The 37

IMG_0097Celebrate summer with this gorgeous cocktail which is perfect for a party – rain or shine! It is light, slightly scented with rose lemonade and has a nice kick of vodka. We like to use Chase potato vodka, but any premium brand vodka would work. This cocktail was created for number 37 Old London Road, a quirky interiors shop in Kingston upon Thames. Run by the inimitable Denny & Dazzle, the shop featured in the BBC programme, Mary Queen of Shops.

We held a party in the shop to celebrate their TV debut and it attracted lots of interest from locals, and there was a great mix of people. I was sorry to see that the shop now has a closing down sign, so hurry along to pick up any bargains before they shut. Perhaps we should have another party?


For 2 cocktails

  • 10-12 cubes of ice
  • 60ml vodka
  • sprig of fresh mint
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 120ml Fentimans Rose lemonade
  1. Place half the ice cubes into a cocktail shaker 
  2. Pour the vodka, mint and lemon juice over the ice
  3. Shake well until well mixed
  4. Put the remaining ice cubes into the glasses and strain the cocktail over them
  5. Top up with Fentimans Rose Lemonade
  6. Decorate with a fresh mint leaf, crystallised rose petal or slice of lime

Speciality and Fine Food Fairs UK – Autumn 2011

This years show at Olympia was a corker, showcasing many great new products. Some companies had just launched that day at the show. There were numerous oil companies, lots of chocolate businesses and an awful lot of Iberica ham being carved for tasting. Thank goodness I hadn’t had lunch as we munched away around the show. We met some great people who had found creative solutions to working the family farm.

The following is a selection of my own private awards:


My award for the best stand was for Corker crisps because of their charming staff and the vintage red mini.  With its union jack roof and looking like it had escaped from the set of The Italian Job, this symbol of great British design had been driven all the way to their stand from Willow Farm in Cambridgeshire. Apparently the family has been growing potatoes on the rich Fenland soil since the 1800s and they believe the combination of the rich soil and Naturalo potatoes is what makes their crisps the best.


We were positively drawn to the Hogs Back Brewery stand by a charming silver haired gentleman, complete with twirly silver moustache. Pressing a shot of HOP bottled beer into our hands he beamed as we discovered that we really liked it. Best described as a pale, golden beer it tasted malty with a good balance of hops and touch of sweetness. I would definitely like to drink more of this. The brewery is near Guildford in Surrey and conducts tours of the brewery, which need to be pre-booked. Or you can walk in the lovely countryside around the brewery then pop into their shop and take a few beers away with you to sample at home.


We met the lovely lady behind Spice Rack Chocolates who gave us some to try and explained that her chocolates are unique because the chocolates are solid and infused with herbs, spices, coffees and teas, using high quality ingredients. I’m not sure that they have a distributor in the UK yet, but watch out for these products. They are gorgeous.
Twitter @spicedchocolate


Pride of Place Baking Company for their delicious crunchy porridge oatcakes – described as .
“Nutty and crumbly, with no artificial colours, preservatives or hydrogenated fat”  these would be fantastic with cheese or with some smoked trout or smoked mackerel pate spooned on top. These are sold through independent delis and farm shops an are definitely worth seeking out as they have won no less than 5 *Gold Star Awards and 1**Gold Star Awards in the 2011 Great Taste Awards


I’m not normally a gin drinker, but the 6 O’Clock Gin I sipped with a splash of their own brand tonic was a cut above normal gin, and tasted balanced with aromatics. Born out of Bramley and Gage who are a small family business making fruit liqueurs to traditional recipes. You can buy the gin at a limited number of retail outlets, and also online through the Bramley & Gage website

Other mentions which we loved are the:

Fine Cheese Company of Bath

for their own brand Fine Cheese Toast selection which are sensationally good
The selection comprises:
Cherries, Almonds & Linseeds
Dates, Hazlenuts & Pumpkin seeds
Apricots, Pistachios & Sunflower seeds

Chase vodka

for it’s smooth potato based vodka and in particular the Rhubarb liqueur and the sip of limited edition Horseradish vodka we were lucky enough to try as I think we had the last drop.

Kitchen Garden Preserves

A fabulous array jams, jellies, chutneys and pickles from an award winning business based in Stroud. You can buy these products online and I particularly recommend their red wine jelly to go with roast chicken or meat.