Last time I ate at The Tickell Arms in Whittlesford there was a sign on the door saying 'no long haired lefties'. That was in 1981. Nowadays the pub is part of the CambsCuisine Group and is much more accommodating. Dogs are welcome (in the pub) and long haired lefties are allowed in too. I ate duck breast with pearl barley, roasted red onions, parsnip puree and port sauce. Very good it was too!
This week we had a sneak preview inside Bury's newest restaurant The Giggling Squid. Prosecco was flowing at the opening party and canapes included this delicious salt and pepper squid. We loved the decor. Lots of orchids on a back drop of hand picked drift wood with atmospheric lighting. Upcycled mirrors and a huge bookcase of over 2000 books from the local Oxfam for those that fancy a browse. We are going back to sample the menu which includes seafood, street food and simple rustic Thai food all made in house. We are not sure if all the food is going to be elaborately garnished but loved watching the fruit and veggie carving at the opening party.
The perfect pre-drink drink. Drink on a hot summers day, after cutting the grass. Mix the French bitters with pilsner or a wheat beer for a perfect apertif. Or nip to Duck Soup in Soho and enjoy with a plate of green beans, anchovy, soft boiled egg and sour dough crumbs.
Darsham Nurseries. The best and most interesting breakfast I have eaten for a long time. Shakshuka ... baked eggs in spiced tomato and pepper stew with feta cheese and lots of lovely fresh herbs including my favourite dill.
What a job! Judging for the 2016 EADT Food and Drink Awards was no mean feat. Such difficult decisions to make to whittle down the entry list of fabulous foodies, all from Suffolk, all championing the vibrant and exciting local food scene. It was an honour to take part and judge both the Customer Service Award and The Best Cafe/Tea Room Award. Pictured above are Hannah Huntley and Beth Cook from the gorgeous and now award winning Applaud Cafe. Fellow judge and sponsor Charlotte Smith-Jarvis on the right, presents the award. Take a look at all the wonderful winners and finalists.
My name is Mrs Madumbi. I am a new occasional contributor to Suffolk Foodie. My focus, though by no means not exclusively, will be on food from Africa. Guess what I found in a Tesco in Sheffield? - amaDumbe. You could mistake this rather ugly, occasionally hairy, vegetable for a mutant potato, but it has a delicate taste of its own - like no other. The amaDumbe, more commonly called madumbi in South Africa, is called eddoes in the Caribbean and Tesco, and taro elsewhere. Do remember this plant can be toxic in its raw form. Madumbis are usually peeled before cooking and can be boiled or steamed, whole or cubed. As a child growing up in southern Africa I loved this vegetable. It was always boiled in its skin for 20/25 minutes (depending on size) until the fleshy part gave when pricked with a fork. After cooking, the water was drained and discarded. The skin comes away easily once cooked. The rather grey inside of the madumbi has a nutty, slightly sweet taste (think distant cousin of sweet potato). The texture can appear slimey and unusual but it is not, so please do not be put off. Newcomers quickly acquire a taste for this versatile little tuber. It is delicious served simply 'potato style' with salt and butter. It can be mashed and mixed with caramalised onions or leeks; added to soups and curry dishes; sliced thinly with a mandolin for crisps and oven-baked or fried.
We had a big family celebration party at the weekend and ended up with a fridge full of leftovers, including a load of butter and selection of fresh herbs. So we made herb butter. This is how ... Snap off any thick stalks, wash and dry the herbs in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Break large pieces of room temperature butter into smaller pieces and drop evenly into the blender. Whizz for a few minutes and if needed gently poke the butter down into the herbs with a plastic spoon. You will need to do this if the butter is too cold and hard. The butter should mix evenly with the herbs. Spoon the mixture onto grease proof paper and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends of the paper to seal. If you want to store the herb butter in smaller quantities cut into discs once the butter has hardened in the fridge. Repack in grease proof paper and store in a plastic tub in the deep freeze until required. Remember to label the packages.Parsley gives a wonderful green tint to the mixture. The butter can be smeared on meat before barbequeing, or on grilled fish and steak. Mint is slightly less verdant than parsley but the butter is delicious added to omlettes or mixed into peas. Dill butter goes wonderfully well with salmon - and is also a great accompaniment to gently scrambled eggs. Add zest of lemon to your dill butter for extra flavour. If you don't have any pesto add basil butter to pasta dishes. Your favourite herb butter can be used to add flavour to jacket potatoes or spread onto warm bread.
- parsley and butter goes into the mixer
- spread the butter on paper and roll
- slice the chilled butter into discs
So did you know that Justin Sharp from Pea Porridge enjoys chips and bearnaise sauce for his midnight feast, Lee Bye (Tuddenham Mill) enjoys a bowl of muesli and Lola Demille (Darsham Nurseries) goes for a cheap supermarket creme caramel? Just some of the fun facts in Suffolk Feast, a serious food lovers guide and celebration of great Suffolk produce. From field to fork, the book features twenty of the best chefs in the county and their recipes. (They work. I tried them.) Inspiring writing by co-authors Tessa Allingham and Glyn Williams and superb photography, the book includes a directory of farm shops and markets, food and drink producers, places to eat and stay, some of the county’s food festivals and cookery workshops. Buy your copy from one of the featured restaurants or check out the Suffolk Feast website for more details. Coming next is Norfolk Table. I'm so excited!
Look out for the latest food trend of Poke (po-keh, rhymes with OK) which means to cut into pieces and comes from Hawaii. Usually made with marinated, raw fish and similar to Ceviche, with Japanese influenced seasonings of soy and spring onions. They serve it at Pond in Dalston. Hipster Sushi then?
Some of the best street food on Bury market is from Yakitori Suzuki, on a Saturday,usually close to Moyses Hall. Kaori Dawson (pictured above with her daughter) cooks rolled omelettes for breakfast until about 11.15am then it's lunch with delicate little skewers of meat and vegetables, rice and miso soup. I tried the pork rib (supearibu no Nikomo) Japanese meatball (Tsukune) and the pork skewers (Kushiyaki) Kaori runs the Suzuki Supper Club so if you cannot get to the market, go for supper.
I was invited by Lottie, PR for the Double Tree by Hilton in Cambridge City Centre to try dinner at The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill. So I took up the offer. The meal passed the Suffolk Foodie quality control with flying colours. You see we get invited to eat out and review restaurants on a regular basis and we'll only write about anything that's very good. The hotel is at the end of Mill Lane in the city centre. It's a beautiful location next to the river and from the dining room you can watch the punts go by. Well, you can when it's not dark outside. Lottie told me that the restaurant opened in April 2014 and is branded by Marco Pierre White, with the brand team writing menus and ensuring that the Head Chef at the hotel meets the required standards. Its actually a very stylish restaurant with more than a nod to fine dining, not what I had expected of a steakhouse, bar and grill. Service was charming with the extremely friendly, but unobtrusive team of Marion, Claire and Evelin (pictured above) looking after us extremely well. I took Mr Suffolk Foodie ... he loves a steak. Steaks are on the a la carte menu and listed as 28 day dry aged native breed steaks. The usual classic cuts ... Fillet, Sirloin, Ribeye, T.Bone and Chateaubriand. There's a table d'hote menu too, so we ate from each menu, with a bit of wheeling and dealing done between us at the table. Table d'hote menu comes in at a keen £20 for two courses or £24 for three. From the TDH menu we chose a starter of smoked salmon, celeriac remoulade garnished with peashoots. Really simple but pretty presentation and a beautiful remoulade, which happens to be a favourite of mine. This one was good because it was very well seasoned and held its' own against the flavour of the smoked salmon. From the a la carte we chose the rillettes of duck with prunes d'Agen and toasted sourdough. Chunky prunes and soft, succulent duck meat, but don't tell MPW I had to use the salt and pepper mill as it was lacking. A little amuse bouche arrived; a palate cleanser of sharp lemon sorbet which was super and appreciated after the rich rillettes. Mr Suffolk Foodie chose the Ribeye (rare) with a side of Bearnaise Sauce for his main course. It was a very tender steak and served with triple cooked chips and a classic watercress, grilled tomato and onion ring garnish. My seafood risotto from the TDH was creamy and packed full of prawns, mussels and squid. Concasse tomatoes added some colour too. Actually, it was very enjoyable and I would eat it again right now. Cambridge burnt cream featured on both dessert menus. The burnt cream was orginally made within the walls of Trinity College, Cambridge in the 1600's and sometimes called a Trinity burnt cream. It's the predecessor of the French creme brulee. I ordered one and it arrived with a proper glassy and crunchy top and a thick ... really thick custard underneath. Other puddings included a New York cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding and a brownie but catching our eye was a Knickerbocker Glory. Layered fruits and icecream and a very classy one too. In fact it was pretty damn perfect with thick raspberry coulis,whole fruit,layers of vanilla icecream and whipped fresh cream on top. My brulee spoon wasn't long enough to get to the bottom of the glass and Mr Suffolk Foodie wouldn't let go of his sundae spoon. Dammit! I won't take him out again.
- House Salad, simple, but excellent dressing
- Pistachio, macadamia and coconut crisps were served at the end of the meal
- Cambridge burnt cream
- Gavi by the glass....mmm
- Knickerbocker Glory
- Seafood risotto with garlic bread
- Smoked salmon, celeriac remoulade, microcress
- Lemon sorbet
- Ribeye steak, bearnaise, triple cooked chips, onion rings, grilled tomato, watercress
- Table d'hote menu
- The lovely team