Issue 305
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Cake has calming powers. It's raw science. And you're not allowed to argue with science — it says so in the Bible. And with today's arrival of the city's favourite 16,000-mile Frankfurt street obstacle, a soothing influence might be just the tonic. Please find enclosed, the most brilliantly batty creations of some of Birmingham's best, and most independent bakers.
Introducing the Kinder Ferrero Task Master (£13.99), a freshly baked stack of cookies with a half and half approach to being. One side is filled with Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and brownie, while the other's got homemade white chocolate blondie, Kinder bar, Kinder Bueno, toasted marshmallows aaaand a deep filled Kinder Egg. Yes, really. More cake than biscuit, order online or wait until the New Year, when More Than a Cookie will be hitting up events like Harborne Night Market.
Pagers, peanut butter and pacemakers. All Canadian exports, and all satisfyingly alliterative. And for the maple nations next trick? Beavertails. Not literally beaver's tail, you beast. What the hell's wrong with you? Squash a doughnut 'till it's flat. Deep fry. Then cover in all the toppings. Try your first from Flats Doughnuts, who deal exclusively in the things. And probably start with owner, James' fave, the Lemon Cheesecake (£6), loaded with cream cheese frosting, lemon curd, spiced biccies and blackberry sorbet. Find Flats at DDC.
Cake is the answer to everything. Brexit? Cake. Difficult second album? Cake. Dodgy keeper? Cake. The masters of Brum cakery are Conjurer's Kitchen. Big-brained baker, Annabel de Vetten, describes her company's curiosities as ‘demonically delicious’, inspired by 'things your mother told you not to touch.’ Boar’s heads, skulls, intestines – you get the idea. For peak strange, head to Etsy where you can buy her edible greetings cards. Oh the times we've thought ‘great card, if only we could eat it...’
If you’ve got a Bake Off shaped hole in your life which just isn't abating, may we point you in the direction of pastry chef Darryl Collins — former Bake Off: The Professionals finalist and creator of The Bauble (£6.50)? Underneath the festive layer, you're looking at a white chocolate and vanilla mousse with a mulled wine and berry filling, served up on a vanilla sable biscuit. Try chef's latest showstopper from November 11 when the the winter menu at Sky By The Water launches.
Scotch eggs are up there with The Pyramids as one of mankind’s finest creations. And just when we thought they couldn’t get any better, someone went and added chocolate. Three kinds of the stuff. That someone is Blueberry Hill baker, Nina Evans, whose idea to wrap a Creme Egg in chocolate brownie, dip it in melted chocolate, then roll it in crushed Oreos (£2.50) presumably has her on Nobel's shortlist for all the prizes. At Kings Norton and Moseley Farmers' Markets
Shakin’ things up with their Elvis Sandwich (£4), Bake's swapping bread for banana loaf, a trend we can’t help falling in love with (sorry). Filled with peanut butter icing and candied bacon strips get ready for the best baking in the gateau (last one, promise.) Or if you only speak chocolate try their Fat Albert (£3) – a triple choc chunk cookie with a layer of caramel that causes easyJet levels of complaints when it isn't available. At Seasonal Markets on November 30
Cruffins, cronuts and custard-filled brioche muffins come as standard in Kings Heath's High Street brunch and cake spot. But it's the Apple Cream and Crumble Tart (£4) the team is most proud of right now. The new bit of pretty involves a Granny Smith dome, with vanilla custard in the middle, sitting on top of an apple and blackberry frangipane tart. Which we can all agree is at least two of your five a day, yeah? Open Tuesday to Sunday


A great philosopher once said that life is made up of moments: whether lost, life changing or magic. Either way, a captured collection of 70 years of these more-than-OMG moments are now framed and mounted on the walls of Compton Verney Art Gallery for us to experience ourselves. Magnum Manifesto is nothing to do with delicious, affordable white ice cream and everything to do with truly exceptional, enduring imagery. To claim that some of these photographs are out of this world is hardly hyperbolic: for example, try and take in the moment (pictured), that Russian spacecraft salvagers were set upon by a swarm of white butterflies, as captured by world-renowned snap-smith Jonas Bendiksen. That starship scrappage even exists nearly broke our fragile little minds so you never know, you might just have a moment too. Over Warwickshire way, and more than worth the mileage from B-postcodes, the art is on until December 15. Details


What a couple of years Suzi Ruffell has had. Having been a circuit mainstay for years, Suzi kept knocking on the door marked “The Big Time”, perhaps wondering if it would ever open. Well, she’s now kicked it off its hinges and stormed through, racking up appearances on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, Roast Battle and, most recently, Harry Hill’s Clubnite. Suzi, frankly, has the lot: great physicality, charisma, delivery, material and, crucially, likeability. All in all, star power. It’s why her return to Brum is such a must-see: Suzi fizzes and pops on TV, but truly explodes on the live stage. Also, catch her now in the relative close-up comfort of the brilliant Glee – because that star is only going to keep soaring. On November 20, tickets are (£14).


Callooh! Callay! It's Christmas lights day! November 15, at everyone's favourite quarter of jewellery the, erm, Jewellery Quarter. Fireworks, feasting, music and magic is what the JQ will be using to turn on its more than 100 twinklers with kick off at 5pm, and the tree lighting up at 6pm. There's also controlled explosions with compulsory ooh-ing and ahh-ing, in the form of fireworks around The Big Peg. Street food sorts Wafl and Kowaca are on scran, with waffles, hot dogs and topping combos. To celebrate the big switch on, new JQ hotel Selina Birmingham will not only be hosting the after-party but giving one of you lot a deluxe double room for two, Prosecco on arrival, dinner for two and a bottle of wine, plus a morning-after recovery brek. Head here for your chance to win.
Venue: Blu Magic at Sion Bar, 113-114 Three Shires Oak Road, Bearwood, B67 5BT; website  Choice: Theo's Three Little Pigs (£15) Chooser: Chef

We have an apology to make. Bearwood, we've neglected you. But we're going to start righting this most egregious of wrongs with an Aladdin-like whole new world's worth of Caribbean cooking. After a residency at 1000 Trades and a stint in Derby, chef Matthew Knight and his infectious laugh have got permanent pots and pans at Sion Bar, just off Bearwood High Street. Get things going with his Man Like Ellis Fire Wings (£8), which though thankfully not actually combustible, will impress on the merits of the hot pepper, sticky jerk BBQ sauce rather than any actual pyrotechnics. Easily at his most comfortable with big, multi-elemented stomach-pleasers, the saddled curry of mutton (£14) was a whole lot of yum. But Theo’s Three Little Pigs (£15) is where every, single thing on the plate came together. Add a falling apart jerked up pork belly, to tender BBQ pork ribs, to perfect pulled pork and apple bonbons and you're starting to get the idea. Wilted spinach, sweet potato mash, greens and a rightly tart apple sauce cut through the fattier parts of this most Caribbean of answers to the Great British Sunday roast. Don't actually try and get it on a Sunday though, as Matthew will be serving his most irreverent of post-church menus — Solomon Jerk Salmon anyone? Or how's about an order of The Lord Has a Pan with a side of Miracle Macaroni. Yeah, we'll be back for that menu too? Get 20% off the food at Blu Magic with
this voucher. Menu
This week's AOB is a THSH takeover. Enough acronyms for you?
Star of Death in Paradise, My Hero and Father Ted, Ardal O’Hanlon, wants you (*does Lord Kitchener point*) to join him for chuckles at Symphony Hall on November 21. Tickets (£25)
On the same day, multi-Mercury Prize nommed Bat For Lashes touches down at Brum's Town Hall for her wildly popular tour. Tickets (£30.50)
Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo and Crackerjack-er, Stewart Francis, has the Town Hall sewn up on December 6. Tickets (£24.50)
Unashamed cheese-fest Now That's What I call The 80s Live will be piping, among others, The Final Countdown into your headholes. On November 16, tickets are from £30.
While the Hare & Hounds will welcome Brum artists, Stella Roberts and Aaron Diaz, for the first ev-er Jazzlines Residency. A right old steal at £10. November 26

"I know people think I invented the Victoria sponge but I'm really not that old."

Mary Berry

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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Jo MurchRobb Sheppard, James Gill

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