Brighton Born and Bread

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Gin journey comes to Brighton

How much gin is too much Gin? Well for Gin journey that answer isn't 5 tasters, 5 cocktails and an extra gin for the journey; the menu for the newest experience to come to Brighton this summer. Gin Journey is a chaffeaured gin tour around Brighton championing local brands and businesses, with gin knowledge from what they loving call your 'Gin Guardian'.

On national Gin day, Henry and I went along to their launch tour to try out the latest foodie/drinkie experience to come to Brighton and the first stop on the tour was The Fix. 

At each venue, you are greeted with a taster of the gin that they're highlighting in the venue. These have been picked not only because they are great gin's but also to highlight some of the qualities of the city that the tour is in including sustainability and 'camp'. 

In The Fix we sampled the delicious Foxhole Gin alongside a cocktail, made with the same gin, local arundel cucmber and soda water. I love myself a gin but would never drink it straight; our Gin guardian Jake not only gave us the confidence to do that but also spoke us through some of the great back stories of the gin itself. Did you know it's actually made from British wine grapes? The cocktail itself was refreshing and a great smooth start.

After an exceptionally short ride in their amazingly-named Gini bus, we were at venue number two, Gung-ho. I have, of course, heard of this small sustainable cocktail bar on preston street but never managed to go before. 

The bar itself champions british produce and freshly squeezed juices and even uses hand-chipped blocks of ice and sustainable straws! We were served a picked pineapple cocktail made from a delicious tropical gin made by the brand, Porters. This was definitely my favourite gin and cocktail and will definitely try them both again!

Although the tour is (clearly) about the gin, the guardians definitely took their time to look after us! Making sure we were constantly stocked up water and encouraging food in our third venue; Plaeau. We put our orders in at the bar before and were again greeted by tasters and cocktails on arrival, shortly followed by the much-needed food. 

Henry and I went for olives, crispy potatoes with paprika and porta as a mid-tour snack alongside our third gin, Jensen's. This gin was a little too strong straight for me with just the taster but the delicious citrusy cocktail to go with our food was a great accompaniment. 

Next, to a venue I know and love Plotting Parlour. This time we were given space in their beautifully decorated private room and served with tasters and cocktails again.. I should note I had to change mine due to an orange allergy, I didn't just get an extra cocktail for fun! The gin itself was called silverback and although it wasn't to my taste (it was the strongest one on the tout) I loved the brand and ethos... 

Alongside making a small batch and award-winning gins Silverback supports a great cause; with £1 of each bottle of spirit sold going to The Gorilla organisation, a charity doing important work to save mountain gorillas from extinction.

Our final venue was The Golden Pineapple, a hidden gem on ship street that Henry and I actually stumbled upon a few days after it had opened last year. We were treated to taster of Aviator, an American gin that is actually owned by Ryan Reynolds who states "I've tried every gin on the planet and Aviation is, hands down, the best. Also, I don't recommend trying every gin on the planet. Stick with this one."

The cocktail alongside was a pineapple tiki-style drink mixing the gin with pineapple and elebroate decorations, classic tiki style! I can't tell you much more other than it was delicious and I highly recommend...gin. 

In all seriousness, this was a great day. I would definitely recommend booking on either as a different kind of date-day or in a small group of people. There's a good mix of drinking and also knowledge around gin; from the making of it to the history of brands and the history of gin itself. 

The tour took a total of 4 and a half hours so it's definitely a whole day event, it's perfect for a local Brightonian or someone visiting the city and looking for the best cocktail spots!
 You can book your spot on their next tour over on their website; Gin Journey and you can also get vouchers so it's a great gift for any newlyweds or friends, who you know like a gin or cocktail. 


Monday, 3 June 2019

Temper Soho

Firstly let's be clear, this is not a post for my vegetarian readers. This is a post appreciating one of my favourite dining experiences I have had, at a restaurant that champions high-quality products with all of the meat being sourced from sustainable British farms and butchered in-house. 

Temper London is a chain of restaurants in London with each branch having a unique feeling and menu but all focusing on great food and atmosphere. For Henry's birthday weekend we headed to the Soho branch; a basement restaurant with a 6m long central fire pit and open kitchen focusing on high quality barbequed food.

The Starters 

The menu itself is simple and designed to share. It is split into sections with starters comprising of 'snacks' and 'tacos'. To start off we went for cheeseburger taco and smoked goat taco, which both came recommended from the very helpful waiting staff (we were also sat the bar and right next to the head chef so got to try some of their slow-cooked pork and it was stunning and a must-order if we visit again!)

Both of the tacos came out garnished and on a plate to share. The cheeseburger taco was as labelled, a barbeque hob cooked burger made of their delicious meat with melted cheese, diced red onion and jalapenos for a spicy bite. The burgers were perfectly juicy and the cheese added an extra level, but my stand out dish was the smoked goat taco. I haven't had a lot of goat and wasn't sure what to expect but these melt in the mouth smoked cuts topped with a spiced sauce and jalapenos were delicious. The tacos were a great starter to share and a great size for a lighter lunch snack.

The Main 

For the main, we had to go for a steak! We went for the sirloin and with kitchen side seats we were lucky enough to even see how it was cooked; on the scorching barbeque wood, to the grill above the flames and then to rest in amongst the slow-cooked meat and barbeque smoke. The steaks come in various sizes but we went for the 400g sirloin and it was the perfect size for two of us. All of the steaks come with their sauce; kimchi spiced mayonnaise and we also ordered their 'green sauce' a simple mix of lime, chilli and coriander. 

I love that the steak came on its own flatbread that perfectly soaked up the juices and added an extra crunch. We also ordered from their 'sides' menu and opted for the burrata which came with lime and jalapeno and was the perfect creaminess to go alongside the meat. Other sides to try included beef fat potatoes, salads and something called smacked cucumber.

If you're not a lover of classic steak, other options for mains include BBQ dishes like a smoked goat, homemade sausage or pork carnitas served with paratha and wood-fired fish with tortillas, chipotle sour cream, green sauce, fennel & mint salad.

As you can see the steaks come with the fat left on and although it was sealed off I didn't eat it. They don't take it off any of the steaks out of choice, mainly for flavour, but recommend certain cuts if you're not a fan. They also cook all of the steaks by the barbeque and to their standards so we didn't pick how 'well-done' the steak was but for me, it was perfect pink level. 

The Dessert

So.. we didn't quite stop there. We decided to have our third and final course of dessert to share and what else could we order but the head chefs' recommendations, the deep dish brigadeiro cookie; a deep dish, barbeque hob cooked chocolate chip cookie served melt in the middle and crispy on the edges.. with a Fior Da latte ice cream melting on top. 

It was the perfect end to an amazing meal. The food was well flavoured, though not for someone who isn't a fan of salt, and served promptly. The service was attentive yet comfortable with kitchen side seats and constant interaction with the chef and even the drinks, with a well-equipped bar, were stunning. 

It wasn't the cheapest meal and is definitely a birthday treat or celebratory lunch but it was hands down worth the money and the trip to London! 


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

8 things I wish I'd known before wedding dress shopping

So, big things are happening in my little world of wedding planning and I really want to start getting some of it on the blog (yes I know, not strictly food content but I'm excited!). 

After you get engaged there are so many things that run through your mind; things to plan, people to tell, things to buy! But one of the things that I was almost immediately excited about was buying the dress. A few weeks after my mum was already trying to get me to book wedding shop fittings and looking at styles and after a few months of searching (both on Pinterest and a lot of shops), I finally found one! But it wasn't easy, finding the perfect dress can be stressful but it's so much fun as well. 

So to help any newly engaged brides or people who have left it to the last minute (how?!!) here are some things I wish I knew before going dress shopping:

1. Underwear is important! 
Not just so it doesn't show through the dress but because in most boutiques they put you in the dress, so you're going to be in your underwear in front of someone make sure they're nice.

2. Wear your hair similar to how you think you'll have it on the day. 
You don't need the exact style but if you're probably going for an updo then stick your hair in a ponytail to see how you like each dress with that style, and it helps with to veil or not to veil.

3. Videos are better than pictures. 
A lot of people say not to take pictures in the dress because it'll never look as good by a dodgy iPhone angle in weird lighting but, where you can, take a video from a few angles so you can see the bits you missed and then delete them after so you don't obsess.

4. You probably don't know what you want. 
I was so sure of what I wanted when I started shopping, I'd been pinning for a while and so was pretty set but funnily enough, the dress is nowhere near that and I love it. Be open-minded, you never know what'll suit you!

5. Sometimes they fit, sometimes they don't. 
I had such a mixed bag with dress sizing, in some of the shops I went to every dress fit like a dream but in others, they were a few sizes too small. Try not to be disheartened, they tend to have one 'medium' size in the shop but everywhere is different and a lot of places will make it look as close as they can.

6. Spread the bookings out. 
For me I found it difficult to separate out some of the dresses, every shop you're in is really different but they can start to blur. Spread out the dress shop bookings so you don't start to feel overwhelmed but also don't hold out for one shop, you might find it in the first shop!

7. Know your budget
It's boring and slightly less magical but you need to know a rough budget walking in. A lot of places hang their dresses by price range so if you can't afford it, just don't look! When you walk in you're generally told to pick a few to start; try not to be tempted to pick one 'just to see' you'll only be disappointed. 

8. Enjoy it
I was so nervous when I was in the first few dress shops, I have no idea why but I think it was just the pressure. But if there is one bit of advice it's to enjoy it... do the twirls, try on all the accessories and all the styles. You'll remember these shops for a long time so make it a happy memory.

Would you like to see more wedding content on here? There's a few more big decisions to make and then it's onto the little details and the DIY projects! 

I'm going to be covering a lot of stuff on my instagram and stories so make sure you're following me over there as well @brightonbb_


Sunday, 19 May 2019

Dim Sum cookery course at Community kitchen

There are some things that Brighton is just the best at, some things that make Brighton stand out! I think that Brighton Community kitchen is one of those things. I am lucky enough to go along to courses at the kitchen and each time I am so impressed with the experience. From the chefs delivering classes to the amazing volunteers, it is always an evening to enjoy and remember. 

I also want to say that it doesn’t have to be a group or couple thing, a few people have said to me that they would love to go on cooking courses but their partner/child/friends wouldn’t be up for it. The thing I love about the community kitchen is it's so welcoming when you’re on your own. Obviously the initial bit walking in can be awkward, but with the kitchen being set up in pairs and with the ever-welcoming volunteers, you quickly move on from that. When there I always end up forgetting I am on my own and having great conversations (or if you don’t fancy a chat you’re making food for yourself so you can just zone in and zone out!)

What is also a lovely touch for this is the communal eating at the end of each meal. On each course everyone including volunteers, staff and chefs sit together to eat what they have made and speak all things foodie.

Most recently I was invited down to try their Dim Sum class. The Dim Sum class is run by Jethro of Kitchen academy who was also the chef leading the sushi course that I went to last year. He is a trained chef who runs courses so has the great combination of being able to cook but also being able to teach.

We started the course with a short run through of what we were going to make, ingredients that we had and a bit of a background on the kitchen. When we headed to our station the equipment was already laid out ready for us, with ingredients on specific boards and all of the cutlery and utensils that we would need already organised. As a rule it's two people to a hob and for this course we shared the steamer as well.

The first thing that we were made were the chinese pork potsticker dumplings; a similiar shape to a gyoza. To make the filling for these we combined pork mince, vegetables and seasoning alongside soy sauce and seasoning and then spooned onto our pasties.

We were given a demonstration to start by Jethro and then went off in pairs to try to recreate; I found this shape really difficult to master, especially having to use both hands and pinching the circular pastry as you go round. Once made we fried them on a very hot heat to seal the bottom and then placed them into our steamer (make sure to leave enough space between the so that they didnt stick).

Next we made a vegeterian option of Pak Choi & Kale which was called the Fat Cold Fold. 

The filling was a combination of pak choi and kale, spices and crumpled tofu which we again combined in a large bowl with our hands. We used the circular pastries again to put a smaller spoonful in the middle and water around the edge to seal. 

For me this was a much easier fold and I'll definitely be using it again! You had to make a half moon shape by folding the pastry in half, over the filling, and then by grabbing the two points round the back and pinching to seal in the middle. After we made a few we then placed them into our steamer alongside our pot stickers.

With the remaining filling we then got to try some other shapes inluding the triangle fold; again using circlular pastry you hold the pastry in the palm of your hand and pinch into three corners, the unhappy fish fold which had a similiar technique to the pot sticker and the more classic twisted and open dumpling as well. 

We steamed the all together and then served them up to share; alongside a great dipping sauce that Jethro made for the table.

As always in the community kitchen, we sat down to share our meal at the commual table and spent the last part of the course eating our handmade dim sum and talking all things food! 

I am lucky enough to be invited along to these courses, however, I cannot say enough how amazing they are. I love everything about it; from the skills you learn and the food you eat to the people you cook with. Make sure to check out their website for full information on the Brighton and Hove food partnership and to book yourself on one of their courses head to their cookery courses page.. and maybe I'll see you on a course soon!


Thursday, 16 May 2019

2019 Life update

So, maybe you don’t care at all or maybe you haven’t even noticed I’ve been gone but it's been a little while since I last posted and a couple of things have changed. So I thought I’d do a little life update to restart regular blog posts again and update you on where the bloody hell I've been!

So other than a quick family holiday to France, some foodies events and most recently a very brief but very exciting debut on BBC there are two big updates; 

1. The Wedding

So as you may or may not know we got engaged! Henry proposed and since then I’ve spent a lot of my spare time planning, budgeting and shopping. I’m going to be doing some regular posts around the wedding and what we are doing to plan it soon which hopefully will be something different but something people will enjoy. We already have a venue sorted (which is apparently half the battle), the colour scheme and cake sorted and the guest list pretty much there but there's still a lot more to do. Who knew there was so much to organise and decide?!

I am looking forward to getting some of the finer details sorted and of course finding THE dress so I will keep you all updated on here! We’ve also decided to do our wedding on a pretty strict budget so let me know if you’d like to see more about the budget and how we are finding our inspiration for the wedding.

2. The House

We moved. We were living in central Hove but we, in quite a quick turn over, decided to up and move and head west to Worthing. We weren’t looking to move any time soon but had a look, found a beautiful little house within our budget and moved 3 weeks later. Obviously, this has taken up a lot of our time; mainly because we didn’t have internet for the first 4 weeks (who knew how much we depended on it!) but we are finally feeling settled and comfortable.. and have wifi!

For the blog its not going to mean a huge change, I am still going to be featuring mainly Brighton based restaurants and businesses but I am excited to also find out what Worthing has to offer for food and drink, so any recommendations would be great- I already have my eye on the soon to open Pitch, the new restaurant to be open by Kenny Tutt; last years winner of Masterchef.

The other change is with my kitchen, although I liked my kitchen at the old place we were in a basement flat, so lighting for cooking videos and posts was definitely limited. With our new kitchen I have a lot more freedom to make more recipe content so keep an eye on my Instagram for some fun new things, and of course more recipe mosts of here!

So I think that’s all up to date. I have been lucky enough to do some exciting things and try some new places over the last month as well so there will be blog posts about that coming very soon and as always, anything you would like to see let me know on here or follow me on my Instagram for more updates, foodie posts and insta stories!
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