HCH

HungryCityHippy Featured as Guardian’s Sustainable Blog of the Week

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed (by email) by The Guardian’s Live Better team, who wanted to know how HungryCityHippy came to life.

Today, I am super excited to announce that the piece went live and you can read it in full, here, (although I will probably post a full transcript of the Q&A at some point soon)!

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Thanks to Guardian for featuring the blog!

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The Lansdowne Pub, Canton: New Chef, New Menu

The Lansdowne pub in Canton has developed quite a reputation in recent months. It’s probable that some of that status is due to the long-term residency of Cardiff BBQ legends Hangfire Smokehouse, who often created queues out-the-door as punters came in search of the best slow-cooked meat in town. Continue reading

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The City Break: Pictures of Prague

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog over the past couple of weeks I know. Apologies, but at least I have an excuse – you see, I have reached that age where every month seems to bring a new engagement, wedding invitation or hen-do to plan for! This past weekend I spent in Prague, celebrating the engagement of one of my oldest friends, who is due to marry her fiance in a ‘beer festival’ themed wedding in September.

Even though it’s not strictly the kind of content I usually pop on the blog, I thought I’d share a few pictures with you anyway, because Prague was just lovely. Enjoy!

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Pizza Express: The New Lunch Menu / Vegan Pizza

Note: This will be a 2-part blog post. 

I was recently invited to try out the new lunch menu at Pizza Express, but I also wanted to write about their new vegan pizza from the main menu, and explore the headlines that they have been making recently in light of the revelation that they serve halal chicken as standard in all of their restaurants. For easy reading, I have split the post in two. Hope you don’t mind! Continue reading

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Amaryllis: Cardiff’s New Eco-Friendly Hair Salon

Nestled at the top of Cowbridge Road East, and conveniently located at the edge of ‘town’, Canton, Riverside and Pontcanna, is a brand new hair salon called Amaryllis. With a passion for ‘precision cutting and specialist colouring techniques’, the salon is bright, modern, and inviting – but what sets it apart from it’s competitors is that it is the first salon in the country to offer (and use) products by Davines, an Italian haircare brand with a commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness.

Continue reading

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The Slow Burn: How I fell in Love with Hangfire Smokehouse

I know, I know. You can’t move in the cardiff blogosphere at the moment for want of posts singing the praises of Hangfire Smokehouse, the ‘low and slow’ BBQ pop-up success story that has taken Cardiff by storm. Well I apologise in advance if I bore you, but I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I have a good reason, though. Let me explain.

I’d heard amazing things about the Hangfire girls, Sam and Shauna. After jacking in high-flying jobs in London to travel the US of A, they started recreating the dishes from their travels back home in their own backyard. With months of hard work, blood, sweat and tears, they slowly became the talk of the town, the stuff of Cardiff legend; their pop-ups creating queues out the door, their dishes photographed all over Instagram and Twitter, BBQ food selling out week on week.

I watched with great interest. At the time, I was living in London and surrounded by awesome food all of the time, but I had never seen a buzz back home like the one around the Hangfire girls. Family and friends visited one by one and reported back to me that the food was indeed, out of this world. My boyfriend began nagging me about paying them a visit – he spent 12 weeks traveling  America a few years back, and many of the places which inspire Hangfire’s menus were included in his trip too. I was being bombarded with love for the Smokehouse. But I resisted.

So what was the hold up? Well, I’ll be honest, I just didn’t do my research. I had a peek at Hangfire’s twitter, I tried to find a menu on their website, I read other people’s blogs. Nowhere could I find a mention of how the meat was being sourced, except for the word ‘local’. I shrugged and gave up, figuring that it wasn’t for me, and it wasn’t a fit for the blog. Then, after the first week in my new job, I was taken to Hangfire at The Lansdowne for dinner by my other half’s parents and had to succumb to it’s deliciousness regardless (I’m a firm believer in eating ethically, but I am also a firm believer in not being a difficult arse when it comes to group meals, and usually go for the veggie options, if possible). It was Easter weekend and as a result, I had the most incredible pulled lamb with an apricot chutney; it was bloody gorgeous.

Plagued with guilt for chowing down on something so naughty, but also completely smitten by the flavours in what I had eaten, I headed online and began digging anew for info on Hangfire Smokehouse’s ethical credentials. And then, as if by magic, I found this – an epic, in depth, behind-the-scenes look at the Hangfire Smokehouse by fellow Welsh blogger The Plate Licked Clean. This line in particular caught my eye and sent a grin spreading across my face: “If you are going to go to the trouble of ensuring your meat is free range, and of sourcing everything you cook from within a 20mile radius… then it stands to reason that you will do all you can to ensure your customers get what they want.” I instantly tweeted back to check that my eyes had not deceived me, and received a quick reply that yep, everything that the Hangfire girls use is of the highest quality. Their butchers are The Farmers Pantry in Llantwit Major and Barretts of Rhoose, and both source local, free range, high welfare meat. Woohoo!

I did tweet the Hangfire girls to mention that their ethical credentials should be prominent on the menus, and they replied to say that in fact, they are. In my defence, I was very, very merry on ‘new job drinks’ when I visited and may have missed this, but it was embarrassing all the same – sorry ladies! Having said that, although I know that I am in the minority in wanting to know so much about where my food comes from and how it’s been reared, I firmly believe that restaurants and food producers who are doing everything right should SHOUT about it, not bury it deep in the rest of the chatter on their website. There are after all, so many pretenders in this game who are doing so much less, but still giving out all the marketing puff and reaping the rewards.

To summarise, this blog post is a bit of a thank you. A big thanks to Hangfire Smokehouse for doing what they do, and more importantly, doing it as ethically as they can which means it tastes better, is better for the animals, and I can enjoy it guilt-free.  It’s also a big thank you to The Plate Licked Clean for helping me discover that fact by writing that awesome, in-depth review, which is here again in case you missed it – do check it out if you’re really into your BBQ.

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Guess where I’ll be heading for dinner this weekend? :)

Image courtesy of Hangfire Smokehouse.

 

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HungryCityHippy Scoops Best New Blog and Best Food Blog at the Wales Blog Awards 2014 (Video)

I’ll keep this one short and sweet :) As the title of this blog post suggests, I am CHUFFED TO BEANS to share with anyone who might have missed my millions of updates on Twitter and Facebook (sorry about that) that on Thursday night at the 2014 Wales Blog Awards at the Chapter Arts Centre, I picked up not one, but two awards – taking home the winners trophy in both of the caegories that I had been shortlisted in.

Hungry City Hippy was awarded the ‘Bloggie’ award for Best New Blog and Best Food Blog 2014, which came as an incredible shock, especially seeing as I was up against so many awesome, well-established and influential blogs. In fact, the competition was so stiff that I hadn’t really given the evening much thought. When Hungry City Hippy was called and I had to go up to collect my award and certificate, I suddenly realised that I’d have to say a few words! I can’t for the life of me remember what I said then, so I thought I’d share my thoughts here.

I am delighted and absolutely made up that the judges chose my blog as the best food and best new blog this year. I started wrtiting it purely as a hobby, and also as an outlet for me to share my opinions and concerns about food and animal welfare in an appropriate place. I was hoping to meet other likeminded people, and to influence and challenge those who perhaps hadn’t given it much thought previously. For me, winning these awards is a small but significant victory for ethical eating and environmentalism, and I even had a couple of people approach me after the award ceremony to say that the blog had made them think a bit more about the food they eat and where it comes from. I couldn’t have wished for anything more. You can read more about the night and all of the other very talented winners in this piece from Wales Online.

Oh, and there’s a video too.

A massive thanks to anyone who has read the blog, commented, shared any of my posts, and followed me on social media. And a huge thanks to the Blog Awards judges and sponsors who saw fit to highlight the blog in this way. I really, really appreciate it, and I’m even more determined to make HCH bigger, better and hippy-er than before :)

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Cheers!

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Pie Minister: Bringing Pie to the Masses on St Mary Street

I first heard about Pie Minister opening on St Mary Street when someone commented on my blog post about the emergence of a ‘craft beer quarter’ in Cardiff city centre. Pies and beer! A match imagemade in heaven, they suggested. What I didn’t admit at the time is that I had already foolishly dismissed Pie Minister in my head, assuming it would be cheap meat and soggy pastry; an uninspiring junk food outlet for the post-rugby and pre-nightclub masses. Nothing to be excited about. Or so I thought. Continue reading

A UK food, travel & lifestyle blog with an ethical / eco focus. Winner of Best New Blog & Best Food Blog at the Wales Blog Awards 2014.

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