News – New cook book is launching to support refugees around the world

I love food, not so much cooking, but if I do. I usually have a cookbook to hand, and this one supports a charitable cause so what more could I want?

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“This Cookbook Belongs To Us”, compiled by Bearwood and Kings Heath Action for Refugees, brings you stories of food – of making, sharing and enjoying – to show the importance of welcome, friendship, tolerance and love for refugees in our community. The book is dedicated to all the people who call Birmingham and Smethwick home, and to those fleeing their homes and seeking refuge in new ones.

Birmingham and Smethwick have welcomed those escaping conflict and persecution since the early 19th Century, offering sanctuary to individuals and families. Fostering a culture of welcome and extending a hand of friendship to those forced to flee their homes, where it is most deeply needed. The region is home to individuals and families from Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central America.

This Cookbook Belongs To Us is a collection of recipes; from Birmingham to Damascus, each with a different and personal story behind it. It is for everyday home cooking but can also be used to find inspiration for those special occasions – rustle up a quick post-school/work dinner with Mujadarah, Arabian Buttered Eggs for a lazy Sunday brunch, creating “The Best Lamb in Ethiopia” for a dinner party with friends, or baking up some delicious Syrian Toffee Apple Cake for a special birthday treat or just plain old elevenses (any day!).

Food plays a vital and powerful role in migration and in welcoming new communities. The familiar smells and tastes of a favourite dish providing comforting replenishment – a reminder of cultural ties to home but also a potent way of connecting with new and undiscovered places and in constructing new identities.

The sharing of new tastes, ingredients and techniques cannot be seen more clearly than in Birmingham and the Black Country. They have diverse, multi-cultural neighbourhoods with many different communities and with a wealth of ingredients and cuisines available locally in supermarkets and restaurants: from fine dining (Birmingham has no less than five Michelin starred restaurants) to street food and cafés celebrating cuisines from South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and beyond.

The book can be pre-ordered online now:

http://actionforrefugees.bigcartel.com/product/this-cookbook-belongs-to-us,

the book will be available to buy from 25 November from a range of stockist across Birmingham and the Black Country and will be sold at craft fairs in time for Christmas. The pre-order cost is £10 (£12.50 afterwards) with all profits going towards the Aegean Solidarity Network and the vital projects they support.

The official Kings Health launch will take place at ENKI gift shop, (Kings Court, B14 7JZ) on the 5th December, 10am – 5pm where you can sample sweet treats from the book and festive refreshments; there’ll be some fun crafts for the children too. The Bearwood launch will be on the 2nd December, 7.30pm – late, at the charity Barn Dance at the Corks Club (Bearwood High Street, B66 4BT). Tickets can be purchased on the door (£5 / £2.50 concessions) for a night of fundraising, fun and Flying Scotsmen, featuring The Ceilidh Band. All money raised goes towards supporting refugees.

ACTION FOR REFUGEES

Bearwood and Kings Heath Action for Refugees were set up in September 2015 in response to the current crisis and are part of the Action for Refugees network. They are volunteer-led groups engaging local individuals, groups and schools in helping refugees and asylum seekers through fundraising, awareness raising and advocating for refugees locally. They fundraise for the Aegean Solidarity Network and proceeds of this book will support refugees in transit through the grassroots projects they fund.

For more information visit https://actionforrefugees.org

AEGEAN SOLIDARITY NETWORK

Aegean Solidarity Network Team UK (ASN), a UK registered charity, launched in September 2015 after witnessing first hand the desperate plight of refugees and people fleeing conflict arriving on the Greek island of Leros. The group is dedicated to supporting all people escaping life threatening conflict landing in Greece by supporting safe places to stay, safe spaces to talk, provisions of food, dry clothes, and education amongst many other needs.

The ASN team are passionate about what they do and have all spent time working “in the field” or have been involved in refugee support extensively since summer 2015.

Funded solely by donations, ASN seek out volunteer-run initiatives. They ensure that the projects they support are volunteer run so that donation has maximum positive impact in supporting refugees.

For more information visit the website https://asnteamuk.org/

News: The BEAST Comes to Birmingham

So, there’s something Bouncy and Beasty coming to the neighbourhood, so I thought I’d let you know.

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THE WORLD’S LARGEST INFLATABLE OBSTACLE COURSE LANDS IN BIRMINGHAM

FRIDAY 8th – SUNDAY 17th DECEMBER, 10.00am – 11.00pm

#TheBouncyBeast

Tickets are now on-sale today for the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course, The Beast returning to the UK at the NEC, Birmingham this December. At an unbelievable 272m long, The Beast is the ultimate nostalgic bouncy castle experience for adults. Unleash the beast this December and run, bounce and dance your way around the phenomenal 32 obstacles open to the public for eight days only – the perfect office, family or group party!

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Take on The Beast and enjoy a feast of Birmingham’s finest street food vendors washed down with craft beer, cocktails and prosecco on tap. Live DJs will combine with an extraordinary sound and lighting show that will complete the most ridiculously fun day out you could possibly imagine.

The Beast is the brainchild of UK promoters Nick Zuppar & Joe Arditti. Nick and Joe said:  “The Beast London was such an unbelievably huge success with 20,000 bouncy revellers through the doors, we’re bouncing with excitement to bring it to Birmingham for the first time ever for the ultimate party occasion this DecemberYou have to see it to believe it!”

Tickets are limited and expected to sell out very quickly so don’t miss out by booking yours today. The Beast sessions are ticketed and will run throughout the day in 30 minute blocks from 10.00am to 11.00pm, with morning sessions for kids, from Friday 8th December – Sunday 17th December. Spectator tickets are also available and will gain access to the food, drink and party areas which will be open throughout.

 TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE: www.ilovetobounce.com and www.theticketfactory.com

Date: 8th-17th December 2017 (not 11th and 12th Dec)

Venue: NEC, Birmingham

Address: National Exhibition Centre, Halls, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1NT

Prices: £20.00 (+ £2 booking fee)

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post or endorsement, just news of something happening in Birmingham you might want to know about.

 

News: Bitters n’ Twisted Venues Support Acorns Hospice with #AcornsFriday

 

I’ve been to a few of Bitters’n’Twisted‘s venues, and I’m happy to tell you about their wonderful partnership with Acorns Childrens Hospice from Friday…

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November 24th aka “Black Friday”, the day the internet and shopping centres go wild for pre-Christmas bargains.  Bitters ‘n Twisted wanted to do something a little different to crazy sales and mad purchasing and offer something back to our nominated charity, Acorn’s Children’s Hospice.

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Bitters ‘n Twisted Venues (Island Bar, The Victoria, The Jekyll & Hyde, Bodega (Birmingham, Worcester, Leicester and Derby), The Rose Villa Tavern, Marmalade and Buffalo & Rye will be donating £1 to Acorn’s for each cup of warm Winter Cider sold on Friday 24th November, renamed #AcornsFriday

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What’s more, from 1st Dec – 31st Dec for each cup of Brother’s Winter Cider sold in any of the venues, Bitters ‘n Twisted will donate 50p to Acorn’s – resulting in a big cheque being given to the charity in January.

 

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post or endorsement, just news of something happening in the food scene in and around Birmingham you might want to know about.

Experience: Lasan – Jewellery Quarter

Lasan is a well known name in the foodie scene of Birmingham. What many don’t seem to realise is how close it is to the City Centre.

Nestled just off St Paul’s Square, on James Street and a touch past the concrete collar which encircles the city, it feels like a million miles away from the bustle of the Bullring. There’s almost a country village feel to it…

A peek through the windows, feeling like Scrooge in ‘A Christmas Carol’, is a different story; the inside has been transformed into a light, airy space which a few press shots can show you much better than my camera can.

This was (shamefully) my first visit to Lasan, the jewel in the crown of the Lasan Group, having been founded in 2002. After their refurbishment is a new ethos: ‘True to India’. They’ve handpicked a range of dishes from all around the sub continent to cover all tastes, whilst giving each dish a homely feel. There’s also a decent sized space to have pre or post dinner drinks, with an extended bar area that has views into the main dining room.

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My dining companions for the evening were the superlative Paul Fulford – food writer extraordinaire, and Alev Dervish, fellow MFDHA finalist and who blogs under Bella & Robot. Both were great company for an evening of food….and what a wonderful bit of food it was. After a Jaipur IPA from Thornbridge Brewery, it was time to settle down and choose from their Menu.

For starters I had Haleem on the recommendation from Mr Fulford.  A Hyderabadi mutton stew combination of slow-cooked pickled shallots, pearl barley, five varieties of lentils and crisp salt lamb, commonly found in Hyderabad and across the Middle East. This was a rich, hearty peppery dish perfect for a cold evening; the lentils, pearl barley and lamb slow cooked for multiple hours into a smooth experience.

Alev picked the Ananas Paneer as it suited her gluten free needs. This was a pineapple-infused paneer tikka, marinated in red bell pepper, garlic and onion seeds, with textures of sweet baby beetroot and pineapple chutney; it looked stunning.

For main I had a Punjabi Makhan Chicken, made from marinated chicken tikka slowly simmered in a creamy tomato kaju sauce, partnered with a plain naan. I have a real love for Chicken Tikka. There’s something about the seared meat cooked in a tandoor. When teamed with the velvety tomato and cashew sauce, it was a delight with a tangy hit, smoky meat and then the tinge of spices at the end of the palate. This is Chicken Tikka elevated to the next level. The naan, another tandoor classic, is the perfect compliment to the dish and was mainly tasked with mopping up that delicious sauce in between big bites of chicken.

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My final dish of the evening was their selection of sorbet, in this case, raspberry paired with fresh fruit and ‘meringue wings’. This was a great palate cleanser after the richness of the starter and main. I did look at their wider range of desserts but there wasn’t much room to squeeze more in but that will have to wait for another time.

It was time to saunter off into the crisp autumnal air for a walk home. Both belly and eyes, full and content. A return visit is on the cards with Wifey in tow, as I’ve been remiss to treat her to a good curry for a long while…

 

When: 07/11/2017

Where:  Lasan, 3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, St Paul’s Square Birmingham, B3 1SD

Who: LasanLasan Group, Paul Fulford, Bella & Robot

Disclaimer: For this visit, I was a guest of Paul Fulford and Lasan who provided all food and drink. This provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.

 

 

GUEST POST – #BRUMHOUR GOES FOR A SPOT OF AFTERNOON TEA AT ROFUTO

Last month, it was Wifey and I’s 3rd wedding anniversary so we flew over to Jersey for a few days to visit my brother-in-law and his family, and ate too much food (more on that soon!).

So when an invite popped up, in my stead, I sent the fantastic Social Media superstar, #BrumHour (aka Dave Massey) to enjoy an afternoon tea with Rofuto.

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Afternoon Tea at Rofuto has launched on Saturday afternoons from 12pm-4pm at Rofuto, providing a more relaxed approach than the dining experience already offered in the evenings. The modern Japanese influence can be felt throughout this new menu. A glass of Prosecco is our arrival drink and we are seated at high long tables. There’s much on the Afternoon Tea menu to distract.

Rofuto, at the top of Park Regis, provides a unique space in Birmingham, from its sleek eye-catching bar to the panoramic views across our lovely and surprisingly green city. However, I’m slightly afraid of heights so I’m not that willing to go near the windows. But I’m not here for the view. I’m here for food!

We begin with Coronation Chicken Bao Buns, a steam bread-like bun. It’s lighter than I was expecting and certainly a change from regular sandwiches.  Next is Smoked Pepper and Avocado Nigiri, with rice and then there is Salmon Uramaki (I don’t eat fish or seafood so I’m not able to pass comment on this).

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Tea

There’s a selection of teas to choose from including Lapsang Souchong, Sencha Green Tea, Rooibos and Earl Grey.

Next, we move onto sweet starting with a lovely mini Salted Chocolate Caramel Gateaux, a Rose Lychee Macaroon which I ate with one bite. I’m not 100% convinced I’m delicate enough for this menu! Saying that, next I tried a White Chocolate Peanut Butter Lolly which was great. There was a great Yuzu Cheesecake with Blackberry and a Mango and Coconut Sesame Roll.

We are then treated to Scones, and the debate about jam first or cream first begins, so I have on with jam first (the Cornish method and then cream on top.) and the second one I have is cream first (the Devonshire method). There’s also some Lemongrass Curd to choose from, which tasted great.

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Menu

I really enjoyed the food and think that Afternoon Tea at Rofuto is a great alternative to those looking for something different with a touch of class. One of our fellow bloggers who was with us has specific diet requirements, and it was great to see they created a specific set of items to include this.  It shows they are flexible, with some notice, to create a tailored menu.

Visit Rofuto for Afternoon tea on Saturday afternoons from 12pm-4pm, the session lasts 2 hours including free flowing Prosecco. £25pp.

Find out more here: http://rofuto.co.uk/afternoon-tea/


 

About #BrumHour  / Dave Massey

Dave Massey created #BrumHour in 2013 with an aim of getting businesses and individuals to network with Birmingham. Join #BrumHour Sundays at 8pm on Twitter.

 

When: 27 October 2017

Where: Rofuto160 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DT

Who: Rofuto, #BrumHour, East Village Agency

Disclaimer: For this visit, Dave was a guest of Rofuto and East Village who provided all food and drink. As with all posts on this site, this blog was Dave’s personal, unaltered, opinion. Brummie Gourmand strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.

 

News: Unda’s Saturday Kitchen arrives at Bar Opus

 

I’m a big fan of Bar Opus, it’s location being a few steps away from the office and I’ve been a fair few times, so I was happy to hear about their newest regular event:

Next Saturday (11th November)  will be the inaugural Unda’s Saturday Kitchen, where guests will be able to join in the fun and let your inner chef skills shine.

Chef Unda will show each participant how to cook and present 3 different dishes, of course while enjoying a complimentary Bellini.

 

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Unda’s Saturday Kitchen

Pull up a chair at our open kitchen, sip a Bellini and allow chef Unda to show you how to cook and present 3 different dishes professionally, then use your new found culinary skills to wow your friends at your next dinner party!
Bi-monthly from Saturday 11th November, £25pp, 11am-12pm
Bellini on arrival, 10% off lunch at Bar Opus.
*Introductory offer: £20pp for first class on Saturday 11th November*
Limited to 6 places per session.
You can book via Telephone on 0121 289 3939
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NOTE: This is not a sponsored post or endorsement, just news of something happening in the food scene in and around Birmingham you might want to know about.

GUEST POST – PHILIP ELLIS GOES TO SAN CARLO WITH GRANA PADANO

A few weeks ago, it was Wifey and I’s 3rd wedding anniversary so we popped over to Jersey for a few days to visit my brother-in-law and his family, and ate too much food (more on that soon!).

So when I had an invite to the renowned San Carlo, in my stead I sent the superlative Philip Ellis, freelance journalist extraordinaire to enjoy a bit of cheese and wine with Grana Padano

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To celebrate its 25th anniversary, San Carlo teamed up with Italian cheese producers Grana Padano to create a very special menu. I went along to the restaurant’s Temple Street location in Birmingham for my first ever taste of Grana Padano, along with three luxurious courses inspired by this decadent cheese.

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The event kicked off with a tasting of three separate vintages of Grana Padano. The 11 month is softer and less grainy than older vintages, with a creamy texture and mild, buttery flavour that makes it ideal for family dining. The 16 month is crumblier, and its stronger flavour makes it a popular choice for cooking. The Riserva, aged for a minimum of 20 months, is much more potent, with a deeper, nuttier flavour; the perfect addition to a cheeseboard.

We then moved onto lunch itself, where we sampled each dish from the menu invented with the aim of showcasing the strength and versatility of Grana Padano as an ingredient.

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The first course was Gnocco Croccante; large, crispy coated gnocchi, served in a thick, creamy Grana Padano sauce with shavings of fresh black truffle. The gnocchi was served with a fresh, light Pinot Grigio which cleared the palate rather than overpowering the flavours of the cheese.

Next came a rich, delicious and incredibly hearty winter risotto with mushrooms, served quite spectacularly in a gigantic wheel of Grana Padano; a genuine showstopper. This was paired with a pale rosé, which prevented the rice-based course from becoming too heavy.

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Third and finally, the cheesiest dish of them all – gnocchi in a gorgeous gorgonzola sauce, served in an edible Grana Padano basket with a glass of full-bodied red wine.

You might think that a three course meal where cheese is the star ingredient in each dish might be overwhelming, but the chefs at San Carlo have come up with three delicious creations which highlight the subtler flavours as well as the stronger ones. Even after the final course was served, guests still found themselves picking at the extra pieces of Grana Padano on offer!

 


 

About Philip Ellis

Philip is a WriterJournalist, and Broadcaster in the United Kingdom who mainly focuses on exploring inter-connectivity of social media, entertainment, politics, culture, technology and relationships. He has written for The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue and Style Birmingham. You can find more of his work at freelancephilip.co.uk

When: 26/10/2017

Where: San Carlo, Temple Street, B2 5BN

Who: San Carlo, Grana Padano, Philip Ellis

Disclaimer: For this visit, Phil was a guest of San Carlo and Grana Padano who provided all food and drink. As with all posts on this site, this blog was Phil’s personal, unaltered, opinion. Brummie Gourmand strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.