Notts Nosh: Jordan from Great British Bake Off shares his top foodie tips
We caught up with Nottinghamshire’s very own Great British Bake Off contestant, Jordan Cox, to find out his favourite foodie places in Notts.
What’s your favourite thing about baking?
For me, baking is a way to unwind at the end of a busy day or week. I like nothing more than waking up on a Saturday morning, lying in bed thinking of what long bake I am going to attempt that day. You will never find me ‘knocking up’ a quick sponge cake. I only bake when I have an abundance of time to spend poring over recipes! Like any hobby, baking should never be rushed. The art of perfection only comes with time!
What got you started out in baking?
To be honest, my lovely girlfriend was the one who started baking first in our house. She is the one who bakes the more decorated cakes and has done many for people’s weddings, birthdays etc. One day, after going travelling in Paris, I decided to try and recreate some of the things I had eaten over the years. Fortunately, by this time, the kitchen was already stacked with every type of kitchen appliance you could imagine, making my life a lot easier! I started out small, baking only the odd chocolate cake or macaroon. I then joined a local cake club (Cake Eaters Anonymous) and started seeing other people’s bakes, both good and bad. This just further fueled my fire, pushing me to do bigger and more elaborate bakes. Fast forward a few years and I now find myself on The Great British Bake Off.
Where are your favorite foodie places in Nottinghamshire?
Over the years I have lived in Nottingham I have seen a great many food places come, and occasionally go. Fortunately we are going through a bit of a food revival at the moment so here are my top five places for non-cake food in Nottingham.
1) Delilah. This should be at the top of everyone’s lists. Fresh produce, locally sourced where possible and fantastic, knowledgeable staff. If Delilah doesn’t sell it, it’s not worth eating! These guys even supplied the beautiful Colwick Cheese used on biscuit week of GBBO!
2) The Cumin. Nottingham is not short on Indian restaurants and take-outs . Over the years I have made it a personal mission to try as many as possible and my standout choice has got to be The Cumin on Maid Marian Way. Not as well-known as some of Nottingham’s other Indian restaurants but you would be hard pushed to find better. Some of the nicest Indian food I have eaten, outside of my mate Chetna’s house.
3) The Golden Fleece on Mansfield Road. Much like the Indian restaurants, Nottingham is not short on a good Sunday dinner or two. The Fleece has never done me wrong in this regard. Friendly staff, beautiful food, good beer and, if you’re lucky, some good music to set the afternoon off.
4) Annie’s Burger Shack in the Lace Market. I include this place with some trepidation. Not about the food served, which is both stunning and plentiful, but about the ability to get a table at all! Since Annie moved into her new home at the beginning of 2014 she has seen a full house nearly every night with queues standing outside for the slightest chance of getting a seat. If you manage, expect a fantastic slice of Americana. BIG burgers in many, many different styles, true American fries and sauces so good they will make you cry a little! If you end up visiting Annie’s, say Jordan sent you. I might stand a better chance of getting a table myself then!
5) Boilermaker Bar in Hockley. I couldn’t finish this list until I had included a good bar now, could I?! The Boilermaker is one of the best places I have ever drunk (and been drunk) in, anywhere in the country. Easy to walk past unless you are ‘in the know’, this place looks like an old Boiler repair shop from the outside. Stumble into the entrance hall and through a door labeled ‘Staff Only’ (trust me on this one) and you will find a bar like no other. Rough and ready is the look but boy do these guys and girls know their spirits! Try something new every time you go here or ask a barman for his recommendation – you will never be disappointed!
Tell us about some of the best places for cake in Notts?
Onto the good stuff, huh?! If you are reading this then, by now, I’m sure you realise that I am quite fond of a good cake. This is something I have been proud to watch come over Nottingham in recent years. After surviving with only big chain brands for a good while, Nottingham is now home to lots of fantastic bakers. Here is a selection of my favourites!
1) The Pudding Pantry on Trinity Square. Above all else, you need to visit The Pudding Pantry. Started by a few friends, some of them barristers, who wanted to start up ‘on their own’, it took me a good while to find the time to get down to this place. I was sorely disappointed I hadn’t managed it sooner. Not only are the staff wonderful and friendly, the food is beyond fantastic and the cakes are magical wonders. Pop by for a corn bread and homemade Mexican bean lunch followed by a pot of dreamy chocolate mousse (with caramel sauce!) and wash it all down with a tall milkshake! Perfect! Everything made on site and flours used from the local windmill, what could be better?
2) Thea Caffea on Low Pavement. I found this place after staring at a lovely handmade shoe place just at the entrance (Peter’s Shoes). I have a thing for both cakes and shoes so this was right up my alley. The sort of place I would be happy to take my gran for afternoon tea. Proper tea pots, clotted cream and homemade cakes and scones in a stunning little courtyard setting.
3) Edin’s on Carlton Street. These are two Edin’s in Nottingham but I have only had the time to go to their new Patisserie branch in Hockley. Simple and French, just how I like it. Go have some ham and cheese on a fresh baguette baked by a local baker whilst drinking strong black coffee. Afterwards finish off with a Tarte au Citron or something decadently chocolaty. Take some of the Baklava home with you too, you won’t regret it!
4) French Living on King Street. You may be surprised to find a restaurant on my list of cake places, not above in the more savory section. This is not meant as a slight against the wonderful savory dishes they serve, simple Salmon and Beurre Blanc style affairs, but a recommendation for the incredible deserts. Classical French at its best with poached pears, Chantilly creams and freshly made sorbets. It’s like a little slice of France in Nottingham city Centre.
5) Cake Eaters Anonymous, held bi-monthly. Check the website for details. How could I list my favorite cake places without mentioning the place where cake baking began for me? You may have to wait or travel to get to one of these events but I can’t implore you to highly enough. The rules are simple, you buy a ticket and you bring a cake. All money goes to charity and all cake goes to us. Getting to eat the efforts of some of Nottingham’s greatest bakers is never to be sniffed at and you get to make some great friends along the way. Hopefully I will see you at the next one?!
Do you use any locally-sourced ingredients in your baking?
I am very fortunate that, although I live in the middle of a city, I have a windmill less than five minutes’ walk from my house! Green’s Windmill in Sneinton have been milling their own flour since the early 1800s so, as you would imagine, by now they have it down to a fine art. There is a museum attached that will tell you all about the history and process behind the mill but I always stop by for my special occasion flour. When you want your bread to be that extra 10 per cent better than ever before, stop by Green’s and pick up a bag of wholemeal organic. You can thank me later!