A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an event hosted by Rennie as part of their #RennieHappyEating campaign.
Where : Perseverance Works, Old Street, London
Who : Rennie
What : Enjoy an intimate chat and demonstration from the SORTEDfood crew.
Now I’m not a fan of using Rennie, but that’s because of the reasons we find ourselves using it. Overeating, rich foods, excess something or other and *ahem* trapped wind. In fact this was the last time I had to use it and specifically the Deflatine one, because when you’ve eaten your weight in lebanese food followed by a stag do in central London, your insides are put through their paces! This is where Rennie steps in and sorts you out.
I used to manage a pharmacy and we sold heaps of the stuff and I soon realised it was almost as well used as chewing gum and had a pretty standard place in people’s cars, cupboards and handbags.
So when Rennie invited me to try out some food prepared by the guys at SortedFood, I wasn’t sure whether there was a trick or that they were having a little dig at the boys by asking them to feed a group of bloggers with some Rennie not far away!
Nevertheless, as a fan of the lads and a curiosity about a pharma brand engaging with bloggers in a fun way, I made my way down from Birmingham to London to meet some new folks and meet the boys. To be honest, I was just happy that there would be a bunch of lads at a blogging event to talk to (this is rare!)
Getting to the venue was interesting given their were a piles of young girls strewn the pavement outside. I say piles because a handful of 15 year old girls were lying on the floor and on top of each other singing 5 Seconds of Summer songs. As it turns out, the 5SOS lads were doing a photoshoot and these girls had already done there schoolwork presumably. I have a 15 year old little sister-in-law and yes I can recognise a 5SOS song and yes I am probably pushing my luck calling them by their fandom nickname.
Moving through the venue after being greeted by the Rennie brand team, the Perseverance Works was a swanky studio and atop one of the buildings, in the “penthouse” was a fully fitted kitchen, a bar, a dining table and a few “non-piled” up bodies milling about chatting to each other. There was a nice vibe.
I was the more happier when Rahul from Champagne & Chutney came to greet me as we hadn’t met in person before and it was a bonus to finally meet the gent. I grabbed a cocktail prepared by Christabels too excited at the male to female ratio to realised I had ordered the Ginger ale cocktail (I dislike ginger – a lot) as there we more than the usual one male in the room at blogger events, that one being me. This might seem odd but finding a happy balance of male:female in blogging is tough, so I was impressed at the media agency managing this, even if half of the gents were the SortedFood guys.
SORTEDfood is the collective name for 5 guys who cook and run the Youtube channel SortedFood. Or rather one guy that cooks, one guy that researches cooking, and 3 guys that do something or other else! They are a great bunch of lads and for someone like me who likes a bit of banter, chat and food, I was more than happy to travel the hundred odd miles, 2 trains and 2 buses to see them.
After some chit chat, some learning and networking we got down to business. Ben, James, Barry and Mike showed us how to make buttermilk chicken with pandan pancakes.
Chicken and waffles is a fairly common thing these days, adorning brunch menus all over the country, but listening the to explanation of what using buttermilk does to the chicken by tenderising the meat through acidic enzymes was a great insight into the knowledge base of the boys and that they have perhaps got their reputation in the food industry for good reason. What I liked most about this recipe was the pancakes. They used Pandan leaf flavouring.
When I was in Thailand, I experience Pandan flavoured stuff all the time, but one of my favourite culinary memories was watching a lady make thai pandan pancakes on a stall in Ayutthaya. Watch this video of my Visit to Ayutthaya, Thailand and skip to 3.57 mins to see how they did it out there. It fascinating. While Ben didn’t do this, it was still quite nice to see flavours that I had a relationship with the other side of the world, making their way into penthouse kitchens in Shoreditch.
After some more chat and drinking non-ginger ale cocktails, we were on to making Churros, the spanish doughnut covered in chocolate. The last time I made churros was nothing to be proud of. We were in Spain and the supermarket had…. instant canned churros. Like a can of whipped cream, you could dispense the batter straight into hot fat and fry it off. I’ve had better but it wasn’t bad. The SortedFood version was a fair bit better. Again something that gave the boys more credit on the night was even when something went wrong, in this case they over cooked the chocolate, they managed to fix it and this is where a deeper knowledge of food came in. These little lessons from the guys was what a room full of bloggers who know a fair bit about cooking already, took away and had imprinted on their memory of the occasion.
The rest of the evening involved a casual chat and some more information around Rennie. We also took part in the “Rennie Mystery Box Challenge” which involved blindly choosing a box with a mystery ingredient inside. Mine was what turned out to be a Jeruselem Artichoke – something I had never heard of. The task was to make a recipe with it and post to the Sorted Food site for a chance to win a prize. I made “Bacon infused vegetable crisps” using the Jerusalem Artichoke. Perhaps my favourite part of this exercise was researching the ingredients and trying a few different things. I would never have known about it otherwise.
The event came to an end and I thought it was one of the best blogger events hosted by a brand I had been to. There was something to get inspired about, something interactive and a easy attitude that did the brand justice.
You can catch the vlog I put together of the day.
Thanks for the invite Rennie!