Archive for the ‘food’ Category

J D Wetherspoon refuse to pay sick pay of workers who may have coronavirus

February 29, 2020

Wetherspoon are forcing into work staff who may have coronavirus.

If follow WHO advice, government advice, may have coronavirus, self isolate. If work for Wetherspoon and follow this advice will will not be paid.

Wetherspoon workers who try to do the right thing, self-isolate and try to stop the spread of coronavirus are being told, either turn up for work or you will not be paid.

This is appalling treatment by Wetherspoon of their staff who may have coronavirus, come to work or you will not be paid.

This puts their colleagues at risk, drinkers in their bars at risk, hastens the spread of coronavirus.

Do you really wish to visit a Wetherspoon pub and not be sure if the person preparing your food, serving your meal, handing you a drink has coronavirus?

The only defence we have against coronavirus is containment.

Coronavirus is twice as infectious as seasonal flu, the death rate ten times that of seasonal flu.

My recent observations:

  • Toby Carvery bar girl sneezes twice into her hands then hands over two glasses of water
  • fish n chip restaurant waitress sneezes into her hands wipes hands on tea towel then uses to wipe glasses and cutlery
  • village pub with no soap in he toilet
  • trains with no running water or soap in toilets

It takes only one infected person forced into work by Wetherspoon to infect everyone in the bar.

Tim Martin boss of J D Wetherspoon has form, low pay, zero hours, opposed increase in rate of minimum wage, crap service, food not good.

I would urge everyone to boycott J D Wetherspoon.

Government is bringing in emergency legislation. This must include forcing bad employers like J D Wetherspoon to pay sick pay, and if any employee has been forced to return to work, hit with a a heavy fine, and if Wetherspoon has forced anyone into work, close down their pubs.

The emergency legislation must also oblige insurance companies to pay for cancelled holidays, to cover the cost if stranded overseas.

The Truth About Takeaways

February 28, 2020

BBC are to be complimented on The Truth About Takeaways looking at how bad takeaway meals. [broadcast BBC One 2000 GMT Thursday 27 February 2020]

If not seen a must watch.

Takeaway meals bad on every measure can think of, weight gain, damage to arteries, fat levels in bloodstream, fitness, lethargy, alertness, cognitive skills, sleep deprivation.

A two week trial of half a dozen fit students. They noticeably deteriorated and looked worse for wear during the two week trial

I felt sick looking at the food they had to eat, and that was without the disgusting smell. I had a sample of the disgusting smell of junk food at the weekend from a travelling junk food circus.

One family was addicted to takeaways. They lived on junk food every day, and no, they did not look well. A professor of food psychology weaned them off the junk food. At the end of two weeks they looked healthier.

Where I would criticise is failure to differentiate the different types of fat, not lump all fat together.  [see Big Fat Surprise]

When deciding what is healthy what is not, we should ask how far has it travelled,  to what degree heavily processed, look at the list of additives.

Do not be taken in by the Big Businesses vegan scam peddling highly processed crap.

We are being fed a false argument vegan v meat. No, the issue is industrial farming v regenerative agriculture.

Grass fed herbivores, the grass mitigates temperature, absorbs carbon, improves the soil structure, which in turn absorbs carbon, soaks up water.

Similarly with chocolate and coffee, direct trade, bean-to-bar chocolate, trees grown under the shade of trees, will also always be superior to plantation grown industrial chocolate, commodity coffee.

A warning on Deliveroo, and not only that they are an exploitative company like Uber, serfs working for an app. They are setting up their own kitchens, cutting out the middle man, current takeaways and restaurants unthinkingly supplying the data to destroy their own businesses.

Deliveroo are also a contributory factor in the destruction of town centres. High Streets need footfall. Deliveroo is taking away footfall.

Junk food travelling circus

February 22, 2020

High Street Lincoln stomach-churning stench from junk food travelling circus.

Why?

Generators polluting a pedestrian street, stench pervading nearby shops, dreadful music blasting out Cornhill.

It was like a mini-version of the disastrous Lincoln Christmas Market, junk food and tat.

A coffee truck. If want bad coffee, sit in the warm in a corporate coffee shop. For those who love coffee, Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle.

Sweet stall. Locals know to visit the sweet shop in Sincil Street.

Two stalls with low quality cheese. Locals know walk to top of High Street, turn left to The Cheese Society. Or top of Steep Hill, farmers market Castle Hill third Saturday of the month.

I felt very sorry for a coffee cycle, strictly speaking a trike, Happy Coffee, four hours journey from Kent, stand in the cold serving LavAzza coffee, and pay £400 for the pitch.

Elite on the Bail revisited

February 19, 2020

I last visited Elite on the Bail an upmarket fish n chip shop last week, one week after it had opened.

In summary, poor design, poor service, excellent fish n chips.

Has anything changed?

Not a lot can be done about the poor design.

The service far from improving has deteriorated, now on a par with Burton Road Chippy.

Waitress with hair dangling over the table, wrong change on bill, bill not brought promptly to the table when offered to bring, but a few of the problems experienced.

There is a problem with the dish washing machine. Black flecks on all the crockery, a rough scum on much of the crockery.

Elite need to address the poor service  and the things that are going wrong. .

Suggestion: Deploy experienced staff from Elite Tritton Road, pay their travelling expenses and time to and from Elite on the Bail.

Fish n chips?

Haddock was excellent, even better than last week, but the chips poor quality, not up to the standard of Elite.

Poor quality of chips queried. Apparently difficulty sourcing quality potatoes suitable for frying.

Lincolnshire grows potatoes but cannot supply quality potatoes to Elite.

The Hairy Bikers’ Chocolate Challenge

February 18, 2020

I did not expect Hairy Bikers’ reality chocolate show on Channel 5 to be anything other than dire. It lived up to expectations.

Dire it was, gimmicky, dreadful presenters, dreadful contestants.

I endured five minutes then turned off in disgust. I tried again the next day. I managed ten minutes before giving up in disgust.

Set in the Nestlé factory in York, one of the worst corporations in the world. York where once upon a time Joseph Rowntree started.

Industrial chocolate.

I had hoped bean-to-bar chocolate, not fat and sugar.

The programme could have been set at York Cocoa Works. And at the very least, wander through the Shambles and look in Monk Bar Chocolatiers.

York, home of chocolate, and the viewers are insulted with corporate industrial chocolate.

Corporate chocolate makers lobbied in US to water down the definition of chocolate to include  emulsifiers and other additives.

Over the last two decades we have seen shocking reports about the use of child labor, sometimes under hazardous conditions, on cacao farms in Ivory Coast and Ghana, and of widespread destruction of forests in cacao-growing regions worldwide.

Public outcry had prompted the major chocolate companies to pledge to end the worst forms of child labour in the cacao industry. But no laws were ever passed in America to require this (those same companies lobbied against the legislation and quashed it), little has changed.

We find a similar corporate story with environmental impact. In 2017, 34 chocolate companies agreed to end deforestation by their industry. But according to a 2018 report by the environmental group Mighty Earth, cacao production was still ravaging forests, and the animals living within them, at an alarming rate.

Direct trade, traceability, transparency bean-to-bar chocolate makers source the best beans, place emphasis on the growing conditions, the terroir, the working conditions, will include details on their chocolates or on their websites.

Cacao grown under the shade of trees helps to protect the natural habitat.

Across the country we have bean-to-bar chocolate makers, viewers could have been introduced to quality chocolate, instead industrial chocolate in a Nestlé factory.

According to the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, sales of premium chocolates grew in the US 19 percent in 2018, compared with 0.6 percent for mainstream chocolate like the classic Hershey bar. Over the past decade, the number of small American bean-to-bar chocolate producers — the kind with cacao percentages and places of origin printed on those hyper-chic labels — has jumped from about five to more than 250.

We could have visited a cacao grower in the Amazon, learnt of the sacred origins of cacao, learnt how cacao is replacing coca in Colombia, that quality attracts a higher price than that paid by Nestlé, direct trade not the FairTrade scam, seen the different cacao pods, fermentation, selecting the roast profile, the processing to turn the cacao nibs into a bar of chocolate.

Maybe a visit to Casa Cacao to see what experts can then do with bean-to-bar chocolate.

But no, a Nestlé factory churning out industrial chocolate for the masses.

At the very least set within Hotel Chocolat. Each person have an expert on hand to advise. Then go through the rigorous selection process. But at a guess no one would have passed, and that would have been the end of the series.

Begs the question: Is this Channel 5 series sponsored by Nestlé?

Elite on the Bail

February 16, 2020

Elite does not rank as the best fish n chip shop in Lincoln, it ranks as one of the best in the country.

First week in February, opening long delayed, Elite finally opened a new fish restaurant in Bailgate, Elite on the Bail, an upmarket fish n chip shop.

Has Elite managed to maintain their reputation?

First impressions, pleasant interior, but look closer and appalling bad design.

Walk in through a set of double doors, two people barely can fit in the airlock, one overweight would just manage. The queue to wait is the other side of the second door, get hit by the door.

Doors to the toilets very heavy. Weak or infirm would have difficulty opening. I cannot speak for the ladies toilet, but inside the gents, barely can squeeze into hand washing area before the loo. If someone the other side of the door walked in too fast, door smashes into them.

Hard surfaces in the restaurant, very noisy and not pleasant.

A very dingy corner beneath the stairs.

Disabled are restricted to the ground floor. If there was a lift to the first floor, I did not notice one.

Luckily not busy, and this was lunchtime, Elite Tritton Road would be packed if not a queue, therefore no problem obtaining a window seat.

Other window seats, if obtain, offer pleasant views out onto Bailgate.

No senior citizens special offers. This a big mistake, and should be addressed.

Hint: order child’s portion.

The menu referred to a board for specials. Yes there was one for fish options, but nothing for the deserts.

Elite Tritton Road take a pride in the potatoes used and the fish caught. No display to indicate the fish caught, potatoes used.

Serving staff not up to the standard of Elite Tritton Road, hopefully will improve. But not as bad as Burton Road Chippy.

Tea has never been a strong point of Elite. The tea was not good.

Clearing away finished plates, half drunk cup of tea was taken away.

And the all important question, the fish n chips?

The fish n chips live up to the reputation of Elite, if not excelled. If maintain this standard and introduce senor citizen deal (crass stupidity to have dropped), cannot see Burton Road Chippy remaining in business.

The ludicrous review Lincolnshire Live (Lincolnshire Echo) was quite rightly slammed on social media. No surprise Elite chose not to share on social media. Apart from ordering pie and drowning chips in gravy (yes, need to employ someone who can write and knows food) was heavily criticised for no mention of the seafood. There may though be a reason for this, and not the fault of the reviewer. No seafood menu was produced.

On leaving I asked to see the sea food menu. Tiny italic writing difficult to read. And no, not impressed. I am used to excellent seafood restaurants by the sea, fresh caught tsipira (sea bream) grilled over charcoal. For Elite I will stick to what Elite do best, haddock and chips.

And no, fish n chips was not dripping with fat, as one reviewer complained. I have never had fish n chips from Elite dripping with fat.

Bailgate needs to be made traffic free.

Lunch at Butcher & Beast

February 15, 2020

Never go anywhere on St Valentine’s Day, at least not eat out.

I made that mistake once, ate with friends at an Indian restaurant. It was so awful, so tacky.

I thought maybe lunchtime would be ok in a village pub.

Pub was busy, lucky to find a table, but then the pub tiny.

Pub full of dogs.

Menu far too many items, which is never a good sign.

I had decided on gammon steak, but as rump streak only a pound more decided on rump steak.

Asked the young lad serving of the soup. He did not know. He went and checked. Tomato and basil

Ordered the tomato soup. A long wait, soup never came, steak arrived, followed by a bowl of chips.

Steak was ok, worth paying three times what would pay Wetherspoon on Tuesday (if add in the beer)? No, on a good day, Wetherspoon better, on a bad day worse.

Not in the same league as steak in Athens. But then that was around 30 euros.

Onion rings were cold, peas almost cold, mushroom, tomato and chips hot.

The last part of my streak tough and grisly. I shared with two cocker spaniels, making friends for life.

Beer bitter, I would far have preferred a decent craft beer. Never confuse hops with bitter.

A choice of around half a dozen real ales. Far better than most pubs which serve the output of chemical plants owned international conglomerates. Better than the average Wetherspoon, look closer and note most of the real ales are from conglomerates.

Poor though compared with a good tap room. For example BearHeadz or Growlers & Cans.

White van chiller van pulled up and offloaded as finished meal (well actually a large lorry). Across the road an excellent butcher. That pub sources from a catering supplier, says all you need to know about the pub. I then popped across the road to the butcher. I will cook something far better than the pub served.

We are currently at risk of coronavirus. No soap in the toilet to wash hands.

Bullion bean to bar craft chocolate

February 6, 2020

What was I expecting? Coffee shop, large glass windows, beyond busy making chocolate?

I had trekked out from Sheffield city centre to Kelham Island, a desolate area of abandoned Victorian buildings, or at least caught a bus, choice of No 7 or No 8, driver not very helpful, had passed by where I needed to alight, with the eventual help of a lady at a flea market in one of the abandoned buildings, found Cutlery Works, in the far corner, a dim and dingy corner, Bullion, no one around, a sign instructing ding a bell. I decided to take a wander around the two floors of Cutlery Works, claimed to be the largest food hall in the North.

After a not very good coffee from Foundry Coffee Roasters, I returned to find now someone around.

A little crowd-funded coffee shop, not much larger than a kiosk, a seating area, and beyond, where bullion bean-to bar chocolate made.

I had encountered Bullion at Steam Yard, I was now at their chocolate making facility.

Three bars of chocolate, No 1, No 2, No 3. wrapped to look like bars of gold.

I thought Bullion, gold bars, expensive. No, though could be, cacao beans were used by the Mayans as currency, such did they value chocolate, which they consumed, not as bars or as chocolate, a hot spicy drink for their elite. Gold bars as currency.

Christopher Columbus encountered cacao beans on his fourth voyage, where he found to be used as currency.

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, a seventeenth century writer and historian, gave an account of what the cacao beans would buy among the Nicaroa people.

  • one rabbit – ten beans
  • eight pieces of a local fruit munoncapot – four beans
  • the company of a lady – ten beans
  • a slave – one hundred beans

When Spanish Conquistadors raided closely guarded treasure houses they found not gold, sacks of cacao beans.

Chocolate was a gift from the gods. Mesoamerican cultures transformed cacao beans into a mystical drink that was a portal to other worlds and dimensions.

Chocolate maker Max introduced himself. Offered samples of No 2 and No 3 to try and apologised no No 1.

Taste was that of fruits, not added flavourings  God forbid, the natural favours notes of chocolate, each different.

I would have had a coffee, but no barista. I regretted my coffee at Foundry Coffee Roasters, as Bullion were sourcing top quality coffee from Caravan.

On offer various chocolate themed cakes.

I was looking forward to a cookie, but had sold out.

Currently experimenting with coffee infused chocolate. If chocolate good but not good enough to stand on its own merits.

The coffee beans ground very fine in an EK43 coffee grinder, then ground again with the chocolate.

I tasted. It changed the flavour profile of the chocolate, though not noticeable coffee.

Coffee grounds have their uses, add to compost heaps, add to cakes. I suggested try adding coffee grounds. Max was not sure due to water content.

I also suggested embed coffee beans on the top of the bar of chocolate to give a crunch and interesting texture when biting into the bar.

Another possibility chocolate coated coffee beans.

Food for thought.

Bean-to-bar chocolate is following in the footsteps of coffee. Direct trade, working with growers, fairer prices for quality, not the Fair Trade scam, transparency and traceability, care with fermentation to bring out the intrinsic flavours, roast profile to safeguard the intrinsic flavours.

I came away with a beautiful presentation box, into which exactly fitted three bars of chocolate and a bookmark with information on the chocolates. No number 1, but I was given a small sampler bar as recompense. I could have popped to Steam Yard but no time. Luckily I found I had No 1 from a recent visit to Steam Yard.

On the bookmark, details of the different chocolates.

There are as many wines as people, as many coffees as people, as many cacao as people.

We are used to seeing the name of the chateau or vineyard the year on a wine label. We are seeing the same with specialty coffee, starting to see with bean-to bar chocolate, the name of the farm, the grower, the variety, how processed, altitude, region.

Coffee has more flavour notes than red wine, chocolate more than coffee.

In the early 18th century,  in his Conversations with Eckermann,  Goethe said: ‘One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best’.

Taste is dictated by culture, some may think Cadbury’s make chocolate, to eat at McDonald’s is haute cuisine or that tax-dodging Starbucks serves coffee.

Paulo Coelho discusses with reference to fashion in The Winner Stands Alone, we all wish to belong to a tribe, dress in the uniform of the tribe, all look alike.

In Clear Bright Future, Paul Mason contrasts the diktat of  fashinistas with the individuals of the 1960s who led not followed.

Bourdieu calls this phenomena habitus, the influence upon us of our surrounding culture.

When the beans are roasted, be coffee or cacao, the roast profile is determined by the desire to bring out the intrinsic flavours of the beans. Which in turn are determined by the grower, the terroir.

The merit of a bar of chocolate is no more determined by how bitter, how dark, the percentage of cocoa mass,  than the merit of a bottle wine the alcohol content or a cup of coffee how bitter or strong.

The role of the barista source the best beans to deliver an excellent cup of coffee, that of the bean-to-bar chocolate maker source the best beans to deliver an exquisite bar of chocolate, no additives, no emulsifiers, only cocoa mass, cocoa butter sugar and maybe a little vanilla.

If do not wish to trek out to Kelham Island, then visit Steam Yard, excellent coffee and not only Bullion on sale but also Bare Bones.

Nearby Tamper Westfield Terrace on my last visit also had on sale Bullion, though I do not recall the complete range.

Both coffee shops serve excellent coffee.

Bullion is featured in From Bean to Bar, a whimsical tour of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Great Britain.

Cutlery Works

February 6, 2020

Cutlery Works, a bus ride away from Sheffield city centre on Kelham Island, occupies two floors, claims to be the largest food hall in the North. Whether claim true or not I do not know.

Imagine the worst street food collected together in one building? OK, not that bad but get my drift. At least no hot dogs, kebabs or German sausages. Pies, a couple of bars, Vietnamese, a coffee roastery, pizza and a chocolate maker.

It was all but deserted as I had a wander around, but the smell of cooking lingered, not pleasant and I hate to think what it is like when busy and all the stalls cooking.

I had eaten earlier at Marmadukes and was pleased that I had from the choice on offer.

No atmosphere, lacking in ambience. Made worse by widescreen TV screens dotted around.

I tried a coffee from Foundry Coffee Roasters. It was not great, not worth trekking out from Sheffield city centre for.

Only business worth making a trip out from Sheffield city centre, Bullion bean to bar artisan craft chocolate.

Not acceptable, card only, do not take cash. This is discrimination. Hands money to banks, enables tracking, more data collected. Not the choice of the individual businesses. Imposed on the businesses by the management of Cutlery Works. They collect rent as a cut from turnover, hence card payment only to enable the management to keep track of all the businesses. This should be seen for what it is, sharp businesses practice.

Nor acceptable wifi that not only is not secure, is a crude scam to obtain and abuse personal data. Visitors who use the wifi will then start receiving junk e-mail.

There are better places to eat in Sheffield city centre, South Street Kitchen, ShuJu Kitchen pop up Taiwanese kitchen at Union St, Marmadukes.

Apart from Bullion, Cutlery Works not worth a trip to Kelham Island.

The Soup Dwagon

January 29, 2020

I stumbled upon The Soup Dwagon, a tiny little shop  hidden down a little alley, Chain Lane.

Serving soup, a choice of three different, and that was all the shop served.

A wonderful find. What I love to see, a shop with the emphasis on quality, not serving paninis

A choice of Stilton and broccoli, carrot and coriander or  mushroom. I chose mushroom.

The soup came with a choice of bread  rolls.

I was their only customer, sadly soup in takeaway,  for which the lady apologised. I was shown some beautiful bowls they will be using once a dishwasher installed.

My mushroom soup was excellent.