Without a doubt the service was a highlight at our #Veganuary outing to the Cosy Club in Ipswich on Thursday night. What a delight Roxana was. Romanian and hard working in the UK for the last three years, I hope we don't lose little gems like this to Brexit. We weren't really sure what to expect, arriving at an eerily deserted Ipswich town centre and heading for the soulless Buttermaket shopping centre. But it's a bit of a surprise when you get inside. A slightly quirky mix of Colonial Gentlemans Club crossed with US laid back speakeasy, if that's possible. Invited to sample the vegan menu which I was delighted to do, Mr SFoodie not so keen, but since converted to the idea that a meal of only plants is actually very good. We shared a Mediterranean Plate of hummus, carrot tapenade, pickled red cabbage and heirloom tomatoes and also Garlic Mushrooms on Sourdough, both very good although varying in size given that they are both £4.95 Tapas dishes. The hummus was nicely coarse which I like and the carrot tapenade well flavoured and seasoned with a hint of cumin. Thai Green Vegetable Curry was excellent declared Mr SF and kept him quiet while I ate my Thai Burger, made of quinoa and served with a fat slice of roasted red pepper in the sourdough bun and layered with vibrant green edamame and pak choi. Crispy fries and a nice chunky house slaw were on the side. I confess to ordering vegan bacon purely out of interest but think I can live without that again. There's wine suitable for vegans, I drank an Argentinian Malbec called Benjamin (fresh and fruity) and one dessert of Chocolate and Orange Torte served with a refreshing and light raspberry sauce. You know what, with this current trend of veganism any fast casual dining restaurant not having a suitable menu is way out of touch. The Cosy Club is well worth a visit.
We told you eggs were trendy. Well here we have Eggslut, due to announce its first London location very soon. Signature dish is a coddled egg on top of smooth potato puree, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette. There's also scrambled eggs, chives, cheese and honey mustard aioli served in a warm brioche bun. Dunno what the vegans will eat ... awful name for a restaurant too.
If only you had a crystal ball. This is what ours is telling us will be on trend for 2019. In no particular order ...
Chilled red wines- unoaked, lighter bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Cabernet Franc from the Loire and Tempranillo's. We know that reds don't always have to be served at room temperature so this year expect to find more restaurants offering to chill your red wine, especially if we get another heatwave summer.
Gazoz- with the ever growing interest in things fermented and botanicals, Gazoz (main picture) is an Israeli soda based drink, made with natural fruit syrups (often from fermented fruits) fresh fruits, botanical infusions and herbs topped up with fizzy water. It's going to be this years addition to the increasingly popular shrubs and drinking vinegars of 2018. Find it on the menu at Bala Baya.Southwark. London.
Rum- Gin might be left on the shelf in favour of rum, which we are very happy about being part Caribbean foodies. White, gold, flavoured, spiced, dark, premium and overproof, there is no single standard and it's no longer the sole preserve of sailors and pirates. Want to know more? Follow Ian Burrell our favourite Rum Ambassador or try a Rum Masterclass at Cottons. We must go again!
Afro-Caribbean- well this is rather a broad area in terms of food and drink. The rise of North and West African cuisine is now well established. Mr SuffolkFoodie is from Durban so we are pinning our hopes on seeing more from South Africa, heavily influenced by the fruity and full bodied flavours of Cape Malay cuisine along with the French and Dutch influence of the European settlers. (Keep an eye out in the recipe book for our own family recipes). As for Caribbean cuisine look out for Rastafarian Ital cooking which is natural, plant based and organic. Plantains will feature too, we're getting bored with avocadoes and cauliflowers, plantains make great snacks. Tostones will be in!
Lard - the big fat comeback. Butter prices have gone through the roof and restaurants are looking at keeping menus affordable and innovative. The Italians love it and it's a mainstay of Mexican cooking and it's not as bad for you as you thought. Love a lardy cake don't you? Get barding and larding everyone.
Sardines- healthy, sustainable, delicious and affordable. One of our favourites and used in many types of cuisine from around the world. From spiced and fried whole in Indian recipes to the delicious Pasta Con le Sarde of Sicily, proving that they are versatile too. Bring on summer for some more delicious Portugeuse sardines cooked over the open fire.
Breakfasts - using rise and shine orange and yellow food which is Instagrammable. We'll be eating food because it's photogenic and can be hashtagged 'feel good' or 'sunshine food'. So we are guessing mango, oranges, lemon curd, pumpkin, carrots, things with saffron and God forbid no more turmeric lattes.
Grocerants - grocery stores and deli's with sit down dining, ready to eat, ready to heat food. The type of place that you go to buy the components of a take away supper then think dammit, if I eat it here it will save me washing up.
Waste not want not - zero waste cooking with wonky veg and root to fruit dishes will stay in vogue and so will the meaty nose to tail eating we've enjoyed over the past few years. Fig leaves will be very popular, brussel sprouts are making a big comeback, look out for Kalettes, broccoli stems, radish tops and carrot tops. But let's make sure that it's tasty please?
Bread - it's back. More ancient grains, sprouted grains, cornbread and vegetable stuffed doughs. Apricot breakfast bread, potato, pumpkin and onion baguettes, flatbreads, Earl Grey teacakes. You name it we will be kneading it. Sorghum will be the grain of 2019. Cheerio quinoa!
Never has so much fun been had at a staff Christmas party. Cooking our own steaks at Cheers. Bury St Edmunds. 10 out of 10 for customer service and putting up with us. All you can eat and drink for £27.50 per person. Merry Christmas!
Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire! Going Vegan was the biggest food trend for 2018 with more vegan products launched in the UK than in any other nation. It's going to mean more fake meat and processed food on the supermarket shelves and when cauliflower appears on the menu it's going to be called a steak. Eating plants is nothing new but now it seems we need the new experts ... vegetable butchers.
I thought it said deep fried crab land and was ready to visit. Huh! Legoland came joint last in the Soil Association Visitor Attractions League Table 2018. A survey of food offered to children and families at the UK's most popular visitor attractions
I'll bang on the glass 'till I get one. Apart from my own of course, these are some of the best sausage rolls in West Suffolk. Just as I took this snap someone came along and bought them both so Scarlett and I ate an excellent Chicken Caesar salad and the daily special sandwich of Battered Smoked Haddock, Mushy Peas, Tartare Sauce with Cos lettuce. Ice Cafe I'll be back for a sausage roll...
Love it or hate it the chances are a Christmas Pudding will be making an appearance on your festive table. I was intrigued to try a Bunty's Christmas pudding created to win over the haters amongst you. The hand-made Waveney Valley pudding arrived so beautifully presented it was a shame to cut off the ribbons and bows from the muslin wrapped Mason Cash bowl. Steamed for one and half hours according to the instructions, the waft of fruit and spice was noticable when I cut the string and removed the paper to turn it out.The texture was quite different from any pudding I've tried before; soft and light without the whole fruits and crumbly texture of a traditional pud but a rich and dark colour, yet not stodgy. The balance of fruit and alcohol is excellent, with more than a hint of prune and raisins enhanced with Pedro Ximenez sherry. In fact this is a pudding where you might possibly manage seconds. Check out Bunty's website to find your local stockist.
There's something about the low sun and the cooler days that tempts me to get out the last of my 2017 green tomato chutney to dollop on a generous portion of game pate and crisp, warm buttered toast. I tried Wild and Game Grouse Brandy and Herb Pate and also their very nice Pheasant, Pistachio and Port Pate. A rather lovely late lunch. Pheasant season starts soon. Whoop!
These little botanical and fruit pockets arrived in the SuffolkFoodie mail box last week and proved to be the perfect excuse to get the gin bottle out and experiment a little. The infusion pockets are fully biodegradable and plastic free (round of applause for that) and have been created by Dominic Limbrey of D.J. Limbrey Distilling to add an additional dimension to a drink. As Dominic suggests, add a different dynamic to your favourite cocktail, pimp up your prosecco or simply add the botanical bags to your tonic. We dangled the cold infusions bags into all manner of mixes and came out with top marks for the Stirring Botanicals in our gin. (elderberries, burdock root, juniper berries, liquorice root, coriander seeds, dandelion leaves, honeybush, elderflower, allspice berry, cardamom, hibiscus, apple, fermented lemon peel, rosehip, orange peel) The Summer Equinox (hibiscus, apple,rosehip,lemon verbena, freeze dried raspberry, freeze dried strawberry) mixed with a plain tonic scored well in our Drinks for Drivers category. Of course Mr S.Foodie enjoyed the lekker flavours of South Africa in his Rooibos Spice infused lemonade. DJ's Cold Infusion Pockets retail at £9.99 for a box of 10 and you'll get a free stirring spoon if you buy a box before 31st December 2018. That's a Christmas present sorted then.
Had to go and see why everybody's been wow-ing about the Southern French, wood fired cooking at Sardine. (Hoxton of course). There's was a taste of Italian and Spanish cuisine on the menu too, which at lunch time was a short and precise offering, with an excellent value 'prix fixe', £20 for three courses. The space is small with a large communal table in the middle and a few smaller tables for those less sociable. Food was as delicious as it sounded, slightly rustic but flavours punching above their weight. Not many places these days that settle for simple plating but that's just what we loved about it. Not a tweezer in sight.