Tag Archives: leicester

Watch: Flawless

Outside of Leicester, the city is not hugely known for its cultural offerings

It often gets overlooked for some of the bigger cities, and it doesn’t help the situation that, as a people,us East Midlanders aren’t always that great at showing off our assets

But there’s so much artistic talent in the LE postcode – and here’s a fantastic example of it

Flawless was directed and edited by Leicester filmmaker Keith Allott, supported by a talented cast and crew from Leicester, and shot in location… in Leicester

The short has featured in no less than 23 film festivals, from Singapore to Switzerland

But more importantly, since Saturday it’s been available to watch online

I’ll say no more, just enjoy

 

 

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No bake: Watermelon cake

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This week saw the return of The Great British Bake Off to our TV screens, it’s one of my very few must watch programmes and i’m very excited to be tuning in every wednesday over the next few weeks to watch the competition unfold. It was great to see the series kick off with some magnificent cakes, (And some less so!) its also a hot topic of conversation amongst my foodie friends, so strangely enough all this baking got me thinking about not baking.

Sometimes there just isn’t time, sometimes one of these fabled warm weather days arrives in the UK and the thought of turning the oven on is just a little too much to bear and sometimes its good to have a healthy cake on the menu. It just so happened that this weekend the weather has been a little brighter and a summer BBQ was called for to celebrate this momentous occasion. C and I planned a feast, pork belly, burgers, sausages, meat, meat, meat basically! So we decided watermelon would provided the perfect antidote for desert

We live on the Narborough rd in Leicester, Aka “the Narb” to us locals where one can pretty much acquire anything your heart desires, it’s entirely possible to exist solely on the offerings of the Narbourgh rd, should you want to.

I’ve spotted quite a few enormous watermelons on my weekend strolls and decided that this was to be the weekend to purchase the largest watermelon I could find. 10kg to be precise.

So, I carried the Watermelon,

In a blue plastic bag Down the Narbourough rd, it wasn’t terribly glamorous but my head was spinning with ideas of what to make. Watermelon vodka is always a winner at adult BBQs but I was tempted to try something a little different and created this refreshing three tier watermelon cake instead.

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The good news is watermelon cakes are pretty simple to make, all you really need is a good sharp knife. Here follows an explanation of how to achieve this for next time you have an enormous watermelon handy. There are many virtuous qualities to this cake also. It’s vegan, refined sugar free, gluten free, nut free so no need to feel guilty about diving in!

Slice your watermelon across the middle into 3 even slices to create the three tiers. Cut circles out of the flesh inside the watermelon, for this I used bottomless cake rings, 8″ for the base, 6″ for the middle and 4″ for the top tier. once you have the three tiers cut you can sharpen up any edges or straighten the tops of each tier if necessary so each layer stacks evenly. That being said, if the cakes are a little wonky this adds a little drama so don’t worry too much! Stack the layers on top of each other. No dowels needed as the watermelon itself is pretty sturdy. Once stacked, it’s time for the fun bit, get creative and decorate your watermelon cake with fresh fruit and berries and if you have any to hand edible flowers work a treat. Here i’ve used nasturtium, lavender, sweet peas, fennel and dahlia petals so the cake is entirely edible.

So next time you fee like baking consider this colourful, refreshing and above all healthy option, and of course you could also douse the cake with vodka too if you wanted to liven things up a bit!

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Q&A: Catching up with Richard III

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If you own a TV or radio, particularly if you live in Leicestershire, there’s pretty much no way you could’ve avoided hearing the massive build up to Richard III’s reburial in the last week.

Proceedings kick off today with his coffin touring the county, passing places associated with the the king’s last few days – including Bosworth Battlefield where he died in 1485.

The former ruler will finally be reinterred on Thursday at Leicester Cathedral – just around the corner from where his bones were discovered, famously under a car park, in August 2012.

So, having brought you the first exclusive interview with @richard_third back in early 2013, we thought it was only right to catch-up with the king of Twitter… before the coffin lid is sealed.

How’ve things been since your last interview with us?

Ah my life has been manic, truly manic. I’ve become a media sensation and a corporate product. Bewildered might be a good description I guess. Despite this, things are pretty good tbh. I can’t complain, even if it did take 500 years for people to appreciate me.

How does it feel having the world’s media on you again?

Well, at least they are no longer discussing my personal health issues I suppose? It’s nice, though in a week’s time they’ll have moved on to the latest dubious electorial candidate/tax scandal/Jeremy Clarkson story. I’m not sure if I’m happy about that or not just yet…

What do you think of the King Richard III Visitory Centre?

I’ve not been in – well it would be a little hard in my current stat – but I’ve seen pictures. That blue and white skeleton repro looks uber cool. So yeah, one does approve. Bit pricey for entry though (don’t you think?).

Can we expect any surprises from the reinterment ceremony? When we last spoke you’d requested Engelbert Humperdinck to perform… any luck? 

Engelbert can’t make it, sadly his US tour dates don’t allow it. I’m proper gutted.
To be truthful, the TV have taken over and dominated everything. Even I don’t get a say! I don’t suppose there will be a surprise, though I’m Catholic – god knows what they do in these Tudor ‘Church of England’ things. I suppose I should worry about that more maybe, but… y’know… I’m dead…

Will there be cake?

A record label promised me some cake as a present, I’m yet to see it. I’m told their cake department is a little slow with such things… but coffee would be good (if they happen to read this).

You famously said you’d give your kingdom for a horse – what are you demanding now you’ve been given a horse-drawn carriage for your procession?

A Porsche! A Porsche, a Porsche, my kingdom for a Porsche! I’m waiting on Porsche GB Ltd’s press department. They’re a bit slow over this.

How will you tweet from inside a tomb?

Modern technology, dear child. My people have already sorted it, they tell me its a bit like a Flux Capacitor, but I’m buggered if I know… works though. Magic lead maybe?

Are you worried about your profile going down post-reburial? Would you consider celebrity Come Dine With Me or Strictly?

Excellent question Miss Make Do, but easy to answer. A king will never do reality television, I’ll stomach the 20 year gap before I become cool once more #welliamtheking

You mentioned last time that you were planning on making your own fan club – can we join yet?

You can indeed, the address is 40 Abbey Street, Leicester. No need to post a cheque, you can pay them an evening subscription on the door. Tell them Dicky sent you and all will be fine.

[NOTE FROM E&B: We checked – this is the address of indie nightspot Fan Club!]

Are you proud of putting Lestah on the map?

In my eyes, it was already there. I blame Richard Haswell for this, beating me to international recognition for such things.
[NOTE: Richard Haswell was the former organiser of the city’s now sadly cancelled Summer Sundae music festival]

Most importantly, are you worried about the future of One Direction?
Hmm, the youth of today! I gave advice to a young follower recently and this may also work for them: avoid cheap vodka, avoid legal highs, and avoid girls with tattoos on their ribcage, and you’ll do ok I reckon…
So there you have it! We’re going to be among the thousands hoping to catch a glimpse of the cortege passing today.
You can follow live updates of the procession online with the BBC website or, of course, @richard_third on Twitter
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MAKE: Allotment Lemonade and Loaf Cake

Today we have a guest post from the lovely Ruth from Clarendon Spark – we’re a little late in posting it (oops!) but hopefully you’ll still be able to find the ingredients in season…

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I live a literal stone’s throw from Queens Road Allotments in Clarendon Park in the south of Leicester. I’ve been fascinated by the allotments since I moved to the area and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get a peek inside, so I jumped at the chance to pop along to their open day and produce sale.

I was immediately captivated by the place and spent over an hour exploring the plots, taking photos and talking to the allotmenteers. You can find out more about this little oasis of green tranquility in my article, Queens Road Allotments, over on my Clarendon Spark blog.

I came away from the produce sale with a bumper crop of goodies and I was determined to do them justice with some tasty makes that really capture the late summer season.

These two recipes are simple, speedy, and a great way to showcase a glut of gorgeous home-grown ingredients…

MAKE: Blackberry Lemonade

Blackberry bushes were everywhere at the allotments, growing in between all the plots and bursting with glossy ripe fruit. This timely recipe is simplicity itself but the result is super tasty and seriously refreshing. Serve your lemonade in jam jars for extra hipster points and garnish with plenty of ice, fresh lemon slices and whole blackberries.

If you want to make it boozy you can add a few glugs of vodka to the mix and you’ve got yourself a homemade blackberry lemonade cocktail.

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You will need:

  • 20-30 blackberries
  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Still or sparkling mineral water.

What to do:

  • Simmer the lemon juice and the sugar together in a pan over a low heat for about five minutes until the sugar has dissolved, then leave the mixture to cool
  • Add the blackberries and blend the whole lot together then strain it through a sieve
  • Pop the ‘cordial’ in a jug along with some ice and add water until the drink is your preferred strength.

BAKE: Apple, Plum and Courgette Loaf Cake

I’m a big fan of simple loaf-style cakes which have a slightly savoury feel to them.

Using wholewheat self-raising flour in this recipe gives the resulting cake a satisfying bready quality, and a hefty slice with a mug of tea makes for a substantial mid-afternoon pick-me-up. If you prefer, you can use white self-raising flour instead and drizzle a bit of citrusy icing over the top for an altogether more delicate dessert.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use pretty much any combination of fruits and vegetables depending on what’s in season and what you have to hand. The addition of mixed spice gives the whole cake a warm, spicy, slightly autumnal flavour.

I was a little too impatient to scoff my cake and cut it while it was still warm which is why it looks a bit scruffy on the photo – leaving it to cool completely will give you a neater looking slice!

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You will need:

  • 70g apple, grated
  • 70g plum, grated
  • 70g courgette, grated
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp mixed spice.

What to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
  • Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, bicarb and mixed spice together, then stir in the grated fruit (yes – it really is that easy!)
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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These incredibly straightforward, rustic recipes are such a great way of showing off home-grown fruit and veg, and knowing that the key ingredients I used had been loving produced just across the road made me extra proud when sharing these makes.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have and that they prove a great showcase for your own home-grown hand-picked harvest.

Thanks Ruth! And just a reminder you can find more of her words and pictures over at Clarendon Spark

And for another idea about how to use up blackberries with an adult twist, take a look at E’s Blackberry Gin recipe

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Watch: Safe House

This is a call out to anyone in or near Leicester today… if you’re not doing anything tonight then I’d massively recommend spending 40 minutes of your life watching Safe House!

Created by Leicester-based theatre company Metro-Boulot-Dodo, this is an incredible outdoor performance which mixes music, recorded speech, visual projection and aerial dance

It explores our emotional ties to where we live and the differences between a ‘house’ and a ‘home’

It’s already toured around the country (you can see some clips from Stockton in the video above) and this weekend forms part of Leicester’s City Festival

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I went along last night (see rubbish phone photo above!) and thoroughly enjoyed it

It really was visually stunning and like nothing else I’d seen in the city, especially as it was based around a large purpose-built house structure, which had been erected in an old car park

Tonight is your last night to see the (FREE!) show in Leicester – I’d recommend wrapping up, it pains me to say it, but I think summer is coming to an end

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