Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Competition: Total Greek Yoghurt's Recipe Competition

Hey guys! It's been a while since I announced another competition win isn't it? Well, this week, i won runner up in Total Greek Yoghurt's "Greek Inspired" Recipe competition, winning a months supply of Various types of Total Yoghurt! The winning recipe was my Briam, which you can find on the blog under "greek recipes".
They've sent me LOADS of stuff as well, the fruity yoghurts i'll most likely just be having for brekkie and with my packed lunch, but all the plain natural stuff, i'm sure i'll be coming up with inventive uses for it, many of which will be recipes i'll post up on this blog. Cheers Total!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Travel- Glastonbury Foodie Review- Day 5/6

In the morning I went around for a bit of a wander, mainly because I fancied a walk but also I figured I would take piccies of some more food stalls for this review and all that. Went round the corner from the astrolabe, just slightly ahead of the showers/ kids field, is “Pilton Pasta”. This stall has been going for yonks, I’ve always seen it every time I’ve been to glasto, it seems to change its location every so often, but it’s menu seems to stay the same- normally about 5 or 6 different flavours of pasta, including tomato and chorizo, pesto and broccoli, carbonara or tomato and veg. Usually pretty cheap and filling, so a good dependable one to go for I reckon.
I didn’t fancy pasta at that point, I really fancied something meaty actually, so went down to a stall near the meeting point (and this van is always in the same location), the “Bath Organic Farm” stall. Here they sold organic beef, lamb and venison burgers- for a very decent price. I went for their festival special, which was a double burger, with bacon, cheese and salad, for £4.50!!! This was, without the shadow of a doubt, the best value meal I’ve ever had at Glastonbury (I went for double venison burgers). It was huge! Almost impossible to eat (I say almost, I just about managed it with my big gob, lol)! The flavours were delicious and intense, you could taste that it was good quality, organic meat, and it was incredibly filling too. After having this, I thought I wished I had tried this place sooner, instead of wasting extortionate amounts of money at some stalls that served a small portion of not-so-good quality food.
I then met up with my parents at the Greenpeace/ Farmer’s market area again- dad was having something he’d been having for his lunches during most of the festival- a big ol’ ploughman’s from the cheesemonger stall in the Farmer’s market. If I remember right it was fairly expensive (£8 or something pricey!) but you did get a large amount of good quality ingredients for this- 3 different local cheeses (a cheddar, a chilli cheese, and a sheeps/mild goats cheese), 3  big hunks of bread, a pot of chutney, a pot of butter, fruit (apples/grapes) and a pot of pickled onions/ gherkins. A hearty vegetarian feast I would say!
On the walk back, on our way to go and see The Proclaimers, dad pointed out this Indian stall, just before you get into the West Holt’s field. Normally me and dad go there a few times during the festival, because it’s really good- but apparently the stall owners have changed (it’s run by young English people now, not Indians) and it’s really rubbish now!  Apparently their chickpea curry (part of their thali special) was rock hard (like they hadn’t soaked the chickpeas enough or something) and their samosas were not nearly as good as they used to be. Such a shame!

Then we went to the Acoustic stage to see The Proclaimers, who were absolutely fantastic!  In the acoustic tent, there hangs the biggest mirror ball in the UK, pretty cool ey?
Steve Winwood was on after The Proclaimers, and I wanted to see him too, so once The Proclaimers had finished and they were getting the stage set-up for the Winwood, I nipped out briefly to get a bite to eat. I decided to check out the “Paellaria” (near the meeting point) which cooked vegetarian paella, and a chicken and chorizo paella in mahoosive pans. I decided to go for the “Bit of both” option (which was only £6 and a very generous portion actually), which was garnished with stewed tomatoes and freshly chopped parsley- and my god this was delicious! Both paellas were really tasty, and had gorgeous different textures within the two separate dishes. The rice really filled me up/set me up for the rest of the evening, so definitely good value for money.  
After Steve Winwood (who was actually a bit crap- his set was really rubbish because it was like 55 minutes of him jamming randomly with his band mates, and then like only 2 of the songs we knew, which is silly because Traffic/ Winwood had so many memorable songs he could have done) me mum and dad went off to see the Stones! Don’t know whether any of you guys saw it on the telly, but it was pretty cool to see them. To be honest, with the crowd being so big, we were fairly far away, so it wasn’t the most amazing experience, but in the end I’m glad I’ve seen them (especially considering they probably won’t be performing- or alive for that matter!- for much longer). In fact my mum said they were much better than when she saw them in their “heyday”, because when she saw them then they were all so drunk/drugged up they could barely stand/pick up their instruments. I suppose nowadays they’re all on different types of drugs- blood pressure pills, arthritis medicine, lol!
After this I went back to my camp and chilled out. Now, I’m guessing you may be expecting another day’s review out of me. Well, after Saturday, and seeing the Stones and all that, I decided I would leave a day earlier (on the Sunday). The main reasons I guess were a) I was missing my boyfriend (aw, what a soppy creature I am!) and b) I was moving house on the Monday, and I was getting increasingly nervous about how much work this would involve. Plus to be honest c) I’d had enough of camping by then, I really don’t like it at all, haha!

However, on Sunday afternoon, once I’d packed up my tent and things, I did have another bite to eat, at a food stall in the West Holts field called “Ghandi’s Flip Flops”- which served vegetarian currys/dahls, thalis, and lassis. I had their mixed vegetable curry, and aubergine and red pepper korma, with rice and a chapatti, and it was very flavourful- if I see them there next year, I will definitely give them another go.
Well, I hope all of you enjoyed my review of Glastonbury Festival, and I hope that in years to come this guidance will help people choose the right food to eat, and that the stalls won’t all move around completely rendering this review not quite as useful! As you can see, there is a plethora of food available at the festival, and even a trained gourmet can find their fill! I hope, if there are fellow Glasto-goers reading this, that you enjoyed this year as much as my mum and I did, and hopefully I will see you there next year!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Travel: Glastonbury Foodie Review- Day 4

Today I woke up rather late, and wandered off to see a bit of music (Mik Artistik in the pic below is a really funny Northern comedy singer, such a laugh!) and for a bit of a wander. For those hippies out there, near the Cabaret tent, is the “Hare Krishna Tent”- it is for fellow hindu’s/ Buddhists/ old fashioned hippies, where theres hindi music playing, and you can get a plate of free vegetarian food. With me not really being hugely into the whole hindu/ meditation thing (not against it, just not my thing) I didn’t blag any freebies, but it’s useful to know if your’e really down on your luck at Glasto I guess.  I then went to the Pyramid to see Dizzee Rascal, who was fairly good, but I’d seen him a few years before at a much smaller stage and he was much more better/ much more enthusiastic (I think the fame has gone to his head a bit now…bless….).
Now this is where me and my parents were horrifically disappointed this year- Malinkey’s gourmet Glastonbury restaurant (near the Big top tent- you can see the big top tent behind it in the picture). As mentioned in one of my previous entries. Previously this place had been excellent, but since the first year of service they have been getting worse and worse, and after this year my family will be definitely be avoiding it in the future. Malinkeys offers a gourmet 3 course meal for £24 per person- posh nosh, things served on slates and things like that. You can also get chilled champagne/wine from £18 a bottle! Pricey, but in previous years, I must admit, it has been worth it, just for the Glastonbury gourmet experience. Me and my family arrive, to an almost empty restaurant- except with an incredibly loud (and untalented) lounge piano singer drolling on, a small group, already on starters when we got in, and a couple, with a very small, loud, crying baby accompanying them. After ordering drinks (and being informed they have no sparkling water- c’mon guys if you’re going to have a posh-ish restaurant you’ve got to have fizzy water!!), these then arrived with plastic cups (not glasses like previous years), which the waitress proceeded to spill all over my dad and the table. She apologised and went off to get something to clean it with, and took ages. The waitress came back with a couple of napkins, dabbed them vaguely and messily on the table, and then (without properly cleaning it up, or taking our food order, or taking the dirty drink soaked napkins away) went over to a table with friends and sat down and started chatting! We were livid! We also asked members of staff to turn the music down, this request was utterly ignored.
After sitting on the dirty table, with the violently loud dreadful lounge music, being ignored, and to be honest seeing some of the food come out to the two other tables in miniscule portions, we decided we weren’t going to waste any more of our time, or any of our money on the place. As we were walking out, dad ended up chatting to the owner, and told him his issues about it all. The owner said to dad “well I don’t see anyone else complaining”, which is so funny and ridiculous because the whole place was empty, save for 1 hippie couple with a screeching young baby, and a table of four, which was populated by his friends!!

We needed a bit of cheering up and some decent comfort food after this, so we went to the Greenpeace stage, to the farmers market area I mentioned earlier, and we got some grub. I got a really really nice chilli from one of the stalls there. It was a “vegan” chilli, but I kinda ruined it by shoving a load of cheese on top of it, lol. The guys working there was really friendly, and gave me it for cheap because he saw my crew pass, which was very cool of him. It was a delicious chilli, made with tomatoes and pepper and beans and all sorts of lovely vegetables, served with brown rice. It was one of the healthiest things I had at the fest this year, but also one of the nicest. I was so glad that we decided to leave Malinkeys- we would have left over £75 quid out of pocket, still hungry, and deafened if we had!
Me and the parents then just went for a wander round Shangri-La area. Noticed what I believed were a couple of new editions to the site (although I don’t often go round this area during the festival so for all I know they could have there for donkeys), one of them was a big cool looking Mojito bar- but with something cooler- Salsa lessons! So if you fancy learning a new dance whilst at Glastonbury, making all those “dad dancers” cry with jealousy, you can pop to this tent and they do proper salsa lessons  at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm Friday-Sunday. I hope if I go with my boyfriend next year, that they will still be doing this, sounds like a right laugh!
Round the corner from this place was also a very impressive south African food stall, with, what I am to understand from my boyfriend “traditional south African cuisine”- in other words MEAT!! Basically I have been informed that generally in South Africa anything that moves and can be hunted, will be eaten, in large quantities. This was a big South African “Braii” stall (Braii just being the saffa word for Barbeque basically). But at a Braii, you would be skinned alive for putting a sausage or a burger on the Barbie- oh no no no no! Only big chunks of good quality meat, or perhaps white meat and veg kebabs (at a pinch) would ever grace a south African Braii. At this stall I believe they had barbequed pork and beef, as well other interesting animals such as ostrich and buffalo. Being still full from the chilli, I didn’t partake of their offerings, but the smell alone was certainly making me drool.
We then went for a bit of a wander round “The Common”, an area with lots of funny interesting buildings, lots of “Aztec-y” looking things, including a bar with a waterfall in front, that you had to walk through to get in!!
Near the common also was “The Lost Picture Show”- the Glastonbury cinema! It’s quite small I guess (only about 30/40 seats I’m guessing?) but they always show some interesting films. On the Saturday at 2am they were showing Predator!!!! Cool!! Get to the Choppa!!!
Near the cinema was still really cool bar, called The Heaven bar. Basically around the area there were lots of devilly and hell-y things, that you could wander around, very dark and sinful and scary! Next to this area was the heaven bar- but you couldn’t just go and have a drink there. When you went in, there was all this staff in white (The Angels), and if you wanted to come in, to drink and watch the musicians on the stage in there, you had to convince them you deserved to go to heaven. My friend convinced them by explaining how much she loved animals, they asked her if she had any pets, she said she had two dogs, and the Angel asked if she knew their birthdays! By knowing them, she was deemed loving/compassionate, and was allowed through the golden gates!!
I went back to my campsite to chill with my mates for a bit, and to get myself for the big day, Saturday with the Stones!!! It was so cool though, on the way back, me and mum encountered a zombie/chanting smoke show, near the Astrolabe area. At one point, the smoke machines made the air so thick, me and mum could barely see in front of our faces or into the fog, it was so cool/creepy!! A very cool and sketchy end to the evening.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Travel: Glastonbury Foodie Review- Day 3

In the morning I felt a bit lazy to be honest, and so decided to go to the closest food option available- The Children’s World tent. This place comprises of a nice coffee bar, with freshly squeezed orange juice, and the main part is a bit canteen- serving good decent honest food, at big portions, for a good price. It is backstage Theatre Circus, so it caters for a lot of the workers/performers. However, the public can come in and sample it’s delicacies, just by asking for a theatre circus guest pass to visit it at the gate-they’ll give you one don’t worry. The guest pass means you can visit backstage theatre circus during the day and to check the green room bar at night, except between the hours of 2am-8am (this is to stop people from camping there). The Children’s World canteen serves all sorts of things- from 8-12 they do continental and fried breakfasts, and at lunch they serve things like lasagne, pies, quiches, fish and chips- like school dinner food really but done well! The place is perfect really cause you just get a bit plate full of calorific yummy-ness,  a meal to properly set you up for the day, and it normally only costs about £3 (must be cheapest place to eat at Glasto!). What’s even better about the place is the fact a lot of the money that you pay for the food goes to a children’s charity to help feed starving children all over the world. My big full English, OJ, black coffee and large grin definitely applauds their food and their cause!
I then went for a bit of a wander. I thought I would mention this place, which again is always at the same place every year (round the corner from the Big Top):  The New Mexico Cantina, which for your guys information, is an utter rip-off. As mentioned previously, glasto food is very expensive, most “meal deals” are about 7 or 8 quid. But normally, if you go to the right places, that £7/8 will leave you absolutely stuffed and sorted for the rest of the day/ night. However, this place is a joke. Their “Buffalo Festival Special”, which if I remember right was buffalo chilli, with rice, nachos and salsa, which costs about7 or 8 quid, was a TINCY Tupperware with a few spoonfulls of tasteless chilli and rice in it. Now, I haven’t tried their burritos yet, so I wont damn the place entirely to the ground, but I would recommend you steer clear of this stall- overpriced meals, and don’t worry there are plenty of other nicer cheaper places to get Mexican food around the site.
This place was a striking new edition to the food stall scene that I hadn't encountered before- this fabulously dressed Tapas Stall, near the West Holts stage. I noticed this stall was very popular, with the food coming out of there looking very fresh and tasty. They dish veggie as well as meaty tapas selection platters. Mum tried it, said it was all right- but noted that their Patatas Bravas wasn’t very good. They also did a very pleasant drink- fresh lemonade with a hint of raspberry, some of the proceeds of which went to charity ("LemonAid!")
Me and mum went for a bit of a wander up at the Green Future Fields. Now, if you are the creative, hands-on, arty type, this is the place at the festival you want to go. There are workshops for almost everything! Willow weaving, knitting, iron-working, making your own jewellery, making your own bowls and cutlery, pretty cool! In fact, you could come back from Glastonbury, having made your own lovely kitchenware to eat off at home, to remind you of the festival!
We wandered back down to The Bandstand area to chat to dad. Near the Stone Circle field, and always in the same location every year, is the “Thali CafĂ©”- exemplary vegetarian indian platters, normally a mix of two veggie curries (liked mixed veg Balti, and a chickpea curry or something), a lentil dahl, salad, chutneys/pickles, and a poppadum or chapatti. Always reasonably priced too, so if you fancy a healthy Indian feast, this is the place to go.
Saw this great sign in the healing fields, certainly the last part I agree with (if it makes any sense!) “I dream of a world where there are more than 13 episodes of Dr Who a Year, for Chickens to able to cross the world without their mother’s being questioned, A VEGAN WORLD!! (But with Bacon Sandwiches!)" Haha!! Yes mate!!
It was time for a bite to eat now, so me and mum both got a pizza from the “Glade Pizza” place (where The Glade stage used to be, I'm not sure where it’s been moved now, lol!). Was fairly pricey, £8, but it was a proper wood fired pizza, looked great and tasted great- pretty gourmet for glasto I was thinking! We just had the plain margharita, yummy.
Another note for self caterers- ran out of cornflakes? Ran out of milk? ran out of batteries??? Well do not despair, near the Left Field stage is the Glastonbury 24 hour supermarket, with all your foodie/campy needs catered for- this place really does have everything, a good stall to find and remember where it is for future reference!
There were a lot more “mezze” and tapas places open this year I have noticed- there was one place in the market area, almost completely opposite the bandstand stage (towards The Pyramid side) that made everyones mouths water as we walked past- the “Moorish North African & Arabic Souk Food” stall. They served a vegetarian plate full of delicious mezze goodies, such as Lebanese salads, hummus, olives, falafels, and spiced Arabic vegetables/ beans. You could get 1 of these for £2, or a selection plate for £8. I tried a selection plate from here- so flavoursome! Their “Tcekchouila” (a spicy pepper and olive stew) was to die for!! And the staff there were always so well presented and friendly- you do get a lot of glasto people working on the stalls, that are moody as sin because they are hungover from the night before or they are missing a band they want to see or something, but the staff at this stall always had a smile on their faces.
A rather late midnight feast was the order of the day for me, after a few ciders with my dad and mates backstage at the bandstand. On the way to the West Holts stage was a Lebanese food stall, on the left side, selling Lebanese chicken and lamb curries with spiced rice, or Haloumi/falafel salad plates, or some rather sexy looking donner/chicken kebabs. I went for a half and half chicken/lamb curry with rice- and OH MY GOD, it was one of the nicest meals I have EVER had at Glastonbury, and as you have surmised from my review so far, I have eaten a lot at this festival in the past! They were a new stall that I had never seen before too, that I will definitely be looking for again next year. Both curries had different tantalising flavours, both fairly heavy in cardamom and cinnamon- and they were fairly mild which made me happy. I try to avoid spicy food at festivals, and I recommend you do the same, because a) you end up drinking loads of liquid with it, which means more trips to the dreaded porta-loos, which you generally want to avoid and b) you are more likely to end up with a bit of a dodgy stomach (or at least I am) consuming very spicy food, and take it from someone who got a food poisoning bug at Glasto once, being ill during the festival is not a pretty sight nor comfortable experience!!
I think this evening I went for a fair few bevvies here and there, because I seem to remember I didn’t wake up till like 5ish the next evening (naughty!) so lets just say Friday’s review is a little shorter than the others!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Travel: Glastonbury Foodie Review- Day 2

In the morning I was feeling a little hazy (not hungover really, but if I’ve had a big night drinking I always wake up extra ravenous!!) so went out of backstage theatre circus, past the big top, and near this is the Square Pie Stall- Exactly what I fancied! There are a fair few Pie stalls around Glasto, Square Pie and Pieminister (woop! Working for em now! Lol!- their stall at Glasto is round the corner from the pyramid towards the dance area if I remember right) , but to be honest most of the others are a bit rubbish- I would stick to one of those two. I had the steak and Guinness pie meal today, with mash, gravy and beans- the steak and Guinness was OK, but my mum had their veggie pie from there at one point and it was really flavoursome and delicious, so be brave and go for the veggie one if you have a pie from there- it’s yummier than you may think!
I then went for a bit of a wander round near the Bandstand/market area. A good stall to mention, if crumpets are your thang, is the “Strumpets with Crumpets” stall, who as well as tea, coffee and drinks do crumpets with numerous sweet and savoury toppings, with lashings of butter (of course!).
I decided to get a very nice freshly squeezed juice (carrot, apple, orange, ginger and lime if I remember right) from a stall in between market area going towards the Big Top. I remember speaking to guy making the juice for me, explaining that I was writing a “festival foodie review” for my blog, and after this he said “oh, If you’d have told me that I might have made more of an effort for you!” which was funny, but my juice was not substandard (very tasty in fact) so I don’t think he had “cut any corners” so to speak! This delicious juice also spurred me on to use my juicer more often when I got home!
I then walked up to the stone circle field again to meet up with my mum. On the way there, near the West Holts stage, my mum pointed out an Indian street food stall, doing grilled chicken tikka, lamb tikka and paneer tikka wraps (I think they also had a couple of curries bubbling away too). My mum and dad on several occasions had their paneer tikka wrap, and enjoyed it-but after sampling a mixed paneer chicken wrap myself, I wasn’t overly impressed with the flavours. I also thought, for £7, it was not very big nor very filling, so I suppose I wasn’t as enamoured with the stall as much as my parents were.

Now what I was certainly enamoured with this year was a new edition to the Fest, next to the Greenpeace stage. A new “Farmer’s Market” area has been built, which included an organic fruit and vegetable stall, a cheesemongers, a bakery, a “sparkling soft drinks” stall (which did the nicest ice cold sparkling elderflower drink I’ve ever had!) and a few good food stalls. I thought especially the veg stall was lovely, particularly for those who may be cooking their own food on camp fires/camp stoves at the festival.
I have never bothered doing my own camp cooking at festivals, but I know many who do, and if you are on a budget it is a necessity. I am not going to lie, the food at Glastonbury is very expensive, and I do spend a small fortune on it every year, but since (unlike others) copious amounts of alcohol and drugs are not my main spending point or priority, I don’t mind spending my cash on good food instead.

In the evening I went to an interesting looking Japanese stall, selling noodles and rice and sushi and things. I ordered the chicken katsu with rice, which was unfortunate, as I ended up spending £8 on a very small box of food- that I would definitely not describe a katsu curry (Japanese katsu curry should be breaded chicken breast with curry sauce- take it from someone who knows, an old wagamama chef, lol) and that had been garnished with far too much pickled ginger.
One of my friend’s got a “Malinkeys Takeaway” instead. Malinkeys is one of the only (I think theres another one somewhere but I haven’t found it!) places in Glastonbury where you can sit down to have a posh meal! A proper table indoors, proper cutlery and proper glasses with bottles of wine and ice buckets and everything! The first year it was there (on the corner between market area and Big Top) it was a godsend, absolutely fantastic- last year it was average, and this year (which I will tell you about later in the review) it was diabolically aweful. However, their takeaway stall next to the “restaurant-y bit” was serving lovely big home-made Yorkshire puddings, filled with either sausages, liver (Blegh!) or veg croquettes, with minted new potatoes, vegetables and gravy. You do get a lot of these “sausage and mash” or “full breakfast” in Yorkshire pudding places all over the site, but these one are posh and made properly, with good quality ingredients in them. Fair price, and looked filling I would say.
Because of the late night the previous evening I then decided to have an early one tonight and wake up fresh the next morning.