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    Events, News

    Hemsley + Hemsley cooking demo at Selfridges this Saturday

    Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley with the SpiralizerIt seems everyone is going nuts for spiralizers and this Saturday, celebrity chef sisters will be showing shoppers at Selfridges how to spiralize like the best of them.

    Authors of bestselling cookbook The Art of Eating Well, Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley will be transforming a variety of vegetables into noodle-like spirals and showing shoppers how to include them in dishes.  The spiralizer has become a popular must-have kitchen gadget as it allows diners to swap out noodles and spaghetti for vegetable versions.  Or, if you’re me, just looks like a good excuse to play with your food.

    From 12 midday to 6pm at the cook shop on Level 1 of Selfridges Birmingham, you’ll will be able to watch the Hemsley + Hemsley Spiralizer in action as well as live cooking demos from Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, who will be showing how to make some of their favourite recipes, including sesame chicken salad with cucumber noodles and beef ragu with courgetti.  The sisters will also sharing their top tips for eating healthily and signing copies of their books.

    Adam Hockney, general manager at Selfridges Birmingham, said: “Courgetti, along with other spiral vegetables, has taken the food world by storm, so we can’t wait for Jasmine and Melissa to show us how easy it is to make it with their Spiralizer. The sisters will also be signing copies of their bestselling book, The Art of Eating Well, which is packed full of recipes, hints and tips to use with this handy gadget.”

    Events, News

    Solihull becomes Sunnyhull

    You’ve got to love Solihull’s optimism about the British weather as Mell Square becomes Sunnyhull every Sunday until the 2nd August.

    This Sunday Mell Square, located in the heart of Solihull town centre, is having a food and drink take-over.  Amongst the festivities expect a Man vs Food competition, pop-up children’s cookery school, and an al fresco dining area.  There’s also a lunchtime wine tasting with Le Creuset and a BBQ cookery demo with Metro Bar & Grill and Masterchef finalist and local chef, Jack Lucas.

    The local stores are also getting involved with Sipsey Lingerie offering complimentary tea and cake in store, M&S offering complimentary sampling on the square and House of Fraser’s outdoor dining pop-up shop too.  There’s also a performance by X Factor boy band Remedy (whoever they are).

    Next week it’s all about the kids with a pop-up cinema, chocolate making, hula necklace tutorials and face painting.  The final Sunnyhull even on 2 August is home and garden themed with haberdashery classes, edible garden, potting and canvas wall workshops and pop-up interior shops courtesy of M&S, Liv’s, Le Creuset, Farrow & Ball and House of Fraser.

    More details, or to sign up to some of the sessions, head to the website www.mellsquare-shopping.com

    Events, News, Pub and Drinks News

    Birmingham Cocktail Weekend announces line up

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    Need an excuse to spend a weekend drinking cocktails? Of course you don’t, but here’s one anyway!  The inaugural Birmingham Cocktail Weekend is taking place from 10 – 12th July, with over 20 venues in the city taking place and a raft of events on the schedule too.

    The idea is you buy a wristband, which then allows you to buy signature cocktails at a number of venues for £4 each.  There are also a number of events taking place during the weekend which wristband holders will get access to – including a number of drinks tastings, discounted masterclasses and free tastings.

    Venues taking part include: The Lost and Found, Gas Street Social, The Jekyll and Hyde,The Rose Villa Tavern, Malmaison, Pentahotel, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Bodega, Chung Ying Central, Marmalade, The Vaults, Cosy Club, The Eight Foot Grocer, The Victoria, The New Inn Harborne, Quarter Horse Coffee, The Bureau, Aluna, Bar Epernay, Pennyblacks, The Gentleman and Scholar, Island Bar and The Chameleon Bar & Restaurant.

    There are also a number of events; Hendricks gin tasting at The Jekyll and Hyde, Jim Beam bourbon masterclass at The Bureau, Burleigh’ s gin Afternoon Tea Experience at The Edgbaston, discounted whisky masterclasses at Hard to Find Whisky, Secret BLOOM GIN Garden behind the bookcase at The Lost and Found, Build your own “Brummy” Mary at Bar Opus, Grey Goose Sunday Lunch at The New Inn, Sunday Cocktail KitchInn at the Staying Cool Penthouse and free tastings from Tia Maria, Grey Goose, Bacardi and Disaronno.

    Alex Nicholson-Evans, founder of Birmingham Cocktail Weekend, explains “This is the perfect excuse to explore some of the new venues in the city, visit old favourites and adventure to places you haven’ t been before. The free sampling sessions and the masterclasses are a great chance to get to know the spirits behind some of your favourite cocktails too. For cocktail lovers – this weekend is an absolute must.”

    Birmingham Cocktail Weekend wristbands are £6 and available from; www.birminghamcocktailweekend.co.uk

    Drinks, Events, News

    Licor 43’s Tiki Bar Takeover

    licor43_islandLooking for a way to paint the town gold to celebrate the Bank Holiday weekend?  Well Licor 43 have teamed up with Island Bar to take over their upstairs Tiki Bar for a Golden Party on Friday 22nd May.

    Licor 43 is a golden yellow Spanish liqueur with predominantly vanilla and caramel flavours.  It’s great in cocktails and apparently in Mexico they drink it with espresso coffee for a nifty disco coffee, which means it also goes pretty well in Espresso Martinis.  Personally I think it’s also pretty dandy over waffles and ice cream for a really indulgent dessert too.

    Anyway, the party.  Island Bar opens as usual from 5pm with DJs starting from 9pm (including Tiki Thursday’s DJ Magoo).  Guaranteed there will be cocktails – with Licor 43 cocktail specials, plus lots of gold & giveaways, Licor 43 shots…and rumour has it there might also be a fire dancer.  Then again, if you ask nicely the bartenders might just breathe some fire too.

    For more details, check out their Facebook event – stay gold ponyboy!

    Events, News

    Local chefs at Foodies Festival Birmingham

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    L-R – William Noblett (Ju Ju’s), Nathan Eades (Epi Restaurant), Glynn Purnell (Purnells), Matt Cheal (Simpsons), Ryan Swift (The Edgbaston) and Robert Grzesik (The Warehouse Cafe)

    I’ve blogged about it a few times, but wanted to remind people the Foodies Festival Birmingham is taking place this weekend at Cannon Hill Park. There’s a whole raft of top chefs who will be showcasing their wares, including lots of local ones…

    Glynn Purnell – Purnell’s
    Matt Cheal – Simpsons
    Aktar Islam – Lasan Group
    Nathan Eades – Epi Restaurant and St Andrews Hotel
    Ryan Swift – The Edgbaston
    Robert Grzesik – The Warehouse Cafe
    William Noblett – Ju Ju’s Cafe
    James Wong – Chung Ying
    Nick Turner – Hotel Du Vin
    Ping Coombes – 2014 MasterChef Winner
    Dhruv Baker – 2010 MasterChef Winner
    Jackie Kearney – The Hungry Gecko
    Katy B – ‘Little Miss Meat Free’ Great Vegan Bake Off Winner 2014
    Rachel Green – Top TV Chef

    Michelin-star chef Glynn Purnell, Matt Cheal of Simpons, Nathan Eades of Epi Restaurant & St Andrews Hotel, and Aktar Islam of Lasan Group will cook their favourite summer recipes at the Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre and share top tips for impressing family and friends with at home.

    Foodies Festival, the UK’s biggest celebration of food and drink, will be transforming Cannon Hill Park into a foodie heaven this with top chefs, new tasting theatres, pop-up restaurants, artisan producers and more street food than you can shake a satay stick at.

    For those who’d rather shake a cocktail stick, there’s also plenty of drink-related stuff planned too.  The Foodies’ 10th anniversary will be celebrated in the New Wine, Champagne and Craft Beer Theatre, where experts Laura Clay and Charles Metcalfe will guide visitors through this season’s best British bubblies from the UK and around the world, while beer expert Melissa Cole hosts masterclasses in the New Craft Beer Theatre, matching foods with locally produced alcoholic and non-alcoholic craft beers.

    There’s also ‘How to Sniff Chocolate like a Rockstar’ and Chocolate Safari masterclass with Coeur de Xocolat; local experts guide visitors through Urban Bee Keeping and Cheese Tasting; plus 3D cake modelling, Chocolate Making and Sugar-Craft masterclasses; and a few food competitions too.

    With a Street Food Avenue feasting hub offering a huge selection of dishes from around the world (including Japanese, Thai, Brazilian, Argentinean, Indian, Mexican, French and African), plus Artisan Producers Market and bars selling Giant Pimm’s Teapot or Captain Morgan Mojito Galleon there should be plenty to do!

    Tickets (ranging from £8 – £38) are on sale now at www.foodiesfestival.com or by calling 0844 995 1111

    Events, News, Pub and Drinks News

    English Wine Week in Birmingham

    I’ll be honest with you, wine is not my first thought when it comes to quintessential English drinks, but I’m aiming to have this challenged with a bunch of events taking place in Birmingham for English Wine Week (yeah, I was pretty excited to hear that’s A Thing too).

    With locally sourced produce being big on a lot of agendas, it stands to reason that consumer demand for English wines is growing. And so, from 22nd May, there will be a series of events showcasing English wine at its finest. A number of English wineries including Biddenden, Hush Heath, Three Choirs, Bolney and Sixteen Ridges have already signed up to a range of events, from food matching (with British and international cuisines) to tutored producer-led tastings. There’s also Birmingham’s English Wine Takeover flagship event, The Producers’ Festival, on Saturday 23rd May at The Bond in Digbeth, which includes masterclasses, bubbly brunch and a canal-side afternoon tea.

    Julia Trustram Eve, marketing director of English Wine Producers, said; “The south of England is typically the hotbed of vineyards in the UK so it’s great to see events happening outside of the heartland. I’m delighted that Birmingham is embracing and celebrating English Wine and am even more excited about how the local trade have got behind it.

    “Sales of English wine are up year-on-year and acreage in the UK has doubled in the last 10 years so it’s fair to say it’s an exciting time for the industry now and in the future.”

    So basically if you’re looking for an excuse to check out some English wine (I hear the sparkling variety is very popular – and great for summer), then check out the website for more info…

    www.englishwinetakeover.co.uk

    Events, News

    Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen competition

    GPFNK logoFancy winning a ticket to a live culinary experience with Glynn Purnell, just by taking a photo of your dinner?

    Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen will be taking place in October to help raise money for Cure Leukaemia.  Hosted by Gregg Wallace, Michelin-star chef Glynn will be preparing four courses on stage, helped out by celebrity guests, as they cook up a Friday night with a difference.  Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen is in its third year and with over 400 guests due to attend it’s sure to be a fantastic night.

    They’re offering you the chance to win a ticket to the event by sharing a photo of your Friday night dinner.  I’ve already checked and yes take-out from the local Chinese counts, as does those people with enough enthusiasm to cook on a Friday night.  All you need to do is snap a photo and share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – and don’t forget to tag GPFNK (or Cure Leukaemia on Facebook and Instagram) and use the hashtag #FridayNightFoodie.

    The competition runs until Friday 26th June, so that’s 11 chances to take part (if my maths is right).  The top three entries from each month will go into the final, with Glynn choosing the overall winner.  Only photos sent in on Fridays will count, so make sure you hit publish before midnight.  Good luck!

     Of course you could buy yourself a ticket (or a whole table) to Glynn Purnell’s Friday Night Kitchen which takes place on Friday 2nd of October at the Aston Villa ground.  Tickets start from £125 for standard and £150 for VIP seats. Contact Jackie@FridayNightKitchen.co.uk to book.