Monthly Archives: May 2015

Gemini Food Horoscope 23.5.15

Gemini Food Horoscope

The 21st of May sees the end of Taurus and the start of Gemini, the twins.

The Taster provides a frank, occasionally rude, outline of Gemini’s relationship with food, cookery, hospitality and digestion. Sorry (see disclaimer below). For specific predictions, subscribe to the mag (still only £6 for four issues) – our Summer 2015 issue reveals this season’s culinary future in no-nonsense terms for Gemini, Cancer and Leo. We hope you enjoy the below more general insights.

GEMINI: THE TWINS
Chef rating: 2/10 (half rations)
Favourite foods: vegan kefta with a side of lightly-toasted grasshoppers. Today. Something else tomorrow

If you are a Twin
You were born to torment cooks. Pick, pick, pick. God forbid you should sit down, relax, and eat the food put in front of you with gratitude and focus. You are the only star sign to make comfort food a source of angst. You are probably skinny, but not healthy. You are often ill or injured, and it gets worse as you age due to a lifetime of inadequate nutrition. Which is strangely stupid, given that Twins pride themselves on their own cleverness.

If you know a Twin
Prepare for a lifetime of cooking challenges. Twins are an air sign and sometimes you wonder if they live on the stuff. You might briefly catch their attention with bizarre salads (think herring, walnut, radishes and dragon fruit) or perhaps an array of Indonesian greens lovingly hand-carved into the shapes of zoo animals. Served on a bed of samphire. If that sounds like hard work — get used to it. Busy little Twins will be far too preoccupied to help, what with drawing up plans for the volcano and stroking the white cat.

Horrorscopes disclaimer

We’ll be building up our tough-talking horrorscope series throughout 2015. Click here for Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, or Taurus, and come back to us in future for other star signs; or sign up to our newsletter (sign up at the bottom of our homepage). Check back on 22 June for a discussion of Cancer in the kitchen.

Gemini Food Horoscope

Blog 19 May 2015 – Summer Issue

Happy
Tomato Week!

The Taster Magazine (Nearly) Daily Update: Summer Issue

Just to let you know, The Taster Magazine is now coming up to its 2015 Summer Issue. This eighth issue marks the end of two years of intense (highly enjoyable) food & publishing activity; and it is never more intense than, as now, when The Final Deadline looms up rather in the  manner of, as Douglas Adams might have put it, a brick wall placed across a motorway.

Online publishing, social media and blogs, always allow for the retrospective edit, the second thought, the alarmed retraction. The held headline can, by and large, always be reinstated. But paper-publishing allows no such flexibility; the only method of amendment is to pulp the issue.

Just to thoroughly mix the metaphors, online publishing is like making pasta sauce, where you stir, simmer, adjust, and keep on adjusting all afternoon if you like. Paper publishing is a soufflé: once the eggs are in and baking, that’s it. All you can do is pray.

Anyway. This is somewhat in the nature of an excuse/apology. We’re going to ease off the blogs and other social media for the rest of this week, just while we’re finishing off the issue/brick wall/soufflé. Hopefully it’ll be worth it – with pieces about spices (their history, and how to use them), what billionaires eat on holiday, quite a lot about artichokes, hake, rabbits, raspberries and apricots, and a general emphasis on sun, holidays and picnics. Regarding the spices, we should just add that carrying out the taste tests (fish curry, lamb curry, tempura vegetables, cinnamon biscuits, mmm!) has been an absolute joy and we hope to inspire you to try out and enjoy the home cooking kits we found.

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Since it’s Tomato Week, click on our Tomato Crib sheet:

Summer IssueHave a great week,

The Taster

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events this month.

Blog 15 May 2015 – Food Revolution Day

Happy Food
Revolution Day!

The Taster Magazine (Nearly) Daily Update: Food Revolution Day

THERE will always be those who insist that You Can’t Tell Me How To Feed My Kids. Throughout history, protesting voices have been raised against the teaching of science, religion, geography, sex education, and even whether lessons ought to be conducted in a language that pupils could understand, as opposed to French or Latin. If a strong tradition of home cooking had managed to survive the ration-books of World War II, those protests might have a point. But — to be blunt — it didn’t. Instead of the Roast Beef of Old England, the thing that impressed most visitors to British shores, postwar, was the terrible and all-permeating scent of boiled-to-death cabbage.

Perhaps I exaggerate. And as Editor of The Taster, and as a parent, I do try to involve my two younglings in the kitchen. But I will be only too pleased to have some hapless teacher shoulder part of the burden. Like many parents, I juggle work and family and it’s often hard to squeeze everything in. The current rule is Sunday mornings are Cooking Time: I cook Sunday Lunch, and the tinies wash vegetables, peel carrots, make pastry and mix cake ingredients. We talk about fats, carbs, protein and vitamins. Lovely and relaxed, yes? What an aspirational family, eh? No. Sunday mornings — or at least, midday until 2.30pm — used to be a lovely respite. For me. The format was: family banned from the kitchen. Recipe books ranged up. Radio 4. Notebook. Glass of wine for Chef, and away I went. But now? It is a long, increasingly fractious period of instruction, clarification, moderation and emergency interventions. I spend a fair amount of time wondering how a child can, with a mere flick of a wooden spoon, propel almost an entire bowl of cake mix flying out on the kitchen floor. Perhaps he’ll grow up to be a champion javelin-hurler. Then again, perhaps he won’t. Either way, after an hour, I’ve had enough; but is an hour a week sufficient to transmit the art of cooking from one generation to the next?

Being a good cook yourself is no guarantee of success. My own mother was an excellent, ambitious cook who prepared French dishes and four-course meals on an almost daily basis. It was all tremendously impressive, and could not possibly have been achieved with children cluttering up the kitchen. So I learned precisely nothing apart from how to set a table; it wasn’t until I reached my late twenties that an appalled boyfriend insisted I try to follow a recipe, rather than just making a sandwich. (I made a lemon pasta by Nigel Slater. It was life-changing. I spent the next six months reading recipe books as if they were novels, often on the tube and train as I commuted to work.)

Jamie’s Food Revolution Day (click and sign his petition) is an attempt to have proper, compulsory practical cookery taught at school. I hope, very much, the project succeeds. Because if anyone at my children’s school wants to go through the hell of teaching an entire classful of tinies how to bake a cake, they will have nothing from me except my gratitude and support.

Here’s Jamie with his own message:

Find more foodie vids on our YouTube channel. Have a great Friday and weekend,

Food Revolution DayCatrin T-P
Editor

 

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events this month.

Blog 12 May 2015 – Best Of Jane Grigson

Best Of Jane Grigson

The Taster Magazine (Nearly) Daily Update: The Best Of Jane Grigson

Best of Jane GrigsonENOUGH of politics. 25 years ago Jane Grigson died, sadly aged just 62, after an amazingly successful life in food writing. One indicator of how successful it was is the fact that the French, no less, translated her book on Charcuterie & French Pork Cookery into their own language.

To mark this anniversary, Grub Street have published an excellent new book, The Best of Jane Grigson, and kindly sent us a copy. Billed as “The ultimate compendium of Jane Grigson’s recipes,” The Taster can confirm that it’s a beautifully produced volume. This does make a difference: we’ve often dipped into Penguin’s version of the 1974 classic, Jane Grigson’s English Food, and while it provides all the info you’d expect, the book itself is densely printed in a tiny font that, for us at least, renders the multitude of recipes a little overwhelming. This collection, however, is altogether more spacious and accessible; from the sepia print (kinder on the eyes than black) to the use of italics for Grigson’s background notes and personal reminiscences — it’s all a lot prettier and easier to read. The book is in eight sections, providing recipes and thoughts on food in England; France (with a special section on charcuterie); the Mediterranean; Europe; the Americas; India and the Far East; and Treats And Celebrations. Scattered throughout are delightful mini-essays on topics including Sausages, Picnics, Tomatoes, Seville Oranges and (oh joy) Edible Gifts; and there are a few Scandi recipes hidden in the European section.

Many recipes have names that simply cry out to be given a try, and it is rather fun to track Grigson’s progress across the continents. Try this list, picked more or less at random:

Saltmarsh Lamb in Pastry
Pressure Pigeons
Mrs Sleightholme’s Seed Cake
Poor Knight’s Pudding with Raspberries
Green Spinach Pie (Spanakopitta)
Sweet-sour Rabbit Italian Style with Chocolate
Emperor’s Pancake (Kaiserschmarrn)
Fried Chicken Maryland with Corn Fritters
Louisiana Court-Bouillon
Bachelor’s Jam (Rumtopf)
Three Kings Salad
Mongolian Fire Pot (Shua Yang Jou)
Winter Melon Soup (Tung Kua T’Ang)

The names alone make our fingers itch to get in the kitchen.

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This week is officially Sandwich Week, so here’s a sandwich vid we found for our YouTube channel. Chosen it because the very first sandwich to feature is a British chip butty! Obviously that’s the best, but the rest look pretty good too. Try this:

Have a great week

The Taster

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events in May.

Blog 8 May 2015 – Conservative Food Policies

Time For A Hot Sweet Tea!
Conservative Food Policies

The Taster Magazine Daily Update: Conservative Food Policies

Well, that was exciting. Whether it’s congratulations or commiserations, cups of hot sweet tea all round for the shock!

Just to recap — these are the Conservatives’ promises (and a few of their past achievements). However you voted, it’ll be interesting to see how many of these aims are realised in the next five years.

CONSERVATIVE FOOD POLICIES
♦ Champion British farmers and food producers aiming to export. The manifesto emphasises opening up new markets abroad, for example in China and Singapore. The manifesto says: “British farming has a well-deserved and world-wide reputation for its top quality produce . . . As the world’s population continues to grow and tastes and diets develop, we believe that there are phenomenal opportunities to sell British food and drink abroad.” More specifically, they will create a ‘Great British Food Unit’ to promote British foods at home and abroad, and push for country-of-origin labelling in Europe.
♦ Help small farmers & suppliers get a fair deal from supermarkets  via the new Groceries Code Adjudicator. This might make some food items pricier if supermarkets pass increased costs on to customers. It’s up to individual consumers to decide whether this is a Bad or a Good Thing!
♦ Support fisheries. Combat illegal fishing, ban fish discards, and aim to add 100 Marine Protected Zones to the 27 set up in 2013, plus other measures centering around EU rules
♦ Reduce bureaucracy. Reduce red tape for farmers and, in relation to food labelling, avoid “burdensome” rules for small producers
♦ Reduce childhood obesity. Promote clear food information to allow people to make better food shopping choices

SOME CONSERVATIVE ACHIEVEMENTS during their past stint in power
Animal welfare. Introduced the Red Tractor labels and “pushed for tough legal action against [EU] countries who have failed to adhere to the phased bans on battery cages for chickens and sow stalls for pigs.”
Small producers. Introduced the Government Buying Standards under which more of the public monies spent on food and catering go to small and local companies, and promoted the ‘protected’ foods scheme (eg Anglesey sea salt, Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Gloucester Old Spot pigs)
 Fishing. — with a little help from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, we think — reformed the EU Common Fisheries Policy and set up the UK’s first Marine Protected Zones, covering over 9000km². 10% of UK seas are now protected, and 25% of English inshore waters. According to the manifesto, “we now have a legally binding commitment to fish at sustainable levels. All this means that today, fishing communities from the Highlands to Cornwall have more security and peace of mind”

And now, we’re going to take a breath and brew a cuppa.

Yours,

The Taster

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events in May.

Blog 7 May 2015 – Crunch Time For Foodies II

Happy
Election Day!

The Taster Magazine Daily Update: Crunch Time For Foodies II

So. What would we get on our dinner plates under each of the five national parties? Here’s the best-case scenario we’ve extrapolated after a sketchy and incomplete run through the manifestos (we deny everything). No bias any way on our side; all we care about is food. In alphabetical order:

CONSERVATIVE
Everything clearly marked with a ‘Great British Food Unit’ label. Possibly pricier than in the past, since supermarkets would come under pressure to give a fairer deal to small suppliers and might pass those costs on to customers.

Sunday Lunch under the Tories depends on how the EU referendum goes, so we have two versions. In the event of withdrawal from the EU, there would be (unlike UKIP) no particular emphasis on trading with the Commonwealth.
EU SUNDAY LUNCH: Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. Baked Camembert tart with Fleurie; Gressingham Duck à l’orange, carrots & petits pois with Rioja; zabaglione. Caffe latte
NON-EU SUNDAY LUNCH: Real caviar & Scottish smoked salmon on blinis with a vodka shot. Then, English asparagus & Cheddar tart with Glyndwr Welsh white wine; wagyu beef & Yorkshire pudding with a Chilean red; Sweet Eve strawberries & cream; Stilton with Fenland celery. Port (from Goa, not Portugal).
(Policies: creation of  ‘Great British Food Unit’ to help trademark and promote British foods at home and abroad; country-of-origin labelling in Europe; new Groceries Code Adjudicator to regulate supermarkets’ relations with suppliers)

GREEN
Not as many lentils/freekeh/quinoa as you might expect; rather, a lot more, and a lot cheaper, local organic veg. Wine or beer would be pricier (unless organic). What little meat you consume would, on the up side, be free-range and free of antibiotics. Honey for tea. A lot of pressure not to waste anything.
SUNDAY LUNCH (all veg are organic): Seasonal vegetable samosas; coconut fish curry with a local craft lager; grilled British-made halloumi; homemade walnut & honey baklava; green tea.
(Policies: reduced meat & dairy products; subsidies for organic farms; new farm animal welfare rules; increased taxes on alcohol & unhealthy food; protection for pollinators; emphasis on non-waste and recycling. Also against excessive food air miles; hence not so many lentils or other exotic grains)

LABOUR
Hopefully, you won’t be eating at a food bank. Quite possibly GM and pesticide-reliant veg, but only if clearly shown to do no harm. A goodbye to cheap-as-chips Value Cider, Lager etc
SUNDAY LUNCH: Apéritif of English perry. Curried sweetcorn soup; a small roast pork but with lashings of Armagh Bramley apple sauce, roast potatoes, kale & carrots with a good-quality Cornish cider; apple pie served with Cheshire cheese; more cider. (Basically a scene from the Darling Buds of May)
(Policies: Sunday Lunch under Labour is the trickiest one in this list. Their main policy is to increase food security; the Farmers’ Union recently claimed the UK is in a downward spiral of non-self-sufficiency, unable to meet 40% of its own food needs. So presumably the emphasis would be on British rather than EU foods, and staple grains and vegetables rather than meat or dairy products, which take more energy to produce. Potentially a lot of flour and, as the most efficient converter of food to meat, pigs. They also aim to end reliance on food banks and consider issues such as GM crops and pesticides dispassionately, ie according to scientific evidence)

LIB DEM
If you’re a primary school child, it’s free school lunches all the way. Alcoholic drinks would probably be pricier, especially those that were previously very cheap. As with Labour, although the LibDems are pro-EU, their emphasis is to promote local food economies more than EU-imported foods
SUNDAY LUNCH: Apéritif of local craft beer or cider (wine likely to be pricey). Olives and sundried-tomato tartlets from the Farmers’ Market, plus local vegbox salad; roast chicken with potatoes and greens from a nearby allotment collective; apricot pavlova drizzled with British wildflower honey; Wensleydale cheese with slices of local apples.
(Policies: introduce a National Food Strategy for “healthy, sustainable and affordable food”; encourage local food economies and “field to fork” schemes; protect pollinators; introduce minimum prices for alcoholic drinks per unit)

UKIP
Possibly a lot more wild-caught, sustainable British fish. Clearer food labelling and nothing halal; many more exotic foods imported from the non-EU world and particularly the Commonwealth. MPs would be given a free vote on whether to give GM crops the go-ahead.
SUNDAY LUNCH: Cornish sardines on toast with a sparkling Kentish wine; North Sea prawn tikka massala with Australian Shiraz OR New Zealand lamb & Jersey Royal potatoes with a South African rosé; Yorkshire rhubarb & banana custard; Ghanaian coffee and a few squares of chocolate from Grenada.

(Policies: Protect UK fish stocks and sustainability (including a ban on pair-trawling); clearer food labelling including slaughter methods – and a ban on the non-stun slaughter of farm animals; remove trade barriers with non-EU countries; a free vote in Parliament on GM foods)

Hope This Helps. May you feel good about your choice, whatever it is, as you leave the polling station.

Yours,

The Taster

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events in May.

Blog 6 May 2015 – Crunch Time For Foodies

Crunch Time For Foodies

The Taster Magazine Daily Update: Crunch Time For Foodies

Crunch time is approaching, and we’re not talking about chowing down on a stick of celery. Rather than attempt a conclusion, The Taster offers this purely foodie overview of the five national parties’ plans for the future. In alphabetical order:

CONSERVATIVE
♦ Reduce childhood obesity.
All three major parties have set out varying plans for this: the Tories’ strategy is to promote clear food information; also aimed at alleviating the burden of obesity-related disease on the NHS
♦ Champion British farmers and food producers aiming to export. This to include creating a ‘Great British Food Unit’ to help trademark and promote British foods at home and abroad, and pushing for country-of-origin labelling in Europe. Part of a 25-year plan to work with farmers and producers to “grow more, buy more and sell more British food”
♦ Champion their new Groceries Code Adjudicator. This to help farmers receive a fair deal from supermarkets

GREEN
♦ Increase taxes on alcohol and unhealthy food to support the NHS
♦ Reduce the consumption of meat, dairy and other animal products. Promote alternative diets; and use subsidies & taxes to support pasture- and land-based farming
♦ Subsidise organic farming
♦ Ensure public monies are spent only on humane & sustainable meat, milk and eggs Ie review the Government Buying Standards
♦ Ban waste food being sent to landfill. Recycle it instead; ultimately the Greens are aiming for a zero-waste culture
♦ Ban antibiotics in meat agriculture
♦ Promote farm animal welfare Oppose factory farming, ban hen and rabbit cages, ensure dairy cows have access to pasture. Improve welfare on fish farms. Like UKIP (strange bedfellows you find sometimes!), end the export of live animals for slaughter, introduce CCTV in slaughterhouses to ensure best practice, and limit the transport of live animals at home
♦ Improve food labelling and traceability
♦ Protect pollinators. Protecting honeybees and others (not a minor concern, in The Taster’s opinion. Is there honey still for tea? IS THERE?)

LABOUR
♦ Reduce childhood obesity. 
Labour’s plan is to limit the amount of sugar, salt and fat in foods marketed to children

♦ Cut food bank use. Over five years (from 2009 to 2014, according to the Trussell Trust) the number of people using food banks increased from 41K to 913K.
♦ End the ‘chaos’ of the current approach to food policy. Tie more government departments together and increase DEFRA’s presence.
♦ Aim to increase food security. Insist that issues such as GM and pesticide use must be viewed dispassionately and according to evidence-based science. (This might involve, for example, opposing claims that GM foods are indigestible, but accepting evidence that they impact upon the environment. *The Farmers’ Union recently claimed the UK is in a downward spiral of non-self-sufficiency, unable to meet 40% of its own food needs.)
♦ Take action on high-strength, low-cost alcohol

LIB DEM
♦ Reduce childhood obesity. Ban junk food advertising on TV after the 9pm watershed. According to  Marketing Weekly, this is the policy that alarmed food marketers the most, out of the three main parties’
♦ Introduce a National Food Strategy. To promote healthy, sustainable and affordable food across the nation
♦ Extend free school lunches to all primary school children
♦ Introduce minimum prices for alcoholic drinks according to how many units they contain

UKIP
♦ Increase food bank services. Provide 800 staff to help and advise food bank users on additional problems such as debt, addiction, family breakdown or health problems
♦ Give a free vote in Parliament on GM foods
♦ Push for clearer food labelling. To include information on country-of-origin, slaughter methods and further information on food labels
♦ Improve farm animal welfare before slaughter. Ban the export and at-home transport of live animals for slaughter, ban non-stun methods of slaughter and introduce CCTV in slaughterhouses to ensure best practice
♦ Support farms. Introduce a Single Farm Payment (presumably to support farmers in the event of withdrawal from the EU) and, in the wake of recent scandals about supermarket squeezes on small dairy suppliers, enable the Competition Commission to ensure dairy farmers get a fair price for milk
♦ Support fisheries and protect fish stocks. Introduce a 12-mile limit for UK fishermen only and a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone under UK control; reverse EU drift-net bans in British waters; require foreign trawlers to apply for fishing permits in British waters only when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels. Also, ban pair trawling (a controversial form of fishing that kills dolphins as well as fish)
♦ Remove trade barriers to provide sustainable livelihoods for the world’s poorest people — The Taster isn’t quite sure how this would affect Fairtrade and similar schemes, but would presumably benefit many small producers (and UK buyers) of chocolate, bananas, sugar, coffee, tea etc

That’s it for today. Just heard a great quote on the radio: “Are we all secretly hoping the polls have got it all wrong? Because they all look too certain?”

The Taster doesn’t know. He just says: Good luck, everyone.

Yours exhaustedly,

The Taster

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events in May.

Blog 5 May 2015 – Cooking With Rain

Cooking With Rain

The Taster Magazine Daily Update: Cooking With Rain

So, you’ll never guess what the inspiration for this blog is.

After some exhaustive research, the good news is we can definitely do culinary things with rain. Who knows, it might be rather cool to offer friends Rainwater Icecubes the next time you serve a pitcher of punch or sangria; or see if it adds anything to boiled dishes such as pasta, rice etc. It’s environmentally A Good Thing since it saves energy and in some cases, rainwater might actually contain fewer contaminants than your tap water. What it does not contain, however, is minerals (these don’t tend to evaporate terribly well). So if you like your water gravelly, rainwater will not provide a thrill.

If you prefer not to drink rainwater au naturel, boil and filter it to remove impurities and microorganisms. Ordinary coffee or water filters are fine. To make rainwater extra-safe, freeze it (this also kills off microorganisms).

The better news is that there is a certain hilarity to the H&S rules concerning what you shouldn’t do with rainwater. Honest to God, this is the list.

What Not To Do With Rainwater

§ Collect it in an unsuitable container. Eschew the algae-stained, rotting wooden water-butt that had a dead mouse floating in it last month. A saucepan is fine

§ Collect it in a dirty container. Wash the leftover spag bol out of the saucepan first. Disinfect if necessary

§ Collect standing water. Don’t scoop it out of muddy puddles or catch it as it runs down the side of a chemical factory.

§ Run the risk of radioactive rainwater. Don’t collect rainwater near Chernobyl or Fukushima.

§ Find an unsafe place to collect rainwater. Find a site away from power plants or chemical factories. Resist the impulse to lick rainwater off electricity pylons.

§ Similarly: Don’t go near an active volcano to collect rainwater. (Apart from proximity to bubbling lakes of liquid rock that will sear human flesh off bones in a split-second, there is a reason to do with the rainwater for this.
But, come on, really?)

One Last Thing — Acid Rain
Rainwater naturally has an acidity of around 5.6pH, compared to 4pH for orange juice or 5pH for coffee. So don’t worry about acid rain (unless you go near an active volcano. That was the reason).

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Still having fun finding favourite foodie vids for our YouTube channel. “Summer Rain In The Food Forest” is suiting our mood right now; it shows what (apart from the tropical ferns) the countryside outside our window looks like; plus it provides a rare insight into the ongoing US debate on gun control. What is sadder than a man eating a burger without  . . . you’ll have to listen to find out.

Have a great Tuesday and may your gutters never overflow.

The Taster

PS Click on COOK for other seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events in May. Cooking with rain!

UK Food Festivals This Weekend

UK Food Festivals This Weekend
The Taster Magazine Daily Update

Food Festivals This Weekend UK
Shrewsbury Food Festival last summer

Bank Holiday Weekend = Festival Time! Coupled with the start of Scotland’s official Whisky Month, Spring has, we think, finally sprung!

Two longer festivals are on today: the Spring Festival down in Alde Valley (Suffolk) which runs until the 17th; and Bristol Food Connections which lasts till the 9th.

On today till Monday are the East London Coffee Festival and the Spring Speyside Whisky Festival in Dufftown, Keith (both continuing from yesterday); while the Gateshead Beer Festival runs till Sunday.

Saturday features Munchies In The Meadow in Cobham and a Food Festival in Tideswell (Derbyshire)

On all bank holiday weekend (Sat/Sun/Mon) are:
Brighton Hove Foodies Festival
Leyburn (N.Yorks) Dales Festival of Food & Drink
Mapledurham Food & Craft Festival
Bristol Harbourside (part of Food Connections, as above) Love Food Festival
Chesterfield Great British Food Festival
Melton Mowbray Artisan Cheese Fair
Monmouth Made In Monmouthshire Food & Arts Festival (Sat/Sun only)

Sunday only sees the Cattistock Dorset Knob Throwing & From Valley Food Fayre

Monday offers the Blandford Forum Food Festival, while the Duckpond crowd put on the Artisan Food, Craft & Vintage Fair in Highgate, London.

Finally, today is also the first day of National Asparagus Month. NB the Asparafest Music & Food Festival is on 30-31 May, near Evesham.

That’s your lot – have a good one!