All posts tagged: Nottinghamshire

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 …

Worm Noodles and Roast Crickets – Eating Insects.

A few weeks ago I was offered the chance to nip to London for BBC East Midlands’ Inside Out for the Great Food Club magazine. The offer was entomophagy (which, to you and I, is eating insects). How could I resist? Actually, I was intrigued, sounded like a blast, (I’m easy pleased…) so I didn’t need asking twice and this Sunday I headed down for tea. On the serious side, the programme is considering whether or not we should increase our consumption of insects in an effort to feed the growing world population and reduce the negative environmental impacts of farming animals. Insects are highly nutritious, low in fat and high in protein and are, in fact, already eaten in many parts of the world, and have been for Millennia. The extent to which their value can be captured on an industrial scale to provide a protein source either on their own or as part of animal feed or human food production is not yet clear, but in the West, and Europe in particular, probably the single …

A super lunch at the Staunton Arms, Vale of Belvoir.

Just had a fabulous pub lunch and felt the need to share the joy. This is a not a Sunday Lunch you understand – as that’s a whole other kettle of fish, as you know. In fact it was a Wednesday lunch and bloody good too. We drove out to the delightful Staunton Arms in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir, we drove out because I can’t imagine there is really any other way to get there, I didn’t spot a bus, but one might exist. The Staunton Arms is certainly rural. I was recommended to try this – always a risk I find – but I was not disappointed. It is a 200 year old pub in a listed building in a small, what would you call it? probably hamlet rather than village, surrounded by rolling countryside. The weather was kind to us and we sat outside. It was busy, we only just found a parking space so full was it and I am glad we made reservations as the place was bustling (in a good …

Dry Ice and Petit Fours – a culinary “masterclass” at Ye Olde Bell

I was delighted to be invited to a “culinary masterclass” recently at Ye Olde Bell in the rural village of Barnby Moor on the border of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The ‘Bell is a 59 room hotel which dates back to the 17th century. It  has a fascinating history, rising to prominence as a stopping place between Edinburgh and London for the new postal service established in 1635. It has also served as stables, a chapel and the HQ of the 1st Cavalry Division during WW2. Its a bit of a hike out from my side of the county, but I didn’t know this venue at all so my curiosity was piqued. The hotel has been fully renovated by the current owners, Paul and Hilary Levack, combining modern and traditional features and now also has a multi-million pound Spa attached. Unfortunately, as I had an excruciatingly early morning the next day, an option to stay over and try out the spa wasn’t possible. Maybe next time. It is clearly a popular venue for a wedding, banquet or …

Sunday Lunch at The “Old Vol”, Caythorpe

Well, well, another great pub. Thinking I am on a bit of a roll here and it must all go horribly wrong before much longer. Still for now, we visited the lovely Old Volunteer in Caythorpe with the FWH for Father’s Day. The pub is set in the pretty village of Caythorpe in the heart of the Nottinghamshire Countryside and within striking distance of some great walks along the Trent. As it was Father’s Day it was extremely busy, inside and out (weather was good) and the service was a masterclass in organisation (with the aid of technology – earpieces for the staff and communications with the kitchen – pretty impressive operation for a village pub). Jo, the landlady greeted every guest individually whilst simultaneously coordinating the food and the staff as well as noticing any slip in service (and making known she had spotted it…..), and even when I began to make a move on ordering my gravy on the side (as I had forgotten to ask when I first ordered) she was on it without a blink. In …

The Black Bull at Blidworth (Blid’uth)

Sometimes you just find a find, don’t you? The Black Bull is one of them. I had a stunning breakfast at the Black Bull a few months back in the company of Master Butcher, Johnny Pusztsai but this time we went for dinner. Got to be honest, from my side of Nottingham, Blidworth is a bit of a hike – around 30 minutes in a cab, but it is worth every penny. A traditional village pub, stylish and friendly, with absolutely superb food, an imaginative menu brilliantly executed and a great gantry. This may be my spiritual home in the coalfields… The Tasting Menu was very tempting but the dinner menu was just too hard to resist. We started with home-made bread and beef butter with puffed barley – put me in mind of Adam Handling’s chicken butter and crispy skin starter, and it was just as good. I was particularly tempted by the Lobster/Oyster/Cucumber/Caviar combination. I’m a sucker for oysters and caviar (cheap date, I am not) and the FWH went for the lamb …

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 …

Kimchi, Sauerkraut & Pickled Lemons – a day of pickling at the School of Artisan Food

I love the School of Artisan Food in North Nottinghamshire. It is an absolute gem. It is set on the wonderful Welbeck Abbey Estate, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Portland in the heart of the ancient Dukeries. The Estate remains private but is now also home to a number of thriving artisan food businesses (of which more in a later blog) and the superb School. On this occasion I attended for the Great Food Club. Below is a version of the article, which can be found at greatfoodclub.co.uk “Fermentation is, let’s face it, a staging post on the road to rot” so said our tutor for the day, food writer and cook Lindy Wildsmith, as we began a day of Pickling and Fermenting at the fabulous School of Artisan Food. If you don’t know the School, it is situated on the beautiful Welbeck Estate at the heart of Sherwood Forest and is surely is one of the jewels in Nottinghamshire’s culinary crown. Established in 2006, the School is housed in the former Victorian …

Channeling a bit of Robin Hood. Nottinghamshire Venison & Celery Casserole

Both Venison and Celery have strong associations with Nottinghamshire, venison from the King’s Deer of Sherwood Forest of course, and celery which was cultivated at Newdigate House next to the Castle, by Marshal Tallard (the celery was growing wild on the Lenton marshes, and Tallard, held captive here after the Battle of Blenheim, grew it in the garden there). Here’s my take on using two of our celebrated ingredients. Nottinghamshire Wild Venison Casserole Ingredients (serves 4) 500g diced Nottinghamshire venison (wild, from the Thoresby Estate) 6 shallots (peeled and halved if large) 2 large carrots (cut into chunks) 2/3 celery stalks (cut into chunks) 2 cloves garlic (crushed) 1 small glass red wine 5 sprigs fresh thyme (strip the leaves off) Half a dozen button mushrooms 1 x beef stock cube 1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly Plain flour Large knob of Butter Pinch of sugar Method Season flour with salt and pepper and lightly coat the venison. Fry quickly and in batches until browned. Remove the venison and set aside in a bowl. Deglaze the frying …

Spare me your side of despair. Sunday Lunch in Shelford.

The Earl of Chesterfield in Shelford is an odd sort of pub. For a start it doesn’t look like a pub, it looks like a house with bits added. Secondly, it has had an odd couple of years, being a pub then closing then being bought by the village as a community owned asset and then latterly by a partnership that includes the ex England cricketer Chris Board. It is a fairly popular place – particularly good for dog walking and horse-riding types who can get straight to the door from the surrounding fields and down a quick half before ambling, or trotting, off. But how is its Sunday Lunch? I wish you hadn’t asked, because I really, really wanted to like this odd little place. I’ll keep it brief. Service was fine, although there seemed to be too many staff for the number of customers and we were asked perhaps 5 times by different people if wanted a bottle of wine with our meal – even while we examined the wine menu. One poor …