Category Archives: Events

Reviews of events I have been to

Trains and Food – The Cumbrian Hoovers – Pathfinder Tours

“Not your normal restaurant, service a bit wobbly, especially by the sea!”

What could be better? A journey across some of England’s finest railway scenery on board a luxurious carriage, pulled by a brace of English Electric’s finest. The tour was called ‘The Cumbrian Hoovers’, a nod to the nick name given to these fine old machines by trainspotters of yore. Tremendous stuff.

IMG_4449
Photo by Liam Barnes

A gentlemen’s day to Carlisle and back via Settle and the breathtaking Cumbrian coast started on a bracing morn in Warrington. Within minutes a traditional breakfast of muesli, yoghurt and a fine, full english fry up was on the plate, deftly, sprung by ‘The Frying Scotsman’. Lashings of hot coffee served in the finest bone china completed the set.

IMG_2301

The trip organised by Pathfinder Tours started in Birmingham with a few pick ups along the way. The chief attraction, for rail enthusiasts was the fact that the train was lugged around behind a pair of preserved, Class 50, diesel locomotives, which just by chance were originally manufactured some fifty years earlier, at the Vulcan Foundry in my home town of Newton-le-Willows. As a fifty something myself, heritage diesel locomotives represent the similar whiff of nostalgia that my father would find with steam locomotives.

IMG_2304

The train soon veered off the beaten track and the ascent to Settle and the famous Ribblehead Viaduct was underway. A stop at the wonderfully preserved, Hellifield station providing a welcome leg stretch. The hordes disembarked and flooded the platforms with high tech, digital imagery equipment. The locos were seemingly highly photogenic in some of their former liveries. Indeed the surrounding countryside was littered with folk eager to see and video proceedings.

IMG_2344

Lunchtime saw us arrive in Carlisle. Some early scouting had daned that  The Kings Head in the centre to be a venue capable of providing suitable sustenance. A couple of Windermere pale ales quenched our thirst. For the record I hereby vouch that Carlisle has the largest block paved patio in the world. The whole town centre is covered in it!

Back on the train we set out on a different loop to venture down the stunning west Cumbrian coast. Whitehaven, Maryport, Ravenglass, Foxfield all glided past, whilst the sun covered sea stretched out to the horizon.

fullsizeoutput_239d

By this time, our genial hosts were serving up our 5 course gourmet meal. Confit duck leg with roasted vegetable cous cous salad, to start. Baked gammon, pineapple, Cumberland sauce with new potatoes, fried courgettes and red cabbage with a ginger and garlic sauce. It was all rather wonderful. We finished with a bramley apple and damson pie with custard followed by a fine cheeseboard and coffee. A couple of nice bots of merlot and the odd ‘Spitfire’ helped it all down.

IMG_2302

After another photo stop in Barrow, amidst bemused onlookers, we were soon barreling through Grange Over Sands and over the famous Kent bridge at Arnside, (see image at the top of the page by Darren JB).

Soon we were back on the straight and narrow west coast main line and my arrival in Warrington beckoned. My chum Craig and I had pretty much spent eleven hours venturing around the hidden lines of Lancashire and Cumbria. A fantastic day had by all.

IMG_2303

If this is something you would in interested in doing, the premier class trip that we did costs around £259 each, though a standard class seat without the food costs around £75. For details of any further trips around the country please visit the website below. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more.

http://www.Pathfindertours.co.uk
01453 835414 or 834477

Advertisements

Wreckfish Bistro – A Masterclass – Liverpool

Wreckfish…..(great name for a bistro) is the fourth in a natty little run of openings by Gary Usher, the infamous, crowdfunding, twitter speak chef. Having raptured through Sticky, Burnt and Hispi (reviewed previously). it was time to get ‘wrecked’ in Liverpool. This time to luxuriate in an all day masterclass with the maestro himself. The winnings for stumping up a few bob to help this wonderful Seel Street edifice spring to life.

IMG_1981

Its set in what seems to be quite a hip neighbourhood, smart urban boutiques and bars abound. That said Wreckfish itself leaps out. Its smart two-tone grey exterior with understated branding cuts a serious dash.

IMG_1982
Table and kitchen ready, preparing, torching and crowning a pigeon

I’m early, but i’m made more than welcome by FOH Pete. He sees me right with a brew and a danish in the well-appointed bar area. The street level floor is flooded with natural light and has already been converted into a multi chef workspace. Long tables are set with folded aprons, towels, squirty bottles and sharp knives. The flash, stainless kitchen is bristling at the far end. Gradually the other fourteen contestants slip in. We’re all a bit nervous until Gazza steps in with the itinerary.

IMG_1987
Preparing the vodka cream, gossamer thin, golden pasta, lentils and pork at the ready

The demos are fronted by Gary. We all listen and laugh at the right places. He’s good, he’s got the obligatory rock star tats, he’s charismatic, he articulates with his hands as well as explain the tricks with his confident Cheshire brogue…..And he can cook……but not only that, so can his team that have stepped in to help today. Rich, Luke and Ryan are on hand to correct him and sell their improvements and help our little pairings pull off the steps. It’s important we do a decent job as most of the gear will be sold in the restaurant later, as well as becoming our afternoon lunch! No pressure then!

IMG_1983
Rich shows us how to pipe ricotta, pasta making and serve with parmesan and squash puree

We start by making pasta. Given I often make my own I’m thinking this is going to be straightforward. But no, I hadn’t bargained on the passion and attention to detail that they all exude. It’s only egg yolks used here, no salt….Oh and don’t forget to add the saffron reduction for that spectacular golden hue. Its kneaded forever before being cling filmed for posterity. Suitably rested the whole team support Gazza in rolling out the longest piece of gossamer thin, golden plastic. We ‘squodge’ the ricotta to one side along its length and then communally fold and tease into tortellini ready for our starter later.

IMG_1984
Salmon time! blow torching, set with pickled cucumber and our vodka cream

Next it’s the salmon. This is our next course. A huge slab is presented to our teams of two. Again, easy this, just carve up into sections. But no, first up slice along the base 3 mm above the skin to cut out the bloodline! Slice in two and take out more of the fat. Cure in sugar and salt for fifteen minutes, ready for cooking in the water bath and being finally blowtorched for presentation and flavour. I was nearly right!

Vodka cream next. A chefs palate test. Who gets the vodka, sugar, salt content right? They all do I reckon.

IMG_1985
Paul ties up ‘our’ pork belly. Served with lentils and salsa verde

We then stuff a glorious slab of well hung pork belly with a mix of bread, prunes and sautéed onion. Its rolled then we all learn to do the butchers knot and tie up this wondrous dish. It’s all in the double twist of the hand and the pulley system. We learn this is normally cooked for over ten hours after an initial blast to get the crackling going. One or two get the chance to prepare some pigeons.

We then take turns in the kitchen finishing off the dishes and getting to work the pass and shouting “service”. I totally loved it. I was buzzing.

IMG_1988
Action shots!

I was on boiling pasta duty with partner for the day Paul, whilst others got to dribble beurre noisette, blowtorch salmon, roast pigeons and plate up pork. We then had the enviable task of eating it all washed down with plenty of white wine. We even slurped a champagne toast during an impromptu Q&A.

IMG_1986
Rich’s Madeleines – sublime

Sadly, after a sumptuous four course meal, it all came to an end, though not before a flourish with a trio of Rich’s glorious madeleines. Then it was hand shakes all round and we all ventured off. A magical day and further confirmation that the latest venture Wreckfish is up there with the best.

Armed with Gary’s infectious drive and his uncanny knack of building empowered teams, each with the freedom to develop the brand, maintaining consistency and quality along the way, it seems inconceivable that Wreckfish is the last. Surely its just the start? I reckon this story will run and run. Cant wait to get back to Wreckfish……and another masterclass.

Wreckfish Bistro
60 Seel Street
Liverpool
L1 4BE
0151 7071960
http://www.wreckfish.co

Rotary Club of Newton-le-Willows Beer Festival April 2015

“Beer, rock music, friendship, community, charity, what’s not to like?”

image

Newton-le-Willows Beer Festival has been an annual event in the local calendar for quite a few years now, and yet, despite liking my beer I’ve never really given it a serious thought. A bubble in my mind has likeable, bearded chaps with rucksacks, leaning on a makeshift bar giving marks for ‘hoppage’, aroma and citrus notes while sucking on a half pint glass of mead. The reality was somewhat different. In fairness I dare say there was a few of these hardy coves, but there was probably about another nine hundred souls, young, old and female to make up the rest. It was an uplifting experience to witness my home town community spirit in full, thriving action.

image

As you would imagine the beer is the centrepiece of the scheme. Over one hundred examples were on offer, including dark beers, stouts, pale ales, milds and some strong ciders. Sixty odd of them were marshalled on two rows of scaffolding in the huge outdoor marquee. A further forty odd were set up inside the historic sports clubs main function room. Joining the two camps were some steps, some loos and the Red Bank Farm Shop tent selling pulled pork, beef burgers and chips to help soak up the alcohol and stave off the pangs of ‘peckishness’.

Happy staff, the throng, Salander
Happy staff, the throng, Salander

I went with some like minded chums. We met on the local high street mid afternoon to sample a pint from one of the sponsors ‘The Firkin Bar’. We then strolled the final lap to pay our fiver and gain access to the event via a commemorative glass and a handsome volume detailing the brews on offer. We then each swapped a tenner for our beer tokens. A fine currency constructed from discs of yellow and red plastic. Each disc was dutifully exchanged for a half of your chosen brew. If you were fortunate a plucky volunteer would struggle to shut the tap off fully and a further 1/4 pint could dribble into your glass. This never happened to me but I heard rumours of others it happened to!

Locals enjoying a pint
Locals enjoying a pint

As well as the beer, The Rotary Club of Newton-le-Willows organised some live music. Local hot shots Chicken Run had entertained the throng on the Friday night. Being Saturday afternoon we happened upon a cherubic bunch of chaps called Salamander. They had a nifty knack of turning stompy old rock favourites into full blown heavy metal anthems. They went down a storm. I reckon many of the locals also thought there was a storm coming, my ears are still ringing!

image

By 8.30 I’d spent my tenner. I’d had some Lonesome pine, a blonde witch, a citra, a campfire, a cheeky pheasant and a few others. Thankfully I missed out on my Wobbly Bob! Despite the maddening crowds in the marquee and the main hall it was brilliantly organised. The merry throng of blue shirted volunteers ensured you didn’t wait long for your next fix.

image

The high spirited crowd performed there role with dignified drunkenness. As far as I was aware with no trouble at all. It was a superb event and one I shall be marking down in my calendar. I suggest you mark it in yours. It’s always on the same weekend as The Grand National. When you add in the fact that this is an event for charity it really does make sense. Sponsors and organisers take a bow.

image

Chester Food and Drink Festival – April 2015 – Chester Racecourse

“It’s a food festival Jim, but bigger than I thought it would be!”

I’ve been to a few of these, but never the Chester one. I managed to twist The Flames arm to troop round a racecourse. I tempted her with coffee, light shopping and a slap up feed. It worked. We ventured to the delightful city of Chester on this delightful sunny day by train. A fine idea.

image

On landing we sought our first brew. A fine specimen was imbibed at The Baristas. An independent coffee house set in an ancient rampart. Further down Watergate we bumped into celebrity chef and pub owner Dave Mooney on his way to his Chester haunt Mockingbird taproom. This before he hotfooted across to the racecourse for his 1pm cooking demonstration.

image

Having stumped our £8 each to enter we set out on the regimented route around the site. They reckon around 150 exhibitors were on hand. At times it felt a bit like going round a dreaded IKEA store, but with nicer things to look at! Unlike some festivals I’ve been to, you were shackled to a fairly narrow, roped off path. So whilst you avoided trudging through muddy fields (a feature of some I’ve been to) progress at times was determined by others and did on occasions grind to a significant halt, such was the volume of crowd.

Smokies, Cheese and Simon
Smokies, Cheese and Simon

Still undeterred we were rewarded by some fine stalls, selling and (let’s be honest here) free tasting some fine artisan wares. Beer, wine, cheese, hams, chutneys, game, pies, desserts and much more. Highlights including some fine ‘smelly apeth’ cheese by The Saddleworth Cheese Co. If you toiled through the entire route you were rewarded with a seat in the cooking demonstration tent. An optical illusion stage set was hosting a session by Simon Rimmer as we arrived. We watched him finish off a super meringue cake and sign a load of books. We then watched the aforementioned Dave Mooney and sidekick Richard, knock up a gumbo and reveal how to make and cook a proper burger. It was a tough crowd for all I think. Both Simon and David had to work hard by keeping the quips, stories and jokes flowing to keep the far away crowd engaged. They both did manfully though. There sets both heartily received.

Gobby Chef and his burger
Gobby Chef and his burger

We meandered back through the crowds with an impressive haul. The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse, Oliver’s Kitchen, Powell’s pies, Zingh Foods and a few others providing a few bits for tea.

The haul
The haul

We didn’t get too much for tea though as we then tootled up the hill to The Mockingbird Taproom. A couple of pints of Chester Gold ensued, followed by deep fried oysters, a mockingbird burger and a blueberry almond tart.

image

Suitably satiated and now some eight hours later, it was a slightly weary twosome who ambled back to the station for the train ride home. All in all a cracking day. These festivals are a foodies heaven and in fairness the Chester one seemed as good as any. The season has started now. I’m sure we’ll get to some more before the summers out.

http://chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk/

NRB 2015 – Manchester Central

“It’s better than the normal trade fairs I go to!”

Not being in ‘the industry’ I managed to bag a ticket for the National Restaurant and Bar Show as an out and out blagger/hanger on. It seemed to work, I was let in and left free to roam around the architectural hangar of Manchester’s great central building without anyone seeming to mind. Within minutes I was slurping a half of JW Lees Manchester Pale Ale, and it was free! I could get used to this.

image

The NRB was held across two days March. It was a smorgasbord, a collection, a veritable phalanx of professional outfits looking to win more business in our wonderful world of restaurants and bars. If you’ve ever wondered who it is who supplies those comedy salt cellars, or the gaudy menus, or the neat waitress uniforms, then this is the place you needed to be. It was all there.

The Beer bit
The Beer bit

As well as some of the more abstract items and paraphernalia that’s required to get a restaurant up and running there was of course plenty of other tasters. Lots of food and drink producers were on hand to let you sample the wares. As you might expect the beer section of the scheme seemed to attract a good deal of interest. Craft beers from Liverpool, the aforementioned MPA section, Greene King and a few others all had the pumps set up for testing. The Prosecco stand seemed to be doing well too!

image

Purveyors of machinery were on hand to demonstrate how effectively food can be transformed from the raw ingredient to an object of pure joy. I encountered no finer example than at the INKA grill stand. A beautifully seasoned chump of rib eye left the charcoal fed lair with a charred coat and a blood red centre, the baying crowd hoovered up the result as soon as it hit the board. I was there ‘obvs’ 🙂

Inka Grill, meat & beer
Inka Grill, meat & beer

Another of the main attractions for me was the ‘chef live’ area. As the title suggests this was where Chefs cooked something ‘live’. I happened upon up and coming sensation Michael O Hare, or the @hairmetalchef. Young, director and chief of The Man behind the Curtain currently being raved about from its home above Flannels in Leeds. He quipped that he made is mark serving fine food in a rock bar. He looked the part. I reckon with a bit more glitter and make up he could have drummed for The Sweet*, with his long hair and black outfit. He cooked a pork dish with smoked toast, eggs and a few other bits and served it on a slashed canvas with beetroot juice! It looked Like a Tracy Emin art installation, but then again so does most of his stuff. The packed theatre shot up at the end to image and quaff the result. Lots of other chefs were on hand throughout the two days. I was hoping to catch our very own Beef and Pudding chap Dave Mooney but sadly missed it.

Michael O Hare, The Man Behind The Curtain
Michael O Hare, The Man Behind The Curtain

Other smaller areas had demonstrations on fish and butchery as well a large seminar/debate section. Sadly I didn’t get to hear any of these as I had snook out of work on my lunch break. I had hoped to have a good few hours at it but work commitments took over. Maybe next year!

Fish demo
Fish demo

All in all a great event. A true reminder to us hangers on about just what a great industry it is that we all enjoy. To all the restaurateurs out there, keep on cooking!

Veg and menus!
Veg and menus!

*a glam rock group from the 70’s. Google ‘Blockbuster’!

Baltic Cellar – Manchester

“Just been kicked in the Baltics! And it was good!”

Some of you may know I work dead centre of Manchester town. Indeed if you google Manchester you get within 20 yards of where I work, Lloyd Street near Albert Square. It’s a rather austere thoroughfare that connects the thriving, shop laden bustle of Deansgate and the spiritual heart that is the magnificent town hall. Sat quietly beneath the action lies the glowing red embers of a new vodka bar from the east (and I don’t mean Hull).

The large menu, Red exterior
The large menu, Red exterior

The Baltic Cellar is set low beneath Lloyd House. You step downwards from the street. I’ve been to Lithuania a couple of times. The dark red and brick interior, dimly lit takes me straight back to the underground caverns of Vilnius. Rich red banquettes mark out the eating areas whilst a cavernous wooden floor leads to an impressive bar. It’s well finished, no up cycled chairs, exposed cable trays and scaffolding pipes here. It’s all rather agreeable really.

Smart red interior
Smart red interior

As it is new it has been pushing its lunchtime menu. Two courses for £10.95. Nothing too special there I hear you cry. Latterly though, it’s been peddling this deal at half price. Two courses for just over a fiver, now that is fighting talk. The menu is certainly different. If I was ever on Saturday Kitchen my food hell would be beetroot. ‘Borsch’ the beetroot based soup of Russia is a feature here so I gave that a miss, but there’s a lot to go at.

After asking for volunteers in the office I eventually convinced twenty one plucky souls to venture into the bowels of the building and give it a try. To help out I nipped down, grabbed some menus and gave the ‘Baltic Cellarists’ the heads up. “We’ll be down in half an hour, can chef manage it?” We trooped down. I handed in our list. Valentina and Neesha swept into action, several bottles of ‘Kynep’ (Polish beer?) with matching tankards were soon in check. The happy throng settled into their matching bays, chirping to each other gaily beneath the chilled dance beats wafting from the PA.

Spicy beef stew, Chicken stew, chicken cutlets
Spicy beef stew, Chicken stew, chicken cutlets

I had spicy beef stew. Like everything it arrived on a flat brown platter. I had it with brown rice; I could have had rice, buckwheat, chips, salad or mash potato! To be fair it wasn’t that spicy, but it was tasty enough. The fresh, pleasant garnish seems to be standard on all dishes. Shredded carrot in garlic mayo, tomato, lettuce and cucumber. Whilst for me it lacked a little in presentation and style, I seemed to be in the minority. Working with a team of flashing young blades, the younger palettes chomping through chicken cutlets, chicken and mushroom stew, pork stroganoff, dumplings and (for the veggies) carrot and mushroom cutlets all had the thumbs firmly up and raved most of the afternoon, so who am I to say? As you can imagine turning up with a party of twenty one, we did stress the crew a bit! The food arriving in spasms. It was all hot though.

I would say for £5.45, two courses is a bargain, I would question whether the Manchester office brigade will be queuing up when it’s back at £10.95? For that the service has to be snappy and the food bob on.

Tibetan caviar, Champers
Tibetan caviar, Champers

That said a few days later I ventured in once more. This time as a guest at the launch party. The pre gig splurge promising flames and mystery! I joined the queue on the roped off red carpet, I felt like a film star! The flames roared from the arms of a scantily clad, pirouetting nymph. All this while we were ticked off the list. Flames and drama, on Lloyd Street! As it was I ventured in behind BBC sports presenting legend Mike Bushell. We slugged a few glasses of champers together, very pleasant. Valentina, Neesha and the crew balanced trays of Tibetan caviar, smoked salmon puffs, cheese and bacon wrapped olives. The packed bar cleared them out.

nymph, throng, drink
nymph, throng, drink

Before sitting down for the taster grub, the nymphet had morphed into a slinky body stocking and with the aid of some ancient farming implements she started to contort into shapes that I would have doubted possible from anyone in human form. The throng looked on agog.

Russian sausage, soused herring,  nice cakes!
Russian sausage, soused herring, nice cakes!

With most of the visitors now soaked in vodka, fizz and birch sap (yes, birch sap!) it was time to sit. We soon settled into our booths of six. More vodka in various flavours was gleefully imbibed. Courses of Russian salad, charcuterie, pickled mackeral and cheese was up first. In fairness it was all pretty good. The charcuterie to my palette as good as anything from Italy or Spain.

We then turned to a taster of seven mains, Chicken Cedar (creamy sauce and nuts), Beef Goulash, Chicken Mushroom, Vegetable Ragu (braised cauliflower and more in a tomato sauce), Pork Stroganoff and Bigos (stewed sauerkraut, cabbage, smoked sausage, ribs and mushroom) all delivered in a ‘brown, trivial pursuit, segment’ arrangement. Our posse pawed in for a morsel each. To be fair there was no complaints on anything here. The meats tender and moist all slicked in a tasty sauce. Goulash won for me. Decent chunks of tender beef in a well seasoned creamy sauce.

The mains, beer
The mains, beer

A brawny, Viking like helper homed in with a skewer of Chicken and salmon Shashlik. This another highlight. Evidently shashlik is a Baltic charcoal pit. Both efforts were superb, the chicken especially, clearly marinated in something very nice, the flavour and texture then further enhanced from its soak in the fire breathing cauldron. Top stuff.

After more vodka games and with the tummy starting to swell alarmingly in came the selection of Baltic desserts! As ever, The Cook Twit, for you darling readers, had to dig deep and open up the reserve ‘sweet’ stomach. Morsels of Honey cake, cheesecake, chocolate cake and napoleon cake were each delicately forked across the taste buds. And very nice too. The cheesecake wasn’t quite the ‘baked’ type that it should be, but for me European desserts are often a bit sweet and different to ours.

I do recall in the vodka ‘mist’ with the place full and rocking it was a very pleasant place to be. Soft, euro beats filling the gaps between the partying chats. With the lights dimmed the vibe was top notch. I could easily see me, The Flame and a few chums on a cold winters night slugging a few vodkas, noshing a hearty soup and a plate of goulash. Whilst Manchester wallows in its top notch ‘dirty food’ emporiums, it could be that the Baltic Cellar is the place for a change. Let’s hope the Baltic Cellar can get the booths full again and get more nights like this.

Baltic Cellar, 28 Lloyd Street, Manchester M2 5WA

0161 971 604

http://www.balticcellar.com

Levenshulme Market – South Manchester

I’ve started going to these little markets that have been popping up in the North West over the last couple of years. The combination of Artisan producers coupled with the latest hip, street food purveyors, a foodies dream they doth make.

Traders and the welcoming tunnel

Traders and the welcoming tunnel

The Flame on the other hand doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm. Working on a scale of 1 to 10, a market being 1 and Fortnum & Mason being a 10, The Flame rocks in at a strong 8. Probably John Lewis territory! So when I said let’s have a ride out to Levenshulme Market it’s fair to say the scheme I had in mind was well short of The Flames idea of a nice ride out.

Bread and Asian Street Food
Bread and Asian Street Food

Still after an uneventful 45 minute sortie down the M62 we parked up on a fairly uninspiring Levenshulme high street. We did toy with the idea of going by train. The market is held on Levenshulme railway station car park which is a five minute jaunt from Manchester Piccadilly. The sun was shining (which probably helped to the keep spirits up) as we ventured down a narrow alley, the neat, off white, Bedouin tents wafting in the breeze each housing an eager artisan, patiently waiting to offload their wares.

Beetroot burger, bangers, cake
Beetroot burger, bangers, cake

First thing that hits is the smell and sound of a gentle sizzle. The sizzle of heat burnishing the soft flesh of a previously happy beast or just as likely the nutritious seed of a fertile plant. If you’re looking for a plastic hot dog on a claggy roll, a splurge of damp onions and a dash of ketchup, this is not the place for you. Much more likely is the delicately spiced haunch of a tiger prawn or a soaked pulse wrapped in the gossamer of a recently culled vine, or the thickly scythed rasher of marmite cured bacon. This is quality stuff.

Beer, Tea and cake
Beer, Tea and cake

We ventured around the bijou, eclectic combine of salt of the earth Samaritans, each teasing you in with a morsel of the bootie. Our tact was to sweep round taking stock of the offers before settling in a corner of quiet contemplation with a pleasing brew from the ‘The Buttery’. It is there that we decided where the Cooktwit coffers were about to be placed.

Typical advertising. Twitter is used a lot
Typical advertising. Twitter is used a lot

We succumbed to a modest haul in the end but could have easily done more. A rabbit pie, tarte au citron and a scone from the said Buttery started things off. The lemon and scone part of the scheme, superb, the rabbit less so. Not quite matching my pie benchmark set by the ‘Great North Pie Company’. A walnut sourdough, delicately laced with garlic from Trove proved to be a worthy buy, as did the the three seed apricot granola from ‘Morning Glory’, the venison scotch egg from ‘Moocher’, the white chocolate blonde cookie from ‘The Cake Pod’, the Cumberland sausage from ‘Bobbys Bangers’. Particularly impressive was the treacle cured bacon and the marmite cured bacon also from Bobby.

Gin juniper ice cream!
Gin juniper ice cream!

Fine craft ales could have been quaffed but sweetness won the day as I rounded off proceedings with my first ice cream from ‘Ginger Comforts’. A little gin, juniper and cherry number I recall. Very pleasant.

The modest haul
The modest haul

All in all a very pleasant hour was spent. There was maybe fifty stalls selling game, bread, cheese, wine, tea, cakes and plenty more. Street food vendors were on hand if you needed something for lunch to put you on. Even the Flame was impressed. The market is on every Saturday from March to December. It isn’t always food. It alternates between craft and vintage wares. As part of the day out we mooched round Victoria baths after. That’s worth a punt as well.

Top day had, give it a try.

Railway Car park, Levenshulme

http://www.levenhulme market.co.uk