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Competition: Win a Holiday to the Canary Islands

A rare competition from me this morning, sponsored by Canary Islands Tourism. Best of luck! 

Canary Islands

Canary Islands

Lets face it, the British and Irish summer is hardly reliable, so if you are looking for a break with almost guaranteed sun this year, the holiday specialists at Shineagain.com are offering a chance to win seven sunny getaways in the Canary Islands.

Part of Spain but located very close to mainland Africa, this archipelago enjoys balmy temperatures throughout the year. Some islands are known for their lively and family friendly resorts but others offer peace, nature and unique national parks.

The holiday will include flights, accommodation, transfers (or car hire depending on what you choose) and other tasty extras including a sailing excursion, guided walks, a diving experience and lunch at some gorgeously located dining spots.

How to enter:

Choose from one of these island destinations:

La Gomera – For nature
La Palma – For picturesque scenery
Fuerteventura – For beaches
Lanzarote –  For volcanic landscapes
Tenerife – For a bit of everything
El Hierro – The meridian island
Gran Canaria – Another all rounder

Then go to Shineagain.com to make your selection, enter your contact details on the form and then check your email account to complete your entry into the draw.

Want to multiply your chances of winning? Just tweet about the competition and share it on Facebook.

The competition closes at the end of July. Good luck!

Canary Islands

Canary Islands

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Pre Christmas Treat: Win Signed Copies of Comfort & Spice, Grenada Spice Pack and a Kindle WiFi

Comfort & Spice

Comfort & Spice

As a thank you for all your kind comments and support throughout this year, I thought it only right that I offer a little pre Christmas treat from me.

From my personal stash, I am offering up two signed copies of my little tome Comfort & Spice for readers for Christmas. I myself am using it Christmas Day, well the recipes from the book at least, which are printed on my brain. We are having my Overnight Roast Pork Shoulder with Spiced Apple Relish. It is the perfect Christmas dish for me, takes little effort, pretty much cooks itself and is really delicious. We will follow it with Chocolate Mousse and Honeycomb, with lots of my hot spiced drinks on the side.

I also have a 6″ Kindle WiFiDirectline Holidays offered me one and as much as I would LOVE to keep it, I thought that it would be a nice treat for you. I am a voracious reader and love an actual book, but the practicality of these, especially for keen travellers and commuters, means they are fast becoming a must (for me, at least).

Christmas Spices & Cocoa from Grenada

Christmas Spices & Cocoa from Grenada

Finally, from my coveted spice stash from Grenada, I would love to send one of you a selection of nutmeg in the shell, mace, bay, cinnamon and cocoa. Those of you that followed my trip will know that the taste of these is incredible.

To win, all you need to do is comment and say which prize you are interested in. I will select the winner at random as always.

Thanks again, and here is to a wonderful Christmas for us all.

Christmas Spices and Baubles

Christmas Spices and Baubles



Spices and books are open to UK & Ireland, the Kindle to the UK only (as I am not sending it)

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Drumroll! Competition Winners and their Fantastic Stories

What a terrific response there was to the competition last weekend for the Real Food Festival tickets and the Cornishware mugs. I only wish I could have given everyone something – it was lovely to received so many comments from you all (100 in total!) and to hear some of your hilarious stories.

*DRUMROLL*

The winners are:

The gorgeous Cornishware mugs were won by Zoe Wells.

For the Real Food Festival Tickets: Sonia Porter, Zoe Vanderwolk, Caroline Duong & Louise Hughes.

Congratulations all! The winners were chosen randomly using the random number generator at www.random.org. All ladies this time even though many guys entered. It’s the luck of the draw I guess.

Your comments were superb, I can’t tell you how nice it was to hear from you and to get your fab feedback and your wonderful stories and in some cases poems! I hope you don’t mind me sharing some here. They are too good not to :)

Next time, I am giving a prize for best comment too. Maybe someone would like to donate one for these worthy commenters (really!). Before I do, to the gentleman who queried the gender specific nature of this blog, well,  is tongue in cheek and not at all Sex & The City influenced – that I can assure you. It’s just fun – girls eat, boys eat, we all eat, and I like to write about it. And, I am a girl. It’s just the way it is!

First up, a gem from Danny at Food Urchin. Irish readers will appreciate this:

Food Urchin:

Hellooo, my funny story involves a conversation I had at the weekend in County Mayo.

Irish man in a bar – So do you have any Irish blood in you?

Me – Yes, of course I do *hic*

IMIAB – Whereabouts yer family from?

Me – er…..ah…Lilliput!

IMIAB – What the place with all the little people!?!?!

Me – er no sorry…I mean Limerick

************************************************

And finally, this gem from Jo at Lovespoon. I dare you not to splutter your tea/coffee all over the screen as you read it!

LittleFfarm Dairy:

Hi Niamh –

Jo from Lovespoon, here. I always try to comment on Blogs (when I get the rare chance to read them!) as I appreciate how much time & effort goes in to writing & photographing a post. I write a couple of Blogs myself; but am woefully behind as so bloomin’ busy. I came across you via Twitter & must say I’ll be back as a regular visitor, always great to find a well-written & interesting Blog.

Golly, what gorgeous mugs! Cornishware has such timeless elegance & is reminiscent of farmhouse kitchens with the kettle singing on the hob and a gentler pace of life. Not that we get that here with the goats….

So; onto a tale of our cheeky caprine chums, & how they too like their tea. One day my OH was hard at work in the old goat shed so I took him a cuppa with a plate of ginger nuts to keep him going. He paused in gratitude, & leaned comfortably over the gate whilst supping the steamy brew & viewing the contentedly-cudding Milkforce.

Vine – she of the long eyelashes, capacious udder & luxuriant facial hair – sidled up to Tony for her oft-asked-for cuddle. Taking a bite of his biscuit he went to give her an ‘air kiss’; but infuriated at the sight of the ginger delight disappearing down his throat, Vine promptly stuck her tongue into his mouth to retrieve it!

He was so shocked he dropped his mug & got hot tea down his trousers. Meanwhile Vine had already made off with the remaining ginger nut which had been sitting folornly on the plate.

I have since discovered that she also loves Marmite….needless to say when I’m snaffling my breakfast toast at morning milking, I keep well away from the lovely Lady Vine!!

Needless to say if I was lucky enough to win a prize I’d love the ‘girlie’ mugs, please; they’re such pretty, refreshing colours & spring seems to be such a long time arriving, down here in the valley.

Sadly being a full-time farmer I won’t have an opportunity to get to the Real Food Festival this year as Tony will be away & we still have goats due to kid; London is, alas, so far away….

However, maybe next year we too will be there, proudly showcasing our lovely gelato. Well; I can dream…!

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Two Competitions! Gorgeous Mugs from Cornishware & Real Food Festival Tickets

Cornishware

Cornishware - Girls Set

I am in the throes of moving house and disconnected from this world with little cooking or dining out going on. So, what am I doing here? Well, I have two lovely competitions for you and I am running them both today.

Cornishware

Cornishware - Boys Set

The first prize is a set of gorgeous cheerful mugs from Cornishware that retail at £40 a box. You have a choice of his mugs or hers mugs. Being a her I prefer the colours of that set naturellement, who can resist a sunny yellow cup? But you boys can go for the more demure set if you so choose. I remember those lovely blue striped mugs from my childhood, where they graced my grandmothers table. Fond nostalgia! I am sure you have your own associations too.

RFF

The second prize – or rather four prizes – is 4 pairs of tickets for the Real Food Festival worth £30 each, which will be in London on the weekend of 7th-10th May. Bringing together top chefs such as Raymond Blanc, Giorgio Locatelli, Willie Harcourt-Cooze, Thomasina Miers and Oliver Rowe and over 400 of some of the best food and drink producers you will find anywhere, this is food and drink heaven. With Riverford Organic bringing their award-winning Field Kitchen restaurant and our own Mad Hatters Tea Party, with chef demos, livestock including a water buffalo from Laverstoke Park, milking and butter-making demos, tastings, grow your own and live music, this is a fantastic day out for all the family.

Tickets are selling fast, and for those that don’t win I also have a fantastic ticket offer of 2 tickets for £12, that’s a saving of £18 on the on the door price if you book by 4th May 2010. Simply quote RFNM when booking tickets. Book tickets online at www.realfoodfestival.co.uk or call the ticket hotline on 0871 231 0827.

How to enter:

Statistics show that only 1% or less of readers leave a comment, so I would love to hear from more of you! Leave a comment, say hello, tell a joke or a funny story, anything you want. Let me know which prize you want by stating mugs or tickets. You can enter both competitions but please leave a different comment for each. I will put the names in a hat and draw fairly.

The competition closes on Monday 3rd May at 6pm. Get commenting! Best of luck and I look forward to hearing from you!

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HELP! We NEED YOUR votes! Send us to ARGENTINA!

HELP! We need your votes! Vote No. 5!

There’s less than 23 hours left to vote for us to win a trip to Argentina… I am getting nervous.

We’ve been shortlisted for a competition with the most amazing prize of a trip to Argentina. The vote keeps going up and down and it’s very, very close – currently we’re second.

We’re nearly there – the vote closes at 5pm GMT tomorrow. We need every single vote you can give us.

Please vote for us! http://bibendum-times.com/argento-vote-for-your-favourite

Why?

* We dressed as a gorilla, gave away free fine wines to the public in the center of London ,and made people smile, even the security guard who had to move us on.

* It was a great idea! And it has kick started a whole series of public guerrilla tastings that you can go to.

* We deserve it! We work very hard doing all of this stuff for free, and for fun.

* We’re not winning, or at the very least it’s very close, and we need all of your support.

* It’s St Patrick’s Day tomorrow – bestow the luck of the Irish on me, and help me WIN!

Want to see what the fuss is all about? Watch the video then vote for no. 5 here: http://bibendum-times.com/argento-vote-for-your-favourite

Tell your colleagues, your friends, your Mum, your Dad! Cousins, cats, togs, pet tortoises. Anyone you know with a computer and an internet connection. It’s good karma and will come back to you in spades, and I promise in return to be as humorous and exciting as possible, to provide great recipes and maybe some more videos. Vote for me, please!

Please note: one vote per computer, all duplicate votes from the same computer are being removed.

Ps. sorry for all of the shouting and excitability, but… ARGENTINA! Please help me win, and I promise to get back in my box for a bit :)

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Bisol Jeio Prosecco Food & Wine Matching Competition – The Entries

The Bisol Jeio Prosecco Food & Wine Matching Competition has closed, and we’ve had some wonderful and interesting recipes submitted as matches for Bisol Jeio Prosecco. I had lots of visitors to the stall over the last few weeks who sampled the prosecco and described the range of flavours they experienced. They then went home and put a lot of thought into how that would work well with food. It’s been an education for me to observe and it’s been so lovely to meet everyone and chat about food & wine, two of my favourite topics.

There’s been some really inspiring recipes, and the competition even inspired Kathy of Bemused Bouche to start blogging. What a compliment! Our original plan, was to choose 5 finalists and give them passes for The Wine Show on in London this weekend. We didn’t bank on the interminable Royal Mail strike, so we’ve had to review as we were not able to post the passes out to the winners. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, the quality of the entries is so high, it’s good to have more time to choose the finalists. We’ll be in touch this week with details of the new arrangements.

For now, here’s those lovely recipes for your perusal. Which ones do you think would be the best match?

Pork Belly Tortellini with Prosecco Poached Pears, Pecorino and a Sage Brown Butter from Neil at The War On Cookbooks. “The cheese and the brown butter give the perfect kind of nutty vibes with the pear complimenting the fruitiness. The addition of the prosecco itself into the menu doesn’t harm the combination either but the effect is a subtle undercurrent.”

Carnitas with a spiced apple and lime salsa from Carla at Can Be Bribed With Food. “I know my likes and dislikes and tend to go for fairly generic matches, so this is the perfect occasion to test myself. After much thinking and trying I have decided that the Jeio would go quite nicely with this dish.

Chicken steamed in Sake with Bok Choi and a Soy Dressing, first blog post from Kathy at Bemused Bouche. “My first thoughts were either something involving fruit, maybe using figs or incorporating the membrello I have left over from last years quince season or where the main component has a salty flavour, seafood or pork perhaps. And then I thought about a soy dressing, giving the salty element and a definite attempt at a non-italian match.” Welcome to the blogosphere and well done!

Pork Chop with prosecco and tarragon cream sauce, goats cheese and olive crushed potatoes, parsnip puree from Dan at Essex Eating. “I’m pleased to report, it did appear to work, very well in fact – the prosecco didn’t grate alarmingly against the dishes ingredients, in fact they seemed to compliment each other nicely….I like to put it down to my bulging analytical brain and amazing palette, stressing categorically that it’s absolutely not more luck, than judgement.”

Danny at Food Urchin matched Warm Winter Salad with Pheasant, Pear, Pomegranate and Walnut. Dedicated to the cause he did this at 9am. “There are many reasons for drinking sparkling wine at 9 o’clock this morning son. Mostly poor ones but I’m going to stick by them. I’ve left things to the last minute you see. I need daylight for optimum photographising conditions and I have to test out this recipe that I’ve been formulating in my head for the past two weeks, by tomorrow. Deadlines, son.”

Rebecca from Fresh-Lee submitted Salmon-Mango Ceviche Snack. “As soon as I had a taste of the Bisol, the amazing fusion food of Miami Beach came to the front of my mind, and I thought I’d try some variations on a Mexican ceviche – fish ‘cooked’ in citrus juices.”

Claire from The Hungriest Hippo submitted Smoked Garlic Risotto with King Scallops and Prosecco. “I loved the idea of having a glass of chilled, sparkling Prosecco to sip along with a sumptuous treat of a supper dish – and once this seed of thought was planted, I could not get the idea of a rich, creamy risotto out of my mind, delicate in flavour and accompanied by a trio of the freshest king scallops, simply panfried.”

Ailbhe of Simply Splendiferous made sea trout fillets with a fresh rocket, spinach and watercress salad and a tartare based sauce. “After much to-ing and fro-ing I’ve settled on the combination of sea trout fillets with a fresh rocket, spinach and watercress salad and a tartare based sauce.”

Linda, of With Knife & Fork, matched her autumnal sort of salad, “a little bit of googling and reading and a few thought came to mind…..pears…well they go well in salads with blue cheese and often walnuts. Pears and peaches…sometimes served with air-dried hams. A sweetish fruit and salty theme was emerging. I’d also got a hankering for something autumnal, earthy…”.

Pete submitted a recipe for seed cake with a bit of a chilli kick. He kindly brought some down for me to try and it was delicious, I loved the chilli in there. It’s a nice match too.

Mia, of the Urban Foodie, submitted Chilli Crab Spaghetti, “a delicious store cupboard favourite for when the fridge is bare”.

Emma, blogger behind The Little Welsh Eats the Big World, and avid twitterer, submitted Oriental Duck Risotto.

Denise, of The Wine Sleuth, loves Bisol with strawberries, and matched it with her childhood favourite Strawberry Shortcake.

Spaghetti a la Putanesca from Dino at The Epicurean. “The perfect match with Bisol Jelo Prosecco before during and after – eating the dish that is :-)”.

Pork with apple & walnut with a spinach & salsify gratin from Martin at What I Would Rather Eat Today.

Jeanne, from Cooksister, submitted a lovely seasonal Blackberry and Prosciutto salad. “all the crunchy goodness of a green salad, the silken saltiness of the Prosciutto, offest nicely by the sweetness of the rich, ripe berries. ”

prosecco matching

And finally, Biggest Jim submitted a Goat’s Cheese Souffle. “Not having cooked a soufflé and being in one of my particularly ambitious cooking moods, I thought I’d try a Goat’s Cheese Souffle combination with Prosecco.”

So, that’s it folks! Very impressive submissions, it makes our job quite difficult. Thanks so much to all who entered. I’ll be back soon with a shortlist of finalists.

autumnal sort of salad
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Competition! Prosecco + Food Matching: Submit Your Recipe

Regular readers will know that I’ve been having lots of fun at Covent Garden Real Food Market. Serving up food from my kitchen and matching it to wines, chiefly Bisol Jeio Prosecco, one of my favourite sparkling wines. When Denise & I decided to do the stall, we really wanted to do something fun and sociable. We wanted a great wine, with some fizz and energy. Something that would match the food, and provide a fun experience for our customers. We’d sampled Bisol at a tasting and so we bought some from Bibendum to serve at the stall.

The world of food & wine matching is quite new to me. Before I would choose my wine and choose the food, not quite independently but nearly. I would always pair red wines with red meats, white wines with fish, but the intricacies of matching I just didn’t understand. It’s not a complicated and tedious process, learning bottle by bottle and glass by glass, it’s a thoroughly pleasant and indulgent affair. We like those kind of lessons! I am still learning and I am really enjoying it.

Initially the Bisol Jeio Prosecco was for the first week, but it proved so popular, we brought it back. Our first match was Bisol Jeio white prosecco with smoked salmon and cucumber pickle on Irish brown soda bread. A lovely match! I felt encouraged and progressed to match the Bisol Jeio Rose with slow roast pork. At home, I’ve matched the Bisol Jeio Prosecco to my prawn curry, risotto and love it with other fruity and/or fish dishes. They’re just my limited attempts.

Bisol are not just about prosecco, they also love food, boasting a fantastic restaurant, Ristorante Certosina on the island Certosa in Venice. They liked that we were matching the prosecco with non Italian foods and thought that it might be fun to explore this further by expanding the concept with a competition.

IMG_3311Mazzorbo Scarpa Velo.jpg alta bella

So here it is. It’s simple, submit your recipe with a photo that you think would be a good prosecco match. Post it on your blog with a link back to this post, and the trackback will appear in the comments. Not a blogger? Please submit via the Contact Me page, you entry would be most welcome! All entries must be submitted by Wednesday 21st October, just over 2 weeks.

5 finalists will meet to prepare their dishes and the best match will win a gorgeous meal for two with me and a representative from Bisol at the chefs table in bloggers favourite Trinity, London. Giles Coren has proclaimed it “the perfect restaurant”. All 5 finalists will receive a pair of tickets for the wine show in London 22 – 28 October.

Just one problem, you’ve not tried Bisol? Come down to my stall at the Covent Garden Real Food Market this Friday 9th October and sample a glass on the house from 6pm. We want this to be fun and interesting, bringing the experience from the browser to the real world.

So, if you think you can handle my table manners, submit your recipe. Simple or complex, they will be judged on how well they match, not on the intricacy involved. It’s a fun competition with a great prize. So, what are you waiting for?! Send me your recipes :)

More info on Bisol Jeio Prosecco here [PDF].

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Win a £500 dinner in a Top London Restaurant

Win a £500 dinner in a Top London Restaurant at Trusted Places

Win a £500 dinner in a Top London Restaurant at Trusted Places

This is definitely something worth sharing – the folks at Trusted Places are running a fantastic competition B It’s very easy to enter, you just need to write some reviews (even just one but the more you write the greater your chances) and share your trusted places with the community . You could win dinner for two in one of London’s top 10 restaurants for £500.

I’ve said it before, it’s a great site and it’s definitely a community that’s fun to be involved with. So, sign up, review, get your friends in, and, who knows – you might be indulging in one of London’s Top 10 restaurants, all courtesy of Trusted Places.