Colors: Green Color
Colors: Green Color

Teachers’ unions in the UK have welcomed a government decision which declares that families who are eligible for FSM (Free School Meals) will be able to continue to receive financial support to buy food throughout the coming Easter holidays.

Ministers said that qualifying families could claim shopping vouchers of £15 a week – per child – during the term time.

Now, the scheme will be extended in England over the coming two-week holiday.

The unions said that the move would help to prevent children from going hungry, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Over the weekend, Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, confirmed that the vouchers would continue to be paid over the Easter holiday.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT

Union said he was pleased to see the government “taking action to support some of the most vulnerable children.

“We know that for many children, school lunch is often their only hot meal for the day and, in some cases, their only meal – full stop.

“The government is doing the right thing in stepping up and making sure that all children can continue to access the food they – in many cases, desperately – need”

Families are being issued with either an electronic voucher or gift card worth £15 to spend in M&S, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose.

The BBC Good Food Show Winter is heading back to the flagship Birmingham NEC  bringing together the UK’s greatest chefs and experts, plenty of festive shopping and inspiration, exciting live entertainment in the unique Big Kitchen and on numerous stages across the Show.

It will provide the perfect opportunity to get into the spirit of the season with a fantastic line-up of chefs and experts, you can feast your eyes on hundreds of artisan producers, pick up the perfect stocking fillers, get hands-on in masterclasses, and so much more – all the ingredients for the ultimate foodie day out.

Packed with seasonal produce, ideas for al-fresco dining and hundreds of exciting producers and brands to shop from, there will be all the summer inspiration you need by soaking up expert masterclasses, live demos from the seasonal stages and much more.

Plus, there will be the chance to join Mary Berry, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr, Nadiya Hussain, Raymond Blanc, the Hairy Bikers, Ainsley Harriott and Rick Stein as they cook up a summer feast in The Big Kitchen.

Again, at this year’s BBC Good Food Show Winter (November 28 – December 1), there will also be the widest variety of food, drink and cookery products from over 450 exhibitors, including great brands and a vast range of independent and artisan producers.

And, as always, it promises to be the biggest and tastiest day out in the UK.

 Nothing sparks as much debate as the quintessential afternoon treat, the scone – particularly the order in which to apply accompanying condiments. The Cornish method being to go for jam then cream, while the Devonshire fashion is to layer the scone in cream before adding jam.

Fortunately, the question has been put to the nation by the independent French restaurant group Bistrot Pierre, which has 25 nationwide bistrots, to coincide with the launch of its new afternoon tea menu this week.

The matter has been settled once and for all through a survey of more than 2,000 people, revealing that a whopping 76% enjoy their scones jam first and the remaining 24% choose the cream first option.

Arpita Anstey of Bistrot Pierre said: “The biggest debate when it comes to the humble scone has, of course, always been the order of cream and jam. So, we decided to put it to the nation and settle the debate once and for all.

“Et voilà – the people have spoken. And just over three quarters of them agree with the Queen, reaching for the jam before the cream.”

Those living in the north of England are most likely to apply their jam first, with four in five choosing the popular method. Whereas people are more closely divided in the south, where one third of people opt to layer cream before their jam.

Arpita continued: “The statistics show that the further north you travel, the more likely you are to opt for the Cornish method of jam first, followed by cream. The north east is the biggest champions of the jam-first approach, with 84% of diners marking this as their preference, followed by 81% of people in the north west and Yorkshire.”

Bistrot Pierre’s afternoon tea is served with a selection of mini baguettes and a range of French patisseries including chocolate eclairs and vanilla millefeuille. Topping it all off will be the classic fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with a choice of hot drinks for £11.95 per person.

Arpita continued: “And if our customers wish to make their afternoon tea session ‘pop’, they can order our sparkling afternoon tea, which includes a glass of our elegant Veuve Devienne sparkling wine for £15.95 per person.

“It simply wouldn’t be an afternoon tea without scones served with jam and cream – all you need to do is decide which comes first!”

When open, Bistrot Pierre’s afternoon tea menu is available in all 25 bistrots every day between 2.30 and 5.30pm.


Jam First

Cream First

















Belgium celebrated Saint Arnould, the Patron Saint of brewers by blessing a barrel of beer in a cathedral in Brussels.

Dressed in costumes and accompanied by a band, the knights of the ‘Brewer's Paddle’, or Belgian Brewers' Guild, marched from the city's iconic Grand Palace to the altar where the consecration ceremony was held.

According to the tradition, Saint Arnould was the son of a brewer and therefore learned the secrets of brewing at an early age.

Michel Tasnier, a member of the ‘Knighthood’ for 27 years, said: "It's a great moment of conviviality. Knights meet there, we forget about competition.

"The key word of this is the quality of beer, produced with knowledge and drunk with wisdom."

Production manager at Chimay Brewery, Xavier Pirlot, also spoke highly of the event, saying: "It's the day, the D-day of my year, of my brewing year," said Pirlot. "It's the opportunity for me to meet my colleagues and to celebrate our beer."

The ceremony was followed by ‘Beer Weekend’, an event gathering all brewers on the Grand Place to get the public to discover Belgium's best brews.

A British Heart Foundation (BHF) survey suggests the average person from the West Midlands could eat around 6,870 chocolate bars, 2,110 slices of chocolate cake and 7,580 chocolate biscuits in their lifetime.
The survey also found on average people from the West Midlands could indulge themselves with around 2,850 mugs of hot cocoa, 130 Easter eggs and up to 2,860 miniature chocolates over the course of their life.
The figures have been released ahead of the BHF’s annual Dechox campaign. The nation’s favourite heart charity is challenging chocolate lovers to put their will power to the test and give up chocolate for the month of March to raise funds for its lifesaving work.
Galaxy topped the poll as the region’s favourite chocolate bar, beating Snickers by a narrow margin. Crunchie came in third place followed closely by the classics KitKat, Flake and Wispa.
Jo Pullin, Dechox Campaign Manager at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “We know that chocolate isn’t an essential part of a healthy diet but is a much-loved indulgence in the UK.
“Whether it’s in cakes, biscuits, a tasty dessert or a chocolate bar, there are so many options available it’s easy to lose track of how much chocolate we’re consuming.
“It can be difficult to break our chocolate habits but Dechox is the perfect way to help cut your chocolate cravings whilst raising money for a good cause.”
The survey also revealed that two-fifths (40%) of people from the West Midlands claim chocolate is their favourite food, and nearly the same percentage (39%) confessed to being chocoholics.
It seems that the regions love of chocolate is undeniable with 47% admitting they haven’t and wouldn’t try to give up the sweet stuff. Of the 20% who HAVE attempted to take a Time Out from chocolate, they have managed to last an average of 19 days before caving to cravings.
Jo Pullin added: “We know we’re a nation of chocolate lovers and that’s why we’re calling on the nation to put their will power to the test this March for a fantastic cause.
“Anything with cocoa in it is off limits ‐ from the sprinkles on your cappuccino, to that 3pm chocolate bar. We know the people of the West Midlands are up to the challenge.
“It might be a rocky road but Dechox is a great way to help curb your chocolate cravings and fund the British Heart Foundation’s vital research into heart and circulatory conditions, which around 660,000 people are living with in the West Midlands.”
Since Dechox began in 2015 more than 100,000 people have ditched the sweet stuff and taken part. Their Aero-ic efforts have raised over £4.5m for the BHF’s vital research into heart and circulatory diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and vascular dementia, and the risk factors that cause them, like diabetes. The charity is now calling on even more people take a (chocolate) break and get involved this March.
Each year, in the UK around 170,000 people lose their lives to a heart or circulatory disease – that’s one person every three minutes. By joining the thousands of other Dechoxers, you can help the BHF keep more hearts beating and blood flowing.

A new activity bar is set to open in an up-and coming area of Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday July 12.

Dropshot’s entertainment and multi-use activity bar which features music, Olympic grade table tennis tables and deck shuffleboards among its many attractions, also offers specially prepared pizzas cooked in a wood fired pizza oven, especially imported from Italy, as well as a range of craft beers, bar food and some amazing cocktails, both classic and modern.

The licensed entertainment venue, which can cater for up to 250 no of people, is situated 50 yards from the custard factory, in the heart of the redeveloped area of Digbeth Birmingham.

Sanj Basra, entrepreneur and managing director at Drop Shot said: “My family has over 30 years history in the manufacturing trade. We have owned and run several businesses and currently export globally to over 30 countries. I have personally been a local businessman for 12 years.

“Being entrepreneurial I have been recently exploring for ways to enter new markets so that I could diversify my business portfolio, and converting this building that we have owned for over 15 years into an activity bar is opening a new chapter and opportunity for me. One that I am very excited about.”

General Manager Jake Murphy said: “I have worked in several industries since the age of 19, but my passion for hospitality and entertainment has never really gone away. I am keen to provide a safe and engaging multi-use entertainment venue where anyone of energy and enthusiasm can congregate, exchange ideas and thrive. Working alongside Sanjeev, opening Dropshot enables me to do that and being in such a prime location is a bonus.”