Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
For the filling, sweat down one large red onion in a couple of teaspoons of Olive Oil. Add Lamb Mince – about 500g – and brown with the onions. Add to this 4 minced cloves of Garlic, 100g of Chopped Olives, and a good few handfuls of torn spinach leaves. Season with black pepper, and the herbs that give it a flavour of Greece; Oregano and Mint. Fresh is always better – chop the leaves and add to taste; but dried will also do – just be generous with the seasoning. Stir in a tablespoon of Tomato Puree to thicken the juices in the pan, and leave the filling to cool.
When ready to cook, pre-heat your oven to 200c. Roll out your pastry and, using a plate or side saucer (depending on how large you want the pasties) and fill one half of the circles with the cooled filling. Before folding over to make the pasties, top the mix with crumbled Feta Cheese. Fold over, crimp, and place on a greased baking tray. Glaze with beaten egg and cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the pasties are golden. Baste a couple of times as you go for a great golden colour. And there you go. Filling pasties that are big on flavour. What's more - they taste even better cold, the next day. Try it.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
When Leeds Brewery announced they were rescuing The Garden Gate in Hunslet from dereliction, a cheer went up across the Leeds beer community. It seemed like a match made in heaven, and one that was warmly welcomed at the time – but, a few months on, has it worked?
After spending an entirely pleasant lunch there, my answer would be a resounding yes. I’ll be honest – I’d never been here before. I’d been aware of the building’s importance in Leeds folklore as one of the original Tetley Heritage houses -built in 1903 and grade-two listed - and seen many a picture of its outstanding tiled facade, but it had remained just that bit too far out of town for me to venture toward. I won’t make that mistake again.
The building is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and my pictures don’t do it justice. There’s a warmth to the building that invites you to venture inside - and that is partly down to its new owners, who have kitted the bar out with Leeds’s solid, ever-dependable beer range, and wisely kept every feature about the pub intact, creating an incredibly welcoming atmosphere. Not that they’ve had much choice - the mosaic floor, the tilled bar, the acid-etched glass partitions; before, you would go in just to gawp at the tilework – now there’s a quality of beer to be had, too. It’s a deceptively large pub, and has one bar serving two rooms. Leeds Pale, Midnight Bell, and Best were on (and all in excellent condition, I might add), along with one guest Leeds beer per month and a couple of guests - Tetley’s Dark Mild and, on this occasion, Lancaster Blonde.
As I sat with my beer and chatted with the new hosts, Adam and Ciara, the one thing that struck me was the reverence for the building. Yes, they are young; but they are more that aware of the history of the pub, and the task they have on their hands. Currently working all hours, the two (and their entrancing dog, Diesel) are committed to making this work. Previous pub companies have treated the GG with a fraction of the respect it deserves, and Leeds, along with Adam and Ciara, seem determined to make sure that isn’t that case again. Given the situation, I don’t think Leeds could have given the task to a more suitable couple.
This attitude epitomises how I feel about Leeds Brewery.
Through buying up a varied selection of pubs and bars across Leeds, they’ve catered for all tastes and become firm fixtures in Leeds’s drinking circuit. The Midnight Bell may be full of modern, clean lines, but it’s still an old-fashioned ale-house at heart. Pin may tout cocktails and music as its USP, but it bears well-used pumps for Pale and Midnight Bell. And as for the Brewery Tap – well, it does have the cities’ only on-site lagering facility (when it’s up and running), and is always a good bet for a decent pint before that train home. Despite producing solid, dependable beer, Leeds have been quietly buying up an eclectic range of premises in which to enjoy them in - and for that, they should be praised.
What you have here is one of the most unique drinking experiences in Leeds. A building that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Sure, it’s all of four bus stops outside Leeds, but it’s no excuse at all - visit the Garden Gate for a beer, and you’ll have drunk in a rich part of Leeds’s beer heritage. Catch it while you can – the BBC are filming here later in the year, and there’s a tour of the building next month for Yorkshire Heritage. This is one of Leeds’s most important pubs, and there’s no reason for you to ignore it now.
To give you a snapshot of what might happen when you do ignore buildings like this, here’s a shot of the once-proud Sun Inn on Kirkstall Road – a sister pub to the Garden Gate, if you will. It hasn’t served cask ale for a while, and now the pubco in charge of it has seen fit to let some bloke sell furniture out of it. A sad end to a building of genuine importance. I don’t claim to be a saint – I haven’t set foot in the place in years – but the pub companies have got to give us a reason to go in the first place. Leeds have done that and more with The Garden Gate – maybe The Sun Inn is ripe for a rescue?
I got to The Garden Gate on the No 12 Bus, caught outside the Corn Exchange. Once in Hunslet (about ten minute's journey), get off at Morrison's, and go across the small courtyard to the right of the shopping centrereach the pub - it is hidden away somewhat. There's a good source of information about The Garden Gate, The Sun Inn, and a number of local Heritage pubs here. Visit the pub's website for further details of promotions, opening hours etc.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
With all this going on, it’s easy to lose memory of those influential, classic or downright special beers. The ones that got you started. The simple ones, the ones that have dropped so far down the pecking order that the last time you drunk them you didn’t have facial hair (in my case, anyway!).
I've enjoyed two beers recently that I'd let fall into that category. Worthington White Shield first; what a beer. Although brewed by Coors, and purists may sneer, it’s still a great beer and one that I genuinely regret forsaking for so long; incredibly balanced, sweet as hell but with enough bright, citric bite to wake the tastebuds up. The bottle conditioning gives you that distinct ‘yeasty, fresh basked bread’ nose, and a liveliness that only makes it more refreshing. A wonderful Burton beer, and one that I enjoyed so much I went and bought another two bottles the next day. And I shouldn’t have been so readily willing to miss the Burton Twissup; lesson firmly learned.
Sam Smith’s Organic Best Ale was the next beer to take me back in time. I drink Sam Smith’s beers all the time, so much so that I will happily admit that I’m quite blasé about the whole brewery. I do love their whole image, that of arcane and proudly traditional brewers*, and the White Rose of Smith’s is as familiar to me as the Triangle of Bass, but for me, Smith’s represented ‘normal’. And we all know that ‘normal’ often means ‘ordinary’. So I cracked open the heavy, wonderfully-labelled bottle without a second thought; one to quaff whilst watching the football.
*There's not much out there about Sam Smith's, but Zak Avery wrote an excellent profile in October 2008's now-defunct Beers of The World Magazine, if you can track it down.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I know I do this sort of stuff often but I love it. So quick, so tasty. Clams are really good with Celis White, which I prefer to Hoegaarden if you can get your hands on it. Pierre Celis obviously needs no introduction (but I've attached one anyway) to beeronauts, but I find his white much fruitier, lighter and maybe a little drier than other Wits. I could drink it all day, really. An ideal summer beer with an ideal summer supper.