All posts tagged: Favourites

Kushi- ya Japanese inspired pop-up

Kushi -ya is a monthly supper club that has been running in Nottingham since late last year, serving up Japanese inspired pub food. Each sitting is small, around 15 tickets are made available and they pretty much sell out within the hour. So the wider Nottingham fooderatti were more than a little excitable when Kushi-ya took over the Cottonmouth Cocktail Bar for two days this month. Kushi-ya  is the product of a collaboration between Simon Carlin, head chef at Iberico World Tapas (most people’s ‘go to’ Tapas bar in town), and their former sous chef Tom Clay. And it was pretty marvellous. The menu consisted of snacks, small plates, skewers (cooked on a traditional Japanese Konro grill) and a choice of 2 desserts. Between FWH and myself we ordered 11 dishes, but I could probably have got through the entire menu with a little more effort on my part and perhaps if I hadn’t filled up on a Pornstar Martini at The Alchemist first. We had the “snacks” while we chose the mains – the …

Visiting the glorious Welbeck Estate (in inappropriate footwear).

The beautiful Welbeck Estate nestled in Sherwood Forest is in the heart of the ancient royal hunting grounds – the Dukeries. Welbeck Abbey was founded in 1153 and when dissolved, the Estate became the home of the Dukes of Portland and it continues to be privately owned to this day. Apart from the beautiful natural setting and the stunning buildings it is perhaps best known for the labyrinth of underground tunnels and rooms (including a ballroom!) constructed by the 5th Duke and for its time leased to the MOD for an army training college until 2005. It is once again lived in by members of the extended family who have transformed it into a thriving working Estate which provides inspiring, creative spaces for artisan food businesses, education and the arts. Although the house is private there is much to see to in the open parts of the estate and I was invited along to meet some of the fantastic artisan food businesses which operate out of Welbeck and to visit the Farm Shop. As well …

The Flying Childers at Chatsworth House

The Flying Childers Restaurant at the glorious Chatsworth House in Derbyshire is the latest foodie option to open on the Estate and it is not what you might expect. The Flying Childers (named after a prize winning stallion acquired by the 2nd Duke of Devonshire in 1719) offers only Afternoon Tea (and I use the word “only” advisedly here) and now brunch. That’s it, a brunch and afternoon tea restaurant. I recently visited for the Great Food Club  – check out the website greatfoodclub.co.uk Open for only 4 weeks when we visited, the Flying Childers is tucked away in the corner of the House’s magnificent stable block. I say tucked away as, although there is seating outside (as there is in much of the stable yard) when we visited the signage was so low key as to be almost invisible. Don’t let that put you off though, once inside the large glass doors you are greeted by a portrait of the eponymous Childers and find yourself in an elegant, refined and relaxed space which combines …

This sexy mamma and that Sexy Mamma…

It takes a lot to impress me. This may be because I am old, cynical and jaded, it may be because I have very high standards or perhaps a bit of both, or maybe I’m just picky and difficult, I’ll let others decide. But just occasionally something comes along that surprises and delights and reminds you why it’s good to be alive. And it is. And Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti is one of those things. Nothing is perfect of course, and I can find a few grumbles  – we were right by the door and it blew open several times and there was sharp wind on that corner, and perhaps, well, no, actually, I’m not even going to bother because this place is absolutely superb and it would be churlish to mention such issues in the scheme of things. SMLS is the third opening in about a 100 yard space in Nottingham’s trendy and bohemian creative quarter, Hockley, by Bosnian chef Edin Gondzic (him of the cool Patisserie, see my earlier blog post ). It …

Sunday Lunch – hold the red cabbage and don’t pretend your Aunt Bessie didn’t make those Yorkshires.

As you may know, I get properly fed up with poor Sunday Lunches in pubs and, God forbid, “carveries”. So poor had many of these offerings become that I pretty much stopped eating Sunday lunch out, especially since my own version made at home was, even if I do say so myself, pretty damn good. Anyway, in the interests of research I have begun to venture out again on a Sunday, not least because I had a fairly good one in a local pub and, so surprised was I, I decided the time had come to bite that bullet (which pretty much was my former experience of most pub roasts). I always go for beef. I do this because I think it is the hardest to cook well and the hardest to keep well during service. I know, mean eh? Anyway, I am going to give a shout out to two of my local pubs, the Chestnut and the Royal Oak Pub and Kitchen (part of the Moleface Pub group) in Radcliffe on Trent. All …

Poke at Black Roe, Mayfair

Well, I won a Twitter competition. I have won a few things on Twitter, a couple of books, some vouchers. This time I won the opportunity to join Black Roe in London’s Mayfair for a tasting evening. So, here’s the thing, I wasn’t able to attend on the evening due to a family illness so I thanked Black Roe and suggested they offer the prize to someone else. They didn’t take me up on that but instead offered us a complementary meal in April. And so it was that we headed to London last week for a bit of shopping, to check out my Daughter’s work placement, mooch around Borough Market and enjoy lunch at Black Roe. A big, big, thankyou to Black Roe for generously extending the prize to include all 3 of us. Black Roe is a Poke restaurant (no, I didn’t know either…. it is pronounced “pokey” btw). Poke is a traditional Hawaiian raw fish salad and Black Roe has its own dedicated Poke bar where the chef prepares the fish from …

Thaikhun, Nottingham – our first visit, definitely not our last

Last week we were invited to eat at one of Nottingham’s newest Thai Street Food restaurant offerings, Thaikhun (pronounced Tycoon). Thaikhun has taken up residence in the new Foodie area of the redeveloping Victoria Shopping Centre, in the area around the old Clock Tower which, for so many years, was the slightly sad side exit to the Centre. The clock tower area is now in the process of a full revamp  soon to be home to lots of new eateries, some already open, others planned. There is an astonishing number of new restaurants opening in the city, it will be interesting to see which ones survive the course. My money is on Thaikhun being one of the survivors. Thaikhun is one of a small chain of outlets in the UK   – with a fascinating back-story of the characterful owner (who we were delighted to meet at the official opening a couple of weeks ago) which takes you from her home in rural Thailand to a street-cart in Bangkok and then to the UK and …

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. …

Nottingham Goose Fair Gingerbread Cake (and the Trentside Cheese Riot of 1766)

Seasonal Fairs were traditionally an important means of selling and buying produce from the surrounding countryside, hiring workers for the coming season and for socialising and celebrating. Given that most roads were not much more than dirt tracks it was important that the fairs took place before the roads became muddy and impassable in the winter. Many towns had several fairs and we can see their roots in shows and fairs that still take place today – the Newark County Show held in May was originally a hiring fair for farmers to take on agricultural workers for the coming summer, and Nottingham’s Goose Fair still to this day takes place around Michaelmas, at the beginning of October. Nottingham’s Goose Fair is over 700 years old and is the oldest and largest travelling Fair in the country. It is now, of course, solely a fun fair but originally Geese were driven from Norfolk and Lincolnshire to Nottingham for sale. Geese are at their best at this time of year, and have always been the traditional dish …

Table 30 at 21 Club – where Bogart met Bacall

Heard of the 21 Club, or just “21” as it is often known? you probably have, and if you haven’t you have probably seen it or heard of it in one of the 40 or so films and TV series it has featured or been referenced in.  21 Club is a New York icon. It is one of the last remaining original New York “Speakeasies”. It opened in 1930 at 21 West 52nd Street and was raided many times during the prohibition period, although the owners were apparently never caught. A system of levers was used to tip the shelves of the bar so that the bottles of booze would slide down a chute and into the city’s sewers if a police raid was underway. The Club also had a secret wine cellar located (and still located) in the basement of the neighbouring building (which was previously accessed through a hidden door in a brick wall). 21 is also a haunt for movies stars, Presidents and celebrities (although apparently President Obama hasn’t yet made it …