Farewell to Oat Cuisine as Hole in the Wall shuts up shop

The world’s last traditional oatcake shop has closed its doors for the final time – marking the end on an era following council plans to demolish the premises.

The Hole in the Wall oatcake shop in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, was flooded with customers after news emerged that it would close.

The 115-year-old terrace house, which has served oatcakes through its front window since the 1920s, has become an iconic building on Waterloo Street. Continue reading

Breathe City Church Foodbank

Breathe City Church is partnering with a national charity to help meet those in most need across the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The His Church charity which is based in Lincoln has donated 26 pallets of food with an approximate value of £60k to BCC to develop their work through When… Distribution Centre.

this is a great opportunity to continue to help those in need in the city especially as we are coming up to Christmas. We believe that the work When… does tangilably effects the lives of individuals and families in a positive way and helps them during difficult times.

BCC is now able to offer food, clothing and debt counciling, through their CAP centre, thus helping individuals within Stoke-on-Trent in a holistic way inspiring them to become all that they can be.

When… is great at what it does on many levels as it helps those in need and provides companies within the city the opportunity to also get involved by donating goods, assisting with transportation of goods or by providing financial support

If you would like to help in any way the work that BCC undertakes in relation to When… and the distribution of food then please don’t hesitate to email admin@breathecitychurch.com

Come Dine With Me Returns To Stoke-on-Trent

The popular Channel 4 TV show Come Dine With Me, is returning to Stoke-on-Trent in early September and is currently looking for contestants to take part.

Are you a wizz in the kitchen or more likely to be a disaster, can you create a three course oatcake meal have you got the personality and the skills to win £1000?

The show format is, over the course of a week each contestant takes it in turn to host a dinner party at their home for the others. At the end of the week the host who has been given the highest scores by the other contestants wins a £1,000 cash prize.

If you are interested in talking part then please email the team on cdwm@itv.com or call 0871 244 4142.*

Don’t forget to let us know if you apply and are accepted so we can follow your progress!

*Callers from a BT landline will be charged a set up fee of 10p per call plus 10p per minute. Calls from other networks may be higher and from mobiles will cost considerably more.

The Plough – Pub/Restaurant review

Last week we went to the Plough Inn in Etruria, for a meal as it had been recommended to us.

I had been to the Plough Inn before as I used to work around the corner. Back then the Plough was more of a Pub than a Restaurant. Today the Place seems to be going more for the food trade.

I had looked around at other reviews before trying the pub and found that the Plough had some great reviews. Most people who had left reviews were extremely happy with the quality of the food, in particular the Steaks.

Looking over the menu, Which was made of mainly steaks, I wasn’t that tempted to be honest. I like my steak ‘Rare’ but very ‘rarely’ get a good one, no pun intended.

I decided not to eat, but had 12 friends who did and I took a broad sweep of their opinion. all reported positively, except for the price. No one can deny that the Plough serves good cuts of Steak, it really does.

The Beer was also good, I was drinking Hartleys Ale and it slipped down beautifully. I always got a clean glass and prompt service.

Negative points about the Plough are it’s location, which of course it cannot help, the Entrance to the pub is through the back garden and not the front door which annoyed me somewhat.

The Beer garden from which one enters is slightly tired looking and could be filled with with Summer plants.

Then you enter the building through a sort of conservatory, which is really little more than a lean-to with chairs and tables in in.

The Toilets left something to be desired. these were basically the pub toilets from days gone by and the Mens (The only ones I went into) had a plastic cistern that people had left their cigarettes burning on, it was all marked and for a restaurant , looked disgusting.

The Pub itself was a little cramped for my liking, very chintzy, far too much halcyon clutter packed in, in an attempt to make the place look rustic.

That said though the Staff were friendly and smart, and didn’t keep diners waiting, which is a pet hate of mine, so full marks there.

To sum up this Pub clearly has a reputation for good Steak, I would welcome a small expansion of dishes to cater for those who don’t want/like Steak. However they are clearly good at Steak so, I guess if if it ain’t broke….

This place could do with a de-clutter and make better use of the space, most diners don’t like to feel they are being packed in for profit. Beer drinkers will appreciate the quality if slightly limited range of ales. With a bit of TLC on the toilets and outside area, this place could really rate as a top notch eatery. My message to the owners would be “Don’t rest on your Laurels, you have many good points but this place is not the finished article”.

Come Dine With Me – Stoke on Trent

Come Dine With Me:  Well, for those of you who watch come dine with me, i’m sure you will have been fairly horrified. The program has arrived in Stoke on Trent and for those of you with high hopes, I’m sure you will have been dissapointed.

The Four hopefuls were mixed bunch, Caroline was portrayed as the "snobby" one, although in truth, she had standards, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Her Main dish was Venison, and the Narrator asked if Venison was "too posh for Stoke on Trent". Jesus man, the place may be a bit run down but we aren’t all compete troglodytes, you know? It’s only deer anyway.

Caroline was entertaining bank manager Paul, bookie Linda and hairstylist Jay. As is customary on CDWM the other contestants proceed to snoop around the host’s house. Is that normal? I mean when I go to friends houses I wait to be invited on a tour, I don’t go rummaging around in people’s rooms. Paul, Who in truth was the most fun out of all the contestants took and interest in her dresses. "I tell you what," he said, "if I don’t have one of them on by the end of the night I’ll be disappointed." A few seconds later he appeared at the dining table in her Dress.

Well, Paul if I’d have been Caroline or Caroline’s hubby, I’d have been bloody furious. Not only is it extremely bad manners to go snooping around someone elses bedroom, it really is taking the biscuit to strip off and squeeze your unwashed torso into a ladies clothes without be asked to do so.The dress looked expensive and I’m sure it will have been stretched by having a mans figure forced into it.

Back to the food and Caroline had unveiled her warm goats’ cheese salad. "I’m pleased that she burnt the cheese a bit," said Linda, "because I really do love burnt cheese." Honestly, hands up…who likes burnt food at dinner parties…? thought so.

Everyone was well turned out for the party and Carolines house, although, not to my personal taste was clean and presentable. As i said earlier , she was portrayed as a snob but in truth she simply had ambition, I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere. The next Party was Lindas. Not sure where Linda was from in Stoke but it’s acceptable to have a sign outside your house that reads "Hello, welcome, now **** off". Seriously, in the 14 minutes the show had been on it had done serious harm to the image of Stoke-on-Trent. Again does anyone actually think that sign is funny? It’s just plain common if you ask me. Things I think in the privacy of my own mind are not to be plastered up up on the outside wall.

Hairdresser Jay, waded in with another inappropriate comment "I hate cats, if it comes near me, I’ll nail it to the front door." What a truly horrible thing to say to someone when you are a guest in their house. I know it was a joke…but it’s in pretty poor taste.

Linda’s food looked pretty average really, not bad but nothing much to write home about, but the atmosphere seemed a bit flat until Jay stated how massive the ladies knockers were. Unreal, sorry I meant surreal. Hosting a ‘wig party’, Jay served shark which he cooked in the back garden on what looked like and old oil drum. His Garden was worse than mine and that’s saying something. Still the man had no shame, he couldn’t be arsed to tidy it up for the cameras.

Caroline tired of the company and the cheap gags, and Linda came dressed as Caroline, which went down like a lead balloon. Jay and Paul, hit it off though, and I’m sure they will remain great friends. To be fair to Paul he had a good menu, I didn’t think it looked particularly appetising but there you go, he came joint first so… , he must have cooked it well, eitheer that or their taste buds had been severely damaged or numbed by the first two meals.

Bank Manager Paul, Hosted a glam-rock night, which certainly looked fun in the costumes people selected.  His food  was by far and away the best of the lot, looked professional in it’s plating and for me was a clear winner.  He even laid on a band at the end of the night which, although he couldn’t sing for toffee was a great idea and showed a bit of imagination, well this is the creative county.


All in all i thought the show was  a bit of an embarrassment for Stoke.  The food was a bit bland on the whole, and the people…well, you decide.  Go check out the CDWM Stoke page…read the menus and watch the show again on 4OD

Come Dine With Me Stoke
CDWM Stoke – 4OD




Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Warn About The Dangers Of Leaving Cooking Food Unattended

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service are warning people about the dangers of leaving cooking food unattended in the kitchen after a number of kitchen fires across the city this weekend.

Crews from Hanley and Burslem were called to Pennyfields Avenue in Longport at 6.50pm on Saturday after a man had accidentally ignited a gas canister causing a small fire in his kitchen. The occupant was boiling potatoes on the hob and fumes from the canister ignited, damaging the curtains and window frame and burning the man.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put the fire out and the occupant was treated for burns at the scene. He was taken to North Staffordshire hospital for further burns treatment but was discharged the following morning.

The Burslem firefighters went from this incident straight to another kitchen fire on St John’s Road in Biddulph to assist crews from Biddulph with an oven fire. Food had been left unattended in the oven and the occupants were alerted after the smoke alarms went off.

In the south of the city on Saturday evening, two crews from Longton were called to a kitchen fire at Stadbroke Drive in Dresden. The 96 year old occupant had left the grill on which then set alight.

He was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene while firefighter’s ventilated the property and did not require hospital treatment.

Station Manager, David Agu said, ‘We urge people not to leave food unattended whilst cooking. It is very easy to forget about food cooking so we would advise that when people are preparing food to remain in the kitchen until they are finished.’

To book a free Home Fire Risk Check call 0800 0241 999. For all other non emergency enquiries to Staffordshire Fire & Rescue call 08451 22 11 55

Hairy Bikers visit Hole in the Wall

By Pits n Pots Reporter

Gathering footage for their new show, Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Simon King have been sampling the culinary delights of Staffordshire – at Hanley’s own Hole in The Wall.

The bearded duo said that when they visited the London Road Bakery earlier in the year and asked the people here what they ate, they heard a resounding ‘oatcake’ response, and ended up visiting one of the city’s oldest remaining establishments, which still serves its oatcakes through the window of a terraced house.

The historic shop is, as we have widely publicised, part of an area subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) by the city council, being within an Area of Major Intervention where new housing is planned.

But whilst houses around Glenn’s oatcake shop are being demolished, and the old community disappears, he is still going strong. And yet when I asked him what was going to happen to him and the Hole in The Wall this week, he replied “We haven’t heard anything at all”.

The scenes will be shown as part of the bikers’ series of programmes to be aired on BBC2 in the daytime, following their culinary travels around the UK, concentrating on a different county in each show.

Star chef to launch Love Food Hate Waste campaign

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.

Richard Fox - TV Chef

Richard Fox - TV Chef

Celebrity Chef Richard Fox will be cooking up a storm with shoppers in Stoke-on-Trent this weekend.

The “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign will be in town to show people how to turn their left over food into gourmet meals.
The exhibition will be at Tontine Square from 10:30am on Saturday 18 April, with Lord Mayor Councillor Derek Capey. Experts in recycling food will also be on hand to offer people advice on how to make better use of their leftovers.
Top chef Richard, star of UK TV Food, BBC 2’s Food Poker and Channel 4’s Risky Business, will be demonstrating how food that could have ended up in the bin can be turned into a five star feast. He will be supported by chef Jody Rushton who won the Taste of Staffordshire Young Chef of Tomorrow award in 2008.
The Lord Mayor said: “This is a great opportunity for people to find out how to turn leftovers into a family meal. A third of the food we buy gets thrown away, and people just can’t afford to do that today.
“The Love Food Hate Waste campaign is really important and relevant. We want Stoke-on-Trent to be a good example of how people can really get involved and learn how to recycle their leftovers.”
The Love Food Hate Waste Campaign is being run by the Staffordshire Waste Partnership. The partnership is made up of eight district councils, which are responsible for waste collection, the County Council, which is responsible for disposal, and one unitary authority which is responsible for both. It aims to increase recycling, reduce rubbish produced and encourage purchase of recycled products

Winter Warmers – Lobby

A staffordshire dish

Lobby- A Staffordshire dish

When I first came to Stoke , a lot of my mates would talk about “Lobby” , in my Derbyshire ignorance I assumed they were talking about about a waiting area in a public building.  Later I learned it was a delicious stew, that was a traditional meal of the Potteries. Â  My mate showed me how to make it and it’s been a favourite of mine ever since.  I’ll share it with you now.

Tideswellmans Lobby

You will need

1 Large saucepan
1 frying pan
A sharp knife
2 chopping boards, 1 for meat one for veg
a hearty appetite

Serves 4-6

Stewing Steak half a pound
2 Parsnips
2 Carots
6 Taters
2 cubes vegetable stock
1 onion
1 Swede
1 Leek
worcestershire sauce

salt and Pepper

First off, get a frying pan and brown off your meat. Â  Some people dont bother  with this part, I  do. Â  I also like to add a bit of black pepper to the pan to seal in the flavour. (My mate likes to add brown sauce and Worcestershire sauce at this point)  You choose.

Once the meat is brown , add it to a big saucepan, then fry up your onions, then add to the meat.  Add 2 inches of water. Â  Bring to the boil then simmer until you can see the meat chunks peeking out of a meaty gravy should take about 1 hr 30 minutes.

Next add your chopped vegetables.  This will fill the pan up considerably.  Add water until its to the top of the vegetables.  Then put the lid on the pan.

Bring to the boil and simmer checking regularly, once your vegetables have softened, add your veg stock cubes.  Give it the taste test, if a little bland, add salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce till it tastes just right, simmer 5 more mins and its ready to serve.

Let me know, how you get on with it and tell me your variations on the recipe.

Gods Own Foodstuff.

Its been a long week, what with strange CRB checks, job losses, the EMB meeting decending into chaos and the council vote on all out elections go belly up. we have not had to much time to inject a bit of something lighter, until now.

If there is one thing that all in this city sould be proud of it the Potters Oatcake, by god yes. The Oatcake as kept the city well fed for generations. and we sould hold it high.

When I was in the hospital last year I asked a nurse if Oatcakes were ever on the menu, only on the children’s ward and only as a treat she told me. As the days dragged by I was indeed getting desperate and had to ask the wife for a second favor, (the first one had been to give me some money so at least I got some good coffee, instead of the cheep piddle the NHS serve up)to do the desent thing and bring in some oatcakes for me and the rest of the lads in the bay.

The next afternoon she smuggeled them in, 18 of the little darlings, all with Bacon and Chedder,and they all went in about three momments flat. We had a copper on the the ward  from Leicesrshire, he said he had never had anything so nice in all his life.

A  fews later I was talking with a dietitian at the hospital, she told me that the Oatcake is a very good food, not a lot in there to halm you, it was what you put in the things and I sould try putting blueberry jam in them, no need to tell you that she was not local.I told her she was stark steering bonkers and you had stuff like Bacon, cheese, sausage, that sort of stuff.

In the summer the local paper ran an item about a company making a film about the local food such as Oakcakes, they wanted people to enter a competition to find the best filling. With no intention at all in entering I drove the Sentinels website and indeed the wife round the bend trying new concoptions. By far the best new one I come up with was Black Pudding and Brown Sauce, followed by Spam and Cheshire Cheese. I would not recomand Hot Dog Sausage and fryed egg, not good at all and the after mouth that  night was dreadful.

Anyway I sould have gone to that competition, The Sentinel reported a few days later that a woman who pitched up and filled them full of Custard and Jam, again I don’t think the woman was local. I mean, you want that kind of stuff, you get yourself a Pancake.

And another thing, it has been pointed out to me that some folk are not cooking there Oakcakes right. Get this, some now put there Oakcakes in the Microwave oven, and not, as the founders of this fine city did and bang them under the grill. I know all us pits and potters are good potteries men and women, please if you see anyone doing this please kill them. One more thing, please don’t get your Oatcakes from the local supermarket, the product’s ok but not a patch on going down to the local Oatcake shop and getting the fantastic things fresh, right off the griddle.

So I will hand this load of old rubbish over to you.. whats the best filling, sould the cooking of oatcakes in the microwave be a criminal offence, can you dip them in Lobbie without getting covered in the stuff and where are the best shops to get your hands on gods own food.