Pop ups for Spring.

February 29, 2012

 

 

Good to report that finally there’s some stirrings in Leicester of a pop-up restaurant scene.  Lucy Cufflin of Lucy’s Foods in Stoneygate has teamed up with Powder Blue, an interior décor shop opposite her own store, to stage two nights (sorry, it’s tonight and tomorrow and they are both full), with a locally themed four course menu including “pannacotta of Rutland trout” (not sure about the sound of that), terrine of duck with vine fruit and Muscat jelly, Bouverie Farm venison pudding with Tiger ale, plus apple tart with walnut pastry and Brucciani’s ice-cream. Both nights sold out within a week but if you like the sound of it, go to White Room Dining’s Facebook  page to look for future events.

I have to say I’m not really a Stoneygate kinda guy. But I am definitely attracted by news of a calcotada being held at the lovely Crumblin’ Cookie on High Street.  Calcotadas are Catalan feasts that feature in particular calçots – giant spring onions with romesco sauce.  I heard about them years ago from a friend who went to one with their ex-pat pal near Taragona, but never thought I’d see one in Leicester. Calçotadas are being popularised here by Rachel McCormack (one of the panellists at the recent Kitchen Cabinet recording at Melton), who is behind the website  Catalan Cooking 

 

The traditional menu includes nibbles, calcots, barbecued meats, crema catalana, fruit and a glass or two of cava, and the idea is very much to have a lot fun. Sounds great.  Have a look at Catalan Cooking  for details, though as of today I don’t think it mentions the Leicester event yet.  Cost is £32 – book with the Crumblin’ Cookie at 68 High Street.

Albero etc

February 8, 2012

Sorry I’ve not posted much this year yet – cold weather, illness and generally grouchiness has kept me in by the fireside. However there’s a few points to share with you now.

Not too much to say about Leicester restaurants right now but going further afield I’m hearing  great things about a Northampton venue called  Albero.  It’s billed as a Mediterranean restaurant and is linked to and sited at Northampton College,  though it is not one of these training venues. Rather it  “showcases the College’s success stories, employing staff who have graduated from its own study programmes and are now enjoying successful careers”.  Head chef Liam Goodwill fits that billing, having trained at the college and gone on to spend four years as sous at the Horse and Trumpet in Medbourne and then head chef at the Pheasant in Keyston.  Prices appear reasonable and the current menu reads rather beautifully    –  how about roast ling with potato and cauliflower linguine, caviar and frozen horseradish, or confit pork belly and braised cheek with smoked paprika chickpeas, patatas bravas and quince aioli.  All dishes seem to be available in starter and main sizes which seems like a good diner-focused initiative.  I believe there might be a forthcoming review in Great Food , but all reports welcome in the meantime.

Back in Leicester, Canas Y Tapas in Highcross has gone, and in its place is coming…Pizza Express. Nothing against their pizzas but a third city centre branch was not exactly top of my wishlist.

As mentioned a few days back,  I was in Melton last night for the recording of Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet. It was a jolly affair with lots of pork pie and stilton related joshing.  My question was one of those selected so if you’ve really nothing better to do at 3pm on 21 February tune in and hear me asking a question about what makes a great piece of beef (assuming I make the final cut that is).

I noticed some publicity today for a free workshop and grant scheme for start-up food businesses in Leicester.  If you’re thinking of setting up your own little company there’s a free two day workshop, starting off with stuff like hygiene, business plans and sources of support, followed by a test trading day to try out your plans.  There’s the chance to apply for small grant (£250) to help get you under way.  Have a look here if you’re interested  – www.thefoodworkshop.co.uk .

Aldi bourbon.And one final suggestion.  You all seem like the kind of people who are not too proud to go down to Aldi on occasions. I swerve quickly around the meat and veg  in there but am a big fan of their chocolate and – some of  – the cheap biscuits.  I’d be amazed if their wonderful Memento-branded half coated fruit and nut cookies aren’t being sold for over twice the price in a different wrapping somewhere in a Market Harborough deli. But my latest find (thank you James Preston) is a Kentucky bourbon called Clarke’s selling at £10.99.  A bit of googling suggests this is a  brand created just for the European market. No indication of the actual distillers, and while it’s not remarkable it is perfectly acceptable and I reckon again it would match bottles selling for twice the price in a blind tasting. If bourbon is your thing, give it a try and see what you think.

 

* Oh and a quick PS – this blog had its 20,000th visitor about 20 minutes ago. Thank you whoever you are.

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