Excellent Mutton Curry at the ‘unknown’ Caribbean cafe on Radford Boulevard

Chalkboard Offers

I love me some great chalk board action“. Over on Radford Boulevard in the café  that was once called ‘Lucilles’, and once the ‘Boulevard Sandwich Bar’ close to the junction with Hartley Road I saw this board at lunch offering some local foods. The fallen leaves were blowing around the base and it seemed just the right weather to pop in and get another meal to enliven the soul and keep me warm inside. Inside the music on the radio was playing and the lady chef behind the counter was dancing away. It seemed to be a good day in the café and I could tell that it was about to be a great lunchtime.

The unknown cafe

I said a couple of days ago that I was working my way through the area looking for Caribbean, Jamaican, and basically any other West Indian food that I could find, so today I was back. I had seen this place last time out and had stopped in to see what they had cooking. That day I was too early as the curries were still cooking and were not quite ready. That day it was about 11.30am, so this time I headed over a little later at lunch a little nearer to 1pm and I was in luck they were all ready.

Mutton Curry with ‘Rice and Peas’

Mutton Curry with Rice and Peas

I had a choice to make, do I choose the Jerk Chicken? (again) for comparison purposes (and also because I love it) or the Mutton Curry? (which I also love). It was a tough decision but I took a walk along the new path and ordered the Mutton Curry with a side of ‘Rice and Peas’. I was so glad that I did. On first sight it appeared that I was getting a lot of bone in my container but that was just an illusion. There were a few bits of bone in there, but mostly the tender mutton meat was falling off and into the curry gravy. Now at this point as I write I am still trying to decide if this was a curry made of ‘Mutton’ as in the or ‘Mutton’ in the Caribbean sense which is generally Goat meat. Either way it was delicious, a much milder spicing that I was expecting but that was good as it let the flavours of the meat come through. Soft, tender, and juicy with perhaps just a little of that lovely fat left in the curry gravy, basically everything that you might hope for.

Once again I have to report that there was way too much food in this portion for just one person, the Mutton Curry was more than plentiful, the ‘Rice and Peas’ a meal in themselves and way more than a mere side. I have no idea why I needed a side of salad as well. Having said that all, the thing is that I just couldn’t control myself, it was so good I just had to eat it all. I was shovelling it in like there was no tomorrow.

So where was I?

I should have asked since I was here last week someone has painted over the sign with the café name on it, so until I see the new sign this will be the Caribbean Café with no name.

The ‘Unknown café’ is at 166A Radford Boulevard Notts. I will be back for the Jerk Chicken, the name of the café and that recipe for the Mutton Curry. I will report back when I do.

Spring Lane Farm Shop near Mapperley- Great Family Run place with local produce

Spring Lane Farm Shop

The Spring Lane Farm shop is up on Spring Lane over on Mapperley Plains in Nottingham. I think that over the last year I have tried a fair amount of produce from the shop, and quite a lot of the time I have quite sadly photographed it with the intention of turning it into a blog post at some point. So today I am finally putting ‘pen to paper’ or to be more accurate ‘fingers to keyboard’

On their site they describe themselves better that I can “In our Butchery we sell our own produced Beef, local Lamb & Pork, chicken and we make our own sausages – 15 varieties. We have a bakery where we bake fresh bread, cakes, pork pies and meat pies. We sell Free Range Eggs from our own laying hens and grow Wilja Potoates on the Farm, also sold in the shop. We have a wide variety of cheeses and home cooked meats ranging from own cured Ham, home made Haslet and scotch eggs!”

This morning I was sitting down to my brunch and realised that everything on my plate had come from the Spring Lane Farm Shop. It had not been a consious decision as I was starting to cook, it was just an amalgam of a whole set of quality ingredients from the fridge and cupboard that just so happened to have come from Spring Lane Farm Shop.

So what was on that plate?

Chicken Meat Sausages

Chicken and lemon herb sausage

Smoked Back Bacon

Smoked Back Bacon

Free Range Eggs from the Farm

Spring Lane Eggs

That brunch was almost themed along that question of ‘which came first the chicken or the egg’ as I was having some chicken and lemon herb sausages, and free range farm eggs all from the shop. The sausages had been a last minute impulse buy as they were only £1.63 for a small pack of 6. They ended up being really tasty, and even though made with chicken they stayed moist and did not dry out while grilling. The eggs are always fresh and you can tell that they were laid not too long ago as the egg white stays pert and firm in the pan and doesn’t run everywhere like you often get with supermarket eggs. The bacon is always good here, I like the smoked back bacon, if I can get smoked streaky I like it more.

I like their bakery although I have not yet worked out the best time to visit to get everything I want. One thing I always try to get my hands on are the white baps topped with baked cheese. They make excellent homes for a cracking bacon sandwich! They also make pies both sweet and savoury which are well worth sampling.

Got to love the meat counter

Spring Lane Meats

And that Deli Counter too

Spring Lane Deli Counter

There are so many good farm shops in this county that I have to confess I do not just frequent this one, I kind of spread myself thinly amongst them, a little less thinly than the butter on that slice of toast I carved from one of their freshly baked loaves, but not enough to be eligible to buy shares in the shop. All I will say is that if we are this side of town we will pop in and more often than not spend too much money on the essentials and also non-essentials.

‘Is it too late to rustle up another bacon sandwich?’ I am pondering as I press submit

I digress (for a change)

To find the Farm Shop you basically need to know where Spring Lane is, just drive across Plains Road then Mapperley Plains past all the shops, then turn right. Or maybe put it into your sat nav to be safer.

Spring Lane Farm Shop
Spring Lane Farm, Spring Lane, Mapperley
Nottingham
NG35RQ
United Kingdom
You can follow the also on Twitter and on Facebook

“Taste the Flavour of Jamaica” – was the name, ‘Jerk Chicken’ was the game

The Taste of Jamaica

The weather is staring to turn autumnal and it is about this time of the year that I start to enjoy my spicy food a lot more. So I figure that it’s time to start hunting in and around the streets of the city for some of that home style food from the Caribbean. Today I was in the mind for something from Jamaica so it seemed appropriate to walk in through a door under a sign that suggested that I should ‘Taste the Flavour of Jamaica’. It sounded more like the entrance to a food theme park than a takeaway, perhaps it was going to be a fun-ride for my mouth and taste buds?

Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas

My meal of Jerk Chicken with a side of ‘Rice and Peas’ was a somewhat mammoth feast. There was a good quarter of a rather large chicken in there, all covered in a well crisped up jerk seasoned coating. The chap behind the counter had asked me if I would like some jerk sauce on my Rice and Peas, warning me at the same time that it was going to be really spicy. I was expecting that since it is made traditionally from Scotch Bonnet chillies and so I erred on the side of caution and just asked for a little bit. I wished that I had asked for more as although it did have quite a kick, it was also quite fruity and tangy and really enhanced the flavour of the moist chicken and the rice. Now I know that next time I will probably say ‘yeh just splash it all over’ and then I will be full of regret when I burn the roof of my mouth off when the spicy sauce starts to coat the inside of my mouth, and as the back of my throat groans with the kick of the chilli heat. Perhaps I made the correct choice.

taste the flavour leaflet

I thought that this was pretty good value, not just because of the really decent or too be honest ‘much too large’ sized portion for about £8 with a drink. Now I chose off the menu board but if I had been a bit more savvy then I may well have chosen something from that specials leaflet. There were a few different combinations that you could go for. For just $5.99 you could get a Main course of Curry Goat, Curry Chicken, Brown Stew Chicken, or Oxtail with a rice dish such as Rice and Peas, and a Side, and a drink. Not bad at all. If it wasn’t for the moment that I was fixed in on having Jerk Chicken then I would have probably taken advantage of this offer and had either the Oxtail or the Curry Goat. Perhaps when I have finished my tour of the other places nearby I will do just that.

As it says on the bottom of the leaflet “Taste the Flavour of Jamaica” – a Caribbean café and takeaway is located at 130 Hartley Road in Nottingham.

There are plenty of other options in this area and I will be visiting them as well over the next few weeks too.

I will draw you a map when I am done!

 

Nottingham Beer Festival 2014 – A great day of beer and food

Beer Festival Brochure

Nottingham Beer Festival or to give the correct name “The 2014 Nottingham Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival” is one of the highlights of the Nottingham year in our calendars. It features much of which we love in this city Good Beer and some tasty Food. This year we took the day off on Friday and headed over on an early bird ticket (entry before 1pm) to sample as many of the beers that we could manage while attempting to also remain responsible members of sobriety erm I mean society. Located in the grounds of Nottingham Castle this was apparently the seventh Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival held there and the 39th Nottingham beer festival held in the City. I can remember attending the festival when it was held over at the leisure centre near Sneinton Market, it was much smaller then than now, but was just as good an experience. They say that over this weekend they will expect over 30,000 visitors so it is a good job that there were over 1200 beers to sample!

Beer to start

Nottigham Beer Festival

We started off the day by visiting a number of our local favourites including the Castle Rock brewery who had a ‘Tavern’ in the lower grounds and a stand up in the Main Tent. I particularly enjoyed a glass of their latest offering the ‘Carl Froch’ one of their ‘Nottinghamian brews’ described in the menu as a  Dark “lager style” cask ale at 4.2%. We also, as always, enjoyed glasses of Harvest Pale, Elsie Mo and ‘Hedgehog‘ one of their ‘Wildlife Beers’ described as a  – Bonfire Bitter with a reddish tint’ Castle Rock Tavern

They had a projector showing tweets that had been sent out on the day which we just had to test out

The Tweet Wall at The Castle Rock Tavern

 It was working well and kept us entertained for a while as we worked our way through the different beers on offer.

After the first few beers we were feeling a bit peckish and figured that before we went too much further it was time to sample a couple of snacks.

A bit of Food

Candied Bacon from Crafty Crow Bacon Candy From Crafty Crow

One of the first stalls in the lower food area was from the Nearby Crafty Crow pub that sits just outside the entrance to the Castle Grounds. They were offering pots of their ‘Candied Beer Bacon’ for £5. They were serving this with a somewhat runny cheese sauce. I did like the thickly cut bacon strips, I would have liked them more if they or the cheese sauce were hot, but they were still good. They sell these in the pub as part of the ‘Snacks and Sharer’ section of the menu where they are described as “The perfect marriage of bacon and beer that is so good it should come with a health warning! Thick rasher of dry cured streaky bacon, glazed with beer and served with our own cheese ‘beerchamel’ dip”

Jukebox Café

   Jukebox cafe 

Martin waiting for Bacon

One of our party found themselves in need of some pre-beer sustenance in breakfast form and they headed over to the Jukebox Café stall who were in almost the same location as last year.

Belly Buster Board at the Jukebox Cafe

They were still selling the Belly Buster BreakfastBaps for £4 – a rather large bap filled with sausage, bacon, egg, and tomatoes.

 

Bacon Cooking at the Jukebox cafe

That sounded like far too much food so he just settled for a nice simple bacon and egg cob instead. Highlights (for me since I wasn’t getting to eat it) were watching the three slices of bacon cooking on the flat top grill and the lady using her cast iron grill press to make the bacon all crispy and crunchy.

Egg and bacon Cob

I was also drooling at the egg yolk dribbling from the side of the bun when it was handed over to my mate to eat.

Sampling some more Beer

Shipstones BitterShipstones Gold Star

Still down in the Lower Grounds we next found ourselves visiting the Shipstones Tavern where I was to find my favourite beer of the day. This was the new ‘Gold Star – Blonde Ale’  described on their website as ‘A smooth easy drinking blonde pale ale, brewed in keeping with a Shipstone’s beer. Using quality pale malt and is double hopped with Fuggle’s and dry hopped with Golding’s’. The tasting notes say that it is ‘A very smooth well balanced beer which is clean, crisp and has a light subtle hop finish’. Now I am just a consumer and no expert so all I can add was that this beer was so good that I went back several times and had at least 3 glasses of it during the day. Navigation Brewery Next we worked our way up through the grounds to the Main Tent where we tried a couple of beers from the local Navigation Brewery. I most enjoyed the ‘Apus’ which they describe as a “refreshing American style IPA brewed with lager malts well balanced with a full American hop – deceptively drinkable with a lasting aftertaste’. For some reason I had it in my mind that it was made by honey bees, apparently that was just some sort of subliminal thought process.

Dancing Duck Brewery

Adopt a Dancing Duck duck

 

We stopped by the Dancing Duck Brewery stand to ‘adopt a duck’ and sample some beers. I really like their brews especially the ‘Ay Up’ which they describe as ‘An eminently drinkable pale session ale’, I can attest to the fact that is most certainly true. Today though I was sampling a couple of glasses of their ‘Nice Weather for Ducks’ described as ‘A refreshing summer thirst quencher’ I found it to be a real good thirst quencher for this season too.

Totally Brewed

At the Totally Brewed stand we were trying a few different beers all with excellent sounding names, the best name of which was the ‘Papa Jangles Voodo Stout’ at 4.5% it was described as ‘Cookies & Cream and Rum & Raisin with Smokey Roast notes’. I had the Space Brewster ‘Zesty and citrusy’, a ‘pale hoppy brew’ that was right up my street.  You can also check them out on their Facebook page

 Some more Food was needed

Pickled Porker menu Pickled Porker

Some of the best sounding, best tasting and most tempting food was on sale at the Pickled Porker where there was a lot of slow cooked pork, beef, and brisket on offer. I was pretty tempted to try some of their Cider House Tapas, I would have had the ‘2 for £7′ offer with the “12 hour beef brisket + spicy BBQ sauce” with some of their “Sticky Sweet BBQ Pork Ribs” if I had been hungrier and not saving room for beer.

Pulled Pork Sandwich from The Pickled Porker

So what did we eat at the Pickled Porker? This lovely pulled pork sandwich filled with juicy and tender meat all cooked low and slow in a Yorkshire cider was the meal of choice. It was declared to be delicious but was a nightmare to eat and it was a bit of a messy affair with juice dripping everywhere from chin to trousers. Well worth that minor inconvenience though! Check them out on Twitter

The Cowboy Kitchen   The Gunslinger Burger

Highs and Lows were to be found at the ‘Cowboy Kitchen were I was drawn in by the chalkboard advertising ‘The “Gunslinger” Burger. It was promising a sandwich of a ‘Double Cheeseburger, bacon, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, gherkins, nachos, and cheese’ ‘all on one bap’ for £7. The Cowboy Burger I loved the idea of it, but I wasn’t that enamoured by the reality of my sandwich, it had everything as promised but it just didn’t work for me as a burger combination and I was left a little flat.  I ended up ditching most of the toppings and just eating it as a cheeseburger with bacon. Never mind we live and learn. Exotic Game Stall at Nottingham Beer Festival Wild Boar Burger at Exotic Game This minor hiccup was rectified quite quickly when we found another  much Tastier Burger at the Exotic Game stall where we sampled on of their Wild Boar with some kind of marmalade glazed onions, very tasty indeed!

Finally back to sample more Beer

Viking Drinking Horns

Inside top tent at beer festivak

We managed to avoid purchasing one the Viking Drinking Horns on our way back up to the main tent, which was by now getting pretty busy. We worked our way around the various barrels sampling a whole lot more beer. In no particular order I supped and enjoyed beers from the Blue Monkey Stand to be exact I had the BG Sips‘A pale hoppy beer with enticing tropical Aroma’, and the Sanctuary‘A beautifully balanced traditional session bitter’. Next stop was at the Coastal Brewery from Cornwall where I had the Summer Blaze described as ‘a Deep Golden Ale’, then from the Maypole Brewery from Eakring in Notts I sampled the Wellow Gold which was described as a ‘Dangerously drinkable blond ale’ it was as described and I had to go back for a second glass. All in all there was as always so many beers to sample that you would need a team of 40 or more to work your way through a decent amount of them and you would have to some every day. I tried loads that I haven’t mentioned and I was surprised by many. One that blew my mind a little was the East Coast IPA from the Poppyland microbrewery in Cromer, a vegan beer at 7.0% described as an ‘American IPA with lots of New World hops’. It was a most warming and mildly numbing affair and was enough to almost end my session.

ShipstonesShipstones Gold Star

In the end though my highlight was that Gold Star Blonde Ale from Shipstones, it was so good that I fought my way back down through the crowds to the Shipstones tent to spend my last 3 beer tokens on a half pint.

Hoppy Days Indeed!

Oscars Restaurant at the Beeches Hotel – A decent little bit of Bar Food

Oscars Resturant at the Beeches Hotel

Oscar’s Bar and Resturant is located inside The Beeches Hotel on Wilford Lane in West Bridgford. I have had a long standing relationship with this hotel as it was part of my childhood as I grew up living just over the road. Back then it was called Monroe’s Hotel, owned and run by the Monroe family. I can remember it being much smaller and that when each house came up for sale alongside they were purchased and the hotel expanded little by little. I don’t really remember when it became the Beeches Hotel, but I do remember many a friends and family meal that we have had in the Restaurant and in the Bar over the last 10 years.

The food has always been good, sometimes a little bit pricey, but it was always a good meal. On their website it said Attentive, friendly staff, excellent food and an inviting and informal atmosphere combine to make Oscar’s Restaurant a truly enjoyable experience

Well that was kind of how I remembered it and as I hadn’t been in for a couple of years I was keen to come back and just try something, perhaps just a pint and something simple off their bar menu.

There was plenty to choose from on the menu and also on the daily specials board where a ‘Curry of the day’, ‘Chefs choice of the day’ and a ‘Pie of the day’ were on offer. I just wanted something light though so I was looking for bar food.

 Gammon, Egg and Chips

Gammon Egg and Chips at  Oscars

 

I had the Gammon, Egg and Chips which was to be fair a decent sized plateful. The piece of Gammon steak was big, large enough to fill half of the square plate. It was well cooked with a nice char and it was salty just as I like. The fries were those really thin skinny ones, so not my favourite style (I like chunky chips) but there wasn’t anything wrong with them. They had managed to cook the frozen peas properly which based on what I have seen at many a place is actually quite a feat. The fried egg was alright as well, I would have liked the yolk to have been a bit runnier but I am kind of searching for fault now. It is a good plate of food, it is basically just bar food done well and I have no problem at all with that. Even now looking back at the picture I am thinking that I could come back over the road and eat this again. That has to be a good thing does it not?

 

Burger at Oscars

My companion had the Basic Burger, which I thought looked pretty good. I liked the look of the seeded bun and the lettuce was that nice crispy leaf type that I usually buy in a bag from the supermarket when I am trying to make my steak healthy. I thought that it looked really nice and since this meal I have talked with a few work colleagues who have stayed at the hotel and they said that the burger was really good.

Burger Platter at Oscars

He wasn’t as keen but then again that might have been because the whole thing came on one of those stupid wooden boards that everyone seems to serve the food on now. This one made the burger look quite small, please someone start a campaign for plates :-)  There was also a bowl of coleslaw that stayed in the bowl all the way from the kitchen and back to the kitchen, and a bowl of thin fries which he likes a lot, so on this occasion my companion won the chip raffle.

Oscars Chalk Board

Overall I was happy with my return to Oscars and with the quality of my bar food. I still felt that it was all a couple of quid overpriced, but then again this is a hotel so I suppose that they have a captive audience and perhaps can get away with that price point. In the end I don’t mind really my Gammon and Eggs were worth it even without a slice of tinned pineapple. To be honest if there was a slice of pineapple I would have been writing in for a discount (just kidding folks).

I keep on seeing the chalkboard at the weekend outside on which is scribbled ‘Fancy a Sunday Roast’, quite often I do so maybe I will come back and try one.

The Beeches Hotel is on Wilford Lane in West Bridgford on the corner with Bruce Drive. It is opposite the Railway Club just past Rivermead Flats. Regular buses stop here from the city including the 1, 2, 3, and 4 heading out to South Notts

 

 

Entering the Wildwood Resturant to track down a Wild Boar and Chorizo Burger

Wildwoood In Nottingham Wildwood in Nottingham is located just up from the Old Market Square on King Street. It sits nicely in amongst a number of other restaurants near to the Brian Clough statue in the ‘Leisure Quarter’ in what is becoming known as ‘Nottingham’s Restaurant Triangle’. It is just over the road from the recently opened Bills restaurant and across from the ‘soon to open’ Georges restaurant. Barburrito lies just up the road selling Tex mex wraps and Tropeiro sits nearby on the corners serving up Brazilian BBQ.

So what food does ‘Wildwood’ offer to the diner? I wasn’t sure at all when I first saw the place. As I peered in through the window I could see the flames from a large pizza oven at the back, but then on the boards I could see burgers and pasta dishes.

Well that tiny bit of research standing in the doorway was to prove to be spot on.

Their website said “Whether you choose from the grill section, stone-baked pizza or our freshly prepared pastas, our passion for high quality dishes is the main focus across all of our restaurants”.

So a bit of everything then.

Daily Specials Menu

Wildwood Specials Menu I did briefly peruse the specials menu which I thought would have been good if it was a 3 course for £15 type of menu,  and I was almost tempted by the Goats Cheese and Chorizo Pizza for £9.10. Then almost again by the Mussels, but a quick glance at the main menu and the burger section completed side-tracked my attention towards some sort of meat filled sandwich. They did have a tempting meat ball starter and even a spicy meat calzone pizza filled with chicken, bolognase, meatballs, mushroom and chilli. I very nearly had the Wild Boar Salami and Burrato Cheese Pizza, but it was not to be, my heart was already heading in one direction and there was no turning back although that Wild Boar was to get a look in.

Wild Boar and Chorizo Burger

Wildwood Burger Plate I was easily tempted into ordering one of the Wildwood Burgers to be more specific I was to found myself salivating over the prospect of getting my chomps into the ‘Wild Boar and Chorizo Burger’. This came with jalapenos, mayonnaise, relish and a pot of fries. When I had ordered I hadn’t realised that the jalapenos, mayonnaise, and relish were all going to come on the side, but I was very happy that they did. This gave you the chance to customise the heat of the burger by slipping in as much or as little chilli as you so desired. I ended up eating half with jalapeno and half without (just because I could). The fries came in one of those metal pots and although they were quite plain, I did like that they came with a generous sprinkle of sea salt on the top and a little rosemary leaf. Close up of Wild Boar and Chorizo Burger Lets get a little closer and have a look at this beautiful burger. It was well presented on the tray, the meat patty was well marked almost branded with a blackened criss-cross char. The burger itself was a little too big for the toasted bun overlapping the edge all the way around. This was to lead to a very meaty mouthful with each bite. There were a few crispy onion rings on the top as well providing a small sweet tang. Burger half at Wildwood Lets get inside this beast! Ok so now we are getting down and dirty with this burger. The meat patty of the Wild Boar and Chorizo was really juicy. The chorizo sausage was not too spicy and was almost crumbled into the Wild Boar meat so you got a really well made burger. The meat kind of melted in your mouth on each bite. The bottom layer of the burger had a thin layer of lettuce, tomato, and mayo between burger and bun adding a nice creamy and juicy element to the burger sandwich. This was I have to say an excellent burger sandwich. Everything about it was working for me, the patty was fresh and well formed from the Wild Boar meat and the Chorizo sausage. The accompanying elements were just that, little side notes that didn’t try to upstage the burger. They were there to add that little bit extra to elevate the flavours of the meats and they did that very well.

Do I have any complaints or suggestions? Well to be honest no I don’t and that is a pretty good thing these days. My only request would be that I would have liked a larger burger, but that is just me being greedy and has nothing to do with the fairly sized portion on my tray.

I think I will be back (for another one)

Wildwood in Nottingham is located at 18 King Street and if you want to see a little more before you walk in through the doors you can check them out on Facebook and Twitter

 

Goose Fair in Nottingham – Sampling a few fairground and street food snacks

Goose Fair Profile

Food at Goose Fair Martin at Goose Fair

From a distance Goose Fair assaults your senses with a blanket of noise and a sea of light, once inside, walking along the paths between the food stalls and the rides, your senses are assaulted by the smells and sights of the food. As you duck to avoid bags of pink candyfloss or other sugary sweet snacks hanging from the eaves of the stalls, you can see the hotdogs and burgers grilling, the onions are frying, and kebabs are turning on the coals. Pots of mushy peas bubble away and hot steaming sugary donuts are pulled from the fryers. It is difficult to know where to start the eating and also where to stop.

Mushy peas Sign Mushy Peas Signs

So you may have guessed this blog post is  about some down and dirty trek looking for Fairground Food and other assorted Carnival Snacks. It could be an entire post about Mushy peas of which the fair is flooded with stall after stall offering this most yummy and delicious of all green pea based snacks. Light controversy will abound if you start a conversation regarding this little feast. I recalled and located a nice little story about Mushy Peas at the fair that I saw a number of years back in the Evening Post by Erik Peterson.

Peas in Pots at Goose Fair  Hot peas sign

The peas that I favoured the most were these ones that were being cooked up in big steaming pots under the sign claiming to be ‘The only traditionally cooked peas on the fair”. In this weeks Nottingham Post there is a brief note about the people who makes these peas (have a look here to see that article)

Heatherhill Farm stall at Goose Fair Home Reared Meats at Heathehill farm stall

I was in the mood for some sort of a meat cob, perhaps a Roast Pork Cob, or maybe some Pulled Pork. I found what I was looking for at the Heatherhill Farm Stall where they were selling the farms ‘Home Reared Meats’. On their site they tell us that they are ‘a small family run farm nestled in the valley bottom of the Hope Valley.’ where their ‘family have been farming in and around the  Hope Valley for four generations.’ They travel to ‘food fairs, Carnivals, Game fairs and Country shows nation wide‘ and also can be found at Farmer’s markets in Derbyshire (Buxton, Bakewell, and Belper)

Pulled Pork Sign Pulled Pork at Goose Fair

I tried a cob filled with some of their Pulled Pork for £4.50. It wasn’t bad at all, a decent amount of juicy meat mixed with a nice tangy BBQ sauce. Apart from the Roast Cobs that you might expect them to have they also had an interesting offering of a pot of ‘Cheesy Beans’ (baked beans and cheese) that I could have been tempted by on another occasion.

Spee Dough Pizza Salami and pepperoni pizza at Goose Fair

I didn’t plan to eat any pizza here at the Goose Fair but as I walked along the path filled with vendors I came across the Speedough Pizza Trailer who had a wood fired oven and were offering 90 second pizza’s. The oven is built into the back of a 1963 Citroen HY and with temperatures of 450-500C they said the pizza would cook in 90 seconds. I decided to check that out and asked for one topped with Salami and Chorizo for £5.99. I think it may have taken just a little longer than that to cook in the end but not too much. It was a fair effort a nicely charred thin base that was topped with molten cheese, a scattering of salami and chorizo discs, and a sprinkling of cheese on the top as well. It was (as you would expect) seriously hot having just been pulled from that hot oven and it was a very tasty affair. The slices were a bit floppy for my liking, I was hoping for a crisp solid crunch of a base. Perhaps cooking a little longer may have achieved that desire. Still none-the-less a good effort.

Sugary Donuts

Donuts and Toffe Apples

There were plenty of places to buy a donut, we had these freshly made ones in the bag. Not as sugary as you might expect but still filling enough to line the stomach for a scary ride. To be honest I like mine with jam in.

Dutch Mini Pancakes Dutch mini pancake chalk board

After we had eaten those I was instantly in regret and wished that we had gone to the ‘Dutch Mini Pancakes’ stall instead. They we selling ‘Poffertjes’ which are small fluffy pancakes, a traditional dutch snack. They were tipping them out of the pan mould as we walked by. (Note to self don’t let the stomach and eyes decide all the time).

Johny Putsaztki Jonny Putzaski

If you have your heart set on a burger, a sausage, or even a bacon butty, then you really need to heads over to Johnny Pusztai’s Stall over by the Homemade café on the City side of the fair. Serving up all the quality products from JT Beedham & Sons in Sherwood, this is the place to be if you want a really good high quality sandwich at a good price. They are award winning for a reason and it is worth waiting a while until you find them before eating.

Pomegranite at Goose Fair Food at Pomegranate in Goose Fair

If you wanted to try something a little different from the typical fairground fair then you should look no further than the Pomegranate Stall who were serving up ‘Authentic Lebanese Cuisine’. There stand was set up to look like a buffet table in a nice restaurant. The pick of the table for me was their ‘Moorish Street Chicken Wrap’ for £7. It is a good entry level dish if you have not tried this food before, the chicken is seasoned with a Moorish spice mix of cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, turmeric, oregano, salt and pepper. Simple but tasty.

The Doghouse The Kebab King

Red Dragon Fairground Food Stall

There is plenty of fairground food at Goose Fair to cater for all tastes and for all budgets. I loved walking around amongst the crowd looking at all the vendors and sampling bits and pieces as we walked.

Mushy Peas

I suspect that most people will be hitting up those pots of mushy peas and having a hot dog or burger of some sort. Whatever you choose, eat it guilt free with all the joys of the carnival!

Nottingham Goose Fair is located on the Forest Recreation Ground next to The Forest Tram Stop covering the park and ride site and some of the surrounding fields.

 

 

Annie Ocean State Tavern at Annie’s Burger Shack

Annies Ocean State Tavern

I think by now I have told everyone that I know that they have to eat at Annie’s Burger Shack in the Lace Market. I can honestly say that not a single person has had a complaint about the food. the only moans I have heard is that they cannot get a table because it is so popular. I have written so many times now about Annie’s Food that you would think I am on some sort of retainer, I am not by the way, although some sort of Burger bonus would be excellent in my imagination. the reality is that I like to dine undercover so that I get the real experience. If you want to see what we think of Annie’s Burgers take a look here at one of our reviews (Annie’s Burger Shack in the Lace Market – New Location, Continued Burger Excellence!).

What appears to be less well known is that you can get some really excellent beers at the bar upstairs at Annie’s and more recently (well since July 4th this year to be more exact) you can drink some good beer in her Ocean State Tavern downstairs. We thought that it was about time that we went and checked the tavern out to see if we wanted to add it onto our Lace Market Friday night circuit.

The Shark at Annies

The sign warned us to watch out for the Shark and to follow the stairs down into the bar. It doesn’t look quite as Pixar or Disney in reality as it does in the photo. With the camera those eyes look quite disturbing. The reason for it being there is according to Annie is that “Jaws was filmed just off Rhode Island,” and that is the state from whence she came.

The bar itself was quite quiet when we went in and we sat up at the bar. We could have had a booth but we wanted to get our eyes firmly on the pumps and the fridges to see what beers they had on offer

Bottle of 312 at Annie's

OK so here is the first reason (actually this is enough reason) to drink at the Tavern. They had bottles of Goose Island 312 on sale, one of my most favourite beers from my former home of Chicago and something that regular readers of this blog know that I seek out all over the city. It was great to find it here, but not so great to find that it was the most expensive 312 in the city at basically £5 a bottle (that is pretty steep my friend).

IPA at Annies

There were plenty of decent beers on the tap including this Urban IPA from Tiny Rebel Brewery they say that “A carefully crafted intercontinental blend of hops helps us take traditional IPAs to the next level with Urban IPA. If you’re bored with soulless IPAs drunk by farmers in wellies, it’s time to go URBAN” Kind of neat I suppose. It also was quite pricy as well. Lets not talk money any more its getting vulgar and I suppose we are paying Lace Market prices.

So to sum up the ‘Tavern’, I like it is kind of dark and a bit grungy almost industrial in its styling. They have a great selection of beers and you may need to consider a slightly larger withdrawal from the ATM machine if you want to drink here all night. Having said that I have never had any room left for beer after I have eaten one of Annie’s Burgers so perhaps that is the idea, just one more quality beer to finish the night? No I want to have my burger and eat it and drink it all after as well.

Annies Burger Shack sign

As we said at the top Annie’s Ocean State Tavern is in the basement below the restaurant at 5 Broadway in the Lace Market, Nottingham

Check out Annie’s Burger Shack on Twitter and Facebook

 

The Trent Bridge Inn – Something from the Grill section of the menu please

Trent Bridge Inn Nottingham

The Trent Bridge Inn (The T.B.I) is a timeless classic located next to the Trent Bridge Cricket ground, home of Nottinghamshire Cricket and occasional home of England. There is a long history regarding the pub, the cricket and even Notts County who once played there for a while. You can spend time googling all that so I am not going to put it all here, but I will relate my personal history with the pub. Back in the mid 80’s when me and my mates were hitting our 18th birthdays we used to drink half pints of beer in the back room, in those days we had two choices this side of the river at the TBI or over the river at the Town Arms, When the Town Arms became the Aviary I got a job collecting glasses there, and some of my mates got jobs collecting glasses at the TBI. Then our personal rivalries began and I didn’t drink in here for ages, there were plenty of unprintable shananigans that could make an excellent story.

Moving swiftly to present time I find myself living on the banks of river within view of Trent Bridge and but a short walk along the towpath to the door of the TBI. It is like the years have rolled back and I can go back to one of my old haunts. So although these days despite it being one of the pubs in the Wetherspoon’s chain, it is still a pub that I want to frequent.

Trent Bridge Ale

They do serve a lot of standard beers from the Wetherspoon’s pub selection but look past that if you can with me and take heart that they have a dedicated beer from the Nottingham Brewery called unsurprisingly Trent Bridge Ale. This really is quite a decent beer, it is described as ‘A light and crisp golden ale with floral hoppy notes.’ but I think that is a poor description to be honest. I don’t find it to be too hoppy at all, I would say that is a nice drinkable session beer that is light and easy on the palate. But you know what? I don’t work for a brewery so ‘what they said’

Seeing as how this pub should be so much more than the sum of its wetherspoons parts we decided to go big and look at the upper end of the menu into the Grill section where the prices were a little higher and see what the pub could offer us to make it forget that it was a Wetherspoons Menu.

What did we find?

Gammon Egg and Chips at Trent Bridge Inn

The first thing we ordered was the Gammon and Eggs. It was not too bad an effort, the Gammon itself was juicy and had that nice saltiness that I recall fondly when I order this dish. It’s light was slightly hidden by placing two fried eggs on top of it, but that was kind of OK as they still had runny yolks that oozed nicely over the top when cut into. The chips were plentiful but not that exciting, the peas overdone and the tomato was not needed. The small field mushroom was decent and would be benefitted from a few more friends on the plate as it felt like it was almost an afterthought. So we have positive reports on the Gammon and the Eggs, which to be fair were in the title of the dish. The rest was just basic pub food which was to be expected here.

The Surf and Turf

Surf and Turf 

The next choice was the Surf and Turf (Scampi and Steak). I liked the steak, I asked for it to be cooked Medium and it was cooked Medium. I didn’t mind the pub food chips although there were too many for me to eat. The Scampi was plentiful but I was not too excited by them. The first few were OK but they got a bit boring after that. They seemed to fall apart a bit too easily and I was feeling the moment between the freezer and the deep fryer with each bite. I probably should have just had a steak on its own. Overall the meal was kind of OK, if it had just been £9.99 I would have been fairly happy but it wasn’t it was nearer to £12 so a tad overpriced.

So in summary the experience from the Grill section was a bit mixed with highs and lows. The main thing I suppose is that we left full and we had two large meals for about £20.

Despite the average dining experience I am still a big fan of the TBI, I just need to remember where I am when I am planning a dining extravaganza.

Note to self, next time just drink the excellent Trent Bridge Ale from the Nottingham Brewery.

The Trent Bridge Inn is located at 2 Radcliffe Rd in West Bridgford, Nottingham. Right on the South side of the Trent Bridge crossing by the Cricket Ground

Oscar and Rosies at Das Kino – ‘Pizza as it Should be’

Das Kino SignOscar and Rosies |Sign

This past Thursday night we saw the launch night for the Das Kino bar on Fletcher Gate housing the most excellent Oscar and Rosie’s Pizza Kitchen both in the building that once housed the Old Vic right near to the Lace Market Tram Stop. They say that they are Boasting two beautiful bars, a brand new kitchen & four Ping Pong Tables. 

Das Kino BarPing Pong at das Kino

It was true there was a bar and there were ping pong tables. They were encouraging us to “sample our extensive bar selection, have a nibble on some Oscar & Rosie’s incredible food or try your hand at Ping Pong”. I wasn’t feeling too much in mind for some ping pong although it did look like fun, and the lines at the bar were not my scene. I don’t really frequent places where you have to queue, that is so not my scene. I have reached that point in life where ‘my’ in-crowd find that ‘grumpy‘ is kind of expected (and acceptable). Having said that what I AM all about is the pizza, and in Nottingham there is only one person and one place that I want to serve that pizza to me, that my friend, is Olly at Oscar and Rosies.

Olly serving pizza

It was a tough night, the placed was packed and Olly was trying to give everyone a slice of his most excellent pizzas. Everytime he or one of his team left the kitchen with a tray of pizza they were mobbed by the hungry crowd. I am really hoping that they tasted enough to come back for a slice in the future. Actually I have no fear on that score. If you feed them they will come.

Team Pizza

In the kitchen at Oscar and Rosies

Inside the kitchen

Later on in the evening Olly did us proud and brought us into the inner sanctum to meet the team and eat some pizza. The menu sounded really exciting and we will be featuring much more on the blog in the near future to tell you all about it. Apart from the pizzas, there will be an awesome ‘Mac and Cheese’, and some lovely locally made sweets or puddings for us all to try. These were two kinds of mini meringues one was filled with lemon and one with raspberry (to my recollection) they were dreamy. I want to say more but I don’t want to give too many spoilers. We will be back soon to eat and show it all to you and tell you the stories behind some of those dishes.

The Meat Sweats Pizza

Oscar and Rosies Meat Sweats

Olly knows me too well and he delivered on his promise when he served us up our very own and our beloved Meat Sweats pizza. It is not just the fantastic (and new) semolina flour coated crust that makes this a sublime feast in itself, but also the toppings of pepperoni, cheese, and crisp bacon and fennel infused sausage meat ( the last two from JT Beedhams). The pizza oven that had only just made it to the joint that day after a last minute plea for moving assistance was on top form in its new home delivering a sweet charred crust. How good is that crust? Well let me say just this! you will be eating the bits of crust that have no toppings on them and thinking that they are just as good naked as they are clothed in meaty and cheesy goodness. OMG I can hardly type without thinking about that crust now. OK relax and take a minute.

More Oscar and Rosie Pizza

If you want to read a little bit of Oscar and Rosie history well then please just take a flash back with the Nottingham Food Blog to last November when we first met Olly (Read More Here) the full story was also covered in our local paper too all about the Man and his dream (that’s worth a read too). I don’t want to make him blush (under the beard) but when you meet Olly and talk to him the passion for pizza is evident and somewhat inspiring, when you taste it you will be amazed that you can buy a slice for the price! This stuff is fantastic It may just be my opinion, and my Mate, and my Mum, and my other mates who have eaten the pizza and … the list goes on, but once you have tasted it you will not want to go back to chain-store or supermarket pizza.

So more importantly how do you easily find this place? Das Kino is at 22 Fletcher Gate right next to the Cross Keys pub and only a short walk from the Lace Market Tram Stop. You can Follow Das Kino on Twitter and on Facebook.

You can follow Oscar and Rosies also on Twitter and Facebook