All posts tagged: foodie

Eating out in Shoreditch – Pitt Cue, Rök & Som Saa, and breakfast at Ruby’s

So, I pretty much ate my way round around Shoreditch over a couple of days last week. In order to justify such excess, I offer this as my recommendations should you find yourself kicking your heels in the City of London and in need of sustenance. My hit list had included Pitt Cue, Fish (at Borough Market) and Som Saa. Two of these feature, Fish was replaced with the sublime Rök, which I stumbled upon when heading somewhere else and there were a couple of random additions. First up  (and a random addition) Busaba Thai, on Old Street, this is a chain, it seems there are 16 of them. This might explain the service. This was a “we’re tired and starving, what’s close?” choice, rarely a good basis for a restaurant decision, but needs must and all that. Spacious and dimly lit, with large shared tables, the interior is clean and modern with the odd nod to Oriental style, (paper lanterns) but it is subtle and not in your face. As there was barely anyone …

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 …

Can cook, but didn’t cook. A venture into (rather lovely) pre-prepared meals.

I think I can pretty much say we never eat “ready meals”. I am not averse to a good steak pie from a farm-shop or similar but ready-meals generally, nope. That is not because I am a food snob necessarily, (although I am, natch) we just generally don’t like the taste and my own food always tastes better. However, I made an exception this weekend, with a complicated Sunday of taxiing and trying to provide food, I decided extreme measures were called for to ensure we all got something decent for Sunday lunch. So I ventured over to “Cook” in West Bridgford. Cook is a frozen food specialist that claims they make “remarkable food for your freezer, made like you would at home” . I know, what you’re thinking  – posh “Iceland”. But you’d be wrong. Cook has a huge range of meals, mains, puddings, party food, even your entire Christmas lunch if you really wanted to push the boat out. The shop in West Bridgford is tidy, friendly and well designed, there is 2 …

The strange case of the Herbert Kilpin

There has been a lot of noise recently about Herbert. He is apparently a Nottinghamshire lad, born in 1870, the son of a Butcher, who lived with his 9 siblings at 129 Mansfield Rd. He was a keen local footballer and when he eventually moved to Turin to work for an Italian textile merchant with links to a local Nottinghamshire lace manufacturer, he continued to play. From Turin he moved to Milan where he helped set up a local football team that was later to become A.C.Milan and he is, as such, thought by many to be its “founder”. This is, apparently, a “big thing” in the world of football. So when a new city centre pub was opened on Bridlesmith Gate (next to its brother-in-arms Junkyard – with whom it shares a garden and kitchen), named after Herbert there was much interest. Moverover, the pub opened in a delightful but neglected classic and rather iconic building down a city centre ginnel. Describing itself as “urban village pub”, I decided to check it out for …

Is it baked? Yes, well, we bake it first, then microwave it.

Good Grief. Ok, I am going to share this tale with you. On the way back from Lincoln to Nottingham yesterday, I persuaded the husband to stop off at The Friendly Farmer on the A46 just before Newark. I say persuaded as he was rather sceptical about a cafe cum farm shop on a major roundabout next to a dual carriageway. But is was lunchtime and we were starving. We parked up and things were not altogether promising. The whole prospect was slightly shabby. A group was sat smoking at a picnic table at the front of the shop right by the entrance (smoke away by all means, but it isn’t the best welcome for a non-smoker looking for lunch), the front doors are distinctly grubby and in need of a serious spruce up and a coat of paint. Inside the large space is part cafe and then a sort of higgedly piggedly mix of farm shop and butcher. We walked up to the counter, which had an array of bain maries keeping food warm …

Living on the edge, and at my age as well – Raw Milk

Just when you think there is nothing much new under the sun, you discover there is. Well, not new exactly, but you get my drift. I grew up in rural Lincolnshire but, unlike just about everyone who has since contacted me about this, I don’t think I ever drank raw (unpasteurised) milk. I can recall an old fella that used to cycle to the dairy farm every morning with a small metal churn hanging from his handlebars – I now realise what he was up to. I had of course had sterilised milk – which still makes me think nostalgically of early package holidays – you’re still hard pushed to get fresh pasteurised milk in most of southern Europe, but it has taken a fair few years ( I won’t say how many) for the moment to arrive when I finally got to try raw milk. Raw milk is not, of course, without controversy. It cannot be sold in shops or supermarkets, but only at the “farmgate” direct to the consumer by the dairy that …

Is there a secret lunch club somewhere? Superb Thaymar Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love ice-cream? what I have discovered is actually, probably, no one. There is a secret cadre of ice-cream eaters that, mid-week, will drive out into the countryside to enjoy a bit of home-cooking, a browse round a farm shop and eat ice-cream. Not just a few people, you understand, but lots of people. In the interests of research, we ventured out mid-week (mid-week you understand…) to the beautiful forests of North Nottinghamshire in order to grab a spot of lunch at a well-known Watermill (more of that later). Lovely sunny day, but still mid-week, you understand… we get to said Watermill and it is packed. Heaving. Every seat and every table is taken, and a table for two has even been erected in the entrance to squeeze a couple more in. Blimey. No chance of a table unless you book well in advance – for a tea-room in rural North Notts. Who are all these people popping out for lunch in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the week? Maybe it …

Newark Show “Cut and Butter” Cake

It is told that the illustrious, and slightly scary sounding, Nottinghamshire Women’s Institute Catering Committee devised this fruit loaf for the Notts County Show held at the Newark Showground every May. I don’t have any dates for this recipe, it appears in Angela Greary’s 1994 local recipes book and follows a similar fruitcake recipe from Southwell, dated 1890. However, it is clearly a very traditional and, indeed, a very simple recipe. Given the array of food choices and exotic street food that characterise so many shows and festivals nowadays (not that I am complaining, you understand 😊)  it is nice to think that such a simple and traditional tea loaf was the talk of the show. Apparently it was sold in the refreshment tent, sliced and buttered (hence the name) and was always a popular choice. This recipe (in post-Brexit Imperial measures, I’m afraid)  makes two solid loaves or cakes (put one in the freezer or store in an airtight tin). Ingredients  1 and a half lbs mixed dried fruit, 3/4 pint hot tea (or …