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Blaggers’ Banquet – Update

Blaggers' Banquet

Well, the blaggers’ banquet is all systems go and we’re blagging like k-razy. We’ve had an amazing and very supportive response from producers, restaurants, chefs, wineries, breweries… it’s been really inspiring. Everyone’s really pulled together and gotten things done. Wonderful.

We had our first meeting at the new Draft House on Northcote Rd, who donated the whole bar for the evening which was wonderful. This helped galvanise everyone and get things moving bringing us nicely to where we are now. We had a great evening drinking Murphy’s of Cork on draught and blackberry whiskey with some fantastic bar food – I’ll be back for sure.

We’ve have some fantastic donations since, both for the meal and for the night itself. We’re not going to spoil it by revealing anything for the meal or everything from the auction, but here’s a taster of some of auction items. The auction will run partially on the night and for a month after the banquet online, so, even if you’re not in London or not at Hawksmoor on the night, you can participate.

Autographed cookbooks from Fergus Henderson at St John’s – these are definitely unique and I expect a battle for them!

A year’s supply of Chilango vouchers (£2,400 value).

A Mexican cookery class from Thomasina Miers: author, intrepid tv chef, winner of Masterchef, and of Wahaca in London. The course is being run exclusively for the Blaggers’ Banquet auction. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn authentic Mexican Cuisine in London.

A Kitchenaid worth £369 for all you passionate cooks.

A cookery lesson at La Cucina Caldesi followed by lunch + a signed copy of Katie Celdesi’s new book.

White Christmas Tea collection from the fabulous Rare Tea Company including 2 lovely white teas and a teapot and tea cocktails at Hix Soho with the Tea Lady.

Tasting menus from L’Anima, Racine, Maze, Theo Randall, Tom Aikens & Launceston Place.

1 hour cooking lesson in the Konstam kitchen, a seasonal dish from start to finish.

A lovely Gordon’s Choice Hamper from Selfridge’s worth £130.

There’s lots more, all of which we will write about soon. Thanks to all of the blaggers who are doing *sterling* work and to all those who donated. We really appreciate it all of the support, as do Action Against Hunger.

So, we still need more auction items and items for goodie bags, indeed we need the bags themselves! Drop me an email at niamheen@gmail.com if you have something you would like to donate. We would love to hear from you.

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London Restaurant Week

Two fools – me and my winning photo

Following a tough week last week, packing and moving once more, this week has started on a fine note. One of my photos (Rhubarb Fool) was chosen to be exhibited at the launch party for London Restaurant Week last night along with food photos from celebrities (Amy Winehouse, Jodie Harsh, Jean Christophe Novelli to name a few) and members of the public like myself. I was invited, and with a friend attended, quite excited at the prospect of attending such a high profile event.

The champagne flowed and lovely small bites were provided, I indulged in the Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Green Peas and the Fish & Chips – greedy as I am, fear not, they were mini portions. I wolfed it down so quickly, I forgot to take a photo, which frankly, is unheard of. This was followed by a mini chocolate pudding and knickerbocker glory, delicious, and I do have photos of these :-)

All the while, there was much people watching and speculation, always fun. After a couple of hours, Jean Christophe Novelli took the floor and gave a speech, thanking everyone for attending and supporting the event. Then came the time to announce the winner of the photography competition. I wasn’t paying much heed as, really, the other photos were fantastic, so I continued to drink my champagne and nibble. Imagine my shock and surprise when he called out my name! So exciting.

So, here I am, the proud winner, with a fantastic prize: a dinner for two at a michelin starred restaurant. I really can’t wait to indulge. And indulge further I will, for those of you that don’t know of it, London Restaurant Week (actually two weeks this year) is an opportunity to eat at up to 100 of London’s leading restaurants for much less than normal. This list includes no less than 10 michelin starred restaurants. These 100 restaurants include some I’ve been really keen to try: Lindsay House, Bentley’s Bar & Grill, Tamarind, Quilon & The Cinnamon Club. Added to this, a charity benefits, lastminute.com has partnered for the second year running with Capital 95.8’s Help a London Child and 20p from each booking will be donated to the charity. It starts on the 14th April, but you can book now, so, get in there early and make the most of it! I will be. More on http://www.londonrestaurantweek.co.uk.

I’ll leave you with a very cheesy pic of me & Mr Novelli. Haha! What a nice man! Really charming and friendly, even with people like me approaching him with my little camera in hand looking for a photo :-)

Thanks to Sophie and all the guys from lastminute.com for organising a wonderful and fun party, and, of course, for my lovely prize!