I love freshly baked bread and admit that I am overly reliant on my bread machine so when I had the opportunity to choose a class at the prestigious, award-winning Cambridge Cookery School, I signed up for Beginners’ Bread. The class took place at Cambridge Cookery School’s new location (on Harrison Drive, off Hills Road via Homerton College) in their stunning contemporary kitchen. The school was founded by Tine Roche and is run by Tine and business partner Liz Young, who was one of the excellent instructors at the bread making class.
I even got to have a preview of the new café/bakery, set to open on 2 November. We had our welcome tea/coffee/treats, as well as our break, in the beautifully decorated café. The Scandinavian inspired décor is functional too (I noticed power points for laptops and mobiles built into the seating). There is a rather large construction project nearby so the café/bakery will be having a very soft launch whilst they further develop their menu. However, the classes are running full speed ahead and even though I was there on a quiet Sunday, the class soon forgot about the building site outside the window and enjoyed the bright, cheery ambience.
Hot Chip was founded by Hugh Crossley (Lord Somerleyton) and Toby Marchant. Their combined business acumen and restaurant expertise led to the creation Hot Chip, purveyors of gourmet chips matched with intriguing sauces and toppings. Some of their combinations with the humble chip taking centre stage don’t readily spring to mind, but they work!
Hot Chip had a presence in Norwich for two years and built quite a following at their shop. In order to bring their delicious chips to a greater number of customers, they decided to embrace street food and go mobile… and so the eye-catching Hot Chip Land Rover was born.
They have already started taking East Anglia and London by storm but held their official launch in Cambridgeshire on 16 October at Burwash Manor. The fabulous launch was organised by Vhari Russell and Emma Bearpark of The Food Marketing Expert.
I was delighted to be invited to Hot Chip’s launch to sample some of their original menu items. Firstly, I was impressed by the chips themselves. Hot Chip definitely have the foundation right. It’s not a matter of heaping sauces and toppings to disguise an inferior chip. In fact, the chip is the focus and the other ingredients serve to enhance the dish.
I first visited Ondine shortly after chef-patron Roy Brett launched it six years ago. The food and service were so memorable that I vowed to return. I recently had the opportunity to have my birthday meal at this luxurious seafood restaurant in Edinburgh and it was as wonderful as I remembered… even better, if that’s at all possible.
Ondine isn’t easy to spot from the street. From the George IV Bridge entrance of an unassuming building, it’s a flight of stairs (lift available) to the first floor so it very much feels like a hidden gem. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with its high ceilings, large windows, mosaic columns, quirky artwork and stunning circular oyster bar.
The origin of the word “ondine” comes from the name of a water nymph, so it was only fitting to have a painting titled “Mermaids of Iona” in the lobby. Paulo was particularly delighted with the image… because the colours matched his suit and shirt. No other reason, of course!
We were given a table by the window with a lovely view over Victoria street. We chose an early time for our dinner reservations so it was quiet when we arrived but by the time we left, the place was full, including the oyster bar. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was relaxed and pleasant.
Bim’s Kitchen have a range of African inspired sauces and condiments, including a few curry sauces. I have been collaborating with Bim’s Kitchen to develop recipes for their website but never tried any of their curry sauces. I love cashews so I couldn’t wait to start cooking with their African Tomato & Cashew Curry Sauce.
It wasn’t too difficult to create this recipe as the main feature is Bim’s Kitchen delicious ready-made curry sauce. It’s already packed with a variety of flavourful ingredients so there’s no need spend time looking for all of the little extras that go into making a tasty curry. The sauce includes all of the following mouth-watering ingredients: tomatoes, roasted cashew nuts, onion, lemon juice, tamari gluten-free soy sauce, alligator pepper, paprika, leaf coriander, fenugreek leaves, birdseye chillies, cubeb, coriander seeds and celery seeds.
I thought about what foods would complement the curry sauce and came up with curry staples chicken, onions, potatoes and peas. Bim’s Kitchen African Tomato & Cashew Curry Sauce is labelled “medium chilli heat”. I didn’t find it too spicy, just fragrant and succulent. I didn’t do it on this occasion, but I would recommend serving the curry with some rice. This would offset some of the spiciness but also marry well with the curry sauce. The sauce is so delicious, you need something to mop it up with, if not rice then bread. Yes, it’s that good. In fact, we found ourselves saying “yum” louder and more forcefully after every bite… if only just to remind ourselves that we weren’t dreaming!
On 3 October 2015 foodPark’s fourth instalment of its popular NIGHT MARKET took place, once again, at Gravel Hill Farm at the North West Cambridge Development. I attended every one of them so far (February, May, July and October) and I can safely say I have experienced fantastic street food and drink in all seasons. I enjoyed them all and raved about the winter and spring NIGHT MARKETS here and here.
With foodPark founder Heidi White at the helm, this NIGHT MARKET was the biggest and best yet. The main difference was the addition of more bars. Apart from the foodPark BAR, which sold wine, fizz, soft drinks and water, there was a bar run by Jolly Good Beer dedicated solely to craft beer and a Pinkster gin den that was a bit of a hidden gem around the back.
Food and drink were the main attraction and Heidi and her team of volunteers kept the evening flowing smoothly. The event was well organised with rubbish being gathered in a timely manner. I noticed there was first aid cover provided by a private company.