Category Archives: MFB Members

Lazy Sunday Brunch

I love going out for Sunday brunch, it is the perfect way to spend the morning and breeze your way into a lazy day. I’ve been a bit greedy lately and I have been out for Sunday brunches two weeks running and both times were at one of Peach Pubs in Warwickshire. My first trip was to The Almanack in Kenilworth and the second to The Rose and Crown in Warwick. I thought about writing two separate posts, but as I virtually had the same breakfast at both, it seemed better to have one joint post.

I have been to The Almanack a couple of times for brunch and have always enjoyed it. On this occasion I was visiting with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a while, so there was much to catch up on. The Almanack is quite a large, light, open pub which has a modern retro interior. You can see the whole of the venue wherever you stand. We ordered our coffees at the bar and went to find a table. We hadn’t booked a table, but that wasn’t a problem as there was enough room. When I have had brunch here before my choice has been pancakes and maple syrup accompanied by crispy bacon, however on this occasion I felt I should have a more healthy and substantial choice. My friend suggested the salmon muffin, with egg on a bed of spinach and hollandaise sauce. I went with her recommendation. Whilst we waited for our food, we chatted and took in the atmosphere. There was a good mix of families, friends and couples, which created quite a buzz and a relaxed atmosphere. Our food didn’t take very long to arrive but we were both a bit underwhelmed by it. There was only one half of an English muffin, with a little salmon, although there were two eggs. My friend commented that the last time she had this, there was a whole muffin and more Salmon. On the whole this was a nice meal, the flavours worked well together and our eggs were just runny enough. However, I was disappointed by the quantity of food based on what I have had in other venues for the same price. The service was of an acceptable standard, the food arrived within a short time and our plates were cleared in a timely manner. Before we knew it, it was early afternoon and we were surrounded by people eating their Sunday lunch! So definitely time to get on with the rest of our day.

The next week I found myself in The Rose and Crown, where I have not eaten for many years and not at all for brunch. I was meeting a different friend and this was a social as well as a business brunch. Having rushed from the car to the pub due to the rain, it was lovely to get inside a warm pub which as soon as I walked in the door I felt the relaxed atmosphere. This has a more homely feel to it and is in an L shape, with a real fire. I had booked a table for us this time as I know it can get very busy, but if I hadn’t there would have been tables available. I chose to sit by the fire so that I could warm up and dry out. Whilst waiting for my friend I ordered a coffee and reviewed the menu. Again I felt I needed to choice something more substantial so I opted for the free range eggs royale and my friend had a sausage muffin. When our meals arrived I was amazed at how much was on my plate, this time there was one whole English muffin, an abundance of salmon, two eggs and hollandaise sauce. My friend’s was as you would expect, two sausages on an English muffin. I felt the service here was a slot slower, I had to wait quite a while for my coffee and it took quite a while then for someone to come back to us to take our breakfast order. Due to the awful weather we were offered a Rain Cheque, which gives us a free dessert next time we have a meal at the pub. We thought this was a great initiative.

Having experienced more or less the same brunch at two of the Peach Pubs, there was evidently a difference in the dishes, which I would have thought would have been consistent due to being part of the same independent chain. However, overall I would recommend either of the two places as they both provide a relaxed atmosphere and a good standard of food. The use of the golden syrup and black treacle tins for the sugar is quite quirky and I like the little saucer of smarties you got with your drink.

By Lula Belle from Glamour in the County

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Banfi Wine Evening at Malmaison Birmingham

Stuart and I recently went out on our first night out together since Thomas was born. We were invited to a Tuscan Wine and Food Evening at the Birmingham Malmaison Hotel, located in the Mailbox. We were joined by fellow Midlands Food Bloggers members Jules of Butcher, Baker and Julia of A Wannabe Foodie and their partners. The event was to celebrate Banfi Wines and the event was hosted by Dante Cecchini, UK manager of Castello Banfi and David Manson from Bidendum. The menu was designed by Head Chef Brian Neath. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by friendly faces and lots of wine and food to taste.

The menu and the wine was as follows:

Pinot Gigio Toscana San Angelo

Canapés; Pecorine risotto balls

L’antipasto; Mediterranean vegetables & cured meats

Le Rime Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio

Il primo; Hand made pumpkin & sage tortellini

Rosso di Montalcino & Belnero Sangiovese/Merlot

Il secondo; Veal ‘osso busso’, puré de patate, olio d’olivia

Brunello di Montalcino

formaggio corso; Bra formaggio, Piemonte

Florus Moscadello di Montalcino Vendemmia Tardiva

Il dolce; classic tiramisu

The Pinot Gigio with the antipasti and starter was excellent. It was light and refreshing and complimented the cured meats and vegetables. It was my kind of wine – the sort I could (and did!) drink too much of! The risotto balls were amazing and something I will definitely have a go making at home.

The tortellini was expertly hand made. It was very thin and light. The filling was rich without being overpowering. I wish my pasta could look and taste this good. The Chardonnay was a lot smoother than the Pinot Gigio as you would expect. The Pinot Gigio was more crisp and light and although it was my favourite, Stuart preferred the Chardonnay.

The Veal ‘osso busso’ was our dish of the night. It was so tender you only had to look at and it fell off the bone. It was my first time of having this veal cooked this way and I certainly will be having it again. We had two red wines to try with this course and my favourite was Belnero Sangiovese as it was not as dry as the Merlot and had a more rounded flavour with the Veal.

The red served with the cheese course was a bit rich and intense for me. I still enjoyed it but not as much as the reds with the main course. The selection of cheese and crackers were fantastic but my favourite part of this dish was the onion chutney. Its sharpness cut through everything else and refreshed the palette.

For dessert, we had a classic tiramisu. I love coffee but dislike coffee flavoured desserts. I tried the tiramisu but found the coffee way too sharp, rich and overpowering. The regional manager Stephen very kindly asked the staff to bring out another dessert for me which was a lemon tart. This was much more up my street and the pastry was light and crisp and the filling tasted divine.

After a well needed cup of coffee and a final chat to Jules and Julia and their partners, we suddenly found ourselves as the last to leave. It was a wonderful night and one I would love to repeat again. The Malmaison run a few events like this a year.

Many thanks to Zara, Stephen, Brian and the rest of the team for a fantastic evening.

PS: You can read Jules account of the event here and Julia’s here 🙂

Festive Greetings

Here at MFB we’re enjoying some quality family time over the festive period and hope all our members, readers and friends are too.

Christmas Cupcake

WISHING YOU MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

We will be back in the New Year – see you in 2012.

CellarVie Wines

In our opinion enjoying great food goes hand in hand with having a nice glass of wine (or two) so when we were contacted from CellarVie Wines to have a look at their new website well we couldn’t resist. There are many online wine retailers out there but CellarVie Wines stand out from the crowd with their interactive service and rewards scheme.

CellarVie Wines was set up in May 2010 by an experienced father and son team to offer a Wine Service with a difference, with their unique loyalty points system. Customers earn points for not only purchases but when registering on the site and using features such as the My Palette wine advisor. You also get points for reviewing wines and each time a friend you’ve recommended buys a bottle from us. And what do points mean? Free wine.

CellarVie Wines

The other great service they offer is a food-wine matching. Tag a tweet to @CellarVieWines with hashtag #winewithfood and they will suggest the perfect drinking partner to go alongside whatever you are cooking.

So if you haven’t yet bought your wine for this year’s festivties then check out CellarVie Wines and the special discount code to our readers for an extra 30% off.

midsnov2011

Allow 30% off anything not on promotion.

  • Can be used against products whose only promotion is loyalty point-based i.e. “double loyalty points earned on this promotion”
  • Can be used once by each registered customer
  • Expiry date 31st December

Thanks to CellarVie Wines for this promotion for our readers and we’re off to stock up our wine rack!

By Louise of Comida y Vida on behalf of MFB

Bite ‘n’ Write

We have already mentioned Bite ‘n’ Write a few times on the blog as we’re so excited about a Food Bloggers conference right here on our doorstep!! It really makes us feel that having this group community page for Midlands Food Bloggers has had a positive effect on the awareness of Food Bloggers outside the capital. Yahoo!!

So on Saturday 19th November we will be attending this event along with a collection of our members and some food bloggers from all reaches of the country including Jam & Clotted Cream from Cornwall and Tinned Tomatoes from Scotland.

Time Slot                               Activity
10:40 – 11:00am   Welcome speech
11:00 – 12:00am   Food Photography workshop by Craig Fraser of Frasershot
12.00 – 1:00pm     Lunch
1:00 – 1:30pm      Promoting your blog with Social Media & SEO by J. Lewis
1:30 – 2:00pm     Finding your blogging voice by J. Horak from Cooksister
2:00 – 2:45pm      Chocolate Tasting by Artisan du Chocolat
2:45– 3:00pm      Tea & Coffee, mingle time
3.00 – 3.30pm      Recipe Developing & Food Allergy by GoFreeFoods
3:30 – 4:15pm      WordPress workshop by James Bolton from Derezzed
4:15 – 4:45pm      Video Blogging by Ben Frazer from Cupcake Artisan
4:45– 5:00pm       Thank you speech
5:00 – 6:00pm     Drinks

It sounds like such a fabulous day and not only will we learn lots to hopefully improve our blogging but it will give us a chance to get to know a few of our online friends. In fact there is a few of us heading out afterwards to Jamies Italian to continue chatting and enjoy some yummy food!

There are still tickets available, for the full day or half day and we have discount for our members. It would be lovely to see as many of you as possible. If you are going let us know – tweet us @midsfoodblogger

MFB get baking at Loaf Online

Last Saturday, several friends and members of Midlands Food Bloggers gathered together at Loaf HQ for a cookery course on how to bake bread. The course leader, Tom Baker is owner of Loaf, a social enterprise with the aim to “promote real food and healthy living in Birmingham, and build community through food”. For more details, please visit www.loafonline.co.uk

The day started early over freshly brewed tea, coffee and freshly baked bread and Tom explained to us what we would be doing for the day- it sounded quite daunting- a white loaf, wholemeal loaf, fougasse, pizza, ciabatta and brioche! We were all quite excited at the prospect of learning how to bake these breads, and that some of the loaves, and the pizza would be baked outside, in the clay oven. The clay oven was lit before we arrived and the smell coming from the garden was amazing.

The course was very hands on, and Tom explained not just the ingredients, but why we use them, in what quantities, why temperature was important, why accurate weighing was key- and some great kneading techniques. We were provided with the recipes, but also with a better understanding of how the bread making process works, and this information will definitely help bake quality bread time and time again. During the day, Tom answered the many questions we had about baking and gave us tips and ideas on how to improve our loaves- my personal favourite is using a scraper to keep the dough together and to get it off the work surface, something I have always struggled with.

The results were amazing! The pizzas we made for lunch were the nicest I’ve ever tasted, probably helped by the clay oven.

We all went home with a sizeable amount of breads that we had baked and I decided to have a go at baking some the following day, not quite believing I could repeat the results. Tom’s basis behind the day was teaching us to make consistently good bread- and he succeeded. By Sunday evening I had created a fluffy white loaf with an amazing crust and a fluffy, if a bit too stretched focaccia (Tom tweeted me later to advise me to use a smaller tray next time) and brioche rolls.

Written by Lisa of Mmmidlands on behalf of MFB.

MFB Members Blog Round Up – August 2011

August has seen some fabulous posts from our members, here’s a small selection of what they’ve been up to:

Mum Louise and her son, Sous Chef J of Good Food, Great Fun and Gluten Free have continued to share their journey of their gluten free diet with a day out to Millets Farm, a trip into London and review of Leon’s and baking some gorgeous looking Ginger Pecan Cookies.

Julia of A Wannabe Foodie started off the month with a healthy dish of Chili Bean Soup, followed by a MFB BBQ she hosted and a recipe for the fabulous Avocado Thai Salsa she served.

Phil of Leicestershire’s Local Food Heroes has been making the most of the season’s fruits this month with a gorgeous Plum Tart and this week has begun preparing for the winter with some preserving and a fabulous looking Piccalilli.

Plus I have been busy and began the month with a Brewery tour at Lymestone, then tried to recreate a family comfort food dish without all the calories with this Lean Cottage pie and ended with her my Fresh From the Oven challenge and her Carrot and Walnut Bread.

For a look at what all our other members have been writing about click through to their blogs from the Members Page.  If you’re based in the Midlands and have a food blog, then email us to find out how to become a member.

Written by Louise of Comida y Vida on behalf of MFB