Friday, 27 February 2015

Big Allotment Challenge & Gardening On TV

I thoroughly enjoyed the Big Allotment Challenge this year and was eagerly looking forward to another. We put our names down on our local allotment waiting list a few weeks before the show aired last year and it was a good job that we did as the waiting list jumped up to 20 people after The Big Allotment Challenge had been on the TV. When the first season aired we didn't have a plot of our own and this may have been why I quickly lost interest in it. When I saw it was on the TV this year I didn't pay it much attention. I've joined  several gardening groups on Facebook and kept noticing people posting about the Big Allotment Challenge and decided to give it another look.

Big Allotment Challenge Winner Rob
Image Credit; BBC/Silver River/Janine Warwick Image Copyright: Silver River

I was charmed. The show focused on three elements; a county fair style exhibiting challenge, flower arranging and cooking. Each element used produce that the contestants grew on their allotments and every week the contestant that had not come up to scratch had to leave. The format was more like The Great British Bake Off than a gardening show.

I found out about the show on social media

The Big Allotment Challenge did have plenty of growing tips but there was not very much emphasis on the contestants out there tending their plots instead we saw what happens to the vegetables and flowers after they were picked. I would have liked to see more of the growing parts of the show. Perhaps a pre show before the challenges started would have worked to show the graft the contestants put in. The contestants tended their plots for several months before the judging started.  I wonder what happened to all the growing footage? Especially the footage of the contestants that went home. That could have been another show in itself.

Despite the lack of gardening I did enjoy the show and was sad to hear there will not be another season next year. These days it's rare that I watch anything on TV and find gardening shows particularly tired and dated, the Big Allotment Challenge did manage to lure me away from YouTube for one evening a week and that's no easy feat.

New show - Kew On A Plate
Image Credit; BBC/Lion television Image Copyright: Lion Television Ltd

There is another show coming this Spring to BBC2 that has captured my interest and that's Kew On A Plate with Kate Humble and Raymond Blanc taking on a mammoth heritage vegetable garden. With these new shows and formats a foot I'm excited and I'm not quite ready to write of TV forever just yet.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Daily Water Intake

It often gets to the evening and I feel a bit headachey, I start to wonder why and usually realise it's because I've not drunk anything since my morning coffee. I've had to work really hard to remind myself to drink throughout the day.

Water Alarm

These little water bottles are very simple but so far I'm finding that they are really helping me to create a habit of drinking regularly. From 7am to 7pm is marked off in 2 hour intervals during those intervals you drink the water from that part of the bottle. By 7pm you've finished 2 bottles and are nicely hydrated.

Water check boxes

Couple these water intake bottles with my Filofax colour off water droplets and the 5pm alarm on my phone that tells me to drink a glass of water and you'd think I'd be able to nail this water drinking thing, it really shouldn't be difficult!

Do you drink enough water?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Afternoon Tea Prep

Over the weekend I had friends over, we had an afternoon tea and light nibbles with cocktails in the evening. I planned it all so I could be available to hang out with my guests by preparing everything in advance.

It worked really well for me not to be in the kitchen once everyone arrived but I still got to present a home cooked meal which I love to do. I think I finally found the right balance. How do you juggle cooking and entertaining?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Meat Treat

How do you preserve your meat?
I always just freeze mine. I regularly make syrups, jams, jellies and pickles with fresh fruit and vegetables that I'm not ready to eat right away but when it comes to a good piece of  fresh meat that I'm not quite ready for, I'll just pop it in the freezer. I've been wanting to make jerky for a long time but it's a drawn out process and I've never quite gotten around to it. I'll have to pop it on the foodie bucket list. Drying meat into jerky has been a preserving process since long before freezers even existed, there's a whole world of jerky making just waiting to be discovered.

In the meantime there's Jack Link's Meat Snacks, they've done the work for you. When Jack Link's asked if I wanted to try their jerky I said "Yes, please."

Jack Link's Beef Snack is not your usual leathery jerky, it's a thick strip of beef. When I first slid it out of the foil I was a bit dubious, it looked like it would be gristly but it's not at all. It a good chewy mouthful that breaks down nicely, no lumpy bits. It smells divinely of barbecue and has a sweet smokey taste. It doesn't repeat on you either which is often a complaint I have with jerky.

The meaty snack is high in protein and I thought it would be great for Trevor after triathlon training but maybe not after every session as it's also over 20% sugar. It's no wonder I'm craving more, jack Link's is seriously moorish, one strip just isn't satisfying enough. I'd definitely pick up the Beef Snack again but I'd look at it more as a sweet treat to be washed down with a cold beer rather than a post work out snack.

In a world filled with chocolate bars, there is definitely room for more meaty snacks. What's your favourite savoury treat?

Jack Link's sent me their product for consideration. All opinions are my own. Check out Jack Link's Facebook page for a 50p off coupon to be used at Tesco Express.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Simple Pancake Recipe

It's pancake day tomorrow so it seemed fitting to share Trevor's updated recipe for his thick fluffy Canadian style pancakes.

What's your favourite pancake topping?

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Rolo Cookies

Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo cookie? I just about ate the whole batch myself.

If your thinking of cooking for Valentine's Day breakfast in bed always goes down well too.

Which edible gift would you most like to receive?

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Filofax Setup New Sections

I made a few alterations to my Filofax setup since I introduced it last month. I'm also looking for a way to journal all my allotment progress and plans. What system do you use for journalling?