Food Festivals This Weekend 28.2.15

Food festivals this weekend in brief

* On Saturday, MAIDEN NEWTON and on Sunday, WINSLEY (near Bath) have Potato Days

* PENRITH is enjoying a Marmalade Festival all weekend

* And OLYMPIA (London) sees a big new BBC ‘Good Food Eat Well’ Show

See our website Events Calendar for full details of what, where, when, plus links to festival websites & twitter feeds

Have a good one!

Food Festivals This Weekend 21.2.15

Food festivals this weekend in brief

Not a huge amount of stuff on in the regions this weekend, but we have found a couple of things in London and a Potato Day in Somerset. Plus Fairtrade Fortnight and the end of Chip Week. Have a good one also if you’re attending the Gin Festival! All details below:

* In LONDON, today and Sunday see a Craft Beer festival at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane — tweet here. Today is also the second day of the London Plant and Potato Fair in Westminster. Plus, there is a Gin Fest around St Pancras, but tickets have now sold out. Damn – just the thought makes us crave a Martini!

* CASTLE CARY (Somerset) Potato Day on Sunday at Caryford Community Hall, Maggs Lane, Ansford. 11am-2pm. “The original and best potato day” for aspiring and keen grow-your-own fans, by Pennard Plants

* Nationwide This weekend is the last weekend of CHIP WEEK

Fairtrade Fortnight logo* Nationwide Fairtrade Fortnight starts on Monday, continues till 8 March. See the website to find out how to help make a difference.

See our website Events Calendar for full details of what, where, when, plus links to festival websites & twitter feeds

Food Festivals This Weekend 14.2.15

We’ve scoured the internet for food festivals this weekend, and things are still warming up (ie there’s not a vast amount on), but we have unearthed the following:

Potato Days in Codford, near Warminster today; and also in Dulverton tomorrow (Sunday)

* The Maslenitsa — “London’s biggest cultural celebration” — in Trafalgar Square tomorrow, see Twitterfeed for more

* The Causeway Speciality Market at Coleraine Town Hall (9am-4pm) tomorrow

Pic by Bonne Maman

Pic by Bonne Maman

Plus, across the UK, it is of course Valentine’s Day today: so we hope you’re enjoying a ‘hearty’ breakfast in bed (har har). Just make everything heart-shaped (even if it’s just toast) and add some roses, and you can’t go wrong:



Winstons Wish

* It’s also the Final Breakfast Weekend of The Great British Brekkie; join in & support Winston’s Wish, the charity for bereaved children (see their twitterfeed)



NB Chips are the big thing next week — it’s Chip Week — designed for lovers of all chips, whether straight, chunky, crinkly or wedges (the chips, not the fans); and Tuesday is Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)

See our website Events Calendar for full details of what, where, when, plus links to festival websites & twitter feeds

It’s rather dull and murky here. May the sun emerge and glimmer on all food stalls today. xx

New Food Calendar 2015 — January

Phew! Well, that was festive.

You’ll be glad to know The Taster has been hard at work during the holidays, collating an entire Calendar of Events for 2015. Here’s the summary for JANUARY.

January isn’t a great month for food events, given most of us are on the wagon, recovering from the festive season. However, in Northern Ireland we have found a foodie talk from Jay Rayner on the 8th and, towards the end, a few Burns Night events — go out for a treat or plan your own Traditional Supper (everyone needs to try this once in their life). See our Haggis Guide for help (originally published Winter 2013).

In Scotland, Edinburgh is holding its Scottish Market in St Andrew’s Square today and the next three days. 2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, so it should perhaps be especially good this year.

In London, the big Christmas markets will carry on in Hyde Park and Southbank for a few more days (although personally The Taster is at the stage where he wants never to see another cup of gluhwein), plus The France Show in Olympia 23rd-25th.

For all you producers out there, the biggest happening in England will be when Birmingham hosts The Hospitality Show on the 19th-21st.

In Wales, we have found . . . not a sausage, so far. Sorry about that! On the plus side, perhaps it comes as a welcome relief . . .

Let us gird our loins for the coming culinary year. And from The Taster to all our readers,


Pure Sauce 4.12.14

The other day I mentioned that food at a feast can become merely a garnish, or sauce, to its more important social side. This morning, I have mostly been  considering sauciness.

The word sauce (and salsa) comes from Latin, sal, meaning salt. Sauce, salt, pepper and spice can all mean piquancy in things other than food (eg “a peppery old man;” “spice things up;” “a salty sense of humour” etc). But saucy has a complicated past. It dates back to 1530 and the idea of sauce-malapert. A Life of Sir Thomas More contains this quote: “He fell to scoffing and saucy jesting . . . using nothing throughout the said answer, but the fourth figure of rhetorick called sauce-malapert.” Saucy and scoffing (which itself has the double meaning of jeering or eating) are also in there; but both seem to indicate impudence, rather than merely being cheeky; while a malapert person was simply insolent. (Two centuries later, Jane Austen wrote frostily of “a pert young lawyer.”)

Around 1600, Shakespeare got as much out of the word sauce as he possibly could (we expect nothing less). One of the murderous conspirators in Julius Caesar has a rude, abrasive manner, which the ringleader Cassius describes as “a sauce to his good wit, which gives men stomach to digest his words with better appetite.” Shakespeare uses saucy in the same play, incidentally, which some of the nobler characters use to admonish their inferiors. It’s a little difficult to tell, in this day and age, whether the saucy cobbler’s terrible jokes are actually supposed to be funny; but when Brutus shouts, ‘Get thee hence! Thou saucy fellow, hence!’ he is clearly not amused but seriously annoyed.

For most of its history, saucy has held a note of disapproval at people not knowing their place in life. But gradually it has become associated less with obnoxious men and class distinctions, and more with flirty women. Not so long ago, the admonishment, ‘Pure sauce!’ or ‘Saucy!’ was still regularly applied to cheeky maids or girls, and famously appeared on picture postcards. But by the time of the Carry On films, saucy could mean any attractive woman, rather than a serving wench — and indeed, women could exclaim ‘Saucy!’ with their own undertone of disapproval (or, alternatively, welcome) at pursuing men.

Saucy crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the USA, but suffered a sea change on the way to become “sassy.” Sassy lost its sexy connotations and is often applied to cheeky children (‘Don’t you give me none of your sass!'”; it has also become a verb (‘He’s really sassing her!’)

This post has turned into a bit of an essay. Feel free to comment and contradict! – Pass the sauce.

Food Festivals this weekend 21.11.14

Food festivals this weekend in brief

* Food & Drink Fest starts today, on until 30 November, in St Andrews, Scotland

* Saturday sees the Highland & Moray Food & Drink Festival in Inverness

* Belfast Christmas Market continues today and all weekend

* Christmas Fairs getting into full swing in London at the South Bank and Hyde Park

* Continuing nationally, is Eating In/Out Week: today is Chinese Cuisine day, tomorrow (Saturday) is Italian Day

See our website Events Calendar for full details of what, where, when, plus links to festival websites & twitter feeds

It’s pouring with rain here, again. But does it bother us? Not at all; we’re having fish’n’chips. If you’re off to a fest, may the downpour of destiny never dilute your sliders of autonomy. xx

Food Festival details this weekend 23.10.14

Food festivals this weekend in brief

* Belfast Food & Drink (the big one) and Southbank real food fest start today! On all weekend
* Two week-long festivals: Dartmouth food fest starts today, Rye Wild Boar Week starts tomorrow
* Wolverhampton Vegan Festival and Lincoln Sausage Festival are on Saturday
* Today & tomorrow: Cider Festival in Cowbridge
* Conwy Feast and Peebles Food Fest are on all weekend
* This weekend is the last of the London Restaurant Festival

See our website Events Calendar for full details of what, where, when, plus links to festival websites & twitter feeds

It’s pouring with rain here. If you’re off to a fest, may the drizzle of fate never dim your artisan hot dogs of radiance. xx

Food Festivals on this weekend 17.10.14

Food festivals and similar events on this weekend. In brief:

* OLYMPIA chocolate week, GLASGOW BBC Good Food Show, MUMBLES oyster festival and SOUTHBANK real food fest start today (continuing all weekend)

* Today only, “beer’n’folk” in KINGUSSIE

* Saturday fests in ALCESTER, IPSWICH, SHOREDITCH plus foraging in HOPETOUN

* BEAMINSTER, BROGDALE and LLANGOLLEN host events all weekend
* Sunday sees a chocolate event in CARSINGTON WATER, an Artisan fair in RICHMOND (Yorks) and a fest in KIRKCUDBRIGHT

* The Restaurant Festival continues across LONDON

See our website Events Calendar for full details or check recent tweets at @TheTaster1

Have a great weekend. If you’re off to a festival, may the flooded gutters of despondency never overflow your wellingtons of hope. xx

Beetroot recipes and menu ideas 17.10.14

Beetroots – the great Pink Peril of the Kitchen – aren’t the easiest veg to deal with, at first glance. They have the capacity to stain an entire kitchen; they take hours to boil and although they’re edible raw, you’d never pick one up and eat it like an apple.

They’ve started arriving in our veg box and like a lot of people, we find ourselves from time to time looking at the things, while they sit there intractably looking back at us.

CRIB JPG Beetroot

However, once you’ve donned the heavy-duty gloves and boiled or grated them into submission, the sweet side of beetroots’ nature comes out. They’re surprisingly versatile, featuring in hot and cold dishes including soup, salad, crisps, pickles, tarts and even cake. So if you’re staring glumly at a heap of crimson roots, tear your gaze away and click on our crib sheet for a bit of inspiration. Good luck!