Eat Cambridge 2015, the Main Event – Cambridge (UK)

Eat Cambridge was held at the Corn Exchange on 23 May, 2015. This one-day food and drink fair was the Main Event, with two weeks of fringe events leading up to the big day. I wrote about some of the fringe events: foodPark NIGHT MARKET, Over The Tracks and Grub Club Cambridge Producers’ Dinner.

Only in its third year, this food and drink festival has already become one of Cambridge’s best foodie events.

The aim of Eat Cambridge is to showcase independents that can produce, source or make their products easily available in Cambridgeshire. It’s a great way to discover our local producers, restaurants, cafes and farms.

Eat Cambridge entrance

Strictly not-for-profit, Eat Cambridge is organised by Heidi White and Sian Townsend, with the invaluable help of their team of volunteers. Heidi and the volunteers all worked really hard to make the day run smoothly. (Sian is expecting a baby any minute now so she wasn’t able to attend). As last year, the Corn Exchange was a fabulous venue to hold all the stalls and there were lots of rooms available for the various talks and pop-ups.

Eat Cambridge Corn Exchange

Eat Cambridge 1

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Grub Club Cambridge Producers’ Dinner at Fitzbillies, a fringe event for Eat Cambridge 2015 – Cambridge (UK)

I was delighted to attend the Producers’ Dinner, a fringe event organised by Grub Club Cambridge for Eat Cambridge 2015. It was held on 22 May 2015 at Fitzbillies and included a talk by the iconic restaurant’s owner Tim Hayward.

Grub Club Cambridge is run by Vhari Russell (The Food Marketing Expert, providing marketing and retailing support for food and drink businesses) and Kelly Molson (Rubber Cheese, a design agency working with the food, drink and hospitality sectors). It is a networking club based in Cambridge for food and drink professionals and their aim is to put producers, retailers, buyers and businesses together in order to build relationships. And they do it at some mighty fine places. As the Producers’ Dinner was part of Eat Cambridge, it was open to anyone with an interest in good food and drink who wanted to feast on Fitzbillies’ tantalising menu.

Photo courtesy of Vhari Russell

Photo courtesy of Vhari Russell

The event was very well attended. Fitzbillies had a full house with three very long tables all occupied by fellow food and drink enthusiasts.

Collage Grub Club

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Over The Tracks, a fringe event for Eat Cambridge 2015 – Cambridge (UK)

Those of you familiar with the best of the Cambridge street food scene already know Steak & Honour and Jack’s Gelato. They formed a dining collective and named it Over The Tracks, a nod to the location of their Cambridge HQ tucked away in a winding industrial estate, just past the train tracks.

Leo Riethoff and David Underwood of Steak & Honour and Jack van Praag of Jack’s Gelato don’t just flip burgers and scoop ice cream. They are proper chefs who expertly create their menus and have worked in some of the best professional kitchens. Over The Tracks is their opportunity to expand their culinary offerings, and in Jack’s case, show what he can do away from the churn.

Steak & Honour

Jack's Gelato cycle

“Over The Tracks is quality, seasonal and local cooking in an informal and communal setting. With OTT, the guys are taking their product off the street and placing it in another context.” (Eat Cambridge Official Website)

Eat Cambridge 1

This well organised fringe event for Eat Cambridge, held on 20 May 2015, was beautifully set up inside and outside the industrial unit. The bar was housed inside, along with several large communal tables and charming mismatched chairs. The minimalist décor and ambience worked well in the overall context. The chilled out sounds of instrumental hip hop music added to the urban atmosphere.

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Creamy Smoked Salmon Tagliatelle (Recipe for Bim’s Kitchen)

My recipe for Creamy Smoked Salmon Tagliatelle is probably not what you expected as my next submission for the Bim’s Kitchen website. Not all of Bim’s Kitchen products have chilli heat. Their African Lemon, Garlic and Pepper Sauce isn’t spicy… it’s mildly piquant and packed with flavour.

Bims Kitchen African Sauce

One of my favourite Bim’s Kitchen recipes is their Creamy Lemon, Garlic & Pepper Mash which combines their sauce with milk and butter. A combination with dairy is something I never would have expected but it works! So I thought to myself, why not add some of this tasty product to my Creamy Smoked Salmon Tagliatelle recipe? I’ve been making it for years and I always used a vegetable stock cube to add flavour to the cream sauce.

Just one tablespoon of Bim’s Kitchen African Lemon, Garlic and Pepper Sauce is the key to enhancing all of the flavours in this dish.

Tagliatelle

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Picadillo Tortilla Wraps

Picadillo is a dish with ground beef, tomato sauce and vegetables and it can vary greatly from one country to another. My version of picadillo isn’t based on any one authentic recipe. This is a very easy recipe to make. The bulk of the work entails chopping a few ingredients… the word picadillo is derived from the Spanish verb “picar”, which means “to chop”.

I love the contrasting flavours in this dish… tangy olives and sweet raisins. The onions and peppers provide texture and colour.

Picadillo in pan

I like to wrap the picadillo in soft tortillas but for more crunch, tacos can be used as well. The recipe calls for tomato purée to be mixed with water. Tomato sauce (1-¾ cups) can be substituted for the tomato purée but it will be much higher in sodium, so don’t add salt at the end.

Wrapped Picadillo

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foodPark NIGHT MARKET on 9 May, 2015 – Cambridge (UK)

Cambridge is fortunate to have foodPark, a collective of top quality local street food traders. The brainchild of Heidi White, foodPark has a solid presence in Cambridge for its regular lunchtime markets. Occasionally pop-up events are organised, such as the foodPark NIGHT MARKET, where the best of Cambridge street food and drink is the main attraction. Heidi has embraced the street food movement and works to remain true to its ethos of sourcing traders who provide high quality, artisan food and care about provenance. It’s not about flogging mass-produced food with cheap ingredients.

“foodPark is a collective of street food traders, formed and operated as a not-primarily-for-profit organisation which promotes local, independent street food in Cambridge. We select traders based on strict quality criteria. foodPark was founded and is organised by Heidi White – just one local person with a huge passion for street food and experience in business, events, and marketing”. (Official Website)

foodPark Collage 1

Therefore, it’s no wonder foodPark NIGHT MARKET has been increasing in popularity. The last one took place on Valentine’s night at Burwash Manor and proved to be massively popular. (I raved all about it here). The much-anticipated second instalment of this pop-up night market was held on 9 May, 2015 at Gravel Hill Farm at the North West Cambridge Development, as part of Eat Cambridge’s fringe events. The venue was spacious and could accommodate a greater number of people.

foodPark sign3

foodPark8

The event was very well organised. Based on the popularity of the previous night market, this time it was a ticket-only event to ensure everyone could get in. It sold out very quickly so I was glad I got my ticket nice and early! People arrived in droves by foot, bus, taxi, bicycles and cars (we found parking on nearby streets and those cycling in had lots of space to store their bikes on site). The queue started before the opening time of 5pm. The anticipation was building!

foodPark queue

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Menu Tasting at The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK)

The Cock in the beautiful village of Hemingford Grey is one of the fabulous Cambridgeshire restaurants operated by Cambscuisine. I’m already a huge fan of one of their places – SmokeWorks, which I raved about here and here. I have been meaning to try out their other restaurants so I was delighted when Jessica Donnithorne, who’s in charge of marketing and people development at Cambscuisine, invited me to a sneak peek of The Cock’s new à la carte starters and mains menu, which launches on 14 May, 2015. I was impressed, not only by the delicious 20 or so dishes served, but by the very well organised, professional and hardworking team. It was also great to meet one of the owners, Oliver Thain, as well as head chef Wil Findlay who designed the new menu. I was joined by fellow blogger Miss Sue Flay, who made a rather neat video of the tasting session. You can view it here.

Tasting table

The Cock’s ethos is to provide high end casual dining and they’ve definitely hit the mark with their menu and decor. The food is guided by the seasons and there is an emphasis on sourcing fresh, local ingredients. It’s no wonder The Cock has been named the 2015 Cambridgeshire Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide.

The Cock Collage 2

It’s worth noting that the new à la carte starters and mains menu is mostly gluten free, which will please coeliacs, allergy sufferers and those with dietary preferences. There are plenty of meat-free options too, such as risotto, polenta, truffle gnocchi and smoked camembert.

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