Table Talk – this week’s foodie news

The Baby Bell Aldreminster

It started its life as a dreary huntsman’s cabin somewhere south of the M25, and after just a few weeks at Alscot it’s been lovingly transformed into The Baby Bell mobile bar. Parked in the gardens of The Bell in Alderminster, this is set to be a sure fire hit for the summer.

Tuning Fork Supper Club-38

Just outside Rugby, The Tuning Fork has opened an outside dining area and is now open in the evenings too.

Independent Birmingham Festival September 2017

Independent Birmingham has announced the date for their second festival. On Sunday 17 September (12pm – 7pm) at the iconic Aston Hall, complete with: restaurant pop-ups, street food, cocktails, craft beer, local artists, designers and retailers showcasing the very best of Birmingham’s independent culture throughout the day.Tickets cost just £8 (early bird is £5) and can be purchase here – Children under 12 go free, no ticket required.

Meet the trader – Dumpling King

You may have tried pierogi, gyoza and mandu dumplings before but how about jiaozi?

Dumpling King Warwickshire

A company in Warwickshire is making these dinky Chinese dumplings and claims to be the first company in the UK to sell them online.

Dumpling King is a family business run by brothers Tony and Ray Hung, along with Tony’s wife Carol.

The business idea started when Carol, disappointed about the lack of tasty fresh jiaozi in the UK, enrolled into one of Shanghai’s largest cooking schools to learn the art of making dumplings and Dumpling King was born.

Dumpling King uses traditional family recipes given to Carol by her mother, passed down by her great grandmother, along with premium ingredients – including meat from Aubrey Allen. Lamb with carrot and coriander, beef with red onions and Chinese leaf, pork and Chinese chives and  vegetarian and vegan options too are all on the menu.

The fresh, handmade dumplings cook in just seven minutes and are delivered in packs of 12 to homes in Leamington, Coventry, Rugby and Southam three times a week.

Don’t worry if you live outside these areas though, as Dumpling King also pops up at Warwickshire food festivals and events – including the Down on the Close music festival in Rugby on Saturday 26 August.

Table talk – this week’s food news

Two Cats Kitchen Birmingham.jpg

Sad news from Two Cats Kitchen in Birmingham. The innovative restaurant, that introduced Baltic cuisine to the city as a pop-up before setting up in the Jewellery Quarter, is closing its doors at the end of September.

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Farmers Fayre in Stoneleigh is expanding to increase its restaurant from 80 to 120 seats and install a wood-fired oven to cook large joints of beef for their Sunday carvery.

Carl Sampson chef Worcester News

In just a week’s time, ‘burger king’ Carl Sampson will be opening his pop-up in the refurbished Conservatory.  The bar and kitchen in Worcester is due to unveil a brand new look featuring open brickwork, abstract tiles and wood cladding, accessorised with brightly coloured bric-a-brac on 14 July.  One of Carl’s signature burgers is a combination of rump and chuck steak with herbs and spices, cayenne pepper, shallots, garlic and an all-important helping of Worcestershire sauce.

 

 

July’s food and drink events

July 2017 events

Were you one of the lucky people that got a ticket to the Birmingham Rum Festival that sold out this weekend? If not never fear, there plenty of food and drink events happening in July to whet your appetite.

Jean Christophe-Novelli is back in the West Midlands for a cookery demonstration at the Hereford Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday. Also in the festival spirit, Viva! will be bringing an array of vegan food and products to Coventry Cathedral.

 You could Sip British wine in a tour of Hencote Estate vineyard in Shrewsbury or go ‘across the pond’ to discover North American Wines at Spit Wine School in Birmingham.

 Learn how to cook Brazilian dishes at Oken’s Kitchen in Warwick, or take a culinary tour of South India at Unami’s monthly regional cuisine dinner.

Real ale fans will have a weekend at the Warwick Court Leet beer festival and a whole week with Birmingham’s  Beer Week to indulge in their favourite brew.

Juniper fans I haven’t forgotten you – head over to The Cross in Kenilworth  for a gin masterclass, with Shakespeare Distillery.

All the details and ticket information can be found on the July Events page. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

New skyline bar for Birmingham

The Haig Club entrance

From Thursday 29 June, whisky fans will be able to sip a few drams up on the 25th floor of The Cube, when the Haig Club Bar opens in Birmingham.

In charge of the drinks list is former Bourne & Co head barman Jack Spencer, who has created 22 whisky cocktails including the Twisted Scotsman – Haig Club, chocolate port, chocolate bitters and cinnamon syrup garnished with a cinnamon stick. A menu of small plates including black pudding bon bons will also be on hand.

The Haig Club Bar will be open from Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm until 1am and will seats 36 guests.

A mash-up of beer news

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the scorching weather is back and the news in my inbox all features beer, so here is a round-up of all things mash-related.

Ten Green Bottles Co Stone Stoke Sentinel

Ten Green Bottles branches out

Pub and off-licence Ten Green Bottles has expanded by opening its second site in Stone, Staffordshire. Joining the Newcastle-under-Lyme branch, this site stocks more than 60 varieties of bottled beer for people to take away, as well as offering seating for customers to enjoy a beer in the venue. It also serves wine by the bottle or glass and artisan gin, as well as coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

craft beer

Craft beer festival

Over in Leamington, The White Horse is raising a glass or two to the amber nectar during their Craft Beer Festival. From now until 15 July, the pub will be bringing you an exceptional range of bottled, cask, keg and canned craft beers, plus a range of show-stopping limited edition beers from independent American brewer, Sierra Nevada.There will be beer flights and a loyalty card where for every pint or beer flight you purchase, get your card stamped and your 7th pint is free.

Purity Brewing Co pint

A hat-trick of awards for Purity Ale

And its congratulations to Warwickshire’s own Purity Brewing Company for winning Small Business and Fast Growth Business of the Year at the West Midlands Business Masters awards. Followed by a winning vote for Mad Goose, which was named Best Bitter at the Wolverhampton CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival.

Family fun in Alcester

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Just in time for Fathers Day, Ragley Hall has a weekend of family fun lined up for Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June, in the lovely Alcester countryside.

There will be a full programme of free talks and demonstrations with opportunities to taste, learn, meet and talk with top chefs and producers.

Ragley Hall Food Festival chefs

At the Talks and Tastings Hub, Jane Devonshire, Masterchef Champion 2016, will be presenting family recipes as well as sharing tips and advice. Chef Rich Harris, author of BBQ Fire & Smoke will be demonstrating barbecue cuisine and alfresco dining. They will be joined by Brad Carter, of Michelin starred restaurant Carters of Moseley in Birmingham and Rob Kennedy, executive chef from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in cookery demonstrations. Marlow Renton from Wild Food UK, will also be leading foraging walks.

Food and drink lovers will find over 40 food and drink stalls including cheese and charcuterie raclette, wood fired pizza, handmade speciality sausages, Belgian fries, Indian street food, fresh juices and smoothies, strawberries and cream, artisan pies and sausage rolls, savoury African snacks, artisan fudge, ice cream desserts and French crepes  plus craft beer and cider on offer throughout the food festival.

Tickets to the food festival are included with entry to Ragley Hall, starting from children at £6.50 and adults at £10.50.

Oh and if you do pop along you will see me on stage on Sunday, as I will have the honour of compering the day’s events!

For more information, visit www.fantasticbritishfoodfestivals.com

 

Purnell’s golden ticket draw

Glynn Purnell Birmingham Mail.jpg

How would you celebrate your tenth anniversary? Michelin star chef Glynn Purnell is throwing a party for 30 very special guests to celebrate a decade of his restaurant opening in Birmingham city centre and you could be one of them!

Glynn is holding a golden ticket prize draw to select 30 lucky diners, who will enjoy a 10 course-dinner and champagne reception at Purnell’s on Friday 7 July as their prize.

Purnell's Restaurant dessert.jpg

Glynn says: “When I first opened Purnell’s back in 2007, I had no idea where we would be today thanks to our customers and suppliers who are all a fantastic support to us. The team I have built is amazing and we have been working hard to create a 10-course menu for our lucky anniversary night guests, that will celebrate some Purnell favourites and rework some of our original dishes.”

Purnell's Restaurant Birmingham.jpg

Glynn has received more than 1,000 entries already! To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets for the champagne reception and 10-course meal, all you have to do is send a SAE to :

Mr Purnell’s Golden Ticket Prize Draw
Purnell’s Restaurant
55 Cornwall Street
Birmingham B3 2DH.

The closing date is Thursday 15 June at 5pm good luck!

Jump into June’s events

June 2017 events

This is a good month to see your favourite chefs in action, with cookery demos at festivals all across the West Midlands in June.

Catch Jean-Christophe Novelli in Coventry,  Simpson’s Nathan Eades  at Foodies Festival in Birmingham, Brad Carter at Ragley Hall’s Fabulous Food Festival and Chris Burt at Shrewsbury Food & Drink Festival.

Specialist dinners this month include a forage walk and inspired menu in Hereford at Madam & Adam, celebrating asparagus at The Cross in Kenilworth and three of Colmore Row’s best eateries in an evening tour.

Look out for National Beer Day themed events in Staffordshire too, with a supper club and beer tasting.

The Perfect Serve

On Saturday my partner and I went along to Coventry Cathedral for the Gin Festival. I am a massive gin fan, him not so much, so to be faced with more than 100 gins was going to be a challenge.

Gin Festival 20 May 2017

On arrival we were handed our Spanish style balloon tasting glasses, a Gin Explorers Guide and a handy across the body bag. Then we were directed to the tills to purchase tokens – this is the important bit –  the bars do not accept cash and just like a coffee shop loyalty card each time you purchase a drink and mixer your card is stamped. A fiver gets you a shot of gin, mixer and garnish.

Then free to wander to the four bar stations A – D each containing different optics it was decision time. Classic London Dry? A sweeter Plymouth blend? A malty genever or fruit infusions?

Based on a very scientific method of attractive bottle shape, funky names and ingredients we would not associate with gin we chose –

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Nelson’s Gin

Created by a chef, vanilla and cinnamon are the standout flavours in this gin distilled in Staffordshire.

Poetic License Old Tom Gin with Fever Tree ginger ale tonic.jpg

Poetic License Old Tom

Aged in oak casks with a rose gold colour this is a sweet and peppery gin from Sunderland.

Da Mhile seaweed gin.jpg

Da Mhile Seaweed Gin

Infused for three weeks, the lemon, thyme and fennel make a striking combination in this Welsh gin.

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G’Vine Floraison

Special ingredients here are flowers that only bloom for a week to give this graceful French gin its honeyed taste.

As with beer and wine pairing with food, there are also recommendations on which mixer to accompany your gin.

According to the sponsor Fever Tree, juniper and robust gins go with an aromatic tonic; citrus and herbaceous gins benefit from rosemary, lemon and thyme; sloe and damson varieties need a lemon based tonic while fresh and floral gins match well with elderflower tonic.

The Gintleman gin cocktails

A team of mixologists were also on hand creating a menu of gin-based cocktails (at £10 or two tokens each).

Tinker gin at Gin Festival Coventry Cathedral

As well  as sampling gins, you can also learn more about the different brands, so we sat in on the Tinker Gin talk – a Spanish style gin which is distilled in Yorkshire.

Jym and Marie Harris Gin Festival

If not the first, then one of the earliest UK touring events Gin Festival  was set up in 2013 by husband and wife team Jym and Marie Harris. Across the country you can find new gins, learn more about the spirit and buy directly from distilleries.

My top five tips for getting the best out of a Gin Festival event are:

  1. Buy more tokens than you think you are going to need, as you can purchase a ‘takeaway tipple’ 25ml shot in a mini jar to take home with you.
  2. Ask the bartenders to go easy on the ice, so as not to dilute the delicate spirit too much.
  3. Make a note of your favourites in the Gin Explorers Book (unless you have a photographic memory.)
  4. Don’t expect a great selection of food, only olives and tapas were on offer in Coventry, this event is all about the booze.
  5. Fill in the mail order form and leave it with the onsite off-license so that you don’t have to carry your purchases home.

The next Gin Festival in the Midlands will be held in Stoke on Trent  at the Victoria Hall, from Friday 23 – Saturday 24 June.

Don’t forget to check my blog next week, for my round-up of gin tastings to celebrate World Gin Day on 9 June!