Foodie fun this weekend at Chequers Fest

If you’re looking for a fun, foodie event this weekend you can’t go far wrong with Chequers Fest, at The Chequers in Eversley Cross,  this Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August.

Okay, so this is a little outside of Winchester but I have reason to believe it’s going to be great, so thought I’d share the news. The whole of the lovely village pub The Chequers will be given over to two days of fantastic live music, bars and artisan food and drink.

The Chequers Festival of Food & Drink 5 low res

I’m told that the focus for this year’s festival is Great British Produce, with a wonderful array of great home produced things to eat and drink on offer, as well as plenty of opportunities to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.

The pub’s invited some great producers to be there for the festival, with plenty of delicious things to nibble and quaff and lots of free tasters on offer (who doesn’t love free tasters!?). There’s a chance to try some fabulous oysters from the Oyster Bar and some delicious regional cheeses.

The Chequers Festival of Food & Drink 6 low res

You can get creative and make your own sausages and fairy cakes in a series of foodie workshops for all the family. Then relax over a glass or two of local ale or something chilled from the bar. There will be live music from Off The Record from 2pm to 4pm on the day as well. Sunday is the day for dancing, cocktails and more delectable food. There’ll be a tasty hog roast available as well as the pub’s usual summer menu.

The Chequers Festival of Food & Drink 1 low res

“Once again we’ll be having some great British produce on offer at the festival and putting on an amazing day dedicated to the good stuff,” says Jordan Marr, general manager of The Chequers.

“We love serving the good stuff here in the pub and this is our way of sharing the best of it with you as well as bringing great live entertainment and fun for everyone over the weekend. Come along and enjoy it all and of course have a brilliant day out,” he adds.

Tickets for Chequers Fest cost £10 for adults and are valid for both days. Under 12’s go free.  As the festival takes over the entire pub for the weekend, entry to The Chequers is only possible with a ticket. Chequers Fest takes place from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday 20th August and from 12pm to 8pm on Sunday 21st August. The Chequers, Eversley Cross, Hampshire, RG27 0NS. To book tickets or find out more  go to www.thechequerseversleycross.co.uk or call 01184 027065.

Advertisements

Something special is coming to the Spinnaker Tower

I’m very pleased to be sharing some exciting Hampshire foodie news on FoodTeaLife today. A pop-up restaurant is coming soon to the Emirates Spinnaker Tower and it really is set to be something special.

I was lucky enough to be invited to preview the pop-up experience high above the ground and sample the some of the dishes. I was pleased to learn that locally sourced produce takes centre stage on the fabulous seven course menu from award-winning chef Stephanie Moon. There was fresh fish and seafood from Johnson’s Enterprises and trout from Chalkstream Foods as well as meat from Southsea butchers, Buckwells. Even the desserts featured local suppliers including ice creams and sorbets from the fabulous Minghella’s on the Isle of Wight and delicious Fordingbridge Fudge too.

stephmoon1

Talented Chef Stephanie Moon at the Emirates Spinnaker Tower (image courtesy of Stefan Venter and Emirates Spinnaker Tower) 

Chef Stephanie Moon had very high praise for Hampshire’s local suppliers too. Describing the seabass from Johnson’s Enterprises, she spoke with passion about its freshness and how it just shone!

It was lovely having the chance to chat to Stephanie, who hails from Yorkshire and represented the North East in the BBC’s Great British Menu. I couldn’t resist asking her for her thoughts on the hotly debated issue that is #foodporn (taking photos of your food in restaurants). She gave a perfect answer saying, “I’m honoured if someone wants to take a photograph of my food but I’m equally as honoured if they just want to dive in and get stuck into eating it”.

stephmoon

Chef Stephanie Moon praising Hampshire’s produce

Stephanie has an impressive career to date including The Dorchester and 5 star hotel Park Hyatt in Sydney, so it was real privilege and pleasure to sample her food. You can see her full menu for the pop-up venture here – but I thought I’d share some of my favourites from the night below too…

Canapé: Cauliflower, summer truffle oil and sweetcorn “eggs” with brioche soldiers

Spinnaker 2

This was just one the delightful canapés on offer – I loved dipping the little brioche soldier!

Starter: Seared scallop, Isle of Wight crab, Solent seabass, butter lettuce, tomato, fresh peas, borage, wood sorrel 

Spinnaker 1

Everything about this was just perfect – the presentation, the flavours – it was exquisite! 

Main course: Hampshire South Downs lamb cutlet, sticky braised lamb, bon bon

Carrot anise puree, fèves, courgette, potato terrine 

– This I dived straight into and didn’t photograph, luckily  I was sent this beautiful photo of the dish…

MAINCOURSE

Image courtesy of Stefan Venter and Emirates Spinnaker Tower

To finish: Fordingbridge sea salted caramel fudge, Lavender fields chocolate fancies, Fresh cherry crackle, Pimms’ lollipops with sherbet dib dab – these all came after the main dessert like little petit fours and were simply irresistible!

finish

Who could say no to these delights? Beautiful image courtesy of Stefan Venter and Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Although I’ve picked out some personal highlights – I can honestly say that every dish was delicious and cooked to perfection. I felt the menu was just the right blend of creative and comforting. The dishes had the wow factor and were beautifully presented, whilst still being simple enough to let the quality and fantastic flavours of the local produce shine through.

Being high above the ground, close to the top of the 170 metre Spinnaker Tower was pretty spectacular too. Arriving at 6.30 meant we got to see the sun going down and watch as night fell all around and lights started to twinkle below. I’m certain it will make a magical occasion – perfect for a special celebration. I have no hesitation in recommending it.

viewspinnake

Views from the Spinnaker Tower as the sun went down 

Sky Dining with Stephanie Moon will be hosted on Friday evenings from Friday 22 July to Friday 12 August 2016. You can find out more and book your table here. 

 

10 Amazing Dishes To Try In Winchester

11372477_939119992776553_2131033518_n

I’ve certainly been lucky enough to eat some absolutely amazing meals in Winchester. We have some brilliant restaurants serving exciting, original food made with wonderful ingredients…but enough about how much I love Winchester! If I had to pick my top dishes to enjoy in this great city, this list is where I’d start.

Of course many menus change seasonally and there are always daily specials in certain restaurants – so I can’t promise you’ll definitely be able to find all of these dishes but I know some are still very much menu mainstays. So here’s my top ten in no particular order…

(also sorry, I was too busy enjoying each dish to take photos of all of them!)

1)  Kyoto Kitchen – Winchester Roll

11372477_939119992776553_2131033518_n

This is apparently the world’s first sushi roll made with wasabi leaf rather than seaweed and uses locally grown wasabi from Europe’s only wasabi farm, right here in Winchester! So it’s a dish with a great story that’s gained it plenty of attention. It’s also absolutely delicious! The wasabi leaf is perfect addition to this fresh, light and delicate sushi roll.

2) Bugle Inn (Twyford) – Beetroot Cured Salmon

This comes a homemade with smoked mackerel, horseradish & crab pate, crispy whitebait, shallot & beetroot salad, sauce tartar, Parmesan toasts and an aioli dip. It’s just a perfect platter for anyone who loves fish, simply delicious with lots of different things to pick and try. I can’t get enough of it! I should add that many of the Bugle’s other dishes are equally as fabulous, the food is always great.

3) Rimjhim Winchester – Modu Murg

I don’t really do hugely spicy curries so this dish from Rimjhim is just heavenly. If you’re someone who would normally have korma, you must try the modu murg. It’s a creamy coconut and honey chicken dish and comes with crispy parsnip strips on top. Even if you prefer something hotter, I highly recommend trying this dish – everyone I know who likes a spicy curry also enjoys this dish.

4) Bangkok Brasserie – Colin Firth’s Thai Mango Chicken (Gaeng Kari Mamuang) 

While we’re on the subject of curries, this Thai delight from Bangkok Brasserie needs a mention. It’s a a traditional mild yellow curry with added mango that was apparently created especially created for actor and Winchester man Colin Firth. Well, Colin’s got great taste is all I can say. It’s a truly delicious dish, the sauce will have you wanting to dip everything in it. What’s more it’s a sponsored dish with 85p from each dish sold going to charity – so you feel even better about ordering it!

5) Gandhi – Gandhi Special

I promise this is the last curry dish on the list! I don’t think the top ten would be complete without a mention for the flavoursome yet deliciously mild Gandhi Special. This dish is chicken cooked with almond, coconut, sultana and cashew nuts in a special sauce with spices and yoghurt and it comes served with an omelette. It’s a must try if you haven’t had it!

6) Pi Woodfired – Smoked bacon, goats cheese, caramelised onion & asparagus

A relatively new restaurant for Winchester but undeniably good! I haven’t had a chance to work my way through the menu yet but I have to say the bacon and goats cheese pizza was divine. All their dishes look fantastic and I can’t wait to try more!

7) Fish Tale Bar & Grill – Lobster Burger (or the Lobster Surf and Turf)

The lobsimag0903ter burger is amazing, what an invention! It features a brioche bun and tempura lobster, it’s a real feast. I love the varied menu at Fish Tale and try to order something different each time I go but the burger is incredibly tempting I must admit. The surf and turf gets a mention too as my dining companion loves this dish and very often goes for it.

8) Sakura Japanese Restaurant – Teppanyaki Lobster

Sticking with the subject of lobster, here’s another great way to enjoy it, fresh from the teppanyaki grill and cooked in a delicious sauce. You can sit around the grill and watch (and take part) in the cooking fun and theatrics or sit quietly at a separate table – either way it’s a lovely dish.

9) Rick Stein Winchester – Fish and Shellfish Soup with Rouille and Parmesan 

FotorCreated

This is a heavenly dish (which I have reviewed previously) – it’s a taste of Mediterranean summer holidays and I love adding the cheese and garlicky rouille to the soup. I love the whole menu (and the cocktails!) at Rick Stein’s but this starter is probably my absolute favourite.

10) The Avenue Restaurant at Lainston House – Coconut Parfait

11325728_783576581749977_730110068_n

Aha, a delcious dessert makes it’s way on the list. I’m sure desserts of Winchester could be a whole other post – but this one is so good it deserves a mention in the overall top ten I think! I do love coconut, so this is a real winner with me – it comes with a chocolate mousse, caramel, banana and passion fruit – full of flavour! I’m hungry just thinking about it!

So there you have it, some of my favourite meals in Winchester. There are many more I could have mentioned and many other restaurants serving amazing dishes – but ten felt like a good place to stop. Have you tried any of these dishes? I would absolutely love to hear some recommendations from any FoodTeaLife readers for dishes I should try. Leave a comment or tweet me @franini_daze with your suggestions!

xXx

5 Confessions of someone who REALLY loves food – is it just me?

Everyone likes food and everyone loves certain foods but some of us just get more excited about food than others…am I right? I just love food, whether I’m snacking on ingredients as I cook or filling up on bread in a restaurant before my meal comes – food just makes me happy. If you’re one of those people (some might use the word greedy!) you’ll relate to the situations and statements on this list…

1) You always forget to photograph your food

an-empty-plate

When something really delicious arrives in front of me at a restaurant my first instinctive reaction is to put a little bit of it in my mouth rather than snap a photo. I usually remember just as it’s too late and I’ve taken my first bite, that’s why some of the photos on my blog usually feature a dish with a little bit missing! Not good for a food blogger. Does anyone else just dive straight in?

2) A restaurant menu is REALLY exciting

cebf20b529caec59a2cadd741d5a30c7

The possibilities, the choices – all those dishes that talented chefs are just waiting to make you! Browsing a restaurant menu makes me very happy indeed. The excitement when you spot your favourite dish or ingredient, the umming and erring between two seemingly perfect choices – is there anything better than choosing food at a restaurant?

3) You have to eat some of your food shopping right away

shopping

I tend to get mine delivered and have usually been looking forward to what I’ve ordered. So when the weekly food shop arrives I just have to snack on some of it as I’m putting it all away. And if I’ve been to a supermarket then I’ll usually have to have a nibble of something in the car. Anyone else?

4) Eating whilst cooking

cheese

Whatever the dish, you have to test out the ingredients as you go…or at least I certainly do! Even if it’s just raw veg as I prep a salad or stir fry. Of course it’s much worse if I’m cooking anything with cheese!

5) Things can get out of control at farmers markets and farm shops 

bread

I have to limit myself because I always end up spending a fortune at the farmers market or farm shop. Local cheese, pies, bread, chutneys, cake…I need it all in my life and buying it feels so good. Getting home and eating it all feels even better!

Am I alone in my food excitement? Let me know if you can identify with any of these food loving statements too!

xXx

Foodie event! Thyme & Tides Food Festival

Hampshire foodies, here’s an event you won’t want to miss – the Thyme & Tides Food Festival at Stockbridge Town Hall, Saturday 18th April. 

Iain and Sally Hemming, owners of Thyme & Tides who will be putting on a food festival on 18th April

Iain and Sally Hemming, owners of Thyme & Tides who will be putting on a food festival on 18th April

For anyone who hasn’t been, Thyme & Tides is a lovely deli, bistro and fishmonger in Stockbridge. The food festival is in celebration of Thyme & Tides’ fifth birthday and will feature special guest appearances from BBC’s Nigel Barden and Valentine Warner as well as demonstrations from foodie experts showcasing their skills with bread-making, gin, wine, cheese and much more. I’m told there will be plenty to try and buy with around 20 of Thyme & Tides top suppliers inviting guest to enjoy their wares! These include Olives et Al, Ballancourt French pates and terrines, Hennart French cheeses , Purbeck Ice cream and ciders, Isle of Wight Tomato Stall and Utta Nutta Peanut Butter and more.

Upstairs I’m told there will be a demonstration theatre where you can hear from Valentine Warner and Nigel Barden, BBC Radio 2’s food and drink critic and broadcaster. They will be joined by Darren Bland of Hoxton Bake House, James Robinson of Spanish food experts Brindisa, Mark Dawson of Langley’s Gin and Tom Badcock of The Cheese Cellar.

Best of all, entrance to the main event is free and tickets for the food demonstrations are just £2.50 for adults, kids go free. A proportion of all ticket sales will be donated to the Alex Lewis Trust too. Sounds like a fab foodie day out to me!

Doors open at 10am, until 5pm. The event, which is supported by Hildon Water, will take place at Stockbridge Town Hall, High Street, Stockbridge SO20 6HE. You can find out more at: www.thymeandtidesdeli.co.uk, call 01264 810101 or join me and follow the event on twitter @foodfeaststockb.

WIN! Tickets to Wine Festival Winchester

Local FoodTeaLife readers may have heard the buzz about Wine Festival Winchester, the exciting new initiative by BBC1 wine experts Susie & Peter taking place right here in Winchester. Tickets are selling fast – but lucky for you I’ve got two tickets to give away worth £25 each! Read on to find out more…

Team behind Wine Festival Wichester

The team behind Wine Festival Winchester – BBC1’s wine experts Susie & Peter

The event, which is being held in Winchester Guildhall from 21-23 November, will feature hundreds of wines from around the world, all free to taste as part of the entry price. There will be local food, music, masterclasses featuring cheese and chocolate, prize draws and a free wine glass worth £12.50 for all visitors.

I particularly like the fact that so many of my favourite local producers and retailers are involved too. There are six Hampshire sparkling wine producers, including Hattingley Valley, Hambledon and Jenkyn Place, alongside local retailers Toscanaccio, Stone Vine & Sun, The Naked Grape, Caviste, Berry Bros. & Rudd and Wine Utopia.

Here’s the interesting bit that makes Wine Festival Winchester a little different – in order to help you find wines you like at the festival, Susie and Peter have devised a colour-coded system called ‘Follow Your Taste’. Wine is broken down into six flavour styles and bottles at the event will have coloured neck tags to indicate their style. Sounds like a great idea to me and takes away some of intimidation that can surround wine tasting.

Winchester Wine Festival Colour Code

Fab Idea! The ‘Follow Your Taste’ colour-coded system that will be in place at Wine Festival Winchester

The festival is supporting local charity Naomi House and launches the same weekend as Winchester’s Christmas market just round the corner – what a weekend! You can find out more about the festival by visiting the website www.thewinefestival.co.uk.

HOW TO WIN TWO FREE TICKETS:

For your chance to win two free tickets for the Sunday at Wine Festival Winchester simply tweet me: “@franini_daze I want to win tickets to @WineFestWinch

You can also email foodtealife@gmail.com. The winner will be drawn at random and notified within 28 days. Terms and conditions can be found here.

Good luck!

Classics for British Food Fortnight

It’s British Food Fortnight! So what better time to celebrate some of the food we’re famous for? In this post I’m rounding up my favourite, traditionally British things to eat, along with the details of some great local producers too.

Scones…

Scones are definitely a delicious British classic, whether you enjoy a fruity one with cream and jam or warm cheese scone with butter, they’re a well known accompaniment to our national drink, a nice cup of tea. Scones are good fun to bake but if you don’t fancy re-enacting the Great British Bake Off, then there’s plenty of ready made scones around. Locally, my favourite scones are from The Baker Boys market stall in Winchester. Their hearty scones are a generous size with some lovely varieties including apple & date and blueberry & pear. The Baker Boys are in Winchester High Street in on Saturdays and I believe they also sell their deliciously baked wares in Romsey, Christchurch, Alton and Lymington too.

scones

Cheese…

We have some wonderful cheese in Britain, from Cheddar to Double Gloucester and Red Leicester…I could go on!  And at most farmers markets you’re spoilt for choice with lovely local cheeses. I certainly always come away from Hampshire Farmers Market with armfuls of locally made bread and cheese to scoff! From a cheeky bit of cheese on toast, to a ploughman’s lunch or a full on post dinner cheese course – it’s a fine food for any occasion! One of my local favourites is Lyburn Farm’s Old Winchester Cheese.

cheese

Toasted Tea Cake…

Back to the baked goods now and you can’t beat a toasted tea cake with a mug of tea. A tea cake means different things in different countries but in Britain it is of course a fruity, bread-like bun served toasted with butter and possibly jam too. Really the tea cake is like the less religious cousin of the good old hot cross bun and is perfectly acceptable to consumer all year round. Locally you can get a good toasted tea cake and a nice pot of loose leaf tea in Winchester’s Forte Tea Rooms.

half-toasted-teacake

Roast Dinner..

We definitely know how to do a roast dinner in Britain, whether it’s the traditional joint of beef or a roast pheasant (as was traditional in my household!), this is hearty British comfort food at its best. There are of course many local outlets serving up roast dinner on a Sunday but my two favourites are The Bugle Inn, Twyford and The Old Forge in Otterbourne.

Roast

Cheese Straws…

It must be an after affect of too much Great British Bake Off but I’m back on the British baked goods again! I absolutely adore cheese straws, which I believe were originally a British invention, although they’re apparently quite popular in the US too.  Cheese straws are comforting treat that remind me of childhood and Christmas time all at once. For me, the best ones locally are from Reeve the Baker in Winchester High Street.

cheese straws

The Cooked Breakfast…

We Brits are of course known for enjoying a cooked breakfast once in a while. You certainly can’t beat a good old fry-up when suffering the after affects of too much alcohol the night before! Personally I’m more of a scrambled eggs on toast kind of girl but I can be tempted by a well made fry-up with good quality ingredients. My top local recommendation is Bean Below, the tucked away cafe and restaurant underneath Twyford Stores – they always use plenty of locally sourced ingredients from the free range eggs to the British bacon and sausages.

cooked-breakfast

…So, who’s hungry? I’ll admit it’s not exactly the healthiest list but hey, it’s still the weekend and we’re half way through British Food Fortnight, a time to come together and celebrate all the great food we produce!

You can find out more about British Food Fortnight and how to take part on their website: http://lovebritishfood.co.uk/

Previous Older Entries