Late February and into March saw my annual holiday to the sunshine of the Caribbean, a trip to see Claire (fellow SuffolkFoodie) in Barbuda. For those that don't know, Barbuda was wiped out by Hurricane Irma on September 9th. The island was devasted and 6 months on still is. No electricty and running water makes life difficult enough, but for those still living in tents or without a roof over their head, life must be miserable. Food and general supplies are desperately short, so first stop after arriving in Antigua was shopping and buying supplies to send on the cargo boat. Three days in Antigua provided enough time for some sight seeing and to eat some street food which is available on nearly every corner. Also this fantastic island breakfast at our Airbnb. In Barbuda we cooked for ourselves using the supplies that we'd sent ahead. There is little else to buy unless you find a fisherman or hunter with a good catch. We found Bernie who had just been out in his boat and supplied a 10lb red snapper to cook over the fire. We also successfully dived for conchs which were so tough to remove from the shell that we had to take we them to Bernie to release. Limited ingredients, only a generator for power keeps you on your toes when deciding what to cook. But our conch escabeche would give any top restaurant a run for it's money.
- Bernie's was so happy to have caught some fish
- Antigua street food menu
- loading our cargo in Antigua for Barbuda
- Curry chicken patties from a food stall in Antigua
- Conch's out of the shell
- Conch escabeche
- Dumplings cooked to order in Antigua
- Barbuda red snapper grill
- Antigua kitchen
I have just discovered the perfect little 30g bar of chocolate. Made with certified organic cacao sweetened with coconut blossom sugar, it feels good for me. Better still, 3% of the Bedfordshire based company profits go to UNICEF. My favourites are this 70% Raw Peruvian Chocolate with Pomegranate and the 100% Raw Peruvian Cacao Bar with Mulberry. Find some for your Valentine.
If dining in is the new dining out then The Spice Pioneer subscription box will be a great success. Members receive a spice box each month in the post which includes a menu plan and recipes. Enough to impress your friends and create a dinner party for four people. There's a postcard from the place that inspired the menu (each month is a surprise and travels the culinary world) and a link to a music playlist to set the scene while you are cooking and dining. The spices are provided for a starter, main course and side dish or a dessert. I've been sent the aromatic Moroccan box and the spicy Sri Lankan box to try, both with easy to follow and inspiring recipes. The quality of the spices is really very good, and for those of you out there unlikely to have a store cupboard with the selection required to cook amazing curries and spicy dishes, then this is the answer. You do need to go and buy the main ingredients but the shopping list is concise and easy to snap on your phone camera. Nothing complicated to search for with all the Moroccan box ingredients found in Lidl and the Sri Lankan ingredients all from Asda.
- Chicken tagine with apricots ginger and ras el hanout from Morocco
- Orange and date salad with preserved lemon and pomegranate molasses from Morocco
- Spicy green beans and black mustard seed from Sri Lanka
- Sri Lankan monkfish curry
- Beetroot curry - really very good and I would never have thought of making this before
- The spice box and ingredients purchased actually fed 6 of us.
No drizzles or blobs but gutsy, generous dishes; powerful yet simple flavours; a superbly written menu including offbeat ingredients and natural, biodynamic wines. That you won't find anywhere else in East Anglia. Pea Porridge - It's tough to decide what to eat!
- Bertha grilled sardines, salmoriglio, grilled lime
- Blythburgh pork belly 'Petit Sale aux lentilles', soft polenta, crispy pigs ears
- Tarte tatin, vanilla ice cream
Food redistribution charity FareShare East Anglia officially launched in Ipswich today with the aim of supplying hundreds of local charities with good food that will otherwise go to waste. FareShare is the UK’s largest food redistribution charity tackling food waste and food poverty by redistributing in date, good quality food from the food and drink industry. The food is redistributed to frontline charities and community groups that support vulnerable people, including homeless shelters, children’s breakfast clubs, and domestic violence refuges. These organisations transform the food into nutritious meals, which they provide alongside life-changing support. The FareShare East Anglia Regional Centre was made possible through a £500,000 donation by the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation as part of its ‘Fill Your Tank’ programme. So how can you help? If you are an East Anglian charity or community group interested in becoming a food member to access good quality in-date food, visit http://fareshare.org.uk/fareshare-centres/east-anglia/. If you would like to become a local 'food hero' and are free to volunteer a few hours a week to drive surplus food to local charities and groups, visit http://fareshare.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering/apply-to-volunteer-east-anglia/
Introducing the Bubblewrap Waffle, the pimped up Hong Kong sweet egg waffle that everyone wants. The business started on the streets with a stall at Berwick Street Market and now has queues of up to an hour outside their new shop in Wardour Street. Chinatown. Three flavours of waffle, six varieties of gelato, fourteen toppings and nine sauces to choose from. Here's a cheesy Winter Flame.
It wasn’t hard to persuade me to swap a turkey meal for a delicious #fishmasdinner at Loch Fyne in Cambridge this week. I’m only sorry that I couldn’t try more of the menu. Trot on turkey, I'm eating more fish!
- soft crab pakora with raita ( I could eat all day)
- chilli and garlic prawns
- pollock served with mussels from the specials board
- seafood grill, the best way to try everything!
- treacle tart
- creme brulee
Here's a very tasty Christmas party menu for you instead of the usual soggy sprouts and insipid catering quality turkey. The Giggling Squid in Bury St Edmunds invited me to try their Christmas menu last week so I went on the opening 'locals night' of the massive annual Christmas Market and Fayre. Feeling all festive and with the town buzzing, the restaurant was full to the brim. I took Mr SuffolkFoodie who loves Thai food and we both ate off the Christmas Evening menu, which priced at £29.95 a head including a glass of Prosecco is great value. By the way, where is all this Prosecco coming from, apparently us Brits drink a third of all produced. I hope it's not going to run out.
- Bags of gold ...crispy spiced chicken parcels
- Prawn satay ... I could just eat the peanut sauce by itself
- Beef rib Massaman ... the highlight of the meal
- Exotic mushrooms ... garlicky and chilli hot
- Prosecco and muddled berry cheesecake
- Molten honeycomb semi-freddo
An invitation to review Giraffe in Bury St Edmunds solved my Wednesday night supper dilemma last week. It's in a part of town that I don't really go to, by the muliplex cinema. I prefer the Abbeygate Cinema with its' arty films and live streamed National Theatre performances. Anyway, I digress ... Giraffe was extremely quiet and to be honest a little chilly but Ben and Lauren who were serving kept it lively and upbeat and chatted to us, providing a great, without being overbearing, service. Well done to them, because it's hard when you are working in a quiet restaurant to keep some pace going. I'd taken Mr SuffolkFoodie so I thought that a steak would be inevitable; he always hones in on meat, being a South African. I actually think South African food will trend at some point soon, so was hoping that the menu might reflect this part of the world, especially with a name like Giraffe, but no Bunny Chow on this occasion. Mr SF chose a Chilli Beef Burrito, which he enjoyed. I had the Lamb Tagine which was a very generous portion and not shy with the meat. It arrived with some ceremony as the lid of the tagine was lifted, tah dah, revealing the dish scattered with tasty pistachios and pomegranate seeds. The blend of meat, spice and apricot was excellent, with a great depth of flavour and assured by Ben, had been made in house. For pudding, as I always enjoy something sharp and fruity, I went for the best option which was a white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived with a fresh passion fruit drizzled across the top and not a smear of coulis in sight. A good meal, and definitely worth taking a look at if you want to take children out for a meal (kids eat free) or want a good breakfast before noon. I've been hearing good things about their £5 breakfast deal.
One of the most interesting meals I've had in Bury St Edmunds for a long time. A sushi supper at Kaori and Guy Dawsons house. I'd been invited as part of a family birthday party, so we filled the table for six which overlooks the kitchen and where Kaori cooked our dinner from scratch. While she cooked we watched and chatted to her husband Guy. This is Japanese food at its best, it's light and fresh, Sushi is only served at this supper club on a Wednesday or Saturday when Kaori gets her fresh fish from the market. We ate raw scallops, prawns and tuna. Kaori kept making food and we kept eating. We had Edamane, Renkon Chips, Tofu Salad, Japanese Omelette, Runner Bean Tempura, Nigiri and Hoso-maki sushi with scallops, tuna and prawns. Sashimi scallops and tuna. Miso Soup. Caramel Banana Ice Cream and Tea, not to mention the Sake and Japanese beer. Go!
- Kaori and Guy
- the menu
- the freshest of fish
- we watched the sushi being prepared
- runner bean tempura
- raw tuna
Organised by Gusto Pronto, The Great Gusto Food Superhero challenge encouraged young diners to use their creativity and come up with an imaginative food superhero. Some fun ideas created! Here are the winners...
The One Bull @ Bury St Edmunds – Jess Lewis (age 10) for Flossie Flash who is super fast and shoots sticky candy floss. Jemima (age 6) for Fruit Girl who throws fruit into the mouth of anyone eating an unhealthy snack and Georgina (age 3) for Flavour Girl and her Flavour Machine who adds delicious flavour to food.
The Cadogan @ Ingham - Megan (age 11) for Bubble Gum Girl who traps villains in bubble gum, Harriet Sykes (age 8) for Super Blueberry who knocks people out for an hour and can fly and Austin Speed (age 4) for Noodle Boy who shoots out laser noodles.
The Crown @ Hartest – Amelia Clarke (age 6) for Captain Carrot who can fly and Mr Strong Apple who has super strength and Oscar (age 1) for Potato Man who mashes and crushes baddies. The pubs tweeted their best entries each week during August using #TheGreatGustoFoodSuperhero if you want to take a look.
A spectacular new area at Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, bringing together all the elements from the sky, sea and land - things that all go to make up our wonderful 'Wild Suffolk'. Find me in the Food Writers Corner, telling you exactly what I think about the modern forager.
The first of the blackberries and it's beginning to feel like autumn. I created this recipe for an article I wrote for the Herb Society. Tarragon usually survives in my garden until the first winter frosts and it lends a warming aniseed flavour if used generously in a Coq au Vin. It is excellent in egg dishes and with vegetables such as Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms and marrow. Its warm flavour makes it a perfect contrast to pulses and it is delicious with flageolet beans and nearly always better in cooked dishes than served raw. It is an essential ingredient of fines herbes and béarnaise sauce. However with its liquorice like flavour, fresh tarragon marries particularly well (and interestingly) in fresh cream desserts and served with blackberries or poached plums has to be the ultimate autumn dessert.
Tarragon Cream (makes 6)
600 ml double cream
150 ml milk
4 large sprigs tarragon
3 sheets leaf gelatine
140g caster sugar
Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water
Put the cream, milk, sugar and tarragon in a heavy based saucepan and bring slowly to the boil.
Or place together in a jug and microwave.
Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine, squeezing out any excess water out first.
Stir well and then strain through a sieve into a jug.
Divide the mixture between six ramekins or glasses.
Place in the fridge until set.
(Can be turned out like a jelly if preferred)
Hardly ever seen until this year but now it's trendy and on every menu. It grows like a weed in my garden. My favourite way to use it is to rub my salad bowl with a big handful of the stuff and it will impart a lovely savoury Bovril like flavour. When used raw in dishes it can be very overpowering. The first young stalks of spring are the best for a delicious delicate flavour.