Tag Archives: Ottolenghi

Sweets for my sweets

Just under a fortnight ago, we opened the doors to the Manor for our first afternoon tea since January and we were super excited! Using the beautiful Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh book, Sweet as our inspiration, we took really went to town and whipped up eight sweet treats for our guests. Needless to say we did offer up boxes to take away the uneaten cakes…

Our guests were offered a welcome drink of pomegranate tea fizz – this was deliciously sweet and fruity pomegranate tea from T2, combined with sparkling prosecco. The combo really worked and could be a great alternative to bucks fizz at Christmas!

We didn’t avoid savoury dishes completely – instead offering up a smaller selection to whet the appetite. These included some pan fried corn cakes, topped with tomato salsa and a fried egg. A spicy, tangy mouthful which was brought together nicely by the soft egg yolk. The next savoury wasn’t actually Ottolenghi inspired, but more Nigella with our brie, fig and Parma Ham toastie. A delightful combination of creamy, salty and sweet!

Our final savoury was a beautiful aubergine tart that Dan’s made before and couldn’t resist whipping up again as it’s so reliable and tasty. Homemade puff pastry encased baba ghanoush, griddled rounds of aubergine, roasted wedges of aubergine, halloumi cheese and a drizzle of mint, honey, preserved lemons, chilli and walnut syrup – literally all the flavours in one tart!

So, onto the onslaught of sweet delights! First up were some smaller bites, starting with little rhubarb and custard yo-yos, which were basically custard powder shortbreads with a sweet rhubarb butter cream. Homemade flaky pastry cases filled with a chai custard and topped with a burnt sugar brulee. And an off-menu extra of tahini and halva brownies – all gooey and not overly sweet due to the nuttiness of the sesame paste.

Next up were little palate cleansers – servings of kafir lime possets topped with a papaya salad. These weren’t as sharp as a traditional posset but the tropical salad worked well to cut through the cream.

Moving onto the “cake” menu were a trio of bakes, starting with some naughty banana cakes topped with a rum caramel. These pretty little bundts were basically a cross between banana bread and sticky toffee pudding. We added a bit of butter to the caramel sauce to make it even more luxurious.

Next were the Persian Love Cakes – legend has it that a young woman was madly in love with a Persian prince and in an attempt to win his love, made him a cake packed with magical love powers. Now we can’t say there was any love in the room that afternoon, but the cakes, heavy with nutmeg and almonds did bring some joy to our guests!

The last in the trio of cakes were little hazelnut, ricotta and chocolate cakes. Individual baked cheesecakes of ricotta, ground hazelnuts and chocolate, topped with a shiny chocolate glaze and roasted hazelnuts. Nutella fans will love this one!

If this wasn’t enough, then our finale was a massive blackberry and peach meringue roulade! A crispy yet pillowy and chewy meringue, slathered in cream and fruit and then rolled and covered in more cream and fruit. A brilliant take on a classic dessert.

Safe to say our guests were full and happy. We may have tipped them over the edge a little, but our motto has always been it’s better looking at it than for it!

Our next events are in just over a weeks’ time, where we’ve improved our theme from Rick Stein’s Mexico to a more festive Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles. We’ve picked the menu which we’ll be sharing very soon and all we can say is, it’s going to be a good one!

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Afternoon Tea – spaces available

Now fully booked

We have 2 spaces available for our Ottolenghi Sweet inspired afternoon tea this weekend, 18th November.

We’ll be serving up a delectable selection of savoury treats and then, because we couldn’t decide, we’re baking up a seven sweet bakes, all washed down with a welcome drink and a selection of teas and coffee. The full menu is available here.

If you’re interested in joining us, it’s £25pp, so get in touch using the contact us form!

November Menu: A Sweet Afternoon Tea

At the weekend we’ll be hosting what seems to be the first afternoon tea we’ve hosted in a long time!

This event will be inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s beautiful book Sweet and we’re very much going all out sweet for this one, serving up a delectable selection of seven sweet delights (plus some very tasty savouries to boot).

This is one event we’ve really been looking forward to and we struggled to keep the sweet bakes to just seven items! So, here’s the menu. We’d love to know what you think.

November 2017

 

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!

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

 

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!

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!

Dec_2015