Petersfield is not too far from me and I went to their food festival last year. It boasted a marvellous selection and variety of stalls. I happily ate my way around last year and was looking forward to going again this year. The only difference was that this year I was to be part of the festival and do a cookery demonstration.
It's not food but I thought these little wooden ducks were very sweet. There were quite a few craft stalls dotted within the food stands which made it more varied. Last year there were lots of cake and cupcake stands but this year there were more cheese stands than any other. A few even sold out of cheese before the festival was over.The first stall I found was The Bloomberry Juice Co who make brilliant juice drinks, each one with a berry and a bloom inside. My favourite was Apple, Blueberry and Lavender. They also do an Orange, Honey and Elderflower which is just my cup of tea! I liked these because they weren't too sweet and had honest, natural flavours.
One stall that was of particular interest was the Wild Foragers. They had mushrooms I had only ever dreamed about; hedgehog mushroom, blewitt and horn of plenty. They also had samphire, sea purslane and wild garlic. The samphire and sea purslane were wonderfully salty, the samphire being really juicy too.
There was also a puffball the size of a watermelon (next to 'Chicken of the Woods' mushroom in picture) which my Dad admitted he had enjoyed kicking very much when he was younger. Apparently they explode into millions of pieces with enough force.
The Hampshire Chutney Co were there too. I have spoken to Shelly on Twitter a few times so it was nice to put a face to a tweet! Her chutneys were lovely particularly the Caramelised Carrot Chutney. I liked the way the products were put out to sample in teacups; right up my street!
This cookery demonstration was my second ever. It was a bit of a step up from the last one I did; there was a headset and television screens above the worktop. It was all very professional and as the day progressed I got more and more nervous.There were also many, many people sat outside enjoying the sunshine and eating some of the great food on offer; ice cream, pizza, curry, burgers, you name it. The time came for me to get up on stage and cook my socks off. I was keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't fall over.
If you've met me you'll know I'm not the tallest person. I was concerned that only my head would be seen above the worktop but a little rearranging of some carefully placed boxes gave me an extra foot or so of which I was very grateful. My hands were a bit shaky when I started which isn't ideal when using sharp knives.
All of a sudden I was off and blabbering on. I've no idea what I said or didn't say; do, didn't do or did wrong and as soon as it started it was over. Bill, one of the organisers of the festival, was up on stage with me to keep me company while I was cooking away.
I made Beetroot, Walnut and Goat's Cheese Pasta 'Salad' with Dill Dressing. I was hoping to win around some beetroot haters and please the beetroot lovers. Little did I know that as I was cooking away there was a little trickle of beetroot juice running down the front of the stage. I think everyone liked what I made as there wasn't too much leftover.
I really enjoyed both the demo and the festival. It is always nice to meet the people behind the food and talk to people who are passionate about what they do. Let's hope next year it's even bigger!