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Browsing: Food and Drink

Though it probably should be, the first thought when you eat out isn’t how hygienic the kitchen is. Instead, cost, value and taste understandably occupy our minds. It’s difficult to entertain the cleanliness of the kitchen when you eat somewhere: more often than not, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. Unless there are visible signs of distress with the kitchen’s efforts to serve you food prepared under the  correct conditions, it’s hard to force yourself to consider whether you’d be happy to eat in a restaurant if you could see the state of the kitchen. Short of…

The image accompanying this page’s header is one of a bird whose ability to resist the inexhaustible apathy towards has seen it firmly placed at the heart of any traditional Christmas dinner. I’ve yet to meet anyone whose favourite element of a Christmas dinner is turkey. Often lamented for its propensity to overcook easily, resulting in a dry, chalky and bland meat (especially the breast) that is made just about palatable by copious ladles of gravy, the turkey should be overshadowed by superior complementary side dishes. Cooking a turkey is a laborious task that inevitably disappoints. I’d be perfectly contented…

The Queen’s Head, Glanwydden 01492 546570, Conwy, LL31 9JP, North Wales The Queen’s Head is in Glanwydden, a village that acts as the perfect microcosm of North Wales – idyllic, surrounded by rolling hills and inextricably related to its heritage. To reach Glanwydden, you have to pass Conwy Castle and could be forgiven for feeling trepidation due to the village’s isolated location. Each road is narrower than the last and there is a palpable sense that the last person to have travelled here was a 19th century drover with cattle in tow. This isn’t true, of course, because Glanwydden…

The most anticipated food event of the year has arrived unexpectedly early due to a PR stunt clumsily disguised as a technical error. The Michelin guide, whose history dates back to the advent of the 20th century, is generally revered as the most important arbiter of good places to eat throughout the world. Despite persistent claims that the guide is flawed and has glaring omissions in its roll honour of starred restaurants, there are few within the industry who can say they pay no attention to the guide’s recommendations with any real sincerity. (N.B. Marco Pierre White gave back his three…

It’s becoming increasingly common for anyone that’s ever cooked a risotto to publish a cookbook – a quick Waterstones search of ‘cookbook’ brings up 5337 results – making it difficult to work out which ones are worth spending your money on and, with an ever expanding corner of the internet covering most culinary needs, those that just aren’t. So it’s refreshing to see something different, a cookbook that doesn’t just tell you how to make ‘the bestest chicken curry ever’. Helen Ashley is an artist and illustrator whose idea for ‘Kitchen Drawer’ was born when family and friends started to…

Garlic Paste Fresh garlic isn’t especially expensive but as is so often the case, you’re left with the odd clove and decayed garlic skin hanging around your kitchen. Chances are that, unless you’re roasting a whole bulb, you won’t use one in its entirety. There’s a simple way to resolve this – garlic paste. Morrisons sell a large jar of minced garlic (in the Asian Foods section, next to the spices) that costs £1 and will almost certainly serve you all year. And don’t listen to inane drivel about garlic lingering around you; its hot, pungent flavour enhances anything from a spaghetti bolognaise…

Chinese Tai Sing, one of two Chinese takeaways in Upper Bangor, beats its competitor Ying Wah on the sole premise that I one dish eaten at the latter lingers in my memory for the wrong reasons – lemon chicken that had an unpalatable washing up liquid acidity to it (that aside, Ying Wah does offer some good lunch time offers that are worth checking out.) Tai Sing is between the Creperie and health food shop on Holyhead Road. Inside, you’re likely to be greeted by the delightfully cheery woman that takes orders. Though the menu is vast and full of…

Your parents might need convincing that you’re eating healthy food at university so in an effort to quell any worries they might have, it’s a good idea to find a good restaurant to eat in should they visit. It would be remiss of me to suggest that Bangor has lots of great restaurants to eat in. It doesn’t. There just isn’t the demand for really good independent restaurants. Prospective restauranteurs  habitually flock to neighbouring Anglesey, not least because of its inexhaustible natural bounty of amazing ingredients. Notable places within Bangor include Blue Sky Café (just off the high street) Noodle…

St.George’s Road, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, 01248716714 Living in North Wales doesn’t often give you a lot of great options when it comes to wining and dining. There are no recognisable brands around, other than fast food establishments, and sometimes it’s difficult to be able to tell the good from the bad when it comes to local restaurants. I came across this restaurant when I found their beautifully designed menu; two colour letter press print on fully recycled brown paper in my house, something I would never have expected to find in North Wales and had thought my housemate brought back…

Risottos are my favourite comfort food. They have a fantastic ability to carry an almost endless list of ingredients. Invariably, when it comes to risotto, simpicity is best; too many flavours can jar the palate and mask the essense of what a risotto really is.  You can’t make a good risotto without having a great liquid to cook the rice in. Here, instead of stock, beetroot juice and water are used to create a striking colour and taste. The rump steak is an optional extra but the rare beef works brilliantly well with the deep, savoury hit of beetroot. A final addition of mild,…

The BBC is currently running a food series, fronted by food critic Giles Coren, called Our Food. In the second episode, Coren and his investigative team travelled to North Wales, covering Welsh mountain sheep, the black cattle of Anglesey and mussels farmed on the shore of the Menai Straits. Inspired, I decided to do some researching of my own. North Wales is pregnant with good ingredients and food heroes tirelessly working the rich yet rugged land of Snowdonia and its surrounding areas. I started my search in Anglesey and the heroic efforts of men who made the 550 mile round…

Blodyn Aur, meaning Golden Flower, is the first Welsh rapeseed oil; Welsh grown; Welsh pressed and Welsh bottled. Blodyn Aur is the brainchild of farmers Llyr Jones, Bryn Jones and Medwyn Roberts, as well as Geraint Hughes, a former student of Bangor. The oil is pressed near Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, near Corwen. They sell their bottles in 250ml and 500ml glass bottles, as well as larger 2.5L and 5L plastic bottles. It is currently stocked in all ASDA stores across Wales, but can also be bought online from blodynaur.com. Rapeseed oil is part of the culinary zeitgeist. In the 2003/2004…

Gnocchi are little potato dumplings, whose name supposedly derives from the Italian word ‘nocchio’, meaning a knot in wood. Nocchio is also credited by some for being behind the character Pinocchio, but given his propensity to lie, such trivia should be taken with a pinch of salt. Gnocchi was first introduced to Europe by the Romans and has since been adapted by various cultures, including Italy, Poland and Croatia. The Roman gnocchi was actually drastically different to the ubiquitous, manufactured dumpling found today; they favoured semolina based dough mixed with eggs, unlike the modern day potato recipe. Gnocchi is available…

Come dine with me…April 24th,  2012! Submit your recipe before the 19th April for your chance to compete in the culinary challenge. That’s not all. There’s also the opportunity to come and judge the food. Bookings cost £12.50 per person and can be made at reservations@bangor.ac.uk or on 01248388686.

Calling this a restaurant review feels a bit disingenuous because I’m not really sure what Teras is, exactly. On the one hand, the food is essentially restaurant fare but equally, there’s enough scope for it to get away with being a lounge (an extensive list of flavoured waters, coffees and teas are available to be drank on ridiculously comfortable looking chairs) and it’s also a café serving toasties and baguettes. Usually when restaurants/cafés don’t appear to have a definite idea of what they are, exactly, it leads to confusion (think of a really busy pub of people drinking watching football…

With the news this week that Yates’s was closed for refurbishment, Seren went down to check out exactly what would be changing, when it would be reopening and what deals we can expect before Christmas and in the new year. It had been a little while since I last graced Yates and aside from the general décor, quite a lot had changed. Firstly the menu had undergone a bit of a revamp and there appeared to be much more variety than on previous visits. The staff were very pleasant and cheerful, but most of all Yates’s was heaving. Despite having…