The farmer from Evesham, who grew and sold me the asparagus, suggested a cooking method. Boil them for 12 minutes and then serve simply with butter. I consulted the Internet and decided to roast my bunch instead. Olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped garlic cooked in the oven at 200 degrees Centigrade for about 12 minutes. Delicious even if I say so myself.
Drove to Evesham yesterday. Saw a farm shop just outside the town. A sign said locally farmed asparagus was being sold inside. I bought a bunch. It’s the season for asparagus. The Vale of Evesham grows the best.
Went to the Farmers Market in Kings Heath, Birmingham. There were only a dozen or so stalls, set out in a sort of circle just outside All Saints Church, but some fine produce nevertheless. We got some Jasmine Flower Tea and this squash. Haven’t decided how to cook it yet; choice between roasting it and making a warming autumnal risotto. Yum either way
Was passing through Moseley this morning when we noticed the Farmers Market in full swing. The weather was good for a change and there were plenty of people about. The area by the bus stop, opposite the Barclays bank had all the food stalls and the Alcester Road side, opposite HSBC had the arts and crafts stalls. We bought some organic apples grown in … Argentina … hmm!
Christmas, New Years and a Birthday came and went and much food was consumed by all. Two of those occasions occurred at two of Brindleyplace’s, indeed Birmingham’s, finer eateries — Bank and Edmunds. Sitting in opposite corners of Brunswick Square the two establishments seem to be eyeing each other like a couple of gastronomic champs, ready to rumble.
Actually there was a rumble but mostly in my belly when I went to the first of these restaurants, Bank. From the moment we walked into the modern, elegant and spacious surroundings the service was impeccable. The staff were attentive, friendly and most importantly relaxed. We got there a bit early and sat in the bar area for a while and weren’t rushed to our table at the time it had been booked for, although it should be added that it was early and the place wasn’t too crowded.
I had a starter of mussels and although it was described as a small portion I got a fair few which was a good thing as they were delicious. I honestly haven’t tasted mussels that good since having some on a trip to Brussels many years ago. Other’s at the table had Thai Fish Cakes and the Chili Squid and these were equally impressive. For the main I went for the catch of the day – which was a Lemon Sole, cooked with capers and butter. Absolute genius food! Others in the Party had Malayan Chicken – delicious!, Confit of Duck – delicious! and the Fish and Chips – delicious!. The food was presented beautifully. I finished off the meal with a selection of excellent cheeses.
A couple of weeks after that thoroughly delicious trip to Bank I was lucky enough to be treated to a meal at Edmunds by Mrs Bongo Vongo. It’s a much smaller place and in keeping with it’s description of itself as a place for fine dining the setting is more formal than Bank with full silver service. The tables glisten with cutlery of many descriptions accompanied by a host of sparkling glasses. The plates, tables and artwork on the walls are coordinated in colour and pattern and all very tastefully put together. All this ever so slightfully intimidating taste is mitigated by friendly front of house staff who, as in any place with genuine class, put you at ease with their polite and attentive service.
It was one of those really cold days earlier this month and I saw and went for a warming Risotto of wild mushrooms with truffle oil & parmesan starter. Before that got to us though there was served some complimentary freshly made light crispy cheesy twists with guacamole — yum! My risotto didn’t waste any time getting to me and it was just right, al dente and delicious. After this there was another surprise complimentary morsel, a small pumkin soup with crunchy toasted sunflower seeds. For my main I had Halibut with mussels, winter vegetables & a tarragon shallot butter. All perfectly cooked but the tarrogon shallot butter was the genious touch. The missus had the Buttered puff pastry,with breast of cornfed chicken, confit of chicken leg, braised celery & chicken jus which in keeping with the culinary trend of the moment featured chicken cooked in three ways. As at Bank, I finished things off with Chef’s selection of English cheeses with wafer biscuits and a fine selection it was too.
It was a good fight — a thrilla near the villa (yeah I know it’s nowhere near the Villa ground but hey) — and I think we’re really lucky in Brum to have a number of great places to eat all around Brindleyplace. In the final count though, owing to a combination of thrilling food and excellent service, in a closely fought culinary contest I have to give the decision to Bank.