Last weekend saw us host our penultimate events before we take the Manor on the road! This time our theme was pub grub, using Tom Kerridge’s book as inspiration. Donning our best West Country accents and big grins, we were very exciting about producing the big flavours this chef is known for. However, pub grub isn’t pub grub without beer, so we paired each of the courses with some lovely beers by Ilkley Brewery.
Mind you – we had a bit of a trauma getting the beers! Aside from the bottles we also had a couple of kegs for the weekend….but no taps!! Luckily one of our lovely guests Dan, who happens to run a pub, came to our rescue. There WOULD be beer for our guests!
Over the course of the weekend we had a lovely mix of 27 guests, ready for the onslaught of food and beer! It was good to see some old faces and new. To kick off the evening the guests were treated to a pint of Joshua Jane. I have to say this was the most challenging of all of the ales we offered our guests. A rich brown ale, with an edge of bitterness, is what I would class as an “old school” pint, very traditional.
To accompany the beer, I rustled up three canapes. The first was that pub classic of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, mini style. The beef was cured overnight in treacle to add a deeper flavour to the meat. Cooked rare, this was accompanied with a reduction of the treacle cure and horseradish cream.
Up next were spiced chickpea croquettes – full of paprika and spice, these were accompanied with a sweet and sharp red pepper sauce. Delicious. The final canapes were buttermilk pancakes, topped with our home made gin cured salmon, bursting with the flavours of juniper, this unassuming morsel packed a flavourful punch!
Before the starters, our guests were treated to a little amuse bouche of celeriac and apple soup. Sweet and savoury, this was spiked with walnuts and Yorkshire blue for added texture and saltiness.
The next beer to accompany the starter was Ilkley Gold. With hints of sweetness and citrus, this session ale is very drinkable and was the perfect partner to our starter of my homemade pork pie and piccalilli.
Those that know me will know about my obsession with pork pies. I’ve made a fair few in my time and in my opinion, the bigger, the better! Using my tried and tested method, I rustled up two whoppers, each coming in at just over 2kg each, to feed our hungry guests. Huge slabs of pie were served with Tom’s recipe for piccalilli which was a revelation. Traditional piccalilli requires maturing for about six weeks, but this quick method only requires 24 hours, leaving the vegetables fresh and crunchy. I think our guests approved, plates came back clean and apparently these pies won over one or two pork pie haters!
Our veggies were treated to only what I can describe as a savoury crumble of leeks and Yorkshire Blue cheese! (But sadly didn’t managed to get a picture!) Creamy and crunchy, sharp and tangy, plates definitely came back clean from our non meat eating contingent!
Only halfway through the meal and lots more to come, the next beer was a bottle of Ilkley’s Dinner Ale. Derived from an original Victorian recipe, this ale is light and crisp and a perfect match to any food. Indeed it did match perfectly to Dan’s beautiful main course of rolled breast of lamb.
Tender lamb, slow cooked for hours then roasted. This came atop an unusual cracked wheat salad – full of aromatic and spicy notes from merguez sausages, lemongrass, coriander seed, lots of fresh herbs and a homemade chilli oil.
For non meat eaters, instead of the lamb, Dan roasted our favourite veggie staple, the aubergine. This was smothered in chermoula spices and topped with a spicy bean ragu. Both mains also came with lettuce hearts braised in butter, lemon and thyme – a very fun way to eat salad.
After a palate cleanser of gin, tonic and apple granita, the next beer was brought out to our gang of diners. This time we chose one of our favourite beers, the beautiful Siberia, which is a rhubarb saison. Refreshing yet bittersweet and a hint of sourness from the rhubarb, this was a match made in heaven to go with Dan’s very tasty and very beautiful dessert!
For dessert, Dan made lemon verbena creams. These were softly set custards infused with lemon verbena, resulting in a very moreish pud. These came anointed with mini meringues and charred lemon segments. The sour lemon helped to lift the comforting sweetness of the creams.
That weekend we popped into Peter Maturi (which has sadly now ceased trading 😦 ) and Dan treated himself to a new toy to brulee the creams with. Not made for food, but rather stripping paint, it was loud, scary, yet fun to watch the creams caramelise! Luckily I took a wee video!
Our final flourish were my mini Ilkley Black and chocolate cupcakes, topped with vanilla cream cheese. Dense, dark and sweet these were served with shots of Ilkley’s World’s End – an Islay aged chipotle and chocolate stout. Conditioned in whiskey barrels, this beer is rich, smokey and complex. It’s also a limited edition, with only 700 bottles made, so if you’re after a bottle, be quick – I think they still have some in Gerry’s (or Wine Rack or whatever its called now!). The sweetness of the cake offset the bitterness of the stout well.
It was great to do another ale and food event – our last one was almost two years ago! Where does time fly! It was great to introduce some non ale drinking diners to Ilkley’s offerings, all of the beers were guzzled up and many commented on the wonders of food and beer matching. Who needs wine!?
As usual the weekend was back breaking stuff for us, hard work but worth every minute. Thanks to our great rabble of guests and especially to Super Dan who saved the day (or beer!)
Coming next is our final event before renovations begin, our Rick Stein’s Indian inspired event. We’re already recipe testing and it going to be a treat not to be missed!