Pick a winner

October 31, 2009

Dexter  burgerLunch today was one Pick’s Farms wonderful organic dexter burgers. Dexters are a small breed of cattle –  I always think of the short-legged variety as overgrown Bassett hounds – but the meat always seems to pack a real flavour punch. These burgers are excellent – coarsely minced and not too lean, simply griddled on a really hot pan they maintain a wonderful succulence. A poor quality burger can generally be made palatable with pile of fried onions and a dollop of barbecue sauce, but these are really best served up au naturel, just let those meaty juices seep out into a lightly toasted roll.  Pick’s    has a farm shop out to the north of Leicester in Barkby Thorpe  but can also be found at farmers’ markets and events around the region.

Oh – and the photos will improve. Honest.

Not so easy, Tiger

October 29, 2009

Been trying, and so far failing,  to get a table at Blind Tiger – Leicestershire’s latest (maybe only?) “secret supper club”.

The idea is a once a month club where a  four course meal is served in a secret location revealed only just before the event and to those 20 or so booked in. In other ways, following a feature and now a positive review in the Leicester Mercury, the “secret” is fairly superflous and the November event is sold out already. The menu for October sounds very sesonal and appealing – a belly of pork and crackling amuse bouche, smoked Rutland Water trout with beetroot capaccio, roast partridge and game chips and parsnip puree , finishing up with what I fondly think of as  my own signature dish – pear tarte tatin. 

 The Blind Tiger folk  seem like really nice people, and from the looks of things a lot more clued up than the shower currently trying to impress Raymond Blanc on my TV. The idea is great – if they can continue to deliver good food to a clientele that is excited by food, everyone could have a lot of fun. I wonder if once the excitement of launching has worn off they’ll continue to find the motivation – certainly hope so.

If anyone’s been and would like to comment  – please go ahead.

Seen More Often Farm

October 27, 2009

It’s something of an ambition of mine to celebrate Christmas with a three bird roast from Billesdon’s Seldom Seen Farm.  If not that, then maybe just with one of their highly-rated geese.  It seems many more people could have the chance to do that now that they’ve signed an agreement to supply M&S. It’ll only be 500 in the first year but is welcome backing for local produce – at least Billesdon Geese will have more local connections than M&S’s Oakham chicken. Good luck to the Symingtons – I’ve not got the knowledge to talk about  Marks’s business practice when it comes to food, but it’s probably best if they consider supping with a long spoon.

First Food Festival

October 26, 2009

I’m sure I’ve been to something similar before but ,whatever, Leicester City Council is billing the event at the market on  Sunday 22 November as the city’s first ever food festival. They are claiming that there will be over 200 stalls there, which would certainly make it worth the trip into town on a Sunday. Among the events is a live cook off from people submitting entries to the Leicester on a Plate competition, designed to showcase Leicestershire produce. You’ve got until 6 November to submit ideas for this – dishes must be suitable for cooking in 30 minutes  on the day and must be “safe for general consumption”, which is a relief. To find out more visit the Leicester Market site. There’s a £250 voucher and a commemorative plaque available for the winner.

I missed the East Midlands festival at Brooksby this year (dining at the Three Chimneys on Skye since you ask), so this could be a good  chance to stock up pre-Christmas .

Farmers’ Market relaunch

October 25, 2009

Intersting to see the city’s Farmer’s Market is being moved away from its position in the middle of the main retail market to a new position on Humberstone Gate.  Being surrounded by a huge range of apparently similar but  much cheaper stuff was also a tough proposition for the farmers and smallholders trying to make a pitch for the foodie pound, and to this outsider it never really seemed to take off in the way I understand Melton’s and Loughborough’s have. Many reasons for that of course, but I would think giving it a space of its own might be a smart move, lending  distinctiveness and attracting the shopper who found wandering though our market a little too stressful. The date has changed too – now being on the first Thursday of the month, starting on 5th November. We’re promised game and poultry, bread, cakes, cheese, ice-cream, eggs, beer, cider, chillis, fish (locally sourced? really? Could be trout I s’pose), preserves, honey, pies,ready meals, plants. soap and, erm,  dog-biscuits.

Recommendations welcome.

Sometimes you want a gastro pub. Sometimes you want hot, stomach-lining pub grub.

By no stretch of the imagination is the Swan and Rushes a gastropub, but last night it offered up a just- right  Friday night supper. It’s long been a beer drinker’s pub, offering a big range of draught real ales but recently a friend recommended it for good value food. Turning up at 6.30pm on Friday evening I struggled to find a menu – asking the barmaid I got the response   “It’s Friday, we do Fish and Chips”. And that’s it. For a round fiver, we got a huge piece of fish, freshly cooked in a crisp batter, decent chips, a dollop of mushy peas.  No fuss, friendly staff, comfort food  – a good start to the weekend.

Thinking about it, I don’t know why more pubs don’t do it. Why try and produce a big range of Brakes Bros finest, when you could  do one dish and do it well with minimal demands on the kitchen?  The Swan has historical links to the Criterion, another pub that concentrated on a short menu – basically pizza – and doing it really well.

Hello world!

October 23, 2009

I’m going to start blogging soon about restaurants, food and drink in Leicestershire. Read more in ‘About’ and I hope to hear from you soon.

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