Wednesday, 24 August 2011

HOT MEALS: The Burrito has landed

Tomorrow (August 25) the burrito will land in Bath.
Mission Burrito is opening the doors of Bath's first burrito-dedicated restaurant in Kingsmead Square.
And that's not all. To celebrate its launch Mission Burrito will be handing out free burritos between 12pm and 3pm. I think it's fairly safe to assume there will be a bit of a queue! But not to worry, the clever people at Burrito HQ have planned ahead and there will be a Mariachi Mexteca to entertain the waiting crowds and transform Kingsmead Square into a Mexican fiesta.
For those who don't know burritos are handheld food found mostly in Mexico and America – a kind of exotic take on a sandwich.
A tightly wrapped Mission Burrito - wait until tomorrow to see what's inside!
They are made from grilled flour tortillas wrapped around a combination of ingredients including rice, beans, lettuce, salsa, meat, guacamole, cheese and sour cream – and at Mission Burrito you can be sure that every single thing that goes into your burrito is really, really fresh. In fact, many of the ingredients are made from scratch to ensure that they deliver the level of flavour and quality that makes a Mission Burrito so special.
There is an art to a properly crafted burrito – an art that everyone at Mission Burrito has now perfected.
The tortilla must be grilled to soften it, and it should be tightly rolled around ingredients that meld together to create a unified taste.
Getting messy is all part of the enjoyment of munching on a burrito, but an expertly made burrito should not explode or leak all over you. Which is good because you don't want to ruin your clothes, or waste a single morsel of the delicious fillings.
And a Mission Burrito is no measly mouthful, oh no. A Mission Burrito will be at least 1lb of mouth-watering yumminess.
Jan Rasmussen
Husband and wife team, Jan and Sharon Rasmussen launched Mission Burrito in 2008 when they imported the burrito fromMexico, via San Francisco and opened a small 20 seat restaurant in Oxford.
They thought there was a gap in the market, which turned out to be correct as Bath will be their fifth store, hot on the heels of a recent opening in Park Street in Bristol.
Mission Burrito in Bath can seat 24 people indoors, with a bit of outdoor seating for the odd occasion when it's actually sunny.
For customers in a hurry there is the facility to pre-order online to avoid queues during peak times and there is also
the option to takeaway. Mission Burrito also offers outside catering for private functions and festivals and will be at Bath's Love Food Bath Event on Sunday October 9 at Green Park Station.

For more information about Mission Burrito visit

For more on Bath's Love Food events see my previous posts:

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

HOT MEALS: Love Food Festival comes to Dyrham Park

It's great news that the Love Food Festival is coming back to the Bath area.
After the success of the event in Green Park Station back in June, this time Lorna Knapman's foodie event is coming to the beautiful surroundings of Dyrham Park.
Dyrham House
Lorna founded Love Food in 2008 with the aim of making top quality local food and drink available to the community as well as bringing children (and adults) out into the countryside learning about how and where our food should come from, how to grow and cook their own food and generally try to spark an interest in the topic through various mediums including hands on experience, tasting, art, movement and storytelling.
The venture began in Bristol, but now Lorna is keen to spread the word further and the Bath area is her next target.
Which is why, on September 11, between 10am and 4.30pm, the grounds of the National Trust's Dyrham Park will be filled with more than 30 producers selling a wide range of delicious goods including venison from the Dyrham estate, fresh bread, local fruit and vegetables, artisan cheese, charcuterie, jam, cakes, honey, cream and much more.
Cookery demonstrations from some superb chefs will show how to make the best of all the fantastic produce available in the market.
There will also be seasonal children’s activites, music, nature walks, story telling and a picnic area with street food, barbecue and a cafe and entry to the market will be free.
Lorna said: “I’m delighted to be working with the National Trust on this exciting project. I’m a huge fan of the work they do and Dyrham is absolutely stunning.”
I very much hope that people will make the effort to make the trip out to Dyrham Park.
I really feel that it's important to support local food producers. Not only is the food they sell almost certainly infinitely more tasty than that which you buy from the supermarket, but you can also find exactly what is in it and how it is made - you can find out for sure if the the vegetables really are organic or if the animals have been well looked after before being butchered and it's genuinely interesting to talk to producers about the goods because they have a real passion for them and their enthusiasm invariably shines through.
And, in a world where global warming and environmental affairs are becoming increasingly important, I think that it's important to buy local whenever possible to keep the food miles down.
Cath Pye, Operations Manager at Dyrham states “We are really excited to be working with Love Food at Dyrham Park. The National Trust shares the vision of the festival to get people out into the countryside to learn where our food comes from. It is great to be able to support an initiative which we hope will grow to be an important local event.”
The festival is the perfect excuse for a day out enjoying not only some delicious food, but also all the delights that the National Trust Property has to offer.
It sounds like a foodie paradise and I can't wait!
For more information visit
Love Food will also be returning to it’s Paintworks home in Bristol on September 25 for a harvest celebration and to Bath on October 9 at Green Park Station.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

HOT MEALS: Market - possibly the best burgers in Bath

If you bite into a burger and the toppings don't end up all over your face then I don't think it counts as a proper burger.
At Market in Saw Close in Bath they definitely know how to create a proper burger.
By the time I had finished munching I had a reassuringly large amount of goat's cheese, relish and burger juices covering my face and hands. And very satisfying it was too.
A shout out on twitter to gauge opinion on where to get the best burgers in Bath had led me to Market.
It's in a slightly odd location, tucked in beside Gala bingo opposite the Theatre Royal, and when sitting in the outside area you do feel rather as if you're sitting in a car park – but in a city where any outside space is at a premium you can't really complain.
And anyway, the food is top.
Market in Bath
Inside the vibe is very relaxed. It reminded me of bars and restaurants I have visited in New York's Lower East Side – the kind of place where up and coming rock stars might hang out.
There's absolutely nothing pretentious about the place. There's no table cloths or fancy uniforms for the staff. Tables are ready prepared with baskets of cutlery and sauces and jugs of water and glasses and the staff are cool, but friendly.
The menu is mainly burgers, pizza, salads and a couple of options from the grill.
The burger menu is extensive – there's everything from your classic cheeseburger, to Mexican style burgers with salsa and guacamole to chorizo from the local The Bath Pig – who in my opinion make the best chorizo in the world. And all the bread comes from the Thoughtful Bread Company which is based in Farrington Gurney and has a regular stall at Green Park next to Sainsbury's.
Our burgers - Goats's cheese, caramelised onions and rocket, and the Mexican
If you fancy something a bit different, or want to give th chefs a challenge then they are also willing to make something up for you then and there.
Which is what they did for me. My burger was loaded with goat's cheese and caramelised onions which made an excellent combination. The burgers are well cooked, juicy and a good thickness. The goat's cheese was tangy, but not overpowering and the sweetness of the onions balanced it out very well. I believe it may be making its way on to the menu very soon.
I can highly recommend it.
Market makes excellent nachos
Before our burgers we tucked into a plate of nachos. Nachos are up there as one of my favourite snacks so I was looking forward to Market's take on them.
I was not disappointed. The cheese, instead of just being on the top leaving rather dry tortilla chips underneath, ran right through the pile. And the salsa, gucamole and sour cream came on the side so there was no risk of ending up with soggy piles of chips around the edge which have been over-smothered in sauce. So it was a big thumbs up for them too.
Banoffee pie
The dessert menu is small - in fact there isn't even a menu, you just ask what they have. There will probably be two or three options, like cheesecake and banoffee pie. Feeling rather stuffed after our feast of nachos and burgers we decided to share a banoffee pie. It was creamy and sweet, with a good crunchy base and made an excellent end to the meal.
Drinks are fairly standard Bath prices and there is a good selection of beer, wine and cider.
For a relaxed night hanging out with friends, and for a great burger, I'm convinced it's the best in Bath.

For more information about Market, including special 2-4-1 deals visit

Thursday, 7 July 2011

HOT BATH: Getting inspired by the Taste of the West

Watching anyone at the top of their game, doing the thing that they love is always inspiring. Whether it's a sportsman, singer, dancer, craftsman......or chef.
Hywel Jones with one of the dishes he prepared
And that was one of the really great things about the weekend's Taste of the West festival in Milsom Place in Bath – the theatre kitchen in the Octagon which gave people the chance to watch some of the area's top chefs in action.
Now I feel about chefs the way that other people feel about pop stars or premiership footballers – I am more or less completely starstruck, and totally in awe of what they do.
So for me, the opportunity to see them preparing remarkable dishes up close was very exciting.
In this area we are very lucky with the great range of local produce available, and the amazing talent that exists to turn it into delicious meals.
Having watched the Great British Menu I was familiar with Hywel Jones, Executive Chef, at Lucknam Park in Colerne. I found myself transfixed watching the quiet ease with which he handled the ingredients, expertly assembling the dishes while still maintaining a rapport with the audience and bantering with his assistant. 
Rachel Demuth, owner of Demuths vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Bath, and head chef at the restaurant, Richard Buckley, created some stunning and vibrant dishes which proved that vegetarian food does not have to be boring. I am lucky enough to have worked with Rachel before at her vegetarian cookery school, and I know how passionate she is about vegetarian cookery and about sharing her skills and this shone through.
But it was Sam Moody from The Bath Priory that really blew me away.
At just 26 years old he already heads up a kitchen, working in a team of 17, and is regarded as one of the top chefs under 30 in the country.
Over the past few years I have been cooking more and more, and I now consider myself a pretty decent cook. But still not even close to this young talent.
It was genuinely inspiring to see someone so young, who had clearly found his calling in life, working and talking about the thing that he is most passionate about.
The Bath Priory is now top of the list on my places to go to eat – as soon as I've saved enough pennies!
Outside the Octagon, throughout Milsom Place were dozens of stalls selling everything from brownies to duck sausages, to wine – but all had one thing in common. They were locally produced.
The more I eat, the more discerning I have become about where my food is sourced from and I genuinely believe that local food, produced with love, with always taste better than anything plucked from the shelf of a supermarket.
It's great to see so many people locally producing such a wide range of products, and it made me realise that you can get almost anything you want from the area, as long as you look hard enough.
One of the things I love about these types of events is just being around people who obviously love and care about food as much as I do.
It's genuinely inspirational.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

HOT MEALS: Grazing at Gascoyne Place

Gascoyne Place is now serving up a grazing menu.
This pleases me for two reasons.
Firstly, I just love that style of eating. Tapas, mezze, anything like that with little plates of deliciousness to share which give my taste buds a work out is alright by me. For me it's the perfect way of eating because I never have to narrow my choices down to one, and then don't have to spend a meal trying to steal food from my partner's plate without him noticing.
And secondly, on the menu are sliders. I discovered sliders on a relatively recent visit to the states and instantly fell in love.
But sadly there is a distinct lack of them here back across the pond.
For those who don't know, sliders are basically mini burgers. Usually served as a trio they come with a selection of toppings, thus removing the need to choose what style of burger you're after, and they work equally well as a main for one, or as part of a sharing experience.
So anyway, they are on the new grazing menu at Gascoyne's which had me very excited.
And frankly, there wasn't any option when we visited. They were definitely going to feature on our menu selection.
And very good they were too. The patties were well made, not overcooked and very tasty, and topped with a nice selection of ingredients – beetroot, blue cheese and classic American. It was a real taste of New York. More places in Bath should serve sliders. I would eat there for sure.


Along with the sliders we chose the charcuterie plate which came with bread and pickles. It was a reasonable selection - nothing particularly out of the ordinary, but a good, safe, tasty choice.
We also decided to try the butternut squash risotto balls with red pepper oil. Little bite-sized balls – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with the delicious nutty sweetness of the squash sitting perfectly with the creamy rice. I could happily have eaten more of them!
Our selection from the Grazing menu
I've always thought that the menu at Gascoyne Place was a bit serious, so it's great that there is now this lighter, slightly more fun option. Divided into small plates, large plates and something sweet it's easy to choose something to suit your appetite. It's perfect if you just want a snack with drinks, and it works equally well for lunch and dinner.
I think it is a very welcome addition to the full menu – especially those sliders!

Monday, 4 July 2011

HOT DRINKS: Door 34 - a cut above the rest

You could go into a cocktail bar, pick up a menu and order your drink from the usual selection – Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Dark and Stormy etc etc.
Or, you could go to Door 34 on Monmouth Street.
Of course they serve up all the classics, but when you have bartenders this good, where's the fun in that?
Instead, put your faith in the experts and let them do what they do best. All you need to do is give them a clue – something with bourbon, something spicy, something pink, whatever takes your fancy – and after just a moment's thought they will spring into action and create something special.
Door 34 really is a cut above your usual cocktail bar. But when you look at the credentials of the men behind it, it's not really surprising.
The bar is the brainchild of award winning cocktail makers Craig Edney and Andy Walsh.
Craig has opened bars and run events all over the world, he trains the bar staff for Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant chain and has run events for high profile clients such as Kofi Annan, Dizzy Rascal and F1 motor racing teams.
Bartending has taken Andy around the world. He has tended to the needs of the fashionable and elite in venues such as the award winning Callooh Callay in Shoreditch to Tony's Stars Kitten Club on the other side of the world in Melbourne. Along the way he has picked up a host of awards from the UK Bartenders Guild, Beefeater Gin and Glenfiddich, to name just a few.
Door 34 really is all about the drinks. It's not trying to be uber cool, or filled with gimmicks, it's just about creating great drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.
And it does have a great vibe. It is small enough to feel intimate, but large enough not to feel instantly crowded.
Craig's vision for the bar was to create somewhere with the feel of a 1920s speakeasy. The kind of place you hear about from those in the know. And I think it works. It's warm and chic and the staff are friendly and happy to talk you through how they make the drinks.
Craig said: “This is a bar for good measured drinking, using the best fresh ingredients, local and globally sourced spirits, a place for grown ups to drink.
“If you want to come and have a nice drink then this is the place for you.”
I think it's the place for me.

For more information visit, email or call 01225 444770.

Monday, 20 June 2011

HOT MEALS: Going veggie at the Vegetarian Cookery School

I've always been a good girl and eaten up all my vegetables.
It's a different story however for the boyfriend. Peas are OK, and beans. And maybe peppers, but not much else. Unless it's chopped up really, really small and it barely recognisable, then I might just get away with it.
So, even though neither of us are vegetarians I thought learning to cook some really good vegetarian dishes might just convince him that not all vegetables are evil.
And where better to learn than at the Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath which is run by the owner of the award-winning vegetarian restaurant Demuths, Rachel Demuth, along with other vegetarian cookery experts – many of them former chefs at Demuths.
The school offers a range of courses, both evening classes and full day courses, in all sorts of different styles of cookery, from meals that can be prepared in just 30 minutes, to pasta making, and masterclasses with visiting experts.
Having visited both Spain and Morocco in the past year, and fallen in love with the food there, the Spanish and Moroccan course seemed like the perfect choice.
Helping Rachel lead the class was Jo Ingleby, who was head chef at Demuths for three years and has also spent time living in Spain where she developed a real passion for the local cuisine.
I was excited to learn how to make some authentic tapas dishes, and a fragrant Moroccan tagine that would hopefully show how delicious fresh, seasonal vegetables can taste, and convert the boyfriend.
I wasn't disappointed. What we managed to squeeze into six hours was amazing.
At no point did I feel rushed or pressured, and there was even time for Jo to show us some knife skills so now I can chop away like the best of the television chefs!
Salmorejo and Moorish bread stick
Harissa - made from plenty of fresh chillies
Broad bean and pumpkin seed bissara
Somehow, we managed to make almendras con sal picante (spiced almonds), salmorejo (gazpacho style dip), tortilla de patatas (traditional potato tortilla), Piementos de padron (fried green peppers), patatas bravas y alioli (potatoes with garlic mayonnaise), Moorish semolina bread, broad bean and pumpkin seed bissara, Moroccan tagine with harissa, toasted almond and mint cous cous and Moroccan orange and sultana salad, almond and orange cake and almond and rose water fruit pastries – and find plenty of time to eat as well!
Moorish bread
Jo turns out the Spanish tortilla
Some dishes we made from start to finish, others we contributed certain elements to, and a couple we just watched, but thanks to the great tuition I feel completely confident in making them at home. Even those that were made while we were busy cooking or eating we were made to feel involved with, with Rachel and Jo constantly keeping us informed about what they were doing, and showing us the progress of each dish every step of the way.
The class had been well thought out, and just about all the equipment we used was the sort of thing that most people would have in their kitchen, and Jo and Rachel's enthusiasm for what they were doing was infectious, and the enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge with people really shone through.
My spicy Moroccan tagine
The tagine was where we were given an almost free hand to make our own version of the traditional Moroccan dish.
Working in pairs we were given the recipe and a set of instructions. And while Jo and Rachel were on hand to offer advice if we needed it, we were left to interpret the dish in our own way.
Fortunately my partner and I both shared a love of spicy food, and the result was a wonderfully fragrant and spicy dish that I was very proud of.
Not being a vegetarian I thought that I might miss the meat element, but I can say hand-on-heart that I really didn't.
The tagine was as flavourful as any I had tried in Marrakech and all the tapas dishes tasted so fresh and were so colourful and vibrant looking that I believe that even the most hardened carnivore would have loved them.
Ornage and almond cake
Fortunately there were plenty of breaks timetabled into the day for us to enjoy what we were making, and the whole day ended with the whole group sitting round a table and enjoying the fruits of our labours along with some excellent Spanish wine (all vegetarian of course!).
There seemed to be a range of different cooking abilities on the course, but it was pitched so well that no-one seemed to be left behind, or getting bored, and Jo and Ruth seemed to be able to read exactly the right level to pitch the lessons at, and instinctively knew when someone might need some help, but without ever being patronising.
Toasting our efforts!
It was such a fun day, and I came away feeling inspired.
While I can't say I'm a complete convert to the vegetarian way of life the day did leave me feeling inspired and I shall definitely be trying not only to recreate the dishes that I learned on that day, but other vegetarian dishes.
And as for the boyfriend, I think there will always be a certain amount of vegetable suspicion, but I'll keep you posted!

For more information on the Vegetarian Cookery School visit or to find out more about Demuths restaurant visit