Two weeks ago I traveled to Old Heathfield, East Sussex, for the #FoodiesOnTour event with six other lifestyle and food bloggers. We were invited by Nokia and Great British Chefs for a day of cooking with Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton and to celebrate the launch of the app on Windows phones.
The location of the event was Walnuts Farm, a traditional Wealden farmhouse built around 1800 and surrounded by five acres of gardens, meadows and woodland. After a tour of the farm with landlord Nick, we kicked off the celebrations with a glass of bubbly, English chorizo (brought by Josh and made in a farm near Bristol) and crudités with smoked cod and cheese dips made by Josh.
Nokia UK asked us to choose one of their new phones to trial for a month so for the past two weeks I have been playing around with the beautiful Lumia 1520. I used it to take photos and videos on the day and to research recipes on the Great British Chefs app.
The Nokia phablet has a 6" 1080p full HD display, which is a game-changer when it comes to web browsing on your smartphone. I'm addicted to checking my Instagram feed constantly and it's so much better to look at photos on a six-inch screen! I'm enjoying using Nokia 1520 a bit too much and it's going to be difficult to get used to the small screen of my old phone at the end of the month!
The highlight of the day was meeting and cooking with Josh Eggleton. Possibly the most down-to-earth chef I have ever met, Josh was one of the youngest chefs in Britain to get a Michelin Star (aged 27) and he was recently named Pub Chef of the Year for his work at his gastropub The Pony & Trap's in Bristol.
Josh is one of the very best British chefs that are featured on the new GBC app, sharing culinary tips, great recipes and 'how to' videos.
Once all the introductions were over, it was time to start cooking with Josh in the beautiful country kitchen at Walnuts Farm.
Together with Josh, the Great British Chefs team and my fellow bloggers, we put together a delicious main course and dessert.
A big "well done" to Jasiminne of Posh, Broke & Bored, Coralie of Tea Time in Wonderland, Cindy of Food for Thoughts, Fiona of London Unattached, Chloe of Gannet and Parrot, Fabienne of Lost in London and myself for all the chopping, stirring and cooking!
The main course was a Spelt, barley and squash risotto (the recipe is on Great British Chefs website and app).
Replacing the traditional Arborio rice with spelt and barley to make a risotto was an interesting choice and it worked really well. We started by sweating onions, celery and carrots in a knob of butter - they added natural flavours to the risotto, without the need to use stock cubes.
This risotto recipe, made with spelt and barley instead of rice, is an excellent vegetarian recipe from The Pony & Trap's Josh Eggleton. Instead of using stock, Josh employs the flavourful and inventive use of a carrot and butternut squash purée. This is a hearty main dish for any time of the year, but this spelt and barley risotto particularly makes an excellent winter recipe.
For dessert we made Eggy bread with pan-roast rhubarb and elderflower sabayon. The Great British Chefs recipe calls for strawberries, which Josh replaced with rhubarbs for a more seasonal choice. I particularly loved the sabayon, or zabaione as we call it in Italy, and it reminded me of the one my grandma would whip up for my childhood snacks.
Josh Eggleton's wonderful summer dessert draws on the complementary flavours of strawberry and elderflower to top a slice of eggy bread. This eggy bread with strawberries recipe is a lot of fun to make, and even more fun to eat.
After all the cooking, we ate our lunch in the garden, busking in the warm sunshine of a beautiful March day. And as it often happens, we ended the day with a cheeky drink at the local pub! A perfect English day!
A big thank you to Nokia UK and Great British Chefs for organising this fantastic event and to Josh Eggleton for being incredibly friendly, patient and inspiring!
The Great British Chefs app, a fantastic source of great recipes, is user-friendly and beautifully designed. You can download the app for Windows Phone here.
Disclaimer: I was invited to the event by Nokia UK and Great British Chefs. All opinions are my own.