November round-up
November 30, 2015

I actually can’t believe it’s already November round-up time! It only feels like five minutes since it was the end of October, and here we are moving into December. It’s been a lovely mix of stuff this month, from reviews to recipes as well as the odd special event.

I’m pleased to say a bit more cooking has featured on the blog in October. It couldn’t not really, given I was sent some delicious goodies to try. First up, it was some tasty Debbie and Andrew’s sausages that I was sent to try to mark British Sausage week, so Mr M and I had a few meals of sausages – Toad in the Hole, sausage casserole. Lots of yummy warming dishes to keep us cosy on those awful autumn nights.

Toad in the Hole

Another treat was some smoked trout from Arbroath-based fish experts R.R.Spink & Sons. I can eat pretty much any smoked fish straight out of the packet, but managed to restrain myself enough to make a few healthy lunches then one humongously unhealthy breakfast with Mr M. Eggs Royale – a twist on Eggs Benedict – in our own special way. A seriously good start to a Sunday.


Obviously there were the reviews. I tried out Italian restaurant Vero Gusto in Sheffield, and I finally managed to get my review on Purecraft Bar & Kitchen in Birmingham up, and it’s made me rather keen to go back again. I’m no big beer fan, but the food is pretty awesome.

Sea trout main course at Purecraft

For something a bit different, I headed off to Leekes in Coventry to watch a demo by John Torode. And rather entertaining it was too, not to mention another event that inspired me to get cooking. Check out the video and keep an eye out for some recipes I’m planning on trying from his book when I get a minute.

Learning to cook with John Torode

Last month you might remember I started a series of guest posts from my friend Tracy, a bit of a supermum and domestic goddess who in a kind of ‘Good Life’ way, makes a lot of her own stuff. This month she returned, talking about stocking up for Christmas, like making your own mincemeat and (possibly more important) getting your fruit-flavoured vodkas and gins ready for all those festive parties. She’ll be back again in November with some final Christmas preparations.

And last, but not least, I treated you to a rather lengthy, rather picture-heavy, review of the tasting menu at Purnell’s in Birmingham. I’m not going to repeat it all here. It was great, and if you haven’t read that review, you should.

Nibbles at Purnells

Away from the blog, I’ve been as busy as ever. I wrote another blog for Time Out Birmingham – a bit of a light-hearted one about how you know you’ve had a good night out in Brum, and you’ll have seen my name pop up on the BrumHour blog again talking about the Opus group of restaurants and their sustainability drive.

Of course, amidst all this fun stuff, the most memorable part of November was the terror attacks in Paris, and indeed in several other places across the world. This kind of stuff tends to make you think, and it puts stuff in perspective too. I was privileged enough to be asked to do BBC Coventry and Warwickshire’s Thought of the Day just a week after the attacks, so my slot was all about how we react to such horror.

And finally, I finished off the month by getting a piece published in the Independent. Big excitement! I wrote a feature on a new cookbook on How to Cook Without a Kitchen. A bit of fun, both to write and to read, and an exciting addition to my portfolio.

So what’s coming up? Well, it’s December folks. Month of mulled wine, too many mince pies, and plenty of exciting stuff. The fun has actually already started. I went to a party catered by my fave Midlands chefs En Place on Friday, so you can expect a write-up of the canapes they served up, then I hit the Good Food Show on Sunday for some wintry treats. A blog and a cheeky video coming up on that one too.

World Cheese Awards at the Good Food Show

The Good Food Show

You can expect plenty of reviews, Tapas Revolution in Grand Central among them, as well as some cooking by my own fair hand courtesy of some goodies from BrumYumYum and New Amsterdam vodka.

I’ve got the family coming up for our early Christmas get together, so menu planning is ahead. You might remember when I went to my brother’s last he cooked a whole meal of restaurant standard food, so the bar is high. Any suggestions? And then there’s Christmas Day. My mum, Mr M and I are making a return trip to the Stag at Offchurch to round off the year, so you’ll get to see what we had. Not to mention, the grand year round-up of my fave food experiences.

So, in short, plenty to look forward to. What have you got planned for December? Would love to hear what you’ll be eating and where you’ll be going. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, for all the fun as it happens.

Eat with Ellen meets John Torode