Saturday, 17 December 2011

Recipe - Joe's Scotch Eggs

I first made these a couple of years ago and (if I may say so myself) they were a triumph! I am not sure where I got the recipe from in the first place, but it's pretty simple with impressive results....

Ingredients to make around 8 Scotch Eggs;
  • 8 Quail Eggs
  • 6 decent quality sausages with a good flavour - Tolouse work well
  • Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs - Definitely the best for colour and crunch
  • An egg for sticking the bread crumbs to the sausage meat
  • A big bottle of vegetable oil
What to do;
  • Boil the eggs for 2 mins, plunge into cold water to keep the yolk soft and peel
  • Skin the sausages in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper
  • Wrap the sausage meat around the eggs - around half a centimeter is about right
  • Crack the egg in a bowl and pour the bread crumbs into another.
  • In turn lightly cover the sausage covered quail egg in the egg wash then roll in the bread crumbs
  • When all the eggs have all been done put them in the freezer for 30 mins or so (this is an important stage as the firm eggs that come out of the freezer will allow you to put a second bread crumb cover on for extra crunch)
  • Give them another egg wash and breadcrumb cover, and they are then ready for deep frying (we us a large pan but obviously a deep fat fryer is a little better!)
  • To test the heat of the oil put a little sausage meat in and when it sizzles you are ready to go!
  • Deep fry the bread crumb and sausage meat covered quail eggs for around 4.5 minutes and they should all be done and look like this;
The finished Scotch Eggs

Guest Post by Neil Walker - The Rib Shakk – Close but no Cigar

Neil Walker writes the food and beer blog, and is based in Leeds.

Talented chef, and Leeds local, Anthony Flinn has built something of a foothold in his hometown over the years, with a seemingly endless empire of really rather good restaurants.

The simply named “Anthony’s” will always be his flagship eatery but it’s the beautiful setting of his Corn Exchange bistro Piazza which must be his crowning glory. If you haven’t been then I suggest you do so, it’s a great restaurant with a number of classy little independent shops skirting its border, in the beautifully presented arches which encircle the bottom floor of Leeds most beautiful building.

So it was with some surprise that I heard about a new restaurant, owned and run by Flynn, but which had a much more rough and ready menu of slow cooked ribs, fries and BBQ Sauce, and which seems at odds with the style of dining he has become synonymous with.

My initial impression upon arrival was a surprise at the lack of table service, and the slightly Nando’sesque dining experience of heading to the counter with your order and table number. Still, the menu is extremely good, with slow cooked brisket, full-on Flintstones sized beef ribs and a promise of expansive sides of succulent pork. Very promising.

We opted for a platter of pork baby back ribs, more BBQ pork ribs and a full beef rib, served with chips and chargrilled corn on the cob (£26). Oh and some extra sides of BBQ beans and ‘Slaw’ (£2ish each), along with a bottle of Chilean Cab Sav Merlot (£14.95).

Lets get the worst out of the way first. The pork ribs were way, way too cold. I didn’t send them back because we were starving and the fries and everything else were piping. Plus the actual flavour of the pork ribs was very good. Sweet, sticky, succulent and tender, but after a few minutes they were stone cold. In hindsight I should have sent them back.

The beef rib though was phenomenal. Charred, super tender, flavoursome beef in a smokey BBQ glaze that added to but didn’t swamp the lovely flavour of the brisket. Genuinely delicious and the highlight of the meal.

The chips and coleslaw were also excellent but the BBQ beans need a little work. I like the fact they were butter beans but they just tasted like butterbeans in a BBQ sauce, whereas the best I’ve tried are much more cooked down, and generally in a tomato based sauce with a BBQ edge.

Oh and the wine, it was pretty good and very reasonably priced. Though the reason I went for wine in the first place brings me nicely on to my final point – The beer menu is shockingly bad for such a good establishment. They’ve obviously opted for what they think are working class beers, with some misplaced nostalgia about the American South perhaps, but it’s a mistake. Blue Pabst? Please. Choose some brews that might actually compliment the food for Gods sake, or at least some beers with a modicum of flavour themselves.

To summarise, Rib Shakk has a lot of promise. The quality of the meat is very good throughout, the beef is fantastic and the idea is a good one. But a hell of a lot needs tweaking if this place is going to reach its full potential.

My advice is to give it a try while it’s 50% off for Twitter Followers and see what you think for yourself, maybe you’ll be more lucky than I was.

The platter
and the full thing - looks like a manly board of food!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Guest Restaurant Review - The Woodside, Horsforth - 5/10

Our first guest restaurant review from Dave Bro feat. Jen. 

On Saturday I asked a few people, including my brother Joe, if they had any recommendations for good pub grub in Horsforth for a Sunday dinner. A few names cropped up (Town Street Tavern, The Woodside, Medusa Bar) and after having a quick butchers online we decided to go for The Woodside. It looked to be more of a 'proper pub', which to me means a nice atmosphere, maybe a fireplace or two, comfy seats well suited to lounging/newspaper reading and good quality, simple, homely food. Company was provided by my equally hung over and hungry buddy Jennie Chapman.
On arrival Jen was quick to point out that the outside could do with a spruce up, which is right as it didn't look great, but once we opened the main entrance door and the smell of a hot carvery came wafting into our faces we'd forgotten about the dodgy external paint jobs and hunted out some comfy seats. After a couple of standard Coffee's (one of which we took back - Jen's - because it's was very weak) and a peruse over yesterday's football reports, we had a linger over the menu. The Woodside has a good reputation for it's carvery and the queue for it was getting longer by the minute, but after much deliberation we both went for menu items - Jen a lamb shank with peas and rosemary mash, me a mixed grill with all the usual suspects.
Apart from the chicken breast in the mixed grill which was so tough and dry it would have made a good slipper, the rest of it was good. Gammon, steak (medium rare), Lincolnshire sausages, black pudding, home made chunky chips etc etc, all very tasty and well cooked. Jen wasn't so lucky. After a promising first few mouthfuls it became quickly apparent that her lamb was a lot more bone than meat, her mash was pretty solid and tasted a lot more butter than potato and she kept finding bits of fluff on her plate/food. Not impressed. Upon speaking to the waiter he was suitably embarrassed and quick to take 50% from the final bill. Pretty fair I thought all things considered.

Mixed grill
Lamb shank
 In conclusion.. I thought it was a shame they got one of our dishes so wrong because I liked the atmosphere, I liked the pub, the staff were friendly/attentive and my food was pretty good. Unfortunately though I am one of those that can see a hair in my gravy and that’s a wrap on the rest of the meal, I can't touch it. So with that in mind, I won't be returning to The Woodside any time soon, at least before trying other local establishments first (Town Street Tavern next I think). If I do ever return, I'll be waiting in the long carvery queue...

Dave Bro

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Thursday Home Alone - and a Special Mention

So tonight it's Joe's turn to go out boozing with his work mates, while I'm at home.  Last update was that they're in the Elbow Rooms eating terrible food and Joe winning at pool - will see if that lasts! No dancing in the kitchen to smooth xmas for me, I've made dinner and now I'm watching last night's Don't Tell the Bride - awesome!  For anyone who doesn't watch Don't Tell the Bride, you are definitely missing out.  It is the best car crach TV, and for a bride to be, a check list of exactly how not to organise a wedding.

Before I get on to tonight's dinner, I must just do a little tribute to my food from yesterday.  I know Joe has done a Wednesday post (pasta with curry sauce and sausage...gross!), but last night I was at my trainee Christmas party and the food was great.  We went old school and had drinks and food at Michael and Kim's flat - they were awesome hosts and treated us all to roast pork sandwiches, complete with crackling, stuffing and apple or cranberry sauce.  Massive thanks - had a great night and definitely in the Christmas mood now!!

Roast pork sandwich with top notch crackling and cranberry.  Yum
And this is the trainees (minus Kai) at our winter ball last month, from left: Michael W, Kim (host 1), Jenny, me, David and Michael D (host 2)
But back to tonight.  I'm trying to be good, to prevent the pre-xmas pounds, and so no wine (promised I'd pick Joe up anyway!) and lots of vegetables.  I went for poached chicken with carrots and cabbage, with rice, which sounds so boring but it was actually pretty nice!  Definitely not an ultra exciting dinner (maybe I'll try sausage and curry next time...) but it did the trick.  Will have something more fun tomorrow!
Chicken and veg with rice...yawn

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wednesday - Pasta with Curry Sauce and a Sausage....EH!?

I have a spare half an hour while the scotch eggs are in the freezer (don't ask....or you can if you want!) so I thought I'd do my blogging duties with Jo out on a trainee lawyer do - she has asked me to pick her up and has promised that she won't be too late....we will see!

Being in a sales job, it's a little tough keeping the motivation up to pick up the phone in the week or so up to Christmas so I left on time (6pm) which doesn't happen too often. After getting changed into the trackies it was straight to the kitchen where I danced around to the Smooth Radio Christmas channel, before flipping to hits of the 70's.....a little sad I know but I'd much rather that than listen to some of the shit the kids like now-days!!

It wasn't all dancing! I finished off a booze delight for a couple of our hampers, made dinner (more on that below) and also put into action Operation Scotch Egg which I am making for our work Christmas lunch....I have done them before and have tweaked the recipe a little so more on them tomorrow.

Dinner was a bit weird but tasted good! I remembered that Jo had put some left over sauce in a box in the fridge from Sunday which I though would be ok with pasta. It turned out to be a curry sauce that I had with the pasta and a chopped up sausage that was left over from the Scotch Eggs - you see, sounds weird but I had 2 helpings so I can't complain!!!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tuesday - I Forced My Way Into The Kitchen!! - Blue Cheese Kiev & Salad

Jo likes to cook, and sometimes is tough to get her out the kitchen! Why is this a problem you may ask!? Well sometimes I like to cook too DAMN IT!!!! Earlier today, I bought some Japanese breadcrumbs for some Scotch Eggs that I am making tomorrow and decided to put them to the test...I have used them before and they work a treat going nice and crispy with a great golden colour. Tonight I used what we had in the fridge and did Chicken Thighs Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Japanese Breadcrumbs, with a salad on the side.......Jo's verdict "very tasty some nice mellow blue cheese" - thanks chef!!!

Monday....and another speaking event! (by Jo Girl)

A few weeks ago Paul Thomas of the Leeds Salon and Culture Vulture contacted me to see if I would like to take part in one of the debates he was putting on about food.  The Leeds Salon is a discussion group which debates a huge variety of cultural, social and scientific issues.  Each session focuses on a different topic, and last night's was foodie based (hence my participation!).  Looking specifically at Rob Lyons' recent book, "Panic on a Plate: How Society Developed an Eating Disorder", we were considering attitudes to food and how it impacts on society in general.  In a very, very small nutshell, Rob's book argues that the West has a bountiful supply of food, much better than was ever available historically, and yet somehow has developed an obsession with what we eat: how much, where from, what kind and so on...

The other panelists were Ursula Philpott, senior lecturer at Leeds Met and expert on nutrition and diet, and Nick Copland, of many things, including Shelf Life, The Source in Kirkgate Market and Homage 2 Fromage.  It was a really fun evening, and clearly a subject everyone feels quite passionate about.  Some of the key themes were that there is a certain distrust of the messages in the news about how bad everything is for you, and that attitudes to food have changed over the years.  I stand by my views that people simply don't exercise as much these days but eat the same, or more, and that the easiest way to get people to appreciate their food is to engage in it, understand where it comes from, and experience pleasure from cooking and eating the end result!

Anyway, rant over, and back to the important thing - our dinner!  We got home at some point after nine last night so it was a quicky - prawn, ginger and spring onion dumplings in hot and sour soup.  Hot and sour soup is most definitely the best thing to eat when it's cold and you've been caught in a downpour - it warms you all the way through with heat and chilli.  Add to that some tasty prawn dumplings, noodles and veg, and you're on to a winner. 

Before the big debate started: (from left) myself, Nick, Ursula, Paul and Rob
Precooked dumplings
And the soup

Sunday Curry (by Jo Girl)

Despite some of my apprehensions, on Sunday morning Joe did drag himself to Stockport to do the 10 mile run.  Fuelled on my best porridge and battling the elements, Joe managed the run in a very respectable 1 hour and 17 minutes - under 8 minutes per mile!  I still struggle comprehending how he runs that fast, it would take me about 2 hours, but ho hum...  He returned home a little tired, very damp, but pleased. 

And what better way to warm up than a yummy Southern Indian fish curry with tamarind and chick peas.  It might have taken a few hours to make, but it was all good - hot, slightly sweet and sour, with brown rice and chapattis.  Given we had supported Judd Trump through his semi final at the Crucible last Spring, it was an awesome Sunday night dinner followed by Judd triumphing in the Snooker finals - what could be better?!

Haddock, chick pea and tamarind curry
The finished product

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Saturday - Local Delights and Pasta Power!

Yesterday was a fun day.....after a slightly too lengthy laze in bed we headed out for a whistle stop walking tour through Chapel Allerton and back to Roundhay via Moortown Corner. First stop was Crust and Crumb Bakery where we had a really good lunch.....

Flat white
We both had the chicken & chorizo - 10/10. Coleslaw was a little watery for us
All the bread is made on site - Wow!
It was then to have a quick nose around the Hummingbird Kitchen & Bar and the New Year menus looks seriously awesome. I am unsure if our Wirral to Edinburgh festive period logistics will allow us the time to go but it is highly recommended by us! Next was what was hopefully the last of our Christmas shopping in the lovely shops in Chapel Allerton (it wasn't!) followed by a dart into the retro fayre at St Gemmas Hospice. It was surprisingly brilliant! We bought 2 more Christmas gifts plus a really cook 1970's Thermos Wine Cooler - see below.

Next on the hit list was Haley & Clifford who really helped us out with the final piece of festive jigsaw....thanks alot!!

Across the road from Haley & Clifford is The Deer Park where we spend a decent amount of time at the weekend. We had a quick refreshment stop (me a Black Sheep and Jo a large glass of red) before heading back to the ranch for gift wrapping and dinner which was pasta with prawns as I had entered myself into a 10 mile run in Stockport on Sunday morning and needed the carbs - Idiot!!
Top drawer prawn and vegetables to go with the pasta below!