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.

Reflecting on my week #82

* This post contains an item that was gifted.

You’ve got to love a Bank Holiday weekend haven’t you? Even though quite often the four day week that follows it feels like the longest week ever, and even though after a spectacular Easter the weather has resorted to more usual Bank Holiday behaviour. We packed a lot into ours, and quite honestly I think three day weekends are the way forward…

Next weekend it’s my oldest niece’s wedding, which seems to have come round all of a sudden. My preparations, which are mostly my outfit, have been coming together in dribs and drabs. I’m very much of the opinion that if you see something you like then you should buy it, and so a January sales item has become my wedding outfit. A couple of months later a hat of the same colour was added, rather fortuitously as the outfit wasn’t with me when I bought the hat.

Then last month I was out and chilly so popped into Zara to buy a cardigan, opting for something that would complement this outfit incase the day was chillier than we want it to be. Although I’m hoping it will be much warmer than this weekend, or else the cardy might not cut it. And I’m sure my niece is hoping for warmer weather too, as there aren’t many cardy-wearing brides are there?

 Which left shoes and a bag, and I’ve been undecided. I should go for white, but white shoes. Well they’re not really me, so of course I delayed and deliberated thinking I have silver ones that I could wear or tan sandals, they’d do too. With a week to go though, I thought I really ought to try and pull it all together. So on the outfit went, on went the jewellery, and the hat and MOH’s verdict was sought.

Bright.

Not quite the response I expected, but one that’s probably accurate. And that was without the shoes. The trousers were, of course too long. Adding the tan sandals, still too long. Higher shoes, that’s what’s needed my inner voice said, so out came the silver heels with an inbuilt wedge. Still too long. This length wasn’t going to be solved by heels. Stilts maybe, but not heels.

And so sewing was needed. MOH was instructed on how to pin and where. Then hemming was required. Lots of hemming. You see the trousers have lining, the sort of lining that’s not attached. It was already much shorter than the outer material, but to be safe I hemmed that too. Four rounds of handsewn hemming, trying for the stitches not to show on the outside.

HEMMING. LOTS OF HEMMING. BUT HAVING THREAD THAT MATCHED MY OUTFIT WAS AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE.

HEMMING. LOTS OF HEMMING. BUT HAVING THREAD THAT MATCHED MY OUTFIT WAS AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE.

But it’s done, it just needs pressing. And then setting aside ready for the weekend.

My shoe choice? I opted for my tan Hasbeens, which I expect to last the whole day in, and which seem the sensible choice having learnt that there’s a woodland path to the church from the car park. Having settled on the shoes, my bag choice followed. I have two, what I can now safely call vintage tan leather bags, as I learnt this weekend that for clothes and accessories anything over twenty years old is considered vintage. Both of my vintage tan bags, I’ve had since new, one is more used than the other. My initial thoughts were to smarten up my go to, more used bag, but I thought I’d look out the other one as it’s smaller and potentially smarter.

It’s also, as it turned out, a better match for my outfit and so that had a bit of a spruce up too. I coated it with olive oil to nourish and help soften the leather, following the advice and wisdom I received when I first bought my Hasbeens. And since I’d bought another pair of Hasbeens earlier in the year - another January sales purchase - these were olive oiled at the same time. These ones are mules, and despite looking a light tan in the picture below are actually more of a yellow, and I’m sure that won’t surprise you either.

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So it seems, now I’m all set. Outfit, shoes and an almost double vintage bag, which I think was probably my first handbag. It’s had some, but not very much use, so its condition is almost perfect and I’m sure was a present from my aunt. It’s funny how some things, especially those that are classically styled just take a little while for us to grow into, or a bit more of a while to be considered usable again. I’m sure this saddlebag-style bag has never really gone out of fashion, but now - or rather next week - is the time that it’s making a reappearance on my shoulder.

Although I’m now a little concerned that someone will make a 1970s connection or comment about my outfit. Clogs, as some might call Hasbeens, a saddle bag and, well for the rest of my outfit you’ll have to wait. But if anyone does, I’m just saying here I called it first!

I’ve also realised that I’m having a bit of an orange week: the outfit, the handbag and some new colour in my hair. Which isn’t actually orange, though it’s not that far off, it’s probably officially called copper or something, but orange is generic enough. So I wasn’t surprised when I opted to try the orange boxed coffee called Smooth Journey, which the Lost Sheep Coffee sent me to try.

SMOOTH JOURNEY COFFEE FROM THE LOST SHEEP COFFEE

SMOOTH JOURNEY COFFEE FROM THE LOST SHEEP COFFEE

Lost Sheep Coffee is an independently owned business based in Kent whose Nespresso compatible capsules are certified compostable. They have their own Speciality Coffee Roastery in Whitstable which are filled with their speciality grade coffee which they buy direct from the farmer, paying them up to four times more than they would receive through importers. A box of ten capsules retails for £3.95 and this is just one of two varieties available in capsules, the other is called Funky Camper, which I’ve yet to try.

For me, our Nespresso machine has revolutionised how we drink coffee, and while we send our capsules back for recycling we know they’re not the greenest of machines. However with compostable capsules that could change, and that is the reason for a snap of my compost bin. I’m keen to see how they rot down, but immediately after use you can see they’re already behaving differently to the Nespresso capsules.

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I’m a fair weather coffee drinker, enjoying a cup or two occasionally whereas MOH is a coffee every day type of guy. He prefers stronger tastes, me milder varieties, him with milk, me without - yes we couldn’t be more different at times - but interestingly we both enjoyed this coffee. The one suggestion I have for Lost Sheep Coffee is to include which size, or amount of water, to use. Is it a lungo or espresso, as I believe that determines the force that the machine pushes the water through the capsule.

That said, I’m looking forward to trying the lime green packaged Funky Camper variety next.

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There was some brief time in the garden but only in between the bouts of weather on Saturday. Rain, hailstones and wind, after one of the showers I nipped out to the greenhouse to pick some sage for dinner and couldn’t help but stop and take a few pictures. The rain glistening on the weigela was pretty spectacular and a reminder that we have plenty of gardening to do.

Instead though we’ve spent most of today at Grand Designs Live over at Excel, it’s one of my favourite home shows and I’ve plenty to share from there, and plenty of photos to edit from our visit, but look out for an overview post from this year’s show shortly.

* While the Lost Sheep Coffee was gifted, I was under no obligation to share it here on my blog.

Putting the Ultimax gardening gloves to the test

* This item was gifted by Town & Country
It must be said I’m a fan of pink gardening gloves. My regular go to gardening gloves are pink, and are also by Town & Country. They’re reliable, but somehow I do seem to go through quite a few, and I’m not quite sure why. While I do always wear gloves while gardening, I don’t think I go through them due to some kind of extreme gardening, it just seems to be the way it goes.

I always revert to buying the same sort - or style? (do gardening gloves have style, now that’s a whole other question I’m sure!), because I know they fit. They don’t have overly long fingers which mean they’re useless, and of course they’re pink. I mentioned before I like a pink gardening glove or two. Actually two gloves are better than one…

So when Wilkinson Sword offered me a different type of (thankfully pink) gardening gloves, I was sceptical. But then again, they were pink and so I thought I could definitely give them a go. And last weekend I did.

Ulitmax gardening gloves by Town & Country

I needed to dig my way into the greenhouse, which had become another storage space for our winter garden. And while I wasn’t expecting it to be mucky, I know what I’m like, and so the gloves went on. The blurb on the label says that these Ultimax gloves have “an innovative design offering an extremely close fit for unequaled dexterity.”

A rather full greenhouse

The palm of the gloves do look very high tech - there’s textured pads for grip and extra protection. And while the photo below looks as if there’s holes in the fingertips of my first two fingers, there isn’t, that’s the texture pads. You can see it more clearly on the thumb in the photo below.

ultimax - padded but still flexible

The gloves did fit well, the velcro fastening at the wrist kept them on, and I was able to pick things up that perhaps I wouldn’t have in my other pink gloves. I’m not sure I’d be able to sow tiny seeds in these gloves, but then again I’m not sure I’d want to. Even me, who’s someone not keen on having mucky hands, thinks that sometimes you have to feel the soil, and sowing seeds is one of those times.

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Thankfully there was nothing nasty or slimy lurking in my greenhouse and it wasn’t long before I’d cleared a space and found a new home for the things I’d moved. Something - a squirrel perhaps - had been in the greenhouse as pots had been disturbed and overturned, but whatever it was seems to have moved on.

The only downside for me with these gloves is the labels (see the photo above). They’re quite large, and while I’m glad this size label isn’t on the inside as that would most likely be uncomfortable, I’m not sure what value these labels add. They stand out literally and visually and I suspect I’ll be cutting them off as I found them distracting - but then again I’m not much of a label lover, and regularly cut them out of clothes too, so it could just be me, but if they were half the size then I think they’d be less intrusive.

Much clearer

I’ve still some more to do in here - including sowing some seeds and rearrange the benches so there’s more space to move in here, and hopefully incorporate some more growing space too. But these new Ultimax pink gloves are a keeper, and on their first outing had quite a workout.

A good day's gardening

Overall, it’s a thumbs up from me.

* While this item was gifted by Town & Country, I was under no obligation to share it here on my blog.