BBC Oxford

  • 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



  • 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.






  • 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.

  • 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


4 Item(s)