<![CDATA[ The Hand That Bites - Blog]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 19:35:56 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[9 PLACES WHERE I'VE ENJOYED FOOD IN SYDNEY]]>Mon, 31 Jul 2017 08:18:47 GMThttp://handthatbites.com/blog/9-places-where-ive-enjoyed-food-in-sydneySo far, Sydney has had plenty of ups and downs.
However, one thing that has remained pretty consistent is the quality of the food in the city.  I've decided to put together a few blurbs about some of the places where I've enjoyed my food.  I have especially enjoyed the breakfasts, probably because I am an early morning person.

Basket Brothers – Surry Hills

Basket Brothers is a spot to have breakfast or lunch. 
I've tried a couple of dishes and my favourite is the beef brisket hash.  They also jazz things up a little with their
home-made condiments.  It's a good place to watch the world go by.  Keep an eye out for their specials board too.

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Basket Brothers beef brisket hash, a tender way to start your day.

Brooklyn Hide – Surry Hills

Great bagels and a nice coffee go hand in hand at Brooklyn Hide.  This is another place I go to regularly for breakfast, simply because their bagels are delicious.  There isn't a huge selection of bagel fillings available, but what they do serve is of a good standard.  My favourite bagel is Hell's Kitchen, it's made up bacon, avocado, feta cheese, garden leaves and lime.
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Brooklyn Hide tribeca bagel, delicious from the first bite.

Little ME – Waverley

For such a small shop, Little Me packs a big punch.  Their bacon and egg rolls are a hearty way to start your day! Cajun bacon, egg, hash brown, haloumi, tomato chutney, mayo and choloula.  All piled onto an egg roll.  It's certainly one of the best that I've had here in Sydney.  They also sell a nice coffee to accompany your breakfast roll of choice.
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Little Me Waverley and their champion breakfast roll.

Le Monde – Surry Hills

My breakfast a Le Monde was probably the best I have eaten all year.  I chose an incredibly crunchy rosti, served with salmon, poached egg, roasted cherry tomatoes, saffron hollandaise sauce and finally topped with crushed pistachio.  It was so filling and I really hope that I will be visiting again soon.
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Le Monde serves some of the best breakfast dished I've ever tasted.

O-San RAMEN – Sussex Centre

I've eaten a lot of ramen in the past, but the tonkotsu ramen at O-san Ramen is definitely up there with some of the best I have tasted.  The broth is thick, creamy and packed full of flavour.  They make their own noodles too, so everything is fresh.  I recently had the niboshi chuka soba.  The dish was made up of infant sardine broth and Chinese style egg noodles.
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Thick, creamy and delicious ramen from Ramen O-San.

Brooklyn Depot – Surry Hills

Despite hearing mixed reviews, I've not had a bad experience at Brooklyn Depot.  I'm happy with the standard standard Brooklyn classic burger.  Keep an eye out for special events, I had the Independence Day special cheeseburger and it was only $5.00.  Brooklyn Depot also serve a nice selection of craft beers, the perfect accompaniment to a craft burger.
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The limited special cheeseburger from Brooklyn Depot.

Mr. Wong – Sydney CBD

It's easy to see why Mr. Wong is a go-to restaurant for the foodies of Sydney!  The dim sum and steamed fillets were top notch.  It was by far the best dinner that I've has since arriving just over a month ago.  The food was fresh, beautifully presented and incredibly tasty.  It can be very busy here and you may need to book in advance.
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Delicate and delicious dumplings from Mr Wong.

Alex Lee KITCHEN – Spice Alley

Another place with mixed reviews, but another place where I've enjoyed the food.  The roti canai was crispy, fresh and very buttery.  I also had a beef rendang. The curry was creamy, a little spicy and it was packed full of melt in the mouth chunks of beef.  Spice Alley is a really cool place to grab some food, just be prepared for how busy it is.

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A quick and delcious roti canai at Alex Lee.

Uncle Testu – George Street

Forget about the cheesecakes, this place is all about the cheese tarts!  They are creamy, smooth and very moreish. I've been back a few times now for my cheese tart fix.  It's easy to see why they are so popular, selling hundreds of them a day.  Uncle Tetsu is popular here in Sydney, so be prepared to queue.
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I waited too long to try these creamy cheese tarts from Uncle Tetsu.
Thanks for reading my latest blog post.  If you know somewhere great to eat and you would like to share it, Then please leave your suggestions in the comments.  I'm always happy to try new things.

I am using some of the popular social media platforms, so if my story interests you, or even if you want to connect, pop by and say hello.  You can subscribe to my Youtube, like my Facebook page, tweet me on Twitter, pin me on Pinterest and follow me on Instagram for all the latest blog posts. 

Martin
The Hand That Bites

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this blog are my own and activities are at my own expense unless stated.



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<![CDATA[NORTHERN BLOG AWARDS 2017 NOMINATION]]>Sun, 02 Jul 2017 11:28:12 GMThttp://handthatbites.com/blog/northern-blog-awards-2017-nominationAfter a few months of what seemed like one bad situation after another, I had a really nice surprise this week.  I've been nominated for the Fabulous Facebooker and Social Media Influencer Award by the Northern Blog Awards.  I've never been nominated for anything before, so I was really shocked to hear that I have made the final five.  Thanks to the kind person who nominated me.
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The shortlist for the Fabulous Facebooker and Social Media Influencer Award.
For those who have never read my posts, I decided to start blogging when I was diagnosed with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome back in January 2016.  I've always been passionate about food, travel and culture, so I found blogging was a great way to take my mind away from the post episode recovery.  I'm still having episodes, but I've finally accepted that I've just got to live with it and I'll probably never get better.
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The awards ceremony will be held in Manchester at The Principal.
I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me and my blog over the last 18 months.  Friends, family, local businesses and the wonderful people of Stoke-on-Trent.  I really don't know where to start with all the thanks that I feel like I need to relay.  It's an expensive hobby, but it's something I really enjoy, in fact, I hope people enjoy reading my posts as much as I like writing them.

I'm keeping this post short and sweet.  Thanks for reading and here's to the next 18 months.

Martin

The Hand That Bites
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<![CDATA[9 REASONS to award stoke CITY OF CULTURE 2021]]>Wed, 24 May 2017 19:41:21 GMThttp://handthatbites.com/blog/9-reasons-why-stoke-can-win-city-of-cultureHere are my 9 reasons why I think Stoke-on-Trent is worthy of the UK City of Culture 2021 award.  I moved to Stoke many moons ago, but one thing that still annoys me is people saying things like "The Potteries has no culture”.  It's a unique city as you'll see from my blog post below. 

There's a lot more than 9, but it means they fit into a nice square on my Instagram page. 

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A Supermarine Spitfire in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

The Potteries Culture

There is probably a piece of Stoke-on-Trent's fine bone china in every country of the world.  Every city I have visited in the UK has had a piece of our local heritage sat on a restaurant table or mantelpiece.  In the heyday of The Potteries there were more than 4,000 bottle kilns and they are still an icon of the city to this day.  Don't be fooled, the pottery industry is far from dead!  A recent resurgence has had a positive impact on the local economy and a few big names from the pottery industry have recently moved production back to the city.  There's also a lot of smaller pottery companies who are becoming big names in the industry.  You can study ceramic design at Staffordshire University if you're interested in learning the craft, or why not visit your local pottery museum?
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Spode employed thousands of people and had 22 bottle ovens.

Stoke is an Arts & Crafts Hub

Stoke-on-Trent and the greater area is quickly becoming an arts & crafts hub.  The renovation of studios across the city is creating working spaces for all sorts of arty types.  Not just creative arts, but the digital arts too.   Wavemaker are just one of the local initiatives that are helping to prepare and inspire the next generation of makers, artists and entrepreneurs.  You may have also heard of Appetite Stoke, they are encouraging people to experience new things through the arts.  You can see local artists working at one of the many arts and crafts events that take place every month across The Potteries area.
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The Enchanted Chandelier was just one event organised by Appetite Stoke.

The Football Culture

There are a lot of football fans in Stoke-on-Trent.  That's no surprise with the presence of two large football teams, one of which is the second oldest in the English football league system.  Port Vale aren't as successful as they would like to be, but Stoke City have been enjoying top flight football for over 8 years now.  The Potters take their nickname from local industry and their most famous footballing figures include Stanley Matthews and Gordon Banks.  This city is full of footballing history.  The Valiants were founded in 1876 and The Potters in 1863.
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The impressive Bet 365 Stadium.
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Sir Stanley Matthews is regarded as one of the best player ever in the British game.

The Oatcake Culture

Stokies love a good oatcake in the morning and whilst scoffing away, they'll probably be talking about something involving the city (usually football).  The oatcake culture has been around for a couple of centuries now and it has become an integral part of Stoke's identity.  There's even an annual oatcake day to celebrate the Staffordshire staple.  Being a foodie, I always like to hear where I can find the best oatcakes.  If you think your oatcake shop is the best then leave your suggestion in the comments.
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Oatcakes from a canal boat, only in Stoke-on-Trent!
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Oatcakes baking at London Road Oatcakes.

Real & Craft Ale Culture

Although times have changed and there aren't as many pubs as there used to be, you can still find a great pint in Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries.  There are a number of craft ale breweries here, there's also a couple of craft ale shops too.  You could say the pioneers were the Titanic Brewery.  The brewery has also won numerous gold awards from Wetherspoons, we're now seeing similar stories with the likes of BrewDog (although they aren't from Stoke).  I like a swift beer in BottleCraft, they are just about to relocate to Piccadilly in Hanley's Cultural Quarter.
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BottleCraft in Hanley supply craft ale from across the globe.

Music Culture

The music culture in The Potteries rivals any big city.  It's also worth mentioning that the area is not shy when it comes to producing superstars.  Robbie Williams, Slash and the late Lemmy are just a few of the big names that can be linked with the city.  Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-Under-Lyme have some great venues for watching live performances, there's also numerous music festivals running throughout the year.  You can even free festivals here, Lymelight Festival and Your City are a couple of the bigger ones I can think of.  Hopefully I'll see you at the the next one.
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Psyence performing at Lymelight Festival. Photo courtesy of Bethan Shuff.

Canal Culture

The greater Stoke-on-Trent area has a lot of canals and towpaths.  The Trent and Mersey canal was the first long-distance canal in the UK, it was groundbreaking engineering at the time. The canal was engineered by James Brindley.  Heartbreak Hill and the Harecastle Tunnel are two of the most famous stretches of canal in the country.  Canal side pubs have also seen an increase in trade as the canal brings much needed domestic tourism to the area.  There's an annual canal festival that takes place in Etruria, people travel here from across the UK to see some of the best narrow boat examples in the world.  It sounds like the perfect way to celebrate local culture and history.  The next one is 3rd and 4th June 2017.
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Tourists moor up at Etruria Industrial Museum.
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A statue of James Brindley watches over the canal at Etruria.

Railway Culture

The canals, the railways, the pot banks and the collieries are all interwoven into the history of Stoke-on-Trent.  The area retains a piece of that history with the Foxfield Railway, a preserved working example of an old colliery line.  The railway was formed by volunteers in 1965 when the colliery closed.  The line is famous for the considerable 1:26 gradient at the colliery end of the track.  The railway is open on Sundays and for special occasions such as Bank Holidays.  Stoke-on-Trent also used used to have line called the Potteries Loop.
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The impressive Foxfield Railway. Thanks to Carl Jervis for the photo.

The Impact of The Potteries on the World

Josiah Wedgwood is credited with industrialising the pottery industry, this transformed the city of
Stoke-on-Trent and helped to make it the ceramics capital of the world.  He was also a famous abolitionist.  The Wedgwood Museum is a great place to learn about his impact on the local area and the world.

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Something for everyone at Wedgewood Fine Food & Artisan Craft Fayre.
Stoke-on-Trent's coal helped to fuel the industrial revolution, the North Staffordshire Coalfield covers an area of 100 square miles.  Before nationalisation, there were more than 50 pits in Staffordshire and they employed over 20,000 people.  The industry declined and the last pit was closed in 1998.  You can still tour a drift mine at Apedale Heritage Centre.
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An old coal boat at Etruria Industrial Museum.
The Lidice massacre is a part of WW2 history that should never be forgotten.  We shouldn't forget the miners of Stoke-on-Trent either, their incredible generosity helped rebuild Lidice after it was levelled by the Nazis.  The Nazis literally tried to eradicate Lidice from history.  Hitler said “Lidice shall die”. Stoke-on-Trent said “Lidice shall live”.  A crowdfunding campaign was started by Dr Barnett Stross and the mining communities raised enough money to rebuild the village after the war.  You can read more on the Lidice Shall Live Facebook page.
Reginald J. Mitchell was an aeronautical engineer who designed the Supermarine Spitfire, the aircraft was said to have gave Britain aerial dominance during WW2.  The Spitfire still flies today and there's a real aircraft in the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.  However, that one is unable to fly at the moment.  R.J. Mitchell was born in Butt Lane, Kidsgrove and was educated at Hanley High School.
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You can see a Supermarine Spitfire at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.
Thanks for reading this small blog on what The Potteries and the surrounding area has to offer.  This was just a minute selection of the hundreds of topics I could of posted about.  I wanted to fit more in, but that means I wouldn't have anything else to write about in the future. 

I'm sure we can all agree that Stoke-on-Trent is a worthy contender for the City of Culture 2021 Award.  Make sure you like the SOT 2021 facebook page.

I'm a local blogger who loves showing off Staffordshire to the world.  I love food, travel, coffee and culture.  You can find me on some of the popular social media platforms.  You can subscribe to my Youtube, like my Facebook page, tweet me on Twitter, pin me on Pinterest and follow me on Instagram for all the latest blog posts.

Martin
The Hand That Bites

Credits:

Thanks to Bethan Shuff and Carl Jervis for their photography contributions towards this blog.

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this blog are my own and activities are at my own expense unless stated.

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<![CDATA[VISITING LEEK FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:12:05 GMThttp://handthatbites.com/blog/visiting-leek-food-and-drink-festivalI thought it was time to let my hair down and visit Leek Food & Drink Festival.  If you have never been to Leek, it's somewhere I would definitely recommend.  Even on my first visit to this busy market town nearly 10 years ago, I was captivated by the relaxed lifestyle, unique shops and the interesting local history.  This part of Staffordshire is so picturesque and welcoming, that Leek was recently named on the 'best places to live list'.  The attractive surroundings make it an ideal place for hosting markets and festivals.
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Incredibly good cinnamon swirls from Cossack Cuisine.
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Melt in the mouth brownies from Scrumptious Foods.
Leek Food & Drink Festival is well established, with the event being held in Leek since 2014.  The annual festival continues to grow and has evolved to become one of the biggest food & drink events in Staffordshire.  Traders are attracted from all over the UK, bringing with them a wealth of fresh produce, knowledge, culture and hospitality.  I went on the Sunday, there were butchers, bakers and tornado chip makers, just to name a few of the traders.  The weather was really bad, so it was a credit to the organisers, traders and shoppers who turned up in their droves.  Thankfully, there was plenty of hot food and calories to keep everyone warm and toasty.
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It's not very often you find street food in the UK, but here's a tornado potato.
More than 80 stalls participated in this food and drink enthused weekend.  The whole of the town centre was filled with wonderful, but sometimes weird cuisines from around the world.  Not only that, but there was a range of vegan and vegetarian options too.  A  selection of alternative activities were also available to attendees. Visitors could choose from a real ale trail, a bake off trail, and selected special courses in participating eateries. Oh! Not forgetting the amazing live music and demonstrations that some people were lucky enough to participate in.  My personal highlight was watching a wild boar butchery demonstration by The Wild Chef.  Maybe that's my ancestry showing there?  The past generations of my family were Master Butchers in Stockton Heath, Cheshire.

There was a lot of delicious food on offer.  I started my day with a few Shropshire sausages and cup of percolated coffee from one of the artisan roasters.  Some of the traders were also really entertaining, including Jasim and his tornado potato van.  A tornado potato is just a simple spud, that is then sliced into a long spiral, before finally being skewered and fried. I did buy one, but it was a little too heavy for me.  Maybe that was because I had eaten too many samples whilst I was walking around?  The cheese makers were also a popular with the crowd, I can only assume that people must have been stocking up on the good stuff for their oatcakes?
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The Wild Chef, skinning and butchery demonstration with a fresh wild boar.
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Looking towards the Nicholson War Memorial.
After a savoury start I needed something sweet to give me a lift, so I decided to purchase something chocolatey from Precious Chocolates.  The gentleman on the stall was really knowledgeable and explained how his factory makes the coatings for confectionery.  The process sounded like something from a NASA space programme and the design and style of the confectionery imitates precious stones and space rocks.  There was another trader that really stood out to me, they were Marge & Mables Homemade Dog Treats.  Considering that Leek is one of the friendliest towns for dogs in the UK, I thought their stall was the perfect addition for our furry little friends.

Following on from an enjoyable day, I decided to look for some goodies to take home with me. A few Dexter steaks from Moorlands Fine Foods went in the bag, along with some decadent looking brownies from Scrumptious Foods. As the day drew to a close, I picked up a few pastries from one of the more unique bakers.  I first discovered Salkini's Homemade Food at Wedgwood Food Fayre, so it was nice to see them trading in Leek.  I wasn't going to miss their incredibly moreish falafel, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean pastries.  Cossack Cuisine was another fantastic stall, a multiple award winning Russian bakery that was stocked with an amazing bakes.  They sold both a sweet and savoury selection, including the.  After another informative chat, I decided to get a few pastries to take home with me.  Admittedly, I really regret not getting one the salmon pies.

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Leek Food & Drink Festival had an amazing selection of fresh produce.
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A stunning selection from The Garlic Farm.
I really enjoyed attending Leek Food & Drink Festival.  These enriching events benefit the whole area, not only economically, but also culturally.  They attract people from all over the UK and add to the area's ammunition towards the City of Culture 2021 bid.  Not to mention that I have also met a lot of the traders at other events across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Thanks for reading my latest blog post.  I'm a local blogger who loves showing off Staffordshire to the world.  I am using some of the popular social media platforms, so if my story interests you, or even if you want to connect, pop by and say hello.  You can subscribe to my Youtube, like my Facebook page, tweet me on Twitter, pin me on Pinterest and follow me on Instagram for all the latest blog posts.

Martin
The Hand That Bites

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this blog are my own and activities are at my own expense unless stated.

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