Last year when I was too poorly to cook, I would sit and create new flavour combinations and recipe ideas in my head, that I could try once back in the kitchen. I added to my list whenever inspiration struck and two recipes were easy winners: my gin and orange cake (the buttermilk sponge has been a real winner with Andrew) and spiced fig brownies.
I thought that I would downsize my bakes and revisit muffins. It has been years and years since I last made a muffin, but they make perfect sense: great for a packed lunch, no waste and no opportunity to accidentally eat the whole of a big cake. Not that I would ever do that you understand…
My fabulous team at Wigan gave me an equally fabulous hamper when I left them (love you guys 😚) and it included my first ever jar of hibiscus syrup. I’ve had hibiscus in things before but never cooked with it. This jar has ginger and pepper in it to give it some zing, but weirdly the aroma makes me think of cola. Does anyone know why that is? It’s good though, and I am having fun experimenting with sweet and savoury dishes using it. Yep savoury, I will report back on that experiment soon. Continue Reading
It’s not a chicken kebab recipe. It’s a hot weather winner!
Sooooo, it’s been a while since I posted anything on here. I blame the heat. It literally sapped my soul away. I didn’t want to cook, I didn’t want to bake, and I certainly didn’t want to write.
I think I am in the minority when it comes to this heat. I don’t mind it on holiday when I can chill out, but when I have to function as a normal grown up, day in day out, it gets a little tedious. So I am pretty happy to see the a couple of times this last week 🙂
So I am easing myself and you back in with this quick post. No fancy photos (although lets face it, I am never fancy!) and no recipe as such. Just a quick chicken kebab which I made in the middle of the heatwave when I realised we had eaten nothing but salads and cereal for about two weeks. Worst. Foodie. Ever! Continue Reading
A return visit that didn’t disappoint
After I had enjoyed a glorious meal at Grafene with a friend back in March, Andrew was keen to see what he had missed out on. So I was chuffed (northern adjective: pleased with myself!) when he booked us in for the seven course taster menu.
It’s such a slick place, and the staff are great. Not being a drinker, the bar staff asked what I liked and made me a mocktail to my sour specification. We were sat in a big plush booth which was just perfect for the feast being served up. Continue Reading
It’s that most wonderful time of the year: hot and sunny one minute followed by hail, rain and chills the next. I go to work in a rain coat and it’s boiling, leave my jacket at home and get soaked.
In months like this my appetite, as well as my mood, still craves comfort. And I don’t know about you but cheese is a comfort blanket I know I can trust.
So many trip to the supermarket for a soft cheese have ended in disappointment: creamy but tasteless, rock hard, claggy…or somehow all three. But then a cheesy care package arrived and all my prayers were answered. *insert angelic choirs here*
Curds and Croust make small batch soft cheese in Cornwall. Made by hand in the traditional way, everything about this cheese is filled with love- starting with the creamy milk which is all sourced locally.
Grafene on King Street in Manchester has a new chef and a new menu, so I took a friend for a mid-week treat to see what we though.
Chef Ben Mounsey has only been at the helm for a few weeks, but he has already changed the look of the Grafene menu with his very modern take on classic British ingredients and dishes. He says that his dishes “avoid the obvious” and from what we saw and ate that night this is very true.
Currently the menu is £45 for three courses with bread and ‘surprises’ which in my opinion is great for the quality we received. Continue Reading
I love when a very local, specific food item is idolised when it’s season arrives. Currently here in the UK we have Yorkshire rhubarb appearing in shops, and the early stems are sought out by chefs and home cooks like the precious pink jewels that they are. Over in the Catalan region of Spain, the sweet onion called a calçot is so prized that a whole festival honors it: the calçotada. Here in Manchester and Liverpool, Lunya had a calçot dish on the menu while they were in season, and they created their own calçotada right here in Manchester to bring some Catalan sunshine to a hum drum Monday evening!
Calçotada comes to Manchester
Lunya is big on Spanish and Catalan hospitality. Owners Peter and Elaine Kinsella greeted all their guests at their Manchester calçotada with Spanish treats from the deli downstairs. Peter told us how a calçotada works – it is basically a feast which goes on all day sometimes, all washed down with cava. Importantly he showed us how to drink the accompanying cava from a porron. Years of experience have made him a pro!