Aquaforno: top of our wish list right now


The Aquaforno - outdoor cooking at the next level


I mentioned this briefly in my roundup from the Edible Garden Show, but the Aquaforno is definitely worth a post of its own.

I can’t tell you how much MFL and I both loved this. I love this for the story, in that it was designed in the UK as a way to find an activity for the designer’s daughters who loved cooking, and went from there. Each time they had an idea, they added a bit more to it.


The Aquaforno in action


MFL loved it for the outdoor cooking possibilities, from the obvious barbecuing through to it also having a pizza oven, being able to convert into a smoker and “just” as a wood burning stove so you could do roasts and casseroles on it. And then it also makes a great fire pit, plus with the inbuilt kettle, boiling water on tap for a cuppa whilst you sit around the fire.

Oh, and a hanger for drying your teatowel on.


The Aquaforno ready to go


This is a small family business, with what I think is a brilliant piece of kit. We are seriously tempted by this, particularly as this is a telescopic piece of kit, so collapses down into a small bag, perfect for chucking in the boot of the car and cooking out in the open wherever you are. You can also just build up the bits you need for that meal, with it also light enough to go on a table top (to save all that bending down).

Pizzas cook in 90 seconds, so perfect for mass catering for hungry teens.

It’s also considerably cheaper than many of the outdoor ovens we’ve seen, but with many more functions. The Aquaforno is £395, and the smaller Piccoloforno is £275, so more expensive than a disposable BBQ but a lot more ongoing fun. As a small business then delivery is not instant, but sometimes things are worth waiting for.

I love it…if we give into temptation then I’ll be reporting back. Not to mention hoping we get some serious sunshine this summer! Don’t just take my word for it though, the Hairy Bikers have cooked with it too.


A grand day out at the Edible Garden Show


Chick chick chick chick chicken


We had a great day out at the weekend at the Edible Garden Show, which was a great show for those who are keen on their food from first seed through to last mouthful. Or even those who are more interested in either end of the journey.

Given my last show wasn’t a wonderful experience, then the space at Stoneleigh, both to wander and sit down and eat was a joy. Although I think for the exhibitors it was a little too on the quiet side, most that I spoke to said it hadn’t been a rip roaring success for them. Certainly MFL said he had not seen or heard anything locally about it, and I only knew about it from seeing Mark from Gourmet Spice Co post on Facebook.

But we came away with heavier bags than we arrived with, and a growing wish list…no surprise there.


Bacon jam experiments ahead thanks to Syms Pantry


We will be attempting to convert the bacon refusenik in the tribe through covert use of the bacon jam from Syms Pantry. The store cupboard now has both the regular and smoked jams in it, along with a jar of the bacon mayonnaise. Can’t wait to play with these, some good eating ahead!


My kind of mint: lime mint from Urban Herbs


I also came back with some great new herbs from Urban Herbs. The lime mint was too tempting, given a mojito is up there on my list of favourite cocktails, and I’m sure a few sprigs in a G&T or in the Pimms would work well too. I also picked up the barbecue rosemary, smells like the most amazing combo of smoke and rosemary, and was highly recommended by Mark Lloyd.


Every kind of chilli you could probably want


Talking of Mark, watched him do a great demo of a chicken terrine, which was a raised pie by any other name. Always entertaining, not to mention educational. Mark has a book out very shortly, which is on a USB stick and self published, worth a look for in a week or so’s time.


Mark Lloyd getting ready to go


If chilli is your thing, then there were lots of choices, from ready to plant and grow from Chilli Bobs, through to the most amazing selection of seeds of every kind of heat level from Sea Spring Seeds. To be fair, they had a lot more than just chillis and proved that there is definitely more to veg than the average supermarket varieties.

Two things went on our mutual wishlist: knives from Flint & Flame (which both Mark and Rachel Green raved about, both had at home apparently) and an Aquaforno. In fact, I don’t think MFL has shut up about the Aquaforno since we got back. I will write about it in more detail, but it’s probably my favourite thing I found at the show.

Well, that and Pinkster gin, but that’s a whole other story.

Overall, I enjoyed it, but as usual with these things, if the exhibitors can’t cover their costs then there is little future to a show. We thought the ticket price was a bit steep for what there was (£16 for an adult, £5 for a kid, on the door) and the more people have to pay to get in, the less there is to spend. It’s not the ’80s any more. Be interesting to see if this one is back next year.