Sunday, 27 September 2015

Pop Up Dining at Nomad

Foodies around Birmingham will know of Alex Claridge.  Somewhat of a food maverick, he has spent time over the past few years at Urban Coffee Company, Hotel la Tour and Bistro 1847 waving his creative gastro wand over their offerings and turning his ideas and their menus around.

With his strong empathy towards us vegetarian brethren, I like to keep my ears to the ground as to where Alex will be next and as it happens, his focus is his latest project  - Nomad.

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Nomad  as the name suggests, embraces the premise of nomadic tendencies:  eg:  the venue for the sessions isn’t fixed and mimics the lifestyle of a wandering rover - the menu is based on foraged goods which also means no two days trading are the same.

Using the harvested goods from their allotment and what their team of foragers have sourced both locally and from other parts of the UK, this approach keeps the menu fresh, observantly seasonal and imaginative.

With options for carnivores and vegetarians available, myself (obviously) and My Carnivorous Husband (MCH) both had the vegetarian option, which he chose to have in his bid to eat more meat free meals.  (No, I’m not turning him but he is warming to the fact that eating meat free occasionally is beneficial).

At the time of dining, Nomad’s venue was Kitchen Garden Café in the Kings Heath area of Birmingham (popular for pop-up events).   The romantic in me feels its secret-esque gate on York Road and winding path lined with shrubs and plants provides an element of mystique that sets you up for the mystery of what you’ll be having during night ahead.

Now the scene has been set, here is what we ate:


The purpose of this course was to taste the different textures of tomatoes and to experience them in non- conventional ways.  Making you think about what you’re having and how diverse an ingredient can be.

It was explained that the tomatoes are marinated in herbs for 24 hours and then strained for 24 hours through muslin to gain that intense flavour.  From there, the dishes are created.
Tomato Infused Meringue
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Numero uno in the trilogy of this first course was a piece of tomato infused meringue simply presented on a black plate.

An instant melt on the tongue, the visual of it deceives you for a moment where you think it will be sweet (as per a traditional dessert meringue) and instead it is like fizzy tomato soup – totally confusing your senses.    Whilst on paper, it shouldn’t work, in reality it does and is totally wonderful.

Part deux of the trio was Pearl Barley Tomato Risotto & Marjoram.  Big fans of pearl barley as we are, we looked forward to this.  The sauce was herby, the barley cooked well, but the tomato although present, wasn’t as strong as we anticipated but nevertheless an enjoyable dish.
Strained Tomato Water
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Part three was Strained Tomato Water.  Served in a vintage style teacup, this is the water from the  tomatoes that were strained overnight (as per the meringue above).  It was strong, intense, salty, packed with flavour which played with the tastebuds.

Fennel Turnip Sunflower
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Fennel Turnip Sunflower

A pretty little combination of poached turnips, fennel chutney, pickled fennel, sunflower brittle, bijous cucumber melons, wood sorrel and fennel flowers.

You taste the savoury herby elements first and then the sweetness kicks in – for instance the sunflower seeds in caramel balance out the aniseediness of the fennel.  Fennel is an underused, understated vegetable so it was good that it was being pushed to its limits here.  Bijous cucumber melons – how often do you get them?  Loved having them, they were like little tiny cucumbers yet so different to what we eat ordinarily.  All in all, it was like a meal in itself.

Manouri, Oyster Mushroom
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
Kelp Broth
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Manouri, Oyster Mushroom

A dish made up of leek fondue, burnt leek and samphire with kelp broth and stone crop.

This was a hybrid venture using nature’s gifts from the sea and allotment.  The wonderful saline tastes of the sea via the samphire and kelp woven with the earthy flavours of leek and mushrooms gave it a contrasting twist with the addition of the mallow tasting Manouri cheese.

Beetroot, Goat's Butter, Kohlrabi, Blackberry
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Beetroot, Goat’s Butter, Kohlrabi, Blackberry

Pickled blackberries, confit of beets in goat’s butter, sliced kohlrabi, with edible flora to top it off.

A combination that wouldn’t be in my mindset to put together ordinarily.    But the firmness of the beetroot against the tartness of the blackberries worked well in unison.  The taste of the butter came through gently at the end of each mouthful.

Borlotti Bean, Marrow, Goat's Cheese, Celeriac
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Borlotti Bean, Marrow, Goat’s Cheese, Celeriac

A combination of borlotti beans, goat’s cheese, charred lettuce, braised carrots in a pea & mint puree with marrow chips (marrow grown at the allotment).

The beans and goat’s cheese (the ultimate in ‘cheesey beans’) was gorgeous!  It was like a garden on a plate.  All of these are items feature in regular meals, but their presentation and way they were cooked makes you think about their versatility.  For instance, to have the marrow chipped and chargrilled was excellent.


Sea Buckthorn Tequila & Cocoa Nib
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Sea Buckthorn, Tequila & Cocoa Nib

A mixture of pineapple juice, sea buckthorn juice, chocolate liqueur and tequila.

I pre-empting your question of “what is sea buckthorn?”  Well, it’s a bush bearing small orange coloured berries and it grows well on coastal areas in England/Western Europe where the salt spray from the sea prevents other larger plants outcompeting it.

Sampling a little of the raw juice on its own – it is very acidic and sour, like a lemon (and is sometimes used in lieu of lemon I’ve been told), but the sourness goes away rapidly and it is quite pleasant.

Returning back to the combo, it was like a mini cocktail served as a shot.  Taking in the cocoa from the glass’s rim, you sample the drink getting that hint of sourness first which then turns into sweetness and then the kick of alcohol but it wasn’t overbearing.

Rhubarb, Muesli, Yoghurt
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Rhubarb, Muesli, Yoghurt

This course had an almost breakfasty feel with the blend of rhubarb & praline parfait, homemade toasted muesli and honey yoghurt, but it worked well as part of a dinner menu.

There was a hint of fresh ginger in the muesli and a great pairing with the rhubarb.  Superb combo as part of the dessert offering.

Raspberry, Shortbread, Herbs
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Raspberry, Shortbread, Herbs

Raspberry crumbled shortbread, raspberry sorbet, freeze dried raspberries, raspberry jelly (veggie friendly) and raspberry sauce with thyme flowers.

It was every which way you can imagine consumption of raspberries to be –with varying textures it proves the humble raspberry can be so more than just a garnish on a dessert. 

The taste of herbs was subtle in the thyme scented gluten free shortbread and a good pairing with raspberries.



We both came away thoroughly enjoying the meal we had experienced.  We loved the whole ‘wonder what we’ll get next’ element and each course was a talking point.  The American waitress who looked after us was amazingly hospitable, extremely knowledgeable and passionate (an extension of Alex’s enthusiasm I believe).

The vegetarian menu was just as wonderfully thought through as its meat counterpart and therefore visiting Nomad is ideal for anyone with dietary preferences.

As its evolution continues,  take a look at Nomad’s site for their latest news. 

As before, I will be following closely too, keep my ear firmly to the ground…………..
Disclosure:    This post has been written following a kind invitation from Alex Claridge (Nomad) to sample their  vegetarian menu.    This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 













Sunday, 6 September 2015

Shopping is a Deli-ight (Express & Star Article)

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it dozens of times – I really love delicatessens!

So much so, I’m almost evangelical about it.

In my latest article for Express & Star online, I’ve written about their purpose in supporting one’s weekly shopping routine and how, for even veggies, they play their part in providing an offering that differs from chain supermarkets.

So for those who are yet to experience delicatessen culture, it is worth breaking your retail routine, perhaps trying that outlet you walk past but never step into and acquaint yourself with new products, a new way of shopping and ultimately indulge feeding your curiosity.

Click here to view the article.

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Culinary Captures - August 2015

Here is August’s round up of all things foodie and kitchen based on what I’ve encountered this month.  Although on this occasion, it’s all about eateries and the news of new events hitting the food scene!

Lower Slaughter Village
Photo: Word In Veg Ways

Another recent visit to the Cotswolds left me feeling uber-relaxed whilst taking some time out to enjoy some peace and quiet in the gorgeous village of Lower Slaughter near Broadway. 
The Slaughters Pub/Restaurant
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

It really is real-life chocolate box imagery there and with its tiny stone bridges and clear water river, lunch at the village gastro pub ‘The Slaughters’ is a must and a good spot for taking it all in over a meal. 
Gooseberry & Elderflower Ice Cream
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

The trip was completed with a visit to the Old Mill Museum shop where they sell home-made organic ice cream and my choice du jour had to be Gooseberry & Elderflower acknowledging a bit of seasonal flavouring. 

The serenity of eating ice cream on a summer’s day can never be beaten I don’t think……….

Redemption Restaurant
Photo:  c/o Redemption

I’m really excited about Redemption, London’s first alcohol free bar movement, which has secured its first permanent site in Notting Hill following previous pop up successes in Hackney, Holborn and Portobello.
Photo:  c/o Redemption

Redemption is the brain-child of Catherine Salway, ex Virgin Group Brand Director and Executive Chef Andrea Waters who is an experienced restaurateur, vegan & raw chef, and nutrition expert.
Photo:  c/o Redemption

Set up two years ago, the company is proving healthy food can tantalise the pickiest of taste buds, with a selection of delicious, yet nutritious, dishes, including starters, mains and desserts, and non-alcoholic cocktails.
Photo:  c/o Redemption

Since its inception, Redemption has been the only bar/restaurant in London whose menu has been designed by nutritional therapists.  Whilst the alcohol-free cocktails have been a talking point, the food has grown in popularity as more people are looking to take a break from sugar, wheat, dairy and meat.  

Choices on the menu include:
Spicy Vietnamese salad - green mango, cucumber, mint, carrot, coriander, spring onion, chilli and micro shoots with nam jim

*  Maki rolls - filled with red quinoa, avocado, enoki mushrooms, sesame seeds and micro amaranth shoots

*  Candy beet ravioili - ruby beetroot sheets with cashew cheese, pea shoots, and watercress pesto & yellow pepper coulis

*  Lettuce spray - a Japanese-inspired innovative, nutritious and refreshing cocktail of iceberg lettuce, lime, cucumber, wasabi and aloe vera

*  Apple mockjito - muddled apple press, fresh mint and lime, served over ice and topped with soda

*  i scream sundae - sugar-free coconut milk 'ice-cream' with fresh vanilla, served with fresh berries and raw cacao sauce

*  Tomato tonic - a herby healthy version of a bloody mary - fresh tomatoes, sage, a hint of garlic, sweetened with agave syrup, shaken and served over ice

A new selection of good-for-you desserts will satisfy any sweet tooth with dairy-free, sugar-free ice cream sundaes with raw chocolate sauce and summer berries.
Redemption ensures that no animals are harmed or killed in the creation of its dishes, which are all vegan. Food will be sourced locally, and where possible organically, and there will be a zero waste strategy.

I love their ethos and hope that they will extend their brand nationwide, as the one who is often (socially) the nominated driver, having a well thought through non-alcoholic offering is very, very appealing.

For more information visit their website and/or their restaurant:
6 Chepstow Road, London, W2 5BH.


When I visited The Plough Harborne earlier on in the year for one of their legendary Sunday lunches, I was intrigued about their plans for expansion and so I was thrilled to hear that they have now been made public!

This November sees the launch of ‘Upstairs at the Plough’ which is a £750k project which will accommodate two new private dining and meeting rooms.  The two private dining areas are flexible and can hold 30 covers combined or for 40 people standing if you are having an informal event.  For meetings, it will have wi-fi and audio systems making it ideal for business gatherings.
Image:  c/o The Plough

As demand has dedicated, the ground floor also gets a re-vamp with an increase of an extra 40 covers, a new bar featuring artisan whiskies and craft beers with a new pizza kitchen and coffee bar alongside it.

The Plough keeps growing and growing and I for one can’t wait to see the new make-over!

Fancy trying their veggie Sunday roast for yourself?  Read my review here.




Not quoting Bob Geldolf, but for those that “Don’t Like Mondays”, fear not, ‘Meat Free Mondays at The Mockingbird’ has now arrived at the Custard Factory in Birmingham to wipe away those Monday blues.

Brought you in conjunction with The Vegan Grindhouse (already a stalwart at most local streetfood events), there will be 2 sittings each Monday with the opportunity for you to try some vegan food and to accomplish the ‘Meat Free Monday’ challenge which we all know about.

11am-2pm sees the vegan all American brunch style menu (waffles, scrambled tofu etc) and then 5pm – 9pm sees the vegan evening menu commence featuring food from different regions of the USA, such as burritos, Philly cheesesteaks, meatball marinara subs, mac'n'cheese and all American sides and desserts.

In addition to the food, Meat Free Mondays will also feature free film screenings in the theatre, music and a range of vegan beers, soft drinks and plant-based milks for coffees and teas.
Who doesn't like Mondays now?


Note:  All items/services featured have been personally selected and I have not received any incentive or compensation to feature them. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Veggie BBQ at The Highfield

Having enjoyed their main menu earlier in the spring, I was invited to sample The Highfield's BBQ menu this month in their relaxing patio & garden area coupled with the opportunity of trying out their marquee facility.

The Marquee

Sadly our visit was plagued by rain showers however, this meant that we test out the marquee to full effect.  The marquee provides an elegant shelter against inclement weather with room for about 25 people plus chairs and tables, it makes for a great ‘plan B’ if the weather isn’t BBQ friendly but you still want to be outdoors.  Incidentally, it is also available for hire – as long as your party spends a minimum of £250 in total on food and/or drink, the marquee is yours!
Wood Burner in the Garden

For meat-eaters, there are a variety of meats and kebabs to choose from and for us veggies, we get a bespoke menu just for us.
Veggie BBQ Platter

Including: Halloumi & Vegetable Kebabs, Jacket Potato, Corn on the Cob, a filled pitta bread pocket with roast vegetables plus accompanying coleslaw and salads. 
Salad Bar

Nice, wholesome, standard bbq fare, presented on a wooden board with cute galvanized pots of sauces, makes for it to be all the more contemporary.  Only thing I would say is, I would have welcomed some kind of veg packed/herb infused homemade veggie burger to complete the platter just so there would be a comparable item against the meat menu.
Dessert Bar

Modestly priced at £9.75 per person for the veggie option, this is a lovely way to enjoy the ambience of The Highfield, alfresco style and it’s a different way of dining out (literally)!
Dip Your Own Strawberries

So whilst the light nights and the warm(ish) weather are still here, enjoy these last few weeks of summer at The Highfield over a bbq platter and just think – all the fun of a BBQ meal without any of the washing up or tidying away – bliss!! J

Note:  To read my review of The Highfield's main menu offering, click here.


Disclosure:    This post has been written following a kind invitation from The Highfield to sample their BBQ menu.    This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 










Monday, 17 August 2015

My Top 15 Veggie Foods at Birmingham Independent Food Fair 2015

I can’t believe it’s been almost 12 months since the last Birmingham Independent Food Fair!  Where has the time gone?!

And whilst those that attended have been enjoying the memories of last year’s event, organiser Ahmed Ahmed has been busy planning 2015’s Fair.

Birmingham Independent Food Fair 2014
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

The main change is that the event is now spread over 2 days across the weekend of 12 & 13 September.  With currently 40+ traders signed up to participate and more in the pipeline, it promises something for everyone with food and drink representing all corners of the globe yet having a geographical common bond that they are all from the Birmingham area.

I find food festivals a great opportunity to explore what’s new and to see maybe what I’ve been missing out on.  As a vegetarian especially, I always feel quite gratified if I come across a new find at a festival it gives me that “I’m glad I came” kind of a feel.

Another change this year is that the ticket prices are lower, and are just for entry.  This means it's up to you to go around and discover which treats you want to spend your cash on once you're in there.

Reviewing the list of traders due to participate, they are all worth checking out with many (such as Henley Chocolates and Platinum Pancakes) that I am acquainted with already and with whom I look forward to catching up with, as well as new foodie peps that I am keen to find out more about and sample their wares!

So here’s my selection of 15 traders that I have got veggie treats planned for their stalls and who are flying the flag for Birmingham whilst uniquely expressing their diversity through the medium of food:

Photo:  c/o Nibbles Corner
Nibbles Corner
Who doesn’t like Mac n Cheese?  It’s the go-to in comfort food for rainy teatimes and cold wintery days.  Whilst this is also a predictable veggie option, if pimped up to your spec it will make you want to re-visit this old classic with fresh inspiration!  Using a variety of new toppings such as spinach & sundried tomatoes and having locally sourced cheese on hand, it’s been given a make-over well worth a try.   

The Southern Oven

Recreating  a New Orleans street food vibe in a Mardi Gras themed marquee no less is what the team at Southern Oven are offering.  Sweet Iced Teas and (hopefully) veggie Louisiana Po’Boy sandwiches will be on offer guaranteeing a taste of the Deep South.

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
Chung Ying

Mmm, I love Chung Ying food – their Cantonese dim sum are gorgeous and always something for veggies – so go grab one or three to try!

Photos:  Word In Veg Ways
Le Truc

The team at Le Truc are very pro-veggies and will always be able to rustle something up for any of their veggie patrons and their adorable creations are definitely worth checking out.

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Photo:  All Greek Deli

All Greek Deli

I could spend ages perusing the shelves at their Stephenson Street shop but what I love is their baklava and the fact that they sell halva by weight!  Never tried halva?  Now’s your chance!!

Mama Eti’s

Although based in Bournville, Mama Eti’s offers Indonesian food.  A unique chance to try something different which isn’t always readily available.  They will also be selling spices, chutneys etc to try at home too.

Crave de Taste

A community interest company from Hockley, they will be offering vegetarian and vegan fare using organic produce where possible to recreate the flavours of Jamaican cooking.

Penang Café

With Malaysian food increasing in popularity, here’s an opportunity to see why that is so.  Amongst many other dishes, I’m keen to taste their Malaysia Brulee dessert!

Photo:  Shake That Ting
Shake That Ting

For those who are young or young at heart, milkshakes and smoothies form the basis of this fun trader.  So if you’re not counting the calories, there are treats a-plenty!

Photo:  Moorish Bar
Moorish Bar

Fusing  Middle Eastern/North African food traits together, the Moorish Bar has falafel wraps, hummous and salads to name a few for those in search of something a little exotic.  Rounded off with a cup of Arabian coffee, you’ll have a food souk right in front of your eyes!


Everyone’ s loving tapas right now with Amantia joining the  city’s food scene recently, I’m already sold on their aubergine fritters with honey!

Pan Piano

Mediterranean with a hint of Asia Minor influence leads to flatbreads with pomegranate, halloumi and other goodies at this Turkish/Greek stall.

Greens Vegan Catering

A magnet for all vegans, Greens offer speciality scones, curries and salsas.

Photo:  Vegan Grindhouse
The Vegan Grindhouse

A favourite at many of the local streetfood events, they have built up quite a following with food enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike.


Vietnamese food has become more prominent in recent years and Thuy Pham will be bringing along her Dragon Fruit Crunchies for sampling.  A delicious opportunity to try this fruit if you haven’t done so already.

For more information about the event, please visit:

Note:  All traders featured have been selected by choice and no incentive has been given to promote them.  All photographs have been credited accordingly.