All posts tagged competitions

Pumpkin Art Competition

pumpkin artBudding artists from across the country are being encouraged to pick up their pumpkins and put their creativity to the test, as Hart’s Hotel and Restaurant, in Nottingham, takes its annual Pumpkin Art competition to a global audience.

The Prize for Pumpkin Art encourages sculptors of all ages to roll up their sleeves, get out their carving knives and come up with their most imaginative designs in a bid to win an overnight stay and dinner for two at the boutique city centre hotel.

Usually only open to local families and individuals, this year entrants are being encouraged to upload photos of their wonderful and wacky carvings to Twitter or Facebook, opening the competition up to participants from anywhere in the world.

Thought-provoking conceptual pumpkins, movie scenes, scary faces and even a few famous ones have all been captured in vegetable form in previous years and it is hoped that this year’s event will prove even more popular.

To help you create that winning design, Thomas Buhse, Hart’s Restaurant’s Pastry Chef and pumpkin king has put together his top tips for an artistic entry:

1. Choose your pumpkin carefully. Do you need one with a flattish front for your design or would some lumps and bumps add character to your design?

2. Draw your design onto your pumpkin before you start to carve. Rub it out and redraw until you are completely satisfied and only then take up your knife.

3. If you are hollowing out your pumpkin, why not use an ice cream scoop? Also try varying the thickness of the sides to alter the amount of light that shines through. In some places shave off the skin to give a two-tone effect and add depth.

4. Get creative with crafty bits from around the house. Use nuts and bolts for eyes, stick on diamante for added bling or even get out your paintbrush and add some colour – also a great way for children to get involved without using a knife.

5. To preserve and firm up your pumpkin, place in a tub of cold water mixed with a little bleach and put the carved part face down. To store overnight, wrap your creation in cling film and pop in the fridge.

To enter the competition, either tweet a photograph of you with your creation to @HartsNottingham with the hashtag #HartsPumpkinArt or upload it to the Hart’s Facebook page To be a valid entry, the photograph must show you with your entry.

Entries will be accepted until the 31st October and the winner will be announced online on November 1st. The pumpkin judged as best will win an overnight stay and meal for two at Hart’s Hotel and Restaurant, in Nottingham.

Hart’s Restaurant opened in 1997, serving modern British cuisine with a great emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. It has long been one of Nottingham’s finest dining establishments, winning a number of awards. The adjacent hotel opened in 2003 and is a striking modern building designed by architect Julian Marsh and situated on part of the old ramparts of Nottingham’s mediaeval castle. The build won a RIBA design award.

Full competition rules are available on the Hart’s website

Ideal Home Cake Decorating Competition

ideal cake decorator 2013ideal cake decorator 2013
For the fourth year running, this year’s Ideal Home Show is inviting professional and amateur cake decorators from across the UK to show off their decorating skills by entering the ‘ideal Cake Decorator of the Year’ competition, this year in the theme of the London Underground, to mark its 150th Birthday.

With a desire to promote the art of cake decorating and celebrate a true symbol of London life, this year’s competition is looking to find the most creative interpretations of the London Underground, in cake craft.

Since 1863 the London Underground has provided a service for millions of people worldwide passing through the capital city. It has also been a fundamental mode of transport for visitors to the Ideal Home Show in London since it began in 1908, seeing tens of thousands of visitors arriving via the tube each year.

So to mark 150 years of our most iconic transport system, and for its part in making the Ideal Home Show accessible to all of London, they are calling upon all bakers and cake decorators out there to enter the ‘London Underground’ ‘Ideal Cake Decorator of the Year’ Competition 2013.

Split into a Professional and Amateur competition, the Ideal Home Show wants you to create a cake inspired by the London Underground. This can be anything from a realistic representation, such as a tube carriage itself, to an interpretation of its nostalgic charm or a station name, such as an Angel, a Bank or a Tower bridge to name a few. With 270 stations, the possibilities are endless!

Be sure to head down to the show to check out the amazing display of professional cakes which will be showcased throughout the 18 days of the show and vote for your favourite design. For amateur cake bakers, the judging will take place on the Seasonal Cookery Theatre at 2pm on Friday 22nd March, hosted by a panel of expert judges including Charlotte White, cake Designer and Dreamer of Restoration Cake.

Charlotte commented;

“I am so excited to be judging the Ideal Amateur Cake Decorating competition for 2013! Our 2012 winner was crowned because of her obvious passion for cake decorating, a passion that I share completely! I will be looking for entries which reflect the love that goes into creating an edible work of art as well as a true representation of the London Underground. I hope that lots of aspiring cake designers will bring their work along to join in with the 150 year celebrations!”

The competition will be judged on creativity so don’t worry if your icing skills are not top notch – give it a go and let your imagination run wild! It’s so easy to take part in the competition and it’s open to everyone. Anyone bringing a home-decorated cake to the show with this theme will receive FREE tickets on the door* and gain automatic entry to the competition by taking their cakes to the display and judging area in the Ideal Food section.

Thanks to our resident judge Charlotte White, the winner as well as being laden with a trophy and prizes from the Ideal Home Show team, will also be offered a place on one of her cake decorating master classes. This is for all anyone who is keen to learn the art of wedding cake decorating. With a little knowledge of the ‘structural engineering’ required, Charlotte will share her tricks and tips as well as the benefit of 5 years of professional experience to show you how to make a simple but chic tiered cake, which will look of professional quality. This class is also an excellent entry level for anyone looking to start a career in Wedding Cake design

Entry Details:

o Bring your home-decorated cake to the show; you’ll be directed to the display with your cake (22nd March Amateur competition)
o Make sure you label your cake with your details: name, phone number and email address! (Professional entries can bring business cards to display)
o Come to the amateur prize-giving on the Seasonal Cookery Theatre at 2pm 22nd March, where the judging will take place.
o All cakes must be at the Seasonal Cookery Theatre before 1pm prior to the judging commences, to set up.
o You can take your cake home with you if you wish.
o Professional competition entries must be submitted on Friday 15th March by 11am

The winner will receive:
*Ideal Cake Decorator of the Year 2013 Trophy
*Kenwood Citrus kMix stand mixer KMX58, RRP £379.99
*Dinner for 2 in the Gregg Wallace Seasonal Restaurant
*Copy of the Ideal Home Show Cookbook
* Charlotte White Wedding Cake Decorating session (worth £90.00 for a 3hr class)
*2 Free Tickets to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas 2013

Plus more prizes to be announced

Advent Vodka Competition

vodka emporiumLeading vodka and drinks retailer Vodka Emporium has announced a series of competitions that will run throughout December leading up to the Christmas festivities.

The campaign, titled ‘Advent Vodka’ will work in conjunction with leading vodka brands and a hand-picked selection of British boutique vodkas. Each day in December, up until Christmas Day, the Advent Vodka competition will unveil a question on Vodka Emporium’s social networks related to one vodka brand. Vodka fans will then seek and submit the correct answer to win a prize related to that day’s vodka brand.

The campaign will be based on the Vodka Emporium blog ( and its Facebook and Twitter pages ( & where the competition can be followed using the hashtag #AdventVodka.

Sales Director, Mark Packard commented “We’re really looking forward to the Advent Vodka competition. Our customers love learning about and trying new vodkas, and the brands we are working with push the boundaries to create the best tasting vodka possible. The competition will be fun and offer the chance to win prizes including vodka jeroboams, distillery tours, limited edition bottles and more.”

Mark continued “Since the Vodka Emporium was created six years ago, our passion for vodka has lead us to create the biggest range available in the UK. We pride ourselves on not just listing all the big brands but also spotlighting new and emerging quality vodkas and hard to find collectables unavailable elsewhere in the UK. To get involved in Advent Vodka, keep your eyes peeled for the clues and good luck!”

Advent Vodka launches on 1st December. To stay informed on the daily campaign developments, sign up to the Vodka Emporium mailing list at

Sausage Sandwich

Sausage Sandwich
This month sees three big occasions come together – Bonfire Night (November 5), British Sausage Week (November 5th-11th 2012) and the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich – and to mark this milestone the British Sandwich Association has come up with a real banger – the Whizz Bang hot sausage and mustard sarnie.

Eaten hot or cold, this simple Sausage Sandwich is a real winner comprising sausage (you can choose from a variety of flavours these days) with lashings of English mustard and onions (optional) in a roll.

Sausages make great sandwich fillers, particularly with stuffing and onion or with egg. Indeed, sausage and egg sandwiches rank highly among the most popular sandwich fillings in the commercial sandwich world.

Did you know?
• 87% of British households buy sausages
• During the year to July 2012 we ate more than 196,152 tonnes of sausage, spending £707 million

To add a little more spice to the occasion, the Association is offering consumers the chance to win a luxury hamper from Bel UK in an on-line draw during November – plus the chance to win a holiday in Hawaii (the Sandwich Islands). To enter just visit the Association’s consumer website at

Annabel Langbein’s The Free Range Cook

the_free_range_cookAnnabel Langbein The Free Range Cook is now on sale in the UK and contains all the recipes you’ll need to cook up a scrumptious feast this Christmas – as well as make a great gift for yourself or the foodies in your life!

To give you a taste of what’s inside there are free samples available of nine of the delicious recipes, including:

• Sesame and Oregano Lavosh – the perfect nibble for pre-Christmas parties
• a special-occasion scallop salad with citrus chilli dressing
• succulent pork belly cooked in milk (a fun alternative to turkey)
• the oh-so-impressive frozen Strawberry Cloud Cake
• a devastatingly decadent Chocolate and Cranberry Slice – a sublime finish to your Christmas feast

To download these recipes simply click this link:

And once you’ve cooked them you could win a kitchenware hamper worth £135 simply by uploading a photo to their website. The photo with the most votes wins so get your friends on board via Facebook, Twitter and email.

And who is Annabel Langbein? Well, she is The Free Range Cook and hosts a 13-part TV series filmed at her holiday cabin on the shores of Lake Wanaka, at the foot of New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps. Her cookbook Annabel Langbein’s The Free Range Cook is now available from Amazon for £13.60.