Godzilla, Horses, Ale & a Roaring Fire

Last night I was invited to The Coach and Horses in Thorpe for a beer launch – 

Let’s get this straight I’m not a great fan of pubs and I don’t like beer.

BUT – I had seen lots of pictures of the food on Instagram & twitter and it did look amazing, things like big juicy burgers, chicken & waffles, loaded fries and the like – – you know, real comfort soul food.

It’s all about the food for me – I love the restaurant food, the little squish of jell and the tiny lump of rump with a smidge of foam and a quenelle of puree but it doesn’t feed the comfort in your soul – – and it doesn’t always fill me!!! 

One of my foodie passions is real American food, I’ve written blogs on the perfect burger, I even teach a Classic American cookery course – I’ve even got an American Diner as part of my group cookery courses, I’ll even give you tips how ice-cubes can help cook burgers. So, when I found out the coach & Horses, just up from Norwich train station offered the only Fried Chicken and Waffles with maple in town I was there. #dinersdriveinsanddives

I went to school in Thorpe and imagined it was much further up Thorpe Road, luckily hubby was driving. We parked for free on Stacey Road behind the station, but the pub has got 8 parking spaces out-front and there are all sorts of 2 hour free spots around. But since its just up from the station opposite the post office, it really isn’t far to walk from the city. 

Approaching The coach & Horses it looks like an American ranch house, red with signs of wagon wheels and horses. It must be a cool place in summer with plenty of outdoor seating. 

Insides is rustic, with a tad of spit and sawdust, but comfy with an open roaring fire. Lots of chunky saloon type tables and chairs, plus a few bar stools, with plenty of space to sit or perch on the massive bar. Its a place for everyone locals, office staff, tourists, ale enthusiasts & comfort eaters – with a wide age range of clientele.

Then there’s the brew house ‘out the back’, the longest running independent brewery in Norwich ‘Chalk Hill brewery’ last night they launched a new German beer to add to their stock, a rich, dark creamy headed brew with a light malty hop flavour at around 4% (see, I tasted it, I’d cook with it but I’m not going to drink it all)

Anyway, the head brewer Robbie showed me around, Robbie has been the beer boss for 3 years previously working in the brewery, he started of brewing from home like all good enthusiasts that is passionate about the perfect brew. CHB is the most popular ale also on pump at their sister pub ‘The Alexandra’ but you can also take it away in all sorts of sizes.

I understand more about distillery’s than brewery’s but it’s a 4 part system taking 2 – 3 weeks to make a batch. 

In what looks like a massive hot tub goes the water and hops to seep, different hops for different ales, some local some from further afield. It then goes in to a big stainless steel heated vat to impregnate the flavour more, then it gets cooled down and transferred in to vat no3 for the yeast to be added where it sits for a few weeks to brew before its then transferred in to barrels.

I worked bars back in the day – I was always terrified anyone would ask me to change the barrel. But I do remember when you had to stop pumping because the sediment at the bottom of the barrel came through – Real ale, really is a thing of amazement and technical knowhow, it’s just a shame I only cook with it. 

Here’s a list of the Ales – (some award winning)

Chalk Hill Best also known as CHB4.2abv – a copper beer with a malty aroma.

Tap 3.6abv – hoppy bitterness with a light finish.

Gold 4.3abv – a malty straw-coloured ale.

Mustard5abv – an Indian pale ale with hints of lemon and honey.

Dreadnought4.9abv – a traditional strong ale, with a hint of fruit cake.

Black Anna4abv – a black sweet milk stout with hints of coffee and chocolate. 

They also have guest ales – – you can get a taster of 3 x 1/3 pint for the price of a pint.

But it’s a proper pub so they also offer beers from all over the world plus all the usual’s. 

Free brewery toursrun regularly (45 mins) – see their website for details. 

In Norwich, we had a pub for every day of the year and way back then Medieval Norwich had a micro-brewery attached to every pub – they didn’t pop to the wholesalers. Norwich had and has the best water for making ale, thats why Norwich became the centre for ale – beer was safer to drink back then than water. So, it’s fantastic that in the last few decades Norwich has so many wonderful passionate brewery’s popping up – with a host of real ale enthusiasts to match.

Now back to the food – I couldn’t resist trying the Godzilla burger, I’d seen its spender on social media – I was drawn in.

I love the menu – loaded fries for around £6, a great choice of exciting burgers at £12.50 all with fries and coleslaw – prices are good, portions are massive, foods cooked fresh and with fresh ingredients. I hate when you go somewhere and get frozen chips – – I might as well have gone to Tescos! The coach & horses chip fresh potatoes – that’s how it should be done. 

One to try is their Brunch menu running until 4pm – Cornflakes at £2 (see, I like that you can get cornflakes, all those hotels nearby and the station across the road – almost generous), full English with their own CHB ale sausage at £10.50 but a more reasonable bacon waffle for £6.50. Along with butties and stuff on toast from £3.50.

Sunday roasts are £9.95 with a dish of veggies and a jug of gravy.

Hubby had the German platter, a special for the German Beer launch – he was happy with German sausage, pulled pork on a fruity potato cake and the rest. I was more interested in mine, the Godzilla (£13.50) is almost too big to eat – it comes with 2 big pieces of crunchy coated crumbed chicken breast, I had to remove one so I could get my chops around it – fresh salad, a soft roll (ok – I would have liked an artisan brioche or bigger burger bap), lovely sauces, red onion rings, a generous portion of hot fries and a katsu curry sauce to dip along with a little pot of home-made coleslaw. 

Comfort Food at its best. 

But you can also go for the Chilli challenge at 5,000,000 Scovilles for £7.50 you get a chill bowl, with bread and a spoon. Probably got to be a bit mad and a bloke but if you like burning your lips, shocking your stomach in to retreat and shitting fire – then go for it! Other chilli dishes are available.

From £8.50 – £11.50 you can grab a hot dog and fries with assorted goodies. They’ve teamed up with Pickering’s to make some chunky moist beer infused sausages. Pickering’s are based on the market offering over 20 varieties of home-made sausages, Nathans third generation and of course with that much history they make the best flavoured sausages in Norfolk.

Of course, it’s all about localism for me, good food and independent business employing local people – – so you’ll find Cromer Crab burger, a collaboration with Ronaldo’s (local Norwich ice-cream at its best) making ale sorbet, local sausages and everything home-made on site. They even make beer infused gravy, beer infused onions and they even add a sweet ale to their Sticky Toffee pudding, £5.25 served with another Ronaldo’s ale ice-cream.

Tick, Tick, Tick – – – –

By Zena Leech-Calton ©


Contacts –

The Coach and Horses

82 Thorpe Road, Norwich, NR1 1BA / 01603 477077


Fried Chicken & all that Jazz

To say my sons got an obsession about fried chicken is an understatement. He’s 16 and fried chicken wings is his speciality –  marinated in spiced buttermilk, dipped in a secret blend of seasoned flour and then deep fried until crisp tender, juiciness.

Of course, I get a little irritated my house smells like a chip shop! especially when he forgets the Fried Chicken 3 rules – open the window, extractor on full, doors closed. 

I suppose it starter a while back when I became an avid fan of Diner, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network. I always loved the one’s when Guy Fieri visited a traditional American Diner where they cooked all the classics, including southern fried chicken.

I armed my-self with a plethora of tips, came up with the ultimate ZFC (Zena Fried Chicken), cooked it up MUMA style and served my family in our American Diner (I said I was a tad obsessed)!!! 

Fried chicken when its good, is so good – there is a real reason why fried chicken shops have sprung up in every orifice of the world.

So to make it juicy you can do one of 2 things – either soak it overnight in a brine or soak it overnight in buttermilk. Both help retain juiciness – more so the brine. Proper fried chicken is simply dipped in seasoned flour – not breadcrumb and not battered. You can even crisp your coating up with adding corn meal, adding a subtle crispier texture. But it’s the secret blend of spices that simply has to adorn the flour to make it extra finger licking. I like paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, dried oregano, a touch of cayenne and sometimes ginger. My son goes for the onion and garlic powder – which I hate on account of its cheat-iness. 

I like to buttermilk – with fresh onions, garlic and spice (as above, but maybe with a cheeky amount of turmeric for extra colour & goodness) going in the mix to impregnate extra flavour. If your savy you’ll add chunky onion rings – and then when you come to fry your chicken you can fry them too in a double dusting of fine or course cornmeal, depending on how crispy you like them. Plus adding them over night to the buttermilk tenderises them, making them more palatable.

Of course, it’s not the same in a fast food outlet, it’s not quite good enough – greasy, left in a warmer, slightly fake tasting, more bone and gristle than meat. Plus biting in to a ‘skinny, fatty’ (yes, that can be a thing!) battery reared chicken, doesn’t give you pleasure. 

So, when I teach my American Classic cookery course – my Fried chicken shines. But when it comes to grabbing some outside my House of Soul – that’s a different matter.

Then I thought Where in Norwich can you go for 

Good Fried chicken.

A few years ago, Woolf and Social opened Woolf and Bird in the city, unfortunately it closed its doors within a year but it did serve the best fried chicken ever. Tasty Asian fried chicken with amazing homemade dipping sauces. 

The Chicken Shop– I first noticed the Chicken Shop in Cambridge, then it opened its doors in Norwich’s London Street, NR21LA. They also have 2 shops in London. 

They invited me in for a bloggers taster session, I met with the staff and was treated to a white plastic tray of tasters. Ji’s chicken shop cooks authentic Taiwanese chicken to order, making it really fresh tasting. I especially liked the chicken breast strips (£4.50) – coated in penko crumbs. The chicken popcorn (£4.50) were good too, but came in another crumb mix. They also batter too, depending on what you order (battered sweet potatoes (£3.50). 

What I really liked about it all was the help yourself seasoning shakes on the counter – Matcha (acquired taste), Cheese (unusual but good), curry (my fav – a Thai red curry flavour), seaweed (great flavours of omami), spicy chilli (yes, it was), salt & pepper and plum (a sweet shake) – they lifted it for me. Next time my chickens getting a tad of salt and pepper, a little of the curry and a lot of the seaweed.

They also sell Taiwanese bubble teas – milk or fruit, bubbles or jelly, green or black, hi, med or low sugar – if you don’t know what to go for try the Mango Fruit Tea made with green tea as a medium sweet with Tapioca pearls (black bubbles) – prices from £3 – 4, plus 50p for extras like bubbles / jelly.

They also make Wok fried to order noodles at £6.50 a box (they’ll make it spicy, unless you ask them not to add chilli or for a mild one). Plum chips (£2), breaded prawns (£4) plus help yourself salad from the mini salad bar for £3.

Eat in or takeaway. They also serve Halal chicken.

Gonzos– 68 London Street, Nr21JT

Let’s not beat around the bush! – Gonzo’s serve the best chicken wings around. £6.99 a lb or 25p per wing between 3-6pm Monday to Friday with a drink.

Over 20 flavours to choose from – the base wings are marinated, floured and deep fried – then tossed in a sauce of your choice, making them hot, moist, sticky and moorishly divine. I love the Blue cheese & Walnut the best, but have also had the Maple & Bacon, Tandoori & Mango, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Nutty professor sate – – all to yummy pleasure. But they also do hot, Asian, chocolate and plainer ones too.

Blue Joanna’s– 103 Unthanks Road, NR22PE

They make an equally delicious, even more crispier and even more sticky = Sticky Chilli Chicken wings £5, sit in only.

The Grosvenor, Fish & Chip Shop – 

Offers Chicky Chicky Bang Bang – crispy battered chicken quarter smothered with their own bang bang spicy sauce and chips for £6.50.

The Grosvenor just knows how it’s done! Takeaway or seat in.

The Coach & Horses, Thorpe– you’ll find buttermilk chicken, cornflake or penko crumb chicken stuffed in to the Godzilla burger & Fried chicken & Waffles. All served with a plump portion of home cut fries and home slaw. 

Want to add your favourite– – message me with a paragraph of who, why and where.

By Zena Leech-Calton ©


Cosy Vaults & Cosy Dining

Last night I was invited to the Cosy Club launch in Norwich, the old National Westminster bank 45 – 51 London Street. 

I used to bank there, looking up on to the high ceilings, decretive panels and hidden gems behind glass screens and dream of what it could become.

Cosy clubs made an amazing renovation job, retaining the period features and opening up the nooks and crannies in to private dining spaces. 

I once sat where the main restaurants is now and filled out the forms for my first business loan on Lodge Farm Holiday Barns & Cookery School and there I was six years later revelling in the good stuff.

You enter the rather grand Victorian building looking like something out of Mary Poppins (the old bank not me!, although I did have an umbrella). A corner Victorian stone building with a central, cathedral like light dome. It really is one of Norwich’s finest buildings. Walk up the stone steps or wheel up the new disabled access ramp and you entre architectural Navarna. 

Wall to wall of trophy heads, ancestral like paintings, tapestries, ornate Georgian wall paper and columns so thick you could hide behind them. Lavishly decorated with dozens of ornate chandeliers – Del Boy would have a field day & Rhianna could swing for days. 

The main banking room is one of many rooms to dine in – the main hall like space is half bar and half table dining. With a range of comfy seating, or bar stools to loll on. A mass stretch of bar ordains the side with beer on pump and a whole host of bevvies. 

Walk through and you’ll get to the main dining room area, the once meeting rooms of the bank. The tables are retro sheik, all individually made from reclaimed and salvaged parts from a fellow up-North.

The décor and theme is very much 30 -40’s, but casual smart. Nothing matches, it’s a perfectly balanced miss-match of ornate vintage.

Even the staff get to pick their clothes, there all given a yearly budget to buy Vintage along with Cosy Clubs own designed aprons. They look like a cool Aunt Velma from the 50’s while the men swagger in retro charm and braces. 

Staff are picked not necessarily on catering know how, the manager told me they can be taught that, but on character – staff are encouraged to be them-selves and shine. Service isn’t stuffy but casual and friendly with charm and who can’t resist a smile when your waitress has a miss matching flowered flowing skirt with a top that resembles my Nanas curtains from the 70’s, and an apron that’s more like Mrs Bouquets pinnie! 

I noticed a few Ivy staff had jumped ship, along with quite a few Jamie O’s staff, they closed down as Cosy Club was opening. Forty odd staff are employed at present – twenty odd chefs, a few runners and a hefty bunch front of house. They all seemed very happy and pleased to work for Cosy, saying there all encouraged to look after each other and work as one big family. 

Employing over 40 odd local caters makes me happy – – – it’s certainly good for Norwich’s economy. 

Downstairs you’ll find the old bank Vault, one of three private dining rooms with its own bar and extra-long table seating along with additional retro comfy bar seating. There’s even toilets down there – there funky too. The manager told me he can juggle seating around so the space is more multi-functional – think board room, meetings, party’s for up to 20-ish or casual groups for tapas of up to 40.


Then there’s an even bigger room upstairs with seating for up to 60 maybe, also with a bar and loos. Plus theres the Oval office on the ground floor with disabled access.

So, to the food – – Cosy Club plans to open 7 days a week for Breakfast, Lunch, dinner & drinks.

Food is served every day from 9am – 10pm, with the bar staying open until the 1.30am at weekends and 11pm mid-week, except Thursdays 12.30am.

A full English Breakfast is £8.50 or a bacon butty for £3.95, go exotic with a Shakshuka at £6.50. 

Sarnies run mid-day from £7.25 but you get salad or fries included. 

Burgers and Mains start from around £10, tapas at £4.95 each and puddings around £5. Plus, Kids food from £5.

I think it’s a safe menu – something for everyone including a separate impressive large Gluten free and Vegan menu. You can get your Fish & Chips, comforting Game Pie, cosy fresh fish, go spicy with a green chicken or veggie curry, go healthy with a super salad or a reasonably priced steak cooked to your liking.

We got free tapas at the launch party – they were ok. 

They cook a high percentage on site in their upstairs kitchen. It’s a big menu so you’ll be satisfied but I don’t think it will win culinary genius status quite yet. For me it’s all about the food and the flavours but when you get to opening your 23rdbranch and have to keep consistency along with pleasing a large restaurant that can seat over 100 the flavour will give a little. 

I’m not saying it’s not good – it’s just not as good as it could be. Food is all about love, taking your time to get it perfect – that won’t happen when you’ve got 170 covers.

I did like the Goats cheese fritters – they punched the goats cheese flavour. The scotch egg was good, hubby loved it – perfectly runny egg in black pudding and pork served with a tangy tasty chutney. We also had pulled chicken with (could be crispier) potatoes, but good flavour. My hubby especially liked the Bacon Poppers with Chipotle sauce, I felt the bacon wasn’t fresh – but he’s easier to please than me. I’m a cookery tutor, I’m always looking for perfection.

So, to sum it all up – it’s a beautifully glorious space, a cosy-comfy restaurant, a massively large menu to please everyone’s tastes, you’ll get good friendly service, food will be good if you choose right, the prices will be reasonable. It will always be open – – 

I’ll definitely be back – I must try Breakfast, I love Shakshuka. My daughter will want to see it all (slightly jealous she didn’t get to go) I know she’ll want the full English Breakfast one weekend morning. While hubby will want to try the pork belly main for under £12. 

I want to try a Burger – but I’m a burger connoisseur, so might be too scared too, I don’t want to be disappointed but I’ve got very high standards when it comes to the perfect burger – I’d love cosy to match up.

I’d maybe like to see more lunch specials but they do offers

Here’s a few – 

  • Between Sun – Thur 4 – 8pm they do 2 cocktails for £9.95
  • Hot drink loyalty cards
  • Tuesdays from 5pm 3 tapas and a wine for £13.95
  • Free drink on a Monday from 5pm


  • Oap’s over 65 can get a free pot of tea on Wednesdays between 10-11am – – how good is that. 

C.C was born 17 years ago by 3 caterer friends who set up a restaurant in Bristol, 9 years later they opened the first actual Cosy Club – Norwich is the 23rd after 8 years, with the closed being in Ipswich.

It’s not grown and grown for nothing – it’s a bar scene with casual dining in a lavish space.

Anyway, give it a go – its new to Norwich, we look after newbies.

01603 358640

45-51 London Street, Norwich, NR2 1HX

by Zena Leech-Calton © 


Roger Hickman’s & His Fluffy Carpet

 Roger Hickman’s

Last night I was invited to Roger Hickman’s upstairs Private Dining rooms for a tasty opening. We enjoyed flowing Champagne and delectable canapes. Salt cod croquettes, truffle tartlets, spiced mini bhajis, smoked salmon and a couple of little taster bowls of scrumptious cauliflower brulee and the other of cured mackerel with a smooth horseradish foam – I know! it’s a hard job enjoying good food, lovely company and sampling amazing hospitality, while standing on the fluffiest of thick lavish carpets. (I swear I wanted to crawl on the floor and rub its fluffy quality – but apparently that’s not socially acceptable!)

A lavishly plush carpeted (stop revelling in the carpet!) Georgian dining room with comfy green velvet like booth table seating, comfortably seating 12 – 14 people, or at a push 16 –  all on a massive corner to corner dining table. Offering Roger’s taster menu for a minimum of 8 people for Lunch or dinner Tuesday to Saturday.

But it’s not just a private dining seating area there’s also an open kitchen where you’ll see Roger and his team putting it all together and plating up (technical term!). It’s pure theatre.

And it’s all a very reasonable price – from just over £40 you can have amazingly flavoured food, course after course, with gorgeous bread and smooth deserts, all lovingly prepared with every dish balanced and presented with colour, flavour and texture – I should know I make an annual pilgrimage to RH to indulge in some of the best food in Norwich, with divine service in this unpretentious top Norwich restaurant. It’s all about the food – – and the food delivers year after year. 

Lunch tasting Menu = £41, with wine flight £72

Dinner tasting menu = £70, with wine flight £110

Hickman’s has been a restaurant for over 25 years and before that is was a multitude of trades including a fishmonger. It’s been RH for 9 years and before that Roger was the head chef for Addlards for 5. 

The new Private dining room (don’t forget the carpet) was David Addlards flat. It’s taken 16 months to finish, when you’ve got a graded property you have to jump over hoops to retain the good looks and charm and it certainly does that with a magnificently large sash window overlooking Upper St Giles. Along with the original fireplace, high ceilings in this big open room. Original art work decorates the walls and some pretty cool wallpaper features on the chimney breast. 

Rogers originally from Leeds (I’m saying nothing, my husbands from Leeds – UP NORTH). He did the London thing gaining experience from the likes of Tom Aikins, before moving down to Norfolk. He also did a stint at the Victoria Hotel in Holkham. And while we are name dropping don’t forget Tom Kerridge also worked at Addlards back in the Michelin 1* days. 

But if we are talking awards Hickman’s has had them all, as well as being on every best restaurant list possible. People come from all over to indulge in good food and now they can enjoy the sublime experience of private dining. 

Not bad for a Lad from Leeds. But then again, all the good Northerners end up down south. 

Even if they don’t support Norwich City Football club but feed their players.



79 Upper St. Giles Street, Norwich NR2 1AB


01603 633522

By Zena Leech-Calton ©


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 ©