Cheshire Food Blog

Brunch at No. 12 Easton, Bristol

A couple of weeks ago, Bradley and I went on one of our road-trips to Bristol to visit close friends. It was a bit of a Glastonbury reunion and also an opportunity to see our friends’ really cool new house. It was a weekend of epic proportions; they were amazing hosts and we really did enjoy ourselves… probably a little bit too much judging by the enormity of the hangover that was to follow! But, hey, it was all worth it…

We arrived on the Friday evening, ready bright and early for Saturday’s antics. Our hosts, Becky & Craig, know how much we like cool and quirky places to eat, so they picked out somewhere to take us for brunch on the Saturday morning. We needed something tasty, hearty and filling to keep us going throughout the day… So we headed to No. 12 Easton.

A cool, down-to-earth little coffee house and Deli, situated in the Easton area of Bristol, not far from Stapleton Rd station. The place was busy when we arrived (always a good sign) and the girls on shift were quick to welcome us. They helped us find some seats (as there was 7 of us) outside in the, bright, sunny little courtyard.

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Cheshire Food Blog
Impressive selection of free range cured bacon, pork sausages, chorizo and free range chicken ❤
Cheshire Food Blog
Healthy selection of fine cheeses, butters, cooked meats and pickles ❤
Cheshire Food Blog
A stunning selection of cakes – the short bread was absolutely gorgeous ❤

We ordered a range of brunch/breakfast style dishes, and some of the guys opted for more ‘lunchtime’ options with sandwiches.

I opted for the sausage sandwich with mustard & red onion marmalade. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know I have an unadulterated obsession with sausages. The bread was incredible, soft but sturdy slabs of white, bouncy bread – perfect to fuel a day of drinking alcohol in the sunshine! The onion marmalade was sweet and sharp, and the mustard was wholegrain which gave it a lovely, savory kick. The sausages themselves were thin, sliced chipolatas, but very meaty indeed. Delicious.

Brad opted for the waffles and bacon with maple syrup, of course! He tells me it tasted as good as it looked (amazing), even though the table was wobbly and he dropped it on the floor, quickly preceded by him picking it up and devouring the whole thing anyway… strictly adhering to the 3 second rule… of course.

Becky and Craig went all out for the sandwich option and both got the house smoked chicken and gammon sandwich with Pitt Cue sauce and pickles. It looked lush.

The cakes on offer also looked absolutely divine. We had a big slab of shortbread and it tasted amazing – chunky, sweet and buttery. It crumbled perfectly then just melted in your mouth as you washed it down with a cup of their delicious coffee, which they source from Extract Coffee  and Round Hill Roastery. I don’t know much about coffee – but compared to the usual Starkbucks or Costa, this stuff had such an epic depth of flavour somehow and really gave you a nice little wake-up buzz from the caffeine.

Cheshire Food Blog
Epic sausage butty and door-stop bread
Cheshire Food Blog
house smoked chicken and gammon sandwich with Pitt Cue sauce and pickles
Cheshire Food Blog
Coffee with a added art, which does look a little bit like a willy! ❤

Overall this place was great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, coffee or cakes. If you’re in the area I would highly recommend!

Follow No. 12 Easton on Twitter.

No. 12 Easton, Bristol, 12 High St, BS5 6DL.

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Cheshire Food Blog

Robert Owen-Brown Supper Club, the Yard, Alderley Edge

Cheshire Food Blog

Last night I attended another Supper Club. I am beginning to get a little obsessed with these types of dining experiences. Not so long ago I went to an authentic home-made Italian food supper club in Manchester and before that another pop-up supper club featuring some amazing Malaysian home-cooking which was also a really special experience. My taste buds concurred.

I find that Supper Clubs are so much more of a food adventure. Everybody eats the same menu and it’s great to meet new, like-minded people and have a good old chat over some really delicious scran. Last night was no exception.

Last night’s event was arranged by Inca Pop Ups (run by Claire Kerkham) who specialise in sourcing, organising and hosting such food events, usually in unassuming but very cool settings which Claire hunts down and hand-picks herself.

The Setting and Host Chef

Last night’s event was at the Yard, Alderley Edge. A really beautiful café, shop and event space that focus on ethical, healthy products and delicious, wholesome foods in their ‘conscious kitchen’ café. Tucked away behind the main high street in this glamorous, Cheshire village, it’s the perfect spot to host an event of this size with it’s large, open kitchen and rustic dining area.

The real star of the show last night was no less than Robert Owen-Brown, ex-head Chef of the famous Mark Addy pub and now seasoned pop-up chef, this man really knows how to cook ‘real’ food. He prides himself on using only the finest quality, locally sourced ingredients and transforms them into hearty, classic dishes that really do blow you away with their simplicity and earthiness. He foraged the wild mushrooms from the beef dish himself from Delamere Forest, and the partridge in the game terrine was sourced just up the road (not far from Dunham Massey). It was fantastic to eat truly local food, cooked by a local chef in a wonderful local setting just 10 minutes away from my house. ❤

We were greeted by the Inca Pop Ups team with a glass of Prosecco and Kombucha with a blackberry which was delightful. We were seated on a large, rustic, wooden table right next to the kitchen where we could see chef hard at work, but still managing to look collected and relaxed. I was with Jo Cooksey from Taste Today, and after acquainting ourselves with the lovely guests on our table (Lucy Hope, aka The Chanteuse and the professional photographer for the evening Simon Brown, aka Travelling Simon) we were ready to eat.

Before we were served, chef said a few words, talking us through his menu choices and why he uses seasonal produce. He also mentioned there might be some butter present in each dish (to keep things healthy) and he might have admitted to eating fish food as a child, a very humble man with a great sense of humour indeed!

Robert also mentioned his new cookbook ‘Crispy Squirrel and Vimto Trifle’ which a few of us bought, and he signed. It was great to hear from him before the feast commenced.

The Food

The first course; Hand dived scallop with celeriac and coral cream (and razor clams).

Cheshire Food Blog

This dish tasted as good as it looked. The delicate orange coloured sauce was perfectly seasoned, and made from the roe of the scallops (the best bit!) which Robert pointed out many restaurants discard. It was great to taste a complete dish that resourcefully uses the whole product with very little wastage. The celeriac also delicious, crunchy and firm.

The next dish was a real contrast; Classic game terrine with hedgerow berry chutney.

Cheshire Food Blog

Succulent, juicy bits of top-quality game snuggly moulded together with the welcomed edition of black pudding which really gave this terrine a lovely other dimension. The seasonal berry chutney was only slightly sweet, which complimented the savouriness of the meat so well.

It was at this point one of the other guests at our table, Margaret, showed us her beautiful bottle of Rioja, which she kindly let us try. The Yard serves alcohol, so you were welcome to buy a bottle from their selection (they also had chilled beers) or pay just £2 corkage to take your own, which is what Margaret did. One of the nicest red wines I’ve had the pleasure to taste. Thank you, Margaret!

After a short rest (and a look around The Yard’s beautiful shop, images below) we were ready for the main course; Lightly smoked fillet of beef, wild mushrooms and good king henry.

The beef was outstanding. It was so tender, seasoned to perfection and melted in your mouth. The gravy was packed full of rich flavour, but still light. The potato fondant was delicate but substantial and the wild mushrooms were earthy and added great texture. The ‘good king henry’ is an edible plant, chef likened it to a mixture between spinach and kale and it really was delicious, as were the sweet, mini, sculpted carrots. A hearty portion size too – an outstanding main course and again, empty plates all round.

On to dessert; Dark chocolate and wild honey ‘Cambridge cream’, orange fudge and vanilla froth.

Cheshire Food Blog

This is honestly one of the nicest chocolate desserts I have eaten. Cambridge cream is the English crème brûlée.  Here, Robert made a dark chocolate and honey version which was somehow light and not at all sickly. The hint of orange flavour from the orange fudge was beautiful and the vanilla froth really topped it off nicely, the presentation looking like a freshly poured Cappuccino. The home-made flapjack on the side was divinely buttery (as expected) and just melted in your mouth. Both flavours and presentation, this pudding was very clever indeed, and not at all pretentious. I loved it.

Last but not least, the final course; Cave aged goats cheese & Camembert with thyme waffle

Cheshire Food Blog

As a lover of all things savoury (and cheese, of course) I was delighted to see this as the final dish of the evening. The thyme waffles were an absolute delight, slightly sweet but a fantastic contrast to the savoury sharpness of the aged goats cheese. A wonderful, creative take on the classic (and now seemingly boring!) ‘cheese and biscuits’. Hats off to the chef.

The Tea Alchemist

To round things off, we got the choice of one of the wonderful Alchemist Tea’s. Each came served in a teapot, teacup and saucer that complimented the nature of the tea. I went for the Dragon Well tea; which came served in this wonderful cast-iron teapot and oriental iron cup. The taste was delicate and refreshing, and it really worked well to cleanse the palette after such a wonderful meal.

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Overall this was an absolutely delightful evening of food, drink and great company in a wonderful setting. It was the ultimate celebration of local produce and down-to-earth, hearty, good food that doesn’t hide behind fancy names. Excellently cooked, seasonal ingredients from our wonderful Cheshire surroundings.

I look forward to attending future events hosted by Inca Pops, you can do so by keeping a close eye on their Facebook page. Many thanks to Claire, Robert and the team for hosting such an outstanding event.

A few other images of the Yard and event can be found below;

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog

Cheshire Food Blog


I attended this event as a guest of the host and as such received a complimentary meal. However, all my opinions above are my honest interpretations of the evenings offerings.

Cheats Sunday Roast with Hache Steaks & Roast Summer Veg

If you live as a couple, like I do with my boyfriend, Bradley, making a full blown roast dinner for just the 2 of you can be a real faff. There are loads of elements to a well-executed Sunday roast; perfectly roasted joint of meat, the all-important roasties and of course the nation’s favourite, Yorkshire puds.

The point I am trying to make is that sometimes, you want a complete roast but it’s not worth getting sweaty in the kitchen for hours for just the two of you. I’m sure you all have other things you would rather be doing… 😉

So, Brad and I have 3 solutions to this (that we rotate on a regular basis); 1. go to the pub for a roast, The Bulls Head is a stone’s throw down the road and their roasts are great, 2. go to one of our parents’ house for the traditional family Sunday roast with all the trimmings, or 3. make an easier, trimmed down version in the comfort of our own kitchen.

Today I want to share with you just one of my varieties of option 3. An easy, less-fuss-than-your-average Sunday roast that still tastes great, has (most) of the trimmings and is actually a lot less calorific. Using the hache steaks means you still get a big slab of juicy, tender beef, it’s just not from a whole roasted joint. Using instant gravy granules is a great substitute for proper gravy (afterall, you can’t make proper gravy without fat from the roasted meat anyway) which has hardly any calories in comparison. A roast isn’t a roast without Yorkshire puds, so don’t panic – I’ve not left those bad boys out.

I say give this a go one Sunday! Easy peasy. From start to finish this takes about an hour and serves 2, with a few leftovers for a midnight snack if you wish!

What you need:

For the Roasted Summer Veg

  • 4 British carrots
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 5 shallots
  • 2 tbsp Calvia Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Calvia Honey
  • 1 tsp each of coriander seeds and cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh Thyme

For the Yorkies

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 large egg

For the rest

  • 2 hache steaks, I use these from Muscle Foods
  • 4 heaped tsp of gravy granules
  • 1 pack of Cheshire Farm Roast Potatoes
  • Choice of greens for steaming (I used fresh broccoli and frozen petits pois)
  • Bisto instant gravy granules (chicken or beef)

What to do

First of all, make your Yorkshire pudding batter. Combine the flour, milk and egg in a bowl and mix well (I use a hand blender). Once fully mixed, cover and set aside in the fridge until later.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Next, prepare your veg. Chop the carrots and courgettes into 3cm chunks and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tray. Peel and halve the shallots and add them to the tray too. Drizzle with the Calvia rapeseed oil and add the thyme, bay leaves and season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Give the pan a good shake so all the veg is evenly coated.  Pop in the middle shelf of the preheated oven, and set the time for 40 minutes.

Cheshire Food Blog

Using a pestle and mortar, grind the cumin and coriander seeds well and set aside.

Prep your greens by washing, chopping and adding to a steamer pan, ready to steam later.

Remove the Cheshire Farm roasties from the packaging and place on a roasting tray. Add to the middle shelf of the oven, alongside the roasted veg. At this point, add a tbsp of rapeseed oil to a yorkshire pudding tray (I use one like this) and add to the top shelf of the oven, to heat the oil before adding the batter.

After 15 minutes, remove the roasted veg from the oven and give it a stir. Add the balsamic vinegar, Calvia honey and spices and return to the oven. Check your roasties and turn them over now – this is your last chance!

At this point, you should have about 25 minutes left on the timer. Perfect for Yorkshire puddings. Carefully remove the yorkshire pudding tray with hot oil from the top shelf, and add 1 ladleful of the batter to each dip in the tray. Return the tray to the top shelf of the oven and don’t open the door until it’s ready (allow at least 20 minutes before opening the door)!

On the hob, heat water to the boil in a steamer saucepan ready for the greens, and also set a heavy-based griddle pan or frying pan over a medium heat ready to cook the steaks

Put the veg on to steam for 10 minutes over a low simmer

Lightly oil the steaks and add to the hot pan, cook for 3.5 mins on each side for medium-rare and if they are done before the veg and the rest of the roast, remove them from the pan and wrap them in tin foil until needed. This will keep them hot and will tenderise them further as the meat rests

Prep your gravy by mixing boiling water (from the steamed veg if you can) with the instant granules as per the packet instructions

Hopefully, everything should come together at around the same time! Plate up your feast, serve with English mustard and creamy Horseradish and voila, your cheats roast is served!

Do you live as a couple, or maybe a house share with friends? What’s your favourite thing to cook and eat on a Sunday? Tweet your pictures to @sophiesscran on Twitter or give me a tag @sophiesscran on Instagram! I would love to see your #happySunday snaps ❤

Urban Burger Bar, Altrincham

I recently joined a couple of workmates in a local burger bar for dinner.  We chose the Urban Burger Bar in Altrincham, as the reviews were pretty good, and of course, we all love burgers.

Photos of our visit are quite limited (to just 2!) as my phone battery was running low and I was driving to Liverpool that evening and needed it as a sat-nav. So, instead of going wild and taking copious amounts of photographs, we sat down, relaxed and got to choosing our burgers from their rather extensive range!

Located on Greenwood Street, they are just a 5 minute walk from Altrincham Station, and very close to Altrincham Market. The place has been decorated well with a rustic, laid-back vibe which I really liked. We didn’t book, so we opted for a window seat where we settled ourselves on high, grey metal stools and high wooden tables. Other seating options included regular tables and chairs and some comfy looking, bright cushioned booths towards the back of the restaurant. The bar is situated in the middle of the dining space.

The staff were very friendly and attentive, offering to talk us through the menu and explaining that all their beef burgers are served pink, unless you wish to have them cooked otherwise.

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The Wellington

Having saved ourselves all day, we were hungry. So (2 of us) we went for the double-stack options, which I thought were really reasonable in price. Lucia ordered the “The Wellington” which was a double beef patty, toasted bun, truffle mayo, sautéed mushrooms, maple mustard, spinach, double Jack cheese and dill pickle. I know, right!? A FEAST IN A BUN! She really enjoyed it. Ate every last bite. Little fatty!

The Firecracker
The Firecracker

Being the spice-lover that I am, I could resist in going for “The Firecracker”. This one was also a double beef patty (also a fatty), toasted bun, jalapeño and chilli’s, Jack cheese, tomato, salad and ‘Urban’ sauce. The meat itself was tender, juicy and absolutely full of flavour. Well seasoned and cooked as described – ‘just through’. The chips were also delicious, freshly cooked and crispy, as well as lightly seasoned with some salt which was nice. The garlic mayo was also a highlight, it came served in mini glass Kilner-style jars, which was a little awkward, but I can see what they were trying to do and it does fit in with the ‘trendy’ theme.

Aimee, my not-so-greedy friend, went for the “Urban Chick” Chicken breast burger, toasted bun, urban sauce, salad Jack cheese, bbq sauce, bacon & salad. She really enjoyed it and went for the grilled chicken option, as opposed to the ‘Urban fried chicken’ version. I know, good on her. She healthy!

As we were nearing the end of our meal (around 7pm), the place started to fill up. To my surprise, the clientele was very mixed in age, which I think is a good sign. There were families with children aged about 10-12 years old, all seemingly enjoying chowing down on a proper beef burger. Goes to show this place is popular with local families, for a reasonably priced treat for the kids after school.

Overall, I would recommend the Urban Burger Bar to anyone who is a fan of a decent burger. Their restaurant is cool and the menu is pretty extensive. They also have an ice-cream bar where you can choose your own sweets and chocolate toppings – probably very popular with the kids (and the big-kids, of course!) The only thing I would say is that with burger’s becoming (and staying) increasingly popular, especially in Manchester, it would be good to see some more adventurous options on the menu, to ensure they keep up with this well-established trend.

I paid full price for my meal at Urban Burger Bar, and they did not know I was going to review their food.

30-32 Greenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1RZ

Follow Urban Burger Bar on Facebook and Twitter.

Miyagi’s, Bold St, Liverpool

Liverpool is a place I am very fond of. I lived there for 3 years, in Wavertree, whilst studying a Psychology undergraduate degree at Liverpool Hope University. Many, many memories were made there. But when it came to Graduation (I graduated with a first!) it was time to leave the city as my housemates (all Irish and heading back across the pond) were doing the same. I was too much of a wimp to brave it alone.

Looking back, sometimes I wish I had stayed – but I have no regrets. The life I live now is amazing, and honestly, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I do however keep an eye on the Liverpool food scene as much as I can, and my ‘Liverpool List’ is becoming increasingly longer! And I happen to know a few MCR foodies who’d agree!

So as my Irish best friend was back in lovely Liverpool for a few days this weekend, how could I not go and reminisce with her over food & cocktails. After a bit of Twitter research, I decided it had to be MIYAGI’S.

Hannah & I enjoying our cocktails upstairs in KYO bar
Hannah & I enjoying our cocktails upstairs in KYO bar

MIYAGI’S is set at the top-end of Bold Street (number 77, to be precise). They serve up a wonderful range of sushi, yakitori, hearty bowls (including Laksa), Japanese ‘soul food’ and some impressive sounding ‘big plates’. Their menu is Japanese inspired and it’s honestly stunning – I could have closed my eyes and cast my finger on the menu and literally eaten anything from it. ❤

They don’t take reservations for less than 6 people, so as we arrived just after 7:30pm (on Sunday evening) it was a short 20 minute wait for a table for two. We had the choice of having a drink in the bar downstairs or upstairs, and as we were intrigued by upstairs… up we went. To our surprise, the first floor had a completely different look and feel to downstairs, and we later found out this is KYO, their sister late-night bar serving a smaller food menu (until 1am!) and a load of #GuiltyPleasures which sounded epic. Basically a mix of puddings, cocktails and milkshakes with sweets and chocolates and ice-pops and all sorts. We ordered a cocktail up here and the nice bar lady whipped us up a treat – I chose the Ghetto Geisha: pineapple, coconut water, lychee, Havana 3 year Rum & coconut rum – beautifully garnished with a flower and a pink sugar rim. Honestly the best cocktail I have ever tasted, and it looked gorgeous too. You could certainly taste the rum but it married so well with the other fresh, delicate flavours. Hannah went for the Cho Cho San: fresh mint, grapefruit, cranberry, green tea syrup, Giffard pamplemousse & Finlandia grapefruit vodka. Another absolute cracker.

When our table was ready we were escorted downstairs by (another) lovely member of staff. We were seated on a nice table with a low-hanging light above it, with a stunning Japanese-style lampshade. We decided to order a mix of things to share between us both. Our lovely waitress (also named Sophie) was happy to talk us through the menu and also made some great recommendations.

I was really keen to try the Miyagi Fried Chicken with Kimchi mayo, so we ordered 6 pieces which was great value at £9.95. Also from the ‘Soul Food’ menu we chose the Fried crispy duck gyoza with hoisin,£5.75. Keen to try their sushi offering, we ordered a portion of the Yellowfin tuna Nigiri (£6.95) and the Salmon California Rolls (£5.95). Last, but by no means least, we opted for a portion of Mr M’s Tempura, the vegetable option as recommended by Sophie (asparagus, courgette and broccoli, £6.95).

We were told the food arrived when it was ready, so we got straight to catching up on old-times, when only about 20 minutes later the food started to arrive. First up was the sushi, and Sophie came across to the table and asked if we liked wasabi. Yes, was the definitive answer from both of us, so she proceeded to serve up some freshly grated wasabi using traditional (and stunning) Japanese utensils. She told us that there’s only 1 place in the UK who produce proper wasabi – and that’s where this stuff was from. It was barely green, more so a creamy-beige colour and the taste was hot yet milder than other varieties (which are commonly Horseradish dyed green to imitate real wasabi).

The sushi itself was delightful. It was served, of course, with pickled ginger and soy, and the quality of the tuna was absolutely fantastic. It was so tender and just melted in your mouth.

Next came along the duck gyoza with hoisin. The duck parcels were hot, crispy and packed full of delicious, meaty duck. The sauce was smooth and light and tasted so fruity. Sometimes hoisin can be heavy and sticky but this was neither, it was yum.

Crispy duck gyoza with light hoisin
Crispy duck gyoza with light hoisin

We were able to have a short break after these three dishes, but then shortly after came out the vegetable tempura. I really liked how it was served as long batons, obviously complimenting the natural shape of the tenderstem broccoli and asparagus, but the courgette was cut to match and it just worked really well. It came with a creamy/seasoned/mayo-like sauce which was also delicious.

Mr M's vegetable tempura (asparagus, broccoli & courgette)
Mr M’s vegetable tempura (asparagus, broccoli & courgette)

Next to adorn our table was the Miyagi fried chicken. A great mixture of thigh, (huge) wings and drumsticks. It arrived with a plate of something we had never seen before – pickled watermelon rind! It sounds strange but it was really tasty, it was sweet and sour and went with the spicy chicken surprisingly well. The chicken itself was crispy on the outside and absolutely tender and succulent in the middle, the meat almost fell off the bone. The kimchi mayo was spicy, which was great, and dunking the chicken in it was so satisfying! A really great dish.

Soul Food: Miyagi Fried Chicken with spicy kimchi mayo
Soul Food: Miyagi Fried Chicken with spicy kimchi mayo

Overall, this was a fabulous meal and very reasonably priced in my opinion. The staff were so lovely, chatty and helpful too which was great (especially Sophie!) The only downfall is that the menu is so brilliant I will have to take many trips to Liverpool and back just to try the rest of it! Next time I want to try their amazing sounding steamed hirata buns, one of their big bowls of Ramen or Laksa AND one of their big plates e.g. Teriyaki rib-eye steak! Gonna have to wear my stretchy pants!

Follow Miyagi on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. And check out their full food menu here. ❤


I paid for my meal in full and Miyagi’s did not know I was going to review the meal.
Food at Glastonbury 2015

Food at #Glasto15

So I just spent the last 6 days in a field, at Glastonbury, camping and watching some of the best live music acts I have ever seen. I made some amazing new friends, ate some unusual but tasty food and managed to survive the whole time without a hot shower (which was easier than I thought it would be!)

This isn’t going to be the longest blog post, as at times my phone was so low on battery I couldn’t even take a photograph of my food, let alone video some of the live acts I went to see (Florence and the Machine, The Libertines, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Groove Armada, Andy C, Jamie T and Mary J Blige – to name a few!) So here’s a little summary of what I got up to, including, of course, what I ate…

Food at Glastonbury 2015

Being ever-prepared for pretty much anything, me and my man Bradley took along a stove, kettle, frying pan and some essential ingredients. So, with a chilled cool-box in tow, we were able to make our own food for the first 2 days. This was a great way to save some money, although we generally didn’t find the food on offer at the festival too over-priced (average price for breakfast is a fiver, average price for a main meal is £7-8). Meals during the first 2 days consisted of homemade bacon butties, egg butties and sausages… all served with BBQ sauce (as we forgot the Ketchup). All in all, pretty decent meals which gave us plenty of energy; much needed considering the sheer size of the festival, walking distance from place to place and of course, the all night rave parties…

Each morning, a guy would come round the campsite selling fresh milk. This was a total life saver, as it meant we could make a brew for ourselves and friends AND make use of the cute mini packs of cereal we brought along (Crunchy Nut, Cheerio’s and Shredded Wheat). Winning at life.

If you can pack light, I would certainly recommend taking a stove and some easy, quick and fuss-free meals with you like we did. It saves you having to shell-out for meals everyday, and will certainly increase popularity at the campsite if you can make a proper brew for a your fellow camp buddies.

As the third day approached, our supplies were either low or no longer edible, so, it was out to forage for food in the markets – and BOY were we spoilt for choice…

A breakfast favourite was Tea & Toast. Basically the coolest, cutest, brightest yellow Citron HV van called Nelly. They served totally yummy vegan and vegetarian breakfasts and stunning teas at various sites across the festival (I spotted 2 in total, but the one we frequented was in The Park.) The best cup of tea I had all weekend was here. My friend bought a cup of tea for the same price from a different nearby vendor – and it was literally grey in comparison. I opted for a toastie (Somerset Cheddar Cheese with Sundried Tomato Tapenade). The bread they use is unbelievably fresh and super-thick and squishy. I only wish I had taken a photograph, but the phones were dead and we were desperate to eat, so as painful as it was I had to go without the usual ‘food porn’ shot… Shame, I KNOW!

Next and worth a mention for sure was Jumping Bean Burrito. My (new) friend Johnson was literally craving a burrito, and it didn’t take too long for us to stumble across this place. They had a pretty big queue too, which seemed like a good sign – so off Johnson went to order the Botanas Beef Burrito, which consisted of: a massive soft tortilla, coriander and lime rice, lean beef Chilli Con Carne, sautéed onions, marinated sweet peppers and black beans, mature cheddar cheese, sour cream, spicy homemade salsa and guacamole. Now, as this wasn’t mine, and I was only allowed one bite, I can only vouch for how tasty that bite was. But, having eaten a lot of burritos in my time I can confirm, it was excellent. I later spotted Jumping Bean on a few locations across the site, so they are seemingly a very popular choice with festival-goers!

The next meal certainly worth a big mention is the Chicken Katsu Curry from Notso Sushi. Katsu curry was pretty popular across the festival, and I tried a couple of versions – this one was by far the best. The rice was perfectly cooked, hot and sticky as it should be and the Katsu Curry sauce had a great little kick. The chicken again was hot a fresh – moist in the middle but the crispy coating still maintaining it’s crunch on the outside. To top it off, and what really set this aside from the other Katsu curries (apart from how good the rice was), was the pink pickled ginger and fresh crunchy edamame beans they served on top. Absolutely delicious. The second-best thing I ate the whole festival.

One of the first meals I ate at the festival was a ‘Diner Deluxe’ Beef Burger from Deluxe Diner, served with American cheese and ‘Burger Sauce’. It also included a pickled Gherkin, sliced tomato and was served on a super-soft white bun. The burger itself was cooked well, slightly pink in the middle and I didn’t get ill… Certainly a good sign! I did think £7.50 was a little too steep for just a burger.. However, the beef did seem of good quality, nothing like the cheap frozen burgers I have seen on sale for similar prices at other festivals. It also tasted great – so I was content!

The ultimate food highlight for me at #Glasto15 has to be these little beauties – Vegan Sushi Wraps from Happy Maki. Their sushi wraps are vegan, vegetarian and super-fresh. The van they serve them out of is also one of the cutest at the festival, it certainly gives Nelly’s the Tea & Toast van a run for his money! Happy Maki start off by reminding punters (on a handy sign,) that sushi is rice, not raw fish. A great marketing move, I thought. So the queue was about 30 people long but I didn’t care – I was eating Sushi on the last day of the festival! Boy oh boy was it worth the wait (about 25 mins). It took me the whole 25 mins to actually decide which one I wanted, but in the end I was not disappointed with the Hoisin ‘Duck’ Sushi Wrap. I asked for extra wasabi, and it comes served with crispy vegetarian duck, hoisin sauce, avocado, roasted sesame seeds, spring onion, cucumber and green pepper. So filling, so easy to eat. The best thing I ate the whole festival.

My boyfriend Brad was tempted by some of the Jerk Chicken on offer across the festival. We came across Fancy That Caribbean Food which was located right next to Happy Maki sushi. He ordered the Jerk Chicken and Rice, with a healthy dollop of sweet mango sauce. Although the jerk chicken was good and full of flavour, it was a little lacking in spice and freshness that some of the other jerk chicken stalls seemed to have. As there was no smoke bellowing from this stall, we assumed everything had been pre-prepared, whereas the other stalls were barbequing jerk fresh and serving on the bone. So in this instance, it was more of a jerk stew – but it was tasty all the same!

Whilst meandering from Glade to The Other Stage to watch Ella Eyre perform, we stumbled across this cute little Samosa place, aptly (although not very creatively) named ‘Samosa Indian Street Food’.  We decided to go for their 4 samosa selection, which cost £5 – overall pretty reasonable. The 4 samosas on offer are outlined above, however, upon tasting each of them I am pretty sure we ended up with 2 of the ‘Bangkok Parcel’s’ – which meant we missed out on one of the 4 flavours on offer (the Spicy Lamb one, I think!) This aside, the other 3 we did taste were delicious, hot and fresh. They also came served with a wedge of fresh lime, fresh coriander and one of 3 dipping sauces (Spicy harissa, mint raita or lime pickle). We went for the Harissa which was combined with yogurt, so not as spicy as I would have liked, but generally hit the spot!

I finally want to give a quick mention to the wonderful Soulful Food Co. who specialise in Stews, curries and hotpots. I did see their lovely stall at Glasto but had already eaten – but I already know how great their food is from my previous blog feature on them, which can be found here. Hoping they had as good a time at the festival as I did!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my round-up of the food I ate at Glastonbury festival 2015, and I hope it’s shown you how diverse and varied the food is across the whole event. This really doesn’t do the sheer variety on offer justice! I also want to say a massive hats-off to the stalls who actually cook all their meals on site too, it’s brave and confident and must be so much fun. I sincerely can’t wait to go back next time and get my teeth around more. The independant foodies do so well to feed all of the drunk and hungry festival punters, well done to all of them for doing such a truly great job!


 

Pranzo Delitalia, Supper Club, Manchester

This weekend I went to my first ever supper club, and what an absolutely delightful experience. I first found out about Pranzo Delitalia on Twitter, they called themselves the Secret Supper Club – very intriguing indeed. I had made contact with Valerio (one of the two fine hosts,) who told me that after their recent trip to Italy to visit family they were coming back to Manchester with new recipes, authentic Italian ingredients and a desire to cook up a storm in the kitchen for some hungry food bloggers. Excited and armed with a bottle of Italian red for the hosts, off I went…

Pranzo Delitalia is run by a cool and trendy young couple, living in Manchester city centre. On arrival we were greeted by Valerio, who met us at the door and escorted us up to their very stylish first floor apartment. Our coats were hung and we were seated. A charming yet modern, open-plan kitchen and living area – with a table in the middle set with beautiful white crockery, fresh flowers and cute little napkins hand-wrapped with strands of wicker. An apt playlist of Italian music was playing through the speakers and we were offered soft drinks to accompany our meal (they don’t have a licence to serve alcohol, but if you do wish to drink it you’re welcome to take along your own.)

Cooking for us on the night was Nadia – Valerio’s other half who’s joined him on his trips back to Italy to attend cooking courses there and pick up all the insider tips from the experts – Valerio’s mother and Grandmother. Nadia does all the cooking for their Supper Clubs, and what a talented lady she is.

We had been sent the menu a few days in advance, so it was clear the hosts were well-prepared to feed us a delightful Italian feast. And so it was.
 
The Food

Antipasto – Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Cooked aubergine and caciocavallo cheese covered in Nonna’s passata 

I am a real fan of aubergine because of it’s versatility, so to image it cooked with cheese and tomato passata sounded wonderful. The aubergine itself had more bite than I had expected, but this ‘al dente’ style served the dish really well, as sometimes when overcooked aubergine can by soggy. It was thinly sliced and lightly covered in a rich, beautifully seasoned homemade passata. The cheese was a finely grated dusting on top – a sharpness to it that cut through the rich tomato really well. Portion size was perfect, as there was also a fresh baked loaf, soft butter and olive oil to accompany.

Primo – Tortellini alla Panna

Meat-filled parcels of tender pasta prepared in a rich cream sauce

After a short wait, allowing some time for us to properly acquaint ourselves with the other guests, it was onto the next course. This time we were treated to homemade pasta – light, yet rich in colour and the flavour the pasta itself was absolutely beautiful, as good as I have eaten in some top Italian restaurants. Gently filled with soft Prosciutto, this has got to be the ultimate Italian combination. The rich cream sauce was just a very, very light coating – apparently exactly how it is supposed to be served the authentic Italian way in Emilia-Romagna. And just how Valerio’s mother serves it. So delicious and well executed I could have eaten the whole thing three times over.

Secondo

Filetto di Maiale – Emilia-Romagna pork fillet cooked in a rosemary and white wine sauce served with potatoes

Our plates were cleared and after another break we were suitably ready for the next delight. Thin and tender pork loin wrapped with the most delicious stuffing, including sage and other herbs. The sage was pungent but went well with the light rosemary and white wine sauce. The sauce itself was a delicate accompaniment and not too heavy at all. The potatoes were served mashed – creamy and buttery and very well seasoned. As a second course I thought this dish was perfectly balanced between the natural saltiness of the meat, the fragrance of the fresh sage and the rich and creamy potatoes. Lovely portion size too.

Dolce – Panna Cotta alla Vaniglia

Vanilla seed and passion fruit panna cotta

After our tastebuds had been relished to a wealth of savoury delights – it was time for something sweet. As my sweet-tooth isn’t as finely tuned as others, I was very pleased to see there was passionfruit involved in the dessert course, as it adds a slightly tart sharpness. Some of the other guests, whom which confirmed their sweet-tooths are well exercised on a regular basis (naming no names), confirmed this dish also hit the spot for the sugar-lovers. Served with a lovely homemade ginger biscuit and a dollop of fresh cream. The Panna Cotta was light, creamy and the vanilla came through nicely which balanced well with the tart of the passion fruit. Five completely empty dishes (and the same can be said for all of the courses) confirmed this was a winning dessert for all. Delicious.

Overall the menu, cooking, setting and ambiance of the whole night was really enjoyable. I would highly recommend Pranzo Delitalia Supper Club to anyone in the area who is looking for a dining experience a little bit different to the usual restaurant dining. Both Nadia and Valerio were welcoming and friendly, making us feel right at home from the outset. I think they did a fantastic job of the whole evening and would certainly consider returning for more Supper Clubs at their place in the future. Thanks very much to them both for all their efforts.

 


I was invited to Pranzo Delitalia on a complimentary basis as they were looking for a critique on their food from a food blogger’s perspective. I can however honestly say that I would love to return to one of their Supper Clubs in the future as a regular guest.

Soulful Food Co. ‘One Pots’ plus Discount Code!

I have recently been in touch with the lovely and super-cool people at Soulful Food Co. and have been sampling their #SoulfulOnePots, with the view that if I like them, I will share a discount-code with you all as a little thank you for reading and following my blog. You will be pleased to know, they have turned out to be an absolute delight!

As you know, I have recently been on a health-kick. I’ve decided to get my ass in gear and start exercising, as I was starting to feel a little ‘under the weather’ (as we all do from time to time). I attributed these feelings to my sheer lack of exercise, eating too many calories and not getting the right balance of nutrition in my diet. Over the past few weeks, I have cleaned up my diet, stopped eating for the sake of it and joined a really nice gym where I have been working my ass of to try and get into better shape and health.

So… The arrival of 6 healthy, hearty #SoulfulOnePots therefore, couldn’t have come at a better time. For the past week, I have been fitting them into my diet (mostly for lunch, which means snacking less in the day) and sometimes for dinner (perfect when you’re in a rush – you will see why later).

Here is a summary of what I thought of each pot – and at the end of the article, there is a discount code for you to enjoy a whopping 35% off your #SoufulOnePots online order! You are welcome!!

How they taste:

Official Name & Description: Mexican Bean & Sweet Potato with Quinoa. A rich & warming bean fiesta of a stew, with sweet red pepper, tomatoes & lentils.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low Fat, Low Salt, Gluten Free, Vegan, 262 Calories per tub.

My Verdict: Overall this tasted absolutely fantastic. Great textures from the variety of beans (black beans, pinto beans and red kidney beans) and also green lentils. The lentils have a slight bite to them which is lovely. The sweet potato is firm but squidgy and soft in the middle, nice bite-sized chunks. Loads of flavours from the added herbs and spices, particularly fennel seeds and cumin which gives an authentic Mexican flavour. LOVELY!

Official Name & Description: British Pulled Beef Chilli with Black Barley. West Country Beef, slow cooked till tender, in our fresh take on the classic chilli con carne.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low Fat, Dairy Free, Lean Protein, 2 of your 5-a-Day,  391 calories per tub.

My Verdict: The beef in this one pot is tender, meaty and there is plenty of it. Absolutely no accompaniment needed if you’re having this for lunch like I was. It’s packed full of loads of fresh red peppers, onions, kidney beans and celery which all contribute to the wholesome flavour. A great level of spice and seasoning, from both the fresh red chilli used and the cayenne pepper, chilli powder and pepper. Delicious.

Official Name & Description: Free Range Thai Green Chicken Curry with Kelp Noodles. Our own fragrant take on the eastern classic with babycorn, sweet potato and red pepper.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Lean Protein, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, 2 of your 5-a-Day, 441 calories per tub.

My Verdict: This was one of my favourites, simply because I love Thai curry and this one is done really well, whilst still maintaining balanced nutrition. I had never tried Kelp noodles before, but can honestly say they are light with a great texture (a little bit like glass noodles but without the starch). As the kelp is raw and very low in carbs, this allows rest of the food fill you up, which I found kept me fuller for much longer (so less/NO snacking, yay!) The chicken had a great ‘pulled chicken’ texture, and the veggies were crunchy as if they has just been stir-fried. Absolutely tonnes of fragrant, tasty Thai flavours coming through too: lemongrass, coconut, basil, coriander and chilli. So much nicer than the Innocent Veg Pot ‘Thai Green Curry,’ by a clear mile. DIVINE!

Official Name & Description: Free Range British Pulled Pork Stew with Chorizo, Beans and Spelt. Hearty & rustic, with smokey British chorizo & nutty grains of finest Somerset spelt.

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No picture! So here’s a pretty picture of the packaging!

Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low Fat, Low G.I, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, 2 of your 5-a-Day, 315 calories per tub.

My Verdict: For just 315 calories per tub – this is seriously impressive. I forgot to take a photo of this one, as I was in a rush after work to get home, eat dinner, and get my ass to the gym. So, I just grabbed this one pot from the fridge, heated it in the microwave and ate it straight out of the tub. As I am used to brown rice, I must say the texture of spelt as an alternative is a little strange to get used to at first – but it is an overall more nutritious option with more fibre and less calories per portion. The sheer flavour from the pulled pork and smoky chorizo more than made up for the new texture. You can tell a lot of love has been put into slow cooking this very hearty and nutritious stew. I ate it about 45 minutes before my gym session and it gave me enough energy to absolutely smash it!

Official Name & Description: Free Range Moroccan Chicken Tagine with British Spelt. Chunks of chicken, veg, apricots & almond, slow cooked in delicious North African spices.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Lean Protein, Dairy Free, Low G.I., 2 of your 5-a-Day, 395 calories per tub.

My Verdict: Lovely and warming spices (ginger, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cinnamon). There is less spelt in this one so the texture less noticeable. There was perhaps a little bit too much carrot for my liking, but for lunch this was a very satisfying dish, which would be lovely as a dinner with some homemade chapatis.

Official Name & Description: Butternut, Lentil & Spinach Hotpot. Gently cooked with coconut, lemongrass & a warming hint of Indian spices.

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Nutrition Info: 380g serving (1 pot) = Low G.I., Gluten Free, Vegan, 2 of your 5-a-Day, 388 calories per tub.

My Verdict: I must admit, I think (subconsciously) I saved this one until last, because I didn’t fancy it as much as the others. However, this one turned out to be my favourite overall. The chickpeas, cauliflower, spinach, split peas and green lentils all work together really well to give a light but hearty texture. The spices used are really warming (turmeric, mustard seeds, cardamon powder, ginger and red chilli), which give the hot pot a lovely little kick. The only drawback is that the potato-to-squash ratio favoured potato a little too much for my liking. On the ingredients it says 7% of both, but there was certainly a lot more potato than squash!

Overall, I would highly recommend these lovely pots of flavour-packed wholesome goodness. I think they would be a great purchase to supplement your own home-cooking as they are healthy, nutritious and overall taste fantastic! They are £3.49 per tub plus P&P to buy online, which is a little bit on the pricy side, but you get what you pay for, and these really do taste great and the ingredients are top notch. Use the discount code for 35% off your order, see below. 

All of their packaging is fully recyclable too, which is awesome.

As promised, please use code SCRAN35, for 35% off  your Soulful Food order, which is valid until the end of May 2015.

I was sent the Soulful Food One Pots on a free-of-charge basis, to taste and try and feature on my blog. All opinions above are my honest and actual thoughts on the products supplied.

Artisan Market, Great Northern Pie Co. & Pure Origin Chocolate

You would think, the weekend after Easter, I would be fed up of chocolate by now. Well, the truth is, I am. But, something caught my eye at the market today – I just had to have a little taste. Then, I was converted 🙂

It was the lovely stall of Pure Origin, who hand-make a lovely range of milk, dark and white chocolates in Congleton, Cheshire. The company have 2 brands, their Pure Origin flavours, and the Tree Frog Chocolate range. We sampled a few flavours, but two stood out and we really couldn’t resist buying them (despite having 3 Easter eggs at home still uneaten!)

The lovely stall of Pure Origin / Tree Frog Chocolate Co. at Northwich, Artisan Market
Artisan Milk Chocolate: Sea Salt & Caramel and Hickory Smoked Almonds
Artisan Milk Chocolate: Sea Salt & Caramel and Hickory Smoked Almonds

The two we chose were both milk chocolate, Sea Salt & Caramel and Hickory Smoked Almonds. The almonds are smoked by The Cheshire Smokehouse too, which makes it all the more special and it’s great to see the local collaboration. The hickory smoked nuts are delicate against the only slightly sweet milk chocolate, and the crunchy texture is the perfect match for the smooth chocolate too.

Hickory Smoked Almond Milk Chocolate, nuts smoked by The Cheshire Smokehouse

The Sea Salt & Caramel flavour is also so gorgeous, it literally melts in your mouth and has the perfect amount of bite in its texture. So much better than any Easter egg!

The second highlight of the market was The Great Northern Pie Co. Even though these guys have a permanent spot at Altrincham Market House, I have still yet to try one of their Award winning pastry delights.

The Great Northern Pie Co. Spring Menu, Northwich Artisan Market

There were 4 flavours on offer from their lovely seasonal ‘Spring Menu’ but honestly, it was a no brainer. We chose the Ham, Stornoway Black Pudding & Mustard Cream. And boy oh boy, did we choose good. The perfectly seasoned, firm yet crumbly pastry is filled with slow-roast ham, Charles MacLeod’d black pudding, English mustard cream, carrots, tarragon, lemon, paxo ‘stuffing’ breadcrumbs and mustard seeds. It really was the nicest pie I’ve ever tasted!!

Ham, Stornoway Black Pudding & Mustard Cream Pie

Other flavours they had on offer were Meats & Potatoes, Lancashire Cheese & Onion and Goats Cheese, Peas, Lemon & Mint. All sound delicious!

So there is a little insight to mine & boyfriend Bradley’s trip to the Artisan Market in Northwich, Cheshire today. We were on a slight budget, so didn’t go too mad buying loads of different foods, however, we could have spent more as almost all of the stalls had something lovely to offer. We will certainly be returning!


 

Mushroom & ‘Smokehouse’ Smoked Streaky Bacon Risotto

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As some of you may know, I wrote my first article for Taste Today last week, and it was based on the wonderful Cheshire Smokehouse, their history, their food and their amazing shop based just on the outskirts of Wilmslow, Cheshire.

As part of the article, I chose a product off their shelves and with the help of the Smokehouse’s owner Darren Ward, told the readers all about the full life cycle of their wonderful smoked streaky bacon. I then put it in this wonderfully indulgent, satisfying and creamy risotto.

You can read the full article on Taste Today’s website by clicking here, but for now, please enjoy the recipe from it! This scrumptious dish serves 4 people, and takes about 35 minutes.

What you need:

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 6-8 rashers of The Cheshire Smokehouse Smoked Streaky Bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1L good quality chicken stock
  • 300g risotto rice
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 100ml dry white wine (plus extra, for sipping whilst stirring, if desired!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated to serve

What to do:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or ceramic casserole dish and cook the onion and Cheshire Smokehouse Smoked Streaky Bacon for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic and bay leaf, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes – until the mushrooms really start to release their juices.
  3. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the wine, and continue to cook (and stir) until all the liquid and juices from the mushrooms have been absorbed.
  5. Next, add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring well and waiting for most of the stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. This process with take about 20 minutes – so I recommend you grab yourself a glass of wine as a reward for all this laborious activity!
  6. Continue until all the stock is added and the rice is cooked.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, removed the risotto from the heat and add the lemon zest, fresh parsley and season to taste with the black pepper.
  8. Serve with a little extra parsley and some grated Parmesan.

Hope you enjoy this one, love Sophie -x-

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