Reflecting on my week #84

Ah, it’s Press Day at Chelsea today and while I didn’t get a pass this year (boo!) as I sat down to write this post I couldn’t help but remember my day there last year with fond memories. I’m sorry to be missing it, as it really was the most enjoyable day, but I’m also keen to see the highlights of the show on the tv programme throughout the week. I’ve still plenty of photos to share from my visit- I’m not sure where the year has gone, so perhaps it’s no bad thing I’m not there, after all.

Last week was its usual busy self, and there was some sun wasn’t there, which was most welcome. Although it seems my body is having the strangest of times with the sun this year.  Over Easter while topping up my natural Vitamin D, I caught a little bit too much sun and had some very silly tan lines, which still persist. It seems this year my skin is either embracing those rays or ignoring them completely, nothing in the middle, which is quite odd (for me).

As the weather improves though so does my ability to actually take a short lunch break; on Monday a sandwich in the sun and Tuesday discovering what could be dangerous to me, a yarn shop in Greenwich, but a little more on that later in the week. 

A REMINDER OF A GREAT DAY AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW LAST YEAR 

A REMINDER OF A GREAT DAY AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW LAST YEAR 

As exams complete and the end of term approaches, there’s been a noticeable shift in activities at work. There’s ‘end of year’ celebrations and starting to look ahead to September, although I’ve much to fit in before then, including some more holidays, but somehow it’s been a week without many photos, and none that relate to this post, which is unusual, so instead I’m including a photo with a nod to Chelsea!

This weekend was earmarked for plenty of gardening, as we’ve seriously fallen behind in our plans to maximise green bin space and reclaim some of our border space. somehow though it was hijacked with a trip into town, meeting up with family and a couple of meals out, one of which was the largest roast dinner ever, or so it seemed as I munched my way through the Yorkshire pudding, trying to find some space on the plate for vegetables.

The tube journey home prompted me to read a book, I think if I commuted again I’d read a lot more, but then again that’s a bit drastic really isn’t it? I started a book - The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain, which I highly recommend - on the way home from our impromptu shopping trip early evening on Saturday, and had finished it by lunchtime Sunday.  

I love books that draw you in and immerse you entirely, and which encourage under the cover reading when you wake in the small hours, but they don’t always make me the most productive person, which is, I think, why my reading at the moment is so sporadic. But with a holiday on the horizon that could change!

Heston, the Everdure range and some very good food

* This is a collaborative post with Kettler GB

On a sunny, but chilly April day I attended the launch of the 4K Outdoor Oven from Everdure by Heston Blumenthal, which has been 4000 years in the making. It only seemed right for it to be put to the test, and for me to sample the food cooked on the latest addition to his hi-tech range - well, it would have been rude not to!

fat duck chefs at work
paying attention to detail

Although all future barbecues will have a lot to live up to from now on, the food, as you’d expect was a little out of the ordinary. By looking at it you’d think it was produced in a usual kitchen, but it wasn’t.

PASTRAMI ON MARMITE EGGY BREAD WITH CHIP STICKS

PASTRAMI ON MARMITE EGGY BREAD WITH CHIP STICKS

RIBS AND COLESLAW

RIBS AND COLESLAW

I was glad that MOH wasn’t with me, while he would have found it as fascinating and informative as me, I’ve a feeling that it would have got quite expensive pretty quickly as there was an impressive range of barbecues on show, and something for everyone I’m sure.

What was refreshing to see was that there wasn’t any “charcoal snobbery” from the Kettler GB team. They recognised that charcoal doesn’t work for everyone, and while they think it tastes better they acknowledge that the convenience of gas for many has its advantages.

I think they’re right, there’s nothing quite like the charcoal taste, but waiting for a charcoal barbecue to heat up after a day at work is likely to mean that we wouldn’t cook outside quite so much during the week when the weather is warm. I’m impatient enough anyway, but don’t make me wait for food!

But that’s about to be challenged, as you can see from the image below the charcoal is ready to cook in 10 minutes, which kind of changes things

some of the mighty barbecues

And if you’re wondering about why it’s 4000 years in the making, it’s been inspired by the 4000 year tradition of Kamado-style and man-made ceramic clay cooking, which merges the taste of charcoal with 21st century technology.

Accessories and portable/table top barbecues too

The 4K doesn’t look like you’d expect it to look either, I suspect that’s why it’s called an outdoor oven. As well as the fast flame charcoal ignition there’s probes which control meat and air temperatures, it’s exterior is cool-to touch and it even has Bluetooth connectivity.

I know. I told you it had 21st century technology. It also cooks food!

the unusual shape of the 4k everdure

It looks versatile too, whether you want to grill a steak, roast a turkey (don’t laugh - that almost happened to us on our first Christmas in this house, when the oven played up on Christmas Day!), smoke meat or bake a pizza the 4K will tell you how to cook it and prepare it, advising on temperature control, charcoal management and even the recipes. I’m pretty sure it’ll do a mean banger too.

a look inside the 4k everdure barbecue

And in case you were in any doubt, the food was excellent and didn’t hang around for long. There was also scallops, which I avoided, and there was also a baked Alaska on a stick, which I did everything but avoid. Only Heston would even contemplate ice cream on a barbecue, and it isn’t something that we’ll be trying at home, however tasty it was.

in case you were in any doubt the food was excellent

And I couldn’t end this post without sharing a photo with Heston himself, could I?

Me and Heston Blumenthal

He was a really nice man and while it was only a short chat, we did have a chat about his journey to Canary Wharf and of course, about the Everdure range. I left the event knowing much more about barbecues, enjoying some great food and pleased that Heston didn’t shatter my illusions of his TV self.

* Thanks to Kettler GB for the invitation to the event and their hospitality.

Three of Kevin's Green Heroes

The Green Heroes part of Grand Designs Live has become one of our favourite parts of the show. It’s a place where innovation is on show, and the often incredibly clever solutions demonstrate the best of human behaviour.

1. MusicCloth, a hand-woven cloth made of discarded cassette and video tapes

The tapes, which are collected for various sources, and which would otherwise be considered a waste material due to the metallic coatings. It’s woven in a basket weave pattern, which gives it stability and durability and each has its own unique colour and pattern.

MusicCloth - cloth made from old cassette tapes

The resulting material is lightweight, sound absorbing and highly water resistance and has a multitude of uses from the practical to the ornamental, as this picture shows. Also on the stand was a tote bag made from the material, which you can imagine would be super strong and of course, much better than the plastic bags that are still so evident. For more information see https://www.rehyphen.org/

A picture using MusicCloth

2. Eoacoustic material, that’s noise-canceling and based on spruce needles

Yes, intriguing but as Kevin himself likens it to standing in a remote pine forest and experiencing the magical silence, which can be recreated with this product. It’s a name that’s unpronounceable though, which may not help, but the thinking behind it is sound (sorry).

The panels are a natural porous material that absorbs sound reflections, regulates humidity and temperature, and creates a comfortable and healthy atmosphere. You can still see the shape of the needles, and their natural texture remind you of what they’re made from.

eoacoustic materials

There’s much more on their website: https://www.eoacoustic.com/ and it’s well worth a look, prepare for your mind to be blown!

3. Moss Tiles which encourage moss growth to improve air quality in urban environments

They help absorption of carbon dioxide and so addresses and environmental issue faced by people that live in cities. The tiles are made of terracotta and would be installed on exterior walls in public spaces. The multiple indentations and textured surface are designed to help the moss thrive.

Moss Tiles by Poppy Pippin
naked and mossed moss tiles

These are my favourite so far, not only their design when they’re naked terracotta, but also their touchability when the moss grows. I agree with Kevin, who says they’re “cool, green and tactile.”

There’s more about the tiles, and other projects on the Polly Pippin website: https://www.poppypippin.com/

So all quite different, but all innovative, clever and inspirational. I’ve some more to share from this part of the show, but as you’d expect, there’s also plenty more photos to edit.

PoCoLo