Food Festival Weekend – The Events
As would be expected, the majority of the Food Festival events occurred over the weekend and there were so many of them it was impossible for me to make it to them all!
I really had to compromise on some of those on offer, but that's ok, doing them all would have left me foodied out! Here are some of the things I got up to…
Farm and Garden on Barkers Pool
Heeley City Farm and Graves Park brought sheep and goats and the like to town. Our Cow Molly brought Molly herself.
Bless her, Molly'd had a busy morning. She'd been up at 4am (along with dairy farmer Eddie) to be milked. Eddie had then pasteurised and bottled that milk so that he could bring it along with Molly to Barkers Pool. So everyone who bought milk from OCM on the Sunday could also meet the actual cow who had produced it! No sitting around in tanks and being transported up and down the country for this milk.
Art Garden at Balm Green
Thanks to the Food Festival I now know where Balm Green is; next to Nationwide on Barkers Pool. This special garden was created by artist Gillian Robertson and like several events this week, it hoped to show children where their food comes from. There was a pear tree, an apple tree, a beehive and a vegetable patch as well as the opportunity for the kids to get involved in planting their own vegetable seeds.
For us adults, the garden was just a pretty place to be. Especially with the fantastic weather we've been having.
Seven Hills WI
The Seven Hills WI ladies were out selling their wares of delicious cream teas. They all looked the part in their pretty summary dresses but there's nothing fuddy duddy about this group. The majority of the members are the right side of 40 and love having fun with a few jars of chutney thrown in when appropriate!
Along with their cream tea offerings, they held a couple of 'best in class' competitions, just as any good WI should. Hmmm. I really should work out how I get to be a judge of one of these things; everything looked pretty tasty.
Eat the World event in the Peace Gardens
In order to help Sheffielders eat the world, the upper strip of the Peace Gardens was lined with stalls offering a variety of cuisines. There was Mexican, Japanese, Indian and Spanish amongst others. I managed to eat here a couple of times and on both occasions everything was so busy I actually felt quite privileged when I managed to come away with food! Brilliant news for these guys, but I needed feeding!
On the Saturday I spotted Fusion Organic Cafe and after my meal there earlier in the week, I went for the plunge. Chorizo, cous cous and salad wrap wasn't top on my list of lunch choices (I had been hankering after sushi), but it was light & tasty and filled a hole nicely. The wrap was particularly nice, home-made with a lovely texture.
On the Sunday I managed to satisfy my sushi craving at Sushi Express. Thanks to my Missie Cindz badge I was instantly welcomed by all. I chatted briefly with the stall holder and tweeter for Sushi Express and she recognised me from my Love To Live To Eat review here.
They had veggie, cooked fish and raw fish sushi on offer. I went for one of the raw sushi boxes (priced at a very reasonable £2.50) along with a can of Oolong Tea which was kind of like green tea, but not as strong. Again thanks to the Missie Cindz badge I managed to take away a sweet snack to eat with my tea too. I must admit the snack wasn't quite my thing; it was too dry and crumbly for my liking.
Sushi, however was good; raw salmon and prawn nigiris along with cooked chicken rolls. The fish was very fresh, the prawn surprisingly good (it's something that I don't normally choose when eating sushi). Soy and wasabi were a must and therefore a decent tub for dipping was appreciated, as were the solid chop sticks!
I managed to catch a few of the kitchen demos over the weekend. Although they were always busy, I always managed to squeeze myself through the crowds to a seat.
Joining in with the latest obsession of eating nose to tail of the pig I wanted to catch The Artisan School of Food cure bacon. It all sounded pretty simple. Essentially get one part salt, one part sugar, some un-crushed juniper berries, bay leaves and pepper and sprinkle some onto the bottom of a tupperware. Take a large piece of belly pork, place it in the tupperware and then sprinkle more of the salt mixture on top. Seal it up and then you need to leave it in the fridge for 5 days, draining any liquid from it every day. Following which you can hang the meat in an airy room, or leave it in the fridge for a further 5 days. It can then keep for about a month.
Check out the Artisan School of Food website for details of their classes; they have a wide variety on offer, including bread making and butchery courses.
The next demo I caught was given by Simon Ayres, Executive chef of The Milestone and The Wig & Pen. Although Simon claims he only had five minutes prior to the demo to 'throw some recipes together', he did pretty well and produced a delicious chicken and chicken liver salad along with a chocolate mousse with a black cherry glaze for dessert, all in about 20 minutes! I must admit, everything happened a bit too quickly for me and I didn't manage to jot any of the recipes down, but it was good to see Simon at work.
If you want to watch The Milestone guys cook at a more leisurely pace check out details of their Cookery School here.
I also made it to the Our Cow Molly liquid nitrogen ice cream demo. Andrew Ross of Sheffield Hallam was a very enthusiastic presenter. Admitting that this was no foodie demo, Andrew put on a show. From freezing flowers, to hammering a blue tack nail (frozen) into a banana, he was very keen to show us just what this stuff liquid nitrogen stuff can do.
Andrew was also keen to share the fact that he set a Guinness world record for being the quickest at making ice-cream. Unfortunately no records were set this time, and the ice cream was a bit of a disaster (over-frozen?), but no-one cared. The demo had made us all smile and Our Cow Molly ice cream still tasted good.
Phew, with all these events along with the Producers Market I had a pretty busy weekend!
That's all for this time, apart from a quick apology for the comment box, which hasn't worked for about a week now. I'm sorry that I've missed out on what you have to say, and I haven't been able to respond to those that did make it through. Exposed are looking into the problem and hopefully it will be rectified soon.
If you can, let me know what you got up to over the weekend of the Food Festival!