Well this initiative by the “Popes of TW” is a really simple and great idea. Nick & Ingrid saw something similar whilst on holiday in the US and thought it would translate well to the their local community in Tunbridge Wells.
The have tirelessly put together a simple website where an “X” marks the sellers pitches and allowed now some 100 plus to easily sign up and take part. They have both leaflet dropped the town and distributed some 10,000 of them to spread the word and now with just a few days to go there is much excitement and anticipation.
I felt I somehow had to take part in this and am pleased to say I will be joining up with a couple of pals on their pitch at TN1 1JP where I will rock up with my paella kit and cook a fresh big pan of the stuff and serve up to anyone who fancies a refuel whilst they browse the assorted sellers stalls.
The pan holds circa 40 portions so it will be very much a first come first served situation and all profits from the sales will be donated to local charities. I will even take payment with a credit card if you have used up all your cash on other sellers stalls so no excuses on not selling out.
Lets hope the weather stays fine and warm and this will become very much an annual community event for the town. Well done to Ingrid & Nick for such sterling work… now just form an orderly queue for your paellas!
It was a chilly night as we arrived at Taywell’s Ice Cream HQ on the outskirts of Paddock Wood. However, it was a warm welcome from the owner Alastair Jessell who had kindly agreed to host a special “Twuddle” night to taste some new flavours his company had created to enter into the Great British Taste Awards taking place later in the year.
Well it had been well supported with a full house – two tastings took place at 6:30pm and 7:30pm respectively. Alastair explained to us how the ice cream they make is produced in twenty litre batches with their state of the art “Swiss Made” machines that cost a cool 65 grand each (they have two!) The mix is poured into the top of the machine and it is then heated and pasteurised to the required temperature before dropping through to the chamber that churns and freezes the mix to make the ice cream in just twenty minutes. The machines are that clever that if the consistency is not quite right they can programme the machine to remember what it needs to do the next time and it will automatically do that. As one taster remarked I should think so for 65 grand!!!
The ice creams we were to taste had been duly removed from the freezer about 10 minutes before the tasters had arrived as to scoop it meant it would be easier and tasting plates were in place with labels strategically placed along with a plethora of spoons. The new flavours had a tasting sheet to score and comment upon and there were some extra new flavours and style to try as well. (Some special edition Frozen Yoghurts)
Well we got down to the serious business and started to taste first the sorbets as these have the cleanest flavours and they melt the quickest. Then came the Ice Creams and finally the yoghurts.
There was much mirth and merriment as we jostled down the line, a concern from some that the alcohol laced ices meant they would not be in a fit state to drive – Alastair explained whilst he was generous with the booze it was about 1 bottle of the booze to the 20 litre batch so nothing to be concerned about. One question from a certain taster about food colour additives was rightly met with a swift rebuke from Alastair that Taywells only use natural products and no additives… that told him!
After we had gorged ourselves and made the desired notes on our tasting sheets we were then given the chance to sample a reject that had not made the grade, for simply whilst it tasted good it was no more different than a same flavour using less expensive ingredients and would be less likely to be commercially viable.
A trip round the walk in freezer whilst a we bit chilly was like being in an Aladdin’s cave of Ice Cream with a staggering range of flavours and the chance to purchase what we had tasted at a special rate tempted many to depart with their arms loaded and some free samples of the reject!!!
It was a great night and the results of the tasting will be revealed soon and an outright winner that will be given the “Twuddle” seal of approval announced as soon as we have fully scrutinised the ballot sheets and checked them and even snuck back just to check we hadn’t missed something… all in the interests of fairness I am sure you will understand!
We have now just completed yet another @yourhome dinner and we must say we think it went well rather well…
It’s always a challenge to cook in someone else’s home as there is the vagaries of a strange cooker and different surroundings… but as ever Hari loves a challenge and this was an ask that we could not refuse. So the party was a birthday celebration for a super fit (ask her about her press-ups challenge!) and climbing enthusiast Ruth Malone. I had cooked a couple of times for her sister Hannah and they are both “Twuddlers” who have been very supportive of my little enterprise.
Well, after having spent a week at our home in France I returned laden with some special goodies for their chosen menu…Ruth had left the menu choices pretty much carte blanche to me with the only proviso they had fairly conservative tastes so nothing too off the wall!!!
Well we kicked off the evening in her home with some canapés that are very much my favourites of the moment. I had made some Parmesan Lollipops that with the addition of some caraway seeds made a good visual impact, some mini toasts topped with black olive tapenade provided a nice salty Mediterranean memory and finally shot glasses with a warm pea & curry soup.
One of the guests (Alex) had previously joked he was expecting a KFC meal from Ruth… so we duly obliged him by serving the lollipops in a KFC meal bag… the lengths I had to go to purloin a bag was fun… and another story!!!
We then served the first course a light delicate salmon quenelle mousse that had been poached and served with a warm vinaigrette sauce made with extra virgin olive oil and more unusually a light Cameroon Mango vinegar. The addition of some finely chopped peppers and diced mango and chopped chives provided a stunning visual impact to the salsa, this was well received as plates came back licked clean.
Next we served a dish that had been well received at our last dinners a chicken breast roulade that was stuffed with spinach, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese. We then poached the breasts in a light stock and served the roulade with sherry sauce infused with sun-dried tomatoes. We served this with a creamy gratin dauphinoise and some green beans wrapped in pancetta
So as the meal progressed we had got to grips with the kitchen and we served our next course a selection of specially selected and imported cheeses from our local fromagerie (Chez Juliette Gauby) in France… having just returned on the Wednesday it meant we could import some more unusual and locally difficult to obtain cheeses.
We had managed to find a wonderfully ripe Vacherin Mont D’or for me a king of cheeses… this unpasteurised milk cheese is a winter speciality that has a wonderful unctuous flavour best served with a spoon!!! We then also served a cheese made by the cheese shop owner called a “Bleu de rancio”… the blue is a Bleu d’Auvergne and then raisins marinated in a local rancio sherry like wine that is mixed with a cream cheese and layered – it has inspired me to have a go to copy with Hari’s Buttons as served at some of our previous dinners but the real McCoy was very well received.
We had a fresh goats cheese from the Sancerre region creamy and with a light acidic tang and for our hard cheese we had a classic Tomme from the Pyrenees that had been made from the mixed milk of cows, sheep’s and goat and well matured to produce a really strong flavoured cheese. All served with our classic porridge oat biscuits seasoned with sea salt and Szechwan peppercorns.
To complete the meal we then served a dish of grilled slices of fresh pineapple that was then marinated in a syrup of honey and cardamom that with the addition of some ruby red grapefruit segments, blood orange segments and candid peel provided a sweet and citric balance of flavours…With this we served a scoop of coconut ice cream.
Ruth had warned me she was somewhat lacking in the plate department…so we also used our own plates, which have a bit of history… in fact one of my best buys… Robert Niederer designed Hergiswil glass plates from Switzerland. I bought them some fifteen years ago direct from the factory and they are only ever used for special occasions… we felt Ruth’s birthday celebration was such a worthy occasion!
Ruth’s partner Nathan had arranged a celebratory cake that arrived with the men folk singing “Happy Birthday” to her…
It was a very scrummy and moist Carrot Cake topped with four vegetable garnishes… a picture to behold and I presented some homemade chocolate ganache and some Spanish chocolate & almond Turron.
As I left the party with them finishing off the copious wine and leftover cake!!! As I cleared away our debris I managed to reflect upon the evening… It’s always a pleasure to cook and serve a meal to an appreciative audience and we think this one had loved their very exclusive event… so if you find it difficult to make a dinner date chez Hari then why not consider booking Hari for your own exclusive @yourhome event!
Well now, we are pleased to announce there is an upcoming event that is designed to tickle and chill your palate.
The owner of Taywell Ice Creams – Alastair Jessel based at Paddock Wood is opening his doors for a very special taste off.
Taywell Ices are creating some new flavours to enter in the 2011 Great Taste Awards. This is your chance to pass judgement & give your opinion at an organised taste off. You will also have a tour of their production facility and learn more about the making of bespoke ice creams.
The date is Wednesday March 2nd and spaces are limited to the two time slots of 6:30pm and 7:30pm and your places can only be reserved via the Twuddle/Twuttle web site… please book your spaces here and make sure you state which time you require.
Well it was with some trepidation I arrived at the award ceremony held at Sankeys Wine Bar and Restaurant… There had been enormous twitter banter before the award ceremony and much canvassing of votes.
Well to say I was amazed to be awarded this honour was an understatement and was much appreciated to feel the warmth and good wishes within the room…
I hope I live up to the reputation bestowed upon me…