Sunday, 25 March 2012

Pulled pork

Sundays are for lazing, not for spending hours slaving over a stove. so this Sunday I thought I would have a go cooking the pork shoulder in my freezer. A bargain piece of meat costing only 6 quid for about 3 kilo. the key to roasting this piece of meat is to roast it long and slow and this recipe takes about 4 hours, giving you plenty of time to wander to the pub, go for a walk, or fall asleep in the sun and awaken resembling a beetroot, its up to you.
Having never cooked a pork shoulder before I was interested to see how it would turn out and oh how well did it turn out....

Pulled Pork
1.5kilo piece of pork shoulder
oil for greasing
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp hot chili powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
330ml hoppy beer
100ml white wine vinegar
 3 onions, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, sliced

Grease a baking dish with the oil.
Mix together the mustard, chili powder, salt and pepper
Massage it into the meat, give it some care, don't just slap it on.
Pour over the vinegar and beer
Scatter the onions and garlic over and cover with baking parchment
Stick it into a pre heated oven at 160C
Leave for 3 hours
After three hours take off the paper and leave for a further 45 mins - 1 hour
Allow to rest for 5 minutes
Rip it apart with a couple of forks and tuck in

so good, soft juicy tender pork and the gravy left in the dish is just superb, tangy with sweet roasted onions and a nice underlying burn from the chili powder. Now if you will excuse me I've a kilo and a half of pork to eat, it's a hard life.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cafe Nouveau - Huddersfield

Huddersfield was my home for four years. Since I left the following has happened: several of my favourite pubs opened their own breweries, an utterly magical brewery opened, a pub that I have drank in since it opened has gone from strength to strength on the craft beer scene and Huddersfield obtained its own secret tea room. Typical.

Cafe Nouveau is a little tea room held in the lovely home of Marie-Claire who I had the great pleasure of previously meeting at a clandestine cake club. I had planned to visit this secret supper club for awhile and when a rhubarb themed afternoon came I swiftly booked a couple of tickets.

Arriving at Cafe Nouveau we were shown into the dining room to meet the other guests and given a little cup of the nicest rhubarb drink I've had.

Then we got stuck in:

I'm not gonna say anything for awhile....

Ham, Duck and Mackerel Sandwiches
Cheese and Onion Tart
Fruit Scones with clotted cream and R+G Jam
Little apple and raspberry cakes
Macarons with rhubarb and ginger jam
Rhubarb and Custard Cake
Rhubarb Meringue Tart

Seriously, what can I say about the above that the pictures don't already? Just a true celebration of one of Yorkshire finest exports.

My Favourites:
The rhubarb punch - refreshing, sweet with a slight sourness.
Macaron's - just perfect, crisp but chewy and with rhubarb and ginger, delicious.
Rhubarb tart - crisp pastry, sour rhubarb, sweet meringue. you can't go wrong.
Sandwiches - mackerel with rhubarb is just bloody lovely.
The other guests - a couple of guests at Cafe Nouveau have to be some of the funniest people that I have met, literally story after story of absolute hilarity after we had all had eaten, this why I love the idea of supper clubs, you never know who you will have the great fortune to meet.

Roll on next time.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Quick Cous Cous Salad

I recently received River Cottage Veg Everyday. A truly excellent book that celebrates all things veggie. Being a hardened carnivore it would take something good to make me forgo my usual steak with a side order of steak in a steak sauce. Fortunately this book is that good and chances are I'll stick a few more blogs on here from what I make from it.
One of the first things that caught my eye was this simple salad that I plan to use for lunches at work and perhaps to go with the odd summer barbecue.

The recipe is really simple and almost infinitely adaptable to whatever you fancy or have in the cupboard.

I used the books suggestion of a combo of onions, cucumber, char grilled peppers, feta, tomatoes, Yorkshire rapeseed oil and a mountain of basil simply tossed together with cooked couscous and lemon.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dinner at the Manor, Leeds

This year I've been trying to visit a few new supper clubs, a job which is getting easier and easier due to the speed at which they are cropping up. The first one of the year that we booked into many moons ago now is Dinner at the Manor.

This is a Leeds based supper club run by Martini Man and Sticky Pinny. This supper club uses famous chefs and their cookbooks for inspiration, previous events have included Mrs Beeton, Thomasina Miers, Nigella and River Cottage. The theme for this one was the legendary Nigel Slater and his Kitchen Diaries. This was teamed up with beers with each course from Leeds Brewery.

As usual when faced with a secret supper club, we booked a taxi and expected to trail the streets for 20 minutes looking for the house, fortunately this one was easy to find.

We were greeted by Suzie (Sticky Pinny) with a Pint of Leeds Best (there is just no better greeting when you enter someones house) and we were lead to the lounge to meet the rest of the guests and tuck into some delicious canapes.

Pork and Lemon Polpettine

flatbreads with baba ganoush and taramsalata

Risotto cakes with yorkshire blue cheese

After introductions and stuffing our faces with the delicious starters of which the risotto balls were my favourite, we were all lead into the dining room for the main event.

First up was the amuse bouche of spicy pumpkin soup with crispy bacon. Just wonderful, give me a gallon of it and I would down the lot, lovely combo of sweet, spice and salty bacony goodness.
Starters were a choice of smoked mackerel toasts or baked onion with Parmesan cream. I opted for the mackerel which was excellent and paired with one of my favourite Leeds brewery beers, Midnight Bell. A beer which is rich, sweet and chocolaty and a tasty accompaniment to smoked mackerel.

The main course was a choice between chickpea and sweet potato curry or leg of lamb with chickpea mash and green beans. You don't have to be a genius to figure out my choice. Soft succulent Lamb on top of slightly spicy mash balanced perfectly with a sweet crunch of the green beans. This was paired with another excellent beer, Hellfire. By this point I still had plenty of Midnight Bell to get through due to the OH not being a fan of ales of this flavour (conversion is in progress), fortunately the Hellfire came in bottles allowing people to take them home.


Dessert was a raspberry hot chocolate pudding with homemade vanilla ice cream. Just bloody lovely. Dark, rich chocolate, sharp tangy raspberries, sweet creamy vanilla ice cream, you cannot go wrong with these combinations, delicious.

Last but definitely not least was a final pairing of a rather unusual but very tasty beer based cocktail called 'Midnight Manor' this combined Midnight Bell ale with Kahlua and Creme de Cocao served alongside a little Chocolate Orange cupcake. However by this point it would have been a case of 'wafer thin mint' so I took the cupcake home and had it for breakfast instead.

All in ale (I'll get my coat...) a superb night, excellent food, excellent company and tasty tasty beer. I wonder if they will do a Heston Night?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Little Fruit Scones

I've been slightly addicted to scones recently, not those chewy cloying, bicarb ridden failures you get in supermarkets but proper homemade, fresh out of the oven, lighter than air scones, they are a classic bake for a reason. These little beauties are the third batch I have eaten in two weeks and I wasn't gonna blog them but then I found out that this months tea time treats challenge by Karen and Kate is scones so I thought why not.

This is Queen Mary Berry recipe and is very simple

225g self raising flour
50g soft butter
25g caster sugar
50g dried fruit
1 large egg
a little milk

Simply rub the butter into the flour until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar and fruit
Add the egg and a few drops of milk to get the dough started.
Combine together with a knife to begin with, adding a little more milk if needed.
You are aiming for a soft but not sticky dough.
Remove onto a floured work surface, pat gently until its about a cm thick
Cut out your scones, using what ever cutter you desire, they don't have to be little.
Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 10 mins at 220C/200C Fan.

Right then that's the easy bit, now what to have them with? Obviously you need Clotted Cream and some quality jam but you could spread some soft butter over instead or some freshly whipped cream. Don't ruin a scone with low fat spread or squirty cream either, use butter and/or whip up some double cream.
However if you are in Devon or Cornwall then you need to be careful what order you put your accompaniments on, they get a bit grumpy otherwise.

Devon - cream then jam
Cornwall - jam then cream

Personally I put cream on one side, jam on the other, squish them together and enjoy.

How do you eat yours?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Appetite Sheff

Sheffield has a small but substantial place in my heart, I may have only spent a year living there but that year was a good one, most of it was spent dealing with pesky kids but the remainder was spent discovering Sheffield pubs and restaurants/food producers of which the quality is exceptional.

Recently Sheffield Bloggers, Ros of Nibbly Pig and Clare of Feast and Glory got together and planned and organised an event to bring together many of Sheffield producers/restaurants under one roof and show them off.

This was held in the lovely Fusion Organic Cafe last week and I had the good fortune to bag a ticket.

The event cost £5 of which £4 went to two local charities and the theme was a journey through meals of the day.

Here is the list:

Breakfast - this was done by Moss Valley Fine Meats who gave an excellent demonstration on how to make sausages and bacon

Elevenses - elevenses is naturally a brew and cake. This was provided by Teabox and Komal of Fusion Cafe

Lunch - lunch was provided by Just Preserves with a taster tray of their chutneys plus pork pies from John Crawshaws which were porky excellence, there was also chicken and prawns with just preserves chili relish

Afternoon snack - this was provided again by Fusion Cafe with a delicious Lamb pasty

Dinner - Whirlow Farm Trust gave a talk about what they do on their farm and provided a delightful spring dish of boiled egg and spring greens, picked from the farm and swiped from the chickens that morning.

Dessert - being a coffee lover this was a revelation, Our Cow Molly and Tamper Coffee teamed up to give a talk about their respective businesses before providing everybody with an Affogato - fresh dairy ice cream drowned in Espresso - heaven.

oh and not forgetting beery goodness provided by Bradfield Brewery.

The night was rounded off with the results from the quiz throughout the night of which yours truly came third!! and look at all the goodies I got for it. Get in!!

All in all a truly excellent night, now to begin my campaign for a breweries of Sheffield night.