Wild Rover Food Appreciation Post


So, last weekend saw the annual festival frolics known as Doune the Rabbit Hole. We pitched up Tent City (now with two gazebos), drank all the drinks, climbed a tree, learned circus skills and sang songs round a campfire. Oh, and saw a few bands, too. In previous years, the post following Doune has been somewhat unimaginatively titled ‘Doune the Rabbit Hole‘ – but frankly, all I wanted to eat (and photograph) this past weekend was Wild Rover Food. If you haven’t caught any of my previous posts about these guys, let me drop an info bomb on you.

 

Wild Rover Food are a street food vendor, based in Fife. They cater for festivals (like the Kelburn Garden Party and Doune the Rabbit Hole), weddings, private events and are twice British Street Food finalists. They work from two reconditioned army land rovers – Bessie and Gracie – plus two field kitchens. They serve local, seasonal food, and everything (with the exception of soups and stews) is cooked to order. Once you’ve tried some of their food, you don’t mind the short wait. Plus, this year we were regaled with facts while we were waiting. Not facts about anything in particular, just facts. Knowledge and nutrition, side by side at last.

 

This year there was a new (to me) breakfast dish on the menu – Boston beans (either veggie or with added pork belly) with a fried egg and artisanal toast. I threw the word artisanal in there myself, it’s not really WRF’s style. But this is some good bread, I wouldn’t want anyone thinking it was off-the-shelf stuff. In fact, one of the facts we learned while waiting was about the baker who makes all Wild Rover Food’s bread. His name is Jock, and he bakes everything at Woodlea Stables in Crossgates, Fife. Jock was a joiner for 40 years before he decided he liked making bread better, and I can attest to the fact that this decision has made the world is a brighter place.

 

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Look at that golden egg yolk. So appetising!

 

Full disclosure: I didn’t eat this breakfast. The idea of beans and egg being in such close proximity made me say ‘beans and egg?’ a lot of times, with a doubtful look, until Mr J had to ask me to stop saying it. I regret my moments of doubt, though, because three of my chums had this and pronounced it excellent.

 

For dinner, there was Rob’s Irish Stew – plenty of lamb, bacon, carrots and spuds, plus a parsley gremolata (again, my word choice…) and a wedge of bread. This, unless I’m much mistaken, was sourdough bread, and had all the requisite flavour and chewiness one would expect from such a loaf. It was perfect for soaking up all that gravy, and all that goodness.

 

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Rob made this stew on his birthday – I think that added extra awesome to the flavour. It was also just what I needed after our first night in the tents, when I thought I might end up pulling a Captain America and freeze solid, only to wake up 60 years in the future and be adorably confused by pop culture references. On reflection, I’m fairly sure my friends probably wouldn’t have left me frozen in a field for 60 years, but in the middle of the night it seemed very plausible. What I’m saying is that I needed good, hot food to keep me warm. That’s not as interesting a way to say it, though.

 

An old favourite was also on the menu – the venison burger. This was served with a generous spread of blue cheese, and balsamic caramelised onions. So, as you can imagine, there are bags of strong flavours going on in this ciabatta roll, but they get along nicely with no rough-housing.

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The burger was so popular that it sold out.

 

 

 

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It *is* a tasty burger.

 

The last item I took a snap of was Halloumi Heaven – four slices of fried halloumi with beetroot houmous, dukkha and salad leaves. The chaps who were dispensing the food (as well as facts) were excellent in explaining dukkha to curious punters, even offering a wee taste to any non-believers.

 

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It’s always reassuring to see vegetarian options that haven’t been created as an afterthought, or with less care and attention than their meaty counterparts.

 

That wraps up my Wild Rover Food ravings for this year. If you happen to be at an event where they’re catering, I can’t encourage you enough to make a beeline for them. If you’d like to keep track of what they’re up to, here’s how:

@WildRoverFood on Twitter

Wild Rover Food on Facebook

Wild Rover Food’s Website


Sainsbury’s Summer Fruit Punch


This post was made possible by Sainsbury’s, who sent me a bottle of their Summer Fruit Punch to try. The opinions in the post are, as ever, mine, and the review is honest.

 

If you’re a fellow dweller in the UK, you’ll know that our weather is changeable, to speak charitably and say the least. In fact, even if you live in sunnier climes, you probably know about our weather because we do talk about it more often than is sensible. Suffice to say that when Sainsbury’s sent me their Summer Fruit Punch, it was a fool’s errand to wait for the sun to come back out before I tried it. Fool I am, but after a couple of weeks of less than seasonal weather I gave in and mixed up a couple of cocktails to be consumed indoors

 

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The important thing to include in your fruit punch is, unsurprisingly, tons of fruit. The traditional inclusions are strawberries and cucumber, and for the drink on the right I used those plus some fresh mint, and topped the glass up with lemonade. For the drink on the left, I switched it up and used raspberries, orange segments and ginger ale.

 

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The Fruit Punch is sweet, summery and refreshing. It’s not too strong – 17.5% – so you can mix up a jug (or a jug-sized wine glass) without fear of being unable to stumble into the kitchen to pour a second batch.

 

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The bright colours in these drinks did a lot to brighten an otherwise grey afternoon.

 

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You can use any of your favourite fruits to make each pitcher unique – I think peaches, nectarines or blood orange might be particularly fine choices. You could also play with the mixer you used – but I’d encourage you to think fizzy. Maybe a Prosecco cocktail could be on the cards?

 

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To get the most from all the lovely flavours you’re putting in every glass, muddle the fruit up with plenty of ice before you pour in the punch and your mixer. If you like a strong mint flavour, muddle the leaves in, too. If you prefer just a hint, lightly bruise the mint by clapping between your palms, and gently stir in at the end.

 

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Cocktail umbrellas are optional, but recommended.

 

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Sainsbury’s Summer Fruit Punch is available for only £6 a bottle. Sunshine is available only through luck of geography. Some very basic maths will tell you that you’re smarter betting on the punch to bring a ray of light to your day.

 

Thanks, Sainsbury’s!


Welcome to Night Vale Cake


Act natural. Act like all of nature. Act like the entire cycle of life and death and change and rebirth.

Welcome to Night Vale.

 

If you don’t know about Night Vale (a friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep), that is OK. You can educate yourself at Commonplace Books. There’s a lot to catch up on.

 

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This is the Welcome to Night Vale logo, in cake form. I am really pleased with it! Especially the water tower, which was hand cut from fondant. So were the eye, moon, electricity pole and… what is that down there at the bottom? A secret bunker? A pyramid?

 

I cut a thin rectangle out of the eye so I could lay the electricity pole through it, rather than over it. The details on the cake were mostly at an even height, with two exceptions.

 

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The antenna was drawn on with the broad side of an icing pen, making it flat to the surface of the cake. It was tempting to go over it, trying to get it perfectly straight, but we all know what happens when you footer too much with something like this – it ends up in a big, irreparable mess. Drawing straight on fondant icing is what Bob Ross might have called a bravery test.

 

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The power lines were drawn with the fine end of the same pen, and though you can’t see it too well here, this meant they dug into the fondant, making them lower than any of the other detail. This was, to invoke Bob once more, a happy accident.

 

Even if you don’t immediately go and listen to every back episode of Night Vale (as I would recommend you do), you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter, to get a feel for what the show is like. Insofar as you can ever get a feel for what the show is like. It’s a strange, wonderful, terrible place to visit.

 

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Good night, readers. Good night.

 


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