Food Glorious Food

In September 2012 Dave and I entered the Food Glorious Food Competition.  By some miracle we were picked for the regional finals.  As my son Sam and his partner Andrea were visiting England from Dubai and I hadn’t seen them for 2 years, the timing wasn’t good but in true British spirit we thought,  what the heck, lets go and enjoy the day.  Below are some photo’s of our experience.

Dave’s entry was a chicken curry pie.  The judge told him it was tasty but had a little too many tomatoes in it for her liking but she said his pastry was amazing.  Don’t want to blow my own trumpet here but I taught him all he knows about pastry making.  My entry was a sweet chilli chicken,  a recipe I adapted from James Martin.  Sadly it was too sweet (which I have to admit I knew even before the judging) but if ever there is a next time I will measure my sugar!

We had an amazing experience which we shared with our friends,  Sandra Johnson, Dorothy Newton, Jill and Cameron Ward.  Dave and Cam’s highlight of the day was meeting Carol Vorderman and I think they have a few hundred pictures of her between them!  Jill and I enjoyed visiting the vegetable tent at the show and were very impressed by the size of the enormous vegetables!

I would provide a recipe for my pastry but I have to admit to never measuring anything,  I go by the feel and colour of the mix and somehow it always turns out right!  Luckily for me, my Nan and Mum always made great pies so I guess it must be in the genes!

After our latest visit to Hondon our lovely new neighbours Richard and Joanna gave us lots of almonds picked from their own tree’s. When we returned home I wanted to make the most of these beautiful nuts and came across the recipe below (adapted a little from the original).  This is a delicious and moist cake which can be enjoyed eaten cold or hot with some custard.  I think it is a very healthy recipe as it includes fruit and nuts despite the butter, syrup and sugar!

Date and Mixed Nut Cake


* 110g (4 oz) chopped dates
* 55g (2 oz) margarine
* 225ml boiling water
* 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* 225g (8 oz) self raising flour
* 110g (4 oz) mixed nuts
* 170g (6 oz) brown sugar
* 1 egg, beaten
* 2 tablespoons of syrup


Place dates and butter in a bowl with boiling water and bicarbonate of soda. Gently mix with wooden spoon to ensure all butter has melted and dates plump up.  Allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine self raising flour, mixed nuts syrup and sugar, then add to cooled bowl of dates, butter, water, and bicarb. Mix well with wooden spoon and add beaten egg.

Spoon mixture into a lined 900g (2 lb) loaf tin.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes.  Oven at 170 C/Gas3/Fan 150 C

Leave to cool on a wire rack. Slice and spread with butter – or eat without, it’s up to you.

Thanks to Richard and Joe for their almonds from the Almond Grove they really made this cake delicious!