Anne is here! After weeks upon weeks of planning, she arrived post work on Friday, I’d say fresh for the weekend but it’s more like as fresh as one is after 6 hours on a train from Devon. We were primed for our weekend adventures. The plan? A low key Friday night followed by a Saturday of Wholefood shopping, Lakeland purchases, snacks and an audience with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as part of the literary festival.
So Friday night was a pizza and prosecco party. I made far too much dough it transpired. It seems I overestimated the gluttony of the three of us. We had enough pizza to feed south Yorkshire. I had to made a loaf out ofnthe remaining dough. I’ve never had a semolina tinged loaf before let’s see how that goes!!!
Post pizza, we settled on the sofa with wine and flopped effectively. Bed called by about 11ish but I waited for the bread…
Saturday morning? Delightful. Saturday Kitchen, breakfast, tea. Score. We headed off to check out Lembas, a whole foods retailer in Sheffield. Whilst it looked great, and was quite reasonable, I can’t get too animated about organic flour and nuts. After a brief browse we headed out. Which was when we decided to be impulsive. Anne decided she wanted to GP to Heeley City Farm. So we went. We saw the chickens, goats and random chipmunks, which creeped me out no end. They were too quick and made me feel a bit weird. But our highlight? The ginger cows. So friendly. Oddly Anne found an affinity for these cows. Wonder why.
We left when they started bathing one another. We felt we were imposing on an intimate moment.
So off we went to buy some goodies from Lakeland at Meadowhall, before returning home for a lesson from Anne in Pasta Puttanesca, and a quick change for the main event.
An audience with Hugh was like seeing a Madonna tour. It was impossibly exciting. Wine at our seats, Hugh arrived on stage with a woman called Patricia Cotton I think, who was obviously briefed that it was all about the book. Not River Cottage, not the Fish Fight. It’s all about Veg. It started off a bit awkward. You don’t realise how good some people are at interviewing, you think it’s just about asking a series of scripted questions, and keeping it going. Sadly, this woman was not great. She failed to ask a single question, she asked about 6 in one statement that were hard to follow. She got better, but it was a bit of a hard sell for the book and television show.
Hugh was fabulous. Witty, charming, and willing to answer any question, no matter how mundane and tiresome. It was just sad that I didn’t get to hear about his views on food pricing, food trends, future plans for River Cottage etc. But it was the book, the fish fight, landshare etc that dominated people’s imaginations. And the questions. It turns out Hugh loves Food Blogs and likes challenging views re food and those with opinions. my opinion? Whilst I had a great night, I think Hugh should have the foresight not to wear the top on the evening that he wore all the way through the first episode of the new series of River Cottage. Ok, so Hugh is not working with Mary Portas and is so not a sartorial inspiration, but he could mix it up polo shirt wise.
Anne, Amy, Pete and I got our photo taken with Hugh. Loving it.
We headed on out, Amy leaving us after a short period to join her hubby back home. Anne, Pete and I rolled on out, Misha B style, to Affinity and Dempseys. Vodka, vodka and more vodka. Much dancing, lots of random chat with random folk. I enjoyed the brummies asking whether Dempseys is any good and if it really is full of gays. And the guys who had fake buck teeth in following Alan Carr at the Arena. Amusing slash disturbing.
We have suffered for our art today. And in flash back we deserve it. Downing sambucas really is a bit students union. But we seemed to have a lot of fun.
So today was a domestic day. Randomly it helped get me through the hangover. Chilli jam was made. Firstly, it wouldn’t set, but I persisted with additional Bubbling and pouring. Secondly, we made caramelised red onion chutney. we made 12 jars in all, of glistening gorgeousness. Sweet and sharp, glistening, soft colours emanating from the jars. I loved every minute.
We made mince pies, to add to our pre christmas excitement. I wore my Cath Kidston apron. We watched Delia’s Classic Christmas, and began labelling our chutneys. So excited. I loved the experience and am so making food hampers for friends for Christmas. It was so cute and is so personal.
So now you find me, exhausted, having also made a roast chicken dinner. Hugh’s message I’m afraid has not change me just yet. Although I did add celeriac to carrot mash for an extra sweet hit, and made a scrambled egg with spring onion for breakfast. But a side of bacon. So in many ways there has been a lot of veg in my diet today but just a start, rather than a quick lifestyle change. It was certainly food for thought, but alas it is a lesson in the human condition that we fall back on those things that instilled a sense of comfort, happiness, familiarity. Roast chicken, salty bacon make me feel instantly soothed, but so does sweet butternut squash and carrot mash. And mince pies just took me to warm nights and cosy days.
Anne leaves in the morning, but we may steal a pre Xmas break somewhere as an extra treat. Watch this space. And that, my friends, is about it for now. A mad mad weekend. Hugh thought it?! Great fun, great company, a great icon met. Here’s to Hugh!
Blog later folks.
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