Bad At Sports

Musings on crafts, cooking, travel and books…but not a bat or ball in sight

BBC Birmingham Good Food show 2011 July 12, 2011

Filed under: food,photography — badatsports @ 10:17 pm
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I have been very lax at keep this blog updated, and I fully admit that I have been spurred onto writing this entry tonight (an hour before bedtime) because my  blog worthy foodie adventures are starting to pile up unrecorded. I could blame work, but the truth is since I last entered the blogosphere I have watched 3 seasons of Fringe and spent countless hours aimlessly trawling through my Twitter feed. I have planned to write many a time, but it’s so easy to be lured away by a pint outside on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon.

My friend Matt said that if you are a writer you always find time to write (ironically he said this on the aforementioned sunny Sunday), so I am probably not a writer. This doesn’t bother me too much. Writing can join the ever-increasing pile of discarded hobbies that grows year on year – from the short-lived violin playing days of my childhood (didn’t like my new teacher so quit), to running and knitting (which I haven’t done for months but still list as interests to make me look well-rounded).

One thing that I never lose interest in however – is eating. A love of food has been ever-present in my life. A good friend Tanya pointed out that all of my boyfriends have loved to cook –  as if this was a coincidence, not a well thought out life choice. And as fate would have it, I ended up married to a MasterChef. My stomach always looks out for me.

One of the perks of being Tim’s wife is that I got to go to the BBC Birmingham Good Food Show in mid June. In 2009 they combined with MasterChef and now do cook offs between past champions, cook schools (where participants can cook along with John, or a previous contestant) and even a mini MasterChef competiton judged by John and Greg with audience members.

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Bakeathon: lime angel food cake with pistachio crust and chocolate and almond torte April 4, 2011

There is something intensely satisfying about baking a cake. I find every stage enjoyable; planning what you will make, the therapeutic measuring mixing and whisking, the pride you feel in it sitting there looking all pretty, and of course devouring it with a nice cup of tea. I haven’t baked for quite a while – I am fighting a losing battle against an expanding waistline and Tim (that American on MasterChef is my husband so step back Twitter groupies) does tend to somewhat monopolise the kitchen. I can hear Tim’s protests as I type this, because usually I don’t mind. I like cooking main meals, but it never produces the same kind of joy I get from making desserts. This probably has a lot of do with my terribly sweet tooth, but I also think there’s a delightful decadence in making something just for fun. No nutritional benefits, not to use up the leftover veg in the fridge that’s starting to go brown around the edges, just baking something that’s a treat.

The double celebration of my step-dad’s 70th and Mother’s day on the third of April was the perfect excuse. Don is a complete sucker for chocolate cakes, so I decided to break open my new MasterChef at Home cookbook and give Dhruv Baker’s Dark Chocolate and Almond Torte with Amaretto Cream, Raspberries and Passion Fruit at whirl. Before you get too impressed, I dismissed the cream and fruit and just went for the cake. Recipe is here courtesy of Gluten Free for Kids website. I stuck with the ground almonds and the cake was still lovely and moist, but I did substitute Amaretto for Shannon White Chocolate Irish Cream as that is what we had knocking around. The chocolate was Lindt dark almond and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Peruvian Fairtrade Dark Chocolate.

This is what it was supposed to look like:

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Keep calm and carry on January 15, 2011

Filed under: food,Museums — badatsports @ 10:57 am
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Americans are brash. French people are rude. Asian people are smart. And English people – as well as being snooty, unable to express emotions and, according to Hollywood, make perfect super villains – moan about the weather. I’m not sure about the other stereotypes, but the Brits do like to whinge that it’s too wet, hot, cold or snowy.

This has been even more true of late with the atypical stuff Mother Nature has been throwing at us. The snow threw us into a tizzy and gave us a whole host of things to moan about. Roads weren’t salted, trains weren’t running, planes grounded, Xmases ruined. One look at Facebook and you could see everyone shouting about how annoyed they were…me included. And it’s not just the weather. We work ourselves into  paroxysms of rage about tourists getting in our way, inflation, that Katie Price is allowed on TV and all the other niggly irritations of modern life. On my first day back at work this year when the extremely surly London Underground worker told me that my season ticket had gone up in price after I had stood in a queue for half an hour, I was sorely tempted to start ranting about tube strikes and train delays, but instead I waited so my colleagues and I could rant together at work.

Which is fine isn’t it? We’re in a recession and times are hard. However when I went to see the Ministry of Food exhibit at the Imperial War Museum over Christmas I realised that we don’t have it all that bad. It was all about how Britain fed itself during World War Two, and gave me a lot of food for thought (har har).

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