Monthly Archives: February 2014

Supperclub space available!

This event has now been snapped up. Keep your eyes peeled for future dates soon!

Due to a last minute cancellation we now have one space available for our Tom Kerridge inspired supperclub on Friday 14th March 2014. What’s more this is one of our ale and food pairing events with beers supplied by the lovely Ilkley brewery lot. Luke from the brewery will be attending to tell you all about the beer.

The space costs £40 and this gets you our standard 6 course feast plus 4 expertly paired ales (in the form of two pints and two half pints of stronger ale!). To bag this exclusive place simply drop us an email at – first come first served!

March Menu – Nigel Slater Inspired afternoon tea

In a couple of weeks we’ll be hosting our first afternoon tea of the year. This time we’ll be using Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II as our inspiration.

Expect hearty, home made unpretentious bakes with great flavours. Some winter warmers and some springtime treats will make this an event not to be missed.

We’d love to know what you think.


Ottolenghi Returns!

We had a weekend of rather impromptu events recently. A regular diner had booked in a private event some time ago but had been unhappy with the proposed menu of Mediterranean delicacies from Ottolenghi and so had cancelled at the last minute. As we’d put a bit of work into the menu prep we opened it up to the public and it sold out in minutes. Regular readers will know that we’ve had quite a few Ottolenghi events under our belts. In fact at one point it was his books and those of Rachel Khoo that we could barely look at from having cooked so much from them! Anyway, spurred on by his recent and beautiful Mediterranean TV series we let him back into our lives!

Somewhat inspired by our recent jaunts to Ottolenghi’s Soho restaurant Nopi and our travels around Copenhagen, we did away with our typical fare of canapes and starters and instead served up a series of sharing plates to begin the meal. These were dishes that were taken through to the dining room whenever they were ready and which came on large platters for people to have a taste of as much or as little as they so wished. I felt this worked well for Ottolenghi’s cuisine as many of his recipes have one core ingredient that is cooked simply but which is paired with such flavours that the main ingredient is allowed to shine. I used his Plenty book to develop this part of the meal and the dishes were as follows:

Green gazpacho – this was a refreshing palate cleanser made with cucumber, green pepper, parsley, basil, walnuts and a subtle kick of chilli. It’s an inventive twist on the traditional tomato gazpacho. I might try it again but would swap the cucumber for tomatoes as I’m not a big cucumber fan.

Spelt, treacle and fennel bread – Not strictly Mediterranean but I had some Spelt flour leftover from our Scandinavian events. It’s a lovely and satisfying dough to work with and so I thought I’d treat our guests to a loaf or two to help start their meals.

Marinated pepper salad – red peppers are slow roasted and skinned and then marinated overnight in garlic and balsamic vinegar creating the softest, sweetest pepper you will ever taste. They were the star of the show on a platter with dressed watercress, capers and punchy mature Pecorino cheese. My tip for this dish is not to scrimp on the Pecorino. You don’t need a lot of it so it really is worth splashing out. I got mine from our friend Mario’s stall at the Leeds Farmers Market. He has a range of Pecorino’s on offer, just tell him what you’re cooking and he’ll pick the best one for you.

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A weekend in Ripon

A Christmas present from the mother in law found us in Ripon for the weekend. Often overshadowed by the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and the better appointed cities of Harrogate and York, Ripon is not always viewed as a premier Yorkshire destination (well not by me anyway). However, as I was soon to discover, it has lots to offer. Based around a traditional Yorkshire market square, Ripon has a very compact city centre with an imposing but grand cathedral, antique and charity shops and a good number of cosy pubs. It felt a bit of a ghost town when we were there and we heard mention from locals about their fears of the failing high street. This is a real shame as Ripon is less than hour’s drive from Leeds and has all the countryside of the dales on its doorstep, so it really is worth the (short) trip out.

Where we stayed

The aforementioned Christmas present that brought us to Ripon in the first place was a voucher to stay in the impressive Old Deanery. Directly opposite the cathedral this is an ancient building dating back to the 1700s and built on the site of a former monastery. The place is full of character and charm, with wonky floors and ornate staircases. It was restored in the noughties and is now run by a group of very friendly and convivial owners. It has ten bedrooms. We opted to go in the attic as I love being in the eaves. This did not disappoint – lots of beams and good views of the cathedral. The room was lovely and big with a huge bathroom to match. A roof terrace was available just outside our bathroom window, but we didn’t use it as it wasn’t the nicest of days! Breakfast the next day was very impressive. My traditional Yorkshire breakfast was full of good quality bacon, sausages and black pudding, and I loved the granola, yoghurt and berries that preceded it.

The Old Deanery, Ripon

The Old Deanery, Ripon

Where we ate


The Old Deanery had a decent sounding menu, but we wanted to explore slightly further afield. Having researched on tripadvisor I had stumbled across Samphire Bistro – an independently run restaurant that’s been open about 18 months and serves local British grub. There was a fantastic atmosphere as soon as we arrived, we were made to feel very welcome and looked after by the friendly front of house. The restaurant was small but decorated with cosy lights and pictures of favourite chefs, like Marco Pierre White and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall – perhaps showcasing the foodie passion. The menu declared that ‘everything is sourced within a 25 mile radius’ but with Scottish venison on offer and a ton of fish I think this might be a teeny tiny fib!

Crispy Mussels

Crispy Mussels

I started with crispy mussels as I was intrigued by how on earth they would be crispy. What this in fact meant was mussels breaded and deep fried and then served back in the shell. For me this slightly took away some of the flavour of the mussel, however it was a fun and more substantial way of eating them. They came with a crispy salad complete with the samphire namesake, which was a nice touch. My main was the venison steak. This was served simply – medium rare, onion rings, chips, mushroom, tomato. I was a bit worried about the lack of sauce but I needn’t have. The meat is the best I have eaten in a long time. Perfectly seasoned, rich with iron and meltingly juicy. For drinks I had a Yorkshire Blackout – a porter full of vanilla and chocolate notes. This was strangely refreshing and comforting at the same time. We didn’t have room for desserts, although they looked good, the signature dish appeared to be a berry brulee with chocolate shards. Once we’d finished eating we were told to sit back and relax and enjoy our table for the rest of the night.


What we did

Our first day in Ripon was very stormy so we had a quick mooch around the shops followed by reading the papers in the pubs. Shops of note include Drinks Well, a specialist booze shop with an excellent range of Yorkshire ales and spirits. I picked up a little bottle of the Mason’s Yorkshire gin. Made with Harrogate spa water, I found it very aromatic.


Pubwise, the newly renovated Royal Oak is a very decent pub with a good few ales on and a strong bar menu. I had a pulled pork sandwich with homemade vegetable and barley soup which was just what I needed on a stormy day. I’d also recommend the Water Rat, which is down by the river and canal basin. This pub was quite hard to find at first (don’t confuse it with the less quaint ‘Navigation’ as we did!). It’s full of quirky charm, has a riverside view and lots of nooks and crannies to hide yourself in whilst nursing a pint of the many ales on offer.

Next morning, to walk off all that beer and food, we went on a bracing walk. Starting at the cathedral we went through the graveyard, up the river and over fields to Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey before heading back to Ripon again. It was about six miles, not too hilly, not too muddy (given the wet weather we’ve been having) and gave us fabulous views of the cathedral.

So, I hope this has given you a taste of what a little place like Ripon has on offer. Sometimes it’s good to take a further look at the underdog!

New Date – Rick Stein Indian Inspired Feast

This event is now fully booked.

We’ve been inundated with requests about new dates, so we’ve decided to add on another date to our final event at the Manor before we close over the summer. (Although we’ll be making some exciting announcements about Dinner Not at the Manor soon!)

We’re now hosting another Rick Stein’s India event on Friday 11th April.

Expect bold flavours and regional delights taken from one of our favourite books of 2013. £30pp gets you 6 courses and complimentary welcome drink.

For our booking terms and conditions please click here.

This event is now fully booked