Farewell Stoned Fruits.

I am a firm believer in eating and shopping locally, and in doing so, cooking in season. Whilst there are exceptions to every rule, it’s a sound starting point to cooking healthier, more sustainable and ethically better food. By shopping outside the faceless chains, you are supporting local people and businesses, and helping variety and character to flourish in your area.

I am however going to cut short my rant, and break right out into a recipe section. This is through anxiety that the season is nearly over for some of my favourite fruits, and as they are on the way out (and often, no longer in their prime), I have some recipes to make the most of their final days in our shops. So, without further ado, STONED FRUIT.

Eating seasonally is great, but suffice to say, it has it’s ups and downs. The main down being when you have just got used to your favourite thing hanging around, being all delicious and readily available, then bamm, it no longer is. I feel this pain with many things, most notably, certain mushrooms (weird, I know), asparagus, blood oranges and stoned fruits.

If like me, your emotions are driven substantially by regular (delicious) food interludes, then you too, need to cook your way out that funk.

This recipe can be used for any stoned fruit (peach, plum, apricot, nectarines), but many will only be around till the end of September. These tend to be imported produce, so with these fruits, focus on the ‘local’ shop, rather than the place of origin (get British plums though!). They are still in season, and England never grows them, so we are going to have to get over that. If you have any queries about what you should be using, check out this website.

BEGINNER: My first recipe, is easy baked peaches. It’s perfect dinner party food. And as we come to the tail end of the season, the added elements means they don’t have to be the best ones, to be made into the best. It’s like an Italian, almondy, deconstructed crumble in a way. It’s certainly comfort food. So it’s perfect for these moodier days ahead.

I’d serve 1 whole peach per person for this, so plan accordingly. The amount of amaretti ‘stone’ is based on 4 peaches being used. I got my peaches from reg-the-veg in Clifton, and my amaretti from the Italian deli in Montpelier, but use your local delis and grocers, the chances are they’ll have what you need.

Ingredients:

4 x large peaches

60g crunchy Amaretti biscuits

25g demerara (or golden caster) sugar (or 2 dessertspoons)

25g butter (softened)

1 large egg yolk

Drizzle with a good dash of vin santo, or similar sweet dessert wine just before you bake them if you fancy it. Gives it an extra depth of flavour and sweet delciousness.

To serve:

1 pot Creme fraiche or really good/ homemade vanilla icecream

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

Step 2: Cut all peaches in half and remove their stones. Ripe peaches are better, and will make this process easier.

Step 3: Lay peaches flat side up on a baking tray

Step4: Prepare the ‘amaretti stones’ by smashing hard amaretti biscuits with an egg yolk, melted butter and sugar until you reach a good consistency and taste. The mixture should hold it’s shape and not be ‘wet’. Feel free to freestyle the quantities, I always do. Just taste for sweetness and consistency – you need that crunch.

Step 5: Spoon mixture into the peach, where the stone once was. It should be a little bigger than the stone was. If it was a small stone, feel free to scoop out more fruit to create a larger space for the mixture.

Step 6: Bake for 15-20mins until golden.

Serve hot, with creme fraiche. When I last served this, I had a selection of toppings to make it a little jazzier, including creme fraiche, homemade ice cream, homemade crunchie nuggets and extra fresh fruit. But the beauty of this dish is its ease and simplicity, so feel free to keep it stripped back.

You can sub in any stoned fruit, just keep the ratios of amaretti to fruit the same, and if it’s a smaller fruit, bake for a little less time. Plums may need a sprinkling of brown sugar to sweeten them up – have a little taste.

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Accompaniments, fresh berries, crushed (crunchy) amaretti, home made honeycomb and chocolate nuggets, creme fraiche, cream and home made vanilla ice cream (Just making sure everyone in the family has been catered for…)

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THE BAKED PEACHES. MMM, oozing with delicious, sweet, fruity and amaretto deliciousness.

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Mint, basil, peach, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, seasoning. BEST SALAD. Just gotta wait till next summer to enjoy this again now….

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I miss mid morning breakfasts, basking in the sun, eating crumpets, fried food, and fresh fruit salad – with the all important PEACH.

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Hangover hangouts

 Hangover hangouts, haunts, hotspots and help.

Here are my top 12 places in Bristol to cure your hangover. As we all know from Buzzfeed, hangovers come in all shapes and sizes, so there is no one-size fits all. But with this careful selection of establishments, you can be sure to find the one that’s fits your current mood.

NB – I will predominantly be using photos directly from the websites, unless stated.

  1.  The Guilt

Waking up spooning a tequila bottle and the remains of what looks like a king-size kebab? All you can conclude is that you really did abuse your poor body last night. The guilt has kicked in. We’ve all been there. Right…? You need somewhere that will cleanse you. Big Banana Juice Bar in St Nicks  is the place for you. Juice is all that’s going to get you through this dark place.

  1. The Indulgent

It’s the weekend (probably – I mean, who knows at this stage), so treat yo’ self. Yeh, you feel like death, but who cares, you deserve the best, and if you’re out brunching, it may as well be in style. You were on such great form last night that a treat is probably deserved. Bakers and Co. is the place for you.

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  1. The Panic

Much like hangover 1, but minus the guilt. The flashbacks from the night before have started and you need to block out the pain. Ignoring any advice about the benefits of juicing, you acknowledge your bodies requests for more grease. (Somehow the 5am kebab didn’t quite hit the stop). You need Rocotillos. Their milkshakes will stop your shakes. Everyone knows about the beneficial properties bananas and ice cream have on a hangover.

  1. The Mixed Bag

It was a big night last night, and it looks like you lent your front room to most of Mbargo. Boston Tea Party will cater for large(ISH) groups who have a variety of hangover issues. From fry-ups to smoothies, burgers to granola, everyone will find what they need. And it’s pretty tasty there an all. (And there are a few locations to choose from).

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  1. The Fancy

Want to just sit in the sun (*ahem* overcast *ahem*) with massive sunglasses and not stick out? The Primrose Café is for you. With an abundance of outdoor seating and many rocking their oversized eye-wear, it’s a good place if you want to sit under the pretense of being fancy, but the reality of possibly looking like someone out of the ring.

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  1. The Intelligent

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean you’re having an intelligent hangover. I’m not sure that’s a thing. And you’ve made any number of mistakes the night before, but now you’re thinking straight and making the right decisions. And that’s Katie and Kim’s. I’m not sure what hangover it will cure, but its so dam tasty, I couldn’t leave it off this list. Full review here.

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^My own photo^

  1. The Catastrophe

Who knows whats going on. You’re reaching for the phone. The curtains aren’t being opened for a long while and the idea of making yourself presentable to the outside world is one of the worst ideas anyone has ever had. Planet Pizza will sort you out. (A rare decent home delivery takeaway in Bristol).

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  1. The Adventurer

Magic. You’ve woken up feeling alright. The hangover is manageable, so you can probably stomach something that isn’t a fry up or cheerios. The Soukitchen will sort you out. With a good variety on their brunch and lunch menu, you can branch out a little. And they have a great soft drink collection that will hydrate you in style.

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 ^ Both my own photos ^

  1. The Denier

Friday night is a blur but you’ve woken up on Saturday feeling pretty cocky. You openly deny any hangover, because you’re just that ‘ard, and suggest the pub. It might be 10am, but the craic waits for no man. The Kenny is the place for you. Beers and a full English. That’s how we should be dealing with Saturdays.

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Unrelated crab from their website. Although whole crab is currently on the menu…

  1. The Fixer-Upper

Need a warm hug? The Bristolian is the place for you! The lovely homely menu has a great selection of brunch options, from meat to vegan fry ups. All set in a lovely neighborhood café full of warmth and loveliness.

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  1. Maybe It’s Not So Bad

Rosemarinos, as I have already claimed, do some of the best eggs in Bristol. So if you think you can handle the slightly more sophisticated atmosphere than some of the other options here, then I recommend it highly. And they do a banger of a bloody mary.

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^ My own photo of their bloody mary ^

Places of prestigious brunches:

Wallfish Bistro, Bills, Café Kino, No. 12 Easton, Harts Bakery. (- I would especailly recommend Harts when a ‘quick getaway’ is required, and you have to leave the city at a moments notice the morning after the night before. This little gem is hidden near Temple Meads).

Oh, and here’s a cornflake milkshake from some hidden gem along the riverside….

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Katie and Kim’s

Here’s a quick one about a new found love this February…

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Katie and Kim’s, (as much as it might not want to be,) is an advertisement for why you’d probably rather live in Montpelier. The laid back and communal feel to the space (instilled by the large, bare wooden table, which dominates the room and invites you to touch elbows with strangers (future friends…?), is what you really want from your brunch. There’s a limit to how often you can eat Eggs Benedict with over priced pressed apple juice on a small trestle table in Clifton Village and enjoy it. Especially in February. The stripped back feel of the place denies any space for pretentious-ness, and the eclectic teapots, cutlery and crockery you’ll be given adds a warmth to the whole experience. What truly makes it though, is the ladies behind this little café, Katie and Kim themselves. Open, chatty, helpful and super duper nicer, these are tops babes you’ll wanna be mates with. But failing that, you can just hang out in their kitchen. Katie and Kim have an informal setting, complete with informal paraphernalia, swing doors to next doors farm shop, and absolutely delicious food. It’s the real deal and I think I’d quite like to move in.

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To start we had cheese and rosemary scones, butter. Served on a wooden plate. It may look unassuming, and slightly burnt. It was in fact, scone perfection. And everyone should try one. There’s the option of adding poached eggs or bacon, but I’d highly recommend au-naturel.

We had hoped for some of their famous custard tarts, but in the agonising queue to order, I saw the last three cruelly snatched before my eyes. So next time, I’m turning up early. Someone play their tiny violin.

We then had cauliflower and keens cheddar tart, with greens and some sweet mustard wizardry. It was delicious, and hearty. We had 2 for £6. As was the growing theme of Katie and Kim’s, it looked very much home-made, but the flavours were bang on, despite the comfort food style.

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Finally, and despite already being full, we shared poached eggs, greens, smoked salmon and aioli on sour-dough. Also good. Also worth a try.

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Best of Bristol

This is a round-up of my personal favourite hangouts in Bristol. It is not a comprehensive list in the sense that I have eaten in all places in Bristol, and these are the finalists. But it is in the sense that they are tried and tested delicious. It might be my opinion, but my opinion is usually right, so do what you will with that information. Longer reviews of the more exceptional places are sure to pop up soon. (As well as new recipes I have been trying out).

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Best Breakfast: Bakers and Co. They win this title after a fair amount of deliberation. Rosemarino do the best eggs, but for variety, changing menus, and good coffees, they don’t match up. Baker’s is King (or Queen). An old Instagram video from my personal account highlights this, so I don’t have to. Click here. From sticky buns, to avocado on toast, to monster sandwiches, you’re likely to walk away happy.

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 ^ I mean, their Huevous Rancheros are practically famous… ^

Best Lunch: The Glass Boat wins this for value and location. £10 for 2 or £12 for 3 courses (even on a Saturday), you can’t really go wrong. It has gorgeous views and the internal decor has a touch of dated glamour – in a good way. The service is always friendly and efficient. Best place in Bristol for a lazy lunch.

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^ This is a stock image from their website, but highlights the Bistro style food on offer ^

Best Tapas: Bravas. One of the originals, authentic (it’s recently been closed for the whole staff to go for ‘research’ trip to Spain – i’m in the wrong restaurant), and cheaper than rivals. It’s unpretentious and has crafted a relaxed atmosphere, where you can try every dish on offer or just sit with a glass of wine, picking at one. This is what tapas is meant to be.

Best On-The-GoSt Nicks Market. My favourite is the middle-eastern at the end of the Glass Arcade, Matina. The wraps (homemade kurdish naan breads) there are delicious, everything tastes authentic (i think, i’ve never been to the middle east…). Usually busy at lunch times, but worth the wait.

Best Pub Food. The Bird in Hand. This place is gorgeous English food and all you’d want your local to be. It boasts a refined menu, that’s strictly seasonal and often local. Set in a small pub in the heart of Long Ashton, you can eat exceptional (and beautiful) food, in a informal environment. With a separate bar area, it’s a destination pub and restaurant that’s popular with locals and food lovers alike. And the head chefs a bit of a cutie. (Why not amble through Ashton Court and walk there? Great excuse to indulge in three courses).

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^ Both dishes were from early summer, hence the seasonal accompaniments ^

Best Sunday Lunch. The Lion – hearty comfort food at it’s best. Tucked away in residential Cliftonwood, this one’s a bit of a hidden treasure. It has everything you could want from a Sunday Roast. Good quality ingredients, cooked with love – especially that banging potato dauphinoise. And the vegetarian options (a selection of chef Fiona’s homemade pies) are just a good as the meat options. (And great puddings if you have room).

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One of Fiona’s popular vegetarian roasts, complete with homemade pie. Here we were also making the most of the sun-trap garden. Perfect.

Best Foodie: Wallfish Bistro. It occupies the former Keith Floyd plot on Princess Victoria St in Clifton, where many delicious eateries have been. Consisting of two rooms, one above, one below ground, but opening only the former on quiet nights, it’s a snug little place. The food is french, and often rich, but with corkers like Lobster and Rabbit pie never far from the menu, it’s a bit of a foodie’s favourite. As much as the word ‘foodie’ makes me vomit a little in my mouth.  (The name ‘Wallfish’ derives from the french slang for snails, apparently. A staple of their menu.)

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^ More summer shots of food – apologies. Making the most of the heat on the tables available on the quiet street. ^

Best to impress a visiting friend: The Lido. It’s upstairs restaurant is well reviewed and rated, but quite expensive, unless you get the set lunch or early bird dinner options. It’s also not totally vegetarian/pescetarian friendly up there. However, sit down by the pool and it’s a different story. The tapas is delicious, so go to the cafe, try the scallops and anchovy toast, and you will thank me. Rustic food in an elegant setting.

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^ Not sure who the goof is in the photo *ahem*, but highlights the ‘scene’. I think. I hope. ^

Impress a more-than-friend: Flinty Red. My chosen ‘date’ place. The food here is simple and has a real no-fuss approach to presentation. It’s all delicious, and often dishes, such as the agnolotti featured below, that I had never tried before. On an awkward date, order lots of little dishes, it might help strike up a conversation as things intermittently appear… or maybe it’s just not meant to be. If you are out to impress though, read up a little on what’s on offer, so you can sound like a right know-it-all when you order.


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Dinner with friends: This category is basically somewhere that everyone will enjoy, is fairly priced, and has a friendly and open atmosphere. My choices then are The Souk Kitchen (serving Arabic food) and the Thali Cafe (Indian), for exactly both those reasons. And that they both produce exceptional food.

The: I-can’t-wait-to-try: The Steam Crane. It boasts exceptional craft beers, and aims to be the best Bristol restaurant South of the river; it is certainly one I can’t wait to try. It’s been open since early 2014, so I’m not quite sure why I haven’t been yet. But after a flow of glowing reviews, it’s certainly next on my list. Check out their menu here.

Below is a list of other good places not to be ignored. Because it’s important to support independent local (and often new) restaurants, rather than the big chains.

Pizza: Bosco, Flour & Ash.

Pubs: The Kenny, The Grain Barge, The Portcullis – or any Dawkins Pub, The Pump House (if anything, for the gin), The Rummer (for beers, the giant fire and one particular Indian red wine – not the food…), The Beer Emporium.

Sushi: Bento Boss or Noa.

Ramen: Sticks & Broth.

Best Milkshake: Rocotillos.

Firm faves: The Olive Shed, Birch.

Cafes: Papadeli, Primrose Cafe, Boston Tea Party.

Best for carnivores: Forget Grill Stock, be  better than the Cow Shed. Go to the Ox.

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 ^ Pieminister at St. Nicks. ^

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  ^’The Bosco – at Bosco’ ^

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^ The interior at Sticks & Broth ^
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^ Gelato @ Bosco ^

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^ Three courses @ Birch back on their opening weekend ^

(Small apology about the random photos, I have recently lost my phone, (and so all my recent photos,) so I only have what I took in the summer!!)