Tag Archives: 2015 dates

Nopi Festive Lunch

You know it’s the countdown to Christmas and the new year when we’ve put on a festive supperclub! And this year it was the turn of Ottolenghi’s glamorous book Nopi as our inspiration and guide. Based on the food from his Soho restaurant of the same name, this recipe book starts with a massive disclaimer about how hard all the recipes are! True, most recipes are two or three pages long, but we found that with a bit of forward reading, lots of recipe testing and advanced preparation, most were absolutely fine. Ottolenghi and cheffing partner Scully have translated the recipes so that they can move from a professional kitchen into the amateur realm.

We opted for a lunch for this event – mainly because we then get to go out at the weekend too! We hosted a very rowdy and appreciative lot, which is surely the point of a suppperclub. It was great to fill the house with lots of festive cheer, I certainly feel a bit more Christmassy now anyway!

Guests were welcomed with a spicy ginger and coriander martini. Russian vodka was shaken with a fresh ginger syrup, lime juice, toasted coriander seed and fresh coriander. The lime and ginger were the first things to punch with this drink, the coriander notes a subtle after thought. Nopi has an exciting range of cocktails in the back of the book so do check them out.

Canapes were headed by Susie’s filthily gorgeous brisket croquette. Brisket is slow cooked for hours in a rich Asian masterstock spiked with cinnamon, start anise and orange peel amongst the many herbs. Very festive indeed! The meat is then shredded, breadcrumbed and fried. Served alongside as a dipping sauce, the masterstock is reduced to a dark glossy syrup – truly sweet, sticky and umami! This was swiftly followed by Dan’s delicate corn cakes, which were light and airy like mini souffles. They had earthy notes from cumin and celery seed, plus the sweet corn. A tangy slaw of apple and beetroot gave them a dash of colour and acidity. You could serve larger ones of these as a veggie starter.

We then moved on to a series of small plates, which is how the food was served at Nopi when Susie and I went for a lunch there a couple of years ago. First up was Susie’s purple sprouting broccoli with chilli and skordalia, which is a creamy chilli spiked olive oil mash. The broccoli is charred and served up alongside. Crunchy, creamy and spicy and delicious veggie starter before we moved onto the more meaty dishes. I had my eye on the buttermilk cod with urid daal. Delicate pieces of cod were marinated in punchy spices and buttermilk, the latter making the cod quite firm and silky. The urid daal was flavoured only with fresh aromatics, no dried spices, which created a very light and subtle curry. The result was a very comforting dish, but if I’m honest the buttermilk marinade made the cod taste ever so slightly overdone. I also made a yoghurt version for a guest who cannot eat buttermilk and I thought this was better!

The mains kick started with a luscious piece of Japanese style chicken. Chicken thighs were marinated in a bizarre burnt miso, brown sugar and mirin sauce. This gave it a rich umami and butterscotch flavour, which when paired with juicy chicken and crispy burnt edges was very moreish! This dish is Ottolenghi at his best because it fuses flavours and ingredients that you wouldn’t normally taste together. The Japanese chicken came with more of Middle Eastern style salsa – pomegranate and walnut – as well as a sumac flavoured onion salad. The sweetness of the chicken and the intense tang and freshness of the salsa and salad were very disorienting for the senses but enjoyable nonetheless. Susie’s final savoury flourish was smoked lamb rack. The racks of lamb were marinaded overnight in garlic, ginger and coriander, then smoked over basmati rice before being griddled until pink. Rather imparting a smoked flavour it adds a toasty aroma to the lamb. Alongside the juicy cutlets, Susie also served a tahini and lemon aubergine puree, picked kohlrabi and a vivid green jalapeno sauce. Again, a real mix of sharp, spicy and earthy flavours!

To take us into the sweets Susie served up a frozen version of one of Nopi’s cocktails as a sorbet – pineapple and sage. Sugar syrup is infused with sage leaves, cloves and cardamom before being blended with the fruit imparting an almost medicinal flavour to the mix which was delicious! I then moved on to the main event. I’ll be honest with you here, picking the dessert was an absolute nightmare as we had a dairy free guest to cater for – no cream or butter, eek! Help was on hand, however, with a very retro coconut flavoured tapioca. Tapioca, the childhood enemy of many a guest, we hope we have been able to redeem it for some! This version was rich with coconut cream and palm sugar. I found I had to up the sweetness to suit my palate and also added in some run and cinnamon to make it a bit more festive. The creamy tapioca came topped with caramelised bananas flambéed in a rich rum sauce and finished off with fresh coconut that had been glaced. All the bowls came back scraped clean so I hope it was enjoyed!

As coffees and teas were sent out Susie dusted the petit four with festive icing sugar – these were coffee and pecan friands, which weren’t so much petit but grand!

And so that brings us to the end of our 2015 events, which has been a very fun year indeed. We started with Ottolenghi and ended with Ottolenghi, with some detours via Scandinavia, America, Spain and France – as you can see we’re very diverse! We’re booked up until next spring and 2016 looks set to take us to Eastern Europe, Latin America and…. Nigel Slater’s kitchen! Fear not it you’ve not got tickets for these events, we always announce cancellations on this blog and on twitter, plus there’ll be more events in 2016 to pounce on. For now, have a lovely Christmas and a prosperous new year!

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December 2015 Menu – Nopi Inspired Christmas Lunch

In a week’s time will be our last event of the year, and what a year it has been! We’ll be seeing 2015 out with a delicious Nopi inspired Christmas lunch for our guests. Bold, bright flavours from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully’s beautiful book that, despite not being at all “Christmassy” will get our gets into fun, high spirits!

We’re looking forward to it already!

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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

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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.

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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

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