We are getting close to that suffolkfoodie AGM time of year, when we look for places to eat and drink that are new or interesting - and a real treat for us. We are currently working on our final list, but this will be at the top of mine.
Cameron ate a hot dog with a knife and fork, there was that famous bacon sandwich incident and now we are coming out of Europe what can we look forward to in the food-meets-politics scene? I'm off to Lidl before they run out of stock...
My name is Mrs Madumbi. I am a new occasional contributor to Suffolk Foodie. My focus, though by no means not exclusively, will be on food from Africa. Guess what I found in a Tesco in Sheffield? - amaDumbe. You could mistake this rather ugly, occasionally hairy, vegetable for a mutant potato, but it has a delicate taste of its own - like no other. The amaDumbe, more commonly called madumbi in South Africa, is called eddoes in the Caribbean and Tesco, and taro elsewhere. Do remember this plant can be toxic in its raw form. Madumbis are usually peeled before cooking and can be boiled or steamed, whole or cubed. As a child growing up in southern Africa I loved this vegetable. It was always boiled in its skin for 20/25 minutes (depending on size) until the fleshy part gave when pricked with a fork. After cooking, the water was drained and discarded. The skin comes away easily once cooked. The rather grey inside of the madumbi has a nutty, slightly sweet taste (think distant cousin of sweet potato). The texture can appear slimey and unusual but it is not, so please do not be put off. Newcomers quickly acquire a taste for this versatile little tuber. It is delicious served simply 'potato style' with salt and butter. It can be mashed and mixed with caramalised onions or leeks; added to soups and curry dishes; sliced thinly with a mandolin for crisps and oven-baked or fried.
Back from a 3000 mile road trip in the southern states of America I think I am done with pulled pork, fried chicken, catfish, gumbo and cars. I had promised to take Micky to the Daytona 500 for his 60th birthday. You see he's a petrol head and after being married to him for 30 years plus, I have become one too. We set off in search of great food and interesting cars, with a few must stop places like racetracks, the Kennedy Space Centre and Graceland thrown in en route. First stop was Maryland where we ate crab cakes, bought lovely clams and shad roe to cook at home and borrowed a car from a favourite cousin to drive the 800 miles to Florida. We passed through Virginia (the best brown sugar cured bacon and waffles for breakfast) then through North and South Carolina where we bought spiced Cajun boiled peanuts at the Speedway race track. We didn't stop in Georgia but managed to make Daytona for a supper of blackened cat fish at the fun North Turn Restaurant. A week in Daytona gave us time to explore the area, go racing ... every night... and a trip to New Smyrna Beach where Micky found his dream 1961 Chevvy Impala (too expensive) and I found a perfect lobster roll (affordable). Travelling west we headed for Memphis, stopping en route at the amazing Barber Motorsports Museum near Birmingham. The Cops joined us for the buffet breakfast at the hotel. Apparently the cops eat for free in America. They marched in, up to the buffet, helped themselves, ate and left. We had biscuits and gravy. Biscuits are like an English scone, served warm and the gravy is a sausage based thick white sauce, with loads of black pepper in it. Eggs, well, how do you like them? Sunny Side Up (cooked on one side) Over Easy (flipped over) Over Medium, Over Hard
Alabama through to Tennessee bagged a Tripp Country Ham, another catfish sandwich and a peach pie. All from service stations which are the BEST place to buy anything from a cowboy hat to a cheap, but very good cup of coffee. In Memphis we ate fried green tomatoes, not at the Whistle Stop Cafe and then on to Nashville (my new favourite city) for fried HOT chicken. It's delicious. Angry Orchard Cider was another discovery in Nashville. You see, I am Just a Country Girl at Heart. Last meal in Tennessee was in Greeneville in the Appalacian Mountains where we found Stans BBQ. Stan found us too as he came out to see who was ordering all the food in his restaurant. He never gets tourists. Great smoked ribs, beef, corn pudding and homemade lemonade. From the Appalacian Mountains we went on to the Blue Ridge Mountains, in search of bears. Driving up over 3750 feet, Micky not sure about me navigating up in them hills. We saw a lot of red necks, lots of Trump supporters, hilly billies and 'slap ya Mama' cause she don't cook like this no more, found meatloaf with apple sauce at The Swinging Bridge Restaurant. But no bears.
- Little Neck Clams
- Blackened Catfish
- Lobster Roll
- Cajun boiled peanuts
- Cajun boiled peanuts
- Crispy bacon with waffles
- Tripp Country Ham
- Catfish again
- Peach pie
- Stan's chicken wings, ranch dressing, loaded skins
- Stan's bbq ribs with sweet potato (served with brown sugar and butter)
- Up in them hills
- Meatloaf and apple sauce
- Street food vans Washington DC
- Shad roe
- Nashville Fried hot chicken
- Fried green tomatoes Memphis
Well we think it has got a bit tired really - the magazine is thin, the 'street food corner' announcing the commercialisation of street food - uninspiring, sold out of brand new H vans by bored staff, pricey, using weird ingredients (when was Sangria ever made with sherry and sugar-free lemonade?) The sales pitches out of touch (with the exception of the coffee machine suppliers who gave us a great coffee and the best, most relevant and interesting information) and the stands with just a jar of sweets...well...is your budget REALLY that bad? And what happened to wine tasting?!
But I did get a years supply of quite nice pens, spoke to a few genuinely well informed and passionate foodie suppliers (mostly the ones who we already know who actually make what they sell like the cheeses, the bread, the juices and the ice cream) and we found just one brilliant and inspiring brand new idea - from Croatia - that we really want to keep to ourselves but will feature as Dish of the Day when we get back in touch with them.
- New cheeses from Butlers
- Breckland Orchards award winning juices
- a great summer equals lots of great ice cream makers
- our lunch starter
- our lunch main course
- One of the better Street Food menus
We went "In Deep" at the Grapesense wine class this week, we went to South America. We tried Atlantico Sur, Marselan from the Garzon Vineyard in Uruguay. Then we started talking about Uruguay and how it's remembered for Fray Bentos meat pies. Fray Bentos is a large Uruguayan town where the Liebig Company produced tinned meats and beef oxo for export to the UK. The Fray Bentos brand was launched in 1899, initially for corned beef, then later pies. By 1961, when Fray Bentos Steak and Kidney was launched, pie production had shifted to Hackney. From the dozen or so of us at the wine class, no one admitted to having ever eaten one of the pies! I remember my Grandma always had one in her kitchen cupboard but I have never tried one, so for the sake of my Grapesense friends - here is the photo story of the Steak and Ale pie that I bought and ate.
I chose the Steak and Ale pie as it had the highest meat content (25%) and by the way the pastry is 24% so not sure what the rest is?! The smell of the pie still lingers in my kitchen an hour or so later, that kind of school-dinner, cheap chip-shop pie smell, like kidneys cooking, although the pie doesn't have any kidneys in it. The pastry looked revolting when I took the lid off the tin but had an impressive puffiness to it when out of the oven, which soon deflated leaving a soggy under layer. The gravy was very salty with scruffy small pieces of beef that were all on one side of the tin.
Interesting Fray Bentos Facts!
Sales of the pies plummeted during the Falklands War. Uruguay being the neighbour of Argentina.
Sean Bean (the actor) always has a Fray Bentos pie on hand when filming abroad, he loves them.
The empty tin makes a good dog bowl.
- Impressive looking puff pastry out of the oven
- Soggy bottom of the pastry lid
- Small pieces of beef
- Surprising choice of pies at Morrisons
- The deep fill steak and ale pie
- Slimy pastry when opened
Amazing food stalls here at Chatsworth Market every Sunday morning. I regretted my big breakfast because I couldn't eat lamb with pomegranate from the Persian stall. Bought some lovely cheese though from this farmers son.
I was hunting for microcress, pea shoots and edible flowers and found the most amazing selection grown right here in East Anglia.
Allan Miller at Nurtured in Norfolk in Dereham invited me to take a tour of his glasshouses and I was hit by a sea of green, mini micro leaves of every variety, some which I had never even heard of.
Allan and his wife Sue gave up their jobs as chefs and started growing microcress in a greenhouse in their back garden. Now they supply the likes of Ollie Dabbous and other Michelin acclaimed chefs.
Angelica, Kiwi and Chickpea are some of the plants on show at Kew gardens in their IncrEdibles exhibition, until November this year. The plant of the week this week is bread wheat more widely cultivated than any other crop, and with a greater world trade monetary value than all other cereals combined. First domesticated at least 9,000 years ago it can be seen growing in Kew's Global Kitchen Garden, on the Great Lawn opposite Kew Palace. You can taste it too in the Orangery in their Heritage tomato, torn basil and aged pecorino salad, with croutons (made using the wheat)