It's the perfect time of year to crystallise spring flowers. I love making these beautiful and natural decorations to add a splash of colour to a special Mother's Day cake. Primroses, wood violets and viola's are at their best right now but apple blossom, borage flowers, rose petals and nasturtiums all work well too. You'll see I've also crystallised a few sprigs of mint. Make sure the flowers haven't been sprayed with chemicals and pick leaving a long stem to hold on to. Don't wash them, they must be bone dry.
You will need. One egg white thinned and lightly fork whisked with a teaspoon of vodka. Caster sugar. A small paint brush.
- Take a clean, dry flower. Hold it by the stalk (use tweezers if there is no stalk) then carefully paint all surfaces of the petals with egg white.
- Now gently sprinkle the flower with caster sugar ensuring top and bottom surfaces of the petals all catch some sugar.
- Place on baking parchment and leave to air dry for 24/36hrs. Remove stalks once the flowers have dried.
- The flowers will dry in the shape and position that you place them on the baking parchment so consider this when you set them aside to dry.
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- whisk egg white with a teaspoon of vodka
- paint petals carefully with the egg white, not too much!
- and decorate ...
- sprinkle with sugar making sure all areas are covered
- lay on baking parchment to dry
Entering into its 10th year, the Framlingham Country Show takes place on 13th and 14th April at Framlingham College. I'm told there will be an amazing drinks festival, rural crafts, a dog show, cars and a cookery theatre with demos from 2017 Great British Bake Off winner Sophie Faldo. Yes! Cakes.
Apparently there's a Golden Ticket hidden in one of the Mother's Day cards handed out to all Mums this Sunday at Giggling Squid branches across the country. (The Golden Ticket will be a £50 voucher to be used on a future visit). Tables still available for late lunch and supper in our Bury St Edmunds branch.
Cheester Eggs from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses. Cheddar or Blacksticks Blue, definitely an Easter Egg to nibble on.
Popped into Folk at Fornham Business Court for breakfast on Monday and ordered a coffee and bacon sarnie from the all day breakfast menu (no egg though as they can't cook these after 10.30 am). This new cafe seems to have taken off as it was heaving with customers, all tables fully occupied and only a bar stool left for me to sit on. It's great to see a new, upcoming and young business doing well and serving high quality food and drink. Their website sensibly says 'we're on our way' and so opening times are limited at the moment to Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. Just need to sort out that extra pan to cook the all day brekkie egg!
- great coffee
- tasty bacon sarnie
- pretty vintage tractor for the children to play on
- good all day menu
Fray Bentos the iconic pie brand and favourite pie maker to actor Sean Bean, are introducing the Vegetable Balti pie, filled with potato, onion, red pepper, tomato, carrot and peas in a spicy balti sauce. I can't wait.
Without a doubt the service was a highlight at our #Veganuary outing to the Cosy Club in Ipswich on Thursday night. What a delight Roxana was. Romanian and hard working in the UK for the last three years, I hope we don't lose little gems like this to Brexit. We weren't really sure what to expect, arriving at an eerily deserted Ipswich town centre and heading for the soulless Buttermaket shopping centre. But it's a bit of a surprise when you get inside. A slightly quirky mix of Colonial Gentlemans Club crossed with US laid back speakeasy, if that's possible. Invited to sample the vegan menu which I was delighted to do, Mr SFoodie not so keen, but since converted to the idea that a meal of only plants is actually very good. We shared a Mediterranean Plate of hummus, carrot tapenade, pickled red cabbage and heirloom tomatoes and also Garlic Mushrooms on Sourdough, both very good although varying in size given that they are both £4.95 Tapas dishes. The hummus was nicely coarse which I like and the carrot tapenade well flavoured and seasoned with a hint of cumin. Thai Green Vegetable Curry was excellent declared Mr SF and kept him quiet while I ate my Thai Burger, made of quinoa and served with a fat slice of roasted red pepper in the sourdough bun and layered with vibrant green edamame and pak choi. Crispy fries and a nice chunky house slaw were on the side. I confess to ordering vegan bacon purely out of interest but think I can live without that again. There's wine suitable for vegans, I drank an Argentinian Malbec called Benjamin (fresh and fruity) and one dessert of Chocolate and Orange Torte served with a refreshing and light raspberry sauce. You know what, with this current trend of veganism any fast casual dining restaurant not having a suitable menu is way out of touch. The Cosy Club is well worth a visit.
- Cosy Club Ipswich
- Meditteranean Plate
- Garlic Mushrooms on Sourdough
- Thai Green Vegetable Curry
- Thai Burger
- Don't you love this shield?
- Chocolate and Orange Torte for pudding
We told you eggs were trendy. Well here we have Eggslut, due to announce its first London location very soon. Signature dish is a coddled egg on top of smooth potato puree, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette. There's also scrambled eggs, chives, cheese and honey mustard aioli served in a warm brioche bun. Dunno what the vegans will eat ... weird name for a restaurant too.
If only you had a crystal ball. This is what ours is telling us will be on trend for 2019. In no particular order ...
Chilled red wines- unoaked, lighter bodied reds such as Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Cabernet Franc from the Loire and Tempranillo's. We know that reds don't always have to be served at room temperature so this year expect to find more restaurants offering to chill your red wine, especially if we get another heatwave summer.
Gazoz- with the ever growing interest in things fermented and botanicals, Gazoz (main picture) is an Israeli soda based drink, made with natural fruit syrups (often from fermented fruits) fresh fruits, botanical infusions and herbs topped up with fizzy water. It's going to be this years addition to the increasingly popular shrubs and drinking vinegars of 2018. Find it on the menu at Bala Baya.Southwark. London.
Rum- Gin might be left on the shelf in favour of rum, which we are very happy about being part Caribbean foodies. White, gold, flavoured, spiced, dark, premium and overproof, there is no single standard and it's no longer the sole preserve of sailors and pirates. Want to know more? Follow Ian Burrell our favourite Rum Ambassador or try a Rum Masterclass at Cottons. We must go again!
Afro-Caribbean- well this is rather a broad area in terms of food and drink. The rise of North and West African cuisine is now well established. Mr SuffolkFoodie is from Durban so we are pinning our hopes on seeing more from South Africa, heavily influenced by the fruity and full bodied flavours of Cape Malay cuisine along with the French and Dutch influence of the European settlers. (Keep an eye out in the recipe book for our own family recipes). As for Caribbean cuisine look out for Rastafarian Ital cooking which is natural, plant based and organic. Plantains will feature too, we're getting bored with avocadoes and cauliflowers, plantains make great snacks. Tostones will be in!
Lard - the big fat comeback. Butter prices have gone through the roof and restaurants are looking at keeping menus affordable and innovative. The Italians love it and it's a mainstay of Mexican cooking and it's not as bad for you as you thought. Love a lardy cake don't you? Get barding and larding everyone.
Sardines- healthy, sustainable, delicious and affordable. One of our favourites and used in many types of cuisine from around the world. From spiced and fried whole in Indian recipes to the delicious Pasta Con le Sarde of Sicily, proving that they are versatile too. Bring on summer for some more delicious Portugeuse sardines cooked over the open fire.
Breakfasts - using rise and shine orange and yellow food which is Instagrammable. We'll be eating food because it's photogenic and can be hashtagged 'feel good' or 'sunshine food'. So we are guessing mango, oranges, lemon curd, pumpkin, carrots, things with saffron and God forbid no more turmeric lattes.
Grocerants - grocery stores and deli's with sit down dining, ready to eat, ready to heat food. The type of place that you go to buy the components of a take away supper then think dammit, if I eat it here it will save me washing up.
Waste not want not - zero waste cooking with wonky veg and root to fruit dishes will stay in vogue and so will the meaty nose to tail eating we've enjoyed over the past few years. Fig leaves will be very popular, brussel sprouts are making a big comeback, look out for Kalettes, broccoli stems, radish tops and carrot tops. But let's make sure that it's tasty please?
Bread - it's back. More ancient grains, sprouted grains, cornbread and vegetable stuffed doughs. Apricot breakfast bread, potato, pumpkin and onion baguettes, flatbreads, Earl Grey teacakes. You name it we will be kneading it. Sorghum will be the grain of 2019. Cheerio quinoa!
- carrot tops not the nicest of ingredients in our opinion
- #feel good #sunshinefood
- Earl Grey teacakes anyone?
- Bobotie a South African classic. Recipe in our book.
- Rum - one of our favourites
Never has so much fun been had at a staff Christmas party. Cooking our own steaks at Cheers. Bury St Edmunds. 10 out of 10 for customer service and putting up with us. All you can eat and drink for £27.50 per person. Merry Christmas!
- thinly sliced and tender rump steak, as much as you can eat
- bread and olives arrive first... save room for steak
- no frills, jugs of wine and sangria from this Portuguese owned restaurant
- red hot stone replaced as required
Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire! Going Vegan was the biggest food trend for 2018 with more vegan products launched in the UK than in any other nation. It's going to mean more fake meat and processed food on the supermarket shelves and when cauliflower appears on the menu it's going to be called a steak. Eating plants is nothing new but now it seems we need the new experts ... vegetable butchers.
I thought it said deep fried crab land and was ready to visit. Huh! Legoland came joint last in the Soil Association Visitor Attractions League Table 2018. A survey of food offered to children and families at the UK's most popular visitor attractions
We're liking the wine on tap and the bagnums at Weino Bib in Dalston. Drink in or take away or in our case do both. The Tap Room and Deli also sells fresh, raw milk. Take your bottles and fill them up.