Where has all the rum gone?!

Well, in answer to your question Jack Sparrow, most of it probably got shipped to Bristol in preparation for an evening of rum tasting, aptly named Rumageddon.

Held at one of my favourite haunts for a great cocktail and beautiful food, The Rummer, the event was bound to be a good’un.

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Whilst we waited for things to kick off we indulged in some pre-rum cocktails and mingled with other fans of the intriguing spirit.

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We were sampling six different rums, along with food from the talented Andy Clatworthy (head chef at The Rummer) that complimented each of the rums beautifully.

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We were given an explantation of the origin of each of the drinks and the rationale behind the ingredients used in the food dishes. The Caroni rum distillery closed in 1998, meaning we had the pleasure of enjoying one of the last made there.

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The evening finished on a high with a Rummer-oni (a rum cocktail) and a newfound love for the spirit.

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A great event and I’m looking forward to the next one!

The Little Bump Company

Just for the record I’m not pregnant. However, I have heard from numerous friends who have had children, the struggles of finding comfortable yet non frumpy maternity wear.

That is where The Little Bump Company comes in. A new boutique maternity and nursing specialist set in Montpelier, Cheltenham. They have been open for a few weeks now and I was kindly invited along to the launch.

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Eve Fernando, the owner, is passionate about bringing ultra stylish and comfortable clothes to women during every trimester of their pregnancy. Eve, along with her team are all trained at antenatal and postnatal care, offering more to their customers than just clothing.

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You can gain advice and expertise about the journey to motherhood and a place to rest whilst finding out a little bit more about the mother and baby community in the area.

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There are also items for women not expecting including jewellery, scarves and other accessories.

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The shop looks great, very open and bright which shows off all their products well.

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We got to enjoy some processo and indian canapes at the launch. It being Cheltenham Jazz Festival, we were even entertained by the beautiful sounds of The Sugar Sisters.

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You can find out more about The Little Bump Company here or pop along to the shop: 13 Montpellier Arcade, Cheltenham, GL50 1SU

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Recipe: Egg Custard Tart

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The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens next month. Being the only show I watch on TV that isn’t a box set or Netflix, I’m more than a little excited. Plus who doesn’t love a bit of Mary Berry. If only Norman was back for a second year running. A girl can dream…

Last year the contestants had to make egg custard tarts. As with most of the dishes, I sat there dribbling over their creations and craving one (or five), even sending out an emergency text to have one brought home to me.

That’s more than likely going to happen each episode again this year but to fully prepare myself I got my bake on early. It may not satisfy my cravings in a months time however it worked a treat Sunday evening.

So to make your egg custard tart you will need:

Ready rolled puff pastry
20g cornflour
2 egg yolks
82g caster sugar
118ml full fat milk
150ml double cream
Seeds from one vanilla pod
Cinnamon for dusting

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Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

To begin with slowly whisk together the cornflour, egg yolks and caster sugar over a low to medium heat until smooth and combined.

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Mix in the vanilla. Then gradually add the milk and the cream, a little bit at a time, whisking continuously until the mixture begins to boil.

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Remove from the heat, cover with cling film to stop the custard developing a skin.

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Grease a baking tray and line the bottom with the puff pastry, turning down the edges to help contain the custard.

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Once the custard has cooled down a bit, pour onto the puff pastry, sprinkle with cinnamon and place in the oven.

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Bake for 25 mins.

The thought of making custard was a little nerve wracking but this recipe is amazingly simple and easy. You can enjoy straight out the oven or cold – if you can wait that long.

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Happy baking!

Wine and Cheese Tasting at Goldbrick House

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I’ve recently trained my taste buds to enjoy olives. I know right, super sophisticated. That’s my main reason for doing it.

I have a similar goal with wine. I’m a big fan of the pink stuff, partial to a white and avoid the red. I don’t think my alcohol preferences have developed much since my teen days but I want this to change. Plus red wine is practically good for you it seems a shame to not take advantage of the benefits (don’t quote me on that, I’m not a doctor).

With this in mind we booked up a civilised evening of cheese and wine tasting at Goldbrick House. I’ve enjoyed several nights of cocktail drinking here, so if the wine was up to similar standards, we were in for a good evening.

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The event took place in the Orangery and was hosted by Louis Boutinot from Waterkloof Wines and Ben from Pong Cheese.

Waterkloof wines has earned numerous awards and features in some of the world’s top restaurants including Noma and The Fat Duck.

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The cheeses were from from local Bath company Pong Cheese.

We started with two white wines, a Sauvignon Blanc which was paired with a goats cheese and a Chenin Blanc with a Bayden blue cheese.

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I’m still not convinced by blue cheese, the concept of eating mould perplexes me but the goats cheese really brought out the fruity flavours of the Sauvignon Blanc.

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We then moved on to the reds. A Waterkloof Seriously Cool paired with a Chellington by Wodehill Dairy and a Waterkloof Circle of Life with a Westcombe Cheddar.

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I feel bad for dismissing red wines without really giving them a chance. Both went down surprisingly easy.

A lovely evening and a great little lesson in how different cheeses can enhance and compliment the flavour of the wine.

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Goldbrick House have plenty of other events going on throughout the rest of the year. Check out their website here.

Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

My parents 30th wedding anniversary is coming up in August *note to self – must not forget to buy a card* and they held their reception at Ellenborough Park.

My brother was home for the weekend so in order to make it feel like a mini celebration, where better to go then Ellenborough.

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Situated high up on the outskirts of town, you get some great views of Cheltenham and without travelling out too far you’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of a Friday night in the centre.

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Upon arrival we were invited to have our drinks in one of the sittings rooms whilst taking a look at the menu.

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And in true family outing style, have lots of photographs taken…

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After the ‘photoshoot’ we were led into the restaurant and eagerly awaited our food.

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Having got our orders in early it wasn’t long before plates of mouth-watering looking food were presented in front of us.

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In between courses my brother kept us entertained with stories from his new job in London, whilst mum and dad reminisced about how different the hotel looked when they got married.

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To accompany my dessert I had a dessert wine that I’m slowly getting accustomed to. I could happily drink these throughout the meal but I don’t think that’s the idea. The food was a hit with everyone and we all left feeling full and a little bit tipsy (minus the drivers).

FYI the last time I visited Ellenborough, Noel Edmonds was dining there. If that’s not going to tempt you to visit, I don’t know what will.

The Ethicurean, Bristol

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In my new quest to try every food/cafe/bar/restaurant in Bristol that is recommended to me I’ve already ventured to the outskirts of Bristol before I’ve barely even touched the surface of the city centre.

Expectations had been set high for The Ethicurean so I was looking forward to checking out the culinary talents.

The Ethicurean more than deserves the title of best ethical restaurant, having huge respect for the local produce grown within their walled garden. One of their passions is taking old recipes and updating them, highlighting the locally sourced ingredients.

The surroundings are beautiful, with the restaurant looking out onto the garden and never ending landscape. It’s hard to believe that Bristol airport is only a stone’s throw away.

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Inside the windowsills are lined with jars of drinking concoctions that all sound very glugable and the walls are decorated with hanging dried herbs. It really highlights how the restaurant has embraced the land that surrounds them and their need to experiment. Serving up only the best for their customers.

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We ordered some drinks and flickered between choosing our food and taking in the views out the window. Even on a typically British rainy day the gardens looked quint and inviting.

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For starters we went for two quite contrasting dishes; the cuttlefish and the rarebit. The rarebit was deliciously creamy, rich and cheesy – everything you want from a rarebit. The cuttlefish was light, refreshing and sweet with the flavour of fermented piccalilli.

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For mains we had the 12-hour pork belly and the Cornish hake. The pork was accompanied by some top notch crackling, soy and honey glazed chicory and flat bean and dulse salad.

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I doubled up on the fish, taking advantage of the fact James isn’t too keen on the stuff. It came with small flakes of cauliflower, kale, capers, raisin and confit chicken. All cooked perfectly and so pretty, if it hadn’t tasted so good I’d almost feel bad for devouring it.

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After two incredible first courses, how could we walk away without trying a pudding. We went for The Ethicurean Sticky Toffee Apple cake, which came with toffee apple syrup, clotted cream ice cream and cinnamon. Anyone would think we hadn’t eaten for days the way we wolfed it down. My only regret was agreeing to share it.

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Before heading home we took a wander around the gardens, where you’ll also find small craft shops and courses.

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All the food could be described as a piece of art, all beautifully presented and one-of-a-kind, with the menu changing daily depending on what has been sourced. Just as we were leaving I spotted a pile of scones that had my name written all over them, it would have been criminal for me to leave without purchasing one and taking a little of The Ethicurean home with me.

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The Potting Shed, Dormy House

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Having tried to get a table in this place for several birthdays and different occasions without success I was particularly chuffed with myself when I decided to book up a table for Father’s Day back in April and managed to bagsy a spot for seven of us.

Situated between Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh, the drive from Cheltenham takes you on a scenic route right through the Cotswolds. Dad was pretty happy when we rolled up.

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Dormy House also runs a hotel, spa and restaurant. The Potting Shed is a little more relaxed and offers all your favourite quintessential pub meals. After a warm welcome we were shown to our table and began tempting our bellies with the array of menu options.

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The food was all beautifully presented, with forkfuls of food being passed around the table so we could all get a taste of everything.

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We made one comment about one of the fish mains being slightly on the small side and the staff saw to it immediately. Top customer service.

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After a lovely experience at Dormy House, I’m very much looking forward to checking out their sister venues Foxhill Manor and The Fish Hotel soon.