BLUE COLLAR STREET FOOD: A FOOD REVOLUTION IN READING

UK street food has really taken over our towns and cities in the last couple of years. Although w...

UK street food has really taken over our towns and cities in the last couple of years. Although we often credit London with pushing most trends first, other UK cities have embraced the street food scene and made it their own.  So it should come as no surprise that London's much quieter neighbour, Reading, has a street food scene to shout about. 
Blue Collar Street Food has set out to revolutionise the Reading food scene. The festival was inspired by founder Glen Dinning's trips to Borough Market, where he had stumbled upon a mouthwatering burger. It was from the first bite of that burger that he made it his mission to learn everything he could about replicating such perfection. Through tireless trial and error, and connecting with local food lovers, he founded Blue Collar Street Food; a revolution was born. 
The festival featured vendors from Georgia, Czech Republic, Jamacia, Peru and many other countries. "The aim has always been to try and add to Reading’s upcoming and exciting food scene," says Glen, "Hopefully, by introducing new traders and types of food, we managed to do that for three days." 

"Over the next couple of years, we hope to build on the success of last week and introduce more people and places to food that is worth indulging in and getting excited about. Well keep shouting about just brilliant street food traders can be and give them the platform in as many places as possible to prove it."

The eclectic selection that was on offer is a testament to Glen's attention to detail, and desire to deliver the best quality and experience to customers; just like the burger he had at Borough Market. 

Blue Collar Street Food Reading runs every Wednesday from 10am - 4pm in Forbury Gardens.

For more information visit: bluecollarreading.co.uk


STREET FOOD COMES TO READING

During September Reading will host the first street food festival from Blue Collar Street Food . T...

During September Reading will host the first street food festival from Blue Collar Street Food. The event takes place over three days and features twenty vendors and plenty of entertainment. Organiser Glen Dinning commented:

“We're incredibly excited to turn our hometown into the capital of food, drink and entertainment for 3 days. We’ve worked really hard to ensure that there are over twenty handpicked food stalls serving eclectic, gourmet global dishes alongside two bars and an entertainment area. It promises to be a fantastic place to have lunch, go for after work drinks or enjoy an evening out.”










I'm going to be blogging about the event and sharing stories from local vendors. This is a fantastic event for Reading - I hope to see you there!

Local businesses looking to promote their company at the event should contact Glen Dinning on: glen@bluecollarreading.co.uk

The event takes place on 8, 9 and 10 September. For more information visitbluecollarreading.co.uk

IS IT WORTH BLOGGING ANYMORE?

I have asked myself this question more times than I care to count. Since I ...














I have asked myself this question more times than I care to count.

Since I have returned to this blog and the blogging world in general (I stopped reading blogs for a few months) I have noticed a huge change. A lot of my favourite bloggers hardly post anymore, preferring to share their words in newsletters and Ecourses. Comment sections are virtually empty, and there is just a general sense that nobody cares anymore. We are so overloaded with information that it's a chore just to get through it all. So is a blog really worth our time?

When I started blogging four years ago, I would write about my city from the perspective of what I'd want to read about. I found there wasn't any local food blogs that catered to people my age. It was a small niche of bloggers who all did their own thing and had their own distinct readership. I saw a gap in the market and went for it. It paid off. Then it seemed like everyone had a blog. Everyone was reviewing and writing about the same things and those distinct voices started to disappear. They couldn't keep up with the influx of newbies. I'm all for people writing about what they want, but it became overcrowded and over-saturated.

Back when I was knee-deep in writing and maintaining this blog, I started to see just exactly what it was going to be like if I wanted to make this a full-time gig. I went from writing about things I was passionate and interested in, to pouring over follower numbers and unique visitors. It stopped being fun. I made it overly-complicated and pushed myself to produce content to make sure I kept getting visitors. It started to turn into a blog that was all things to all people. And I couldn't keep up.

I found being a blogger was a tale of two halves; the half where you were lucky enough to be one of the first ones to do it, so regardless of what you posted, you always ranked first with Google. The hits came no matter what. Then there's other half where you're stressed out over what a keyword is (I'm not ashamed to admit I had no idea) and if you are using the correct amount per post. I often wondered that had I remained ignorant on the subject, that I would've been better off. There are just too many rules now.

In fact a recent discussion with fellow blogger friend brought up the subject of all these blogging rules. We discussed the fact that you should be able to just write and publish what you want. There's no need to stress yourself out over keywords or click backs or whatever all that jargon means. Just keep it simple. Find something to write about and publish it. Just do it. I understand that analytics are an essential tool for businesses, but if you're just blogging about what you like, why should it matter?

So is it worth blogging anymore? Yes. It is for me at least. There is a whole culinary world out there that I am still scratching the surface of. I want to share that with people, wherever you are.

We're all out there doing what we enjoy. Let's keep blogging as one of those things.

On a lighter note I have a few favourite food items to share with you. Enjoy!

- I must have watched this interview with Ina Garten at Dominican University, California about 100 times by now.

- One of the best things on NPR is America's Test Kitchen. The show is packed full of cooking advice. They also discuss some of the pressing issues in the food world.

- I'm enjoying what Rachel Khoo is doing over at Khoolect.



REVIEW: BURGER & LOBSTER, CARDIFF

It's been a long time since I've written a review. When I left Cardiff a couple of years...


It's been a long time since I've written a review. When I left Cardiff a couple of years ago the food scene was really starting to take off. I watched from afar (Canada) as the city evolved into a foodie paradise. Sure, it was great before, but every UK city seemed to live in the shadow of London hipster-cool. If you're not one of the cool kids, jog on. But then something happened. Wahaca is here! Hang Fire has a restaurant! Street food festivals! Cardiff is now one of the cool kids, skinny jeans and all.

Which brings me to Burger & Lobster Cardiff. This wasn't here when I lived here before, and it's definitely cool. I always loved heading to the lobster restaurants whenever I was in downtown Seattle, so I was excited that there was now a place like that in Cardiff, plastic bibs included. I had heard great things about Burger & Lobster, so was excited to be invited to try the new menu.

 I attended with some of my fellow bloggers and, in order to get the most out of the experience, we ordered a bunch of different dishes to share. We opted for the Welsh lamb burger, chick lobster, smack brisket, cowboy caviar, sweet potato fries and crazy blooming onion. The main dishes don't come with any fries or sides, so you'll need to order those separately.

The smack brisket was the first dish I tore into. The beef was generously covered in spring onions, pickles and sauce and nestled inside a brioche bun. There's something about using a brioche bun, instead of a regular bun, to make a sandwich or burger all the more decadent. It definitely worked for the brisket here. The chick lobster was excellently complemented with a butter sauce and offered a decent amount of lobster meat. The real star of our entire selection was the lamb burger. I think I've had at least three dreams about that burger since, which is a clear indication I need to go back. The burger was cooked medium-rare and topped with pickles. The lamb was light enough to eat the rest of the food, without giving you that automatic 'stuffed' feeling most burgers leave you with. Perfect.

Burger & Lobster Cardiff offers some prime choice when it comes to trying out something different. Cardiff has a lot of burger places these days, so it is hard to stand out. For price and quality, you're looking at around £15 for a burger and side. It is a little on the pricier side than most, but I genuinely think it's worth it.

Burger and Lobster Cardiff has now closed. For more information visit: Wales Online

A PERFECT BREW - THE UK LOOSE LEAF TEA COMPANY

The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company is based in London and was founded by Martin Birkhead. After a tr...


The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company is based in London and was founded by Martin Birkhead. After a trip to India Martin spent time tasting teas, directly from growers, and an idea was born. Combining the experiences from his trip and a growing frustration with the UK tea market, he decided to set-up his own company, selling ethically sourced teas. 


It is through the company’s ‘quality comes first’ philosophy that ensures a high standard of tea for the consumer. The company also deals directly with the wholesalers and farmers, which means a fair price for all. These hand-rolled teas are farmed sustainably and the website lists which teas are grown organically. They also stock tea brewing accessories and a selection of hot chocolates and gift sets.

I was kindly sent a selection of teas to try which included Darjeeling selection, Oolong, Gunpowder and Peach Garden. It is the latter than I will be discussing here today.

The tea features a wonderful variety of summer-infused ingredients such as apple, rosehip peel, apricot, marigold petals, almond, rose petals and rooibos and hibiscus. This selection is punctuated with a hit of Bourbon Vanilla which makes the overall smell heavenly.  The ingredient pieces are colourful and release a vibrant red when brewed, which takes 5-8 minutes. I brewed mine for 7 minutes and found the taste and temperature to be cool and refreshing.

This caffeine-free tea is a perfectly uplifting blend that brings together all the ingredients perfectly. The powerful flavour of the apple is complemented by the cinnamon and the subtle hints of apple. It is the apricot that is the real stand out star though, as it punches through to leave you with a powerfully sweet after taste. 

I would highly recommend this tea.