Stratford Town Centre Food Festival

My September food round-up

This month has been a tiny bit sporadic on the blog. After a busy few months trying to squeeze blogging into my new self-employed life, I decided the world wouldn’t stop turning if I didn’t post for a week and it might do me some good. Indeed it did, and I’m probably right when I say that actually those of you who read my ramblings probably didn’t mind if you didn’t have two or three a week. Or did you?

A blogging ‘holiday’ did me the world of good – as did the real holiday, which I spent in Malta with my pal doing some diving and drinking far too many all-inclusive drinks. I came back raring to go and eager to catch up on the backlog of things that I’ve been gagging to tell you about ever since I experienced them. There are still more to go, and not all the usual restaurant reviews so keep checking back this month to see what I’ve been up to.

Eating out

I finally got to tell you about my High Tea experience at Robata at Resorts World – a sugar-filled twist on a traditional afternoon tea, with a few savouries like chicken yakitori and steamed pork buns, and a whole load of sweet stuff. Find out what my favourite was on the post itself.

High Tea at Robata, Resorts World

During my mad running about from blog meal to blog experience and back again, I managed to squeeze in a trip to the revamped Bullring branch of Pizza Express with my blogging pal Laura from Full to the Brum, where we checked out the new look and tried a few of the new dishes on the menu. Don’t worry, the old faves are still there and we had some dough balls, as well as managing to try a few desserts – including this yummy ‘Caffe Reale’ of figs and mascarpone cheese.

Caffe Reale Dolcetti at Pizza Express

Now, this may not be a restaurant but it still counts as eating out. I tried Yumzee for the first time – a new concept in ‘social dining’ that’s basically like Come Dine With Me but without the cameras. You can read about it all on the post itself but in short, I tootled over to Solihull to have a slap-up Spanish feast with a bunch of food fans I’d never met before. Different, yes, but a lot of fun.

Starters at a Yumzee Fiesta Espagnola

Food adventures

Aware that I do a LOT of eating, yet not much cooking, I’m trying to broaden my horizons and try my hand at actually making some of the food I enjoy eating so much. It’s good for me and hopefully a bit more interesting for you than just endless accounts of my latest frenzied food-fest.

As providence would have it, I have been lucky enough to be invited to a few things that will allow me to do this, one of those being a breadmaking masterclass with PAUL bakery. A bunch of other bloggers and I spent a few hours kneading, shaping and learning all about dough so we can recreate our own loaves at home. Here’s my finished products and while not perfect, they definitely weren’t a failure which is one step up from my usual culinary efforts. Hurrah!

Homemade bread loaves

Invites are flying into my inbox more and more these days and sometimes I just can’t take them up, which is exactly what happened when I was offered some tickets to the Battle Proms Concert at Ragley Hall. Fortunately for me, my pals went instead and had a jolly old time checking out the music and the latest chutneys on offer from pickle experts Branston.

Branston Pickle at Battle Proms

Eating In in September

Yeah, we did do some eating in, not all bloggable. But one fun thing was a little recipe we made for Tenderstem. Delicious, colourful and healthy!

Tenderstem broccoli
Tenderstem broccoli

Other food fun in September

In case you hadn’t noticed, September was food festival season. At the start of the month I got involved in the Leamington Spa Food Festival by helping out at a ‘fringe festival’ held at Regent Court. The weather wasn’t on our side, but we spent the morning meeting some of the local chefs from Regent Court’s restaurants and finding out a bit about what they do. Check out their Facebook page to see some of the Q&As.

Eat with Ellen at Leamington Food Festival

A few weeks later (with my lovely holiday to Malta in between) I got to combine my passion with my job at the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival. On Mondays and Tuesdays I work for Stratforward, the Business Improvement District (BID) in Stratford, which organises the festival. That meant I spent the weekend at the festival, checking out great stalls, demonstrations, and meeting celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. Not bad for work hey.

Cakes at Stratford Town Centre Food Festival
Jean-Christophe Novelli at the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival
Smoker at Stratford Town Centre Food festival
Sushi at Stratford Town Centre Food Festival

Away from the blog I’m still doing plenty of writing, and this month wrote The i’s Food Matrix for them, featuring all sorts of fun food stuff from products and book launches to events. And then, of course, there’s my monthly Belle About Town column if you want to check it out.

Coming up in October for Eat with Ellen

There’s plenty more in the backlog to clear, so look out for posts on the Mousley House Farm Cookery School, my review of Gusto in Leamington Spa, the Hollybush in Priors Marston, Chi Kitchen in Birmingham, and our overnight stay at the White Horse in Duns Tew. And that’s before we even get to the stuff I’m up to this month, including meeting Ken Hom and plenty more fun. So as usual, keep popping back for your regular fix of food fun.

Have a great month,

Ellen xx

Pin this for reference later

A round-up of September's culinary adventures