Category Archives: Food + Recipes

An evening with Yoga Brunch Club

July 19, 2017

Food + Recipes / Wellbeing

Yoga Brunch Club Yoga Brunch ClubYoga Brunch Club

As evening fell on a warm June day, I joined a group gathered to enjoy a yoga class with a difference. Yoga Brunch Club – as the name suggests – can usually be found popping up on a weekend morning, with brunch clubs held regularly in Bristol and London. Switching things up for this midsummer event, Yoga Brunch Club’s founder Clem Balfour hosted a yoga supper club which consisted of a vinyasa flow class, followed by a delicious Italian feast; all taking place in the beautiful setting of The Forge.

It was the day following the hottest of the year and with fans running and windows open wide, I think we were all grateful for the drop in temperature as we arrived and settled on our mats ready for an hour of yoga. Having not attended a yoga class for a good few years I was honestly a little anxious about my ability to keep up, not to mention being nearly four months pregnant obviously needing to be considered. However, Clem took the time to chat with me beforehand, mentioning a few poses I should adapt or skip, which put my mind at ease. She also made her way around the room before commencing the class, checking in with all the attendees.

As she led the class, Clem was sure to include options to adjust poses accordingly for the variety of abilities in the room along with providing gentle words of encouragement. I particularly remember her pointing out to the class that yoga is not about striving to attempt the perfect pose, but maintaining awareness of your own body during the practice. As my particular combination of tight hamstrings and little arms have a habit of making me feel like the least flexible girl in the room this felt like a very good reminder for me as a novice – plus I realise that pregnancy is probably not the time to lament not being able to touch my toes!

I really enjoyed the flowing nature of the class and as we rested in savasana at the end of the session I had that lovely satisfied feeling of an hour well spent.

Yoga Brunch Club A Tavola Food Yoga Brunch Club The Forge Yoga Brunch Club A Tavola FoodYoga Brunch Club The Forge

Having visited The Forge for all sorts of events I’m always impressed by the versatility of the space, which on this occasion seamlessly transitioned from yoga studio to dining room half way through the evening. Cocktails were served as mats and blocks were replaced by two long rustic tables, which looked so pretty decorated simply with flower stems in vintage bottles.

Bristol based caterers A Tavola had prepared a three-course Italian feast for the evening meal. As the sun set, we tucked into a delicious starter of spring broth, handmade ravioli main accompanied by two incredible salads followed by panna cotta with strawberries and pink peppercorns. Natural Italian wines were also available to enjoy with the meal. The food was so fresh and delicious, perfect for a midsummer’s evening and a lovely balance of hearty and wholesome which felt just right to follow our exercise.
Yoga Brunch ClubYoga Brunch Club

Having got into meditating regularly over the last year, I’ve been really wanting to give yoga another go as the two practices obviously compliment each other so well. Yoga Brunch Club was a lovely reintroduction for me and I’m definitely going to seek out a local pregnancy yoga class, although I may be disappointed in the lack of yummy food to follow!

Whether you’re also an absolute beginner or if unlike me you’re a seasoned yogini, I think you’ll find Yoga Brunch Club a beautiful way to spend a morning or evening.

The next Yoga Brunch Club in Bristol takes place on September 10th at The Forge with Vietnamese brunch menu from Uncle Ho’s. Early bird tickets are available for £30. Or you can catch Yoga Brunch Club in London with their next event in Brixton on August 13th.

Follow Yoga Brunch Club: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Website

All photos shot by the lovely and talented Kasia Kiliszek: InstagramPortfolio

* * *

I was invited to this event by Yoga Brunch Club but all opinions (and tight hamstrings) are my own.

Weekly Meals: ‘Simple’ by Dianna Henry

July 1, 2017

Food + Recipes

Simple Dianna Henry

Cookbook Club is a regular meet up with some lovely ladies I’ve met through Instagram where we all bring a different dish from one cookbook or cookery writer and spend the evening eating and talking about delicious food. Our cookbook of choice for this month’s Cookbook Club is ‘Simple‘ by food writer Dianna Henry. It’s a book that my friends at cookbook club have been raving about for months but until recently I hadn’t delved into. To get properly aquatinted with a new cookbook I love to immerse myself in it by trying out lots of the recipes that catch my eye in quick succession. Planning week’s worth of evening meals from the one book is a great way to do this.

Both my husband Will and I love to cook and the recipes in ‘Simple’ are just up our street; simple, rustic dishes that are big on flavour but have smallish ingredients lists. Here’s what we cooked from the book to get stuck in…

Meal Plan

Monday: Linguine All’amalfitana // page 106

I’m actually not a huge pasta fan so when I say that I could happily eat this walnut and anchovy linguine dish over and over again know that it’s high praise indeed! This recipe uses the pasta water to create a lovely glossy sauce, which reminds me of my favourite Anna Jones pasta dish.

Simple Dianna Henry

Tuesday: Breton tuna & white bean gratin // page 78

This is the only recipe that we weren’t so sure on. Not sure if I took a misstep when executing but I found that blending the beans meant we had a rather sloppy unappetising end product. I do however love that it’s made up of store cupboard ingredients but if I attempt it again I think I’ll leave some of the white beans whole for more texture in the gratin.

Wednesday: New York takeout noodles // page 97

We’ve already cooked these noodles three times in as many weeks, so it’s safe to say this recipe is an early favourite! The sauce for the noodles combines so many of my favourite things – garlic, chilli, peanuts, sesame and soy.

Dianna Henry Simple

Thursday: Baked merguez with beans eggs & feta // page 81

This dish featuring merguez sausages, beans and feta sprinkled on top was a great upgrade on our usual baked eggs which are already a huge favourite our ours.

Friday: Parmesan roast chicken with cauliflower & thyme

In the book, Dianna Henry says this dish was created out of a craving for roast chicken and cauliflower cheese, without a creamy sauce it didn’t quite hit that spot for me but it was delicious none the less and certainly perfect comfort food. The more traybake recipes up my sleeve the better I say!

Aside from one, these are all recipes I’ll be sure to make again and some I can see making frequent appearances on our dining table. There are so many more dishes in the book that I can’t wait to try so I think another week of cooking from Simple might be in order!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats’ Cheese

September 30, 2016

Food + Recipes

This seasonal pumpkin salad with fig & goats’ cheese is so full of the joys of autumn I simply love it!Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' Cheese

I have this thing with pumpkins, they just bring me so much joy to look at and eat that I can barely walk past them without buying one. Seen as my local greengrocer has a lovely display of brightly coloured seasonal squashes at the front of the shop I’m currently bringing home pumpkins home like little lost kittens! Although I’m perfectly happy to have them brightening up my home, I thought seen as we’re still a month away from Haloween I better cook one up before the collection gets out of hand!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' CheesePumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' Cheese

I’m a big advocate that salads aren’t just for summer, and this pumpkin salad with fig & goats’ cheese is just the ticket for the transition into warm salad season. The spices added to the pumpkin for roasting bring depth and a little heat with the cinnamon adding that extra hint of the cosy season upon us. The soft squash contrasts wonderfully with the crispy chicory and the sweet figs and goats’ cheese combo is always a winner. This is a lovely simple bright supper to make as the evenings draw in. Oh, and the method I suggest below is my absolute favourite way to cook crispy bacon which is amazing in salads!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats’ Cheese

Salad
1 small pumpkin or seasonal squash – skin on, cut into wedges
Cumin seeds
Chipotle flakes
Cinamon
2 figs – quartered
50g goats’ cheese
4 rashers of good quality smoked streaky British bacon
2 heads of chicory – 1 white / 1 purple
A couple handfuls of other salad leaves – rocket, little gem, red oakleaf etc.
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds – toasted

Dressing
balsamic vinegar
small tsp dijon mustard
small tsp honey or date syrup
olive oil

Place the pumpkin wedges into a roasting pan and drizzle with oil; dust each slice with a little cinnamon and sprinkle over cumin seeds and chipotle flakes. Roast at 200c until cooked through and caramelising slightly. Toss the pan once during cooking. Remove the skin before serving if you prefer.

Line a tin with baking paper, lay rashers on the sheet and cover with a second sheet of baking paper. Place another heavier tin on top to keep the bacon flat and bake in the oven for 20mins. Cut into squares once cooked.

To assemble the salad: Separate the chicory leaves – slicing the larger ones in half lengthways and add to salad bowl or platter with the other leaves; top with the warm squash, fig quarters and bacon; top with crumble the goasts’ cheese followed by toasted pumpkin seeds; dress and serve.

Yonder Collective Dinner – Encounters

June 7, 2016

Food + Recipes / Life

On a rather wet evening in May 2016 I joined a group of Bristol based creative-types who gathered for the third Yonder Collective dinner. The theme for the event was ‘Encounters – encountering ordinary things in unexpected ways’.

Yonder Collective Bristol laid tableYonder Collective Dinning Tablle

For me, the first encounter of the evening was discovering the hidden gem Salt Cafe Deli, whose beautiful, light space in Hotwells provided the perfect setting for the event. At the heart of Yonder Collective dinners is the idea of collaboration with a group of people coming together to curate each event from the food to the decor. Using the theme as inspiration two large dining tables were decorated simply and stylishly. Designer Lyzi (of Being Little) elevated the menus and place setting from the ordinary using geometric and 3D shapes. These cool designs were complemented by centrepieces of geometric terrariums – each one handmade especially for the evening by the oh-so-talented Palyglass.

Perhaps the most surprising encounter for me was how much I enjoyed the drawing workshop which saw us encountering our own features in an unexpected way. I was slightly apprehensive at first but quickly got into the fun self-portrait exercises lead by Elinor John.Yonder Collective Bristol Palyglass Yonder Collective Bristol Drawing Workshop

The food for this Yonder Collective dinner was provide by Griffet Catering, whose delicious seasonal menu perfectly captured the theme of the evening. The canapés which wound their way round the room were as intriguing as they were delicious. Fresh, crisp baby veg in smoked aubergine puree delivered on trowels, smoking boxes containing hops flavoured crisps, mackerel lolly pops and the prettiest morsels of edible flowers all provided the perfect talking point to break the ice with the first companions we found ourselves seated with. Not that the flow of conversation needed much encouragement!

Yonder Collective Bristol Edible Garden Yonder Collective Bristol CanpesYonder Collective Bristol Lamb Chops

Moving seats twice during the course of the evening was a great way to get a chance to meet a wider variety of people. As we enjoyed a fantastic main of Spring Lamb, a delightful dessert of Doughnut and rhubarb and a few glasses of wine I found myself sat next to designers, bloggers, teachers, makers, business owners and photographers. Topics of conversation were wide and varied ranging from creativity and business to our favourite spots to eat in Bristol and connecting through social media. In fact the latter was a topic that came up again and again as it became apparent that most people present had discovered and connected with Yonder Collective through Instagram. Social Media is my profession but also quite a passion of mine and being in a room full of wonderful people who had been brought together through its connective power brought joy to this Instagram addict’s soul! (You can see me snapping away in the photo below 😁)

Yonder Collective Bristol from aboveYonder Collective Bristol Place Setting

Forging new connections and feasting on amazing food was the most wonderful way to spend an evening at Yonder Collective and I left feeling energised and inspired by the creativity and the passion of the people I’d encountered.

Visit the Yonder Collective site for more information and to sign up to find out about future events.

The evening’s creative team

Yonder Collective founder Emma Chapman-Burnet
Photography by Kym Grimshaw
Illustration by Lyzi Unwin
Terrariums by Palyglass
Food by Griffet Catering
Drawing workshop with Elinor John
Creative Consultant – Rebecca Storey

All wonderful photos featured (apart from the last) by the awesome Kym Grimshaw who’s lovely food blog On The Plate should be added to your bookmarks post-haste!

Food Photographer of the Year

May 4, 2016

Food + Recipes

Food Photographer of the Year Octopus On IceFood Photographer of the Year Pink CressFood Photographer of the Year Grilled CheeseFood Photographer of the Year CrawfishFood Photographer of the Year Wild Garlic

The Food Photographer of the Year finalists were announced last week and they are so stunning I had to share a few of my favourites. Check out the full gallery of finalists at www.pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com.

I love the variation in the categories and the different food stories the images tell. My food styling and photography is something I’m always working to improve on so I find these shots immensely inspiring! I will be pinning lots to my Food Photography Inspiration Pinterest board.

Speaking of foodie inspiration, I just had the most wonderful food filled weekend at Bristol Food Connections. More than your average food festival, there were events taking place across the city all bank holiday. We took in some brilliant talks and demos, discovered some great artisan producers and drank our way round the East Bristol Brewery trail. My highlight was a Gather, Ferment, Flame demo with Gill Meller from River Cottage and Matthew Pennington from The Ethicurean. The Ethicurean is my very favourite restaurant so it was great to see chef Pennington in action and pick up some tips for fermenting veg at home.

(All images sourced via www.pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com)

A Glimpse Into… 280 Bakes – Bristol Home Bakery & Cake Delivery

April 17, 2016

Food + Recipes

Vegan Ginger Cake on marble with Pink Blossom
280 Bakes is a home bakery and cake delivery service in Bristol. Along with a monthly home bakery on the third Sunday of every month from their base in Lawrence Weston, 280 Bakes delivers traditional home bakes such as banana loaf and carrot cake to homes and businesses in and around Bristol. As well as the comforting classics 280 Bakes creates show stopping occasion cakes for weddings and birthdays and specialises in vegan bakes such as the delicious vegan ginger bread which was delivered to me.

When 280 Bakes founder Louise reached out on Twitter I was intrigued to find out how she has turned her passion for baking into a business.

// How did 280 Bakes come to be?

I have always baked, mainly for home and friends, but in December last year I baked what I thought I wasn’t able; I discovered new skills in my reindeer cake! Being fairly new to Bristol, I decided to try a home bakery where I could meet the neighbours over some cakes, and business has grown since then. We now deliver #CakeOD (cake on demand) on daily specials across Bristol, and bake cakes to order for homes, businesses and special occasions. we’re proud to specialise in vegan cakes, and we’re proud to have some wonderful reviews.

// What cakes are most popular with the different 280 bake customers?

The customer favourite of the cakes we bake regularly is our banana loaf. It’s low fat, and apple sauce is in the list of ingredients. It’s always been a favourite in my family, and it’s great to be able to share it with our customers. Our main customer base are vegans, as we specialise in vegan bakes, but we also bake to order for ‘normal’ cake eaters and people who are egg or gluten free.

Vegan Gingerbread on Marble with Pink Blossom Closeup

// In a culture obsessed with the “latest thing” how much do you pay attention to foodie trends for your baking?

We do pay attention to ‘cake news and trends’, reading blogs and industry news, but a lot of them are a little outside of our average customer’s comfort zone. We love that coconut is ‘fashionable’ at the moment… a special on #cakeOD will be coconut next week – and we call it ‘coconut dream cake’, so it’ll be good! [ I have ] a thing against popping candy. I don’t ever want to hear things popping in my mouth – the idea to put popping candy into a cake makes me shiver!

// With plenty of options for customers looking for gluten free, dairy free or vegan options; is it important to you to cater for a range of dietary requirements?

Yes, our bakery is aimed mainly at vegans and provides a wide range of vegan cake options, but we do also bake for other dietary requirements – including for people who have no restrictions or preferences! [ I ] went through a period of time where [ I ] couldn’t eat bread, and know how challenging it can be to find what you need and want, so 280 Bakes is proud to be able to help people who may not necessarily think they can still enjoy cake.

Aside from vegan cakes (carrot cake is the favourite here!), we also have found recent taste tests of our gluten-free chocolate brownies by people who eat gluten-free have gone well.

// As I myself discovered 280 Bakes though Twitter I’m curious to know what role you feel social media plays in the running of your business?

Social media has had a big impact on 280 Bakes’s business. The majority of our orders come from Facebook, followed by Twitter and then word-of-mouth. We are lucky enough to have social media experts in our team who know a few tricks which help a business along, but we’re also glad of the support that ‘friends of 280 Bakes’ give us through retweets and sharing our content. We couldn’t do it without amazing local organisations like Social Enterprise Works and Ambition Lawrence Weston.

Vegan Gingerbread On Marble With Pink Blossom Sliced

// What do like most about living and working in Bristol? Any recommendations foodie or otherwise?

Bristol has so much to offer, we are very lucky to have such a wide variety of places to eat and to try something new. As foodies, that’s great for us, but we also love the green spaces. Blaise Castle isn’t far from 280 Bakes HQ, and we’re often found stretching our leg up there. Bristol is by far and away the best place I have lived and worked. There’s a real buzz about business, being environmentally friendly (which is important to 280 Bakes), and the people have been so welcoming. I wouldn’t move away now!

// Is there anything 280 Bakes is especially proud of?

We are proud to support Fairtrade with our fairtrade banana loaf (customer favourite), and we are very proud to be chosen as a local cake and bread supplier for the Avonmouth Real Food Group. At home and work, we try to source local ingredients whenever possible, to reduce our environmental impact, and local buying groups like this one are key to this success when you have a small or no garden!

// And finally when you’re not baking what’s you favourite thing to cook or eat?

Curry is a favourite within 280 Bakes, as is lasagne, anything barbecued, sea bass… We’ll try anything, really!

Vegan Gingerbread on marble with Pink Blossom Closeup

Many thanks to Louise for giving a glimpse into her business 280 Bakes. If you’re Bristol based and fancy delicious cake delivered for you next meeting or special occasion (or just because!) order online from 280 Bakes at 280bakes.weebly.com, Twitter & Facebook, or visit their home bakery the third Sunday of each month at 280 Broadlands DriveBristol, BS11 0PW.

Cook It: Hasselback Potatoes

March 28, 2016

Food + Recipes

Hassleback Potatoes Cooked Close Up

I’m not really a potato person, how ever they come I tend to find them the least interesting part of a meal –  even the most perfect roasties get left on my plate after a roast dinner (shock horror I know!), but I think these Hasselbacks may have me converted.

After seeing them pop up in my Instagram feed regularly this year I think you can file this one under #FoodTrend, but a trend for a good reason as aside from being the prettiest potatoes you ever did see they may well be the tastiest too! A perfect combo, somewhere between baked, sautéed, chips and roast potatoes, they are versatile and work well as a side dish to all sorts of dishes.

Hassleback potatos prepHassleback potatos uncooked tray

Method

Scrub and dry your potatoes if needed. Working along the length of the potato make multiple cuts stopping at around a 1/4 inch from the bottom. Take care at each end but don’t worry if you chop the ends off entirely as I often do!

Placing the potatoes on a baking tray, drizzle throughly in olive oil, add herbs or spices and season with salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for at least an hour until crispy on the outside and cooked through.

For the fresh herb dressing topping as pictured, blend a handful of coriander and parsley with a clove of garlic; mix with olive oil, season to taste and spoon over the cooked hasselbacks.

Variations

– Bake with herbs of your choice – bay, rosemary, thyme or fennel seeds would work well.
– Try spices instead. Think paprika or dried chipotle flakes for a spiced smokey vibe,
– Smother with your favourite cheese for the last 5-10 minutes of baking and serve with mayo and dips for a tasty take on ‘loaded potato skins’.

Hassleback Potatoes

Hassleback Potatoes Cooked

This is without doubt my new favourite way with potatoes. Let me know what you think if you give them a try.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...