Monday, 21 August 2017

Podcast review: The Sporkful

I'm giving a bit of space over to the marvellous Ginny Copley, who wants to tell you all about some of her favourite podcasts. Look out for her reviews in the weeks to come!
So over to Ginny...


Podcasts – stop, look and listen
I love podcasts. They make me curious about things I never knew I was interested in, and fill my brain with knowledge and questions. They tell me stories that have made me laugh loudly in public and also cry (once while running on a treadmill at the gym). They have taken me to places in the world that I’ve never visited and I’ve gotten to know strangers that I’ll never meet. So yes, podcasts have enhanced my life, and because I hope that you want to have your life enhanced too, I’m collecting some of my favourites together here for your listening pleasure.



How to listen


A podcast is like a radio show that you can listen to anytime. There are different ways you can listen. The easiest is just to go to the podcast website (this is listed at the end of each of the reviews). Find the episode you want on the website and there will be a play function nearby - just press play.

However, that way of listening does mean you need to be right there with your computer and have internet access. If, instead, you want to listen any time on your phone (or other device), then you just need to download the episode. To do that, you need a podcast app. This is also easy and will take 5 minutes:


For iPhones and iPads, use the Podcasts app. You get it from the App Store (it actually comes installed on newer devices – it’s a little purple icon). In the Podcasts app, search for the podcast you’re interested in and download

For Android phones and tablets, try the Stitcher app. Get that from Google Play. Search for your podcast in Stitcher, click 'listen later' and it will download onto your phone.


Once you have the podcast downloaded onto your phone, iPad or other mobile device, you can listen anywhere, no internet access required. While walking, running, gardening, tidying up, working out at the gym, waiting in the dentists waiting room, just stick in your earphones and enter the world of your chosen podcast.


Lots of cars can connect to your phone so you can play podcasts though the car speakers - no more boring car journeys. It depends on the age of the car you are in, you may be able to do this by connecting through Bluetooth or by attaching your device using your charging cable. If you can’t do this in your car, then you could always buy a Bluetooth speaker and just play the podcast in the car.


The Sporkful
What is it? A podcast that tells stories about people through food.
‘We obsess about food to learn more about people’
Where to start? Try ‘Why Lefties Buy Less Soup’ which is all about the gastrophysics of food. It explores what factors, other than the actual taste of food, influence how we perceive and react to what we eat. Can the weight of your fork make you think the food is more tasty? Does classical music playing while you eat make you happier to pay more for your dinner? Would putting ice cream on a white plate make it taste sweeter? Fascinating insights into how our brains and surroundings contribute to our eating experiences. It’s not just down to our tongues and noses!
And if you like that one … Try the episode ‘What if Willy Wonka was your Dad’ where the unusual food of Roald Dahl’s books is discussed and his daughter Lucy recalls midnight feasts with her dad. Later in the episode, the chocolate cake from Matilda is recreated and eaten – including two rather unique ingredients - blood and sweat. Yum.
In a nutshell…. People, psychology, lives, food. And it’s very entertaining
Don’t listen if…. Memories and behaviour in relation to food is just not your cup of tea
Where to listen? Sporkful.com, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts  

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Knight and Garter

We headed over to the newly opened Knight & Garter this week to celebrate the launch of their Gallery Venue space. It has been quite the transformation, from Molly O'Grady's to K&G and the pub is unrecognisable with its sleek lines, elegant dining area and beautifully chosen drinks and food menus.




I had no idea that there was a downstairs space, and the refurbishment of that area is of just a high a standard as the rest of the venue. It makes the perfect room for an intimate exhibition, and can also be hired out for private events. In particular, I was interested in the various menus that are available for catering for groups - everything from sandwiches to hot meals and also beautiful canapes for just £5.95 a head which struck me as very reasonable, particularly as we had the opportunity to sample some of them for ourselves and see the quality of the ingredients used.








The exhibition opening that night was work by local artist Kirsteen Thomson, who is originally from Scotland but trained at DMU. She has been heavily influenced by the discovery of Richard III in the city and much of her recent work examines different elements of his life, both contemporary and modern.



Her style is full of colour and texture and often uses intensely complex levels of detail and symbolism to portray complicated themes and stories. As well as the Richard III theme, LCFC's recent Premier League success and the wave of blue that washed over the city is also represented in her work. For my tastes, I preferred the simpler landscape pieces, in particularly the representation of Kirby Muxloe castle which does of course have strong links with the ebb and flow of the Wars of the Roses in the time of Richard III.





It was a busy old evening at the Knight & Garter and guests were also treated to a range of samples from the menu. The arancini were definitely one of the highlights for me, but you won't go hungry down there as they seem to offer absolutely everything - the restaurant and bar offers weekend brunch, an elegant cocktail menu, a variety of light lunch options, full dinner menu with, in particular, carefully sourced meats, and of course a lovely coffee and dessert offering to round it all off.




Thanks to the Knight & Garter for inviting us along. With their outdoor terrace and friendly team I don't think I am going to be able to resist going back. Regularly.

Friday, 18 August 2017

A Midsummer Night's Dream at Curve

I was invited to Curve to see A Midsummer Night's Dream this week - an unexpected pleasure! The production is only on until 20th August, so if you fancy experiencing it for yourself then get in quickly!



It is a Curve Young Company and community production and they have done an absolutely bang up job. Every element of the performance is captivating, leaving you absolutely spellbound the whole way through.


Image by P Raith


I adore A Midsummer Night's Dream anyway, it's such a fantastic, amusing tale and the cast of 70 actors, young and old, really do it justice here in Leicester. I particularly enjoyed the impromptu musical numbers which really delighted in some super choreography and passionate energy from the dancers.


Image by P Raith

Visually, the whole thing looks stunning too - from the intricate set (with real grass!) and a floating fairy bower to the beautifully designed costumes. I loved the mixture of digital effects and physical set dressing, particularly as scene changes were so swift and professional. I think we can all agree that we would like fairy horns and wings on our shoes.

Image by P Raith

There were quite a number of stand out performers. Bottom had us all gasping with laughter, and I enjoyed the performances and the dancing of Puck(s). But it was clear that the whole cast had put in an insane amount of work to making the production perfect and I for one appreciated that effort.

Thanks to Curve for inviting me along to review. A delightful summer's treat indeed!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Pop your cork: 45 St Martin's

We popped along last week to the soft launch of Leicester's latest wine bar. 45 St Martin's, on St Martin's Square, is a sleek, airy space, beautifully refurbished in the unit formerly occupied by the lovely Futurecycles (who are still around, just on Market Street now).



They are a wine bottle shop and bar, dealing in fine wines and champagnes and offering a high level of customer service in refined surroundings. There is a little bit of outdoor seating available for you to enjoy when the weather is fine, and it is an altogether pleasant place to sit and while away an evening.



The staff, although a new team, have clearly been well picked and well trained as they are all universally polite and welcoming and extremely attentive. The menu is extensive, there are many wines for you to take away, but equally the wine list for drinking at the bar is carefully chosen with a range of palates catered for.



I opted for the Californian Zinfandel on the list, because I am a sucker for that grape and always looking for one that is as good as those that I tried in Cali. I can confirm that this is probably the best I have had in the UK - it was full and rounded in the mouth and full of that fabled jamminess that for some reason doesn't seem to be often present in the Zins that are exported to this country. There certainly was a little hint of that West Coast sunshine which I find to be so elusive in imported wines from my favourite American state. Two thumbs up from me.



If you fancy something a little different, there is of course a range of fine champagnes, but also a very exotic looking list of champagne cocktails, to add a dash of refinement to your evening. I haven't tried those, but I have seen some pictures on their social media and they certainly look very beautiful! As you would expect, there is also a modest selection of beers, soft drinks and more - we found that these were very reasonably priced, so for the quality of both the wines and the other drinks over all the value for money is very good as the wines on offer are definitely worth the £5+ you will pay for a glass and the beers and soft drinks are much less.


As it was the soft launch, we were also able to enjoy a range of nibbles, which matched well with my wine and added to the experience. I don't know how often they will be doing that on a regular week but I'm pretty sure if it becomes a regular thing then that will coax me in to becoming a regular!

Initial impressions are therefore very good! Let's just hope they don't start employing bizarre dress policies like the 'no trainers' rule which suddenly appeared at their sister bar, 45 West. After all, the unpretentious and honest enjoyment of a quality wine doesn't come with a dress code.
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