#MeatFreeWeek – a feast for the eyes

Continuing the meat free theme for this week, here are three veggie dishes created by local chefs that are a feast for the eyes as much as the tummy!

 Fresh Rootz empanada

Fresh Rootz, Leamington

World street food like spinach and mushroom empanadas at markets and events

 Fusca Cafe salad

Fusca Café, Ryton Organic Gardens

New spring salad.Korean inspired sugar snap pea and orange salad with pickled beetroot and  Kalwanji seed hummus

Warehouse Cafe lunch special

Warehouse Café, Digbeth

A lunch special of tricolour rice and marinated tofu salad with roasted organic Jerusalem artichoke, leek, butternut squash and parsnip

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Fabulous February

Over on the Events page you’ll find my top ten picks for food and drink events this month.

Feb events

The Sketts Fine Foods Market in Victoria Square and Food Market at the mac are great places to buy hot food to eat there and then as well as treats to take home.

Over a leisurely four courses,  Portugese and German wines will be tasted at Hotel du Vin and Square Door wine tasting dinners.

The art of tea is explored at Itihaas and following Chinese New Year Lap-Fai Lee tutors a Chinese Family Feast evening class at Harborne Food School.

Street food fans need to know that Leamington’s own Fresh Rootz make their debut at Digbeth Dining Club, while street food guru  Low n Slow is back at Brew Dog for a pop-up. Andy’s signature ribs, alongside ox cheek tacos and brisket fries will be on the menu.

The popular Opus Dinner Series continues with Carrolls Heritage Potatoes hosting the next evening. Over at their sister venue Bar Opus, you can shake it up with Sam during an hour long cocktails masterclass.

So whether you are food shopping with local producers, learning about wine regions, tucking into street food or mastering new culinary skills it all adds up to being a fabulous February!

 

 

Weekend food telly

Over the weekend you can play spot the local food hero on Channel 4.

weekend tv

The yummie Brummie Glynn Purnell will be appearing on Weekend Kitchen on Saturday as the programme returns for a second series.

On Sunday street food pioneer Richard Johnson will be talking to Leamington Spa’s very own Fresh Rootz on Sunday Brunch.

Fresh Rootz and Carmela’s Kitchen branch out

It is not just the weather that is putting a spring into my step. Over the weekend two new businesses opened that I am really looking forward to visiting – the new Fresh Rootz café at Garden Organic and La Volpe restaurant in Charwelton, Northamptonshire.

Fresh Rootz bed into Ryton Organic Gardens

Fresh Rootz at Garden Organic

BBC Good Food Show Best Midlands Street Food winners Fresh Rootz have found a new home. Chefs Andrew and Martyn will be serving up their vegetarian and vegan world street food at the Garden Organic café in Ryton, just outside Coventry.

Chief Executive of Garden Organic James Campbell said: “The food and ethos of Fresh Rootz fits perfectly with what we are trying to achieve at Ryton Organic Gardens. Their recipes are built around fresh, local food that is not only fantastically tasty, but good for you too.

“We know that being able to enjoy fresh, healthy food and drink is important to our visitors and members, and we strongly believe that this new catering provision will take us one step closer to the vision we all share for the future of Ryton Organic Gardens.”

Martyn said “We plan on using the produce grown in the gardens within our recipes, with a new seasonal dish every day. We are also creating a relaxed indoor space for people to enjoy the food, with wonderful views out into the gardens. We’ve been looking for a venue to open a café but could never have imagined finding somewhere as beautiful as Ryton Organic Gardens.”

Locals uncork community spirit to save The Fox and Hounds

The Fox and Hounds

Villagers in Charwelton, Norhamptonshire raised £120,000via a community share issue to save their local pub The Fox and Hounds from being turned into housing.

The pub re-opened last month and over the weekend the refurbishment was complete as La Volpe, a rustic Italian restaurant opened. Local Italian cookery tutor, demonstrator and food writer Carmela Sereno Hayes is in charge of the kitchen, where fresh vongole and veal will be on the menu.

Eat Street, Leamington’s first street food market

Whether you eat it with a fork or your fingers, the quality of artisan food served from the vans and stalls in street food markets has been giving cafés and restaurants a run for their money for a while now.

In the West Midlands Birmingham has two successful street food organisers in the Digbeth Dining Club and Brumyumyum, so I was keen to see what genteel Leamington Spa had to offer in its first Eat Street food market.

Eat Street Leamington Spa

Situated in Regent Court, the wide paved area runs from The Parade to Regent Street in the town centre, it is a good location to attract passers-by. Maria Hughes, manager of Regent Court shopping centre said: “We’re pleased to be holding this weekly market. It adds another dimension to the offering here and I’m sure it will be popular with shoppers once they discover the tasty treats available.”

Fresh Rootz at Eat Street

The first two vans I saw belonged to BBC Good Food Show Midlands Street Food winners Fresh Rootz and Jabberwocky who are also both from Leamington. Jabberwocky’s Flic and Barney told me that “it’s great to finally have a street food market in our home town, this is what Leamington has always needed.” They have written about Eat Street on their blog  so you get a vendor’s perspective of the new street food market.

Barmey and Flic The Jabberwocky

Most food markets in the area are run by Sketts, but Eat Street is down to a family-run Warwickshire company CJS Events.  Jamie Walker said: “As a local company we’ve always been keen to set up a market in Leamington Spa. With other local towns having a market of some kind, we felt Leamington was missing out and Regent Court is the ideal place to have it.”

Annie's Ice Cream Van

Big Daddies Diner

The Big Red Pig at Eat Street Leamington Spa

Funky Cupcake Company at Eat Street Leamington Spa

Deli2dine4 at Eat Street Leamington Spa

Leamington already has a thriving food festival and variety of food shops, so I hope that the town, residents and visitors grab the delicious, innovative, food to go with both hands.

Eat Street plans to have around a dozen stalls selling tasty food and produce, every Friday from 9am – 4pm.

More pictures on www.facebook.com/MidlandsGourmetGirl

STOP PRESS:  New food openings in Leamington over the next few weeks include The Larder, a deli and coffee shop, followed by a bakery from George Casey – so keep checking the blog for updates.

BBC Good Food Show Summer

Yesterday I was at the opening day of the BBC Good Food Show Summer. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or are a seasoned visitor, here are my five top tips for making the most of the show.

1. Download the iPhone app

BBC Good Food Show app

The BBC Good Food Show Summer app helps you to plan your day, with the latest theatre timetables, the show floorplan and current exhibitor list, ticket offers plus tips on accommodation and where to eat.

2. Use the Shop & Drop service

BBC Good Food Show deli products

Forget the hassle of pulling a trolley around or carrying bags, as you buy products leave them at the drop off point to collect later.

3. Talk to the producers

BBC-Good-Food-Show-Summer-007

They all have great stories to tell and one of the main reasons for them being at the show is to find out more about their customers. Many producers launch new products at the show, so you can be among the first to try something different.

4. Watch a demonstration

BBC Good Food Show demos

The atmosphere in the theatres is buzzing and you get to see TV chefs in action. This is the biggest consumer food show in the country, where 41 chefs and food personalities appear on seven different stages.

5. Sample food from Midlands Best Street Food Winners

BBC Good Food Show chillies

This is a new feature for 2013. The four winners – The Jabberwocky, Ross & Ross, Squisito and Fresh Rootz are situated between the Good Food Show and Gardener’s World Live opposite the Visitors Entrance to Hall 18. Have a break from the crowds and some fresh air at the outdoor seating area.

Tickets are available for Friday 14th and Sunday 16th June (Saturday is sold out) http://www.bbcgoodfoodshowsummer.com

Best Midlands Street Food Winners

Congratulations to the four winners of the BBC Good Food Show competition for Best Midlands Street Food – Squisito, The Jabberwocky, Fresh Rootz and Ross & Ross Food.

Squisito Tuscan sausages

From Farmers Markets to supper clubs and private events, Squisito share their love for Italian food and seasonal ingredients from Warwickshire all over the Midlands. http://squisito-deli.co.uk

The Jabberwocky Barny and Flic

The Jabberwocky is a green 1986 long wheelbase VW Transporter van, where Barny and Flic create their gourmet toasties. http://www.thejabberwocky.co.uk

Fresh Rootz street food

Martin and Andy from Fresh Rootz, create healthy vegetarian and vegan food to appeal to children and adults alike. http://www.freshrootz.co.uk

Ross and Ross Food

Ross Bearman and Ross Whitmill from the Cotswolds create terrines and potted meats, using great British produce and traditional artisanal methods. http://www.rossandrossfood.co.uk

You can enjoy all of the winners’  tasty snacks at the BBC Good Food Show Summer from 12 – 16 June at the NEC.

ALSO AS A MIDLANDS GOURMET GIRL READER YOU CAN USE THE MGG15 CODE TO RECEIVE 15% OFF BBC GOOD FOOD SHOW SUMMER TICKETS !!https://www.theticketfactory.com/sgfs/online

MIdlands Street Food

When the BBC Good Food Show invited me to take part in a campaign to find the best street food in Midlands, I had no hesitation in saying yes.

The street food revolution started at farmers markets. Stalls selling rare breed sausages next to organic rolls saw the benefit of working together to add value to their products, putting the sausages into rolls and selling them. The good idea spread to vendors who went to festivals and other events in their mobile units and a new food trend was born.

As the growth of pop-ups and supper clubs has shown, you don’t need the confines of a restaurant to enjoy great food. Some of the most innovative food in the Midlands is now being served out of trailers, carts and vintage vans.

The Jabberwocky

If you have eaten a gourmet toastie from The Jabberwocky, a Meat Shack burger of 28 day aged beef, a veggie wrap from Fresh Rootz or chicken fried in Belgian beer batter from Van29, then you will already be a fan.

You can nominate your favourite street food at www.facebook.com/BBCGoodFoodShow or tweet @BBCGoodFoodShow using #MidlandsStreetFood before 16 April.

Fresh Rootz veggie heaven in Leamington

Fresh Rootz

In Solihull on Saturday at the Fine & Local Food Fayre, I lunched on a huge tasty wrap filled with mixed vegetable pakoras, salad, yoghurt and mint dressing with fresh coriander from the lovely guys at Fresh Rootz. Inspired by the cooking vegetarian food that appeals to kids, Martin and Andrew take their passion to food events and markets in Warwickshire. http://www.freshrootz.co.uk

Based in Leamington, Fresh Rootz will soon have a new home. They are one of the local independent food businesses taking space in a new food outlet. Independent Street is launching soon and will be home to passionate foodies offering great tasting and locally produced food. http://www.independentstreet.co.uk