We visited the BBC Good Food Show 2013, London on Saturday, 16th November. We got there just in time for a Michael Roux Supertheatre cookery demonstration. A tube train was cancelled so we had a rather brisk walk from Earls Court to Olympia. We sneaked into our seats with about a minute to spare.
Michael Roux cooked a version of Coquilles St. Jacques with Chartreuse. It was interesting to see how he built up the flavours and reduced the sauce through different stages to achieve the perfect compliment to the wonderful Scottish scallops. Ingredients of the sauce were finely chopped shallots, chopped Shitake mushrooms, butter, cream, champagne, Chartreuse and a small amount of finely chopped fresh herbs. The scallops were grilled for just a few minutes and apart from the sauce, the dish was served with julienne style carrots and leeks which had been lightly sautéd in butter. The final plate was arranged with the scallops on top of the carrots and leeks with a generous swirl of sauce spooned around the outside. Michael made the point that the key to great food is always great ingredients. This is definitely a recipe I would like to try soon. The sauce is at the heart of good French food so mastering sauces is key if you want to cook some of the French classics.
We visited the Hardys wine stand and timed our visit perfectly! We arrived just as they were doing a food and wine pairing with a dessert from the James Martin Dessert Kitchen (a pop up restaurant at the show). They served a Chocolate Marquise which was made with chocolate, butter, egg yolks and merinque on a cocoa sponge and then dusted with cocoa powder. This dessert was paired with a Shiraz Rosé and this cut through the rich sweetness of the dessert very well. There is an assumption that you need a sweet wine with a dessert and of course this is an option but I think a very fruity rosé is a great alternative with chocolate.
In general though we are much more red wine drinkers and we bought a few bottles of one of our favourite wines from Hardys, Oomoo Shiraz. The name Oomoo comes from the old Aboriginal word, meaning ‘good’ and this wine certainly is. The Shiraz is full bodied, with rich berry flavours and undertones of spicy oak. A great wine with a steak or some rather strong cheddar.
There was a treat for chocolate lovers at the show, a rather delicious chocolate fountain from The Chocolate Fondue Company where you could indulge in chocolate dipped strawberries or marshmallows. Perfect for chocoholics. We didn’t indulge as we had just eaten the chocolate marquise dessert at the Hardys stand but it would be great to have for a party with friends.
There were a couple of stands with rather dubious names that made us smile:
It was really good to see The Japan Centre showcasing some Japan specialities such as panko breadcrumbs, ramen noodles, rice crackers and handmade gyoza dumplings which when pan cooked and are rather like crispy dim sum. They were displaying just a small range of what they sell in their London stores and on their website. Full details are on their website www.japancentre.com but you can visit them at main London store address at 19 Shaftesbury Ave. London W1D 7ED UK (tel 020 3405 1246). A veritable haven of all things Japanese for Japanese ex pats and all those curious about Japanese cuisine. I think my next purchase may be a gyoza dumpling press http://www.japancentre.com/items/daiso-gyoza-dumpling-press so we can make these dumplings at home. They are traditionally filled with pork, chicken, prawn or vegetables, usually with addition of some ginger and are dipped into soy sauce. It is good to see Japanese food becoming more accessible in the UK through the Japan Centre as there are very few Japanese restaurants. From a visit I made to Tokyo last year, Japanese food offers a lot of different choices, not just sushi and tempura.
We tried a new flavoured vodka, Polskie Fuze, which we really enjoyed. It comes in various flavours but the honeycomb flavour was our favourite. This would make a great post dinner drink with coffee. It should be available in your local supermarket.
It was really good to see a favourite of ours at the show, The Garlic Farm, from the Isle of Wight. They obviously sell garlic, but their sweet chilli sauce is the nicest sweet chilli sauce I have ever tasted and believe me I have tasted a few in my time :-). When I found the stand I was very happy as I was beginning to get withdrawal symptons, having run out of the sauce. It is worth looking out for them at food markets as
I have seen them quite often at various food events. However, if you can’t wait for this you can buy from their website:
On the whole, this year, we were a little disappointed by the number of stands, especially in the wine section which seemed a lot smaller than last year. Also, you had to buy a tasting glass for the wine section, at the exhibition front entrance and if you missed this (which we did) and got up to the wine area without a glass , you had to trek back to the front entrance. A little badly organised I think.
There were also a lot of stands selling curry sauces/spice mixes which aren’t really of interest to anyone who cooks from scratch as they are easy to prepare yourself. The show certainly didn’t seem as busy as normal, perhaps due to clashing with the Ideal Home Show and the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter. It lacked a little bit of atmosphere as a result.