Fair to say the month of August has been the month of eating well. The jeans are certainly snug compared to how they were back in July. Although the weather hasn’t been as glorious as it was beginning/mid July that hasn’t stopped us getting out and about exploring and taking advantage of me not working much over August.
Make – Sourdough
Sourdough has been on my hit list for a good few years. I did have a go many years back but I struggled with the shaping then killed my sourdough starter meaning I never really did anything with it again until I was introduced to Tartine Bread. Possibly my new favourite cookbook. Ok it does take a bit of reading and not something I’d recommend for complete bread beginners, but by following the method religiously I made (what I think) was a rather amazing sourdough loaf. You can find an abridged version of the recipe here but I seriously recommend you buy the book.
It uses the no-knead method and bakes using the dutch oven technique. It does take a bit of planning to make the loaf, but when you’ve got your head around it, it seems less faff than traditional bread. Another advantage is that stale sourdough makes great toast. LB is a huge fan.
Eat – Children’s Afternoon Tea at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Hotel Indigo, Liverpool
Our love of afternoon tea is well documented. LB & I stayed with my sister, who lives in the centre of Liverpool, for a few days. Along with my friend and her gorgeous baby son Ralph the five of us headed to Marco Pierre White Steakhouse at Hotel Indigo for a spot of afternoon tea.
One of the reasons we picked here was that alongside the usual afternoon tea they serve one for children. LB is the type of child who is quite happy with a bowl of plain greek yoghurt and fresh berries for a dessert so her mind was kind of blown that this decadent treat exists.
Both the afternoon teas were fantastic. Fresh sandwiches and no problem when two of us wanted to sub out the salmon sandwiches. The top cake of the day had to be the salted caramel and nut chocolate cake.
As for the children’s afternoon tea LB loved it all especially the decorate your own gingerbread man who kept LB occupied while we gossiped about an impending family wedding.
Top marks to the staff, particularly the duty manager, who took his time to chat to LB even if it was about her toy Foxy and her newest obsession – mermaids.
Get – Vintage cake tins from Harry & Frank
I have a well-known weakness – vintage kitchenallia. Before now I’ve been quite restrained as storage is a premium so I like it to be used around the house, but now I’m getting more confident with food photography I’ve decided I need all the glorious vintage tins I see.
A few weeks back we popped along to Bakewell Baking Festival. We had glorious weather and although the festival was a great deal smaller than I expected, especially given the entrance price, the quality of the stalls was good. The stall that really stood out was Harry & Frank. Beautifully styled and so many gorgeous items tempting me. I could have easily come away with more than the tins I bought.
Read – Kids in the Kitchen by Amanda Grant
We’ve had a huge cookbook sort out and I mean huge. It’s freed up more or less two shelves to fill with more cookbooks. Newest addition is Kids in the Kitchen by Amanda Grant sent to me by her publishers. I’ve used some of Amanda Grant books before and they have always gone down well with my pupils.
What’s great about this book is that it is split into sections for different ages from age 3-11 with tips for parents as what skills each age should be able to achieve. Useful for parents who want to teach their child how to cook but not sure where to start.
Go – Ilam Park
We’ve been to so many places this August: Lichfield Food Festival, Trentham Gardens, Bakewell Baking Festival, Speke Hall, Calke Abbey and more. My favourite has to be Ilam Park in the Peak District. It’s easy to forget that the Peak District is on our doorstep and in less than 40 minutes drive we can be in the heart of it.
Ilam Park is run by the National Trust and the hall in the park is owned by the Youth Hostel Association. It’s the perfect place for a picnic, walk and go on the riverside play trail. If you’re feeling energetic it’s a short walk to Dovedale & Thorpe Cloud.
September sees some big changes here some of which will be challenging for us, but we’ll get through it and come through to the other side wondering what all the fuss was about.