Well it’s time for post number three and my first thing to share with you was the recent meetup with other foodie bloggers from the Midlands. Whilst I love reading tweets and blogs of the London based foodies, they are always read with a tinge of envy that I seem to live in a barren wasteland as far as other foodie bloggers go, and then from a surf around I stumbled across the West Midlands Blogger Group on UKBFA. Luckily for me Jo from Jo’s Kitchen had organised a meet-up and I was just in time to get myself on the invite list (despite feeling like a bit of a fraud with just 2 posts to my name!!).
So on a lovely March saturday afternoon I made my way to the venue for the gathering, Loaf in Cotteridge and the home of Tom Baker. Tom is an advocate of real local food and set up Loaf Online to promote food that is grown, produced and prepared in and around Birmingham. His ventures have now gone on to develop a Cookery School offering classes in forgotten skills like breadmaking, butchery and foraging, and a Community Bakery, providing artisan rye and sourdough breads to locals that commit to buy. Apart from being a genuinely nice bloke he is really does have an infectious enthusiasm for local food, something I am very keen to promote.
The other participants in the inaugral meeting of Midlands Food Bloggers included the organiser Jo , a foodie blogger from Halesowen who is keen to give us Midlanders a taste of what London foodies have become accomstumed to (well done Jo) and Charlene from Coventry and author of No Love Sincerer who like me, loves to share her culinary adventures. Lastly, but most definitely not least, was Wendy from Peters Yard, a producer of the finest tasting crispbreads I have ever tasted. Seriously!! Now you may hear the word crispbread and think of Ryvita or some other such cardboard tasting like brand, but trust me these are worlds away from that. Crunchy with a lovely savoury flavour and a lightness that can only come from the fact they are handmade. Wendy kindly brought samples for us to try with Brock Hall Farm goats cheese, which is the one of the nicest goats cheese I have had, subtle flavour and lovely creamy texture and with the added bonus that it is produced less than an hour away. The crispbreads were a perfect start to the meeting and I’m so glad Wendy brought a pack for us to take home with us so I can indulge some more!!
After a round of introductions and a natter we got down to some foodie business, kicking off with making some handmade pizzas to cook in the brick oven for which Tom had prepared the dough and we had all contributed to a range of toppings.
You can just see one of the pizzas cooking (it looks round so it’s definitely not mine, as I could only manage a triangle!!), it only takes 3-4 minutes, and tasted divine!
Despite feeling a little full, we ventured onto an ecletic collection of desserts. Jo had made some Rocky Road (recipe on her blog here), a chocolatey delight that combines a little crunch with some gooey marshmallowness (is that a word?). Charlene had made her first ever batch of scones as if she was a seasoned WI lady, truly delicious!
I contributed with some carrot cake (a favourite of my family and friends), which I’m pleased to say went down well and was later describe by Tom with the following tweet
@Loafonline –I’d just like everyone to know that @louisesims makes the best carrot cake. That’s all.
and highlighted on Charlenes blog about this very event.(check her article out as she has some fab pictures). Seen as it was well received I thought I would share the recipe. I think it is from a Womans Weekly cookbook but all I have is a photocopy page in my trusty recipe binder (so if anyone recognizes the recipe, please let me know so I can attribute it correctly)
250ml of sunflower oil (I have used vegetable too and not noticed any difference)
225g light brown sugar
3 large eggs (or sometimes I use 4 normal size)
225g self-raising flour
large pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
250g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated.
Using an electric whisk, whisk the oil and sugar together to combine, and then whisk in eggs one at a a time.Sift in flour, salt and spices over the mixture and fold in with a metal spoon so as not to knock the air out of it. Tip in carrots and fold in till all combined.
Then you can either divide the mixture into two 7inch sandwich tins or bake in one larger one (depends if you want to have a cream filling layer in the middle). Bake for 30-40 mins at 180C until a skewer comes out clean. (This may take a little longer if cooking just one cake,) leave in tins to cool for 10 mins, then tip out onto wire rack to finish cooling.
For the frosting combine 225g of cream cheese with 25g of icing sugar and a drop of vanilla extract.
Sorry no pictures to post of the cake as forgot before I went to event and then the leftovers had all been scoffed by hubby and sister before I got chance to take a picture. (May add a photo when I next bake it, which I’m sure won’t be far away!).
So all in all it was a Saturday afternoon well spent with fellow foodie bloggers, eating delicious food, swopping foodie (and other) stories, and I for one can’t wait till the next time.