Offering an Olive Branch

December 7, 2010

At the weekend a friend was asking if I knew of any cookery demonstration that she could send her Dad on for an Xmas present. Serendipitously the very next day I was invited to just such an event today at the Olive Branch in Clipsham, Rutland. The half-day demo is presented by Sean Hope, the chef that oversees the kitchen here, for which he has one of those Michelin thingies, and at the Red Lion in Stathern. 

Sean is a confident, competent host and the kitchen’s extensive preparation means the cooking is pacey, but Sean is left with time to answer questions and expand on his themes.  He showed us a three course, Christmassy menu and struck a good balance between giving an insight into how a professional kitchen would do it, and how the dinner party giver can do it at home. Best of all, we got to eat the menu  –  beetroot-curred salmon gradlax with horesradish  creme fraiche, roast goose breast with goose leg stuffing, chestnut and bacon sprouts, goosefat roasties and a chocolate roulade with cherry compote.

There’s five more events planned at each of the two pubs in 2011 and they do make an excellent gift or, obviously, just a treat for yourself. Sean also revealed he is planning a more hands-on cookery school for next year too so watch out for further details. Thanks to Great Food Leicestershire and Rutland for the opportunity to attend.

Great Food

July 23, 2010

I started this blog mainly because I just wanted to keep writing about food, and local restaurants in particular.  I’d spent five enjoyable years doing proper independent  reviews for Metro, and when that finished I was frustrated there was not better media coverage of  the local food scene. There was the defiantly non-specialist reviews in the Leicester Mercury, the blatant  advertorials in a couple of rather vacuous style mags and the equally ad-grab reviews in the county set mags. A rather dull Midlands glossy called The Foodie occasionally gets over to Leicestershire.

So hurray for the newly-launched bi-monthly Great Food Leicestershire and Rutland, a glossy magazine that does what it says in the tin. Coming straight outta Melton Mowbray it’s a commerical proposition but one that does seem to be driven by a genuine passion for the area and for good food. The first issue has news of local events and products, features such as a farmshop map, and articles on  producers such as Nigel Moon at Whissendine Mill and local produce including stilton, bread from the Hambleton  bakery (which you will have read about on this blog of course) and local beers.  Local towns and villages are profiled for eating and drinking options, local chefs such as Danny Jimminson from the Hammer and Pincers and Adi Sinha from Memsaab contribute articles and recipes and there’s reviews of other places familar to readers of this blog  – including the Collyweston  Slater. Sure the reviews are all positive, but  they do give the impression at least of being genuine recommendations rather quid pro qu0 for adverts.

The articles are generally short and sweet, there’s a refreshing lack of pretention or ponciness and the photography and layout are good quality. Overall, it’s a terrific start and congratulations to editor Matthew Wright.  You can find out more at their website www.greatfoodleics.co.uk  and if you are quick you may be able to get a free copy of the July/August issue. If you do contact them, you might like to mention this blog.

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