Tag Archives: Middle Eastern Food

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!

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February ’17 Menu – Ottolenghi Inspired Lunch

We’re already through with January and coming up to our second event of the year! This time we’re lunching and using the reissued version of the Ottolenghi cookbook as our muse. Bold, sunny, spiced flavours to tingle those taste buds.

We’re looking forward to cooking this up, would love to know what you think!

february-2017

 

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!

November ’16 Menu – A Middle Eastern Inspired Lunch

In less than a week’s time we’ll be opening up the doors of the Manor for our penultimate 2016 supperclub!

The them this month is Middle Eastern, using Sabrina Ghayour’s marvellous Sirocco for inspiration. We’re big fans of Sabrina, her dishes are simple, straightforward and so so tasty. We’re excited about the menu and excited to be greeting another bunch of lovely guests.

So here’s the menu! Let us know what you think!

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!

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