Go eat doughnuts! It's #NationalDoughnutWeek raising money for The Children's Trust. Here we have (starting at the back) a traditional jam, a lemon meringue, a dulce de leche and a sprinkle covered cherry doughnut, all from The Ice Cook School at Rougham. £1 each. They're mine, so go and get your own; they are available everyday this week. PS...they have gluten free ring doughnuts too!
It's lovely to see a children's menu with mini portions from the main menu and not a breadcrumb, nugget or chip in sight. The Giggling Squid asked me to review their new children's menu which includes a selection of mild curries, finger food, noodles and rice dishes designed especially with "little people" in mind. I found a couple of little people (thank you Grace and Logan) and took them out for supper at the Bury St Edmunds branch. For £5.95 children get to choose two dishes each which come with free plain or sticky rice. Logan, who declared fussy eater status on arrival went for the Grilled Pork Skewers and Chicken Fried Rice, having first tucked into a bowl of the spicy prawn crackers. Grace with a more adventurous and self assured palate chose Spring Rolls and a Pad Thai with Prawns, which she declared as yummy. Sadly the roti pancakes were not available for pudding (an extra £2.00) but the icecream was, and arrived with some colourful slices of fresh fruit on the side. Portions are very generous, in fact possibly too large for smaller children, but parents can always help out!
- add prawn crackers for £2
- crayons and a colouring competition
- Grace chose Spring Rolls, Pad Thai Noodles with Prawns and Sticky Rice
- Logan chose Grilled Pork on Skewers, Chicken Fried Rice and Plain Rice
- add pudding for £2, ice cream comes with fresh fruit slices
- the restaurant
What's this all about then? I took 8 friends to the new Northgate in Bury for dinner on Sunday night. We started the evening with excellent cocktails in the bar. The bar staff were great, friendly and charming. Then it all went a bit downhill. My starter was good, main course satisfactory and dessert awful. The dessert wine didn't arrive until after the pudding and the coffee and tea order was eventually taken just before midnight. As for the faff to make the tea. Do I need to be told to warm the cup, wait for it to brew ( timer supplied for the countdown) in order to get two mouthfuls of English Breakfast brew? The most spectacular thing of the night was the bill.
- Line caught mackerel, beetroot, apple and parsnip (9/10)
- Sidecar of the Orient (10/10)
- Loin of venison, shank, sauerkraut and kale (6/10)
- Roasted pistachio sponge, salted chocolate, burnt apricot (1/10 for the apricot)
- Tea at midnight! Losing the will so ask for the bill.
This week we had a sneak preview inside Bury's newest restaurant The Giggling Squid. Prosecco was flowing at the opening party and canapes included this delicious salt and pepper squid. We loved the decor. Lots of orchids on a back drop of hand picked drift wood with atmospheric lighting. Upcycled mirrors and a huge bookcase of over 2000 books from the local Oxfam for those that fancy a browse. We are going back to sample the menu which includes seafood, street food and simple rustic Thai food all made in house. We are not sure if all the food is going to be elaborately garnished but loved watching the fruit and veggie carving at the opening party.
Some of the best street food on Bury market is from Yakitori Suzuki, on a Saturday,usually close to Moyses Hall. Kaori Dawson (pictured above with her daughter) cooks rolled omelettes for breakfast until about 11.15am then it's lunch with delicate little skewers of meat and vegetables, rice and miso soup. I tried the pork rib (supearibu no Nikomo) Japanese meatball (Tsukune) and the pork skewers (Kushiyaki) Kaori runs the Suzuki Supper Club so if you cannot get to the market, go for supper.
Who would refuse an invite to visit Green and Blacks stall at the Christmas Fair in Bury? It took a while to find them but we persevered and were more than rewarded by a couple of tastes of the various bars they produce and two bars of their thin Sea Salt chocolate to take home. Really nice guys on the stall too. This company were the fore-runners of the chocolate trend that has now made it possible to try specialist chocolate from all over the world - and this is still some of the best.
We had an invitation a couple of weeks ago to review Giraffe in Bury St Edmunds, our local town and full of chain restaurants. We've worked our way through the chains over the years and find them pretty soul-less with below average and uninspiring food, so we weren't exactly jumping up and down at the thought of dinner. But we nipped into town on the evening of the Christmas Fair, took a look around the town, enjoyed a mulled wine on Angel Hill and then wandered over to that ugly Parkway. Once inside though, Giraffe is a very pleasant place with a newly painted tropical themed decor.
The menu is appealing and includes Global Mains, Burgers, Small Plates and Salads, pretty much covering all that is on trend in the fast and casual dining market at the moment. We quizzed Kate, our server, to find out if the food was really made in-house. Yes it is, with fresh ingredients used and prepared on site. I'm not convinced by the chicken potsticker dumplings that I tried but perhaps these come in ready made? But the home-made lemonade was as good as I have had out anywhere, while Johny Cakes tried classic Mojito's (note the plural...) which had a generous measure of Havana Club and were made from fresh limes and mint - not a mix.
Miso Lime grilled salmon was perfectly moist and the Wasabi fried rice a good wholegrain base for the fish. The side of seasonal veg also ticked the healthy box and was served with a nice parsley oil rather than butter. No homemade desserts Kate admitted, but I ordered the apple and passion fruit crumble and she remembered that this was actually made in-house. I didn't want the accompanying ice cream so asked for fresh cream and as none was available a dish of mascarpone was offered instead.
We thought that we would be in and out of Giraffe in an hour or so but we had got really comfortable; we were well looked after and were enjoying the food and the drinks so ended up being the last to leave. Sorry!
Here is something creative and arty to entertain the children eating at The One Bull, Bury St Edmunds, The Cadogan at Ingham or The Crown at Hartest between 24th July and 31st August. Let their imagination and creativity run wild to turn a plate image into an amazing picture.There are two categories – 5’s & under and 6’s & over.There are prizes too with a £50 voucher for the winner of each category at each pub. (one entry per visit).The winning entries will be displayed at each pub. Look out for the pictures being tweeted under the hashtag #TheGreatGustoChallenge. My favourites so far... The Crown Hartest above and this lovely One Bull.
Well tonight I managed to get a question in at the Radio 4 recording of the culinary panel show The Kitchen Cabinet, which took place at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. The panel led by Jay Rayner included Sophie Wright (chef and author) Masterchef champion Tim Anderson, Food Historian Dr Annie Gray and Bury St Edmunds born Chef/Musician Andi Oliver. Listen to the programme on Saturday May 23rd at 10.30am. It's the last question and I use my real name!
Old Speckled Hen is celebrating Easter this year by bringing its much loved ale to Suffolk in a characteristically cunning style, that's set to test the grey matter and get those bushy tails wagging. The UK's number one ale brand will be burying its Hunt for a Hen Travelling Bar in a secret location in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday 14th March, and rewarding those who find it with a free pint of its full, smooth flavoured ale, in exchange for a social post. The social hunt will be taking place across four secret locations in the UK throughout March and the Easter weekend with clues appearing online from March 9th. All those up for the "Aleventure" just need to follow @SpeckledHenry on Twitter and keep a beady eye out for his clues dropped with a dedicated #huntforahen hashtag. It's then up to you to crack the clues and head to the secret location to reap the reward.It won't be hard to miss. Free ale won't be all that's on offer;there will also be the opportunity for dedicated explorers to boost their trophy cabinet with the Old Speckled Hen "Hen Hunt" competition. There are lots of prizes on offer including free beer and even up to £1000 in cash. SuffolkFoodie also have some prizes to giveaway.
Being serious foodies we also recommend that you try baking this delicious ale infused chocolate cake.
Rich and Dark Old Speckled Hen Chocolate Cake
Delicious served with freshly whipped cream....
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
175g self-raising flour
¼ level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
275g dark brown soft sugar
110g spreadable butter
2 large eggs, beaten
50g cocoa powder, sifted
200ml Old Speckled Hen
For the Icing:
200g butter, soften
400g icing sugar
2 tbsp Old Speckled Hen
50g dark chocolate, melted
Cocoa powder or grated chocolate to dust
Preheat the oven 180°C, fan oven 160°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of 2 x 22cm round cake-tins, with non-stick baking parchment.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a freestanding mixer.
Add all the other ingredients, except the Old Speckled Hen. Either using an electric hand whisk or the freestanding mixer combine all the ingredients for about one minute until you have a smooth creamy consistency. Add the Old Speckled Hen a little at a time until thoroughly combined.
Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and bake for about 30–35 minutes. The cakes are cooked when pressed lightly with your little finger and the center springs back.
Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling further on a cooling rack.
To make the icing: melt the chocolate in the microwave - 2-3 minutes on medium should do it - or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.
Beat the softened butter, gradually adding the icing sugar a spoonful at a time. Once all the icing sugar has been added, whisk the icing for about 5 minutes on a high speed with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the Old Speckled Hen and mix thoroughly. Add the melted chocolate and beat until everything is glossy and smooth. Spread or pipe half the icing onto the bottom layer, top with the other cake, spreading the remaining icing on top.