Review: Madeleine, Birmingham

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Located in the Cube on level 7, also home to the Shogun Tenpanyakki, Bun & Bowl and Brazilian churrascaria restaurant Rodizio Rico, Madeleine is a welcome new addition to the building’s already impressive portfolio.

Madeleine is owned by restaurant entreprenuer Mike Nayla and with a French Chef at the Helm is bringing fresh baked breads and cakes to go alongside their artisan coffees, as well as a range of delicious breakfasts, salads, soups and sandwiches to tempt each and everyone of us.

We were invited along to try out their light lunches and indulge in a sweet treat or two as well. We decided to go and check it out on a weekday lunch and were happy to see the place nice and busy with a mix of shoppers and workers on their lunch break.

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Madeleine is counter service, you choose what you want from the array of sweet and savoury out on the counters, pay and everything is delivered to you table. I really liked the interior decor, lots of wood tones, long glass windows make gloriously bright inside, not to mention the gorgeous chandelier

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I chose to have a salad from the selection on the counter, whilst Lee went for a smoked salmon bagel. My salad was a lovely mix of pancetta, griddled courgette, sun dried tomato, mozzarella and mixed leaves with a pesto style dressing, I really enjoyed it. Lee also eojyed his bagel and the herby cream cheese filling with the smoked salmon worked very well. The only comment I would have about the savoury food is that it is all uncovered on the counters, it may work better with glass covers as later in the day it may not hold up so well.

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We tried a couple of slices of cake from an amazingly vast selection of cakes, pastries, brownies which looked all so great. The marble cake was definitely the standout of the two.

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Not being a coffee drinker I relied on Lee to sample their beans…he declared his double caramel macchiato to be a success and I also really enjoyed a refreshing glass of home-made still lemonade.

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Madeleine is a gorgeous cafe that fits superbly into the atmosphere of the cube, a perfect spot for grabbing lunch on the go whilst at work, meeting friends for lunch or collapsing for some well earned coffee and cake after a hard days shopping.

Follow them on twitter @MadeleineBham

Disclosure: We dined as guests of the venue. All opinion expressed are honest and our own. We were not required to write a positive review

Product Review: Cocofina

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Coconut water certainly seems all the rage at the moment and we were recently sent a selection of Cocofina products to try. I’d never tried coconut water before, and the flavoured ones particularly were intriguing me.

Cocofina are a company based in Middlesex  for which  the idea was originally born on a beach in Brazil in 2005 and has since gone from strength to strength.

I was pleasantly surprised by the coconut water, and found it lovely and refreshing. I probably wouldn’t pick up a plain one off the shelf, but a couple of the flavoured ones; Mango & Guava, and Passionfruit & Tea really stood out to me.

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I’m not the biggest fan of coconut based snacks (bounty= the enemy!) but Lee was happy to much his way through the snack bars we received.

He tried the Cocunut & Date and Coconut & Cocoa, marginally preferring the date one. He’d happily pick one of these up for a boost between meals or even for breakfast on the run.

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All in all, interesting products! I’ll definitely think twice next time I reach for that bottle of water, and might just make it Cocofina Coconut Water!

 

Disclosure: We were sent these products for review. All opinion expressed are honest and our own. We were not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received.

Foodie Things to do in…Lichfield

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Lichfield is a lovely town only about 10 minutes drive from where we live. Actually I should say that Lichfield is a lovely city, because it has the most gorgeous medieval Cathedral right at it’s heart which is seriously impressive inside and out, and worth a visit.

The centre is really nice, it does have it’s fair share of modern shops, but manages to retain a quaint charm in my opinion, with some gorgeous old listed buildings and Georgian architecture. It was also the birthplace of Samuel Johnson, the author of the first dictionary, and Eramus Darwin. The city is also home to the modern Garrick Theatre, named after David Garrick the author and playwright who was also from Lichfield.

 

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I really love the city and its one of my favourite places to wander around. From a food perspective, Lichfield is rich pickings as well, if you know where to look (which is a little deeper that Apres and the Wetherspoons that are the most noticeable….)

Firstly lets start with the markets. There is a farmers market on the first thursday of the month and a general market 3 days a week, which you can often find fresh fruit and veg at as well. There is also an annual food festival (not surprising as everywhere seems to have one now) but none the less I love them, this years is on 30/31st Aug.

A whole host of cafes can be found in Lichfield, both independent and chain. I have three  favourites. Firstly, for nostalgic reasons is the The Tudor. This building dates to the 1500’s and is gorgeous. Its very traditional and also has a counter at the front serving handmade chocolates and treats. My nan used to take me here a lot when I was younger and on our way out after having a drink she would always buy me a sugar mouse. I was glad to see the sugar mice are still available when I popped in recently!

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The other 2 I love are The Spark, and a newer addition, 15 on the corner. The latter of these does some great food and also does Friday Supper Clubs. Oh and there’s also The Lounge – worth a try too!

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Lichfield also has a great Butchers shop with lots of local meat, including pork from Packington Moor, only a mile or so outside Lichfield with its own amazing farm shop (now thats a post for another day!)

Evening eating wise, theres lots of places to try, from the well established Chandlers Brasserie, a great Thai place in Ma Ma Thai, good Indian at Eastern Eye, French and British fine dining at The Wine House and tapas at the 3 Amigos. But watch out, theres a few duds in there as well. (We would avoid Ego Meditteranean and Thai Rainbow…)

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The only thing  I find Lichfield to be missing is a great delicatessen. Unless theres one hiding somewhere I haven’t found? Do tell me if so….!

Do you have a favourite place or thing to do in Lichfield? I’d love to know.

 

 

Lemon Drizzle Traybake

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This cake is very similar to my Lime & Coconut tray bake, but essentially just a lemon version and without the coconut. My favourite cake is probably lemon, if you put me on the spot, but its got to be moist with plenty of icing. This fits the bill nicely. It’s so simple to make-  you just bung all the cake ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix. No flour sieving or butter and sugar creaming in this recipe! This also works well in a loaf tin, but you will need to adjust the cooking times a bit.

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 320g unsalted butter, softened
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 320g self raising flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • finely grated zest 1 lemon

For the syrup

  • 75ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • juice 1 lemon

For the icing/decoration

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • finely greated zest 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170degrees C and prepare a 20 x 30cm tin – grease and line with baking parchment
  2. Put all cake ingredients into free standing mixer and beat until smooth for 2 mins
  3. Pour batter into prepared tin and level out using palette knife
  4. Bake for about 50minutes until golden/skewer in middle of cake comes out clean
  5. Whilst the cake is baking prepare the lemon syrup – bring the water and caster sugar to boil in a saucepan and simmer until reduced by about half. Add the lemon juice and stir, remove from the heat
  6. When the cake has come out of the oven, pierce the top all over with a skewer and slowly drizzle over the syrup
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin slightly, then remove to a cooling rack
  8. To make the icing combine the icing sugar and the lemon juice and stir until smooth
  9. When completely cool, smooth over the icing onto the cake with a palette knife and then sprinkle over the zest and leave to set before cutting.

Happy eating :)

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Review: Anju’s at the Ramada Park Hall Hotel, Wolverhampton

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Recently I was invited to dine at the newly refurbished and rebranded Anju”s at the Ramada Park Hall in Wolverhampton. I invited along my friend C, who lives over in Shropshire so it was a perfect halfway meeting point for us for one of our regular get togethers!

We’d chosen a Monday night to eat there, and I was worried it would be pretty empty, but actually was pleasantly surprised it was half full, with a mix of couples families and solitary business folk.

The Indian Restaurant recently reopened with a bang, seeing 130 VIPs at a spectacular launch night, which unfortunately we were unable to attend due to prior commitments, meaning even more so I was looking forward too seeing what they had on offer.

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Chefs with a rich heritage in a diverse range of cooking have been sourced from around the globe to create a menu of  a high standard, using carefully sourced local ingredients. The hotel, which is looking for 5* status, has already had a huge cash injection to upgrade bedrooms, health club and banqueting facilities, and Anju’s goes further to achieving this goal.

The restaurant decor is opulent and luxurious with a water feature and larger than life hand painted portraits of Bollywood stars adorning the walls. I couldn’t really fault the serve we received, staff were polite, accommodating and knowledgable.

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We stuck to soft drinks for the evening so can’t comment on the alcoholic drinks, but there looked to be a good selection to choose from.

Moving on to the food, C chose the Onion and Spinach Bhaji with Mint & Tamarind Chutney to start. She feels you can always tell a good Indian meal on the strength of the Bhaji, and I would tend to agree. She really enjoyed it, so a sign of good things to come. I went for the Papri Chat, which is described as crispy flour pastries with mint and tamarind chutney and seasoned yoghurt. Doesn’t initially sound the most interesting of dishes, but something drew me to it and it was absolutely delicious. The combination of flavours was superb. There was a great selection of both starters and mains, plenty of choices for veggies, meat eaters and fish lovers alike.

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For mains we both decided to try one of the Anju’s signature dishes, scattered throughout the menu. For me it was the Handi Chicken – Pot cooked chicken on the bone in the chefs special onion and tomato gravy. It was a spicy dish, but the waiters took care on ordering to check how spicy we liked things, and said with most dishes, the chef could alter for our tastes. Luckily I like spice, so had it as it comes. The chicken was so tender due to being on the bone and the sauce was rich with layers and layers of flavour. C went for the Maritali Gosht - a secret recipe lamb dish with hints of mint and coriander. We shared a portion of excellent Pulou rice and Garlic and Coriander naan which was light and full of flavour.

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Unfortunately there was no room for puddings! We thoroughly enjoyed Anju’s and I’d have no hesitation in recommending people to eat there, and if you’re staying in the Park Hall Hotel then you’re in for a treat for dinner!

Disclosure: We dined as guests of Anju’s. As always, opinions are all our own and a positive review was not a requirement! The photos with no blog logo are all courtesy of the PR company :)

 

Better with Brita & Delicious Mag Competition: The Shortlist!

Following on from my posts collaborating with BRITA & Delicious Mag, and their competition to give someone the chance to sell their products, made using Brita filtered water, at The Big Feastival, I can now reveal the Shortlist!

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Loads of entries were received and these were voted upon by the public, whittling them down to 10 that have made the shortlist to go forward and be judged by the panel.

The winner will then go on to showcase their produce at The Big Feastival, what a prize!

So lets have a little look at those that made the shortlist and some pics of their entries :)

Lana’s Little Pumpkin Pies
Lana
Alex’s Gluten Free Brownies
Alex
Zalena’s Chicken Cavabs
Zalena
Sarah’s Southsea Pies
Sarah
Linda’s Gluten Free Cocoa Swirls
Linda
Ade’s Bread
Ade
Jakes’ Summer Fish Wellington
Jake
Rekha’s Samosas
Rekha
Emily’s Cupcakes
Emily
Christine’s Oatcakes
Christine
So there you go! Go grab your tickets for the Big Feastival to check out the winner soon for yourself!

CBD Food Festival Birmingham, 18-19th July

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This Friday and Saturday, 18th &19th July, the Colmore Business District (CBD) Food Festival returns to Victoria Square in Birmingham! For foodies this is a Must-Do on the calendar! A chance to sample some of Birminghams best cuisine at brilliant prices.

The 2 day extravaganza is packed full of fabulous food offerings from the best in the area and an entertainment line up of delicious demos and live music. The venues taking part, all within a 10 minute walk of the CBD will be serving up fine food, drinks and cocktails all at great prices.

Newcomers to the CBD Chung Ying Central and Pure Bar & Kitchen will be mixing it up with CBD stalwarts like Purnells and Opus.

There will also be some live food demos from top chefs in the area including a collaboration between Purnells’ food God Glynn Purnell and Opus’ Chef Director David Colcombe – I can’t wait for this one!

Here is a full list of participants!

All Bar One
Asha’s Contemporary Indian Bar & Restaurant
Bushwackers
Chi Bar & Restaurant
Chung Ying Central
Costa Coffee
Edmund’s Lounge Bar
Ginger’s Bar
Hindleys Bakery
Hotel du Vin
Isaacs
JoJolapa Bar & Restaurant
Metro Bar & Grill
Opus at Cornwall Street
Pure Bar & Kitchen
Purnell’s/ Purnell’s Bistro
The Bureau
The Centenary Lounge
The Jekyll & Hyde
The Old Contemptibles
The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre
The Square Peg
Urban Coffee Company
Yorks Bakery Café
I’m really looking forward to this, I’ll be around on the Sat so give me a shout on twitter if you’re going!
Roz :)