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.

Sugar, Sesame, Spice and all things nice!

Last weekend we served up our last afternoon tea of the year, a warming event full of Middle Eastern flavours to bring some spice to a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. Anne Shooter’s wonderful book Sesame and Spice was our tome for the afternoon, serving up an array of sweet and savoury delights for our guests



To kick off proceedings, guests were welcomed with a welcome drink, our pomegranate fizz. Pomegranate juice and cava, with a dash of grenadine. Think of it as a take on a Kir Royale!

Up first were the savoury dishes – this included a beautiful aubergine tart, which had aubergine 3-ways at the core of it! Puff pastry was topped with baba ganoush, griddled aubergine slices and roasted aubergine wedges. This was baked before being topped with halloumi and a tasty drizzle of honey, pomegranate molasses, mint, chilli and peppery oil. Also on offer were fluffy little flatbreads topped with a salty and piquant black olive tapenade, air dried tomatoes and feta cheese.


These were accompanied with mini bagels filled with lox and a schmear (or smoked salmon and cream cheese!) and garnished with red onion and capers. A very traditional sandwich, but one everyone has got to love! Another pastry element came in the form of spinach and cheese filo parcels. Wilted spinach, feta and egg, spiced with nutmeg. A cheesy spiced delight indeed.

A short respite later, we moved onto sweet treats. As a nice lead up to the cakes, Dan made some wonderfully short, halva and sumac biscuits. This is essentially a shortbread recipe spiked with nutty halva, sour sumac and fragrant rose sugar – a new taste sensation. Dan tested these out on his colleagues who had no idea what sumac or halva was!

Swiftly after this was my fig and frangipane tart – buttery shortcrust and soft juicy figs surrounded by nutty frangipane and topped off with a honey and orange blossom drizzle and creme fraiche.

Now it was onto the cakes. Firstly spiced pumpkin cake, which was almost like a set custard! The base of this cake was pumpkin puree, lots of sugar and almonds. It came spiked with fruity raisins and festive spices. It was surprisingly light but took an age to bake!

An afternoon tea isn’t an afternoon tea without chocolate and our offering did not disappoint. The chocolate mousse cake consisted of two layers of mousse, firstly baked at the bottom and then a cool, chilled layer on top. Rich, bitter and satisfying this was an extremely light cake but very naughty!

Finally, Dan’s pretty mini saffron, almond and orange cakes were another interesting take on the traditional afternoon tea. These little, moist cakes were heavy with saffron fragrance, almond nuttiness and zesty orange. They came filled with homemade orange marmalade and an extremely naughty saffron buttercream – the leftovers of which Dan is still eating now!

All in all,  this was a very enjoyable afternoon. Food wise, Anne Shooter’s book is so full of flavourful, interesting bakes that will (and have) become firm favourites and I think our guests felt the same way. It was once again great to see an array of old faces and new, a couple of our guests last dined with us over three years ago! Speaking of time, in less than a fortnight we’ll be hosting our last event of the year, based on Ottolenghi and Scully’s stunning book Nopi. We’ve already started testing recipes and the menu will be shared in a couple of days, can’t wait!

November 2015 Menu – Middle Eastern afternoon tea

We’re swiftly approaching our penultimate event of year! Where does that time go!?

For our November event we’re treating our guests to a wonderful Middle Eastern inspired afternoon tea, where we’ll be using the beautiful book, Sesame and Spice as our guide. Bakes hailing from the Middle East, across Europe and New York all feature and we think our guests are in for something special!

Let us know what you think!

Nov 2015

2016 Dates – Book on now!

You’ve seen the themes for the first few months of 2016, so without further ado, here are the links for you to book onto the events!

January 16th 2016 – Eastern Europe, inspired by Mamushka
A sumptuous 8 course dinner inspired by Olia Hercules’ beautiful book. To book on click on the link below which will take you to Paypal. Spaces are £35 pp

February 6th 2016 – Latin American Lunch
Join us for a lazy Saturday lunch inspired by all things Latino! Click below to book now, £30 pp

March 12th 2016 – Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries III Lunch
Using Nigel Slater’s brand new beautiful tome, we’ll be dishing up some seriously tasty food at our lunchtime event. £30 pp, book using the link below.

April 30th 2016 – Rick’s Stein’s Byzantine
We’ll be going on a journey from Venice to Istanbul with eight delicious dishes inspired by Rick Stein’s vibrant new book it’s £35pp for this evening event.

2016 dates… On sale soon!

We’ve had a flurry of lovely people getting in touch asking about any new events coming up. As you know we’re currently sold out for our 2015 events, but we can now share with you our dates and themes for the first few months of 2016! They’ll go on sale on Friday 23rd Oct at 12 noon! Eek, talk about being well prepared! So without further ado, 2016 will bring us….

January 16th 2016 – Eastern Europe, inspired by Mamushka

We’ll be trying our hand at the flavours of eastern Europe using the beautiful Mamushka as our guide. Written by my new girl crush Olia Hercules (I want to be able to rock a head scarf like she does!!) we’ll we sharing dishes from Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and beyond! Tickets for this event will be £35pp

February 6th 2016 – Latin American Lunch

We’ll be revisiting the sunny climes of Latin America for a wonderful lunchtime event. The sour, smoky, fresh flavours of this cuisine is sure to get your tastebuds singing! I do wonder how many limes we’ll get through this time? We’ll be using a number of our favourite books, for this one, including Ceviche, Wahaca. Tickets will be £30pp.

March 12th – Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries III Lunch

We’ll be taking inspiration from our “Nige” for this lunchtime event, using the third of his Kitchen Diaries books. Using simple ingredients to make tasty, comforting, stunning dishes, we can’t wait for this event! For this lunch, tickets are £30pp

April 30th 2016 – Rick’s Stein’s Byzantine

We’ll be showcasing the delight’s of Rick Stein’s newest book Byzantine: From Venice to Istanbul in April and we can’t wait! We’ll be cooking up delights from Venice via Croatia, Greece and into Turkey. An eclectic mix, but all with that Byzantine spicing! Tickets for this will be £35pp

We hope these events are getting your juices flowing, so be quick and make sure you grab yourself a space at our table. Tickets on sale on the blog from Midday on Friday 23rd October!

October Menu – 4th Birthday, Nanban & Beer

Now that our summer of travels are over, we’ re ready and raring to go and already prepping for our 4th birthday celebrations! Never did we think we would still be holding events, but if the people of Leeds want, we’ll still give!

To celebrate, we’ll be putting on a Japanese street food feast, serving up a number of small plates using Tim Anderson’s Nanban as our inspiration, paired with four cans of Beavertown Brewery’s finest.

Tasty grub and beer all served up in the wonderful surroundings of the Manor. What’s not to like? We’d love to know what you think!

October_2015 Menu

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