COMPETITION: Win a Bison Beer Crafthouse/Home Brew Depot brewing class

Bison Beer Crafthouse are proving themselves to be quite a hot little asset to Brighton. From their stylish shop you can buy beers from select micro breweries and supplies for home brew. They will also help you match the right beer for certain foods and are the first shop to bring draught ‘growlers’ (snigger) to Brighton which are gorgeous 1.9L amber glass bottles, originating from the USA.

And now they want to help us brew our own beer at home! Teaming up with Home Brew Depot, they have created Brighton’s first all-grain beer brewing school.

Here you'll learn how to make your own craft beer with a master brewer, who will walk you through the home brewing process end to end, and pass on all the tricks of the trade. Expect lots of vital *cough* sampling throughout the lesson too!

They have been very generous to offer one Graphic Foodie reader a place for two people on one of their classes plus lunch. All you have to do is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

The day includes:
  • An explanation of all the processes, equipment and ingredients; what do we use to make beer?
  • Your own Brew Bible – Take away all the information including the recipe which you’ve followed in the class so you can make your own beer at home.
  • We provide all the equipment already set up – and at the end of the day you take home the beer you’ve made.
  • We will serve a variety of different beers throughout the day, with explanations of style and origin throughout.
  • Lunch is included from the Fishbowl's kitchen, serving some of the best and most original fish and chips in Brighton. Choose from classic Beer battered to an Indian twist of the English classic with vegetarian option available.
Price: £89.99pp includes lunch and beer tasting

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Over 18s only.

This prize has no cash value.

The prize can be taken on any Saturday, at the discretion of Bison Beer Crafthouse and the Home Brew Depot.

Bison Beer Crafthouse and the Home Brew Depot reserve the right to decline the preferred date, due to overbooking or cancellation. In this instance you will be offered another date.

Bison Beer Crafthouse and the Home Brew Depot reserve the right to cancel the date. Another date will be rescheduled.

A minimum cancellation period of one week is required if you wish to reschedule.

The prize includes the afternoon at the brew school for two people, lunch to the value of £10, beer tasting and the beer that you brew. Travel, parking and extra food and drinks are not included.

REVIEW: Marmalade, Brighton

Let's get this straight. Marmalade is THE middle class hang out in East Brighton. I've lived here all my life and watched the area change dramatically over the last few years. Before it was all betting shops, plumbing supplies and greasy spoons, but today is a different story with the likes of this place, the fabulous Busby & Wilds, Ground and Real Patisserie. Not that I'm complaining. I don't gamble, need a flange pipe or eat fried bread (and was wise enough to get on the property ladder before the Issacs and Olivias racked the prices up out of the local's reach).

Anyway, the main USP of Marmalade is the visual. The interior is a fantastic collection of chic reclaimed tiles, rustic objects, dramatic distressed walls, menus scrawled on Kraft paper rolls and the obligatory industrial lighting. It's actually an incredibly beautiful space and a shabby chic look that so many try to achieve but fail to hit the nail on the head with. The food is also displayed incredibly well and everything looks enticing. I love the salad bowls arranged in a butler bath of ice, and the main meals stacked high in metal trays perched on cookery books. 

The menu format is simple with contemporary breakfast favourites or at lunch time there's a large selection of sandwiches and a choice of mains like quiche, tarts or roast chicken dishes with two of the salads for around the £10 mark. Pastries and cakes are dotted around for the all day munchies too.

My vegetable tart was nice if a little unusual, being a filo pastry case with an omelette like layer underneath the classic roasted veg and pesto topping. This did suffer with a slightly soggy centre but the edges were crisp and delicious. Salads were particularly nice and varied. I opted for the roasted beetroot with spinach, scattered with broad beans and spring onions. The Israeli couscous was filling but probably could have done with more spice and seasoning for my taste.

They have a very good selection of drinks including the San Pellegrino range but also some brands closer to home with the wonderful Wobblegate juices.

Staff are friendly but buzz about like wasps. They are attentive yet sometimes make me feel like I'm being ushered out of my seat as the limited tables are hot tickets at lunch time. Being asked repeatedly how my meal is or waiters fussing around the table for every empty plate, fork or glass is one of my pet hates. I'm Italian, I like to relax at mealtimes, leave me alone! Also an epic misunderstanding with payment meant a huge queue formed behind me full of beady eyes burning into my head. 

I think their pricing is keen but just about acceptable, definitely not for everyday although portions are incredibly generous and food is of a good standard. The queues out the door prove that. 

Regardless, I can't help but love that Marmalade has its home here. I noticed that they have hosted the occasional evening event which I think they should do more of as the lofty interior is even more gorgeous by night and they clearly know their way around the kitchen too. But for a lunch or brunch spot, I'd say it's worth the trek even if you're not an Eastender.

37 Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5JJ

Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival: Children’s Big Day Out and Sussex & The World Weekend, Friday 29 - Sunday 31 May

I hope you've been enjoying the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival’s ‘Spring Harvest’ this year. I've been stuck at home in a newborn haze of nappies and cuddles but been stalking the events on Twitter! The Food Lab hosted at 64 Degrees looked particularly amazing. Anyway, there are a few more events this week which end with 3 days of free foodie events on Hove Lawns.

The Children’s Food Festival’s Big Day Out – the largest free entry children’s food event ever to be hosted in Sussex – takes over the festival site from 10am - 4pm on Friday. Featuring hands-on workshops from the likes of Curry Leaf Café, Moshimo, Chocoholly, My First Word nursery and Beach BBQ alongside activities from Southern Water and the festival’s famous Wobblympics apple juice challenge. The team from Dental Health Spa will be showing children the importance of good teeth and gums, whilst Rockinghorse Children’s Charity will be doing badge-making and cupcake decorating.

Yelo Architects have teamed up with Fareshare – the surplus food redistribution charity – in the Waste Not, Want Not area, building an interactive installation featuring practical decorative items such as lampshades and bowls made from recycled Moshimo chopsticks and Boho Gelato spoons. On the Live Food Show stage there’ll be performances from Whizz Bang Pop and the Great Baffo chef.

Friday is also the last day of public voting for the annual Great Brighton Ice Cream Contest. Local school children have been designing exciting ice cream flavours and Seb Cole of Boho Gelato in Pool Valley has chosen five finalists; the one that sells the most by 4pm on Friday will be declared the winner and be available to buy from his store across the summer to raise money for Rockinghorse. Seb will also be sampling a world-first: colour changing ice cream!

The Sussex & The World Weekend begins 10am on Saturday 30 May with over 110 food and drink stalls representing the very best of Sussex alongside carefully selected international cuisine including the Taste of St Lucia and Taste of Guernsey areas. Local drink will be represented by Butlers Wine Cellar, Ridgeview Wine Estate, KingBeer, Blackdown Artisan Spirits and Wobblegate Cider, whilst Mixology Group will be giving the festival a Caribbean vibe in the Rum Shack.

Andrew Kay presents the Live Food Show stage with 14 top chefs including Michael Bremner of 64 Degrees, Semone Bonner and Dan Kenny of The Set, Jeremy Ashpool of Jeremy’s Restaurant at Borde Hill and many more. The fun also continues for children with more free workshops and craft activities.

There’s plenty of food and drink fun in the evening with the festival’s Make Your Case punk wine tasting on Thursday night, an English wine and canapé matching event on Friday night, and the Brighton Beer and Cider Festival on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Saturday afternoon also sees a two sessions of a ticketed wine festival in the marquee with over 100 English and world wines to sample.

For further details of all free entry and ticketed events, please visit

RECIPE: Polpettone (Italian meatloaf)

Most people are familiar with the adopted American version of this meatloaf but few will have come across the Italian polpettone, which translates as "giant meatball"! This is a classic Sicilian dish, really family friendly and is easy to make. And slicing into it to reveal the "surprise" (a line of hard boiled eggs) is always a perk, but that may just be me!

I prefer a mixture of meats for this, ideally pork and veal but you can also use a ratio of beef instead.

Serves 4

1tbs olive oil
1small of onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic,  finely chopped
600g minced Meat. I like a 50/50 mix of either lean beef and pork or pork and veal
80g of pangrattinato (Italian dry breadcrumbs) or equivalent of freshly made breadcrumbs from day old bread
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g freshly grated Parmesan
Parsley, finely chopped, about 1 heaped tablespoon
1tsp dried oregano
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
3 hard boiled eggs, shelled
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C

Line a small loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently sautée the onion, carrot and garlic until softened.
In a large mixing bowl place the meat(s), breadcrumbs, beaten egg, Parmesan, herbs, nutmeg, cooked onion and carrot mixture and seasoning. Mix this thoroughly with your hands.

Place about a third of the mixture in the bottom of the lined loaf tin.  Pack another third around the sides, leaving a cavity for the boiled eggs.

Arrange the boiled eggs in a line long ways in the cavity and then place the remaining meat on top. 
Press the loaf firmly and shape the top, rounding the edges slightly. Drizzle the top with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked through, covering the top with foil about halfway through the cooking time.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes, tightly covered with foil.

Serve with gravy or more authentically, a simple tomato sauce with greens and sautéed potatoes.

RECIPE: Mexican street food salad with chilli garlic prawns

Who doesn't like a RIOT of colour on their plate? This salad, inspired by one on the menu at La Choza is uplifting, satisfying and healthy. Adding chilli garlic prawns gives it a little more substance for a complete meal but would also be good with shredded chilli marinated chicken too.

The only effort is shredding everything, not so much if you have a good food processor but I zip everything through my mandolin because I like a little danger in my life.

Mexican Street Food Salad with Chilli Garlic Prawns
Serves 2

Half a red cabbage, shredded finely
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin discs
100g radishes, sliced into thin discs
Half red onion, shredded finely
Large handful of coriander, roughly torn

Olive oil
Juice from 1 lime
Green chilli, finely chopped
Sea salt

Chilli prawns
Olive oil
200g raw king prawns, defrosted if frozen
Clove of garlic, crushed
Red chilli, finely chopped
Sea Salt

To serve 
Optional - sliced ripe avocado and toasted tortillas

Prepare all of the ingredients for the salad base using a mandolin, food processor or sharp knife and patience.

Heat the olive oil for the prawns in a large frying pan, add the chilli (to your heat preference) and garlic, fry for a few seconds then add the prawns. Fry for a few minutes, turning regularly until cooked through. Season.

Dress the salad with a good glug of olive oil, lime juice (you need a lot) and green chilli (to your heat preference). Season with salt if it needs it.

Arrange on a plate, top with the prawns with the avocado slices along with the toasted tortillas if using.

RECIPE: Risi E Bisi, a classic Venetian dish

We're slap bang in the middle of a fashion for ever increasingly complex food where everything needs to be processed and bothered with sodium alginate, maltodextrin or methyl cellulose powder to impress us. But I find myself craving simplicity more and more.

Admittedly there is something admirable about the skill and techniques used by leading chefs to dehydrate, sphere and transform everyday foods into something unrecognisable, but for me, the real talent of cooking comes from turning a handful of simple ingredients into something delicious. Mammas of Italy have been doing this for centuries, and cucina povera is something that Italy still celebrates. It's the ultimate respect of food, be it the humble tomato or a piece of guanciale.

Risi and Bisi isn't actually from my region (Abruzzo), but a dish from Venice. But nine times out of ten, if I'm home alone, I'll be cooking this for myself. Essentially it's the Italian equivalent of rice and peas, a little like risotto but far soupier.  As with all simple recipes, they are made better by great quality so the recipe lists some pointers to make it really special.

Either way, I'd generally rather have a plate of this than a dish of dehydrated mackerel cheeks with popcorn powder.

Serves 4

2tbs Olive oil
Small white onion, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, crushed
60g of pancetta, cut into small cubes (not too much of the fat)
400g peas, frozen is fine but freshly shelled is best when in season
200g of rice, vialone nano, aborio or carneroli
Few stalks of flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
1ltr chicken stock, best you can
Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until slightly transparent and without colour.
Add the pancetta and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the peas, garlic, rice and parsley and fry again for 1-2 minutes until well coated. 

Add the hot stock and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the rice is tender. If the rice absorbs too much of the stock just add a little more boiling water, you want to retain a slightly soupy consistency. 

Season to taste with salt and freshly grated Parmesan, which will give the dish a slight creaminess.

REVISIT and REVIEW: La Choza, Brighton (Hare and Hounds and main restaurant)

It's been so long since I visited La Choza, the people who brought the sort of Mexican food I actually want to eat to Brighton. Formally, the offering was absolutely terrible and you'd only go for a stodgy tex-mex stomach liner prior to your big night out.

But up rocked La Choza in all of its shocking pink glory and we loved it.  The food was fresher, the flavours vibrant and the environment was fun. Service was a bit hit and miss and quite slow though and the last few times I tried to fit in a visit during a work lunch, my food would turn up an indigestion inducing 10 minutes before I had to rush back to my desk.

So yes, its been a while but then this week has seen me visit twice, once at the original restaurant and my first trip to the Hare and Hounds site (don't mention it as the new Shoreditch, don't mention it as the new Shoreditch, don't...)

My standard order was always the burrito with 14-hour pulled pork and hot sauce. A feed and a half. But time to diversify, so I chose the soft corn taco’s with chicken and their homemade chorizo. This was a lighter, fresher choice and I was very pleased with it. There was plenty of crunch from the shredded radish and the chicken was juicy and packed with flavour. The house chorizo was crumbled and spiced beautifully, probably very different in texture to what most would expect from it. I'm also a total chilli head so appreciated all of the fresh slices over it as well as the crunchy side salad.

My friend had the awesome street food salad which is a citrus and heat heavy with plenty of crunch and interest. There are also some pretty good specials to look out for like mackerel, seabass, mutton, goat and even cactus.

We did make an almost embarrassing point of needing our order within the hour and food arrived with a good leisurely half hour to enjoy. The staff were particularly lovely that day actually, engaging and fun.

A few days later I popped over to the Hare and Hounds which houses the La Choza pop up kitchen. This time I went for their burrito bowl which was layered with refried beans, green rice, cheese and sour cream. I topped this with the slow cooked beef.

This time the food turned up almost alarmingly quickly. I think I managed to pay, take a photo of the sign and sat down as the first of the plates turned up. I was less enamoured with the burrito bowl here, just mainly for the fact that the cheese had been melted into a congealed, greasy single layer which acted as a lid to the rest of the ingredients underneath. I imagine Mr. Microwave was at play here. Shame as the rest was good. The meats seem to be what La Choza really pin down well, the beef had a lot of spice, not just from gratuitous heat, but with subtle undertones of mellow spice and herbs.

We also ordered a bowl of nachos which I imagine go down a treat with the drinkers in the pub at munchie o'clock.

I'm glad I remembered how much I like La Choza. Although I may stick to the original venue (but eating in pubs is not really my thing and hell, the restaurant looks like a joyous fluro pinata on overdrive - I love it), the food is sunny, uplifting and invigorating. I sure won't be leaving it so long until my next trip.

Main Restaurant:
36 Gloucester Rd,
Brighton, BN1 4AQ

Hare and Hounds:
London Road