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!

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!

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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!

 

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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!

A very long weekend!

We have been very much overdue some evening supperclub events and so a few weeks ago we hosted not one but two and threw some craft beer in for good measure! Rick Stein’s lovely ‘Long Weekends’ book was our muse. If you’ve seen the accompanying TV series he went all over Europe in search of good food. Our resulting menu could have been a bit random to be honest, what with all that culinary choice. But we think we nailed it, if we do modestly say so ourselves!

Our beer pairings came courtesy of North Brewing, brewed only a few miles away from the Manor at Sheepscar. North Brewing beer is probably some of our favourite beers at the moment – fresh and full of flavour. Lucky guests got four cans to sup at their leisure. This included a Kolsch style lager, a couple of very strong IPAs (my favourite being the punchy and hoppy Transmission) and a coffee, coconut porter.

Our canapés took guests to Copenhagen at first and came in the form of little Frikadeller, which are cod fishcakes spiked with a curried remoulade sauce. The fishcakes came crammed with cod and no potato filler whatsoever. I could literally eat the remoulade on everything, it’s the ultimate tartare sauce. Our next location was Berlin, with what seemed a very British canape – rare seared beef with horseradish cream, but encased in a choux bun, a spin on roast beef and Yorkshire puddings!

Starters took us to Reykjavik in the first instance, with a very delicate Icelandic fish soup. This was an unusual combination of ingredients that was a hit in the dining room. A creamy, buttery fish soup was poured over sour apple and gently poached hake and anointed with pink peppercorn and dill oil. Very refined, pretty and very tasty! Next up was Susie’s arancini salsicca from Palermo. A rich saffron risotto ball stuffed with fennel spiked sausage meat and deep fried, paired with a sweet and sharp tomato and basil sauce.

For mains Cadiz was our next stop with a very simple but flavourful griddled mackerel (fresh from Leeds market that day) paired with a pirinaca salad of tomato, onion and peppers. Such clean fresh ingredients needed to sing for themselves. Next we detoured to Vienna for a very rustic pickled cabbage leaf stuffed with pork and paprika and served with buttery parsley potatoes. This was a very comforting and warming dish with the cabbage having flavours of yummy sauerkraut.

Dessert took us to Bordeaux with Susie’s flourless chocolate cake from Aquitaine. A light yet rich cake, this was paired with shards of almond biscuit, salted chocolate ganache, Chantilly cream and fresh and freeze dried raspberries. A wonderfully decadent mouthful indeed!

Our final destination was Spain because what else could we serve for petit four, after all that food, than deep fried rice pudding. Yep that’s right! These are the best doughnuts you’ll ever try. Lemony, vanilla rice pudding, crammed with boozy raisins, deep fried til golden and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. What’s not to like?!

So, that’s it for a few months from us. We’re back in May for our sold out Big Brunch events for Leeds Indie Food. We’ll be taking time off in June as well but do keep an eye out this Spring for tickets to our July, August, September events. See you soon!

Ottolenghi (and friends!)

Now the excitement of the Leeds Indie Food 2017 ticket release has passed (thanks to all those who’ve booked on!) Here are a few details of the inspired by Ottolenghi event at the Manor the other weekend. I say ‘inspired’ because we messed around with the recipes that much that they probably weren’t that Ottolenghi in the end! The aforementioned chef has re-released his very first cookbook, complete with sexy new front cover. We’ve cooked many an Ottolenghi recipe over the years and whilst we’ve never hosted a supperclub from the his first book, we knew it would be a reliable and rewarding muse. What we’ve come to love Ottolenghi for is his simple approach to cooking – flavour comes first, then colour and then use of the most basic, straightforward cooking techniques so as not to compromise on either.

We started proceedings with canapés of cauliflower fritters and beef tacos. The fritter was soft and comforting, packed full of spice from chilli, cinnamon and cumin. Ottolenghi spikes his with a tart limey yoghurt and I couldn’t resist also dabbing on a mango chutney/ lime pickle combo to create a very flavourful mouthful. The taco was an adaptation of Ottolenghi’s beef fillet with watercress and mustard sauce stuffed in a soft taco!

The starters included a seafood and fennel salad and roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt. The salad was a bit like a seafood slaw, which makes it sound horrible when it absolutely isn’t! Shaved fennel was marinated in sumac, coriander, chilli, dill and lots of lime juice. Fresh baby squid and king prawns were fried in salt and pepper and added to the mix. This was sweet, soft and crunchy – an unexpected taste sensation! The aubergine salad is what many regard as an Ottolenghi classic – his griddled aubergine with saffron yoghurt. Soft smoky aubergine, smothered in floral saffron yoghurt, spiked with basil and pomegranate.

The mains added yet more flavours into the mix and came in the form of a mushroom ragout and harissa spiced chicken. The ragout was not technically an Ottolenghi recipe but was inspired by a cheesy polenta porridge recipe I had spied of his in the Guardian. I wanted something hearty and seasonal to pair with it and stumbled across this top mushroom ragout recipe. A ton of mushrooms were cooked up in tasty sauce of marsala wine and porcini mushrooms and served atop a cornmeal porridge crammed full of parmesan cheese goodness. This was layer after layer of umami tastes and was a big hit in the dining room, perfect for a cold winter’s day. The chicken dish was a wild rice and quinoa salad, topped with harrissa chicken. Chicken thighs were marinated in homemade harissa paste and then roasted and served with the salad. A spicy, fresh affair with the chilli heat of the chicken tempered by the sharp, citrus and sweet elements of the salad.

We turned from winter to summer for our dessert which was a bright little clementine polenta cake. Again, not an Ottolenghi recipe as I wanted a cake that was entirely gluten free. These little polenta cakes were topped with a slice of caramelised clementine and even had the whole fruit inside the cake mix. They were doused in a sweet clementine syrup and came with a smear of clementine curd – a celebration of the little citrus fruit! I paired it with an orange blossom, pistachio and honey ice cream – again not an Ottolenghi recipe but actually a Sabrina Ghayour one, so not far off!

Our final offering with coffees were little almond florentines. Unlike traditional florentines, these were simple, orange zest spiked biscuits that whilst simple in appearance packed a punch.

So, whilst we may have strayed a little from our original intention of hosting an Ottolenghi supperclub, I think what it demonstrates is that these days a lot of people are doing Ottolenghi style food and when he first released his original book that was far from the case, which must be a good thing surely?!

Anyway, we’ll be back next in March with another beer and food supperclub which we’re very excited about!

New supperclub events now on sale!

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As promised tickets for our May ‘brunch’ supperclubs are now on general sale, and they’re being run as part of Leeds Indie Food 2017.

£25pp will get you a 4 course gourmet brunch, a Leeds Gin Red Snapper and lashings of Yorkshire tea and coffee!

The sittings you can choose from are:

(links takes you to the LIF17 website)