Author Archives: martinimanleeds

About martinimanleeds

Martini Man lives in West Leeds and a is rabid foody and obsessive home cook. He has recently set up West Leeds' very first Secret Supper Club, Dinner at the Manor, with his friend Sticky Pinny. The supperclub aims to use locally sourced ingredients that are not typically found on restaurant menus. It also runs 'wine and dine' events that pair wines (or soemtimes even ales) to food - yum!

Oklava – 6th Birthday Supperclub!

It’s now six years since we started running a secret supperclub in Leeds and each October we like to cook an extra special menu to celebrate. This year we took inspiration from our current favourite chef – Selin Kiazim, of Oklava fame. Selin cooks super modern/fusion Turkish Cypriot food that scored her the winning dessert dish at this year’s Great British Menu. Oklava (named after the rolling pins used to roll out dough and pastry) is her flagship restaurant in Shoreditch and we were keen to bring the lovely flavours of this establishment to Leeds for the weekend.

The Oklava recipe book is lovely – full of flavour and colour that excites you into cooking. Some of the recipes might seem a bit daunting but if you follow Selin’s pragmatic step by step approach then it’s foolproof. Some of the ingredients may seem a bit alien, but if you’re Leeds based then we can’t speak more highly of Holbeck’s Venus Foods – which is an Aladdin’s cave of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. You may get a bit lost amongst the shelves but go with a clear list and you won’t be disappointed.

For our welcome cocktail we served up Oklava’s sweet and sour sumac and pomegranate martini. Vodka was infused with bitter sumac and then mixed up with rum, pomegranate tea, pomegranate juice and lime juice. The first canapé was a simple but effective lettuce cup filled with candied walnuts, a dressing made from lemon, honey and feta and a pinch of parmesan cheese. This was sweet and salty at its best. The walnuts are candied whole with their shells (a bit like a pickled walnut but sweet). It creates a musky, maple flavour that is heavenly.

The next canapes were some delightful golden fritters of courgette, mint and halloumi. Crisp, salty and creamy, they were finished of with a dash of chilli and minty yoghurt

The starters included a pretty salad of sour cherry, pearl barley, chilli butter, yoghurt and kale, topped with sheep’s cheese (in this case pecorino) This unique dish was crispy, creamy and chewy all at once, with sweet, salty and sour notes.

I couldn’t resists cooking up one of Oklava’s pides. When I visited the restaurant earlier this year it was the best thing I ate there, and is possibly the nicest thing I’ve eaten all year. Essentially it’s a folded pizza but with a lovely little peek at what’s inside. I filled mine with a filthy 5 cheese sauce – the cheeses being helim, Parmesan, mozzarella, feta and a Cypriot cheese called Tulum – it’s a stinky, hard cheese that comes in a jar. This was topped with toasted walnuts for crunch and chunks of charred pumpkin and leek that gave a beautiful sweetness against the salty cheeses. These were baked at the highest possible temperature to get the crust nice and crispy. WhatBefore being served they were doused with a  smoky harissa oil and more Tulum cheese. The harissa oil really helped lift the pides from their savoury depths!

The fish course was a beautiful piece of cod anointed with a pretty green crust of sweet pistachio and served with lashings of preserved lemon butter sauce, which was salty, slightly bitter and very naughty! It came atop a bed of buttered freekeh, which was a lovely savoury accompaniment to the sweet fish and creamy sauce. Freekeh is an Egyptian grain that gets dried over open fire, giving it the most incredible smoky flavour. This was cooked with lots of butter, green olives, barberries, chickpeas, pistachios, mint and parsley.

The meat course was a rich ragu of braised beef short ribs in çemen – a turkish spice paste of fenugreek, cumin and paprika. This was served on a rich, thick bread sauce with charred hispy cabbage. To finish this was drizzled with chilli butter and mint jelly to add some acidity. A brilliant spiced, hearty, autumnal dish.

For dessert we took on the challenge of recreating Selin’s famous and award winning dessert – muhallebi and jelly. Muhallebi is a milk pudding thickened with cornflour (or blancmange to you and me!). I flavoured mine with vanilla and pistachio extract. The jelly was flavoured with forest fruits, pomegranate, sumac and rosewater. These were prettily decorated with berries and slivers of pistachio. It was a very ‘soft’ dessert and so to create a bit of texture I threw in a brown butter and almond tuile, courtesy of Ottolenghi’s ‘Sweet’ book. These biscuits had a beautiful crunch that worked perfectly with the creamy, fruity dessert.

Finally our petit fours were semolina custard boreks. Similar to Baklava in method, these were filo pastries doused in sweet syrup, but filled with a set semolina custard. a sweet way to end the meal.

All in all it was a successful event. Usually by the end of a weekend of cooking I am sick of the book we have been using as our inspiration, but this not the case with Oklava, I cannot wait to cook from it again! Next up we have an afternoon tea using Ottolenghi’s ‘Sweet’ as our muse. Given there are no savoury recipes in the whole thing, guests can expect a very sugary affair indeed. I’ve been on a diet the last four months so I’m a bit worried about having to test these recipes!

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Scandi Feast

It’s a couple of weekends ago now but at the end of September we brought hygge to the Manor through our Scandinavian Comfort Food events. We love anything Scandi and the dishes we prepared seemed an apt way to welcome in Autumn. We used some of our favourite Scandi cookbooks as our inspiration.

I wanted to serve aquavit to guests as a welcome tipple, but subsequently couldn’t find any that wasn’t going to break the bank – so I made my own! It’s actually pretty easy to do – simply infuse a good quality vodka with lemon peel, dill, star anise, caraway and fennel seed. It only needs a few days and then strain and chill. It does pack a punch, but I like my booze to be adult!

Our canapés were home cured gravadlax on little rye crackers, served with a creamy mustard and dill sauce. A classic Scandi combination. This was swiftly followed by a cute little frying pan holding a mini open rye sandwich of bacon and quail egg. This was given a Scandi twist with lots of mustard, dill, kale and a dash of truffle oil.

Our first starter was a comforting broth of celeriac and apple and little Swedish meatballs. The meatballs were flavoured with fennel and nutmeg and the broth was finished off with a pretty green dill oil and tangy cloudberry jam.

Next up was a light salad of roasted beetroot, pearled spelt and whipped goats cheese topped with hazelnuts. Another traditional combination, but a riot of vibrant colours, textures and flavours spiked with fennel and raspberry vinegar.

The fish course came courtesy of our Swedish food crush Niklas Ekstedt. In his amazing Stockholm restaurant he cooks everything over open fire and it’s one of the best meals we’ve ever had. His book is lots of fun, but not particularly accessible. I did his hay flamed cod – gently roasted cod was covered in hay at the last minute and then blowtorched. This imparted a lovely smoky flavour and the odd bit of sweet ash! This was served up with a filthy brown butter sauce and potatoes roasted with miso. Pickled cucumber with pink peppercorn helped cut through the extreme sweetness. The flavours were a great balance of sweet, salty, sour and umami. It’s a very special dish that I’ll cook again next time I want to show off a bit! There was lots of plate licking action in the dining room.

The meat course was a rye crusted lamb leg, boned and rolled then coated in a herb and mustard rye crumb crust, served with a classic Swedish Jansson’s temptation. Floury potatoes, cut into matchsticks, with fried onions, thick cream and the umami boost of pickled sprats (Swedish anchovies) baked in the oven. To cut through the rich lamb and the creamy potatoes, this was served with a simple salad of kale and lingonberries. A little early, but it looked like Christmas on a plate!

Dessert this month was Susie’s take on the traditional Scandi dish of Riskrem, which is cold rice pudding and sour cherries. It was Susie’s turn to use the blowtorch and she turned this into a brûléed rice pudding. The cherries were turned into a cherry gel, alongside some fresh cherries and almonds to bring this old school dessert bang up to date. However, we did keep to some Scandi traditions and kept a whole almond in the middle of one brûlée. The lucky recipient of this went home with a prize (as is the tradition at Christmas with this dessert!)

Finally our not so petit fours were mini marzipan cakes. These were nutty, sweet, moist and chewy and topped with a light crème fraiche frosting and some lingonberries – the perfect fika treat with a  coffee!

Next up will be our 6th birthday event, a foray  into Cyprus and Turkey, courtesy of our other food crush Selin Kiazim of Oklava. We’ve already started planning the menu and hunting down the obscure ingredients so watch this space for more news of that!

Last few spaces available for our ‘how to run a supperclub’ event

Last few spaces available! Book now to join us for an evening of food, wine and supperclub gossip all in the aid of a very good cause, book on here!

Thursday 12th October 2017, 6.30pm-8.30pm, Leeds Cookery School

We’re doing an impromptu, exclusive event for charity! We’ve been running our little supperclub for 6 years next month, and in celebration of being Leeds’ longest running pop up restaurant we’re running a special class at Leeds Cookery School in October, with all proceeds going to help a local Leeds charity!

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Leeds Cookery School is the latest fab foodie addition to the Leeds food scene. It’s a social enterprise run by Zest Health for Life, who are a charity that run projects to help disadvantaged people in the city. Their flagship service is the Ministry of Food Leeds, which teaches basic cooking skills in Leeds Kirkgate Market to people in need.

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Our event will showcase all the secrets of running a small scale pop up restaurant – so if you’re thinking of setting up your own, or just want to meet us and be nosey then why not book on and join us! It will include:

  • Practical tips and advice on setting up a pop up restaurant
  • How to successfully market your venture
  • A Q and A session where you can ask absolutely anything
  • Demonstrations of two tasty ‘make ahead’ recipes 
  • A tour of the exciting new facilities at Leeds Cookery School
  • Wine and a light supper

This will all take place at the cookery school HQ in the beautiful Old Fire Station, off York Road. It’s is a fantastic new community venue developed by the Leeds Community Foundation. The date for your diaries is Thursday 12th October 6.30pm to 8.30pm. For a fab evening and a chance to help out a very worthy charity book on here!

New event! How to set up your own supperclub!

Thursday 12th October 2017, 6.30pm-8.30pm, Leeds Cookery School

We’re doing an impromptu, exclusive event for charity! We’ve been running our little supperclub for 6 years next month, and in celebration of being Leeds’ longest running pop up restaurant we’re running a special class at Leeds Cookery School in October, with all proceeds going to help a local Leeds charity!

image-3

Leeds Cookery School is the latest fab foodie addition to the Leeds food scene. It’s a social enterprise run by Zest Health for Life, who are a charity that run projects to help disadvantaged people in the city. Their flagship service is the Ministry of Food Leeds, which teaches basic cooking skills in Leeds Kirkgate Market to people in need.

groups-and-events-image

Our event will showcase all the secrets of running a small scale pop up restaurant – so if you’re thinking of setting up your own, or just want to meet us and be nosey then why not book on and join us! It will include:

  • Practical tips and advice on setting up a pop up restaurant
  • How to successfully market your venture
  • A Q and A session where you can ask absolutely anything
  • Demonstrations of two tasty ‘make ahead’ recipes 
  • A tour of the exciting new facilities at Leeds Cookery School
  • Wine and a light supper

This will all take place at the cookery school HQ in the beautiful Old Fire Station, off York Road. It’s is a fantastic new community venue developed by the Leeds Community Foundation. The date for your diaries is Thursday 12th October 6.30pm to 8.30pm. For a fab evening and a chance to help out a very worthy charity book on here!

 

Vegetarian Fine Dining

Last weekend we went completely vegetarian. We always aim to cater for all dietary requirements at the Manor but we like to put the veggies first every now and then. I used to be a veggie when I was a student so I don’t really feel like I’m missing out if I don’t have meat. I think these days vegetarian food has a much better reputation, helped by the exciting flavour combinations people are prepared to experiment with – as demonstrated by the likes of our foodie friends at Swine that Dines. They do a monthly veggie small plates menu where I’ve eaten some of the best food of my life.

Flavour is probably the most important aspect of cooking for me, and so we picked a menu that would showcase some strong, spicy and unusual flavours, all in veggie form. In fact most dishes were actually vegan or could be made vegan by omitting the minor dairy elements. People seemed up for it as well, at least two thirds of the crowd were not even vegetarian!

Susie got me a spritz book for my birthday this year and so I’m slowly making my way through it at each supperclub, as the recipes produce such lovely, refreshing aperitifs. This month I picked a Nero Chinato spritz, which was muddled blackberries, cocchi and prosecco. Very late summer inspired!

Our canapes started our veggie tour of the world, the first being ullunde vadi – Sri Lankan street food inspired by my recent travels. These chewy little lentil doughnuts came stuffed with a punchy, sweet and sour onion and chilli relish. Then it was onwards to Mexico with a smoky butternut squash tostada. A crunchy tortilla topped with spicy paprika spiked squash, topped with pink pickled onions and coiander oil.

Next on our culinary tour was Turkey. We’ve said before how our current food obsession is Selin Kiazim of Oklava and so I was keen to test a recipe ahead of our Oklava themed event in October. Ricotta stuffed dumplings came paired with a charred wedge of cabbage, a naughty yoghurt and cream sauce, chilli butter and toasted pinenuts. The sauce could essentially make anything taste nice and the spicy chilli butter cut through all the dairy richness.

Next was a detour to Asia via Greece with a real fusion of a salad consisting of black rice, aubergine, watermelon, feta and sesame! Black rice and griddled aubergines were tossed in a salty, umami miso,ginger and lime dressing and then topped with feta, watermelon and a chilli sesame caramel brittle. The salty savoury flavours were washed away by the watermelon, leaving you ready for another mouthful. This combination sounds bonkers, but our guests seemed to love it!

My Middle Eastern take on a risotto was up next and was packed full of unusual flavours including sumac and preserved lemon. This was topped with little bread and butter pickles, made from tiny Turkish cucumbers. The tart little pickles cut through the creaminess of the risotto and provided a lovely crunch against the comforting softness.

We stayed around the Middle East for Susie’s take on another of Selin’s recipes – chilli roast roast cauliflower. Smeared with sweet and spicy Turkish pepper paste, the cauliflower was roasted and charred and then topped with a tahini sauce, pistachios and pomegranates. A herby bulghur wheat salad accompanied. Roasting cauliflower really brings out the nuttiness of the vegetable yet retains the bite.

And then it was back to the UK for dessert – using a dessert recipe from Edinburgh’s Mark Greenaway. Mark’s recent book ‘Perceptions’ is full of complicated Michelin starred recipes, most of which I will never try. However the dessert section is very colourful and appealing and he breaks down all the steps in a (fairly) accessible way. I tried out the brown sugar cheesecake, bramble sorbet and tomato caramel. This was a beautiful little dish full of unusual flavour combinations. The brown sugar cheesecake was creamy and light and with a touch of butterscotch; the bramble sorbet full of summer hedgerow flavours; and the tomato caramel surprisingly fruity and zesty. It was a bit of a labour of love, but worth it!

And so we proved vegetarian food can be as exciting and fulfilling as anything else, we certainly didn’t miss the meat! Next up is our Scandinavian double bill at the end of September, where we will probably be welcoming in the start of Autumn. You’ll also no doubt have seen that we’ll be taking a wee break after January so that Susie can go on maternity leave (not my baby I hasten to add!). If you’ve managed to book on to our last round of events, then well done! If not then keep an eye on the blog and on twitter as we’ll advertise any cancellations as they arise.

Big Brunch Challenge

It’s Leeds Indie Food fortnight! And what better way to celebrate than do something a little different at the Manor. Last year was our first involvement with this brilliant festival, you may recall we did a filthy supperclub with lots of naughty but tasty treats – like ox cheek doughnuts!

We love Leeds Indie Food as it’s a great opportunity to try something different and expose our little supperclub to a new clientele. We racked our brains on what to do, and then it hit me at 3am one morning – BRUNCH! We love brunch, it’s probably our favourite meal. There are no rules or boundaries, just tasty food, and preferably some spice to get the metabolism going, or to conquer those hangovers! We also thought that brunch would be a great way to make the supperclub a bit more accessible for people. Committing to a dinner over a whole evening can be too much for some people when there’s so much on at the festival. Plus when we’re pairing booze to our dinners the cost can be as much as £50pp which just isn’t affordable for everybody.

And so our brunch supperclub concept was born. But we couldn’t leave it there, as we love a challenge. The challenge came in the form of doing not one, not two, not three, but four sittings across two days. No small feat in a semi detached house in suburban West Leeds! And yes it nearly broke us. But we did it!!

We couldn’t host a brunch without starting with our favourite breakfast cocktail – the red snapper. Not to be confused with the fish, which would be gross, this is the original bloody mary, but made with gin. To keep it local we used Leeds Gin, which is made by the lovely Sara Birkenshaw in Hunslet, only a couple of miles away from the Manor. The gin itself is beautiful – very botanical and almost sweet. I could easily slurp it over ice but Sara recommends slices of fresh ginger and orange peel in a gin and tonic. Sara is often at the local farmers markets – we picked up our gin from Kirkstall deli market. I’m sure we completely obliterated the botanical qualities of the gin in our very spicy cocktails, but they were tasty nonetheless. We kept our snappers very classic – tomato juice, lemon juice, fino sherry, tobasco, Worcester sauce, white pepper and celery salt. However I like to lighten mine with a bit of orange juice (which is a trick I learnt from Pintura) which makes it a bit less of a glass of cold soup.

Now for this event we weren’t really using a specific cookbook as a theme, however at least 50% of the recipes were from Dan Doherty of Duck and Waffle fame – probably the best brunch restaurant outside of Leeds! Our first snack was a smoked haddock scotch egg paired with a curry mayo. Soft boiled eggs encased in rich, spiced smoked haddock, which is a play on Kedgeree, the spicy, smoky brunch dish from India.

For starters I really wanted to serve up a waffle with a difference. After much research I designed a very savoury batter of buttermilk, cornmeal, paprika, cheddar, jalapeno and spring onion. This created a very smoky and umami waffle that had hints of fried cheese from the cheddar. This came paired with little pans of spiced beef shin ragu topped with a four cheese mac n cheese (gruyere, parmesan, emmenthal and more cheddar). This was rich and comforting and full of spice (again!).

For main course Susie created yet another dish, this time in the form of a burger! A Mexican inspired burger consisting of a soft brioche bun filled with a home made pork chorizo patty (Susie used a River Cottage recipe), guacamole, pink pickled onions, Monterey Jack cheese, a corn fritter and chipotle mayo.

Finally, for dessert, I wanted to inject a bit more fun using some quite recognisable ingredients in a slightly surprising way. Mini banana bread loaves, with a salted caramel core, came doused in a naughty Nutella mousse and an even naughtier peanut, maple milkshake to wash it all down with! This was sweet and salty at its best.

Our guests were a fun bunch and it was great to see some new faces at the manor and some hardcore Leeds Indie food fans too! We managed our challenge of serving 48 guests 192 plates of food over 6 hours of service! But we probably won’t try it again!

Next up we have a much more sedate affair, which will be a French Lunch the day after Bastille day in July. This will be French classics with a bit of a twist. Whilst most events are now fully booked, we do have one spare space for our Veggie Fine Dining lunch on 11th August. To book on click here.

New dates alert!

Set your alarm clocks, we’re about to release some new summer supperclub dates! They’re not on general release yet though. The date to keep in mind is Tuesday 25th April 2017 at 7.30pm – ONE WEEK FROM NOW!

The events will include:

Saturday 10th June 2017 – A Chocolate Afternoon Tea – £25pp

We’ll celebrate all things chocolate, trying our hand at some lovely patisserie. We might even sneak some chocolate into the savouries if we can, but not too much!

Saturday 15th July 2017 – Bastille Lunch – £30pp

As it’s Bastille Day the day before we thought we’d pull together a classic French lunch, using some of our favourite Francais cook books as a guide.

Friday 11th August and Saturday 12th August 2017 – Veggie Fine Dining – £35pp

We’ll be cooking veg so good that you won’t miss the meat. The Friday event will be our classic small plates evening suppercub. The Saturday will be exactly the same but served at lunchtime.

Saturday 30th September 2017 – Scandinavian Comfort Food – £35pp

We’ll be using Trine Hahnemann’s new cook book to help us create another special Scandi dinner, this will be an evening supperclub.

To book on to any of the above events you will need to wait until tickets are released on this blog at 7.30pm on Tuesday 25th April 2017. Find out more about our booking terms and conditions here. See you soon!