#Coffeetime: Waterstone’s independent cafe Birmingham.


Now books, that’s another story. I’m always to be found with a book in my hand, whether fiction, poetry, gardening or art, I’m never far from one. In fact I’ve been known to spend a few hours in book shops and thus if in Birmingham Waterstone’s is the main and largest book shop in town to visit. 

  
The new impressive Waterstone’s Birmingham on High Street on the Bull Ring intersection is huge. 

Covering five floors, it covers every type of book and has a lovely floor for its Children’s section which also has its own cafe and cup cake making sessions (plus children’s play area).

Created as a ‘flagship bookshop for the Midlands’. The fiction section has its own floor (basement) and there are oak bookcases fitted throughout. Topped with this there’s also a varied events programme (see in store or on the website) and the shop itself feels more engaging, more user friendly with a new shop front and enhanced book range (though the poetry section is still a bit small for me). It’s a joy to walk around and another step on the revolutionisation of Birmingham as a cultural city merging with an impressive and vibrant city centre. 

  

Now it appears that me and Mrs Mills’ cakes have a thing going on, but just keep it a secret, but then I’m bound by been a blogger and all food consumed is ‘for the blog’ and the blog alone. Ruth my wife disputes this, and feels that I just consume food, well because I like it. It’s probably one of the reasons why I began my blog. As, what’s the point in being a food blogger if you don’t like food, and cake is food…right. 

The cafe is run independently and this shows in its free and easy layout and atmosphere with comfortable seating throughout. It’s a peaceful spot, but there is a surprise that you can sit on any floor with your drink and food if you wish (as long as you don’t mind carrying it up flights of stairs).

The aim is as much as possible to use local producers for cakes and bakes such as Mrs Mills. 

  Cheesecake and Flat White. 

  Yummy 😊

  Mrs Mills’ Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake: 

Creamy chocolatey layers of delight. Cheese cake base well made, a good bake. Rich Vanilla pod infused with a thick swirl of dark chocolate running through each slice, chocolate chip pieces. Melt in the mouth deliciousness. Indeed the best cheese cake in Birmingham no doubt.

Eaten with a lovely flat white. In fact everything one should be. Velvet micro foam and a powerful double shot of coffee.

   
 Flat white 

  Mrs Mills’ Chocolate Brownie (with Pips Hot chilli sauce).

The second cake I’ve eaten at Waterstone’s cafe is the Chocolate Brownie made with Pips Hot Chilli Sauce and sea salt. A luxurious brownie, with a definite chilli hit, which though quite powerful compliments the gooey chocolate well and makes for an indulgent treat at any time of the day. A very beautiful brownie that deserves repeated trials. A treat. 

Eaten with a disappointing cappuccino which wasn’t intensive enough in coffee for me and felt quite flat next to the brownie. Shame.

Waterstone’s cafe also serve sandwiches and biscuits. Bread is provided by local artisan baker Peel and Stone from the Jewellery Quarter. Other local producers are Anderson and Hill and Too busy to bake. 

It’s a delight in every way and a place to wile away the time, but beware if you fancy working there, their wifi is erratic and tempermental, in fact much like writers.  

A match made in bookish heaven. 

   Cakes and sandwiches at Waterstone’s. 

  Christmas time 

  

   
   Cafe seating.

 The view from the cafe of Birmingham’s German Market in the distance. 

   
   
  

 Children’s floor with plenty of activities. 

 

   
    Books and coffee, whatever next?

    Cafe seating amongst the books. 

 Waterstone’s Birmingham, High Street, 24-26 High Street, B4 7SL.

0121-633-4353.

Disclosure: I paid in full for my coffees and cakes. My opinions are honest as always. 

Mrs Mills Cakes makes celebration cakes, on the go granola bars, indulgent deserts and cheesecakes, biscuits for mail order and at food festivals, fairs and Brum Yum Yum Streetfood events. 

All cakes baked using free range eggs. 

At Brum Yum Yum Kings Heath on the 12th Decenber. 

https://m.facebook.com/MrsMillsMakesCakes/
  

http://mrsmillsmakescakes.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/mrsmillscakes

Christmas orders: 

http://mrsmillsmakescakes.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/pdf-flyer.pdf

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

Vanilla Black cookbook: Fresh Flavours for your Vegetarian kitchen: Andrew Dargue. 


  

‘To us the fact our cooking is vegetarian is incidental. We just like to eat good food. We love to reinvent classic dishes, create new flavours combinations, source unusual ingredients and occasional we use is microwave because , well why not’

Fifteen months ago Ruth (a meat eater) requested to visit London vegetarian restaurant Vanilla Black. This was around my birthday, and on a cold January night whilst staying in London we did. 

That in itself is the appeal of Vanilla Black, non vegetarians love eating there too. 

In fact we visited again last year, my blog was only a couple of months old. We went on this occasion for lunch, on a Friday and the restaurant was packed. 

I can safely say that Vanilla Black is one of the reasons I began my blog. 

It’s elegant and beautiful vegetarian dishes captured us on that Cold January  night, warming the cockles of our heart, and inspired me to pursue setting up my crazy veggie blog, and to begin the journey of trying to change and influence the veggie dining scene to be as interesting and thoughtful as this small experimental kitchen demonstrated it could be. 

My review from last year is here:

https://vegiefoodie.com/2014/06/13/vanilla-blacks-a-slice-of-veggie-heaven/

  

So when I received a complimentary advanced copy from Andrew Dargue (head chef) and publishers Saltyard books i was thrilled. Thank you. 

Vanilla Black has a mission ‘to reinvent expectations About what it means to eat vegetarian food. It’s all about the flavour, the first bite that intrigues, the surprising, the unusual’.

The recipes in the cookbook are intriguing and look delicious. 

They can be made by home cooks, and adapted for the home kitchen. They follow some of the advanced textures and flavours of the restaurant food, smashing stereotypes, the intriguing and delicious. Something simple, something technical, to cook their food is to have fun. 

So dishes such as Jerusalem Artichoke, white wine and thyme pie, Savoy cabbage pudding, to broad bean and lemon cheesecake and parsnip cake with Horlicks frosting and a reinvention of tomatoes on toast, make intriguing inspired recipes. 

The book is beautifully photographed and their should be something for everyone in the book. 

The point in many ways is that Vanilla Black is not just for vegetarians, and neither is its cookbook. 

Andrew is a talented chef that is keen to expand the horizons of vegetarian cooking and bring it to the modern palette. 

Unusual combinations which challenge the norm. 

When you’ve tried the cookbook, try the restaurant and savour The Ribblesdale cheese Pudding if it’s on offer. 

   
     

So finally apologies from Andrew and his partner Donna (who runs front of house) there will be no pasta bake or veg curry, only beautifully presented food and now a beautifully presented and enticing cookbook. 

Give it a try. 

Just for National Vegetarian Week. 

Vanilla Black is in London in Tooks Court. 

http://www.vanillablack.co.uk/

http://twitter.com/vanillablack1

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

Disclosure: Though I received an advanced copy of the Vanilla Black cookbook I wasn’t asked to write a positive review or put any post on my blog. I’ve done so as its a good cook book and its National Vegetarian Week. 


Prashad ‘Indian vegetarian cooking’ Kaushy Patel


We are now into the second day of National Vegetarian week in the Uk and I wanted to draw your attention to a superb vegetarian cookery book that I have recently discovered.

Indian food is my all time favourite, when it comes to dining out and cooking at home. I have always felt it is the cuisine that has the most options for veggies, and with Thai has that stimulus of flavours to tempt deeper indulgence.

Prashad is a small Indian restaurant in Bradford that is family run and a place that I very much would like to visit. It was voted the ‘Best runner up’ by Gordon Ramsay on his TV show Ramsay’s best restaurant 2010. This has brought the culinary skill of Kaushy Patel and her family to the attention to the whole of the UK and not just Yorkshire.

Having just discovered this delicious cookbook of 100 recipes, ranging from snacks/street food, starters, mains, rice, breads, sides and deserts, I thought I would mention it as a vegetarian success story that many meat eaters would also appreciate. The recipes in this book that brings authentic Indian cooking into your kitchen, is ideal for those who are not just vegetarian, vegan, but for those who want to reduce their meat intake and may be tempted by Meat Free Monday’s.

Recipes such as Cinamon spice chick pea curry, cauliflower and pea curry and the delicious chaat (king of street food) that are within its pages would tempt anyone.

At the end of the book is a meal planner that is also very useful.

Prashad ‘Indian vegetarian cooking’ can be brought from the usual retailers and is excellent value for a book with so many veggie recipes in it. One for everyone, I think that loves spicy food.

Prashad Indian vegetarian cuisine
137 Whitehall Road
Drighlington
BD 11 1AT
01113 285 2037
http://www.prashad.co.uk
@prashad_veggie