26 Oct 2015

Festival No. 6 Food Favourites


What makes festival food so damn good? So often you can be eating utter rubbish yet, in that moment, you think it's the best thing you've ever tasted.

In the case of Festival No. 6, however, it really was. Yes, it was overpriced, just like all festival food. Yes, you're eating it in a rain-soaked field, just like all festivals. But, unlike other festivals, the quality was as good, if not better, than many restaurants.

Festival No. 6 was a foodie heaven. Their Street Food Village got me SO excited. Honestly, I was more excited about the food than anything else. Whilst it really wasn't possible to try everything (I tried guys, I really did), here are my favourite festival food moments.

Pizza slice



Has to be done at least once during a festival weekend! £4 for a big slice of cheesy margarita; you can't really go wrong! To be enjoyed lounging around on the muddy grass, watching James Morrison.


Strawberry and pomegranate cider





Because what goes better with the pizza? I firmly believe that a fruit cider is essential during the summer and Old Mout Cider is seriously yummy; particularly the Strawberry and Pomegranate flavour. Their tent had taster shots and people playing giant Jenga... blindfolded.


Water-in-a-box



Yes, okay, I realise I'm talking about water here. But, um, it was in a box?! I love quirky stuff like that! After drinking from the water tap on the camp site, this Somerset spring water was heavenly. Plus, doing good for the environment! Double win.


Strawberry and banana milkshake with whipped cream




Naturally, I couldn't walk past the milkshake truck without dragging my feet until G was forced to stop so I could stare in wonder at the extravagant milkshakes on offer.  Obviously banana is my favourite but I shook it up this time with strawberry and whipped cream. Yes, yes and yes.

Morning smoothie




For the brief I-need-to-be-healthy moment at breakfast time. Not that I ever had that moment, I just bloody love a smoothie, but we can pretend that's what this was. Coconut milk, almond milk, banana, raw cacao, maca & lacuma from S'Juice Me; this was all sorts of goodness. I didn't know half the stuff that went in it and unfortunately (for someone who likes to blog about food), it was a unattractive brown colour and didn't photograph well; but I assure you, it tasted amazing. You can have a picture of me enjoying it instead. 


Churros from Los Churros Amigos 





It's dark, it's freezing, you can see your breath circulating in front of you... But you're loving it. Because you're not on your way home from work, desperate for warmth, you're surrounded by fresh air, music, lights, smells of a hundred different foods; and so much laughter. Nothing could make this better.


Except churros, and hot, melted Belgian chocolate. OBVIOUSLY.

Bagel Boy 



This stall always had a huge queue so we knew we were going to have to try it out at some point. Huge queue = popularity, meaning it's probably worth the wait. Which it needs to be, because I desperately struggle to queue for food. As if I have the patience for that.

I changed my mind three times whilst stood in that queue but eventually settled on the 'Upstream Boy'; smoked salmon, peppered cream cheese, lemon and lettuce. I'll be having this for breakfast always please.

Candyfloss



This was by far my most fun food experience of the weekend. I kept seeing people with candyfloss and I was suddenly a kid again, desperate to have an enormous ball of sugar in my hand.

The fact that I am no longer a child didn't seem to be enough to stop me joining a queue of 7 year olds and getting my sugar high. I even got a chance to whip up the candyfloss myself (whilst being sprinkled with glitter) which was so much fun, aside from the hordes of wasps circling my hands.

The Cheese Truck






The Cheese Truck is a converted ice cream truck that serves a whole host of grilled cheese sandwiches. If I can just get this truck to come tinkering round my street in the same way the ice cream truck does; I can die a happy woman.
I went for the goat's cheese with honey and walnut grilled sandwich (with chips because, hello, I was on holiday) and oh my, it was good. I also snaffled a bite of G's stilton, bacon and pear sandwich which was equally as good.

We enjoyed these beauties whilst camped out in front of the Estuary stage.

Chorizo and red pepper scotch egg with sweet potato fries







After a long morning of travelling, getting to the site and pitching the tent, we finally found ourselves in the middle of the festival. And we were HUNGRY. G is a big fan of a scotch egg but I've never been too fussed. However, I had reached the point where I'd eat anything so I went for one as well. Wise decision.

As we sat on a hay bay, cramming these delicious chorizo and red pepper scotch eggs into our mouths and listened to some chilled live music, I felt like we'd finally arrived. Oh and let's not forgot the sweet potato fries!

Pancakes



Buttermilk and buckwheat pancakes. HELLO. To be eaten for breakfast with maple syrup or bacon and blueberries, or for pudding with chocolate sauce or blackberries and cream. Scoff your face and watch the world go by.




Anna Mae's mac 'n' cheese




I first discovered Anna Mae's mac 'n' cheese at Glastonbury last year. I was with one of my best friends, who also shares my adoration for mac 'n' cheese (probably why she's one of my best  friends), and when we saw the truck, we grabbed each other and ran towards it with an excitement that probably isn't acceptable in civilised society. But, hey, it was Glastonbury. Anything goes.

This, (prepare yourself for a controversial statement), is the best macaroni cheese ever. That's right. I said it. I thought perhaps I loved it so much the first time round because I was at Glastonbury. But, after sampling three portions during my three days at Festival No. 6, I can conclude that this is my absolute favourite mac 'n' cheese. My favourite Festival No. 6 dish was the Don Macaroni; mac 'n' cheese with bacon, basil oil and basil leaves. You can find out more about Anna Mae's here and, yes, I have already purchased the cook book.



Keep an eye out in the kitchen for some festival-inspired recipes!

21 Oct 2015

London Eats | Vinoteca


The clue is in the title guys. WINE. Need I say more?

You're catching up with a friend; you want wine and good food, but most of all, somewhere convenient for you both. Even the nicest of evenings can be spoiled if you have to add an extra half an hour onto your already-long commute.

Hey-presto! Located slap bang in the middle of King's Cross and St Pancras! Done.

Like I said, wine. If you're a fan of the grape, you'll enjoy this menu as each food item comes with an individual wine recommendation. Whilst I could only have one glass, I can assure you, it's good stuff.

The menu can be momentarily confusing when you first delve in; it's all a bit snazzy and the prices slightly off-putting (average main is £18 which is outside of my usual price range). BUT, ask the waitress what a bavette is (that's a steak to you) and accept you're paying for some good quality food, and you'll have a great time!


Mmmm wine.



Day boat rye harbour cod, provenรงal vegetables, pine nuts and basil mayo.





Grilled marinated bavette, steak butter, watercress, horseradish and chips.




Perfectly chilled chocolate truffles.


And a moment of silence, please, for the salted dark chocolate & lime mousse which was demolished before having the chance to be photographed.

If you have some time before or after the meal, go have a play in the fountains in Granary Square, just a short walk away. They're very pretty when lit up at night.


14 Oct 2015

Little Gems: 14




1) Yes I was absolutely transfixed by the super colourful water feature above, hidden behind St Pancras station.

2) Soooo loving the autumn leaves! They make me a bit child like; I want to step on every single one just to hear that satisfying crunch.

3) If you have the time and dolla, I'd really recommend Three Days in the Country at the National Theatre. All the actors were brilliant; John Simm and Mark Gatiss in particular.

4) Hopped over to the 02 on Saturday night to see Mr Michael McIntyre. What a funny chap he is.


6) Jennifer Lawrence's essay introduced me to Lenny Letter which is a great read - go sign up!


8) Catching up with old friends creates that warm, fuzzy feeling.

9) Discovered a few new food places this week; watch this space!

10) Go see The Martian. A bit of Matt Damon always improves a day.


12 Oct 2015

Festival No. 6


Let me introduce you to a magical place. I realise that sounds a little like I'm taking you to Disneyland... but I'm not. It's better than Disneyland. Well, that depends on how big a fan you are of Disneyland I suppose... What was I saying?

Oh yes! Festival No. 6.

Cast your minds back to April. We got up first thing on a Sunday (this was hard work, believe me) in order to have one last fight at getting Glastonbury tickets. The re-sale started at 9am. By 9:10, they were all gone and all we'd done in those ten minutes was re-fresh the same page until it crashed. Needless to say, it had not been a success. Once we'd had a tantrum and gone back to bed for a few hours, we decided to have a look at other possibilities out there. Which is how we came across this relatively new festival. It looked different and quirky and seemed to have a whole host of weird and wonderful stuff going on.

So we booked it and five months later, with the summer nearly over, we packed up and head to Wales. Three days was enough for me to fall in love with this festival, and I already want to book tickets for next year. So let me share some of my highlights with you lovely people.

Portmeirion 


Welcome to Portmeirion, an Italian-style village built on a peninsula on the coast of Snowdonia, Wales in the 1920s by architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis.



Portmeirion was the setting for a famous TV show in the 1970s called The Prisoner, which I was unaware of until I told my Dad where I was going and he suddenly got all excited. I was naively unaware that the name of the festival, the various sayings associated with it ('be seeing you') and the pictures of people being attacked by giant white balls were all a reference to this show (although I figured it out pretty quickly once I arrived).


Portmeirion was beautifully weird and wonderful. Imagine you're in an Italian village, just chilling in the central piazza; only there's Welsh mountains, you're wearing a fleece and you keep getting hit in the face by a giant white ball....




The Gwylit Woods




The Gwylit woods surrounded the village and they were magical. These were the kind of woods you could properly get lost in; and that was really the only way to experience them.



 In a clearing at the entrance, there was a cute little stage decorated with mirrors and bunting and lampshades swinging from the trees.



Delve further in and there were people dancing on the lake, DJs blasting out their tunes from a tree stump and acrobats swinging from the branches. Oh and THE TREES! They were so, so beautiful.






Mountains!


I'm getting dangerously close to saying things like 'being at one with nature' but I'm going to plough ahead anyway. I've always had a bit of an obsession with mountains so I spent a lot of the weekend staring upwards in wonder, and attempting to capture these majestic things through a camera lens. I loved that they were the first thing I saw when stepping out of the tent in the morning.




Music



Yes, so, trees and mountains aside, we were actually at a festival and there was plenty of stuff going on. Including some pretty darn good music.

I was pleasantly surprised to be taken to see a really great performance by Badly Drawn Boy in the woods; he wrote the score from one of my all time favourite films, About A Boy. We also caught a performance by Everything Everything which I absolutely loved. I'm desperate to check them out some more.

Belle & Sebastian were a brilliant Saturday night headliner (although I'd say this either way; they're my boyfriend's favourite band so I'm not allowed to say bad things about them), James Morrison gave a chilled Sunday afternoon performance and Grace Jones hula hooped her way through the Sunday night finale.

Steve Coogan


The legend that is Steve Coogan gave an interview to a jam-packed piazza. He was funny, political and intelligent; all at the same time. Very fascinating to listen to even if you don't know much about him. Check out this interview with him here.




Steve Coogan and Elaine Constantine

Seen the film Northern Soul?  Nope me neither, but I want to after seeing this talk between Steve Coogan and Elaine Constantine. It was really interesting to hear about how this film came together. Elaine Constantine is not a director nor writer but she learned how to be both because she was so passionate about the Northern Soul genre, and had to tell a story about it through this film. It sounds like nothing but love and hard work went into telling this story and it’s brilliant that, through the power of social media, this film become a success.



Comedy




There’s nothing like an afternoon in a comedy tent to make your cheeks ache and mood lift.

Above is my poor quality photo of Shappi Khorsandi, who I always think is brilliant. Her comedy jumps between her ordinary life experiences of London and her extraordinary experiences of life as a refugee. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading her book.

We also discovered Andrew Maxwell, whose political rants and audience-mocking were hilarious and terrifying in equal measure.


Welsh Choir


How good were these guys?! Classics, chart music... they can do it all. They had people dancing one minute and crying the next!




The Estuary stage




In the space of a couple of hours, I saw two people on this stage that I desperately want to know more about.

The first was JB Barrington, a performance poet from Salford. He had 15 minutes on the stage and he totally won me over. Very observant and very funny. I think my favourite was his poem about people who wear sunglasses inside.


The second was Howard Marks; who went from a boy from South Wales, to Oxford graduate to the most sophisticated drugs baron of all time. As you do. Naturally, he was incredibly interesting to listen to and I'm eager to read his books.


The coffee shop


For a lot of festival goers, night time means party time. We, however, were perfectly happy to set up camp in this cute little teashop tent. As the music pounded next door, we sat with hot chocolate and nattered the night away. Hardcore kids.




The views 

Because; look at them!





Until next year then Festival No. 6.

Be seeing you...