April menu, inspired by Persiana

Hello Spring! After a bit of a break in March we’ll be back with our Persian event in a couple of weeks where we’ve been inspired by the brilliant Sabrina Ghayour and her lovely book Persiana.

We’ll be serving up a veritable mezze of delicious dishes, perfect now that the weather is warming up. What do you think?

April 2015

Timberyard Review

It’s been a while since we’ve done a restaurant review, and that’s not because we haven’t been eating out, more that general business and laziness has compromised our ability to keep our writing up with our eating! I’m going to put a stop to that and make a concerted effort to review my upcoming mouthfuls as there are some exciting ones on the cards. What’s more, it’s a fantastic way to keep a food diary. I love reading back on all the lovely meals I’ve enjoyed, even if no one else does!

So the object of my affections today is the lovely Timberyard in Edinburgh. Now I’ve been to Timberyard about four times, with a decent meal experienced every time, so heavens knows why I haven’t written a review yet. It’s a family run place on the cusp of the old and new town (although mainly in the old town near the Grassmarket). It takes up a rather unassuming slot on Lady Lawson Street but upon entering it opens up into the most unexpected, huge warehouse area. It has sympathetically maintained the character of the building’s industrial background but has brought in elements of the Scottish countryside with animal skins and skulls. The food has echoes of Scandinavia and the staff are achingly trendy. So trendy in fact that they have already got rid of their Hoxton beards – you can tell from the pale chins that have been left behind!

Timberyard

We were sat down right at the back, which was perfect for us to have a view of the entire dining room, and could just about peek into the wondrous kitchen. Nothing is normal at Timberyard so when inspecting the cocktail menu for an aperitif there were no familiar drinks and even a simple gin and tonic came with a bit of pine tree in it! I excitedly opted for a salty sea dog which I guess is a Timberyard take on a martini. It was my kind of drink – packed with lots of gin, vermouth and then salty elements provided by bladderwrack seaweed! It truly was out of this world – deep, musky and smoky, like a good whisky. Richard’s gin and tonic stumped us a bit. He opted for a beautiful Botanist, a dry gin made on the Isle of Islay (most famous for its peaty whisky). His ‘tonic’ came in a chemistry lesson style flask for him to add himself, which he duly did – all of it. He had a look of confusion when he took his first sip as it turned out the flask was filled with water instead of tonic. So essentially he had a nice big glass of gin, pine tree, and water! We wondered if this was the poncey way of drinking an Islay gin and no one had told us. But when the bill came it did say ‘tonic’ so we are still confused!

Timberyard Menu

Menus took a while to arrive which panicked us somewhat that we were automatically doing the 8 course tasting menu, something our stomachs wouldn’t have been able to comply with as we’d had a late lunch. We perused whilst munching on some of their warm and freshly baked sourdough. Not the best bread I’ve had but the bits you get to spread on are top notch. A choice of whipped crowdie, which is a sour cream cheese, or smoked bone marrow which was served in a bit of bone! The smoked marrow was my favourite, topped with piles of ground black pepper, mmmmm is all I can say!

Richard and I are probably becoming far too similar these days as out of the whole meal, for all three courses, we picked the same things. How it works at Timberyard is that the menu is split into small bites, starters, mains and desserts. Small bites are essentially a large canapé. We opted to have three courses of savoury as the desserts didn’t really float our boat.

Our small bite was an umami packed duck heart, liver and mushroom concoction. The duck heart was served savagely speared by a piece of yet more pine tree! I chewed into it like an offally lollipop. It was soft but meaty. Hidden beneath this was a mousse-like liver pate dusted with a cep powder for the ultimate umami hit. I was glad there was still some sourdough left to mop all of this up with. For a small bite it was certainly a generous portion.

Timberyard duck heart

Winewise we went for the L’indigene from Languedoc, a 2011 Syrah/ Grenache. It was very light and powerfully fruity so we thought it would be sympathetic to our upcoming fish and meat courses. A few glasses in and we suddenly noticed the sulphurous qualities of the wine. Upon reading the bottle our worst fears were confirmed – BIODYNAMIIC!! Those of you who read any of our Copenhagen reviews will recall the fall out we had with biodynamic wine which can often be very challenging and taste a bit ‘off.’ Anyway, prejudices aside this was actually an enjoyable wine but I could only have managed the one bottle! Is this why biodynamic wine exists do you think? To prevent binge drinking?!

Our fish course looked deceptively simple. A soft and creamy fillet of sole with all sorts of goodies including prawns, cockles and artichoke. It was full of different textures, some raw, some cooked. A very comforting dish that also felt strangely decadent.

Timberyard sole

Our final course was the smoked beef, which did not disappoint. The beef came in a thick slab and was so rare it was practically raw and yet a perfect temperature and texture. I didn’t get the smokiness if I’m honest. It was also quite a soft dish – succulent beef, rich gravy, cauliflower puree, mushrooms. It could have done with a crunchy texture, such as a chip, but that would make me a heathen in the food heaven that is Timberyard!

Timberyard beef

So I was full enough not to want a dessert, although I may have got a cheeky little pot of salted caramel ice cream from the shop opposite for the walk home! What I liked about this visit to Timberyard was that the meal was completely different to what I had last time as the menu is constantly changing. I’ve been going for about two years now and am not yet bored, in fact I am constantly surprised by what they produce. I can’t wait for next time!

 

Free Tickets for BBC Good Food Show Spring!

We have a pair of free tickets to give away for the wonderful ‘BBC Good Food Show Spring’. It takes place 10-12 April 2015 in Harrogate. Winners get to pick which date they would like to attend.

Don’t miss your chance to experience the tastiest Spring ingredients as you eat, drink, shop and explore good food brought to life in all its mouth watering glory – for free!! Star chefs include Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, the Hairy Bikers and Yorkshire’s finest – James Martin!

To be in with a chance of winning this fine prize simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling us why you think Spring food is good! Closing date is midday on Saturday 21st March 2015, when the lucky winner will be drawn.

Good luck!

How it all went a-rye!

We took a trip to the chilly climes of Scandinavia for our first afternoon tea of 2015. Using Trine Hahnemann’s beautiful book ‘Scandinavian Baking’ as our muse, we served up an array of filling and tasty Northern European treats. Baking has seen huge success in the UK of late, partly thanks to Bake Off, and Trine is keen, through this book, to demonstrate the baking heritage found in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

A veritable smorgasbord was put on for our guests, which consisted of savouries and open sandwiches. Our open sandwiches included our very own homemade rye bread. We had a bit of a nightmare with rye if we are honest! The starter was temperamental to say the least. Mine failed to ferment and bubble alive, Susie’s did but then it didn’t rise the dough! Needless to say we persevered and were able to serve bread on the day. It’s a long process making rye bread (24-36 hours for proving) but despite the length of time required it’s actually a simple bread to make as it requires no kneading at all. We ‘cheated’ by chucking a teaspoon of yeast in, which seemed to do the trick! I made a classic rye and Susie made a seeded, malted rye – both chewy and full of flavour. Our toppings were classic Scandinavian fare – I went for a salt beef with horseradish cream, pickles and red onion. Susie went for a smashed avocado with prawn and quail egg. Our top tip for buying rare and organic flours is Shipton Mill!

Our other savouries were Susie’s little sausages rolls, but instead of pastry, they were encased in kale pesto and chewy onion bread. Think mini hotdogs (which the Danes are crazy about!) and you’re about there. I opted for a tart which came complete with a spelt crust and then filled with home smoked salmon, spinach and asparagus. The spelt pastry was a revelation – easy to work with, flexible and forgiving, it didn’t need any resting either. Essentially it is wholemeal spelt flour mixed with fromage frais! The result is not the shortest of pastries but it’s very pleasant so I’ll be making again.

A quick interlude followed where we refreshed our guests’ pallettes with a spiced winter berry sorbet. This gave us time to set the cake tiers with our cake offerings. It was only as we were doing this that we realised we were serving up not one, not two, not three but four different cakes all filled with lashings of cream – woops!

I had made semlor, which are little marzipan cream buns that are traditionally served in the time period between Christmas and Easter, so very apt! These were very fun and satisfying to make. They start life as a dough made from Italian pasta flour. I was worried this might be quite a tight dough but it was actually lovely and soft and supple. It rose beautifully and once rolled into balls and glazed with egg, yielded beautiful golden buns! These were hollowed out and stuffed with homemade marzipan. I did find with this recipe that it wasn’t as sweet as my taste buds liked so I did throw a bit more sugar in. To enhance the almond flavour in the marzipan I added some amaretto. The buns were finished off with a dollop of amaretto doused cream and a dusting of icing sugar.

My other cake was a walnut macaroon cake. This is an interesting take on a coffee and walnut. It’s gluten free because the cakes are made of only egg whites, ground walnuts and sugar. These are then sandwiched together with cream flavoured with coffee and brown sugar. Again, I didn’t find this sweet enough, but maybe that’s just me and my Americanised taste buds?! I was also disappointed with the chocolate ganache topping. My instinct was telling me to chuck some cream in (Trine only uses chocolate and butter) but I didn’t. The result was a very hard topping that then made the cake impossible to cut neatly! Next time I shall definitely add that cream in!

Susie’s cakes included little crispy choux buns filled with a Yorkshire rhubarb vanilla cream. Rhubarb is roasted with sugar and vanilla until soft,then folded into cream. We saved the rhubarb syrup for cocktails later! The last cream filled cake was the hilariously titles Fru Pigalopp cake, (that features on the cover of the book) named after a character from a Danish series of children’s books. Susie’s mini versions were probably a more dainty svelte version! These were individually sized genoise sponges, filled with whipped cream and berries. A Scandi take on a Victoria sponge!

Fru Pigalopp!

So all in all another successful and enjoyable afternoon! I am a bit sick of the Scandinavian baking book now, however there are tons of recipes that are tempting me to try them so once I’ve had a rest I’m sure I’ll be going back. It’s a beautiful book with stunning pictures and there’s recipes for all kinds of level of cook. On the whole the recipes are accurate and work (well apart from the rye bread, but we won’t go there!)

We’ll next be back in April, after a short break, for our Persian event, so see you soon!

New Dates Coming Soon…On Sale Now!

A quick heads up supperclub fans! We have picked our new dates for April and May 2015 and they are now on sale. The events will be as follows, click on the book now links below!

Saturday 18th April 2015Persiana – Fully Booked

April’s event will be a Persian themed 6-course dinner (£35pp) in honour of our fellow superclubber Sabrina Ghayour who is hanging up her supperclub apron shortly. She’s hit it big with her cookbook Persiana and we love cooking from it so will be showcasing recipes from it, to show what a great and accessible book it is! Sorry,this event is now fully booked

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Saturday 30th May 2015 – American Afternoon Tea – Fully Booked

May’s event will be an American themed afternoon tea. Think big, sweet, creamy, rich and filthy and you’re halfway there! This daytime event will be £20pp. Sorry,this event is now fully booked

We’ll have other events on sale soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

February Menu – Scandinavian Afternoon Tea

Where does time fly? We’re already in February and next weekend see’s us play host to twelve hungry guests for our Scandinavian afternoon tea. Using Trine Hahnemann’s beautiful book, Scandinavian Baking, we’ll be serving up delicious rye breads, a smorgasbord of tasty toppings and some beautiful pastries and cakes to boot, all served from our vintage china!

Have a nose at our menu and let us know what you think!

Feb 2015

Veg Out at the Manor

Last weekend we donned our aprons for the first time in 2015 for our January event. Veg was the theme of the evening as we dusted off Ottolenghi’s Plenty More to create a meat free feast for fourteen hungry guests. In from the cold, our guests were treated to our welcome cocktail, a rose, elderflower and gin. This was a fresh and fragrant concoction that combined gin with sparkling water, homemade elderflower cordial and rose water. A very simple cocktail but it got gin haters enjoying gin and one guest described it as the best cocktail she’d ever had! Sweet and floral it was certainly easy to glug!

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