The Gunton Arms – A Review

A traditional pub with rooms located in a stunning deer park in the glorious North Norfolk countryside

Formerly a country house hotel and shooting lodge where King Edward VII (when Prince of Wales) enjoyed liaisons with his mistress Lillie Langtry in the late 1800s, the Gunton Arms was converted into a pub with 12 bedrooms and opened its doors in October 2011. The Gunton Arms is owned by the London art dealer Ivor Braka in partnership with Stuart and Simone Tattersall, who both used to work for the celebrated chef Mark Hix. Art lovers will appreciate the extensive display of original works by artists including Tracey Emin, Damien Hurst and Lucien Freud.

Head chef Stuart sources local ingredients and seasonal produce, enthusiastically cooking venison (from the deer park), beef and pork over a large open fire in the Elk Room (look out for the huge antlers over the fireplace). These hearty slabs of meat are served with goose fat roast potatoes, Bramley apple, Béarnaise sauce or rowanberry jelly.

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As well as bar snacks and sandwiches, the dishes on the main menu include ingredients such as Weybourne crab, Blythburgh pork, Gunton venison sausages and local Binham Blue cheese. Desserts are reassuringly indulgent: rice pudding with crab-apple jelly, Victoria plum and almond tart or “a shot” of sloe gin jelly. A private dining room is available for parties of up to 12 people and affords a quieter and more private environment for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations.

 

The Gunton Arms, Cromer Road, Thorpe Market, Norfolk, NR11 8TZ

Telephone: 01263 832 010

Website: theguntonarms.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/theguntonarms

Twitter: @TheGuntonArms_

 

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*FREE TICKETS* to BBC Good Food Show Olympia 11th – 13th Nov 2016

It’s that time of year again! The BBC Good Food Show is back in London this month and I’m ridiculously excited about it.

 

BBC GOOD FOOD SHOW LONDON

11-13 November, Olympia London

The capital’s largest food show returns to Olympia with live cookery demonstrations, exciting shopping areas and plenty of recipe inspiration. Visitors can see their culinary idols creating Michelin magic live in the SuperTheatre including Tom Kerridge and Michel Roux Jr or enjoy the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain cooking live. Plus visitors can enjoy highlights from their favourite weekend TV food show in the Saturday Kitchen Live sessions.

 

To see what’s on at the Show and to plan which celebrity chef you’d like to see or which stands you want to visit and buy culinary goodies from, pop over to the website: www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com

 

FREE!  GRATIS! BE IN IT TO WIN IT!   And all that sort of thing……..

The Show’s awfully nice organisers have kindly provided me with two free tickets to the Show – valid for either Friday 11th or Sunday 13th November 2016 (sorry, not the Saturday). Sorry but the tickets DON’T include entry to the SuperTheatre or any tasting sessions.

BUT –  the best news is that these two free tickets aren’t for me but are in fact for a *GIVEAWAY*. In other words, a *FREEBIE*!

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning the two free tickets, follow me on Twitter (@TheLittlePK) for details. I’ll be posting the tickets to the lucky winner so you’ll have to DM me your address, which of course I won’t share with anyone else.

I’ll be at the Show on Friday 11th November and I’d love to meet up with members of the Twitter cakey crowd if any of you will be there too.

 

The Cake & Bake Show – London 2015

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I was lucky enough to be allocated a Press Pass for this year’s Cake & Bake Show in London and despite having a cold that was getting worse by the hour, I toddled off to Excel on the morning of Friday 2nd October 2015 full of excitement. My journey via bus, tube and two lots of the DLR (Docklands Light Railway for non-Londoners) took a fair while but it’s worth it when you end up at a marvellous event like the C&B Show. I have to say that I’m always amazed by the amount of work that goes into setting up these events. The venue is huge – it’s vast like an aircraft hangar when you walk into the main doors at Excel – and there are so many stands, cakes and people that it takes your breath away. The first photo in this post is of the official Cake and Bake Show cake – it really was a stunner.

I came prepared this time with a plan of what I’d do first and seeing the competition cakes was a must. Going earlyish on the first day of the Show means that the judging is still under way so you don’t know who the winners are until later on. I did catch sight of celebrity chefs Phil Vickery and Rosemary Schrader judging some of the ‘Children’s’ Story’ themed cakes, with their heads down, deep in judgely conversation.

There were lots of people desperate to get a good view of the competition cakes made by professional and amateur bakers alike and so I couldn’t always get a good photograph as I’m not the sort of person who elbows others out of the way! Here are some of the ‘ Childrens’ Story’ themed cakes that caught my eye:

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After escaping from the bustling crowds around the competition area, I headed for the stands to see what goodies were available to buy. It’s fortunate that visitors to the show are issued with a floor plan of the venue because it was very easy to get lost there! One of the first people I saw was Steven Dotsch from The Speculaas Spice Company – http://www.speculaasspice.co.uk. Steven’s spice mix contains a mixture of nine organic spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger plus 6 other secret spices and can be used in sweet dishes as well as savoury. Steven kindly gave me a sample of his spice mix so I will be using it as soon as I can in a cake or biscuits. Here is Steven at his stand:

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I then spotted the very attractive stand – lots of pink! – of ‘Scrumptious Sprinkles’ which despite its name doesn’t just sell sprinkles. While there are indeed sprinkles for all occasions and a beautiful selection of some that can be classed as more sophisticated than the generally child-orientated hundreds and thousands, there were cake tins, cupcake cases, biscuit cutters and a lot more. I bought a set of Christmas biscuit cutters which represented my first purchase this year of a festive item. The stand was very busy and it clearly was proving hard for the shoppers to limit themselves to buying just one pot of sprinkles. You can buy online too at http://www.scrumptious.uk.net. Here is a photo of Niki one of the lovely ‘boss ladies’ who didn’t really want her photo taken!

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One of the things I really like about going to cake or food shows is that there are always tasters available. If you plan your circuit well, you could probably do without lunch and just go around the stands trying out various things. The Cake and Bake Show is good because there are non cakey food suppliers there too. I sampled quite a lot of cheese, some olives, biscuits, marshmallows, oils & vinegars, fudge so I definitely didn’t need any lunch!

One of the stands with samples available was “Arapina” – http://www.arapina.co.uk. At first, I thought it was simple jam but I was told that the ‘teaspoon desserts’ – a symbol of Greek hospitality – were created to preserve fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers. The name comes from the habit of serving them on a small plate. By using a few simple ingredients such as fruit, sugar, herbs and a touch of lemon, the raw material keeps its original shape, colour and flavour as well as its nutritional properties. I particularly like the sour cherry and the walnut varieties so I bought a large jar of each. I could see them being used as toppings for ice creams or other desserts, porridge and yoghurt as well as for making cakes. Arapina also makes gluten and dairy free cakes – have a look at their website for more information. Here is a photo of the Arapina ladies:

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I made sure I said hello to the people at one of my favourite suppliers ‘Sugar and Crumbs’ who sell a range of naturally flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders. I’ve used their products previously and have written about them and created recipes for their blog. Again, their stand was very busy so I thought I’d better nab a couple of packets of the Christmas flavoured icing sugars as they clearly were in demand. I’m looking forward to trying them out, especially ‘Santa’s Snowball’ which has the flavour of white chocolate – one of my favourite things. (I’m a child of the 1960s and I still remember the television adverts with the Milky Bar Kid. I think that’s what set me off down that route…..). I recommend that you have a look at their website both to purchase some items but also to look at the recipes that are there – http://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk.

I can’t list all the stalls I visited but my some of my favourites included: Baker & Maker, Cake Craft World, Drury & Alldis oils and vinegars, It’s a Baking Thing, Purple Cupcakes, Simply Vintage Designs and Snowdonia Cheese Company.

Of course, the supplier stands are just part of the Cake and Bake Show. There were also demonstrations and classes going on over the three days and so you could have seen people like Eric Lanlard, John White, Lisa Faulkner, Jo Wheatley, Rosemary Schrager and lots more. I dipped in and out of a few demos which were all very well-attended although I was a little disappointed that on the day I was there, Eric Lanlard wasn’t!

However I did bump into Edd Kimber, who won the first Great British Bake Off back in 2010. He’s written three books to date and I mentioned that I’d recently made his lemon madeleines from ‘Patisserie Made Simple’ , to which he replied that was his favourite book of the three. He also added that he was working on book number four so that will be something to look forward to in 2016. I cheekily asked him to pose for a photo which he kindly did but I can’t help thinking that I look like his grandmother.. Note to self: consider dyeing the hair!image1 - Copy (23)

In summary, if you want a great day out surrounded by cake and foodie people, the Cake and Bake Show is an essential place to go. I’d suggest sturdy shoes as there’s lots of walking involved when the venue is as large as Excel, a couple of strong bags to carry home your goodies (a shopping trolley would be even better), and a credit card that can take a bashing because you will buy too much! If you can’t get to London, there are also shows in Manchester and Edinburgh so wherever you are in the UK, you should be able to experience one.

A Grand Day Out at the BBC Good Food Show

I was kindly allocated a press pass (as a person with a food blog) to attend the BBC Good Food Show at Hampton Court which is running for 3 days from Saturday 29th to Monday 31st August 2015. I appreciated the opportunity to see what BBC Good Food would do with an all round Food Festival as most of the shows I’ve been to over the last couple of years have had a cake and baking theme.

Hampton Court is a fantastic venue for an event like a food festival. The extensive grounds mean that the stands aren’t squashed together in tight rows and you can walk around feeling you’re stepping on anyone else’s toes. When I arrived in the early afternoon, the sun was shining, there was live music playing in a pretty bandstand and there was a very lively atmosphere. The rain did sadly make an appearance later on in the day but at least I’d packed a small but efficient umbrella just in case.

I decided that as there were almost 100 foodie related stands to see, it was easiest to have an initial browse to see what was there and then to revisit stands with the goodies that tempted me the most. What I really like about food festivals like this is the variety. Some companies that exhibited this time were already well known such as ‘Bonne Maman’, ‘Montezuma’s Chocolates’, ‘The Garlic Farm’ and ‘Vitamix’ but then you see the sometimes relatively new producers that wow you with their offerings. I saw lots of things I liked and I could have spent a fortune but as I had used public transport to get to the event, I had to be realistic about what I could reasonably carry back with me.

Much as I loved many of the items on display, I couldn’t buy from everyone. I’d like to give a special mention to ‘The Tipsy Tart’ (www.thetipsytart.co.uk) having sampled their caramel infused vodka; ‘Pukara Estate’  (ww.pukara-estate.co.uk) who produce flavoured oils and vinegars with real depth, and ‘Oppo’ (www.oppoicecream.co.uk) who make luxury, healthy ice cream using virgin coconut oil, stevia leaf, fresh milk and superfoods. I tried the salted caramel and lucuma ice cream and it was excellent but alas, I couldn’t take home a pot as it would have melted after a lengthy journey home on public transport.

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If you ever get he chance to try the Pukara Estate products, I recommend the lime infused olive oil mixed with some of their caramelised balsamic vinegar as it combines well to make a flavourful dip for crusty bread.

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I also spent half an hour in the company of John Whaite, who in 2012 won the Great British Bake Off. Well, actually I watched him do a live cookery demonstration in the Summer Kitchen Theatre. I was somewhat taken aback – although really chuffed – when he said hello to me. He must have remembered me from the recent Foodies Festival on Clapham Common when I walked with him from the tube station to the event and we had a god chat. I hope he doesn’t have me pegged as a stalker when I’m simply a bit of a food enthusiast. John’s recipe for Korean fried chicken smelled so good but sadly it was whipped away after the demo for the crew to eat. Pfffft. What was that about? John did say he would put the recipe on Twitter so do look out for it.

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I was lucky to be in the front row, hence the close up picture. If ever you get the opportunity to watch John doing a demonstration, I’m sure you’ll be charmed by his sense of humour.

I didn’t get the chance to see any of the interviews that took place on the Interview Stage and so also missed out on the possibility of winning a Lakeland voucher. Never mind…… Next time……

I’m going to write separate posts about some of the producers I saw, namely ‘Pinkster Gin’, ‘Coole Swan Irish Cream’ and ‘The Flavoured Shortbread Bakery’ as I think they deserve a few column inches in their own right.

I left the BBC Good Food Festival having enjoyed a really good experience. Due to time constraints, I didn’t get the chance to eat and I was disappointed not to have squeezed in a light meal at ‘The Bingham Pop Up Restaurant’. There are other BBC Good Food Shows coming up later in the year so next time I won’t miss out.

Finally, I’d like to say what a pleasure it was to meet up with my friend Kevin who writes a food and craft blog called ‘The Crafty Larder’. He’d travelled down from Norwich for the event at Hampton Court which just goes to show that you can never keep a chap away from good food. Here we are in the front row at John White’s demo.

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