Rockers are cool, pigs in bulgur, avocado tales, Terroirs

Rockers are cool, pigs in bulgur, avocado tales, Terroirs

The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind - stewed!'s dalliance in a bit of music festival trading has left me broken - physically.  I don't think I realised how exhausting it was going to be and power naps have crept into my daily routine these last few days (I'm sure the glass or 2 of Picpoul yesterday for lunch had nothing to do with my sleepiness....).

Lovebox and High Voltage (the 2 festivals we did in Victoria Park) were so different.  There I was thinking Lovebox was, for sure, going to be crammed with stew loving folk, trendy young things... you know, the type that like to try something new, work in soho, oh so busy young professionals... ABC1's, I think they're called in the marketing world.  But that lot seemed happier experimenting with rather differnt kind of substances all weekend - oh well, their loss.

Because Lovebox wasn't quite as successful as planned, and because I'd made 200kg of bulgur wheat (that's lots), I decided I'd better try High Voltage as well, the following weekend.  It was a big decision to do this second festival.  After all, I was risking more time, more staff and more stock for potentially another luke warm reception... I was really nervous.

In the end, it actually turned out that the ageing rockers at High Voltage were much better suited to a bit of quality stew. What lovely folk!   I'd imagined a load of grumpy larger than life characters unwilling to engage and merely looking for beer.  Couldn't be further from the truth and I feel bad that I came along with such prejudices.  These guys were engaging, liked good food, wanted to talk and were out for a great time enjoying bands from their youth.  It wasn't just about getting wasted and popping a few pills.  These people were genuine, fun loving, positive people...  I am now a rocker fan!  Not to mention also a hardened fan of ZZ Top, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Down and Black label Society... hmmmm perhaps not.

I won't go into some of the outfits at High Voltage - let's say there was a rather eclectic mix...

I ended up taking along a  little more of the aforementioned bulgur wheat than was necessary at the weekend and I had to find somethign to do with the remnants.  it wasn't long before I found a solution.  Tessa of Northfield farm, the stand next to us, said her pigs would love to eat the rest of it up - perfect! it all got bagged up and accompanied tessa on the long road back to the farm on Sunday night.  There was something really satisfying in sending up 15kg of bulgur wheat to a load of hungry pigs in the heart of leicestershire.  I hope they enjoy it (it's proper Turkish stuff - the chunky kind).

It's not just the pigs that are working their way through tempting leftovers.  I'm also having a go - Flour Power city, the organic bread and cake company, were at High Voltage selling lovaes of bread.  Any leftovers at the end of the day were given to some of the traders.  Consequently I have a freezer full of sourdough, soda bread, ciabatta, banana bread, brownies.... dark rye.... thanks Flour power! That's another shining example of how great it is to be part of a group of passionate food traders at an event like this.  Thanks also to Tessa and Marc from Northfiled for being such fun neighbours and for the lamb burgers and delicious cheese... I've not had any dodgy reaction to the sausage I dropped on the ground either.... the one thing I've learnt since working with food - it's pretty hard to poison someone....

On the brownie front, am I the only one that goes a bit mental after eating one?  I think I'm a bit intolerant to dark chocolate - I get anxious, feel like I have to go on a 10 mile hike... so went for a run and felt a bit better.  But there's something about chocolate that sends me loopy.

I went to see Avenue Q this week (I'd seen it before and much preferred it last time.  Maybe it's one of those ones that's best the first time you see it - or perhaps it was simply that the cast was not quite as good....) and beforehand grabbed a quick bite to eat at Terroirs with 3 others.  Now, it was OK, just a little dull... In a place like that, you want the bread to be good - and copious - especially when ordering pate (how annoying, no accent possible on here and i cant face copying and pasting from word - sorry), charcuterie and cheese.  We got 4 little pieces of quite dry bread - not a great sign.  I wanted big chunks of freshly baked airy chewy baguettes, not little croutons - honestly Terroirs.  The terrine was good, but I preferred the duck rillettes -  so moist - rillettes is one of my weaknesses.  I made some once, many years ago with the remnants of a roast goose.  I shredded the meat, added a little water, some goose fat, mace, peppercorns and bay leaves I think and cooked it again for another hour or 2 very slowly before potting.  After setting in the fridge and being brought back up to room temp, it was to die for - must make it again....

I enjoyed Terroir's their marinated Matje herring which reminded me it's about time I cured some fish....

...So the day before yesterday I was in Soho, I had a meeting, got my haircut and wandered past the fruit and veg stalls on Berwick street market.  Being a fan of the nobbly green fuit that is avocado, I couldn't resist when the largest, ripest specimens started winking at me, murmuring under their breath 'buy us, buy us...' - so I listened.  I love avocado so resisting was just pointless.  When I lived in Melbourne, I'd go to Journal cafe on Little Collins street, (forgive me Melburnians if I've got the street wrong) for some toasted sourdough, slices of delicious ripe avocado, a sprinle of oilive oil and some salt flakes and fresh cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  i couldn't get enough of it.  Avocados in melbourne were always so good - nutty, ripe, a bit expensive maybe, but I'd rather spend more and get a truly avocadelicious experience.

Anyway, back to my story - I've made my purchase of avocados - 2 for £3.  I can just see it now, cutting into them, knife sliding through the soft, oily, pale green, creamy flesh - I need to rush home.  Argh - no lemon, quick dash into the local shop on the way home from the tube.  It's late, nearly 3 o' clcok and I'm starving.

In i go with the knife, it's reward time..... ARGH! avocado open, it's all brown, stringy and has that nasty fishy smell... bleurgh.   I was so disappointed.  Straight in the bin 🙁 . Is it so much to ask for a perfectly ripe avocado in this country?  It's so hard to find.... any advice would be gladly appreciated if you know a secret supplier of wonderfully ripe, nutty Hass avocados... answers on a postcard to the address below please...

So in coming to the end of this week's entry, I realise that I've got no pictures to add colour, vibrancy and visual excitement - I'm sorry.  You'll have to make do with the plain version this week and next week I promise to do better...

Have a good weekend.

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