Saturday, 5 November 2011

Friday night - Pizza and Hangovers!

I have woken up with a hangover, which I am a little annoyed at myself about! A good friend is visiting us who is rightly expecting us to show him a good time and I am not quite on tip top form! - it's nothing that I won't shake off with a bit of tlc but I shouldn't have had the 2 bottles of bud, 2 pints of heineken, a bottle of cava shared with Jo (see below), another pint of peroni before ploughing into a bottle of white after we came back from the fireworks at Roundhay Park! And at my age (32) I can't take the pace anyone!!

We will be heading into Leeds for some afternoon drinks in the next few hours.........

 For dinner we shared a very nice pizza, that I think was from the Co-op with a salad and pizza express dressing which is my favourite!

Review - Town Hall Tavern - Leeds 8/10

Everyone loves a bargain, so when a groupon deal popped into my inbox for the Town Hall Tavern in Leeds I couldn't resist! the crow flies it is the nearest pub to the office and when we had been in for drinks before the food looked great.

This bit of history if lifted off the website; "The pub is a historic Leeds venue, dating back to 1926 that re-launched in May 2011. Traditionally, it was used by solicitors and policemen who would sit on one side of the pub preparing for their cases, with the accused making the most of what could have been their last moments of freedom, drinking on the other side".

So Dave Bro and I headed over for lunch on Thursday at 1pm, after booking a table via twitter. The deal was any starter and main so we quickly ordered as I had an hours window before I had to be back in the office.

Our starters were both really good and we agreed that we would give them both 9/10. My pig cheek scotch egg just pipped Dave Bros Liver Parfait but they both come highly recommened by us!

From all the choice on the menu, I think I chose my main badly. My scampi and chips was fine (maybe the chips were too chunky/ not crispy enough) but I am sure if I had gone for something else it would be been up there with the starters. Dave Bro went for a squid risotto which he gave an 8/10 for.......

Overall I would definitely recommend a trip here for food, or just a few pints of the great ale on tap. The food was really well presented, and the service attentive. Sorry about having no change for a tip Rick, but here is the review that I promised!

The bill
Dave Bro

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thursday Night left over chilli

Quickie blog post...the flat is a total tip and Joe and I need to tidy!!

Dinner tonight made the most of my leftover chilli, with pittas and salad - what else could you want?!  Topped off with a club orange - awesome!

And the chilli - which looks weirdly orange...but was very nice!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

John Leslie Rees 25th January 1937 - 2nd November 2006

5 years ago today my Dad passed away aged 69, after a serious yet routine operation in hospital went wrong. He was loved by all of his friends and family and is missed everyday. I know this is really a food blog but I wanted to write a few words on the anniversary of his death - it is actually a lot harder to write that I thought it would be so I will (try) to keep it reasonably brief!

He was a loving and generous Dad, and in a lot of ways I hope I am like him when I have kids. Don't get me wrong he had his areas for improvement! Though my teenage years and into my twenty's we had an up and down relationship - he was down his luck for a long time and drank too much which affected things between us. I could never understand why he didn't 'pull his socks up' and get his life back together to how it was when we were younger, but as much as he tried he just couldn't do it. But during his later years I mellowed and became more accepting I guess - as a man in 60's he wasn't going to give up the booze and fags so why try and stop him! With me in Leeds and Dad on the Wirral, we didn't see each other as much as I wish we had but our relationship was great; chatting about work, football, cricket, friends and family - I do miss him.

The period he was in hospital is a bit of a blur with Dave Bro and I speeding up and down the m62 depending on the updates from Mum and Bro Nick. A few things stick in my mind....speaking with Sister Sally who lives in France on the phone about what we thought was happening at home, chatting to Dave Bro on the trips to hospital, us all being around Dads bed when his condition worsening and him cracking gags about 'gin and tonics' to the nurses, the moment that Mum told us that Dad had passed away and then throwing my arms around Uncle John when he arrived at Arrow Park!

As far as funerals go, Dads was great!! Loads and loads of people came and Broad Eves held the wake. It was an upbeat occasion with more laughs than tears which Dad would of wanted. As well as friends being there for support, I was really pleased to have Jo there with me. It was early days in our relationship and she didn't have to come, but she was fantastic (and had been for the previous weeks) - so thanks my love!! Its a real shame that they never got to meet as they would of got on like a house on fire.....I am hoping that at our wedding I will be able to toast Dad without bursting into tears as I am a little sad that he isn't going to be there with us to celebrate but of course it will still be the best day ever.

Anyway, I have gone on too long already so if you are reading this with a drink in your hand please raise your glass to John Leslie Rees....Dad!! Here are a few photo's;

Dad on the left and me on the right - I am told we look quite similar!
Little Joe and Dad
Not many men could pull of this look, but JL could!
Us at the pub after the wake
Some of my best buds also at the pub

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday - This is what we had!!!


Monday - Thai Erawan!! Very Tasty Monday Treats

So it was Joe's turn to go shopping this week, and after a weekend away in Edinburgh he had let his chores slip.  Add this to Joe working in Manchester and me working late, instead of swinging by a shop to buy some food, he decided the best plan was to have a Monday night takeaway.  Very decadent!

We haven't had Thai for a while, so opted for an old favourite, Thai Erawan.  Unfortunately Joe cannot remember what he ordered so we can't tell you what these dishes are, but believe us when we say that they were very nice! (He is trying to come up with some excuse about trying to order food on his mobile while looking at the internet at the same time - what a poor defence!) 

Miscellaneous beef stir fried dish - this is something with lots of chilli and garlic and was very nice!
Stir fried chicken, also with chilli (do you sense a theme?!)
And a Monday night dinner complete...!
Joe's food.  Since we cannot tell you what it is, you should pop along to Thai Erawan and sample the menu for yourselves.

Sunday night - Dinner was Mexican! (Joe)

After a log drive back from Edinburgh, it was my turn for the the weekly shop, but I really could not be bothered! We debated a take away, but decided on fajitas which are tasty and dead easy. Jo insisted on cooking, which was fine with me and this is what we had;

The salad
The outside
The inside
Red Leicester
Sour cream and jalapenos
A pre roll shot

Sunday, 30 October 2011

L'Escargot Bleu - Edinburgh - Restaurant Review

When we make our pilgramages to Edinburgh there is usually some sort of family meal out.  Sheila Mum is usually very good at picking places to go, and this time opted for L'Escargot Bleu on Broughton Street.  As you may have guessed, L'Escargot Bleu is a French restaurant, specialising in French food with a Scottish twist.  It opened on Broughton Street in 2008, and has a sister restaurant on Queen's Street (L'Escargot Blanc).  The restaurant and its epicerie downstairs embody what I love about French dining - fewer frills, great atmosphere, fabulous decor.

L'Escargot Bleu
There were six of us so we got through quite a few dishes - I'll do the highlights but believe me when I say that everything was very good and is highly recommended.

At lunch you have a choice between the a la carte or the specials (a very good deal - starters between £5-8 and mains at £7.80  - a total bargain!).  Between us we had the moules a la Provencale, scallops with pig head croquette, steak tartare and soup, all served with huge baskets of bread.  I loved the scallops and pig head croquette which came with an amazing sweet potato puree - I'm usually quite up for trying things but pigs head is still a little adventurous -  but it was very tasty with soft, gelatanous meat.  Joe went for the steak tartare, made with horse meat (you have a choice of beef or horse).  This was actually the best bit of the meal - L'Escargot Bleu do a real show with this dish.  They make the tartare on a trolley in front of you, made to your taste (more capers, Tabasco etc.) along with a lesson in how to make the perfect steak tartare.  It's fascinating, really fun and worth making the trip alone!
Moules a la Provencale
copious amounts of bread
Joe's beer from Brittany
Our waiter from Marseille making the steak tartare
And the finished tartare
Scallop and pig
Our mains included pan fried trout with orange and mussel sauce, which had a punchy but perfectly balanced sauce, ox kidney with mash and a mustard sauce, butternut squash spagetti and roast chicken, along with vegetable sides.  Every dish was brilliant, and really underpriced at £7.80 (although clearly the price was welcome!).  I would happily eat the trout again, and while Joe's ox kidney was very rich (especially following steak tartare!), it was also very good.  I must also mention the butternut squash side which was rich and lightly spiced with saffron.  Absolutely zero complaints.

L'Escargot Bleu interior
Chicken with mushrooms
Squash spagetti with an oeuf (because one egg is un oeuf...)
Trout with orange and mussel sauce
Ox kidneys with mustard sauce and mash
The divine butternut squash side
And other vegetables
With six of us plus baby enjoying a relaxed Saturday lunch, we were taking some time to get through our food.  Credit to our waiters - they may have wanted to clear down to set the restaurant for dinner, but we did not feel rushed at all.  We were offered desserts and coffees, which we were more than happy to sample!
Baby Tom - aww!
As well as the a la carte desserts, there was a cherry clafoutis and a bread and butter pudding made with croissants and pain au chocolats on the specials.  Unfortunately, the cherry clafoutis had been very popular and there was only one left, so my poor dad had to let quite a few of us sample his dessert!  We also had a chocolate torte, creme brulee and macaroons.  Everything was brilliant, but I must say that the macaroons were a real treat and the perfect end to my lunch.  You get a selection of four flavours from a platter and while I liked them all, the strawberry was outstanding. 
Cherry clafoutis
bread and butter pudding
Creme brulee
The macaroons and our genial waiter
Un espress
One of L'Escargot Bleu's well deserved accolades.  I absolutely loved this meal, and would rate everything from the authentic food to the welcoming and entertaining service highly.  The Entente Cordiale is alive and well in this corner of Edimbourg!