Gastro Goings On – October

As I sit here today, looking out of the window at the blanket of fog surrounding me, I still can’t quite believe it’s November already. October has been a busy one, with festivals galore, new products to try and of course, Halloween.

Here are my highlights from the month!

Event: Itihaas Bollywood Cinema at Selfridges Live + Loud

Selfridges held their festival of art and fashion Live + Loud recently. As a well-known greedy person, I was invited down to the Itihaas Bollywood Cinema on the ground floor of Selfridges to try out the streetfood on offer.

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I was in for a feast as I got to try a little bit of everything while enjoying a Bollywood movie.

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I started off with the chickpea puri – crispy parcels filled with chickpeas and a cold, spiced sauce.

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I wasn’t sure whether I’d like these as they were cold, but they were really tasty and in fact, quite refreshing! Next up I tried the veggie Biryani bowl.

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The rice was cooked beautifully, the mild spices were warming and delicious and the mint and chilli sauces drizzled on top gave the dish a flavour boost. I also got to try and lamb tikka roll, which had a lamb tikka kofta with salad and mint sauce in a soft hotdog roll – a fabulous fusion snack with a hot kick – I really enjoyed it.

Then finally I had some chilli fries, which were crispy and hot and went really well with the lamb tikka roll.

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You can try all the regular Itihaas dishes from their restaurant in the food hall, Selfridges ground floor.

Cooking: Blend Bros High Protein Sauces

I got sent some samples of a brand new product to try this month. Blend Bros make high protein sauces that are designed to be quick, easy and fit in with a healthy, active lifestyle. I got to try three flavours – Mexican Pibil Stew, Spanish Tomato & Chorizo and Thai Jungle Curry.

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Deceptively filling, each packet of sauce packs a whopping 20g serving of pea protein, but doesn’t have that nasty taste that protein shakes and powders often have. As the protein content is so high, it means you can use less meat, making these quite economical, and they’re so easy to use, you just need to add hot water.

I made the Mexican Pibil Stew in my slow cooker with chicken, peppers and sweet potatoes.

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The flavour was similar to fajita seasoning, but I like mine hot so I added an extra helping of chili sauce. The Spanish Chorizo flavour went really well with some scallops I had in the freezer, and the Thai jungle curry went down very well with salmon and vegetables served up with rice.

They’re not the kind of gourmet, artisan ingredient I’d usually go for, but if you’re working late or at the gym and need a quick, convenient, tasty protein hit then they’re just the thing.

Travel: Foraging in the Forest of Dean

October saw me try my hand at foraging for the first time. I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely folks at Forest Holidays  to be one of the first to experience their foraging activity down in the stunning Forest of Dean.

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From sorrel to sloe berries, we found an abundance of food in the forest with the help of our expert guides Gerry the Forest of Dean ranger and Nick Weston from Hunter:Gather:Cook and got to try our hand a wild butchery and cooking.

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Read the full post about my awesome experience but be warned, there are photos of partridge butchery if you’re squeamish!

Eating Out

I’ve done well this month getting the chance to review the new menu at Revolution Birmingham …

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… sampling some of the dishes at the launch of Chi Kitchen

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… and feeling the heat at Brumderland’s latest event.

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I also reviewed my home town of Sutton Coldfield’s newest Indian offering Ganesha Dining in Streetly over at Dine Birmingham.

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I unfortunately missed out on the Byzantium Tapas night which I read enviously about over on some of my fellow foodies blogs, and had a rather unfortunate experience at Birmingham Oktoberfest, but luckily the month ended on a high with a Vodka fuelled Halloween night thanks to Cocktail Xchange and Reyka Vodka at Malmaison.

I will be providing a full review of the night’s shenanigans very soon, but for now here’s a sneak peak at our Bloody Mary marinated chicken main course.

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And there you have it. October is over, and Christmas is edging ever closer, so it won’t be long before my Festive Gifts for Foodies and Christmas Cake posts start appearing. Sorry scrooges, but I can’t wait!

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