Saturday, 10 September 2011

Friday - Making a Star of Carrots with Chicken Curry & Naan

The arrival of the veg box, has led to a slight change in our eating habits - there is no way that I would have bought cauliflower let alone put it with pasta (see yesterdays dinner here) but I did and it worked! And previously when we would have thought 'boring old carrots', now they take a more premier part of dinner - yesterday is a good example of this; we had spiced carrot fritters that had carrots, shallots, ginger, cumin, chilli, egg and flour which was mixed together, made into patties and shallow fried - yum! Carrots also got added to Jo's curry for the first time.

Spiced carrot fritters

Chicken curry (with added carrot)

For once we had no biscuits for dessert, so Jo made sweet popcorn, which satisfied our craving (by this time we had got through two bottles of wine!)


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Thursday - Riverford Veg Box = Penne with Cauliflower, Garlic and Anchovies

When I got back home after a 10k run at 7.45pm, I was shocked to find out that Jo wasn't back from work yet! It transpired that she had to work late so I was in charge of dinner. Our organic veg box from Riverford had arrived (see below - I'll let you work out what each photo is!).

There were more of these
 We had little else in (well, that was as far as I could see; I am sure Jo would have been able to whip up a fantastic 3 course meal!).....but with a stroke of luck, there was a recipe booklet with the veg and the first recipe was do-able! GET IN! - I knew the half eaten anchovies would come in useful sometime!

So we had Penne with Cauliflower, Garlic and Anchovies.......and tasty it was too!

Organic salad stuffs

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tuesday - Restaurant Review: Cattle Grid - Leeds

Via the power of Twitter, we recently received a kind invite from Emma the CultureVulture to attend an evening of complementary food and drinks at Cattle Grid in Leeds.  We toddled along last night after work, not sure what the plan was, but happy to check out a new restaurant.

Cattle Grid is behind the Corn Exchange and opened in August this year.  It's one of a small chain owned by Steve Novak and Shaun Grey, and Leeds is their latest venture.  We had the pleasure of meeting Steve last night over a few drinks and he took the opportunity to explain the ethos behind the restaurant.

Cattle Grid, as may be clear from the name, is a steak restaurant, but with a difference.  They are looking to become the steak version of Pizza Express, serving good food at realistic prices.  Steve's message is up front with no bullshit.  This is not a restaurant focused on provenance and fine wines - they get the best meat they can at the best price, whether its from Scotland, Ireland, Yorkshire or Uruguay (incidentally all the steak currently comes from Yorkshire).  That is not to say they are not focusing on quality - the bread comes from Anthonys and they even nicked the Anthony's head chef, David Flett (who we also met last night and gave me a sneak peek of his recipe notes - lovely chap!)

The restaurant also serves burgers, salads and ribs, and the most expensive wine on the menu is about £25!  Currently they are also promoting a lunch deal where you can get a slow roast beef or hog roast sandwich and a can of pop for £6.00. 

Anyway, back to our evening....

Cattle Grid in Leeds
Cattle Grid's educational artwork - in case you weren't sure where steak comes from!
The starter portion of ribs.  They don't really go for the traditional starter-main-dessert formation here and don't have a list of starters, but this was a good size for sharing between 2.  We were advised that Cattle Grid's USP is its ribs which are cooked in a special bbq sauce.  I usually don't order ribs when I'm out because they can be so disappointing, but these were really good!  Definite recommendation.
Joe and I went for the same main (which was a poor idea for reviewing but we were both happy!) - medium rare rib eye with harissa sauce.  The rib eye was cooked as ordered and pretty tasty.  It also came with a mound of chips which were brilliant and a watercress salad.
A rack of ribs (we didn't have this as well - not that fat) but Joe would have this next time.
Our greek salad side, which was probably not necessary given how much you get with the steak, but nice all the same!
My dessert - waffle and ice cream.  The desserts were really the only slight let down of the meal and definitely play second fiddle to the main event, but who cares as Cattle Grid is about the meat!
David's recipe notes - what a legend!
The view from upstairs.  The restaurant is split level, and has the room to expand upstairs, where they are planning on opening a comedy venue soon.  Watch this space!  I really enjoyed my night at Cattle Grid.  The owners and the staff are obviously passionate and geared up to make it a success.  I'm not usually a steak fan (badly cooked steak is gutting) but I think I'd trust these guys to give me a good night.

Wednesday - Spanish Chicken, Neep Mash with Corn on the Cob

We were spoilt rotten at Cattlegrid last night. The red wine flowed which led to us both having sore heads this morning. Too add to the woes, I was up with a 5.30am alarm as I was on the train to Manchester and Jo and I had a shouting match at 6.20am when she accused me of using her hairspray!! - I hadn't FYI!! Also, the train journey took almost 2 hours as there was a broken-down train - Yuck!!!

Anyway, back to the food. This was lunch for DLT in work - yummy....

A pastie, 3 packs of crisps & a radioactive drink
For dinner, Jo was determined to have something healthy after yesterdays indulgence......

Corn the cob
Neep mash
Spanish chicken

Monday, 5 September 2011

Monday - Vegetable stir fry, sweet chilli & basil sauce with a glass of red

Tomorrow we are off to sample the burger and rib delights at Cattlegrid in Leeds after receiving an invite via the power of twitter, so it was a simple and health stir fry for us with lots of good stuff in it.....we did have a glass or two of red wine, but as Jo said "it's the first day of winter!" here is what we had;

Stir fry

Sweet chilli & basil sauce

The wine - still some left!

Brownie points for me - the flowers I bought Jo at the weekend!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Food Treats by Joe - Sunday Night Moroccan Lamb

Throughout our relationship, Joe and I have had a debate over the traditional Sunday lunch.  It's not something I was brought up with, so I'm not a fan of the Sunday roast, but I think I might have been depriving Joe!  To get round this, Joe's cunning plan is to do it himself - cue Joe making Sunday dinner!

That said, Joe's roast wasn't all that traditional.  He made a slow cooked moroccan spiced leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, tomato, cumin and other spices, accompanied by a chickpea mash, peas, and a tomato jus.  The leg of lamb came from Malcolm Michaels butchers who are in the Kirkgate market, and was very good.  We were a little sceptical about a chickpea mash, but it was really tasty and much lighter than normal mash.  Overall it was a big win, and probably the start of a competition between Joe and I for who can cook the best dinners on a Sunday!
Our lunch - some filthy French pate brought back from Paris
The spiced leg of lamb - after 7 hours in the crock pot
The carved product - melt in your mouth!
Slow cooked lamb, chickpea mash, peas and jus - apologies for the wonky picture!

Saturday - Chapel A Arts Festival, Organic veg box & Fish pie!

It was an early rise for me as I had a bit of work to do before the fun for the day started - we had fish finger sandwiches with a bloody mary at 12pm which is a lunch that everyone should enjoy! With the work and other chores out of the way (me - food shopping, Jo - cleaning) we decided to stroll across to Chapel Allerton from Roundhay for the annual Chapel Allerton Arts Festival which we hadn't been to for a couple of years. It has been running since 1998, and we were impressed by the music, food and fun that it offers.

On arrival, there was a group of white haired gentleman on stage playing New Orleans Jazz, with the Leeds master trombonist Ed O'Donell taking center stage who has been making music since the late ‘40s......we both loved them!!! I want them at our wedding next year but Jo isn't convinced! is a picture; I video that I will upload later that is well worth a watch.

Even though we had only had lunch an hour or so before, I suggested that we would need a snack and the first thing I spotted was a.......pork pie! (I forgot to mention yesterday that I also had a pork pie from Malcolm Michaels in Kirkgate market which is definitely a wedding contender) The festival pork pie came from Crumb and Crust that is a bakery in Chapel Allerton. Overall it was a good 6/10 - not the best but not the worst and at £2.50 was definitely on the expensive side.

A good looking pork pie but not the best
An unsure looking Jo with our pork pie
As we strolled on, we came across Chris Long who was representing Hope Farm who are part of the Riverside Organic Veg delivery scheme. He obviously loves his job, and convinced us to trial the service with our first delivery of a small box coming on Thursday. We had been thinking about doing this for a while so are looking forward to seeing what we receive next week - we will be reviewing then.

An example organic veg box - a large I think. We have gone for small
Our excellent salesman in advertising mode
Next stop was drinks at Seven - a place that we both really like as it is relaxed, has the papers and sells good value food and drinks.....

My ale of choice
Jo had one of these followed by white wine

Our starter before heading home for fish pie
By now it was around 6pm so it was time to head back home for dinner. As I have said before, I never fail to be amazed at what Jo can rustle up give a couple of ingredients - when doing the food shopping I picked up some fish bits asuming that Jo would be able to make fish pie without checking with her that we had the right stuff in the house - I was right!!! - love the heart by the way. 

Veg to accompany the fish pie