Guinea Pigs at Home

Home, the Leeds fine dining restaurant run by Mark Owens (ex Box Tree) and Liz Cottam (Masterchef finalist) have announced their new March menu. Onions they say feature prominently with a posh leek tart then pork belly, pigeon, Coronation chicken and orange parfait. Sounds good to me though be warned, it’s a pricey £70 for 10 courses.

Worth knowing about are their guinea pig nights when for £35 you can sample four experimental courses which are bound to be worth trying. Tables sell out quickly so get on their mailing list for early notice.

Home, 16/17 Kirkgate, Leeds

Sourdough Surgery

If you thought producing a sourdough starter was the secret of a sourdough loaf, let me tell you, that’s just the start of it. As a reasonable bread-maker the conventional way, I have been struggling, for the past few weeks, to produce a half decent sourdough loaf. So I was intrigued to hear about the Sourdough Surgery being run by the School of Artisan Food on 1st March 6.30-8.30pm and for just £10. It’s part of Real Bread Week (24 Feb-4 March) and is being run by David Carter, who worked for 30 years as a solicitor before giving it all up to become a baker and now works as a tutor at the school of Artisan Food.

 

Why I’m struggling to make my own when York where I live has the superb Haxby and Bluebird Bakeries along with others around the county. You can find out all about real bread and find a baker near you by searching the Real Bread Campaign

Courtyard Dairy

If you haven’t made the trip the Courtyard Dairy in Settle, then you should. Mandy reported on the opening in 2013 and since then Andy and Kathy have gone from strength to strength, picking up a swathe of awards along the way. Simply, it is one of the best cheese counters in Britain.

Swinscoe_Courtyard_Dairy

Andy Swinscoe of the Courtyard Dairy, Settle

In 2017 the Dairy moved a few miles up the road (the former falconary sanctuary) with an expanded shop, a small museum charting the development of farmhouse cheese, a production room where courses are held and upstairs a cheese centred café.

The shop is the hub, packed with 30 farmhouse cheeses, many of them unpasteurised, hand picked, nurtured and matured by Andy. Yes, 30 not 130. Quality before quantity. You need an almighty turnover to keep 130 cheeses in peak condition and Andy nurtures and matures them himself.  The cheeses are all from a diminishing band of  independent cheesemakers in the UK and Europe, some of them quite tiny, like Mario Olianas’s Yorkshire Percorino made in Adel, Leeds.

A self-confessed cheese nerd, Andy or his well-informed staff will lead you through the cheeses, with the stories behind them. Among my favourites are Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire, Michael Thomson’s Young Buck, a gentle blue cheese from Northern Ireland; the buttery Hafod Welsh cheddar; and Dale End and Moorland Tomme made at Botton Village on the North York Moors.

If you can’t get to the shop, then order by post or join the monthly Cheese Club. Cheese nerds like Andy can attend one of his one day cheese-making courses. Raclette, fondue, cheeseboards and toasted sandwiches are on the menu in the cafe.

Open: Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30pm/Sun 10.30-4.30pm

 

Courtyard_cheeseThe Courtyard Dairy
Crows Nest Barn,
(Former Falconry Centre),
Austwick, Nr. Settle, LA2 8AS

Telephone: 01729 823291 Email: andy.s@thecourtyarddairy.co.uk Website: www.thecourtyarddairy.co.uk

 

The No-Knead Bread Recipe

I’ve been making bread for years, but I’d been struggling to make a well-crusted sourdough loaf when I came upon this revolutionary bread recipe.

I don’t know why I’d never heard about it before, it was written ten years ago by Mark Bittman and published in the New York Times and went viral.

The recipe was created by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City and what makes it so brilliant is that it requires NO KNEADING whatsoever.

You don’t need a sourdough starter either, it can be made with easy blend yeast as well. The secret ingredient is time. It takes 12-18 hours but in that time you don’t have to do a thing. Here’s the recipe, slightly adapted from cups to grams for British readers.

Ingredients:

430 grams flour
1 g dried yeast (quarter tsp) or 60g sourdough starter
8 grams salt
345 grams water

Method:

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rest for at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with the bowl you mixed it in and let it rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a piece of greaseproof paper with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 220 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron Le Creuset type, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.

Using the greaseproof paper as a sling, drop the dough (complete with paper) into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Slash it. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

 

 

 

Prune and Pink Peppercorn Rye Loaf

This recipe is for the serious bakers among Squidbeak readers. It is based on a rye sourdough recipe by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, the author of the award winning How to Make Bread, published in 2011 by Ryland Peters and Small. Emmanuel gives simple instructions on how to make a rye sour dough which takes 5 days. There after you have some forever if you look after it like a pet.

This loaf is an example of exquisitely flavoured rye sour dough. I was delighted with the result which was a softer, lighter loaf than I had been expecting. The dough requires very little kneading but it does need a long period of fermentation. This bread making project needs to be started a couple of days before the loaf is required and uses a rye sourdough starter.

Makes one small loaf

 

Ingredients

150g dark rye flour

100g rye sourdough starter

200g water

200g dark rye flour

1tsp salt

150g hot water

200g pitted prunes, chopped

1 tbsp pink pepper corns

Method

Grease a loaf tin measuring 21cm x 12cm loaf tin.

In one bowl mix the 150g dark rye flour with the rye sourdough starter and 200g water. Cover the bowl with either another inverted bowl or use a clear plastic shower cap and leave to ferment overnight.

The following day mix 200g of dark rye flour with the salt and tip over the fermented rye sourdough mixture prepared the day before. Pour the hot water over the dry mixture and mix well.

Add the prunes and pink pepper corns and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf tin. Wet a plastic scraper or pallet knife and smooth the surface of the loaf. Dredge the surface of the loaf with rye flour, cover and allow the loaf to rise for two hours.

Keep an eye on the dough to ensure it does not rise over the tin. If it does just wipe any extra dough away from the loaf tin.

Preheat the oven to 220°/425°F/ gas mark 7.

The dough should rise about 2cm during proving after which it should be placed in the oven for about 30 minutes. Check whether the loaf is cooked by turning it out of the tin and knocking the base. If it sounds hollow the loaf is cooked and should be placed on a wire cooling rack to cool.

See more of Joan’s recipes and photographs on www.joanransley.co.uk

RIP Fox & Hounds

We have sadly to report the closure of one of our favourite restaurants, the Fox and Hounds at Goldsborough. Tucked away in a tiny hamlet on a windy clifftop a few miles along the coast from Whitby, it was an impossibly remote location for a brilliant restaurant.

The Fox and Hounds typified everything that Squidbeak tries to celebrate. Jason Davies’ cooking was flawless, with big bold flavours, never over-complicated and with an instinct for ingredients that work together. Sue was the spirited front of house, keeping it all going and supervising an accomplished wine list. We first went there when they were doing Sunday lunch in the sunny garden some ten or twelve years ago. Mandy gave them their first mention in the Sunday Times and we have championed them ever since. We’ve been going regularly and never had a duff meal. We’ll miss them but we know how tough it is running an independent restaurant and we send them every good wish for the future.

 

Cooks and their Books

I’ve no idea whether Jo and Stu Myers got the jitters when we booked 15 of the country’s top food writer’s into their little café, the Swine that Dines on North Street but if they did, it didn’t show in the fabulous six course tasting menu they produced.

Photo by Angela Clutton

The lunch was the culmination of a morning with the Guild of Food Writer’s, beginning with a visit to Leeds University for a talk by Eileen White, co-curator (with Peter Brears) on Cooks and their Books. Her talk accompanied a display of some of the ancient and valuable cookery books that are part of the outstanding Brotherton Special Collection.

 

The collection dates from the 15th century to the present day and includes a Roman recipe for flamingo tongues, a first edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and from the 20th century, Robert Carrier’s rather pompous ‘Great Dishes of the World’. There is still time to view the exhibition at the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery at the University of Leeds until 31 January.

 

The highlights of our small-plates lunch were the feather-light parsnip bhaji on top of crumbled Lancashire cheese and pickled red cabbage; a puree of Jerusalem artichoke matched with a fillet of ling. There was a light smokiness in a plate of shallot, lentils and sourdough croutons and praise for Jo Myers marmalade ice cream (accompanying a whisky tart). Praise indeed when it comes from Robin and Caroline Weir authors of ‘Ice Creams, Sorbets and Gelati: The Definitive Guide’ and Jill Norman, an expert on spices, an author in her own right and notably Elizabeth David’s editor at Penguin. Thank you Swine, we loved it.

Yorkshire Rhubarb

Yorkshire rhubarb

There’s nothing else like it in agriculture – the low wooden forcing sheds of Yorkshire’s rhubarb producers are quiet, warm and dark. As far as the eye can see, there are slender pink stalks topped with curly yellow leaves. Workers pick by candlelight – harsh light would cause the stalks to lose their colour. Caterpillars brought in on the roots are fooled into thinking it’s spring and hatch into butterflies to flutter around in the ethereal glow. Listen carefully and you can even hear the rhubarb growing. The tissue-like membrane that wraps around the leaves, a bit like a daffodil, pops when it unfurls.

These rhubarb sheds and the dozen or so farms that make up the rhubarb triangle between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield are all that remain of a once thriving industry that began around a hundred and fifty years ago when miners from the West Riding pit villages growing a few spuds in their allotment would also sport a few sticks of ‘tusky’ –  rhubarb grown under an old bucket to keep it pink and tender.

From these small beginnings developed Europe’s biggest forced rhubarb industry. The miners began by splitting a few roots, acquiring some land and building forcing sheds. Surprisingly, the unpromising setting of industrial West Yorkshire proved to be ideal rhubarb country. The night soil from thousands of privies and waste from local shoddy mills was used to fertilise the soil and provided just the right conditions the roots needed. In December they would be dug from the cold wet soil and transferred to the forcing sheds where devoid of food and light they would be watered and kept at  a constant 60°F by the coal that was available and cheap.

By the 1920s there were over 200 rhubarb growers in the ‘pink patch’, an eight-mile stretch between Leeds and Wakefield. A farm might grow up to 90 tons a year and a rhubarb train ran regularly from Leeds to Kings Cross. But devastated by cheap imports from Holland and usurped by fashionable fruits from across the world, the rhubarb trade declined after the war. The number of growers dwindled and the last rhubarb train left Leeds in 1966.

But some growers, like Janet Oldroyd at Hopefield Farm and David Westwood at Thorpe Farm near Wakefield kept the faith and despite the decline in demand and rising fuel prices, they battled on. Then a few years ago chefs began to rediscover the unloved stalk, Delia cooked with it and we all started buying, cooking and loving rhubarb again.

There are still only a dozen Yorkshire growers today, but sales have recovered and the Oldroyds say they can sell all they produce which has climbed from 300 tons a decade ago to 1000 tons of indoor and outdoor rhubarb today.

Rhubarb and pannacotta at the Bruce Arms

Janet Oldroyd has done much to champion rhubarb. She is a leading light in the annual Yorkshire Rhubarb Festival and runs tours of the forcing sheds and in 2010 was instrumental in gaining Protected Designation of Origin  (PDO) for Yorkshire rhubarb which means that only rhubarb grown in the rhubarb triangle can be called Yorkshire rhubarb.

There’s hardly a Yorkshire restaurant worth its name that is not serving Yorkshire forced rhubarb during the November to March season, here are a few who have long championed the stuff. The General Tarleton, The Star Inn at Harome, Swine That Dines, Meltons, Partisan.

Pancake Day!

This basic pancake mix is ideal for making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. They can be made with either 100 per cent plain flour or a mixture of plain flour and buckwheat flour. The buckwheat gives the surface of the pancake a crisp texture which is lovely to eat. This recipe is ideal to use on Pancake Day.

Makes 6 large thin pancakes

Traditional pancakes to celebrate ‘Pancake Day’. Made with plain flour eggs and milk. Served with blood orange juice segments, yogurt, honey and sugar.

Ingredients:
110g plain flour (or 75g plain and 35g buckwheat flour)
Pinch of salt
1 egg
290ml milk
Mild flavoured oil for frying (e.g. sunflower)

To serve:
Freshly squeezed juice of a lemon or orange
Orange and /or lemon slices
Caster sugar

Method:
Place all the ingredients into the goblet of a blender, or food processor, and process until smooth. Leave the batter to settle for about 30 minutes. This allows the starch grains to swell.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and wipe with a little oil. Pour 2–3 tablespoons of batter onto the hot frying pan and swirl the batter to form a circle. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown.  Flip the pancake over and cook the other side.

Cooks Tip:
Pancakes can be cooked in advance. Store a stack of pancakes interleaved with greaseproof paper in a freezer bag. Defrost and reheat before serving.

For more of Joan’s recipes and food writing and details of her photography workshops go to www.joanransley.co.uk

Guest Chefs at Star Inn the Harbour

Andrew Pern has announced a programme of guest chef nights at the Star Inn the Harbour, Whitby. The first one in February with James Mackenzie of the Pipe & Glass is already sold out, but you can still book for 15 March when Kenny Atkinson (Great British Menu winner) of Newcastle’s House of Tides will be laying on a Geordie inspire menu, four courses at £45 per person’

 

On 10 May Galton Blackiston who cooks at his Michelin starred Morston Hall in Norfolk, will be presenting a fish menu based on his new book ‘Hook, Line, Sinker’ recently shortlisted for the Gourmand World Cook Book Awards.

 

To book email or telephone 01947 821900 www.starinntheharbour.co.uk

 

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