Rye not?

We started out with our Revolutionary Rye, way back when Tom first started Loaf back in 2009 and it has graced our shelves ever since!

Our recipe was based on Andrew Whitley’s Russian Rye, ours is 100% rye sourdough, topped with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Why is it revolutionary? (Everybody wants to know!) Mainly because back when Tom started, no one was making a rye sourdough up here in the Midlands at least! Not only that, but he figured given its Russian roots, he’d pay tribute to their revolutionary history…

If you didn’t already know, Rye is a type of grain, low in gluten, high in fibre, protein and most importantly flavour.

Over the years, we’ve played around with rye specials such as the Borodinsky and Volkornbrot, but this year we’ve decided to feature them more frequently, because rye is great, and ‘rye’ not right?

Our Borodinsky is made with a rye starter and flour, malt extract, molasses and caraway seeds for a surprisingly refreshing flavour despite its density! Find it in the shop on TUESDAYS

Our Volkornbrot, is made with a rye starter and flour, chock-full of sunflower seeds, and kibbled rye for lots of texture! Find it in the shop on THURSDAYS

Will you be trying it? Let us know! Tweet or Tag us – we’d love to see how you’re enjoying it!

Loaf reaches new heights

This month Stirchley featured in the May edition of Brussels Airline’s bthere magazine.

Described as a ‘destination for creativity, comedy and exciting cuisine’, it included us at Loaf and celebrated other local community food and arts initiatives such as Stirchley Community Market. Stirchley seems to be making a name for itself – not only in the UK, but now internationally!

To read more visit the be the b there website or download the full magazine as a pdf. We’re on page 74.

Brussels Airlines bthere Magazine - May 2013
Brussels Airlines bthere Magazine – May 2013

Stirchley CANeat, oh boy can it eat.

We’ve had some great pop-up dining experiences at Loaf from the uber-rammed burger night just before opening in September, the Pizza night shortly after, the intimate pig-out in October, the amazing Popstrami Redux in December, and most recently Stirchley Brewhouse last Saturday. Some of these will no doubt make a return in 2013, along with some other exciting one-off’s but I wanted to draw your attention to a regular eating opportunity that will be happening here very soon:

Stirchley CANeat is a regular, intimate dining experience with a set menu advertised in advance. We’ve got a fantastic team of food enthusiasts together to put this on, spearheaded by Dom (our breadchef), Vic (his better half), and Lap (our fish Sensai). I don’t really need to say any more as it’s so good we’ve given it it’s own blog. Please check out stirchleycaneat.wordpress.com, and if you’re on twitter follow updates and menu-releases at @can_eat. Go book a table, first date is 28th Feb.

Edible Brum Magazine

Check out this great little food magazine for Birmingham that has just been launched. I’ve helped out with this first edition by contributing a couple of articles, but it’s the brainchild of Alex Claridge, the dude behind the excellent Warehouse Cafe. You can pick up a print copy in several cafe’s and shops in the city centre, and the second edition will be out in June. You can also see it embedded below. Enjoy, and if you’re on twitter you can follow Edible Brum at @ediblebrum.

[issuu width=420 height=298 backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=120404094354-954de6755b6f43e1a6990827b30193fe name=issu_ediblebrum_spring12 username=ediblebrum tag=birmingham unit=px v=2]

What’s good in Brum?

Two days in a row this week I was asked for recommendations for food things happening in Birmingham. The first was by a journalist writing for Olive magazine, which in an upcoming feature is pitting UK cities against each other for which can lay claim to being the “foodiest” (Oh God I hate that term, especially when I use it myself). He said he’d looked at the fine dining scene and the Balti already and was looking for stuff under the radar. Here’s was my response:

Wholesale Markets (largest in the UK) and Bull Ring Fruit and Veg, Meat and Fish markets.

Social Enterprise/grassroots food businesses – Loaf social enterprise cookery school and bakery, Frost and Snow cupcake bakery providing jobs for the homeless, Change Kitchen vegetarian catering, South Birmingham Food Co-operative, Urban Harvest social enterprise fruit harvesting and processing.

Community and Farmers Markets – Moseley, New Street, University, Kings Heath, Kings Norton, Harborne, Bearwood, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Jewellery Quarter (24 carrots), Stirchley Community Market.

Other things worth googling (restaurants bars and cafes): Soul Food Project, Warehouse Cafe, Opus, Anderson Bar and Grill, Jyoti’s vegetarian south indian restaurant (a fave haunt of Jamie Oliver et al), Carters of Moseley, Bitters’n’Twisted pub group, The Wellington (real ale pub), Urban Coffee Company…(shops): Capeling and Co cheesemongers, Stirchley wines and spirits (real ale!), Rossiters Organic Butchers, Leverton and Halls Deli and Coffee Shop, Anderson and Hill Deli, Nima Deli, Al Barakah Lebanese Bakery, Kitchen Garden Cafe.

 

The second enquiry was the Soil Association asking for what was going on in terms of sustainability and food in Birmingham as they’d received an application from someone at the council for support in developing this, and again they are pitting us against other cities to win the support. Here’s what I recommended (after a lengthy conversation about the lack of vision in this area coming from the council and from health bodies in the city):

Community Gardens/gardening projects: Northfield Eco Centre: http://www.northfieldecocentre.org/; Martineau Gardens: http://www.martineau-gardens.org.uk/; Sense City Edible City: http://www.sensecity.org.uk/?page_id=102; Cotteridge Park Community Orchard: http://www.cotteridgepark.org.uk/index.php?page=orchard; Loads of active allotment sites in Birmingham including the biggest in the UK (Uplands Allotments – great for growing afro-carribean and asian vegetables) and the active Court Lane Allotments: http://courtlaneallotments.com/ who recently had a garden at Gardners World Live.

Social Enterprise/ Co-operative food initiatives: Loaf, South Birmingham Food Co-op (http://bhmfoodcoop.wordpress.com/), Change Kitchen (http://changekitchen.co.uk/), Urban Harvest (http://www.urbanharvestbham.org/), Abundance Birmingham (http://abundancebirmingham.wordpress.com/); Globally Local have a catering enterprise: http://www.globallylocal.net/

Farmers/Community markets: Moseley, New Street, University, Kings Heath, Kings Norton, Harborne, Bearwood, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Jewellery Quarter (24 carrots), Stirchley Community Market.

Support groups: Sustainability West Midlands (http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/); Localise West Midlands (http://localisewestmidlands.org.uk/); Birmingham FoE (http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/); Sense City – worked together with localise WM on a local food module at Aston Uni.

NHS: http://www.dietetics.bham.nhs.uk/FoodNet4LIFE/Default.aspx – FoodNet are the main team doing 5-a-day healthy eating stuff in Birmingham.

 

Is that a fair summary of food things going on in Birmingham would you say or I have missed some glaringly obvious things that deserve to be shouted about? I expect it’s fairly South Birmingham-centric, as that’s where I spend most of my time. Feel free to leave a comment below…

What’s good in Brum?

Two days in a row this week I was asked for recommendations for food things happening in Birmingham. The first was by a journalist writing for Olive magazine, which in an upcoming feature is pitting UK cities against each other for which can lay claim to being the “foodiest” (Oh God I hate that term, especially when I use it myself). He said he’d looked at the fine dining scene and the Balti already and was looking for stuff under the radar. Here’s was my response:

Wholesale Markets (largest in the UK) and Bull Ring Fruit and Veg, Meat and Fish markets.

Social Enterprise/grassroots food businesses – Loaf social enterprise cookery school and bakery, Frost and Snow cupcake bakery providing jobs for the homeless, Change Kitchen vegetarian catering, South Birmingham Food Co-operative, Urban Harvest social enterprise fruit harvesting and processing.

Community and Farmers Markets – Moseley, New Street, University, Kings Heath, Kings Norton, Harborne, Bearwood, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Jewellery Quarter (24 carrots), Stirchley Community Market.

Other things worth googling (restaurants bars and cafes): Soul Food Project, Warehouse Cafe, Opus, Anderson Bar and Grill, Jyoti’s vegetarian south indian restaurant (a fave haunt of Jamie Oliver et al), Carters of Moseley, Bitters’n’Twisted pub group, The Wellington (real ale pub), Urban Coffee Company…(shops): Capeling and Co cheesemongers, Stirchley wines and spirits (real ale!), Rossiters Organic Butchers, Leverton and Halls Deli and Coffee Shop, Anderson and Hill Deli, Nima Deli, Al Barakah Lebanese Bakery, Kitchen Garden Cafe.

 

The second enquiry was the Soil Association asking for what was going on in terms of sustainability and food in Birmingham as they’d received an application from someone at the council for support in developing this, and again they are pitting us against other cities to win the support. Here’s what I recommended (after a lengthy conversation about the lack of vision in this area coming from the council and from health bodies in the city):

Community Gardens/gardening projects: Northfield Eco Centre: http://www.northfieldecocentre.org/; Martineau Gardens: http://www.martineau-gardens.org.uk/; Sense City Edible City: http://www.sensecity.org.uk/?page_id=102; Cotteridge Park Community Orchard: http://www.cotteridgepark.org.uk/index.php?page=orchard; Loads of active allotment sites in Birmingham including the biggest in the UK (Uplands Allotments – great for growing afro-carribean and asian vegetables) and the active Court Lane Allotments: http://courtlaneallotments.com/ who recently had a garden at Gardners World Live.

Social Enterprise/ Co-operative food initiatives: Loaf, South Birmingham Food Co-op (http://bhmfoodcoop.wordpress.com/), Change Kitchen (http://changekitchen.co.uk/), Urban Harvest (http://www.urbanharvestbham.org/), Abundance Birmingham (http://abundancebirmingham.wordpress.com/); Globally Local have a catering enterprise: http://www.globallylocal.net/

Farmers/Community markets: Moseley, New Street, University, Kings Heath, Kings Norton, Harborne, Bearwood, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Jewellery Quarter (24 carrots), Stirchley Community Market.

Support groups: Sustainability West Midlands (http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/); Localise West Midlands (http://localisewestmidlands.org.uk/); Birmingham FoE (http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/); Sense City – worked together with localise WM on a local food module at Aston Uni.

NHS: http://www.dietetics.bham.nhs.uk/FoodNet4LIFE/Default.aspx – FoodNet are the main team doing 5-a-day healthy eating stuff in Birmingham.

 

Is that a fair summary of food things going on in Birmingham would you say or I have missed some glaringly obvious things that deserve to be shouted about? I expect it’s fairly South Birmingham-centric, as that’s where I spend most of my time. Feel free to leave a comment below…

Big Green Food Weekend at Northfield Eco Centre

I’ll be selling some bread this Saturday at Northfield Eco Centre’s Big Green Food Weekend, where they are also celebrating the national ‘Big Lunch’. More details on the flyer below:

Soul Food News

sfpOur buddies up at Soul Food Project in Kings Heath sent us over a bit of news, so we’re just passing it on…

Firstly, they have an exciting opening to join their growing team. They’re looking for a Front of House/Marketing assistant, and you can check out all the details on the attached job description: Staff Vacancy – Front Of House Assistant

Secondly, they are throwing one helluva party for Mardi Gras on the 5th March – headlining is Craig Charles coming straight down to the Hare and Hounds after recording his Funk and Soul show for BBC 6 music in Birmingham. There’ll also be DJ sets from Coldrice and Sweat and live music from Whitmo Deans and Atlantic Players. All accompanied by the best cajun food in brum, what’s not to like?

Birmingham independent food business of the year award – 2010

It’s about time Birmingham started celebrating it’s food hero’s, after all we’re one of the country’s top food destinations now with a big fine dining scene, and a growing grassroots local food scene. So, in the vein of B:iNS’s ‘Brummie of the Year’ competition, we thought we’d have a bit of fun and run an annual award for the best independent food business in Birmingham.

Here’s the rules:

1. ‘Food Business’ – is very loosely defined – any business or organisation working in the food or drink industry in Birmingham – retailers, producers, restaurants, farmers market, coffee shops, cookery schools etc etc…

2. Birmingham means under the jurisdiction of Birmingham City Council, so includes Sutton Coldfield but not Solihull. Business should either be based in Birmingham, or do virtually all their business in Birmingham.

3. Independent means no more than three owned-outlets anywhere.

4. To nominate,  a single comment is required on this blog post.

5. Nominations are open from now until Boxing Day.

6. Voting will then commence until New Years Day.

Any suggestions of refinements of these rules are welcomed. Loaf is excluded from the competition for reasons of impartiality.

the winner gets a 3 month small ad on this website for free and a little logo for their own website and promo materials – if anyone wants to design one in return for a couple of loaves of sourdough, please get in touch (tomATloafonline.co.uk), otherwise i’ll knock one up with my limited design skills!

Get nominating (remember only one comment needed to nominate a business – voting opens on boxing day)…

Birmingham independent food business of the year award – 2010

It’s about time Birmingham started celebrating it’s food hero’s, after all we’re one of the country’s top food destinations now with a big fine dining scene, and a growing grassroots local food scene. So, in the vein of B:iNS’s ‘Brummie of the Year’ competition, we thought we’d have a bit of fun and run an annual award for the best independent food business in Birmingham.

Here’s the rules:

1. ‘Food Business’ – is very loosely defined – any business or organisation working in the food or drink industry in Birmingham – retailers, producers, restaurants, farmers market, coffee shops, cookery schools etc etc…

2. Birmingham means under the jurisdiction of Birmingham City Council, so includes Sutton Coldfield but not Solihull. Business should either be based in Birmingham, or do virtually all their business in Birmingham.

3. Independent means no more than three owned-outlets anywhere.

4. To nominate,  a single comment is required on this blog post.

5. Nominations are open from now until Boxing Day.

6. Voting will then commence until New Years Day.

Any suggestions of refinements of these rules are welcomed. Loaf is excluded from the competition for reasons of impartiality.

the winner gets a 3 month small ad on this website for free and a little logo for their own website and promo materials – if anyone wants to design one in return for a couple of loaves of sourdough, please get in touch (tomATloafonline.co.uk), otherwise i’ll knock one up with my limited design skills!

Get nominating (remember only one comment needed to nominate a business – voting opens on boxing day)…

Bone Meal

Check out this crazy menu for a food event tomorrow night in Digbeth. Shame I can’t go, but if you’re going i’d love to hear how it goes:

The Bone Dinner takes place at Eastside Projects on Friday 5 November at 7pm. To make a booking—tickets are £25—or for more info please visit www.companis.co.uk

In 1971 Gordon Matta-Clark co-founded Food, in SoHo, New York, a restaurant managed and staffed by artists. For two years the restaurant sought to make dining a unique experience, serving imaginative menus from an open kitchen. Next Friday at Eastside Projects, Birmingham-based artist-curator duo Companis present an evening of experimental eating in the spirit of one of Food’s famous events. Bone Dinner pulls together food designers, artists, performers, caterers and a jeweller to deliver a luxurious seven course bone-based menu, that you can even wear home. London-based foodies Blanch & Shock are preparing the feast, while after each course artists Juneau Projects and jeweller Elizabeth Short will be cleaning, drilling and stringing the bones that will surely become this season’s must-have fashion accessories. 70s primitivism is so hot right now.

Soul Food Project unleash new menu

soulfoodprojectI was excited last week, to be invited to attend the ‘gastro evening’ launch of Soul Food Project’s new menu, the cheffy equivalent of an album launch if you like. Soul Food project occupy the kitchen upstairs at The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, and serve up southern-style food to discerning eaters, and drinkers with an appetite. That’s the essence of proper pub food I suppose, you have to attract a few people that would normally head to a restaurant, but maybe want to save a quid or two, but also feed the tipsy reveller who suddenly gets the munchies. The question then, I suppose, is does the Soul Food Project’s new menu hit the mark?

During an enjoyable evening comparing oven temperatures and bakery start times with the smiley Sarah Frost, we were given samples of 7 or 8 dishes off the new menu as we washed it all down with pints of Purity’s finest. The first, and finest of them all, was the Sierra Nevada hush puppies, a moorish deep-fired savoury doughnut made with corn and Sierra Nevada pale ale. Next out came the burgers, chunky locally made beef patties in a sturdy bun with a punchy soul sauce, good stuff. We sampled the consistently good Jambalaya, a great sunburst salad with halloumi and sweet potato, veggie gumbo (I thought gumbo had to have peanuts in it – am I thinking of somehting else?), and SFP’s SFC (southern fried chicken), of course.  The thirty-strong crowd were visibly stuffed by this point, but when chef’s Carl and Matt emerge with trays of the famous brownies and stunning churro’s to finish us off, who can turn that down?!

Their repertoire has massively expanded and now fills a glossy A3 menu (complete with photos!), and there are many intriguing dishes that I still want to sample (pork crackling with a bourbon sauce for a starter? yes please!). So have they managed to hit the hungry-boozer/gourmet-diner-on-a-budget balance? I think they pretty much have. The dishes are certainly good value – starters are £3-4 and mains just £5-7. The dishes aren’t refined and showy like a flashy restaurant, they’re hearty, which is how soul food should be, and perfect for fuelling-up for a night out. The resounding thing that struck me though is that there’s no one else really doing this kind of food in Birmingham, so although there’s no smears of chestnut puree or embellishments of pea shoots on the plates, I urge foodies, gourmands, and anyone wanting some honest, original pub grub, to head down and check out the new menu. I know i’ll be returning soon…

Stirchley Community Market is Born!

Stirchley Community Market LogoLoaf, Stirchley Happenings, South Birmingham Food Co-op and Birmingham Town Centre Partnerships are proud to bring you Stirchley’s first ever community market in the summer of 2010.

Stirchley Community Market, which launches on Tuesday the 27th July with it’s first market outside Stirchley United Working Mens Club on the Pershore Road from 4-8pm, will feature stalls selling wholefoods, bread, hot curry, wood-fired pizza, artisan preserves, cupcakes, local fruit and vegetables, and local arts and crafts. The market will give the local community, as well as commuters on their way home from work, an opportunity to find out what Stirchley has to offer, meet some excellent food producers and craft makers from within Birmingham, and pick up some tasty groceries for their weekly shop.

Loaf will be there selling wood-fired pizza’s straight out of our mobile pizza oven, and artisan bread.

The market has a dedicated wordpress blog, which will be updated with stall holder info and other details as the first market approaches – check it out at stirchleycommunitymarket.wordpress.com

In Our Backyard art exhibition

Received this news from local artist and foodie Eleanor Hoad yesterday, so thought I’d share it with you in full. We should do more food swapping events in Birmingham shouldn’t we, what do you think?

The ‘In Our Backyard’ exhibition at BMAG is the culmination of a year-long residency taking place within 4 constituencies around Birmingham. Community groups within the constituencies of Perry Barr, Erdington, Ladywood and Hodge Hill have worked closely with 4 artists in a series of art activities and projects that will be showcased in this exhibition and throughout the museum.

In Erdington, Eleanor Hoad’s ‘Prepare’ residency explored ways in which we can feed ourselves in the city and celebrate our local harvests. Inspired by urban Permaculture and traditional celebrations around growing food, Eleanor created a fruit harvesting, processing and distributing scheme using unwanted local fruit.

This Saturday come along to see the exhibition and take part in the Prepare Swapshop with Eleanor Hoad Saturday 24th April 2010, 11am – 4pm in the Learning Zone

A drop in swapshop with Eleanor Hoad, artist from the In Our Backyard exhibition, showing in the Community Gallery. Bring along to swap: fruit recipes old and new, jars of homemade pickle, jam or chutney, seeds saved from your own plants or leftovers in a packet and empty plastic vegetable trays to plant your own mini herb bed. Make your own decorated paper bag to take your swaps home.

The Community Gallery showcases the talent of our communities and provides an insight into our rich local neighbourhoods through an exciting programme of exhibitions and events. Displays are created in collaboration with community groups, inviting new audiences and visitors to interact and explore artworks and subject matter.

In Our Backyard runs from 10th April to the 4th July.

The Community Gallery
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Chamberlain Square
Birmingham B3 3DH
0121 303 2834

www.bmag.org.uk

Interested in Connecting Food and Community?

Sustain and The Soil Association are putting on a free event in Birmingham on the 28th April all about setting up and running food co-operatives and buying groups – It’s a must for anyone that’s into community food initiatives. I’ll be there, as will South Birmingham Food Co-op. You can find out more about it on the flyer below.

Birmingham food event flyer2