Back from Jimmy’s Farm with a well-earned hangover and a very soggy tent after a cracking weekend!
This weekend I was at the Jimmy’s Farm Sausage and Beer Festival in Suffolk, demonstrating one of the recipes from my book. I made challah rolls. Challah is an enriched dough so it’s sweetened, fluffy and delicious. Where I live in North London, the majority of bakeries around here are kosher so I’ve grown up enjoying fresh challah rolls on a Sunday morning. I’d been making it wrong for years though, as challah shouldn’t have any dairy products in it. Thankfully my Jewish friends advised me on the dos and don’ts and gave me a lot of tips which I worked into this recipe. The recipe in my book is delicious and loads of fun to make with the kids as it’s really malleable dough to shape.
Months ago when I booked to come to Jimmy’s Farm the idea of camping in July seemed like a great plan. Unfortunately Friday brought a ridiculous storm and the worst conditions I’ve ever camped in! Putting the tent up in heavy rain was one thing but then our tent collapsed at 1:30am, and seemingly all the tents around us did too. Our tent was fixable but our friends’ wasn’t so we took them in as refugees. At 4am the 40mph winds knocked the tent side down again but we managed to recover it. Amazingly the kids slept through the lot and my dog was as good as gold too. It was one of those nights where the only way to get through it is to lie there thinking “we’ll look back on this and laugh!”
Thankfully Saturday brought a bit of sunshine, sausages for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a fantastic day! I did a cookery demonstration of my challah in the festival cookhouse with Marcus Bean. It was such a good laugh. I was lucky to be up first which gave us all the rest of the day to explore the awesome farm. There was so much to do, we can’t wait to go back again. We decided not to camp on the Saturday night as it turned out that our tent was waterlogged and a bit mashed up by the wind.
My niece and daughter (and I) were so excited to meet Justin Fletcher from CBeebies. He’s going to be at the Jamie Oliver Big Feastival at the end of August so we’re looking forward to seeing him again then, as I didn’t tell them that he was on the main stage at the same time as my cookery demo. I knew if they’d have known that they’d have chosen Justin over their dad/uncle in a heartbeat!
But the highlight of the day for me was seeing Chas & Dave stage side – one of the best live gigs I’ve been to in years and a chance to introduce them to my 30-year-old mate Will who weirdly enough had never heard of them! One of the other real bonuses of the weekend was the food at the farm itself. My parents bought the sausage taster pack, which we worked our way through at theirs for dinner tonight. I’m going to have to order many more of these for a thorough taste test, thankfully they’re all available to buy online. I’m going to give them a go in my sausage rolls and my wife is desperate for me to do a Scotch egg recipe too. Speaking of sausages, my sausage roll video recipe is up on YouTube this week:
Martha and her family came along to Jimmy’s Farm on Saturday too so I’ve been lucky enough to catch-up with Marth Vader twice this week. On Thursday evening, Martha, my wife Sarah and I went along to The Meringue Girls‘ book launch of ‘Everything Sweet’. It was on a boat on the Thames and a perfect evening for cruising up and down the river and seeing the sights. We spent most of the evening chatting to the guys from Peter Spanton Beverages and working our way through some of the best G&Ts I’ve had in years – it’s a hard life!
I’ve had some cool deliveries through the post this week. First of all I got my members’ copy of the ZSL magazine, ‘Wild About’. I wrote an article for this quarter’s magazine to prepare some animal-friendly recipes – not quite as complicated as my gorilla cake! I love working with London Zoo; it’s my favourite place in London. The documentary Meet The Penguins was on earlier this evening. Catch it on ITV Player if you get the chance!
I also got my subscribers’ copy of August’s BBC Good Food Magazine featuring two summery recipes from my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, that comes out on 27 August. The recipes are for my brioche burger buns and my blackberry and elderflower mini pavlovas – both perfect for BBQs if the weather improves. On the day we shot the burger buns we timed it perfectly and took all the pictures in the morning so we could down tools and all pile into the burgers for lunch! Not long now until the book comes out and I can’t wait, as my copy got a little bit soggy while we were camping so I could do with a new one myself – it’s already getting well used. See you next week!