friday workshop today, mincemeat, xmas pudding, stollen, lovely Christmassy food

  • Smell of gingerbread filling t...

    Smell of gingerbread filling the kitchen ready for my cooking icing @waterstonesOxf and book signing tomorrow, buy a book - ice a cookie!

  • Last couple of spaces on @spla...

    Last couple of spaces on @splatcooking's cooking for christmas workshop on Friday, Christmas Pudding, Stollen.....

  • Off skiing, haven't checked th...

    Off skiing, haven't checked the snow reports so fingers crossed for a fresh snowfall and lots of powder at Milton Keynes, ha ha!

  • Fab day book signing and cooki...

    Fab day book signing and cookie decorating

  • Pumpkins, gingerbread and book signings

    Pumpkin roasting in the oven to make soup for lunch, shedloads of gingerbread made in the fridge.

    I'm doing book signings at Waterstones, the Eden Centre, High Wycombe for my new book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods from 2pm tomorrow, Saturday 5 November.  Just about to start making lots of gingerbread biscuits for little ones to decorate while their parents are buying the book (I hope) and about to roll out lots of gingerbread to make the biscuits.

    Only problem is that now the kitchen will start to smell heavenly and I'll be in Christmas mode wanting to put the tree up and the fairy lights on and I'll have a very grumpy husband as he doesn't think Christmas should even be mentioned until 24 December. Once the smell of gingerbread permeates the kitchen I'll find myself emptying the cupboards digging out cloves and resisting the urge to stick them in oranges.

    So if you're around in High Wycombe tomorrow please do come and see me, I'll be in Waterstones with lots of books and gingerbread from 2pm, if not I'll be in Oxford next Saturday 12 November from 12 noon-2pm doing the same.  It would be great to meet you so come along have a chat, buy the book and eat delicious gingerbread.

  • hah, once I've dragged them aw...

    hah, once I've dragged them away from the TV and denied access to lego universe and facebook maybe

  • big on perfect Mum points - ch...

    big on perfect Mum points - chilli in the oven, brownies on the AGA, ready for kids sitting at the table doing their homework, idyllic yes?

  • Off to noodle nation for mediu...

    Off to noodle nation for medium sized girls birthday supper, after going back home cos I forgot her birthday cake, dogs were guarding it (!)

  • Jam tarts made with homemade p...

    Jam tarts made with homemade pastry - ridiculously simple but utterly delicious, who needs fancy food, these were so good

  • Soda Bread

    Soda bread has to be the easiest bread on the planet, no kneading, no proving and really quick to make, add sundried tomatoes and pumpkin seeds for extra flavour and crunch.
  • Pumpkin Soup

    A lovely warming soup, great for sharing on Halloween or Bonfire Night. If you can get hold of small squash or mini pumpkins try slicing the top off, scooping out the seeds and using them as a bowl to serve the soup in, looks amazing
  • Pumpkin pasties recipe, great ...

    Pumpkin pasties recipe, great in season recipe and fab for children to help with

  • making lemon drizzle cake for ...

    making lemon drizzle cake for medium sized girl's 12 birthday supper tonight, smells gorgeous....

  • Halloween recipes for little s...

    Halloween recipes for little scary people by @beverleyglock on

  • Halloween Soul Cakes

    Ingredients: makes 12 cakes

    good pinch of saffron
    2 teaspoons milk, and a little extra
    150g butter
    150g caster sugar
    2 eggs
    500g plain flour
    1 tablespoon mixed spice
    1 teaspoon allspice
    3 tablespoons currants

    How to make soul cakes … WASH YOUR HANDS

    1. Ask an adult to put the oven on to 180c / Gas Mark 4.
    2. Crush the saffron to a powder in the pestle and mortar, add the milk and pound to combine.
    3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add the eggs, flour and spices, beat the mixture well.  Stir in the currants and add the saffron and milk mixture.  Add a little more milk if the mixture is too dry, it should form a soft dough.
    4.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into flat cakes around 5-6cm across.  Place on a greased baking tray.
    5. Ask an adult to put into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.  Leave them on the tray to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

    Soul Cakes originate from the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘Sow-in’), which means Summers End, more commonly known as All Hallows Eve or Halloween.  The festival was to mark the end of summer and the beginning of winter, offerings were made to their gods to thank them for the harvest and pray for sufficient food to keep people fed over the winter months and for the health of their families.  This was also thought to be the start of the Celtic New Year.   A little bit like our Harvest Festival now.  This was also the time of year when people who had died were remembered, stories were told about them to keep their memories alive.

    The tradition moved on through the centuries and developed into Soul Cakes. These were baked and left on the porch with a glass of milk or wine for the souls of loved ones who had died.  On All Hallows Day or All Saints Day, 1 November, children and poor people would sing the song below for their love ones to earn the treat of a Soul cake that evolved into the modern day version of trick or treating.

    A soul, a soul, a soul cake.
    Please god missus a soul cake.
    An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
    Any good thing to make us merry.
    Up with your kettles and down with your pans
    Give us an answer and we'll be gone
    Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate
    Crying for butter to butter his cake
    One for St Peter, two for St Paul,
    Three for the man who made us all.

    Another version sung in parts of the Midlands and Lancashire is:

    Soul! Soul! For an apple or two
    If you have no apples, pears will do.
    If you have no pears, money will do.
    If you have no money,  God bless you!
    Often the children would be accompanied by a hobby horse (very much an echo of the ancient Celtic past here), which, typically, was called the Hooden Horse at this time of year.


  • making soul cakes, traditional...

    making soul cakes, traditional for Halloween, here's the recipe, photo will be up when they're cooked

  • Fudge, yeay

    Fudge, yeay

  • Queuing for Gish and chips @th...

    Queuing for Gish and chips @themagpiecafe in Whitby, then off to eat on the pier in the sunshine, yum

  • On Whitby beach - new game 'sp...

    On Whitby beach - new game 'spotthe goth' I think they're scared of sand either that or daylight as no great sightings yet

  • If you can't see dark matter h...

    If you can't see dark matter how can you research it? Sounds like the ultimate skive to me

  • Boulby underground mine for da...

    Boulby underground mine for dark matter research - a ha ha ha ha ha, bit voldemort really,

  • Coming up to the deep shaft th...

    Coming up to the deep shaft thing in Boulby a bit like CERN - watch out for Neutrinos

  • Pete thinks Brotton looks rath...

    Pete thinks Brotton looks rather nice and gentrified - omg he seriously worries me, woolly back country!

  • Off to Whitby, Goth Festival s...

    Off to Whitby, Goth Festival starts today so good value fancy dress sightings coming up, must not giggle!!

  • Six fillet steaks cooked to pe...

    Six fillet steaks cooked to perfection for supper, need to explain to med sized girl that medium means it's NOT well done!

  • Just finished wrapping a load ...

    Just finished wrapping a load of Christmas presents, I will not be totally beaten at this game, two short though, dammit !

  • The sheep has vanished from Sa...

    The sheep has vanished from Saltburn church - anyone any idea what happened to the sheep, it's not quite right without her?

  • Off to Redcar fossil hunting, ...

    Off to Redcar fossil hunting, devils toenails don't count there are too many of them

  • About to go on @johnfoster257'...

    About to go on @johnfoster257's show, just had to give in 5 songs, a bit like doing desert island discs in 5 mins flat, no pressure huh?

  • Looking forward to guesting on...

    Looking forward to guesting on @johnfoster257's #bbctees show at 2pm talking about #500BabyandToddlerFoods

  • Ooh good idea, choc with seasa...

    Ooh good idea, choc with seasalt - a great way of ticking off yr sugar and salt intake so you can eat healthily the rest of the day

  • Chocolate with seasalt like ea...

    Chocolate with seasalt like eating chocolate on the beach but without the sand

  • Not fair

    Not fair

  • No resussitate her, even I kno...

    No resussitate her, even I know how to do that I've watched enough ERs and Houses

  • Don't you dare kill ruth off, ...

    Don't you dare kill ruth off, I want a happy Spooks ending

  • Save ruth!!!!!!

    Save ruth!!!!!!

  • Yeay made it to Saltburn, big ...

    Yeay made it to Saltburn, big girl out of hospital, mad dash up North on @johnfosters show on Mon and signings at waterstones mbro thurs

  • Maybe should start a campaign ...

    Maybe should start a campaign to get people to bake and take into hospitals, one for @VanessaKimbell's #randombakesofkindness

  • Small boy declared that they w...

    Small boy declared that they were magic after the nurse had said she wasn't up to eating anything yet, hah, she meant hospital food

  • my amazing thumbprint cookies ...

    my amazing thumbprint cookies have magical powers, big girl in hospital for past 3 days, no food for 2 days - these tempted her to eat

  • Very sad that 9 year old knows...

    Very sad that 9 year old knows the menu off by heart or should I be proud?

  • My 9 year old son has just fin...

    My 9 year old son has just finished off an adult portion on steak and chips and is demanding brownies and ice cream, he's not a cheap date

  • He's just helped produce my #b...

    He's just helped produce my #bbcoxford show too, Cristina producer thinks he's delightful too, hes only 9, I can see girl trouble ahead

  • I'm on a hot date with a gorge...

    I'm on a hot date with a gorgeous blond younger man, he's insisted on taking me for lunch at Portobellos in summertown, Oxford for steak

  • Halloween recipes by @splatcoo...

    Halloween recipes by @splatcooking on Families Website

  • Doctors Recommend Against TV F...

    Doctors Recommend Against TV For Kids Under 2: Good reason to get toddlers cooking check out 500 Baby and Toddler Foods

  • I hate verifiedbyvisa, no syst...

    I hate verifiedbyvisa, no system is secure when you have to write all your passwords down in your diary to remember them, 2 cards locked out

  • Canapes and starters on #bbcox...

    Canapes and starters on #bbcoxford at 1pm and how to encourage your children to help at dinner parties and avoid bedtime tantrums afterwards

  • Damn it can't do hip flask, li...

    Damn it can't do hip flask, live on air at 1pm #bbcoxford on @billbuckleylond new food show

  • Tap exam over, yeay, where's t...

    Tap exam over, yeay, where's the hip flask?

  • Yeay, got most of Maisie's gui...

    Yeay, got most of Maisie's guide pack up and dancing at the end, love shows with audience participation especially when it's meant to be.

  • I am so dancing at the end, I ...

    I am so dancing at the end, I can overpower an 11 year old

  • Seriously embarassing mum - h...

    Seriously embarassing mum - hand jiving to greased lightening as daughter sitting on me to stop me dancing- her friends appreciated me!!

  • At Grease with 11 year old dau...

    At Grease with 11 year old daughter and friends - half naked men on stage doing things with loofahs, bit too exciting for 6pm

  • the winners of @kitchenAid's c...

    the winners of @kitchenAid's competition to win @beverleyglock's new cookbook will be announced on Monday, very exciting

  • Another fab review, yeay 500 B...

    Another fab review, yeay 500 Baby and Toddler Foods by Beverley Glock

  • Am now a molecular jelly exper...

    Am now a molecular jelly expert but think I've inadvertently invented fruit flavoured fart putty - where's the patent application form?

  • Another fab review for 500 Bab...

    Another fab review for 500 Baby and Toddler Foods, yeay, thank you, go buy it you'll see for yourself

  • Splat Cooking launch Molecular...

    Splat Cooking launch Molecular Gastronomy and Food Science Parties for children | SourceWire via @sourcewire

  • just in case you're wondering,...

    just in case you're wondering, the kidney looked like mushroom hence small boy wouldn't eat it.

  • good old steak n kidney for su...

    good old steak n kidney for supper or rather 'steak' as all kids refused to eat kidney.. 'hate mushroom','yuk offal'- yeay, all for me

  • just recd @dan_lepard's book, ...

    just recd @dan_lepard's book, desperate to attempt natural leaven bread, would love to get my kids at cookery club doing this at home too

  • Savoury Muffins in 11 minutes - Philips Airfryer

    I've been testing out the Philips Airfryer, this fabulous kitchen applicance produces my healthy, amazing muffins in super quick time.  My Small Boy was off on a school trip and as usual I hadn't got my act together to sort him out a packed lunch.  He hates sandwiches so it's always a challenge, anyway, cheese and sun-dried tomato muffins it was.  It was 7.10am, he was leaving at 7.30am - stress city.

    It took 3 minutes to heat up during which time I made the muffins, I admit that most people would probably take longer to mix up the muffins but I know the recipe off by heart as I wrote it and it's in my new book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods. By the time the Airfryer was ready the muffins were in their cases and took only 8 minutes to cook, you can only cook 4 at a time but that meant total cooking time of 24 minutes plus 3 minutes to warm up so much quicker than heating up your oven.  Small boy left the house munching on one savoury muffin as second breakfast (it's 7.30am) with two in his lunchbox for his school trip - day saved, massive points scored on the Perfect Mum scale.

    I was quoted in the Daily Mail on Saturday talking about this great piece of kit, check it out.

  • Daisy the Tandem - uncovered

    It's October 2nd, 28 degrees outside, I have a bikini on - this is amazing for October in England, it's pretty amazing for anytime in England.

    We've decided to have a clear out, our lovely shed from those fabulous shed people over at Ted's Sheds has moved from the allotment to our garden and is about to become the bike shed.  Haven't yet decided it will be painted as a 'tree' house, ie pale green with trees all over it or as a contrasting surf shack to go with the ex playhouse which is now the main surf shack.

    We needed somewhere to put all the bikes as the children can't get into the surf shack and it's been getting a bit silly.

    Daisy the tandem has been residing in the barn/warehouse much to the warehouse team's annoyance for the past few years.  This morning Pete and I brought her out into the sunshine for the first time in ages.  Let me give you some background.

    Days before Children, Pete and I used to compete in a mountain bike orienteering 2 day race called the Polaris Challenge, big girl is now 15 years old so it's going back a while. Pete took part in this with some mates initially and I wimped out and did the summer challenge which involved staying in a lovely hotel overnight between the sessions, the serious challenges take place in October and March usually the same weekends the clocks change and involve locations such as Scotland, Exmoor, North Yorkshire Moors, The Peak District - anywhere high, remote and very cold.

    After a few years of this I decided I wanted to have a go and prove that I could be as good as the boys - stupid girl! We decided to buy a tandem as the power to weight ratio was greater and it was probably fairer than me having to wait for Pete on the hills and him having to wait for me on the straight - yes, seriously.

    We traipsed over to Lambourn to rent a tandem for the day with a view to buying one, while cycling past a pub on a lovely warm summer's day someone was playing a piano, saw us on the tandem and started up with 'Daisy, Daisy' - the whole pub joined in so we bought the tandem and she was named Daisy.

    In July we competed in the summer challenge in the North Yorks Moors, staying at my Mum's in Guisborough.  This was around 20th July and it snowed and hailstoned on us, we ended up covered head to toe in mud and gave up early deciding that this wasn't fun, stripped off to our underwear - we were that muddy - and drove back to Mums calling ahead to ask her to put the hot water on, her neighbours still remind her of the day the two of us ran up her drive with muddy hair in our underwear.

    In the October we drove to Llanwyrtd Wells in deepest, darkest Wales to do the proper Polaris, with Daisy, our friends Pat and Lisa and all the camping gear that we had to carry on our backs.

    Pete and I were doing fabulous time when hurtling down a mountain doing around 40 mph he saw a rock in the middle of the track and had the choice of hitting it or attempting to bunny jump - you can't jump on  a tandem especially when there's a sheer drop on one side.  We hit it, I came off the back of daisy, crushed my helmet on a rock (I always wear a helmet, it's not worth the risk) and broke my right arm.

    Pete took the skin of most of his left hand side, I didn't realise I'd broken my arm - actually fractured it just below the elbow, it hurt so I tucked my arm inside my t-shirt, got back on the bike and cycled one handed another 4 hours to get back to the hotel.  I ran a bath for Pete, bathed his wounds, got him a curry and the next day drove him to the nearest hospital in Bluith Wells to get checked out (remember - I have a broken arm!).  Pete had to change gear for me as I couldn't hold the steering wheel with my right hand, but he couldn't put any pressure on his right leg so couldn't use the brake.

    Doctors examined him, he'd strained the ligaments in his right knee and had lots of cuts and bruises.  They asked me if I was OK, explained about the helmet being a right off and my right arm hurt.  Immediate panics, mobile xray unit called out, broken arm detected, concerns about concussion and I've been running around sorting Pete out with a bruised knee and cuts and bruises.  Yes, I am still dining out on this story around 17 years later.

    Well, the point of this is that we got Daisy out of the barn, pumped up her tyres and I did have a few tears, it was like welcoming a very old, dear friend back into the family.  I feel awful that she's been neglected for so long.  We had a child seat for big girl on her and used to go all over, but once medium sized girl came along we couldn't get them both on so she hasn't really been used for a long time.  She will be soon.  Medium sized girl can actually fit on the back so I think we ought to get her back into the swing of things again. It's amazing how many memories are captured in one inanimate object, even Pete got a little teary.

  • 30 mins to go before I drive t...

    30 mins to go before I drive to Milton Keynes, 1 hour away, to pick up Big Girl from a party - joy of Saturday nights with teenagers.

  • New article on fab US website ...

    New article on fab US website who have just reviewed my book - Cook, Eat, Share...

  • the last of my gooseberry and ...

    the last of my gooseberry and elderflower cake for pudding, made for the cake pops workshop yesterday, the recipe will be on my new APP.....

  • lamb meatballs, home made pitt...

    lamb meatballs, home made pitta, tahini sauce, pomegranate+feta salad with oregano and sumac for supper eaten outside - it's October!

  • Moroccan sweet potato and chic...

    Moroccan sweet potato and chick pea stew with couscous timbales and spicy harissa sauce made at @splatcooking cooking club this morning

  • Book signing scheduled for Wat...

    Book signing scheduled for Waterstones Middlesbrough on Thursday 27 October 11am-1pm - everyone around the Boro tell all your mates, please

  • Fab reviews on amazon for my b...

    Fab reviews on amazon for my book, yeay

  • Pizza dough made, Phineas and ...

    Pizza dough made, Phineas and Ferb the movie on TV, contented kids, yeay, we're going out tonight, woohoo, I may even manage relaxing shower

  • fabulous customer reviews on a...

    fabulous customer reviews on amazon on my new book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods, yeay

  • running a cake pops workshop f...

    running a cake pops workshop for @splatcooking today, gooseberry and elderflower cake in the oven, yumm

  • KitchenAid are running a compe...

    KitchenAid are running a competition to win a signed copy of my book and a KitchenAid blender, tweet @KitchenAidUK to win them

  • Chicken curry and rice recipe ...

    Chicken curry and rice recipe suitable from 6 months upwards and the whole family, posted on Beverley Glock's...

  • Chicken Curry - from 500 Baby and Toddler Foods, from 6-9 months

    This is a favourite Saturday Night staple, I make two versions, one for the children without chilli and one for the adults with, or serve fresh or lightly fried red and green chilli slices on the side so people can heat it up to their own tastes. Page 79 of 500 Baby and Toddler Foods published by Apple Press.
  • just made savoury muffins from...

    just made savoury muffins from my new cookery book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods, @waterstonesOxf have got it in store, delicious family food

  • Thame Food Festival - Beef Stroganoff from 500 Baby and Toddler Foods

    I had a great day last Saturday 'being' Tom Kerridge.  Tom couldn't make it so I was asked to take his slot and be the 'big name' for Saturday afternoon - no pressure.   This went some way to make up for the fact that I was due to do book signings there but my lovely book wouldn't arrive in time - another missed opportunity.

    So with less than 24 hours to shop and plan I chose two recipes from my book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods - Beef Stroganoff with fresh noodles and Drop Scones with Blueberries,  suitable from 9 and 12 months respectively.  Went down a storm, tasted fabulous too and I had my glamourous assistant up on stage, Olivia, who comes to Saturday morning cooking club was dragged out of the audience to help, she was wonderful and we got her a huge round of applause at the end.

    500 Baby and Toddler Foods has it's own facebook page so please check it out, comment on it and 'like' it.

    Does that sound like baby food to you?  That's how it should be, the whole idea is that the recipes are for the whole family to eat, yes you would need to puree it for little ones but they can still eat the same food so you're not cooking different meals for the whole family. Life is too short, as a new Mum you need sleep, not stress.

  • Beverley Glock was demming som...

    Beverley Glock was demming some of the recipes from the book at Thame Food Festival at the weekend - Beef...

  • It's out, the book has arrived...

    It's out, the book has arrived, it's available on Amazon and Waterstones and soon there will be signed copies on...

  • Lemony garlic chicken

    This lemony garlic chicken is one of the easiest and cheapest dishes for supper. Work on the basis of 1 chicken thigh per child and 1-2 per adult depending how hungry you are.  If you have an AGA then blast the dish in the roasting oven for 20 minutes before transferring to the simmering oven for at least an hour or it's fine to stay in there for 2-3 hours, you may need to add a little more wine or stock if it starts to dry out.

    This is a great family staple, it's cheap - £2.50 for 6-7 chicken thighs, 30p for a lemon and similar for the garlic, use the bottle of wine you have to drink from.  I am making an assumption that you do drink white wine, if not, use stock as it would be shame to buy a whole bottle of wine that would get wasted.  You could always send it over to our house, it certainly wouldn't get wasted here.  Actually, just realised that's what's missing, it's gone 8pm and I don't have a glass of wine in my hand, this is so wrong.

    This dish you can pop into the oven at around 2pm and it will be ready when the children get in from school, serve it with some rice or mashed potato and veg, you could always adapt it for a supper party version and serve it with a big green salad and lots of fresh crusty veg.  Serve it in the roasting dish as the juices caramelise at the bottom of the pan and cry out to be mopped up with lovely bread.

    The skin becomes lovely and crispy and the garlic softens as it roasts meaning that you share out the cloves, squeeze them out of their papery skins over the mash or crusty bread, smear the roasted lemon on top, dunk into the lovely juices collected into the pan and stink of garlic for at least 24 hours.  Do you know what, it tastes fantastic so just make sure that anyone you want to kiss also eats the roast garlic.


  • Lemony garlic chicken

    1 x pack of chicken thighs on the bone with skin, work on the basis of 1 thigh per child and 1-2 per adult
    1 lemon, cut into eighths
    2 sprigs of lemon thyme
    6 garlic cloves
    500ml white wine
    Good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. Preheat the oven to 210oc/gas mark 7.
    2. Trim the chicken thighs of excess skin and fat. Lay the chicken thighs in a deep roasting dish, scatter over the lemon, thyme sprigs and garlic, pour over the wine, season and put into the oven for 20 minutes.
    3. Turn the oven down to 160oc/gas mark 3 and cook for a further hour, you can leave this in the oven for longer if you wish.
    AGA: blast in the roasting oven for 20 minutes then transfer to the simmering oven for at least an hour, it can easily be left for 2-3 hours, you may need to add more wine or a little stock if it begins to dry out.
    Serve with rice or jacket potatoes and green veg.
  • An arachniphobes nightmare

    It rained last night and there was a heavy dew this morning in the woods, as I turned a corner the cobwebs on the plants were lit up in sunlight coming through the trees and sparkled with dew.  I realised with quite a shock just how many spiders and cobwebs there are in the woods.  There was nothing on the actual path but either side on every bush, shrub, branch or clump of grass were cobwebs.  Normally you wouldn't see these unless there had been a haw frost and that happens maybe every 2-3 years so this was quite amazing, if a little scary.

    Walking down the path between hundreds of cobwebs, and yes, it was literally hundreds, was like walking through an enchanted forest where you know you have to keep to the path as the path is magical and keeps you safe.  This morning would have been a nightmare with anyone with arachniphobia, I saw no spiders just realised that we are frighteningly not alone on this planet even if we cannot see the life around us and the insect world, it's there, very, very close and there is a lot of it.

  • i'm being Tom Kerridge tomorro...

    i'm being Tom Kerridge tomorrow, come and heckle @thamefoodfest on stage at 2.45pm with food to feed a family, very excited

  • Just got back from first taxi ...

    Just got back from first taxi service of the eve to find that he's thrown away tomorrows supper as well - exasperated and screaming!

  • for once I've managed to get s...

    for once I've managed to get supper cooked ready to go into the oven when big girl gets home - husband just smashed glass over it all, argh!

  • Win @beverleyglock's new book ...

    Win @beverleyglock's new book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods and an @KitchenAidUK blender, if you win it please review it

  • Baby Diary - 9 weeks 3 days

    21 January 1996 - 9 weeks 3 days pregnant

    Up until Wednesday 17 Jan I was feeling dreadful.  Nauseous except for first thing in the morning, it usually came on at around 8.30am when I arrived at the office - strange that.  (At this point I was working for Colt Telecom in Liverpool Street, so commuting from Oxfordshire on the 7am train).  The nausea continued all day and evening unless I was eating.  As soon as I stopped eating it cam back within 10 minutes.  When I exercised it stopped and came back on 10 minutes after stopping, so I either keep cycling or eating, hmmm.

    The fatigue was pretty awful too, I felt exhausted all day, not sleepy but no energy at all.  My usual 1.5 hours down the gym has gone out of the window, I can manage around 40 mins before I feel tired out, so my trainer Deb Farmiloe has suggested I split train 30 mins at lunchtime, 40 mins in the evening only I'm too tired at work to go at lunchtime.

    Pete and I went out on Daisy (our mountain bike tandem) last Sunday from Woodstock, only managed half the route but still did 2.5 hours.  Monday night went to Debbie's for girls night out, I was back in bed by 8.30pm, pathetic.  The fatigue tends to be better alternate days, or rather not really, really bad alternate days.

    Woke up on Wednesday morning feeling great, tonnes of energy and no nausea.  Still can't bear coffee, tea and chocolate and I'm into cold food, salads, etc, hot food and hot veg is really turn off.  I'm letting hot food go cold before I eat it - strange.

    It's not Sunday, Pete and I have been out on Daisy for 2 hours with a wind chill of about -4 degrees centigrade, no pleasant, we only went up to Waterperry Gardens.

    Friday evening - off to see the osteopath, usual problems with neck, pelvis and upper back.  Everything  moved very easily, proves my ligaments are getting looser.

    My osteopath reckons I'm closer to 12 weeks than 9 weeks due to my bump and the nausea and fatigue suddenly going.  Anyway, I see my midwife tomorrow for the first time so we'll see what she says.

    Current favourite names (I still like Balthazar but it's probably too cruel) are Max, Gabriella, Isabella (I'm still holding out for Tallulah and Beatrix) but if you're twins how about Max and Mabel, for a boy and girl obviously?  Mum has a £10 bet on that you're a girl.  My friend Lisa thinks you're a girl, Richard my osteopath thinks you're a boy.  Mum was told last week that I'd have a boy.

    Pete's coming out in sympathetic symptoms and is being very protective, it's wonderful, I love it.

  • Just made traybake of my signa...

    Just made traybake of my signature cupcakes - chocolate, beetroot and blackcurrant, children's snacks next week

  • why's everyone raving about Do...

    why's everyone raving about Downton? Never seen it, am I missing out, frankly excited about Spooks being back, reminds me of DoubleDeckers

  • Baby Diary - 7 weeks 1 day

    5 January 1996 - 7 weeks 1 day

    My 31st Birthday, you skied again yesterday with your Dad and I but I've been in bed with flu since New Year's Eve and was a little shakey on the slopes.  My skiing's fine but my confidence isn't good so I decided not to risk injuring you or me and retired gracefully at lunchtime - no way am I learning to snowboard, that will have to wait for a while longer. I'm not skiing today, feeling weak and also really queasy until I eat.  When I 'm eating I feel great until I stop.  No sickness yet, bit of a tummy upset this morning but probably down to the antibiotics I'm now on to combat bronchitis and flu.

    Once we meet you you have a lot to answer for, this week I've gone off chocolate, coffee (although I'm only drinking decaf I'm even off that!), can't bear the smell and anything sweet, although I've had egg and chips three times for lunch and some Haagen Daas cookies and cream ice cream.

    We bought you your first outfit today in Meribel of course.  We thought about getting you a ski outfit but couldn't get one small enough.  It's a romper suit, red and cream with 101 dalmations logo, 220 francs so around £35-40.

    I spoke to Mum this morning who's been looking in Middlesbrough Pram shop at cots.  Oh, I almost forgot, Pete went totally gaga over a pair of turtlefur mittens, his brains are completely pickled, however, I did fill up but didn't cry when we bought the romper suit.

    If I'm this bad at 8 weeks what will I be like at 8 months?

    Congratuations card from Mum

    Written on 20 December 1995 - 'Well now, who's a clever pair then?  You two are.  My love and congratulations to you both, take good care of my grand-daughter, on the 'turns' as it may well be, all my love Mum' - she was adamant I was having a girl, it wasn't negotiable, a boy was being sent back.

  • Baby Blog Diary - 5 weeks 2 days

    Do not panic, I'm not pregnant, this is the start of my baby diaries, the baby in question is now 15 years old and I'm referring to my  old diaries to take you through my pregnancies.  I thought this was an interesting idea based on the fact that my new book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods is published next week by Apple Press and these diaries are where I drew inspiration for the recipes from.  So here goes.

    It starts in December 1995, I found out was pregnant the week before Pete and I were due to go skiing for two weeks over Christmas and New Year.  The advice from my GP was to go and just take it easy, this was probably biggest waste of money on a holiday ever.  In hindsight we should have cancelled and gone somewhere on a beach instead.  The diary is written to the baby, now my Big Girl.

    Christmas Day 1995 - 5 weeks and 2 days pregnant

    Chalet Cornelia, Meribel.  Just got back from the Carol Service outside La Tavern Pub, excellent.  Already in your short life you've skiied and encountered my singing, sorry.  Now listening to Nat King Cole Sings Christmas Songs.

    Anyway, I finally found out about you last Monday (officially anyway), 18 December 1995, lunchtime at work with a Predictor Kit, first thoughts were:

    - Oh God, I drank alcohol yesterday (sherry and green ginger wine)

    - What am I going to drink at Christmas and my birthday (5 Jan)

    - What am I going to wear.

    I announced to Pete that evening that we'd have to buy a Volvo, "why?" he asked, "'cos we can't get Daisy (our mountain bike tandem) and a baby in my Rover turbo!".  He didn't believe me (about being pregnant not about getting stuff in the car) and thought that the test was faulty.

    Tuesday morning another test was positive, he then went totally soppy and has stayed that way since, bless him.

    I've felt you around since Monday 11 December, the weekend before I felt very emotional with other symptoms (not going into that on the blog).

    My Mum burst into tears on the phone, started knitting and talking about prams. Pete's Mum started on about knitting, my best friend Nadene went gaga and said it was her best Christmas present.

    Well, no alcohol and only decaff tea and coffee, cutting down on chocolate and sweet stuff (that's hard, very hard) although chocolate makes me feel very weird, dizzy, spaced, so I don't think you like it that much (hah, should see you 15 years later, that is so not true).

    Anyway, you can tell your friends you skied before you could walk.



  • Fabulous day at Oxford Castle Food and Wine Festival

    I spent a very enjoyable day yesterday as Master of Ceremonies in the cookery theatre of Oxford Castle Food and Wine Festival.  Raymond Blanc and Suzy Atkins opened the festival and I had the pleasure of announcing them, then had a good chat with Raymond about the Children's Food Festival which we've both been involved with from the beginning and is a subject that we're passionate about.   I had heard that Raymond was supposed to be taking it easy for health reasons - don't believe that for a second, he is an amazing character, full of enthusiasm for food, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients as well as getting children cooking.

    Suzy is the Sunday Telegraph's wine expert and we had a surreal experience yesterday as she was appearing on Saturday Kitchen at the same time she was opening the Festival.  Of course, that is the power of the teleportation devices that TV studios and Cookery Theatres have, if you didn't know about that the backstage area of Chefs on Stage cookery theatres are just like being on the Starship Enterprise, seriously, you ought to check them out. So Suzy was beamed in to open the show with Raymond, fabulous.

    First on stage was the inspiration Adam, Development Chef at Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons who's worked with Raymond for the past 7 years. Adam made three delicious dishes using seasonal vegetables and fruit a lot of which were grown in le Manoir's gardens.  He was nervous, bless him, and it was even worse as Raymond was sitting in the audience shouting instructions to him and giving a running commentary.  Performing on stage in front of your boss is bad enough, must be even more stressful if he's one of the top chef's in the world too.  I did ask Raymond if he'd like my  mike as there was no point me competing with him to compare the show, he gracefully declined with a smile and a joke.

    I also had first hand experience of a Thermomix demonstrated by Suzanne Chafer, I've been curious about these machines for a while as a lot of chefs I know rave about them and I must say it was impressive, still waiting for my lamb buna for lunch though.

    Vanessa Kimbell took to the stage in the afternoon.  I was really excited when I found out that Vanessa was demming, we've been tweeting and emailing each other for ages, talked on the phone but never actually met so this was a real treat and we had such a good time on stage, comparing ideas on cocoa powder, sieving and making the perfect chocolate cookie.  This is my idea of heaven for a job - chatting on stage with wonderful inspirational chefs and foodies.

    Paul Bellchambers, The Late Chef, who alternates with me on Jo in the Afternoon's show on BBC Oxford was on too, good value as ever and finally the double act of Spike and Russ from Malmaison, for get Morecambe and Wise, these two did such a fun dem I'm really sad that I'm not up there today, great chefs, great food, great fun.

    Finally a big shout out to Charlie at Waterstones Oxford, I was due to do a book signing for my new book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods but there has been a delay on the publishing and it won't be available until next week. I had one copy which Charlie was in charge of, during the chef intro Charlie walked in front of the stage holding my book aloft a little like the girls who walk round the boxing ring announcing the next round.  He refused to wear a sequinned leotard though - I did ask him to,  thanks Charlie.  I'll be doing a book signing and dem at Waterstones Oxford after Half Term to keep a watch out for dates.

    Thank you Oxford Castle for a wonderful day.

  • It's a little cold on stage @t...

    It's a little cold on stage @theoxfordcastle I think we should boogie as well as cook, we have great music playing, groove guys

  • Fab dem from Adam of Le Manoir...

    Fab dem from Adam of Le Manoir @theoxfordcastle with heckling from his boss @raymond_blanc, amazing food, I love this job

  • just posted a Truffle Sauce fo...

    just posted a Truffle Sauce for Pasta recipe for @emmafreud - check it out

  • it's amazing how much thinner ...

    it's amazing how much thinner and more glam I feel after a good coating of St Tropez - sad really

  • Black Truffle Sauce for Pasta Recipe - requested by Emma Freud

    If you don't have any black truffles you could cook the pasta and stir through 4 tablespoons of truffle oil, lashings of freshly ground black pepper and a couple of handfuls of wild mushrooms sauteed gently in truffle oil.
  • why's everyone at abergavenny ...

    why's everyone at abergavenny when there's a fab foodie fest @theoxfordcastle this weekend, who's coming to Oxford? @beverleyglock is yeay

  • Just heard from the publishers...

    Just heard from the publishers that there's been another delay on the book and it's not available until Monday now, it'll be worth the wait

  • 500 Baby and Toddler Foods - amazing recommendation

    I had to blog this email, sent last night from Diana Viola who reviews cookery books in the US for the website  I read her review of my new baby and toddler cookbook '500 Baby and Toddler Foods' last night and sent her an email thanking her for writing such a lovely review.  This is the email she sent back and I have her permission to blog it:

    Hi Beverly,

    "I don't review books I think irrelevant, and never ones that are bad, as I don't ever-ever-ever want to write negative reviews. I can't live in a negative space.
    I felt it important to stress the serious issues that you have addressed, as I am concerned for the health of the generations to come.  You dealt with that so beautifully
    Andy Sturdevant at Sellers is just aces in helping put the material forward.  He is my friend as a publisher, and your friend as an author.  Believe me, I see them all,  and I mean it - he's aces.
    I thank you for the great care you put in your work.  We all know it is a very dicey food world these days, and you will help many people.  I hope you sell droves of books.
    I was so touched by that email from someone who knows what they're talking about, Diana reviews an awful lot of books and that means the world to me.
  • Another Review - US again, thi...

    Another Review - US again, this time Real Moms, Real Views website, loving it, so far so good.

  • First reviews of my book are o...

    First reviews of my book are out - In Mamas Kitchen, a US based website and font of all cookery book review...

  • 500 Baby and Toddler Foods - another fabulous review, yeay

    This is nerve wracking, now I know how actors feel after the first night of a show when they await the morning papers for the reviews, so far it's pretty fantastic.

    This is another website/blog review of the US version of my book, by Real Mums, Real Views, love it.

  • 500 Baby and Toddler Foods - Review!

    The first review of my new book, '500 Baby and Toddler Foods' published by Apple Press this month, has just been put up on the internet by a website called In Mamas Kitchen.

    It's fabulous, I read it nervously, I think my book is great, I would, I wrote it and it was wonderful to read this from a font of baby and foodie knowledge that make up the wonderful team at In Mamas Kitchen in the US.  Some of the recipes are up on their website too if you'd like to have a sneaky peak.

    So thank you guys, I really really appreciate it. Fingers crossed the UK reviews are going to be as good.

  • The book should have arrived i...

    The book should have arrived in the warehouse and be winging it's way to your doorstep if you've preordered it, anyone got theirs yet?

  • Need inspiration for packed lu...

    Need inspiration for packed lunches catch my #feedingthefamily show on BBC Oxford with @annabelkarmel's interview too

  • Feeding the Family - Packed Lunches

    The schools are back - how are the packed lunches going?  Would you like some inspiration?  We covered packed lunches on Feeding the Family on BBC Oxford on Friday's show and Jo and I have some great suggestions as well as some recipes especially for children who dislike sandwiches.

    Making packed lunches for children every day of the week, 36 weeks a year, that's 180 packed lunches per child per school year.  Now that's daunting, how do you know if your child has actually eaten their lunch or just thrown it away?  You don't, unless you have access to CCT in their class, actually there's an idea.

    180 cheese sandwiches per day per year, or even splitting it into different sandwich filling each day can still be boring for you and for your child so try something different and encourage your children to help you.

    Savoury muffins, make them at the weekend and freeze them taking one out each evening to defrost so they're fresh and moist ready to go into your child's lunch box the next day. Use my basic recipe and vary them by adding pesto, sundried tomato, parmesan or mozzarella cheese, ham, olives, whatever your child prefers, a few pine nuts maybe. They're great for children to help with as you just stir everything together.

    Flapjack, quick and easy to make and packed with slow release carbs to keep your child going throughout the day, add dried fruit, seeds or nuts (if they're allowed at school) for extra vitamins.

    Scones - my son dislikes sandwiches but loves cheese scones, change the cheese around, add fresh herbs or pesto to them or make cheese scones and fill them with ham and tomato or salad like you would a sandwich.

    Flatbreads - OK I admit they take time but they are lovely and cheaper than buying them from the supermarket.  Or make breadsticks instead and roll them in seeds, parmesan, oats, whatever you fancy.

    We had Annabel Karmel on the show giving her advice on packed lunches too, so if you'd like to listen again or you missed it check out the link to Feeding the Family

  • Anyone tried starting a mosh p...

    Anyone tried starting a mosh pit in the promenaders section of @BBCProms Last Night of the Proms, love to try it?

  • today's #feedingthefamily show...

    today's #feedingthefamily show is all about packed lunches, tune in for inspiration or catch up online

  • on my way to present #feedingt...

    on my way to present #feedingthefamily at BBC Oxford armed with packed lunch food to try, pesto scones, savoury muffins, fruit samosas

  • I posted 3 photos on Facebook ...

    I posted 3 photos on Facebook in the album "500 Baby and Toddler Foods"

  • I have an interview with Annab...

    I have an interview with Annabel Karmel on my BBC Oxford show tomorrow, should be interesting as she's just...

  • Feedback from the press copies...

    Feedback from the press copies has been fab, mostly that the recipes are great for adults as well as babies and...

  • My first book review #500babya...

    My first book review #500babyandtoddlerfoods is up on amazon 5 stars and a fabulous review, thank you, very chuffed.

  • I'm Chef of the Week on Celebrity Chef's website - woohoo

    Big, big thank you to Andy Richards of Celebrity Chefs for making me his Chef of the Week, this is such an honour and I'm so proud.

    It links in brilliantly with the launch of my book tomorrow, 500 Baby and Toddler Foods and finished up the summer holidays after an amazing stint as Master of Ceremonies at Oxford Foodies Festival over the August Bank Holiday. .

  • Matt Smith calls, he's in my l...

    Matt Smith calls, he's in my living room, about to take the wind in - and extra cushions!!! Can't get behind our sofa

  • Successful recon mission, wet ...

    Successful recon mission, wet bums all round, had to drain Trevor first though, chicken now marinading for supper, wine in hand, happy happy

  • Small boy and I are off on a d...

    Small boy and I are off on a dangerous mission with Trevor behind enemy territory, wish us luck, we are going in

  • 500 Baby and Toddler Foods ava...

    500 Baby and Toddler Foods available to pre order on amazon NOW, great food for baby and the rest of the family

  • pls RT to anyone with a baby o...

    pls RT to anyone with a baby or toddler, my new cookbook 500 Baby and Toddler Foods launches 5 Sept, great food suitable for all the family

  • Who's pre-ordered my book 500 ...

    Who's pre-ordered my book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods? Let me know when it arrives and what you think,

  • 500 Baby and Toddler Foods - Press Release

    Release re Beverley's new book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods published by Apple Press on 5 September, please do contact us for interviews or further information or Apple Press directly for recipes, press copies for review or any other queries relating to the book. Please click on the link to access the release.



    500 Baby & Toddler

  • 2 sleeps until my book is sent...

    2 sleeps until my book is sent out for pre orders - if you know anyone with a baby go buy it, please, please - 500 Baby and Toddler Foods

  • omg husband just asked 'is the...

    omg husband just asked 'is the cheese meant to have mould in it or is it off?' Me 'it's gorgonzola!', him 'Oh, it is then is it? I despair!

  • I have just posted a job on st...

    I have just posted a job on via @studentgems

  • 1 week until my new book 500 B...

    1 week until my new book 500 Baby and Toddler foods is launched, very exciting, who's pre-ordered one?

  • made gnocchi with gorgonzola s...

    made gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, brushetta and roast plums with a ricotta cream @foodiesfestival this afternoon, so good

  • An Amazing Foodie Weekend

    Back home after an amazing foodie weekend as Master of Ceremonies in the Cookery Theatre at Oxford Foodies Festival  (@foodiesfestival), I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am now completely exhausted and having trouble picking up my glass of wine.

    Some of the highlights of the weekend have got to be a fabulous double act from Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi (@KatieCaldesi), Italian perfection, a superb dem by Gary Jones, Executive Chef of Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons and the honour of working with the incredibly charming Daniel Galmiche (@danielgalmiche) of The Vineyard at Stockcross.

    I've had the pleasure to work with James MacIntosh, the AGA Rangemaster Brand Ambassador (@agarangemaster) who has an AGA in the back of his van.  This is soooo cool, he did have a couple of people approach him to ask if AGA were selling working ovens in the back of vans, we didn't think that was a bad idea, imagine the use of an AGA in the back of your van for camping?  Forget about Hunter wellies, an AGA in a van would be the ultimate in camping chic.  My husband even asked if it was a working AGA and was James doing dems from it?  Come on guys, NO  it doesn't work, how on earth would you plug it in, it's probably a little too big to hook up to the cigarette lighter.......although, there's a development idea.

    James and I had a great laugh, Dawn Roads at AGA has spoken about him a lot and I've felt that I've been missing out by not meeting him, and now I know that I really have missed out but no longer, love him to bits and I'm really looking forward to working with him again.

    Julian of Chefs on Stage, they provide the chef's theatre, was a pleasure to work with again, totally professional and does a grand job as my 'glamourous assistant' when I forget to bring pans and things onstage, I did wind him up about requiring him to wear a sequinned leotard and ostrich feathers and won't repeat what he said.

    We had some fragrant Moroccan cooking from Mohammad of Exotic Tagine over the past two days, sardine balls with couscous, heavenly and a delicious lamb tagine this afternoon with marinated aubergines and Kuldeep (@TreeHotels) from The Tree at Iffley cooked up marinated sea bass with wild mushrooms and spinach which left everyone wondering why on earth they ever put up with the local Indian takeaway when you can experience Indian Cookery like this, if you've not tried The Tree then you have to go, although there will be no turning back to your local takeaway afterwards.

    Yesterday we had a bit of a crisis with the chef from one of Oxford's best restaurants calling in sick and having to persuade Adrian from The Really Interesting Crab Company to come on stage and talk about crabs.  He's a fisherman, not a presenter and was shaking backstage seriously questioning why he'd allowed himself to be talked into doing this.  Well, 5 minutes into it he was in his element and delivered one of the best dems of the whole weekend.  Taking the audience through how to choose, despatch, cook and get the meat out of a crab so anyone who has ever ordered crab in a restaurant and been presented with a whole cooked crab, in the shell, with a couple of metal prongs now knows how to break it up and eat it, it was fascinating. Adrian was quick to get rid of his stagefright, he cam off stage and immediately asked when he could go on again and do another dem, brilliant.

    On Friday we had wonderfully inspirational dems from Mike North, the chef patron at The Nut Tree in Murcott, Mike sources locally and even grows his own pigs to make sure that they really are happy pigs and he has a well deserved Michelin star, and Mark chandler, the chef patron at The White Hart at Fyfield between Oxford and Swindon with two rosettes and an incredible passion for food.

    It has been a real pleasure to work with such amazing chefs and I've thoroughly enjoyed myself, now to put all the tips I've picked up from these guys into practice.

  • my @vivofholloway halter dress...

    my @vivofholloway halter dress went down a storm on stage @foodiesfestival in Oxford today, back as MC tomorrow plus two cookery dems.

  • Catch me on ITN news at 6pm co...

    Catch me on ITN news at 6pm cooking with kids @foodiesfestival Oxford

  • Thank you @waitrose for saving...

    Thank you @waitrose for saving my skin after huge let down from yr competitor, now sorted for @foodiesfestival cookery dems tomorrow

  • Planning menu for my dem @food...

    Planning menu for my dem @foodiesfestival Sunday 5pm, think Italian - olivada, gnocchi and caramelised plums with ricotta cream, yum

  • Ah bless it's bathtime for the...

    Ah bless it's bathtime for the M40 and now it's getting a blow dry - I want to get home please

  • Joy, the trainline is shut so ...

    Joy, the trainline is shut so we drove and they've shut the M40 aaaargh! There is a plot to keep us in Londo

  • 3 hours til @themarspatrol are...

    3 hours til @themarspatrol are on stage in Camden, got DMs on ready for a great gig, see you later @lewissearle26 enjoy

  • off to Bhel Puri House in Drum...

    off to Bhel Puri House in Drummond St for Big Girl's 15th birthday, wonder what her mates will think of it?

  • Oxford Foodies Festival - 27-29 August

    Two sleeps to go to Oxford Foodies Festival, our lovely Hazel has been over this afternoon planning the Kids Masterclass she's running on Sunday, very excited.

    I'm in the final stages of planning my dems with Castillero del Diablo each day and my own dem on Sunday at 5pm which will be along the lines of an Easy Summer Supper for Friends, so tastes of summer and fruit and veg in season, come along and enjoy the banter and delicious food.

    I love this food festival in particular as the standard of food is so high, amazing chefs from local Oxford restaurants all have stalls selling their own delicious versions of their restaurant food, champagne bars (I particularly like these), exquisite chocolatiers usually too, food for the serious foodie. Then there's the chefs, Daniel Galmiche from The Vineyard at Stockross, excellent wedding anniversary supper there a few years ago when we escaped from a seriously bad 'health spa' close by, Gary Jones from Le Manoir aux Quatre Saisons, various lunches for birthdays and anniversaries as we are close enough for a quick taxi home and the amazingly wonderful Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi too, to transport you to Italy from our typical English summer.

    If you like food, you must come, it's a fab day out.

  • Swordfish vs moshi cards?

    Just nipped to Tesco for milk and as usual bought and spent a whole lot more, must remember to leave the children at home next time, always a bad idea to go food shopping with little'uns when you just want milk.

    Small boy (aged 9) was having a stomp about wanting moshi cards, being a moshi monster addict (yes I know the dance and all the words to the moshi dance) this was verging on total paddy until we got as far as the fish counter and the hissy fit changed like this......

    "I really, really want them, I'll pay you back, please, please, really hate me don't you, I can't believe that I'm not adopted...........oooh swordfish, please, please can we have swordfish tonight, please Mum, you're the best Mum on the planet, I love you so much, I don't want moshi cards anymore please can we have swordfish"

    In probably less than a minute - result!

    I think it was a result, it was actually a very expensive result, 75p for moshi cards, £7.89 for swordfish for all five of us, hmmm.  However, much more nutritional, you can't eat Moshi cards but you can't swap swordfish.  Thinking about that you can't actually swap moshi cards as that just degenerates into falling out and fisticuffs and secretly I'm so very proud of that conversation and the fact that Small Boy loves swordfish so much.

    As the fish counter lady was bagging up the swordfish Medium Sized Girl exclaims, hmm, you don't have any octopus do you? They had huge ones on the fish counter in France or how about lobster?   OK that's going a bit far for a small Tesco in Princes Risborough, usually I moan on about the fact that it's only good for washing up liquid.  Changed my mind there, it's good for washing up liquid and swordfish, not a bad combination.

  • How to reduce your weekly food bill - supermarket alternatives

    The Guardian published a fabulous piece today on 'savvy shopping' with 10 top tips on how to reduce your supermarket weekly bill, I've written some for the piece which you can check out on The Guardian online.  Here are some more:

    Supermarket alternatives:
    - local butchers for your meat and sausages - butchers make their own sausages so you know exactly what goes into them, some do sausage making workshops in the evenings where you can make your own, great fun.  Unlike supermarket sausages where you never know what parts of the animal is included (!)
    - local markets - purchase your fruit and veg at the local market, they'll be way cheaper than supermarket, no plastic so way more environmentally friendly.
    - shop at the end of the day - especially on Saturday afternoons when the market is closing as the traders will reduce fruit and veg that is ripe and won't keep until Monday.  The fruit and veg will taste better as it's ripe and it will be cheaper too.  I bought a huge bowl of baby aubergines for £1 at 4pm in our local market the other Saturday, took them home and made a lovely aubergine curry that I froze half of.
    - Shop on a day to day basis - take advantage of buying meat, poultry and fish on the day you want to eat it as you can make the best of daily offers and also those marked down as they are close to their 'use by' dates.
    -  If there are offers on make the most of it and buy in bulk and freeze the excess so you have ready meals in the freezer.
    - local bakery - ditto above or even try artisan bakers at markets or farmer's markets, so you're boosting the local economy too, you may be able to buy locally milled flour as well keeping smaller family mills in business.
    - Grow you own items that are easy and take little space and little attention - strawberries are fantastic, herbs such as basil, coriander, mint and parsley can be grown on a window sill. Rhubarb in a bucket, potatoes in a bag.
    - Make your own convenience food/ready meals - pot noodle with chicken stock left over chick, nest of dried noodles and frozen peas, store cupboard and freezer items that cost a fraction of the price of a pot noodle.  Rice pudding, make your own rather than buy the ready made pots.  Make your own flapjack instead of buying biscuits, make pitta crisps instead of buying crisps - healthier too, get the children involved to help you and they're more likely to items that they've help make.
    - Roast and freeze wilted veg and use them in stews or as a pasta topping or mix them with a tin of tomatoes, whizz them and use them as pizza base or a base for spag bol.
    - Use over ripe bananas to make muffins and banana bread for snacks.
    - go vegetarian - the children won't notice, make vege chilli with root veg and different beans, use roasted aubergine in place of half the mince in spag bol and whizz it like the French do so the children won't notice the difference in texture.
    - eat the seasons, eat food that is in season - it will taste better and be cheaper, ie don't eat Strawberries in December,they are really expensive and don't taste of anything.
    - plan your weekly meals so you know exactly what you're going to cook each day so you don't overshop with a big weekly shop that you end up throwing lots of items away.
    - buy whole spices rather than ready ground and grind them yourself in a pestle and mortar - they'll last longer and taste better.  Ground spices have 6  months before they deteriorate in flavour and aroma once they're opened, whole spices have 2 years.
    All the above mean less packaging, less plastic, you support the local economy, you could even cycle there or walk to reducing fuel consumption, gives you the opportunity to meet friends for a quick cuppa and it's a much more sociable way of shopping, yes it does take time but the quality of food will be worth it.
    However, if you work full time and have to juggle childcare, work, etc then just choose one of two and it will help, it is much more convenient to have a weekly supermarket delivery but I get really bored of this and although it's really 'sad' I admit that I love going round the shops or even into the supermarket to check out what's in season, what's fresh, what's on offer.
    I'm just about to call our local fantastic butchers to order 3 ribeye steaks for the Oxford Foodies Festival as I'm demming with Castillero del Diablo - food and wine matching, i wouldn't trust that the supermarket would have these in to my spec and definitely wouldn't trust a delivery service relying on someone else choosing my meat for me.
  • beautiful purple beans grown f...

    beautiful purple beans grown from @FranchiSeedsUK, turn from green to purple when ripe then back to green again when cooked - magic beans

  • made rhubarb muffins with home...

    made rhubarb muffins with homegrown rhubarb freshly picked in the rain - classic British summer weather.

  • new book out in 2 weeks, 500 B...

    new book out in 2 weeks, 500 Baby and Toddler Foods, should I blog my old baby diaries? What do you think?

  • Feeding Babies and Sleeping - 500 Baby and Toddler Foods


    Two weeks to go until my book launch, I've had a lovely lady call the office today to ask about the book as she has a 7 month old and wanted to know if it really was no faffing recipes.  It really is, honest.  The recipes are all based on the food I cooked for my three children who are now 15, 11 and 9.

    When you have one child and you're on maternity leave you have time to cook - providing your baby sleeps and providing you are sensible enough to go back to bed and sleep at the same time as your baby working on the principle that you're only going to get 4 hours in one go if you're lucky.

    Even with one baby the only time you're going to get to prepare food and cook is when they're asleep which means that you are going to miss out on potentially 4 hours sleep, you never know when your next sleep is going to come so this potential sleep time is very precious and in a lot of cases rare.  Do you really want to spend that 'sleep time' cooking, 'no' so the idea with this book is that the recipes can be adapted for all the family and they can be prepared ahead, just about all of them frozen in bulk and taken out of the freezer when needed - you get to sleep, yeay!

    Once you get to 2 or 3 children the whole concept of cooking and preparing food goes out the window, so does the concept of sleep, as a new Mum you know you're not going to sleep for the next 12 months so when you have the choice of sleep or cook, sleep gets it every time, or it should.  Jars come in handy, apart from when you have a child like my middle one who totally and completely refused anything out of a jar, even apple puree, no idea how she knew but she did. Nightmare.  She started on spag bol at a very early age, the issue now is that tomatoes are not recommended for babies under 12 months due to their acidity.  I had to get creative to come with alternative family meals without tomatoes for the first 12 months.

    It's a minefield working out what baby can and cannot eat, more so as the goalposts change frequently.  I've written a section about the  new 'baby led weaning' craze - sorry anyone out there who thinks this is a great idea, I don't, at all, no way.  I want to know how much food my baby is eating and the concept is great but mixed with normal pureed food too otherwise you're either going to feed the whole family stick veg and finger food or prepare different meals again, no, no, no.  Sorry, feel a rant coming on.

    However, it could be very funny serving up your partner with finger food when he comes home from work, I'd love to see is face, getting a fit of the giggles just thinking about it.  Actually, maybe that's what we should do, just to try it out, go on, if you do please tell me how it goes.

    I'm thinking of digging out my old baby diaries and blogging them, taking you through day to day with babies from a while ago, could be interesting so watch this space.

    In the meantime, preregister for the book, it's on Amazon on pre-order and currently making it into the top 100,000, out of 5.2 million books that's not bad seeing as it's not even launched yet.


  • Camping, cooking and a sand boat courtesy of the Glocks

    We didn't get up until almost lunchtime, none of us, Pete and I were up first at around 11am, children started surfacing from 11.30am, we were up until midnight last night on the dunes trying to see the Perseus meteor shower. As usual Pete saw some, so did small boy, I saw none, typical, however, the moon was full and very bright so it deadened the effect somewhat. The conversation went something like

    Pete - oh there's one

    Beverley - where?

    Pete - over there

    Beverley - where?

    Pete - oh you missed it, oh there's another

    Beverley - where?

    Pete - oh you missed it gets boring after the first 20 minutes. Therefore we missed slack tide and no surfing was had.

    Small boy and I did a quick reccy to the local Super U, very disappointing, nothing like E.Leclerc. On the way he asked me what the best thing about camping holidays was? So here goes, 9 year old boys top 5 'best things about camping in France':

    1. The communal bbq - you get free food (that means, everyone takes nibbles and shares their food, so not quite free but from a 9 year old boy's perspective it is).

    2. The communal bbq - you get to meet new people

    3. The communal bbq - you get to make new friends as all the children are fetching and carrying supplies, food to be cooked and replenishing wine and beer for the parent who is cooking - usually the Dad.

    4. The communal bbq - you cook yummy stuff and it tastes so much better as you eat it outside. Very true.

    5. The communal bbq - you get to burn stuff - charcoal, pine cones, pine needles, wood, anything laying around the campsite.What is this bloke thing about fire?

    You'll notice that there is no mention of great beach, freedom to charge around on your bike, 7 swimming pools to choose from, no, it's all about the communal bbq. Love it.

    Big girl is well trained, it's 7.50pm and I have just uttered the immortal words 'I do not have a drink', immediately she retorts 'bloody English' followed by 'humph beer or wine?' she's lovely really.

    Small boy's getting agitated as he wants to head up to the bbq for the evening social.....tonight it's salmon (no swordfish at the local fishmonger), mackerel and merguez.

    When we eventually got moving this afternoon we had a very eventful afternoon on the beach. A large boat was dug out of the sand complete with oars, waves, seats and a labrador sitting in the back looking out. As we left we say a little girl, around 18 months old, walk up to the sand sculpture (wow that sounds posh... it wasn't) point to 'le chien', bend down and very gently stroke it much to her father's amusement, it was so sweet, obviously a little realistic too, I've not lost my artistic touch altogether. I must add that digging gigantic structures of out sand is usually left totally to me, maybe it's harking back to my childhood and growing up on Redcar beach but I do like to have a good grot about in the sand, big girl likes digging holes so we integrate our skills, this time it was a large boat with a very deep bilge pump.

    Last day tomorrow before we head back up to the Loire on Monday, I'm going to miss the sea, it's beautiful here, miles of sandy beaches, a deep turquoise see with superb breakers and no houses or building to see due to the sand dunes fronting the beach being protected from development, beyond there are pine forests also protected and after that the houses start but from the beach all you can see for miles is beach and dunes, heavenly.

  • Surf adventures

    Big Girl and I have made it, we have been bestowed the ultimate honour, I"m so excited it's silly.........Alex, our lovely instructor at O'Ride Surf School at Messanges told us this morning that we were fine to hire just boards tomorrow, we didn't need any more lessons, just practice.  This doesn't mean that we're any good; more likely, we are so rubbish that there is no point us carrying on with lessons until we get the hang of standing up on the damned thing and putting into practice everything that he's told us but it's so cool that we're now allowed to just hire our own boards, does this mean we are officially part of the surf community?  Maybe not, but I can kid myself.

    So 10am tomorrow morning, after shoe horning big girl out of bed, we'll be on the beach hiring surf boards ready to find the white waves.

    After 2 hours surfing I decided to go body boarding with small boy and medium girl, boy was I ready to go back to bed afterwards.  You know you've been trying hard when you get into the shower, take off your bikini and realise that where your bikini was is now a perfect sand imprint, a sand bikini.  I was probably wearing a good 3-4 kg of sand, this meant a quick yell out of the shower room window to prevent small children coming into the caravan, especially small boy and Pete, just imagine how much sand could be secreted in huge surf shorts - so they told to wiggle, amazing how much sand comes out of surf shorts with a bit of wiggling, at least it wasn't in the caravan though.

    An afternoon of sleeping on the sun lounger in 30 degrees of heat, lovely.  Then a cycle into the local town to try and change money - humph, two banks, both don't carry money so can't change up currency. Sorry, guys, but please tell me what banks do, I thought they were there to change money, change travellers cheques, cash cheques, maybe I'm naive but I've never heard of a bank that doesn't carry cash, what on earth do they do?

  • Barbecuing is an international bloke thing

    I f I thought that a bunch of blokes standing round a bbq burning food, oops, sorry cooking food was a typically English thing I'm glad to say that it isn't, it is a European thing.

    Pete was up at the communal campsite bbq tonight cooking sardines, marinaded in red onions, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil along with lamb chops alongside French and Spanish - all blokes, cooking an array of meats and fish.  The difference is that in France the conversation revolved around 'what have was that marinaded in?' 'what herbs have you used', although beer was passed around so was tapenade, anchoiade, pistachios and olives instead of conversation about football and crisps being passed around.  There's nothing wrong with blokes standing around a bbq talking about football and eating crisps it just seems a little more cultural when you have three different languages attempting to interact and the conversation is about food - still blokes having this conversation you understand. Pete loved it, he was beaming when he sent the children back for more beer and posh nibbles, so as not to let the side down.  He did say that the French and Spanish were pleasantly surprised to discover what we were eating, I think they are used to the burgers and chips brigade, and he had to wing it on the 'whats in the marinade?' front as he had no idea, but he was in his element.

    Tips and recipes were passed on and discussed, how to bbq chicken in fresh mango marinade, discussion about whether the dust from the charcoal increased the flavour of the food or not, appreciation was declared for the wonderful marinade on the sardines and all round slaps on the back for damned good cooking were given.  Pete's final piece de resistance was the cooking of the slices of baguette over the coals, the other's looked at Pete and asked how he was going to serve these - 'with olive oil, rubbed with fresh garlic and ripe tomatoes', well that was it, the ultimate accolade, lots of slaps on the back and the French and Spanish were totally impressed at the English's ability to cook and appreciate food - 'pane con tomates' - Pete has arrived, he is now acknowledged a gourmet on the campsite.  Wonder what they'll make of the bbq breadsticks this evening along with marinated chicken and aubergines.

  • Surf chicks

    Crack of dawn this morning, we're on holiday so that means 7.30am, arrrgh, the alarm went off as big, medium and I had to be on the beach by 8.15 to get togged out in wetsuits ready for our first surf lesson of the holiday.  Oh boy, this was bad, severe punishment for wanting to be cool surf chicks.  I know I can't get up properly on a surf board, I'm totally brilliant at falling off and have got the art of falling off bottom first looking really stupid down to a fine art, but something in me still wants to be part of the surf culture.  That elusive, trendy club, the ones when the the weather is really, really awful that are the only ones on the beach, albeit huddled in the surf shack trying to keep warm as it's way too dangerous to actually get near the waves.  The ones that everyone looks up to when you're coming off the beach when everyone else is making their way down there, they know, they envy, they want to be part of the surf crowd that you know you are, even if you can't actually surf standing up.  Sad, at my age, that I still want to be part of that club.

    At 8.30 this morning the beach was empty, the sea deep sea green with pretty damned big breakers, why isn't it millpond like, I have some hope of standing up if it' s like a millpond, I don't actually want surf as that will make me look even more stupid.  However the beach was amazing and I was part of the exclusive 'surf' club.  So myself, medium and big girl (small boy had totally wussed out refusing even to get out of bed) don wetsuits, grab surf boards and head to the beach.  This is about as good at it gets, the whole running down to the beach with the surf boards is when I look particularly cool, it's when I actually get to the damned sea that it starts to go radically pear shaped.  The running with the surf board is fine, can I just walk up and down the beach with the board all day cos that way I'll look good and not make a total idiot of myself? No! Damn!

    Into the sea to get wet, this I can do really well, it's the getting out and trying to get up onto the surf board that causes me the problems.  Alex, our lovely instructor has a sense of humour, he's also got a Mum who's probably around my age and who knows Hawaii Five -O so when I jump onto the surfboard (on the beach you understand, can't do standing up on anything wet) and start doing the whole pretend surf thing, he immediately starts singing the theme tune, yes!  I'm in heaven, the girls are disgusted, a. because he knows what the heck I was doing and b. because I do this at home on a Sunday evening when the theme tune is actually on Sky 1 and they think it's very sad then, never mind on the beach in the south of France when they're trying to be cool surf chicks and disown their Mum.

    So 90 minutes later there is no surprise when I still can only make it to kneeling on the board, however, the girls can only get to the same stage so that makes me feel a little better, back to the caravan for hot showers before hitting the pool and my Eurotrash dance at 12.30pm, oooooh I love it, again, all children scarper quickly in case they get dragged into the pool to do this with me, heh heh heh love it.

    Totally exhausted with 90 minutes falling off a surf board plus Eurotrash dancing and feel I have to collapse onto a sunlounger for a bit before getting act together to 'cherchez le supermarche' aka get my E.Leclerc fix.  Oooh, now I really am on holiday, cuttlefish for 6 euros, huge slab of swordfish for 7 euros and sardines for tomorrow at 3 euros, this is what I call self catering in France.  The cuttlefish were marinated in lime juice, chillies, olive oil and dried chillies, the sword fish cooked over the bbq in it's own juices and served with bbq'd bread drizzled with olive oil, smeared with garlic and fresh tomatoes and squeaky beans. Yum. Mustn't forget shedloads of red wine to wash it down.  The communal bbqs are coming into their own, the couple next to us were cooking a huge slab of beef, probably 'bleu', wine was shared, crisps and olives were passed round.  This what camping if France is all about.

    You know the best thing about camping in France, apart from the food, the heat (28 degrees today), the fabulous beaches on the Atlantic coast and the fact that I'm now a surf chick, it's that you can live in a bikini 24/7, just putting a sweatshirt on at night, flipflops, no make up whatsoever and no one cares,  no one recognises me cos they're mostly French so I can look a wreck and really not care.  I was recognised twice in Camp Bestival, and that really was grunge camping, here we have hot showers and loos but it's brilliant, we've not even made it down to the bar yet for 'animations' at all, small boy has just fallen asleep on the sofa, the girls are washing up, I'm about to get challenged to a game of backgammon, the sun has gone down, the stars are out and it's tempting to go back to the beach to say goodnight to the sea.  Just beware the squirrels throwing pine cones.

  • Naff Eurotrash dance

    I ticked off the 'exercise' box this morning by getting in the pool at the crack of Dawn when it opened and did serious length swimming. Ha, crack of Dawn here is 10am, very civilised compared with 6.30 at home. Beat the Germans to the sun loungers and then at 12 noon the most amazing thing happened that really made my holiday, the animation team brought over speakers and started off the pool dance. I've no idea what it was as it was in French, but it was along the lines of the macarena, Saturday night, you get it, Eurotrash song with daft dance. I was up like a shot much to the horror of the children, this is what holdiays are about dancing to daft songs in a bikini whilst embarrassing your kids, that's why we have children isn't it? So that's it, I'll be at the pool every day at 12 to do this daft dance, excellent. That's made my holiday.

    Lunch then hit the beach to check into the surf shack, lessons start tomorrow, I'm the only adult, the rest are aged between 12-15, do I care, no way, cos I know the steps to the daft dance and I don't care that I can't surf and am very good at falling off cos I'm old and have nothing to prove apart from having a good laugh. I know I'll look cool coming off the beach at 10am as everyone will know I surf, no one will know that I'm rubbish at it until my kids tell them!

    Currently awaiting the pizza dough to prove,small boy declared that he likes my pizzas better than the expensive ones from the pizzeria on site, I've no probs with that as they're all 12 euros each. Likewise I'm a bit miffed that the roast chickens are 12 euros each, I thought Waitrose ones were dear at £5, these are ridiculous so I've been told that there is a big E.Leclerc 8 km away that has a fab fish counter, so after surf lesson tomorrow that's where I'm heading.

    Currently sitting outside drinking beer and I've just had a large rabbit come and wander around by my sun lounger, wow, apparently there was a squirrel on site yesterday throwing pine cones at one chap because the French lady who was staying on that plot last week was feeding him and this new chap didn't so the squirrel chucked pine cones at him in disgust. Well, they live here, the campsite may be right by the sea but it's in the middle of pine woods, hence the wildlife, we have to remember that we are living in their home not the other way round.

  • Messanges, South West France - we've arrived

    We left the lovely campsite just outside Tours to start the 5 hour journey to just north of Biarritz, my total focus was to find as massive an E.Leclerc as I could. I love French Hypermarkets, especially this chain, they usually have fabulous fish counters, often with full 7ft sharks and lobsters (not 7ft ones, just plain lobsters) and a wonderful array of in season fruit and veg. Tomatoes that have a flavour, green beans that 'squeak' when you bite into them, once I've done my big food shop then I'm on holiday. So you can imagine my consternation when we drove past lots around Bordeaux on the 'wrong side of the motorway' and end up south of Bordeaux where hypermarkets end, seriously, there are no hypermarkets for 3 hours until you almost hit Spain.

    We came off the motorway to find somewhere with the necessary ambience for lunch, lovely country restaurant and a Super U that the landlady said was 'large', hmm our interpretation of the word differs dramatically, it wasn't quite as bad as the Tesco in Princes Risborough but it was close, the entire fish counter was empty.....first paddy of the holiday, I was not a happy bunny. so stocked up on, red wine (£1.38 a bottle, highly quaffable but really wouldn't travel well), and merguez, dodgy French spicy sausages that taste fabulous barbecued - you have to cook them outdoors, no way would you want them indoors as your house would smell for weeks. This gives Peter something to do of an evening and make him feel like he's on holiday by burning stuff over a naked flame - it's that hunter gatherer thing.

    So back on the motorway with me being grumpy as I've not had my hypermarket fix, but we can see the temperature rising as we head south from 15 degrees in the Loire to 23 degrees, that's more like it!

    Arrive at Le Vieux Port campsite just outside Messanges at around 5pm to meet the extremely young and lovely Eurocamp rep who said that we were the only family to arrive that day who weren't grumpy. Apart from no hypermarket fix we're on holiday, it's 23 degrees, the campsite has 7 pools and is right next to the sea, we have a bloody big mobile home with 3 bedrooms, flushing loo and power shower - luxury after last weekend at Camp Bestival and even better my phone has no service so no one can find me, yes!

    Supper consisted on squeaky beans, dodgy merguez, chargrilled lamb chops and home made chips, deep fried properly, something I never do at home and copious amounts of cheap red wine -a feast. At 10.30pm we all went to say goodnight to the beach, or actually find it, small boy and medium sized girl both saw shooting stars and the sound of the ocean cemented the concept that we truly were on holiday.

  • Holiday - ferry crossing from Hell

    We left it too late to book our usual overnight crossing fro Freda Portsmouth to St Malo - this is highly civilised. A two hour drive to Portsmouth to arrive at around 7pm, get on board for 8pm, unload overnight bags into cabins and hunt down the fabulous restaurant. The only downside to this is Brittany Ferries now operate a kids menu consisting of items such as ham and chips. My children, much to my admiration, take one look at the buffet crammed with king prawns, poached salmon, langoustines, heaps of dried and cured meats, a fabulous salad selection and puddings to die for and totally balk at the kids menu, so after much discussion with the waiter , maitre d' and the restaurant manager weve always negotiated half portions of the buffet for the children.

    Well, not this time, this lovely start to the holiday went out the window as we had to get the 'fast craft' at 7am, that meant check in at 6am so leaving home at 4am (groan). Positive thinking - "we're going on holiday", negative thinking "we've only taken the fast craft twice before and it's been awful - been seasick each time where we're not on the big, slow ferries.

    Ho hum......enter, stage right - the crossing from Hell. At the end of the day it wasn't that bad, no one died, the boat got us to France all together in one piece and we didn't get wet, there have been much worse ferry crossings in the past so we really shouldn't moan on about this, it wasn't the Herald of Free Enterprise after all, however I do remember thinking at one point that when the Titanic went down at least they weren't all seasick as the sea may been cold but it wasn't rough. Inappropriate, I admit.

    The crossing began OK, although I wasn't impressed with the 'restaurant' option - cafe with either soup or croissants, I had a coffee and a smoothie, can't eat wheat and soup at 7am didn't take my fancy - call me fussy if you wish.

    Got round the Isle of Wight, 20 mins out and things deteriorated. One of the engines went on the boat which screwed up the stabilisers and the seasickness started. And continued for four and half hours as the boat was much slower due to losing one engine. I reckon that about 70% of people on the boat were ill, I was the worst out of our family with Peter and big girl being fine, small boy made it to the toilets which was treacherous as it was like walking on a roller coaster, medium sized girl and I stuck to the sick bags and we had an absolute star in the shape of this lovely gentleman who's wife and toddler were really poorly who struggled to run and fetch bags for everyone in our part of the boat.

    The word spread quickly about these fast crafts having the nickname the 'vomit comet' oh boy is it true. We're on the slow old ferry on the way back so can have a wonderful breakfast and lunch, catch a couple of films and not pray for the sailing to end.

    we stayed last night in the Loire and are packing up for the long drive to just north of Biarritz luxuriating in having a flipping huge 3 bedroom glorified caravan with a flushing loo after last weekend in the tent, on a hill, with no running water.

  • Car packed, children asleep, h...

    Car packed, children asleep, house cleaned, alarm set for 3.30am (aaargh!)), beer consumed, am missing my dogs but I AM ON HOLIDAY!

  • I've got an author page on ama...

    I've got an author page on amazon, yeay, very excited

  • off to SW France tomorrow, ess...

    off to SW France tomorrow, essential packing.. balsamic, puglian olive oil, zatar, rose harissa, sea salt, will there be room for bikinis?

  • 500 Baby and Toddler Foods - my new baby food cookbook

    500 Baby and Toddler Foods by Beverley Glock

    I've just received the first copy of my new book '500 Baby and Toddler Foods' published by Apple Press on 5 September 2011.

    Wow, it's real.  It looks amazing.  My Big Girl looked through it this morning and exclaimed that the recipes in it were far nicer than the food we ate at home - I did point out that actually, the recipes in there were all recipes I cooked at home and that she probably just hadn't noticed.  She then declared that she wanted to try some of them.  Yes!  That's the whole point, it maybe a baby and toddler cookbook but it's designed for the whole family to eat and share the same meals.

    The first copy has, of course, been sent off to my Mum.  That's where the real critical review will come from, hmm, we'll see.

    Shortly the press copies will be winging their way to Netmums, Mumsnet, Families Mag along with all other manner of family and baby websites, magazines, shows, whatever, it will be interesting to see the reaction, especially at it launches in the US, Canada and Australia at the same time.  Fingers crossed it will do well.


  • Camp Bestival - Sunday

    Day 2 and I'm so relaxed I'm totally zonked, I spent ages chasing around trying to get an interview with Ade Edmonson but he was elusive and the PR chaps couldn't find him anywhere so no success there, never mind.

    I'd already agreed that we'd have breakfast out, big mistake, I queued for 40 minutes for 3 crepes, come on guys, this is not good enough, chocolate con churros was better but 40 minutes, next time I'm taking ready made crepes and some lemons. Eventually got into the festival only for small boy to get stung by a wasp so he went off to the welfare tent with Dad so the girls and I went off to the clay making tent, sat around, vegged out and played with clay. This was the girls, at this point I was chasing between the clay tent and the Press Tent trying to hound down Ade Edmonson.

    Small boy sorted, clay gargoyles made. Today was a day at the circus for the children, we'd spent the morning donning false eyelashes, well, we're still on holiday and it seemed a shame not to, couldn't do the wig as it was really hot and sunny. In the Kids Field they had a section of mad bikes, penny farthings for kids, unicycles (I have one of those in the garage, yes really, well doesn't everyone?), bikes that turn the opposite way to how you steer them, bikes that go backwards when you pedal forwards and in another section they had juggling balls and clubs, diablos and lots of other circus skills you could try out, the children spent most of the afternoon here and when they weren't here they were in the kids circus tent.  Check out the photos of tightrope walking, it's really hard.

    Pete's weekend was made with Pauline Black and The Selector playing at lunchtime, he's broken his toe, kicking the ball for one of our dogs Sidney, so dancing was interesting but he managed it, took him back to his teenage days, brilliant set.

    Back to the tent for a bit of packing and supper then back in time for a short bit at the comedy tent with Barry Castagnola, bless him, he was obviously thrown by the amount of children in the audience as his material is slightly risque and he felt embarassed presenting it in front of small children, that said, a comment from one 11 year old boy in the audience totally floored him and he ended up corpsing, brilliant.  When the compare came on I tapped small boy and medium sized girl on the head (they were sat right at the front) to get them out so guess who got picked on by the compare?  Yes, me.  He asks me if I've got all the kids?

    'no,' I reply 'i'm one missing',

    'what's their name?'

    'Ellie' I shout back

    Well, big girl is sitting at the back of the tent at this point trying to blend in with the sofa, he shouts over and makes her stand up and tells her off for not being quicker. Then shouts back at me as asks why I'm dragging these children out of this den of iniquity, where are we going that's better?

    'The bar' - I shout back.

    That floored him, he corpsed at that point, he wasn't expecting that!  At that point big girl is making her way to the back of the tent, slowly, so he shouts across to the guy stood at the side 'Eric, poke that girl for not moving fast enough' so Eric Lampeart poked my big girl in the arm. She's had a lot of interaction with comedians this weekend.

    Back for more music - Benjamin Francis Leftwi


    ch who I think is totally fantastic. Greg James played him on Radio 1 a week or two ago and I loved the sound, I did feel for him as he was billed at really bad time.  He should have been on in the afternoon as his music is ideal for lounging around to in the hot sunshine so for him to be on at the same time as Primal Scream was horrid for him as everyone was around the Main Stage and the Big Top where he was playing was empty.  That said, he was way way better than Primal Scream who I never really 'got' and were just totally boring.  I tried pogoing to them just to stay away but even that didn't work so we just sat around pinching each other to stay awake waiting for the fireworks.  They got a huge cheer at the end because they'd finished and we could get on with the good stuff - ie the fireworks,thank goodness.  I'd say that Primal Scream were the only downside to the whole festival.  There was no atmosphere and everyone was just sat around chatting to each other ignoring them. Not good for them or us.

    The fireworks were spectacular and included a cartoon projected onto the castle as the backdrop with the story of a princess being rescued from a dragon by a knight, we all decided that we like the dragon and that he was just misunderstood so the prince didn't have to go and kill him, however the dragon's blood was purple,  hence, 'purple rain' played out, sheer brilliance.

    Back to the tea and toast caravan before bed.


  • Camp Bestival - Saturday - where Middle England goes to party

    First night sleeping in a proper tent for almost 30 years, this doesn't include posh tents on campsites in France a la Canvas or Eurocamp and it wasn't too bad, I had the essentials for a good night's sleep:

    1.  Very tired out children - went to bed gone midnight after spending the day running around in the fresh air.

    2. A Monkey Shoulder cocktail or two, actually I think it was two, can't remember.

    3. Blackout eye shades

    4. Wax ear plugs

    We took along the essentials for an enjoyable breakfast - the espresso maker - no, not the huge electric one, the stove top one, coffee and frozen fresh milk that slowly defrosted over the weekend.  We brought home milk we didn't use and it was still cold, very impressed.

    Eventually got down to the festival around lunchtime as the children were having too good a time playing around the campsite with other children. Arrived just in time to see Dick and Dom - BOGIES!

    I hate to admit it but they were brilliant, loved them, Small Boy and I had a great time yelling 'Bogies' very, very loudly.  At one point they picked on the group of adults standing by the Merchandise Tent as they were being very 'grown up', Dick and Dom were'nt having any of this so they yelled over at them that they were the 'mosh pit' and they had to act like it, not sure if they did but we really got into it and had a whale of a time.  Zingzillas came on next, bearable but good excuse to duck into the Press Tent to get out of the rain.

    Today is FANCY DRESS DAY - I tried lots of costumes on in the Smiffy's fancy dres

    s costume tent but the one I really wanted, the Black Knight from Monty Python, was bloke sized and was massive, also incredibly hot, the only girly frocks were too big as I'd left it too late so put up with false eyelashes and very long blonde curly wig, medium sized girl opted for rainbow afro and matching rainbow lashes and big girl went for the longest feather lashes possible, small boy stuck with a sword.

    Rain stopped so small boy went to the Balloon Workshop where they were building a huge caterpillar, he made a dog with a lead which didn't last long unfortunately, but he had a good time.


    Newton Faulkner - @newtonfaulkner was fabulous, unfortunately I had small boy who had a total paddy about listening to music and as I'd promised to take him back to the tent and play cards while getting supper ready I left Pete, Grant and the others in the Big Top and missed his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody which was apparently brilliant.  Must catch him another time.

    Smerins Anti-Social Club - funk band from Bristol - one of my biggest regrets is that I only caught the end of their show, wished I'd got there earlier but this is the disadvantage of a family festival, the adults don't get to do what they want to do, ie sit on a picnic rug with a constant stream of Monkey Shoulder cocktails and listen to music all afternoon and evening.  We have to cater to children too who want to spend the whole time either at East Lulworth when the Comedy is on or in the Kids Garden in the circus space. The couple of tunes I did hear were amazing and the whole of the big top was jumping.  Catch these guys soon.

    Cuban Brothers - these guys are an @campbestival legend and soon saw why. Who cares if they are actually from Cuba or more likely from Essex but their show, a mixture of music, comedy, dance and pants was superb.  Not sure how old @thecubanbrothers are, they're not spring chickens, but boy can they roller skate and breakdance, we had to dash off half way through to get over the Main Stage for Mark Ronson so missed the part when they stipped down to their pants, not sure if that was a good escape or not.

    Mark Ronson and The Business International - wow, just wow, everyone was there, Dave McCabe from The Zutons started off the set with his version of  'Valerie', I admit Mark Ronson seems to have the personality of a plank but his music if fabulous.  My Big Girl was firmly entrenched in the Comedy Tent as she hates him but if she could have seen him play the drums I think she'd have come round. He did a tribute to Amy Winehouse which had a lot of the audience feeling very emotional and I'm sure there were quite a few tears, played Back to Black, saying that 'she should have been here tonight' and finished with her version of Valerie led by Dave McCabe.  Actually, it was led by the audience, they decided that as all knew the words this would be our tribute to Amy and the audience would sing it - oh boy did we do it justice. Excellent.

    Groove Armada were on next but didn't catch much of it. Rounded up children from the Comedy Tent and, oh what a surprise, headed back to Monkey Shoulder for nightcaps.  Hit a bit of a crisis point here with 5 children starving hungry and in need of hot chocolate. Lo and behold as if by magic we discover the best place to eat of the whole festival - the Tea Caravan next to the Welfare Tent which just happens to be next to Monkey Shoulder.

    The Tea Caravan is run by the lovely Eileen who is in charge of the Welfare Tent, this is where you go to find lost children, get First Aid and retrieve lost property, Eileen set up the tea caravan to help people out who are waiting for their children to be brought here and everything is £1. That's a mug of tea, hot chocolate, toasted teacake or two rounds of toast with marmite, butter or jam £1.  A mug of tea elsewhere is £3.50 at least.  This place was heaven. So 10 round of toast and marmite and 5 hot chocolates later we're off to Monkey Shoulder for cocktails with 5 happy children, soon to have 3 happy grown ups.

    Eileen didn't believe me when I said I thought this was the best catering on site, but it's true, tea and toast is just what you need at midnight to give the children sufficient strength to walk the 1.5km uphill back to the tent, either that or a doner, however, toast is much less dangerous.

    This was about to become one of the best nights of my big girl's life and certainly the best at the festival.  As we walked into the Monkey Shoulder Tree House there were 4 people dancing, one of them was Jack Whitehall.  Big girl didn't realise until I pointed him out, she looked round, ran over and threw her arms around him then legged it.  Poor Jack, he looked rather bewildered.  I went over and apologised for her and explained that he was the only reason she came to Camp Bestival.  He didn't quite believe me until I told him that I was serious and she wasn't coming until she found out he was playing Friday night.  I asked him if he'd mind having a photo with her and he said that he'd be really happy and was touched that he'd inspired her to come just to see him.  Jack Whitehall went over hugged my big girl and she's got a photo that she'll treasure for a long time.  Thank you @jackwhitehall.

  • Camp Bestival - Friday - Ed Sheeran, Secret Concert

    Can it get any better than this, wasp taming at the Insect Circus, jousting with real knights in shining armour (let me dream please), Interview with Martin Fry in ABC, then a tip off in the Press Tent that Ed Sheeran was performing a secret session in the Dingly Dell - the woods at the back of the site, lit up with fairy lights, at 8.30pm.

    Wow, oh wow.  Acoustic session, Ed's amazing voice and he's right in front of us, you can see from the photo.  There were around 60 people there when we arrived, probably around 100 at the end, it was like he was there in your back garden, the most amazing moment.  Ed chatted with the audience about the stories behind the songs, they got very personal at times, bless him and he sang 4 new songs that are planned for his new album, not yet recorded.  He did say that we could film but begged us NOT to put them on YouTube, I just hope that everyone else realises what a special, once in a lifetime, moment this was and doesn't wreck it by putting it on YouTube.

    At the end of the session he played a classic Irish tune as a farewell, beautiful.

    Our friend's small boy, realised half way through that the bloke he was standing in front of was non other than Labyrinth! That made his day too.


  • Camp Bestival - Friday - Arrival and Interview with Martin Fry of ABC

    Usual 'going on holiday' bedlam of dropping dogs off at pet nanny, putting bins out, remembering what I've forgotten, shoe-horning teenager out of bed, last call to Pete to ask what he's forgotten so I can bring it......and we're off.

    New games to play while camping:

    1.  Find the tent on husband's directions......'straight ahead through the entrance then turn left at the recycling point, the tent is next to the the flag with the pegasus flag'.  Pretty good eh?  Apart from he didn't realise there was more one entrance and we came into a different one.   Three recycling points later, two grumpy ladies arrive at tent ready for next game.

    2. Who trashed the tent?  One man, two children = totally trashed tent.  It's a huge tent, there are 4 bedrooms and heaps of room in  the middle so why can't 3 people just put some stuff away not just chuck it all over the tent.  Empty sleeping bag bags, clothes, food, crockery and cutlery just strewn everywhere.

    3. Camping arithmetic. Five people require how many sleeping bags?  This isn't difficult now, is it?  Obviously it is for someone who has two maths 'A' levels. 5 people = 5 sleeping bags, if you only bring 4 sleeping bags that the means one person is damned cold, Pete was damned cold on Friday night.

    Games over next one is get ready for the trek to the actual festival. Good job I'm fit, I really felt for some friends of ours who had come with a camper van.  They thought they'd get there really early on Thursday morning to blag a good spot as they have 4 girls aged between 2 and 10.  They were even further away from us, the guys that arrived late on Friday ended up right next to the festival in the overflow field.  Average of 3 pounds lost over festival weekend with all the walking and dancing.

    I checked into the Press Tent only to find that Martin Fry of ABC was doing interviews that afternoon, managed to get myself on the list after ITN, Sky News and FestEvents, honoured and very excited.  The other interviewers were much younger than me and I'm not sure they were even around when I was dancing to Martin in the 1980s.  I have all the albums and I know all the words and was sure that Cristina, my producer at BBC Oxford would be thrilled with such a coup.

    The others went first and asked questions about the group, reforming, etc.  Martin seemed fairly relaxed although not very animated, so when it came to me I really wasn't sure what to expect as I wanted to talk to him about food and children not music, so it could go two ways, fingers crossed.

    Martin Fry is charming, a total gentleman, when I introduced myself and explained what I wanted to talk about he asked me if I was serious?  I thought, 'uh oh, that's it, I'm going to get kicked out', but no, he was really happy about it.  His twins, now aged 20, were both at the festival, camping, and he explained that they'd travelled all over the world with him when he was touring and they'd eaten the local food.  Recently they'd been to Morocco and loved the tagines there and when they were little he'd had them trekking in Snowdonia.

    One of his favourite foodie places is the coast close to La Rochelle, renowned for it's oysters and he explained that they'd spent a lot of holidays there as there was great surfing too.  This was right up my street, we've been going to that area for the past 7 years because of the surfing and seafood and we're going back on Sunday for 11 days.  So, I'm sitting on a sofa in the press tent at Camp Bestival chatting and laughing with my teenage hero about the best surf places around the West Coast of France.  Amazingly, it didn't feel surreal, it felt complete natural, like having a laugh and chat with an old mate when you realised you've been going to the same places each year and never bumped into each other.  Martin Fry is a thoroughly lovely, charming chap.  It made my festival, thank you Martin.  He was also brilliant on stage later that evening too, and yes, I sung along very loudly cos I know all the words.

    Big girl and husband basically camped out at the Comedy.  I was rather gutted that Milton Jones was on at the same time ABC were but no way was I missing ABC.  Milton Jones was brilliant, he dealt with a heckler with aplomb and I think I'm going to have to get tickets for his show at Aylesbury in December although I can't imagine it's going to be as good in a theatre as it was for them sitting just in front of him in the marquee.  Big girl caught him later in the Big Top along with Jack Whitehall - I tried to get an interview as he's her idol but he wasn't doing interviews and his tour manager wasn't answering his phone but it still made her weekend.




  • Camp Bestival - Friday - Insect Circus, Jousting, Food and Drink

    The Insect Circus - oh wow, this was surreal, this show was in the kid's field but it was one of those shows that really should be watched at around 5am when you've been up all night partying.  It's a circus where the people are dressed as insects.  The highlights were Tallulah the worm charmer, she'd captured this massive great big worm, the head of which was the size of a human arm and she had it performing beautifully to her charm music.  Constance Courage and her Vespa Wasps were really scary, massive great beasts that she tamed a little like a lion tamer in a normal circus but without the safety cage, very brave.   I just hope that they have a licence to look after ferocious beasts like this, if they ever escaped into the audience I'm not sure what would happen, it's a little too terrifying to consider.  From an insect welfare point of view they all seemed well looked after and well fed but you never know what goes on behind the scenes and I'd had to think of one of these creatures running away after being treated badly, where would it go?

    Jousting - real horses, real jousting arena, real knights in shining armour (OK, so that's pushing it a bit) but it was very exciting.  The theme for the weekend was Medieval and already the fancy dress costumes are starting to make an appearance.

    Monkey Shoulder - best bar in the festival.  Out on a limb on the way back to the campsites, it was built like a treehouse, only cocktails on the menu, absolutely nothing for the children whatsoever but hey, they have a whole festival, you need something just for the adults.  This became one of our favourite places in the festival.  Pete and Grant discovered it on Thursday, from Friday it became the regular hangout for pre dinner drinks, pre show drinks and nightcaps.


    Supper - porchini risotto, heavenly.  Sitting in a campsite with not a shower block or hot water for miles (we brought shedloads of hygiene gel and wet wipes) eating risotto was amazing.  Children had spag bol so they were happy.

  • Blondie on full blast, getting...

    Blondie on full blast, getting ready for tomorrow #campbestival I know ALL the words

  • Camp Bestival - What's on and food

    So excited, just had the updated APP for #campbestival and they've got the timings up, gutted as tomorrow night I have to be in two places at once due to Milton Jones playing East Lulworth at the same time ABC are on the Castle Stage, then it gets worse as Blondie are playing the same time on Castle Stage as Jack Whitehall and the Comedy set are on the Big Top. Think we're going to have to leave big girl in the big top while I leg it to see Blondie, not missing that for anything and seriously have to drool over Martin Fry - I have the albums, all of them for Blondie and ABC, omg I'm that old.

    Then there's the silent disco - I am so excited about that it's silly.  You get headphones and select what music genre you want (I think) then you dance away to your own music, excellent.  You can play 'spot the ones doing YMCA and Cliff Richard', my only issue is that I tend to sing, very, very badly, and I wonder if anyone will notice.

    Rob da Bank is doing the silent disco on sunday night - 1.30am-3am, I can't remember seeing that time of night since the children were born, sad I know.

    Then there's the dancing stuff, salsa, Lindy hop, charleston - oooh I so want to do that, can you dance in walking boots? Will have to find out.

    Ade Edmonson is also playing - really, really need to try and get an interview with him, wonder if he's there with the kids, that would be fabulous to get him on air talking about food at festivals, or just controlling children at festivals.

    The Gruffalo is also on stage - Oh no, it's gruffalo! Yeay, I so want to see that, pity none of the children do they reckon they're all way too old for it, I'm not!

    Now, I've just had tip off that there is a chocolate and churros stand that does amazing coffee there - That's first on my list for breakfast on Saturday, based on the concept that I've had some sleep, ear plugs and eye masks sorted for the children too so fingers crossed.

  • Camp Bestival - preparations - last minute sagas

    I knew the real reason for me going to Camp Bestival the day after my lovely  husband and small children is not just to bring extra supplies but to being all the items they've forgotten to put into the car....

    1.  Small Boy's dressing gown

    2. Pillows - that would have been interesting

    3. Regulator and tube to connect the camping stove up to the gas tank.  Am going to have a rant about this - the reg and tube doesn't come with the camping stove or the gas tank.  I think this is really stupid as you need the bit in the middle to connect it all up.  The Camping shops (that sell the stoves) don't sell the reg and tube because it's July and they're selling winter stuff now, you don't go camping in winter so you have to buy these in December (aaaargh!).  The garden centres that sell the gas tanks don't sell the regs and tubes as they come with the stoves and they don't sell the stoves - they don't come with the stoves, if they came with the stoves we wouldn't have to buy them cos we'd  have one, (grrrr!) - end of rant. After trawling round DIY shops and camping shops we found one this morning at the local lawnmower shop - thank you Briants in Longwick.  OK that's lateral thinking to blow your mind, who one earth would have thought of that one, my lovely husband in total desperation, that's who.

    It would be interesting writing about feeding the family at a festival without being to use the stove, if I cheated and we lived on takeaways some bright spark would clock us and tell everyone so we'd be found out.  It's the same as when I'm in the fish and chip shop getting emergency food for the children as I have a 5 minute turn round to get them from school to Taekwondo or Judo and I always bump into someone who gleefully declares 'ooooh, you're in the chippy I'm going to tell, I thought you always cooked ALL your own food'.  Well, actually 'no, I don't' not always, and 'yes' I do allow my children to eat rubbish frequently.

    So at last they're off, just had a text from medium sized girl asking if they could eat the coco pops bars and big bags of crisps that are supposed too be for breakfast and posh snacks for lunch on the way down.  Her Dad is driving so why is she texting me and not asking him?  She was told 'no' and to eat the packed lunch that I'd made for them.

    One final piece of classic texting.  Our friend Grant is on his way with his two children, he sent a text this morning that made me laugh.  You have to remember that this is one 50 year old bloke to anther 50 year old bloke, this is so obtuse it's brilliant...

    "On the way, meet you in the skate park at 3pm, it's totally awesome!'

    Fantastic, all it needs is a tent to turn two grown blokes into little kids again - love it.


  • pls RT @beverleyglock needs re...

    pls RT @beverleyglock needs regulator/tube to connect camp stove to gas tank - all out of stock - in Princes Risborough or #campbestival thx

  • Camp Bestival - packing

    I had flashmic training today - no it doesn't mean learning how to use a mic whilst wearing a dubious mac, the lovely Jason at Radio Oxford showed me how to turn it on, check levels, record and turn it off, bless him, he also checked that I had producer Cristina's mobile in case I ran into difficulties with it.  I know I'm blonde, but it's not that technical.  Hmm, probably shouldn't have typed that, I'll end up calling Cristina at a critical moment cos I can't find the 'on' button.

    Two children's suitcases packed, halved the clothes that medium sized girl is taking and had meltdown over her iphone and conversations along the lines of :

    'you won't have coverage' - 'you're taking yours, you wouldn't do that if there wasn't coverage'

    'there's  no way of charging it' - 'yes there is, there's wifi and charging in the press tent'

    'you won't need to call, text or email anyone' - 'my friends will want to know what I'm up to and it just CAN'T wait until Monday'.

    'well I'll have to take my ipod instead' - 'you're going to a music festival, there's lots of live music, you won't have time to listen to your ipod'

    iphone has now been confiscated and hidden.

    Small boys suitcase has been emptied of lego, DS games and pokemon cards so there is now room for more than 1 pair of pants in there plus other clothes. Had the conversation again about it being quicker just to wear the clothes he travels down in, sleep in them and just get straight up the next day, repeat until Monday - he's taking at least 2 changes of clothing, under duress.

    Haven't tackled teenager's bag, that's for tomorrow after some sleep.

    My packing - I'm not going down there until Friday morning so haven't even thought about that, I'm on Radio Birmingham at 11.30 tomorrow morning on the lovely Joanne Mallin's show, another coating of St Tropez to do tomorrow night and dogs to take to the Pet Nanny.  Bless them, they're already unhappy as they've seen the suitcases so I have two stressed out labradors who will be howling at our bedroom door tonight being needy.

    Had a lovely glass of wine in the garden this evening with my friend Jayne after she dropped back small boy and three lovely trout that her fab husband Alan had caught this afternoon.  It's been very tempting to take the trout to Camp Bestival and cook them outside the tent with some fresh herbs and lemon juice but that really would be show off cooking, wouldn't it?  So they're going to have to go into the freezer until we get back, although Big Girl and I may have to share one tomorrow  night as it would be a shame not to.  Good excuse to use up the potatoes in the fridge, sauteed, and some fresh lettuce from the garden, lovely.


    Beverley Glock is a food writer and broadcaster, she is the founder of Splat Cooking, her first book '500 baby and toddler foods' is published on 5 September by Apple Press and her APP 'Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea' is released in September.

  • Camp Bestival - quick update on fancy dress

    Just had lunch with my friend Jayne.  We were discussing fancy dress for Camp Bestival, or rather I was raving about the Black Knight costume with the removable arm - we're both Monty Python fans, anyway, Jayne had this brilliant idea - smear spag bol on your face and go as a plague victim.  Fabulous,  I love it, thanks Jayne.

    By the way I've also found a Tim the Enchanter hat, the guy who warns of the white fluffy bunny with 'big, pointy teeth', on a website to buy. Wonder how many of those we'll see at Camp Bestival?

  • Camp Bestival - Medieval Fancy Dress

    I've just had an email from the PR company for Camp Bestival notifying me that that I have to be in fancy dress and the wonderful Smiffy's fancy dress experts to the stars will have a costume waiting for me to collect on Friday - thought I'd get away with that one, obviously not!   So I've been looking through medieval costumes and figuring out what I would like.

    Princess - only if I can have a pointy hat, but actually being Princess Fiona would be cool, just a little worried about being green all weekend without any decent means of getting the green stuff off especially a I've spent ages doing St Tropez.

    Fever Princess - would this help me get an interview with Martin Fry of ABC?  Not really appropriate for a family festival though, although it does have a pointy hat.

    monk - just imagine if ALL the blokes at the festival wore monk costumes, that could be cool,

    tavern wench - actually that looks interesting,

    Maid Marian - a litte boring methinks, although with a green wig it could be good

    pirate - oooh, yes, going as a pirate, well that counts, they were around in medieval times weren't they? History isn't my strong point, maybe they were a little later?  Actually all the pirate costumes look cool, they'd go with my walking boots too. OK maybe that's pushing a bit.

    Maid - actually I quite like this one, a little 'safe' though.

    Braveheart - this one appeals, alternatively you could hire a smurf outfit, put on a scottish accent and pretend that they sent you the wrong item - please, please any Scots out there don't take offence, I just had a 'moment' and my son was watching the preview for the new Smurf movie and it appealed to my very sad sense of humour.

    Sheriff of Nottingham - ooh, now this one appeals, not for wearing but for having Richard Armitage wear it - I so miss Robin Hood, it was a real treat on a Saturday evening.That would be so embarrassing if Richard Armitage is going Camp Bestival and he reads this

    This is the costume I want to wear, it's so cool, the black knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you know, the one where his arm gets chopped off  'tis but a flesh wound' one.  It's fantastic - Smiffys if you have this one at Camp Bestival please can you keep one for me?

    However, this one is the coolest of the cool, you can rent a proper suit of armour, the full thing, in metal it's fab but not sure I'd want to walk from the tent to the site in it.

    You could be totally obtuse and just go with a stuffed snake draped around your neck  as a python - 'monty' python and the Holy Grail or dressed a dragon, this time the dragon won and ate Saint George!

    What are you going as?

    Beverley Glock is a food writer and broadcaster, she's the founder of Splat Cooking and her first book '500 Baby and Toddler Foods' is published on 5 September 2011 by Apple Press,  her APP 'Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea' launches in September from the Apple Store.


  • Camp Bestival - How to take a tent down

    If you've read the previous blog that was all about putting the tent up, Pete is now attempting to take it down.  This is proving difficult due to two large fluffy labradors.  When taking a tent down you need to:

    1.  Take down all the airbeds, pack up the sleeping bags and take everything out of it first - otherwise you will never get it back into the bag.

    In order to do this you need to be on your hands and knees.  In dog language being down on your hands and knees means that you're down there to play with them as you are their height.  It is difficult to take a tent down when one dog is licking your ears and the other one is constantly dropping a toy on your toes or fingers as he wants you to throw it for him.  This is not helped by your wife doubled over laughing (let's face it, it is really funny), not calling the dogs off at all and even worse, taking photos to blog about it.

    2.  Once everything is out start to take down the actual tent while preventing children using the cross braces as lightsabres - this is not your father's definition of 'helping' and stopping Sidney running off with them as they are just posh sticks.

    I've legged it inside and am keeping out of the way typing this instead.  Taking tents down is up there with understanding the offside rule - blokes domain (apart from I do actually understand the offside rule, I just don't let on that I do).

    3.  Make sure you put everything together as it all has to go into the car and that you put the tent in last - this last comment didn't go down well, one of the reasons I ducked and decided it was safer being inside the house.  Neither did 'haven't you got it down yet?' 'what's taking you so long?'- run!

    Oh, the thought of an much more civilised.

    Just for the record, this is not the first time I've been proper camping (Canvas and Eurocamp does not count), when I was 18 years old I went to a Rotaract Camp in Hertford over August Bank holiday.  My mate Ashleigh brought her 6 or 8 man tent and we took double air beds and duvets.  I have no recollection of putting the tent up, I think we managed to sweet talk some blokes into doing that for us.  It rained ALL weekend and we ended up having about 8 other people crashing in our tent as they all had two man tents that looked like a mudslide had torn through them, the rest of the memories are lost in a sea of bacardi or something.  I'm sure Camp Bestival will be a lot different - I only drink bacardi on holiday in hot places and Ivor Biggun and the Red Nosed Burglars won't be playing - yes lead singer Doc Cox from That's Life, wonder what happened to them?

  • Camp Bestival - how to put up a tent


    Two days to go - today's lecture is on how to put up a tent easily, effectively and with little stress.

    1.  Book into a preprepared one, ie a tipi, roundhouse, airstream trailer or yurt preferably with built in furniture and maid service (this is my personal preference, but husband won't consider due to a. too expensive and b. it's cheating) or Tangerine Fields, we can't do this as we're going with friends who are in Camping Plus and they won't be allowed in the Tangerine Fields bit due to bouncers and as we'll be swapping children and fighting over who gets to go home with the little ones and who goes to the silent disco - me, me, me, me, so that's not an option.

    2. Plead work and send your husband down the day before with the younger children to put the tent up.  Arrive the next day with fresh food supplies when everything is up, unpacked, beds blown up, etc and remember to keep your mouth firmly shut to prevent comments like 'oh, couldn't you move it a foot that way?' and 'why didn't put the tent up on the flat, closer to the car park, further away from the loos?' etc as comments like these are highly likely to end your marriage, no matter how much wine you've brought!

    3. Have a fall back position sorted - my friend Amanda has a flat in Swanage, very close to Lulworth, and she's said that if it gets desperate we're very welcome to come and crash at hers - maybe commuting is the way to go.

    We're going for option 2. on the basis that I promise to be very grateful.

    In preparation for this Pete, my lovely husband, put the tent up on Sunday to make sure that he could still remember how to. Also, by doing it in our garden it is more challenging than putting it up in a field as there are two labradors to contend with in our garden and lots of screams of 'who let the flipping dogs out into the garden', 'I thought I told you to keep the kitchen door shut', 'Sidney, Jasper, get out of the damn tent', 'Sidney, come back with the cross brace, it's not a stick'. Humans are far easier to cope with, they don't run off with the cross braces in their mouth thinking they've invented this brilliant new game when all the humans stand around laughing and being extremely unhelpful - sorry, Pete, it was funny.

    Sunday night, tent up, air beds blown up - double one not blowing up, good job we tried this out, find spare only to remember that the reason we bought the new one is because the thingy that stops the air coming out went missing years ago and you  have to sleep with your finger bunged in the air hole to keep it from deflating, hmmm. Can we get the sofa bed in the back of the car?

    Shiny new cooker out of the box, oooh, very exciting, it's massive, looks like the on you get when you do posh camping in France with those static tents that come with everything - apart from this will always stay clean as Pete hasn't bought the gas canister to make it work - sweetheart, that's why it was so light to carry.

    Little uns think this is great and want to sleep over in the tent, ha ha, Pete pleads that he as to work the next day, I comment that he put the tent up so he should sleep in it with his children.  Great idea, lovely night's sleep in my bed. Children and Pete a little tired and cold in the morning after waking up at 5am when it got light.  This was a good idea as now we know we have to bring more blankets too.

    Best practice for further years camping - make husbands put tent up the weekend before and sleep in it to test whether the new sleeping bags are going to be warm enough.  If they have no sleep and are very cold then you need to bring blankets - who needs tog ratings?

    Guess what he's doing tonight?  Trying to get the tent down and packed up into the bag while stopping Sidney commandeering cross braces aka 'helping'. This is going to be great spectator sport - I think I'll try out the new plastic wine glasses and watch him while shouting gently encouragement such as 'Sidney, leave it!'

    Beverley  is a food writer and broadcaster, she is the founder of Splat Cooking and her first book '500 Baby and Toddler Foods' is published by Apple press on 5 September 2011, her APP 'Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea' will be available to download from the Apple Store from September.

  • just had a reminder to take my...

    just had a reminder to take my #divine hot chocolate to #campbestival for my chocolate fix, #divine is a festival essential

  • humph - husband's embargoed co...

    humph - husband's embargoed corned beef hash as essential food for #campbestival call him a foodie!

  • just made the ultimate in mole...

    just made the ultimate in molecular gastronomy - Vimto caviar pearls - lovely in champagne, seriously they really are

  • Camp Bestival - Preparation

    With 3 days to go I am at last feeling rather excited at the prospect of camping, actually, strike that, I'm feeling excited at going to  a festival, camping is a necessary evil as my lovely husband refuses to stump up the price of a posh teepee and is insisting on using our tent.  Humph!

    Our friend, Grant, seasoned festival goer (well, he went last year for the first time so that counts) came over on Friday for strategic planning which involved getting the important things covered:

    No glass on site - take wine in a box, that way you don't have to take plastic glasses as you can just squirt it into your mouth (!) No, we're taking plastic glasses.

    Glow sticks - buy lots so you can attach them to your kids and your tent so you can find both in the dark.

    Solar powered fairy lights - for tent and cart, ditto above.

    No hairdryers, straighteners, tongs, and that's just for Pete and Grant, no seriously we have dry shampoo and hats, lots of hats.

    Fancy dress - medieval theme this year - oooh, very excited, I've found a black knight costume, the one from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, you know, with the arm that gets chopped off, this costume comes with a removable arm that sticks on with gruesome red velcro - unfortunately I've been banned from buying this, very disappointed. So probably down to floral garland for hair, boring.

    Food - very important as I''m recording a show for Radio Oxford.  Grant's cooking for everyone Thursday and we're eating out on Sunday evening so just been to good old M&S to buy tinned stuff, figure they probably have the best tinned stuff on the planet.  My friend Ann-Marie used to be a buyer for them and she says it's great.  Small boy wasn't impressed :

    "Yuk I'm not eating food from a tin!" (proud Mum - my son's a real foodie; real world Mum - my goodness that's scary he's never eaten new potatoes from a tin, this child has missed out on life, I'm actually thinking fondly of new potatoes out of a tin)

    I go into raptures about corned beef hash, oooh I love corned beef hash, scarily my son has never tried this delicacy, call himself a foodie, he's missed on this gourmet dish, need to put things right here - I feel breakfast calling.

    Small boy then spots spag bol and  minced lamb plus dried spaghetti; I grab hot chicken curry and vege curry, naan, and make a mental note to get boil in the bag rice. So that's Saturday night sorted, Friday night will be risotto, porcini risotto for us and probably minced lamb and tinned new potatoes for the children, they can mash up the potatoes and make their own 'crushed new potatoes a la canne' with 'emince d'agneau avec jus et les petites carrottes', love it.  Chocolate bananas with toasted marshmallows to follow. Oh, yes.

    Pudding - Madeira cake, carton of ready made posh custard and tinned raspberries - a positive feast,

    Breakfast - croissants, toast and jam, brioche, cereal with tinned peaches, porridge with apple juice out of an individual carton, sausages and bacon frozen before we leave and kept in a solid freezer box which is NOT opened until we are to use them so they defrost slowly. Or there's always corned beef hash.

    Coffee - I need a coffee first thing in the morning to make the transformation to human being, preferably a latte, so the stove top expresso maker is coming with us but how to get the milk sorted - will it be UHT in small cartons, you can get those in France but not sure about in the UK or skimmed milk powder, the stuff you reconstitute by adding water.  Any advice on this would be gratefully received? Which is best?

    Toilet stuff - I am so proud of this, I've found this fabulous gadget so we don't have to traipse off to the loos in the middle of the night, it's better than a bucket, this is so sad - it's a 'bog in a bag' , a sort of portable commode, a stool with a hole that you put these nappy sack things in.  I  used to have a port-a-potty for the children when they were little, it was fab.  I kept it in the car and unfolded it usually half way  home from the school run on a regular basis by the side of the road and you put these potty liners in, it was brilliant.  This is similar but for grown ups.

    Ear plugs - check

    Blackout eye covers - to be bought

    Hygiene gel - check

    Wet wipes - check

    Deodorant - check

    Trying to persuade small boy that he does need more than one pair of boxers, one T shirt and one pair of shorts for the weekend, and 'no' it won't just be quicker to wear the same clothes, sleep in them and get straight back  into the action the next day as you're fully dressed - still in  negotiation

    One of my friends, who is a glastonbury veteran, apparently facilities there are minimal, almost 'dig your own hole', suggested that we take  nothing and live on chips - hmm, could always write an article totally on the quality of the different chip vendors I there's an idea.





  • apple cocktails with suspended...

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  • I have my press pass for Camp ...

    I have my press pass for Camp Bestival, must remember to pick up outside broadcast gear from Radio Oxford next week, very excited

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    reverse spherification conquered - strawberry jellies with liquid blackcurrant centre - really cool - I love molecular gastronomy

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    I have edible slime on my goggles - that statement makes sense only in our house, hmmm!

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    On air in 10 mins, feeding the family while camping at rock festivals, what do you cook?

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    made ricciarelli this morning, delicious. Recipe development for @splatcooking's summer holiday children's cooking clubs on 3 and 4 August

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    Picked wild strawberries in the
    woods this morning, breakfast calls

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    making Thai green chicken curry with home grownThai Basil just picked from my garden, wow what a day

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    Spent this afternoon helping an A level student learn some molecular gastronomy for her practical exam next week, fingers crossed.

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    Off to Guild of Foodwriters awards, feel like a very proud mum as a judge for one if the categories, can't wait to meet the nominees

  • Top 10 cookery tips for people who can't cook

    This is a piece I wrote for Bathmums, if you're a parent and you live in Bath you have access to this fabulous online magazine giving you the low down what's going on where for families , if you live elsewhere you'll still have access to their fabulous articles but may have to travel to experience some of the great things in Bath - good excuse for a weekend away.

    Here are my Top 10 tips for people who can't cook.  Hope you like them.

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    I have so many cakes, biscuits and scones from the photos shoot today it's desperate - need to stick bikini on larder as reminder not to eat

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    Huge quantities of baking going on for my APP photo shoot, afternoon tea in England will be accurate - it's raining

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    Off to a party, must be summer

  • writing my Science of the Cupc...

    writing my Science of the Cupcake for my APP - or not as I'm on twitter, come on girl get writing, not twittering and no you don't need tea

  • Love the calorie indications i...

    Love the calorie indications in cafes - big girl came home horrified that she'd had 1000 calories with a cupcake and an iced fruit drink

  • Ice cream experiments for @spl...

    Ice cream experiments for @splatcooking's Sat morning cooking club today plus 'magic' choc sauce and heavenly butterscotch sauce, yum

  • At school to make ice cream wi...

    At school to make ice cream with reception for @splatcookings cookery club, proper way and in a bag, vanilla, choc and mint choc chip yeay

  • we h... we have ducklings

  • Off to meet @marcoarrigo, real...

    Off to meet @marcoarrigo, really hope the planet's best coffee meister makes me a coffee, fingers crossed

  • My daughter's a foodie

    I am such a proud Mum, my medium sized daughter, aged 11, has just come back from France, she's been there for 5 days on a school trip and had a fantastic time.  On the final day the children were allowed to go round a local market and buy things.  She came back armed with breakfast and lunch on Saturday for the family.  Instead of buying junk, jewellery or chocolate, my lovely girl bought croissants, waffles, crepes, Madeleines (her little brother's favourite) and the most wonderful cheese from a cheese farm they visit on the way back.  She was thrilled to bit with her stash and the fact that she'd brought breakfast and lunch back from France and was totally unimpressed that some of school friends just went on a chocolate fest.

    I feel very proud that we're cultivating foodie children and breakfast and lunch was fantastic, it was so sunny yesterday that we could imagine we were in France eating her lovely lunch.

  • my new book is available to pr...

    my new book is available to preorder on amazon, 500 Baby and Toddler Foods, I am so excited, only 103 days to go.

  • Shedloads of tomatoes, I've pu...

    Shedloads of tomatoes, I've put them in tubs on my new deck instead of geraniums, eat while you sunbathe, yes, now for wine on tap too

  • My baby girl is taller than me...

    My baby girl is taller than me, bless

  • Rhubarb Tarts for Splat Cooking Saturday Cooking Club

    On the menu this morning are rhubarb tarts as the rhubarb in the garden is ready for picking so we’ll make the most of it and pick it before we start any food prep, yeay, this is what cooking is all about – growing it and cooking it, then eating it of course.  I hope this will give the children a real feel for where food comes from as I remember my grandad growing rhubarb in a bucket in the back yard when I was little so even though he didn’t have a garden it didn’t stop him growing food.

    My small boy, aged 9, dislikes rhubarb but he loves the shortbread base we make for the sweet fruit tarts and he loves the rhubarb juice that leaves the lovely sticky imprint on the bottom of the tart if you pick off the rhubarb.  He’s had a bright idea that we’re going to try this morning, making rhubarb cookies.  So we’re going to use the tart base, turn them into biscuits as well as tarts and see if it works.  I’ll let you know later, off to prep the kitchen.

  • thanks Paolo @franchiseedsUK f...

    thanks Paolo @franchiseedsUK for coming on my show and giving fabulous advice about growing your own veg, have a great time in Italy

  • thank you @alexmackaycooks for...

    thank you @alexmackaycooks for coming on the show, sorry I didn't actually get to talk to you, we'll have it sorted next time when Jo's back

  • Feeding the Family - BBC Oxford 95.2FM

    My new show starts today from 1pm-1.45pm on BBC Oxford 95.2FM, if you're not in the Oxford area then listen online.

    The wonderful Sarah Flower joins me with  her wealth of experience and expertise as a nutritionist and cooking healthily on a budget.  Also on the show today are Alex MacKay who share's my passion for getting children cooking. Alex and I have worked together at the Children's Food Festival for the past couple of years and he's a real hoot.

    The charming Paolo Arrigo who runs Franchi Seeds of Italy is also on the show and we'll be talking about how to encourage children grow, cook and eat food.  What should you be planting now?  Listen to the show and find out.

    If you have any questions for myself and Sarah please call in on 08459 311 111

    Hope you like the show

  • Food Festivals - Sani Resort, Halkidiki

    In my time I've presented in the cookery theatre, ran workshops, MC'd at a good few food festivals.  Henley, Hampshire, Chilterns, Oxford Foodies, Oxford Castle, Children's Food Festival, and others.  The facilities vary dramatically. Some are held in a marquee the middle of a field with one working burner, a bit like  camping, especially when it's -5 outside, the snow is coming in through the gaps in the marquee and you can't feel your fingers to prep, oh, and you have to wear wellies as backstage the mud comes over your ankles.  Some are in state of the art Rangemaster Cookery Theatres and I've cooked alongside Cookery Royalty like Mary Berry, Raymond Blanc and Sophie Grigson.  Some are in stately homes such as Sulgrave Manor, Loosely House, Hatfield House.  All of them are fabulous fun, and if I have one person who comes over at the end, takes a recipe and declares that they have been inspired to recreate my dish when they go home then it's all worthwhile.

    However, I've just found the ultimate Food Festival - if you know of more please do tell.  This is my dream food festival, not in a marquee in cold, wet England but in Halkidiki in Greece, not only in lovely warm sunshine but in one of the most wonderful hotels on the island, the Sani Resort.  Sani Resort

    are hosting the Sani Gourmet Culinary Festival from 13 May to 22 May.  Oh, what I'd give to be there, the line up is fantastic.  When you click on their website the tab comes up with 'Gourmet Landing Page' - love it.

    There are a scary number of Michelin stars on the line up all cooking New Greek Cuisine, amazing food in an amazing location, my idea of heaven.  Get on a plane quickly and let me know what you think.  Greek food is usually delicious as fresh locally sourced ingredients are used, fruit and vegetables ripened in the sun rather than under plastic like in the UK but when these chefs get their hands on these ingredients they take food to the next level. Next year maybe.

  • Off to the House of Commons to...

    Off to the House of Commons to a reception for Coeliac Week, check out my recipes on their website, very excited

  • satu... saturday kids cooking club, @BritAsparagus and ham tarts, very proud of my cookery school children

  • Three children down the allotm...

    Three children down the allotment shouldn't be this stressful, currently hiding in the shed, must bring sherry next time

  • Off to my mate Mels to try out...

    Off to my mate Mels to try out her new pool - how posh does that sound? Even better, she's cooking and I'm doing pud, the ultimate cheat ...

  • I have a new show on BBC Radio...

    I have a new show on BBC Radio Oxford starting 20 May, Feeding the Family, what would foodie topics would you like covered? And guests?

  • Can anyone lend me a black lig...

    Can anyone lend me a black light, now? Please?

  • glow in the dark dinosaur jell...

    glow in the dark dinosaur jellies in the fridge, roarrrrr!

  • Prince Harry and the Half Bald...

    Prince Harry and the Half Bald Prince - love it, thanks teenage daughter

  • Buckingham Palace in Gingerbread

    Thought this was an appropriate posting for the Royal Wedding Day.  This is a photo of Buckingham Palace I made in gingerbread for a PR stunt for Country Living a couple of years ago.  It was eventually almost cemented together to keep it going for a number of weeks and it succeeded until we brought it home in a truck after all the events and my lovely labrador managed to get to it.  He likes gingerbread..........

    Reminds me a bit of the Goodies programme when the giant kitten climbed up the Telecom Tower, can't help imagining a giant chocolate labrador trying to eat the real Buckingham Palace during the wedding reception - it would make great TV though.

  • I was really the arch bishop t...

    I was really hoping the arch bishop to say 'goat' instead of 'ghost'

  • Come on Arch Bish you could ha...

    Come on Arch Bish you could have had a hair cut

  • Why isn't Sam Cameron wearing ...

    Why isn't Sam Cameron wearing a hat?or is it so small you can't see it

  • My dogs don't appreciate the r...

    My dogs don't appreciate the royal wedding, they're fighting over a ball and demanding attention

  • Loving Camilla's hat but Sophi...

    Loving Camilla's hat but Sophies got bunny ears, someone tell her the Easter bunny was last weekend

  • making cupcakes for street par...

    making cupcakes for street party tomorrow, thinking blue tulip wraps, lemon cupcakes with lemon sugar syrup and frosting with red roses

  • Want some inspiration on what ...

    Want some inspiration on what to cook with the kids over the weekend? Check out my recipes on @ocadouk's website

  • Where did I put my bunny suit?

    Where did I put my bunny suit?

  • Homemade store cupboard tapena...

    Homemade store cupboard tapenade with roasted veg and salmon for supper, yum, tapenade went down a storm, so much nicer than from a jar

  • Hi ho silver lining.....yeay

    Hi ho silver lining.....yeay

  • Just cleared the bar, I know A...

    Just cleared the bar, I know ALL the words to summer of 69 and I sing very bafly

  • Anyone know the dance Togo wit...

    Anyone know the dance Togo with the locomotion, i think the 'slosh' will do but cant remember it

  • At a party - friends joint 50t...

    At a party - friends joint 50th, no I'm not that old yet, in Staffs, no kids or dogs, find me champagne NOW!

  • Good luck if you're doing the ...

    Good luck if you're doing the Lindon Marathon, happy memories of doing it 4 yrs ago, wd love to run it again but knee not up to it

  • Off to @vistamar for pre dinne...

    Off to @vistamar for pre dinner drinks, as voted by small boy rather than going fosselling, impressed

  • Small boy's been paddling in t...

    Small boy's been paddling in the North Sea, apparently it's very cold, I used to swim in it a long time ago and NEVER in April

  • At Pacittos in Redcar, lemon t...

    At Pacittos in Redcar, lemon tops with sprinkles all round apart for a chocolate sundae for me and two kids plain ices for the dog, outside!

  • Saltburn woods are amazing, fi...

    Saltburn woods are amazing, filled with primroses, violets, bluebells and wild garlic, off to buy new potatoes, back to forage later

  • On the beach in Saltburn, in a...

    On the beach in Saltburn, in a t shirt too, unseasonably warm for up here almost bikini weather

  • I can see Roseberry Topping, m...

    I can see Roseberry Topping, my special hill

  • Lambs!!


  • Impressed at new Little Chef, ...

    Impressed at new Little Chef, birdsong piped into loos and blue sky painted ceiling, lovely. Didn't try the food but looked inviting

  • On M1 heading for the wilds an...

    On M1 heading for the wilds and frozen wastes of the North, wellies packed, bikinis left at home, North East seaside here we come

  • Simnel cupcakes recipe http://...

    Simnel cupcakes recipe

  • Chocolate chip hot cross buns ...

    Chocolate chip hot cross buns recipe

  • Easter Biscuits recipe, great ...

    Easter Biscuits recipe, great for the children to make during the holidays

  • Simnel Cupcakes

    Simnel cakes were traditionally made for Mothering Sunday when people in service were given the Sunday off to go home to their Mother Church.
  • Chocolate chip hot cross buns

    Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten for breakfast on Good Friday, hot from the oven. It is said that buns baked on Good Friday have magical powers and that they will keep for a year without going mouldy. I wouldn’t try it if I were you.

    I have used muffin tins and muffin wraps to make the buns, they look nice and are easy to transport if you plan to give some as a gift. Home made buns do not keep as well as shop bought so make sure you eat them within 24 hours or freeze them and defrost when you wish to eat them.

    First Mix:
    200ml warm milk
    1 tsp muscovado sugar
    100g strong plain flour
    1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast

    Second Mix:
    50g Pure Margarine or Butter
    50g light muscovado sugar
    300g strong plain flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp ground mixed spice
    Half tsp ground nutmeg
    125g mixed dried fruits
    75g dark chocolate chips
    2 medium eggs, beaten

    2 tbsp plain flour and water

    How to make chocolate chip hot cross buns... WASH YOUR HANDS

    1. First Mix: Mix warm milk with the muscovado sugar, strong plain flour and the yeast - stir until smooth. Set aside for 15 minutes.
    2. Second Mix: Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, dried fruits, chocolate chips and add the yeast mixture, melted butter and eggs. Stir until combined to a dough. Add a little extra flour if dough is sticky.
    3. Tip dough onto lightly floured baking parchment and divide evenly into 12 - use one hand to knead the edges of each piece of dough into the centre and the other to keep turning the dough as you knead. When the dough balls are smooth turn each one over so the rounded side is on top.
    4. Place your hand over each dough ball like a claw and rotate round and round until you have a perfectly round shape on the bottom. Drop into the muffin cases in the trays, cover with clingfilm and leave in warm place for 45 minutes.
    5. Ask an adult to preheat the oven to 180oc/gas mark 4.
    6. Crosses: Mix flour and water together to form a stiff paste. Put into piping bag / plastic bags with end snipped off and pipe crosses on to hot cross buns.
    7. Ask an adult to bake the bunsfor 25 minutes until golden brown.


  • Easter Biscuits

    Ingredients: for 12 Biscuits

    230g plain ‘00’ flour
    90g soft butter or margarine
    100g caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    half a teaspoon ginger
    grated zest of one orange (preferably a waxed orange)
    50g Currants
    half a teaspoon baking powder
    half a teaspoon salt

    How to make Easter Biscuits ... WASH YOUR HANDS

    1. Ask an adult to turn the oven onto 170°c/Gas Mark 4 and put a shelf onto the bottom runner.
    2. Line the baking trays with sheets of baking parchment.
    3. Weigh out the butter and sugar, place these into the mixing bowl. Ask an adult to help you to cream the sugar and butter together until the mixture is pale, white and fluffy. using the wooden spoon It should drop off the end of a spoon easily. Add the egg, grated orange, cinnamon and ginger and beat again until well mixed.
    4. Weigh out the flour, measure the baking powder and salt, place the sieve over the mixing bowl and sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture. Add the currants.
    5. Using the wooden spoon, stir everything together to form a dough. You may find it easier to do this using your hands, this is why you wash them first. Split into two and wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for 1 hour at least, to make it easier to roll out.
    6. Place the dough (removing the cling film first!) between two sheets of baking parchment on a clean, flat surface, gently flatten the dough - do not press too hard. Place the rolling pin on top of the baking parchment and roll the dough out until it is around 1 cm thick. This prevents any mess as the dough will not stick and you can re-roll as many times as you like without the dough getting tough from using extra flour, if the mixture is very sticky then sprinkle with a little flour.
    7. Carefully use the cookie cutters to cut out Easter shapes. Place these onto the lined baking trays. Gather up the remaining dough, press it together and roll out again to make the remaining biscuits.
    8. Use the fork to gently stab each biscuit, (don’t worry, as long as you do this gently they think you’re tickling them and it won’t hurt) this will stop them puffing up in the oven.
    9. Ask an adult to put the baking trays into the oven (Aga: Roasting Oven, shelf on oven floor) for 15-20 minutes (Aga for about 8-10 minutes). When the biscuits turn golden brown they are ready.
    10. Ask an adult to remove them from the oven and leave them to cool for 10-15 minutes before you move them onto the wire rack. DO NOT attempt to remove them sooner or they will break.
    11. Dust with a sprinkling of caster sugar.
  • Beverley's new show on BBC Radio Oxford

    Really, really excited, I've got my own show on BBC Radio Oxford starting on Friday 20 May.  Yeay, however, I have been restricted to 45 minutes - someone's just asked me how I'm going to talk for 45 minutes, the question really is how am I going to stop talking after 45 minutes?

    My new show 'Feeding the Family' runs from 1pm-1.45pm monthly and it will be interactive so please call with your views, ideas, foodie tips, food issues, stories, whatever, i'd love to hear from you.  I'm also thinking about who I'd like on the show as guests so again let me know who you would like to hear from and about what, as long as it's relating to 'feeding the family' and I'll see what I can do.

    BBC radio oxford is available on 95.2FM or via BBC iPlayer.

  • At the theatre for a spot of c...

    At the theatre for a spot of culture.... Or not! Horrible histories, awful Egyptians

  • Back on my bike - Kop Hill is mine

    Back on my bike after nasty crash the other week, still have large lump on my shin but everything else back to normal.  So third time out this year and starting to get really panicky about losing half a stone to look half way decent in shorts, yes I love maxi dresses but refuse to live in them. Last two rides have been on the flat, so today I'm going for the hills.

    Decided not to go straight up Kop Hill, that's for next week (yeah right), and went the long way round up by the Pink and Lily Pub.  Two rests to get breath back while chanting "I will never eat chocolate, cake, biscuits and crisps ever again" and thinking that I will never get this flabby and unfit ever again, i got to the top of the Chilterns without walking, getting off and got my heart beat down fairly quickly.  So, a bit chuffed about, still flabby but can't be that unfit, YES!

    The coming down was brilliant, must get my garmin on charge so I can get a definite speed but reckon I hit 30 mph at least, maybe 40mph at one downhill part before I chickened out and hit the brake.  Highest speed ever was when Pete and I were doing the Polaris in Wales, days before children on our off road tandem and we hit 70kph, I was on the back with my eyes closed praying, but that was a while ago, not sure that 70kph is in miles, around 55 mph I think.

    Brilliant ride in the sunshine, still chanting "I will never eat chocolate, cake, crisps and biscuits ever again" but feeling good.  The only downside was on the way back on the main road a bloke in a red Landrover Discovery flashed his lights at me, I thought stupidly that he was using them for their correct purpose, ie. to warn me of a hazard.  I did think that if he was warning me of a speed trap that he was a little ambitious in his judgement of my speed but maybe he was impressed, until I realised that he was giving my a really rude hand signal.  Obviously a reflection of his mental age and IQ, I am female and I do not have the parts on my anatomy to do what his hand signal suggested.  I love landrovers, can we please ban anyone with a mental age of under 5 or an IQ of sub 70driving them.  German shepherd dogs have an IQ of around 70, this chap was an insult to these lovely dogs as they are obviously brighter but not allowed to drive landrovers.

  • just found dead black/white ca...

    just found dead black/white cat with blue collar on Kop Hill, taken to Sprintz and Nash vets in Princes Risborough, please RT to find owner

  • check out @splatcooking Simnel...

    check out @splatcooking Simnel Cake recipe for Easter for the children to make on

  • had a fantastic time @Daylesfo...

    had a fantastic time @DaylesfordFarm yesterday with their amazing chef Vlad, just had sourdough bread and their goats cheese for lunch, yum

  • big girl's using homemade gree...

    big girl's using homemade green curry paste for food tech, just asked if I have a banana leaf she can take too....staple food, of course?

  • There's a duck sitting on our ...

    There's a duck sitting on our roof - it must be spring

  • Looking for asst office mgr fo...

    Looking for asst office mgr for cookery school and on line business in Bucks any one interested?

  • Smug mum - two children decora...

    Smug mum - two children decorating cake pops, not a tv, club penguin or DS in sight, YES! Ok chocolate all over but I can cope with that

  • Cake pops for Grandma's birthd...

    Cake pops for Grandma's birthday made by the children and coconut lime cake just out of the oven for birthday cake, M25 here we come

  • Gluten Free Challenge 16-22 May for Coeliac Awareness Week

    For just one week in May, that's 7 days, take the Gluten Free Challenge for Coeliac awareness week.  Fortunately I don't have Coeliac disease but I do have to be careful about eating wheat, especially if I'm stressed and if I eat too much I suffer. I love bread it just doesn't love me so I totally empathise with everyone who is intolerant or allergic to wheat.

    Trying to avoid wheat can be a complete nightmare, you spend half your life reading ingredients lists in supermarkets, avoiding food like some brands of Soy Sauce as well as all those lovely baked goods and pasta.  Then there are the attempts to eat out, the amount of restaurants who have no idea what 'gluten-free' means is a little like trying to explain to some restaurants in France that vegetarian means you don't eat fish, poultry and pork, not just red meat.  OK they have changed a bit but I remember having that argument a few years ago in a number of places ...... mussels are OK, they don't have faces?  (aaaargh!)  I digress.

    May 16-22 is the Coeliac Society's Awareness Week and all they're asking is for you to give up eating gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  People with Coeliac disease have to avoid this protein as it causes their body to attack itself.

    To support Awareness Week all they're asking is to help raise awareness of the condition by going gluten-free for the week, having a gluten-free dinner party, if you're eating out encourage the whole party to request gluten-free food at the restaurant, getting your office to have gluten-free lunches.

    You may be surprised that you feel better by giving up gluten for a week, you never know.

    Myself and other celebrity chefs such as the wonderful Phil Vickery have put together some gluten-free recipes to tempt you all into trying gluiten-free food for the week, mine are chocolate cakes to prove that you don't have to live without chocolate cake if you can't have gluten, to find out more and discover our lovely gluten-free recipes check out the Coeliac Society's website.

  • My medium sized girl has just ...

    My medium sized girl has just made truly heavenly shortbread biscuits for Grandma's birthday present, hope they last until tomorrow

  • Oh no, parent control button l...

    Oh no, parent control button loaded, I have to be careful what I tweet as my daughter is following me!

  • prepping for Thai workshop, ra...

    prepping for Thai workshop, raw coconut lime cake mix for breakfast, yum

  • my allsaints parachute frock h...

    my allsaints parachute frock has won, it's way too big and I can't figure it out so it's going home, looks much better on the photo, sob

  • Beans the black labrador has b...

    Beans the black labrador has been returned to his owners, some good news in amongst all the bad, yeay

  • Just ordered a new frock from ...

    Just ordered a new frock from #allsaints it comes with instructions, first obstacle is how to put it on

  • Pancakes coming up, who would ...

    Pancakes coming up, who would like some?

  • Picnic Lunch at the Allotment

    The sun is out so I sent my lovely husband out this morning to buy a spade, fork, rake and hoe for the allotment along with a padlock for the shed so we could store the tools up there and not have to worry about lugging them over every time.

    We decided to have a picnic lunch, we are British after all, there's no such thing as bad weather just inappropriate clothing.  Let's face it if we never ate outside unless it was warm and sunny we'd never eat outside would we?  This was far cry from the picnics I remember with my Mum and Dad.  These usually consisted of cheese sandwiches on white bread and a packet of biscuits, eaten in the landrover as it usually rained and my Mum didn't do 'sitting on the grass'.

    We spent 2 hours at the allotment, digging it over, raking it, eating the picnic on the planks (must remember to take the deckchair next time, oooh, and install a still), small boy and medium sized girl went off to eat their picnic in the car in good old North Yorkshire tradition. We left big girl at home in bed, well it was a bit early for her, the sun was still up. I had to contend with my beloved husband constantly harping on about 'you can't plant anything yet, you have to go by the planting plan' (yeah right, that means we ought to devise one then?), 'you need to prep the soil bit by bit so you won't be able to plant the whole thing for at least a year, do it bit by bit, nag, nag, nag'.  OK, he does have a small point.  My idea of gardening is going to the garden centre and buying plants, bringing them home and leaving them until my lovely husband plants them, usually in the dark as I've forgotten about them.  What's wrong with that then?  Alternatively order from Rocket Gardens, but this would an awfully expensive option for the size for our allotment, so seeds it is.

    After a lovely lunch of marinated chicken with leftover red grapefruit salsa from cooking club yesterday, finished off with baby spinach and citrus dressing in a wholemeal wrap we carried on with my husband creasing up laughing and accusing me of having OCD due to my determination to finish off the bit I was doing so it was dead straight and at right angles.  No matter what I do it will be wrong, may as well just go and buy some plants and wait for the plant fairy to plant them.

    I've asked the lovely Paolo Arrigo at Seeds of Italy to help me with a planting plan @FranchiSeedsUK have some fabulous seeds and they're all amazing quality so I'm now waiting in anticipation.  I'm thinking different coloured carrots, blue potatoes, aubergines, peppers, peas, beans, stripy beetroot and we'll have to move all the remaining raspberry canes up there before Sidney our black labrador eats every last scrap of them - lovely raspberry flavoured sticks!

    We dug out the last of the produce so we have home grown leeks to go with our roast beef and the trimmings, boy I am so tired it's pathetic, an hour down the gym followed by 2 hours at the allotment, didn't make it out on my bike, must be getting old. Oh no, not going there, refuse to get old, mind you the children were tired and the last hour in the car playing on their Nintendos so maybe I shouldn't feel too bad.

  • Ice cream in the garden - summ...

    Ice cream in the garden - summers here

  • I figure I can save a fortune ...

    I figure I can save a fortune on fake tan by cycling up here on a regular basis and gardening in a bikini, ah but this is England

  • First picnic of the year, havi...

    First picnic of the year, having a fab time at the allotment but forgot the deckchair so eating in true picnic style

  • marinaded the chicken, now to ...

    marinaded the chicken, now to make up the picnic, flatbreads, peppers, chicken, left over red grapefruit salsa from yesterday....allotment

  • Gym, bike, allotment - then fu...

    Gym, bike, allotment - then full on Rib of Beef, Yorkshires and all the trimmings, I think I'll have earned it by then

  • Heidi the long haired dachshun...

    Heidi the long haired dachshund is famous, move over Marcus Brigstock you're time is up

  • Watch let's dance for comic re...

    Watch let's dance for comic relief, my friends dog, Heidi, is on it, not dancing but at the beginning, yeay

  • just finishing off May edition...

    just finishing off May edition piece for Mantra Magazine, i have wine waiting, excellent reward for hard evenings work.

  • Support Fairtrade Fortnight ...

    Support Fairtrade Fortnight , add a #twibbon now! - - Create one here -

  • Strawberries from @waitroseUK ...

    Strawberries from @waitroseUK were delicious for my latest show on @Buckstv, we all support #FairtradeFortnight

  • #FairtradeFortnight begins tom...

    #FairtradeFortnight begins tomorrow what are you doing to support it? I'm going into Gateway school in Bucks to run workshops with year 6

  • the lovely Ruby, my @KitchenAi...

    the lovely Ruby, my @KitchenAidUK features in my interview with David Greenwood-Haigh of @divinechocolate

  • Fair Trade Fortnight - 28 Feb to 13 March

    Fair Trade fortnight begins tomorrow and my interview with the charming David Greenwood-Haigh of Divine Chocolate is now live on BucksTV website, if your school is doing something for Fair Trade Fortnight please let us know as we'd love to blog about it.

    This two week period is a great time to create awareness of the different Fair Trade products such as chocolate, coffee, bananas, spices and a whole heap of other food and products, why not take your children shopping and see how many different types of fair trade products you can find in the supermarket and let us know.

    On 7 March David and I are going into Gateway School in Great Missenden to talk to the children in year 6 about Fair Trade and getting them cooking with Divine Chocolate as we love it so much we thought we ought to share. If your school would like the Splat Cooking Team to come talk about Fair Trade or run a cooking workshop then please contact us we'd love to share our enthusiasm for food, cooking and Fair Trade.

  • Will have to live in my belove...

    Will have to live in my beloved DMs all week, my leg is so swollen I can't get my high heeled boots on....good excuse!!

  • Ow


  • Bike crash, women should be ba...

    Bike crash, women should be banned from driving X5s unless they know how to stop, bloody knee and major bruises, glad it's not summer, grrrr

  • crisis - no chilled wine, omg ...

    crisis - no chilled wine, omg husband sacked

  • Breast milk ice cream

    Victoria has just tweeted an article about using breast milk to make ice cream. Views anyone?

    I had this debate with my publisher over the adult version of the ice cream for toddlers in my new book coming out in September, 500 Baby and Toddler Foods.  The recipe for children under 12 months recommends using breast or formula milk to make the ice cream.  As the recipes are aimed at all the family eating together we discussed how this would go down, would the rest of the family eat ice cream made with breast milk?  After much debate, we wussed out and suggested in the recipe that for the rest of the family the milk should be cows milk not breast milk.

    In fact, what's wrong with adults drinking breast milk - not straight from the breast though?  Seriously, cows milk is designed for baby cows and we milk the cows to give the milk to our children and we drink it ourselves, we also drink goats and sheep milk.  In Ancient Rome they used mare's milk as they had a lot of horses around, in Tibet they drink yak's milk.  Humans make milk which is designed for baby humans but what's wrong with adult humans drinking breast milk?

    I think there are underlying connotations about it being thought of as slightly kinky, a little gross maybe.  But surely that's daft, it's designed for us, it's better suited for us and just look at the amount of people who have allergies to cows milk.

    My thoughts on the book were to leave it in and wait for the letters, my publisher agreed with my argument but decided to be policially correct and  change it, probably for the best, but it really is daft.  Maybe we should just get over ourselves and stop being silly and drink breast milk.  What do you think?

  • Monopoly city marathon

    Monopoly city marathon

  • Very proud mum, big girl won g...

    Very proud mum, big girl won gold, totally aggressively brilliant judo teenager, watch out lads

  • Yeay big girl just won first r...

    Yeay big girl just won first round

  • Teat big girl just won first r...

    Teat big girl just won first round

  • Ooohh big girl about to go on ...

    Ooohh big girl about to go on the mat for her first judo tournament, go girl

  • Who else thinks this is atroci...

    Who else thinks this is atrocious at a kids sporting venue, no winder so many kids are obese, I feel an exposes coming on, need tv producer

  • ...when I complained the obese...

    ...when I complained the obese lady taking orders said there was nothing with the menu, that's what kids liked and that's what she fed hers.

  • At Wycombe judo centre for big...

    At Wycombe judo centre for big girls competition, appalled at the cafe, ALL the food is fried, not a baked spud or fruit in sight....

  • made cake pops, eaten cake pop...

    made cake pops, eaten cake pops, been to the gym, worked off cake pop, does that mean I can have another?

  • big girl has her band over for...

    big girl has her band over for band practice, very loud but really good, just as long as I don't have to be professional on the phone.

  • tired after a long day filming...

    tired after a long day filming and eating way too much @divinechocolate during the filming for the #fairtrade fortnight piece, yummy though

  • Fake tan on, wet walk with the...

    Fake tan on, wet walk with the dogs before glamming up for photo shoot, hah should see how unglam I look now, lodas of mud

  • Filming #Fairtrade piece tomor...

    Filming #Fairtrade piece tomorrow with @buckstv and pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday, anyone going to Olney for the pancake race?

  • Decorating cakes, making scone...

    Decorating cakes, making scones and blueberry jam, finishing off cake pops for photo shoot tomorrow

  • Small Boy's Birthday Cupcakes

    My son was 9 years old last week, he decided that he wanted to make his own birthday cake.  Yes, I knew that after the years of hardwork, just about every single book that Debbie Brown has ever written and 5 days of making fabulous sugarpaste creations for my three children that this day would come.  I just didn't think it would be my small boy who decided to do it himself, I think I figured it was more likely to be his 14 or 11 year old sisters, just because they're older.  How wrong was I?

    Small boy wanted to make cupcakes, in beautiful tulip wraps from, he made the cupcakes, made the frosting and then decorated them himself.  He even designed two extra special cupcakes for his two BFFs who were coming sledging with us on his birthday then out for lunch. These special cupcakes were then gently placed in cello bags, tied lovingly with ribbon with handmade cards reading 'handmade by ......' and signed. He was very proud.

    The rest sat in an unadorned tupperware container ready to be produced at Frankie and Benny's where he'd chosen to have his birthday lunch.

    Sledging went well, pretty damned brilliant actually, then Frankie and Benny's.  Small Boy took one look at the menu and declared that it was rubbish and they didn't have any decent food, it was all rubbish food.  Sometimes I'm very proud of my children. However, at 1.30pm with 5 starving children we didn't have much choice, hence small boy had most of my steak.

    The manager took the cupcakes to put on a plate, opened the lid and said 'wow, these are wonderful, where did you buy them from', I explained that small boy had made them, she just looked at him in in amazement and I don't think she really believed him until his sisters stuck up for him and said what a fabulous cook he was.  They were taken off into the kitchen and brought out on a lovely plate along with more of the staff coming to congratulate small boy on his decorating techniques.  Frankie and Benny's may make rubbish food but the staff are certainly lovely.

    His guests were very thrilled and I am a very proud Mum.

  • Just seen a ready made cake wh...

    Just seen a ready made cake which has instructions on the box on how to cut it - health and safety gone mad
    Or human race that stupid?

  • Off to do laser paintball for ...

    Off to do laser paintball for small boys birthday after a morning making cake pops

  • off to bed, early start tomorr...

    off to bed, early start tomorrow on cake pops for small boy's birthday party.

  • brain hurts, just completed 4 ...

    brain hurts, just completed 4 passport applications on line, brain about to explode, I hate doing these, need wine.......lots of wine.....

  • Now onto whether gnomes can cr...

    Now onto whether gnomes can cry when it's not raining

  • Aaargh philosophical debate ab...

    Aaargh philosophical debate about whether gnomes are born or made and how they get children is raging in back of car

  • Gnomeo and Juliet absolutely b...

    Gnomeo and Juliet absolutely brilliant, got told off for cheering and clapping in the cinema

  • off to see Gnomeo and Juliet, ...

    off to see Gnomeo and Juliet, I like gnomes, we have some living in our garden much to husband's disgust, heh heh heh

  • first lot of cakes out of the ...

    first lot of cakes out of the oven in @splatcooking gorgeous tulip wraps, chocolate cake mix in the oven for cake pops experimentation later

  • Off to the kitchen to commune ...

    Off to the kitchen to commune with the lovely @KitchenAidUK Ruby to make small boys birthday party cupcakes for party bags tomorrow

  • Half term cooking classes, win...

    Half term cooking classes, winter warmers with @JoannaAtSplat and @StephatSplat and In season with me, check out on @splatcooking website

  • tomorrow will be spent making ...

    tomorrow will be spent making cupcakes for small boy's big party, he wants each guest to have a beautiful cupcake for party bags

  • Need advice on what to plant i...

    Need advice on what to plant in my allotment, needs sorting from scratch, I'm not green-fingered so needs to be easy to grow and hardy

  • yum, strawberries dunked in me...

    yum, strawberries dunked in melted chocolate, heaven, need wine to wash them down.

  • just made quick, delicious and...

    just made quick, delicious and low fat Thai chicken and veg tom yum soup with a few noodles thrown in for good measure, lovely and spicy

  • Big girl made choux pastry in ...

    Big girl made choux pastry in food tech, she's making the chocolate sauce now, I think some professional tasting is called for.

  • I'm on @Joannemalinbbc show to...

    I'm on @Joannemalinbbc show tomorrow around 10.35 to talk about getting children cooking over half term, let me know what you think.

  • Searching for children to set ...

    Searching for children to set the table over the sound of big girls drumming, Linkin Park sounds fab, dinner smells great, drinks outside?

  • Chicken marinating, veg stew i...

    Chicken marinating, veg stew in oven, husband quoiffing wine, childrens homework done, feel like a proper Mum, won't last .... Ah drums

  • Husband says he's looking forw...

    Husband says he's looking forward to having a drink outside by the pond. Wuss, we have umbrellas and coats so what's wrong with NOW?

  • Omg meant 'kill' as in kill fo...

    Omg meant 'kill' as in kill for food source not as in 'kill' your best mate for buying the same frock as you

  • Men are there to kill and fora...

    Men are there to kill and forage... Husband home early so sent him into garden for oregano so I don't get wet, yes!

  • Beating up chicken breasts to ...

    Beating up chicken breasts to marnade for supper, not sure who's winning though