Last week saw the launch of a new event in London - The London Produce Show set up home in the Grosvenor House Hotel for 3 days, filled with fruit and vegetable producers from all over the world. The lovely ladies organising the event invited me down, via amazing boxes of fruit and veggies that arrived at my house, to the opening cocktail evening and the show the following day.

The first I knew about the show was when Liz got in touch via Twitter to ask if I'd like to come and if yes, what my postal address was. This was followed by a box waiting on my doorstep, that contained a bottle of rum, a cocktail shaker, dragon fruit, grapefruit, limes, mint and lychees. I made a dragon fruit and lychee mojito, which was just like a super healthy fresh fruit juice (with added rum!)

The following week (while I was at home post surgery) another box was delivered. This time it was full of 'artisan' vegetables. It had mini beetroots, a heritage tomato, an oyster mushroom, wild garlic, thai basil, oyster leaf, purple and white carrots, tagete flowers and a buzz bomb (more on that later).

From this box of goodies I made a steak dinner. I used the wild garlic and oyster leaf to make a salsa verde (in which I didn't use anchovies as the oyster leaf has a very fishy taste), which I served with a marinated bavette steak, grilled oyster mushroom, pickled beetroot, and some new potatoes. I used the carrots separately with the thai basil for a salad that weekend.

So having accepted my invite to the London Produce Show via boxes of various goodies I was really excited about the show itself. I headed down on Wednesday evening to the Grosvenor Hotel which was buzzing already, having been set up ready for the show it was now full of traders, their hands loaded with champagne and canapés.

I didn't actually know anyone attending the show so it was really nice to meet Lynne from Josordoni and Rosana from Hot and Chilli. We sipped on bubbles, made plans for the following day, and nibbled our way around the amazing food - there was a roast beef area where slithers of pink, juicy meat were served with mini yorkies; a sushi bar with more raw fish than I've ever seen in one place; duck rolls being made to order; and platters of canapés, each designed by a young student chef, circulating the room.

I also bumped into Valentine Warner who was going to be cutting ribbons, giving talks and doing demos the next day. Full of bubbles I headed home for some rest before the main event on Thursday.

* * * * *

Thursday focused on a media session in the afternoon that we'd been invited to, but I also wanted to make sure I had enough time to see all the stalls and traders, and to watch a cooking demo by Miranda Gore Browne, who I'd been chatting to the night before, and was one of the finalists from the first Great British Bake Off show. I got there just in time to see her make some incredibly delicious blackberry crumble biscuits. To save this blog from being too long, I'm actually going to post the recipe for her biscuits in a separate post, so watch out for that soon.
After admiring Miranda's speed, skill and ability in the baking department I took myself down to the stalls with the particular aim of speaking to any British suppliers I could find, as I wanted to arrange a few farm visits as well as talk to them about produce for my pop up restaurants. I met some really great suppliers, some of whom are now growing vegetables you'd never imagined would grow commercially in this country, such as baby turnips, pak choi and chillies.

I also discovered the buzz bomb on my way round the stalls, that had come with my veggie delivery but I hadn't used as I wasn't sure what to do with it. I met the guys who grow them and they gave me one to eat - it was very strange! It tastes like a flower but has the effect on your mouth of eating the fizziest sweet ever - my tongue was salivating and tingling for about 15 minutes after I ate it!! It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but I can see how it would work as part of a spicy curry or something similar. There were all sorts of weird and wonderful new shoots, leaves and flowers on show - some of which I'm already putting into menus for my next few pop ups!

Next I met a guy who is doing some distribution for a new company called Growing Underground who are doing what their name says - they've got a plot of land underneath Clapham North (old air raid shelters) where they're growing sustainable micro-greens and salad leaves. How amazing is that?! By growing inside this means all their crops are pesticide free, and as they are so central their produce can be in the restaurants, or on your table, within 4 hours of being picked. Really inspirational stuff!  

The most exciting part of the day for me though was the media afternoon that the show had put on for us. After (more) champagne (which was in fact English Sharpham sparkling wine) and canapés, we were given a talk about how new products get launched - I hadn't realised that the way new vegetables get onto the supermarket shelves is via top restaurants, where they serve these new veg, and supermarket buyers go to eat, working out what is becoming popular on the food scene. This talk was followed by a cooking demo from chef Adam Degg, of Michelin starred restaurant Wild Honey, who showed us how to make the 2 courses we were about to eat - Spring salad of lambs' sweetbreads, goats curd, asparagus and peas, and lemon verbena posset with meringue shard and blueberry compote. It was so nice to learn lots last Thursday and one piece of information I won't forget is about sweetbreads - I had always believed that sweetbreads were brains, but they're not! They are the throat gland of the sheep, not the brain. Neither of these sound particularly appetising anyway, but trust me, Michelin star cooked sweetbreads are really delicious, and worked perfectly with the salad and goat's curd. In fact both dishes were not only delicious but beautiful as well.

It was lovely to chat to the other girls who'd been invited to the media masterclass while we had our lunch, and I particularly enjoyed talking to Deena, who runs her own vegetarian food blog which features some great veggie recipes, and stunning photos, as well as doing cookery classes.

We were very kindly given wonderful goody bags by the organisers of The London Produce Show, including both Valentine's and Miranda's cookbooks, and loads of fresh produce.

This included the *new* product of 2014 - the cucumber flower, that I mixed with some mustard leaf, sea purslane and a few other salad bits, and a lemon and mustard seed dressing, to make a really fresh tasting green salad that we had with a barbecue.

The London Produce Show was brilliant. It was insightful, educational, inspirational and just generally lots of fun! Thanks so much for having me - I can't wait for next year, and look out for more related posts soon.


  1. Fabulous account of foodie adventure! I really enjoyed this show. Vibrant and inspiring. Thanks for sharing. Rosana x

  2. It was such fun wasn't it? And so lovely to meet you too :)

    R xx

  3. Gorgeous! Looks like a lot of fun.

    1. Loads of fun!! And so interesting, I love learning about new produce and suppliers :)

      R xx

  4. wow very nice impressions!

    x Maria
    new outfit post up on my blog
    featuring my new light pink summer dress

  5. So much colour and amazing food in this post!!!! Sounds like a fabulous show :)


    1. The place was like a rainbow - so much bright fruit and veg everywhere you looked!

      R xx

  6. That pic of the sushi is amazing. Love a food show as it is so inspirational too. I would love to get into the food scene again...

    1. I've never seen so much sushi!! It was so good, and they were cutting/making even more to add to it!! It was such a great show, so lovely meeting the producers and suppliers direct.

      R xx

  7. Marinated tomatoes and other veggies are excellent any time of the week


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