Unsure about Latte Art but sure about Soup

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My fight with Latte Art

I am having a dilemma when it comes to Latte Art.  There!  I’ve said it!  God it feels good to confess.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Latte Art is a wee bit silly but I am also worried that it may be a defence mechanism I have unconsciously put in place because I am just not that good at it.  The above image isn’t mine.  It is from the wonderfully humble Aaron Prittyfrom Stewarts of Trent Bridge, our lovely coffee supplier.

As part of a team building exercise we spent 2 hours at Stewarts learning more about the coffee we sell as well as trying to come to grips with the art of Latte Art because I have signed myself, and husband, up to Nottingham’s first every Latte Art Throwdown.

44590312_1962420457147613_2301707230585552896_nUnder Aaron’s tutalage a few weeks ago all seemed to be going well.  I corrected some mistakes I’d been making in terms of heating the milk, the way I held the cup in my hand and the distance I held the jug from the cup.  Great!  My ability to mentally process what I needed to do and my body’s ability to perform the task were in alignment.  The following week continued along these lines of progression, my brain communicating in symmetry with my hands and all looking ok. Not greatmind you, not; I’m going to smash this competitionbut a more gentle self-confident; I’m not going to utterly embarrass myself and soil the name of my business I have worked so hard to create these past 3 years in one disastrous evening among Nottingham’s coffee elite, kind-of-feeling.

But things have now taken a turn for the worse.  With the competition now days away my Latte Art has deteriorate.  My hands are no longer playing ball and doing what I have mentally set them as a target.  I am putting this down to nerves.  To a natural reaction to not having competed personally in much in 20 years but there is a nagging feeling that I may be getting too old for learning these kinds of new skills.  It’s bloody annoying as I care much less about what others think of me now so will do crazy things, like sign myself up to Latte Art Throwdowns, but my ability to acquire new skills seems to have slowed.

So if you find yourself in Nottingham on Friday and feel sympathetic to my cause do support an ageing hippy (ster), it would be fab but please do come in the spirit of solidarity and humour.

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Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

Warming soup with a hint of ginger and hit of chilli to keep you toasty on cold markets.  We serve ours with crusty sourdough bread from our local bakery Tough Mary’s Bakehouse  during the Autumn months with a splash of cream but topping with pumpkin seeds, a good grind of pepper and rosemary makes a lovely vegan alternative.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 onionfinely chopped
salt and pepper
3 cloves of finely chopped (or grated) garlic
5 cm (2in) piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or grated)
chilli flakes(to your spice-level-liking)
1 cinnamon stick
900g (2lbs) of butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
900ml of vegetable stock

Method:
1. Preheat slow cooker on low setting. Heat oilin a large saucepan over a medium heat.  Once hot add onionswith a good grind of salt and cook till soft, approximately 4-5 mins.  Add garlic, ginger, chilli flakesand cinnamon stickand stir for 1 min before adding the butternut squashand giving it all a good stir to coat evenly.
2. Add hot stock to the squash pan and give everything a good stir.  Bring to the boil and then add carefully to the preheated slow cooker.  Cover with a lid and head out for the day while your butternut squash softens to autumn loveliness.
3. After 8 hours (or thereabouts) remove the cinnamon stickand blend until smooth using a hand held blender or liquidiser.
4. Top with a spot of cream, a good grind of pepper, roasted seeds or more chilli flakes and enjoy.  The soup freezes very well and a great one to make for a lazy Sunday lunch and bring to work later in the week.

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Through the eyes of the bar staff & Cuban Coffee

GUEST BLOG WRITER ED!!

Glawning placement student Ed has written an insightful look into working at a festival behind the scenes.  We LOVE it and think you will have a little chuckle as well.

When I was drafted in by the glawning team to help out at their annual charity festival Glampfest I had only ever met James once before and somehow he’d managed to get me to become his work horse for several days. I started on the Wednesday morning with energy and a smile naive as to the amount of work that needed to be done. Fuelled by out of date peanuts and tea, we fought for hours putting up the gazebos which drained me both physically and emotionally and STILL no one commented on our excellent craftsmanship of those beautifully structured and secured gazebos that weekend! When I was finally allowed to leave on the Wednesday night I was exhausted and now terrified for what was yet to come.

For some reason I returned Friday and was set right away to the most crucial part of the festival –  decorating. With enough lights to compete with Blackpool Illuminations, putting them all up became a thankless task with constant discussion from everyone, who now suddenly each had a Design degree (to be fair one actually did), about the positioning, of which I was the one called upon to fix and move the lights to find which of the 50 positions they preferred.

When people began to arrive I took my position behind the bar and unintentionally it became a location I feel most would recognise me from. From here I met most of you and began to understand and get a feel for the community vibe that is connected with Glawning, however this could have been the alcohol.

Throughout the Friday night, despite no one knowing where to get drink tokens from, we served plenty of drinks from Rudgate Ales to speciality gin and the cocktails (which were surprisingly popular with the blokes). From behind the bar I could see the whole space and had a great view of the two brilliant sets. So despite it being a lot of hard work, when there was time to look around and see everyone having a good time and the lights looking okay despite being in the wrong position, I felt a sense of excitement for what was to come and a craving to do more to make it an even better experience.

With Friday coming to an end I was told I’d be sleeping with the medics in their tent. The only issue being they didn’t know and were asleep already. So it came as no surprise to hear, whilst in the queue for shower the next morning, one of the medics explain to someone about how some drunk guy had rudely crashed into his tent during the night and he had found him passed out next to him in the morning. Luckily as the tent we shared was a Glawning there was plenty of space for all three of us along with all our bags and kit. What a great investment that was.

On Saturday morning only just out of bed I was put to work and was placed on Breakfast duty. Sorry for the big queues. It wasn’t the greatest of starts.  It felt like a war scene, smoke billowing out behind us, orders being fired our way left, right and centre and no matter how fast we got those sausage and bacon cobs out people just kept coming. Luckily for James I made it out alive so was still able to work some more.

The rest of the day, although of course still working, I started to feel really connected to the festival and the community within it and felt I matched perfectly to Glampfest like Harry has to Meghan or Glawning has to quality camping experiences. With plenty of sun, laughter and smiling Saturday had set itself out perfectly as the star day of Glampfest with various activities such as the sports day and having the kids viscously hunt down and attack the ‘sweetie man’ going down well.

Saturday gave us some great performances under the marquee with Josh Gleaves and Zac Carpenter giving us an outstanding performance and brilliant covers. Followed by the return of the band Barr Lane with another brilliant set but there was two stand out performances for me, the first of which were the Dads whose dancing competition produced a lot of blood, sweat and tears along with plenty of embarrassment for each of their counterparts and children. However this was nothing compared to the performance produced to us by DJ Rory Hoy. The man who controlled us like string puppets with an outstanding set. I’ve seen Snoop dog, Noel Gallagher and Madness live (not at the same time) and this was up there with them.

I stayed rooted behind the bar for nearly the whole of Saturday with clear instructions which I did not want to disobey – “make sure to remain suitably drunk tonight.” Now my version of ‘suitably’ and its intended meaning altered as the night progressed to the point that my night became more enjoyable and more of a daze as the clock went by. As my alcohol level and confidence rose throughout the night it allowed me to have some great conversations with all sorts of people and it became a real privilege (from what I remember) getting to know all you interesting people with your stories, opinions and tales. However with no complaints and even praise as to how much people loved the bar I still never received any tips!

When Saturday night came to an end and the “we hate Miriam” chants echoed round the marquee (she kicked everyone out for midnight curfew) I had managed to make good friends with the band and an after party followed on in their caravan which was a surreal moment and a highlight of my festival. However as great as that moment was for me when returning to my tent the photographer (who happened to be out for an early morning stroll) had reported to the boss seeing me clambering through every bush on the site at 4.30am trying to get home.

Despite my late night I was still expected to report to my war zone duty at breakfast and repeat that harrowing task in recovery. Sunday saw no one really looking their best as the heavy headed pack down and departure for most began. The success of Glampfest was apparent and the failures seemed very well hidden.

I returned to the scene of the crime on the Monday ready to remove any evidence the festival ever took place. But this time I looked back over the weekend and despite being worked to the bone I was happy that I’d taken part and against my better judgement will return next year.

*Enormous thanks to Ed for writing this. The Glawning Team were in stitches during our first read through! Thanks for working so hard and being a good sport despite the never-ending rearranging of festoon lighting and ‘harrowing’ breakfast service!

A full gallery of photos from our 2018 festival can be viewed here

Tickets for Glampfest 2019 are ON SALE NOW at extra-special-mega-early-bird prices. We expect next year’s event to be a sell out so get your tickets early to ensure you don’t miss out.

Photo credit John Manktelow Photography
https://www.johnmanktelowphotography.co.uk

 

Cuban Coffee in Little Havana

Miami is a gloriously vibrant city full of all sorts of cultures, traditions, history and stories.  We had a few days to explore and did the tourist thang and got ourselves on an open top bus tour in which one of it’s stops was Little Havana.  There’s an intensity about Little Havana – heat, crowds, traffic, music and the gentle whiff of cigar.  Walking into La Colada Gourmet https://www.facebook.com/LaColadaGourmet/ was like walking into a haven. We were welcomed warmly and allowed to sample different coffees including my favourite, Tres Leches coffee.
So treat yourself this summer! Turn up the heat, get Miami Sound Machine on Spotify and take yourself away to (Little or Big) Havana with this coffee recipe:

  • a shot of condensed milk in the bottom of a glass
  • double shot of espresso (we had Jamaica Blue Mountain beans)
  • add steamed whole milk
  • top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings

Increíble!

We’re reducing our plastic and luxury hot chocolate recipe for raining (where the hell is Spring?) days.

The Split Screen is going green.

Having not yet completely lost hope in humanity’s ability to make the world a better place and finding inspiration from Blue Planet 2, the most watched TV programme in 2017,  we made a little silent pledge to use less plastic.
We have always offered a 50p discount to anyone who has brought us a reusable mug but we are now teaming up with other cafes in and around Nottinghamshire in the hopes of building up a movement away from disposable cups.  Visit http://www.ecocuppa.org.uk to check out all the participating cafes. 992feac1-f1ee-4375-953a-c98f4688d044

Luxury Hot Chocolate.

Spring and the warming sunshine are taking their time this year so we are having to find an alternative heat source.  Our hot chocolate sauce is going down a storm and it couldn’t be easier.  All you need is good quality cocoa, sugar, salt, vanilla, water and a spare 10 minutes.

Here’s how:
Mix 250g unsweetened cocoa with 250g of caster sugar.  Add 250ml of cold water and 1/4 tsp of salt and whisk over a medium heat until boiling stirring constantly.  Allow to boil for 3-4 mins.  Taste and stir in an additional 1/4 tsp of salt of required.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp of vanilla extract.  Allow to cool before storing in a sterilised airtight container.  Will keep for up to a month.

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Glampfest

Hello again you gorgeous people!

It’s been a little while since we posted here, but May has returned from a glorious Glampfest set in the picturesque God’s Own County of Yorkshire, and we felt it was well worth sharing. It was all friendship, love, the great outdoors, and food. What’s not to like?!

 

Please do have a read of this wonderful blog, which beautifully photographed and documented the occasion:

http://www.c13mpr.com/

As always, do keep an eye on our social media for up-coming events, we’re set to be busy as we roll into summer!

Summer Events

As we approached our one year anniversary, we have had quite the successes at recent events.

The summer was a messy start with Split Screen at Mudstock which was a muddy family excursion with a lot of ruined socks and a lot of fun!
Then later, in August, Jen was catering for the wedding of a lovely coffee-loving couple at Tudor Barn. The day after, we were at Trent Basin catering for prospective buyers of the luxury flats and houses in the new development on the outskirts of Nottingham’s city centre.

The weekend after saw us at Gloworm, the first year of a family festival set in Clumber Park.
With arts and crafts, a wide selection of bars and food outlets, rides, a mini beach, a small big top circus, and live entertainment, the first year of the festival was a resounding success for all involved.

The weather held well throughout most of the weekend, except from about 5 on the Saturday, before the great Dick and Dom took to the stage. People fled to their cars and under canopies to escape the rain. For their set though, everyone scurried back out for entertainment for all ages and which got everyone involved.
Mr Bloom and Toploader took the headline for the Sunday, and they were equally as popular.

Bring on the next week and it was our anniversary – the year had brought us back to the venue of our first event; Newstead Abbey.

A gorgeous weekend (with the odd shower) saw a flurry of people flock to see the likes of Michael Caines, Simon Rimmer, and The Great British Bake Off’s Nancy Birtwhistle as well as the array of food stuffs, locally distilled gin (yum!), and entertainment.

Hunkering out of the rain at Gloworm

As much a success as last year, we reflected on the past year. All the hiccups, teething problems, and successes any new business has. Personally, this year has been somewhat of a great juggling act and emotional roller coaster. With keeping down 5 jobs, family bereavements it’s safe to say I’ve been a bit of a mess, but Jen has been the most supportive and caring employer and friend to me during this time. I can’t thank her enough for that.

Another new employee joined us over this anniversary weekend, so you can see, the business is expanding and we’re only going to get better.
Our time gets booked up more and more quickly, and we’re always thrilled to be a part of anything, be it a party, wedding, or event.

Following another week on, Calke Abbey was another resounding success, with a line up of talks from the two Master Chef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode, and previous contestant Dean Edwards. While Saturday’s weather was miserable, people still weathered the rain to see what the abbey had to offer.
As ever, you really have to come and see these events to see just how much is on, and how much enthusiasm each vendor puts into their business.

As September has begun, I see this as a mark of the end of our hectic summer, and the beginning of the equally busy autumn and winter season, so stay tuned for those events!

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May sunning it up at Newstead Abbey for the second year

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Early July’s Events

July was set to be one of the busiest months for Split Screen since we began nearly a year ago. With five events all over the midlands, the first two have gone very well!

Firstly Nottingham’s Night Market…

A little shot of the masses of people at Nottingham Night Market

With everything from micro-brewers, independent jewellery and clothing designers, to local producers, as well as live entertainment, the night was a success for everyone. With some 12,000 people turning up, it goes to show how local people come out in droves to support those in the community.
Anthony Hopkins, 31, from Sherwood spoke to a reporter from the Nottingham Post and said how he “… really like[s] the way everything [is] brought together here – I think it should a common thing in the Lace Market. It all smells great and the turn out is amazing, it’s just really cool.”

It’s so important to support for independent businesses, keeping the character of a city alive, and showcasing talent and local produce. These night markets have been amazing for bringing people together and showing these businesses to their city. I hope there are many more to come, and fortunately there seems to be no sign of them stopping, and the organiser has said through her social media how she is looking in to having night markets in more cities!

And if you missed this one, there is set to be another in the winter in both Nottingham and Derby.

Secondly, Lichfield’s Fuse Festival; a free festival featuring loads of family entertainment and a multitude of food and drink.

 

It may not have been wall to wall sunshine, but no spirits were dampened and it was a fantastic event. The festival is organised by Lichfield Arts who give a creative outlet for the community with workshops, music, and art on offer. Spanning three days, there was never a pause in the music or energy.
Whilst at this point I’m not sure how many people attended the festival, it was easily in the thousands, and we had a great time serving and chatting to all the visitors and volunteers.

 

Let’s hope the other events will be as good as these ones! Stay tuned later in the month to see how they go 🙂

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*Featured image of pianist at Nottingham Night Market from Diana Parkhouse

Prestwold Hall – 30th April, 1st May & 2nd May

We’ve worked with Great Food & Drink Festivals before, in our first gig last year at Newstead Abbey, then again later in the year at The Great Notts Show in Nottingham’s Old Market Square. Both had been a success for us, and this event at Prestwold Hall follows suit.

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May had some friends in the form of two other VW camper vans. One was dispensing gorgeous cocktails, and the other children’s entertainment – just a few possibilities the VW camper unleashes!

The event was the first of Great Food & Drink’s held at Prestwold Hall, and we were all situated in its extensive grounds. The Great Food & Drink Festival’s website boasted holding host to 100 exhibitors at the show over the three days, and given the success and number of tickets sold for the event, let’s hope it returns next year! If you missed out this time, and can’t wait that long, there is another Great Food & Drink event at Nottingham Castle on the last weekend of May.

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Cupcakes decorated by Mike’s award winning* fair hand, along with Jen’s brownies, millionaire’s shortbread, and banana bread

Almost needless to say, the Great British weather disappointed us with yet another wet bank holiday; but still people came out in their droves and many lined up for a coffee or two. Having said this, we did have some wonderful sunny intervals (hence the glorious looking weather in the snaps!).
Back to the British weather, and we had a few hiccups with our gazebo folding in on itself under the high winds, but we managed to stay  dry until the last day when we were packing up and Jen and I were doused with freezing rain water held by said broken gazebo. Mike was laughing hysterically inside the van. Of course.

 

Despite this we had a great time, being able to have some mini-respite and go around the event was fantastic. Producers of fine foods, drinks, and makers of artisan goods came from far and wide. The folks who came from furthest afield were perhaps the Cocktail Car Company, (picture above in the striking red VW) based in London. A cracking van with some top notch drinks if you ever see them!

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Aldo Zilli enjoying a double espresso after a talk he gave

Along with the edible goodies, the event also featured culinary talks with the likes of Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli (pictured below), and Marcus Bean.Everyone who went to see them really seemed to enjoy them, as well as our beverages upon their exit from the tent. Along with Zilli we met the usual characters we do working in this business. It’s often such a nice break when people tell you a brief of their life stories, all while waiting for a coffee.

I do apologise for the lateness of this post, but holding down four jobs does leave little time to write – even so, I said I’d try to keep up with it so I shall!

I have to say, that despite the troublesome weather, overall it was a fantastic event for us!

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Jen, May, and happy customers in the rare bank holiday sunshine

 

*Mike recently won a competition for “Best Decorated Cakes by a Parent”