Want to share in Leicester’s glory?

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Leicester City - come share in the glory

 

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:

 

St Martin's: my favourite stopping off point for coffee and tea in Leicester

 

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.

 

Leicester Market for all kinds of goodies

 

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.

Of course Leicester was famous for its Indian culture, and there are certainly a great many choices from across India on the eating front. I’m still very fond of Bobby’s for Gujarati vegetarian food, and also Kayal for exploring the flavours of Kerala. Fantastic dosas, always on my order.

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.

 

45 West Bottle Shop & Bar - not just gin, but definitely has great gin

 

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

 

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Come to Leicester!

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Come and discover untold food treats in Leicester - an unexpected but rewarding break for a food lover

No, really! I know it’s not Ludlow or Abergavenney, but I love Leicester, particularly the market, which is a great traditional food market. This is not a chi chi farmers market, this is your “traditional” fruit and veg done really well, and reflecting Leicester’s position as the first UK city with no overall ethnic majority. This makes it the best place to go for really good unusual fruit and veg, offering a variety I’ve never seen in the supermarkets, and certainly at much better prices.

And from this Friday, there’ll be eating options on a Friday and Saturday to really reflect the rich culinary diversity of the county. Indian vegetarian food what you’re hankering after? Bobby’s will be there to meet that need. Need Italian style carbs? That’ll be Casa Romana’s job. Cup of decent coffee? One shot or two from Deli Flavour Delicatessen?

After a day of eating your way around the market, you might want somewhere great to stay, and I’d say give Hotel Maiyango a look. Maybe after a quick lie down, you’ll be ready to work your way through their dinner menu, not to mention the cocktail list, which is really quite something.

Do something different and discover the rich breadth of food on offer here in the Midlands. Just save me a space at Bobby’s, mine’s a Khandvi please!

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Getting closer to authentic Indian food

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Hare's Moor DIY Curry Kit

Indian food is one of those things that I crave after being away from home for a while, no matter how great the food is wherever I am. Which is possibly why I’ve had Indian food in places such as Tokyo and Hong Kong! If I was going for longer, I might be taking spices with me and cooking my own!

If you’ve got an Indian food lover to buy for, then have a look at the spice kits from Hare’s Moor. These are slightly different to others I’ve come across, as they have fresh spices as well as dried. Whilst it does give them a limited shelf life (but to be fair it’s 12 days) then it must get you closer to producing authentic tasting dishes. All you need to add is your chosen protein, an onion, half a can of tomatoes and I imagine a glug of oil.

There are variants from Korma to Madras, and a decent kit for fish or prawn curry. If you can’t decide then they’ll gift wrap four of them for you, making a very reasonable gift at just £11, with free postage. Of course, they’d want to have to have curry every other night that week, but if they’re a big curry lover that may well not be an issue.

If you think they may just want everything in bulk, then my favourite online resource is still Spices of India, which has the most amazing selection of everything you might need for every style of Indian cuisine, and a few others besides. My usual though is Popats at 160 Belgrave Road in Leicester, brilliant for a spice stock up, and convenient for lunch at Bobby’s. Perfect day out for an Indian food lover!

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The Saturday Session – recipes for local food greatness

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We’ve just made it back from the East Midlands Food & Drink Festival, being held this weekend at Brooksby Hall near Melton Mowbray. Lets face it, when the local foodstuffs are pork pies and Stilton, you know you’re going to be onto a good thing!

Melton Mowbray, ruler of rural food

This is the third time we’ve been, and I would say this year was the quietest one we’ve been to. It’s also lacking the big name celeb chefs of previous years. No disrespect to Alan Coxon, but he’s not exactly James Martin or Lesley Walters.  That said, there were still some great producers here, and we’ve come home with some great stuff for dinner tonight and beyond.

So, here’s what caught our eye, our purses and our tastebuds:

1. Leicestershire Food & Drink by Rupert Matthews – had a good chat with Rupert about his book, newly published, and the calorific dangers of living in this area. His London 3 piece suit didn’t last long in the onslaught of pork pies and Stilton, all in the name of research of course!

2. Bedazzled Cupcakes- these were MGG’s pudding of choice from everything at the show. She went for the fudge one, I’d have been tempted by the Oreo one.(UPDATE, sadly no longer trading). I’m always happy to see Peppercorn Catering though, as they always have a good, and tasty, selection of gluten and dairy free options for free indulgence by the sensitive amongst us.

3. The Tiffin Food Company- from award winning restaurant The Tiffin in Leicester come some very tasty Indian ready meals, sauces and marinades. We sampled the Chicken Bhuna, which was a little on the hot side for me (I’m a wimp). Looking forward to trying the Classic Curry sauce tonight. (UPDATE, sadly no longer trading)

4. Bobby’s– the legendary Leicester Indian vegetarian restaurant is also providing part of tonight’s dinner. Thrilled to see them there dishing out a buffet of great veggie food. We’ll be having Chilli Paneer, plus a veg samosa and onion bahji. To our shame and regret, we haven’t yet eaten at the restaurant (come on, we’ve only been here 6 years) but thought we should put that right any time soon.

5. W E Botterill & Son– these are just up the road from us, and when we have turkey at Christmas then we order it from them. Which meant we stood there debating what we’re having for Christmas dinner this year! And goose is sort of edging in there! Don’t go to Croxton in the first week in December though. An eerie silence will lay over the village, as all the geese will be hanging upside down by then.

6. Fire Foods – funnily enough had connected with Fire Foods on Twitter this morning. We have arrived home with a jar of the Crunchy Chilli Peanut Butter, which you think is just like normal peanut butter…and then the heat kicks in! Perfect instant satay, or for something a bit different on your toast in the morning.  I didn’t love the marmalade, it was just too much heat for me but, as I say, I’m a wimp.

Lots of other favourites from the area there too, including Brockelbys, Mrs King’s Pork Pies, Dickinson & Morris, Riverford and Picks, all providing great meat eating opportunities! So, if you’re in the area and short of something to do, not to mention need to do your weekly shop or just want to support proper food producers, then I would say it was £6 well spent. And kids get in free, though will probably cost you a lot in grazing money!

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