Malaysian Fish Curry demo by chef Clover

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In my last post, I told you all about the fun I had and FOOD I ate at Nantwich Food Festival a couple of weeks ago. Although it was only a fleeting visit, I was lucky enough to get to see a full cookery demonstration.

The recipe? Malaysian fish curry. I couldn’t have been happier with Clover’s choice of recipe to show us. Inspired by my recent travels to Southeast Asia, and especially George Town, Malaysia… I’ve been keen to bring some of those flavours into my own kitchen.  Continue reading “Malaysian Fish Curry demo by chef Clover”

Nantwich Food Festival

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Nantwich is such a beautiful market town, and quite a foodie hub, actually. There are a number of nice places to eat there, some lovely coffee shops, and of course, the annual Food Festival.

The festival is free to attend and runs from Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd September.  It’s a weekend full of food, drink and other treats from suppliers all over the country. As I was off on holiday to Malta, I could only attend for a few hours on Friday morning, but I went along to see what was cracking! Continue reading “Nantwich Food Festival”

AIden Byrne’s Pop Up Restaurant, Bolton Food Fest

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When I was invited to this I was so excited, but I was totally stupid, read the email wrong, and up until the day itself thought it was to be held outside Manchester Town Hall, not Bolton Town Hall. I’m ridiculous. I know. But that’s another matter, and one I’m sure my friends will never let me live down. Thanks, guys.

I’ve quickly been able to get over that embarrassing hiccup. I’m hoping Aiden Byrne is able to do the same, after this disappointing and tasteless so-called Pop-Up restaurant, which was priced at £60 per head and was held in the event’s ‘luxury marquee’. Continue reading “AIden Byrne’s Pop Up Restaurant, Bolton Food Fest”

The Revival of Altrincham Market

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Today I’m posting an article I wrote some time ago* for www.tastetoday.co.uk. As Jo needed to free up some space on her site, the article is available again. So as I really enjoyed writing it, I thought I’d re-share it on the blog. Hope you enjoy.

At Taste Today, you know we love good food. Particularly when it’s local, fresh and made with plenty of love. Especially when it’s well located with a bustling atmosphere making it a great place to sit, chat, and chow down. The perfect recipe for good times… we think so. And boy do they roll at Altrincham’s wonderfully renovated Market House.

Continue reading “The Revival of Altrincham Market”

Aperol Spritz Socials, Manchester

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Last week I was in need of a vitamin D injection. The weather was pretty haywire, one minute it was cloudy, the next sunny. Then rain. Then wind. All I wanted was S U N. Luckily, the bright orange beverage that is Aperol Spritz did manage to quench my appetite for sun shine. It feels very summery indeed. Continue reading “Aperol Spritz Socials, Manchester”

Food-related Father’s Day Gifts

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Dads are notoriously difficult to buy for. Whether it’s your old man (who actually is getting on a bit), a new Dad or a Dad-to-be, we often find ourselves asking “what should I get him for Father’s Day?”

So, shout-out to all the last-minute gift buyers out there! But fret not, as food always has the answers. And here’s why: Continue reading “Food-related Father’s Day Gifts”

Five reasons you should throw a pizza party

I love pizza. Whether it’s wood-fired sour dough, simple-but-exquisitely topped Italian classics or bold and brazen Italian-American feasts, I’m a fan and I will eat as much as my little belly will allow. When it comes to great pizza, I believe less is certainly more (no one likes a soggy, over-topped mess) and I think the key is quality ingredients. It is possible to recreate fine quality pizza at home, as long as you invest in the best ingredients and spend some time perfecting your technique.  Continue reading “Five reasons you should throw a pizza party”

WIN a copy of the Cheshire Cook Book

Morning all. This week on the blog I’ve teamed up with the guys at Meze Publishing and Taste Cheshire to tell you all about their new release, The Cheshire Cook Book, and give one lucky reader the chance to win a copy for themselves.

The recipe book is a wonderful celebration of our region’s vibrant food and drink scene, and is now on sale featuring over 50 stunning recipes and stories from some of Cheshire’s finest restaurants, cafés, delicatessens, pubs, producers and suppliers.

The Cheshire Cook Book
The Cheshire Cook Book

The book is the 9th in the ‘Get Stuck In’ series of regional cook books by Meze Publishing. I already have the Manchester Cook Book and it is brilliant, it’s visually stunning and the stories and recipes are fantastic too. I made the barbecue chicken wings from TUSK – a bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and took them along to a friend’s house party. They went down an absolute treat and were so easy to make too.

The Cheshire edition of the series has a foreword written by Simon Radley, the Executive Chef at Michelin star restaurant The Chester Grosvenor.  He’s also contributed his Dexter beef rib, parsley-buttered carrots and onion tarte tatin recipe (below), which sounds and looks insane…

The Chester Grosvenor 102
Simon Radley’s Dexter beef rib, parsley-buttered carrots and onion tarte tatin

Here in Cheshire we are spoilt for choice by the numerous award-winning, fine dining restaurants and traditional country pubs our county has to offer.

The book highlights local producers and suppliers in areas including Hale, Sandbach, Nantwich, Waverton, Warrington, Tarporley, Northwich and Macclesfield. I really do see this as a great opportunity to spread the word about Cheshire’s wonderful and varied foodie offerings.

Among the venues featured in the book are Yu, Alderley Edge (recently voted 2016’s best Chinese restaurants by The Legacy of Taste) and the Great North Pie Company which has won countless awards including ‘Supreme champion of the British Pie Awards 2015’.

The Cheshire Cook Book has a carefully selected collection of recipes which are easily doable by all home cooks. From The Clink Restaurant’s trio of apple, to DeFINE Food & Wine’s penne with Tuscan sausage, to The Little Deli Company’s cheese and chorizo croquette balls (both below) and Joseph Benjamin’s Isle of Man queen scallop with garlic and parsley (header image) – there really is something to suit everybody’s appetite.

The Clink Restaurant, Styal, Cheshire
The Clink Restaurant, Styal, Cheshire

The book retails at £14.95, but you can win your very own copy by filing out the details below.

The competition is running for a short time only and ends at 11:55pm on 11th July 2016, when a winner will be selected at random. There is one copy to be won and no cash alternative can be offered.

ENTER BELOW and good luck!
Contest by Rewards Fuel.

Taste of Dublin ticket giveaway #winwithChill

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I am bringing you something a little different on the blog today. A chance to win press-pass tickets to this year’s Taste of Dublin event. As a blogger, I love anything remotely press-related. It’s nice to feel a bit ‘exclusive’ sometimes, isn’t it?

So I said ‘yes’ to joining the blogger team with Chill and the guys at Taste to bring you my thoughts on food festivals, and let you know how you can enter their awesome foodie giveaway.

Food at Glastonbury, 2015

I love festivals and last year I rounded up the food I ate at Glastonbury. The food offering there is honestly amazing. Even the tea and toast stalls up their game to bring you something truly delicious, satisfying yet effortlessly simple. If I had to pin down the best thing I ate there, it would be of of these vegan Sushi wraps from Happy Maki.

They remind us that ‘sushi’ actually means seasoned rice, not raw fish, and focus on a healthy and sustainable way to enjoy these incredible flavour combos. I had the hoisin ‘”duck” and it blew my mind. Look out for them at this year’s British Street Food Awards. I really, really hope they win!

picture courtesy of www.happymaki.co.uk/
picture courtesy of www.happymaki.co.uk
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birds eye view of my hoisin “duck” happy maki wrap
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an amazing combination <3

Foodie’s Festival, UK wide

I also did a round-up of last year’s Foodies Festival in Tatton Park, which I’m going to again this July. I am honestly not sure how I managed to eat so much food in one afternoon (clearly I’m a secret fatty) but if I had to choose, my highlight would be this gorgeous burger from Rad Burger Co.

A ground chuck steak patty with grilled halloumi, smoked streaky bacon, rocket, mango chutney and garlic mayo. Served with rosemary fries and more mayo. Honestly, a taste sensation. Who knew mango chutney would work on a burger? Epic food festival scran. Hope to see them again this year.

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Castlefield Food Festival, Manchester

Last weekend I spent the day at Castefield Food festival in Manchester, which was great foodie hot spot; street food stalls from the likes of Albert’s Pizza, Mei Mei’s street food cart, Zouk Indian street food kitchen and loads more.

There was also a thoroughly entertaining cook-off between Jo Cooksey, founder and editor of Taste Today and Mark Garner, Manchester food critic and founder of Manchester Confidential et al.

Jo made a Mogolian beef stir fry using beef from The Butcher’s Quarter in Manchester’s NQ and Mark rustled up a chicken and banana curry which he had apparently been attempting to perfect for 10 years…

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Jo and Mark prepping their dishes and having allllll the banter
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Jo’s stir fry in action
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Proof that there was at least 1 whole banana in Mark’s curry

So as the cooking (and banter) continued, it was nearly time for both to bring their cook-off dishes to the table. The audience were to decide the winner…

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Jo’s Mongolian beef stir fry with crispy egg noodles
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Mark’s chicken (and banana) curry

My verdict; Jo’s dish was vibrant, tasty, so fresh and the beef was tender and juicy – which is tricky to achieve sometimes when stir-frying beef. The noodles added great texture and there was some real goodness in there from the greens and veg. Overall a very well balanced and delicious feast.

Mark’s dish did pack-a-punch spice-wise. The chicken thigh was tender, although I do think it could have done with another 5 minutes on the hob. The banana made it weird though. I have to be honest. It was gross.

The votes were in, as counted and verified for complete and utter fairness by Manchester chef and presenter of the cook-off, Robert Owen-Brown, Jo’s beef was crowned winner. Nice work, Jo!

Win Tickets to an Irish foodie adventure in Dublin, from 16-19th June with Chill

So, food festivals are fun. Like, really fun. There’s usually a whole lot of booze involved too, and even possibly sometimes sunshine.

If you fancy your chances at winning tickets to this year’s Taste of Dublin festival in June, all you need to do is answer this foodie question on Chill’s website: www.chill.ie/company/customer-rewards/taste-of-dublin-2016/

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Full T&C’s are on the link and it closes on 31st May 2016. Winners announced on 1st June 2016. Good luck!

Christmas tip sharing

I wanted to do something Christmassy on the blog this week, so when SHEilds contacted me about their Christmas Tip Share I was quite excited to get involved.

I’ve joined 7 other bloggers to share our top Christmas tips for this year – ranging from foodie tips to general health and safety around the house during the festive period.

As I don’t have any kids or pets, I will just be sticking to staying merry this Christmas and eating my way through lots of cheese and lots of turkey. Oh and drinking lots of mulled wine 🙂

Cooking at Christmas

I have not yet been solely responsible for the Christmas dinner in the family, but I help my Mum each year usually feeding 7 of us.

Planning ahead really is the best option. My advice would be to plan your timings beforehand, and sanity-check them over with a family member. Write down a list of what needs to go in/on and when. Stick it on the fridge and use it as a guideline throughout the day.

Another tip I have is get others involved! It’s a time of year when there is always loads of spare people knocking around the house. So get them working for their festive feast! Set the table, light the candles, carve the turkey, stir the gravy, check the roasties, get the cheese out, crack the wine open, set out the nibbles and keep the drinks flowing. Use your guests to their full ability to make sure you don’t end up doing absolutely everything!

Keep things simple. Don’t try to be overlly extravagant on Christmas day with the menu. Your guests will be happy with a simple, well-executed meal with all the trimmings rather than something less-practiced and fancy.

Finally, enjoy yourself and the quality time with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my lovely readers! <3 xxx

Cheshire Food Blog