This June the UK’s biggest food festival arrived at Cannon Hill park in Birmingham. Here are some of the highlights from the weekend.
Running from Friday the 3rd of June to Sunday the 5th, the UK’s biggest food festival arrived at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham. Here are some of the highlights from the weekend.
Saturday Highlights – Heather Langdale
Kiittikorn Clarke, one of Chaophraya’s head chefs, cooked up a tropical storm with his hake jungle curry and threw in a few tips on the way. He swapped coconut milk for water to make his curry more of a broth than the typical creamier sauce, and discussed the benefits of Thai curry as a cost and time-effective meal; preparing large batches of the Foodies Festival Highlights FOOD 38 @redbrickfood paste to freeze in an ice-cube tray makes the curry a quick and easy option to whip up later. His meal smelt wonderfully fragrant and had me craving Thai food for the rest of the day.
Coco Labelle are a street food stall serving up Mauritian, Jamaican, and Sicilian food from their charmingly summery mint green camper van. Their menu consisted of three items including spicy Jamaican fried fish, but their most popular dish seemed to be the sweet potato and butterbean curry served up with a Mauritian farata (think roti or flatbread), salad, kale slaw, and various chilli sauces which provided a delightful combination of flavours.
Little Miss Meat-Free Demo
You could be forgiven for thinking that Katy Beskow’s (better known as Little Miss Meat Free) demonstration isn’t for everyone, but even my meatloving boyfriend found her beetroot, lemon and thyme risotto tempting. Katy prides herself on delivering vegan food that is simple and accessible – her coconut panacotta was made of just coconut milk and agar and looked amazing topped with mango and passion fruit.
The Brownie Bar
Where do I even start with this place? The Brownie Bar hails from Newcastle and sells a huge range of wonderfully gooey chocolate brownies. If a classic triple chocolate one isn’t hitting the spot for you, they have Malteaser ones (easily the best brownie I’ve ever eaten), Nutella, and peanut butter, as well as their pièce de résistance: a cookie with a brownie baked into the middle of it. Yes, really.
Mason’s Yorkshire Gin
The festival also hosted various drinks stalls, one of which was Mason’s Yorkshire Gin. I’m no gin expert and not even a huge fan of gin myself, but when it comes in traditional, lavender or Yorkshire Tea flavour, how could I say no? Mason’s has won awards for its smoothness and incredible taste, and adds an unusual twist to the standard girls-night-in G&T.
Sunday Highlights – Tasha Smart
It was a struggle to decide which vendor to buy from, with food ranging from India all the way to Germany. The selection made for fun exploration, and many stalls were giving free samples to give an idea of what they were selling, all of which were amazing. Our choice landed on World Foods, where we had a falafel wrap made with ingredients such as mint, hummus, beetroot, and sweet chilli, all in all creating a delicious and filling wrap well worth its price.
As dessert we were drawn to the stall making ice cream and sorbet to order, using liquid nitrogen to freeze it. Though a bit of a gimmick, the freedom of choice was exciting and watching it being made was part of the fun.
To keep everyone entertained, the festival also offered a variety of shows. Winner of the 2010 series of MasterChef, Dhruv Baker, hosted in the main tent as numerous chefs showed a captive audience how to create an impressive starter and main dish. I was lucky enough to see Tony Rodd, finalist in MasterChef 2015, on the main stage creating a salmon and crab starter with a trout main course. The resulting dishes looked amazing, and the step by step was great to watch, handy for those planning a dinner party!
The next tent over was the baking tent, where we saw Adelle Smith, writer of ‘Baked’, giving her top tips on how to make kid-friendly cupcakes in the least messy way. The final cupcake was a lovely rainbow unicorn that would be perfect for any child’s party (and of course, some adults’)! My favourite take away tip was to paint stripes of gel food colouring in the icing piping bag in order to achieve the rainbow effect – something usually impossible to achieve. The festival had a lot to offer, with the vast array of food and the opportunity to buy from local producers. It was alarmingly easy to spend the whole day there, with cocktails and music later in the day.