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Sing Up To The Heavens (Three Choirs Vineyard, Newent)

A stone throws away from my parents home and where I grew up is one of the largest vineyard in England. Three Choirs Vineyard, so named of the choral festival in the Cotswold’s between the three choirs at the cathedrals of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester, there is a micro climate that makes it perfect to make beautiful English wines.

For my parents birthday this year we arranged for a spot of wine tasting and a wonder around of these stunning surroundings. The sun was shining and had a South of France feel and in true FoodNerd family style we were overly enthusiastic!

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We had arranged for a cheese plate before the wine tour to make sure we didn’t have to carry my mum home. A punchy selection of cheese with an apple and walnut chutney- perfect to get us in the wine mood.

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To celebrate, of course we had to get a bottle of bubbles to toast my parents birthdays. Three Choirs Classic Cuvee is a traditionally-made sparkling wine, which a nice dry glass of bubbles with a nice hint of apple. Went down far too quickly in the sun.

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The wine tour started in the courtyard with a glass of the sparkling wine which we had just polished off, but always good to quality check further.

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Our next wine was the Siegerrebe 2012, a cross between Madeleine Angevine and Gewürztraminer. A fantastic wine with a strong tropical fruit especially passion fruit and lychees. I may of bought a bottle to savour later in the sun.

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Sauntering around we  then tried the English House Medium Dry 2013, which a blend of Seyval Blanc, Reichensteiner and Muller Thurgau grape, which is more subtle than the Siegerrebe, a very very drinkable white wine.

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Can I get this lot into my car???

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Lastly, we finished off with a red. Ravens Hill 2013, a very light red which still delivered in punch of depth of flavour and rich red fruits. A really interest glass of wine.

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I had such a wonderful time with my family in a stunning setting with some beautiful English wines. We may of stocked up our wine cabinets with these beauties and can’t wait to head back to try out the renown restaurant serving up local treats. Pay them a visit later in the year when the vines are in full bloom, trust me it’s a sight to behold.

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(I paid for the tasting and all views my own, I just love sharing great food!)
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Not to be Wasted (Silo, Brighton)

As mentioned before, I’m lucky that I’m close to my brother and sister in law. They just make me so happy to be with and love that they are foodies too. Recently visiting their new pad in Brighton, I met up with my sister in law and girlfriends to try out a place for lunch that I had been seeing great reviews online.

Silo is a very special restaurant, coffee house and bakery for very unique reason that it design with the bin in mind. “The production of waste has been eliminated by simply choosing to trade directly with farmers, using re-usable delivery vessels and choosing local ingredients that themselves generated no waste. Our compost machine set inside Silo, turns all of our scraps and trimmings directly into a compost used to produce more food… Closing the loop.” Amazing. The ethos all restaurants should be adopting with the amount of food waste that is generated in home and commercial kitchens.

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A Whole New World (My Travel Bucket List)

I love to travel and find myself spending a disproportional amount of time as to where I want to visit next. Only trouble is the list is rather long and the bank balance is rather small (mainly due to the number of travels I go on!) but that doesn’t curb the daydreaming!

After a lot of thought, I would to share with you my current top 3 bucket list locations. Where would you add to my travel list?

1. Japan

Japan has been on the top of my travel bucket list for a couple of years now. I’m just intrigued by the clash of cultures between the ultra modern and futurist with the ultra traditional and conservative Japan. In fact my friend Emma and I have an agreement that if we see a competition to win a trip to Japan, we enter and then go together. I think Emma mainly wants to go to visit the many cat cafes. For me there is a place I specifically want to visit. For most it would be Tokyo or Kyoto the top of their must visit list but for me its Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano.  Why you ask? Well the local the Japanese Macaque monkey use the hot springs in the snowy climate.  Now you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t want to see these cuties taking a hot bath and relax all their worries away. Being a lover of a good bath or mermaiding as I like to call it, I would love to see these fur balls.

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

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Easter Baking with Mothercare (Nanny’s Simnel Cake)

We’ve just been enjoying a beautiful long bank holiday weekend for the Easter break and I spent my time down in Brighton with my family. A stroll along the pier, a few slot machine played, toy planes won and plenty of laughter and cake. Me and mum spent the Easter Sunday baking up a storm which included my Nanny’s Simnel Cake. I had never made one before and find that surprising for my love of marzipan. In doing so I found out that my Nanny used to finish her Simnel Cake in the traditional whole topped toasted marzipan and 11 balls but in fact would make a boarder on top of the cake with marzipan and balls then flood the middle with a runny icing and top with mini chocolate eggs. After some thought we came to the conclusion that my Nanny was very smart and it was her way to make the expensive marzipan stretch further to feed 5 children and the rest of the family for Easter Sunday Tea.

Unfortunately Brighton was having a mini chocolate egg shortage when we made ours so couldn’t truly finish it as my Nanny would but like to think she would of been happy that we made it her way.

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My Easter bunny this year, hopefully next year I’ll have a hopping kind!

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Yes I like to spread out when cooking!

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Not completely the most traditional fruits but the dried blueberries plump up and add a nice tartness to the cake.

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Cookies Over Bros (Mast Brothers Double Chocolate Cookies with Smoked Salt)

With Easter a stones throw away  on Sunday, it means I’m even more obsessed with chocolate than any other time of the year. In honour of chocolate fest 2015 I made a recipe from the beautiful Mast Brothers Cook Book. Mast Brothers have been producing some fabulous bean to bar single origin chocolate in Brooklyn. Actually pioneers of the bean to bar movement, of which I’m very grateful for! I’ve been drooling over their bars for a while and you should be too. You can get your mitts on them on Cocoa Runners who stock their beautiful selection – check out their selection here.

It was hard to select one recipe to try out first and think there’s plenty of beautiful recipes to work through. I went for the Double Chocolate Cookies and just added a touch of a FoodNerd twist. I went for half the dark chocolate chips and replaced the other half with white chocolate chips and a sprinkle of applewood smoked sea salt on top to add a nice smoked note. A nice simple recipe to make so why not make some for the family this Easter weekend?

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