On Sunday 27th September I was invited up to an event by Mark from Dingley Dell. I’ve spoken about Mark from Dingley Dell before, just over a year ago my family, a few friends and I were invited up to his pig farm to have a look around. We had an absolutely fantastic day and in the evening he introduced us to his family and cooked a lovely meal for us.
Anyway I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the day, I knew that it was a BBQ event, all the dishes would be using Dingley Dell pork and that some of the money raised would be for Teenage Cancer Trust so of course I was going! After speaking to Chef Allsworth and Eden (a lovely girl who also does catering at college) we were raring to go. It was a bit of an early morning, well getting up at 7am on a Sunday in our family is pretty much un heard of (needless to say we’re not church go-ers) but we were all in high spirits! We arrived at the kitchen in London at about 10 am. There were lots of students from lots of other colleges around and after getting changed we got straight to work on veg. prep. with Murray, a chef who had put a lot of effort into the event and was great fun to work with!
We then packed up and moved all of our prep to the venue where the event was being held, which was about 10 minutes away. It was in the garden of this fabulous pub called the leather bottle and the atmosphere was already great.
We set up alongside some lovely girls from a college in Cambridge, Jenny and Gemma. Jenny’s blog post about the event is HERE.
We had a great day watching some top chef’s such as Mark Poynton, Matt Gillan and Steve Smith. We helped out on Murray’s dish which was a haggis filled naan bread, with a raw salad, pepper and tomato sauce, a green apple sauce and BBQ’d pork loin. I tried the naan and I’ve got to say it was fantastic – not that I was bias or anything!! It was also a lot of fun chatting to everyone who came down to try the pork that had been prepared and raising awareness of Teenage Cancer Trust. I think I fulfilled my ambassador role pretty well if I do say so myself hehe!
At the end of the event Eden and I went to taste some of the dishes that had been cooked throughout the day (I know, very lucky indeed!) and everything I tried was really tasty. All of the Chef’s had done completely different things with the pork and really made the pork shine. It showed me the various ways of cooking pork and using different cuts of a pig which I wouldn’t necessarily go for! It was a very valuable experience and really cool to meet some of the Chefs again!
Unfortunately I thought I’d leave the worst news to last. I’ve been having a few chest pains recently and after a trip up to London this week it looks like my lung tumour is growing again. At the moment that’s all I can really tell you but it looks like it will be back to treatment again over the next few months. I’ve got another appointment next week so hopefully I’ll know some more then but for know I’m going to have to leave it at that.
Although on the upside I’ve found out I can now get free Costa hot chocolates from the hospital so if that’s not an incentive to go up to the hospital then I don’t know what is! Don’t all rush to come with me to appointments at once now!!
I started the week with a hell of a lot of cooking! Mum had a function at work so I made (with some help) 46 mini vegetarian quiches, 120 mini savoury muffins and 96 mini cupcakes. It wasn’t an easy task and there was very little room in the fridge afterwards!! As far as I’m aware it all went down well so it was worth it – however I was pretty knocked out after that!
I had my college interview on Tuesday. I was so nervous, I don’t know why because I know the college, the tutors and a lot of the students. It all went well and I’ve been offered a place back in Level 3. I seriously can’t wait to get back to college, there’s only so much Jeremy Kyle and Come dine with me that you can watch before boredom seriously kicks in!
For my birthday I asked for an ice cream machine and it only arrived last week. On Thursday Kirstie and I gave it a go. Now I know that I go on about Salted Caramel and how amazing it is (second on the list after Dominos!) but recently Carte D’or stopped selling our favourite salted caramel ice cream, so we decided that we would try to recreate it. We even made vanilla fudge so we could have little fudge pieces in our ice cream! I’ve got to say it’s just as good as the original and we will definitely be making it again – maybe we could start a business!
On Friday I was up at the London hospital with Dad. I had a kidney test, an echo and a meeting with a radiologist. We were a bit delayed during the day but it all came together in the end. The kidney test is always one I dread. First I’m injected with a ‘nuclear medicine’ which weirdly makes my mouth taste a bit soapy for a few minutes, then after 2 hours they take blood. Then they take blood an hour after that, then again an hour after that. This is so they can see how functional my kidneys are at flushing out the ‘nuclear medicine’. To be honest, it’s just a bit of a drag!
We had a lovely BBQ on Saturday with friends and family and then the visit to Dingley Dell Pork Farm on Sunday!
I think I’ve said before but Dingley Dell supplied a lot of the pork for the Teenage Cancer Trust night at college back in April and I was lucky enough to be invited down to visit the farm yesterday. So Mum, Dad, 2 friends from QE (my old school) and I set off for Suffolk at 8.30am. We got there for 11am and after meeting Mark and a quick chat we got in the truck and headed off to the pigs. We saw pregnant pigs, then some boars, then some really young piglets (3 hours old!!) and even got to hold them! We then headed back to Mark’s house for a BBQ. We met his lovely family and 2 crazy dogs and had some really delicious food! It was a fantastic day and we didn’t get home until 7pm.
This weeks recipe is the dessert I cooked for the BBQ on Saturday, I think it was very much appreciated!
- 6 egg whites
- 300g Caster sugar
- 3 tblsp. Cocoa powder
- 1 tspn. Balsamic vinegar
- 400ml double cream
- Fruit (we used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- Some chocolate to grate on top
- Set the oven to 180c. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Start whisking the egg whites with an electric whisk, for 4 minutes or until soft peaks can be formed.
- Slowly add the caster sugar, bit by bit and still whisking.
- Once all the sugar is whisked in add the balsamic vinegar and sieve in the cocoa powder. Fold the mixture until all of the cocoa powder is combined.
- Put the mixture on the baking tray in a circle shape and try to give it some height – this will make the presentation look better when served.
- Put the tray in the oven and turn the heat down to 150c.
- Cook for 1 hour 15 mins.
- Once cooked, turn the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven with the door open until completely cool.
- Whilst the pavlova is cooling, whisk the cream until it becomes thick.
- Once cool, spread the cream over the pavlova, covering any cracks. Spread the fruit over the cream and grate the chocolate on top.