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  1. We went for the early Sunday session. We got there 1/2 hour before the doors opened, expecting to buy a ticket at the door, and good thing we were early too because they were totally sold out! However, they released an extra 50 tickets and as we were at the front of the ticketless queue, we managed to get in. (If you want to see bigger pictures, please see our gallery.) We first went for the beer tasting, which was pretty good value, 4 crowns or £2 and you got to taste 5 beers, a bit of food and a free Leffe glass. We then made a beeline for crispy squid by Zuma, our favourite from last year, and washed that down with a Peruvian beer. Next it was watermelon sorbet and chocolate ice cream from Zilli. The chocolate was divine. I was less keen on the watermelon but I am not a massive melon fan. Husband thought it tasted like bubblegum. Fino's Chorizo and Tomato Salad. Also very good. This is one you could make at home with hardly any effort. I see the recipe is in Delicious this month. Green Papaya Salad and Sticky Rice from Nahm. One of my favourites. Spicy yet cooling! Followed it up with some juicy lychees. Lamb Kebab with Saffron Bread from the Cinnamon Club A very fine textured lamb patty, slightly spicy. Not bad, but not mindblowing. For all I've heard about the Cinnamon Club, I expected more. Fennel and Squid Salad from Al Duca. The worst of the bunch. The squid was bitter. Didn't really enjoy this. Blackcurrant Jelly and Ice Cream from Canteen. A great finish. Very British. Fantastic combination of textures and flavours. After all this, we still had 10 crowns left and we were full, so we bought a ginger beer, some asparagus and went home.
  2. Thank you! Will cycle up there now ← They stocked just the thing, it was even labelled for kitchen use. Thanks again!
  3. I absolutely have to agree with this. When I lived in London, I did just about all of my fruit and veg (and numerous other things) shopping at my local Turkish shop. It was far better, quality and variety and value for money wise, than the street market that filled my street once a week. When I moved to Brighton, I really missed that Turkish shop, but now two have opened near me. Heaven. ← I'll join this chorus. For me, it goes something like this. Saturday: Veg box delivery from Riverford.co.uk -- I used to get an Able & Cole box but it was more expensive and they don't deliver to our current address. Riverford is cheaper, a bigger box for the money, and always top quality produce. You can't choose what you want exactly though, so it's a bit potluck. If you want the ability to say "don't you dare put another cauliflower in my box" then Able & Cole are better. Mid-Week: Trip to Vietnamese supermarket in Poplar. I work at Canary Wharf and this gets me out of 'pin stripped suit land'. Pick up fresh herbs/Asian staples like noodles, sauces and spices. There is one near Greenwich I can access as well. Mid-Week: Waitrose to see what meat I can get on sale. There just isn't a butcher I find convenient to get to, unfortunately. When I lived in Enfield I used to stop off at Highbury to go to one there and stocked up on enough meat for 2-3 weeks at a time. I don't like supermarkets but Waitrose is the best of a bad lot and they often have stuff marked down. Only pick up what's in season, so Welsh lamb at the moment, for example. Occasionally: Meander up to a Turkish supermarket in Stoke Newington/Palmers Green area. Stock up on haloumi, olives, as much as I can carry.
  4. Friday night last year was quite busy but not massively crowded. It was easy enough to find stands without long queues but some things like the free wine tasting filled up rapidly. This year we thought we'd try for first thing, at the opening of the doors, on Sunday. Hopefully most people will be sleeping in and at least the first hour will be quiet.
  5. I want to make some Panir. Where could I get cheesecloth or an acceptable sub?
  6. I would rule out the Orangery. Went there once and the service was rushed (felt like we were in a cafeteria), the sandwiches and cake dry... no refills of tea offered. It wasn't a good experience. Have heard great things about the Savoy.
  7. Excellent -- Mackerel Fishing it is then Will report back with photos if all goes as planned!
  8. Now that's an offer I couldn't refuse! Tell me more. That sounds wonderful
  9. Hi there, I'm looking for your favourite spots to take kids in London, Devon and Cornwall. All you seem to see in the guidebooks are talk of places like the Rainforest Cafe and fast food chains but I would like to introduce them to some of the UK's foodie culture. For my own sanity as well, I really don't want to end up at Pizza Hut or Burger King. I am thinking, for example, that a trip to Neal's Yard (not on a Saturday!) to taste some of the cheese would go over well and a trip to Patisserie Valerie for sweets. But I'm a bit stuck on where to take them for more substantial meals. The kids are 6, 8 and 10. I don't think they're the pickiest of eaters but, like most kids, a trip to St. John restaurant for a serving of offal probably wouldn't be the thing either. In the south, where we'll be getting a cottage, I thought I might take them to Rick Stein's Fish & Chip shop in Padstow. Other suggestions? We will be in the areas of Bude, St Austell (Eden Project) and the lower end of Cornwall (Padstow / Lands End) as well as passing Stonehenge on our way there. Maybe a good place for a cream tea?
  10. Well, after all your help I thought I'd better report back. I changed my mind so many times about how to structure the evening, and that affected my ability to chose the wines because I couldn't settle on a format. In the end, I went with a champagne and prosecco to start (not blind), followed by 5 whites and 6 reds tasted blind. I gave everyone sheets that told them which grapes we would be tasting and some of the main flavour characteristics they were likely to taste/smell. They also had a space on that sheet to make some general notes and write which wine they thought they were tasting. I didn't make notes myself but instead helped them with how to taste and suggesting flavours they might find in the wine, tried to get a little discussion going. We had 10 people show up for the whole evening and 2-3 others who dropped in and back out again. There was more than enough wine to go around from 1 bottle. I think you could do 12 tasting samples quite easily, 14 at a pinch. It actually went pretty well and they seemed to enjoy it. No one seemed overwhelmed by trying to guess the wines and most people did very well, I was surprised how many people got right! I gave away a bottle of wine to the winner with the most correct answers at the end. If I were doing it again I would: 1. Be more careful picking my wines. Because of my indecision right up until the last minute, the wines I had weren't always the 'classics' from the region and maybe not the best examples of their type. 2. Limit it to maybe 4 of each colour (red/white) plus the 'opening drinks' like champagne. People were getting a bit weary/drunk towards the end of the evening. 3. Make more food!! Everyone ate a lot more than I thought (wine stimulating hunger??). Here are some pictures of the bottles if you're interested: http://travellingtwo.com/gallery2/v/2006/WineTastingParty
  11. Sackville

    French Wine Protests

    Supermarkets are killing plenty of producers, and not just in wine. But yet, we all still shop there. How many of us outside this perhaps biased group of dedicated foodies and wine drinkers can honestly can say we patronise local shops and are willing to pay above supermarket prices (those of us that still have a choice, that is...)? At the end of the day, most people prefer a bargain and don't want to pay above the odds or think about the consequences of "cheap" food.
  12. I think I am going to be doing the pouring The number of people stands at 15 at the moment but could be fewer. I hate to sound stingy but I've already bought several bottles of good wine (not the cheapest plonk around) and I don't want to double that! In compensation there will be lots of quaffing wine. I think I'll do the evening in a format something like this: * Champagne / sparkling wine for 1/2 hour while everyone arrives * White wine tasting of 6 wines / 3 varietals (riesling, chardonnay, gewurztraminer) * Break and some quaffing wine (have a bit of Beaujolais on hand) * Red wine tasting (merlot, pinot noir, GSM) * Sweet wines (have a pineau de charentes and a Greek sweet wine which was given to me to try)
  13. Thanks again for your input. Does anyone know how many tasting samples you can get out of a bottle? I was hoping 1 bottle of each would do me, working on the basis that a proper tasting sample is about 50ml as measured by me this morning! Although maybe it is naive to think people will stick to tasting samples? (I was planning on starting them off on a 'drinking wine' before we have the proper tasting and as we wait for people to arrive). Came across a neat idea in the latest email I got from the WSET, still working on the 'new world' vs 'old world' idea. They are hosting an evening where 10-12 wines are served blind... two each of merlot, cab sauv, malbec etc. Both the students and prof are tasting blind and they have to try and match the varietals (all red in this case). I thought maybe I'd do that, with one section of white and one of red, but make it a bit easier by revealing 1 of each varietal and seeing if people could find the other among the blind bottles.
  14. Counting husband and myself, about 15. Thanks both of you for the tips. I think I will go with a rough new / old world theme and try and encourage them to find at least a few of the basic characteristics of the wine in each one, until the tasting turns into a party anyway. I think the 'party' part of it is a bit unevitable and not necessarily undesirable!
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