Dearest readers, I need YOUR help! If you read my last post, you’ll know that I entered my Spanakopita Cupcakes recipe into Destinology’s ‘Reimagine a Classic’ competition. I found out yesterday that my recipe made the final shortlist of five, putting me in the running to win a luxury mini break to Europe! The person with the most votes wins, so I would LOVE it if you you could spare one minute to vote for me! Need a bribe? There’s a Spanakopita Cupcake or three with your name on it if I win.
You can cast your vote at the link below – just scroll to the bottom and choose ‘Where’s Lisa? Spanakopita cupcakes’. The deadline is 13 February. Big thanks in advance 🙂 x
Where do you stand on sprouts? Are you in the ‘no way’ camp, scarred by too many traumatic encounters with the pallid, mushy horror that is the over-boiled sprout? Or are you in the ‘hell yes’ camp, loving sprouts so much that you’ll risk annoying your colleagues by re-heating your sprout concoctions in the work microwave, perfuming the office with the sprout’s unmistakable aroma. (And no, not that aroma before you ask. Naughty.)
Me? I’m a ‘hell yes’ girl. Sorry, lovely colleagues, but I bloody love sprouts. I love the way they look, like cute miniature cabbages huddling together for warmth. I love the way they add the pizzazz (that’s right, PIZZAZZ) to a roast dinner, soaking up gravy as if that’s what they were born to do. But most of all, I love their versatility. Because sprouts aren’t just for Christmas. Oh no. Sprouts are for life. Or, at least, for the period between October and March when they’re in season.
Now, I’m all for tarting up sprouts in posh risottos and fancy stir fries à la Ottolenghi, but today I want to share something simple. It came into my life unexpectedly, one of those ‘I’ve-only-got-a-few-things-in-the-fridge-so-let’s-chuck-them-together-and-see-what-happens’ recipes. But as humble as its origins may be, don’t be fooled by its simplicity. Because this is an absolute corker of a sprout recipe; a recipe with the potential to turn even the most devout of sprout haters.
Bundobust is a very special collaboration, combining the might of two award-winning purveyors of fine food and drink. On the food side you’ve got Prashad, a Leeds-based Indian vegetarian restaurant that propelled to infamy when it was crowned runner-up in Ramsay’s best restaurant of 2010. All that spice needs a special kind of sup to complement and refresh, and that’s where The Sparrow comes in. A Bradford-based craft beer bar, The Sparrow has racked up an impressive mantelpiece of accolades including a spot in The Guardian’s top 10 UK craft beer bars, Shortlist magazine’s top 10 UK pubs and the title of Bradford’s CAMRA pub of the year in 2012. Beer and Indian food are a beautiful combination indeed, so The Sparrow and Prashad have united to create Bundobust – a craft beer bar with an Indian vegetarian street food kitchen. LuckyLeeds.
“Your girlfriend’s a veggie? Unlucky, mate… How do you manage that? Does she make you eat veggie food too? Or do you have to eat separately? AND WHAT ABOUT BACON?!”
SIGH. Forget the prospect of being force-fed tofu and lectured on animal cruelty; this is what you should fear about dating a vegetarian. Because apparently it’s not love, respect and trust that a successful relationship rests on; it’s the compatibility of a couple’s attitude to eating meat.
But I’ve got a secret to share, and it’s a big one. Dating a vegetarian is not hard. Seriously. Sure, we don’t want to eat dead animals, but most of us really don’t care if our partners do. And honestly, that’s all there is to it. I’ve been in a carnivore-veggie relationship for nearly six years now, and we ‘manage’ just fine. Neither of us has tried to convert the other, meat and vegetables coexist peacefully in the same fridge, and, shock horror, we even share meals together. Mine just don’t include meat. And bacon? Well, what about bacon? He eats it, I don’t. It’s not rocket science, people.
It’s been two months since the grand reveal of Leeds’ latest foodie hub, Trinity Kitchen. Possibly the most hyped launch of the year since Trinity Leeds itself, the whir of the PR machine paid off and it opened to a virtual fanfare of glowing reviews, which I was very happy to add my voice to. We all swooned over the décor, were impressed with the range of permanent restaurants, but most importantly, we loved the fact that Trinity Kitchen would give a temporary home to five exciting, independent street food traders that would change each month.
And two months on, it’s these traders that have made Trinity Kitchen worth visiting again, and again, and again. People love to get ancy about the term ‘street food’, but I’m more interested in what it represents and for me, it’s the chance to enjoy a diverse mix of exquisitely-crafted food served up by passionate people. No more, no less. And this is where Trinity Kitchen has excelled, especially during the advance of winter when street food would normally mean frozen fingers and soggy sarnies. Seeking shelter from the cold, I’ve been wowed by the changing traders during the first two months, with highlights including the glorious chilli paneer delights of Manjit’s Kitchen, The Marvellous Tea Dance Company’s sparkly brownies (aka the best brownies EVER) and the pakora goodness of Fresh Rootz, a purveyor of vegan and vegetarian world street food.
Left to right – Chilli Paneer Wrap from Manjit’s Kitchen, Brownies from The Marvellous Tea Dance Company, Spicy Mexican Style Pakoras from Fresh Rootz
We knew it had to happen sometime. Our sunglasses and sandals have been packed away for another season, rendered useless by the incessant rain and darkness that’s now bookending our commutes. Expressions are glum, sniffles are rife and we’re all moaning about the lampposts of Leeds that have suddenly been straddled by the silhouettes of looming festivity; impatiently waiting to be illuminated so that everyone can be under no allusion: winter is coming.
Yes, we’re all mourning the demise of our unnervingly glorious summer, but the advent of winter serves up solace in its most irresistible form – British comfort food. As we don our cosy jumpers and hibernate until March, picnics and barbecues are replaced with heaving plates of piping hot, consoling roast dinners, thick soups and wickedly indulgent puddings. It’s the comfort food that our little island is famous for, and there’s no better place to enjoy it than in one of the many quintessentially British establishments strewn across every village, town and city throughout the UK. As long as there’s a roaring fire thrown in. There’s got to be a roaring fire.
You’re probably thinking of your local pub now, right? Maybe you’re even in your local pub, pint in hand and left cheek burning by that obligatory roaring fire. Now there’s a thought… British comfort food is practically synonymous with our great local pubs, but they’re not the only place to seek refuge and fantastic comforting grub this Winter. Even after nine Leeds winters, it seems I still haven’t uncovered everything our city has to offer, as I discovered this week when Leeds-List invited me* to enjoy an evening at Sam’s Chop House in the City Centre.
Some ingredients beg to be part of a special creation. The creation doesn’t necessarily need to be fussy or complicated, but it needs to be special, composed of equally wonderful ingredients that produce a plate that sings.
Ingredients like a truly magical goats’ cheese. I adore any cheese, but throughout August my goats’ cheese obsession got out of control. Each weekend consisted of pilgrimages to fine cheese purveyors such as Drewton’s, The Courtyard Dairy and Millies, who each introduced me to some utterly delectable goats’ cheeses. Barely a meal went by that didn’t have a tangy, soft and creamy goats’ cheese at the heart of it, and I had lots of fun experimenting with recipes that put it on its rightful pedestal. Yes, this is my fun – it was a great month.
There’s nowhere quite like Yorkshire. A far cry from the ‘desolate north’ that certain folk may deem anywhere north of London to be, Yorkshire invokes a fierce passion and pride from natives and nomads alike, and rightly so. But I’m not here to get into that debate. I don’t need to convince you about how great Yorkshire is – you know all of this. The virtues of Leeds are extolled regularly on this here blog, as are the delights to be found within neighbouring West Yorkshire cities such as Bradford and Wakefield. North Yorkshire is regularly praised for its wild, untamed beauty, and South Yorkshire’s cultural merits, especially Sheffield’s, are also highly acclaimed. We can definitely all agree on one thing – we love Yorkshire.
What I am here to tell you about is my love of an often forgotten corner of our beloved county – East Yorkshire. It rarely gets a mention at all outside of its proverbial walls, and if it does, it’s not usually positive. Dubious accolades such as ‘Britain’s worst city to live’ have been bestowed on its capital, Hull, in past years, blighting the region with an unfavourable reputation that’s not easily shifted. But a wholly unfair reputation this is indeed, which could put you at risk of missing out on what East Yorkshire has to offer. And you definitely don’t want to do that.
“Do you ever think of anything but food?” If I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked that, I’d be, well, you know the score. We’ve all got to eat, but like many of you, my relationship with food runs far deeper than relying on it for mere sustenance. I daydream of recipes, doodle market shopping lists and my bedtime reading is cookery books. I’ve even been known to spend whole Sundays in bed, watching cookery programme after cookery programme. Those Sundays ROCKED. Obsessed? Maybe. But life’s too short for bland, uninspiring food, and I’ve made my life a perpetual quest to discover food that’s anything but.
The irresistible allure of travel is conjured in many different ways. Some people travel to satisfy their thrill-seeking urges, others want to immerse themselves in new cultures and languages. Some simply want to relax in a faraway setting.
Travel has the power to satisfy countless cravings and desires, and although there’s definitely something in all of the above (and much more) that motivates me to travel, there’s one stand-out factor that invokes my wanderlust. Food.