Saturday, 24 October 2015

Farewell For Now



So it's been quiet here at B&B lately as you can tell. I've recently up-sticks and moved across the country. With the move and new job it hasn't left much time for reviewing and writing here at B&B. With this in mind the blog and feed will be moving to indefinite hiatus with immediate effect.


I just want to say a huge thank you those who have contributed - offered support and encouragement. B&B may be back in the future but for now this is goodbye. 

Yours faithfully

Thomas 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Reimagined Fashion

You may have read some of our recent guest posts from Colena Golson. I loved her Mediterranean Sumer Salad W/ Lime - Greek Yogurt Vinaigrette recipe, and can't wait to visit Street's BK after reading her review. Colena also runs a foodie apparel brand with her husband - 'Reimagined Fashion' and I've asked her to tell us a little more about it.


Reimagined Fashion 

Unlike any apparel and home decor brand you’ve ever experienced, Reimagined Fashion seeks to take you on the ride of a lifetime. Similar to the feeling of excitement and anxiousness that overcomes you when you’ve placed an order for your favorite meal on the menu.  Or the reminiscing that occurs in your mind about the last time you were able to indulge in one of the things that evokes happiness in you, with the people that you love the most in the world. The long inhale as you take in the serenity of the moment, even if it occurs as people, places and things zoom past you.  That ride…is the ride that our brand seeks to take you on every time one of our pieces is delivered to your home. Our brand far surpasses material possessions; instead it embodies electric energy and happiness.  Hello is an understatement; we are Reimagined Fashion.



Rooted in a passion for God, good food and nutrition/health, Reimagined Fashion was created with the goal of being globally adored while intimately connecting people to the universal languages of laughter and love.  We ensured that each design embodied what we knew to be true of human nature and what we knew would catch the eye of even the novice foodie.  Our classic saying, “Good people, Good Scenery, Great Food™” , which is featured on our Foodie Tee, is relatable to people of all ages, cultures and ethnicities.  It transcends societal lines and brings people together on a level that only food can.  And through the artistic minds of both my husband and myself, we have been able to keep the same feel advancing throughout all of the apparel and home décor items we have designed.



As a brand, we gain major enjoyment from creating pieces that will remain in households for generations to come.  And with a wide array of merchandise from t-shirts and tanks to decorative pillows, we are industry leaders and innovators, providing the foodie community with timeless (not trendy) commodities that will always serve as conversation pieces during a dinner party.  Reimagined Fashion is definitely up next to bat in the fashion and foodie worlds, and we plan to continue blowing our audience away by providing quality products with ground breaking designs.  Come and visit us, we promise that you won’t leave the same.






All featured items and additional Reimagined Fashion merchandise can be found on our website at: www.reimaginedfashion.info, and exclusively for Bites & Bottles readers, enter BNB10 at checkout for 10% off of your next purchase.  Connect with us via Twitter @ReimaginedINC for new arrivals, promotions and much more.



We would also love to hear your feedback! Please contact us at globaloffice@reimaginedfashion.info with any comments or questions and for business inquiries. 


Monday, 20 July 2015

Beards and Beer

I got to thinking recently about the changing face of craft beer consumption in Britain. Not so much about the beer itself but more about the changing face of Britain’s Ale and Craft Beer drinkers.

Time was that beer & real ale (a term largely given over to ‘craft beer’) was only drunk by those of middle age and beyond. Whist the youth were throwing down their necks whatever the latest sugar filled Alco pop filth that they could find, the more mature members of the alcohol consuming public were propping up bars in village pubs and towns drinking real ale. Now what we know for sure about this time is that a great deal of the ‘real ale’ available across the land consisted of the same hop types and not to dissimilar malts, Kentish Gold chief amongst which helped to produce average quality brew, barely discernable from the next if it weren’t for the comical pump clip – more often than not depicting a voluptuous woman or a WW2 era weapon of war. Of course that’s not to say that the two common pump clip subjects weren’t always entirely devisable!

Fast forward to today, the middle aged ale drinker with his mutton chops, tweed jacket and copy of steam engine monthly has been replaced by a bearded, skinny jean wearing hipster, more than likely with a copy of Time Out or the Guardian in his back pocket. It would seem that whilst some things have changed, others remain woefully the same!

Two of the biggest changes in the beer landscape are one, the number of women drinking craft beer. Just as café culture has transformed Britain’s high streets, female consumption of beer has changed the landscape of  craft beer consumption. More often than not our bars are full of women of all different ages, and in my experience you are just as likely to rub shoulders with a woman whilst browsing the shelves at your local supplier as you are a man. There will always be those that resist the inclusion of women in what many considered the preserve of male only territory, these people are of course ridiculous but they sadly still exist (others have written extensively and with authority on female craft beer drinking so I will not attempt to do so here). The second biggest change to my mind has been the explosion of craft beer from American breweries onto British shelves. I suspect that one reason for this is that American producers have had to fight hard for inclusion in their own market against mega breweries, whereas traditional ‘real ale’ was an entirely different concept in the UK and it therefore did not have to fight for a share in a market which was not it's own. What this has meant is that British brewers are having to play catch up to some degree with their American counterparts. I am glad to say though, that in my opinion there are some truly excellent beers being produced on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere.  




So here we are 2015 – there are still a bonanza of bearded beer drinkers, but the tweed is gone and we now happily share our pub and shopping spaces with both men and women. We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to craft beer, but the newest danger that we must guard against is craft beer snobbery. I’m sure that I’m not the only person to come across this, but increasingly beer is becoming the subject of one-upmanship. “Oh no I don’t drink that brand anymore… its soo commercial”…. “No I only drink real Belgians, if you can’t tell the difference then you need to know more about beer!” So often I hear these kinds of comments and it just gets me down. Like so many things that make the journey from niche to mass market, craft beer is becoming competitive in a way that does nothing but sour the taste of the beer. We should all be rejoicing in the incredible choices of beer opening up to us, we should support craft brewers and the efforts being made to produce such an array of quality beer. Apps like Untappd are great for sharing your tasting experiences and learning about new beers, they are not there for some to glory over others.


Part of me wants to suggest that the only response to those who practice beer snobbery is to confront such people and challenge their mistaken beliefs, in reality I don’t have the time, I’m far to busy enjoying good beer and reading my steam engine magazines! 




Friday, 17 July 2015

Foodie Photos

Just a few pictures from some of this weeks dishes!






Streets BK… Review

My friend @colena_says and her husband recently called into celebrity chef Roble Ali's Streets BK in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to check out the amazing food that people just can't stop talking about!


Streets BK…




I finally made it. I had finally made it to the place where I knew culinary bliss would undoubtedly occur.  Having watched celebrity chef Roble Ali from the very first episode of his show on Bravo in 2011, I could tell that there was something special about his food.  I could feel through the television screen the amount of love, passion and talent conveyed through his dishes; and I knew that I would one day be able to indulge. A young, ardent chef of Somali decent, pushing the culinary envelope? This one was a no brainer.

Fast forward to July 2015. While in New York on business with my husband, Roble’s Williamsburg, Brooklyn restaurant was an undisputed stop. Arriving shortly after the dining room was opened for dinner, I prepared my husband for what was about to happen.  Always having been a foodie in my own right and immersing my husband into our world as well, I knew that this day would be a transformative one for the both of us.  After placing our orders; Bake and Shark for me (as a Guyanese woman, it was only right) and the Lobster Roll w/ Malt Vinegar Fries for hubby, we inhaled deeply; taking in the atmosphere and realizing just how much detail went in to the ambiance here. From the vintage mason jars to the exposed lighting fixtures and perfectly imperfect piping above our heads, it was obvious that this restaurant had been a labor of love for Roble. Exuberantly friendly and knowledgeable staff, check. A diverse menu full of Roble’s interpretation of street food from around the world, check. Anticipation and yearning for our gastronomic spread, achieved.




Then it happened. Our meals arrived with an introduction that a lover of great food could not only appreciate, but treasure.  Simple in presentation but bold on taste, Roble and his team of chefs were able to authentically and definitively speak to our sense of taste in an indelible way.  The mango chutney, tamarind sauce and other accoutrements that accompanied my Bake and Shark were some of the best that I’d experienced since my last trip to the West Indies a few years ago. This coming from a woman who was raised tasting all of the best that the West Indies had to offer; from my Guyanese mother and grandmother, to my Bajan “aunties” and Jamaican best friends.  The combination of the shark that was so delicately prepared and the bold flavors of my condiments made my experience an unforgettable one…and as for hubby?  Well he wasn’t even able to muster a word until he had demolished at least half of his meal.  I could tell by the gleam in his eye that he was experiencing the same level of delight on his side of the table.





We washed down our meals respectively with a ginger beer for me and a Red Stripe for my better half and enjoyed our moment of complete satisfaction.  Although the idea of upcoming meetings loomed in our heads, we knew that the time we had to carve out of our busy schedules to make this trip to Streets BK happen was well worth it. It truly lived up to being the life altering experience I knew it would be. Roble, continue dominating my friend. Your culinary legacy will far surpass your wildest dreams.



Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Stottie Pizza

For those of you that don’t know what stotty or (Stottie cake) is you need not worry. Native to the North East of England the stottie is a type of flat bread loaf, nice and light & floury, this loaf has been baked for generations. Little known outside the North East, this little gem is great on the side with a good broth, winter stews and for mopping up leftover seafood sauce. This recipe however is a great fusion of North East England and classic Italian Pizza.

Ingredients:

One stottie cake
Plain white flour
Passata/ tomato pure + olive oil
Strong cheddar
Mozzarella
Cracked black pepper
Red onion
Chorizo (optional)
Reduced Balsamic vinegar


Step 1 – take your stottie bread and make a cut about an inch in from the edge, draw you knife around the shape of the loaf maintaining the inch gap. Once you have cut your way around the loaf begin cutting the circle away from the base of the loaf – what you are doing here is essentially removing the middle of the bread (not all of it, just enough to create a space for your topping.



Step 2 – Sprinkle your plain white flour onto a pizza stone, or onto an upturned baking tray. The flour will ensure that the stottie doesn’t stick and will help to create the feel of oven firing.

Step 3 – Once you’ve prepared your base and stone, drizzle some olive oil onto the bread and leave to stand for a few minutes. Preheat your over to 180 – whilst this warms up you can begin preparing your base and topping.

Step 4 – The tomato base for your pizza is simple, add your passata to a mixing bowl and add a tablespoon of olive oil, and some cracked black pepper and stir. If you don’t have passata you can make up a similar base using tomato puree – this will require a little more oil to create the right consistency. Once mixed simply cover the space that you’ve made in the stottie with the tomato mix.

Step 5 – You’ve prepared the base and the oven is warming up, now its time for the topping. Grate a little strong cheddar and slice the mozzarella thinly. Sprinkle the cheddar over the tomato and place the mozzarella at intervals over the base, don’t go made with the cheese, we want this to take on the real Italian pizza feel and not the ‘I’m drowning in cheese approach’!

Step 6 – Slice your red onion and chorizo and add to a frying pan with a little olive oil – we’re only looking for a short shallow fry to caramelize the onion and brown off the sausage. Whilst this is happening you can reduce your balsamic vinegar. Add about three times the amount you want to drizzle over your pizza and place on a moderate heat.

Step 7 – Once the onions and chorizo is ready remove from heat and add to your stottie (there’s nothing arty about this, just cover your pizza as you like).

Step 8 – By now the oven will be up to temperature and you’re almost ready to pop the pizza in, before you do however check on your balsamic reduction- you want to have reduced the vinegar down by about 2/3, this should mean that its taken on a stickier consistency and is perfect for running it over your pizza topping (again you can add as little or as much as your want).

Last step – Put your pizza in the oven on 180 for about 10 minutes and then you’re done!

Once again this is simple recipe without complicated ingredients or preparation, the perfect fusion of North East meets classic Italian. You can vary the toppings you choose to suit whatever your tastes, but whatever the combination this recipe is bound to impress your guests!   









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