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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Mugs of joy: Why you should put PG tips on hold and have a ‘Bluebird day’

Over the past few years, everybody has become familiar with the idea of coffee as a real treat, thanks to the large chains such as Starbucks and costa. These companies find new and extravagant ways to entice use through the doors of their cafes with variations of the strong stuff that a lot of us crave during our daily commutes. This could be a caramel latte with sugary crunchy nuggets sprinkled atop a small mountain of cream and caramel sauce or a simple dusting of chocolate to cap off your mocha, however these come at a price, and not a price everybody can afford regularly.

So this naturally leads to the astute business types in their lovely suits and offices, backed up by a small army of marketing gurus to take the opportunity to get these drinks, put them in a nifty bit of packaging and sell them in your local supermarket making it more cost effective for you to keep drinking their products. This has been on the up for a while and the coffee sections in our shops seem to be getting bigger all the time, with seemingly endless amounts of combinations of flavours, strengths and styles to chose from. However something stirs on the opposite side of the aisle that peaks my interest.

Tea. The third food group a vast majority of the world assume we in England, constantly consume next to roast beef and scones. A product that is consumed in such vast numbers all over the world, in so many different forms, it makes coffee look pretty drab! From the traditional English breakfast, earl grey and Darjeeling, to the incredible array of fruit teas and eastern favourites such as green and white tea. The potential to have a different tea, every hour for the next year is a distinct possibility if you look hard enough I’m sure. Now for a nation such as ours that is famous for our consumption of tea, are there any companies out there trying to push the boundaries and offer us something completely different? Well, yes. there are. There are a few. But one comes to mind that beats all of the others that I have tried so far.

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The Bluebird tea co: You can find them at http://bluebirdteaco.com/

Who are they?

In their own words ”Bluebird Tea Co. is a fairly young, happiness spreading, independent, award winning, unique, caring little Tea Mixology Company on mission to make people happy with tea!”

I like this, not only because they’re not just another version of Twining’s or PG tips, designed to grab you on your way into kwikcutter or costsaver or whatever your local shop is called, designed only to increase the margins of an already huge company, but because it is quite clear they love what they do and really believe in it. The ‘award winning’ part of the statement says that somebody else does too, and the quality an innovation shows when you drink their teas.

Product focus:

I first discovered them at last years BBC good food show tucked away at the back of the show, while I was, and ill be honest, prowling for cheese and chocolate. I was talking to a guy about a sugar free chocolate that he was selling and I realised I couldn’t see my partner, so naturally I poked my head round the corner and happened upon the Blue bird stand to my left, I decided to investigate.

It was quite busy and the guys that were on the stand were quite occupied talking to other customers so I had a look at some of their products myself. The one that stood out to me was the “Coco chai no.5” so it came home with me. (Naturally I waited and paid!) Once home all of the goodies that filled our copious amount of bags were unpacked and the kettle went on. The pyramid shaped bags revealed the contents of the teabag, which look and smell great. A promising start. The teabag contains Indian Assam tea, Ginger, Cardamom, Cloves, Red peppercorns, Coconut, Natural flavour” the coconut in particular seems to be a winning combination when added to the classic chai experience, as once the hot water is added you can really smell the exotic twist slinking out of the mug and up into your nose.

Once the water goes in you have to leave it for 4 minutes to infuse, which allows it to get to more or less perfect drinking temperature for myself, then add milk if you take it that way. I have been taking it with milk and a sweetener but its doesn’t need a sweetener to enhance the flavour at all, as the coconut does come through very well considering its in bed with the diverse combination of flavour’s found in chai tea. However I do enjoy my chai a little bit spicier than this comes out, but I appreciate that the coconut aspect of the drink would get lost in translation if the spices were to be cranked up a notch. This teabag provides an intriguing and comforting experience that helps you melt into your chair after a day at work or a long day out, I can also report this is consistent throughout the whole box and not a one off great teabag as I have now finished them all!

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What else do they offer?

The website provides a lot more detail into their range but to give a quick overview, they provide a great range of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks. I myself have to drink predominantly decaff drinks due to having given up coffee some number of years ago and not having anywhere near the caffeine tolerance ever since, but I can drink some caffeine in small doses. Which is lucky as the coco chai does have some ‘caff’ in it I believe. I do find it hard sometimes though to get interesting decaff (or low caff) options. Blue bird provide a good range of teas including fruit, black, green, white and herbal teas, as well as all sorts of other tea paraphernalia to expand your experience with their products. Full information is available on their site so pop over and have a look!  http://www.bluebirdteaco.com/

Final verdict

There are alternatives on the market when it comes to chai tea but personally I would recommend you look no further than Bluebird tea co. This particular product stands out as something very different, while simultaneously not losing its basic promise of being a cup of chai tea. They are out to fill a void in the tea market that has been filled to the point of total saturation when it comes to coffee, and I can see them doing very well if people continue to look for diverse ways to enjoy a hot comforting beverage in the comfort of their own home, that offers something more than an industrial strength mug of Yorkshire tea can ever hope for but not something so ”out there” that it completely loses its way. The bluebird tea co “Coco chai no.5” never left me thinking that it could do with something more, I am quite confident you will feel the same way.

8.5/10 – recommended purchase.

Also available at http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/bluebirdteaco

Fisherman’s friend – my ultimate parsley sauce

Today is just one of those average days. I got up, I went to work, came home and got back into the kitchen the first opportunity I had. I fancied a change and figured that I had been going pretty heavy on the calories of late, so fancied something a little lighter. In this case I went for a pair of wonderfully blushing, pink salmon fillets.

I adore fish, when utilized properly it soars above most animal products in my opinion and really does have something special to offer. Sea bass, Tuna, haddock, Pollock, breem, they all have their own qualities to bring to a dish and sometimes just by adding a little something it can drive it up to the next level. Which brings me to the point of this post, my parsley sauce. Its seriously simple but very good!

What you will need:

200ml whole milk
1 tablespoon white flour
1.5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Hand full of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of fine sea salt.

Method:

1. Add the olive oil, butter and flour to a pan on a low heat and mix together as the butter melts. Stir until combined into a paste like consistency.
2. Pour in the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly.
3. Add the mustard, salt and parsley.
4. Keep the sauce on a low heat for around 5 minutes, giving it a stir to make sure it doesn’t burn around the sides.

And that’s it! Just spread over your favorite fish and enjoy. Its tasty and its simple. Not a combination people usually turn their nose up at…oh and the mustard really does make a difference to this one as well so don’t forget it!

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Self grown greenery: A brief look.

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Lately, I have started taking an interest in the difference between eating shop bought produce and doing it at home.  My father has been doing a small scale grow every year in a greenhouse at the bottom of the garden, growing tomatoes and cucumbers mainly but sometimes making a foray into other areas like red and green chili peppers.

The cucumbers are sometimes a little hit and miss but you cant beat a tomato straight off the vine, whether it be cut up into a salad or turned into a sauce. Now this little taste of it has given me inspiration to take a lot more of an interest in the next mini crop at the end of the garden. Were in August now and coming up to the end of the summer, the tomatoes we have are about to start the end cycle of their growth and the cucumbers are nearly ready to be pulled off, so I will be planting some  late in the year seeds once the next harvest has finished. I can see a big opportunity to grow some really great herbs and veg. Garlic is something I am certainly going to try to produce as I tend to use a truck load of it, same goes for basil and coriander.

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Now why would you want to?

In the current financial climate that is referred to over and over in modern media ( I guess I’m part of that now too) its more important than ever that some people look after the money they earn each week or every first of the month. While it seems like a lot of bother to grow anything yourself it can be really rewarding and can save you money if you put it into perspective. For example; in my local supermarket a bunch of Basil is priced at around 80p, whereas a potted basil plant is £1.85. So by buying the plant (or two, like id advise and keep them in rotation) can over time, if you look after it properly, produce a constant conveyor belt of beautiful, fragrant basil for you to toss into your salads or use in your next pasta dish sitting on the windowsill in your kitchen.

Here in Britain we can never rely on the elements to help us, sometimes even our summers can be cold. Don’t leave it to chance, grab yourself a greenhouse and even heat it if your aiming for something a little more tropical. Otherwise just do your research and move with the seasons. Our green house was second hand and apart from the elbow grease to put it up and prep the area where it was going, only cost us what the seeds were to buy as we tend to move with the seasons. After the initial graft, its only a few months of care and attention and it can save you a whole heap of money. Here are just a few options of what you can use a green house to grow; Tomatoes, cucumber, oregano, basil, parsley, aubergines, chillies, various varieties of pepper, beans, peas or courgettes. And that’s just a small amount of the possibilities.

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They say food tastes better when its free, I think it tastes better when you create it yourself.