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Spicy Pickled Vegetables

I always find it interesting how people describe themselves as ‘having a sweet tooth’ or ‘a salty palate’ or preferring savoury foods. I guess its to do with how your tastebuds are geared up on your tongue and which are more dominant. I’m never sure what category I fall into, but I do know that I love sharp flavours – tangy, sour, vinegary thats my bag. It will be no surprise then in that case that I love anything that is pickled.

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Pickling things my self is not something I’ve ever really tried until the last few years, but its so easy to do. This year particularly with a glut of various vegetables growing in the garden it’s a brilliant way to preserve any excess so that they don’t perish.

A basic pickling mix would be vinegar and sugar, but the addition of spices in various combinations and quantities can really add another dimension. The recipe below is my favourite pickling one – adding a bit of heat to the equation.  Obviously you can change the quantities of the pickling liquor if you have very large or smaller amounts. This quantity will be fine for about 200-400g vegetables.

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Ingredients

Vegetables – your choice really. In this recipe we used cauliflower, shallot, carrot, thin green chillies and radish. Other options would be things like baby onions, beetroot, cucumber, courgette, cabbage.  Cut them into ribbons, thin slices or small florets

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  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • 200 ml  apple cider vinegar
  • 50ml water
  • 150g caster or golden caster sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1-2 dried red chillies

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Method

  1. Put the sugar, water, vinegar and spices in a saucepan on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add in the vegetables and bring to the boil. Take of the heat and leave to cool slightly in the pan
  3. Tip the vegetables into sterilised jars and top with the pickling liquid so they are covered. This way they will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Happy pickling :)

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If you fancy your hand at pickling something check out these other options too!

Hot Mexican Pickles from Supper in the Suburbs

Hot Chilli & Ginger Pickle from Kavey Eats

Quick Pickled Lemons from Recipes from a Pantry

Spicy Fermented Carrot Salad from Natural Kitchen Adventures

Buffet Pickles from the Crafty Larder

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Review: Henry Wong, Harborne

You know what they say about buses. One never comes, then two come along at once. Well that’s rather like my experience with Henry Wong in Harborne. Having never been to this stalwart on the Harborne dining scene, two visits have come along in a matter of weeks. Lee & I popped along for dinner a few Mondays ago and they very next day an invite arrived to attend a VIP bloggers event there. And after two visits in close succession I can say that their food really is delicious. So to start lets catch up with what we tried on our visit just he two of us, often a truer test of how good the food is than a large event in my opinion.

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First of all a nod to the service which was brisk and efficient, particular plaudits to one of the waiters that managed to silver serve me some Singapore noodles. A tricky task!

I chose a Crispy duck salad for my starter. Imagine crispy duck and pancakes, minus the pancakes! There was a generous portion of duck and the hoisin and plum sauce was thick and rich and delicious. Lee started with a Chinese favourite of his Hot & Sour Soup. He declared this one of the best he’d tried; packed full of ingredients and with a great balance.

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For mains we shared a couple of dishes along with some Singapore Noodles and  Spring Onion Rice. My favourite was the Crispy Beef in Oriental Sauce, whilst Lees was the Char Sui Pork. I couldn’t get enough of the sauce on the beef – absolutely delicious and right up there with my favourite variation of this dish in Birmingham.

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So far so good! So how did things compare when they were catering for 20+ hungry food bloggers? Well, we were truly spoilt with luxurious food & drink that night, which included a Trio of King Prawns. Lobster in Chilli & Pepper, Teriyaki Sirloin Steak, Seabass in Sweet Chilli Sauce and Crispy Cantonese chicken. I have to say my favourites were the steak and lobster. (Not expensive tastes at all me!)

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Wines were selected to complement the food, and although I only had a few sips as I was driving, I’m told they went really well. Service was a tad slow from the food point of view, but given they had a full restaurant plus us to deal with, I think we will forgive them and I know that the service is usually very quick so it’s hardly worth mentioning.

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The hospitality throughout the night was top-notch and it was lovely to chat to Parm, their director. A really fabulous night was had by all.

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Overall I found it really high quality Cantonese cuisine and given that there are so many rubbish Chinese restaurants and takeaways out there would definitely recommend it. If I was local to the area I’m in no doubt I would be there all the time!!

Disclosure: We paid in full for our first meal but the bloggers event was complimentary. Event photos come courtesy of the fabulous Jas Sansi, and our meal photos by me…..you can’t tell the difference can you!?  (Ha!)

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Las Dalias Hippy Market, Ibiza

Another post today from our recent trip to Ibiza – a late night visit to Las Dalias Hippy Market.

Las Dalias opened its first street market in 1985 and since then has gone from strength to strength and is now one the most famous street markets in the world. In the summer months it also runs a night market until 1am.

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The market is huge with so much on offer including jewellery, clothes and every craft you could imagine. There’s also a restaurant and bar as well as live music. The atmosphere was really lively, and the market was packed when we arrived about 11pm.

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I found some of the stalls on the expensive side, but others were really reasonable and we picked up a few bits and pieces for us and for presents including some leather jewellery, ceramics and a scarf.

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Definitely somewhere worth a visit for an hour or two whilst you’re over there!

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Review: The Jekyll & Hyde Gin Parlour

The Jekyll & Hyde is well known in Birmingham, for its fabulous cocktails and lively atmosphere. I’ve eaten there before downstairs but this time we were going to eat upstairs in their Victorian Gin Parlour.

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Open for only 3 nights of the week it offers a small menu in quirky surroundings, with gin influenced food and a whole host of gin based drink options (other spirits are available…but not as good!)

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We tried several of their drinks whilst there – Lee had one of their gin flights; 3 mini sized tasters of their cocktails or gins. This went down really well and was fabulous for people like Lee that like to try new things. We also had an Armistice (Saffron Gin, Blood Orange, Poppy & Pink Grapefruit Liquer) and a Chopper on a Boat Cocktail (Langleys Gin, Mango Syrup, Lemon, Soda). Both were fantastic drinks.

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The menus are small; 3-4 choices per course, but they were all interesting sounding options

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For my starter I opted for the Cajun Spiced Beef Croquettes with grain mustard, watercress and Pecorino. Lee decided on the Juniper Berry Cured Salmon with blood orange and coriander cress. Both were of a pretty high standard. The flavours were all excellent. Lee commented that you could really taste the juniper coming through on the salmon and that the blood orange was an unusual accompaniment but worked fantastically. I felt the presentation of both could have been upped a little, and my croquettes were a little dry but this didn’t detract too much from how they ate.

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Moving on to mains, I chose the Supreme of Chicken with a thyme dauphinoise, kale, wild mushrooms and liquorice infused sauce. The was a really amazing dish – the chicken was most and juicy, with sauce with just a tang of liquorice – more would have been overpowering and a dauphinoise which was rich and creamy. It’s so important that food actually tastes of what it is supposed to, so the thyme coming through well in the dauphinoise and the delicate sauce proved this well.

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Lee chose the Sea Bass with golden beetroot and spring vegetables and a gin infused cream sauce. The seabass had a beautiful crispy skin, and was cooked perfectly and again the gin came through really well in the sauce. Another well accomplished dish.

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For dessert we shared a cheeseboard – with a smoked Brockmans gin jelly. We felt the cheese should have been out of the fridge longer before serving – it was still very cold, but this really was the only negative. The cracker selection and the gin jelly were superb also.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our meal in the gin parlour and would wholeheartedly recommend it to others, especially if you’re looking for something a little different in the city.

http://www.thejekyllandhyde.co.uk/
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Disclosure: Part of the value of our meal was contributed to courtesy of the Jekyll & Hyde, and we paid the rest ourselves. All views are honest and our own. 

Coming Soon….The Man & The Myth

A few times over the last 6 months or so I’ve told you about Nomad , a pop up restaurant from Alex Claridge. Well, the Nomad residency is now coming to an end in Kings Heath but watch this space for their city centre re opening hopefully at the beginning of October.

But never fear, in the meantime Alex, alongside fellow chefs Chris Hughes and Thomas Harrison are opening an honesty bar and experimental restaurant.

The Man and the Myth will open Wednesday to Saturday (17:00 – late) at Urban Coffee Company on Church Street from 2nd September.

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Here’s how they describe this unique concept:

 We’ll offer a pay what you feel basis by the glass of wine or beer.  All bottles will be priced – with all below £20.  To our knowledge, this will be the first honesty bar for Birmingham if not the UK.  Wines will be listed by flavour & taste – and no other details.

The food will be British-ish, using wild and allotment grown produce, but with eclectic influences from whereever we so fancy.  It’s the stripped back, accessible and relaxed sort of place that we would like to hang out.  We really hope you’ll want to join us”

I DO!!!

With platters of bar food such as
‘Cheese’ – British cheeses, buttermilk crackers, caramelised plums, pickles & smoked cheddar brûlée – £12
or supper menu dishes like Venison tartare, apple, hazelnut, spiced red cabbage and Pumpkin, rose, blue cheese, enoki mushrooms 
it sounds really fantastic.

Follow them across  social media to get all the up to date info!