Weekend Wanderings: Cardiff Street Food Circus

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 Last weekend the OH and I went to Wales for the day. We went to the Gower Peninsula and had a picnic on Rhossili beach, and went for a walk down to the Worm’s Head – it was lovely but so windy!

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On our way back we went via Cardiff so we could check out Cardiff Street Food Circus, which I’d read about on another blog recently (Emily’s Kitchen).

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 Set in a disused yard by the railway line, the street food circus has lots of food stalls (and trucks, and a bicycle!) around the perimeter, and a big top tent in the centre, with seating and bars, and live music or DJ.

It’s open 5pm-11pm Friday and Saturday evenings, and 2pm-10pm Sundays, and is free to get in.

Annoyingly, we turned up on the only weekend you had to pay to get in, because the street food awards were on! It was £5 to get in but you got a free pint of beer/cider/soft drink with that.

Because it was the street food awards, some of the traders were different to advertised on the website which was a bit of a shame, but we still ate well.

On to the food…

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First off we had a look at DFC (dirty fried chicken – take a look at the logo!), and ordered not chicken, but halloumi – fried with pickles and a choice of sauces to nibble on whilst we perused the other stalls (£3). The chicken did look pretty tasty, and dirty, but we decided we wanted to try some of the more unusual offerings so moved on.

Find them on twitter @eatdirtybird

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We made a pact not to order the same food, but to share everything, and the OH picked Patagonia as his preferred choice (who turned out to be the winners of the Street Food awards heats earlier in the day – lucky guess!). The Patagonia Cheese Steak 48 hour brisket with onions, mushrooms, mozzarella & stilton sounded immense so that was a done deal (£8). Unfortunately they’d run out of stilton, so we had extra mozzarella instead, and they cut it into two so we could share! This did not disappoint – the meat was obviously really tender and all the toppings went really well with it. The stall owners were really friendly too 🙂

Find them on twitter @PatagoniaStFood

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My choice was from Bombay Frankie Rolls (by Purple Poppadom) and was a flatbread coated with a thin layer of omelette, with a choice of fillings and pickles, chutney and red onion. I went for the tandoori chicken tikka filling and it was pretty spicy! Really delicious though and quite filling. I also liked the fact that they asked for my name and spelt it right without having to ask – then I remembered I was in Wales with a welsh name so it wasn’t that weird…

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All that spicy loveliness meant it was time for more drinks, and Chai Guy came up with the goods to go with my indian food – a mango lassi smoothie (£2). Perfect. The OH went for a Karma Cola from the bar which is fair-trade and has an excellently designed bottle!

Find Chai Guy on twitter @bristolchai_guy

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One of the main trucks we’d wanted to visit when i originally looked at the line-up was the Brûlée Bar by Wild Fig farm – loads of different variations on cremè brûlée, torched to order. Good times. When we first turned up and saw the van was there we rejoiced. We also noticed it had a huge queue… later on we went back and saw that all the brulee’s had run out… sad times. There weren’t any other dessert vans or stalls on offer (gap in the market?), so we queued up anyway and had some of their ice cream – salted caramel with salted candied peanut topping. Double salt, double caramel, pretty awesome. It might be worth queueing for dessert first if you go, or bringing along your own creme brûlées, as they don’t seem to have enough to cater to all the potential customers…

Find Wild Fig on twitter @wildfigfarm

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Before we went I had one of the special cocktails in the big top bar, which was like a second dessert anyway – a Candy Floss Vodka Soda (£6). Pretty much as it sounds, candy floss is soaked in vodka so it disintegrates, and then is topped up with soda. it was very sweet and very sweet to look at!

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The street food circus was great fun and reminded me that not all cool stuff happens in London! I can see Bristol doing something similar if it hasn’t already (maybe as part of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion next year?)

Is anyone doing anything fun or food-related this weekend?

 Cardiff Street Food Circus
The Old Stable Yard
John Street
Cardiff
@streetfoodCDF

Three New Ways With Rhubarb (and a birthday!)

Well would you believe it – my blog is a year old today! Happy Birthday to me 🙂 🎉🎈🎁🎂

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A year ago I started this blog with a recipe for rhubarb syrup (found here), and today I am continuing the rhubarb theme with some more ideas of what to do with the beautiful pink stalks of loveliness…

I think it’s quite easy to get into a rhubarb rut, most people make a crumble with it or stew it (both of which are delicious), but I was interested to see what else could be done with it. I found a guardian online article entitled ‘The 10 best rhubarb recipes’ and took inspiration from that, and also from food blog Vanilla Garlic.

So behold recipes for Pickled rhubarb, Rhubarb & custard cake, and Fennel basted pork chops with rhubarb!

Pickled Rhubarb

recipe found & tweaked from Vanilla Garlic

Pickled rhubarb is really quick to make (apart from having to wait 2 days to eat it!) and is delicious with cheese and charcuterie – particularly goats cheese camembert which is an excellent invention that you can find in Sainsbury’s. Pickled rhubarb would also make a great foodie present for someone!

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ingredients

3 stalks rhubarb

Spices: 2 star anise, 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 5 cloves, 5 peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon salt

325ml white vinegar

155g caster sugar

1 large preserving jar (at least 750ml) – sterilised

Trim the rhubarb and chop into approx 2inch chunks. Put into the preserving jar with the spices.

Put the sugar, salt and vinegar into a small saucepan and boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour the mixture over the rhubarb and stir.

Put the lid on and leave in the fridge for 48hours before using. Use within a month.

Fennel basted pork chops with rhubarb

recipe found on guardian website here

Pork goes well with apple, apricot, raisins – loads of different fruits – so why not rhubarb? The fennel adds an extra dimension of flavour, and we served this with celeriac mash and green beans. This would make a nice addition to a spring dinner party!

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Ingredients

serves 2

2 pork chops

1tsp fennel seeds

1tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1/2 tsp sea salt

50g butter

finely grated zest & juice of 1 orange

4tbsp sweet sherry (or other dessert wine)

225g rhubarb

1 tbsp honey

1 celeriac, peeled and chopped (optional)

Using scissors, snip the rind of each chop at approx. 1 inch intervals. Put the fennel, coriander, pepper and salt in a pestle & mortar, and crush (but not to a powder). Rub this into each chop.

If serving with celeriac: Put the celeriac into a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for around 20 minutes until soft, then mash with butter & milk. Keep warm.

Melt a third of the butter in a frying pan with some oil and hold the pork rind-side down in the pan for 2-3 minutes, until browned. Fry the pork chops for 2 minutes on each side, then add the rest of the butter and the orange zest to the pan. Baste the chops and turn them over once.

Pour in the sweet sherry and let it bubble for a few seconds, then add the orange juice and bring back to a simmer.

Add the rhubarb to the pan, fitting it in around the pork chops, and drizzle over the honey. Cook for around 4 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft but not collapsed, and the chops are cooked.

Using a slotted spoon, take the pork and rhubarb out of the pan and keep warm. Stir the sauce and let it simmer until it has thickened, but before it turns into syrup.

Serve with the celeriac and steamed green beans.

Rhubarb & custard cake

Rhubarb & custard is a classic combination, put it in a cake and you have a surefire hit! This recipe is a cross between one from the guardian rhubarb article, and one from food blog eat, little bird.  The layer of custard sank to the bottom (I don’t think I thickened it enough), and took the rhubarb with it, but it still tasted delicious and I will be making it again…

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Ingredients

Serves 6-8

175g butter

250g caster sugar

4 eggs

175g plain flour, sifted

25g custard powder

2½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

1½ tsp baking powder

100-150 ml ready-made custard, heated and thickened with cornflour, then cooled

2-3 tsp ground cardamom, or the seeds from 2 cardamom pods, crushed

4-5 sticks (400g) rhubarb, cut into 12cm lengths

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a saucepan, heat 25g of butter with the cardamom, 1tsp of the vanilla extract and 50g of the sugar. When it starts bubbling, add the rhubarb and simmer for a couple of minutes until cooked but still holding its shape. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then add all the other dry ingredients and the vanilla extract and fold together to make a batter.

Line a 23cm baking tin with greaseproof paper and pour the batter in. It is quite a thick batter so may need some help from a spatula to make it even.

Spoon the custard in a layer over the batter and add the rhubarb on top, keeping some of the syrup from the pan for drizzling.

Bake in the oven for approx 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Once cooled, drizzle with the remaining rhubarb syrup and enjoy!

Thanks for reading my blog over the past year – here’s to the next one!

Wild Garlic

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If you’ve been walking in any woodland this spring, or by a river in my case, you may well have caught the scent of garlic on the breeze – oh yes, it’s free food!

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Wild Garlic is all around England in the spring, and is best picked before it flowers (although I think it’s fine after too, just less pungent). The long green leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and the flavour is milder than regular garlic.

If you fancy picking some, just make sure it’s garlic by rubbing the leaves with your fingers and inhaling the garlic smell – if it doesn’t smell it might not be garlic, and therefore might be poisonous, so make sure you check.

I ended up making Wild Garlic Oil and Wild Garlic Pesto with mine, but it is pretty versatile – if you want more inspiration try the demuths blog here.

 Or see below for what I did with mine…

Wild Garlic Oil recipe

Inspiration from @ellypear on instagram

1 quantity of Wild Garlic (I picked a large handful which was about 65g when weighed)

1 small bottle of olive/rapeseed oil

sterilised bottles/jars to fill with your oil

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Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes and set aside. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

Wash the garlic, then pour the boiling water into a pan and immerse the garlic to blanch it. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and plunge into the iced water.

Remove from bowl and squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Roughly chop the leaves and put in a blender/food processor with some olive or rapeseed oil. Pulse until the mixture becomes runny and very green – you may need to add more olive oil as you go.

If you are making oil, push the mixture through a sieve to remove the pulp and give you a lovely green oil.

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I had some with a fried egg & mushrooms on toast and it was delicious!

Wild Garlic & Hazelnut Pesto

1 quantity of wild garlic (as above)

olive/rapeseed oil

parmesan

nuts (pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds would all work)

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If making pesto, do the same as for the oil above, but instead of pushing the mixture through a sieve, leave in the food processor.

Add roughly half the amount of parmesan and nuts to wild garlic (I used hazelnuts as I had no pine nuts), and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Pulse until you are happy with the consistency of the pesto, and taste as you go, adding more of the various ingredients if you need to.

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This pesto was really delicious and went perfectly with:

Pan-fried Gnocchi with Wild Garlic Pesto, Broccoli, Spinach and Pancetta

adapted from Michel Roux here

serves 2

1 pack fresh gnocchi

1 portion of Wild Garlic Pesto (see above)

200g tenderstem broccoli or equivalent green veg

50g pancetta cubes

100g spinach

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  1. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and tip in the gnocchi and the pancetta. Fry until golden-brown. (the gnocchi will look a bit like mini roast potatoes!)
  2. While the gnocchi and pancetta is cooking, steam the tenderstem broccoli (or whichever green veg you end up using).

  3. Tip the spinach into the frying pan for the last minute of cooking, so that it wilts. Pile into bowls and stir through the pesto, adding extra parmesan if desired.

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The amount of wild garlic I had made one small jar of oil and two of pesto (about enough for 4 servings). I made the oil first, then realised I had all this lovely pulp left that I didn’t want to throw away, so made that into the pesto. I’m not sure if the pesto would’ve tasted stronger if I’d left the oil in it, but I was really happy with flavour of both the oil and the pesto!

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 Happy foraging!

A trip to Hauser & Wirth (Lunch at the Roth Bar & Grill)

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Easter Monday was a glorious day in Somerset, so the OH and I decided to go out exploring and ended up at Hauser & Wirth, an Art Gallery with a garden and restaurant just outside Bruton. We’d been meaning to visit for a while, as the gallery opened last year and is quite a big deal – they have galleries in New York, Zurich, London – and now Somerset!

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We arrived feeling pretty thirsty, so headed straight to the (very cool) bar, and got talked into trying a ‘Dovecote Breeze’ (£4) by the barman. This was a combination of celery, apple, kale and pear juices, and was delicious. It quenched our thirsts and also left us feeling quite virtuous…

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The courtyard was buzzing with people and a barbecue was taking place which was tempting, but we were trying out the restaurant later so had some will power and headed into the gallery…

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The gallery is housed in the grounds and buildings of Durslade farm (including the Piggery), and is free to visit (there is a donation bucket in the shop). There are currently three main exhibitions on show, the biggest  by a Chinese artist called Zhang Enli – large-scales paintings inspired by nature and the changing seasons. There was also a sound installation by Susan Philipsz – inspired by the farm buildings and the theme of traditional country dancing. It is also ‘Architecture Season’ at the gallery, which meant over 100 architectural drawings and sculptures by leading architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Rem Koolhaus were on display (as a recently qualified architect, this pleased the OH no end). 

DSCN1613   Some of the architectural drawings 

DSCN1611 One of the sound installations in the Threshing Barn

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The Cloister – very peaceful spot to sit and soak up the sun!

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The garden was designed by award-winning landscape designer Piet Oudolf. it is supposed to be a perennial meadow, but it looked a bit sparse and bare to us! We may have to come back in the summer and see it again, as the photo’s on the Hauser & Wirth website are stunning.

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At the end of the garden was the Radić Pavilion (designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić), a contemporary take on a folly, which was originally on display at the Serpentine Gallery in London. It’s quite an impressive structure, and is quite imposing at the end of the garden. It was really interesting wandering around the inside, and seeing the interior glow due to the sunlight.

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And then it was on to lunch. The Roth Bar & Grill is run by the team at the nearby At The Chapel in Bruton (worth a visit). The space is really interesting, and definitely feels part of the Art gallery, as you are surrounded by paintings, installations and little sculptures.

The menu was larger than I thought it would be from the website, comprising of about 8 ‘light’ dishes, their burger, 6 specials, 3 ‘from the grill’, and a good selection of side dishes. The food is sourced close to home, with much of it coming from the farm itself – the butter is even produced in the restaurant!

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We were offered some bread and the aforementioned butter whilst we waited for the rest of our food – and it was delicious. I also really appreciated being offered free bread and butter, as so many restaurants charge for it now.

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After that we went straight for mains. The OH went for the RBG Burger: ‘Beef burger, pickles, onions, Sandridge Farm bacon, smoked Godminster cheddar, brioche bun, chips’ £13. We’d driven past the Godminster shop on the way, so we knew that was pretty local… It was a good sized bun, lovely juicy bacon (obviously the good stuff, not the watery rashers you get in some supermarkets), and crunchy, tasty chips.

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I went for one of the ‘Light’ meals, mainly because the puddings looked delicious and I wanted to leave room! The ‘Mussels, cider,fennel, bacon, chips’ (£12) was actually pretty big for a light meal, but I found it the perfect amount – it also came with (wild) garlic bread. The mussels were huge, the sauce was delicious, the chips were still crunchy and tasty, and the bread was an added bonus.

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Puddings-wise I was torn between two on the menu (plus the cheeseboard, but I don’t think I would’ve had room for that). Luckily the OH couldn’t decide what to have, and was easily persuaded into trying one of the two – so I could try both 🙂

He had ‘Baked vanilla & white chocolate cheesecake, passion fruit’ (£6). The cheesecake was firm and creamy, and very sweet – luckily the passion fruit gave it the sharpness it needed.

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I had ‘Blood orange & almond cake, rose water syrup’ also £6. I have a bit of a thing for blood oranges at the moment, so this was perfect. I love almond cake, and this was made more moist by the rose water syrup, which was delicately flavoured and didn’t overpower the orange. The orange was just on the right side of sharp and was lightly caramelised. I might have to attempt to make this sometime…

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After pudding, we both had a very nice Cortado (£2.40) – feels so european in glass cups…

I also had a homemade ginger beer (£3.50) with my food which was delicious, and apparently made with caramelised limes, which I saw at the bar on the way in.

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We had a wander around the shop, which has lots of nice books and presents for anyone arty or creative (including some interesting children’s books), and then went into Bruton for a wander, before driving back to Bath.

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If you’re in this neck of the woods I’d recommend a visit to Hauser & Wirth and The Roth Bar & Grill – the beautiful Somerset countryside, a bit of culture, and some local, delicious food – it’s pretty much the perfect day out…

Weekend Brunch: Italian Eggs

Happy Easter all!

What better way to celebrate than with eggs – of the savoury kind…

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I recently bought a book called ‘Breakfast: Morning, Noon and Night’ (could be my mantra) written by Fern Green, a food stylist & writer. I’m a sucker for attractive cook books, and this one would certainly help you to wake up in the morning with it’s sunny cover! The book is helpfully split up into sections such as ‘healthy’ ‘hungover’ and ‘on toast’, and many of the recipes would be absolutely fine for supper or lunch as well as brunch – as the title implies…

I now have so many brunch recipes to get through (including a pinterest board here) that I may start a little weekly brunch theme if I get the time, as there are so many to try.

Onto the recipe:

The first recipe I tried from the new book is called ‘Italian Eggs’ or ‘Prosciutto, Chilli, Eggs & Rocket’. It’s basically a twist on the traditional Mexican ‘Huevos Rancheros’ – put a load of stuff in a big frying pan, crack some eggs into it, and enjoy! This is under the Hungover section of the book, but it is equally as tasty when not hungover, as I can testify. If there was a ‘lazy’ section of the book it would definitely be in that, as it’s one-pan cooking (so less washing up after), and you can put the pan onto the kitchen table and let people grab their own. It’s therefore great if you have company too – just make extra.

Italian Eggs

(serves 2)

Ingredients

olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

2 slices prosciutto, roughly torn (we were greedy and had about 4 slices)

2 slices bread, torn or cut into cubes (we used wholemeal)

1 red chilli, chopped (we used dried flakes)

1 tomato, chopped (seeds removed)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

4 eggs

2 handfuls rocket

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt & pepper to taste

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Pour some olive oil into a frying pan set over a medium heat. Add the red onion to the pan and cook for around 3 minutes, or until soft. Tip in the bread, prosciutto and chilli. Drizzle some more olive oil over the bread to help it crisp up into croutons. Fry for another 3 minutes, until the bread is crispy.

Add the tomato, vinegar (or lemon juice), and salt. Stir again and cook for another 30 seconds.

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Make 4 gaps in the mixture. Crack your eggs into a small cup, then slide the eggs into the gaps. Put the lid on your pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes, depending on how well you like your eggs cooked.

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Top with the parsley and rocket, and season with salt & pepper. Add another drizzle of olive oil if you wish.

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Enjoy!

P.s I had big plans to make my own hot cross buns this year, but I’m afraid they fell by the wayside (because they take blinking ages and I’m too knackered) – I did however buy extra hot cross buns so I can make Hot Cross Bun Puddings with Salted Brandy Caramel Sauce – because that sounds epic.

I hope everyone has a relaxing and Happy Easter 🙂

Meat Free Freak

So this week is ‘Meat Free Week’ in the UK (and I believe, Australia). I must confess, it has taken me by surprise – I only found out about it yesterday (after having already bought food for the week… with meat in it!). What a bad food blogger, I should have my finger on the pulse(s). Sorry.

Although I won’t be taking part fully this year, the OH and I are regular meat-free eaters here and have fairly easily gone a week without it in the past, so I don’t feel too bad…

If you want to find out more about the campaign the official website is here, but the general aims of this week seem to be to raise awareness of how much meat we as a nation eat (more than double the world average!), and how this can impact on our health and the environment. Also thinking more about where our meat comes from, and whether it is ethical or sustainable, which is something I personally find important.

If you are attempting Meat Free week this year, or just want some veggie ideas, then here are some of my favourite non-meat meals, and some I can’t wait to try!

For those needing a burger or similar:

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Portobello burger with broccoli pesto & almond-crusted courgette fries (Sheerluxe)

When burgers look this good, what’s not to like? The recipe doesn’t include how to make broccoli pesto, but I (helpfully) made some last week to go with gnocchi so here is a super-quick run-through of how I made it:

Take 1 head of broccoli, chop roughly and blanch in boiling salted water for approx 3-4 minutes. Lightly fry a garlic clove, and dry fry/toast approx 75g pine nuts. Drain the broccoli and add to a blender or food processor with 100ml olive oil, the toasted pine nuts, the garlic, 1 mild chilli and approx 50g of grated parmesan cheese. Blend to a paste to create the pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

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Epic Crispy Quinoa burger with beer-caramelised onions, gruyere and sweet potato fries (half-baked harvest)

WHEN BURGERS LOOK THIS GOOD, WHO NEEDS MEAT?! Sorry for shouting, but this looks ridiculous and I need to make it soon. When only something dirty will do…

Something a bit healthier:

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Broad bean, feta and new potato quesadilla’s

These beauties are a delight, and quite spring-like. Broad beans, peas, new potatoes, feta, mint – just lovely.

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Carrot Fritters with halloumi & sweet lemon dressing (sheerluxe)

Another spring-like delight, these went down a storm at a veggie dinner party we gave a while ago. The sweet lemon dressing makes it special.

Comfort food:

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Truffled gnocchi with mushroom ragu (simply delicious)

Posh comfort food that is… anything with truffle in I will eat (I think), and a ragu with mushrooms sounds comforting and stodgy and lovely when there’s still a chill in the air – like today!

d96d56cc14c6ca4713149d6adc2f9987 Tenderstem & Split-pea curry with caramelised shallots (Red online)

Chilly comfort food again – lentils, pulses and split-peas are some of my staples and they are elevated with the caramelised shallots and tender stem broccoli in this recipe.

Lunch:

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Roasted cauliflower & mushroom quinoa salad with balsamic vinaigrette (closet cooking)

A lovely salad which is excellently very tasty cold as well as hot. Make a big batch of this and it’ll last most of the week! We tend to put blue cheese in it instead of goats, but whatever you choose it’ll taste great. Very filling too.

Brunch: 

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Griddled sourdough with halloumi and mushrooms (Red online)

Three of my favourite words in one sentence there – sourdough, halloumi, and mushrooms. Could easily be supper instead of brunch if you (i.e I!) wanted.

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Baked eggs with spinach and black garlic soldiers (red online)

Had to get eggs in there for brunch! This sounds delicious, and I’m sure normal garlic would work just as well as black – or maybe even wild garlic?

A Quick one:

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Molletes (sheerluxe)

The recipe for these little mexican delights involve making your own re-fried beans and fresh tomato salsa which, although admirable, is not needed if you just want something tasty – as you can buy both quite easily at the supermarket. It is therefore just a case of opening a couple of tins, putting it all on some ciabbata buns and putting it under the grill. Simples 😉

You might recall I did a post on an (almost) meat-free week a while back, and the recipes there are some of my favourites too, but I didn’t want to replicate. Therefore, the link is here if you’d like to take a look.

Meat-free or not, have a tasty week!

Pigging Out – At the Pig near Bath

For my Birthday this year I decided to check out The Pig near Bath. It is a boutique hotel (near Bath, funnily enough) with a restaurant that prides itself on its ’25 mile menu’. Ever since it opened last year I’ve fantasised about spending a weekend there – lazing around in the ‘Potting Shed’ spa, gorging myself on food in the ‘Greenhouse’ restaurant, and then retiring to one of their luxurious but rustic bedrooms for the night. Alas, the whole package is a bit out of my price-range for the moment, but myself and my family did definitely gorge ourselves in the restaurant – and it was wonderful.

Firstly i’ll apologise for the grainy, bad quality photos – the lighting in the restaurant is more conducive to romanic, cosy meals than good-quality food photos (as it should be). So i’ll have to try and woo you into going with descriptions rather than pictures – and if you check out their website here that will give you a pretty good idea too.

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Onto the food: What caught my eye straight away was the ‘Piggy Bits’. Above the starters on the menu, and £3.75 each, these were the equivalent of a bar snack in size. Pretty much all incorporating pig in some way, these were my idea of heaven! We chose 3 and shared them out – from left to right on above photo: Crackling with Apple Sauce, Honey & Chilli Pork Belly Bites, and Ham hock Scotch Eggs. The pork belly was ridiculously good, and therefore not big enough 😉 – sticky and sweet with a hint of heat from the chilli – I knew then I would be going home happy! The crackling was crisp and salty and more-ish, and the apple sauce contrasted perfectly. The scotch eggs had runny yolks and crispy outers – just as they should.

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It was then on to starters. I had Venison Hash & Crispy Hen Egg with a Pickled Garden Salad. Crispy eggs are an excellent invention – not to be confused with another eggy marvel, the scotch egg (invented at fortnum & mason’s in the 1700’s apparently – see sidebar), a crispy egg doesn’t have any meat, it’s a soft-boiled egg coated in breadcrumbs – Yum. The venison hash was rich and went well with the egg, the crispy outer giving the dish an extra texture. Dad had the platter of cured Mendip Meats which came with sourdough bread and chutney, and lots of little pickled bits, like caper berries. I tried a bit (in the name of research of course), and in my opinion these local meats were just as good and tasty as any you’d find in Italy or Spain, and it’s great that they’re so local! The OH had the standout starter of the evening though – Sweet & Sour Tripe (not pictured – it went too quickly). Neither of us had tried tripe before, but the OH very sensibly decided if he was going to try it, here would be a good place, and he was right – delicious.

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Ashamed to say I was already getting full by this point – I must have gorged myself too much on the piggy bits, but I soldiered on nonetheless and had a Rabbit Escalope with lentils, capers, lemon and parmesan – a winning combo. Mum had Lamb cutlets with a lamb ‘bonbon’ – breadcrumbed of course. It was given the thumbs-up. We ordered some of their triple-cooked chips which came in a flowerpot but tasted lovely, and also some of their steamed garden greens. It’s nice to know that so much of the produce has come from just outside in their kitchen garden – just a shame it was too dark to see any of it (we’ll have to go back for lunch some time).

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By the time we got to desserts I was seriously stuffed. Dad managed a New York-style cheesecake flavoured with rosemary (from the garden of course) and the OH ordered some ‘Piggy Fours’ (their version of petit fours) which included homemade fudge. I felt I had to have something but it needed to be VERY light and small – step forward the ‘Shot of Foragers sorbet’ – at £3.50 this was the cheapest dessert option too, the rest being £7.00 (the piggy fours were £4.50). This was very refreshing and light, with the added bonus of popping candy on top! It also had a biscuit in the shape of a pig, with ‘Happy Birthday’ on it 🙂

Our waiter had found out during the meal that it was my birthday (and commented on how young I looked for my age, so I already liked him!), and he also overheard us mentioning how nice it was to see the italian dessert wine Vin Santo on the menu (I once had an italian boyfriend whose family made it), so when he brought out my birthday sorbet, he also brought us out a glass each on the house!

This is a good example of the excellent service we received all night, and it really helped to make the evening special and memorable. Our waiter was attentive all evening without being overbearing, and obviously knew the menu well enough to offer suggestions on the food. They also had a dedicated sommelier to help further with wine.

The only negative point I can think of about the restaurant is the lack of vegetarian options (there were about three, including starters), but I suppose with a name like ‘The Pig’ it’s not that surprising…

I think a trip out to The Pig for Sunday Lunch is definitely in order at some point – although they seem to be booked up pretty far in advance – but I can just see myself lazing on a sofa in the snug with coffee and petit fours, and wandering around the kitchen garden.

So the moral of this review is – go and be satisfied! (Unless you’re a veggie)