Tag 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


Judging Sausages at Ludlow Food Festival

Today we have a guest post following our recent MFB visit to Ludlow Food Festival. Kath from the Ordinary Cook is a local to the event and for the last 2 years has been part of the judging panel for the event’s Sausage Trail. So it’s over to Kath for a lowdown ….. 

The Ludlow Food Festival was brilliant this year.  I had my best year yet there, wandering around finding all the brilliant local producers, trying and buying their wares.  There were lots of highlights, including meeting up with Jo and Louise from Midland Food Bloggers.  It was lovely to meet them and have a chat and a wander.

Then at 3pm the main event for me was being part of the judging team for the Expert’s Choice for the best sausage of the five sausages on this year’s Sausage Trail.  The judging panel this year was myself, The Sausage King and his very adorable young son The Sausage Prince (who of course was the best judge at the table – that kid knows his sausages!) and Rosanna Taylor-Smith, Councillor for Ludlow North.

Every year, as part of the festival, there is a sausage trail, with two rounds of judging, the Peoples’ Choice Award and the Expert’s Choice Award.  For the first, festival-goers buy a Sausage Trail Leaflet and then set off to try a bit of each of the sausages.  They then award each sausage a score, decide which one is best, take their leaflet to the final sausage tent and swap their completed leaflet for their favourite sausage in a bun. (It is extremely popular and the queues at each sausage stand are a sight to behold.) All of these leaflets are sorted and the sausage with the most votes becomes the People’s Choice.  Then a panel gets to try all five sausages and decided which sausage should win the Expert’s Choice.  This is the second year I have been on this panel and the judging is great fun, if not just a little bit difficult because of the very high standard.

All five butchers are local to Ludlow and the surrounding area and all five are traditional butchers producing some excellent quality meat. The sausages were all of a very high standard and all tasted mighty fine.  However, for the expert panel there were two sausages which came very close to being the best.  We all tasted and then tasted again, and then tasted again.  But in the end we all came to the same conclusion, the sausage from D W Wall just about clinched it, with Griffiths’ sausage coming a very close second.

The People Choice Award also went to D W Wall, with the Ludlow Food Centre coming a very close second in that competition.

The entries this year were:

Andrew Francis Butchers – Pork with cracked black pepper

A. H Griffiths Butchers – Pork with sundried tomatoes and mushrooms

Legges of Bromyard – Pork with smoked pancetta and rocket

Ludlow Food Centre – Pork with blue cheese, redcurrant jelly and port

D W Wall – Pork with camembert, chives and redcurrant jelly

As a member of the expert panel you take a blind taste of the sausage, so you you are not told the name of the butcher or the flavour of the sausage.  You simply make your decision based on which one tastes the best to you. This year all three of us agreed on our favourite sausages, but they were all very good. I do hope I can do it all again next year.

Another highlight of the festival for me was meeting Sarah from Brock Hall Farm.  She produces artisan goat cheeses from her herd of pure Saanen goats on her farm in the beautiful Shropshire hills.  Her unpasteurised cheeses are amongst the best I have tasted with the most delicate tang and wonderful texture.  If you get a chance to try her cheese I recommend that you do.

Many thanks to Kath for the letting us know what a tough job she has a Sausage tasting judge!! It’s great to have an “expert” as an MFB member. 

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

Tuk Tuk Thai & Tempura Prawns

Today we have a guest post from MFB member Craig of Lyons Made, a dad of two that enjoys cooking and having fun with with it. Here he shares his experience of a Lincolnshire producer of Thai dips and sauces along with a great recipe. Over to Craig …..

I have just been sent a box load of products from Thai food specialists Tuk Tuk Foods for me to review and create recipes from, so I got to work on trying them out, and wow, yes wow, such intense flavours and mouth-tinglingly great combinations of ingredients.

Tuk Tuk Foods is the brainchild of Bangkok born Tukata Bird, 11th of twelve children, Tukata was trained by The Thai Royal Household as her Aunt was a chef there.  Tukata was taught the fine art of pounding, chopping, grinding and combining the highest quality Thai herbs and spices. Tuk Tuk’s dips and sauces have won many Gold, Silver and Bronze awards from the Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards. Tukata is based in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England where she can often be seen on her food stall giving demonstrations.

The Salsa recipe is one of Tukatas own, and it is simplicity itself, once tried I am sure this will become a household favourite. I have used a tried and tested Tempura batter recipe thats simple and pretty much faultless. It uses Tuk Tuks Mild Green Chilli and Coriander dipping sauce, which would also be great over fish, crispy beef or pork.
All Tuk Tuks products are suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians, contain no preservatives, artificial colourings or flavourings and are gluten free and wheat free. And even better they are all produced in the UK using fresh ingredients. To order some of Tuk Tuk Foods products please visit their website www.tuktukfoods.co.uk which also has some awesome free Thai recipes to download too.
Tempura Prawn with Tukata’s Mild Green Chilli & Coriander Salsa

15 raw king prawns, shelled and de-veined
Pure vegetable oil for frying

Tempura batter mix
1/2 egg beaten
50g plain four plus extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of Bicarbonate of soda
125ml of ice cold lager, I used a Thai beer for more authenticity. 

Salsa Ingredients
 2 teaspoon of diced cucumber
1 teaspoon diced carrot
1 teaspoon sliced shallots
1 teaspoon coriander leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon lime zest
3 Tablespoons of  Tuk Tuk Foods Green chilli & coriander dipping sauce
1. Combine all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl, stir well and place in fridge until ready to use.
2. Pre-heat a deep fat fryer to 170C, or carefully use a heavy bottomed large pan.
3. Make the batter mix, making sure that the lager is ICE cold, I placed the bottle in the freezer for 30 minutes prior. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently whisk, do not over whisk, its fine to have lumps of flour, this adds to the texture of the batter.
4. Dust the prawns in some seasoned flour, then dip into the bater mix, making sure the whole prawn is coated, then gently fry 4-5 of the prawns at a time in the heated oil, for around 4-5 minutes or until golden and cooked through. ( I always cut one in half, to check they are cooked all the way through). Then drain on some kitchen paper.
5. Plate the prawns with a small bowl of the salsa for dipping. Enjoy!
Serves two as a starter
Thanks to Craig for the post. If you are Midland Foodie and want to become a member and contribute guest posts, please get in touch. 

MFB Members Blog Round Up – July 2011

Throughout the past month our members have been busy writing some delicious posts. Here’s a small selection of what they’ve been up to:

Anneliese of Rising to the Berry has been busy this month continuing on her journey through Mary Berry’s Baking Bible with delicious treats like American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake and a rather plain looking but fabulous tasting Lemon Yoghurt Cake. I do quite fancy the look of the Filo Apple Strudels though and I’m not one for apple desserts. Yum!

Jo of Jo’s Kitchen has been out and about with bump including a weekend away in London where she indulged in a trip to Odettes, a wander round Borough market and a  cupcake workshop with Cupcakes by Chrissie.

Bread at Borough Market

Lois at Bring back the Bliss has been trying out more gluten free recipes including Souffle and Gnocchi. One of the recipes was not only gluten free but also dairy free and perfect for those with allergies. Check out these Breakfast Muffins.

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

Cupcakes by Chrissie Competition Winner

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about a children’s cupcake decorating workshop that I went to with Cupcakes by Chrissie. I had a fantastic time. Over the last two weeks, I have been running a competition to win a workshop with Chrissie and learn how to decorate fabulous cupcakes yourself.

In total, there were 16 entrants to the competition: Cupcakes by Chrissie Competition Entrants who gave the correct answer to the following question:

What is the number of the Wilton piping nozzle used to make the grass on my cupcakes?

A) 244

B) 211

C) 233

The answer is C – 233. Well done to everyone who got the answer correct. The winner was selected by Random.org and I am pleased to announce that it is Natalie Cullip. Well done to Natalie. I will be in touch soon with what you need to do next. Thanks to everyone for taking part 🙂

By Jo of Jo’s Kitchen

Bite ‘n’ Write

There was a whisper on twitter of a food bloggers conference based in the Midlands. Surely that can’t be right we thought, these things always happen in London. Fortunately for us we were proved wrong ……. how exciting!!

Derezzed Media are behind Bite’N’ Write, the food bloggers conference which is for all foodies, whether you are a budding food blogger or have a well established blog with lots of followers.

Logo Bite n Write

The day will aim to provide food bloggers with an opportunity to meet others, learn new skills and share experiences. there will be useful workshops with tips on food photography, blog promotion, writing skills and a wordpress demo.

The conference is taking place in Birmingham in the newly designed arts and media quarter, at the Custard Factory on Saturday 19th November 2011. The outline of the day is as follows:

 10:00 – 10:40am: Registration, Tea & Coffee

10:40 – 11:00am: Welcome speech

11:00 – 12am: Food Photography workshop by Craig Fraser from FraserShot

12:00 – 1:00: Hot Buffet Lunch

1:15- 1:45pm: Promoting your blog using Social Media

1:50 – 2:20pm: Finding your blogging voice by Jeanne Horak from Cooksister

2:00 – 2:45pm: Cooking demo (speaker TBC)

2:45 – 3:00pm: Tea & Coffee, mingle time

3:00 – 3:30pm: Recipe Developing by Charlotte Pike from GoFreeCakes

3:35-4:15pm: Wordpress workshop by James Bolton from Derezzed Media

4:15 – 4:45pm: Video Blogging

4:45pm – 5:00pm: Thank you speech

5:00 – 6:00pm: Drinks

*subject to changes

Tickets are available now here and if you move quickly you may get your hands on the last of the early bird tickets.

For all Midlands Food Bloggers members we have been lucky enough to secure a 20% discount off the regular ticket price. To get your discount please email for the special discount code.

The event is also a perfect opportunity for any local food businesses to connect with a wealth of foodies. There are a variety of sponsorship packages available from as little as £100 for inclusion in the programme to around £300 for a stall to showcase your products or services. For any local businesses interested in sponsoring the event please email here.