Sunday, 11 December 2011

Nick Coffer's Weekend Kitchen Radio Show: Vegetarian Christmas

Yesterday I was lucky enough to feature as a guest on Nick Coffer's Weekend Kitchen show on BBC Three Counties Radio. I had been invited in to talk about Vegetarian Christmas and Veggie menu ideas for Christmas. 

Having never been on the radio before I was slightly nervous, but was really looking forward to chatting to Nick and meeting my fellow guests. My fellow guests were Christine Fellini who runs an Italian Cookery Casa Fellini in Bedfordshire and Simon Taylor who runs Cheese Wine, a cheese and wine wholesaler in Biggleswade. 

Nick's lovely producer Emma completely put all of us at ease when we arrived and we soon found ourselves in the studio, adorned with headphones and microphones and on air. Although I was very conscious of the fact that we were in a radio studio at first, I soon felt comfortable and it seemed like I was just at a dinner party, sharing food and chatting with friends. The two hours seemed to pass really quickly and there was so much food to get through!

First we sampled Christine's Carrot Veloute with a Goat's Cheese Cream which looked so pretty and was really light and creamy. This would definitely make a great starter on Christmas day. 

After this we tried some of Simon's English Camembert.  I am a big cheese lover and so was really excited to try some new varieties of cheese. I thought that the English Camembert would make a great introductory cheese to those who might be slightly hesitant to sample alternatives to cheddar as it was so creamy, and mild. According to Simon, Cheese should be eaten before a dessert during a meal, just as they do in France. We brits are accustomed to having our cheese at the end of the meal, but I always find that I am too full up from eating all of the other courses so I will definitely be giving the cheese before dessert idea a go. 

Next it was time to try my Festive Strudel - my own vegetarian creation featuring lots of christmassy ingredients including cranberries, walnuts, mushrooms, nutmeg and soft blue cheese. Having never really cooked for anyone other than friend or family, I was slightly nervous as to how my vegetarian dish would go down with the meat eaters around me but I didn't have to worry as they all seemed to really enjoy the dish. Nick described it as "Christmas in a roll" and so as a big Christmas lover I was happy to take that as a compliment.

We then moved on to Christine's Salmon and Asparagus Pancakes. I did not try the Pancakes but did sample the Asparagus sauce which was full of flavour and colour.

It was then time for my Pineapple, Ginger and Cream Trifle. This is a very simple, cheap and easy dish to make as it is consists of just a tub of double cream, a tin of pineapple and a packet of ginger biscuits. It is also a great alternative to the more traditional berry trifles generally served on Christmas day. Everyone seemed to really enjoy my pudding also which I was obviously pleased about!

After this we had more Cheese and cheeky Sherry from Simon. I am definitely going to be going for a cheese board this Christmas!. Next up was Christine's Panforte - an Italian spiced fruit and nut cake which was so delicious and would be perfect with a big frothy Coffee drink or a lovely cup of tea!. I am definitely going to be making this to eat over Christmas!

I have to say that I had such an amazing time time and am really grateful to Nick for inviting me onto his show. Going into a radio studio, seeing how everything worked and watching Nick work in and out of all of the links and jingles was really exciting and also really interesting.  I was so busy having a lovely time that I completely forgot to take any pictures of my experience. Anyhow, it was lovely to meet other people who were passionate about food and so thanks to Christine and Simon for also making the experience so enjoyable.

If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be writing a food blog and being invited onto a local radio show I would never have believed them. I started my blog as just a place to document my family recipes and as a positive creative outlet when I was made redundant. I never imagined that people would actually read it or that I would get such a positive reaction and so I feel really blessed to have had such lovely things happened to me and to have been lucky enough to be invited on my first radio show. I would definitely love to go back!

Nick Coffer's Weekend Kitchen show is available on BBC IPlayer, so you can listen again if you missed the show. The episode I featured on can be listened to here  for the next week. You can also download the factsheet with all of the recipes from the show and I would definitely recommend that you do!

I will be featuring more Vegetarian Christmas menu ideas on my blog between now and Christmas so do check back. Also feel free to contact me if you are stuck for vegetarian Christmas ideas or want to know what to feed a Vegetarian or Vegan guest!

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