It’s become a lovely tradition going to the BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court and so we found ourselves there on Bank Holiday Monday! We started of by having our picnic in the beautiful grounds overlooking the River Thames. Then we made our way back into the hub bub of the festival and were immediately drawn to a large spit where several joints were being roasted. We met Jorge (on the left below) and his comrades dressed in Tudor costume demonstrating how meat was cooked back in King Henry VIII’s time. Only I don’t think Henry had access to an infra-red temperature gun that these guys were using to check the temperature of the meat (really cool)! This demonstration usually happens in the Palace Kitchen. Sadly the meat was just to look at but rest assured the staff make sure none goes to waste and draw lots for it! Cue a discussion about dishes using leftover roasts!
After extracting ourselves from Jorge (I think we could have talked all day) we stumbled across the Interview Tent which was filling up with people. I glanced at the chalk board and saw that Paul Hollywood was up next and as are all fans of the Great British Bake Off (who isn’t) we were all very excited. So I sat at the back where there was a spare seat and my family sat in the far corner where there were also some spare seats. Probably just as well so they couldn’t be embarrassed by me (or at least not as much)! After a 10 minute wait Lottie Duncan appeared and introduced Paul to the stage, by this time there was also a large crowd standing behind looking into the tent. Paul seemed very relaxed and chatted about his holiday to Paphos that he’d just come back from and where he used to live (which was of great interest to my hubby who had also lived there as a teenager). Lottie then went on to chat to Paul about The Great British Bake Off and its phenomenal success. Paul said he literally couldn’t go anywhere in the world without someone recognising him, however remote the place!
Soon it was time for questions from the audience and feeling brave (or perhaps foolish) I stuck my hand up and Lottie brought the microphone over to me. “What do you think of food bloggers?” I asked. I was immediately asked if I was one by both parties to which I said “maybe”. Well Paul didn’t really know any and didn’t read them, “competition perhaps?” I piped up – gosh you can’t take me anywhere (family you were right to sit in the far corner). After a bit more banter and my lips deciding to quiver (I’m not used to a tent full of people looking at me and talking to Paul Hollywood) it was time to win some Lakeland vouchers . After a false start where I put my hand up first but Lottie saw someone else, Paul intervened to say “the food blogger put her hand up first” but Lottie stuck to her winner. Two questions later I put my hand up again and gave my correct answer “Frances Quinn” and finally a £20 voucher was mine! Can’t wait to find some time to spend it, I started an online shop last night but I could literally spend hours on there so it could take some time:-)
Once the chat was over a long queue assembled to get a signed copy of Paul’s latest book “The Weekend Baker”. We then headed towards the Summer Kitchen where Paul was set to make Bagels and a Fig & Apricot Tart. But before the demo started the sponsors AO wanted to give a way an electrical kitchen gadget and said they would give it away to the best dancer! Cue me getting up on my seat to dance to the music along with about half the room, sadly my dancing skills went unnoticed and a lady towards the front was given the prize!
While Paul was making dough he asked everyone if they thought the right person had left in the first episode of Bake Off. Fool me I was the only one to say “No”! Family sat right next to me this time so there was nowhere to hide! “Who said no? Stand up” came Paul’s response! “Oh it’s the food blogger” cue a whole tent of people looking at me again only this time it’s far bigger with about 300 people in it! “Who do you think should have left?” enquired Paul. I’m terrible with names and so I said “the lady with the burgundy lipstick” Paul scratched his head trying to remember! So I went on to say “with the Essex accent” (her voice sounds so like someone from TOWIE, again I’m no good with names). “Oh you’ve got something against people from Essex have you?” haha Paul, there’s only so much public humiliation a girl can take, cue lip quivering again! “Explain why you think Candice should have gone” he said. “Well she had those frisbee cakes and you even said they bounced off the wall, so I agreed with you” came my reply – at this point I think I was having an out of body experience. Paul went on to say that the contestants were judged over 3 challenges and she had done better in her other two. He said that he and Mary always got lots of flack about who left and he was quite adept at blocking people on social media! It must be difficult as you can’t please everyone. He was very funny and managed to plug his bake ware range at every opportunity. I wonder what Mary would make of his high pitched impression of her!?
So back to the bagels! I loved Paul’s tip to fashion your hand into a cage and then sweep your hand around in order to get a perfect ball of dough for each bagel. Paul’s other tip was to use a small scone cutter for the hole in the middle (cue quick discussion on that pronunciation, glad to say Paul says “scone” as in “gone” like I do! I really want to make bagels now so watch this space!
Next we headed off to look at all the stalls and grabbed an ice cream as it was a really hot day unlike last year when it rained. I nibbled my way round all the cheese, Turkish Delight, soft drinks and pesto. I don’t usually buy much at these events but I was very taken with the Nova Multi Quirl Whisk which you use with just one hand and pump up and down to use. After pondering for a couple of hours I just had to go back and get one as at £10 is was a bargain (£14.99 on the internet plus delivery). I have to say I’m really pleased with it so far and love the fact that it only needs the one hand to operate it!
After a long day we headed into the Palace for a cup of tea and everyone said how much they had enjoyed the day (despite my embarrassing episodes, did I mention my nervous loud laughter too?) As we left there was a jive band in full swing on the bandstand and I danced my way up the gravel driveway towards the main gate (never miss an opportunity to embarrass you kids is my rule)! If you’ve never been to the BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court I highly recommend it as the setting is just idyllic and you get full access to the Palace and grounds with your entry ticket!
Why not pin for late!
NB: We were provided with passes by BBC Good Food Festival, all opinions are my own and I was not required to write a review.