Friday, 29 April 2016

Culinary Captures - April 2016

I think we’ll all remember April 2016 as being the month that featured four seasons in one day weather-wise – hasn’t it be so cold of late? 

But nevertheless, there are lots of fab foodie things going on to warm you up and as always, here is my little monthly snapshot of things I want to share with you!

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend everyone!


BFDH Awards
Image:  c/o BFDH Awards

Time for a self-indulgent plug if that’s okay? 

Fabulously, I’ve been nominated as a finalist in the Best Food & Drink Blogger category in this year’s Birmingham Food Drink & Hospitality Awards!  I am truly honoured to have reached the finals, especially as there are so many wonderful bloggers in the region!

If you wish to vote for me, then please click on this link:  BFDH Awards   - scroll down to the ‘Best Food & Drink Blogger’ category and click on my ‘Word In Veg Ways’ green logo and follow the voting instructions.

As well as the blogger section, there are other categories covering the foodie community such as ‘Best Chef’ and ‘Best Vegetarian Restaurant’, all of whom you can vote for too.

It’s a real opportunity to support the crème de la crème of the city, so please do take a moment to place your votes.

More information about the awards and for details of how to purchase tickets for the Awards ceremony on Monday 6 June 2016, visit:

I for one am truly thankful for each and every vote cast for me, so I thank you wholeheartedly in advance for voting!   xx


Jazz Breakfast

Image:  c/o The Highfield

Talking of Bank Holiday weekends, if you’re looking for a brunch venue this Saturday (30th April), by popping over to The Highfield in Edgbaston Birmingham between 10am – 12pm, not only will you be able to choose from their breakfast/brunch menu, but you can partake in their ‘Bottomless Bloody Mary’ stand and enjoy a bit of jazz to go with it! 

What’s there not to like??!


Indian Afternoon Tea
Image:  c/o Praza
This Bank Holiday also sees the return of Indian Afternoon Tea at Praza Edgbaston Birmingham.  Taking the ultimate English institution of afternoon tea, Praza have compiled a menu that takes the tradition and gives it an Indian overhaul.   I love this idea!

For example you can have: Homemade Mini Cumin & Orange Scones and enjoy drinking a range of Chais in lieu of tea.    A vegetarian menu is available upon request.

Take a look at Praza’s site for more information (NB:  although the site states Easter Sunday, the afternoon tea is taking place this Sunday, 1st May).

Square Metre Gardening High Value Vegetables Homegrown Produce Ranked By Value
Image:  c/o Quatro Publishing

Here’s a little food for thought for those of us with green fingers.  Just reading the write up for this book has made me think, how much of a return (both in yield and in money) would I get from growing my own vegetables and is it cheaper buying items from shops instead?   

Author Mel Bartholomew debates this question in his book, applies a bit of maths/economics and helps you to decide which crops to grow, how to grow them and compare layout cost versus payback which will help you work out what is more advantageous for you and your garden area.

An interesting topic, especially if you only have a small space to garden in.  What do you think?

For more Information visit:  Quatro Knows
Square Metre Gardening High Value Vegetables Homegrown Produce Ranked by Value
Mel Bartholomew
Released: April 2016 | Cool Springs Press (Frances Lincoln) £12.99
Country Wild

Keeping the gardening theme going, I’m going to bend the rules here as this next capture isn’t food related.    It’s about flowers and about my friend Jody whom I used to work with. 

After always telling her how amazingly artistically talented she is, I’m thrilled that she is channeling all her creativity through the art form of floristry and now has her own business – Country Wild and hence, I want to give her a big shout out!

Image:  c/o Country Wild

Based in her artisan floral studio in Worcestershire, Jody adores colour and texture, specialising in a wild, bohemian style, each of her bouquets is lovingly created with that in mind.   Much of her foliage is gathered from her garden and she sources flowers locally wherever possible.

Image:  c/o Country Wild

Weddings are her specialty and earlier this year she was lucky enough to create flowers for the wedding of actor Mikey North (who plays Gary Windass in ITV’s Coronation Street) and her arrangements were even featured in OK! Magazine.   

Image:  c/o Country Wild

Her website is in development at the moment but you can see her work on Facebook, just search for Country Wild or on Instagram check out:  @mrsjpage 

Note:  All items/services featured have been personally selected and I have not received any incentive or compensation to feature them. 




Saturday, 16 April 2016

Foodies Festival Returns to Birmingham!

After a cracking debut last year, Foodies Festival is returning to Cannon Hill Park Birmingham this summer from 3rd-5th  June, with plenty of culinary attractions to keep you busy all weekend.

You can buy things, try things, watch a chef demo (with celebrities and local culinary personalities alike) or just chill out in the sunshine (pleeeassee let there be sunshine!) with a coffee or a cocktail and just while away the day as one long epicurean episode unfolds in front of you….. 

With plenty for adults and a children’s area in situ, the whole festival is family friendly which makes for a fun day out whatever your age.

So, to whet your appetite, here is a little overview of what you can expect over the weekend:

Cook - Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre
This year's festival sees Birmingham's culinary elite and The Great British Bake-Off  2015 winner Nadiya Hussain cooking live  in the Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre, showcasing their culinary skills, sharing insight into 2016’s food trends and answering questions from the audience.

Chefs taking part include (more TBC): 

Nadiya Hussain
Photo:  c/o Foodies Festival

- Nadiya Hussain – The Great British Bake Off Winner 2015
- Aktar Islam - Lasan Group & Great British Menu
- Richard Turner - Turners (Michelin starred)
- Brad Carter - Carters (Michelin starred)
- Nathan Eades - Simpsons (Michelin starred)
- Ryan Swift - The Edgbaston
- Tony Rodd - MasterChef Finalist 2015

- Andy Waters - Waters Restaurant
- Ben Tennent - Opus Restaurant 

- Katy Beskow - Little Miss Meat Free
- James Wong - Chung Ying
- Nigel Brown - Celebrity Chef
- Dhruv Baker - MasterChef Winner 2010
- Jackie Kearney - The Hungry Gecko and MasterChef Finalist 2011

Discover – Feel Good and Superfoods
Visitors can enjoy a new 'Feel Good Foods' theme at Foodies Festival this summer, with healthy living chefs and food writers joining the line-up to cook with superfoods including kefir, lucuma, freekeh, kelp and banana flour, and sirt rich foods such as blueberries, kale, celery, buckwheat, turmeric, chilli and red onion.

Indulge – Cake, Bake & Tasting Theatre and Vintage Tea Room
Bake-Off winner Nadiya joins baking extraordinaire Charlotte White and master chocolatier Fiona Sciolti on the Cake & Bake stage, working their baking wizardry to inspire visitors to reach for their spatulas at home and create show-stopping cakes and delicious summer bakes. A neighbouring Chocolate, Cake and Bake Village will be selling freshly baked breads, sponges, tarts, jellies and trifles to enjoy with a bubble tea or fresh juice.

Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the beautifully decorated Vintage Tea Room, where teas, handmade cakes and scones with clotted cream and jam are served on china from a tea trolley by vintage styled tea ladies and gentlemen, and vintage music for ambience.

Feast – Street Food Avenue
With flavours from all corners of the world available on the Street Food Avenue - Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Argentinian, Turkish, Indian, Korean, Mexican, French and African are just some of the flavours to feast on this summer.

There’s a special focus on Brazilian street food this year to celebrate the Olympic host’s cuisine, including traditional Brazilian BBQ.  Brazil’s national cocktail Caipirinha, a mix of lime, sugar and Cachaça (made from sugarcane juice with an ABV of 48%), and Brazilian coffees will also be available.

Shop – Artisan Producers Market
A glittering array of Great Taste Award winners are available to shop and sample from this year, each being hailed as a producer of ‘Exquisite, Outstanding and Simply Delicious’ food and drink – a fantastic opportunity for visitors to meet artisan producers from the local area and across the country, learn their story and stock up on award winning produce. With over 120 stalls to peruse at each festival, selling everything from Seaweed Seasoning to Champagne Infused Fudge, visitors will be spoilt for choice for what to eat at the festival and take home to enjoy. 


Sip - Drinks Theatre
Expert mixologists and sommeliers, including Neil Phillips and Charles Metcalfe, host champagne and wine masterclasses, and beer connoisseur and writer Melissa Cole is on-hand with craft beer tutorials.

Visitors can test their taste buds with blindfolded whisky challenges, where they will have to taste and smell to try and identify ingredients and country of origin. These classes are also a great opportunity for novices to learn about whisky and its history.

Explore - Childrens Cookery School
The Olympic theme continues into the Childrens Cookery School, where little foodies can decorate their very own gold medal with coloured icing, glitter and edible ribbon.  Pizza and cupcake making classes also allow kids to explore their taste buds and learn basic cookery skills to practice at home.

Spice It Up - Chilli-Eating Challenge
The famous Chilli-Eating Challenge continues in 2016, inviting fans of spice to beat an eye-watering 16 million scoville record set by Shahina Waseem last year. Participants start at the low end of the chilli spectrum by eating bell peppers, but things quickly get a lot hotter with Habanero, Scotch and Carolina Reaper (world's hottest chilli) chillies being added to the menu. Those still standing are then inflicted to pure chilli extract, increasing in strength, until a winner is crowned.

Photo:  c/o Foodies Festival

Relax – Live Music and Pop-Up Bars
After a day of feasting and fun, visitors can relax and soak in the atmosphere with live music from the Entertainment Stage and a glass of bubbly or refreshing cocktail from the Giant Pimm's Teapot or double-decker BarBus.



If you want to get a flavour of last year’s event, then take a look at my review here

Should Birmingham not be on your doorstep or if you can’t make the festival, then take a look at the other towns across the UK that will be hosting and that will have a similar line up of exhibitors.

To make it all the more irresistible, I have a special 2 for 1 offer on tickets, see details below for more information. 

Hope to see you all there and let’s keep our fingers crossed for good weather!

Disclosure:  All queries for the 2 for 1 ticket offer must be made directly with the festival organisers, using the telephone number given.  All ticket purchases must be purchased via the telephone number given.  Word In Veg Ways will not be responsible for any aspect of the offer and/or ticket purchasing.


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Eat Like a Londoner Article - Heart London Magazine

When in London, where do you go to eat?    Do you stick to the tourist trail or do you do as locals do and get out into the suburbs?

'Images from Eat Like A Londoner by Tania Ballantine, photographs by Kim Lightbody.
Published by Frances Lincoln (£9.99).'

An article which I wrote recently for Heart London Magazine explores just that and their differences.

'Images from Eat Like A Londoner by Tania Ballantine, photographs by Kim Lightbody.
Published by Frances Lincoln (£9.99).'

Inspired after reading a coffee-table style book that I was asked to review called ‘Eat Like A Londoner’ by Tania Ballantine (published by Frances Lincoln), the book provides overviews of London eateries on all scales ranging from plush hotels to modest cafes.  The broad spectrum of it all got me thinking…..
'Images from Eat Like A Londoner by Tania Ballantine, photographs by Kim Lightbody.
Published by Frances Lincoln (£9.99).'

I was keen to see if my London-based friends actually did eat like Londoners themselves (as depicted in the book), what was their view on what constitutes as ‘London eating’ and if I, as a visitor, did the same.
'Images from Eat Like A Londoner by Tania Ballantine, photographs by Kim Lightbody.
Published by Frances Lincoln (£9.99).'

To find out, have a read through the article, judge for yourself and see  how much you eat like a Londoner when you’re in the big smoke…..

'Images from Eat Like A Londoner by Tania Ballantine, photographs by Kim Lightbody.
Published by Frances Lincoln (£9.99).'


Article Link: 


Heart London Magazine  - A lifestyle magazine that focuses on events and venues in London.

Images from Eat Like A Londoner by Tania Ballantine, photographs by Kim Lightbody. Published by Frances Lincoln (£9.99).


Disclosure:  This post was written following kind receipt of a complementary copy of: Eat Like A Londoner published by Frances Lincoln.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich

The recent Easter Bank Holiday weekend was perfect for having the time to try out new things.  One such thing was a Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich which I’ve been keen to do for a while and along with having some Jarlsberg cheese that I’d been given to trial, I thought I’d pair the two together.
Photo:  c/o Jarlsberg
Now, a typical Reuben is a beast of a sandwich and is packed with lots of Eastern European tasty penchants that I enjoy and ideal for those times when you need something hearty for a packed few hours ahead.

Reading your mind, I preempt the question - “What’s a Reuben?”  

Well, the Reuben is a sandwich that was designed in the 1920’s/30’s in America.  With a number of people claiming its invention, including the owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York, no definitive answer has been stated as to who made it first.  But nevertheless, the sandwich’s popularity soon spread across America, in particular becoming a staple menu item in many a New York/Jewish deli.
Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich - Opened
c/o WordInVegWays
The sandwich typically contains:  steak, sauerkraut, gherkins, Swiss cheese and a Russian dressing on rye bread.  My veggie version swaps the steak for a Quorn branded meat-free Beef Steak, a slither of ketchup and horseradish instead of the Russian dressing and Jarlsberg cheese instead of Swiss cheese.

Slices of Jarlsberg
Photo: WordInVegWays

Jarlsberg cheese, produced in Norway, has quite a distinct yet pleasant flavour.  As it is sold pre- sliced, its convenience for the assembly of the Reuben sandwich and for general snacking is spot-on.  My Carnivourous Husband (MCH) found himself enjoying it so much as a snack with celery, that he nearly ate a whole pack in one sitting!  (Not recommended by the way….)

But here’s the recipe for my Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich which includes Jarlsberg cheese and I hope you enjoy making it as much as we did eating it!

Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich
c/o WordInVegWays

Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich

Serves 2

2 Quorn Chef’s Selection Meat-Free Beef Steaks*
4 Slices of Rye Bread
2 slices of Jarlsberg Cheese
2 tablespoons of Sauerkraut (from a jar)
4 slices of Pickled Gherkin (from a jar)
Slither of Tomato Ketchup & Horseradish Sauce
Oil for frying

*Meat beef steaks can be used instead if you are of carnivorous persuasion.

  • Cook the meat-free beef steaks as per packet instructions.
  • Heat a splash of oil in a griddle frying pan and place the bread slices in the pan so that they gain griddle marks – taking care not to burn them. 
  • Griddle them for a minute or so on both sides.
  • Take the bread out of the pan and place on a plate once done.
  • Place the sauerkraut in the frying pan for 30 seconds or so, turning it occasionally, so that any excess water can be evaporated and then turn the heat off.
  • When the meat-free beef steaks are ready, place a slither of tomato ketchup and horseradish on top of each steak.
  • Put a Jarlsberg cheese slice on top of each steak and place under a hot grill so that they melt very slightly (a few seconds only) and then remove them.
  • Put a meat-free beef steak with Jarlsberg cheese on top of 2 of the slices of rye bread.
  • Then add half of the sauerkraut, plus 2 gherkin slices on top of each sandwich and then the final slice of bread.
  • Cut in half and enjoy with gusto!


Disclosure:    This post has been written following receipt of complementary samples of Jarlsberg Cheese.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.