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Gourmet on the Go!

Gourmet on the Go!
When not slaving away with only Twitter and mad dog for company, I occasionally have a 'life.' This usually entails cooking for friends, trying far too many wines, and the occasional entire day out. I will post my ramblings, recipes and recommendations here on the 'Gourmet on the Go' blog. Hope you find something of interest!


June 19, 2013

Braxted Park – Best of Essex Produce Cookery Class

Filed under: Celebrations & Events — Tags: , , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 11:05 am

Best of Essex Produce Cookery Class at The Cookery School at Braxted Park

Top culinary venue, The Cookery School at Braxted Park, is inviting people to try the very best Essex has to offer on its new course built around local produce.

The course – A Masterclass in Cooking Local Foods – will run on 13 August, and leading chef Mark Peters will teach students how to cook exciting and delicious dishes using ingredients and produce sourced from suppliers across Essex.

On the menu for the day is line caught sea bass from Brightlingsea, goats’ milk ice cream from Colchester and gin from Great Slamseys, near Braintree, as well as Maldon Sea Salt and Essex honey.

Duncan Clark, owner of The Cookery School at Braxted Park, says:

“We’re very lucky to be surrounded by suppliers of some of the best produce the UK has to offer, from salt through to gin and everything in between.

“Our new course has been designed so that students can make the most of these delicious ingredients, and create easy to prepare dishes that Essex can be really proud of.”

If you are interested in taking part in the class at the Cookery School at Braxted Park on 13 August, please visit or call 01621 890300. Places are limited, so booking early is advisable.

About the Cookery School at Braxted Park

The Cookery School at Braxted Park combines a stunning location with award-winning chefs and a diverse range of courses to suit all abilities. Perfect for corporate hospitality and food fanatics alike, it is the ideal way to learn new skills from the some of the country’s finest chefs. Whether you are looking to explore the world of cooking with a new cuisine, throw the perfect dinner party or create the ultimate team building experience, you will find the ideal solution for you at Braxted Park.

February 5, 2013

Valentine’s Day – 5 Top Essex Restaurants with Rooms

Filed under: Celebrations & Events — Tags: , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 3:47 pm

You may poo-hoo Valentines Day as a commercially led day of forced romanticism… Well let’s face it, Mothers day, Fathers day, your Birthday, Christmas Day, they’re all commercial, yet a time for celebration, and why not? If you want to make your loved one feel special, to set aside a night of dining and, well, romanticism, here are some suggestions for local restaurants with rooms, after all, if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it well…

The Bell Inn – Horndon on the Hill

The Bell Inn - Horndon on the HillThe first benchmark ‘gastro pub’ in Essex, The Bell has character, history, and it’s a classic. Based in the small Essex village of Horndon, The Bell is a get away from it all destination, it’s like going back in time, a big sigh of stress release. Think open fires, original well worn timber structures, warmth and hospitality, in keeping with its 18th century history.

The dishes here are comforting, yet refined; they sit pretty on the plate. The menu is classically inspired and draws influence from French, and Italian cuisines, with just a hint of Japanese and Indian, as well as, and not least, the best of British. Changes are made to the menu daily, although you can of course see today’s menu (pdf) on their website.

The rooms have individual character, all comfortable and colourful, with some well thought out surprises – whatever you fancy – from 2 floors where you can lounge, before climbing the spiral staircase to sprawl; a room with a pretty four-poster bed and an amazing view of the distant fields; a crackling open fire, or a free-standing roll top bath, just waiting to be filled.

Le Bouchon – Heybridge,Maldon

Le Bouchon – Heybridge,MaldonA grade II listed building, recently modernised and refurbished into a ‘boutique’ hotel and brasserie. The executive head chef, Jonathan Brown, has won many local accolades, including ‘Essex Chef of the Year’ in his former residence as chef/patron of the Ducane Arms in Great Braxted. This is a place to relax and unwind, eat well and chat intimately in the spacious restaurant area without fear of being overheard.

As you would expect from a brasserie, the menu draws upon classic French dishes, adding just a few modern twists of flavour and technique, whilst respecting what is good. Jonathan is an ingredients man, so you can expect full flavoured cuts of local meat, game and poultry, and beautifully fresh fish and seafood. Check out their menu here.

The rooms are modern, comfortable, and femininely attractive, with hints of French regency in the furniture. Flock wallpaper, rustic open timber, rich coloured cushions and satin throws, and even showers big enough for two…

1935 Rooftop Restaurant & Bar & Holiday Inn(!) – Southend Airport

1935 Rooftop Restaurant & Bar & Holiday Inn – Southend AirportThis completely sound proofed hotel and rooftop restaurant opened in October 2012, following a £10 million build. With views over the surrounding airport, you can watch the planes land and depart into the night sky. Still a reasonably quiet airport, the panoramic views at night are quite beautiful. It’s just a quick stroll from the railway station too, so one for the non-drivers, or those that like a champagne breakfast.

The head chef, Kieron Moore was classically trained under Marco Pierre White, and brings with him a wealth of experience. The simple seasonal menu features a number of traditional Brit dishes – taken up a notch, well aged steaks, and some wonderful slow cooked and braised warmers. Fish and seafood lovers may be a little disappointed in the choice available, which is a shame, as there is so much local seafood available in the area. You can check out their menu on this page (pdf).

For a Holiday Inn, the rooms shift away from the typical hamster cage feel, and offer warmth and modern comfort. Of course, they are designed for work, rest and play, although if you want a little more luxury, upgrade to a ‘king superior’ room and leave the work behind. This Holiday Inn is also dog friendly, if you want to treat your pooch to a night away from it all… This excites me; it shouldn’t, though it does!

The Mistley Thorn – Mistley, near Manningtree

The Mistley Thorn – Mistley, near ManningtreeThe coastal village of Mistley is charming, peaceful and very pretty. Perched on the River Stour Estuary, the architecture is rich in Georgian and Victorian style. It’s the kind of place that you would want to stay overnight and book the next day off to walk around the quay, surrounding woodlands, independent cafes and shops, and of course, the swan fountain, which happens to be just opposite the warm and inviting Mistley Thorn.

The Thorn was the first Essex restaurant to receive the bib gourmand Michelin accolade for good cuisine at a reasonable price. As a coastal restaurant, the menu specialises in fantastic local fresh fish, simple dishes with an emphasis on flavour. If you want to get your teeth into something meatier, the steaks are from Red Poll beef – nice. Online sample menu is here (pdf).

The rooms offer classic comfort and scenic views. Large baths and power showers, king size and super king beds; the Thorn provides understated luxury in a beautiful setting. They take breakfast seriously too, which is always a welcome bonus.

The Bull & Willow Room – Great Totham

The Bull & Willow Room – Great TothamThis restored 16th century Inn, surrounded by rural views, offers both relaxed informal dining in the pub area, and finer dining in the restaurant area, where you can don your glad rags and bathe under the soft light of the candelabras. Dean Ager will be making an appearance on Valentine’s evening with his crooning Rat Pack show.

The menu celebrates the best cuts of meat, prime seafood and interesting twists on flavour. The ingredients are sourced from some of the best local farms and suppliers. You can view their valentines menu here (pdf).

The rooms are housed in a renovated cottage on the grounds. They are comfortable, individually styled, finished with simple and contemporary furnishings, and offer great views over the surrounding countryside. A decent breakfast is served in the ‘gastro’ bar, come the morning, I wonder how much you have to tip to get room service?

October 11, 2012

Excitement Pops Up in Essex with Chef Charlie Stocker

Filed under: Celebrations & Events — Tags: , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 2:04 pm

The pop-up restaurant scene is well established in London, with notable chefs and creative cooks conjuring up exciting menus that are celebrated today and sadly missed tomorrow…  until the next time.  Usually lasting for anything from one night to a few months, a pop-up restaurant gives both established and upcoming chefs and cooks a feel for public response to their food, and a chance to establish and build upon their name.  From a customer viewpoint, these elusive nights usually offer value for money, a more intimate feel, and a whole host of exciting and sometimes experimental dishes.

Excitement Pops Up in Essex with Chef Charlie StockerEssex trails behind in embracing this movement, although every now and again there is a buzz of excitement surrounding a creative spark who dares to be different.  Chef Charlie Stocker is the latest in the line of Essex Chefs that is making his menus and choice of venues a real must attend event.  Fresh out of London, Charlie has worked his way up the ladder, gaining experience and knowledge in London restaurants renowned for their seasonal and creative cooking, including Manson and Sketch.

Charlie’s first pop-up night is due this Saturday, the 13th October, to be held in a train carriage on Platform 2 of Chappel and Wakes Colne Station – this is as close to the Orient Express as Essex is ever going to get.  House bread, home churned butter and Tollesbury sea salt precedes an amuse bouche and a horde of locally sourced and foraged ingredients that make up some fabulous dishes, designed to please and test your taste buds.  From Roasted scallops, strawberry sauce vierge, toasted pine nuts, white chocolate and pineapple weed, to a tasting of rare breed Essex pork, including cheek croquettes and slow cooked belly, with a side of blanched nettles and Aspalls cider jus.

The Loft in Tollesbury, a vintage style tearoomIf that has got you yearning, I’m afraid to say that Saturday’s event is a justified sell-out.  Yes, how I do enjoy the tease.  Fortunately, Charlie’s next pop-up night is to be held in just a couple of weeks at The Loft in Tollesbury, a vintage style tearoom, with an open kitchen, set in Tollesbury’s working marina.

The menu showcases the best of the area, from game and fresh fish, to foraged mushrooms, chestnuts and cobnuts – see menu below.  At £25 per head for three courses, and only 16 places available, this intimate and interactive pop-up is going to sell out faster than the last.  If you miss this one, keep up to date with Chef Charlie Stocker on Twitter, or subscribe to his website RSS at

 Menu for Pop Up, 27th October with Chef Charlie Stocker @ The Loft, Tollesbury CM9 8SE.

Pigeon Breast, Braised Shallot, Celeriac, Cobnut, Rocket
Carrot & Coconut Veloute, Thai Butter Tortellini, Lemongrass ‘Rice Crispies’, Coriander (V)
Ravioli of Squid Ink & Local Crab, Chorizo, Sea Herbs, Sweetcorn Veloute, Rape Greens


Loin Of Muntjac, Ravioli of Liver, Beetroot Fondant, Chestnut, Wild Service Berry, Bitter Chocolate
Pan Fried Local Bass, Roasted Salsify, Tollesbury Sea Vegetables, Cockles, Lemon Foam
Croustillant Of Pumpkin And Foraged Mushroom, Walnuts, Suffolk Blue, Sage


Orange Pannacotta, Sorbet, Beetroot Caramel, Hazelnut
Pineapple Macerated In Rum, Hogweed Seed Ice Cream, Coconut
Chocolate Cake, Eucalyptus Ice Cream, Lavender, Lime Fluid Gel

To book call Lisa Goddard on 07905732472 or Charlie Stocker on 07857417303

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