Author Archives: Jo

Meal Planning Monday – 6th May 2013


Happy bank holiday Monday everyone! Sorry I did not post anything last week. I am not 100% sure what happened. I just had no energy for blogging. Spring is definitely here! I had my first taste of this year's asparagus last week and I am sitting in the garden in the sunshine writing this. Here is this week's plan:

Monday: BBQ at friend's house

Tuesday: cheese & tomato pizza and salad

Wednesday: peppered steak and chips

Thursday: chicken noodle soup

Friday: takeaway

Saturday: I am going to blog summit and joining some fellow bloggers afterwards for a meal at Malmaison/Stuart is fending for himself

Sunday: slow cooked gammon in cider with new potatoes and salad

For more meals, please see Mrs M's linky


Great British Beef Week 2013

Farmers Choice Farm

Hands up, is roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings is one of your favourite dinners? It is one of mine! When you buy your beef for your roast dinner, do you check to see if the beef you are buying is British? If you do not, then you should. As the recent horsemeat scandal has showed us, there can be issues in quality and you cannot always be always be 100% sure in what you are actually getting.

Most importantly though, we should buy British beef to support our British farmers and independent butchers who want to ensure we get the best from our beef. One example of an independent butcher who takes their beef seriously is Farmer’s Choice, who offers free range 21 day aged beef from the glens of Scotland direct to your front door.

british_flag_rectangularThis week, (21st-27th April) is Great British Beef Week; set to coincide with St Georges Day is the annual celebration of the British beef industry. Set up by Ladies in Beef, the yearly event promotes the versatility of beef and how to include it as part of a balanced diet. The event is supported both locally and nationally, with the supermarkets, farm shops and independent butchers all involved.

Why not get involved with Great British Beef Week and make sure that one of your meals this week is made using British beef as the prime ingredient. You can do much more than just roast beef too. It can be used in stir-fries, chilli, stew, pies and if the weather is warm enough this weekend, you can use it for burgers on the BBQ.

There is a cut of beef suitable for your every need. The fore rib and the sirloin are best used for roasting, along with the silverside and topside while the slightly cheaper rump can be used for grilling or frying. If you are after something different, why not make stew using the oxtail. The slow cooking really brings out flavour and makes an excellent filling for ravioli too.

I am sure that everyone has a family favourite recipe (mine is either bolognaise or chilli con carne) that they cook nearly every week with beef, so why not make sure that this week and every other week after, that you buy British beef and support our farmers and independent butchers. I am sure they appreciate it!


Meal Planning Monday – 22nd April 2013

Afternoon all. Another week has gone by and although we still are not fully into spring weather, things are definitely looking up. We were even able to go to the park over the last few days and sit in a local pub beer garden and enjoy a few beers. The asparagus season will soon be upon too. I am already on the hunt for it and am looking forward to giving Thomas his first taste of it. Anyway, on to this week's meal plan:

Monday: homemade pizza

Tuesday: cauliflower and broccoli cheese

Wednesday: soup and bread

Thursday: pizza party (in aid of NCT – National Childbirth Trust)

Friday: pasta with pancetta, peas and Parmesan

Saturday: takeaway

Sunday: roast dinner of some sort at my Nan's in Bewdley

For more meal plans, please see Mrs M's linky



Brum Yum Yum!


Last weekend, Birmingham had it first streetfood market called Brum Yum Yum. It was held in All Saints Square in Kings Heath and my dad, Thomas and I went to see what it was like. We arrived shortly after midday and were instantly impressed by the range of streetfood on offer. There was something for every taste.

As Thomas' and mine favourite food is pizza, we went straight to Fundi Pizza and had a margarita pizza, cooked fresh in front of you for £5. It was delicious and if the weather had been warmer, I could of been in Naples. For pudding, I had a rhubarb and custard brioche toasted sandwich from The Jabberwocky. I have never thought of having a sweet toasted sandwich before and I now realise I have been missing out. It was yummy and I did not even leave a crumb! I forgot to take a photo of it too as I was so looking forward to trying it.

As well as having the streetfood vendors, Brum Yum Yum had entertainment from local singers, a bar and a stall selling Pip's Hot Sauce, locally made in Birmingham. It really had a festival vibe and people hung round after eating the food to soak up the atmosphere. From about 1pm, the square got incredibly busy and even when the rain came, people kept on coming showing that Birmingham desperately needed an event like this.

I was lucky enough to have a few minutes chat to Duncan Stanley, director of Brum Yum Yum and former touring apprentice with UB40. Duncan told me how he looked at each Brum Yum Yum event like a gig and wanted to create a similar atmosphere, to ensure everyone there had a good time, stayed around for a bit and did not just go straight after getting their food. Duncan is a lovely guy and I am very sure that Brum Yum Yum is going to be an amazing success. I will definitely be going back soon!!





Restaurant Review: Itihaass Brassiere, Selfridges, Bullring, Birmingham

Gulab Jamun

What is the best Indian restaurant in Birmingham? I am sure that every one of us has a different answer to this question, me included. How about this then, where is the best place to get a delicious authentic Indian meal and still be able to carry on with the shopping afterwards?

The answer to the second question is easy. Itihaas Brassiere. Itihaas Brassiere is the outpost of Itihaas Indian restaurant on Fleet Street. It serves everything from Indian starters and snacks to the full on curry experience, right in the heart of Selfridges in the Bullring.

Stuart and I arrived at Itihass Brassiere on a busy Thursday lunchtime and were warmly greeted by the staff. We sat down at the high tables and perused the wide selection on the menu. As well as traditional curries, Itihass Brassiere also has chat, dosa and wraps on the menu, ideal for those who want something lighter for lunch or as a snack. Having tried one of the chat dishes the last time I visited, this time I decided to go for a curry, as I was feeling hungry.

Makhani Murgh

Lamb Rogan Josh

side salad

Stuart had Makhani Murgh, which is fenugreek & smoked tomato tikka chicken curry, with steamed Basmati rice, garlic Naan and chutneys. I had Lamb Rogan Josh, which is Garam Masala spiced lamb, curry with steamed Basmati rice, garlic Naan and chutneys. We were both immediately impressed with our curries. My lamb was melting tender and rich with all the garam masala spices. The naan bread had the perfect texture. Slightly crispy round the edges with a soft and very garlicky centre. I am very picky with my naan breads but this was near perfection for me. Stuart’s curry was excellent too. It had the right amount of chilli heat and spice, allowing the full flavours of the tikka to come through. The side salad and yoghurt we were served alongside cooled the small but very tasty fire in our bellies and meant we could eat even more curry!

Despite starting to feel very full, we managed to both eat Gulab Jamun for dessert, which is milk & pistachio steamed dumplings, with rose water syrup and served with pistachio ice cream. I love these little doughnut type things and would have quite happily eaten a whole bowlful of them, had I not been full of curry. They are full of syrupy gorgeousness and with the ice cream alongside, it was a palette cleanser too and very refreshing after all the spices. Stuart and I loved the Itihass Brassiere and we are looking forward to going back again soon!

This post also appeared on the Bullring website

Disclosure: Stuart and I dined as guests of the Bullring. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

Meal Planning Monday- 15th April 2013


Spring seems to finally be here! I am writing this with the patio door open listening to the birds outside. It is lovely!! We mostly followed the meal plan last week but there were a couple of changes so the ones I did not make last week are on the meal plan for this week.

Monday: soy and garlic chicken with rice

Tuesday: crispy chilli chicken with chips

Wednesday: we are both out/working late so are fending for ourselves tonight

Thursday: spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread

Friday: takeaway

Saturday: chilli con carne, rice and garlic bread

Sunday: roast pork Sunday dinner

For more meal plans, please see Mrs M's linky


Birmingham’s First Ever Street Market Launches This Saturday!

BYY LOGO 170x170

The official launch of BRUM YUM YUM’S Kings hEATh Streetfood Market is taking place on Saturday April 13 at 12noon. Birmingham’s first ever authentic streetfood market will bring together 15 of the country’s hottest streetfood traders, rare street music and an urban circus troupe to create a truly unique dining experience.

Most dishes are in the £3-5 range with lots of snacks and sharing plates on the menu. A selection of quality beer and wine will be served at very reasonable prices (£2 bottle/glass) and if the weather disappoints, visitors can soak up the atmosphere from covered dining areas.

Streetfood Market

Streetfood is the hot trend in dining. The rare combination of quality and value has sparked a huge, vibrant streetfood scene in London. Now Birmingham will see the streetfood revolution roll out across the city. Kings hEATh will be at the Village Square on the second Saturday of every month from 12noon until 6pm, with more markets at various locations across the city due to be announced.

The latest boost to Birmingham’s reputation as a centre of food culture is produced by local promoters BRUM YUM YUM. Director, Duncan Stanley learned his trade in show business as a touring apprentice with local reggae superstars UB40.

Duncan Stanley, director said: “I have a creative vision of what makes a really great streetfood market. A complete experience; a ‘streetfood show’ with quality food, drink and entertainment combined to create a special and unique vibe.

“People want to eat food that is sourced and produced with care and sold at an honest price. Streetfood ticks all the right boxes, so the initial response to our vision for the food events has been overwhelming. Our online following just keeps on growing and the BBC Good Food Show producers are in talks with us about featuring streetfood at their shows.

“Thanks to the support of Birmingham City Council, BRUM YUM YUM’S streetfood markets will be regular foodie fixtures.”

Highlights from the menu for the Kings hEATh launch include; local baby back ribs from the filing cabinet barbecue, the ultimate dry aged Hereford beef burgers, 10 hour roast Cotswold lamb, authentic Neapolitan woodfired pizza, south Indian pure vegetarian masala dosa, handmade Moroccan falafel and hummus, Bradford-Kashmiri halal curries, freshly made hot Belgian waffles, and Middle Eastern salads created by ‘The Deli at Edgbaston’.

Duncan Stanley adds: “If you love great food and drink come early & come hungry. Whatever the weather we will keep you and your family comfortable and entertained. We want our markets to create a family fun atmosphere, a family affair with lots to eat, drink and enjoy whatever your age. I guarantee you will leave happy.”

Find BRUM YUM YUM on twitter @brumyumyum or & get down to Kings hEATh on Saturday 13 April and every second Saturday of the month.

Stuart, Thomas and I will be there soaking up the atmosphere on Saturday and we hope you can join us too :-)

Meal Planning Monday – 8th April 2013


The meal plan went completely out the window last week. We all came down with colds and coughs so did not have much energy for anything. I am hoping this week will be better though and that the bugs finally leave us alone!

Monday: chicken Kiev, new potatoes and salad

Tuesday: chicken fajitas

Wednesday: salmon fishcakes, new potatoes and salad

Thursday: spaghetti Bolognese

Friday: we are both out so are fending for ourselves. Thomas will have leftover Bolognese

Saturday: takeaway

Sunday: roast pork Sunday lunch with all the trimmings

For more meal plans, please see Mrs M's linky


Meal Planning Monday – 1st April 2013


Hooray! April is here. Hopefully the weather will realise that we are now in British Summer Time and follow suit! *fingers crossed* We mostly stuck to the meal plan last week. I did not cook the Hairy Bikers Chicken Pilau due to an unexpected delivery of British Rose Veal that needed using up as soon as possible (blog post to follow soon) so will be making it this week instead.

Monday: takeaway pizza (had a busy weekend and am just feeling really lazy tonight)

Tuesday: jacket potato, cheese and beans

Wednesday: salmon fishcakes, new potatoes and salad

Thursday: garlic Kiev, new potatoes and salad

Friday: takeaway

Saturday: Hairy Biker's Chicken Pilau

Sunday: chicken casserole, mash and vegetables


For more meal plans, please see Mrs M's linky


Restaurant Review: Fleet Street Kitchen, Birmingham

Image by FSK

Image by FSK

A few weeks ago, Stuart, Thomas and I were invited to lunch at Fleet Street Kitchen. Fleet Street Kitchen is a new restaurant on Summer Row/Fleet Street in Birmingham, specialising in farm to plate British cooking with a relaxed contemporary edge. The restaurant has the only ‘Barbacoa’ Grill in the UK, which is a barbecue cooking method popular in Northern Spain using American lumpwood charcoal.

Image by FSK

Image by FSK

Image by FSK

Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were seated promptly and given a few minutes to sort ourselves out. Once we were all settled, our drinks order was taken (they have a wide range of real ales, proper ciders and an excellent wine list) and left to browse the menu. Fleet Street Kitchen do not have a children’s menu but are happy to make any dish on their menu a half portion for children.

For a shared starter, we had Freshly Baked Bread Oil & Balsamic and Kalamata Olives Marinated pepper. The bread was excellent with a crisp crust and a lovely chewy middle. The olive oil was slight bland and could have been better quality. The olives and the peppers were so delicious that we had to fight Thomas for them as he ate them like they were sweets. He is a proper little foodie already!

For our mains, Stuart had the 12oz Dexter Chop with FSK #1 Meat Sauce. The Dexter chop had been aged for 35 days and was served with a flat mushroom and roasted cherry tomatoes. The portion size was amazing. It reminded me of something Fred Flintstone might eat. It was cooked to the perfect medium and was very juicy and tender. The sauce was absolutely gorgeous too. My main was a corn fed Poussin cooked in a rotisserie and served with chips and homemade coleslaw. The chicken was juicy and the meat flaked easily off the bone. The coleslaw cut through the creaminess and was a great compliment to the poussin. Thomas had the Minted Pea Risotto Truffle Oil which was very fresh and zingy. Thomas really enjoyed eating it as the picture below shows.

For pudding, Thomas and Stuart shared the Soft Whip Ice Cream with Flake and Strawberry Sauce. I am not quite sure who ate the most but it was gone very quickly. For my pudding, I had Spotted Dick with Custard which was dense and very rich. The custard was beautiful with lots of vanilla seeds in it. My plate was soon clear too.

Overall, we had a fantastic time at Fleet Street Kitchen. I think it is an excellent addition to the Birmingham food scene. I am already planning my next visit on an evening when I can have a fantastic meal, then go downstairs to their bar for a cocktail and then party the night away!

Image by FSK

Disclosure: Stuart, Thomas and I dined as guests of Fleet Street Kitchen at a pre-restaurant opening press event. I was not required to write a positive review.