David and Sue Chantler came to our home cooking class in March this year. David happen to be in the organizing team for the festivals for many years. Sue is into slow food and she too will be having masterclasses in the festival. They were pleased with the information I shared with them during wet market tour in Pulau Tikus and also in the cooking class that they invited me to their festival.
I was thrilled with their sharing of the festivals. So excited and enthusiastic that I was asked if I want to come. They has so many events on for 3 days that I simply got them to tell me more about it. Sausages to try from many participating restaurants, 20 over types of pie to taste from the local community, I was on cloud nine. Being a adventurous food lover, I want to fly there immediately. But they stopped me cos their event was already planned much earlier before they came. They had to think how I could appear, I was flabbergasted.
Finally in September, we flew to England, landed in Heathrow. Junnie, my sister and I took a train from Paddington to Ludlow. We had so many misadventures, nothing serious though, and can only laughed at ourselves.
Food Tour in Ludlow with Peter Chantler
The food festival was held in the medival castle ground in Ludlow. Very old and majestic it stood through the test of time. That was the first time I encounter UK gloomy and moody rainy wet ground. The first day of the festivals, everyone was in raincoats and we were shivering as I forgot to wear the gloves we bought there. I love that the local communities proudly display the products and the support is exemplary.
David was kind to arrange for Junnie and I to participate in some events. We went for sausage trails, given a piece of paper to walk around town to savor many restaurants. We had to judge them and was pleased to note we also had the same idea of the winner. Not bad too, our Malaysian tongue. The wines tasting too, we had to run with a a little bottle hanging on round our neck. I was not into wines so I give up after 4 tasting. The pie tasting was awesome, I got the opportunity to taste over 8 out of 20 pies.
Masterclass with Chef Steve Lyons
The highlight was the masterclass cooking squid and oysters with mint and wasabi with Chef Steve Lyons. Their squid is like our cuttlefish here. Real large but thin like our squid. Chef Steve was impressed that we could cut and clean the squid in 3 mins while others took nearly 20 mins. I told him, we eat seafood alot in Malaysia.
He is very engaging, took time to explain to the guest how to cut and slice the squid, open the oysters. He spent time preparing the sauce which I enjoyed very much. Junnie and I had a great time learning from him. The class was fully booked which I noted. There was even a few returnees who took his class last year.
Pop up dinner with Chef James Sherwin
Once again in the evening, we were invited for a pop up dinner with Chef James Sherwin. His idea of pop up was so intriguing. You partake his food, serve in 7 course then guess what ingredient he used from the land from Wild Shropshire. The theme for the evening was, “James in the space”.
I for one, had not much knowledge of their fresh ingredient. But I could observe the other guest in the same table trying to guess it. At the end of every dish, Chef James would come out and explain what is on the plate. Even then most of them did not guess rightly. So I did not fell left out.
I bravely and with adventurous taste buds ate most of the 7 course. Junnie was definitely having a hard time finishing it. Out of the 7 plates, I enjoyed eating 3. Guess if you can, which one it was. 1. Rabbit meat with flowers. 2. Chicken skin, whey and curd. 3.White chocolate, elder flower and vinegar.
Book author presentation.
On the 3rd day, is when I am needed to appear for a book talk as a guest. For the first time in Ludlow Festival, they invited 10 book authors up to talk about their books. I felt very privileged and it was as if I was on television.
There was Ella, the presenter who ask me lots of questions but ended with me rattling all our stories. Had them captivated with our lifestyle in Malaysia. A few of them have never eaten Malaysian food, let alone spicy chilly. They ask me whether it was true that we used lots of hot spicy chilly in our food. Well, I told them to come and have a food adventure in Penang or Malaysia. I think I sold some tickets to Malaysia. Well, I did my part and duty.
Thanks for the great welcome and opportunity to see the lifestyles of the people of Ludlow, David and Sue Chantler. The jams, pies and bread rolls and pasta was unforgettable.
The only thing I took away from here as we have to walk all the way to the train is booking taxi before hand. We got stuck as I called for taxi only 1 hour before requiring them. So ended up walking to the train station. Luckily it was only 15 mins walk with 3 heavy luggages between Junnie and I.