Tag Archives: food

August Menu – Diner Style Classics

Our next event is coming up soon, so we thought we’d share the menu to get your taste buds working! We’ve taken inspiration from classic US diner style recipes and taken them up a notch. Sliders, mac ‘n’ cheese and pecan pie have all made the cut and our guests are in for a treat.

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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!

July Menu – Italian Small Plates

After a nice break, we’ll be kicking off the second half of the year’s events Italian style with a number of delicious small plates.

Think classic, traditional Italian flavours but with some twists. Here’s the menu for you to have a nose at, we’d love to know what you think.

July 2016

May Menu – Filth LIF16

No sooner have we finished April’s event, we’re hurtling towards our May supperclubs which we’re holding as part of the fabulous Leeds Indie Food Festival.

Yep, you read that correctly, this event is “Filth” in honour of some decadent, naughty foods that really shouldn’t be eaten in one sitting. Not only do we have some glorious treats in store, but this will all be washed down with three wonderful cans of craft beer from the brilliant Northern Monk.

I’d suggest our guests do a bit of fasting before they come to this!

May 2016

Byzantine Brilliance!

We cooked up a very eclectic menu last weekend when we used Rick Stein’s latest offering ‘From Venice to Istanbul’ as our inspiration. Rick’s Mediterranean pilgrimage took him through the countries of the old Byzantine Empire, eating delicious food all along the way. Eastern influences can be seen throughout and so this was very tempting for us as cooks to give it a go. We couldn’t actually decide what to cook as everything was so tempting and so this was our biggest menu to date!

Starting in Venice our guests were welcomed with a classic Bellini – sparkling Prosecco with aromatic peach puree. Canapés were freshly baked pide bread (a bit of a Turkish focaccia) with muhammara which is a rich dip made from roasted red peppers and walnuts – to me it was very romesco like. Also on offer were spiced vegetable borek, lovely little filo parcels filled with a yummy spiced mushroom mix.

Our starters on this gastronomic adventure included halloumi saganaki with pumpkin puree – this was a salty, sweet delight with thick cubes of halloumi rolled in semolina and fried til crispy and golden, then served with a soft, sweet pumpkin puree and lashings of honey! Next up was a delicate dish of almond skordalia which is pureed potato spiked with tons of olive oil, white wine vinegar and garlic. This came anointed with lovely little roast beetroots and a fresh anchovy – this unusual dish used ingredients we all know very well but paired with very different and punchy flavour combinations.

Next up was fish and first on offer was a little fritter packed full of fresh prawns, dill and ouzo – again using some unusual flavours with very well known ingredients. This was paired with a pretty little classic Greek salad – we had to get it in there somewhere! The other fish dish (yes the dishes were still flowing at this point!) was a pretty little seared scallop dish paired with crushed broadbeans and crispy pancetta, a lovely combo of fresh and salty and soft and crispy .

For main courses there was a very rich lamb stew called hunkar begendi, which I believe was a Turkish sultan dish. The lamb was soft and tender and the glistening sauce was full of tomato, red peppers and spice. This was paired with a creamy aubergine puree and slivers of pistachio to try and counteract the wetness of the dish. The final main course was one of the stars of the night, a delicious sumac roasted chicken salad. Chicken was marinated overnight in an intoxicating array of ingredients that included pomegranate molasses, sumac, chilli and garlic. It was roasted with sesame seeds until the skin was nice and crispy and then served atop a fragrant salad of smoky freekah, fruity pomegranate and earthy herbs. Given the sour flavours in the chicken, the dish was actually deliciously umami and is one I’ll be making again to try on the BBQ!

Given all the food we had served by this point and that we were well and truly in Istanbul by now, we thought there was no better dessert offering than to go all the way back to Venice and service a nice, light TIRAMISU! Rick’s recipe is very classical, with lots of mascarpone, sponge fingers and coffee. There’s nothing to hide behind and so it needed good quality ingredients and strong flavours. The bowls were all licked clean, which given the feast we had served was a triumph!

Coffees and teas were served with my homemade halva. I’ve no idea if I made it correctly, I followed Rick’s recipe to the T! Homemade halva is much wetter and softer than the shop bought version. This will probably appeal to most people as shop bought halva has a bit of a polystyrene quality to it but mine was much more like a marzipan or an Indian sweet. Semolina is toasted in oil and then cooked slowly in a sweet milky syrup until soft and all absorbed. Whole hazelnuts were added and then it was left to set. I served mine with pretty pistachios and rose petals to try and counteract the beigy browness of it all!

So all in all it was a successful but exhausting night. We served up 10 whole different course to our guests, which is probably not a number we’ll ever do again as it was so much work! The guests seemed to enjoy it, although I’m sure they didn’t need to eat again for the rest of the bank holiday weekend! We do it all over again next weekend when it’s our special Leeds Indie Food events – FILTH. We’ve even bought a deep fat fryer in celebration! In other news we have now agreed our dates for the rest of the year. Once we’ve picked themes for these we’ll let you know before they then go on general sale. Expect them to be out before the end of the month – watch this space!

April 2016- Menu

Our next couple of events are coming up thick and fast. At the end of April we are hosting an evening event inspired by Rick Stein’s most recent book, From Venice to Istanbul, taking in a number of cuisines from the eastern Mediterranean. Think fresh, clean flavours, to punchy, spicy, aromatic dishes.

So, here’s the menu, we’d love to know what you think.

April 2016

Simply Nigel

Last weekend we served up a lovely small plates lunch to some of our wonderful guests. Using Nigel Slater’s beautiful Kitchen Diaries III as our guide, the food was simple, yet with stunning flavours to really awaken those tastebuds.

First off, our guests were greeted with our Raspberry Cooler cocktail, a delightful mix of gin, Chambord, muddled raspberries and bitter lemon. To accompany the aperitif were our canapes. First off were Dan’s Nduja bruschetta. Nduja is a rather filthy, spreadable spicy Italian sausage. The spiciness was paired with creamy goats cheese and piquant olive for a lovely little mouthful.

The other canapes were described as “apple and stilton dumplings” which were in fact little apple and stilton pies. Apple puree and stilton, encased in puff pastry – these were served with a sweet and spiced red onion and golden sultana chutney. A truly delightful morsel.

The next course was my citrus cured salmon with fennel and orange. Salmon was cured for a couple of days in salt, lemon and orange zest, dill, mint and gin and then thinly sliced. A crunchy  tangy, acidic fennel salad and sliced of in season blood oranges created a dish full of contrasting flavours and textures.

Griddled lamb with tomato, ginger and basil swiftly followed. This was an interesting dish where the lamb, once griddled pink, is then steeped in a marinade of the above ingredients blitzed up with lots of mustard seeds.  The result is a fragrant pesto fusion which combined with the meaty lamb was a delight. This was served with a simple pea shoot and radish salad.

We then moved onto some of Nigel’s more gutsy dishes. The next course was Dan’s Smoked mackerel and tender stem broccoli gratin which was creamy, warming and full of interesting textures and flavours.

The final savoury course was a flavour sensation – beef short rib slow cooked for hours in ginger, anise, soy and apple juice. The soft meat came with a smooth cauliflower puree and lots of the delicious cooking liquor. A tangy chive puree was used to cut through the intense, but enjoyable richness of the dish.

Dan’s beautiful dessert was a take on Nigel’s walnut meringue. Nigel made his as a giant tray bake with apples and custard. The walnut meringue mix made lovely, chewy, nutty meringues but was quite hard to work with and so Dan deconstructed the dessert. Little bowls were filled with a delicate, chilled, vanilla custard topped with gently poached forced rhubarb and then finished off with the walnut meringue, a rhubarb curd and fragrant rhubarb syrup. This was light, fresh and full of spring flavours – perfect after a heavy meal.

Our final flourish were my not so petit fours of maple and hazelnut shortbread biscuits, crumbly, nutty and moreish!

All in all this was a fun yet really relaxed, calm affair – just like Nigel himself. If you don’t have the book, then I would recommend it, rather than a straighforward cookbook, it’s a beautiful memoir and ode to food.

Thanks to our lovely guests who bought us gifts of a bay tree, sourdough starter, raw brownies and wine – you are all very kind!

Our next event coming up will be our Rick Stein inspired Byzantine dinner. We cannot wait, see you soon!

March 2016 Menu – Kitchen Diaries III Lunch

Next week will see our next event being held over at the Manor. We love a bit of Nige so we’re really excited about using his beautiful book, The Kitchen Diaries III, as inspiration. Here’s the menu, we’ve gone for an array of small plates that are a diverse mix of delicate and robust dishes, with simplicity at its core. Let us know what you think!

March 2016

A Lovely Latin Lunch!

We brightened up a dreary February lunchtime this weekend by taking our guests on a tour of our favourite Latin American recipes! Sunshine colour and warming spice were the ingredients of the day, inspired by some of our go to cook books, including Martin Morales’ ‘Ceviche’, Thomasina Mier’s ‘Wahaca’ and Kelis’ ‘My Life on a Plate’ (I’m a sucker for a novelty cookbook!).

Guests hurried in from the torrential rain and were greeted with a punchy daiquiri – the classic rum based Cuban cocktail. Usually made with white rum I thought I’d give dark rum a try to create something more warming and spicy. This was shaken with lime juice, sugar syrup and fresh ginger.

Canapes started with a comforting empanada of sweet potato and chorizo, classic Latin flavours of the soft sweetness of the potato and the spicy sausage all encased in crisp homemade pastry. A real Latin American staple! I followed these with a little corn cake adorned with huancaina sauce. The cake was warm, soft and sweet – the sauce creamy and spicy. I had guests guessing at the bizarre ingredients in the sauce, which included evaporated milk, cream crackers and Amarillo chilli! The sauce on its own can be used as a base for mac and cheese, which I can endorse having had it for my dinner the other night! My homemade Amarillo chilli paste was actually made from scotch bonnets, red and yellow peppers and oranges – a combination which mimics the spicy fruitiness of the Peruvian Amarillo chilli perfectly.

The small plates continued with a beautiful little salad of quinoa, butterbeans and avocado, stacked together in layers, topped with a tomato and onion salsa and served with a physalis sauce. The quinoa itself was understated, lightly flavoured with a little chilli, lime and seasoning, but the sour creamy avocado, salsa and physalis made it all sing.

I followed this with a very pretty and refreshing seabass and passionfruit ceviche. Actually a Nigel Slater recipe, this paired delicate seabass flesh with sour passionfruit, lime and fiery chilli. This was a great palate cleanser ahead of the main courses and even got the fish haters licking their plates clean!

For main courses we wanted some warming, comforting dishes given what a cold, wet day it was. Susie prepared steak tacos. Little purple corn tortillas crammed with layers of different flavours. Creamy and cool guacamole, crunchy bitter purple cabbage, fruity pico do gallo rare skirt steak and then all topped with sour, herby chimmichurri. A real mouthful indeed!

I couldn’t do a Latin American event without some form of slow roast pork. I used Kelis’ Pork Pernil recipe, which is a Puerto Rican slow roast spiced pork. A huge pork shoulder was stabbed all over and had slivers of garlic inserted into it. It was then marinated for 24 hours in a cocktail of herbs and spices that included achiote paste, smoked paprika, rosemary, thyme and oregano. It was slow roasted, on a low setting, for 5-6 hours. I found this very similar to pork pibil if I’m honest. But the soft, tasty meat is always a winner with me. I served the meat on top of a bed of flavourful yellow beans. These were chana masala cooked with bacon, onions, chicken stock and red peppers. Before serving these were spiked with coriander, lime juice and more Amarillo chilli, creating a warming yet refreshing side. These little dishes of awesomeness came anointed with pink pickled onions, pickled chillies and pork scratchings (or carnitas!).

Showing no signs of food fatigue, which is what we like to see, our guests were swiftly moved on to a palate cleanser of pineapple and sage granita – an interesting Latin American and British fusion. Susie’s stunning dessert was a combination of Pastel de Nata (spiced custard tarts), arroz con leche ice cream (rice pudding), chocolate ganache and mango couli. The tart was a crisp case of homemade puff pastry, filled with a thick and rich custard spiked with lemon zest and cinnamon. The ice cream was infused with toasted rice pudding and vanilla – a subtle flavour that really came through. This was all brought together with the rich chocolate and the fruity sweetness of the mango.

For petit fours I created little sweet potato doughnuts (called picarones). These were lovely and sweet but the dough was very hard to work with and I found the dampness of the sweet potato meant that even after frying the doughnuts were quite dense and doughy. However the sticky rum sauce that these could be dunked into more than made up for that!

Next month we’ll be offering up more of a British themed lunch for our Nigel Slater Kitchen Diaries III inspired event. It’s a lovely book, so we’re looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with it and picking recipes!

Made by Mamushkas!

Our first event of 2016 took us and our guests on a trip to Eastern Europe. This is a cuisine we’ve not really featured at the Manor before, but there are obvious influences from the rest of Europe with the use of ingredients such as dill and beetroot and lots of meat! We used Olia Hercules’ hit book ‘Mamushka’ for our inspiration. This book won countless awards last year and was heralded for bringing Eastern European peasant food into the public realm. Mamushka is all about celebrating the strong female characters that formed part of Olia’s upbringing and inspired her to cook herself.

The book is indeed beautiful, with lots of lovely pictures to demonstrate what the food should look like. We found some of the recipes a little too simple as we’re used to stronger flavours, so we do admit to having a little play about with the recipes to adapt them to our palate a little more.

Our welcome cocktail this month was a pretty little hedgerow fizz. This paired our homemade sloe gin with sparkling wine, blackberry juice and topped off with a fresh blackberry. The canapés to accompany this aperitif were prepared by Susie and included griddled aubergine rolls, a very simple canapé of red pepper, dill, garlic and sour cream all wrapped up in smoky griddled aubergine. The next canapé was a mini potato cake, similar to a rosti, topped with slices of pan fried duck breast and a blackberry sauce. A delicious mixture of crispy textures and rich meaty flavours cut through with the sharp sauce. Finally were steamed manty dumplings – little morsels filled with pork belly, onion and dill and served with brown butter.

We couldn’t have an Eastern European event without some form of gherkin or pickle and we managed to squeeze this into our starter which was a ‘Russian piquant broth’. This was a sweet, salty and sour soup made with our own light beef stock, tomatoes and the brine from a jar of gherkins. This came spiked with little chunks of gherkin, capers, olives and lemon to add to the piquancy. Slices of spicy sausage added texture and flavour and some veggie goodness came from onion, carrot and mushroom to add some freshness. We poured the broth from vintage teapots in the dining room, which added a touch of theatre. Yummy little stuffed breads accompanied the broth. The milk based dough at the core of these was very pleasant and fun to work with! I stuffed these with potato and shallot and also with egg, spring onion and dill. Served warm, these were soft and comforting – overall a good warming dish for a wintry evening!

Susie’s main course was an interesting dish of mutton in coriander. The dish originates from Ossetia, a region that is situated across the border of Georgia and Russia. Mutton is marinated overnight in a paste of coriander, dill and parsley and then slow cooked for hours until tender. Green peppers, garlic and more herbs are added at the very end of cooking to bring some fresh flavours to this hearty dish. this was accompanied with a mixed bean salad and “Korean” carrots – a soviet take on kimchi. Both did well to cut through the meaty richness of the mutton.

Our sorbet was a classic mixed berry, a salute to the range of berries Olia uses in her book. This was swiftly followed by my dessert of baked cheesecake. Ukrainian cheesecake is a lot firmer and less sweet than we are used to in the West. At its base is a sour fresh cheese called Twarog which can be obtained from Polish delicatessens. I served this with a sweet and sour compote of local forced rhubarb, rhubarb syrup and an ice cream of sour cream and poppyseed. To further brighten the plates up I decorated them with edible flowers – each one had its own unique flavour, some sweet, some sour and some a bit bitter and spicy.

Finally, to join coffees and teas we went out with a choice of two petit four. These included little Ukrainian style biscotti flavoured with walnut and apricot and little fried pastries that were sprinkled with rose sugar and came with a luscious passionfruit curd to dip them in.

All in all it was a successful night with some lovely guests to feed across the two nights that we hosted. We’ll be back in February for our Latin American lunch, so it will be good to get some spice back into the kitchen! We’re currently booked up until April but in May we’ll be running some events as part of the Leeds Independent Food Festival so keep an eye out on this site and on their’s to find out how to book – our plan will be to hook up with our favourite brewery to provide some beer pairings to the food!