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Uncategorized

National Events and Trip to the Seaside

It has been a while since I wrote a blog but I am away in my caravan just now and it feels so relaxing the time is right to put fingers to keyboard. May was a fun month for me, workwise I was involved with a couple of events with the https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/ . In normal times there is a rally called The National which is a very popular event. This year once again it was held virtually and I had a couple of things to do. The first was setting the baking challenge. The competition was to make a cake to my recipe and then decorate and top it with a National theme. I made mine using video clips to show my process and it was such a laugh doing it. My cake looked quite splendid too!

The next event was hosting an Zoom BBQ. I was very excited about this as I have become like so many people a bit of a zoom expert with most of my work being conducted this way. We hitched up the caravan and travelled down to the Gatwick Club site to stay for a few days and have the BBQ on the Saturday. I made some chicken and pineapple skewers, a glaze of homemade BBQ sauce and a tropical tomato salad. It was great weather for it and it was really great to do.

The day after this we hitched up again and moved in very slow Bank Holiday traffic to the Brighton club site which is only normally a half hour journey. The sun was blazing and the Brighton Blue sky was waiting to welcome us.

It was our eldest daughters birthday so and she lives in Brighton so we were delighted to be re united with her and to enjoy time on the beach and in the green spaces in Brighton of which there are many.

The weather remained perfect for Al Fresco cooking so we got busy with the BBQ once again. This time we gave the charcoal a turn instead of the Cadac which I used for the zoom. I love all the smoke and traditional smells it gives off.

I made some lamb and feta burgers with chopped up apricot in the mix too, I griddled some of the apricots on the BBQ too along with good old bangers and glazed chicken thighs. very scrummy with a cold glass of rose to help it all along.

caravanners and motorhomers that hook up to electricity might be interested in one of these. I bought this Instapot mini airfryer for this trip and I have used it for loads of things, the chips here are the best! https://www.instantpot.co.uk/

We are still on the site at Brighton and are looking forward to another couple of days here. the site is a perfect location, hidden away up by the Marina but just a ten minute walk to the regular as clockwork buses into town or a nice walk along the beach to town if your are after a bit of a leg stretch.

I will be using the caravan a few times this summer to attend Food Festivals where I am booked to work, Bath, Blenheim and Denbies to name but a few these are with https://fantasticfoodfestivals.co.uk/ but I am also booked with https://www.channelevents.co.uk/ and https://chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk/ I find it really useful to have my kitchen with me on my travels. Now I really must get out and sit in my deckchair, bye for now!

Baking Christmas Recipe Uncategorized

Vegan Wellington

I made this recipe as a main dish for our Vegan daughters Christmas meal. The pastry I made from scratch but most shop bought Puff Pastry is vegan so its easy to use that too.This is what I did.

Pastry

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour

200g Vegan block (must be hard/solid, I bought mine from Sainsbury)

1 Tsp lemon Juice

1 tsp salt

150ml chilled water

(extra flour for dusting/ rolling)

Soya milk (for brushing to seal and glaze)

Method

Pre heat oven 20 210c

Place flour, salt, lemon juice into a mixing bowl. Chop the vegan block into dice and add to the flour. Stir it around to coat with flour. Add about two thirds of the water and mix to form a soft dough, add more of the water if needed. At this point we do not want to blend the vegan block into the flour. Just ball it all up with cold hands, wrap in film and place in th fridge for half an hour.

Remove from fridge onto a well floured surface and roll out to about an A4 rectangle. keep dusting the pin and surface to stop it sticking. Keep the edges neat. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up to cover the top. Wrap in film and chill for half an hour.

Repeat the above twice more. Then keep in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling

1 peeled and chopped onion

3 Portobello mushrooms sliced

1 Tbs oil

1 tsp Marmite

salt and pepper

Half a peeled and diced butternut squash

2 sweet potatoes unpeeled and diced

1 pouch cooked lentils

1 pouched cooked chestnuts (chopped roughly)

2 tsp chia seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 grated nutmeg

fresh sage and rosemary chopped

zest and juice of 1 orange

1 Tsp English mustard

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 small jar cranberry sauce

Method

Preheat oven to 180c

Soften the onions and mushrooms in a frying pan in the oil, add marmite and salt and pepper.

Roast the butternut squash and the sweet potato until tender.

Remove from the oven and place into a large mixing bowl, add the onion and mushroom mixture and all the other ingredients. Stir well and chill.

Assembly

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to a large rectangle about 5 mm thick. Using a pizza roller cut the pastry into two strips horizontally. The base bout a third of the pastry and the top about two thirds.

Place the base pastry on a greaseproof sheet on a baking sheet.

Mound the filling along the pastry leaving a cm uncovered all the way around.(a margin) Spread the cranberry sauce on top.

Brush the pastry margin with soya milk and the lay the top pastry over everything. Press down well to join the bottom pastry to the top and crimp with your fingers and a thumb using both hands. Brush the whole thing with soya milk and place back in the fridge to chill for about half an hour. Brush again with soya milk and bake for about 40 minutes until golden and puffed up. Any bits of pastry left can be place on the wellington before cooking as decorations.

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Caravan Blog September 2020 Uncategorized Visits

Double Day Blog. Brighton

Silke

If you read my last blog then you are up to speed with the makeshift cake we made for Silke’s birthday. When we brought it out on the birthday itself it had actually shifted, if you look you can see it is sloping. Fortunately the rainbow propped it up so we just told Silke the unicorn was having a snooze. She was of course delighted with her cake, which is all that matters. Four year olds can easily HATE things if they take against things!

Ribbon Dance

With a slice of sugary cake inside her Silke had plenty of energy that needed to be spent. A swift ribbon dancing session did the trick and then we sat down to a game of pass the parcel. After a few tears initially when the parcel didn’t stop with her every time she did eventually understand the concept and enjoyed us all getting a chance to unwrap a treat, I got a temporary tattoo (2 days later it still is firmly in place, so pleased I didn’t go with her wish of sticking it on my forehead). Of course by some miracle the final unwrap landed on her lap and she won the prize.

Armful of babes

With the birthday celebrations finished we made our way back once again to the campsite. As I said before the buses in Brighton are so frequent and in all directions we never wait more than a couple of minutes and then the ride up towards the Marina where the campsite is takes about ten minutes or so.

Once off the bus there is a very pleasant ten minute walk over the park to get back to the campsite. Look what we found this time, on the tennis courts there appeared a pop up Covid Testing tent!

sdr
Just a walk in the park!

The next day the weather looked very good. We needed to go back to see the family again as this time it was Silke’s dads birthday and we were going to look after her so they could go out for a spot of lunch. We togged ourselves up for a brisk walk from the campsite into town. The sky was what I always call Brighton Blue and everything looks so cheerful and like a proper seaside with that sky as a backdrop. The walk takes about three quarters of an hour and its along the front pretty much all of the way. There is a little train that runs from quite close to the Marina down to near the Pier. It is called The Volks Train. https://volksrailway.org.uk/ The train was originally opened in 1883. It was invented by Magnus Volks and is the worlds oldest operating electric railway. So if you fancy taking the weight of your legs on the walk perhaps you could try this.

Volks Train

We carried on shanks pony and the next thing on my radar was this statue, who is it? this fine athlete?

Steve Ovett

We finally made it to the Pier. Not too busy today but everything was open and it is free to have a stroll along. Here is the link for you.https://www.brightonpier.co.uk/

of course this is not the first pier in Brighton. The original pier was opened in 1866. It is opposite The Grand hotel and was the first pier to be Grade 1 listed. It became derelict and was closed in 1975. The bad storms in 2002 caused lots more damage and then fires destroyed most of the remaining structure. Its framework still remains and we love to watch the massive murmuration of starlings at sundown.

My all time favourite funfair ride is the galloping horses or as it is properly called, a carousel. As we walked along I spotted it was up and running. The cost was three pounds so I hopped aboard. Everything was wiped down before you take a saddle and then the music fires up and off we went. I loved it, big kid!

Giddy Up!
Eye 360 Selfie

Almost at our destination just two more photo opportunities to squeeze in the walk. The British Airways Eye360 can be seen from miles away. I have still not plucked up the courage to take a ride but it is on my list of must do things. On a bright day like today it must have been fab up there.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_i360 I decided today a selfie would have to do.

Wedding Bandstand

This photo is of this gorgeous bandstand that is registered for weddings. Underneath it there is a cute café with inside and outside seating. I have yet to see a wedding taking place but sure it would be so romantic, perhaps if I get married again lol!

There is so much to see and do in Brighton. It has its very unique vibe. I really love to visit and the Caravan and Motorhome Club site is tucked away in a hollow just behind the Marina. This site also has glamping pods and airstreams that can be hired too, here is the link to the site.https://www.experiencefreedom.co.uk/locations/regions/south-east/east-sussex/brighton/

It is our last day of this caravan trip tomorrow and we are staying on site. I shall take a few pics and post them on my last blog. We intend to have a game of boule, a few drinks and a gentle day doing nothing in particular, see you tomorrow!

Caravan Blog September 2020 Uncategorized

Blog, 11th day, chilling!

This trip we have been out somewhere everyday, unless it is a travel day. Today is our last day on this site at Rookesbury Park near Portsmouth. It is a Caravan and Motorhome Club site and is FabUlous. What makes it merit this description? Well its rural but close to everything you need, it is pretty, it is open and plenty of space. The facilities are so clean. modern and Covid secure. The natives are friendly and the wardens are top notch.

Now if you are reading this and are not of the camping mindset you might think this bit of blog is not worth reading, however I try to add a bit of something to hold your attention so lets hope for the best.

a quiet 5 minutes

I spent the morning writing blogs and articles that were due in. Our caravan makes a great portable office, some people have one in their drive as an office!! After I got that admin done we had a stroll around the site to take some photos and then a bit of a sit down!

Outside Reception

The sites are looked after by wardens. That sounds a bit officious and Dads Army ish but fear not, all the wardens we have ever encountered are great folk who do this job because they love the lifestyle. On reception today we were welcomed by Paul and Libby who are in charge here, with another pair of couples to support them and share out the duties with.

Paul and Libby

Everything onsite is clean, well very very clean and well organised. The sanitary blocks are spotless and beautifully equipped. In the shop on this site there was a great supply of groceries. In addition to this a fish and chip van (see day 9, we sampled) and a burger van visit each week.

The site has a designated area for customers heading to the ferries. It means you can get offsite at the crack of dawn should you need to. This site is very well appointed and organised, but not in a structured way, nothing seems formal, it is all brill!

hello!

So there we go, I have taken a walk around the site and taken those few pics. Next thing it is dinner time once again. When we are due to move sites I try to run down the contents of my fridge and food cupboards. I wanted to stay on site all day for a change so was determined to make something from siege stores. I found a roll of puff pastry, a pack of lardons, a few sausages, an onion, mushrooms, 1 leek, a few shavings of parmesan. This was fridge stuff. In the cupboard I had Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ketchup and salt and pepper. I also found a tin of potatoes and mushy peas! This is what I made.

A savoury plait! I just cooked up all the ingredients, oh I took the skins off the sausages and squeezed out the sausage meat first! Bubbled down in a frying pan then importantly cool it before wrapping it in the puff pastry. Brush with beaten egg and bake! the tinned potatoes were sliced and sautéed and it was gorgeous. Some left over for breakfast too.

Dinner is served

So that’s a wrap for Hampshire. It has been fantastic. Hitch up and away tomorrow…….

Caravan Blog September 2020 Uncategorized

10th Day Caravan Blog Off!

Yesterday was intense we went out for a full day. Today has been a bit more low key. That is fine by me, a different day and different pace. We have a friend Janise who lives quite close to this area, we are still in Hampshire! We met her years ago when we were out in France and we try to visit each other when we can. It is very easy to let friendships drift, especially where there is distance involved. Anyway we agreed a day and we drove over to where she lives with her husband Chris and a new puppy Star.

Jan and I

Look we even were wearing the same colour outfits! The new puppy is a year old so not so new but we had not met her before. She is a Rottweiler. Now these dogs sometimes get a bad press but Janise had a pair of dogs (a brother and sister) until recently and they were as placid as can be. Star of course being a puppy was full of beans and quite big already. We made friends and she settled down quite quickly and we relaxed and had a catch up.

We had a walk into Eastleigh and had a bite to eat in a lovely cafe called Kats. We had a massive breakfast each, it kept me going all day. We hurried back to the house as I wanted to catch a special something on YouTube going live at 1.00pm. What is was was a white wedding! Someone we know was getting married and because of the Covid restrictions had had to downsize the guest list. They had given out a link to enable the service to be viewed at home. That’s fantastic eh? What a Godsend! Janise soon sussed out the technology and cast the YouTube from her phone to the large TV screen. You have to be careful doing that though, last week I cast something to the wrong TV and it started playing over the road in an elderly couple’s sitting room! The service was so beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We both felt we should have worn a hat or a fascinator to join in properly.

We had to rush back to the campsite straight after the wedding as I had yet another online date, this time with Howard Middleton, the charismatic baker from Great British Bake Off a few years ago. We were doing a cook a long live, I was host and Howard was leading the event. We made the most gorgeous apple toffee puddings with a caramel sauce. We handed a few around to our caravan neighbours as we had too many to eat ourselves. This Wednesday coming I am leading and we are doing Beef Strogonoff. I will be cooking it live from my caravan at 7.00pm. My husband John’s birthday meal! Here is the link should you wish to join in or just view: https://cookalonglive.com/

Well I think that about wraps up day 10, another week to go, tomorrow we are having a day onsite. Need to do a little housekeeping and some admin. Catch you then!

https://cookalonglive.com/

Baking Recipe Uncategorized Yorkshire

Rhubarb Relish

Yesterday I was making a very quick rhubarb relish in the Demo tent at Wakefield’s annual Rhubarb Festival. I made a quick Soda Bread and a mackerel pate to make a full lunch or supper dish.

Ingredients

1 Cup runny honey

Half cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 thumb sized piece of grated ginger

Half a red chilli chopped

2 Tsp Chinese five spice

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped red onion

4 cups chopped rhubarb

In a large frying pan heat the honey and vinegar until boiling, add all the ingredients except the rhubarb and bubble on a low heat until the mixture starts to thicken into a jam like consistency. add the rhubarb and continue to cook until it is starting to soften. Turn off the heat and stir to combine the rhubarb and relish, try to keep some chunks of rhubarb for texture.