Out and about

by sophie on October 18, 2007 · 4 comments

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I’ve found lots of interesting things online over the last few weeks which I thought I would pass on. Here they are, interspersed with a few favorites from real life:

  • The life of an intensively reared chicken is not a happy one and in the UK we seem to be addicted to pre-packed sandwiches and ready-meals that are full of the them. This is something that makes me very sad :-( But I’ve been cheered up by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who has started the Chicken Out Campaign for the reform of intensive poultry farming. If you feel passionately about this then please go along and add your name to the petition, likewise if you don’t know what all the fuss is about then go and have a look at A Tale of Two Chickens. Many thanks to Andrew at the Foodie list for drawing my attention to the campaign!
  • The Food Programme on Radio 4 has a recent interview with Professor Tim Lang, somebody I admire greatly. As well as being eminently clever and sensible he also comes across as a thoroughly nice chap, making the interview an enjoyable and thought-provoking half an hour. While much of the discussion concerns the relatively serious topics of food policy and the environment these bits are interspersed with diversions into discussing his allotment, cooking style and intriguing past life as a student/hill farmer.
  • A recommendation for anybody planning a Halloween party or bonfire night party – get yourself some Pumpkin Beer from the Wychwood Brewery. The Wychwood brewery at Witney in Oxfordshire is just down the road but I discovered this beer in my local supermarket, sparking hope that this lovely stuff is fairly easy to get hold of (if you are in the UK anyway!). I’m not usually a beer drinker at all but this is delicious; mild and toffee flavoured with just a subtle hint of sweet pumpkin.
  • Fans of The Kitchen Diaries might expect to find Nigel Slater’s delicious autumn podcasts on his own web site but no, they’re over here at Waterstones. Has anybody read his new book yet by the way (Eating for England)?

  • Once you’ve signed the campaign and bought that lovely free range or organic chicken then it deserves some special treatment in the kitchen too, don’t you think? For a real weekend-in-the-kitchen project try Heston Blumenthal’s Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. This is the recipe from last night’s opening episode for his new series, Perfection. Definitely not the recipe if your style is more Nigella Express, but it did look absolutely amazing! Get it now while you can – the BBC is making the recipe available online for 10 days only.
  • The very happy and free ranging chickens in my photograph live at The Village Pantry farm shop in Raskelf, North Yorkshire (which just happens to be round the corner from my Mum and Dad live, to explain the connection). The shop is run by the lovely and very entrepreneurial Debbie Bell and has gone from strength to strength since it opened a few years ago – whenever I pop in when I go home they always seem to have won another award for their fantastic local produce! Their most recent additions are definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in that part of the world. First up is the farmers cafe serving gorgeous food made with produce fom the farm and local area (the cakes looked to be especially popular when I was there). Second is the new animal area where you can meet a whole menagerie of the farm’s rare breed inhabitants up close (this bit is probably intended for the kids but I had a great time). Obviously I’m a teensy bit biased in this case but if you don’t believe me then maybe you’ll believe Dame Judi Dench – she thinks it’s great too!
  • Last but not least, some very strange but very cute food photographs.


Andrew October 19, 2007 at 21:55

I almost brought Slaters new book but went for the new spanish cookbook I have written about on the foodislist instead.

Lucy October 22, 2007 at 02:59

Those odd little photographs are spell-binding!
I bought a copy of the Slater at Heathrow on a stop-over and it’s, well, very English. If you liked Toast, you’ll no doubt adore it – but for readers outside the UK, some of his obsessions with particular brand name sweets means far less. Enjoyable nonetheless, but I’d wait for the paperback!

Sophie October 28, 2007 at 19:26

Andrew – I’ll come and check out the spanish book (we had a great time eating out way round Barcelona earlier in the year!)
I’ll hold fire on the Nigel Slater book for now as you suggest Lucy. I love, love, love his recipes but I didn’t enjoy Toast as much as I was hoping too

Margaret October 31, 2007 at 13:24

Hi – first time visitor to your site. I have borrowed Nigel’s latest offering from the libray. Some of it is very funny. It’s aimed at people like me (who unfortunately are old enough to remember the products mentioned!).
Good foodblog you have here.

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