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Sally Oliver
Bristol, UK
A Taste of Europe: Foodie thoughts from an enthusiastic amateur
Interests: cooking, baking, throwing dinner parties, reading cook books and cookery blogs, organising lovely foodie holls, drinking ill-advised alcoholic drinks, usually containing bubbles or sugar lumps, ongoing low fat muffin recipe saga and quite a lot of gym going in order to continue all of the above.
Recent Activity
Ate at a friend's recently with our usual motley crew. One of the topics of convo was where to take the parents on their next visit to Bristol. The parents like eating out. Probably not as much as me. Every time they venture down from the wilds of the north to the calm oasis of the west country, they require an evening's wining and dining in a 'never before visited' establishment. We have covered most of the city at this point so I was stuck for ideas. Mr Clatworthy, (of the Clifton sausage and one of the motley crew) a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Robert Clatworthy of The Clifton Sausage and A Taste of Europe's resident wine expert shares his thoughts on full-bodied reds for Autumn. October '10. As the weather is changing and the leaves on the trees start to let us know its autumn and winter is on its way, there is nothing better than a good red with a delicious cheese, as the wind and rain crash on your window. Godminster cheddar is my cheese of choice at the moment, a rich creamy cheddar cheese made in the village of Godminster in Somerset. Here is a selection of my favourite red... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Another thing: I think chocolate snobs may have something to say about this but I really think Bourneville is best for this recipe. I've tried Green and Blacks and use Valrhona for recipes that need it but in general you can't beat good old Bourneville- not too rich and sickly.
I have probably tried more chocolate cake recipes than any other, mainly because I stand by the fact that good friends should always have a birthday cake and in my opinion nothing is ever as good as chocolate. My grannie's most amazing chocolate cake was a secret recipe and only my eldest sister has it (and annoyingly won't share it) but I am not deterred from my cake making, pursuit of perfection and I have 2 recipes that have never failed to please the crowd. One is my 'Serious Chocolate Cake', it involves ganache, a great deal of Valrhona chocolate... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Took parents to Juniper in Cotham last week for the father's birthday. He was paying as usual so perhaps not the best birthday present...The parents had heard about the place from a Bristolian acquaintance they had made on a cruise so we were expecting great things... Juniper is quite a small and very purple place, I imagine Prince (or is it 'Squiggle'?) would feel at home. Purple tablecloths, purple walls, purple carpet and canvasses that had been painted purple to match. A pet hate of mine, these 'makeshift paintings'. Probably the most dull wall dwellers in the history of decor.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Am on batch number 2 of banana bread now. Have made some changes which have resulted in much lighter, tastier loaf: Reduce sugar quantity to about 130g (demerara unrefined) add approx 100 ml milk, reduce no of bananas to 3 and soak the raisins beforehand in rum. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. I did this in 10 mins while watching the tennis yesterday. V speedy, v tasty! Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
flapjacks in my Graze box today mmmm!
If you've ever wondered why I'm so perky of an afternoon... perhaps not, but I'll plough on... my secret is Graze boxes. I have been receiving a lovely Graze fruit box for the past 6 months, filled with tasty energy boosters such as chocolate dipped nuts, flapjacks, roasted seeds, marinated olives and dried and fresh fruit. You can let the clever people at Graze choose your box for you, or tailor make your own by rating each food on the Graze website and choosing which to 'bin', 'like', 'love' and 'send soon'! My personal favourite are Kalamata olives with chilli... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Yes, I have been sunning myself in Barbados on my very own honeymoon and you have every right to be jealous as it was pretty fantastic. We did lots of waterskiing, went to see the cricket final and also attended a friend's fantastic wedding at the Sandy Lane country club, (memories of poor G in 34 degree heat in tuxedo..) The food was fantastic, a combination of the freshest fish, spicy fried food and British colonial influences. The national dishes are pudding and souse (pork chops usually, though pigs heads and trotters traditionally, and sweet potato pudding). Brilliantly named dishes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
I never used to be an enormous cake fan, preferring chocolate every time to a piece of cake. Then I acquired a friend called Emily who ate a lot of cake and kept buying it for me. She insisted cake had magical properties, and if you ate it regularly you would never get ill. As far as I am aware she does indeed, never get ill, (she is also rather lovely and svelte) so I increased my cake intake (because of their health giving properties obviously) and found that I rather liked it... Now, I am not completely stupid and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Oof. Did rather a lot of baking yesterday. Tried out the Delicious magazine macaroon recipe, as promised a month or so ago: a success! Was really rather pleased with myself, although have noted a couple of alterations to the recipe for next time. Also made a lemon cake and strawberry and vanilla shortcakes. Will post the recipes but here are a few pics to whet your appetite! Making macaroons.. my first ever attempt Not too shabby! Pink icing.. Ta da! Laduree eat your heart out! Lemon cake on the way.. Lemon buttercream filling... and raspberries.. equal yumminess! Making strawberry and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Wondering what to drink over the Easter weekend? My good friend Rob Clatworthy, Manager of award winning restaurant 'The Clifton Sausage' and 'A Taste of Europe's' resident wine expert has some suggestions... Wine for me has to be something that is judged by its value for money and I find nothing more satisfying than discovering a bottle of wine that costs in the region of £5 and tasted like it should cost £50. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind paying £50 but it’s got to be worth it.Wine does not have to be something that makes people break out... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Well, what miserable weather. I made the mistake of checking the forecast today, only to be chirpily informed it is going to rain for the forseeable future. Hm. I have not had the best week either so there was really only one thing to be done, other than to start building the Ark.. I went to get my hair done. Ah! Two and a half hours (yes this is how long it takes) of endless cups of tea and ‘Vogue’.. (yes Vogue! what did you expect??) Anyway, in Vogue I came across an interesting and very well written article by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
I am the 'furthest away' daughter, number 3 who disappeared 'down south' ,a visiting prodigal daughter if you will (in my own eyes at least), and therefore have to conjure up postable Mother's day pressie, if I'm not actually venturing home. One of the siblings MUST buy flowers but the big one has bagsied that, middle one is not giving anything away as usual (very secretive) so I am left with the pressie dilemma. Do I go for the old favourites: lavender handcream or magnolia bubble bath? Can't do anything not tried and tested by the Mother for the past... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
This is a recipe I made up, based on my own 'healthy banana and blueberry muffins', that I make when I am trying to be good but have a cake craving, (this happens often.) Wilfred is a very sweet little person I know who would happily eat them all day long and has been known to wake from naps demanding 'CAKE!' (his name for them). They are pretty sturdy and little hand-sized so unlikely to crumble all over the carpet. Best of all is that they contain only good stuff and yet children seem to think they are naughty treats.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Just back from Paris, I was there for a travel trade buyers market for the area of Montferrato in Italy, (yes an Italian event in Paris- I was a bit confused too.) Travel buyer workshops give travel companies the opportunity to meet representatives from certain regions; hotel owners, ground agents, restaurants etc and this one was held at the beautiful Palais du la Mairie du V Arrondisement, opposite the Pantheon. The workshop gave me the opportunity to kill 2 birds with one stone, find some interesting new ideas for holidays in Italy, and explore options for Paris weekend breaks. I'll... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Had a rather long day today, during which I was rained on repeatedly. Needed warming comfort food to transport me to sunnier climes, and had a sudden pang of desire for something Moroccan inspired... Here is my Wednesday night 'Moroccan' winter warmer (rather delicious it was too). I cooked some (lean) lamb mince in a dash of olive oil over a high heat, and then added chopped onions, a chopped clove of garlic, a small piece of chopped fresh ginger, a teaspoon of cumin, ground ginger and cinnamon and cooked on a lower heat until the onions had softened. Added... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Top class cooking is, to me, like looking into space; too much to understand and fathomless depths to explore. Better leave it to the experts and gaze on, mystified. Well joy of joys! My favourite programme, (bar Nigella in the days pre self-parody, midnight fridge bingeing) is back on tv and we can once again spend our evenings salivating over Masterchef... Ah.. the shiny-eyed passionate (often deluded) contestants wielding knife skills and ill-advised food combinations. Wine nosed John Torode with his golloping (I know this is not a word, but should be) mouthfuls. Gregg Wallace the 'jumped up green-grocer' (the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
I was away over the weekend and was greeted on my return to Bristol by a proud G, brandishing photo of his 'Man Salad' (not a euphemism), composed with big brother Ben over the weekend. Ben is undisputed king to G's prince of all things meat related and is basically a bigger, louder, more meat obsessed version of G, (with a beard). When they get together for brother time G returns home sporting a meaty glow and telling stories of guzzling slabs of top notch, imported beef, which they apparently slice up and eat raw. (I joke not.) Ben even... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Valentines day dilemma: What to get the G who has everything? Luckily I had discovered a gorgeous new shop in Boyces Arcade in the village called 'Sweetie pie' and trotted along to buy a jar stuffed full of retro penny sweets of my choosing. I opted for red jelly hearts, foam backed mushrooms and sherbet pips (basically all my favourites, but surely Valentines day is all about sharing??) I couldn't resist and popped back in a couple of days later and bought another couple of jars. Giant strawberries for the middle sister (her favourites this time) and a variety of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Every time I go to London I get a bit overexcited.. which usually leads to overindulgence. It's probably the Yorkshire upbringing but I always feel like a child in a sweet shop: too much to see, do and consume! By the second day I have a London stomach ache and am ready to return to the comparative rural greenery of Bristol and detox. This weekend was no different and I've just recovered enough to write about it. Friday saw a dinner party/ housewarming at my lovely friend Rachel's new pad in Wimbledon. It was an evening of pink Moet, mismatched... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
I am the type of person who LOVES to throw dinner parties. I blame my mother who had me trained the minute I could walk, to wander, (cutely I like to imagine) around our living room, proffering plates of popular 80s 'canapes', ie mini cheddars with a smudge of philadelphia and smoked salmon on top, those anaemic looking, canned, pepper stuffed olives and some form of cheesy wotsit (Sorry Mum.) I have very happy memories of the building anticipation and planning before each of these events, (which seemed to occur at least once a week?!) The guests would arrive: ACTION... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Saturday and we had an impromptu lunch with my old school friends at The Abingdon in South Kensington as recommended by my friend Tom. G and I made myself comfortable and mused on the disadvantages of punctuality (The school friends are not known for theirs). We decided that it is best to be punctual only when visiting or dining with parents or older generation, as if punctual with our generation, you will usually be sitting on your own for a good half hour. The exception is to dinner parties, where you should arrive 5- 10 minutes late, nothing after... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Sunday Lunch and I’d booked the Clifton Sausage, a failsafe, stylish, people pleaser of a pub serving tasty British fare. I eat here much less than I’d like to as I tend to have a brainwave of going there on a Sunday morning, when it will invariably already be booked up. Anyway, I’d actually made a booking this time so we trundled along and were seated downstairs. The father immediately looked at home. (I told you it’s a people pleaser- no ‘taboulleh’ in sight.) He commented on the spaciousness, all the tables were occupied but the place felt light and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog
Parents visiting this weekend and as usual decided to trial a couple of restaurants on them, my thought process has always been ‘if they can please them, they can please anyone’... They were staying at the Avon Gorge but we decided against eating in it's 'Bridge cafe' due to the fact that their much applauded head chef, Debbie Leatt has not actually changed the menu in the 2 years my parents have been staying there. The first time we ate in The Bridge, the fishcakes were so good we ordered them on our 3 subsequent visits, only to note that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2010 at Sally Oliver's blog