All posts filed under: out of the kitchen

Bit of a Street-Food vibe in Sneinton

We spent a a couple of hours enjoying the spring sunshine in Sneinton a few weekends ago, not something I usually do. Sneinton hasn’t really been a “go to”  destination for many years, not since the old market traders’ pub, the Peggars Inn, stopped opening at 4am. However, the old market place and its buildings have recently been renovated and absorbed into the City’s “Cultural Quarter”, the sun was out and the Travelling Gastronomers’ pop-up street food market had arrived.     The Travelling Gastronomers is the brainchild of two friends from London (see my chat with them on the Great Food Club website greatfoodclub.co.uk) whose ambition is to recreate the London street-food vibe in smaller towns and cities across England.     There were 17 traders at the event – which is free (it is a market and not a food festival…) as well as a pop-up stage with live music and a bar selling local beers and ciders. Stall holders were still setting up when we arrived and, as we had deliberately avoided …

Food for Thought – a weekend of utter foodiness

Last weekend was all about me. This almost never happens, but last weekend it did. I attended the wonderful School of Artisan Food’s annual food lecture weekend – “Food for Thought”. For those not familiar with this fabulous place, the School is located on the beautiful Welbeck Estate in North Nottinghamshire, it is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Portland, is famous for its tunnels and underground ballroom and is situated at the heart of the Dukeries – the ancient hunting grounds of Royalty and Aristocracy. Not only that, the School is a fantastic resource hosting all kinds of artisan food courses from baking and patisserie to cheese making and artisan ice cream, butchery and cider making. Just a totally fantastic place. Last weekend rolled out some “stars” of the culinary world, to talk with and to a “foodie” audience. I would say it was an eclectic mix – food writers, bloggers, home-cooks, a Vet, retired sorts and young whipperysnappery things up from London with cuboid necklaces and spiral bound notebooks. It was also …

Some excellent Friday Food and Frink

So Friday was a day for lunch and a bit of art. A  pretty nice day as it panned out. Elizabeth Frink is on at Lakeside Arts on the main Nottingham University Campus. It is free and on the tram-line so not excuse not to visit really…        Frink is one of my favourite artists, I like ‘big art”, that fills spaces and changes your perspective. Frinks sculptures are frequently life-size or bigger. It is hard to capture the perspective on a camera phone, but the standing horse was horse-size, and the dogs were dog-sized and the standing figures are probably 7 foot tall or more on their plinths.                                                      The idea had been to have a bit of lunch at one of the two cafes at the site, but they were packed, and I think, given the proliferation of name-tags it was probably a student open day …

Do you think it’s edible?

This is the time of year when the husband and I wander around the garden eyeing up the funghi and asking each other if we think this particular example is edible or likely to result in a slow and excruciating death from poisoning. I love funghi, I foraged deep in the Forests every year in Finland for amazing chanterelles and never batted an eyelid, so sure was I (with my Finnish guide) that I knew what I was doing and that my identification was spot on. Thankfully, I got away with it. Older, wiser and much more risk-averse, here  in England I am much more of a wuss about these things. Wild mushrooms are one of my favourite things, wild mushroom soup sits up there with Oysters and Gin as one of my top ten. So it goes that at this time of year, I wander round woodland and even in our garden, knowledgeably  eyeing up a range of funghi and poring over identification guides while the husband keeps asking me if they are edible. …

A Festival of Apples, well, just the one Apple, really.

A festival celebrating an Apple Last weekend saw the annual Bramley Apple Festival, held in Southwell and centred on the wonderful Minster. This has been going for as long as I can recall but I have never managed to get along, despite my love of the Bramley. Prompted by a comment on this blog by Celia Steven (née Merryweather), we took a drive over on a very grey and miserable Sunday morning. The story goes that in 1809 Mary Anne Brailsford planted a wild pip in the garden of her cottage in Southwell. From this pip grew an apple tree, which still stands today some 200 years later. Mathew Bramley who later bought the cottage gave Henry Merryweather the rights to sell the apple commercially (as long as it retained his name). The Bramley is probably now the queen of cooking apples, is the basis of many local puddings, ciders and pies, and I have a box of them  right now in my garage, hand-picked by my father from his Victorian, and still glorious, tree. …

Food Festival Porn in Melton Mowbray

As you know, I love a good food festival. The trouble is, so few of them are, in fact, any good. Almost every weekend there is a food festival somewhere, I don’t mean Farmer’s Markets or Food Markets, but events described as “food festivals” and usually held in some rather nice location, an old Market Square, a stately home, a country park, a lakeside location. Each one that appears on my social media, lures me in with promises of artisan foods and new foodie treats. I find it hard to resist, and I have been to loads. A lot of them are, though, pretty rubbish. I know it takes time for things to become established, for audiences to build up and for traders to think it worth their while, but still, Food Festivals that charge £6, £8 per head before you can enter to spend more money, and/or are in the middle of nowhere (petrol money, bus fares) and only have 6/7 stalls with traders who resent giving out samples, really, really annoy me. You …

Well, a bit of Wiff-Waff on a Wednesday. Louis Louis at the achingly cool Das Kino, Nottingham

I think it is thanks to the controversial, and heavily disputed, claim by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, that we all now know that ping-pong is allegedly derived from the Victorian game of Wiff Waff  – played with a wine cork  and pig- skin bats on 19th Century English dining tables. Back then I imagine that they could scarcely conceive that their genteel game would become a bit of an on-trend evening pursuit by urban cool young things, but here we are.       The husband and I were delighted to be invited to sample the new gourmet pizza and dining Emporium offer by local chef  Louis Gray at Das Kino on Fletchergate last night. Das Kino is, I believe, Nottingham’s first ping-pong bar. Yep, Gourmet Pizza and Ping-Pong, what’s not to like? Safe to say, there was nothing like this when I was a regular Wednesday night bar-goer – although to be fair, that is some time ago.         Das Kino is achingly cool, paying homage to iconic German cinema and doing …

Too full for a food market, but here’s some mad cheese.

This is a very short post to let you have a quick peek at some cheese. I am currently waiting on the arrival of “A Year in Cheese” by the Guameri brothers of the Androuet fromagerie, which will support a little regional foodie project I am working on. In the meantime, I cannot keep away from cheese. These pictures of cheese were taken in Nottingham’s Old Market square, regrettably, I can’t tell you what any of it tastes like as we mooched about here after a rather large and very filling lunch of Angus Burger and Pork and Paprika sausage at Oaks and we couldn’t manage to eat anything, let alone contemplate buying anything to take home. Well, to be entirely truthful, I did have a cube of this guy’s aged compte but I really, really wanted that unreal-looking blue Lavender cheese. Next time, I hope to be able to squeeze sufficient in to tell you how it tastes. Yep, bit of foodblog fail there. Hurrumph.

Newstead Abbey Festival of Food and Drink. I think Lord Byron would have approved.

Newstead Abbey, formerly an Augustan monastery before the Dissolution, is probably best known as the ancestral home of that old rake Lord Byron but this last weekend it played host to the Great Food and Drink Fair. I used to go to lots of these fairs but I have to be honest, they began to become a bit “samey” if you know what I mean. If you stay local, then you often get the same suppliers turning up, and lovely as many of them are, if you go to enough Food Fairs you tend to come across the same people time and time again. I am also a bit wary of Food Fairs that charge an entrance fee (or fleece you on the car-parking) as above a certain level I feel I am paying for the privilege of spending my money. Anyhow, we took a chance on Newstead as we’ve not been to a Food Fair there yet and, to be fair (no pun etc) it was pretty good, with some new suppliers I hadn’t …