Tag Archives: Birmingham

Review of Itihaas, Fleet Street, Birmingham

It’s quite amazing how many people haven’t heard of this place, the few people who know this fine dining establishment speak about it like it’s the best around and yet in all my years of searching for quality Indian cuisine I have never had the pleasure of visiting Itihaas. Thank goodness I did…

Itihaas is Indian fine dining at its very best. It is situated on Fleet Street, central Birmingham and is easily walkable from the summer row and Jewellery quarter pubs and bars. On the particular evening of my visit the country was enjoying a warm spell of weather which made the very cool air conditioned ambiance most welcoming on my entrance to the restaurant. I was also welcomed with warm smiles and shown swiftly to my table.

Upon first glance and to be fair second glance the menu was extensive, my dining partners were more aghast than flummoxed as we studied the array of dishes available. Much deliberation later we decided on starters:

Mirchi Lasooni Jhinga – butter coated prawns in a flaming wok, tossed with spring onions, green chillies, garlic, sweet plum chilli sauce and soy sauce

Tiranghi Murgh – marinated trio of chicken skewers displaying the colours of the Indian flag. Fiery orange chicken tikka, fenugreek, spinach and mint marinated Baabri Tikka and creamy mild yogurt and cheddar cheese marinated marai chicken.

First thing to note was the stunning presentation, candles with elegant trays to add a bit of style and more importantly warmth to keep your dish fresh. The prawns were tangy and sweet with the plum sauce and had just enough spice to make this dish a perfect mix of sweet and sour ingredients which is often evident in asian cooking. The food whilst a delicious mixture of flavours if anything was more substantial than I would normally expect of a starter and it made me wonder if I would be able to enjoy my main course as much.

My girlfriend’s dish was even more appealing; it mimicked a small tandoor in which a candlelight shone from the bottom highlighting the exquisite presentation. The chicken was 3 kebabs of 3 pieces of brilliantly succulent meat which fell deliciously off the skewer, the 3 colours showing the colours of the Indian flag, this displaying the attention to detail which Itihaas clearly goes to for it’s customers. For all its plusses this dish was very large by starter standards and again we wondered how big the main courses would then be.

Again we were pleasantly surprised; the main courses came and offered a more reasonably expected portion which had my taste buds tingling with anticipation. We selected:

Tandoori Trout – a fusion of east and west. British seafood with Indian cooking techniques and spices.

Maha Jingha – freshwater king prawns, in a tangy marinade roasted in the tandoor.

Being a seafood fan I was intrigued as to how this fusion would work. The fish was served on the bone and was a delight to look at. The fish came off the bone very nicely and the spices were just enough to highlight the beauty of the fish without overpowering. Also with enough lettuce greens to compliment.

The prawns also highlighted superb attention to flavouring, the prawns perfectly cooked, juicy with bags of flavour and spice, they were large but yet were so good to eat made you want more and more.

The side dishes of naan bread and rice were more traditionally cooked and also showed good texture which added to the overall experience. The wine list was expensive, but with a decent selection of wines of fruity and tangy red wines which would compliment spicy food. I was looking for a merlot wine which I find goes excellently with Indian food and found this reasonably priced on an expensive list.

There is no doubt this was a ‘very’ fine dining experience, possibly the best I have experienced, not the cheapest, but with quality comes expense and on this occasion that was most definitely worth it. By no means however was the bill excessive either, the main winner of the night was the food though, brilliant flavours and elegant presentation. Don’t be too keen to tell your friends about this one, you may want to keep it to yourself. I know I will be…

By Robert Wilson

Midlands Supper Clubs

When I told friends that I’ve been invited to attend two Supper Clubs, their responses ranged from intrigue at trying something new to trepidation of dining at a secret location. I’m torn between Italian cuisine in Warwickshire or a French menu in Birmingham to try, so I hope that writing this post helps me to decide which one to go to!

Historically born out of out of paladares of Cuba, London, New York and Amsterdam were quick to popularise the idea of Supper Clubs. As a pop-up dining experience that caters for individual tastes, Supper Clubs have evolved as an alternative to ordinary restaurants or stuffy dinner parties. With a recent survey by YouGov revealing that 40% of us now think that dinner parties are too expensive, time-consuming and stressful to bother with, Supper Clubs are most definitely here to stay.

Inspired by the idea of sharing good food, every month Alex and Sara Chambers throw open the doors of their Warwickshire home and invite strangers to dinner. As owners of Squisito Deli, the couple extend their love of Italian cuisine to foodies who join them at the Squisito Supper Club for a five course meal.

Squisito Supper Club menus make the most of fresh seasonal produce that are also prepared with the Slow Food ethos. Frolesworth free range chicken with green olives and Squisito preserved lemon, Sardinian pecorino with pink peppercorns and Warwickshire honey all featured on their last event.

Squisito is the only Supper Club that I am aware of in Warwickshire, but there are a few more running in Birmingham.

The Tan Rosie Caribbean Supper Club is a chance to sample Caribbean dishes from Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad and Cuba in the hosts’ living room in Erdington. Chef Monica says that their Supper Club is “a great way to eat fantastic home-cooked food, meet new people and broaden your knowledge of Caribbean food in a fun, friendly and safe environment.”

Over in Bearwood, baked scallops and prawns in saffron cream and duck in balsamic syrup with dauphinoise potatoes were main courses for the first Supper Club held at the end of May. Cake maker Rachel (one of the Crafty Muthas) and professional chef Richard have teamed up to run a new monthly Supper Club for up to 20 people. Rachel says that guests can expect “a five to six course meal served over a good three to four hours with background music, atmospheric surroundings and plenty of chat!”

Judging by the response on Twitter, Le Truc Cafe’s first event on Saturday 9th June could well be a sell-out.  Du pain, du vin and beaucoup de fromage are promised at La Soiree Popette in a secret location in Birmingham.

So what makes a successful Supper Club? Genial hosts who genuinely food and cooking, a popular cuisine and chance to try something new seem to be the winning combinations. With a bring your own drinks policy, £25 is the average price that you can expect to pay for a truly memorable Supper Club evening.

Whether you want to try out recipes on friends, be a chef patron of your own restaurant for the night or just entertain for less money, running your own Supper Club is the dining revolution you’ve been looking for.

If you’d like to run your own Supper Club, then there is only one site that I’d recommend. Kerstin Rodgers, also known as mrsmarmitelover, is a food blogger and pioneer of supper clubs in London –  launching one of the first in the UK back in 2009. Her blog is packed with recipes, photos and tips on running a great Supper Club that is stylish and individual.

Alternatively, enjoy the experience by being a guest and check   http://www.supperclubfangroup.ning.com to find your nearest Supper Club.






By Tracy of Midlands Gourmet Girl

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 🙂

Glyn Purnell Is Going To Cook Up A Storm For Cure Leukaemia

Michelin-starred chef, Glynn Purnell will host an exclusive evening with blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia on Monday March 5 at Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s Edgbaston Stadium.

Cure Leukaemia continues its long standing partnership with Edgbaston to showcase an evening of culinary talent at the brand new Jaguar Suite. Glynn will be directing a live cooking event with assistance from Edgbaston head chef, Dave Hill along with Warwickshire’s Director of Cricket Ashley Giles (also a Cure Leukaemia Patron), Captain Jim Troughton and BBC WM Radio DJ Phil Upton.

Guests will be given the opportunity to be involved in Q&A sessions in between each course and all attendees will receive an executive gift once the kitchen challenge has ended.

The evening is the first official event Glynn has helped organised since Cure Leukaemia announced him as a Patron for the Midlands based charity.

Glynn comments on becoming a patron: “It’s an honour to be a part of Cure Leukaemia and what better way to kick off my involvement than hosting an event at Edgbaston. Everyone has been so welcoming and it is fantastic to be able to combine my passion for food with hosting an event of this nature to raise awareness of the life changing research and treatment.

“I’m looking forward to helping promote the ground-breaking work at Cure Leukaemia. The pioneering research and life-saving treatments that the nurses carry out day-to-day is astounding, and so important because we’re still searching for cures to this illness.”

Glynn was made famous by his appearance on BBC’s Great British Menu where he championed local produce and created exciting and innovative dishes. Glynn owns and runs a string of successful fine dining restaurants in Birmingham city centre, Purnell’s, his Michelin starred restaurant which opened in 2007 and more recently, The Asquith and Ginger’s Bar.

Jackie Kelly, General Manager at Cure Leukaemia said: “We’re thrilled to have fellow Birmingham-based Glynn as a Patron of the charity. This event would not have taken place without Glynn’s support, the evening will be one to remember for all, a VIP event for all good food buffs  and cricket fans alike.”

Cure Leukaemia is a long-standing partner of Edgbaston and last year the venue donated more than £75,000 and renamed its iconic Eric Hollies in honour of the charity at last year’s npower Test Match between England and India.

For more information and to book tickets for this exclusive event, please Contact Ruth Bishop on 0121 371 4367 or email info@cureleukaemia.co.uk.

By Jo of Jo’s Kitchen

On behalf of MFB

BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards

We’re back and our first post of 2012 comes from the lovely Charlotte of Go Free Foods,  a company which provides quality cakes free from wheat, gluten and dairy but as tasty as ‘regular’ products. Not content with being a MD of her own company, Charlotte is also a food writer, recipe developer, cookery demonstrator and food blogger for Hello Magazine.com. So over to Charlotte to hear about her day at the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards.  

It was a great thrill to receive tickets to attend 2011’s BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards. It’s, to my mind, of great importance that the BBC champion independent and artisanal food producers from farm to fork, so to speak, and I took great interest in finding out more about the nominees, spanning from cheese makers, to a micro brewery in Bristol. For a full list of nominees, take a look at the Food and Farming Awards website here.

The awards were recorded in Birmingham at the NEC, at the same time as the BBC Good Food Show, so it was an excellent opportunity to take a good look around the show at the same time. I always love to catch up with friends and see what new food producers are up to at these shows.

My guest for the day was Vanessa Kimbell. Running late from delayed trains into Birmingham, we practically sprinted through the NEC to make it to our seats in time, hurriedly catching up on our news as Sheila Dillon, the wonderful presenter of the Food Programme on Radio 4 took to the stage.

BBC Food Farming Awards - Sheila Dillon

Throughout the presentation, which was also being recorded to be broadcast on Radio 4 (it was repeated on Christmas Day morning) at the same time, we were shown some delightful videos of the shortlisted food producers and what made them so special.

Each award was presented by a well known figure; with those presenting including Rick Stein, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Richard Corrigan and Adam Henson from Countryfile.

All of the awards were tremendously well-deserved and indeed so were those of the runners up. There are many genuinely exciting and innovative food producers, farmers, cooperative owners and artisans all over the British Isles, and it’s great to celebrate the valuable work they do.

I chatted to Richard Corrigan after the awards, who was just bubbling with excitement about the quality, skill and expertise which goes into the production of so many wonderful foods. We talked about just how far this has come on in recent years, and how the quality of so many foods being produced in the UK easily rival any being made abroad nowadays. Particularly so on the cheese front. You can here Richard talk about the Loch Arthur Creamery cheese makers on BBC iplayer, which won the Best Food Producer website.

Adam Henson and I discussed the changes in farming which have taken place in recent years, including the focus on sustainability and the positive impact this can have on farmers.

BBC Food Farming Awards - Adam Henson

I was also lucky enough to chat with Adrian Dolby, runner up in the Farmer of the Year Award, and his delightful wife. The work they do on the Barrington Park Estate is tremendously valuable.

I was so thrilled to have the chance to chat to some of the winners and runners up after the awards ceremony. The lovely ladies at Alder Tree Fruit Ices told me about their lovely products (which were absolutely delicious, my blackcurrant fruit ice disappeared in no time). They are predominantly a fruit farm, who use home grown seasonal fruits in all their ices. They, I think, are destined for great things.BBC Food Farming Awards - Golspie Mill

I tried some sensational bread from Golspie Mill (runner up in the Best Food Producer category) whilst chatting to the lovely Wayne Wright, a passionate chef at Harper Adams Community College. An inspirational chef, with a great philosophy and winner of the Best Public Caterer Award.

BBC Food Farming Awards - Wayne Wright

Next time we go on holiday to the Lake District, we will be stopping off in Bolton, that’s for certain. Their sensational market won the Best Food Market Award. All I can say is that I wish there were more food markets like this. A great community market, where people can actually go to do their weekly shop! I’m all for farmers markets and there are so many excellent ones around, but the issue I have is with the cost of some of the products on sale. It’s just not realistic for very many people to buy a significant proportion of their weekly shop there. Bolton Market is different, selling great value, local produce and is, as a result, really well supported by the local community. Below are Malcom Veigas from Bolton Council, who accepted the award.

BBC Food Farming Awards - Bolton Market

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was the deserving winner of the BBC Food Champion of the Year Award, for the Hugh’s Fish Fight campaign, working tirelessly to change the rules and regulations surrounding fishing quotas and fishing wastage. We were shown a clip from the television campaign which Hugh fronted to highlight the issue, and I was truly horrified by the practices which are in place, which have to be followed defying common sense or logic.

Finally, I chatted to Valentine Warner, a great champion of British produce, who was really excited about the awards and what they mean, and is very keen to support the work of BBC Radio 4 in running the awards.

BBC Food Farming Awards - Valentine Warner

Please do take a look at the nominees and winners and remember…support local when you can!

Thanks to Charlotte for her insight into what was a great day. You can see more of what Charlotte’s up to on her blog Charlotte’s Kitchen Diary

Home of Rossopomodoro – visit to Naples

Back in September we had a guest post from friend of MFB, James Day of Eat the Midlands, tell us about Rossopomodoro – a new Italian in Birmingham. Now James is back with a detailed look into where the inspiration for the restaurant comes from. 

“They taste great, but I bet they are not true authentic Neapolitan pizzas?” –  A comment made during a recent review of the new Italian Restaurant Rossopomodoro, in Selfridges, Birmingham.  Two weeks later, my bags were packed and I was off for a visit to Naples, the ‘birth place of pizza’ to see for myself!


A hair-raising trip through the busy streets of Naples to the rustic head office for a welcome briefing, and even more welcomed Neapolitan coffee – seeing as I had not slept at this point for 24 hours! The senses awaking coffee was  accompanied by Pastiera – Traditional Neapolitan cake with wheat, ricotta cheese and orange flower water.

Neopolitan Pasteria Cakes

The briefing was then followed by a whistle stop tour of their suppliers … jumping in their company 4×4, and off to the mountains we went, a climbing up the side of the dormant (we hoped) and imposing Mt Vesuvius volcano, up to where they had just harvested the last olives. “The best olives are picked by hand, and traditionally pressed within a few hours,” the farmer explained (translated from Italian!) “we have been harvesting in this area for generations, and this year has been one of our best for a long time.”  The hillside was densely packed with large, twisted olive trees, some up to 300 years old, covered in nets to catch the falling dark olives.

Mountain side

Nutty in flavour, and golden in colour, this was the ‘daddy’ of all oils the D.O.P. (Denomination of Origin Protection – monitored for picking to packing) with strict controls on horticulture and purity of process, which was evident in the flavour. We tasted variants, mixed with the local herbs, including rosemary, wild garlic, and even the lemon oil, which raised the flavour not to mention the potentials for usage to another level – of course Rosspomodoro only use the pure DOP for their salads, and buffalo mozzarella drizzle, and the extra virgin for their pizzas, topping with the aged black olives, sweet and firm in texture.

But there is more to pizza than great olive oil. Of course there is the base, and the toppings – not the now customary, ham, pineapple, peppers, and even eggs, and chicken Tikka as I have seen in the UK – but true authentic Neapolitan pizzas contain four simple ingredients: “00” flour for the base, tomato puree, mozzarella (Buffalo of course) and olives. So, Rossopomorodo olives – yep, wild flavoursome and hand-picked –  “Tick”, but what about the rest of the ingredients?

We headed back down off the side of Vesuvius and into the narrow cobbled ancient streets of Naples and found a small group of ladies or ‘Nonnas’ (grandmothers) who were tucked away at the rear of what I can only describe as a ‘volcanic cave’, which had been painstakingly carved out and had become the rear of the tomato packing plant with large Kilner jars stacked up to the roof on well used pallets containing rich red tomatoes, and fresh fruits, jams and preserves. The local San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best sauce tomatoes in the world – reputed to be a gift from ancient Peru – and grow on the sides of Vesuvius, to create a unique rich intense flavour and firmness of skin, and they certainly had both qualities.

San Marzano Tomato

The next day it was off to the lowlands of the region, about an hour from the City, just in time to see the last batch of the day’s Mozzarella “di Bufala Campana” from the DOP Compagna region being produced. Fresh straight from the Northern Hills, where the milk is tested on arrival for purity and authenticity of origin coming only from water buffalo on a farm in Paestum, Campania.Water Buffalo

The factory consisted of stainless steel vats and white tiled floors, as ordained by the DOP institute (Mediterranean Institute of Certification) but the cheese makers had fought for one tradition of retaining their wood mixing vats to ‘retain tradition and remind our workers of the origin of their works” which I must say looked out of place, but certainly added to the contrast of the need for modernity but maintaining the origin of tradition.

 Fresh Mozzarella

Trying it at this stage was a complete taste sensation – a firm rich outer texture, and then on biting it revealed its inner intensity, creamy, warm, airy, and lush – still being able to taste the fresh grass the Buffalo were grazing only a few hours ago, like a savoury marshmallow that one could savour all day; the unique quality of Buffalo Mozzarella. The owner has been producing this mozzarella for many generations and is considered a master in his field – supplying only the finest outlets in Italy, and selected European destinations – including Rossopomodoro in Birmingham (even in their ice cream)! So, Buffalo Mozzerall….”Tick”

Buffalo Mozzarella

So, the perfect tour to make the perfect pizza. Do the ones at Rossopomodoro in the UK taste like “true authentic Neapolitan pizzas” do in Naples?  Well, returning to Birmingham, I went straight to Selfridges and ordered a margarita (the first ever pizza created for Princess Margarita, in, er Naples) and they come pretty damn close – fired in their authentic oven, at over 480 degrees, taking just 90 seconds, from heat to plate, they are a delight to eat

Rossopomodoro restaurant and products are available in Selfridges.

Rossopomodoro Products

So thanks to James for giving us the low down on Rossopomodoro and the provenance of it’s ingredients and next time you get a trip like that ….. can we come?! 

Glynn Purnell’s Ginger’s Bar and The Asquith Restaurant

Did you see our favourite yummy brummie on Saturday kitchen this weekend with his Movember moustache? We loved his recipe and are so proud of his efforts in making Birmingham the UK’s culinary capital, as crowned by BBC Olive magazine, that we were so excited when he opened a second venue to add to the success of Purnell’s

One of theMidland’s finest Michelin star chefs, Glynn Purnell has fulfilled one of his many ambitions by opening his second business venture inBirmingham.

Gingers Bar and Asquiths Restaurant

Ginger’s Bar and The Asquith Restaurant, which is located at 11 Newhall Street has been welcoming guests since opening in October.

After The Asquith closed its doors at the beginning of 2011, Glynn promised to re-open his second restaurant with the original team, setting his sights on a project that would open as a joint venture.

The massive 6,500ft site on Newhall Street, formerly occupied by Must dim sum bar and restaurant has been given a £150,000 refurbishment. The theme adapted from the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire era, injects a touch of elegance and flamboyance into Birmingham’s bar and restaurant scene.

Glynn Purnell: “The concept of Ginger’s Bar complements The Asquith Restaurant perfectly. After identifying a gap in the marketplace, I explored opportunities within Colmore Business District and stumbled across this site. It was most definitely a momentous moment to finally see both ventures working alongside each other.

“The Asquith menu remains classically French, using the best produce and seasonal ingredients. The beauty of The Asquith is that if you choose to dine with us, you are not restricted to a set menu. Guests will be able to order a main course, or simply enjoy a dessert in the bar area if they wish.”

Ginger's Bar and Asquith Restaurant

The original team at The Asquith Restaurant remains. Head chef Jason Eaves has worked closely with Glynn Purnell to create the classically French inspired menu for the 35 to 40 – cover restaurant, using the very best ingredients and locally sourced produce. Julie Tonsgaard continues as restaurant manager at The Asquith Restaurant.

Jason has trained alongside some of the UK’s best Michelin star chef’s, at restaurants which include Simpson’s, Midsummer House and L’Autare Pied. Working with Glynn for many years has given him the confidence and knowledge to progress to head chef at The Asquith, where he works tirelessly to create a gastronomic menu for diners. Speciality dishes include the Ballotine of Quail Egg and Ox Cheek Rossini, which are firm favourites since the restaurant opened.

Ginger’s Bar and The Asquith Restaurant is a welcome addition to Birmingham’s thriving business district and bar culture. Award winning bar manager and mixologist Chris Hoy is at the helm, with the vision to create an atmospheric buzz throughout the venue.

Ginger's Bar and Asquith Restaurant

Chris, originally from Sutton Coldfield has travelled extensively to perfect his art and boasts an impressive portfolio of accolades, which includes Chase Vodka’s National Bartender of the Year 2011.

Chris Hoy, general manager: “Ginger’s Bar adopts the modern day “Design for Drinking” theory and is influenced by the golden age of the classic American cocktail bar.

“We want people to enjoy the experience, offering a taste of Manhattan in Birmingham’s Square Mile.  Customers can relax in the heavily influenced 1930’s surroundings, while sipping on re-mastered timeless classic cocktails or more outlandish drinks, to include vodka based autumnal tipples or a lamb and mint flavoured Sunday roast in a glass.”

He adds: “As well as classic cocktails, we offer ‘forward thinking’ creations such as the ‘Smoked Bacon & Maple Old Fashioned’ pioneered byNew Yorkbartender Eben Freeman. We also champion innovative techniques such as ‘grilling’ for the ‘Scorched Lemon & Vanilla Margarita’ which I highly recommend.”

Ginger’s Bar offers an extensive spirits list, a variety of local ciders, bohemian lagers and award winning cask ales. A fine wine list has been meticulously selected by Julie Tonsgaard, restaurant manager at The Asquith and Jean-Benoit Burloux, maître de at Purnells.

Glynn Purnell adds: “It is fantastic to have Chris involved to head up Ginger’s Bar, his experience and enthusiasm is mind blowing.  My faith in the original team at The Asquith has never been in doubt, so it is a pleasure to welcome back both Jason and Julie to create such an explosive formula, whilst working in partnership with Chris and his new bar team.”

If you go and try it we would love to read your review, or even better, write a review for this blog.

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

Selfridges Birmingham Launch Mr Trotter’s


Launching exclusively at Selfridges Mr Trotter’s Great British Pork Crackling is the brainchild of food writers Tom Parker Bowles and Matthew Fort, with the help of Cotswold farmer, Rupert Ponsonby.

Guardian food writer Matthew Fort and Tom Parker Bowles will be in Selfridges Birmingham on Saturday 12th November, 2011, from 12 until 3pm, hosting tasting sessions of the new snack.

The trio’s dream was to create a new interpretation of the scratching made from 100% outdoor bred British pigs.

Tom Parker Bowles said: “We’ve long been pork scratchings fanatics, seeing them as a Titan among snacks. But nearly every pork scratching sold in Britain is made with Danish rind. This seemed mad. We wanted to support British farming so started to look around for a means of making our own, from British pigs. Sadly, though, our technical knowhow was no match for our passion for scratchings.

“Enter Graham Jebb and his team at RayGray snacks in the West Midlands, true masters of their art. Once they’d decided to work with us, Graham developed a slow cooking process which seems to have an amazing effect on British rind, reducing the fat content and vastly increasing Mr Trotter’s signature crunch. Of course, we’re not claiming that these are a ‘health product’. But we have removed the monosodium glutamate, and use sea salt and special seasoning instead. The result is a revolutionary crackling with both crunch and punch.”

Ewan Venters, director of Selfridges Food, said: “We try to encourage unique British products like Tom and Matthew’s at Selfridges because we are keen to support British farming in general. We hope our customers enjoy this delicious new snack and come to meet the brains behind the project on 12th November.”

Cooked by hand in small batches using a new process, Mr Trotter’s Great British Pork Crackling delivers a crispier crunch. Available exclusively in Selfridges stores nationwide on 10th November until 31st December, 2011 and then available in delicatessens, farm shops, garden centres and pubs from 2012.

Available Selfridges Birmingham from 10th November 2011 at £1.89 per pack.

So if you’re in Birmingham tomorrow pop in for some British pork and to see the celebrity chefs! 

Birmingham Christmas Vintage Tea Party

We’ve just heard of something new and exciting to the foodie scene in Birmingham for the festive season – a vintage tea party in a cool bar! This sounds like a fab idea for those Christmas parties.  Here’s some information from Katy at The Vintage Tea Cup in conjunction with Kiss Me Cupcakes

2011 has been the year of vintage!   Everywhere you look there is a new vintage fair, festival or book celebrating vintage style and the tea party!

There has never been a better moment to launch Birmingham’s own vintage tea party.  With Xmas nearly upon us it’s the perfect alternative to the usual Christmas meal – and not so formal as a sit down Afternoon Tea – this is a candlelit feast in one of the city’s coolest bars.     Opt for either the lighter version of mouth watering canapés, festive cakes and mini mince pies, or a 3 course Christmas dinner.  Everything will be served on 40’s & 50’s china – even the cocktails come in vintage tea cups – and of course, there will be lashings of tea!

The table will also be decked with a variety of original Victorian parlour games – to be played before, during or after the feast.

A truly magical experience, downstairs at Bluu Bar, conveniently located in the centre of town.  Once the feast is complete adjourn to the bar upstairs to carry on the rest of the celebrations!

Any parties looking for more activity to add on to the tea party can book a masterclass of cupcake decorating with Kiss Me Cupcakes or cocktail making.   Skills that can certainly be put to good use over the rest of holiday period.

Where : Bluu Bar, Fleet Street, Birmingham, B3 1JH                                                       When : Now taking bookings                                                                                                       Prices : start from £20 per head                                                                                                 How : Call Katy on 07793 361096 or Dali 07523 139269 for booking form or email teaparty@vintageteacup.co.uk