Day Dreaming of Donuts in Birmingham

Day Dreaming of Donuts in Birmingham

donutslider2.jpgIf somebody was to ask me to think of the thing I was most passionate about the majority of people would be relatively safe in the assumption that I would say food without any hesitation. I think about it to the point where I have seen fit to write about it for over 3 years so far, so it goes without saying that I want to meet, talk to and ultimately learn from other like minded individuals that love it as much as I do.

I love talking to people who have a deep seeded, hard wired love for food and drink and I feel like that comes across fairly well when I have worked with now stalwart friends of the blog like Wayland’s Yard, Feast Foods and Rub in the past, so naturally finding more people and organisations like this gets me quite excited. So it is no surprise that I am so enthusiastic about unearthing a hidden gem in Birmingham that I think represents food in its purest form. A new labour of love that is being developed from the ground up, with honest, genuine food and a lot of hard work. That labour of love is Donut Day Dream, run by a certain Jonathan Barrow.

I discovered the delights of Donut Day Dream while on an all day eating and drinking session with my girlfriend in Birmingham. I had already visited Purity bar, The Alchemist, India Brewery in Snow Hill and Lost and Found so by now I severely needed something to soak up some of the alcohol slowly beginning to rush to my head! Upon wandering around the market as I quite like to do I stumbled upon a stand that was covered with an array of fresh, crisply presented, glistening donuts that made us both stop in our tracks. I had a quick chat with Jonathan and decided to go for one of each of his remaining stock, it was nearing the end of the day for him and they had clearly sold super well! I took an Apple fritter, Chocolate, Smarties and a dream Glaze.

We dragged our now quite wavy selves over to near the church and sat on the marble wall to take a look at what we had got our hands on and straight away the apple fritter seemed to jump right out of the bag and into my mouth. Guilty. What followed was a rush of rich, sweetness and a twinge of warm spice that complimented the apple perfectly. Would have been superb with a coffee or any hot drink frankly.

Next was the Chocolate and the Smarties, both very similar but I really like Smarties so sod it I got both. Again the rich buttery brioche dough really shone through and was complimented by the velvety chocolate that adorned its bronzed, crispy crown. It was banging to be fair!

Last but not least was the Dream Glaze… A very simple and incredibly well executed piece of confectionary that stands out for its pure, unadulterated self being bold enough to stand up against the other, more complex donuts in the range, very good indeed. All of them can put up a hell of a fight when put next to those other ‘Krispy’ varieties that are scattered throughout service stations and Tesco stores across the land… they are poor imitations of a truly well crafted product such as Jonathans. top marks.

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I managed to catch up with him properly to see how things were going and what got him started on his journey…

 

Phil: First of all thanks for lending me some of your time to answer some questions for me, I found your stall a few weeks ago and really wanted to get in touch and get involved. I suppose the first question is how long have you been making these badboys?

Jonathan: It’s my pleasure to take some time out to answer some questions and give the reader a little more insight into me and my company, so thank you. So, my business has been open now for just over a month, and have been selling to the public in this time but it has taken me around 6 months to get the dough just right, adding and subtracting ingredients, getting the rise times and rise temperatures just right.

Phil: The quality is right there man. As I have touched on in the rest of the article I loved every minute of all them. Do you have a favourite?..

Jonathan: Well, of course as you can imagine I love all my creations, but out of the first 5 flavours I would have to say the apple fritter. The warm, soft, sweetness and spice of the apples as you bite into the donut is just another level of delicious.

Phil: Its a pretty ballsy move going into business in a competitive market, in the days of ‘big brand’ Donuts at service stations and Tesco, what inspired you to take the plunge?

Jonathan: Well I believe whole heartedly in my product and after being in business for the last month or so, I have realised I have come up with a product that people love and are willing to make the trip back to my stall to get their donut fix. What inspired me in the beginning was the fact you have very little choice for this snack choice in Birmingham and I believed that I could come up with great creations that the general public would fall in love with.

Phil: What sets you apart from those ‘big brand’ donuts? I wont mention the name they don’t need the PR…!

Jonathan: What sets me apart from the big brands is the love, care and time I have put into my product and branding. From my dough, to fillings, to toppings many are made from scratch. We don’t use any fillers, preservatives or colourings in our donuts which I believe makes a huge difference to taste and texture.

Phil: So what’s the long term goal for you? Where would you like to be with DDD in 5 years time?

Jonathan: The long term goal for Donut Day Dream is to be, the go to place within the Birmingham and surrounding areas for good quality donuts. The aim is to have multiple outlets, at the same time cater for other businesses and events, including coffee shops, food festivals, weddings, parties etc.

Phil: If you could pitch your donuts or even your business as a whole to my readers, how would you do it?

Jonathan: Well, first of all, my name is Jonathan, I’m 30 years old and my main passions in life are family, food and fitness. I have always wanted to run my own business, and from a young age have had a passion for cooking and baking. Once I decided that donuts were the way to go, I started experimenting with different recipes and flavours, and understanding the science behind making donut dough. From the beginning I knew that quality ingredients and taste had to be top priority. I respect honest food, and believe the consumer would value that my dough consists of 100% natural ingredients. I love what I do and my heart and soul goes into each and every single donut, so when a customer tastes my product and I hear that ‘ummm’ it makes it all worth while. In the 6months leading up to opening I literally sat and dreamt about most aspects of the business, including branding, flavours and the overall vibe I wanted customers to feel. So this is how I decided the name ‘Donut Day Dream’. To the many people this blog may reach I hope by reading you’ve been tempted to come and visit us, taste our donuts, have a chat and tell us what you think. And finally for people who don’t know, where can they find you? We are currently located in the Birmingham outdoor Bullring markets on stall A3. You can also keep an eye out for us at various festivals and events. We have recently done a yearly Barbados festival in Coventry ‘A lil bit of bim’ at the Coventry and Warwickshire sports club, where we SOLD OUT! And we have the Birmingham coffee festival coming up on the 1st and 2nd of July at the custard factory.

Phil: Thanks man, I honestly wish you all the best and hope that this brings a few more people to the stand and helps you grow. We need more people like you takings risks to deliver some good produce to people that isn’t churned out on a conveyor belt. I know what I would choose.

You can find out more about Donut Day Dream here: Donut Day Dream… Click here!!!!

 

 

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How to smoke… the easy version Part 1: Buying your smoker

How to smoke… the easy version Part 1: Buying your smoker

Using a smoker and smoking your own food can be a nightmare of a task to get round for the first timer. It is super easy to google ‘Smoking food’ and disappear down about 4 or 5 different rabbits holes simultaneously. Electric smokers, coal fires, offset, upright, chamber smokers, smoker box, liquid smoke (don’t.) the list goes on. With this article I am aiming to simplify it a little bit for you if you were looking to get started as at it’s core… it’s fairly straight forward. Two main areas are vital for success, managing and understanding your pit and timing. Get these two aspects down and you are going to get at the very least, results you can be happy with.

First of all it’s about buying a smoker that suits you. For beginners I would advise not spending too much as you don’t need to spend around £1000 on a unit that you might not actually like using. I bought my offset smoker for £80 and there are a variety of ways you can modify your cheaper unit to get the results of a smoker worth 5 or 6 times its value, but I will go into more detail on this at a later date. There are plenty of places jumping on the bandwagon and selling upright and offset smokers which is great for anybody looking to get going as you can go to your local Range or garden centre and pick up a fairly functional unit for under £100 like I did.

So to bust some serious amounts of jargon and give you two easy to digest recommendation I will explain it as best I can! So if you are asking yourself, what should I buy? why? how do I decide? Hopefully this will help you come to a decision and get you started.

Upright smoker/ Water smoker

So I haven’t actually got one of these (at the moment) but it’s on order and I am well versed enough in how to use one so bare with me. These smokers rely more of providing a levelled environment for your food with a steam element that should keep your food moist throughout the cooking process while still giving it a great platform for the smoke to penetrate the food.

Construction: Usually these smokers consist of two levels of cooking grates, a level for a water pan and then finally at the bottom your coal basket. Sometimes they will have hooks in the lid if they are big enough to hang meat from and utilise the space better.

Function: Lighting the coals/ wood chunks in the basket will heat up the water pan and create steam that will engulf the food and add an element of moisture not present in all smoker types, so a great option for those worried about drying their food out. A temperature gauge is usually located at the tip of the lid for central heat reading and an air flow valve at the bottom of the unit, aligned with the coal basket.

Beginner rating 0/5:

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Offset smoker

Old faithful. I have been using my offset smoker for just over a year now and it has been an interesting learning curve but I can now get some brilliant results from this pit and it is literally my prized possession. Controlling and managing your fire is paramount in an offset as it is in any smoker but get it wrong and you will have a lot of wasted food. It is all about creating a levelled heat that can spread across the chamber gradually rather than a huge blast at 300+ degrees that just dies a death really quickly, which can be challenging to begin with but aside from this, it is a great way to get started.

Construction: A large main chamber for cooking with one or two grills, lined up next to a fire box and a chimney at opposite ends of the cooking chamber. Airflow valves will be located on the fire box as well as a cap on top of the chimney to allow you to control the heat via the air through flow. A temp gauge is more often than not located further towards the chimney rather than in the middle of the actual cooking chamber, which pissed me right off so I added another one pretty easily (£15 from Ebay delivered) and now I get much better readings. Usually you will have a good solid frame with two legs and a few wheels to help you in moving the unit around.

Function: Adding your pre lit coals to your fire box and closing the door will provide you with a good enclosed cooking environment, this will gently smoke and caress your food with indirect heat from one side, so rotation meat during a cook can be essential for good results. Closing and opening your valves to adjust the temperature is also essential as I alluded to above. In its purest form it is pretty straight forward in its function really! Sometimes a water pan can be added near the entrance of the firebox but I have found this isn’t as effective as in an upright smoker. Lining the bottom of the unit with foil is advised for simplifying cleaning up any excess fat.

Beginner rating 0/5:

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Hopefully, this makes it a little bit easier to understand WHAT you are actually looking at when shopping for your pit. In the next part I will cover what kit you need to get started, then how to actually use an offset smoker in more detail and how to manage your fire to get the best results… so make sure you subscribe and keep your ear to the ground. Next chapter will be up next week!

Phil.

Kona: Making waves

Kona: Making waves

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to avoid cliché superlatives and bold statements to describe a new experience, you just can’t manage it. The second, third and maybe forth time, it probably diminishes a little… becomes more familiar. Whether that is the first time you had a certain dish at your new favourite restaurant or maybe the first time you tried skinny dipping at Brighton beach, its very much a personal thing.

With this in mind, it takes something really quite special to allow you to categorically say every time you experience it, it is as f**king great as the last time. Big Wave by Kona Brewing Company is just this kind of experience and it deserves as many cliché superlatives as you can throw at it.

 

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Golden ales are ten a penny now lets be honest, and it takes quite a lot of effort to wade through the almost limitless amount of pale offerings from new start up’s trying to make their mark, bigger more established players trying to get in late on the game (here’s looking at you Rev James) and everything in between. So when I came across Big Wave it came highly recommended by a friend at work who has an outlook not too dissimilar to mine when it comes to beer. Luckily I happened to stumble upon a bottle on a trip to Waitrose a few weeks later. shit. Game changed.

The Important Stuff

Upon cracking open the bright blue cap the beer pours a beautifully crisp golden colour and holds its head well, releasing a punchy tropical aroma from the Galaxy and Citra hop varieties used. The flavours back this up with a prominent but still subtle pineapple and tropical vibe, finished with a gentle bitterness and stops just short of making the beer too sweet. One word can describe Big Wave perfectly… that word is balance, providing sweet aromas, moreish flavours and at 4.4% with an IBU rating of 21… this is as balanced as a beer gets and as far as I am concerned, this is in my top 5. I love it.

Flavour matching

Traditionally a good golden ale like this goes with white fish such as a piece of flame grilled cod or Pollock, spicy poultry such as buffalo style wings or Piri Piri smoked turkey legs. Even better still, how about pairing it up with the perfect ocean side burger recipe in The Honu burger, I will be honest the write up is from a few years ago and the photography and writing isn’t great. I will be remaking and updating this one soon so keep your eye out for that one, but for now you get the general idea!

In the meantime, don’t forget to look out for Kona: Big Wave in a bottle shop near you.

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Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

In the now near legendary words of a certain Mr.Scroobius pip from his equally revered podcast, Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

Officially the first fully fledged article from the new #BSB blog. Hop Gear will be a medium of delivering a regular round up of all the most interesting and up to date goings on in the beer scene, picked up from social media and the deepest darkest reaches of the internet, podcasts and all the media I manage to consume between posts.

Going forward I will probably look to recruit contributors to this area to allow me to stay up to date with more than my scrolling thumb can deal with alone, so keep your eyes peeled for new faces and names throwing content your way. But for now, lets get started on that good shit…

The prince of all Saisons

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Tiny Rebel have officially tugged on my nostalgic heartstrings by releasing their newest beer ‘Super Saison’. The draw of the Dragon Ball Z inspired artwork and one of my favourite beer styles is simply too much for my little brain to cope with. Take my money. Take all the money.

An intriguing combination of Kaffir lime leaf and Lemon Verbena, layered among the powerfully unique characteristics of the Wallonian Saison yeast will surely be something everybody will want to get on board with, however it will not be for the faint hearted at 7.4%. This bad boy will be available at Tiny Rebel Newport and Cardiff from the 20th April and looks as if it will also end up in a bottle shop or bar near you very soon. I have high hopes for this one! Read more @ Tiny Rebel

I’m sorry… it’s terminal

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By now I am sure if you are familiar with craft beer you will be familiar with Brew Dogs ‘BORN TO DIE’ range, beer with a limited life span delivering bold flavours, usually with a hefty ABV and the ability to leave a big impression on you. A very good mark for the craft beer trophy hunters among us, so if you want to join the BTD club you can read more and most importantly buy it, here @ Beer Hawk

Wayland goes to B-town

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My favourite coffee shop and friend of the blog Wayland’s Yard in Worcester, had some great news this week as they have welcomed a brand new arrival to their already great WY family…beer! They have had a brand new delivery of Beavertown beers which include stand out brews from the Tottenham brewer such as the widely adored Gamma Ray, The easy drinking Neck Oil and the punchy blood orange flavours of the newest wave of Bloody ‘Ell, Sam and the team truly do have you covered, from the beautifully crafted coffee to the hearty and soul fulfilling food, finish off with a (responsibly enjoyed) craft beer and you are sure to have a pretty good day on your hands. Give them a visit next time you are in Worcester! http://www.waylandsyard.com

Discount from Ales By Mail

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The picture says it all really, any discount on your beer bill is a saving grace. Visit www.alesbymail.co.uk and enter the code ‘highfive’ at checkout for £5 off.

In other news…

Brew Dog £213m equity deal NOT a sell out say’s James Watt: Full story

American brewers association get all PC: Full story

London craft beer festival tickets still available: Find them here

#BSB BREW SHACK BBQ

#BSB BREW SHACK BBQ

Today I have finally completed work on the rebranding, reimagining and repurposing of my long time love affair with food and drink, my blog. I have spent weeks trying to get everything to feel right and making sure it fits everything that I wanted it to be. I mean, the site is an outlet for my own culinary designs, my experiences and a platform for other people who have a likeminded approach when it comes to food and drink.

Why change?

After and unfortunate mishap in renewing my domain name for Hungry Buck, I took it as a sign that things needed to change. My tastes had changed since I started HB and I felt like it didn’t reflect where I was coming from anymore, it needed to be more of a representation of the food I was eating and the things I was doing day to day.

Reasoning:

  1. BEER. I work with beer, I’m incredibly passionate about it and what is happening in the industry and the creative, incredible beers that exist today as opposed to 10 years ago.
  2. BBQ. I am obsessed with the concept of true BBQ. Whether it is coming from my smoker or from someone else’s grill, the process and the art of being able to smoke or cook meat over coals awakens something primal within me. There is nothing better.
  3. CULTURE. Lets be fair whether its new age craft beer bars, passion project coffee shops driven by people who deliver something truly unique and special such as friend of the blog Wayland’s Yard or fun and unapologetically obtuse food from the likes of our other close friends at Rub Smokehouse… it is all about the culture. Bringing people together for the love of doing things the right way, you have all inspired this new look and it is people like you guys that continue to drive the culinary transformation that the UK has been in for the last 5 years.

 

What’s next?

No spoilers… but the weather is getting better. Prime smoking weather. Plenty of beer to get through and some exciting work coming up with Wayland’s Yard, Rub Smokehouse on their new menu and a brilliant new Donut project coming out of Birmingham… that is just a taste. There is PLENTY on the horizon so stay tuned. Content will be coming your way soon. Bigger and better than ever,

 

I can’t wait to get stuck in and build BSB up from the ashes of a great run with Hungry Buck and into something totally new, fun and interesting. It is the beginning of a new chapter this year for me, my work and this site. Time to embrace the change and make some waves!

In the meantime… here’s to a fresh start.


Bore off Bourdain.

Bore off Bourdain.

I have wanted to put something together about this since I read it last week but I haven’t had the time. So now I have a spare few minutes I would like to draw your attention to the following article:


 Clickety click…

Right, now I am assuming you have read the article in full and have assertained that Anthony Bourdain is talking utter bollocks. 

I understand that if something in society doesn’t click with you that naturally you won’t be a fan. However when it’s clear you don’t understand that paricular thing at all I would advise keeping your opinion to yourself until such a time when you know enough about it to comment. I am a strong believer in ‘You aren’t entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to an informed opinion’.

With this in mind it’s worth noting that craft beer is not going away and whether you like it or not it is making huge waves globally. As a broader concept craft beer is a complex sensory experience based on your individual perception of a beer that has been designed to deliver certain things. This means some people will take different things away from the same beer and there is no right or wrong answer, naturally that then leads to conversations between people about these particular experiences. Beers using unique blends of hops, malt, barley etc (sometimes with the addition of more adventurous ingredients) are catering for people who want more than a pint of mild or a pint of gassy keg lager. Why is this a negative thing?

Food is a mainstream sensory experience that almost everyone partakes in, craft beer is more niche than food by its very nature but I am failing to see the problem with this in comparison. Bourdain spends his life telling us his opinion on food so whats different? He must have an issue with one of two things:

1) Brewers getting excited about being able to innovate and offer us something new.

Or

2) People enjoying it…

I find it frustrating as he is pretty decent at what he does and he knows his stuff. Beer links so well into food it seems very short sighted to write off craft beer in general just because it’s too interesting to people! This has made me realise something though. I am going to do more writing about craft beer as it is something I am very passionate about occupationally and personally, but for now I will just say this to Mr. Bourdain: 

For somebody who was part of a show that took single spoonfuls of a chefs dish and critiqued them to call people who love and review craft beer ‘Zombies’ is total hypocrisy. Jump off your high horse buddy boy. Your famous for talking about an equally valid sensory experience… but I will raise a glass of wonderfully crafted amber nectar to your health nonetheless. I might even take notes and show my friends.

Wayland goes the whole 9 Yards

Wayland goes the whole 9 Yards

Some of you may recall a few weeks ago we ran a bit of a support campaign for a very special project coming out of the city of Worcester: Wayland’s Yard. The brain child of former professional rugby player Sam Smith, the team at Wayland’s Yard are aiming to raise the bar for food lovers in and around the city. It is all too easy to accept generic coffee chains as the best option due to them being thrust in our faces at every turn, this however is clearly not the case. Luckily for people who are searching for more than soulless syrup laden latte’s and a £12 austerity portion panini, some among us are prepared to rebel. Sam and his team are those very rebels. I was very kindly asked to attend the soft launch of Wayland’s Yard on 15th October 2016 so I could answer the question… Will Wayland’s Yard make waves in Worcester? Keep reading to find out…

Upon arriving at the shop, myself and two friends waited while a few final adjustments were made before they started serving. It was really interesting and encouraging to see everybody getting involved to get things moving. There was a real vibe of everybody pulling together and knuckling down to ensure things went smoothly, even a few current Warriors players who didn’t make the trip to Russia for the weekends game were mucking in! Credit to them. Very much a compliment to the collective team spirit on show all round. Admittedly it was also quite good for the rugby fan boy within me.

Once the prep had finished we were signaled over to order and I went for three cappuccinos to get us started.They came over fairly promptly considering they were still dealing with deliveries and trying to find their feet, one thing I loved about this was the fact that regardless of the organised chaos of opening the shop while they were still in the throws of developing it to its full potential, there was still no rushing the latte art in our coffee cups. It showcased the care taken in the presentation of their produce and it really makes a difference when your handed something so personal from a smiling, enthusiastic member of staff. All of this became an after thought when I actually tried the coffee… In a good way! I have clearly been accepting freeze dried Carte Noir at work for far too long because I can honestly say that I am struggling to think of a better coffee than this one. The full bodied, rich flavour of the beans really came through and the texture of the silky, frothy head paired beautifully to create a genuinely luxurious experience. I would put this coffee up against anything you find elsewhere on the high street and be confident of winning every time. Credit to Wayland’s Yard and Method roastery for opening my eyes on on that front. Brilliant.

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While I was thoroughly enjoying my coffee I was mulling over the menu, which at first glance strikes me as a set of creative dishes that all have an element that removes it from the norm. For instance the eggs benedict is accompanied by pink hollandaise and the toast section of the menu is home to the Marmite, shiitake mushrooms and Worcester gold cheddar, which was my instant first choice. I can honestly say I have never thought to put Marmite anywhere near cheese on toast but I was keen to give it a go. I also thought the addition of two poached eggs for an additional £1.50 was really quite reasonable for a much more substantial meal, at a total of £7.20 your getting a pretty balanced and healthy brunch.

***One thing I feel I must mention is the bread, as what really annoys me in cafes and pretty much anywhere that deals with bread is the question ‘white or brown?’ there are so many alternatives to white or brown Hovis! Alas, not an issue with these guys. Upon ordering I was asked ‘Sourdough or Rye?’… which represented a moment of realisation for me. Sam and the team are seriously building something that I can subscribe to. This place is all me! It’s the little details that make the biggest difference sometimes.***

In terms of execution I will again have to give credit where it is due, as I was handed a really well presented meal with two perfectly poached eggs and a generous scattering of mushrooms quilted in rich, golden melted cheese carefully placed on toasted, crispy sour dough bread and dressed with flecks of green lentil sprouts. I have had mushrooms and cheese on toast before but I felt the Marmite genuinely lifted it to a different level, cutting through the velvety indulgence of the cheddar and complimenting the delicate woody flavour of the mushrooms below. When you take a second to add the oozing cascade of golden yolk from the eggs were looking at a genuinely perfect Saturday brunch. Again, very well put together and a great addition to the menu.

***Special mention goes to the fry up that my colleagues ordered as that was probably the best looking fry up I have seen in Worcester.***


Overall Wayland’s Yard made a big impression on me during their first outing. Sometimes these kind of things can ride the hype train and underwhelm when they are actually realised, however every single detail on show from the coffee to the light fittings has been an extension of Sam and his passion for making this a unique experience. The food is tasty and wholesome, the prices are reasonable, the staff are enthusiastic and accommodating, the coffee is bloody superb and the owner is passionate about quality. I’m not being funny but what more could you want? The other worry can be whether people will ‘get it?’ but Wayland’s Yard presents an accessible, good value experience that leaves any worry of pretentiousness at the door. There’s no bullsh*t. It is exactly what it set out to be…

‘Proper coffee. Proper food’ 

I encourage everybody to get on board and support Sam and the team in making this the success that it deserves to be. They care about the food and drink you are being offered and they care about supporting Worcester. You can experience it for yourself from Saturday 22nd October when Wayland’s Yard becomes your new favourite place to be.

www.waylandsyard.com/

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