Blogger ten commandments

Just ten things to abide by if you blog, I’m just as guilty for doing a few of these!

  1. Thou shalt not flake out of booked events with no notice
  2. Thou shalt not forget to thank the host for asking you along to an event or review meal on your way out
  3. Thou shalt not insist on bringing a guest
  4. Thou shalt not audibly complain about the events you are attending
  5. Thou shalt upload reviews and pictures with links within a week
  6. Thou shalt not gush about places which are mediocre at best
  7. Thou shalt not ask for free shit
  8. Thou shalt not publish blogs with names spelt incorrectly, broken links and crap pictures
  9. Thou shalt not take freebies without fulfilling your part of the bargain
  10. Thou shalt not do sponsored posts without making it clear it’s an ad.

Have I missed any?

 

The Pizza Dip Problem – AN UPDATE!

Honestly, I could wax lyrical for hours about the pizza in Bristol. We have nailed every conceivable version from the £5 carby saviour of a drunken Friday night, to chain waggon wheels you should never buy without a voucher. The simple sourdoughs and Italian thin crusts leading finally to the 72-hour fermented luxury pizzas with truffle oils and numerous curds, pickled veg and cured meats.

 

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Look at all this crusty goodness naked of sauce. It’s a travesty.

 

However, there are a few pizza places that have neglected one of these best parts of pizza eating.

Dips for the crust.

It has got to the point that I am scanning down menus desperately searching for an offering of something to make those last bites of the crust as exciting as the middle bit. I hate to say it (and many Twitter types agree) Dominos nail it with their garlic herb dip, and I HATE it when somewhere like Dominos nails anything.

I would like to also add here that flavoured oils and butters are NOT dips, as Shonnette and Sam both agree

Twitter also agrees that pizza shops should be supplying dips, obviously, these would be paid for, I am led to believe Pi Shop do a cracking herb sauce and there have been rumours that Berthas have a fermented chilli oil and Parmesan mayo but I can’t seem to find anyone that has had it recently. I once asked Flour and Ash for a pot of their beetroot sauce they were using for the base of their vegan pizza…it was ok but lacked the POW a real dip needs…forgiven as I had misappropriated sauce on this occasion.

So why aren’t they? Perhaps they don’t realise the pizza eating general public of Bristol is crying out for dips so here is their call to action. Please for the love of all things pizza, treat your crusts with the respect they deserve and give me a pot of something sweet, punchy and substantial to keep me interested to the very last bite.

GIVE ME DIPS OR GIVE ME DEATH.

Thank you

Update 10/07/2017

Whether or not my ongoing whinging has sorted this or pizza restaurant owners were planning to anyway, we are slowly getting dips!

Big hands for

Berthas

Flour and Ash

and Pi Shop

White’s Botanicals – Review

Most of us mourn the loss of Stock Exchange Bakery. A small room that was half filled with mixers, ovens and kitchen equipment, the other half given over to seating. Sadly they quietly packed off and left and we all waited with baited breath to see what would slip into place.

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I was informed via Twitter a “health juice place” had popped up in there and honestly, my heart sank. The last thing I wanted was another cafe trying to turn me onto a raw, liquid diet. I like chewing thanks.

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Thankfully what has actually sprung up is White’s Botanicals who, yes, want to feed you good food, but they’re managing to do it without trying to re-aline your chakras or pushing flaxseed smoothies down your neck.

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First impressions when I walked in was how light and airy it felt. The windows allowed in so much light despite the miserable weather this Monday afternoon and every spare surface had plants on or swinging off it. I felt like I was in a Henry Rousseau painting.

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After a little confusion on where the queue starts (dammit I am British) I ordered the mackerel plate which comes with leaves, roast beetroot and lentils. I also picked up a bottle of proper pressed apple juice and it was only £2. Bargain. Sadly they had run out of lentils but I was offered the choice of something else so went for the potato, dill and gherkin salad, perfect with horseradish mackerel.

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The lady behind the counter was really friendly as was the waitress who brought my food, apologising again for the lack of lentils. The plate was generous with toasted, seeded sourdough and butter on the side too! The leaves were a little unwieldy and took some chopping down to effectively push them into my gaping maw but they were fresh, crisp and lightly dressed in vinaigrette. The beetroot were purple jewels, sweet, earthy and great squidged on top of the mackerel which was in turn spread onto the sourdough. The bread itself was pleasant but lacked that strong sour flavour I enjoy at home, but when you are baking on a large scale, I understand.

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Overall I couldn’t have been happier with my meal, the staff were all lovely, the cafe itself had a nice mix of students, office workers and other traders popping in and out (Tilly Tomlison Flowers are right next door). Their bottomless granola bowls in the morning are something I will have to head back for and the toasties I saw coming out looked gorgeous and cheesy! They had a nice selection of cakes and a yes, they do juices and smoothies, but it looks like they’re not silly about it. No one is about to suggest you do a cleanse.

I would highly recommend dropping in for a bite to eat and with everything under £8 it’s a bargain.

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Bristol Pudding Society  @ Bristol Spirit

I’ve been a wee bit quiet on here of late. Mostly due to starting my new job in March which is taking up all of my time during the day. I’m not complaining about that AT ALL, my old job had me sitting around doing nothing for a lot of my time. Despite people assuming that would be a dream come true, it was dull.

Apart from starting a new job and basically being a boss at it, I also started a Pudding Society . I’d seen them mentioned in the past, there’s a hotel that runs one that myself and a friend wanted to go to, but without a car and a bag full of cash, it quickly became one of those “one-day” things. I lamented the lack of pudding dedicated evening in Bristol on Twitter and was told to do it myself. So I did.

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Luckily a good friend owns a lovely bar called Bristol Spirit with a brand new kitchen and gorgeous seating area. I floated the idea past her and she was game for a challenge. Location sorted I just needed a menu and some customers.

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I decided to go down the “homely Sunday Lunch” pudding route as I am a home cook, not a chef. Bristol Pudding Society  is not the place to go to if you want a twiddly sugar work encasing a delicate something or other, I want this to be somewhere you eat to excess and don’t mind I have the serving aptitude of a dinner lady.

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I completed my first “service” on Sunday and it went brilliantly. It couldn’t have gone better and everyone left feeling stuffed and a wee bit drunk in some cases after pairing their courses with Bristol Spirit’s fine cocktails.

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Sam and I have agreed to make this a regular thing and I am now a resident pop-up, words I never thought I would say. I am finally starting something that’s my very own that people actually want to come to!

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If you would like tickets, head over to my website and click the link. At the time of writing, we still have space for 9th July and 6th August. Magic!

I also had a lot of people ask me how to make the Beetroot Ketchup, obviously, they need to read my blog more often!

Massive thank you to friends that let me use their pics for my promotion, I forgot to take any.

 

Nutmeg Nights – A Series of Tasting Menus and Events

Nutmeg have been making quite the name for themselves in the last few months as one of the best Indian Restaurants in Bristol. Located in Clifton, Nutmeg offers modern Indian cuisine in opulent surroundings that eschews the more traditional curry house, flock wallpaper be gone!

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To showcase and celebrate the vast range of foods available across the regions of India,  Nutmeg will be offering a series of four-course tasting menus using locally sourced ingredients from such Bristol stalwarts as Ruby and White and Sweetmart. On offer will also be locally inspired drinks to compliment each course.

The first in the series of this exciting culinary journey looks to explore the region of Punjab, along with four specially created gin cocktails. Passionate about sharing Indias food history, Nutmegs head chef has created a bespoke four-course tasting menu reflective of this rich and fragrant style of cooking. Every course will be coupled with a unique gin cocktail that has been designed especially to accompany and compliment the food.

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Future events that are yet to be announced will cover New Delhi cuisine paired with wine in May and a Tamil Nadu tasting menu paired with local IPA’s that will take place in July.

Tickets are £40pp and must be booked in advance. They can be purchased online via Foozie

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How to bake sourdough with The Thoughtful Bread Company, Bath

Forget everything you think you know about baking bread.

Think you need warm water? You don’t.

Think you need a warm place to prove dough? You don’t.

Think stirring sourdough starter with a metal spoon will kill it? It won’t.

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I headed over to The Thoughtful Bread Company in Bath to take part in a sourdough baking course in their new school. Thoughtful Bread both bake on site and have a cafe which has recently extended to provide seating for patrons. Everything from the sandwiches to the pastries are made by a team of dedicated bakers and served by friendly staff.

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Duncan Glendinning, the owner of Thoughtful Bread, is passionate about local, sustainable and slow food and I was looking forward to picking up on some of his enthusiasm for bread, baked with respect. He has featured numerous times on television and written a cookbook so we knew we were in the safest, most knowledgeable hands possible.  We also had help from the lovely Marion who was Duncan’s’ right-hand woman.

As part of a group of six, we were given a coffee and pastry for breakfast before being led down into the newly developed school kitchen. With a large table set in the centre, we were all allocated a bowl and Duncan got to work with explaining that we were going to make a white sourdough loaf, sourdough bagels and two types of rye bread.

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During the course, we learned about the fermentation process and how the “rules” of bread baking I had always known and adhered to weren’t rules at all. We added cold water to our flour and sourdough starter. We didn’t knead the bread, add salt at the beginning or even prove the dough in a warm place, it went in the fridge! We talked through the differences between white and rye flour and made a 100% rye loaf and a second loaf with added ingredients. I went for sunflower seeds, cumin and raisins.

The lunch was incredible, with a spread of meat, cheeses, salads and bread (of course!) that rivalled many lunches I have had before.

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After lunch, we made bagels and were allowed a choice of toppings that included herb and salt mixes from Barts Spices, a  Bristol based spice company. I went for a Herbes de Provence mix with a mind of cracking these babies out on Sunday night to make use of the leftover beef from the planned roast.

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The entire day was packed with learning and baking and we were given ample opportunity to ask questions throughout the day. We had a fantastic tote goodie bag with a cookbook, apron, printed instructions, our own bread scraper and our own couche cloth for proving bread. We were given some starter to take home and care for ourselves and the dough we worked on that day ready to bake the next morning.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Bath with The Thoughtful Bread Company and have to go back on my word from a few years ago when I said I wouldn’t ever make sourdough again. With Duncans’ expert tutelage I have made three loaves and another six bagels with ease! I am even experimenting with the amount of water I am using to change the texture of my loaves, something I never thought I would have had the confidence to do!

If you too want to get professional help with your bread baking, check out the dates of their upcoming school dates here  and see what they’re up to on Twitter 

Review – The Burger Joint

Working literally next door to one of the most well known burger places in Bristol (as featured in the Independent this week!) has been pure torture. Hot summer days with the office window wide open has sent me completely mad after hours of smelling the waft of burger and fries.

The Burger Joint has been flipping patties for nearly 8 years and lets you be the boss of your own dinner destiny. Using a form to mark your choice of bun, meat, toppings, sauces and sides they say there are over 70,000 combinations waiting for you to try.

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After launching their latest menu incarnation i was invited to come and see what they had been up to lately. Accompanied by a friend we headed over on a weekday night for a an early dinner and noted the restaurant was already looking busy. After we were seated by the wonderfully welcoming manager we opted to start with some soft drinks…and then ordered beers because we are grown women and it was a Wednesday. Pleased to see Lost and Groundeds’ “Running with Sceptres” on the specials menu we ordered two of those which turned up with frosty glasses.

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On our tick sheets I went for a beef patty on ciabatta with bacon, onion rings and brie. I asked for peanut butter and garlic mayo for my sauces and chunky chips for a side. My companion had sautéed onions, bacon and Monterey Jack cheese with a side of onion rings. Also on the menu were truffle fries, a delicious looking beetroot and feta burger and a great range of more exotic meats including wild boar and kangaroo.

The portions, as usual were more than generous with towering, stacked burgers, mounds of crispy chips and the onion rings were plentiful. You are provided with a generous portion of sauce served on the side which frankly sticks two fingers up at a famous burger restaurant claiming you can “have it your way”. I was happy to see my burger wasn’t served pink, a trend I personally can’t bare, uncooked beef mince is a bit too much of a gamble if you ask me. The burgers can be served without buns for the bread-phobic and they also offer a range of salads, vegetarian and vegan options.

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With The Burger Joints’ commitment to great burgers and a new menu with even more choice for vegetarian and vegan patrons they continue to hold onto their crown as one of the best burger restaurants in Bristol. Find them in Clifton, Fishponds and Bedminster.

*Please note I received my meal free of charge but this in no way influenced my review*