A Lovely Latin Lunch!

We brightened up a dreary February lunchtime this weekend by taking our guests on a tour of our favourite Latin American recipes! Sunshine colour and warming spice were the ingredients of the day, inspired by some of our go to cook books, including Martin Morales’ ‘Ceviche’, Thomasina Mier’s ‘Wahaca’ and Kelis’ ‘My Life on a Plate’ (I’m a sucker for a novelty cookbook!).

Guests hurried in from the torrential rain and were greeted with a punchy daiquiri – the classic rum based Cuban cocktail. Usually made with white rum I thought I’d give dark rum a try to create something more warming and spicy. This was shaken with lime juice, sugar syrup and fresh ginger.

Canapes started with a comforting empanada of sweet potato and chorizo, classic Latin flavours of the soft sweetness of the potato and the spicy sausage all encased in crisp homemade pastry. A real Latin American staple! I followed these with a little corn cake adorned with huancaina sauce. The cake was warm, soft and sweet – the sauce creamy and spicy. I had guests guessing at the bizarre ingredients in the sauce, which included evaporated milk, cream crackers and Amarillo chilli! The sauce on its own can be used as a base for mac and cheese, which I can endorse having had it for my dinner the other night! My homemade Amarillo chilli paste was actually made from scotch bonnets, red and yellow peppers and oranges – a combination which mimics the spicy fruitiness of the Peruvian Amarillo chilli perfectly.

The small plates continued with a beautiful little salad of quinoa, butterbeans and avocado, stacked together in layers, topped with a tomato and onion salsa and served with a physalis sauce. The quinoa itself was understated, lightly flavoured with a little chilli, lime and seasoning, but the sour creamy avocado, salsa and physalis made it all sing.

I followed this with a very pretty and refreshing seabass and passionfruit ceviche. Actually a Nigel Slater recipe, this paired delicate seabass flesh with sour passionfruit, lime and fiery chilli. This was a great palate cleanser ahead of the main courses and even got the fish haters licking their plates clean!

For main courses we wanted some warming, comforting dishes given what a cold, wet day it was. Susie prepared steak tacos. Little purple corn tortillas crammed with layers of different flavours. Creamy and cool guacamole, crunchy bitter purple cabbage, fruity pico do gallo rare skirt steak and then all topped with sour, herby chimmichurri. A real mouthful indeed!

I couldn’t do a Latin American event without some form of slow roast pork. I used Kelis’ Pork Pernil recipe, which is a Puerto Rican slow roast spiced pork. A huge pork shoulder was stabbed all over and had slivers of garlic inserted into it. It was then marinated for 24 hours in a cocktail of herbs and spices that included achiote paste, smoked paprika, rosemary, thyme and oregano. It was slow roasted, on a low setting, for 5-6 hours. I found this very similar to pork pibil if I’m honest. But the soft, tasty meat is always a winner with me. I served the meat on top of a bed of flavourful yellow beans. These were chana masala cooked with bacon, onions, chicken stock and red peppers. Before serving these were spiked with coriander, lime juice and more Amarillo chilli, creating a warming yet refreshing side. These little dishes of awesomeness came anointed with pink pickled onions, pickled chillies and pork scratchings (or carnitas!).

Showing no signs of food fatigue, which is what we like to see, our guests were swiftly moved on to a palate cleanser of pineapple and sage granita – an interesting Latin American and British fusion. Susie’s stunning dessert was a combination of Pastel de Nata (spiced custard tarts), arroz con leche ice cream (rice pudding), chocolate ganache and mango couli. The tart was a crisp case of homemade puff pastry, filled with a thick and rich custard spiked with lemon zest and cinnamon. The ice cream was infused with toasted rice pudding and vanilla – a subtle flavour that really came through. This was all brought together with the rich chocolate and the fruity sweetness of the mango.

For petit fours I created little sweet potato doughnuts (called picarones). These were lovely and sweet but the dough was very hard to work with and I found the dampness of the sweet potato meant that even after frying the doughnuts were quite dense and doughy. However the sticky rum sauce that these could be dunked into more than made up for that!

Next month we’ll be offering up more of a British themed lunch for our Nigel Slater Kitchen Diaries III inspired event. It’s a lovely book, so we’re looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with it and picking recipes!

February 2016 Menu – Latin American Lunch

No sooner have we hosted our January event, we’ll be welcoming our February guests into the Manor for our Latin American Lunch. We always enjoy this type of cuisine. The bold zingy flavours really waken up taste buds!

Inspiration from Peru, Argentina, Columbia and beyond will make this a memorable feast, so here’s the menu!

Feb 2016

Made by Mamushkas!

Our first event of 2016 took us and our guests on a trip to Eastern Europe. This is a cuisine we’ve not really featured at the Manor before, but there are obvious influences from the rest of Europe with the use of ingredients such as dill and beetroot and lots of meat! We used Olia Hercules’ hit book ‘Mamushka’ for our inspiration. This book won countless awards last year and was heralded for bringing Eastern European peasant food into the public realm. Mamushka is all about celebrating the strong female characters that formed part of Olia’s upbringing and inspired her to cook herself.

The book is indeed beautiful, with lots of lovely pictures to demonstrate what the food should look like. We found some of the recipes a little too simple as we’re used to stronger flavours, so we do admit to having a little play about with the recipes to adapt them to our palate a little more.

Our welcome cocktail this month was a pretty little hedgerow fizz. This paired our homemade sloe gin with sparkling wine, blackberry juice and topped off with a fresh blackberry. The canapés to accompany this aperitif were prepared by Susie and included griddled aubergine rolls, a very simple canapé of red pepper, dill, garlic and sour cream all wrapped up in smoky griddled aubergine. The next canapé was a mini potato cake, similar to a rosti, topped with slices of pan fried duck breast and a blackberry sauce. A delicious mixture of crispy textures and rich meaty flavours cut through with the sharp sauce. Finally were steamed manty dumplings – little morsels filled with pork belly, onion and dill and served with brown butter.

We couldn’t have an Eastern European event without some form of gherkin or pickle and we managed to squeeze this into our starter which was a ‘Russian piquant broth’. This was a sweet, salty and sour soup made with our own light beef stock, tomatoes and the brine from a jar of gherkins. This came spiked with little chunks of gherkin, capers, olives and lemon to add to the piquancy. Slices of spicy sausage added texture and flavour and some veggie goodness came from onion, carrot and mushroom to add some freshness. We poured the broth from vintage teapots in the dining room, which added a touch of theatre. Yummy little stuffed breads accompanied the broth. The milk based dough at the core of these was very pleasant and fun to work with! I stuffed these with potato and shallot and also with egg, spring onion and dill. Served warm, these were soft and comforting – overall a good warming dish for a wintry evening!

Susie’s main course was an interesting dish of mutton in coriander. The dish originates from Ossetia, a region that is situated across the border of Georgia and Russia. Mutton is marinated overnight in a paste of coriander, dill and parsley and then slow cooked for hours until tender. Green peppers, garlic and more herbs are added at the very end of cooking to bring some fresh flavours to this hearty dish. this was accompanied with a mixed bean salad and “Korean” carrots – a soviet take on kimchi. Both did well to cut through the meaty richness of the mutton.

Our sorbet was a classic mixed berry, a salute to the range of berries Olia uses in her book. This was swiftly followed by my dessert of baked cheesecake. Ukrainian cheesecake is a lot firmer and less sweet than we are used to in the West. At its base is a sour fresh cheese called Twarog which can be obtained from Polish delicatessens. I served this with a sweet and sour compote of local forced rhubarb, rhubarb syrup and an ice cream of sour cream and poppyseed. To further brighten the plates up I decorated them with edible flowers – each one had its own unique flavour, some sweet, some sour and some a bit bitter and spicy.

Finally, to join coffees and teas we went out with a choice of two petit four. These included little Ukrainian style biscotti flavoured with walnut and apricot and little fried pastries that were sprinkled with rose sugar and came with a luscious passionfruit curd to dip them in.

All in all it was a successful night with some lovely guests to feed across the two nights that we hosted. We’ll be back in February for our Latin American lunch, so it will be good to get some spice back into the kitchen! We’re currently booked up until April but in May we’ll be running some events as part of the Leeds Independent Food Festival so keep an eye out on this site and on their’s to find out how to book – our plan will be to hook up with our favourite brewery to provide some beer pairings to the food!

January 2016 Menu – Eastern European Feast

Happy New Year!

We’re kicking off our 2016 events in just over a week and will be bringing you the delights of Eastern Europe using Olia Hercules’ marvellous book Mamushka as our inspiration.

There will be the usual, traditonal dishes you would expect, dumplings, borscht and dill, lot of dill! But also some surprising dishes that will delight you.

So, here’s the menu, we’re looking forward to serving this up!

Jan 2016

Two spaces available for our January Supperclub!

Due to cancellation we are pleased to be able to offer two spaces for our January supperclub which will be based on the Eastern European delights of Mamushka. What better way to beat the January blues than to come and dine with us and meet some fellow foodies! More details about this event can be found here. Taking place on January 16th 2016, £35pp will get you a classic Manor feast of 6 courses plus a welcome drink. To bag these exclusive spaces all you need to do is email us on dinneratthemanor@gmail.com and we’ll send you the payment instructions. Please note that these tickets come as a pair. Be quick as these will go fast! See you soon….

Nopi Festive Lunch

You know it’s the countdown to Christmas and the new year when we’ve put on a festive supperclub! And this year it was the turn of Ottolenghi’s glamorous book Nopi as our inspiration and guide. Based on the food from his Soho restaurant of the same name, this recipe book starts with a massive disclaimer about how hard all the recipes are! True, most recipes are two or three pages long, but we found that with a bit of forward reading, lots of recipe testing and advanced preparation, most were absolutely fine. Ottolenghi and cheffing partner Scully have translated the recipes so that they can move from a professional kitchen into the amateur realm.

We opted for a lunch for this event – mainly because we then get to go out at the weekend too! We hosted a very rowdy and appreciative lot, which is surely the point of a suppperclub. It was great to fill the house with lots of festive cheer, I certainly feel a bit more Christmassy now anyway!

Guests were welcomed with a spicy ginger and coriander martini. Russian vodka was shaken with a fresh ginger syrup, lime juice, toasted coriander seed and fresh coriander. The lime and ginger were the first things to punch with this drink, the coriander notes a subtle after thought. Nopi has an exciting range of cocktails in the back of the book so do check them out.

Canapes were headed by Susie’s filthily gorgeous brisket croquette. Brisket is slow cooked for hours in a rich Asian masterstock spiked with cinnamon, start anise and orange peel amongst the many herbs. Very festive indeed! The meat is then shredded, breadcrumbed and fried. Served alongside as a dipping sauce, the masterstock is reduced to a dark glossy syrup – truly sweet, sticky and umami! This was swiftly followed by Dan’s delicate corn cakes, which were light and airy like mini souffles. They had earthy notes from cumin and celery seed, plus the sweet corn. A tangy slaw of apple and beetroot gave them a dash of colour and acidity. You could serve larger ones of these as a veggie starter.

We then moved on to a series of small plates, which is how the food was served at Nopi when Susie and I went for a lunch there a couple of years ago. First up was Susie’s purple sprouting broccoli with chilli and skordalia, which is a creamy chilli spiked olive oil mash. The broccoli is charred and served up alongside. Crunchy, creamy and spicy and delicious veggie starter before we moved onto the more meaty dishes. I had my eye on the buttermilk cod with urid daal. Delicate pieces of cod were marinated in punchy spices and buttermilk, the latter making the cod quite firm and silky. The urid daal was flavoured only with fresh aromatics, no dried spices, which created a very light and subtle curry. The result was a very comforting dish, but if I’m honest the buttermilk marinade made the cod taste ever so slightly overdone. I also made a yoghurt version for a guest who cannot eat buttermilk and I thought this was better!

The mains kick started with a luscious piece of Japanese style chicken. Chicken thighs were marinated in a bizarre burnt miso, brown sugar and mirin sauce. This gave it a rich umami and butterscotch flavour, which when paired with juicy chicken and crispy burnt edges was very moreish! This dish is Ottolenghi at his best because it fuses flavours and ingredients that you wouldn’t normally taste together. The Japanese chicken came with more of Middle Eastern style salsa – pomegranate and walnut – as well as a sumac flavoured onion salad. The sweetness of the chicken and the intense tang and freshness of the salsa and salad were very disorienting for the senses but enjoyable nonetheless. Susie’s final savoury flourish was smoked lamb rack. The racks of lamb were marinaded overnight in garlic, ginger and coriander, then smoked over basmati rice before being griddled until pink. Rather imparting a smoked flavour it adds a toasty aroma to the lamb. Alongside the juicy cutlets, Susie also served a tahini and lemon aubergine puree, picked kohlrabi and a vivid green jalapeno sauce. Again, a real mix of sharp, spicy and earthy flavours!

To take us into the sweets Susie served up a frozen version of one of Nopi’s cocktails as a sorbet – pineapple and sage. Sugar syrup is infused with sage leaves, cloves and cardamom before being blended with the fruit imparting an almost medicinal flavour to the mix which was delicious! I then moved on to the main event. I’ll be honest with you here, picking the dessert was an absolute nightmare as we had a dairy free guest to cater for – no cream or butter, eek! Help was on hand, however, with a very retro coconut flavoured tapioca. Tapioca, the childhood enemy of many a guest, we hope we have been able to redeem it for some! This version was rich with coconut cream and palm sugar. I found I had to up the sweetness to suit my palate and also added in some run and cinnamon to make it a bit more festive. The creamy tapioca came topped with caramelised bananas flambéed in a rich rum sauce and finished off with fresh coconut that had been glaced. All the bowls came back scraped clean so I hope it was enjoyed!

As coffees and teas were sent out Susie dusted the petit four with festive icing sugar – these were coffee and pecan friands, which weren’t so much petit but grand!

And so that brings us to the end of our 2015 events, which has been a very fun year indeed. We started with Ottolenghi and ended with Ottolenghi, with some detours via Scandinavia, America, Spain and France – as you can see we’re very diverse! We’re booked up until next spring and 2016 looks set to take us to Eastern Europe, Latin America and…. Nigel Slater’s kitchen! Fear not it you’ve not got tickets for these events, we always announce cancellations on this blog and on twitter, plus there’ll be more events in 2016 to pounce on. For now, have a lovely Christmas and a prosperous new year!

December 2015 Menu – Nopi Inspired Christmas Lunch

In a week’s time will be our last event of the year, and what a year it has been! We’ll be seeing 2015 out with a delicious Nopi inspired Christmas lunch for our guests. Bold, bright flavours from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully’s beautiful book that, despite not being at all “Christmassy” will get our gets into fun, high spirits!

We’re looking forward to it already!