Meat platter at Smoke Stop

January round-up

The end of January already? Feels like I’ve only blogged a few times but think I can be let off because we finally managed to move house! Cue lots of takeaways and convenience food amid boxes, stress and packing. Needless to say, it’s all done now (well, some of the boxes are still around), so you can expect a slightly less disjointed service for the rest of 2016.

It might have felt like I didn’t blog much, but looking back, there’s still been a nice little mix of restaurant reviews and some homecooked food. I started the month off with my first post of 2016 and a quick look back at the highlights of 2015, making me realise exactly how much I got up to last year. Let’s see if we can top it this year hey!

Eating Out

January wasn’t without its restaurant visits, although I have to admit most of them were towards the start of the month. I published my review of Waters restaurant in Resorts World Birmingham which was pretty yummy, especially my lovely dessert.

Iced mango dessert at Waters Restaurant

We gave ourselves the meat sweats during an impromptu visit to my new discovery, Smoke Stop near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. This was a completely unexpected find on our way to a little break at a shepherd’s hut near Welshpool and my, what a find! These guys do seriously good stuff, we’ll definitely be going back.

Texas Taster Platter at Smoke Stop

I managed to squeeze in a review of 1709 Brasserie in Lichfield, somewhere I’ve been to a few times since I’ve worked there but hadn’t quite round to writing about. Probably not the best food I’ve ever had, but some of the most reasonable prices I’ve experienced for food of its standard. Definitely worth a try.

Panfried seabass at 1709 Lichfield

I finished off my foodie adventures this month with an invite to the launch party of Brewhouse & Kitchen in Sutton Coldfield. It’s all about the beer here and I had a few taste testers of some of their beers produced on the on-site microbrewery, along with little testers of some of the food they pair with their ales. I’m afraid I can’t give you a comprehensive review of the food, but it’s somewhere I’d go back to try and I reckon if you’re into your beer, it’s probably a ‘must-visit’.

Beer at Brewhouse & Kitchen

Eating In

I pledged to do more cooking in 2016, and while I haven’t started off brilliantly I’ve got the excuse that I couldn’t find any pots and pans for a few weeks. I have to say though, our lovely new kitchen is inspiring me to cook more so I can guarantee I’ll be on it like a car bonnet in Feb.

January started off with some easy homemade soups, including this lovely pea, ham and mint soup that I made when Mr M was ill.

Homemade pea and ham soup

I also had a bit of a helping hand from my pal Tracy O’Meara, who you’ll remember wrote some posts with her fab Christmas preparation hints and tips. Tracy returned this month with some healthy January recipes including this nice light pizza.

January pizza

And let’s not forget National Breakfast Week, which allowed me to write this little round-up of some of the lovely breakfasts I’ve featured on the blog in the past.

Other stuff

Away from Eat with Ellen, I haven’t had a great deal of time to do much this month, but I did pretty much bare my soul for the #BREAKFREE project that Marie Claire did, and had this piece on needing to be liked featured on their site.

In case you managed to miss it, which I imagine you didn’t if you follow me on any social media, it was the public vote for the UK Blog Awards this month. I didn’t get shortlisted in the end, but if you’re reading this and you voted, then thank you. And a massive congratulations to all those who got shortlisted 🙂

What’s coming up

With the move out the way, it looks like service can resume in February, so I have packed my diary full of lots of fun stuff all over the Midlands. I’m also starting to write a few reviews for The Gastro Card so keep an eye out for those.

Among other stuff, Mr M and I are off to Marco’s New York Italian at the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, one of the latest places to get the celebrity chef’s name on the door. I’ve not actually been to any of the MPW places yet, so am intrigued to see what it’s like. I’m off for a curry at India’s Kitchen in Lichfield, hopefully checking out Grill Night at the recently-refurbished Star & Garter in Leamington Spa, and finally trying out Birmingham’s Polish classic the Karczma. Packed hey!

I’ve also got a few recipes coming up, including a yummy lemon posset I’ve just made which I served up with some gorgeous Joe Delucci’s gelato that I was sent to review.

So basically – keep checking in, it’ll be worth your while! Tonnes coming up and lots of food adventures as usual!