Foodies Festival, Tatton

My wonderful parents and I were lucky enough to attend one of the Foodies Festivals in Tatton a couple of weeks ago. Foodies Festivals are dotted around the year in different places in the country (Brighton, London Edinburgh and Bristol to name a few locations). The Tatton event had an extremely relaxed feel the Sunday we attended and the emphasis seems to be on taking the demonstrations in, grazing on street food and listening to the local live music. It’s also worth noting that entry for children is free and combined with that and the number of dogs we saw scampering around this is an extremely family friendly festival. Its worth noting that you do have to book yourself onto the demonstrations, I would recommend doing this more so on the Saturday of any event when it’s sure to be busier. However, the booking can be done on the day of the event and the demonstration tents can accommodate a large number of people.

I came home with several new recipe ideas, feeling inspired to try different techniques and also very sunburned on my neck! A big thank you to the lovely people at the Co-operative group for giving us complimentary tickets.

To find out more about the location and dates of future Foodies Festivals visit their website here.

Viet Village, Bury

Last Summer, my friends RC, M1ke and Mr Dave took a trip to Vietnam to visit our friend CC. CC has been living and teaching in Vietnam for a good couple of years (apart from the few months doing his PGCE). He’s a music teacher and also a pretty epic pianist. Anyway, back to the grub. Travelling around Vietnam really gave RC, M1ke and Mr Dave an education in Vietnamese cuisine, starting with a bowl of pho every morning for breakfast.

Last week RC invited us all to Viet Village, a Vietnamese restaurant it Bury that has received some great reviews from people who have visited. I personally loved all of the dishes I tried, especially the pho which was comfort food at its best.

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My beloved Sriracha hot sauce

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Makes the happiest looking prawn cracker

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I also messed around with some hoisin sauce with a goose on it

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This looks strangely like a cartoon ghost

To start with Miss B and I shared Summer rolls and Spring rolls. The Spring rolls were delicious, not too oily which they can be. I loved the Summer rolls, they were deliciously fresh and looked so pretty.

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Summer rolls

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I followed this with seafood pho. This was really really lovely. It was light and tasty and filling without feeling weighed down with too much food.

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Pho is souper….

Here is a selection of some other photos I took of other people’s dinners…..

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Food stalking doesn’t always work…

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Yum

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The beef in this looks superb

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Whisky beef. Oh so tender

As official designated driver I finished off my meal with some iced coffee.

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A wonderful and very reasonably priced meal. If you live in or near to Bury, this restaurant is well worth a visit, My only regret about the whole night was not getting a picture of RC’s traditional Vietnamese outfit to show you all.

You can find out more about Viet Village here.

Lust Liquor and Burn – Manchester

J’s birthday was at the beginning of this month and I am finally getting around to writing about the restaurant we visited, Lust Liquor and Burn. Now, I heard great things about this place from various sources and when I suggested places J might like to eat I was secretly hoping he’d pick this place. Now, I have fairly limited experience of eating Mexican food out. I mean, Ive cooked it at home from this book and I love it and I’ve eaten a lot of Tex Mex food in various chain restaurants but I don’t really feel like I’ve eaten enough lovely Mexican food.

Anyway, here’s what we ate:

1 - lust

Pint of shrimp and squid

This was lovely, the squid was perfectly cooked and the batter was delicious and crisp. Both of us are calamari lovers and this really hit the spot.

2 - lust

I forget what this cocktail was called but it was based on the concept of Old Fashioned

This Old Fashioned was simply glorious. Really tasty and different. After drinking this we went to the cinema in a bit of a tipsy haze (or I know I did).

3 - lust

I took two pictures of this….

4 - lust

Look at this…the Baja beach board.

Now I adored the Baja beach board. It surpassed all my expectations and was simply excellent. I particularly loved the shredded beef tacos and crab and bacon tostada.

5 - lust

Salted caramel brownie and ice cream

I really loved the richness of this brownie. I was a little bit disappointed though as I didn’t feel like the salted caramel was quite salty enough. Overall I really enjoyed it though.

7 - lust

Pineapple and coconut cheesecake and ice cream

This is apparently an updated version on the cheesecake that was already on the menu. J hoovered this up so I think that says it all.

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Here is just a picture of the menu we took…because I made J do it

Now I honestly do not want to recommend this restaurant to you. Really I don’t, I want to keep it a secret forever as its so lovely and I don’t want to have to wait to chow down on tacos. But alas, you really should give this restaurant a try. Lust Liquor and Burn has a great atmosphere and friendly, enthusiastic staff. They don’t take bookings so you may have to wait a while to get a table – J and I visited on a Sunday night (we were those annoying people who took Monday off so were fully able to enjoy ourselves) and we had a half hour wait. We didn’t mind given the quality of the food. The bar also does food and I was tempted to order tacos while I waited to be seated upstairs. What a greedy guts I am!

You can find out about Lust Liquor and Burn here.

Birthday afternoon tea at Opus Reserve bar, Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester

So, as I think I mentioned it was my birthday on Monday. It was also a bank holiday and once again I applaud my parents for managing to have me at the beginning of May near to a bank holiday weekend. I mean, it is pretty amazing that I rarely ever had to go to school on my birthday.

Anyway, my parents, J and I spent a happy afternoon having afternoon tea at the Opus reserve bar which is part of the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. It was a gloriously sunny bank holiday and we had a completely lovely time sitting by the windows in the sun drinking tea and eating cake.

My parents and I all had traditional afternoon tea – which included the tea of our choice; sandwiches; freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream; and a selection of cakes and Prosecco and fruit jelly.

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Birthday decadence

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I’m a little teapot, short and stout

J (who had been making the most of the weather on a bike ride) chose the Gentleman’s afternoon tea. This is a great one for people who might not like traditional afternoon tea as they prefer savoury items. This one included – the tea of your choice; mini fish, chips and mushy peas; pork pie; Yorkshire pudding with gravy; freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream; and rustic sandwiches.

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One for people who prefer pies and savoury food

We spent a good while basking in the sun and drinking cups of tea.

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The yellow team (no we didn’t choose where to sit based on our outfit choices)

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The blue team

Now, it always surprises me how full you can get on all the cake and sandwiches, but the staff were so helpful and happy to box up the remaining cakes for us to eat at home.

You can find out about afternoon tea at the Radisson here.

Food gawking

So, I haven’t quite jumped onto the instagram bandwagon yet (I probably should for blogging purposes). However, having more than a passing interest in food, I tend to collect photos of beautiful food in every form. A lot of these pictures are things my friends have made or are meals in restaurants I’ve reviewed. I hope you enjoy having a look at my food (and a couple of non food) adventures.

Some information about where I ate out at Wagamama and So! by clicking on the links.

The Cake and Bake Show, Manchester

As mentioned in my previous post I was at the Cake and Bake show at the weekend first with J, then accompanied by my parents. It was nice to go and absorb some knowledge and buy some cool kitchen stuff (zombie biscuits will be a definite blog post). I particularly liked all the demonstrations from various people in the food industry and as much as anything else I was inspired to get a bit more creative in the kitchen and even attempt my own bread – something I have been putting off for years. In addition, I can safely say I will take on board a lot of the tips given, especially about icing cakes which doesn’t happen to be a strength of mine.

J and I also spent a considerable amount of time watching the people of Billington constructing their gingerbread village. J was pretty freaked out by the gingerbread boy. To be fair, it was almost as tall as me and reminded us of something from Doctor Who.

This is a highly edited selection of the photos I took from both days.

Oh and if anybody is interested I bought: zombie biscuit cutters, vanilla bean paste and a piping nozzle for cupcakes. My wonderful parents also treated me to a whizzy whisk (a hand whisk) so hopefully you will see lots more recipes involving it!

Also if you happen to be attending the London event make sure you watch any Bake Offs involving previous “The Great British Bake Off” contestants. The funniest half hour of my week was watching Cathryn and Brendan making cookies (mainly because of some seriously sticky cookies and the children judging the competition).

Mud Crab Cafe – Didsbury

Well I have had an absolutely lovely weekend this past weekend. It started with dinner (tea if you’re Northern) and wine at my friend’s Miss S’ house on Friday night, followed by a trip to the Cake and Bake Show in Manchester on Saturday and Sunday (I got tickets for both days from a lovely chap on eBay). J accompanied me to the Saturday and my parents and I went for the Sunday afternoon show. I am compiling the photos currently as I took rather a lot. I tend to marvel at people’s sugarcrafting efforts as I am wildly inexperienced at such things.

Anyway, J being the highly attentive and lovely boyfriend that he is, offered to take me out after the show for my tea. We walked up the high street in Didsbury near where he loves weighing up the options. Then I spotted the Mud Crab Cafe and suggested having a look at the menu. It looked interesting so we decided to give it a go. It was lively, but not crowded and we chose to sit in a booth in the back room of the restaurant (there’s something I love about sitting in booths of places, its my favourite place to sit if I can’t sit outdoors).

The staff were all absolutely lovely and we were told we could eat off the 2 courses for £12 earlybird menu despite us only arriving at 6.55 and the deal finishing at 7.00. We both chose to order from this menu and the ordered dessert.

As we both love dips and things we both chose the Middle Eastern Taster Plate to start. J hates olives so I got a double oliver portion and felt like one of life’s winners for a few minutes. This starter was really tasty, I particularly loved the aubergine dip, which was perfectly balanced in flavours and the texture was good.

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I think we missed a trick by not having a skewer sword fight at the table

To follow I chose a chargrilled onglet steak with green salad; you could order it with fries but I wanted to save room for pudding. The steak was served with a lovely garlic butter. We all know from previous posts what a butter fan I am. The steak was lovely and juicy and blackened on the outside and the salad dressing was tasty. A wonderful way to keep steak as a lighter meal.

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I don’t know how many times I blog about steak but I would guess it’s more than average?

J chose sea bass jambalaya for his main course. The sea bass was nicely cooked and overall it was a tasty meal, but we both couldn’t help thinking it might have needed to be cooked with a tiny bit more stock. That might just be personal preference and on the whole he really enjoyed it.

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I love that it was served in a little pan

We both chose to have a pudding in this place. Now if anybody affiliated with Mud Crab Cafe happened to read this I sincerely hope you feel even a tiny bit flattered. J is a really keen cyclist and eats really healthily and rarely gets dessert when we go out at the moment. However, the menu included Baked Alaska which is his absolute favourite and he has not disappointed. The meringue was light and fluffy and he wolfed it down with exclamations of joy.

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I tried to get j to cut into this so you could see the layers but I think it may be hard (I didn’t want to make him wait too long)

I decided to try some of the weird and wonderful ice cream flavours. I tried Blackpool rock ice cream. The waiter (I should have asked his name for the purpose of this I think) told me that it tasted exactly like the pink Blackpool rock. He wasn’t lying and it wasn’t just a hint of the flavour, you really could taste the rock! It reminded me of being at the seaside. I also had Hokey Pokey ice cream with bits of cinder toffee ice cream. It was nice and i liked it lots, but the rock ice cream was so amazing I keep enthusing about it.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

To anybody visiting or living in the South Manchester area I would highly recommend a trip here. It was a great place to eat with a really chilled out atmosphere; friendly, welcoming staff; great food and a cool decor.

You can find out more about the Mud Crab Cafe here and here. They also have restaurants in Sheffield and Manchester.