Eat Your Words | Bristol | Eat Your Words Bristol celebrates the cookbook and the act of eating together.
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Eat Your Words at the Abergavenny Food Festival

We are excited to announce we are off to the Abergavenny Food Festival in September. Join us to chat and eat Olia Hercules’ new book Kaukasis, alongside a menu cooked by Olia and her team. Click here for more details


Eat Your Words Bristol celebrates the cookbook and the act of eating together. Meeting every two months, or thereabouts, the aim is to discuss classic cookbooks. Those books that have stood the test of time and not only contain wonderful recipes; paint vivid pictures with prose and sweep you along on a cultural or historical journey. All of this whilst sat at the table of some of Bristol’s finest restaurants and cafes, dipping into dishes from the very pages being discussed.

Roberta’s Cookbook Tuesday 18th July at 7pm at Bertha’s Pizza

About the book

Roberta’s started life in 2007 when three friends got together to open a restaurant, quite simply because they wanted a great place to hang out and eat pizza. They bought a cinderblock warehouse in Bushwick, a part of New York City which as they put it, was still Wild West enough to be affordable. With little experience in the restaurant industry between them and no corporate investors, the restaurant grew slowly and without the expectations or limitations that a conventional restaurant business might have.

From its original starting point it grew into a pizza place with a tented Tiki bar; an onsite radio station; a roof top garden that doubled as a dirt bike track and a twelve cover Michelin starred tasting den outback. There may now be discord amongst the three friends, but pizza remains their signature, although not one rooted to a particular geographical area. More like the marrying of ingredients (some of which come directly from their garden) and flavours that work well together. Latterly, pasta, delicate salads, home cures and wood roasted meats have appeared on the menu. Its reputation, both for its food and its vibe, means that people will travel from afar. And the story of how it got to being, alongside key recipes, is all captured in their cookbook.

Bertha’s Pizza, run by Graham and Kate Faragher is a family pizzeria which recently made its home in the Old Stables, on Gaol Ferry steps. Before this, Bertha’s was an iconic part of Bristol’s street food scene, serving wood fired sourdough pizza from a sunflower yellow converted Landrover. The pizzas here use carefully sourced ingredients with seasonal specials  that surprise and delight. They also make fabulous gelato and have no fewer than four negronis on the menu.

 It’s with great delight that Bertha’s will be hosting the Roberta’s Cookbook for the next Eat Your Words Bristol on Tuesday 18th of July.

Event Information

Roberta’s Cookbook

Date & Time

Tuesday 18th July at 7pm.


Our full menu will be available shortly. As with previous events, it will be served at communal tables in a relaxed atmosphere.Due to the nature of the event there are no vegan options. A vegetarian menu will be available but please state this requirement at the time of booking.


Bertha’s Pizza, The Old Stable, Gaol Ferry Steps, BS1 6UX


Tickets are £30.03 per person (drinks not included).

How to Book

Book via the following Eventbrite link Due to the nature of the event there are no vegan options. A vegetarian menu will be available but please state this requirement at the time of booking. Cancellations made 7 days before the event will be fully refunded.

Previous Events

Launch Event - Nose To Tail Eating at The Birch

Launch Event – Nose To Tail Eating at The Birch

Nose to Tail Eating was first published in 1999, five years after Fergus Henderson opened and established his restaurant, St John. A converted smokehouse in Smithfields, London; its white washed, white tiled, pared back aesthetic was as much of a draw as the rediscovery of a bold, very British kind of cooking.

The book itself is a wonderful distillation of the place; although Henderson is quick to point out that it is not about replicating restaurant plates but cooking and eating at home with family and friends in mind.

Plain and unfussy; the prose is evocative, witty, concise and a joy to read. Beginning from the standpoint that it would be ‘disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast’; the recipes take delight in blood, bones, innards and lesser cuts of meat, paired with seemingly simple accompaniments.

Alongside, photography by Jason Lowe that seems as fresh now, as it did then. Plates filled with food, demolished suet crust pies, fish bones and carved meats, shot over head on plain white tables. Friendly and informal, it is perhaps a reflection of the very best thing about eating together.

Both the restaurant and the book have inspired and influenced many, including Birch, a cosy neighbourhood restaurant in Southville run by Beccy Massey and Sam Leach. Carefully sourcing ingredients and growing their own produce where possible; the food here is beautifully cooked, honours the whole beast and is simply a joy. So it is with great delight that Nose to Tail Eating will be the first cookbook to be discussed at Eat Your Words Bristol. Come join us at Birch –to chat and eat the book.

Roast Chicken and Other Stories at Wallfish Bistro

Roast Chicken and Other Stories at Wallfish Bistro

Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson with Lindsey Bareham, has been given the accolade of most useful cookery book. Originally published in 1994; the chapters are arranged in alphabetical order and by ingredient. Each begins with a short story: the joy of roasting a chicken; the unparalleled taste of raw Jersey cream; the beguiling flavour of saffron or the smell of rabbit pie cooking slowly in the oven. Snippets of fanfare are also included: for other food writers, chefs and remarkable dishes. Food photography has been eschewed in favour of water colour illustrations by Flo Bayley, heading each chapter and dotted throughout.

Having run his own restaurant in Wales at a young age; spent time as an Egon Ronay inspector; opened a restaurant at which Elizabeth David became a regular and, helped build the reputation of Terrence Conran’s Bibendum, it is clear that Hopkinson knows his subject. The writing is gentle and amiable, with recipes that are accessible, reliable and have a traditional European sensibility. He has little time for unnecessary embellishments or jarring modern twists. This really is a book that can be read like a novel; dipped in and out of; skimmed; although best of all, cooked from.

Following a similar ethos, Wallfish Bistro in Clifton, run by Liberty Wenham and Seldon Curry produces superb, seemingly simple dishes from quality ingredients, without gimmickry. It is the epitome of a cosy neighbourhood restaurant and a delightful place to eat. So it is with great pleasure then that the next Eat Your Words Bristol event, Roast Chicken and Other Stories will be taking place here.

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi at Flow. A Bristol Food Connections Event

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi at Flow. A Bristol Food Connections Event

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi started life from his weekly New Vegetarian food column in the Guardian Weekend magazine. Although many of the recipes were drawn from there, new recipes, all with the home cook in mind were also included. Published in 2010, it was the much anticipated follow up to his popular first book and a slight departure. Full of bold and fresh flavour combinations, it takes some time, if at all, to notice that the recipes are meat-free; representing a turning point in the way in which vegetarian food and cookery was perceived by the wider public.

The book is divided into what Ottolenghi describes as unsystematic chapters, centring upon a key ingredient that seems to cluster together: Funny Onions; Brassicas; Green Things and so forth. There is even a chapter devoted to the Mighty Aubergine, including one of my favourite recipes, aubergine with buttermilk sauce. Beautiful and vibrant photography by Jonathan Lovekin accompanies, capturing gorgeous platters of food, kitchen life and other details.

Flow is a relative newcomer to Bristol’s lively food scene. A relaxed and welcoming place, tucked away in the Bearpit, it creates seasonal vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes. Drawing inspiration from many food cultures; the emphasis is on delivering fresh and exciting food, so the perfect place to be hosting Plenty, our Bristol Food Connections special event.

The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller at No Man's Grace

The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller at No Man’s Grace

The French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California, takes its name from the French steam laundry which was once housed in the former saloon building, following the start of Prohibition. Set within the Napa Valley, amongst vineyards, orchards and almond groves; the property was bought during the early 1990s by the chef Thomas Keller, who started serving American food with French influences and techniques. In a short space of time it received accolades, most notably from the James Beard Foundation and went on to receive three Michelin stars in 2007, which it retains to this day.

First published in 1999, The French Laundry Cookbook is co-authored with Susie Heller and Michael Ruhlman and is a faithful record of recipes served in the restaurant, since its opening. As daunting as this may sound, it is actually accessible and does bear the home cook in mind with tips on caring and storing ingredients and, adapting methods for the home kitchen. Some recipes are more challenging and time consuming than others but they also have components that may be taken and used elsewhere. To paraphrase: If you don’t want to make tuile cones, just make salmon tartare and serve it on toast.

Alongside the recipes there are explanations of techniques and preparation, stories about the producers who supply the restaurant and, a memoir threading through it. How someone without any special food memories or interest in cooking became a chef; important lessons learned whether life or Hollandaise; respect for ingredients and reducing waste; above all, the strive towards perfection in cooking in order to make people happy.

No Man’s Grace run by Julu Irvine and John Watson opened on Chandos Road in 2014; serving British style tapas, with the added bonus of a dessert bar. The small plates here are complex, flavourful and concise, in order to avoid the law of diminishing returns –where after the initial fabulous bite, flavours may begin to deaden or the diner lose interest. Inspired and influenced by Thomas Keller’s ethos, it is the perfect place to host the book. With a slight departure from previous events; for one night only, No Man’s Grace will be turning itself into the French Laundry, putting on an eight course tasting menu (with optional wine flight) of Keller’s recipes. Come and join us to chat and eat the book.

Faviken By Magnus Nilsson at Bulrush Restaurant

Faviken By Magnus Nilsson at Bulrush Restaurant

Given its reputation, it is hard to believe that Fäviken Magasinet was once a moose and fondue restaurant, catering predominantly for corporate clients in search of team building. Set within an estate in Jämtland, northern Sweden, it was in 2003 that Magnus Nilsson first became involved when the new owners took over and began to renovate the place.

Trained in the French school of cooking and having spent a number of years in France, the menu featured ingredients and dishes found on many an ambitious European restaurant such as foie gras, truffles, lemon and Parmesan cheese. Finding the produce a little lacking and supplies often difficult to get hold of, sourcing locally and seasonally came out of necessity.

Starting with a small kitchen garden, they grew what they could in the often harsh conditions. Having grown up in the region, Nilsson went back to his roots of hunting and foraging to supplement produce from local farms and dairies; preserving, fermenting and pickling in order to survive the deep cold winter. This changed and shaped the menu, reclaiming Swedish ingredients, making it stand apart from others and turning Fäviken into a destination restaurant.

The book documents this journey, as well as that of Nilsson and his team; recording a day in the life of the running the estate and restaurant, trying to capture the experience of dining there and recording some of their recipes and techniques. From the outset they say the recipes are not precise and the quantities, timings and temperatures are more like guidelines. Ultimately Nilsson says, you cannot replicate Fäviken because who you are, where you are and the produce you have available to you are not the same. Instead he advocates applying the techniques with intuition, passion and happiness to understand the way in which he and his team cook.

Bulrush opened its doors with little fanfare almost a year ago. Run by Katherine Craughwell and George Livesey, their food is seasonal, intricate, multi-layered and accentuated with foraged ingredients, pickles, preserves and ferments. Here you will find some of the most exciting food served in this city. I’m very excited to announce that Bulrush will be hosting our Christmas Special –Faviken.

Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson at Bar Buvette

Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson at Bar Buvette

After studying English at Cambridge, working in galleries, followed by a period in publishing; it wasn’t until the late 1960s that Jane Grigson turned her attention to food writing. Leading to a long partnership with the Observer magazine, her columns provided the basis for a number of her books. Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery, her first book about food was originally published in 1966. It was the result of her explorations of food in France, after living and working there for three months of the year in a ‘cave-cottage’, dug into the cliffs of the Loire Valley in the village of Troo.

The book starts with a guide to the charcutier’s shop, present in all but the smallest of French towns. From what may be ready to eat, it moves onto cuts of meat and offal best used for charcuterie; equipment required and onto herbs, spices and relishes for inclusion and accompaniment. The chapters which follow detail a myriad of terrines, pates, galantines, sausages and white pudding recipes. There is a comprehensive chapter on salt pork and ham including wet and dry curing and also smoking techniques. A slim but wonderfully written chapter of fresh pork cookery includes how best to cook a suckling pig, before dealing with the extremities such as tongue and brain and also the insides –including chitterling sausages or andouilles.

Each chapter is introduced with a combination of scholarly article, observation, blended with personal anecdote and references to similarities in English curing and cooking techniques. The book is not only a detailed manual for those who wish to home cure or cook every part of the pig, it is interesting and a delight to read. Recipes range from simple to challenging but would tempt even the most reluctant to consider buying pounds of saltpetre and a stoneware brine-crock.

Bar Buvette originally started as a pop-up showcasing an incredible range of French natural wines. Alongside, they served house made charcuterie, cheeses from the Auvergne, simple salads and magnificent toasties. The popularity of the place saw owners Max Ososki and Peter Taylor, who split their time running the Auberge de Chassignolle in the Haute Loire in France, to secure the lease for the property last year. After a revamp, they now have a permanent kitchen which allows for a daily changing menu of simple and seasonal food, to compliment the wine. Relaxed and lively, this spot on Baldwin Street will transport you elegantly from Bristol to France.

Food in England by Dorothy Hartley at Birch

Food in England by Dorothy Hartley at Birch

At first glance, Food in England by Dorothy Hartley appears simply a vast history book, covering English cookery from the mediaeval period onwards. On second look and careful reading, it is in fact bursting with recipes and practical techniques including what now seem like curios, having been lost from our modern day traditions and eating habits.

Published in 1954 and never out of print, this book was a result of Hartley’s (often solitary) travels across the country –interviewing, sketching and eating as she went. At home, on the Welsh-English border, she lived in a small workman’s cottage where she had a gas stove in one room and a log fire with a pot crane in another, over which she cooked –shunning modern equipment and appliances.

Hartley’s eccentricity can be felt in the layout of the book and her prodigious knowledge seen in the level of detail in which she documents. Her writing however is never dry and there is warmth, humour and passages of poetry as she describes harvests, markets and regional dishes that are dying out and, regional dishes that survive.

I am delighted to say that Birch will be hosting this event, creating a five course menu comprising of interesting tidbits from Dorothy Hartley’s book. Not to be missed!



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