Monthly Archives: August 2013

  • 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.

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