‘What’s your beef’ Devon burger fans? New Urbanburger competition!

The Smokey Mountain Burger from Urbanburger

See your recipe served up on the menu at urbanburger, Exeter’s original burger restaurant

Exeter’s original burger restaurant, urbanburger, is today launching the ‘What’s your beef?’ competition inviting people to create the ultimate burger and win a place on the menu.

Recipes will be judged by a panel of food experts with the winning burger being included on urbanburger’s menu. In addition, to this accolade the winner will receive £250 worth of vouchers to spend in urbanburger and urban underground.

Launched by Garth and Melissa Pearse in September 2012, urbanburger has become famed for its array of gourmet burgers made with 100% Devon beef. Last month it was named by GQ magazine as one of the top five gourmet burger restaurants in the country http://ehod.co/GQUrbanburger

“We’re looking for inspirational and mouth-watering creations,” said Garth.

“Be creative, be different, be brave. We pride ourselves on using the best local ingredients and giving our customers a wonderful experience to remember, so it needs to be something special.”

Melissa added: “We’re really hoping that there is someone out there to create the burger to top all burgers. Priding yourself on staying local doesn’t mean you can’t draw your inspiration from around the world, the past, present or future.”

‘What’s your beef?’ competition recipes can be beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian, but it should be possible to source the key ingredients locally from Devon. Up to 10 ingredients for the filling and a standard or gluten free bun can be used.

The entries will be judged on flavour, texture and presentation and should take no more than 10 minutes to prepare. Entrants need to send in their ‘What’s your beef?’ recipe, using the form at www.urbanburger.co.uk by Friday, 14th November 2014.

The best recipes will be shortlisted, cooked and go before an ‘X-Factor’ style judging panel of Devon food lovers and food experts on Thursday, 27th November at urbanburger. All those shortlisted will be invited to the judging evening and get the chance to see their burger in the spotlight. The panelists will be revealed later this month.

The shortlist will be announced on Twitter @UrbanBurgerExe on XXXXXX #Whatsyourbeef.

In recent months urbanburger has revised its main menu and also launched a new Urban Smoke Shack, with beef, pork and chicken cooked in a newly-imported American ‘smoker’.

Go to www.urbanburger.co.uk for more information and full competition rules.

Emilee Tombs on World Gin Day @ The Magdalen Chapter

World Gin Day is not something to be taken lightly. There seems to be a day for everything, but for me, a day dedicated to the wonderful concoctions to be made with juniper is one that should truly be savoured. Imagine my delight then, when I received an invite to sample the very stuff at the Magdalen Chapter in Exeter. There couldn’t possibly be a more perfect setting than the hotel’s historic walled courtyard, complete with landscaped gardens and a pool, from which to sample the creations of the hotel’s mixologist Ben.

After a quick tour through the cosy library, stylish circular dining room and heritage-style bar my companion and I slumped into a couple of the hotel’s striped deck chairs in the garden and awaited our fate.

The snug barThe snug bar
The garden and hotelThe garden and hotel

First on the menu was a Spring Green, appearing in a tumbler the drink did its best to camouflage into the impossibly green lawn, but by now my companion and I were parched and we gulped down the refreshing muddle of Hendrick’s Gin, Midori melon liqueur, lime and cucumber without even pausing to clink our glasses.

Spring GreenSpring Green

Ben followed this up with a fruitier number, his Pimms Martini combining the two cocktails no no gin lover can every refuse. The final flourish left us stumped, the Rhubarb Sour was so precise in its flavour combinations – the Bombay Sapphire, lemon, grenadine, and a Magdalen-exclusive – rhubarb liqueur, created by Ben, was stirred together with an egg white, creating just the right amount of bite. We reclined, giving thought to where we recognised this incredibly nostalgic flavour from. Just as the sun began to set behind the hotel, and our glasses were drained, we both remembered in unison – the drink we both favoured bore an uncanny resemblance to the rhubarb and custard boiled sweets of our childhoods.

Pimms Martini and Rhubarb SourPimms Martini and Rhubarb Sour

We left satiated, for never a better gin tasting session had been had.

photo 4

The Magdalen Chapter
Magdalen Street

Exeter
EX2 4HY
01392 288171
magdalen@chapterhotels.com

Emily is one of Eating Exeter’s guest contributors.  Read more on her blog at http://bomdiatravel.wordpress.com/

Urban Burger, Queen St, Exeter

A few months ago, the independent family run Urban Burger Restaurant invited Beer, Burger and Beyond (Eating Exeter’s side project) to come down and pay them a visit and sample some of the delights that can be found on their awesome menu.  Whilst there, I really really wanted a burger and at the time couldn’t quite bring myself to hit the brand new Smoke Shack menu.  Burger Urge is a strong and powerful thing!
I also realised that Urban Burger didn’t have a place on Eating Exeter, so what else could I do? I just had to go back.  And this time it was with 8 other work colleagues on a social night, a gaggle of us rowdy lot taking up two of their tables and all wanting something different.  Annoyingly I didn’t have a camera with me, so I have reused some photos from our last visit, when the light was much better and I had a DSLR at hand.

Organizing a social night with work friends can be hard sometimes, especially if there are a vast array of needs to be catered for.  Thankfully, working with the lovely people that I do, it was very easy and Urban Burger made it that much easier. First point I have to make here, they reply to their email and were really accommodating to any changes we made. Second point to be highlighted is that they were very happy to accept any form of payment whether it was partly cash, card etc. there was no strange restrictions or charges.

With Urban Burger, there is no smoke-and-mirrors with the food they serve.  After our last visit I drew the conclusion that they really care about the food that emerges from their kitchen, and after a recent menu revamp they are proving that they are competitive and passionate about what they do.  The restaurant space is filled with natural light during the day, with a stonework floor and decor that gives the place a distinctively Urban feeling but without being too harsh and utilitarian as the name Urban might lead you to believe.

The menu is clean and easy to read, it is accessible and professional.  The side of the menu has information about  the Man Vs Food challenge which quite frankly is slightly mad.  20 minutes to eat seven 6oz patties, seven slices of American cheese, seven pieces of bacon, an organic bun and a little salad.  If you win it, you get the whole lot for free (costs £24.95 regularly), a t-shirt and your name on the leader board and photo on the website.  As far as I am aware, there is no where else in Exeter that has a similar challenge meal, only the brave should enter.

Other parts of the menu tell you exactly where the meat comes from and emphasises the fact that nearly all of their ingredients are locally produced and where possible, made from scratch on the premises.  In large characters it says that 95% of everything on the menu is made from scratch, just in case you hadn’t realised.

So. Lets get down to business. The food.

I was quite determined to have something from the Smoke Shack menu (if you want my take on the burgers, have a look at the BBB Review!) and today it would be ½ Hot Smoked BBQ Free Range Chicken (£11.95) and a bottle of Avocet from Exeter Brewery.  My other half, who happens to be a work colleague also, went for the Goats Cheese Salad (£7.95) consisting of Grilled Goat’s cheese, caramelised red onions, roasted red peppers, mixed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, beetroot, cucumber and house dressing finished with a balsamic reduction.  Other members of the party had various things, including two Chief Burgers (The Chief’s Burger £9.95 – Two 6oz prime Devon beef patties, bacon, fried onions, mayo, two slices of American cheese) that went down very well with a small portion of each sale of The Chief Burger going to

The first thing you noticed is the deep colour of the chicken, then the smell of chicory smoked meat.  Rubbed in spices and left to marinade overnight then smoked in Urban Burger’s very own American Smoker.

A whole half chicken (from Greenslade Farm, just outside Clyst St Mary) is a lot of meat, and its a strange thing when you get half way through and realise that your eyes are actually much larger than your stomach.  And this happened to be the dilemma that faced me as I chomped my way through the BBQ Brisket beans, the double fried fries and the coleslaw that came with my half chicken.

The grilled goat’s cheese salad that was being consumed next to me was served in a giant taco shell and looked amazing. Reports indicate that it was one of the nicest salads ever consumed and that we would be coming back primarily for the salad.

Unfortunately on this occasion we didn’t have space for any of Nicole’s Peanut Butter Pie, and I didn’t have a chance to sample any of their cocktails, but will return soon to sample some of their cocktails :)

Each meal I have ate at Urban Burger has always ended with a feeling of satisfaction.  It was no different on this occasion and although I didn’t managed to finish the entire meal, I was left with a sense of total and complete ‘happy-stuffed’ feeling.  The prices are average for the type of restaurant and location in Exeter, but the friendliness of the staff and the quality of the food is much more than average.

Visit the website http://www.urbanburger.co.uk/

Visit on Twitter
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Welcome to the new look Beer, Burger and Beyond

Chris:

Beer, Burger and Beyond has now been moved over completely to WordPress. Its ”open for business’ but still work to do with the design still. Please have a look around and see what you think :)

Originally posted on Beer, Burger and Beyond:

Thank you for coming today, fellow Burger Lovers.

As the founder and sole writer for Beer, Burger and Beyond I would like to formally open this new refurbished blog that is half finished but now relatively organised.

There is still work to do, but for the most part this is now the new home of Beer, Burger and Beyond.  I now cut this ribbon to mark the new look blog open for business.

View original

‘Read Reviews’ page! Now all reviews are easy to find…

One thing I have been dying to do since Eating Exeter reached size enough to warrant it was to index the reviews in to some sort of easy glance page. It is an urge that I have now and again, being a librarian these things are inevitable.

And that has now happened, head to ‘Read Reviews’ to see all of Eating Exeter’s reviews on one page with links to the reviews themselves.  If you can’t qutie make it up to the Read Reviews link above, click here.

There are two sections: One section covering reviews about places in Exeter and the other section covering reviews of places which are…well…not!

DSC00459image courtesy of Morguefile

 

Powderham Food Festival 2014

What do you get when you combine a stately home, the best of local producers and a sunny October in Devon?

The Powderham Food Festival of course!  I had the privilege of being invited along to this annual event on behalf of Eating Exeter and I have to say I was not at all disappointed.

As you entered the main courtyard your sense where immediately assaulted by a plethora of sights and smells from the variety of stalls that were attending. And like Aerosmith I didn’t want to miss a thing so my glamorous assistant and I quickly came up with a plan on how to tackle the stalls.

Whilst I would like to mention all the stalls we visited I feel it would be unfair if I miss any so instead here are a few pictures:

Moving beyond the courtyard and into the main house itself you entered a calmer world than that of the courtyard where more vendors were based including the very entertaining spice mix seller from South Africa.

Into the library and an interesting conversation with a purveyor of mushrooms.

We discussed the varieties available in the UK and poisonous vs non-poisonous varieties. Finally we had a chat about correct French translations vs marketing, a strange topic I hear you say but when you look at the next photo
you may understand ……

(for those of you who do not speak French, the literal translation is Death Trumpets!)

Moving out of the library and back out into the glorious sunshine of that day, and we were on the rear lawns of the castle overlooking the main eating and demonstration area of the festival. This year’s theme was ‘No Smoke without Fire’ celebrating barbecue and outdoor cooking at its best. A variety of very entertaining demonstration were underway cooking everything from Slow-cooked pulled pork to smoked and barbecued Ruby Red beef brisket.

We sat spell bound by the demonstrations going on over the fire pit in the tepee and were very impressed by the culinary skills of the Royal Marines before moving on to observe the versatility of the Aga.

In keeping with the fire theme of the day, lunch was taken from the wood fired pizza oven and accompanied by one of the special brewed for the event by Hunter’s Brewery at Ipplepen, a chilli beer!

To round off our day, we perused our way to the upper lawn to enjoy the live music being provided and sit in the beautiful autumn sunshine for a while.

As we watched the world go by around us it was apparent that a good time was being had by all, while only in its third year at present the Powderham Food Festival already has an avid following and I for one am already looking forward to next years!

http://www.powderhamfoodfestival.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/powderhamfest

14th November 2014: Spooky Culinary Extravaganza @ The Great Fulfords at Cheriton Bishop

DSC_0016EDIT: This event has been moved to Friday 14th November

A few weeks ago, Eating Exeter had the special opportunity to sample ‘Jonny Does Dinner’ serving Dinner In A Polytunnel at Trill Farm and absolutely loved it.  It was an amazing meal served in a fantastic location, ultimately a real treat for a foody who cares about his ingredients.

Jonny Does Dinner has had a few more events since, and the next one is destined to be a corker.  Taking places at The Great Fulfords, near Cheriton Bishop, home of Francis Fulford (appeared on The F**king Fulfords back in 2004) and featuring on BBC Three in a new series called Life Is Toff, the Great Fulfords is a suitably spooky setting for a dinner happening the night before Halloween!

Diners can expect a 4 course meal cooked by Jonny (ex Mark Hix, The Groucho Club and Brindisa) as he “creates a sublime menu with his customary bonhomie and flamboyance. Simple, elegant, outstanding gastronomy, locally sourced where possible” as their website says.

Book tickets online here and read a little more about what sort of things they’ve been up to!

#UKBA15 Blog Awards 2015 – We’ve Entered!

UK blog Awards
So, we’re going to have a go at this.  It might be a really successful stunt, or it might not be, but it’d be nice to have a bit of kudos for the efforts of the last three years.

The voting will start on the 10th November, and we’ll need a lot of votes.  Lots of votes.  LOTS AND LOTS…

Green Sauce presents Funghi Night at The Rusty Pig, Ottery St Mary – 24th October

The Rusty Pig in Ottery St Mary is the venue for Tim Maddams’ Green Sauce to set up shop for a Pop-up night.  Tim previously worked as Head Chef at River Cottage, and can still be found teaching, writing for national rags and promoting ethical foods.  The Funghi Night looks like its going to be a spectacular evening, using foraged mushrooms to create a carnival of culinary creativity!

If you wish to book a place on this special evening contact info@greensauce.co.uk or contact 01404 815580

IMG_20141007_191022

Easy Chicken and Pesto Pasta – Ideal for beginners

Our kitchen is about the size of a knat’s testicle and given the tiny amount of surface space we actually have, I am all for the student modus operandi when it comes to cooking.  There is no shame in using a jar of pesto opposed to fresh pesto that you make yourself, and I can’t start to say that it matches it in taste but for ‘everyday’ its a fine substitute.  So with this I present a budget/student version of Chicken and Pesto Pasta with my signature vague instructions.

There are a few recipes floating about for Chicken and Pesto Pasta if you don’t like the look of this one.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can adjust it and suit it to your tastes as you wish.  Generally it should work with more pasta and less sauce or vice versa and that is the beauty of pasta.

I used chicken for this, but this would also work with quorn pieces should you be that way inclined.  If you have broad beans lying around then use those instead of peas.  If you have pine nuts to hand then even better, but for this I am using sunflower seeds as they are far cheaper.  They still add a satisfying crunch to the dish, and if toasted in a bit of butter, they keep the slightly buttery flavour.

You will need:

3 tbsp Sunflower seeds (more the merrier)
3/4 Jar Sacla Basil Pesto
2 large chicken breasts or 3 handfuls Quorn Chickens pieces
Frozen Peas 1 large handful, (or not. Depends if you like peas)
Half a clove Garlic
Parmasan

1. Start the pasta off. It’ll need cooking for about 15 minutes in a large pan.
2. Toast the sunflower seeds. Put aside.
3. Fry the chicken with some garlic until slightly brown.
4. Add peas to chicken in pan and heat till peas are cooked. Add pesto and sunflower seeds and heat through for a couple of minutes.
5. Drain pasta, combine with chicken/pesto in the large pan and stir on a low heat for a minute.
6. Grate Parmasen. Boom.

Irish Cream Tiramisu…just a little celebration!

IRISH CREAM TIRAMISU I’ve long been tinkering about with a bottle of Bailey’s, seeing how it could b… – http://pinterest.com/pin/210332245072779612/?utm_source=android_share

100,000 views – Thank you!

100000

So today marked a little milestone in the history of Eating Exeter.  We hit 100,000 views!  Its taken 3 years or so to get here, and for a blog that started as an idea three years ago between myself and Polly over a glass of wine, I think this is quite impressive.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the blog, to the restaurants and chefs who have been willing to talk and to make us feel welcome and to those people who read the blog regularly via Twitter or over email.

Beer, Burger and Beyond – The latest!

IMG_20141004_173814Beer, Burger and Beyond has been a little quiet recently.  But recently the beer has been flowing and the burgers have been eaten (after a spell of being quite healthy and fiscally poor).

The first adventure is a quick write-up of the North Devon Ale Trail, which we have done a few times, but this time we did an ‘edited’ version which included the better pubs and missed out some of the crap ones.  It also includes our visit to The Mare and Foal in Yeoford (just outside Crediton) which is a quirky little pub with some great food offerings and a real understanding of the importance of Real Ale.

Secondly we made our bi-annual pilgrimage to Paignton yesterday and had a revisit to The Inn On The Green, which had been on my ‘don’t go to’ list of pubs.  But found it much improved, despite it still being very much a family pub.  The burger was tasty, the Ale would have been great had the Hobgoblin been available but it won’t stop me going again.  Maybe with some ear protectors too.

Beer, Burger and Beyond is a little like my ‘side-project’.  The writing style is quite different and it takes a ‘Pulls no Punches’ attitude to the language.  No swearing, but a little more raw.  In the future it would be nice to include more about my travels and adventures within it, but I am struggling somewhat with Blogger and the lack of control over basic things such as photo galleries and how the whole blog looks.

Keep posted for more updates and antics!

http://beerburgerandbeyond.blogger.com

The Glorious Art House, Fore Street, Exeter

The Glorious Art House appeared on my social radar a few weeks ago over Facebook.  In fact a lot of new openings get to me via Facebook and often friends who recommend these things and thanks to one of my old friends, I became aware of its existence and through the few photos that I saw of it I immediately wanted to go look.  There is something special about this coffee shop, something unique.

Exeter has become a city of cafe culture.  There are so many options for coffee lovers and there are quite a  few places that serve really good coffee, award winning establishments that have received national recognition of one sort or another.

Face it Exeter, you’re spoilt for choice.

The Glorious Art House is very much a family business.  The manager/owner Derry Tydeman, runs the cafe side of the business with his mum Rose who provides much of the colour and creativity that exudes from the walls and the ceilings.  In fitting out the shop itself, Derry’s father built the surfaces of the kitchen and counter area, and with the help of close friends and family, it appeared on Fore Street about six weeks ago and has been gathering a bit of a cult following ever since.

Stepping through the glass door, the first thing that hits you is the colour of the walls.  It emanates a bohemian energy, but not in a ‘lentils, pulses and tie-dye’ way.  It is tasteful, the art on the walls is colourful and dynamic, the décor compliments the colourfulness. Even the crockery are works of art in themselves, created by Anthropologie.eu they were originally sold in the shop but they sold so well that they had to stop selling them else face having no crockery at all!

The menu has a strong focus on locally sourced and organic ingredients.  The Exploding Bakery provides much of the cakes and biscuits and the other light bites coming from the talented fingertips of the folk behind the counter.  Sandwiches, Platters and Specials (Chunk of Devon Meat Pie anyone?) and a few other items are available to eat in the cafe.


The coffee is something that I believe is unique to Exeter.  Crafted by the cafe’s baristas through a Sanremo coffee machine, they use triple certified Matthew Algie Elevator coffee which I am certain (could be wrong, please tell me if I am) is the only place in Exeter that is currently serving this.  Rich medium roast with a lovely bitterness to it which screams ‘I am good coffee drink me now’.  Yes coffee talks to me, but only after a few cups.

And to top all of this off, The Glorious Art House has a gallery on the 2nd floor that displays exhibitions in a lovely light space that overlooks Fore Street.  They are also inviting in live music and visiting performers during the daytime as well to add to the variety of reasons why this is a fantastic little cafe that needs the support of Exeter coffee/culture lovers.

Read their blog here

Find them on Facebook

Visit their website:

http://www.theglorious.co.uk -

The Pickle Shack is back! Some dates for your diary.

Josh and Jodie are certainly busy!  Eating Exeter reported on their Tapas and Cocktails evening at The Real McCoys Arcade a few weeks ago and loved it!  There more dates and oppurtunities to experience the cooking talents of Josh McDonald-Johnson in some unique and special locations.

The next Grub Clubs will be held in Chagford (4th October), Ashburton (10th October) and Gittisham (1st November). Booking is essential with these dates are there are a limited number of spaces available.

Click on the images to get to the Facebook event page.

Chagford Grub Club:

Ashburton Grub Club:

Gittisham Grub Club:

If you can’t make these evenings then fear, not.  Josh and Jodie are returning to The Real McCoy’s Arcade for a Street Food Pop-Up on Saturday 25th October.

Josh has also teamed up with Whistle Wines to bring another Pop-up Restaurant on the 30th October.

And finally, a Pop-up Restaurant at Exeter Brewery which looks set to be a stonking good evening too :)

 

Eating Exeter now on Pinterest. Click the icon —————————————————————->

Being ever progressive in the face of Social Media, Eating Exeter is now on Pinterest.  Read here to see what the point of Pinterest is.

It is about image sharing, exploring topics you’re interested in, and for Eating Exeter this means repinning recipes, foodporn and sharing the love of food eating which binds every human that walks around on this strange rock that we call Earth.

Go forth and share the images, love and recipes with us.  I am sure you’ll agree with me that Pinterest can get quite addictive given it has apps for iOS and Androind too.

http://www.addisonclarkonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/pinterest-account.jpg

Jamie’s Italian to open in Exeter, Strada to close: Opinion

Ah…Jamie Oliver.  It seemed like only yesterday he was prancing around our TV screens with his Essex twist, cooking grub for his mates under the guise of the Naked Chef.  Now look at him; a multi-millionaire, multi endorsing force of nature.  And you have to hand it to him, a rags to riches story to aspire to for any young and budding chef.

The Naked Chef series started Jamie off on his long road to success and fame. The campaigning against bad school lunches, all those books published; unfortunately for Jamie it ended up building his ‘love or hate’ relationship that many foodies have with him.  You either love his adorable Essex-ness or you run screaming when you see the price of his kitchenware.

I never really understood Strada to be honest (modern Italian is overdone and badly delivered in this country…rant rant), although the food was always quite nice sadly, it is due to close and a Jamie’s Italian is due to open early next year in its place.  So, luckily we’re not adding to the number of chain restaurants but we’re not getting rid of any more soon.

I am reserving judgment on how nice Jamie’s Italian will be, the amount of positive feedback I’ve had about Jamie’s Italian means that it would be foolish to make any early speculation.  Chain restaurants are endemically impersonal, corporate and soulless, so it would be uplifting to finally see somewhere that doesn’t leave me cold after paying the bill – with the exception of Giraffe Restaurants as they’re always really friendly and personal.

Go on Jamie, impress me…

Express and Echo reported this originally.  The photo I have used was mercilessly pillaged from some other website.

Sylvain’s Little French Cakes: Pattiserie Perfection

For Eating Exeter, product testing is a bit of a rarity.  Once Gourmet Garden sent us a whole bunch of squeezy herbs which I tried to love but failed to, and now and again we get the odd thing sent through which either gets a write up because its lovely or casually ignored if it is just naff.  But this is the first time that I’ve had to arrange to pick up something that was created in Exeter.

Popping down to The Salutation Inn in Fore Street, Topsham, where Sylvain’s Little French Cakes is based after I finished work was a little like stepping back down a cobbled lane of memories as it had been quite literally years.  The last time I had stepped in to The Salutation Inn’s courtyard it had been cobbled and open, but now it was quite different.

The Salutation Inn has changed greatly in the last few years, along with the general demographic of Topsham and that area of East Devon.  Imagine my surprise when we visited it to pick up our cakes to find that the courtyard had transformed in to a magnificent glass walled dining area, filled with natural light.  It is clear that The Salutation Inn is now positioning themselves into the fine dining arena with their Chef Director, Tom Williams-Hawkes at the healm.

But today my visit wasn’t about The Salutation Inn, it was about Sylvain’s Little French Cakes which operates out of The Salutation Inn as their in-house patisserie and the star of the show, Sylvain Peltier.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to meet Sylvain, on this occasion but I was able to meet a waitress who insisted on telling me that I had pronounced his name wrong, at least three times after I had actually made the mistake. Ah well…

Sylvain (pronounced Sil-van for the non-French speakers amongst us) has an impressive CV when it comes to his craft and its worth exploring his website as it really conveys what Sylvain’s Little French Cakes is about.  It is (where possible) a personal cake delivery service, a patisserie school and a trade supplier. And there is one thing these little French cakes are, magnifique!!

We were lucky enough to have a selection of éclairs, Petit choux and macarons.  So here goes with our run down of each one:

Millionaire Eclaire – Salted Caramel with hazelnut crumb, and a thick chocolate (70% cocoa) filling with caramel pillowed in between a soft choux pastry case.  The pastry was strong enough to hold the contents and it didn’t dissolve when I bit in to it and had a silky smooth texture to it.

Pure Noir – Dark and rich chocolate filling with the same amazing choux pastry.  The chocolate (65%) centre held by the light yet strong choux pastry again had this amazing texture to it which was like licking silk.  Although I found the chocolate centre quite bitter (personal taste) this had an amazing chocolaty punch.

Vanilla Bourbon – Vanilla icing made from real vanilla (spot the vanilla seeds!) with a creamy delicately flavoured bourbon centre, which felt like it was almost whipped!  The light vanilla marshmallows just dissolved in mouth, and really worked well with the combination of centre and icing.  Whole thing was kept together with the strong yet light choux pastry case.

Raspberry Petit Choux – The raspberry had a wonderful fruity sharpness  and the texture of the pastry made this a lovely sweet bite.  I found this hard to eat in small nibbles and the presentation (and this goes for all of them) was immaculate.

Salted Caramel Petit Choux – Raspberry icing worked well with the pastry and the little crust of sea salt added a depth of flavour to the caramel insides.  It was, like the eclairs, silky on the inside in texture with a lovely rich salted caramel centre.

Macarons: 

So here is a lesson for you, they are nothing to do with Macaroons and they have a little bit of history behind them too.

Although the macaron is predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici‘s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.[8] In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the “Macaron Sisters”. In these early stages, macarons were served without special flavors or fillings.[9]

It was not until the 1830s that macarons began to be served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling, was originally called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron.” Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.

Thanks Wikipedia :)

So nothing to do with Macaroons, and I have to admit this was the first time I had had a Macaron (always up for new experiences) and I wasn’t disappointed.  Macarons are a lot sweeter than you think they might be at first, and they make excellent partners with coffee.

Lemon and Pistachio – A pistachio ganache and confied lemon centre which had a really fruity kick to it.

Raspberry and Tonka Bean – Amazing colour and a really strong raspberry flavour which worked well with the sweetness of the macaron itself.

Just Chocolate – Chocolaty and punchy, the high cocoa content coming over in its amazing flavour

Cassis and Violet – Unfortunately the not being a massive fan of the taste of violet, this had a wonderful blackberry taste but for me the violet reminded me of Parma Violets.  But apart from that it, like the rest of them, had a delicious ganache centre (confied Blackberry’s) with a delicate crispy shell.

Thanks to Elle and Sylvain for the opportunity to taste these awesome pieces of patiesserie perfection.  If you want to know more about Sylvain’s Little French Cakes, head to the website:

www.sylvainslittlefrenchcakes.co.uk where you can buy eclairs, macarons and get more information about Sylvain and what he does.

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LittleFenchCake

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SylvainsLittleFrenchCakes?fref=ts

Truffles Cafe, Magdalen Road, Exeter

If you ever find yourself in Magdalen Road, I would highly recommend Truffles Cafe.  I popped through for a quick cup ‘o tea after a medical appointment. I found a charming cafe with a faint hint of Radio 3 and the occasional roar of an Elektra coffee machine. Its whitewashed walls display some magnificent paintings by local artist Warren Clayburn.

Light food is available, ingredients from local suppliers which are proudly displayed on the door.  They even have a Pizza evening on Friday and Saturday nights, take a look at their Facebook page for a few photos of some stunning looking Pizzas!

The hum of the traffic makes little impact on the lovely atmosphere of this cafe as it sits snuggly in this busy and bustling part of Exeter.  Magdalen Road has a fantastic little community with Bon Gout and The Salty Pigeon a few doors away which makes it a definite recommendation from Eating Exeter for a tea or coffee.

Follow them on Twitter: @trufflesexeter

The Nobody Inn, Doddiscombleigh, Exeter

In all honesty, I’m not usually one for pub grub. I’m not being snooty or fussy, I’ve just experienced my fair share of bland and boring pub meals, not to mention the microwaved plates of yellow they serve at Weatherspoons’.  However after years of snubbing pub food, a trip to The Nobody Inn in Doddiscombleigh last week opened my eyes to the world fantastic foodie pubs, which can actually be easily found if you wonder from the comforts of city life.

Nestled between the Haldon hills and Teign Valley, The Nobody Inn is located in a truly picturesque setting. Luckily we had picked a beautifully warm day to visit, so grabbed one of the large spacious tables in the beer garden, where we were able to bask in the sunshine. With the garden being located at the front of the pub, there are some gorgeous views to be enjoyed over the rolling hills, and although there’s a small country road that runs by, it’s a quiet and peaceful place to relax.

After securing our table, we walked into the pub to grab some menus and order a drink. Upon arrival we were greeted by the cheerful landlord who immediately treated us as if we were returning friends. The first thing that I noticed about this lovely old building was the impressive whisky collection behind the bar (if you’re a fan of the brown stuff you have to visit as they have over 240 varieties to try). Sadly I’m more of a rum kinda girl and upon asking the landlord for his best advice on weaker tipples; I opted to try a pear and peach cider, produced by local cider makers, Annings.

Sitting back down outside I tried the cider (served in a wine glass as “we’re ladies”, big thumbs up from me) as I browsed the foodie offerings. The lunch menu looked great, with lots of traditional but well thought out and intriguing dishes such as cumin and honey glazed ham with eggs, and steak ciabatta with caramelised onions and mushrooms, I had a hard time whittling the options down to one. After much deliberation I went for the smoky pork burger, topped with smoked apple wood cheese and bbq sauce, served in a toasted ciabatta (£10.95). The cider was delicious as well, not too sweet like many ciders can be, and not too fizzy either, it was as Goldie Locks would say, just right, with a good amount of peachiness!

After placing our orders at the bar, we enjoyed our drinks in the sunshine, and within 15 minutes the food was on the table. My lunch was certainly something to look at when it arrived, beautifully presented, the burger standing tall alongside a bucket spilling with petite French fries, I just knew this was going to taste as good as it looks. Tucking into the burger, I was in heaven. The pork patty was juicy and really flavoursome with hints of spice and sweetness, and was complimented so well by the smoky cheese and the tangy bbq sauce.

I’m going to put it out there; this was the best burger I’ve ever had.

It was huge as too, but tasted so good I had to eat every last bit, sweeping up the remnants of the chunky bbq sauce with the scraps of toasted ciabatta bun. The French fries (what I could eat of them) were really good too, perfectly seasoned with just a little wobble in their structure. This was the perfect plate of food.

The fantastic food, quirkily friendly service and attractive setting at The Nobody Inn has renewed my faith in good pub grub. Although it’s a 30 minute drive from Exeter, it is well worth the journey as the free-house stands head and shoulders above most of the cities pub-restaurants. I will definitely be returning and can’t wait until I get the chance to sample their exciting evening menu.

http://www.nobodyinn.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheNobodyInn

To read more from Kathryn, head over to http://adayinmyshoeskathryn.blogspot.co.uk/ and subscribe to her wonderful blog :)

 
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