Author Archives: Susie Barker

About Susie Barker

Wine loving, food obsessed geek. Spend most of my time experimenting in the kitchen, attending food type events or planning supperclub evenings for Dinner at the Manor with my good friend Martini Man.

A Bon Evening at the Manor!

Last weekend we invited 11 guests round our table to indulge in a bit of French frivolity at the Manor. We’re off to France shortly and what better way to get ourselves pepped and ready to go than with a delicious eight course menu celebrating all things French. Using Rick Stein’s French Odyssey as our guide (which is twenty years old this year!) we served up a delightful array of dishes.

Our cocktail was le diner au manoir, an unusual concoction of orange, gin, pernod and sparkling water with a dash of grenadine for colour and sweetness. We served this from our retro punch bowl.

This delicious aperitif was paired with three canapés. Firstly little puff pasty parcels filled with roasted butternut squash, thyme and goats cheese, an adaptation of a pumpkin soup recipe from the book.

This was swiftly followed by little crunchy croutes topped with tapenade and a baked mushroom. The earthy mushroom paired surprisingly well with the salty, umami flavours of the tapenade. The third canapé were flash fried queenie scallops served up with a delicious tomato and herbes de Provence dressing.

After canapés came the amuse bouche, little cups of vichyssoise, or cold leek and potato soup to you and I! This is a decadent creamy and smooth soup with the unmistakable savoury notes of leek and white pepper. These came topped with fun little garlic chives.

Next up was the starter which was Dan’s take on a bouillabaisse, a French fish stew. Dan’s summery version came spiked with the flavours of orange, anise, tomato and pepper. The fish, fresh from Leeds market, was squid and crab. The squid is cooked long and slow to make it mouth-wateringly soft. Just before serving a rouille – which is a spiced garlic mayonnaise – was stirred through to add even more depth of flavour. These came served with a little baguette crouton and a further smear of rouille.

After a bit of respite of our guests, the main course was served. This was bavette steak (beef skirt from the brilliant Keelham Farm shop) cooked pink, accompanied with a rich, glossy Bordelaise sauce and a shallot and parsley “salsa” to cut through the richness. This was paired with pommes coq d’or – sliced baked potatoes in stock and a Cheesemaker’s salad, which doesn’t actually contain any cheese! Tender leaves and pink pickled shallots tossed in a tart mustard dressing. Again, this did a great job of cutting through the richer elements of the dish.

To cleanse the palate, next up was little scoops of Normany cider sorbet. This was fresh green apples pulped in the juicer and strained before being added to a sweet cider syrup and churned to make a bright green and refreshing sorbet that had the unmistakable taste of tangy apple and cider!

Our final flourish was Dan’s Trois Petit Desserts, which actually turned out to be four! Dan put his patisserie skills to the test making nearly every single dessert in Rick’s book! First up was a caramel mousse, which is a light and airy mousse flavoured with buttery salted caramel. This came topped with fresh strawberries and crunchy almond brittle. It wouldn’t be a French meal without some form of crème brulee, and this time it came in the form of a passionfruit brulee. Passionfruit puree was mixed into the custard before being baked to produce a subtly flavoured creamy delight. Interestingly Rick uses icing sugar for his burnt top, and it works a treat! You have to work quickly before the sugar dissolves but it melts easily and cracks up a treat. It did mean we had to get out Dan’s scary, industrial sized blowtorch, which had us all running to protect our eyebrows! The brulee came paired with a passionfruit shell filled with passionfruit jelly. This was a really cute addition to the plate as it looked just like a passionfruit and was really effective and pretty. Finally to ensure there was some pastry to munch on Dan concocted a mini pear tart. Crisp puff pastry was filled with poached pear and topped with a red wine glaze, chopped pistachios and a dollop of crème fraiche.

Finally, our petit fours for the evening were little honey and lemon madeleines, light and fluffy, but may have tipped some of our guests over the edge!

To sum up, this was a very enjoyable event, as usual our guests were a lovely bunch who were well up for tucking into the huge amount of food we threw their way! Rick Stein’s book is a classic, with all of the dishes flavoursome and relatively simple to make using very simple ingredients. Vive la France!

We’re taking a bit of a break in September, but we’ll be ready and raring to go in October for our 4th birthday (gulp!) event – Japanese soul food paired with delicious Beavertown Beer!

August Menu – French Odyssey

It seems like as age since our last event, nearly two months in fact! We’re fully recharged and rested from one European trip to Spain, and this event is in homage to our next one, en France!

Using the wonderful Rick Stein’s French Odyssey as our guide, we’ll be taking you on a journey across France, cooking up traditional dishes bursting with flavour.

We think this menu c’est magnifique and we hope our guests and blog readers think so too!

August 2015

Christmas Lunch at the Manor

Saturday 5th December 2015, 1pm to 4pm

Yes it may be July now and the hottest day of the year so far but we know how diaries can start to fill up in December, so we have decided to get in there early :) . This event will be a decadent Christmas lunch, using Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book, Nopi as our inspiration. We went to Nopi for lunch a couple of years ago and you can read our review here.

Tasty small plates, with a festive twist. £30pp will get you 8 small plates and a welcome drink! If you want to celebrate Christmas with us, then book on using the link below.

BOOK NOW

A Middle Eastern Afternoon Tea – November

Saturday 14th November 2015, 2pm to 4pm

In November we’ll be bringing some beautiful spice to the Manor for afternoon tea! Using the stunning book by Anne Shooter, Sesame and Spice.

For £25pp, we’ll be serving up a range of savoury and sweet delights plus a welcome cocktail. If this takes your fancy, book on using the link below.

ONE SPACE AVAILABLE – email dinneratthemanor@gmail.com to book

4th Birthday Party – Nanban and Beer!

Saturday 10th October 2015, 7pm to 11pm

We’ve been running our little supperclub now for almost four years and we’ll be celebrating our birthday with a real treat!

Using the beautiful book by Tim Anderson, Nanban is a celebration of Japanese Soul Food. We’re super excited to find out more about Japanese cuisine! However, not only will you get a relentless onslaught of food in the form of 8 delicious courses, we’ll be pairing the food with beer from one of our favourite breweries…. Beavertown!

Beavertown

8 courses, 4 cans of Beavertown’s finest all for £50pp. There are 12 places around our table, so get in there quick by clicking on the link below.

BOOK NOW!

Spanish Surprises!

Last weekend we hosted our very first lunchtime event at the Manor! Using our forthcoming holiday as inspiration as well as some of our favourite Spanish cookery books, including Rick Stein and Claudia Roden, we served up a delicious array of pinxos, tapas and other flavoursome dishes. A wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

A welcoming glass of cool, crisp Fino sherry was swiftly followed by our canapés. First up were Dan’s mini salt cod tortillas, made with his home salted bacalao. Creamy egg bound together onions, peppers and salty fish, served atop a dollop of spicy Romesco sauce.

Pinxos swiftly followed, in the form of a mini pork skewer marinaded in Moorish spices – think cumin, fennel and coriander, griddled and served with mojo picon, a fiery sauce consisting of chillies and paprika.

Onto the starters and to cool things down a notch after the pork was a deliciously cooling bowl of gazpacho. The usual vegetables in a gazpacho were blended, seasoned and chilled until ice cold. Served in chilled bowls and topped with an array of vegetables and herbs, this was light clean, cleansing. Perfect to kick off the rest of the bigger dishes.

The next dish was Dan’s beautiful baked crab in cider, which isn’t actually baked at all! This is a surprisingly simple dish with deep and complex flavours. White and brown crab meat from Leeds market was simmered in a dry cider with garlic and tomato. This created a bisque like stew, without all the hassle! It can be used as a stuffing for spider crabs, or served up in bowls like we did!

Following on from the crab was a Spanish peasant dish of polenta with fried meats. Dan used different pork cuts from our favourite pork producer, Tancred Farm in Wetherby. Creamy softly cooked polenta came with bits of Yorkshire chorizo, deliciously smoked bacon, spicy black pudding, and a punchy sauce of smoked paprika and red wine vinegar. We do recommend Tancred Farm, they can be found at the Briggate Farmers market every first and third weekends of the month.

Almost full, but with still three more courses to go, our guests were served the final savoury dish, platters of crispy chicken thighs served on top of romesco sauce and then topped with a salsa / gremolata of almonds, onion, parsley, vinegar and olive oil. The salsa added a fresh, earthy dimension to the sour, sweet and salty flavours of the chicken and sauce. These were accompanied by lemony green beans, a Manor staple!

To perk up those tastebuds was a scoop of Dan’s luscious Malaga raisin and Pedro Ximenix sherry ice cream. A Spanish take on the classic rum n raisin, this was creamy and heady with rich sherry flavours.

And finally, wedges of apple cinnamon and cider cake were served accompanied by vanilla cream and pistachios. A cinnamon sponge, baked with layers of apple and soaked in a cider glaze. The juices of the apple created a sweet sauce to the cake, which I likened more to a baked sponge pudding, rather than a cake – soft, sweet and satisfying but not at all heavy and too stodgy.

Full and happy, this was, we think a very enjoyable and successful afternoon! We had a lovely bunch of guests and it was nice to have a mix of new and returning faces round the table. We hope they left full and happy. We’ll definitely host another lunch soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Later that evening we even managed to get out to The Greedy Pig’s Swine that Dines supperclub event they host in their cafe, which we’ll share soon. A foodie day indeed for us!

June Menu – A Spanish Lunch

Hot off the heels of our American afternoon tea, we’ll be hosting our next event. Where does time fly? This will be another afternoon event, but this time in the form of a wonderful tapas lunch! In homage of our upcoming Spanish trip, we’ll be bringing the flavours of warmer climes to the Manor.

We think our guests are in for a treat and we’d love to know what you think!

June 2015