Win A Christmas Book

Win A Christmas Book

Christmas Book

Sorry, this offer is over now. But see more special offers here

This highly original guide to Christmas is stuffed with interesting fax – we really didn’t know Champagne used to be given away for free with French wool samples – rather amusing jokes, and excellent recipes (going to try making Potato Snow this afternoon). We have three copies to give away – just fill in the form below to be in with a chance of winning. The deadline is midnight, 19 December; we’ll pick three winners out of The Taster’s hat on the 20th and send the books out immediately after.

For more about the book, see Legend Times.

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Free Tickets Good Food Show Scotland

Two Tickets to Friday or Sunday show

The Taster has two free tickets to give away to the Good Food Show Scotland 2015, held at the SECC, Glasgow 10am-6pm Friday, or 10am-5.30 Sunday

Good Food Show ScotlandMary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Michael Roux Jr. and James Martin are only a few of the amazing chefs answering your questions, plus hundreds of culinary exhibitors, new brands, genius tips and the chance to taste piles of delicious produce. Talks, tastings and demos galore. Fill in the form below and you might win the tickets (worth £32.50) to the SECC this weekend, to join in the exciting Supertheatre environment while learning tips and tricks from the experts. For more details, see BBC Good Food Show Scotland. Good luck!

Deadline is midnight, Tuesday 3 November; tickets will be sent by first class post to the winners on Wednesday 4 November. To enter, fill out the form below:

Sorry folks, this offer was for 2015! But we have 10 tickets to give away to BBC Food Shows in autumn 2016: to get all the details, and also a chance to win a cookery course worth £175 or a hamper stuffed with French food & drink, keep checking our Offers page or Subscribe to the magazine (a bargain at £14 per year)

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Weekend Food Festivals

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Weekend Food Festivals!

Weekend Food Festivals
This weekend sees a Cherry Fair in Faversham,  the Scythe & Cider Festival in Ardingly (Sussex), and food festivals in Knutsford, Leigh and Church Knowle (both in Dorset), Oundle and Braintree. Plus chilli celebrations in Swindon and Penrith.

This weekend’s big event is the Merthyr Tydfil Food Festival (today only).

SCOTLAND – sorry, nothing on until next weekend.

Lots of food & craft producers at the Castlewellan Agricultural Show (today only).

We have a duckpond market in Ruislip.

Have a good one,

The Taster

See COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or CALENDAR for more foodie events this month.

Food Festivals Weekend 10 July 2015

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Food Festivals Weekend
10 July 2015

England – this food festivals weekend includes festivals in Wetherby, Brampton Bryan (Herefordshire), Oswestry, Petersfield, and Shugborough; chilli-themed events in Christchurch (Dorset), Shoreham and Rolleston; Grillstock in Bristol; a seafood festival in Weymouth; and a Saturday Beer Fest, and Sunday Feast, in Great Shelford (Cambs); plus a picnic in Preston, on the sea front, on Sunday (no website).

Wales – It’s the big one: International Food & Drink Fest at Cardiff Bay, starting today

Northern IrelandColeraine holds its speciality market at the Town Hall.

Scotland – We have ‘Meet the Makers’ Craft & Food Fest in Inverness.

London – oddly, we can’t find any festivals this weekend for you. Sorry about that :( — but we can tell you that the Kerb streetfood wizards are on today at King’s Cross and West India Quay; see their homepage to find out exactly where they’re heading each day; there are also duckpond markets on Saturday and Sunday in Pinner and Richmond, respectively.

Nationally – A big barbecuing weekend!
See BBQ for Cancer Research UK

3 July 2015 Food Festivals This Weekend

Food Festivals This Weekend

The Taster Magazine Weekly Update: Food Festivals This Weekend

A foodie July features a cancer research BBQ weekend (11-12th), Battle of Britain anniversary (12th – scroll down), National Cherry Day (16th) and the start of National Fishing Month (26th onwards)

Today & all weekend sees the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery  and, in London, the Foodies Festival in Alexandra Palace and the Love Natural Love Organic show in Olympia. In Scotland, The Scottish Game Fair is on in Perth and, today and tomorrow only, the Food Festival in Stornoway (Western Isles).

Saturday features the Food Fair in Limavady, NI; A Taste of Hampshire in Sparsholt and the Vegan Festival in Newcastle.

Sunday offers the Bic Picnic in the Park in Droitwich and Seafood Festival in Cardigan Bay.

All weekend
The Cotswold Show & Food Fest takes place in Cirencester; Seaton Sluice sees the North East Chilli Fest; and Scotland sees a Seafood Fest on in Loch Fyne.

Looking ahead . . .
Battle of Britain ChocolateJust a thought but, if you like chocolate (or know someone military who does), Wickedly Welsh has launched two luxury chocolate bars (in association with the RAF Association) to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain on 12 July. The bars come in ‘Tea and Biscuits’ and ‘Rhubarb Crumble & Custard’ flavours; or for a more special gift there is a RAF gift hamper (£35.99). Find the specific “Chocs Away” range HERE. To learn more, visit RAF Association

Hope there’s something in there for you; have a good one!

The Taster

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

26 June 2015 Food Festivals This Weekend

Food Festivals This Weekend

The Taster Magazine Weekly Update: Food Festivals This Weekend

Today & all weekend sees the Malt & Music Fest on the Isle of Arran and the Bristol Foodies Fest (startingtoday)

Saturday features the Fish Fest at Milford Haven and Summer Food Fest at Hay-on-Wye

Sunday offers the Jewish Food Festival in Golders Green, World Egg Throwing Championship in Thorpe Latimer (Lincs) and further food festivals in Burnham and Northallerton

All weekend
In Northern Ireland is the Irish Game Fair in Shanes Castle, Randalstown and a Sea Festival (with food fayre) in Bangor. Across the water are a couple of chilli-themed events — Cheese & Chilli in Basingstoke and Wild Food & Chilli in Maldon, Essex. Plus more food festivals in Morden (London), Colchester and Shrewsbury, plus another at Shobdon Airfield (near Leominster) with aerial display

Hope there’s something in there for you; have a good one!

The Taster

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

Blog 19 June 2015 – Food Festivals This Weekend

Food Festivals This Weekend

The Taster Magazine Weekly Update: Food Festivals This Weekend

Food Festivals This WeekendHello! It’s time to round off National Picnic Week: we have two excellent Picnic Cookbooks, each worth £18.99, to give away in our new readers’ survey. Have a go cos you never know.

In the meantime, in London, there’s only one place to go — the giant Taste of London festival, continuing today and all weekend in Regents Park.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, rush to the Titanic exhibition today and try the special two-hour tasting tour (there won’t be another chance to do this until August); alternatively, Enniskillen offers the Festival Lough Erne.

Scotland has two festivals in Edinburgh this weekend: the continuing Royal Highland Show (on today and all weekend) and the Cake Festival (Sunday only) featuring a giant map of Edinburgh made of cake.

In Wales from today, the Lion Inn in Trellech, Monmouthshire, offers music, beer and camping all weekend.

In England Bournemouth F&D Fest kicks off today. It’s the final weekend of the Asparagus Festival in the Vale of Evesham, and festivals are on all weekend in Ellesmere, Harrogate, Evershot (Sunday only) and Droitwich; plus what sounds like an amazing Scandinavian Midsummer Feast in East Harptree, Somerset

NB Remember Father’s Day on Sunday. Hope there’s something in there for you; have a good one!

The Taster

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

Blog 13 June 2015 – Food Festivals This Weekend

Food Festivals This Weekend

The Taster Magazine (Nearly) Weekly Update: Food Festivals This Weekend

Food Festivals This WeekendFESTIVAL season is in full swing and we hope the weather near you is better than the drab and dreary day we have here in South Wales. Never mind, firm that resolve, jut that jaw and get out and enjoy the British Summer, we say.

So: It’s the start of National Picnic Week, so ho for the traditional equipment of umbrellas, sou’westers and flasks of steaming hot coffee and maybe a cheeky hip flask.

In London, we have Soho’s Food Feast today and tomorrow.

Northern Ireland enjoys a sudden influx of events: Comber Potato Festival (see page 28 of PDF), Coleraine Market, Dungannon Good Food Market, a Beer Festival in Creggan and Open Farm Weekend across the region.

Scotland has its Science Festival, which includes various events of foodie noteworthiness; and weekend-long festivals in Loch Fyne, Edinburgh (the juniper festival – a celebration of gin!) and Crail. Tomorrow, Glasgow enjoys the Mela Festival, in what looks to be a rather marvellous multicultural celebration of foods from around the world.

In Wales today, Merthyr Tydfil and Newcastle Emlyn offer a Chilli Fiesta and a Food Festival, respectively.

And finally, England today offers the Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival in Leeds and the last day of the Bridport Food & Beer Fest; Congleton F&D Fest (tomorrow only); and over the whole weekend, the continuing Middle Earth Beer Fest in Lancashire, the BBC show in Birmingham, and further food festivals in Crediton (Devon) and Whitley Bay.

Have a good one!

The Taster

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

Blog 8 June 2015 – Traditional picnic food

Traditional picnic food

The Taster Magazine Update: Traditional picnic food

At last, picnic weather! The Wind in the Willows (featuring Toad of Toad Hall) is one of our favourite books. It may or may not be coincidence that it also sheds much light on the constituents of what used to be a traditional British diet for genteel folk. It begins on the very first page, where Mole intimidates some officious rabbits by shouting “Onion-sauce!” (just as a more recent joke involved singing about mint sauce and lambs). A few pages more, and Rat invites Mole on a picnic:

[Ratty] reappeared staggering under a fat wicker luncheon-basket.

“Shove that under your feet,” he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat. Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again.

“What’s inside it?” asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity.

“There’s cold chicken inside it,” replied the Rat briefly:

“O stop, stop!” cried the Mole in ecstasies. “This is too much!”

“Do you really think so?” enquired the Rat seriously. “It’s only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I’m a mean beast and cut it very fine!”

Note the absence of, for example, boiled eggs, whole tomatoes, cheese, and much variety of sandwich. Instead, Ratty balances five types of meat (chicken, tongue, ham, beef and potted meat) with cress sandwiches, gherkins and salad. Which, plus some bread and soft drinks, makes up the entire picnic.

‘Cold cuts’ certainly used to be far more popular than they are today. In The Taster’s opinion, this seems inextricably linked to the equally declining popularity of Sideboards and Dressers: those large, impressive, old-fashioned pieces of furniture used to store crockery, cutlery and glassware; and which doubled up as surfaces upon which to display buffets, cold collations, or any other form of help-yourself feast.

The main problem with these pieces of furniture is their old-fashioned air and their size. Until very recently, the desire for spacious rooms was tempered by the need to keep warm and cosy, and no-one seemed to mind cramming huge dressers into teeny parlours. But we wonder, now that we have kitchen-diners, open-plan sitting-rooms and so on, whether – coupled with the fashion for shabby-chic – a resurgence in both the Sideboard and the Cold Collation is not due. The Cold Collation is very cook-friendly, since nothing has to be kept warm; most of it can be prepared in advance; and it is an excellent way of presenting thrifty leftovers. It is more or less a lovely indoor picnic, in fact. For a retro feast that is much easier to prepare than it looks, we would suggest this – and it can be adapted for al fresco dining (perhaps without the trifle):

Cold sliced meat (however many types you like. This can include deli meats)
One large sliced pork pie
One platter of quails’ eggs dipped in celery salt
One platter smoked salmon
One large sliced quiche
Sausage rolls (if you can warm these in the oven just beforehand, they are extra nice)
A basket of freshly torn baguette pieces (ditto)
Tomato salad, with onion and white wine vinegar
Potato salad, with chives and fresh herbs
One large trifle
One plateful of brandy-snaps stuffed with whipped cream
Stilton, Snowdonia ‘Green Thunder’ Cheddar & celery sticks or grapes
A basket of whole apples
A bowl of fresh strawberries

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Found a new funny vid, warning against the perils of TOO MUCH DRINK, for our YouTube channel. Try this:

Have a great Tuesday,

The Taster

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