Nosh & Quaff is new on the food scene in Birmingham. I had been reading good things about it on various blogs and the photos certainly looked droolworthy so I decided to check it out for myself. I’m pleased to say that Nosh & Quaff lived up to the hype… the three of us agreed! Definitely worth the trip from Cambridge.
Nosh & Quaff is located in the heart of the city at Victoria Square. It’s in a gorgeous Grade II listed building on Colmore Row that I can’t believe was left vacant for so long. What a travesty. It’s obvious it used to be a bank as you can still see the vaults in the basement where the loos are located. The building was given a complete refit but still retained its beautiful marble walls and wooden panelling. I have to say, the new light fixtures are spectacular!
On our trip to Bath, we were looking for a casual, lively place to enjoy some good food and drink, particularly cider as this is a Somerset specialty. The Stable, with its menu of pizza, pies and cider, was exactly what we were looking for.
The Stable has multiple locations (Bath, Bridport, Bristol, Falmouth, Fistral Beach, Plymouth, Poole, Weymouth, Winchester and soon Southampton). Each location has a slightly different menu, in accordance with the local ingredients and cider available.
The Stable in Bath is housed in a beautiful building and seating consists of benches, stools and long tables. This lends a wonderful convivial atmosphere and whilst this place is indeed a proper restaurant, it feels more like a bar with the freedom to order more food and drink whenever you please.
Our short stay in Bath led us to The Cowshed for dinner, where we had a truly fabulous meal. The Cowshed is housed in a sympathetically restored Grade II listed Georgian Building. There are two dining rooms (one on the ground floor and another on the lower level). Both levels lead out to their own terraces with stunning views. The whole restaurant is well laid out, with tables for larger groups on the lower level. We were very impressed with the decor and ambience. A good start!
Everything on the menu sounded delicious but we decided to focus on their steak as our mains. All of their meat is sourced through their own butchery Ruby & White, which is based in Bristol where their flagship restaurant is also located. The Cowshed use other high quality ingredients from carefully sourced producers… and it definitely shows!
It’s wonderful how food can evoke memories. My mom used to make a big batch of these cookies at Christmas, Easter and other special occasions. It’s a recipe she developed herself and perfected over the decades. When I moved to England, I took her recipe back with me. However, I struggled to recreate it and finally figured out how to convert the Canadian ingredients into ones I could find in the UK, namely the flour and vegetable shortening/lard. It was an ongoing project that my mother and I enjoyed working on.
I lost my mom only a few months ago and I miss her every day. In the midst of dealing with my grief, my thoughts somehow reverted to this recipe and all of the times we made it together as well as the conversations we had about adapting it to the UK when I moved away. I know I won’t ever have this experience with my mom again but I can keep her memory alive with sights, tastes and smells. And I can pass on the recipe to my son, who loves to bake with me. Some of the best moments we have together are in the kitchen so we made my mom’s recipe together for this blog post.
We always called them cookies, although they are a bit like cupcakes or muffins. In fact, these cookies never really had a name. We just gobbled them up before we could think about identifying them into a specific category. It was only when my niece Amanda once asked my mom for her “magic” cookies that I came up with the name for the recipe. They have a whole cup of orange juice in them so I added “orange” to the name. So there you have it… My Mom’s Magic Orange Cookies.
The Cambridgeshire Cook Book, published by Meze Publishing, is a celebration of the vibrant food and drink scene on our doorstep. I followed the cook book’s progress and as soon as it was released, I snapped up a copy! So I was thrilled when I was invited to attend the official launch. It was held at The Shack, which is a rather snazzy covered outdoor space at Gog Magog Hills, perfect for an event like this.
The launch was organised by Gerla de Boer of Cambridge Food Tour, who wrote the cook book’s welcome message. In attendance were many of the people and independent businesses featured in The Cambridgeshire Cook Book, as well as Paul Cocker and Lisa Pullen of Meze Publishing.
The Cambridgeshire Cook Book features over 40 recipes by the region’s chefs, restaurants, cafés, pubs, shops, producers and suppliers. It includes a Recommended Wine List, compiled by Cambridge Wine Merchants, to pair with some of the recipes in the book. Great idea!