Aug 9

Recently, Mark and I called into Wright’s Food Emporium in Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire for lunch. Mark had been before and had been dreaming about their Belly Pork Cubano sandwich ever since. Of course I had one when we went and have been yearning for another ever since. Tender pork belly, spicy sauce and a sharp pickle to balance the richness of the pork…food heaven

Corpulent Capers: Pork Belly Cubano at Wright's Food Emporium

Pork Belly Cubano at Wright’s Food Emporium

Anyway, a few weeks later, I was just outside of Chepstow and nipped into Hanley Farm Shop. They had some beautiful thick cut, middle white pork chops that were calling my name and so I bought some. Looking for a new idea for cooking pork chops, I turned to Simon Wright’s cookbook, The Wright Taste: Recipes and Other Stories. Having been to Y Polyn when he was a partner in it, and now to Wrights Food Emporium to eat, I knew I would find recipes that are simple, honest and would do justice to my beautiful pork chops.

The book tells the story of Simon and his wife Maryann who decided to get a glimpse of producing quality livestock, fit for a superb restaurant by rearing the meat for it themselves. And so the chapters of the cookbook are appropriately named after the animals they reared, Lamb, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Goose and some Duck. Each chapter not only gives recipes but delightful stories as well of a novice turned farmer. Simon talks about the breeds he chose to rear, buying the stock, learning how to care for them and in the end, travelling with his animals to the abattoir where they would then become quality meat for the restaurant table. Some of his stories made me laugh and others made me cry.

If you like what I call rustic honest cooking where you get the best flavour from quality produce, you will also enjoy the recipes in this book. The Lamb section has recipes such as Lamb Hot Pot, Rump of Lamb with Garlic Onion and Thyme Puree, and Chicken and Leek Cobbler. You can find very delicious and simple recipes such as Roast Chicken with Bacon and herbs. And Carpaccio of Beef.

I made the Pork Chops ‘Charcuterie’ with my middle white chops. The chops are seasoned and then seared in a pan with melted butter and oil until brown, and then placed in the oven until they are cooked through. A simple sauce is then made with finely chopped shallots and gherkins, white wine, chicken stock and Dijon mustard. If you do an internet search for “Charcuterie Sauce Recipe” you will find many recipes for this sauce which is a classic French accompaniment for pork.

Corpulent Capers: Pork Chop Charcuterie

Pork Chop Charcuterie

If you are looking for a good read as well as lovely recipes, give this book a go.

You can find this book for sale at Simon Wrights Emporium, good local book stores, as well as on Amazon, The Wright Taste: Recipes and Other Stories

Aug 2

For months I have been thinking about our cook book collection. Mark and I have acquired over 201 cookbooks and our collection grows.

I have been thinking about cooking a recipe from each book and writing a blog post, but was paralysed by figuring out which book to start with. So last Saturday, as Mark bought a cookbook from a charity shop I said to myself “might as well just start with this one”.

Cookbook 1 : Rhodes Around Britain.

This book was published 20 years ago in 1994 (happy 20th anniversary Gary). In the introduction, Gary Rhodes reflects on what happened to Britain’s strong cooking tradition. “British cookery had always been simple. Rhodes argues that where other cultures developed new dishes alongside the traditional, Britain left her traditional dishes behind. Rhodes Around Britain revives some of the traditional British dishes that were lost, uses the best of British ingredients to create new dishes, and gives recipes for some classic Italian and French dishes. Rhodes claims that over 90% of the dishes are easy to make at home with ingredients easily found.

This book has over 100 recipes, they fall into the following categories:

Soups Starters and Snacks, Main Courses, Puddings, Sauces Stocks and Pickles.

Soups Starters and Snacks has simple, humble recipes such as Cabbage Soup with Dumplings, a mackerel recipe with an Italian twist, Grilled Mackerel with Stewed Tomatoes Pesto and Onions, and a salad made with traditional breakfast ingredients: Poached Egg Salad with Sauté Potatoes, Black Pudding and Bacon. In the mains you will find traditional dishes ranging from Braised Lambs Tongues and Braised Oxtail to more modern dishes such as Steamed Fillet of Turbot on Green Vegetables with Ginger and Lime. Desserts classics such as Bread and Butter Pudding.

I made the Poached Egg Salad with Sauté Potatoes, Black Pudding and Bacon for a Sunday brunch. I thought this was a lovely idea for brunch as it is lighter than a fry up.

Poached Egg Salad

Poached Egg Salad

I bought some beautiful, dried, cured, streaky bacon from Albert Rees in Carmarthen; who are revered for their dry cured bacon and ham. They had some free range organic eggs and I bought some of these as well. I had some nice Pembrokeshire new potatoes. I substituted a French sausage called “saucisse de Morteau” as that is what I happened to have in my freezer.

I love the traditional recipes in this book and the little blurbs Rhodes includes, telling a little story about the recipe. If you want to discover some traditional British recipes and some modern British recipes that are easy to make at home, give this book a try.

You can find this book on Amazon or maybe you can find it as we did in a charity or second-hand book store.

*If you want to know more about Carol’s adventure with food or even join her on one then check out Food Adventure Ltd.

Jul 20

Recently I got the opportunity to visit Tempus at Tides Bar and Restaurant at The St. David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay. Hotel restaurants trying to entice in non-residents seems to be a bit of a thing at the moment so I was keen to see what Tempus had to offer.

We visited on a busy Saturday night, there were two weddings in full swing and a number of people making the most of the lovely weather to enjoy the terrace, which offers some stunning views of the bay.

Picture of Cardiff Bay from Tempus at Tides

Cardiff Bay from Tempus at Tides

General Manager Andreas, welcomed us and showed us to our table, which we shared with fellow blogger Kacie of The Rare Welsh Bit and her friend Dan, along with Rob and Louise from Petersens and their respective partners.

Tempus at Tides has just launched its new menu, which has been designed in conjunction with Consultant Chef Stephen Tonkin. As some of you may know Stephen had a long association with Caprice Holdings working his way through the ranks at the famous ‘The Ivy’ before becoming head and then executive chef at Dean Street Townhouse. He currently works for Des McDonald (his old boss at Caprice) Restaurants as executive chef.

Stephen has been helping Dominic Powell, executive chef for St David’s design and plan the new menu. Dominic joined St David’s in 2011 as sous chef, after moving from the Park Plaza and has progressed rapidly to his current position.

Picture Inside Tempus at Tides

Inside Tempus at Tides

The restaurant itself is light and airy thanks to the large amount of glass looking over the terrace and eventually Cardiff Bay itself. The wooden floor, low ceiling and bustle of the adjoining bar do give it some character and so it does manage to avoid the soullessness that often afflicts hotel restaurants.

Chef Dominic Powell

Chef Dominic Powell

Chef Dominic pops out to say hello and explain the ethos behind the new menu. Basically it’s bang on trend being fresh, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on seafood (well we are slap bang on the Bay after all). I note his recommendation for the Sea Bass before beginning to study the menu.

We start with the customary bread, which consists of three different types of roll; tomato, onion and parmesan. These are served with Netherend butter, olive oil and aged balsamic.

For starters, or intros as they are titled on the menu, I choose ‘Chicken Liver Parfait, “Little Black Hen” Chutney, Toasted Brioche’ whilst MrsA opted for the ‘Burry Inlet Mussels, Welsh Bacon & Black Dragon Cider’

The parfait was lovely and smooth, although I did feel the flavour was little muted and needed a lift. It worked well with the toasted brioche bun though and the chutney (hand made in Llangennech) did a good job of cutting through the fattiness of the parfait to give the whole thing balance.

Picture of Chicken Liver Parfait, “Little Black Hen” Chutney, Toasted Brioche

Chicken Liver Parfait, “Little Black Hen” Chutney, Toasted Brioche

MrsA’s mussels are plump, juicy and well presented. Simply cooked, they are hard to fault without being earth shattering.

Picture of Burry Inlet Mussels, Welsh Bacon & Black Dragon Cider

Burry Inlet Mussels, Welsh Bacon & Black Dragon Cider

For main course MrsA chooses the Catch of the Day, Hake on a Bed of Courgette and Leaves. The hake is top quality and super fresh, very well cooked. The courgettes are lightly roasted, intensifying the flavour but not to the point where it overpowers. MrsA is very happy to find a chef who can cook fish with this finesse.

Picture of the Catch of the Day - Hake

Catch of the Day – Hake

I opt for the chef’s recommended ‘Burry Port Kippered Wild Sea Bass, Cucumber & Brown Shrimps’. Landed that morning the Bass is again very fresh and arrives on my plate via chef who knows how to treat a piece of good fish. Nice and simple, nothing distracting from the delicate, yet full flavour, the cucumber, brown shrimp and a little dill serve only to enhance. I can’t think of many places that would have cooked this better.

Picture of Burry Port Kippered Wild Sea Bass, Cucumber & Brown Shrimps’

Burry Port Kippered Wild Sea Bass, Cucumber & Brown Shrimps’

Overall top marks to Chef Powell for his fish dishes, we would certainly go back for the fish.

So onto dessert, and after the high point of the main courses the dessert selection seems a little uninspired. Sticky Toffee Pud is, it seems to me, more at home in a gastro pub than the restaurant of a 5 star hotel. The Ice Cream too is bought in, albeit from a reasonable source. I wonder if the one thing that Tempus lacks is a pastry chef.

The signature dessert is called After Eight and is a riff on a chocolate and mint ice cream. I decide to give this a miss and choose the simple ‘Vale of Glamorgan Strawberries, Clotted Cream’. Nowhere to hide here, this dish is totally reliant on quality ingredients and thankfully it has them. The strawberries, nicely dusted in icing sugar are sweet and flavoursome. The clotted cream ice cream is rich and smooth. Good stuff.

Picture of Vale of Glamorgan Strawberries, Clotted Cream

Vale of Glamorgan Strawberries, Clotted Cream

MrsA, also struggling to find something prepared in-house to tempt her, decides to try the Selection of Ice Creams. The presentation is unusual, in that the tilted glass serving bowl is itself frozen, making the dish visually interesting. Unfortunately the contents themselves are a bit more ordinary.

Picture of Selection of Ice Creams

Selection of Ice Creams

In summary, I’m not sure how Tempus at Tides is going to fare at bringing in the non-residents, traditionally an area where most hotel restaurants struggle. Even with its Bay Side location, there’s not any easy passing trade to attract. It needs to establish itself as a destination restaurant, especially with its price point. Before it can do that, a few things, especially on the desserts, need tweaking.

I’d still go back for the fish though!

Tempus at Tides Bar & Restaurant
St David’s Hotel and Spa
Havannah Street
Cardiff
CF10 5SD
(029) 2045 4045

We were invited to dine at Tempus at Tides as guests of Petersen PR and as such all food and drink was complementary.

<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/361/1890716/restaurant/Wales/Tempus-at-Tides-Cardiff”><img alt=”Tempus at Tides on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1890716/minilogo.gif” style=”border:none;width:104px;height:15px” /></a>

Jun 13

The Felin Fach Griffin love to throw a party and they throw great parties! We went to their festival Hiraeth and had a great time!

The Felin Fach Griffin is set in spectacular surroundings

The Felin Fach Griffin is set in spectacular surroundings

Chef Ross Bruce

Chef Ross Bruce

We are huge fans of their food. Chef Ross Bruce, cooks honest food using local and seasonal ingredients.

We are really excited about their upcoming special beer evening that will be held on Friday 20th June. The evening starts at 7.30pm with canapés followed by sitting down to a three course supper at 8pm. It will be a street food inspired menu with two beers matched per course (and two for the canapés). Four local breweries will be in attendance: Waen Brewery, Brecon Brewing, Celt Experience and Tiny Rebel. Price per person: £36.50

After the dinner, from 10pm, local band Junior Hacksaw will be playing. Tickets for this part of the evening will be £5 each which will include either a sample of each beer (a small sample taste) or 3 x 1/3 pints of the person’s preferred beer. Following that the beer will be £3 per pint. There is a late licence until midnight.

 

To reserve a place at what looks to be a fabulous fun evening, call The Griffin on 01874 620 111. Numbers are limited, especially for the supper so please book ahead of time.  We’ll see you there!

 

 

 

Jun 1

Thanna-7th-ducess-of-bedfordere is something civilised about an afternoon tea. Something traditional. The tradition is supposed to date back to the early 19th century when the usual habit, still seen in parts of the Continent, was to serve dinner at around 9.00pm.

Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, started ‘snacking’ to stave off late afternoon hunger.  Soon, after inviting her friends to join in, the practice spread and it became to norm to sip tea and nibble a sandwich in the middle of the afternoon.

As time and society has moved on the formal afternoon tea of dainty sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries with pots of tea served in bone china cups, has become the domain of the hotels and cafes looking to capture people in search of a few minutes of escapism.

Of course dainty sandwiches and cups that require the extension of the ‘pinkie’ finger are all good fun but sometimes we wish for something a bit more substantial.

That’s why I was delighted when Laguna Kitchen and Bar at the Park Plaza emailed to tell me about their “Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea”.  Out goes the tiny finger sandwiches and in comes a mini venison burger.  Bye bye scone, hello chorizo Scotch egg! Say ta ta to the macaroons and welcome to the sirloin stuffed Yorkshire pudding.

Would I like to pop in and try it?  You bet a Severn & Wye smoked salmon blini with dill crème fraiche and caviar I would.

Which is how I found myself, in the company of my friend Peter, enjoying a rather different type of afternoon tea a few Friday afternoons ago.

Now I should probably make it clear that although Laguna bill this as ‘a masculine twist on the traditionally feminine afternoon past time’ in no way is this a men only thing. In fact they are right up front about saying “It’s definitely not just for gentlemen either – we believe it will also appeal to ladies looking for an alternative to cupcakes and puff pastries.”  So there you go, all are welcome.

Also if you partake of the Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea during June then they will donate 8% of the cost to the Velindre Cancer Centre and as both my parents received excellent care during visits there, that’s a big plus in my book.

OK let’s talk about the tea itself.  It comes sitting on two pieces of slate, one for the savoury and one for the sweet.  A visual feast in itself.

Gentlemen's Afternoon Tea - Savoury Dishes

Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea – Savoury Dishes

Savoury first and we have (anti-clockwise from the bottom left)

  • Miniature prawn cocktail shot
  • Severn & Wye smoked salmon blini with dill crème fraiche & caviar
  • Chorizo Scotch egg with Bloody Mary mayonnaise
  • Seared Welsh sirloin steak with caramelised red onions & garlic mushrooms on toasted ciabatta
  • Mini Brecon Venison burger with juniper berry & red currant mayonnaise
  • Roast sirloin of Welsh Beef and horseradish stuffed Yorkshire pudding

Without going into intricate detail about everything it was all really good.  I really liked the freshness of the prawn cocktail; which came as a surprise as I’m not the world’s biggest shellfish fan.  The chorizo Scotch egg was great and the sirloin on toasted ciabatta had a real depth of flavour.  The only negatives were that by the time I got to it, the Yorkshire pudding was cold and a bit claggy and the brioche bun on the venison burger was a trifle dry. The venison burger itself was nice and juicy though and the seared sirloin was served nice and pink.

Chorizo Scotch egg with Bloody Mary mayonnaise

Chorizo Scotch egg with Bloody Mary mayonnaise

Seared Welsh sirloin steak with caramelised red onions & garlic mushrooms on toasted ciabatta

Seared Welsh sirloin steak with caramelised red onions & garlic mushrooms on toasted ciabatta

By now I’m beginning to realise why this is billed as a more masculine afternoon tea, as there is quite a lot of food here.  Nevertheless I take a deep breath and move over to the sweet slate.

Gentlemen's Afternoon Tea - The Sweet Selection

Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea – The Sweet Selection

Here we find a Rum Baba filled with Chantilly cream & raspberries and a Warm chocolate fondant with Clotted Cream.  Its many years since I had a Rum Baba and even longer since I had a decent one that didn’t taste of rum flavouring.  Fortunately this one doesn’t, it’s ‘ruminess’ being quite subtle.  In fact both Peter and I felt that it could have done with a bit more of a kick to it. I do have to drive home afterwards though so maybe that was for the best.  The chocolate fondant was lovely and rich, and soft of centre. It did suffer a little of the same fate as the Yorkshire though in the fact, that as it had been sitting on the table since the start of the meal, it wasn’t really warm by the time I got to it.  However, that being said it still delivered on the chocolate flavour and managed a decent ooze as I cut into it. The clotted cream really ramps up the richness factor and makes this a very indulgent end to the tea.

Overall I was impressed by my Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea.  At £18.95 a head it delivers both in terms of flavour and value for money (something the Laguna seems to be pretty good at if their Chef’s Table is anything to go by).  In fact I’d suggest that you skip lunch if you’re planning on indulging as this is quite a lot of food. I didn’t need to eat again that day.

Oh and don’t forget if you book for June (booking is essential) you’ll also be supporting Velindre!

In a word, “Delightful!”

Laguna Kitchen and Bar
Park Plaza Hotel
Greyfriars Road
Cardiff
CF10 3AL

Restaurant Tel: 02920 111 103
Email: lagunarestaurant@parkplazahotels.co.uk

 

We were invited to try the Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea as guests of the Park Plaza and as such all food and drink was complimentary.

 Laguna Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Apr 27
The Discovery, Lakeside
posted by: Gomez in Restaurant Reviews on Apr 27th, 2014 | | No Comments »

discoveryThe Discovery is the latest addition to the Knife & Fork Food brand and takes its place alongside company’s other outlets, namely The Conway in Pontcanna, The Pilot in Penarth and The Old Swan Inn in Llantwit Major.

Anyone familiar with The Discovery’s siblings will be immediately at home as the blackboard menu concept has been continued here along with a simpler lunch menu served between 12 and 4pm every day except Sunday. As the blackboard menu can change frequently it even has its own Tumblr blog here.

The ever changing chalkboard menu

The ever changing chalkboard menu

I wasn’t familiar with the Discovery before I attended the soft launch but it’s obvious the amount of renovation work that has gone on inside. There’s a large airy bar area and a nicely appointed restaurant area.

Picture of Part of the Discovery's Restaurant Area

Part of the Discovery’s Restaurant Area

As I was attending the soft launch (basically a dry run to help the kitchen and front of house smooth out any issues before the paying customers arrive) it wouldn’t be fair to write this up as a ‘proper’ review. Having said that there really wasn’t anything to complain to about.

After a good study of the blackboard I decided to start with the Crispy Aromatic Duck Egg, Shitake Mushroom, Wild Garlic Purée and Onion Ash (£5.50). Now the Chef is going to live or die by a dish like this, as if that duck egg isn’t soft and runny when you cut into it then the only outcome is disappointment. Fortunately no disappointment here.

Picture of starter

Crispy Aromatic Duck Egg, Shitake Mushroom, Wild Garlic Purée and Onion Ash

For mains there was simply no other choice for me other than the enticingly named Our Plank of Pig (£12.50). There was no disappointment here either and my eyes lit up when the board of porky goodness was put in front of me. It tasted as good as it looked as well and all things considered is nothing if not a delicious bargain.

Picture of Plank of Pig

Our Plank of Pig

Plank of Pig, Worth a Close Up

Plank of Pig, Worth a Close Up

Dessert took me back to my childhood with a Raspberry Ripple Baked Alaska, Raspberry Mousse and Red Wine Caramel (£5.00). Whilst not identical to the dessert of my childhood, mother never made us individual desserts in those days, it certainly had all the component parts although I think this one had seen a chef’s blow torch and not the inside of an extremely hot oven. That being said it’s all about the taste and this Alaska certainly delivered on that front. The sharp raspberry being a great foil to the sweetness of the meringue.

Raspberry Ripple Baked Alaska, Raspberry Mousse and Red Wine Caramel (£5.00)

Raspberry Ripple Baked Alaska, Raspberry Mousse and Red Wine Caramel (£5.00)

All in all I think The Discovery is a winner. Good food, in a decent place with a good atmosphere. Not only does The Discovery deserve to become a popular neighbourhood restaurant for those living that side of Cardiff, but it also deserves a trip past the lake for those that don’t.

Give it a try.

The Discovery
Celyn Avenue, Lakeside, Cyncoed, Cardiff, CF23 6FH
Tel: 02920 755 015

Web: http://knifeandforkfood.co.uk/discovery.htm
Twitter: @thediscoverypub
The Discovery on Urbanspoon

Apr 1

Mark and Carol of Corpulent Capers are embarking on a new adventure, a Food Adventure!

As you know we are so passionate about locally produced, seasonal, fresh food that we have been blogging about it for several years and now we want to share our experiences with you.

Local, seasonal, organic vegetables

Local, seasonal, organic vegetables

So what is Food Adventure? Food Adventure is all about food, fun, and adventure. Discover places, faces, plates and spaces as you go behind the scenes to meet some of Wales’ most talented food & drink producers, farmers and chefs.

Picture of an Oxford Sandy & Black Pig

An Oxford Sandy & Black Pig

Our unique tours may include a visit to a farm to meet a farmer passionate about his livestock and who is producing top quality meat, or a visit to one of Wales’ award winning vineyards. Maybe a day out foraging and then a sumptuous lunch, featuring foraged foods, tickles your fancy? We are working with some of Wales’ finest chefs and food producers who will give cooking demonstrations or hands on classes. A Food Adventure day out will showcase some of the best restaurants, farmers, and food & drink producers in South and Mid Wales.

Picture of cows being milked

Milking Time At The Farm

We are really excited about Food Adventure and will share more about our tours and the producers we work with over the next few weeks.

Picture of pan roasted red mullet

Pan Roasted Red Mullet, with Creamed Leeks, Lobster Bonbon and Lobster Sauce

You can sign up for our newsletter at www.foodadventure.co.uk, follow us on twitter @FoodAdventureUK or like us on Facebook.

Fun Fact:

Mark was a judge for the True Taste of Wales awards and will be a Great Taste Awards judge this year. Carol was a Director of the International Wine and Food Society of the Bahamas and led culinary tours from the Bahamas to New Orleans.

 

Mar 18

We broke the news here that Marriott Hotels were piloting a partnership with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage and that the Cardiff Hotel was to be part of that pilot.

Marriott have realised that a growing number of diners have an interest in the provenance of their food and so, in response, they are trying to improve their sourcing so as to offer a local, seasonal menu.

The Marriot kitchen team have been trained at River Cottage, who have also helped identify quality, local producers that they can source from.

Producers such as Graig Farm, Slade Farm Organics, Abergavenny Fine Foods, Gower Coast Seafood and the Welsh Box Scheme to name but a few.

Zest has set themselves some challenging goals including:-

  • Ensure that 80-percent of the ingredients at Zest to be obtained within a 60-mile radius.
  • To reduce our food waste to no more than 5-percent.
  • To use only organic meat
  • To use only free range organic chicken
  • To ensure that all fish and shellfish are procured from sustainable sources.

It’s great to see a large chain such as Marriott leading the way on this and it is to be hoped that their example is soon followed by other hospitality organisations.

So how is Zest and its food?

Picture of inside of Zest Restaurant

Inside Zest

Well the restaurant suffers from its location, it is unmistakably a hotel restaurant and one that doubles as the breakfast buffet as well.  High ceilings, white tiled floors, and hotel décor do not really impart a cosy ambience.

Fortunately the staff are excellent, very friendly and accommodating which is a big help. If only you couldn’t hear them coming as they clip clop across that tiled floor.

First up was the Chef’s homemade Focaccia bread. This didn’t really get us off to a good start as frankly it was atrocious. I think Chef missed the River Cottage baking course.

Mrs A started with a Goats Cheese Salad of squash, beetroot, goat’s cheese and caper. A delightfully pretty dish it was, unfortunately, served so chilled that its flavour was masked.

Picture of Goat's Cheese Salad with Squash, Beetroot and Capers.

Goat’s Cheese Salad with Squash, Beetroot and Capers.

My starter was smoked venison with pickled mushrooms and leaves. The venison was moist and tasty and a decent dressing pulled it all together.

Picture of Smoked Venison

Smoked Venison

Mrs A’s main was Slow Roasted Lamb with Celeriac Mash. The lamb was sourced from Slade Farm Organics. It was beautifully cooked, moist and tender with a rich sauce that frankly there could have been more of.  The celeriac mash was a little overpowered by the large strips of chili running through it. If they had been finely chopped and less, then the dish would have benefited.

Picture of Slow Roasted Lamb with Celeriac Mash

Slow Roasted Lamb with Celeriac Mash

I had the Slow Cooked Organic Brisket with kale, and Anchovy and Rosemary Potatoes. Delightfully rich it really hit the spot.

Picture of the Slow Cooked Organic Brisket

Slow Cooked Organic Brisket

The side of kale was also a little heavy on the chili, but very nicely cooked and the addition of fennel seed was a nice touch.  We had some excellent honey glazed rainbow carrots as well.

Rainbow Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

 

Kale with Chili & Fennel

Kale with Chili & Fennel

Mrs A chose a Sticky Date Pudding for dessert, served with a vanilla ice cream. Whilst I chose an Apple and Cherry Crumble.  Both delivered in terms of flavour and sweetness.

Sticky Date Pudding

Sticky Date Pudding

Apple & Cherry Crumble

Apple & Cherry Crumble

Whilst not faultless the cooking at Zest is definitely a step up from your average hotel restaurant and therein lies the rub, as the space screams hotel at you.  There is a much more comfortable upper tier to the restaurant although that was not is use the night we went as it had been laid up in readiness for breakfast the next day.

Whilst I’m not sure if Zest will succeed in pulling local non-residents into the hotel, I think if I was staying at the Marriott then Zest would certainly stop me from exiting the building to try find a local eatery.

I hope the hotel’s marketing team can carve out a reputation for Zest independently of the hotel as that’s what it needs to help it stand out from the chains that surround it.  It has all the right ingredients after all.

Zest
Cardiff Marriott Hotel
Mill Lane
Cardiff
CF10 1EZ

Tel: 02920 399 944
Web: Zest

We were invited to try Zest as guests of Nylon Communications and as such all food and drink was complimentary.

 
Zest on Urbanspoon

Feb 28
Picture of Beverly Reed

Beverly Reed

I’ve always been of the opinion if you want to do something well you should learn from an expert.

So when I decided that I’d like to learn a bit more about making patisserie there was no better class to attend than one run by Beverly Reed.

Beverly began her love affair with food after leaving catering college and making a false start as a waitress in a Harrogate Forte Hotel. She returned to the kitchen and spent several years building up a dizzying CV, which included spells as a pâtissier at Claridges in London and Michelin starred restaurants at Château de Montreuil in France, Stuckis and Der Walserhof in Switzerland and L’Ortolan near Reading.

On my first course with Bev we learned how to make macaroons, scones and Gâteau Basque. This is the classic Basque dessert. It has a crunchy tart-like exterior and a soft filling. Typically Gâteau Basque is constructed from layers of an almond flour based cake with a filling of pastry cream (crème pâtissière).

Picture of a Gateau Basque

Gateau Basque

Everything we made that day tasted fabulous and we found Bev to a great teacher, making the complicated seem simple and with bags of patience (which she really needed).

So much did we enjoy our day of baking that we enrolled again for Bev’s next class. This time we made a Tarte Belle-Hélène, basically a chocolate and pear tart. It was absolutely stunning!

Picture of Tarte Belle-Hélène

Tarte Belle-Hélène

Beverly has recently expanded her cooking classes and is now running additional classes at Haberdashers School for Girls in Monmouth. So if you want to learn to patisserie from a real expert sign up for one of her classes now, but be quick places are selling fast.

Upcoming Patisserie Classes with spaces.

11th March, 6-9pm
Baked White Chocolate & Hazelnut Cheesecake

18th March, 6-9pm
Seasonal Panna cotta with Biscotti

6th May, 6-9pm
Strawberry Shortcake

Courses cost only £30 each. What a bargain!

For more info or to book on any of the above courses please contact Beverly on 01633 897550
email: bev@creativefood.co.uk
or visit: creativefood.co.uk

Feb 25

The tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as Pancake Day, is not one I grew up with. I am more familiar with Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras. As a child, being raised as a Roman Catholic, I always gave something up for Lent; usually chocolate …. I do wish however I had grown up with the tradition of eating delicate sweet pancakes before giving up my chocolate. It would have made the 40 days of Lent so much easier!

Win this fabulous Abra Ca Debora Pancake Day Hamper

Win this fabulous Abra Ca Debora Pancake Day Hamper

Abra-ca-Debora, maker of delightful Dutch pancakes, is going to sweeten one lucky readers Pancake Tuesday with a fantastic Pancake Day Hamper (worth approx. £30) filled with goodies such as their large Dutch Pancakes, their Diddy Dutch Pancakes (see our blog post here), curds and jams from The English Provender Co and Green & Black chocolate (contents of hamper may vary).

So what am I going to make for this Tuesday? Well I am going to make some fabulous banana split pancakes using this recipe from Abra-ca-Debora as my inspiration. Banana Split Pancake Recipe

Abra Ca Debora Choccy Bananas

Abra Ca Debora Choccy Bananas

What will you make?

If you would like the chance to win a free hamper from Abra-ca-Debora all you need to do is like our Corpulent Capers Facebook page using the widget below. If you follow @babettesffest on Twitter we’ll give you a second chance to win.

Click here to view this promotion.

The rules:-

  • The deadline for entries is 23:59 GMT Tuesday 4th March 2014.
  • The competition is open to U.K. mainland residents only, sorry.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries.
  • The editors decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • The prize is one Abra-Ca-Debra Pancake Day Hamper, as shown above, and includes free delivery anywhere in mainland UK. (Contents may vary)
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Big Fish Design Limited.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Corpulent Capers accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • One entry per person only.
  • Entrants must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • By entering you agree to join our mailing list. You may unsubscribe at any time and we will never pass your details to any other party. Your privacy is very important to us.
  • The winners will be notified by email. If no response is received within 3 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

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