Saturday, 24 December 2011
Thursday, 22 December 2011
While I tried to sleep my hangover off (it hasn't work so I have turned to wine instead) the ever industrious Chef Jo set to work in the kitchen to make chilli con carne. She has been cooking for most of the afternoon making some goodies to take back to the Wirral tomorrow......yum!
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Joe is celebrating properly, out with work in Manchester. He is staying over and has said he will not be drinking very much - I quite simply do not believe him and am expecting to be proved right when he crawls home off the train tomorrow! I, on the other hand, will be feeling virtuous after my yummy bacon, chorizo and pepper salad (oh yes, bacon AND chorizo!) and stubby beer - what could be better?!
|Warm salad of bacon, chorizo and peppers|
I joined the boys sometime after 8 in the Wrens Hotel, which has been given a rather nice make over. It's no longer a pub that I think I'm likely to be killed for food in, and is now a cosy little pub with rooms. Well worth a visit if you're in the New Briggate area.
Anyway, we made it home sometime after 9 and I decided on spicy fried rice with cashews - and not a meat product in sight (much to Joe's surprise about half way through dinner!). It was very nice, although a little late to be scoffing rice, veg and chilli - woops!
|Spicy fried rice - and the picture looks rancid!|
|Sprouts with bacon|
|Partidge. Is it me or do they look quite cute for dead, small, birds?!|
|And the world's biggest sprouts...or a very tiny turkey|
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Quite often I re-tweet posts on Twitter. These are usually other peoples blogs that we like or to win things from other Twitter users who I guess use it as a promotional tool.
So last week we were the grateful recipients of a £10 + bottle of Pino Nior from Lattitude Wine & Spirit Merchants. It's a brilliant shop in the city center of Leeds and well worth a visit - below is a photo of Will from Lattiude handing me the wine in question;
|A classic pose|
|Jo and Mario|
|All the goodies|
|Raw lambs kidneys|
|Cooked lambs kidneys!|
During the week, Joe decided that he wanted to indulge in a tapas feast on Saturday - spanning the whole early to late evening, with some nice drinks and relaxing. Cue some childish competition over who would cook what, and whose would be best!!
Joe went for the sensible option and actually did some research before buying ingredients - I was a little bit more haphazard than that! I think that says a lot about us! On Friday, Joe went to the Kirkgate market, returning with clams, mussels, baby squid, pork loin and lamb's kidneys, all to be turned into tapas treats! We also picked up some sherry (it's very in vogue apparently!) and some Estrella Daam Inedit from Harvey Nichols, to accompany our dishes. Estrella Daam Inedit is a Catalan Pilsner, made in conjunction with Ferran Adria of el bulli which is tipped as the first beer to be drunk specifically with food, like a good wine. It is a really tasty beer, and definitely one to try.
I was first up. I made a chickpea, squid and clam stew, with tomato, garlic, chilli, lots of lemon juice and parsley. It was yummy - deep tomato and flavours of the sea. I am also a huge fan of chickpeas, which are much maligned still. This was then joined by patatas croquetas con jamon, also known as potato and ham croquettes! These were also pretty tasty, served with lemon and paprika mayonnaise. Piping hot, crunchy on the outside and soft on the middle, this was a good start. 2-0 to Jo Girl!
|Squid, chickpea and clam stew|
|Patatas croquetas con jamon|
|Estrella Daam Inedit|
By this time we were so full that the lamb's kidneys have been bumped! They will make a fine lunch another day instead.
|Chorizo in sherry|
So on a very rare occassion, I was just not in the mood for cooking. Joe bought some rolled pork belly things last week which were defrosted and slung in the oven - tres hard work! Accompanied by chips and some peppered cabbage, it was hardly a thrilling Friday night dinner, but it was ok (not a huge fan of the rolled pork - much prefer doing my own!). Joe did at least cheer me up with a cheeky shot of homemade limoncello, which is amazing - what a talented boy he is!
|Rolled pork - a bit too fatty and the crackling was rubbish. Poor effort by the Co-op!|
|Black pepper cabbage|
|Pork, cabbage and chips.|
This post is my entry for the Casa Espresso Coffee Lovers Competition:
I am not sure when my tastes around coffee changed, but I honestly can't remember when I last time had an instant coffee. I think it may have been around 2005, when I moved to Leeds. James and Kate kindly put me up in their place for a couple of months where after dinner every night the cafetiere was brought to the table. I guess I fell in love with the process of getting a good coffee into the cup as much as the flavour itself.
6 years have passed since, and my love of coffee had continued to grow. Coffee plays a significant part in my day to day life and I would definitely miss my double espresso, cafetiere, flat white or espresso martini if it wasn’t there!
Every week day morning Jo brings me a lovely coffee made with the fancy cafetiere that she bought me a couple of years ago, and the coffee beans are ground in a machine that the future in-laws kindly gave me last Christmas. Every day in the office I use an ace cup that doubles as a mini cafetiere (genius!) and every Thursday Jo and I have a light-hearted argument about whose turn it is to buy the Friday coffees (I am a little ashamed to admit they come from Stark Bucks but in my defence it’s the only coffee shout on the way to our respective offices! I have a flat white and Jo a skinny hazelnut latte.)
I love the theatre of coffee, and that it does take a little effort to get it just right. From the correct grind size and the measurement of coffee used through to the 10 second wait for just off boiling water and then the 4 minute wait before the cafetiere is plunged. I also have a Bialetti Moka that I was using regularly until a kind friend decided to gift their rarely used Gaggia coffee machine to a good home. I have used it every day since and I have loved working how to get the best possible espressos from it – I haven’t quite got there yet but that is half the fun!
If you were ever to come round to our flat, you would see that we have quite the collection of espresso cups! Some have been bought, but the majority are (ahem) ‘souvenirs’ from holidays that we have been on that all bring back memories of good times and great meals that we have had.
Lastly I love buying coffee beans. I am definitely not a coffee ‘geek’ but I do appreciate a good full bodied flavour to my coffee. This definitely comes from ace retailers like Casa Espresso or La Bottega Milanese, rather than the brands that you will find on a generic supermarket shelf – for me, I would always rather buy from people who are passionate about what they do and also have a good story to tell…..
Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks to Nino for putting this competition on – you did say the prize was one of your coffee machines right? ;o)