Category Archives: Past Events

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!

Shall we fika?!

We dispelled all January blues a couple of weekends ago  when we brought the wonders of Scandinavian fika and hygge to the Manor! Fika is a Swedish term for a kind of coffee break, a conscious pause in the day to stop, reflect and enjoy a liquid refreshment and baked good! Hygge is that intriguing Scandinavian term for all things cosy, except we don’t have an English word for it so it’s nigh on impossible to explain! We created a lovely afternoon tea using the new Fika and Hygge cookbook from the guys at London’s Scandi Kitchen and some of our other favourites including Scandilicious.

Our adventurous diners were welcomed with a revitalising shot of aquavit – the Scandi water of life that comes flavoured with fennel and caraway. We served it Swedish style, over lots of ice and bitingly cold.

Our Nordic savouries included homemade rye crisp breads with caraway. These were topped with a soft gravadlax mousse and home pickled samphire – a creamy, salty and sour mini bite. Our rye bread open sandwiches came topped with a luscious dill mayonnaise, soft boiled egg and tomato.

Also on offer was a creamy, decadent mushroom tart. Mushroom, tarragon and shed loads of creme fraiche, baked and encased in a crisp shortcrust pastry shell. Finally was our take on Swedish meatballs! Little pork and fennel balls, with a dill and cucumber pickle and cranberry, wrapped in a soft home made brioche roll.

For our sweets we tried to use some seasonal produce and also serve some slightly unusual bakes. For seasonality our first nod to fika was a cute little rhubarb and custard bun spiked with cardamom and drenched in rhubarb syrup. A last minute addition to the tiers was a lightly spiced gingerbread cake filled with a raspberry cream. We had initially intended for this to be a Danish honey cake square but having tried the recipe twice over we could not get it to work and so had to bake a last minute alternative! To make up for the lack of honey cake we also offered an extra treat in the form of a mini fig tart. These were soft and chewy almond cakes filled with a lovely fig jam.

If that wasn’t enough other fika treats included mini cardamom buns filled with almond custardThese buns are traditionally served at Easter – almost a baked Scandi version of a doughnut! To finish off was the traditional Swedish chocolate sticky cake, Kladdkaka. A rich, dense chocolate cake with a gooey centre. This was served with fresh raspberries and clotted cream to make it even more decadent!

So, we’re glad to have started 2017, but it was a bit of a stressful event to break us into the new year! I’m not sure I’d recommend the Scandi Kitchen book – as beautiful as it is the recipes are complicated, confusing and not always very reliable! Having said that it’s Ottolenghi coming up next in February – now you can’t get more reliable than that! See you then…

Sirocco Sensation

We were pleased to be cooking from Sabrina Ghayour’s new book, Sirocco, this weekend. Sabrina is a fellow supperclub host done good. Her clever recipes are Manor favourites because they are simple to follow, use accessible ingredients and always super tasty, she’s a genius! We served up a hearty Autumn lunch to add a little Middle Eastern colour and spice to what was otherwise a dreary, wet November day.

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Our welcome cocktail was a preserved lemon gin martini. We went one step further than Sabrina by adding the brine from the lemons into the gin, a bit like a dirty martini. This was slightly salty, sweet from honey and sour from lemon juice. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea but a very decent take on a dirty  martini we felt!

Canapés included fennel and lamb “lollipops” – little lamb koftas flavoured with lots of fennel, apricot and spices, served with yoghurt and tamarind. a lovely combination of sweet and savoury. Also on offer were little potato and chickpea latkes. These crunchy little morsels were full of flavour from cumin and coriander seed and came atop a spicy tomato and coriander salsa.

We love a slider at the Manor and we combined a number of Sabrina’s recipes to create a Persian duck version. A whole duck was slow roasted with Persian spices and then shredded. This was drenched in honey and pomegranate molasses and then served in a little milk bun with a crunchy carrot, pomegranate and tahini slaw. This was swiftly followed by spiced orange and thyme skewers and freekeh salad. Chicken thighs were marinated overnight in orange, marmalade, thyme and and array of spiced and grilled till charred. The freekeh was spiked with sweet and sour flavours such as pomegranate and dried cranberries then freshened up dill and coriander.

We couldn’t do a Middle Eastern event without some form of tagine. To cut through all the meat this came in the form of a pumpkin, harissa, apricot and preserved lemon tagine. This was a lovely balance of spice, sweetness and savouriness. Sabrina serves hers with a soft boiled egg atop, so who are we to argue?!

Our last small plate was seared steak with roasted vegetables served with two dressings, red pepper and a lemon yogurt. The vegetables are roasted until charred then tossed with, drizzled with the sauces then topped off with pink seared beef. A striking, tasty dish indeed.

Dessert was a delicious blackberry and pistachio frangipane tart. The sweet pistachio paired up well with the tart blackberries. Alongside this was a very decadent cardamom and rose ice cream and some rose macerated blackberries. Sweet and satisfying.

And finally our petit four were lovely little sumac and orange shortbreads. Not a technically a Sabrina recipe but celebrating the best of Persian flavours nonetheless!

That’s it for this year. We’ve had a fab time cooking up some lovely things. We’ll be back in the new year cooking up some more treats from Rick Stein and Ottolenghi, yippee!

Happy Birthday to Us!

We’re a bit late with this post but better late than never! In October we celebrated our 5th birthday. Never did we think when we held our first event in 2011 that we’d still be holding events and that the lovely folk of Leeds and beyond would still want to come!

Our celebratory event’s theme was Korean (our favourite food of the moment) paired with beer by Mikkeller, one of our favourite brewers. And because it was a celebration, we opened our doors for two nights! Each guest received three bottles to pair with the meal as they wished. These were Oktoberpretzel – a German style beer brewed with pretzels, 1000 IBU – a bitter, highly hopped Belgian beer, and Sort Kaffe, a coffee infused porter.

We started off the evening with glasses of Blå Spøgels, a tart blueberry lambic which was very reminiscent of a kir royale, only a beery version. This was paired with our canapes, the first were rice and seaweed rolls – a Korean version of sushi, using steak and an assortment of vegetables. Pretty virtuous to contrast with the next canape, roasted pork belly lettuce wraps. This was soft pork belly, slow roasted in Korean bean paste broth. The pork was enveloped in a crunchy lettuce leaf and smeared with more umami bean paste, lovely!

For our first starter, our guests were treated to Korean fried chicken with a twist, served up as a slider rather than the traditional wings. Crispy fried thighs coated in spicy, sweet sauce served in miniature brioche buns.

This was followed by the best hangover dish ever – kimchi fried rice! We served up our take in pretty little frying pans. Steamed rice was cooked up with loads of veggies, chilli flakes and a ton of spicy, stinky kimchi! Topped with a runny egg and paired with a kimchi bloody mary, this was sterling stuff!

For mains, our first dish was braised beef short ribs with pickles. Beef ribs were marinated for 24 hours in soy, chillies, ginger and pear (to name a few of the ingredients) and then slowly braised for five hours until meltingly tender. To accompany these were a duo of pickles, a sweet pickled onion and a spicy quick kholrabi “kimchi”.

Crab was our next course, but not just any old crab, deep fried softshell crab to be precise! Our crispy offering was coated in moreish spicy bean paste and served with a creamy mayo dip and tangy, pickled mooli, yum!

After a short rest, our pre dessert was a small serving of black sesame ice cream, a cooling sweet and savoury combination to cleanse the palate before dessert.

Speaking of dessert, this was a deliciously tart passionfruit posset – Korean style. Each tangy posset was topped with a syrup of Korean ‘Citron Tea’. Citron tea is bit like marmalade, with a lemony tea flavour. I’ve no idea whether the Koreans eat it or drink it! But it made a lovely, sharp topping for the creamy possets. These came with crumbly, sweet and salty seaweed shortbread.

To accompany tea and coffee, our petit fours were divisive and very much split the crowd. I made glutinous rice balls coated in matcha, a traditional sweet . They were mildy sweet and bitter as Koreans aren’t known to have a very sweet tooth. These certainly pushed the boundaries. One guest described them as “horrific”…compliments indeed!

All in all a lovely evening was had, over the past five years we’ve learnt a lot and we’re still learning. Every event throws up something new – such as cooking Korean food for a guest who didn’t eat spice, eek! Thanks to all of our guests who have dined with us and we’re  looking foward to seeing many more. Next up is our Middle Eastern lunch, using Sirocco as our inspiration. We’ll be publishing the menu shortly, so keep your eyes peeled!

 

A Taste of India

Back at the beginning of the month we hosted our first Afternoon Tea in a very long while and we were very much looking forward to rolling our sleeves up and baking. As usual we had a Manor theme to the afternoon’s proceedings, and this time we used Chetna Makan’s Cardamon Trail as inspiration, giving everything an Indian twist.

Our guests arrived to our usual welcome cocktail, this time a spicy, sour, ginger punch – whilst they settled down, got to know each other and awaited their savouries.

The savouries were a delightful mix of fragrant, spiced and hot dishes. There were chilli chicken flatbreads – homemade mini chappatis topped with marinated chicken, spinach, pink picked onions and cooling mint yoghurt. alongside these were aubergine and onion tarts – puff pastry tarts of tomato, caramelised onion, roasted aubergine and fiery coriander chutney. 

This fiery chutney also accompanied Dan’s magnificent paneer pie, which was a ton of paneer bound in a yummy masala sauce and wrapped in crispy puff pastry. The final savouries were little potato cups filled with a mung daal. This was a tiny morsel that packed a punch!

After a bit of respite we moved onto an array of delicious sweets, starting off with our classic buttermilk scones accompanied with cardamom clotted cream and homemade jumbleberry jam.

Next up were some zesty black sesame and lime cakes, little sponges packed with lime and black sesame and then topped with a lime icing for an extra hit! In contrast to this there were also some little choux buns filled with mango and praline and topped with a chocolate glaze –  a different yet delicious combination.

That wasn’t the end of the sweets – there were three more delectable delights!

Dan made small versions of Chetna’s almond, rose and honey cakes. These are a bit like a friand but Dan spiced his with fennel, cinnamon and cardamom. Chetna fills hers with cream but Dan doused his in a light buttercream, for extra naughtiness. Also on offer was a saffron sponge full of crunchy almonds and fresh cream. Saffron can be a challenging flavour for some people but it really worked in this very sweet and luxurious cake slice. Finally little mango lassi possets were a great palate cleanser as well as a pretty addition to the table.

This was a brilliant, fun afternoon with a lovely mix of old and new faces round the table. What with all of the lunches and evening events we’ve had recently it was great to get baking again.

Next month comes our 5th birthday event! Gosh, where does time go? We’re looking forward to celebrating with great guests, Korean food and Mikkeller beer!

 

American Beauty

A few weeks has past now but here’s a quick recap of what we served at our American Diner small plates event earlier this month. If we’re completely honest we had so many unused recipes from our ‘Filth’ events for Leeds Indie Food we thought we’d just put on a whole new event! We channelled inspiration from the like’s of Duck and Waffle, Spuntino and Jamie’s America.

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This was a lunchtime event so we felt there was no better way to start this daytime dinner than with a lethal cocktail! This came in the form of our ‘Cherry Cola’ which was actual cherry coke reduced down to a syrup and spiked with salt, more sugar, vanilla and cider vinegar (bizarrely). The booze was a concoction of whisky, vodka, Campari and crème de cacao! As well as lethal this was also very sweet – one to have in small quantities!

For canapés we offered mini jacket potatoes, which had a lovey smoky and spicy coating and came topped with sour cream, chives and crispy bacon. Also served up was a mini piece of toasted sourdough, grilled cheese, spiced ox cheek and pickled fennel – a very complex array of ingredients for such a small morsel!

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The small plates then started properly with a salad American style – Waldorf Salad… lightly dressed leaves spiked with grapes, walnuts and blue cheese. Knowing that we had a number of rich dishes to follow, this was a nice dish to break our guests in with! This was then followed by a slider with a difference – a lambwich slider! Succulent lamb mince was mixed with fennel, rosemary and chilli. Popped in a rich milk bun with lots of spicy tomato sauce and pickled cucumber, this was a messy treat indeed!

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Next up was our mac ‘n’ cheese course, as you can’t do American without some form of the mac! A rich, creamy, gruyere filled mac ‘n’ cheese was topped with a deep fried softshell crab, which is our new favourite ingredient at the Manor. These crabs you can eat whole as they have shed their shells as they grow. By being able to eat everything, it has a lovely bisquey flavour…a perfect accompaniment for a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese in my view!

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Our final savoury offering was pig and grits. 12 hour slow roasted barbecued pulled pork, atop cheesy grits and spiked with jalepenos. Sweet, smoky, spicy and creamy – all the delicious things in one comforting mouthful. A true taste of America!

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After such a light meal we felt pudding would be best served as pie – pecan pie to be precise with a filthy salted caramel ice cream! A rich, dark, nutty pie and decadent ice cream…Safe to say this pretty much finished off some of our guests.

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And finally, if that wasn’t enough, our petit fours were homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups. We knew we’d broken our guests when so many of these were left uneaten – all the more for us to eat!

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It’s great to keep seeing so many new faces at the Manor. Next time we’ll be welcoming people in for an Eastern inspired Afternoon Tea in September, see you soon!

Bellisimo – Italian Small Plates

Earlier on this month, after a small break, we hosted the first of our Summer 2016 events. Inspired by a recent trip to Florence and the sunny flavours of Italy, we decided to put on a small plates menu for our group of guests, all of whom were new faces to the Manor, which was lovely to see. We used a range of books / chefs for inspiration, from Polpo, River Cafe, Jamie Oliver and Nigella!

To welcome our guests, our aperitif was a Campom Spritz, a lovely twist on a traditional Campari spritz but with the extra addition of pomegranate and orange juices. The first canape was a rich and savoury chicken liver crostini with balsamic onion – a smooth pate topped with almost black sweet reduced onions. The second canape was a soft and tasty mini meatball (or polpetti) spiked with fennel and smoked bacon and topped with mozzarella, Parmesan and a semi-dried tomato.

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Moving swiftly on to the starters, the first was a very simple salad of roasted butternut squash, prosciutto and ricotta. The sweetness of the squash, saltiness of the ham and the creaminess of the ricotta was brought together with pumpkin seeds for texture. Truly simple but tasty.

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The next starter was Dan’s less summery (but apt for the rainy Saturday we were experiencing!) dish of sprouting broccoli with a hot olive sauce and crispy pancetta. Tender steamed broccoli was served atop a dollop of rich and creamy polenta and then doused in a  yummy umami sauce of green and black olives, capers, lemon, anchovies and cream. It doesn’t sound promising but trust us – this sauce is worth the gamble of slightly bonkers ingredient combinations!

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On to the mains, the next dish was one of the stars of the night, Dan’s chilli crab risotto. This simple recipe from Nigelissima is a creamy risotto brought to life with lots of saffron, red chilli and white and brown crab meats. This came served with some gently steamed samphire and had just the right levels of chilli heat and salty fishiness!

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To finish the savoury dishes, was a hearty, rustic dish of pork belly, radicchio and hazelnuts. Pork belly is slow roasted for hours until meltingly soft and the skin puffed and crispy. Raddichio is then wilted in the pork juices and this is all served up with roasted hazelnuts to offset the bitterness of the leaves and add some extra crunchiness.

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After a palate cleanser of peach and prosecco sorbet, it was on to the dessert, Dan’s beautiful apricot, almond and lemon tart and vanilla risotto semi-fredo. The apricot tarts are a bit like a frangipane with tons of sweet almonds to counteract the sour fruit. The semi-fredo is basically a partly frozen very creamy rice pudding, which was a wonderfully naughty accompaniment to the tart. These little sweet plates were garnished with some tangy apricot sauce and macerated apricots.


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Just to finish our guests off, some boozy chocolate truffles were served up with tea and coffee. These were cram packed with delicious amaretto, creating the perfect sweet end to the meal.

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The whole evening was relaxed and casual, just like the food – there were no over complicated dishes here, just simple, good tasting food that allowed the ingredients to shine. Thanks to our lovely guests for a great evening. Our next event is another small plates affair, taking US diner classics to create a fun and ever so dirty menu. See you then!