Tag Archives: Nigel Slater

Foodie Chronicles of Christmas

Earlier this December we got the tree up and cooked up a melange of festive treats for our annual Christmas supperclub. Initially we’d picked the new Rick Stein ‘Road to Mexico’ book as our inspiration, to give a bit of a Central American twist to the traditional festive fare. However once we’d seen the book and accompanying series we were disappointed to find it a bit dull (sorry Rick!). Cue Nigel Slater to the rescue with his very endearing Christmas Chronicles offering – a festive take on his gorgeous kitchen diaries. And so our new theme was born – apologies to those who were looking forward to Rick, I’m sure we’ll revisit him again sometime in the new year!

The good thing about Nigel is that his recipes can be very simple but with some unusual and unexpected flavour combinations. So hopefully our menu did not let down, especially as it tried to veer away from boring Christmas fare. We started proceedings with a cocktail that was two weeks in the making. Sweet muscat wine, brandy, sugar, orange peel, dried apricots and star anise were steeped for a fortnight. Nigel serves this chilled as an after dinner tipple, but we lightened ours with a bit of prosecco to make a very seasonal aperitif.

Our canapés were mini versions of some of Nigel’s strong supper dishes. First up was a tiny version of his smoked fish pie. Rather than being topped with mash, these were little puff pastry parcels filled with a filthy filling of smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, cream and tarragon. I massively over estimated quantities and so now have a few large ones in the freezer ready for a rainy day! Second up were mini dishes of a leftover Christmas staple, bubble and squeak. This was brought bang up do date using sweet potatoes and Kale, paprika and chilli. To make this more luxurious, blue cheese was added to the mix and this was all topped off with a fried quail egg.

Our soup offering was a simple cauliflower and leek soup topped with a crouton of sourdough and toasted cheese. I made the soup a little more festive with the addition of chive oil and crushed pink peppercorn, which gave it a lovely peppery after taste. The crouton was homemade sourdough, courtesy of the fab course I did at Leeds Cookery School, and topped with Leeds Blue (a locally made Pecorino courtesy of our friend Mario Olianas, an award winning cheesemaker).

Also for the second of the starters, we looked to Italy for inspiration. Susie made little balls of gnudi, a light dumpling made from ricotta and parmesan. These need a minimum of 24 hours chilling on a bed of semolina to to form a skin that holds the dumpling together. This is an important step as they will disintegrate upon boiling otherwise! The dumplings were sat atop a herby pesto made of basil, pine nuts, lemon and avocado for extra richness.

We served the best of the meats for our main courses, and no turkey was to be seen anywhere! First up was an amazing piece of pork belly from the guys at Tancred Farm. They’re based out York/ Wetherby way and are always at the Leeds farmers markets. They rear their own pigs and the meat is of an incredible quality and at competitive prices as you’re buying straight from the producer. I braised the belly in pear cider for 3-4 hours, pressed it overnight, marinated it in miso, mustard and honey and then roasted it until it was soft, charred and crispy round the edges. The pork was super moist and the marinade an amazing musky, umami – I’m putting it on everything from now on, it’s even good on a piece of meaty cod! It was served up with a lightly pickled pear, roasted slices of pumpkin, dukka (a dry nutty, seedy, spice mix), pork jus and crackling crisps. Very colourful on the plate and full of bursts of flavour.

Our final meat celebration was a meltingly tender seared beef skirt from the wonderful butchers at Keelham Farm Shop which is literally on Susie’s doorstep. This was sat atop a mound of creamy, cheesy spinach polenta and then brought together with a fresh, zesty, herbed gremolata.

Our final course was Susie’s decadent Christmassy dessert of set chocolate mousse, which was served with a mascarpone cream, salted caramel sauce and hazelnut praline. A brilliant combination of rich chocolate, sweet caramel, creamy mascarpone and the crunch of the nuts and caramel.

We’ve become a bit infamous for our not so petit fours (aka Grand Fours) and so not to be out down I rustled up Nigel’s fig and orange shortbreads. These are a cross between a fig roll and a mince pie. Essentially its a sweet, nutty, zesty shortbread dough with a figgy filling baked inside. They’re not too sweet and have a drier texture than a mince pie. We served these in halves as they were so humongous!

As it’s Christmas we sent our guests home with little take home treats as a gift. These included yet more humongous shortbreads and a mini Christmas cake topped with a marzipan star. Nigel has a few cake recipes in the book, and this basic one is a light fruit cake that focuses on fruit and citrus zest rather than spice. So if you’re not a Christmas cake fan, you might still like this.

So that’s it for this year. We do technically have a Georgian lunch in early January – unless Susie gives birth early! In which case I might have to weigh up how much I can do on my own! Although I’ve had lots of lovely offers of help, so I might be ok!

In terms of the rest of 2018, we’re likely to be back once Susie has settled into motherhood. In the meantime I’m in the process of setting up some events with a twist for Feb and March. I’ll be going on tour in the North Leeds area, as a big proportion of our customer base is from there. It’ll be the same Manor experience but in an exciting new venue. Watch this space for ticket details. I’ll try and get these out before Christmas in case people want to buy tickets as a present for a loved one. If you’re not already signed up to the blog then make sure you do as that’s the best way to be alerted once tickets go on sale.

December 2017 Menu: Nigel Slater’s Christmas

This coming weekend we’ll be hosting two consecutive evenings where we’ll be celebrating all things Christmas!  Using Nigel Slater’s beautiful book The Christmas Chronicles as our inspiration we’ll be cooking up a number of not-so traditional festive treats for our diners.

We’re really looking forward to bringing some Christmas cheer and spirit at the weekend. We’d love to know what you think.

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

The Afternoon Tea Diaries

Wow, its March already, where does the time go!? This past Saturday we held our fifth event of 2014 but our first afternoon tea. It was time for Dan and I to get our bake on! Our tome for the afternoon was Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries, which we used as inspiration for some of the treats on offer. An eclectic mix of savouries and sweets were offered to our guests, but kept at the heart of it was Slater’s ethos of simple food that tastes great. That’s not to say we didn’t add the usual Dinner at the Manor twists!

Our guests included a lovely couple of returning guests, but the majority were new diners, which was great to see. The welcome cocktail this time round was a Breakfast Martini. Gin, triple sec, lemon juice and our own homemade marmalade made for a zingy pick me up before the savouries.

Dinner at the Manor Salmon Celeriac Sandwiches

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Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II Afternoon Tea

Saturday 1st March 2014
This event is now fully booked

We’re getting the vintage china our yet again for an afternoon tea. This time we’ll be using Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II as inspiration.

Readers may remember our first Kitchen Diaries event back in 2012 and whilst not the obvious choice for an afternoon tea, we all know of Nigel’s love of sweet things and his flavour combinations will work so well for an afternoon of unique flavours and bakes.

Tickets cost £20 each and get you a welcome drink on arrival, a selection of savouries, sandwiches, cakes and treats. For our booking terms and conditions click here.

This event is now fully booked

Dinner at the Manor turns into a pub!

This weekend at Dinner at the Manor we donned our spectacles and beige slacks as we channelled our inner Nigel Slaters to bring our favourites from his beautiful Kitchen Diaries to the Manor. Not only that but this was our experimental ale and food pairing weekend, with beers courtesy of the great Leeds Brewery.

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2012 – The Year of Real Ale!

Dinner at the Manor proudly declare 2012 as the official year of real ale!!

Here at Dinner at the Manor we love a bit of ale. And despite the traditional stereotype of bearded sandal-wearing morris dancers, I think the image of this delicious drink is on the change. I have to say that I’ve become more and more snobby on a night out, as there’s nothing worse than a disappointing choice of a chemically, bland pint of lager or rancidly sour wine. I live for the excitement of a bar full of ale pumps, proudly declaring their local wares. These might taste floral, spicy, nutty or even chocolatey. My taste buds have evolved to expect more, following my lifetime’s diet of garlic and chilli!

Each ale, with their unique tastes, tell a little story about where they have come from and who has made them. I am thrilled that real ale is having a bit of a resurgence. With the major commercial brewers leaving the big cities they brew in, it’s the independent brewers carrying on the tradition. To me that is beautiful and what the whole industry should be about. I certainly don’t want to be drinking the same, fizzy, insipid liquid wherever I go. I want new taste sensations to excite me and comfort me.

Anyway enough poetry about ale. I like it, you get that. And yes I may have made up the official year of real ale, but we’ll still be celebrating it in style at the Manor with a series of special ale themed events. This kicks off with our supperclub events next month which pair the food from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries with excellent ales from Leeds Brewery.

Leeds Brewery

Leeds Brewery opened in 2007 and is now the largest brewer in the city. They use only the finest possible ingredients – choicest hops, select British malted barley, and unique Yorkshire yeast – to make some of the tastiest ales I’ve had in a long time. And in exciting news it’s made only down the road from the Manor, you can’t get more local than that!

At our Feb supperclub we’ll be treating guests to Leeds Best, a classic Yorkshire bitter with a hoppy finish; Midnight Bell, a full bodied dark mild with hints of chocolate, coffee and malt; Hell fire, a strong IPA; and a cocktail inspired by Leeds Brewery which contains yet more Midnight Bell! What’s more one of the brewers will be attending on the Friday night to tell us all about the beers. We’ll have to make sure we take lots of notes so that we can tell the guests on the Saturday the same thing! Sadly this event is fully booked but if it sounds like your kind of thing then drop us a line and we’ll make sure you’re on the reserve list for a future event.

Continuing the theme, our April events will pair Ottolenghi’s veggie creations with ale from Innis and Gunn. Now, Innis and Gunn are far from local to Leeds I hear you say. However, those that know us will know that Scotland, and more precisely Edinburgh, is a second home. Our travels there last year led to us making contacts with fellow foodies and we were subsequently approached by Innis and Gunn to work together on a beer and food event. I have to say that I do love their unique take on beer. The ales are strong and unusual – my kind of thing for sure.

The beer was ‘born by accident’ when a distiller wanted to produce an ale finished whiskey. This was achieved by seasoning oak whiskey casks with ale. Tragically the ale was seen as a waste product and was simply thrown away! One day a bright spark thought to sample the waste beer and discovered how delicious it was! They now make a range of uniquely tasting beers and specialise in pairing these to food to show it’s not just fine wines that go well with good food.

At this event we are particularly excited as we will be experimenting with pairing beer to vegetarian food. This is no mean feat as most of the ales are recommended to be consumed with meat! We’re confident that we can manage it though. This event has also proven popular and is fully booked apart from two spaces available on April 20th. If you fancy taking these spaces then you can book here.

More ale was added to our January calendar as Susie and I were invited to attend the launch of Ilkley Brewery’s new MJ Fortis Stout, complete with oyster tasting at Calls Landing Stew and Oyster Bar in Leeds.

Ilkley Brewery is another young upstart – they started brewing in 2009 (there was actually an Ilkley Brewery back in the 19th Century but was disbanded over 100 years ago) and have since gone stellar – winning an award for being one of Yorkshire’s “Most Promising Companies” The brewery has a mission to brew innovative beers full of character. They hand brew in a traditional way, and also use hops sourced world wide which adds to the distinct flavour of their beers. One of Susie’s favourite beers of the moment is their Lotus IPA, strong in alcohol with a hoppy taste.

MJ Fortis Stout is another winner – a thick and full-bodied stout, with chocolate and coffee aromas, and a hint of liquorice, berries and smoke! It paired perfectly well with the oysters and we even partook in shucking a few ourselves! I think the rest of the crowd felt the same way and Calls Landing are now going to serve MJ Fortis over Guinness. Winner all round!

Calls Landing Ilkley MJ Fortis Stout

We also got to chat with Chris Ives, co-owner and Luke Raven, brewer, at Ilkley Brewery – like us they have a passion for food and ale pairings and have recently worked with chefs such as Stephanie Moon to showcase the versatility of beer. We think their beers are worth a taste and we’d love to work with them on a future beer and wine event at Dinner at the Manor.

We’ll definitely be doing more ale and food events this year… it is the year or real ale after all! If this floats your boat then do get in touch. We can add you to our mailing list so that you find out dates of future events first. We are also happy to take advice on which brewers to approach. Or indeed if you are brewer and want to chat about a collaboration then drop us a line too.

Dinner at the Manor Dinner Dates for 2012

We’ve had an amazing amount of interest in our dinner events and we want to say thanks to our guests who have experienced, and will experience our evenings.

We have been thinking long and hard about future themes and so we are pleased to announce the next batch of events for 2012!

We hope you’ll find them refreshing and interesting, we’d love to know what you think! Also, if anyone has a favourite cookbook they’d like us to use for a future event, then please contact us and let us know!

Friday 10th & Saturday 11th February 2012
Nigel’s Slater’s Kitchen Diaries matched with a selection of ales from the lovely folk from Leeds Brewery. More info and how to book

Saturday 10th March 2012
We’re going back in time with Mrs Beeton, with entertainment from our friend, the wonderful musician and comedian Jo Stephenson! Full event details here.

Saturday 21st April 2012
A vegetarian feast courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi! We’ll be pairing the courses with ales from a local brewer too! More Info

Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries and Leeds Brewery Ale Pairings

Friday 10th and Saturday 11th February 2012

Note – both dates are now fully booked but we have one space left for our March event

As February is the month of one of our highlights of the year (the wonderful Bradford Beer Festival in Saltaire) we will be pulling out all the stops out and pairing our delicious food with British real ales, yum!

We love a good ale and some of them have such complex flavours they deserve to be given the same status as a decent bottle of plonk. What’s more our cook book theme of the evening will be Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. We’ve been itching to do a Nigel for a while now. We think his relaxed and simple – yet elegant food – is the perfect inspiration for a supperclub environment.

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