I wrote earlier in the spring about a Death Star BBQ, which I haven’t spotted in many places online, but Menkind have a cheaper version. Just the legs aren’t so long, so it’ll need a firm surface to live on, or you’ll need to do a bit more bending.
Well, you’ll be needing to eat whilst you’re visiting! Not to mention a drink or two. I’m very fond of Leicester, and often shop and eat there instead of Nottingham, as live between the two.
If you’re coming to soak up the atmosphere of the Foxes’ triumph, then these are the places I’d be stopping by to keep you going, when the adrenaline runs low:
Start with really good tea or coffee at St Martin’s, with their incredible choices of teas and expertly made coffees. Not to mention great cakes, and very decent breakfasts, like breakfast tacos and avocado on sourdough toast. I know, it’s almost like still being in London (eye-rolling from those of us who’ve known food exists outside of London for years). In fact if you’re there at the end of the week, you could arrive at breakfast and not move out until after dinner as they now serve great burgers and more in an evening.
I’d take a wander from there down to the central market, which is my favourite locally. Brilliant selection of fruit and veg, reflecting the fact that Leicester was the first city in the UK with no one ethnic majority, so a huge variety of things to choose from. Usually stock up on chillies and herbs here, the temptation is always to buy too much as prices and variety are so good.
Not for food, but I’m very fond of Curve in Leicester, for all kinds of theatre, and all kinds of reasons. I’ve been tweeting them to say I hope they’ve got a play in development about this Leicester season, a homegrown success story should be celebrated in the city’s theatre too.
So, you’ll be needing a good drink to round things off. Only one place for me: 45 West Bottle Shop and Bar, from the team behind Burleighs Gin and 45 Gin School. Great cocktail list, great atmosphere…maybe not much football being shown but great way to toast a great win for the Foxes. I can’t spot a cocktail for the win yet, but there is a Martinez on the menu (which I believe, from my very limited knowledge, may have an unintentional footballing connection).
Leicester may not usually make it onto your plans of places to visit
We’re coming to the end of Great British Beef Week for this year, but given it’s Sunday tomorrow, then beef might well be on the menu. But if you want to find something different to do with it, then here are 10 favourites that I’ve gathered on Pinterest:
If you can’t decide what to make, make this! Always empty plates, always thank you notes when I pass on this recipe, and always need to freeze any leftovers straight away. Otherwise there aren’t any for long. Fabulous recipe from Add a Pinch.
I love crispy beef at the Chinese, and this is a good standby to make it home, thanks to Table for Two.
Please get out and support your local butcher or farm shop and find good local beef. A couple of these call for more interesting cuts that you might not find in the supermarket but I bet the butcher will have for you. For me, then I’d be off to Harker’s Farm Shop. Fabulous beef, and their sausages are always worth stocking up on.
Now, I have many flavours of things, but not a blueberry liqueur. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in my travels.
Thank heavens for the wonder of the web, as it revealed a whole selection of them, including some relatively local ones.
From Suffolk, it’s probably no surprise that a company called The Blueberry Co might be a good bet as a source for a liqueur. Lovely, simple design, sure this would do the trick. And you could stock up on blueberry jam at the same time.
Hopping over the water, then RubyBlue Wild Blueberry Liqueur is made in small batches in Co Antrim. They say it makes a great Blueberry Bellini, which I would certainly be happy to give a go.
I’ve written before about my love for stationery, and National Stationery Week is probably one of my favourite weeks. It’s also very low calorie compared to some!
But as food lovers we probably have bits of stationery that are very useful, and can be incredibly decorative. Here’s a few things that might make a good alternative gift for a food lover, bits of stationery that you can probably never have too many of.
Even with all the many online sources of recipes, then I think many of us still write stuff down, whether it’s ideas, changes or recipes you spot somewhere else and want to note down. I like this one, you can have it personalised and it’s still just under a tenner.
If you wanted something a bit more gifty, then this vintage style one is probably the next step up. Can still be personalised but has things like pockets for storing snippets of recipe written out a long time ago perhaps, that mean as much as the recipe themselves. Comes in a gift box, so really going to look very stylish.
Doing a batch of cooking from a cook book? Maybe you need some good sticky notes to mark your pages to flick between, and they don’t come cuter than these. Cute and useful are always a good combination to me.
I don’t often use an eraser these days, guessing I don’t use pencils so often. But if I did, then I’d have a set of these macaron erasers for when I inevitably changed my mind about something. I’d just have to stop a certain teenager from running off with them!
There are occasions when I write out proper shopping list. And there are occasions when I even remember to take it with me! I like these shopping list pads, useful to keep to hand to write running shopping lists as things run down. Pretty and fun, this fruit salad version is from Oliver Bonas.
Just a few choices, as could have gone on and on with this one. Stationery is one of those things, like tea towels, that I do stock pile a little bit, as they make great standby gifts. And obviously benefit from not having an eat by date!
I had really not got into the whole 90th birthday thing for the Queen, so a very quick round up of some things you might like to mark the occasion with. Bear in mind, my approach to these things has always been slightly tongue in cheek!
I’m not very into Cath Kidston, as it’s all a bit too country for me, given I live in the country. But I quite like her style for these 90th birthday mugs. They’ll go through a stage in about 5 years of being a bit naff, and then in 20 years time they’ll be really cool again. Invest for the long term.
I love a good tea towel, and this one from Emma Bridgewater is more classic in style. Always useful, and definitely decorative, and not going to take up a whole heap of space.
You might need something to go in that mug, so this Earl Grey tea from Millie Green might do the trick, and then you have a lovely tin to keep. Tins are always useful around the kitchen so a multi purpose purchase.
Making cake to celebrate? How about a majestic cake topper? I think this is very cute and for any matriarchs in your family then this might be a lovely thing.
So, I hope the Queen had a lovely birthday, it’s certainly a grand age for any one in a family to reach and I hope they spoilt her like you would anyone reaching that age.
So I’ve missed the Queen’s 90th birthday by a day, and I hope she had a lovely lunch with all the people who were popping in. If Michelle Obama wants to pop in her for lunch today, then that’s fine with me too, she can be my surprise guest any time.
At the last Jubilee, I wrote about cookbooks from the eras of the Queen’s reign, so to celebrate this landmark, then these are cookbooks linked, some vaguely, to the many charities and organisations that the Queen is involved in, many of which will be represented at the upcoming Patron’s Lunch.
Amazing that the Queen has been around nearly as long as the WI, but I think they perfectly complement each other. I like that this book also sets the recipe in the historical and social context of its time, showing how the WI has actually kept pace with the times. Not unlike the Queen I guess. I love some of the chapter titles, like Keeping the Country Together and The Times They Are a Changing. I rather like this for its social history of British cooking, I’m quite tempted by this.
No, John Torode is not a charity, but the Queen is patron of The Red Poll Cattle Society, which is definitely going to grow into delicious beef. And I’m guessing the Queen has plenty of cattle over her many lands, so probably knows some good cows when she sees them. It’s also a great book for learning how to make the most of every type of cut of beef.
Not the sort of cookbook I hope you ever have to buy, but the statistics say many of us will be directly or indirectly affected by cancer over our lifetime. The Queen is patron of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, still seen as one of the leading cancer treatment centres in the UK, so expect this to come with great research and knowledge behind it, of what is needed at this most difficult of times.
As a patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, we are used to seeing the Queen at various flower shows, but of course the RHS is much more involved in all things horticultural than just shows. I like this book, it seems a very contemporary title given the growth in interest in chillies in recent years, not to mention the greater variety of seeds available.
The royal family’s links to the Royal Navy are very strong, and they’ve probably had many meals from Royal Navy cooks. This is a compendium of excerpts from the Royal Navy’s Manual of Cooking, circa 1930. Probably not one for Tuesday night after work recipes, but fascinating for the history and an insight into what went on on board, from the officers mess downwards.
There are more celebrations to come, and whatever your thoughts on the monarchy, my feelings are that the Queen is one of the hardest working 90 year olds around. And looking pretty darn good on it. I hope she got a decent lunch yesterday, I’m sure she did, and wish her a very Happy Birthday.
I obviously haven’t been to Stamford for a while, as Adnams as always on my list of places to stop by. And looking at their ketchup, then they’ve obviously been doing some packaging updates.
Their previous ketchup was lovely in both design and taste, so be happy to give this one a try too. I could also be tempted to push the boat out and have a full trio with the BBQ sauce and the brown sauce (although I’m very devoted to HP). And no doubt the beer chutney should be good, given their pedigree.
Off to check my diary, seeing when I get a trip to Stamford in.
I just had to post my two new kitchen friends, brought to us from Paris by a very dear friend.
They’re the only cat and dog were going to have here! Useful and decorative, these are from Pylones. The cat holds one of those metallic scrubbers, which is appropriate as I first came across these when I was in France on exchange at the tender age of 13.
And if you’re wondering why the dog’s sponge is still all neat and wrapped, well, that’s down to the shop assistant in Pylones. She said before you used it for the first time you should get a stack of other sponges and cut round it, so you had a constant supply of the right shaped ones.