The tales of a half-Spanish, Southern guy with Yorkshire roots living in Bolton and looking for some half-decent grub

Friday 29 August 2014

Bolton Food Festival 2014

Bolton Food Festival 2014 has been and gone.

I am sad just to be writing that... but not to worry because I am left with the most wonderful memories from an amazing weekend scoffing good food, stocking up on home-made produce and meeting some wonderful foodie people!

Below are a selection of photos to give you a 'flavour' (pun intended...) of the Festival.

For lunch on the Saturday we tried The Hungry Gecko Asian street food. It was so good we came back especially on Bank Holiday Monday to have it again!

Jackie Kearney, of Masterchef fame, produces some amazing food and we were lucky to try the Nasi Goreng with Five Spice Pork Belly and the Sloppy Joe Rendang.  I want this again...NOW. This is definitely the best street food I've ever tasted, it's a shame their retro silver trailer isn't permanently based outside the Town Hall.

Jackie was being helped out by Debbie Halls-Evans, recent winner of The Taste on Channel 4, who served us our food.  Debbie had done one of the dishes at the Gala Dinner the night before and I am pleased to hear she will soon be opening a pop-up restaurant in Horwich.

The festival is a great celebration of food and I was delighted that so many people turned out for the event.

I am already looking forward to next year!

See you in 2015!

Saturday 23 August 2014

Bolton Food Festival Gala Dinner

The August Bank Holiday is simply the best few days to be in Bolton.

The annual Food Festival comes to town to celebrate local produce, amazing food from around the world and Bolton itself.  

To kick off the whole weekend there is a Gala Dinner held on the Friday night to which we had the delight to attend.

The incredible 'Magnificent Seven' Dinner was set in the beautiful Cloisters Suite of the Holiday Inn, Bolton and served up a specially prepared taster menu by some of the region's best chefs, including Michael Caines, Andrew Nutter, Debbie Halls-Evans and Sean Wilson.

A magnificent night was had by all and we had the pleasure to taste the best food in Bolton and combine it with fantastic company.

The Food Festival lasts the whole weekend with a fabulous market sprawling through the streets of Bolton, food demos by celebrity and local chefs, foodie events and a really welcoming atmosphere. 

Please head down to Bolton and see the Food Festival for yourself - you won't be disappointed!

With special thanks to:

The 'Magnificent Seven' Chefs:

Michael Caines
Andrew Nutter
Debbie Halls-Evans
Sean Wilson
Matthew Taylor
Chris Marshall
John Wilkinson
Tom Gardner
Michael Harrison
Justine Forrest

Jeanette Heseltine
Mayor Martin Donaghy
The Bolton Labour Party
Table 13
Rachel McGrath
The Holiday Inn, Bolton
Selfies from Table 16

and of course

The Bolton Food Festival

See their programme for details of further events this weekend...

Thursday 14 August 2014

The Duke of York, Grindleton

I love heading north.

A short drive from Bolton gets you off the beaten track and into the Ribble Valley which is one of Britain's hidden gems.

Set within the Forest of Bowland, there are plenty of small Lancashire villages to explore, breathtaking countryside to enjoy and a wealth of great places to eat with local produce in abundance throughout the Ribble Valley. If you're into Game of Thrones, think Winterfell.

Last Friday our family ended up at a beautiful country pub not too far outside of Clitheroe.  Located in the pretty village of Grindleton is The Duke of York where the modern decor and friendly service made us feel so welcome it was like we were in the comfort of our own home. 

We were not rushed and had the pleasure to enjoy a meal of locally sourced, seasonal food that many Ribble Valley eateries are becoming known for.

We were given a very friendly reception on arrival and I was recommended the Wyld Wood cider which went down a treat. I had to have it, given I'd married into the wild Wood family.

The ladies opted for the Summer Fizz which was a mix of Prosecco and raspberry liquor. 

As we settled with our drinks we were presented with freshly baked white and brown bread served warm in a loaf tin.

Pork Belly and Black Pudding Scotch Egg with Apple Salad:
To start, Hannah and her Dad ordered the pork and black pudding scotch egg dish. A small runny quail's egg was hidden in the middle of this succulent meaty ball and it came with a crunchy crackling and a fresh salad covered by a julienne of apple.

Lancashire Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Apple Soufflé with Beetroot Salad:
A light and cheesy dish served in a cast iron frying pan. My Mother-in-Law was delighted with it. When we return I may even order this dish for myself as it seemed so impressive.

Crispy Duck and Chorizo Salad with Bacon Lardons and Plum Sauce:
My starter was huge and allowed me to see if duck and chorizo sit well together with their strong flavours.  I can assure you that they certainly do.  I want this dish again.  Now!

10oz Rib-Eye of Lancashire Beef, Triple Cooked Chips, Rocket and Parmesan, Tomato, Mushrooms and Peppercorn Sauce:
The steak was cooked perfectly rare as I like it and came with a fresh Parmesan and rocket salad.  The mustard mayonnaise that sits alongside the dish was superb, as was the peppercorn sauce which soaked into the crispy chips that came served in a little cone of newspaper!

Char-Grilled Rump of Lamb, Panache of Spring Vegetables, New Potatoes and Lamb Jus:
Surprise, surprise... lamb on the menu so Hannah is having it and so is her Mum. The whole dish was so fresh. The meat was tender and pink and came with new potato discs, a leek, shallot, carrot and fresh beans and tiny onions. The gravy was excellent.

Fillet of Cod with Spinach, Broccoli, Mussels and Tagliatelle:
My father-in-law loves his fish and decided on the cod dish which was perfectly presented.  The mixture of pasta and fish was balanced nicely with the mussels.

Ice Cream Sundae, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Italian Meringue, Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce:
I couldn't manage a dessert and only ordered a carajillo coffee (espresso with brandy). That didn't prevent me from stealing mouthfuls of Hannah's pud though which was rich and luxurious. The sundae was full of gooey sticky toffee squares, chocolate ice cream and on top sat the lightest Italian meringue I have ever tasted.  
Imagine the fluffy insides of a Tunnock's Teacake and you will understand...

Vanilla Créme Brulee, Summer Fruits, Sorbet:
Créme Brulee is a family favourite which always seems to be ordered by at least one person when we go out.  This night was no exception and the presentation of the dish was imaginative.  The sorbet was a welcome accompaniment to refresh the palate.

It was getting dark by the time we left The Duke of York for the enjoyable drive home. The fresh country air was still humid and there was the distinct scent of summer flowers in the air.

We all agreed that it was a meal to remember and it won't be long before we return to a new favourite place to eat.

Duke of York on Urbanspoon