Feed Me & Everyone Else

‘The story of The Feed’F

Who’s heard of the FEED ?

I’ve seen them out there catering for this and that, I’ve always liked their food. Until 6 months or so ago they were on the market making yummy Rubin’s and the like with a free bag of kettle crisps, all served in scrumptious ciabattas. Along with a hot dish of the day often vegetarian and soooooooo tasty.

But I still wasn’t sure what they were all about – – 

After searching last Sunday for a VIP chip van to no avail (but that’s another story) we stumbled upon The Feed’s new café on Prince of Wales Road. It has that original Feed vibe, natural wood, a touch of orange with modern lines. 

This is a café with 6 or so tables, counter service with a good lunch time menu. You can choose your filling, then choose your bread – we had a massive bag of Kettle crisps on the side and some good tea. Sandwiches start from £2.50 – I had a chicken coronation wrap with corn for around £3.50 – – that’s cheap right! freshly made, served with some rocket on a proper plate, siting at a nice table on a comfy chair for £3.50.

I got chatting to the server, she was enormously passionate about what the Feed do, showed me around the kitchen and told me about a canape event they were having the next week.

So, I popped in and had a chat with Kate the marketing manager and found out how amazing they really are – – 

‘The Feed’ started life as ‘Leap’ a charity organisation funded by the lottery as an enterprise scheme but like all good things it came to an end. Self-funded it soon became known as the Feed and full circle on they have got the Charity CiC status back. 

Now, The Feed is all under one roof – café, training kitchen, office space and class room. Find it at 78-80 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Nr11NJ. 

Park for free at riverside for 2 hours, or it’s metred just across the road (in front of Tesco) or it’s just a short 10-minute walk from the city centre. Rose lane is the largest closest car park – so no excuse there!

Anyway Basically, The Feed run a 4-week training course for people who need a bridge to employment. May be homeless, X offenders, venerable adults along with all sorts of people who just need help getting the confidence and experience to get back in to work. It’s not just about catering the course motivates and gives you the skill set to get in to work as well as practical skills.

Courses run Monday to Thursday for 4 weeks, then they get offered 4 weeks work in the café both front and back of house.

Week one – is foundation learning, mixed with hygiene and hands on skills.

Week two – is more practical with a Kettle crisp show round, along with a make your own flavour section.

Week three – is customer service based and includes a trip to Green Farm, for Barrister skills. Green farm supply all the coffee for the café. 

Week four – brings it all together along with info on finances and managing money.

They take up to 7 learners on each programme – with an amazing success rate. 

The Feed is Kettle crisps main charity not only do they help with the factory show rounds, but they also supply crisps and Norfolk potatoes (jackets) for the café along with offering work schemes for some of the learners.

You can support the Feedby frequenting the café– 

Monday to Friday 8am – 3pm and

Saturday 9am – 3pm

For breakfast (bacon butties from £2.50) or Lunch, they’ll also be adding a hot dish of the day to their menu, like they had on their market stall.

But don’t forget as well as sarnies and jackets, there is also the best crisps in Norwich, pastries, sweet treats and a good selection of refreshments from 80p (yes, 80p) I had a refreshing glass of elderflower for £1 – – – (yes, a quid)

Plus, of course it’s all made on the premises.

They also offer an amazing ‘outside cateringservice’ with local delivery from only £3.

A 16-strongcanapéselection to choose from all presented in good looking (no plastic) trays which are ready to serve. Gluten free, vegetarian and vegan are all in the line-up.

Starting at £4.75 for 5 per head plus vat for a minimum of 10 guests. 

Sandwich plattersstart from £3.95 per person, minimum 6 people to more exotic flavours for £6.50, minimum 8 people plus vat.

Salad boxesare priced in between – 

plus, you can add extras like Kettle crisps, refreshments, plates and napkins from 20p-£1 per person per item.

OR Cake plattersat £1 per person extra. (of course, they are all home-made)

As if that wasn’t enough they also offer Breakfastoptions from £1.50 – £3 per person including fresh fruit salad, bacon paninis, home-made granola and yogurt along with pastries.

The food quality is amazing, tastes are sublime and presentation is key – packaged well, brilliant prices AND cheap delivery – – why wouldn’t you, plus your helping a great local charity. 

You can also help by eating crisps! – 150g Kettle Bacon and Maple sauce flavour to be precise – Kettle are donating money to the Feed from each bag sold – – and that’s Nationwide too, up until the end of 2020. Look for the Feed label. 

So yet again Norwich have an amazing cause, a worth-while charity and for me it’s all about getting people back in to work, more caterers, local employment, great transferable skills, more tasty food and feeding that passion to cater.



01603 850447

By Zena Leech-Calton ©


It’s all about the Milk

There I was at Porkstock (only the best Norfolk foodie event of the year) watching a cookery demonstration when an auction popped up – On offer was a milking day at Old Hall Farm in Woodton, Near Bungay.

I was in it to win it.

So, I bid, won and booked – today my hubby & two friends got up extra bright and early to be on the farm.


Old Hall farm is owned by Rebecca and Stuart Mayhew, the Farm is undergoing quite a transformation. For 18 months, the produce shop was in a shed, along with an honesty box, local produce and an amazing milk vending machine (what will they think of next). But now a big and permanent shop is underway.

Next to that will be the new milking room and dairy – allowing the herd to double from 26 Jersey milking cows to around 50 and making the milking a lot more efficient than the nearly 5 hours it takes a day now.

On the go as well is a café and butchery. They already sell local produce like Crush oil, Candi’s chutneys, bakery bread, Gnaw chocolate (to mention a few) as well as their own pork – with the local butchers making them bacon and sausages. Farm grown veggies, like pure as snow caulies. They even make milkshakes (OM try the coffee one), fudge & butter with their milk. Plus of course their own raw milk including ***A2 milk. But in the future, they’ll be raw yogurt and Ice-cream. (I’m a development chef who loves ice-cream, hint hint!)

It’s a farm of wonders with a newly planted vineyard. An emu pen with what may be a male or a female (don’t ask), they’re hoping for a female as they can lay over 30 eggs a year, 20 x the price of a little hen’s egg. Ducks, Peacock’s & geese by the dozen. Ponies, horses, and goats just for fun. Plus, free range chickens for eggs. Pens full of Pigs for fattening & cows for milking, with the odd bull for market.

It’s a proper working farm. With animal welfare at the top of their agenda.

They know every cow by name – I’m in love with Daisy and Iris. Unlike commercial dairy farms where the calves are taken away within a day or so, they allow the mother to nurse her calf for months. There’s plenty of love and plenty of grazing – even the young calf bulls get a good long life on the farm. It’s a happy place.

Plus, they offer milking days for local children and the odd experience day. Rebecca is really passionate about sharing her love and passion for farming onto others.


But the biggest thing I learnt was about ***A2 milk – – –

There are 2 types of protein in cow’s milk A1 and A2, some cows naturally produce A2, while the majority produce A1 – hence the milk we get in supermarkets is a mix of both.

However, it’s the A2 which is extra special – people who are lactose intolerance can often tolerate A2 milk. The same protein in Goats and breast milk.

A2 is the original protein in milk, hundreds of years ago following domestication the A1 protein emerged. A bit like the evolution of humans and blood groups – but that’s another story!

(Milk proteins are known as Caseins, A1 & A2 are the primary 2 types of beta-casein.)

Now it just happens that Old Hall Farm, offer A2 milk via their shop for the lactose intolerant. They milk both A1 & A2 cows, but hope in the future to breed just A2 milk-ers. At the moment, a third of their cows produce A2 milk, so it will only be possible to breed pure A2 producing cows by breeding A2 bulls with A2 cows – Rebecca’s thinks this may take 3 – 5 years.

It is presently illegal to sell raw milk via shops and it is only available straight from the source or a milkman!!!

There has to be a direct cash transaction from the vendor to the customer. It’s also illegal to sell raw cow’s milk in Scotland while there are around 200 raw milk producers in England. It’s all very strict – – making it quite hard to get a glass full of the good stuff.

Old Hall farm milk brown Jersey cows, known for producing a higher quality richer tasting, full bodied milk that’s also better for you. Because its higher in essential nutrients like Vitamin A and B1.

All hence why lactose intolerant peeps are going on to A2 milk and finding no symptoms. But of course, there will always be exceptions.


A few more fascinating point about raw milk versus supermarket homogenised milk is – – – –

Homogenization(normal supermarket milk) destroys nutrients and proteins, making healthy fats rancid. The process breaks down the fat molecules and distributes them in the milk into micro parts that suspend in the milk. Making it less digestible with our bodies more unlikely to break it down. It’s not as nature intended – – – we absorb more fat.

Raw milkis untreated fresh cow’s milk – allowing the cream to float to the top and leaving all the goodness inside, oozing with flavour and great taste. The naturally good enzymes aren’t killed off by the heating process leaving it full of probiotics and beneficial bacteria.

It’s not advised for elderly, pregnant women and young children because there is a small risk of contamination – hence commercial milk is heat treated to kill any pathogens.

But it is said to help with asthma, eczemaand create natural antibodies.

It also contains ‘Lactase’ which helps us digest the lactose milk sugar more healthily.

The creamy stuff (buttermilk) is a good source of easily absorbed Vitamin A, Vitamin D, E and K2, raw milk is also a good source of Calcium.

Plus, ‘conjugated Linoleic’ (fatty acid) helps fight cancer.

Yet, despite its creamy goodness it’s still 95% Fat FREE!!!!

Calorie wise it comes between full fat and semi skimmed milk but its healthier, your less likely to absorb the bad fat & you’ll benefit from the extra nutrients.

And if that wasn’t enough it’s often bottled on the same day unlike supermarket milk which could be several days older.


So, what’s all the fuss about – – – simply because it may cause a reaction if bacteria were to be left in the milk.

But then again you may get run over by a bus or your house might fall down or if you’re really unlucky you might win the lottery.


But I love the stuff – it makes incredible milkshakes, I especially like it on my morning muesli and if there is any left I make bread and butter pudding with my crab apple jelly glaze –  of course I make custard, of course I’ll use ‘RAW’ because it’s just so tasty.


But because I have to get it from the farm – – – I can’t always lavish in its ‘udder goodness’ (see what I did there)


Old Hall Farm

Norwich Road, Bungay, NR35 2LP


07900 814242 / moo@oldhallfarm.co.uk







By Zena Leech-Calton ©


If it tastes good – EAT IT &

 If it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger

Jack Soup-er-Hero – yes, its about food & you can buy a copy (please buy a copy!)

Jack Soup-er-Hero

I love writing nearly as much as the foodie thing and one day I hope to replace everything with writing (apart from sleeping and eating) – –

It started way back when my mum encouraged me to write a diary, every Christmas she would buy me one, I’d then fill it with feelings, things I’d done and childhood nonsense. I even kept a separate teen one – – but I won’t tell you what went in that!

One day my mum found it, flicked through it with a cheeky grin on her face so I immediately snatched it off her and told her it was private – but I think she’d already read it. Hasan to say I tore it up and flushed it down the loo – – I learnt then that evidence is not in what you say but what’s written or recorded – hence you’ll never find me flushing out my baggage on social media.

Anyway, short stories followed then poetry in to my late teens and twenties. Then when I was mid twenty I wrote my first children’s book ‘Tick Tock Time’ all about a different dimension paralleled with school life. Containing a romance, creatures, a chimpanzee who liked custard and a world of vivid colour. I sent over 20 synopses to publishers and agents but got no joy. In the meantime I started ‘ The Journey’ about a child discovering a large metal object buried under her shed, that could whip her up to space – but I gave up after getting so many rejections for Tick Tock Time.

Then when my children were baby’s and asleep I started an Adults Novel ‘The Night it Happened’, 77,000 words – sex, violence, a murder mystery and a love story all rolled in to one. I loved it, but my hubby got to chapter 3 and told me it was pornographic!!! But I edited it, played around with it – made it perfect and again got rejected from publishers.


Then Jack was born, while we were living in the caravan renovating Lodge Farm, I wrote a gorgeous little children’s story about an autistic boy and his challenges coupled with his achievements, spurred on by Mrs Grandhouses amazingly nutritious soup samples from his mum’s café. Including the day he dealt with 50 annoying Gnomes and made the shed of memories.

“Bugger publishers” – when I eventfully finished editing it and got the front cover deigned and painted by a local artist in our village – I decided to self-publish.

Then ‘Jack Soup-er-Hero’ was printed in marvellously black & white glossy pages, for all to flick through read and enjoy.


I’m selling the book for £5, pick up from me (Zena) or at Lodge Farm, or I’ll package and post in the UK for £1.50 (£5.50 worldwide)

– you can simply pay via friends and familyon paypal – *** zenick88@hotmail.com= £6.50 for one copy, £11.50 for 2.

Ref – Your full name & JACK

Then *** e mail me, let me know its paid along with your FULL address and I’ll pop it in the post in time for Christmas – – –

I’ve even got my next two children books in my head – the first is about a secret teenage millionaire, using his secret stash to change his community and turn his family on their heads – in a good way!, the second is based on another planet about a ? farm, thats going to be epic.

BOOKS make lovely stocking fillers – – perfect for over 5’s to read with a parent, or read alone from 8 – 12. The story is set over Christmas and is pleasantly charming with some gorgeous little twists and turns & everybody’s sure to fall in love with Jack.



Happy Reading – – – – –

Zena Leech-Calton ©


Norfolk / Norwich Restaurant Week 2018 on NOW

Norwich Restaurant Week is NOW – – until Friday 9th November 2018


That’s one delicious weekend and 2 mid weeks for a choice of 2 or 3 courses at lunch or dinner at a selection of 86 restaurants in Norwich and Norfolk beyond.


Certain days may be excluded in certain restaurants but it’s always a great set price and a chance to try somewhere different.


Norfolk restaurant week started six years ago by Martin Billing with just eleven restaurants taking part, I recon in a few years’ time they’ll be over 100. Last year saw 30,000 diners taking part –


And why wouldn’t restaurants take part – 2/3 of those taking part saw an increase in numbers, 70% of diners tried somewhere new, the majority diners wanting to return and 85% were local residents – meaning an all year-round customer base. Plus 15% of tourists coming to the area just to join in – –


So, choose from two courses for £12 or £18 or three courses for £17 or £23 depending on the restaurant. A great price, knowing you can try somewhere new for a cheaper price or go to your favourite place.


There’s some really good places taking part including the Tipsy Vegan for some diner classics, The Farmyard for some gastronomy, Bishops for some romance, the wine press for classic tasty British or Franks and sisiter North for some sharing mezze gorgeousness and that’s just Norwich.


Restaurants taking part –


Norwich City Centre –

The York Taven, Norwich

Kemp’s, at the Theatre Royal, Norwich

Bishop’s Dining Room and Wine Bar, Norwich

Wine Press Restaurant at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich

The Tipsy Vegan, Norwich

Farmyard Restaurant, Norwich

St Andrews Brewhouse, Norwich

The Georgian Townhouse, Norwich

Frank’s Bar, Norwich

North, Norwich

The Brasserie at Barnham Broom, Norwich


Further-a-Field, Norfolk –

Marriott’s Warehouse, King’s Lynn

The Riverside Restaurant, King’s Lynn

Turners at The Dukes Head Hotel, King’s Lynn

Market Bistro, King’s Lynn

Goldings Public House, King’s Lynn

Bank House, King’s Lynn

The Rathskeller, King’s Lynn

Soul Café and Restaurant, King’s Lynn

The Three Horseshoes, Roydon

Congham Hall, Grimston

The Ffolkes Arms, Hillington

The Dabbling Duck, Great Massingham

The Crown Inn, East Rudham

The Rose & Crown, Snettisham

The Mulberry Restaurant at Heacham Manor Hotel, Heacham

The King William IV Country Inn & Restaurant, Sedgeford

Caley Hall Hotel, Old Hunstanton

The Lodge, Old Hunstanton

The Gin Trap Inn, Ringstead

The Lifeboat Inn, Thornham

The Chequers Inn, Thornham

Thornham Deli, Thornham

Titchwell Manor Hotel, Titchwell

Briarfields Hotel, Titchwell

The Ship Hotel, Brancaster

The King’s Head Country Hotel, Great Bircham

The Jolly Sailors, Brancaster Staithe

The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe

The Duck Inn, Stanhoe

The Nelson Country Inn, Bunrham Market

The Hoste Hotel & Beauty Spa, Burnham Market

No. Twenty9 Bar & Restaurant, Burnham Market

Creake Abbey Café, North Creake

The Hero, Burnham Overy Staithe

The Crown, Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells Crab House Seafood Restaurant, Wells-next-the-Sea

Black Lion, Walsingham

Carpenters Arms, Wighton

The Three Horseshoes, Warham

The Barsham Arms, East Barsham

The Stiffkey Red Lion, Stiffkey

The Anchor Inn, Morston

The George – Cley

The Langham Blue Bell, Langham

Back to the Garden, Letheringsett

The King’s Head, Letheringsett

Byfords, Holt

The Hunworth Bell, Hunworth

The Pigs, Edgefield

The Grove, Cromer

Saracen’s Head, Wolterton

The Walpole Arms, Itteringham

Bolton’s Bistro at The Cliftonville Hotel, Cromer

The Dial House, Reepham

The George Hotel, Dereham

Stratton’s Hotel, Swaffham

The Red Lion, Caston

Great Ellingham Crown, Great Ellingham

The Seasons Restaurant at Park Farm Hotel, Hethersett

Wiveton Hall Cafe

The Fur & Feather inn Woodbastwick



Zena Leech-Calton ©





A Spoon-Full of Dinner

Maybe I’m old school or maybe it’s because I just about remember the insurgence & demise of Cordon Bleu cookery, then a decade later the Modern British minimalist style arising in London, now we have the tweezer generation.

  I love food – – I’m not a greedy pig (ish!), I’m not into eating until I can’t move consuming buffets full of nonsense, I’m not into eating competitions or gorging myself immobile. Plus, half the week I fast on my 3:4, so I’m not used to eating bucket loads.

But I love food – – I simply want to go out to a restaurant and walk away not wanting to grab a bag of chips on the way home.

Nowadays in some establishments when you’re served your main course, you look at it thinking ‘is that it’, then you reach for your glasses or a magnifying glass and assess a way to enjoy it slowly.

Because when you only get a dollop of this, a smudge of that and an exceedingly small piece of fish or meat you need to make it last more than one swallow.

Your mind buzzes – – for example if I only have 2 slithers of carrot I need to stretch them out, I’ll cut them in half and eat them in every other go. Then you think, hang on a minute there is just one single slim quenelle of puree – I’ll have to eat half a teaspoon with every quarter of lamb chunk. And what about the smear of squash puree – I’ll be lucky if I can stretch that to two tastes. So, begins the thoughtful well planned ‘Eat-ful-ness’ with a plate that’s 75% clean.

You can’t just tuck in – – – oh, no, if you did that it would be ready steady gone and at £15 – 25 a main course you need to stretch it out to at least ten minutes.

I mean it will look amazing, I’ll even take a picture and revel in the flavours of every mini mouthful – – – But I yearn for more and am sad when my 5thminiscule fork full has cleared the plate, even the micro pea shoots and wisps of nothingness have vanished. And I’m left with the feeling of remorse – – oh well I think, at least there’s dessert.


BUT then it happens all over again.


And before I get Instagram or twitter rants from chefs (like last time when I moaned about certain cafes charging a premium for afternoon tea, SOME not the 85% that don’t!!!!!)

– – – – –  I’m probably not talking about you, not all restaurants serve up farts of food.

Only yesterday I was lavishing in the Assembly rooms on a generous, satisfying and perfectly portioned dish of pork, with a generous dollop of mustard mash and tender greens. You see if this was in a tweezer restaurant it would be a one inch chunk of pork fillet with a dessert spooned quenelle of mash and a few micro herbs placed on for good measure with a knat’s swirl of jus and if lucky a smudged tea spoon splodge of some puree or another.


Don’t get me wrong – I love food, the flavours, the presentation, the smells, the gorgeousness of it all – I just want more if it. I’m even happy to pay lovely amounts of money for it – – but I want to feel that I’ve eaten and not lived through the blitz.


Its ok when you get a taster menu – – you want small and delicately arranged food. Benedict’s thrilled me with seven courses of gorgeousness – all perfectly balanced with just enough to allow you to enjoy the next course, and the next, and the next.

Roger Hickman delighted me with home-made breads and three courses of well portioned scrumptiousness, delighting diners with additional delights.

Haggle filled me with tender chicken ‘mangled’ to smokey yumminess with fluffy rice and fragrant Arabic salad.

And so on and so on – to all the amazing restaurants who get their portions just right for mummy bear.


You see the thing is recently I’ve been to two restaurants with mean portions – – YES MEAN. That’s what’s brought all this on. I’m not naming names, I’m here to promote, that’s why I secretly rant!!! (hopefully no one’s reading this).


The first was a gorgeous Sunday Roast, way out in the country in deepest Norfolk. I wrongly decided not to go for a starter, thinking an English main and a pudding would be more than enough with Sunday portions.

Oh, how I was wrong. The Roast came as it so often does these days, pilled in the middle of the plate and topped with a scrumptious Yorkshire – but of course to eat it you have to pile it back down again, set the yorkie on the edge and ask for more gravy – – because of course yorkies need splitting open and soaking in jus. SO, when the roast was rearranged – it consisted of 2 thin slices of beef, one mini floret of cauli cheese, 2 strands of cabbage and a ¼ of a carrot, along with 3 roasties.

Three roasted potatoes would have been fine, but they were quite hard and dry, everything else was perfect.

Not really a lavishly indulgent vegetable laden plate of Sunday yumminess.

Again, I found myself rationing fork full’s & rota-ing vegetable matter to make it last – – –  it was bloody Sunday, nobody should fast on a Sunday!


Then we went to what I would call a posh restaurant, you know, one for couples, perfect for indulgent evenings, good traditional classic modern refined food and wine, white table cloths and good service.

I again decided to miss the starter – – my husband’s came as an inch circle in the middle of an enormously large plate (it could have comfortably sat on an espresso saucer) –  filled with a mini circle off not a lot. We looked at each other – – and after he tried each element with a toothpick, he spooned it down in one – just because he could!!!

Oh, well I thought the main will be generous.

Nooooooooo, (I’m guessing here but) I think I got 50g of meat, 20-30g of vegetable and a dessert spoon of sauce.

Of course, it looked nice and tasted great – – but there wasn’t a bloody-nuff.

Oh, how I regretted not ordering a starter. But then would a dessert spoon of starter make much difference?


Yes, I know – – I will next time. Next time I will sneakily peer on to people’s tables and gaup at their plates so I can pre-asses if it’s a ‘tweezer-joint’ and if it is I will most definitely order 3 courses and a side or two of vegetables.

Of, course it will cost as much as Benedict’s tasting menu (true perfection) when I’ve finished the add on’s & supplement’s, which I will resent enormously but at least I’ll walk away full.


And that’s obviously what it’s all about these days – the need to have 3 small balanced dishes, so you’re not too full and there’s plenty of room for a case of wine – unfortunately I don’t drink!


I’m in it for the food !


Is it just me ?


Anyway, it’s just the fashion it will all be over within a few years when something else takes over. I’ve seen the minimalist look come and go.

And let’s face it some portions can’t get much smaller or they’d disappear.

10 – 20% that’s all I’m asking for – – –


Not Daddy Bears porridge, that’s too big – – that’s a buffet of beige fried pre-frozen, nastiness topped off with soggy noodles.

Not Baby Bears porridge – – we know how that ended BUT

Mummy Bears porridge – medium, not too sweet, not too large, well balanced and just enough for a medium adult bear.


Happy eating – – don’t stop for chips on the way home!

By Zena Leech-Calton ©















Cooking – The Passion & The Pain

This year I’ve had or booked in are 60 cookery courses, last year it was 48, the year before 39 – so its fair to say it’s getting busier every year.

I’ve been teaching cookery for over 15 years now, first working for Adult Education & Family learning where I got my qualifications in teaching and a tad of experience. At the same time, I ran ‘Cooking at 88’ from my home kitchen in Constitution Hill. At the time, I didn’t have a website, Instagram & twitter were non-existent and facebook was just a baby. So, most of my work came from friends, friends of friends and word of mouth – – I only did a few or so a year, so never thought much of it when we bought Lodge Farm.

I carried on teaching on occasional evenings and weekends for Ad Ed when we were living in the caravan and renovating Lodge Farm – but I never had any intentions on having a cookery school – I never had enough interest at 88, so it never crossed my mind.

But I did however have “The Milk Bar’ Lodge Farms American Diner and my intention back then in that space was to offer private dining, along with breakfasts and events for the holiday makers staying in our barns at Lodge Farm Holiday Barns.

But when I thought about how much time it would take to create the perfect burger, bake my own bap and cook the perfect accompaniments along with the costs – I soon realised it wasn’t going to be a viable idea.

One day – My hubby said, we need to earn more money. Lodge Farm was becoming a money pit with renovation costs souring and the barns costing an arm and a leg to furnish. So – – on facebook I advertised my first cookery course here at Lodge Farm Kitchen, a Thai. Six people booked on and four turned up – – I barely covered costs. And yet again, I put the thought of a viable cookery school in the back of my mind.

It was when I was working on my web site for the barns that my web designer said I could add a page for cookery courses – – – – wow, how the internet works!!! It was from then that it grew and grew – adding in a good measure of serial cookers and word of mouth fans.

People started asking for vouchers, for solo courses for couple date nights along with all sorts of wonderful foods.

And hence the development of the cookery course themes, dates and times came about as it is now.

For the last few years the mini theme for 2 has gone crazy, making up 75% off my courses, with 65% of that being Thai, followed by Asian Street food.

Of course, these came about because of my love of cooking, my passion to teach and my 30-years’ service in the catering trade from Norwich City College hotel school, to being Head chef at Eailing Film Studios to Management at (Prue) Leith’s and everything in between – – not even mentioning the writing, blogging, demos, event catering and charity teaching I do.

So, with things going crazy – – I’ve had to alter things around to make it manageable – after all this is supposed to be my part time passion job – don’t forget I’ve got the Holiday Barns to run let alone Love Norwich Food with the occasional walking tour + + +

The mini Theme for 2 is priced reasonably, but for me it’s just as much work with prep, shopping, paperwork and clearing down as a group course but half the money with nearly as much of the costs. And of course, the trouble is, people want the weekends – so I’m working weekends and the poor birthday parties can’t get in – so the first alternation was reserving the weekends for groups and parties.

Then there’s the vouchers – I’ve had several naughty people approach me after they ran out to book on – I’m a nice person, I’ve allowed it, but people aren’t always so accommodating back. I’ve always had to prioritise the vouchers getting them booked in and sometimes that means me working far too many shifts. With ‘work –  life’ levels out of the window and the family effected.

So, with my family telling me to slow down, I thought a good move would be to not offer vouchers any more. They take up lots of time and squeezing them in can be an issue sometimes.

When someone contacts me to book a course it’s because they want it – with vouchers that’s not always the case. And after all I teach because I love it – I want learners to love it too.


So – – in the bin. That will save those last-minute calls the day before Christmas asking me to send a voucher over – – – Halleluiah!!!!


It’s a bit like when you ask a contractor how works going and they say, ‘oh, it’s too busy, I’m having to turn work away’ and they seem irritated by it all – –

I’m a bit like that, not irritated yet but realise I’ve got to slow it down a bit to fit it all in with my other businesses. Otherwise in ten years-time I’ll be working 60 hour days! Hopefully, I’ll be retired by then.


So – – – for the love of food, I love teaching, I still love cooking, I absolutely love eating, I love meeting new people – I really love the cookery school.

But there’s only me – – – and I’ve only got so many hours in the week and sleeps a good thing – right!!!


So, sorry to the 8 courses I’ve not been able to fit in this year, and the 3 kid’s birthday parties that wanted a certain date but it was filled with those pesky mini themes for 2 – and sorry to those wanting a voucher for Christmas (I usually sell at least 12) – – you can still book yourself in. And a pre-warning ‘sorry’ to those who will be disappointed they can’t get a Saturday or a voucher.


But I’m pulling in the rains – – my horse is bolting at the mo and I want it to trot.

P.S – No horses were used in this dish, I’m not Tescos!



Happy cooking – –

Zena Leech-Calton ©


Norfolk Award Winning Cheese’s

It’s incredible what CHEESE we have in this fine county. As I wrote this list, even though I’ve tasted the majority of them and nearly always buy local cheeses for my cheeseboards and cheese fueled recipes, It had escaped my mind what an amazing selection of gorgeous cheeses we make. (I say we!)

Cream cheese, feta, goats cheese, blue’s and graters – Swiss influenced cheese, French influenced Brie’s, waxed, smoked and caressed in beer – we have the perfect selection for the perfect cheese board. #buylocal


In no particular order –


Ferndale Farm

Barningham, Holt, North Norfolk

Abbey Farm, Binham – Dairy Cows

A busy running farm, also supplying potatoes to Norfolk & beyond (inc. Roys). All the cheese is made using traditional methods with the dapple varieties being cloth bound, ensuring a dappled rind & firm texture. The cheese is turned by hand everyday with the Tawny getting a beer bath weekly (I wish I was a cheese!).


Norfolk Dapple – an unpasteurised (raw) hard clothbound cow’s milk cheese. A matured smooth award-winning cheese with a touch of nuttiness and a dappled rind. An excellent alternative to cheddar.

Variations – – Smoked Dapple, Norfolk Carrow (with mustard seeds) & Ruby Dapple (marbled with port)

Uses – – I love it with any juicy chutney. But its great grated as a VIP sprinkle or sarnie filler.


Norfolk Tawny – an unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese, beer washed with Norfolk ‘Old Stoastwobbler’. A softer cheese than above with a firm rind. A tasty cheese with a beer infused slightly salted crust. Similar to Caerphilly.

Uses – – Cheese on toast – yum. A rich cheese for grating in to milder foods – like chicken or whipping up into a VIP Welch rarebit.


Contact – 01263 577640 / arthurferndalefarm@gmail.com




Mrs Temples

Copy’s Green Farm, Wighton, Norfolk

Made by the infamous Mrs Catherine Temple

Cheese made by handed down traditional methods to the third generation that is Mrs Temple. Her husband runs the farm with a whole host of Holstein and Brown Swiss cows. With her sparklingly clean and modern dairy with in metres of the milking room.


Wells Alpine / Norfolk Alpine – made from Mrs Temples Swiss cow’s milk. Semi hard, with a yellow tinge, 6 months matured with tastes of sweet & nutty.

Uses – –  Great for grating and melting. Fondue, hot pots, dipping and more.


Walsingham –a pasteurised cow’s milk cheese. A crumbly pressed and matured cheese similar to Wensleydale but a lot smoother with a little crumble.

Uses –– For a nice cheeseboard with quince jam and salty crackers. OR melted in to veggie dishes.


Copys Cloud –a small round Brie like cheese, oozy buttery and mild in flavour. Made from a mix of cow’s milk, from both Mrs Temples herds.

Uses– – Lovely in tarts, coated in pastry or oozed in to toasties.


Binham Blue – a soft blue veined cheese with a creamy yellow inner made from pasteurised milk with a grey ribbed rind. A mix of Holstein Fresian & Swiss Brown cows. Creamy, rich and subtly blue in flavour. Similar to a soft gorgonzola.

Uses– – It’s so creamy its perfect for breaking straight in to salads and sauces marrying perfectly with beef, celery, nuts, chicory or pear.

Gurney Gold– a pasteurised cows cheese, semi (but more) soft with a golden (twice weekly washed) rind. A little like French Tallegio.

Uses – – Perfect for melting and dipping or use in oozie cheese sauces or meted on to snitzel.


Contact – 01328 820224 / cmt@mrstemplescheese.co.uk


Willow Farm Cheeses

Made by Jane Murray

Deopham, Wynmondham

Formally Poppylot farm, using milk from British Friesland Ewes. Basically, sheep’s milk – classily used for Roquefort, Feta and Ricotta. All the cheeses are made with a vegetarian rennet. I once had the opportunity to visit the Dairy and help with the cheese making, I loved that the whey was fed back to the sheep.


Norfolk White Lady – made from pasteurised Ewe’s milk. Similar to Brie with a creamy tangy rich taste with a firm well developed rind.

Uses– – Makes a rich bacon and Ewes Brie tartlet, or bake on to crispy puff pastry with sweet chutney and crispy bacon.


Deopham Blewe –  made from Friesland Ewes milk, tasting a little like a creamy Roquefort.

Uses – – as an indulgent Ploughman’s lunch with crusty bread and pickles. I also like to crumble a little in courgette risotto.


Feta – a proper Norfolk Feta, salty and smooth.

Uses – great for salads and to crumble on top of cous cous, stews and Mediterranean classics. It also purees well with roasted red pepper to form a feta & pepper dip.


Wissington– a classic semi hard milky white cheese with a slightly bubbled textured, smooth and silky with a hard-dark grey rind. (Save that for flavouring sauces). Similar to a Manchego.

Uses– On crackers with Quince and a glass of port. Perfect for the cheeseboard or slice soft shavings on to Caesar and the like.


Contact – 01953 853145



Fielding Cottage

Honingham, Norfolk

Made by the Steggles Family

I love this place, it’s just up the road from me, so handy if I fancy a top up from their Goats shed shop (or local ice-cream). Wensum white is the only Norfolk cheese to win a ‘World Cheese Super Gold Award’ & Mardler was voted best veggie cheese in the UK 2018 in the Artisan Cheese Awards. Don’t tell anyone but Mr Steggles didn’t like Goats cheese when he first started making it!!!!

They also sell Goats meat and Raw milk.


Wensum White – A cheese similar in look to a Brie but made with pasteurised Goats milk and wrapped like a little rectangle sausage shape goats cheese. Creamy and rich in flavour.

Uses – – Spread on to good bread with caramelised onions. OR melt in to a soufflé.


Norfolk Mardler– made with a pasteurised goats milk. A smooth white eight-week matured cheese coated in a yellow wax skin.

Uses– – A good cheeseboard standard. But I like mine in a cream sauce with white wine and a small smudge of garlic.


Ellingham– is a soft feta like cheese made with goat’s milk. Creamy and rich with a little tang. Plus Goats Curd – a soft smoother spreadable version.

Uses – – crumble in to salads, I like mine with watermelon, spinach, pomegranate seeds, red onion & a light oil based dressing.


Contact – 01603 880685 / sales@fieldingcottage.co.uk




Fen Farm Dairy

Bungay, Suffolk (close to the border!)

Made by Dulcie & Jonny & Crickmore

A three-generation farm making amazing cheeses from their Montbeliarde & Friesian cow’s left to munch away on the marchlands. Turning the raw milk in to cheese, butter and raw cream. Buy it from the farm – – while I’m passing I grab some raw milk from the vending machine and the most amazing coffee milkshake from the fridge – – bring cash. You’re also welcome to sneak a peek through the window in to the Dairy.


Baron Bignold – made by unpasteurised Montbeliarde cow’s milk and aged for eight weeks. Similar to a Brie with a golden colour and creamy texture with a nutty, earthy note.

Uses– – Rich and luscious enough for melting in to hot pots, rissottos, tarts and more.

Fen Farm have a little shop (shed) with a raw milk vending machine and a fridge full of deliciousness – cash only.


Contact – 01986 892350 / hello@fenfarmdairy.co.uk




Working from the same premises as Fen Farm (above) but makers of the 2 cheeses below is Julie Cheyney from Whitewood Dairy.


St Jude Cheese – a soft small light rich buttery cheese. Great for spreading.

Uses– – Perfect for a Deli platter, spread on to everything.


St Cera – is a washed rind version of the St Jude, creamy & tangy with a textured rind, making it perfect for melting to dip away.

Uses – Bake whole or ‘penko crumb’ wedges to make a crispy coated starter, worthy of a sweet fruity chutney.


Contact –  julie@whitewood dairy.co.uk / http://www.whitewooddairy.co.uk/St.Jude.html /  07771618385



Church Farm, Frettenham, Norfolk

A family run farm since 1946 and home to four generations. The cheese is made in house using the milk from their Brown Swiss Cow’s. The cows are milked by a robotic system running 24/7 meaning the cows wander up to the Dairy whenever they fancy.

The Lavender is a Gold medal winner, winning a flavour award at the British cheese awards in 2017.


St Swithins Soft – Soft Cream Cheese made from pasteurised cow’s milk. A creamy replacement for Goats cheese. They also offer lavender, chilli & apricot flavoured cream cheese – great for spreading.

Uses – – Whip it in to savoury mouse or cream it in to sweet cheesecake. OR simply spread it on your bap.


Contact – 01603 736569/ hello@nortonsdairy.co.uk



Bircham Windmill

Near Sandringham, Great Bircham,

Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Feel free to come along to see the sheep being milked and learn how the cheese is made (see web for details) Milking daily at 2pm. The windmill also hosts a tearooms and shop. ‘Custard’ is but one of the sheep that get milked in their mini parlour, it’s after that that the raw milk goes off to the kitchens to be made in to cheese.


Norfolk Charm – Similar to wensleydale, matured for 3 months. A slightly crumbly, rich smooth flavoured award-winning cheese.

Uses– A good cheese board cheese, or serve with your Christmas cake.


Millers Fancy– a feta style cheese, with a smoother milkier flavour and not as salty.

Uses – replace with the bog-standard feta for a smoother purer flavour.


Millstone Blue– is a creamy blue veined smooth, shiny and luscious soft cheese with a firm dark rind. Not overly matured but subtly veined – perfect to slice without the crumbly nature of stilton.

Uses– Makes for a good pate, cheeseboard alternative or slice a topping on to steak and under pastry lids.


Contact – 01485 578393 / info@birchamwindmill.co.uk




Contact the Dairy’s direct for sales, alternatively –


Internet Sales –

The Norfolk Cheese Company –https://www.thenorfolkcheesecompany.co.uk

The Norfolk Deli – https://www.norfolk-deli.co.uk/cheese

Walsingham – https://www.walsingham.co/product-category/cheese/

The cheese Society – https://www.thecheesesociety.co.uk/product/norfolk-white-lady/


Shops –

Cheeseman– stall at Norwich Market – 01603 768211

Archers Butchers– 177-179 Plumstead Rd, Norwich, NR1 4AB – 01603 434253

Ameretto Delicatessen– 16 St Georges Street, Norwich – 01603 767478

Louis Deli– 81 Upper St Giles, Norwich – 01603 763377

Jarrolds Food Hall– 1 – 11 London Street, Norwich City Centre- 01603 660661


By Zena Leech-Calton ©



My Foodie Week with my new mate ‘Ivy Benedict’

When I heard the Ivy was coming to Norwich, I was overjoyed – I’m all for BIG-ing up Norwich but to have a company like The Ivy choose us that’s gotta mean something, right! We’ve already got the biggest Jamie’s in the UK & the biggest open-air market & we’ve got the best produce known to man (or woman) – –

So, when I got an invite to the launch party I was over excited.

BUT more about that in a minute.


You see when I worked in London as a chef back when I first met my hubby, then boyfriend Nick we both shared a love of food. We had our own private Sunday club – choosing a different restaurant from the London Time Out guide. We went to every foodie haunt possible from Bibendum’s in Mayfair to a Sri-Lankan café in hackney. Trying all the best ones, going to all the new ones, eating street food to Michelin stared beauties. We didn’t spend our money on Nicole Farhi we spent it in Quaglino’s, and not down the boozer but down Drummond Street in a South Indian.


So – – – when we moved back to Norwich, I missed the food scene. I missed the Stoke Newington Okabassi restaurants and the indulgent service of the big boys, let alone the lack of Ingredients. When I first moved back to Norwich there was only one shop selling sushi rice, pea shoots were something you bought in a toy shop, even Thai sweet chilli sauce was a myth. I was once traumatised when a check out girl didn’t know what an avocado was.

The foodie choices in Norwich were limited to say the least –

Well that was 20 years ago, since then I’ve watched riverside go up, my husband build Chapelfield (single handidly!) and on top of that the explosion of food landed right here in Norwich. Like it followed me and became bigger than anything I could ever dream about.

Like 500 places to eat, 30 pop up street food vendors on Norwich market, local cheeses by the dozen, drinks to fill an ocean, crabs have all sorts of seafood friends while meat doesn’t only oink – it’s all at our disposal with bread to soak it up and Gin to wash it down with. Okabasi – Mangal grill we have two (ask me I’ll tell ya).South Indian, Japanese, dim sum, pie shops, vegan joints, temples of Gin & Poke bars  – we have em all.


So, there I was arriving at the ‘Ivy’ launch party with 100’s of other lucky Norwich folk to sip pink champagne and nibble on truffle aranchini and other mini yumminess’s. Then the sweet white chocolate tarts came out with a squidgy gooey choux bun tasting like the best creamy donut in the world and to top that they brought round mini ice-cream bombs that popped in your mouth with sweet sticky loveliness.

I’m not apt at socialising (I was mainly there to eat) but I met some amazing people including Mr & Mrs Zaks, the Wild Knight Vodka couple, the buyer for Jerrold’s, a media babe, the proudly Norfolk team, a few EDP’s, Hannah whom I knew from Louis, the Figbar’s, some bloggers posing in the toilets & some amazing staff whom I questioned to gain an insight into the Ivy brand. I saw a few cheffies but couldn’t pluck up the courage to introduce myself – – Hi’ I’m Zena from Love Norwich Food, I’m a blogger, food writer, cookery tutor & business owner with 30 years in catering, oh & I promote Norwich food on my website for free  – – – ‘Who R Ya’


(back in the room) I found out that they have 140 staff, with 80% or more being local. They use a few local ingredients – I’d like to see more on their scrumptious menu (I might be having a sneaky little word). 18 of their staff are runners – that’s because the kitchens upstairs and they have to run down to deliver the food to one of 50 – odd waiting staff. Not at the same time of course – – the ‘Ivy’ serve a 16-hour day! That’s a first for Norwich.


The décor is Art Nouveau, classic and clean with vibrant colours. The bar amazing – dripping with plants, lights and crystals & oozing with all the best in drinks. It’s a treat for the senses – lavishly decadent with a feeling of ‘treatability’.


So, when you go in any time between 8am – 11.00pm, 7 days a week – – you’ll be treated to breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner &/or cocktails in the very best of styles. Service of course will be impeccable, portions will be generous, prices reasonable and food quality high with amazing tastes – did I say the menu is amazing. The Ivy simply does it brilliantly.


I can honestly say this not only because they wined and dined me that other evening but because a few days later we booked ourselves in for Breakfast for a foodie day of China Wedding Anniversary celebrations.

The full English comes with 2 sausages, 2 streaky bacon, 2 fried eggs, black pudding, a whole plum tomato, a juicy flat mushroom and a pot of beans with a side of toast all for £12.95. However, because we’d been recommended the veggie breakfast we went for one of each and shared. The Veggie is the best around for £11.95 grilled halloumi with avocado, 2 poached eggs with hollandaise, beans, potato cake, mushroom and tomatoes with a side of toast – – truly yum, especially with a side of crispy bacon. But you can go for eggs benedict’s, pastries and other classics.

We couldn’t resist the mini pastries for a reasonable £4.45, 4 scrumptiously warm moist Danish with butter and jam on a mini tiered stand. Coffee and tea comes in many flavours in the best silver wear plus they have a whole host of juices, smoothies and blends – next time I quite fancy a green concoction, with a bowl of Granola and of course a pot of Darjeeling.


I could tell you more about my week of food from the friends BBQ, to the seaside ice-creams in Eccles to the plump prawn sarnie at my local café to the rich Indian we had on Sunday but nothing will ever compare to the experience we had last night in ‘Benedict’s’ – I found myself insta-graming OMG and I’m not a teen, I never use ‘Oh, my God’ NEVER, EVER!!!!! But OMG Benedict’s.


My and my hubby Nick have been married for 20 years, I’m not gooey, I’m not even remotely romantic – I call myself realistic. Marriage can be challenging –  kids (teens – even worst), bills, responsibilities, mortgages, smelly pants, moody evenings after work and lists that never ever get finished. And let’s face it if I wasn’t a chef he would have left years ago – – but it’s been 20 years and the one thing that gels us together more than the kids & our marriage which I love in equal measure, is food.


And what’s the best place to go to celebrate –  ‘Richard Bainbridge’s place down St Benedict’s Street. I’m a massive foodie, I’m even edible but I have to ashamedly admit I’ve never been before – – how bad is that!

I mean we have tried, when it first opened we gave up trying, then it was shut a few times but this time we smartly booked ahead.


It’s a medium small restaurant with seating for about 25 – 30 people. Open Tuesday – Saturday Lunch and dinner, last orders around 9pm. With tons of busying staff making for great attentive service. Nicely decorated, smart and clean with a private dining area called the Sewing Room upstairs (yes, please).

Team Benedict’s staff are a well-oiled friendly bunch who all know their stuff.


But the food – – – – we went for the 6-course tasting menu for £49 per head, hubby went for the £27 wine pairing. You can also have the 8-course menu for an additional £12 or alternatively choose a 2 course of the main menu for £29 or a 3 for £39.

And when you compare those prices to some of the crappy chains around (£18 for a main!!!) with half the ingredients made in a factory while other components are deep fried by some snotty teenager, then it’s a bargain.


While menu choosing we were hit with a quirky crisp (I’m not giving to much away, you need to check it out for yourself). Then you get a selection of ‘snacks’ as just-so named on the menu.


You know when you’ve been in catering for 30 years but the foods that good and complex you have no idea what you’re eating but you know its bloody amazing – that was the white, snowy mini tart canape – which you pop in your mouth and it sort of explodes.

Then we had ___ (I told you I’m not telling you everything) with this incredible dipping sauce like the most luscious sabayon. I admit it, I wiped it clean and licked it off my fingers – – no waste here.

And that was before the starters and just after the most amazing bread and butter – – ohhh the butter.


I truly believe Mr Bainbridge’s kitchen team are sauce geniuses, ‘Samurai’s of spoonable flavour’. One dish had the most magnificent chicken broth – I could have literally bathed in it.

Good to see local ingredients like Cromer crab, wild knight vodka, Norfolk Strawberry’s and Blickling lamb – which made up our main a delicious tender lamb slices with aubergine puree, an orgasmic melt in your mouth rendered lamb and spinach concoction and the most beautiful courgette art piece I’ve ever seen.


I can’t say I’ve seen a huge host of courgette installations but this was by far the best one, it even beats the ‘courgette in formaldehyde’ by Damien Hurst I witnessed in Bradford, I think it was a courgette! – –


Anyway, the next course was my favourite – – ‘Thornage Hall Blackcurrant, Blackcurrant leaf’ – – – OMG (here I go again, it’s either that or orgasmic, simple words do not suffice) anyway, it was bloody gorgeous.  followed by dessert number two Richards, sorry Mr Bainbridge’s winning Great British Menu dish.


I was so excited I forgot to mention we interjected a £6.50 supplement cheese course before the sweet stuff – – with a sneeky glass of port, we shared the sandwich tin of local and artisan cheeses with gorgeous crackers and rich chutney – one was a little toooo stinky for me, but my hubby enjoyed it with an extra glug of vintage port. Certainly enough for two and perfect perched in the middle.


Wow – – – it truly is a restaurant of excellent-ness (I’m allowed to make up words I’m a Dyslexic chef). I promise myself never, I mean never to not go at least once a year. I owe it to myself, I owe it to my taste buds but most of all I owe it to living life to the fullest it can possibly be without death or illegal habits.


I woke up this morning sad – sad because everything I now eat in the future won’t be as good as all the scrumptiousness I endured happily yesterday. This lunch time I’ve got some 2-day old bread and some ham from the freezer I had left over from a charity afternoon tea.

I feel somehow, I need to deconstruct it – maybe serve it on an amazing plate with a ham veloute and some micro herbs, I then need to sprinkle on dehumidified ham cheek and then char it on a Victorian mangle with a side portion of Kohlrabi puffs.

But I can’t be bothered so I’ll just rough it.

That’s all folks – – from Love Norwich Food, Loving Norwich Food.

By Zena Leech-Calton ©


‘Cheffing It’ at Norwich City College

Way back before Percy Pigs, Five Guys & The Great British Bake off – I decided to go in to catering.

Yes, admittedly I wasn’t doing that great at school, dyslexia inhibited me to get straight A’s but I had an amazingly practical brain and an entrepreneurial spirit. I thought if I studied catering I could work all over the world, run my own business and eventfully be minister of the food police.

So off I went to Norwich City College to study all things catering. It’s a magnificent thing ‘college after school’, ‘tutors after teachers’ and ‘students after school kids’. I swaggered around in clothes from Snob & Topman, carried around my knife pouch and smoked cigarillo’s from a vintage cigarette holder while munching on concreate brownies from the refectory.

Us caterers didn’t like the hairdressers, beauticians & gothic arty lot (they were far to feminine) – we were the odds and sods from the teen world. We didn’t fit in to the nicy nice georgeous girlies studying to be masseuses or the rough and ready lads from the mechanic course with their leather jackets and grease monkey hands.

We really were an odd bunch, not conforming to any tribe other than the non-academic sort. But a fun bunch to hang around with, who had to learn pretty darn fast to work bloody hard

–  Because the life of catering is hard graft, shit pay with no appreciation. Needless to say quite a few students dropped out in the early stages and drifted away throughout the two years I was there.

Then we all buggered off in different directions all over the country and World, some to London to work in the big hotels, some to be chefs on cruise ships, some to local restaurants, some in to bar work, some to join family catering businesses, management or waitressing. While others abandoned catering all together, to do something other than catering (anything ‘HELP’ me get out!!!).


It was the mid 80’s when I was catapulted in to the world of catering. The girls wore aprons & cook’s hats and the boys wore proper chefs wear. But then again ‘Benny Hill’ was on TV and it was perfectly ok to be sexist even in a state-run establishment. To the point where the Dickensian Butcher tutor told us ladies that we can’t become butchers as it’s a man’s job (more than once). Of course, how could a woman possibly wield a knife and make sausages, it’s practically impossible. I hated him and I don’t think he liked my sarcasm or when I locked him in the walk in fridge – I’m surprised I could even turn the handle!!!

But there were good tutors, inspirational X chefs, men and ladies who dedicated their lives to tutoring us students with enthusiasm, encouraging us to go into whatever directions we choose – even if that was cutting up cows!

The first week was knife skills – within 5 minutes someone had cut their finger, gushed blood and dropped to the floor with a thud. I cut mine of in the second month – I was whipped to the nurse with the end bit of my finger in a tissue. She threw it in the bin ‘can’t do a lot with that’ she said.

There were all sorts of catering courses, but I did the basic Hotel school one with a bit of everything to get a feel in the first year. We did accounts (boring), housekeeping (boring), cooking (brilliant), butchery, patisserie, baking, waitressing, bar work and class room stuff like food science. We had the restaurant with a classic menu twice a week then on Fridays we got to work in the canteen. I liked that the best because you could stuff your face as long as you didn’t get caught or you were in for it. Pancake day was the best time of year for stuffing, make 3 eat one, make 4 eat one, make 5 eat one!


The second year was harder – exams got real, they piled the pressure on but we were getting good at what we were doing. Maths and accountancy was still rubbish – – – the teacher made us copy from the black board (yes, black board) monotonously and to fill time we would count the times he would say ‘at the end of the day’ – twenty something, was the record.


But although we learnt so much, college doesn’t get your totally prepared for the real world of catering, it just softens the blow. I went down the cheffing route – falling in love with cooking fresh food, finding my first cooking job in a Beccles hotel.  A few years later I moved to London as a chef then later in to management at ‘Leiths’.

But I look back at Norwich City College, Hotel school with fond memories (apart from the bullying in the second year, yer, you know who you are). I learnt so much, had a great social time, got a real feel for the profession. And amazingly enough, unlike 75% off my class mates ‘I’m still in it’ and still use the lessons I learnt.


I’m not head of the food police but I have 3 catering and hospitality businesses, housekeeping has helped me in my Holiday homes (despite hating it, like did you know washing up liquid is good for removing protein steins in linen), inspirational lecturers have helped me build up my cookery school (I love teaching best) and Love Norwich Food brings it all together – celebrating all things food in Norwich.


I’m not good at much else, but I’m bloody good at catering (and locking people in walk in fridges).

– thanks Norwich City College x


By Zena Leech- Calton ©




A Foodie Week in Norwich, Norfolk

If you’re like me and you travel to eat, then when you’re on holiday you wouldn’t want to waste a single meal – ever restaurant & every meal counts.

So, I was thinking if I was coming to Norwich for a week on holiday where would I choose to eat from the experience that I have now.

There you after just booking in to Lodge Farm Holiday Barns in the beautiful village of Bawburgh, beside Bawburgh Lakes, other hotels, self-catering cottages and Bed and Breakfasts are available!

And your off – – – – –

Its Friday night, you’ve been traveling for a while and have eaten some atrocity at a service station, so you don’t want to go mad but you want something delicious and nutritious.


Friday Dinner


Workshop, 53 Earlham Road – free off-street parking around the area after 6 pm. Its rustic with order at the bar service but the food is divine. Small sharing plates of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern fusion dishes. You’d get 5 dishes with a basket of bread for around £30-40. Try their mango lassi for £3.50 or a Moroccan pot of mint tea and a ‘Nata’. But they also have a well-stocked bar. Open from 3 -11pm, closed Sunday & Monday.


Keep it local at Bawburgh Kings HeadNR93LS – our local pub, 4 minutes’ drive away. A gastro pub at its best with classics and foodie delights or go for bar snacks for £2-3 to share including local pork pie, whitebait and olives. Local ales, fresh orange juice, hot bevies and great wine. Plus, in winter chill on a sofa near the open fire. Open 7 days a week.



The best Breakfast if you so choose


The Ivy– City Centre, London Street, NR21LD A infamous chain of high class Art Deco indulgent restaurants, with amazing service and a full breakfast menu. A full English for £13.50 or choose from other classics like Eggs Benedict.


Louis Deli & Cafe – 81 Upper St Giles, NR21AB –  you may be able to park on the street outside or at least nearby via pay metre. Louis’s offers a good hearty local breakfast with rustic toast and jam for around £8-12 inc, a drink. Open 7 days a week. From 8am  / 10am on a Sunday.


Olives – a little café, specialising in the full English, down (40) Elm Hill. £10.50 for a full English inc, Toast. Voted the best in Norwich by my blogging mate the Fry Up Inspector. Closed on Monday – open from 9am.



Saturday Lunch


Of course, you could take a trip to North Norfolk, wander around Wells, Holt and Clay – – then book in to Cookies Crab Shop for the Lobster platter, around £15. It’s just a shanty old fishing hut, with a summer house and a few marquises but it’s an institution and a must for all seafood lovers. Plus, you get to look over the salt marshes on to the sea beyond. Closed on a Monday & closed over winter.


Whip in to ‘Byfords’ in Holt for some lunch time classics, pastry’s and amazing cakes.


Drive to Sherringham or Cromer and have Fish and Chips overlooking the Sea. Like at Number One, Cromer – ‘Galtons’ gastro fish and chip pad. But take aways just as good if you can smell the sea air.



Saturday Evening Nibbles and Cocktails


You’ve had a busy day and now it’s time to let your hair down, or keep it tied up!!!

See below for cocktails*


Jive – is a Mexican restaurant offering freshly cooked tacos and more. Go for some smaller dishes and a few sides to share and ramp it up with a cocktail. On 24 Exchange St, first floor opposite Jarrolds.


Further down the Street is East 26 offering absolutely tasty sharing dishes. Order a few with a few sides to pick at – – of course with a cocktail. Closed on Sundays.


Even further down the street is The Wallow – a fabulous help yourself if wanted (or not) wine bar (buy a card), offing a great deli selection of nibbles, cheeses, dips, breads and pickings – great to share.


Les Garrigues,  21 St John Maddermarket, closed on Sundays  – a French wine bar offering deli sharing platters. A social hub – to chat, wine and cheese yourself silly.


Figbar – Next door offers amazing desserts and bakes with drinks. Perfect after a stole around the city. Closed Sundays & Mondays.



Let’s get to the good stuff – – – – Cocktails


The Roof Garden, Union Building, 51-59 Rose Lane, top floor – it says what it does on the tin, well it’s got a big roof garden. Offering a good quality selection of Cocktails, average £9.


The Gin Temple – upstairs, above Rabbit and opposite The Belgium Monk on Potergate is a classy, relaxed and friendly bar, specialising in local Gins – – and we have tons. Plus, a good selection of classic Gin cocktails. Around £6.50 or a single Gin and Tonic £6.


The Gin Palace – upstairs above The Mash Ton 16 Charing Cross is a 1920’s speak-easy style bar, specialising in Gins from all over the globe, they’ve got 100’s. Around £9.


Gonzo’s Tea Rooms – 68 London Street, a messed up rustic mad collector’s man cave – but such a cool eclectic space with a roof garden too. With some of the best cocktails in Norwich – try the coffee one! Around £8-10. Open every day from midday.


Bar Hawthorn – on 2 – 4 St Benedict’s Street, offers an up and down stairs cocktail bar with a great menu, you won’t get the classics but you’ll get some great infusions. Closed Sundays and Mondays, open from 5pm.


Further down there is the man cave of a different brain, a scientific, vintage antique 1940’s vibe called Arboretum, Sit on sacks and wonder at the oddities, while a massive dog loll’s around. Vintage themed cocktails – no menu, all £6.50 just answer some questions and they’ll magically make a cocktail that suits.


Go even further down and you’ll get to The Ten Bells – a neat and tidy, steam punk bar with a Gin distillery, the home of Bullard’s award-winning Gin. Offering a delicious selection of cocktails from £8. 74-78 St Benedict’s Street, open from midday every day.


The Birdcage 23 Pottergate, opposite the Grosvenor fish and chip shop you can even eat them in the bar. Great teas, cocktails, drinks and beers. In this arty creative space. Open every day from 11am until midnight, Sundays from 4pm-11pm.



Then there’s Sunday Lunch


A country pubs on the cards so you could if you haven’t already go to

The Kings Head, Bawburgh.


My favourite Sunday Roast is served at The Rooftop Gardens in the city, £15 per person for quality perfectly cooked meat, served with a whole host of gorgeous sides and luscious gravy. All with views over the city and great service in this comfortable luscious space.

Further afield there you’ll find lovely country houses –


The Norfolk Mead Hotel, Church Loke, Coltishall, NR12 7DN

2 courses £23,50, 3 courses £31 – Country hotel, great service and a magnificent Sunday lavish roast.


Sunday night requires nothing but chillaxing – – maybe a take-away.


Monday Lunch


Norwich has the biggest open-air market in the UK with tons of stalls including over 30 foodie joints. Like Lasagne, Empanadas, Bao Buns, Spanish, French, patisseries, great coffee, a juicing bar, pots of shellfish, a vegan diner, Sicilian, falafel, Thai, (don’t go to the Chinese!) and Indian Street food – – some even have seating. But if it’s hot join the locals and eat at the top of the market opposite the Guild Hall with the longest balcony in Europe – – just a fact!


Alternatively – go casual and eat pizza at either

Brick – 39 Market Place, beside the market, closed on Sundays ipen from midday – the best pizza in Norwich with amazing toppings.

or the second-best pizza restaurant

Donnelli’s Pizzeria – they offer a mid-week small pizza and drink specials for £6 eat in, best value lunch deal in Norwich. Offering traditional Italian toppings. Open from midday 7 days a week.



Monday or Tuesday Dinner


Haggle – 13 St Benedict’s Street, open from midday 7 days a week. The million-pound Turkish restaurant with style and splendour. Go for sharing starters and dips and then tuck in to char grilled kebabs or slow cooked Middle Eastern stews, with a good portion of dipping bread. Finish with Kanufa – the best dessert in the wold, think mac n cheese but sweet! They also do amazing cocktails. So, if you fancy sitting on the bar and snacking do that instead.


Al Dente on 25b St Giles street, on the corner of St Giles car park is a lovely little modern Italian restaurant making fresh pasta and other classic authentic dishes at good prices by their resident Italian chef. Open 7 days a week from 8am, Sundays from 10am for breakfast (for baps), lunch and dinner.


Fancy an Indian my favourite is The Tamarind in Blofield, Woodbastick Road, NR134AB, 15 – 20 minutes’ drive from Norwich City Centre. Always freshly cooked with crisp poppadum’s. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, except Friday lunch.


The Giggling Squid, 24 Tombland is a new growing family run chain, but they serve authentic Thai dishes cooked by Thai chefs. It’s on the expensive side like most Thai’s but the food is delicious and served with a modern twist. Their Massiman curry is the best around (apart from mine at Lodge Farm Kitchen – Cookery Courses). Open every day from 12.


Middleton’s Steak House & Grill, 11-15 Timber Hill, is a local family run restaurant of two. It offers quality steaks, grills and burgers at good prices with good portions. Smart restaurant, fabulous service and plenty of tables but because its buzzing you might have to book at night, they also offer a good priced lunch time 2 (£8.95) or 3 course meal (£9.95). Open from midday 7 days a week.


Gonzo’s– Also offer the best burgers and wings in Norwich (see cocktail info) – – its mad and rustic but if you’re in to burgers & dogs  – – ‘Gonzo’s’ a dog you know.


Blue Joanna’s a piano bar and restaurant on 103 Unthank Road just outside the city, NR22PE. They do amazingly tasty sharing dishes, like the best chicken wings of my life. If you love good food with exotic flavours, you’ll love Blue Joanna’s. Closed Sunday & Monday, open some lunches and Wed-Sat evenings from 5.30 or 6pm.




You’ll need to fit in an Afternoon Tea – – – skip lunch, skip dinner or go for a light bite later in the day.



The Assembly Rooms, Theatre Street – is a gorgeous Georgian mansion in the heart of the city on theatre Street, they’ll often put on events, have rooms of art or simply pop in for coffee and cake in their central lounge area. But they just happen to offer the best afternoon tea in Norwich for £20 per person, served from 12-4.30pm. With an amazing pastry chef – you won’t be disappointed. Plus think of this place for pre-theatre meals, light lunches or simply cake & coffee until late.


St Giles House (41-45 St Giles Street) – is a lavish Art Deco Hotel on St Giles. Great for tapas on the terrace, a cocktail in the bar or afternoon tea in their restaurant. Attentive service and impressive pastry’s. Cocktails around £8 – 9


Biddy’s Tea Rooms – 15 Lower Goat Lane, offer a more relaxed casual café style afternoon tea, pre-booking only in their quirky upstairs sitting room. With your choice of freshly baked cakes and tray bakes along with flump scones & a good choice of tea. Afternoon Tea £13.95 pp



 Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday Lunch


The Tipsy Vegan– 68 – 70 St Benedict’s Street, yes, its vegan but its Diner classics and sharing stuff with the most amazing flavours. Plus, they do wicked cocktails. Open every day from 11am.


Shiki’s – A brilliant Japanese restaurant on 6 Tombland. Go for a lunch time bento box (£12) with some Saki or Green tea.  Closed Sunday & Monday, open for lunch and dinner. For other Japanese recommended restaurants (untried by me as yet) try Ciscoe’son 25 Ber Street, for Pan Asiana & Sushi, open every day for lunch and dinner. Or Soyokaze 13 St Giles with a small intimate dining area & additional seating upstairs, offering a lunch time deal & full authentic menu for lunch and dinner.


The Dining Rooms at Cinema City, St Andrews Street with its cool independent vibe part of the picture house chain, with 3 screens offering the be st in films. Eat well in the restaurant or eat casually in the bar plus alfresco seating. While you’re there take in a picture, you can even take wine in from the bar or some locally made snacks from the shop. Think of this place for dinner too. Open every day from 10am.


Timber Hill Bakery,  27 – 29 timber Hill, An Irish couple decided to choose us lucky Norwich people to land their amazing bakery. They offer fabulous toasties, sarnies and pastries. With good old juices, teas and coffees. Closed Sundays & Mondays, open every day from 8am, offing breakfast and Lunch, afternoon pastries.


The Waffle House, 39 St Giles Street – is without doubt a must, it’s a Norwich institution since 70’s, I’ve been waffling for 35 years. It’s still just so good – perfect flavours, a great menu using local ingredients with a good veggie selection. My highlight is plain waffles with banana’s and vanilla ice-cream, dousing in humungous amounts of maple syrup from the table. Try the malted milk milkshakes, try the side salad with blue cheese dressing and go large, double your waffle for around an extra pound. They also do a great 2 course lunch time special for around £11 per person. Opens all day from 10am – 10pm (Sat 11pm) for brunch, lunch and dinner.


Namaste – there’s 2 in Norwich, one large one on 130 – 139 Queens Road, maybe more of an evening place and 1 little one on 2A Opie Street, city centre more for lunch. Fabulous South Indian Vegetarian food – go for a big selection of starters to share and a Dosa pancake, if you’re both hungry add a curry. No licence, bring your own with corkage.


Dim sum is served at The Baby Buddha in 135 – 137 Ber Street every lunch time (but closed Mondays). Share 4 – 6 dishes between a couple at around £2.80 – £4 per dish. I love the Char Sui Buns, turnip Cake, prawn or pork fung chung and the Vietnamese fried spring rolls. But don’t forget to add some steamed dumplings. Open all day for lunch and dinner, with a full Chinese menu.



Light Bites – – or Takeaways


Moorish – 17 Lower Goat Lane, a falafel café to eat in or take away. They do a good valued £6-ish for falafel and lemonade. Three Home-made falafel, stuffed in to wholemeal or white pitta, packed with salad, three dips, humus and more with a home-made lemonade that’s minty and cold. Plain stuffed falafel from £4.70 – – but add a few flourishes like feta, aubergine, cous cous – – – –


Take away from the market – – go for Churros and Chorizo they do a good home-made daily stew. Sicilian Street Food offers a good pizza or calzoni (£3.50) and while you’re at it grab an arancini or two. OR Mia Cocina, she’ll pack you up a home-made south American pastry with tons of zesty fresh salad. To name but a few – – – – the worlds your oyster in Norwich Market.


Flaming Galah – 123 Ber Street, An Australian pie shop serving meaty or veggie delights on mash, peas and gravy. With exciting daily fillings like duck and red cabbage. Parking metres outside. Small seating area inside but it’s mainly a takeaway. Take away around £5. Day times only, closed some days – please call first.


Alley Ole –20 Bridewell Alley. A chicken shop, sit in or take away. Rotisserie juicy chicken with potato bravas and salads. Also serving Pinxtos after 6pm plus cocktails and beers all day. Closed Sundays and Mondays, open 11am – 11pm.


Grosvenor – 28 Lower Goat Lane. Number one on Trip Advisor and well deserved, maybe the best fish and chip restaurant in the world. Go for the cool stuff like five-pound squid, or wako taco, go for their afternoon sea (platter for 2) or simply a gorgeous piece of Suffolk caught fish with perfectly cooked in beef dripping Norfolk potato chips. You can also take them opposite to the Birdcage pub but they have an amazing basement to chomp them in – just order up and they’ll bring ‘em down. Closed Sundays, open daily from 10.45am – 7.30pm.




Wednesday or Thursday Dinner

Let’s go special with five amazing restaurants to spoil yourself in.


Benedict’s – on the road of the same name, 9 St Benedict’s Street. With Norfolk’s own Food hero Chef Richard Bainbridge, creating some gorgeous flavours in a modern cheffy style. Closed Sunday and Mondays. Open for Lunch and Dinner.


Roger Hickman’s – In Upper St Giles – go for the taster menu with accompanying wine or stick to the classic 2, 3 course evening dinner. Classic creative and inventive with a good reputation and good following. Lunch and Dinner


Farmyard – 23 St Bandits Street, Offering ‘Bistronomy’ medium priced luscious award-winning stylish food. Choose from modern eating to hearty classic dishes. With a good wine selection and great service in this modern, airy busy restaurant. Closed Sunday & Monday. Open for lunch and dinner.


The Ivy– because only special cities have an Ivy. Decadently decorated with impeccable service and cooking. Classic dishes to comfort your soul.


Bishops – 8 – 10 St Andrews Hill, run by a French fellow this is a small independent romantic style restaurant with well-appointed dishes and scrumptious indulgent desserts. Offering a good priced two or three course evening meal. Closed Sunday & Monday. Open for lunch and dinner.



So, you’ve had a magnificent week in Norwich eating your way through some amazing foods. But quite frankly you’re sick of fabulous food, you can’t wait to get home put your feet up & have a lovely cup of tea with a hearty portion of beans on toast.

Because tomorrow the diet will have to start!

By Zena Leech-Calton ©