Nokia and Great British Chefs take to the road:
A City girl with my heart in the country – I jumped at the chance to escape to the depths of Sussex for a day and learn how to cook with Josh Eggleton. Firmly in my diary for the following weekend, I woke up one sunny Sunday morning and spotted one of my friends, Fabienne, tweeting. Yes, I really do read my twitter stream. She was off to Heathfield on the very event I had scheduled for the next weekend.
Momentary jealousy that she’d bagged the perfect day for her outing turned into apprehension and then utter panic when I checked my email and realised I’d put the wrong date in my diary. It was about 8.50 am and the minibus was leaving at 9.00 – I was still in my dressing gown, wafting round the flat in lazy Sunday morning mode.
I called the PR. I know how to get to that part of Sussex by train, I have friends who live there and I went to University there. I checked the train schedule. If I got my skates on I could be there just half an hour late. Or so I thought.
Dressed, the new Nokia Lumia 2520 I’d been loaned for the occasion in my bag all charged up and ready to go, standing in the sunshine at West Brompton Station things looked good. OK, I had to pay the train fare, but it was my mistake and I’d hate to have not turned up. The train arrived. I got to Clapham Junction in just a few minutes and wandered along looking for the connection to East Croydon.
No Trains to East Croydon today due to engineering works. You can get a bus to West Croydon over there and get a train from there to East Croydon
Said the rather unhelpful Southern Rail staff, waving vaguely to the road outside the station.
And indeed, outside the station there was total chaos because there were no signs. Eventually I found the bus and got on.
The driver estimated 30 minutes (twice the time of the train journey), but as the bus stopped at every opportunity, each time to queues of confused customers often trying to go in completely the opposite direction, the journey actually took over an hour. We arrived at West Croydon. I asked where the train station was (about 5 minutes walk from where the bus stopped) and walked round. Only to find that there were no trains from West Croydon to East Croydon. Locals walk – it’s about 15 minutes on food. Those of us with a challenged sense of direction learn that the best way is to get on the tram! Luckily I had my oyster card with me and eventually got to East Croydon.
Where I’d missed my connection…at least the sun was shining though, and I had the Lumia for ‘company’
After two changes of train I eventually ended up in Uckfield. En-route I’d organised a minicab to meet me and with the aid of Google Maps on the Lumia we found our way to Walnuts Farm.
I’d missed the tour of the farm and I’d missed most of the hard work preparing lunch. As I arrived, ingredients were being tipped into a pan to make spelt, barley and butternut risotto with wild garlic and pistachios.
It did feel like something of a fait accompli. I sipped on prosecco and wandered around the compact and pretty farmhouse and vegetable garden.
The risotto was worth the trip! I took a look at the recipe online using the Great British Chefs app and was planning to try making it myself. But, if I’m honest it’s a little too complicated for a meal for one, even though it’s marked ‘easy’, especially as I don’t have a juicer and one of the main features of the dish is using juiced carrot and squash rather than stock. I’ll be blogging my simple version in the next few days.
For dessert we enjoyed eggy bread with rhubarb and custard. Simple home-fare that really suited the location. Walnuts Farm is a beautiful place – used in a number of location shoots but, in terms of kitchen equipment it is perhaps not in the same league as a commercial kitchen. It was a struggle to get the grill hot enough to caramelise the rhubarb and custard topping – there are occasions when function over form becomes important! Never mind it all tasted delicious and the sun kept shining.
I understand that Michelin starred Josh Eggleton’s pub The Pony and Trap focusses on British food with a twist, taking the influences from other countries to create a unique menu. Somewhere in between Bath and Bristol, it’s now on my bucket list for when I next travel down that way.
The Nokia Lumia 2520 is a pretty stunning and very efficient tablet. It REALLY is that lipstick red that you see on the box. I’d half planned to do an unboxing review, but it was so easy to set up (plug and play) that I really didn’t see the point. Slightly slimmer than an iPad and just a little wider, it has a lovely ergonomic feel to it. The screen has one of the best anti glare finishes I’ve come across, despite the blazing sunshine I could follow the map, browse the web and generally keep myself amused throughout my 4 hour trip down to the country. The battery life is pretty good too, I managed to use the tablet all day.
I am something of a device geek – I have an iPad and a Chrome book already. And a Samsung phone and Samsung WiFi Camera both running android operating systems. I’ve never quite fallen in love with the iPad, I suspect because the operating system is so different to Windows (on my laptop) and Android. For that reason, I think Nokia’s Windows based tablet may just work. Devices should be intuitive – when you have become familiar with one operating system it is awkward and uncomfortable to learn another. So, I’d now put a windows based device like the 2520 on my ‘to consider’ list if I am looking for a new tablet, whereas I’d avoid another apple device. I didn’t have a chance to review the rather smart case with integral keyboard, but that too is one of the features of the Nokia that I really like.
My first mobile phone was a Nokia – at the time I was working for Vodafone and Nokia was not only the brand leader, but it was the most aspirational handset manufacturer. Nokia at the time was not revolutionary, but it WAS evolutionary. New Nokia handset models were always intuitive because the design evolution was strong and well planned. The menu structure of the phones stayed true and consistent. And there was a robustness and timelessness about the handsets. I was wooed from my first love by one of the first smart phones (a Psion Palm) and have had a love hate relationship with smartphones ever since. I would love an excuse to go back to my first love. Perhaps Windows is just that excuse. In any case the Great British Chefs App is not available for Android – who knows – with access to that I might just learn to bake…
4.5 stars to the Nokia Lumia 2520 and 4 to the Great British Chefs App (marked down for not being available on android!)
I was a guest of Great British Chefs and Nokia and despite my chaotic start, really enjoyed the day!