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    Competition, News

    Top Takeaway awards, Birmingham style!

    hungryhouse curry on the sofa

    Lets face it, sometimes you want to sit in your PJs and eat tasty food instead of having to face the world.  And much as I would love to work my way through all the fine takeaways of Birmingham, that would require a lot of effort – and probably require me to move house several times. 

    So thankfully the good folk at hungryhouse have done some number crunching which has resulted in the Top Takeaway awards.  Unlike some high school prom, this isn’t just a popularity contest; they’ve taken into consideration high Food Hygiene Rating scores as well as fab food and exceptional service.  From more than 10,000 restaurants on hungryhouse, only 500 are awarded with ‘Top Takeaway’ status, and luckily for the good people of Birmingham, loads of our takeaways have been awarded this year.

    top takeawayOver 30 takeaways in and around Birmingham were awarded with a hungryhouse Top Takeaway award this year and they’re all available on a dedicated Birmingham section on the hungryhouse website, split them into cuisines to make all our lives easier.  Along with profiles of the top ranking takeaways and info in their most popular dish there are links to their menus so you can find out what all the fuss is about.  There’s also a search box for users to find Top Takeaways in their area, or if you’re at a friends and in need of curry.

    The top picks of Top Takeaways in Birmingham are…

    HCF Chinese Takeaway (Chinese)
    55 Wheatsheaf Road, B691SL

    Omar Khayam (Indian) – Have also been ranked No.8 in the overall UK list of Top Takeaways
    711 Bristol Road South, B312JT

    Kung Fu Kitchen (Chinese)
    66 Oldbury Road, B650JS

    Saporito (Pizza, fast food)
    68 Windmill Hill, B632BZ

    Fox Hollies Fish Bar (Fish and chips)
    299 Fox Hollies Road, B277PS

    And what better way to celebrate than with some free food?  The good folk at hungryhouse have given me five £10 hungryhouse vouchers to give to some lucky readers.  Entering is pretty simple, just check the rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Congratulations to Sarah L, Kim N, Zoey P, Keith H and Martin F for winning the vouchers!

    Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with hungryhouse. And as such I saved you the nightmare that is seeing me in my PJs shovelling curry into my face, because no one needs to see that.

    Competition, News

    Win tickets to Masterchef winner Tim Anderson’s ‘Taste Japan’ evening

    Paul Winch-Furness / PhotographerWant to win a pair of tickets to 201 1 MasterChef winner Tim Anderson’s ‘Taste Japan’ evening at The Balcony in Selfridges Birmingham?

    Taking place on Wednesday 2nd March from 7pm, the event promises to serve up traditional Japanese dishes with a modern twist, with influences from Tim’s personal history of worldwide culinary tourism and a keen interest in food science.  Guests will be served a selection of small plates, a ramen, a dessert, and matching drinks.  Sample dishes look pretty interesting and include Kumamato ramen (noodles in nose-to-tail pork broth with garlic chips, burnt garlic oil, pork belly, tea-pickled egg, and pickled mustard greens) and banana miso ice cream with black sugar syrup, kinako and castella.

    Alice Weryk, general manager at Searcys at The Balcony, comments: “We’re thrilled to welcome Tim for what we’re sure will be an outstanding event. As the youngest ever winner, Tim is well known for his excellent performance on MasterChef, and we can’t wait to see what he cooks up on the night. For fans of Japanese cuisine, the ‘Taste Japan’ evening promises to be an unforgettable experience…”

    Tim Anderson said: “I’m excited to be hosting this event at Selfridges in Birmingham – I love ramen & I want everyone to taste how good it can be, plus show off some of my favourite dishes from the book. I can’t wait to get into the kitchen there!”

    To win a pair of tickets, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.  Of course, if you want to buy some tickets yourselves, they’re available here.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Food and Restaurant News, News

    Le Bistrot Pierre to spring into Birmingham

    Birmingham Architectural Plans Ext - credit gillespie yunnie architects

    Architectural plan of what Le Bistrot Pierre in Brum will look like (not mine, I can’t draw)

    I mentioned this on one of the umpteen Coming Soon posts last year, but looks like Le Bistrot Pierre will be opening in Birmingham in Spring 2016.

    The Independent French restaurant group are set to open in a Grade II listed building in Gas Street, which has been empty for several years.  Le Bistrot Pierre’s co-owners have big plans to refurbish the historic building to bring it back to its former glory, no doubt be helped by a £9.8 million investment from private equity firm Livingbridge, which has accelerated the group’s expansion plans across the UK.

    Rob Beacham, co-owner of Bistrot Pierre said “Having acquired the premises in a prime location on Birmingham’s canals about three years ago, we always knew we wanted to open in the city.”

    “This opening is particularly exciting as it’s been a long process to secure planning approval and it’s such a unique premises to be developing.  We have been working closely with our architects to make best use of the stunning building, which will have original features throughout, and will give diners a real sense of its heritage which is all part of the experience we want to create.”

    The privately-owned restaurant group currently has 14 bistrots across the UK including in nearby Leicester and Leamington Spa.


    Birmingham Food Drive this Saturday

    The team behind the Birmingham Food Drive are asking for donation and volunteers for their event this Saturday.

    The Birmingham Food Drive is a project coordinating different organisations, including Amirah Foundation, to prepare, pack and distribute food, blankets, toiletries and warm clothes to those in need in Birmingham city centre.  On Saturday 9th January 2016 at Carrs Lane Church from midday, the team will be serving hot food (and cold food to take away) to the most vulnerable and needy in Birmingham.  They’re also hoping to provide services, including advice, free haircuts on the day, free health advice and have some light music and arts. 

    They’re looking for is volunteers in the run up and during the food drive, particularly those with cars for transporting items on the day, as well as items to donate.

    Donations they’re after…

    • Snacks, pre-packed and cold foods (biscuits, cereal bars, noodles, long life milk, crisps, pull top canned food, boxed drinks and juices,(energy drinks too) dried fruit, bottled water,  multivitamin supplements (sealed only) tea, sugar and coffee, squash.
    • Disposable food & drink containers and cups
    • Fold-away and/or paste tables
    • Insulated drink dispensers for hot drinks or soup
    • Transport vehicles
    • Winter wear (Jackets, hoodies, jumpers, hats, gloves, scarves and new socks)
    • Mens shoes/Boots sizes 8-11
    • Pet Food
    • Rucksacks
    • Torches
    • Water bottles (500ml)
    • Toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo) – small packs to make it easier to carry.
    • Sleeping bags

    If you’ve got any of these things and want to donate, you can drop them off weekdays from 10am-5pm at Amirah Foundation, Joseph Lucas Building, St George’s Community Hub, Buckingham St, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B19 3HU.  If you want to speak to someone call 0121 572 6821 or 07904 040 796.

    There’s more info, including how you can get involved, on the Facebook event.

    Musings, News

    An award win and a massive thank you


    A couple of months ago I found out I’d been shortlisted for a couple of awards and I’m so very pleased to be able to say that on Friday night I went home with one…the award for Blog of the Year from the Birmingham Awards.

    Thankfully no one made me say anything on the evening because I was already struggling to walk (I was so convinced I wouldn’t win I wore pretty but impractical shoes) and would probably have just come out with something even more ridiculous that usual.  Bless the presenters, I think I pretty much tried to run away from the stage as soon as I got there because being the centre of attention is something I actively avoid…and being in photographs, if I can help it.  I know everyone says it but the competition really was strong, and I consider two of the others shortlisted friends, so it feels like a massive honour to have won.

    I’m pretty terrible at taking compliments, or people being nice to me generally, but it really does mean the world to me that people read my little part of the internet.  I said in my interview that I measured success by the people who talk to me on Twitter and Facebook, comment on the blog, ask for dinner recommendations, suggest places for me to go or tell me stories about how the blog got referenced by one of their friends or in their university classes…but now I have a physical manifestation of that for next time I’m losing the will to live, trying to take photographs at midnight so I can publish a new post.  So, really just thank you to everyone who gets involved.  Thanks to my long suffering friends and family who’ve learnt to live with me taking photos of their food or drinks before they’re allowed a mouthful; to my fellow bloggers for their hints, tips and encouragement; and a special thank you to my mum – loads of people have told me how much they like reading about our dinners together and she’s been a massive support (and receiver of parcels).

    Full to the Brum was started to try and add to the chorus of voices shouting about Birmingham’s thriving food and drink scene, as well as for me to blather on about my dinner.  In the last year I’ve noticed more Birmingham based food blogs which makes me incredibly happy, particularly as the dining and drinking scene in the city seems to have really gone up a gear this year.  Long may it continue.

    Ps. That photo was taken by Edwin Ladd of Social Frames


    Recipe: Toad in the Hole


    I totally wanted to start this post with a “winter is coming” meme but given that I gave up on Game of Thrones a couple of episodes into season two that seemed a bit silly.  Anyway, this weekend Birmingham had a dusting of snow and I’ve dug out my Christmas winter jumpers and finally figured out how the heating in my new flat works.  It also means I’ve begun to think of comforting, wintery foods which will warm me from the inside out.

    For me, Toad in the Hole fulfils that entirely.  I think part of this is because it contains some of the same elements as that of a good roast dinner – meat, veg and Yorkshire pudding.  But it’s such an unfussy and fairly quick recipe that means it’s as easy to eat for a Sunday supper as it is for an after work dinner.  My previous housemate Ruth and I used to make veggie versions with quorn sausages, which works just as well, but for me I prefer the real deal.

    Ahead of the BBC Good Food Show, Debbie & Andrew’s sausage asked me to check out their gluten, dairy and wheat free sausages.  Having a lactose intolerance means that I’ve tried out a fair few ‘free from’ range things and some of them can be a bit naff, so I wanted to try these with a standard dish to see how they’d cope – and they were just as good as regular sausages, in fact they were nice and meaty so really worked well in the Toad in the Hole.  Although, I’m now thinking I probably should’ve tried this with dairy-free milk and gluten/wheat free flour, but that’s for another day.

    Toad in the Hole
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    Cuisine: British
    Serves: 2
    • 4 sausages
    • 1tbsp oil (I used rapeseed oil)
    • 70g plain flour
    • 0.5 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 90ml milk
    To serve
    • gravy
    • broccoli
    • carrots
    1. Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7
    2. Put the oil and sausages in a roasting tin and bake for 15 mins until browned (I used one that was 18x24cm)
    3. Whilst the sausages are cooking, make the batter. I just dump everything in a bowl and whisky really well. If you're more cautious add the flour, salt and egg and mix those using an electric whisk and add the milk slowly.
    4. Take the sausages out of the oven (be careful of the sizzling oil)
    5. Pour the batter into the roasting tin
    6. Put back into the oven and cook for 25-30mins, until the batter has risen and is golden
    7. Whilst the batter is cooking, boil the broccoli and carrots and make up the gravy


    Debbie & Andrew’s will be at the BBC Good Food Show Winter this week and have exclusively developed a Christmas selection of sausage delights which will be on sale; from chipolatas to meatballs and bacon wrapped cocktail sausages, to make things a bit easier over Christmas (or just as a snack, if you’re me).  They will be at stall M230 at the NEC from Thursday 26th – Sunday 29th November, so worth going to check them out.

    To celebrate, Debbie & Andrew’s are giving away a Firelight Eating Kit, which includes a cool bag, recipe book and vouchers for their sausages.  Entering is pretty simple, just check the rafflecopter below (terms and conditions for the competition available here).

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Competition, News

    Competition: tickets to the Good Food Show Winter and Thomas Dakin Gin

    Dakin_66196_w1-v1I know there are a few places offering a competition to win tickets to the BBC Good Food Show winter from 26th – 29th November 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham…but what about tickets to the show AND a bottle of gin? Yeah!

    On offer are a pair tickets to the show for any day excluding Saturday (which is pretty hectic, so probably best) and a bottle of Thomas Dakin Gin, a new small batch gin which launched in July this year.

    Thomas Dakin Gin is a small batch, classic-style, London dry gin, steeped in its historical roots and named after a key pioneer in 18th century British gin production.  It’s distilled in a baby pot still using a secret recipe of 11 botanicals, including juniper, orange peel and red cole – a botanical used in the 18th century better known today as horseradish.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway