Hello everyone. Sorry for the long delay in between posts. We spent a few days sorting out the house for Bump’s arrival, a few days in Cornwall and then I had a hospital stay. I go into more detail about my hospital stay on Jo’s Nursery for those who want more information. However, all you really need to know is that I have suffered a pregnancy related complication and have been told to take it easy for the rest of my pregnancy in case Bump decides to make an early appearance into the world.
This taking it easy not only affects my work (I am currently on sick leave and have been advised to start my maternity leave early too) but my blogging too. I love blogging and have got used to all the pressures that come with it including answering many emails and meeting PR deadlines. However, as I have now been told to take it easy, there is only one deadline that I am working too and that is my own. I would like to apologise to any PR’s who have sent me things to review who are waiting for the posts to go up. I have been sent lots of things recently and they will appear on the blog, just possibly not as quick as you may like. I am also not travelling to any events unless they are very local to where I live as I need to get back to my local hospital asap if anything goes wrong again. I am going to the Ludlow Food Festival on Saturday for a Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up but this is the furthest I am going for the rest of my pregnancy. I am handing full control of Midlands Food Bloggers to Louise of Comida Y Vida until after I have had the baby and Saturday will be the last event I attend too.
I would like to thank you all for your continued support. I really appreciate it. I will be back with another post tomorrow as I have a recipe I really want to share with you.
Thank you all again
Jo and Bump x
Posted in Comida Y Vida, happy cooking, Jo's Nursery, local, ludlow, ludlow food festival, Midlands, Midlands Food, Midlands Food Bloggers, pregnant, regional, Shropshire, Thank you
Tagged Comida Y Vida, happy cooking, Jo's Nursery, local, ludlow food festival, Midlands, Midlands Food, Midlands Food Bloggers, pregnancy, pregnant, West Midlands, Worcestershire
I have wanted to visit Simpson’s Restaurant in Birmingham for a very long time and have not made it there yet. It is high up on my list of restaurants I really want to go to. It climbed even higher on my list when I received a review copy of their second cookbook, which is to be published on 20th June 2011.
The book simply called ‘Simpsons the cookbook’ is written by Andreas Antona, chef and owner of Simpson’s with Luke Tipping and Adam Bennett, two of his sous chefs. They have chosen their favourite and most popular dishes and set them out in a simple format, aimed at amateur chefs and passionate foodies.
On first receiving the book, I was very impressed with the photography. It shows the restaurant at work and also it is one of the only cookbooks that I know of, that has a photograph of every dish in the book. You can see the time and effort that has gone into making the book on every single page.
Starters include ceps on toast with summer truffle; and risotto of goat’s cheese, piquillo pepper and rocket. Main courses are dishes from poulet Basquaise to favourites such as cote du boeuf, Yorkshire pudding and roast new season carrots. Delicious desserts range from great retro efforts such as black forest in a glass and chocolate baked Alaska to the more simple but equally impressive white chocolate truffles with rum and vanilla; perfect as petits fours with coffee. Some of the dishes in the book seem very easy and straight forward to make (see my version of a dish below), however some of the dishes just seemed a tad too advanced for me. I love the look of the Black Forest in a Glass but it is the kind of thing that would take me (a reasonably competent cook) all day to make.
As ever, whenever I review a cookbook, I always make a dish from it. I decided to make Tagliatelle with Black Mushrooms. However, I could not find any black mushrooms in my local supermarket so I made it with Portabello mushrooms instead. The recipe also called for fresh pasta and although I can make fresh pasta (see here) I decided against it as I made it as an after work treat and with baby brain and general tiredness going on, making pasta was a step too far for me. I did use fresh free range egg Tagliatelle from the supermarket instead. I also got slightly confused between two mushroom dishes in the book. One the Ceps on Toast called for Black Summer Truffle and I thought the tagliatelle dish needed it instead so I ordered a truffle from Mister Truffle to make the dish. Therefore, my version has extra truffle on it. Here finally is my version of Andreas Antona’s classic dish.
Tagliatelle with Portabello Mushrooms and Black Summer Truffle
100g tagilatelle per person, cooked according to the packet instructions
2 shallots, peeled and chopped finely
4-6 small portabello mushrooms, peeled and chopped finely
Small knob of butter
Bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Parmesan, grated (optional)
Salt ad pepper, to taste
5g of Black Summer Truffle, grated very finely (optional)
In a frying pan, add the butter and fry until melted. Add in the shallots and mushrooms and fry gently until cooked.
Add in the cooked pasta and parsley. Stir gently to combine.
Pour the pasta and mushrooms into a warm serving dish. Grate truffle and parmesan over the top, if using and then enjoy!
Overall, I am very impressed with the Simpson’s cookbook. It contains simple Michelin starred recipes but it also contains recipes that give you something to aim for and challenge you. It is not an everyday cookbook but it is one you want to look at everyday.
You can preorder Simpson’s The Cookbook here
WIN a LIMITED EDITION copy of the new Simpsons Restaurant Michelin Cook Book: Download some FREE Recipes to win: http://tinyurl.com/67s7qso
Many thanks to Syamala for sending me the book to review
Posted in Andreas Antona, Birmingham, cookbook, cooking, Eat The Midlands, food, foodie, Gourmet Life, local, Michelin Star, Midlands, Midlands Food, Recipe, regional, Restaurant, Review, seasonal, West Midlands
Tagged Andreas Antona, Birmingham, cookbook, cooking, Eat The Midlands, food, foodie, gourmet life, local, Midlands, Midlands Food, Recipe, Restaurant, Review, Simpson's Restaurant, West Midlands
Today I have a done a guest post on new Midlands Food Bloggers blog about the 24 Carrots Easter Farmer’s Market. Please pop over to the new blog and say hello!
Posted in 24 Carrots, Birmingham, Kiss Me Cupcakes, local, Midlands, Midlands Food, Midlands Food Bloggers, regional, West Midlands
Tagged 24 Carrots, Birmingham, Kiss Me Cupcakes, local, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers
After a wonderful meal at The Wild Garlic, it was time to retire to fabulous apartment on the second floor above the restaurant. The apartment design was inspired by Angie Lewin and is decorated in 50′s/60′s style to compliment her artwork in the apartment. The apartment is a not an hotel room or holiday cottage, its a retreat. The fantastic staff of The Wild Garlic will leave you alone as much as you like. You have your own key and can come and go as you please. I loved it as you are right in the heart of the village and you get a real idea of what is going on, in the restaurant and the village. One small negative is that it is on the main road so you can get a bit of road noise at night. This did not bother me however, if you are looking for a country hideout away from noise, this may not be the ideal place.
When you arrive you find, bread, milk, butter, apple juice, tea and coffee things and even a bottle of wine in the kitchen. Inspired by the local produce in the apartment and in the local fruit and vegetable shop (see post here for more information) , I made myself mushrooms on toast for breakfast before I left and here is my recipe for it:
Mushrooms on Toast
Ingredients (Serves 1 hungry person!)
- 1 slice of thick local bread, toasted
- 1 field mushroom and 1 chestnut mushroom, peeled and chopped with stalk removed
- 1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large knob of local butter, for frying
- 1 small bunch or parsley, finely chopped
- Rocket leaves, to serve with it, if desired
- Melt some butter in frying pan, add in the shallots and fry until softened slightly
- Then add in the mushrooms and fry until cooked through. Add in the parsley at the last minute and serve on top of hot toasted bread.
- Put some rocket leaves on the side if you like and enjoy!
I would to thank Mat and all team at The Wild Garlic for a an amazing stay. I will be back again soon.
PS: Midlands Food Bloggers Members and Supporters can now get a Gourmet Life card for three months FREE! If you would like more information, please see the post here
PPS: Sorry for the delay between posts. If you would like to know why there was a delay, please see post on Jo’s Nursery here
Posted in BBC, Beaminster, bread, celebrity masterchef, cooking, Dorset, food, foodie, Gourmet Life, happy cooking, local, Masterchef, Masterchef Experience, Mat Follas, Midlands, Midlands Food, Midlands Food Bloggers, Recipe, regional, Restaurant, Review, Thank you
Tagged Beaminster, celebrity masterchef, cooking, Dorset, food, foodie, gourmet life, local, masterchef, Mat Follas, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Produce, Recipe, Restaurant, Review
After going shopping for supplies for the restaurant that afternoon, I was really looking forward to my meal at The Wild Garlic. Before service started, I was given a tour of the kitchen and met all of the team. The restaurant is quite informal in its layout with polished wooden tables and chalkboards listing daily specials and drinks on. Mat has also put a black peppermint plant on each table which adds to the rustic vibe and makes the place smell nice too.
As I knew the food at the restaurant was going to be great anyway, I asked Mat to surprise me for my meal, taking into account that I could not eat certain things due to being pregnant. To nibble on before the meal began, I had some bread from a local bakery with olive oil, balsamic and spicy nuts. For my starter, I had Goats Cheese Pannacotta, with Beetroot, Apple Crisp, Poached and Powdered Rhubarb. I am not a great fan of beetroot but it was the perfect compliment to the creamy goats cheese pannacotta. The powdered rhubarb was a revelation too. It tasted like cumin or something. The flavour was so rich and earthy. Mat enjoys using science in his cooking, but believes that the science should happen in the kitchen and not on people’s plate and I think this dish is a perfect example of that.
The Amuse Bouche was Spring Vegetable and Wild Garlic Veloute. It was light but creamy at the same time. Very yummy! For my main, I had Rose Rose Veal Fillet with Almond Butter and Potato Fondant. The veal was amazing. It was perfectly cooked and the almond butter complimented it beautifully. Also on the plate, were raw vegetables and pickles which added an extra dimension to the dish.
For pudding, I had the dessert platter which consisted of five individual desserts: Lime Tart topped with Meringue, Ginger Cake and Custard, Chocolate Brownie, Citrus Crème Brulee and licorice ice cream. To be honest, the entire platter was amazing. I cannot single any dessert out as they were all excellent. My favourite though was the licorice ice cream, as I have loved licorice since I was a child but have never had it in ice cream form. I could eat by the bucket load and I may develop a pregnancy craving for it, just so that I can have more!!!!!!
I finished the evening off with a decaff coffee and a chat with Mat and his staff. I would to thank Mat and his team for a fantastic meal in the restaurant. I think it is one of the best meals I have ever had. Please check back soon and I will tell you about my stay in the apartment above the restaurant.
*If you want to hear my about my pregnancy experiences of the trip to Dorset, please read the post on Jo’s Nursery here*
Midlands Food Bloggers
As some of you may know already, I am the founding member of the Midlands Food Bloggers and I am pleased to announce that with the help of Louise of Comida Y Vida, we now have a community blog. We are also having a meet up on Saturday 4th June in Burton Upon Trent. If you would like to find out more, do a guest post on the new blog or attend the meet up please visit the new blog for more information or email email@example.com
Posted in BBC, celebrity masterchef, cooking, food, foodie, happy cooking, local, Masterchef, Masterchef Experience, Mat Follas, Midlands, Midlands Food, Midlands Food Bloggers, regional, Restaurant, Review, seasonal, Thank you, The Wild Garlic, Twitter, West Midlands
Tagged bbc, BBC Good Food Show, Beaminster, cooking, Dorset, food, foodie, happy cooking, local, masterchef, Mat Follas, Midlands, Midlands Food Bloggers, Restaurant, Review, seasonal, The Wild Garlic, Twitter
Last week, I went on a gastronomic tour of Dorset. Dorset is place I have wanted to visit for a while, as it has always looked so lovely on the River Cottage TV Series and after I heard, 2009 Masterchef winner Mat Follas was opening his restaurant in Beaminster, called The Wild Garlic I knew I definitely had to go!
This is the first of three posts about my experiences at The Wild Garlic. I had such a good time and I want to tell you all about it. If I did one post, it would be very long so I have broken it up into three bite – sized chunks for you. After this, there will be a post about my meal at the restaurant and my stay in the apartment above the restaurant. Finally, my series on Dorset will conclude on a visit to the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster.
I arrived at The Wild Garlic during a busy holiday weekday lunch service. I was greeted warmly by Mat and all his staff and shown to the apartment upstairs. More on this in another post. I put my stuff in the room and wandered back downstairs. Mat invites to go on a walk to get some supplies for the restaurant. This turns out to be a very short walk as we get the supplies from both the butchers and the fruit and vegetable shop across the square.
Our first stop was Nick Tett Family Butchers. From here, Mat purchased lamb loins, skirt steak, goats cheese and a few other bits and pieces. Everything in the butchers had local, free range or organic attached to it or in some cases all three. This is the kind of butchers shop that I would like to have over the road from me.
Our second and final stop was Fruit and Two Veg, a little bit further down the road pass the butchers. In the shop was a vast collection of local fruit and vegetables including asparagus, strawberries, spinach, rocket and mushrooms. I was in heaven. Mat and his sous chef brought lots of things for the restaurant from here, so many that I lost track but I know I ate a few of them in my meal that evening.I would love to have this shop around the corner from me.
Before, I even had my meal at the restaurant I was very impressed. As sometimes, restaurants say things are local but how local is local? In Mat’s case, local means over the road, which is the best kind of local. Don’t you agree?
I will be back soon with another post telling you about my fantastic meal at The Wild Garlic.
Posted in Axminster, BBC, Beaminster, Canteen, celebrity masterchef, Dorset, food, foodie, Fruit and Two Veg, happy cooking, local, Masterchef, Mat Follas, Nick Tett, regional, Thank you, The Wild Garlic
Tagged Axminster, bbc, Beaminster, Canteen, celebrity masterchef, Dorset, Fruit and Two Veg, local, masterchef, Mat Follas, Nick Tett, Produce, River Cottage, The Wild Garlic
This month’s Fresh From The Oven challenge was hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. She challenged us to bake something yeasted, using flour where you know either where it was grown or where it was milled. This was quite hard for me as a Google search for ‘flour mills West Midlands’ and ‘flour mills Worcestershire’ brought up an amazing selection of houses that I could buy that had been converted from flour mills. This was not very useful. Then I asked Tom of Loaf where he got his flour from which was Shipton Mill. I nearly brought some flour from there but it cost £5 to post 1 bag of flour. I was on the verge of giving up hope, when I remembered that a farm shop I pass on the way to and from work sold a selection of flours.Would any of it be local?
Unfortunately, Broomfield’s Farm Shop in Holt Health, Worcestershire did not have any local flour. The most local I could find was from The Five Sailed Windmill in Alford, Lincolnshire. I ended up buying a bag of their white flour, hoping that Helen will forgive me as Alford is 140 miles from my house, knowing that I did support a local business by buying it from a local farm shop.
Stuart and I are both currently obsessed with The Great British Food Revival, a show shown on the BBC 2 on Wednesday evenings. We loved the first episode with Michel Roux Jr making a sandwich bread loaf. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to make it so I made it using the local (ish) flour and we had it for dinner with beef stew (recipe to follow soon in another post). This is the best and most easiest bread recipe ever. It was so quick to make. It was delicious warm and it tasted great the next day cold too. I will make this recipe again and again. I urge you all to try it.
Does anyone know of any working flour mills in the Midlands region?
Many thanks to Helen for hosting this month’s challenge.
Update: Since writing this post, I have discovered that there is a flour mill in Shropshire called Pimhill Farm that make wholemeal flour. I intend to try their products soon
Posted in baking, BBC, BBC Food, bread, Five Sailed Windmill, Fresh From The Oven, Fuss Free Flavours, happy cooking, Loaf, Loaf Online, local, Michel Roux Jr, regional, Sandwich Bread Loaf, West Midlands, Worcester Produce
Tagged Alford, baking, bbc, BBC Food, bread, Broomfields Farm Shop, Fresh From The Oven, Fuss Free Flavours, Great British Food Revival, Lincolnshire, Loaf, Loaf Online, local, Michel Roux Jr, Sandwich Bread Loaf, Shipton Mill, The Five Sailed Windmill, West Midlands, Worcestershire