Sunday, December 23, 2007

Out with the old, In with the new....

Well, 2007 has been a great year for TGS - thanks to you all for reading our little labour of love and proving to us that us food and beer-crazed zombies number in our thousands...we are not alone!

So what has 2007 meant to us?

Well, food-wise, our visit to Greece in the summer provided us with its usual bounty of inspiration and experiences. Anyone who thinks Greek food is the poor relation of flashy Spain is mistaken. The Leyburn Festival of Food and Drink was great as usual, and the tour of The Black Sheep Brewery gets better every time we do it. Our 'Tomatoes in hanging basket to avoid the cats that plague our street' experiment worked a treat, and will be in action again this summer; and the Good Stuff Kitchen has seen an unusual amount of baking activity. 2007 certainly was the year of the pastry.

Interviewing Sean Franklin, supremo at Rooster's Brewery was great fun; Roosters are probably my favourite local brewers and I cannot recommend thier beers highly enough. The resurgence of The Fox & Newt as a brewpub was a totally unexpected and pleasant surprise - a real kick in the eye to the brewing monopolies. In the same vein, North hanging up thier Guinness pump and commiting to serving a rotating, independent stout was an inspired, ballsy move, and one that has worked - Cheers, lads. Public awareness of the importance of supporting local brewers and food suppliers seems to be on the increase, too!

The passing of Michael Jackson still reverberates around the foodwriting and brewing community - the poet laureate of Beer Writing will be missed for a long time to come. The fact that Leeds Kirkgate Market's future is still undecided is a joke, and I only hope that common sense prevails; the market is a precious part of Leed's history, let alone its culinary heritage.

I'm also in two minds about the tranformation of The Corn Exchange into a 'High Class Food Emporium'. Food Emporium, yes, High Class, no. The last thing Leeds needs is a waste of a space where the clientele are more interested in the bag the food comes in than the food itself. Go to a farmer's market or a 'real' butcher's if you want to do something different, supermarket-hounds. Again, lets hope common sense prevails. And finally, just whe we think things had levelled out for the year, there are rumours that Leifmans, brewers of the awesome Goudenband, have gone bust.

So what does 2008 hold for TGS?
TGS has recently been the lucky recipient of a shedload of Brewing Kit from a relative - Spring should see the first attempt at homebrewing for me, and I can't wait. Stay tuned to see how the disaster unfolds. Our trip to Bulgaria should be good, and I am sure the recipes that we bring back will be different to the norm. I'll be throwing the spotlight on more local and independent brewers and making everyone aware of the good work these guys and gals are doing. Recipes will come as usual, and each with a beer pairing for you to consider.

Award Time -
Ok, lets end with some honourable mentions -

Beer Blog of 2007 - Stonch; has to be. Fast becoming essential reading, this is what a beer blog should be; informative, yet none of the snobbery that can sometimes prevail;

Food Blog of 2007 - ...An Endless Banquet - perfection. AJ and Michelle constantly amaze me with thier stories and recipes - thier 'Quest for the perfect pizza' was probably my favourite post of any blog in 2007. Obsession; in a good way. Where would beer and food be without obsession?
Store of the Year - Salt's Deli remains a pleasure to visit. One of thier hampers is shown above.

Beer of The Year - hmmm, so many. Roosters remain a consistently excellent brewhouse - the YPA is fast becoming a must-drink when available. The Great Divide Brewing Company and Brewdog are two brewers whose wares I only tasted recently and really, really impressed.

The Good Stuff.
Good Food. Good Beer. Good People.

Have A Great Christmas and a very boozy New Year!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quick Round-up

TGS-reccommended Meat Purveyors Bolton Abbey Meats are offering Xmas Hampers, filled with goodies such as Beef, Lamb and Sausages - more details to be found on Whilst on the subject of Hampers, Salt's Deli are offering thiers as usual - and packed with delicious xmas treats....more info on TGS' favourite Bar, North has a revamped website offering info on sister bars Further North and The Reliance - link on the link pages...

Chutney Time!

Christmas always means a flurry of activity in The Good Stuff kitchen - usually of the baking sort, as we always like to give home-made goodies to people for presents. This year, we decided to spend an afternoon making chutney. I could'nt beleive how easy it is. The recipe that follows is based on one that was in good old Good Food Magazine a few months back.

Sweet Apple & Tomato Chutney
2 large Onions, diced
2 large cooking apples, diced and cored
2lb Tomatoes ( I used 'vine' ones)
Dash of tabasco
3 chopped cloves of Garlic
1 tsb of Ground Cinnamon
1 tsb of Ground Coriander
Twist of black pepper.
3/4 pint of Cider Vinegar (I used Aspall's)
12 oz of Sugar

1. Skin and chop you tomatoes. Chop your onions, garlic and Apple also.
2. Pour into a large preserving pan or stock-pot, then pour over the vinegar. Also add your spices at this stage.
3. Bring to the boil, stirring. Then lower the heat and let cook for about 50 minutes. The fruit and veg should be soft, but not pulpy yet. Add the sugar and stir.
4. Increase the heat, and boil rapidly for about 20 minutes. Stir regulary or the mixture will catch. The chutney will really reduce and thicken during this stage. When you can draw your spoon across the bottom of the pan and there is a clear line before it slips back, its done.
You need to sterilise and prepare your jars next. I do this by simply washing in soapy water, as hot as you can stand, then rinsing in clean hot water. I heat the oven to about 150 degrees and dry the pots in there. Spoon your chutney into the pots whilst warm, and seal immediately!
This chutney is pulpy and sweet, and really good with lamb and all the usual strong cheeses. To vary it, you could add some chillies, or even add pears. A great condiment to have around Christmas time, with all those cold cuts around!

For more ideas regarding Chutneys, Jams and other preserves, What Geeks Eat and ...An Endless Banquet both have loads of ideas and tips. Both blogs can be found on my links section.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Chilli Squid Stew

It recently occurred to me that although I love to eat Squid, I very rarely do anything other than toss those rings in flour mixed with pepper and Paprika, and then throw them in some hot, hot oil – Greek Style, if you will. And although, on a hot summer’s day with a cold Peroni to wash them down, this does the trick, I bullied myself into doing something different with my tentacle friends. This is what I came up with – basic, yes, but very tasty. The stew simply accentuates the sweetness of the squid; this would be excellent as part o a Tapas selection.

To make two Tapas-Size portions –
6 Small or 1 Large Squid
Tomatoes –about 4 large vine-ripened ones, or about 15 'Cherry' ones
2 fresh chillies
1 large red pepper – (I used preserved ones for extra sweetness)
Good Olive Oil
2 large cloves of garlic
Salt, Pepper, and 1 tsp of Sugar
A Garlic Bread, Flatbread or Tomato bread to accompany.

1. Make a basic Tomato Sauce – Chop all of your tomatoes and add to warm olive oil. Add you peppers also. Season, including the sugar, and stir in a little tomato puree if needed. Leave to simmer for about five minutes, and then add your chopped garlic and chilli. Simmer gently for anywhere from ten minutes to an hour (I’m sure you know what you like).
2. Prepare and wash your squid. Keep the tentacles, and cut the tubes (bodies) into strips. You should get about five per Squid.
3. Once you are happy with the Sauce, and your breads are warmed nicely, throw in your chopped squid. They should need no more than seven or eight minutes – once cooked, they will be white and curled round.
4. Serve with your breads for scooping!

As you can see, this is about as simple as you can get. I washed this down with the last of the summers Rose wine, and added extra Tabasco once on the table for extra bite; or you could add as much fresh chilli as you need. The key to this is knowing what kind of basic tomato sauce you like, and perfecting it. I have left out onions, as I didn’t want too much going on here, but feel free to adapt this sauce any way you want. It’s not rocket science – it’s just good cooking.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Quick Apple Stuffing

Although 'The Shopping List' is an absolutely essential part of life, I often like to just visit the market and see what takes my fancy; then sort out a recipes when I get back to the kitchen.
I spotted a cute little rolled pork loin; just big enough for two of us - that went in the bag, so to speak. The apples at the moment are the best the've been all year, and as soon as I spied some crisp-looking Leeks, ideas were percolating...Here's a quick, fresh stuffing that makes a classic roast a little bit special.

Quick Apple Stuffing

1 Golden Delicious Apple, diced
1 Onion
1 medium sized Leek
1 baguette, blitzed to make breadcrumbs
Fresh Parsley & Rosemary, chopped
1 clove of Garlic, chopped
Salt, Pepper
1 beaten egg

1. Gently fry your finely chopped onion & leek in the knob of butter until translucent.
2. Meanwhile, blitz your bread to make the crumbs
3. When done, add your onions and leeks to a bowl with the breadcrumbs and seasonings.
4. Add your beaten egg and mix to create stuffing

...And thats it. The great thing about Stuffing is you can make whatever you want, and generally it will work.

We then roasted the pork, studded with salt and more Rosemary, and served it with the stuffing, gravy, and roast potatoes with buttered green beans. A perfect, fuss-free weekend roast. The sweetness of the apple stuffing was perfect with the slightly-pink Pork.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Fox & Newt, Leeds

It was with great interest that I found myself returning to The Fox & Newt, the place I would hang out when I was a student at Park Lane College over the road. Of course, I knew nothing of beer back then. I didn’t know that in the eighties, The Fox & Newt brewed its own beer. But I did know that after years in the wilderness, it was brewing again.
The Fox (as I like to call it) is a traditional pub with traditional tastes. An unpretentious Yorkshire pub, if you will; no airs and graces. The beer reflects that style – I sampled two over the leisurely lunch I enjoyed there this week. First up, the Brewhouse Bitter – a dark, but not at all heavy bitter with a lovely biscuity finish, perfect to get things going. I then moved onto the Cunning Stunt, which at 4.0% abv, I would imagine to be their session ale – and how perfect for that it is. Light, refreshing, with a hoppier body than the bitter and a creamier head, I could really sink a few of these. Also on offer was Dark Side stout, which I didn’t sample but seemed popular. All brews are full mash, and I understand that plans are being laid to produce seasonal beers.

The new proprietors, Gerry and Patricia, have really got things right here; you can tell from the beer that care and passion goes into each barrel, and I sincerely hope things go well enough to ensure The Fox and Newt’s future. After all, we now have a pub brewing its own quality beers within walking distance from the city centre. And that is something to be excited about.

Bar food and snacks are available between 12-2pm, and the jukebox is good. I enjoyed a perfect, lazy day-off lunch - simple, some sports pages to pore over and some of nicest beer I have tasted in ages. You can’t really get higher praise than that. My drinking map of Leeds has got one new stop on it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Short Newsflash...

This weekend sees The 7th Otley Beer Festival take place in The Civic Hall (16/17.11.07) - there's not much info on the web to be gleaned about who will be there but there is reportedly 56 real ales on offer plus a 'global' bottled beer bar...And staying on the subject of festivals, Ilkey hosts its first beer festival on 8/9.02.07 - two days of beery fun at The Winter Garden -loads of beers on offer and helping out charities at the same time. click on the link below for more info...The Millrace Organic Restaurant are offering 3 for 2 on tapas sunday to friday...Congratulations to The Balloon Tree Farm Shop in Gate-Helmsley for winning the DeliciouslyYorkshire Retailer Of The Year Award 2007...Well done!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Supply and Demand; Beeritz, Headingley

It’s important to have a supplier you know is doing the best to source the best beers they can get their hands on for you, close to you. But I know, even in Yorkshire, that brewing hotspot, that this does not always happen. Supermarkets take the share of the market; the current climate even means that most supermarkets have a fairly decent beer selection – at a push. But you'd rather go somewhere local, somewhere that puts hard work into maintaining your beer passion...

Mine is Beeritz, in upper Headingley. Open pretty much all the time, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside lies a beer-lover’s paradise. Beers from all over the world, consistently priced, means that your favourites are almost always in stock. It has everything a good beer shop should have – Tasting notes, friendly, knowledgeable staff, glassware, a wide range of styles. I cannot recommend this outlet enough.
They have another excellent store in Kanresborough, and a mail-order service, too. My last visit yielded the following list: (one of each) – Palm Beer, Sam Smiths Imperial Stout, Maisels Weisse, Tripel Karmeliet, Paulaner, Kwak, Goose Island Summertime, Brewdog Physic Amber Beer, Mort Subite. All for about £15. That’s a good week’s worth of drinking around the world.

Wharfed Ale, 8-10 Bondgate, Otley, LS21 3AB
If you're travelling around Yorkshire, i can reccommend Wharfed Ale in Otley, also. Great store.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pork Chop Melts!

Sometimes i find that simply throwing together a few ideas with what's left in your cupboards or freezer seems to yield better results than when I actually plan something - this little concoction is a prime example of that. I just wanted something to complement my beer (see below), and this is what I came up with - Pork Chop Melts with Pan-Potatoes; slightly Germanic in feel, and perfect now that the weather is turning colder.

Pork Chop Melts with Pan-Potatoes
(Serves Two)

2 Pork Chops – bigger the better
Béchamel Sauce
Tsp of Wholegrain Mustard
Grated Gruyere cheese
2 medium size potatoes
4 Rashers of smoked streaky bacon
1 Red onion
Olive Oil
(I’m going to assume you know how to make béchamel sauce - if not - in short - melt a knob of butter in a saucepan, add flour and stir until a paste is formed, then slowly add milk, constantly stirring until thick. This is a very quick way - for more in-depth recipes, look on the web.)

1 . Cook your pork chops to your satisfaction – Grill, Fry or Roast (I prefer roasting in this case.)Whilst they are cooking...
2. Prepare potatoes – peel and dice both, then wash in cold water. Drop into salted, boiling water and boil for about ten minutes or when cooked but firm. Drain. Whilst they are boiling, chop your bacon and cook in pan in a little olive oil. Add chopped red onion to this, and then add your potatoes. Cook through on a moderate heat until the potatoes are browned – add more oil if needed, although not too much. Keep Warm.
3. When your chops are nearly done, make a basic béchamel sauce, but add your wholegrain mustard. Add as much as you like, really – depends how you hot you like it. Make the sauce as thick as you can, and when ready, smear over the tops of the chops. Add the gruyere cheese on top, and then either return to the oven to brown or place under a hot grill.
4. Once bubbling, you're done!

My choice of Goose Island Summertime was perfect for this - despite being light enough to refesh, this Kolsch-style brew really cut through and didn't overpower the smoky bacon and creamy, cheesy bechamel.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Little Valley Brewery

A recent trip to the lovely little village of Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire resulted in a first for The Good Stuff – a taste of what Little Valley Brewery have to offer.
Hebden Bridge has always had a lot to offer, Beer-wise. The White Lion, my personal choice of drinking hole whilst visiting, was actually home to my first taste of beer – many moons ago. The beer was Flowers IPA, and it gave an impressionable young teenager a glimpse into a world outside flat, tasteless lagers – so it’s fitting that I should find a new taste whilst here.

My pint of Little Valley Withens IPA went down very well. An easygoing, light style, with a refreshing hoppy finish, it accompanied my Sausage Sandwich very well indeed. This would make an excellent session beer, and another pint was ordered duly. I’ve not tried the bottle conditioned version, but the Withens IPA is a beer I can happily recommend. Little Valley are based just near Hebden Bridge, and their website lists all their brews.
In fact, there's a lot to recommend in Hebden Bridge; a specialist wine and cheese shop, a number of bars and restaurants and of course, a few good old pubs. Also, of foodie interest is Jules Pottery, whose wares i cannot resist buying whilst there. Handmade ceramics for every type of dish, and at amazing prices.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Clocks Go Back, The Beers Come Out...

I feel distinctly different in the last few days. The days are shortening, the heating has been turned on, the kitchen has stopped producing griddled and barbecued things and now hosts pots of bubbling stews and casseroles. I'm drinking more beer.

The Good Stuff has always been beer-heavy, but i'm going to concentrate more on this in the next few months. There's so much good stuff out there, and now is the perfect time to take a trip to your local beer-nerd-stockist (see the next post for a profile of mine).

I recently got my hands on two excellent examples of the evergreen work of Samuel Smiths, a brewery close to my heart, in Tadcaster.

Thier 'Taddy Porter' is a big, big beer. Huge malted flavours, with those tradmark hints of coffee and roasted malts. Make no mistake, you know you've had a glass of Taddy. Unremittingly dry, this is one of my favourite examples of Porter available today (the other being Flag Porter - which i can't seem to find - can anyone help?).

A few nights later, a long, boring day at work was rounded off by a glass of Smith's Winter Welcome Ale. At 6% abv, the ale is no slouch but is remarkably drinkable - malty, as you you would expect, but quite lively also. It's brewed in Yorkshire Squares and you can tell - that trademark taste runs thorough it. Hoppy on the aftertaste, i really enjoyed this and will be having it again.

In Leeds, The Angel, just off Briggate, stocks these and pretty much all of Smith's brews all of the time.Oh, and i know it's nerdy - but when was the last time you say such amazing design on a beer label?

Wanna be on Telly?

Always one to bring attention to worthy causes - Eating Britain has an invite from Thames TV to take part on a new cookery show called 'Cooking the Books'. Good People Eats had also been invited, but won't be taking part - but if this is your cup of tea, or you harbour dreams of becoming a celebrity, drop by and register your interest...

Eating Britain has also higlighted Chicken Out , a campaign fronted by our friendly friend Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. A sad fact of today's eating environment is that upwards of 90% of the chicken we eat today is intensively reared. This is shocking, and although sometimes it's hard to find an alternative, if we can raise awareness of this then maybe we can turn the tide. Drop by the official site and sign your name.

Eating Britain is a great blog, and i urge you all to drop by.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Michael Jackson - more genius...

Beers of The World magazine are carrying a touching tribute to Michael Jackson this month, with loads of great quotes from the man. If you're not familiar with the man or the mag, i suggest you remedy that asap!
...While we are on the glorious subject of beer, time for a rant. After reading this, and doing some research, it occured to me that there are still hardly any books on beer (guides, brewing guides etc) stocked by bookshops - at least in Leeds. The sections on books about Wines are usually massive - even books on whisky get more shelf-space. Surely there is room for more? Amazon stocks at least 1000 books on Beer - why are they so hard to find in shops, then? Has anyone else out there found this frustrating, or do are my expectations too high?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spotlight on...Raydale Preserves

Raydale Preserves are a company that i always keep an eye out for when visiting Farmer's Markets across Yorkshire. Our love affair with them started simply; one day we were lamenting the lack of blueberry jam in the market place; the next weekend, at a market in Skipton, we found that Raydale had put that right. We bought 2 jars, and declared it the best we had tasted.

Raydale are based in Askrigg, near Leyburn - a hub for home-made produce. Thier preserve list is extensive, and new flavours pop up all the time. Although the art is traditional, the flavours show forward-thinking; my last trio of buys included Plum and Strawberry & Amaretto.

The Kettlewells, who run Raydale, epitomise what i like about Yorkshire food in particular - keeping a tradition alive, and appealing to those long-forgotten tastes.Their tasting room is open pretty much daily but please check the times if you visit because these can be affected by the seasons. You can see how the preserves are made and kick back afterwards and sample some home-made cakes.

Give Raydale a try - you won't be disappointed. They can be found at pretty much every farmer's market across our region.

Raydale Preserves
Schoolhouse Farm, Stalling Busk
Askrigg, Leyburn
North Yorkshire
01969 650233

A BBQ Odyssey - Harrogate to Tennessee

A story in the Yorkshire Evening Post really warmed my heart this week. Andy Annat, a butcher from Harrogate, is flying to the States at the end of the month to take part in the World Barbecue Championships.
BBQ is huge in the states - and is entirely different from the summer-only affairs we have in the UK. Where we will stoke up those coals, throw on some choice burgers, bangers and meat cuts, then proceed to spend a balmy aftenoon stuffing ourselves and downing chilled wine and beers, the Americans elevate it to a way of life. Slow, slow cooking over heat is the order of the day; complex marinades and rubs come into play. Meat is cooked for days in 'pits' - much more than a normal BBQ.
What i love about this is what links it to every business or individual we feature on Good People Eats. Love for food, bordering on obsession - no matter where in the world you are.
Anyway, if you want to know more, check out the story here. For more on home-grown BBq obsession, there have been some great recipes and articles by my Candian buddies An Endless Banquet - see the link.
Good Luck, Andy!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

'Our' Meatballs

Ah, Meatballs...So simple, So delicious. Working full time has really made me appreciate 'making stuff for the freezer' - taking a little time out of your weekend to make something that can freeze well, so you make sure your midweek meals aren't reduced to ready meals or take outs (not that we would!)

One treat that we have been eating a lot of recently is the humble meatball. Every one has thier own recipe - here's ours.

'Our Meatballs' (makes about 25)
1lb of minced Beef
1lb of minced Pork
3 slices of wholemeal bread, blitzed or finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped (as fine as possible)
2 cloves of Garlic
1 chilli pepper (or as many as you like!)
chopped parsley
chopped oregano
black pepper

The recipe is simply this; prepare all your ingredients and mix together with your hands (gotta use your hands!) and then form into balls. I also sometimes use a little olive oil for moisture; but you'll find that the onion creates enough anyway.

The great thing about meatballs is that you can use pretty much anything you want; one person i know adds finely chopped carrot; you could use turkey or chicken for a lighter, more savoury meatball for soups or broths. One fave of mine is to use lamb and mint for a greek-style 'metze' ball. the possibilties are endless - but this is my fave, the old standby. Bake, dump four or so onto a split baguette, top with some (pre-prepared) chunky tomato sauce, add tons of strong cheddar on top and grill until the cheese bubbles for an amazing midweek meal. Messy, though...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

North Bar's Oktoberfest

It's a strange, heady smell that greets my nostrils as i walk into North on this autumnal wednesday. Bratwurst. Yep, thick, sizzling sausages sitting alongside tall glasses of every shade of ale you could imagine. This is North Bar's Oktoberfest.
Trust those forward-thinking chaps at North to bring this great little slice of Bavaria to he heart of Leeds; a positive godsend for those of us who can't afford to go to the real thing. In he name of research, i get stuck in.
Its strange reviewing a bar that i spend so much time in - and i was thinking about not doing it at all. But despite my obvious love for North, the only city bar I consider 'my local', i don't want to ignore the seasonal festivals that they take great effort to put on -and Oktoberfest is a success, purely for that reason. These guys want it to happen; so it does. They do it because they know thier customers want it.
That's enough of the gushing - onto the beers. First up I sample an Oktober brew by one of my favourite brewers, Paulaner. Its long, smooth and unbeleivably refreshing. Pale, but not too sharp. Of all the normal 'Oktoberfest' style brews, this is easily the easiest to drink. A little too easy, actually! Another hit for Paulaner. (Watch out for the Paulaner - heavy beer tent at the German Market around Christmas time!)
Next up, another old fave - Erdinger. Again, tempted by the promise of a seasonal brew from the Munich-based brewery. Again, a gorgeous amber wheat beer, very smooth, but with a much more pronounced kick (5.7) abv. Very drinkable, very good with the aforementioned Bratwurst.

The beer list is extensive - i can't imagine many places serving Hofbrau or Spaten tonight. The staff pour and pour, smile and serve in a true German fashion. The place fills, and the lights fade. Another night begins at North, and the conversation, lilting in and out of the music, is invariably about Beer.

Oktoberfest @ North runs until the 7th October. For further info, see the North link.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dos Amigos - Tapas bar none...

I'll be honest here; I couldn’t hide trepidation as we drove through Kirkstall. I loved Amigo's. It was a special place, a warm, authentic Tapas joint in a city that sadly lacked them. Inside the new ‘Dos Amigos’, little has changed. The same charming, tiny room, the same friendly staff (well, in attitude, anyway), the same Mediterranean music bringing back memories of holidays in Spain, Greece and Turkey. But what of the food?
I am pleased to report the standard has not slipped one ounce since the slight makeover and name-change.

The menu now sports a slightly Italian flavour, as well as Spanish - We opted for: Spiedo di Gambas Mixta – grilled Langoustine, The ubiquitous Polpette di Maiale (meatballs), Fried Calamari, Peperoni Ripieni, Patatas Bravas, chicken croquettes and some Pollo El Ajillo…and don’t forget the Pan Catalan – thick, olive oil-drenched bread rubbed with garlic and fresh tomato.

As our table was laden with what seemed like a million earthenware dishes, the feast of food really hit the spot. And for me, the piece de resistance was the draft Cruzcampo – my favourite of all Spanish Cervezas – bar none. Icy cold, it washed the feast down perfectly.

The star of the show was a dish that I had not tasted before – Peperoni Ripieni. Peppers stuffed with rice and veg are commonplace but this whole, sweet pepper, charred on the outside, stuffed with spicy, close-textured minced pork was outstanding, and a dish I can recommend heartily. This was the best meal I had enjoyed in a while.

So what do we have here?
A genuinely local restaurant, proud of its location, that stands apart from the hustle of inner-city Leeds. A place where authenticity has served it well, and the locals will patronise it for a long time to come. A place where the noise, the conversation and the wine is as important as the food.
Or, quite simply, the best Tapas in Leeds? Visit, and decide for yourself.
68-70 Abbey Road (opposite The Abbey)

tel: 0113 228 3737

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blackberry Slices - In The Bag!!

Inspired by Scott @ Real Epicurian's 'In The Bag' promotion, The Good Stuff set about creating a seasonal treat for the start of Autumn. And seeing as though my good lady had been ransacking the Blackberry bush at the end of our street for a month or so now, that seemed like a good place to start.

Here is what we came up with - nothing fancy, but great with a cup of tea and Seinfeld box set on an ever-darkening night...

Blackberry Tray Bake

You will need:
225g Soft margerine
225g Caster Sugar
275g Self-Raising Flour
2 tspns baking Powder
4 Eggs
4 tbs Milk
Icing sugar (To decorate)
100g Blackberries - or about 20!

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C, 350f or gas mark 4.
2. Grease and base line a 12x9 inch roasting tin or shallow tin with greaseproof paper.
3. Measure your ingredients in a large bowl and beat well for a couple of minutes until blended.
4. Turn the mixture into the tin, and level the top.
5. Add the Blackberries in lines - you want to get about 3 to a slice. Lay them on top (they will sink during baking).
6. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the cake has pulled away from the sides.
7. Leave to cool (overnight, if you wish)
8. Decorate top with some icing sugar in whatever way you want.
9. Slice and enjoy!
If you want, you could add some berries to the top also, for prettiness! as you can see, it's fairly basic but was delicious!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

News Round-Up

Yorkshire Deli in Ilkey are holding a ‘Grapes of Burgundy’ wine and food tasting night on Thursday 4th October 2007 at 7pm. At £29.50 per head, you get a three course dinner matched to 4 fine wines, guided by Mike Widd, and lots of other locally-sourced treats. For further details, see the blog 9in my links). To book, you can call Yorkshire Deli directly on on 01943 817387 or email them - see the link for more info...Bolton Abbey Beef are now delivering in certain postcodes – see here for further news….the East Keswick Yorkshire Beer Festival kicks off on the 13th October, featuring live music, locally-produced foods and 20 or so Yorkshire Beers for your pleasure! Muse Ale and Wine Bar are sponsoring the event, which will be held in the village hall. For more details check out the good old CAMRA website, or you can call David on 01937 573082, or Brian on 01937 572149…Amigo’s on Kirkstall Road has recently changed owners and is now called ‘Dos Amigos’, offering some Italian tapas to the already-extensive traditional menu. The Good Stuff has visited and will be reviewing officially shortly but we can tell you that the food is still outstanding and the draft Cruzcampo is as refreshing as ever…The Manchester Food Festival takes place next month – for further details see here…and October is the time for Devon and Cornwalls celebration of food – as if you needed any other reason to go this wonderful part of the country (had the best mussels I have ever tasted in Devon) ... more to come shortly...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Grains 2 Mill

There’s something about bread, isn’t there? The smell is constantly noted as being one of our favourites in the whole world, and it’s true when Nigel Slater says that one of the most-underrated foods ever is a simple slice of toast, dripping with golden, unctuous butter.
Apparently it’s easy to make as well, but I have always struggled – I never make good bread. Ever. And I refuse to buy a bread-maker, as that, for me, takes the magic out of the entire process. But bread-making holds a charm for me that I will always aspire to, so it was with some interest that I browsed a Grains 2 Mill stall at a recent Food Festival.
Grains 2 Mill’s operation is simple – good ingredients, produced by hand, and then given to you. After a quick taste of what they had to offer, I opted, with the advice of the very knowledgeable chap behind the stall, for a bag of ‘The Lord's Bread Mix’ – it sounds lofty but check out Ezekiel 16:9 in the good book for clarification.
To be honest, it couldn’t have been simpler. You just empty all the freshly stone-milled dry ingredients into a bowl and follow the instructions. Add honey, olive oil and an egg. Knead. Leave. Shape. Leave. Bake. All done. In a couple of hours I had a perfect batch of little breadcakes – the honey and oil in this particular recipe gave an interesting sweetness that was wonderful straight out of the oven. Split, buttered and served with slices of Parma ham, it was a real simple, yet utterly delicious treat. And the house smelled great for days…
Who knows, I might even try this breadmaking lark again!

North Yorkshire
BD23 5JJ

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Michael Jackson Passes Away at 65

Michael Jackson – for many of us known simply as ‘The Beer Hunter’, has sadly died, aged 65.

Micheal has been a massive inspiration to all of those who enjoy beer as the artform that it is; it is down to Michael and his cult TV show ‘The Beer Hunter’ that a lot of realised that there was more to Ale than being something your granddad drunk. He championed Belgian beers when many of us were still messing about with piss-poor lager; he championed the grand English pub when many of us were drawn to flashy bars. He was a font of knowledge on the subject and cared not for trends and fads. He was interested in only ‘the good stuff’, and passing that wisdom on.

Today we have lost one of the best food writers around; he can rest assured that his teachings have reached far and wide.

"Hello, my name is Michael Jackson. No, not that Michael Jackson, but I am on a world tour. My tour is in pursuit of exceptional beer. That's why they call me The Beer Hunter…”

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Anchovy & Feta Spaghetti

God - i tell ya - Broadband, although usually very good at keeping us all hooked up and sharing our secrets, has not been my friend this past month. Apologies to all those who come by here regulary - i'm not ignoring you. An upcoming upgrade of the entire 'The Good Stuff' office should mean Autumn goes a bit smoother!

Anyway -

I'm glad Rick Stein has been championing Greek Food in his latest series. As you know, i am a huge fan of Greece and its food, which, in my humble opinion, doesn't get enough credit. So here i a quick recipe for a greek - inspired pasta. Make sure you use fresh anchovies - plump and white/silver, as opposed to those brown, salty things you get in jars. Costa's Greek Deli in Kirkgate Market does great cretan ones.

Anchovy & Feta Spaghetti

You will need;

1 Tomato - large and ripe.
Olive oil
50g Feta Cheese
2 cloves of Garlic
Parsley, Oregano
Spaghetti or Tagliatelli
Ground black pepper

1. Cook your pasta!
2. At the same time - chop your garlic and your tomato. If you want to take the skin off, fine - i don't, personally.
3. In a heavy - bottomed pan, lightly simmer the chopped tomato and the garlic until broke down and a sauce has formed.
4. Add the Anchovies, chopped however you want them.
5. Season the sauce - but don't add salt, the fish will have enough.
6. Toss in your cooked pasta, coat, and serve topped with cubes of feta cheese.

There you go - easy. Serve with a glass of dry white wine.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Closures, Closures, Closures....

I noticed a worrying trend in our cities’ food news the last couple of weeks – despite it being a very ‘Leeds is now’ time for the city, two long-standing establishments have had to close this month.
Firstly, a simple change of location cost Beano Wholefoods dearly. Beano had been around for nearly 30 years – which makes it all the more shocking when you consider the power the whole ‘Organic’ ethos has these days. However, Beano did not fit in the council’s plans for the fast-developing Briggate and moved it down the road. And that’s it – a move of only 300 yards results in such a drop in trade that Beano simply no longer exists. As you would imagine, a void is now present for those wanting vegan or more ehtically-produced foodstuffs. it would seem people are happy to buy 'Fairtrade' - as long as they can get it from a supermarket.

Also, Dino’s – the Italian under the Railway Station on Bishopsgate, have thrown in the towel after another long 15 years in the Leeds food scene. The manager is blaming the explosion in restaurants in Leeds in the last few years as being so detrimental to the trade that he can no longer go on. Telling ,perhaps, but one has to wonder what other long-standing restaurants in the area such as Bibi’s, Da Marios and Salvo’s are doing in order to survive. I’m of the belief that Leeds is big enough for all these places, but the closure of Beano’s is a real shame.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Leeds Food & Drink Festival 2007 - Preview

After a lost weekend in Dublin courtesy of a Stag I know, I return to Leeds to find the Food & Drink Festival preparations in full swing. Again, it starts on a weekday but I’m sure during it’s five day run there will be at least once chance to take a mosey on down. So what’s going on?

A quick flick through the brochure gives me an idea of some highlights. The always affable and almost-so-Yorkshire-you-can-taste-it pairing of Brian Turner and James Martin will have a large crowd, not least among the mothers of Leeds. For those with Gallic leanings, Raymond Blanc will be appearing on the 10th, ahead of the opening of much anticipated ‘Brassiere Blanc’ in Leeds later this year. No doubt that one will have food writers up and down Yorkshire in a cold sweat for at least, ooh - the opening weekend.

Apart from the celebs – who really need no introduction – personally I’ll be looking forward to demonstrations from two establishments close to my heart; Thomas Danby College, one of the unsung heroes of Leeds of providing training and vocations for chefs, bakers and butchers-to-be are putting in a couple of appearances. Thomas Danby work hard; very hard. Go see them. Also, a paella cook-off (gotta love a cook-off!) courtesy of La Tasca sounds good, as does the tapas and wine tasting event held by Sandinista – another bona fide ‘The Good Stuff’ hero when it comes to smart, affordable tapas with no pretension. Shepherd’s Purse Cheeses are also helping out the ubiquitous Olive Tree demo so make sure to pick up some of their wares.

Finally, some excellent ideas – Kirkgate Market will be offering various food tastings throughout Saturday, and a string of restaurants in Headingley will be offering ‘Menus for £10’ – great idea, especially when you consider Headingley is home to the peerless Salvos and Brett’s fish and chips – amongst others.
So that’s my rundown of the highlights – there’s more to the Leeds Food Festival than Harvey Nichols, you know. Shame there’s nothing highlighting the excellent pubs Leeds has to offer – an ale trail, perhaps next year? One can hope, eh?

The Leeds Festival of Food & Drink,
8-12 August,
Briggate and surrounding environs, Leeds.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Leeds Brewery

Although Leeds has no shortage of beer lovers, you'd think that a company called 'The Leeds Brewery' would have popped up by now - and only recently, it has.
I've not had a chance to sample any of thier frankly delicious-sounding brews yet, but rest assured i'll be keeping an eye out. Thier website is fresh, smart and displays an obvious love of the beer - despite the fact that they are a young company. and that is refreshing to see.
When there's not much happiness about the word 'Leeds' at the moment (I'm referring to my beloved Leeds Utd), it does wonders to see a pump clip with the words "Leeds Best' on it.

And as Morrisey sang, "Now my heart is full..."

Let's hope this local firm is a resounding success.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I's Pies

My partner likes to bake, and so the household is generally filled to the rafters with all sorts of baked treats. I’m not complaining – although it does no good for my expanding waistline, it’s good to have home-cooked flapjack at any time of the day. So, we don’t buy sweets often; but we had to make an exception when we came across an I’s Pies stall at the Leyburn Festival Of Food and Drink.

Everything looked so good, but we opted for the Blueberry Crème Brulee Tart - and we were glad we did. Light, crumbly base, a smooth, vanilla-loaded crème brulee topping shot through with big, purple-bleeding blueberries. Washed down with a cuppa, the pie didn’t last long at all. Perfection – we should have bought cratefuls of the things.

A quick look at the company’s website has all the tell-tale signs of a great producer - local ingredients, passion for food, and a simplicity to the approach that we should all be taking for granted. When was the last time you saw ‘Roasted Beef Bones’ on a list of stock ingredients for a Beef pie? It should be everytime; but it’s not. Hand-chopped meat - not processed? Surely not!
Independent Foods are sure to become bigger with quality produce like this; give them a try.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Spanish Pork & Beans

This is a recipe that just hit the spot on a sunday morning late lunch. Hearty and really tasty, I came upon a version of this recipe years ago on a Keith Floyd program - he cooked it at the side of the road in Spain, so from then on its simply been 'Spanish Pork and Beans' for me.

Be sure to use good quality sausage and black pudding though. It will make a difference - I used plain pork links from The Yorkshire Dales Meat Company.


Olive oil
Butter Beans (tinned)
Tinned Tomatoes
Some Chorizo or Bacon
6 Pork Sausages
1 Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)
1 marinated Pepper.
Some good black pudding (a few slices)

1.Heat the oil in a large pan or stockpot, and soften the onion. Add the Garlic, and then the sausages. Continue to heat slowly until the sausages have slightly browned.

2.Add Chorizo or bacon, and again cook gently until cooked through. Add the Black pudding and gently fry through.

3.Finally, slice up your marinated pepper and add. If using fresh, then add at stage one and soften with the onions.

4.Pour in your tomatoes and beans. Add salt (pinch) and a good grind of black pepper. Stir and then leave to simmer until the sausages are cooked through. 30 mins should be good.

If, like me, you like the black pudding a little crispier, then fry separately and add at the end, almost like croutons! The black pudding really adds a savoury edge to this tomatoey dish so don't be tempted to omit it. If you want things a litte spicier, douse with tabasco.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Spotlight on...Yorkshire Deli

Two blogs have been really catching my attention recently - Stonch's homebrewing adventures over at Stonch's Beerblog - and the ongoing birth of Yorkshire Deli in Ilkley. Ian Taylor is starting out on that road that many of us desk-bound foodwriters daydream of - taking the plunge and opening a business of our own.
Remarkably, Ian has managed to find time to answer a few questions for The Good Stuff.

The Good Stuff: Yorkshire Deli has obviously been on the horizon for some time – do you recall the exact moment when it turned from a dream into a living venture?

Ian Taylor We (my wife and I) had been looking for a business to buy for some time so that I could escape my previous employment which had become a nightmare. I guess the moment that Yorkshire Deli the concept was born was about a year ago when we went to look at a local deli which was for sale. While we waited for the accounts to come through after the viewing we created the Yorkshire theme in our minds, given the growing demand for local produce it just made sense.

Unfortunately - or perhaps fortunately! - that business was not making any money so we dropped it, but realising how disappointed we were to have to do so, the Yorkshire Deli idea became the dream and we then sought a suitable business to adapt it to. I guess the point that that became a living venture was last November when we viewed and had an offer accepted on the tea-room business we eventually bought to turn into the Yorkshire Deli Cafe.

How did ‘giving up the day job’ feel at the time?
Wonderful. I had been effectively in the same job for 17 years and a series of mergers had meant that I went from being a number two in an organisation to a virtual nobody, with complete idiots being parachuted in over my head just because they were in the correct, tiny, extreme political faction with absolutely no grip on reality. When this happened again a couple of years ago to the point that I was constantly having to train and cover up for the mistakes and inadequacies of the imbecile who was supposed to be my boss, I vowed to get out, and to finally achieve that was an immense relief.

I should say that there were a few people who I was sad to leave behind and that I hope I'll keep in touch with, but not many, and they know who they are.

Now that you’re up and running, what are you enjoying the most about being the owner of a deli?
It's immensely satisfying when you are complemented over something you have created yourself - the homemade cakes, scones and daily lunch dishes that I cook all seem to go down very well. I also love being an insider in the catering world, learning constantly from other producers and business-people, and I had better say that I enjoy being part of a team with our excellent staff who are great fun to be around!

If we had £5 to spend in Yorkshire Deli, what would you recommend we spend it on?
If you were there for lunch, I would say spend an extra 75p and go for my dish of the day, which this week could have been a Lamb, Orange and Fennel Spring Stew, or Chicken with Tarragon and Spring Vegetables, for example, served in a giant Yorkshire Pudding.

If you are there for a snack, for just £2.95 you can get one of our Yorkshire Cream Teas - a pot of Yorkshire Tea, homemade scone, Organic Yorkshire Clotted Cream and local farm produced pure fruit jam and butter - we deliberately kept the price low to try - a little cheekily - to compete with a rather more famous tea shop nearby! You'd need more than your fiver for a cream tea there!

Or if you are in our retail area - a bottle of Wharfe Valley Rapeseed Oil perhaps, or some Angel Chocolate - handmade in Swaledale, or a couple of bottles of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin Ale (we have just got our alcohol licence by the way!).
5. What’s in the pipeline for the upcoming year at Yorkshire Deli?
More and more home made food, and more local produce on the menu and for retail sale. Later in the year there'll be wine tastings and other themed events.

We may also expand the cafe seating area into our mezzanine floor, and we also open our online shop on our website very soon.

Who are your ‘Food Heroes’?
Keith Floyd, Anthony Bourdain, Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay are my favourite chefs, and I have a soft spot for Nigella too! But the true and in many cases unsung heroes are the armies of local producers out there who devote themselves to quality food and drink, and who I want to help support through my endeavours.

...And you personal favourite places to eat and drink?
Locally, the Angel at Hetton takes some beating, along with The Far Syde in Ilkley. Our regular haunt is The Fleece in Addingham, which as well as being one of our local pubs, serves top quality food with a menu to cater for all appetites and budgets.

If I could do it all again, the only thing I would do differently is….
Do it sooner!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Food, Drink and Sex...

One phrase I am probably over-using at the moment is Food Porn. It’s even appearing in Good Food and I love it. I love it! It’s the perfect example of how obsessive we foodies can be.

Hell, even one glance around the bookshelves of your highstreet booksellers, groaning with fat, glossy, cookbooks can tell you that food has gone a bit, well, porny. If the Moro cookbooks are not a thing of beauty then I don’t know what is. And the shrink-wrapped, limited edition, heavier-than-the-Rosetta Stone French Laundry cookbook?

Well, that just takes it one step further. That’s hardcore.
Does this make us all perverts? Does this make UKTV and The Food Network our Playboy and Spice channels? Does this make Gordon Ramsay (he who is everywhere) Hugh Hefner –and if so, what does that make Nigella Lawson? Does a cooking break in Tuscany now have the same snigger-inducing credentials as residential Tantric Sex Camp?
Next, we’ll be needing credit card info to log onto the Good Food website, and food photographers will be moonlighting for Escort Magazine.

I guess it could explain the ramblings that erupt from my mouth upon entering food festivals, and those fevered, panic-induced buys (Honey – Look! Olives soaked in honey and vinegar with parmesan cheese – gotta have it, gotta have it…), whilst elbowing other greasy -fingered, foodporn-glazed zombies like myself out of the way. Come on, we've all sunk to this level.

We’re all addicts, and we love it. Now excuse me while I tend to my ‘secret stash’...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

News Round Up 06/2007

The Leeds Food & Drink Festival 2007 is prety much organised now, see thier website for dates and events here...Market Town Tavern's website now lists all food nights at all thier pubs and bars across Yorkshire...Yorkshire Deli (see link) are now up and running - good luck!...check out North Yorkshire Local Food for excellent news of all farmer's markets across Yorkshire...and has anyone else visited the excellent Greek Gyro place in Kirkgate Market? Simple food but delicious - let me know your thoughts...

Market Town Taverns Global Press!

...Spotted an excellent article on Yorkshire's own Market Town Taverns in this month's excellent Beers Of The World Magazine.
About time, too. MTT are an outstanding company, putting the life back into the 'pub' experience in Yorkshire, and turning a new generation (ie, mine!) of people onto the joys or real ales from around the world.
It's in shops now, but you can read some of it here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Prawn Saganaki

As I mentioned earlier on, this was the one meal that really captured my holiday. It’s a common Greek dish, usually served as a starter, although as soon as we returned we set about making it up ourselves as a main course with bread for mopping up all that sauce. It’s not an original recipe, but my version of one. All the ingredients were obtained from Leeds Kirkgate Market at a 9am raid!

Serves 2. You will need;
4 ripe tomatoes (bigger the better)
1 large onion
1 large pepper
2 dashes of Tabasco
A dash of Balsamic Vinegar
2/3 Garlic cloves (or as much as you want!)
Some Good Olive oil
2 bay leaves
Teaspoon of sugar
Black pepper/oregano/thyme
8 large, fresh Prawns.
1 block of feta cheese, cubed into roughly 8 or so cubes.

1.Make a basic tomato sauce – take out the tomato seeds and roughly chop. Chop onions and pepper and lightly fry in about 2 tbspns Olive Oil, in a deep pan, until slightly golden and softened. Add tomatoes, stir, add Balsamic Vinegar, Tabasco, Garlic, sugar, herbs and pepper and another couple of good glugs of Olive oil. Add bay leaves and simmer gently for anywhere from 15 mins to 30 mins.

2.Prepare prawns if you like them shelled

3.When sauce is to your liking, pour into large casserole or any other kind of baking dish. Place Prawns on top, with cubes of feta arranged throughout.

4.Bake at about 180 degrees for about 15 mins. The feta will crumble slightly and brown, and the prawns will be well done by then.

Serve with Bread for mopping up.

There you go. Easy. Variations; Any shellfish will do in place of prawns, or even a mixture for a ‘seafood’ version. You can make the sauce as hot as you like also, I guess.

One Small Step...

Inspired by my buddies over at An Endless Banquet (link on the left, link fans!), I am taking the unprecedented step of introducing some recipes to The Good Stuff. Although I’m no student of Escoffier, I can whip up a good supper or two.

Where this is ‘an original’ recipe then I will say so but usually I’ll just be offering my interpretation of something I have seen or tasted – much like my first one, Prawn Saganaki.

I’ve recently returned from a jaunt round the eastern Greek islands and was inspired by so much of the food there. Mediterranean cuisine is possibly my favourite in the world – it’s just good, wholesome food with no eye for trends or fads, presented ‘as is’, and usually is great for sharing with other people and a great big bottle of wine. What’s better than that?

If you do try any of these out let me know how they turned out.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Masham Sausages

Those of you who read this blog often will know I have a certain fondness the peaceful idyll of Masham. And why not? I’ve already mentioned chocolate supremos Joneva, and obviously the beer heritage is second to none with both the Black Sheep and Theakstons Breweries within walking distance of one another – but there is another supplier you must visit if you spend the day in this North Yorkshire foodies’ haven.

So simple, yet so easy to mess up...

The Masham Sausage Company and their outlet shop - Beavers Butchers - make, without a doubt, some of the best sausages I have tasted. I know what you’re thinking; It’s only a sausage; get a grip – but that’s my point. It’s not 'just' a sausage. Sausages, along with sandwiches, preserves, pies and any other ‘basic’ staples of our diet – are so simple to make, yet so many get it wrong. I wonder how many vegetarians made their decision to shun meat after an encounter with a poor, badly-made sausage?
The Masham Sausage Company’s secret, as far as I can tell, seems to simply be the use of the finest source meats and ingredients – coupled with a forward-thinking ethic not usually seen in ‘Traditional’ meat companies. That’s it. That’s all there needs to be. When their Chicken and Garlic sausage tastes as good as any Cumberland or simple Pork, you know they are onto a good thing. With up to twenty-odd varieties available, along with Black Puddings, Bacon and mail-order and delivery services to hand, there is really no excuse not to try this great, great shop out.
Oh, the inspiration for this post? A lazy sunday lunch of Masham Pork Sausages, thick onion gravy and golden, home-made yorkshire puddings - washed down with a pint of Black Sheep Yorkshire Square Ale. If that's not gorgeous simplicity, then i dont know what is.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

News Round-Up, 05/2007

Good Stuff fave North have two pieces of great news this week – firstly, they are opening a sister bar, Further North, in Chapel Allerton – see website for more details; also, North are installing a new hand-pump which will mean a dedicated - rotating, mild, porter or stout…Salt’s Deli are now offering hampers filled with epicurean goodies for you to take to the cricket at Headingley - and have also announced they are going on the road by attending various farmer’s markets across Yorkshire; Leeds – 1st Sunday of the month, Sheffield – 4th Sunday of the month, Wentworth – 2nd Sunday of the month, Rotherham – Last Wednesday of the month, Selby – 1st Wednesday of the month, Headingley – 2nd Saturday of the month - Occasional – next appearance 9 June… Bolton Abbey Foods are now offering 2007 season Spring Lamb for sale – full details on their website…

Daleside Brewery - Ripon Jewel vs. Daleside Blonde

Daleside Brewery were the main sponsors of the Ale Tent at last weeks Dales Festival of Food and Drink, and seeing as though they were a brewery I was pretty unfamiliar with, I decided to do a little sampling myself!

First up, I was greatly impressed with their Ripon Jewel ale. I had heard good things about this before but I really didn’t know what to expect – it was a really refreshing, caramel-esque beer, which was very easy to drink despite its 5.8 abv. Fans of American micro- brew beers such as Sierra Nevada would love this. Unashamedly flavourful, I would recommend this with your heartier meat dishes, if you were into food pairing and all that…

On the other end of the scale, I feel the Daleside Blonde (4.3 abv) deserves a mention. Daleside decided to make a full-bodied cask ale, but then ‘lager’ the brew using cold-conditioning. The result? A beer that is pretty much a Lager, but with a really complex taste, not dissimilar to a high-end pilsner such as Jever. I took a crate of this stuff home and it really impressed, especially after a couple of days in the fridge. I plan to get more of this stuff for the summer, and it would go down a storm at a barbecue. Think lager has to be bland? Think again.

Daleside are pretty eponymous at the festival these days, but I think this is with good reason. Yet another highly recommended brewery to come out of North Yorkshire.

Daleside Brewery Ltd,
Camwal Road, Harrogate,

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wing Lee Hong Chinese Supermarket

Ok; bear with me – I’m going to get to the point soon enough.

You may be thinking “What is this guy doing putting a piece about a Chinese supermarket on his blog for? It’s neither independent nor local!’. You may be thinking "Does this place, huge as it is, need any further publicity?"

Well, I guess you’d be right on both counts; but, like I say, I have a point to make.

I didn’t even see it get built. It just popped up, a multicoloured, unashamedly modern chinese supermarket in the middle of grey old Leeds. But it changed me; it really did – the Chinese supermarket was no longer a place to fear – it was a place to indulge yourself, to find all those arcane ingredients that your Peter Gordon cookbooks had been blathering on about for years. Galangal. Nam Pla. Tamarind Paste (hang on – isn’t a tamarind a kind of monkey?! ). Yep, all those things are here, and in bountiful quantities – fresh veg and fruit with names you have never seen in print before are laid out before you the way Cox’s apples are at your local Blandermarket.

The freezers ache and groan with fish, meats, dumplings, rolls, any kind of oriental treat you could think of. And did I mention the noodles? There’s a whole wall of them – every colour, shape, length and province you could imagine – and a few more besides. You wish your condiment larder looked like the aisles of this place – jars filled with crushed chillies, ginger, hot sauces, pickled things, small fiery things for sushi – everything you want, at super reasonable prices.

But that’s not all!

Oh no. it’s the only place I can think of in Leeds where you can pick up one of my personal faves – Kirin Ichiban Lager. This stuff goes down so well with Dim Sum it should be made compulsory drinking at every oriental-themed meal time. The next time you see a great recipe on tv using things like Pancake Rolls or Miso Stock – don’t sigh and turn the channel. Go here.

The point I’m trying to make is this; I want this place to exist. I’m glad it does. So, it’s going on the blog!! The more people that know about it, the better!

Oh, and the website has some pretty good recipes on it, too.

Wing Lee Hong Co.Ltd.
Hereford House,6 Edward Street
Leeds LS2 7NT

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Beer Tent - Dales Festival pt 2!!!

…Judging by the already-heaving marquee at just after 11am. The Dales Festival of Food & Drink isn’t just about local suppliers and hog-roasts…no, it’s about beer too. Lots of it, from the county that regards itself as the best in the UK.
And I intend to take full advantage of that.

Where to start, where to start….

Well, upon being faced with at least 50 kegs of beer I fought the urge to go for some of my favourite brews (Copper Dragon, Black Sheep and Rooster’s in particular) and heeded the advice of my partner to ‘go for something you haven’t tried before'; and therein lies the beauty of the Beer Festival. It’s about the tasting, not the boozing. Honest.
Anyway, this seemed like a good strategy and with an excellent pulled-pork and stuffing sandwich lining my stomach I began.

First to be tried was the Goose Eye Chinook Blonde. Goose Eye is a great micro-brewery from Keighley, and I had sampled their excellent beers before. The Chinook was very hoppy, pale in colour and with a fresh, grassy aroma and, to my palate, a really long flavour. Not a bad start!

Next up was the Old Moor Porter from Acorn in Wombwell. I’m a bit of a porter aficionado and this brew makes me wonder why more people, especially those who like stouts, don’t try porter. The Old Moor was dry but with subtle hints of chocolate and coffee; not as overpowering as some porters, this was really a really impressive tipple.

Finally, after a little more food and more shopping, I tried the Captain Oates Mild from Abbey Bells Brewery – seeing as though it’s 'Mild in May' month. Again, this was a darker mild, with a similar overall taste to the porter, with coffee notes on the nose. However, this was particularly refreshing and a beer I would happily try again.

The sight of all the kegs lined up truly was a sight to get the tastebuds tingling, and a good reminder of the number of excellent, truly independent brewers we have in the North. Abbey Bells, Bradfield, Cameron’s, Hambletons, Old Bear, Ossett and Suddaby’s all were represented among many, many others, and the only downside to the day was that I couldn’t try them all.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Men with A Mission - Stonch's Beer Blog/A Pint of Ale

You'll find a couple of news link over on the link bar - Stonch's Beer Blog. For all those interested, nay, obsessed with beer (like me!) then you'll love this blog.
Stonch is on a mission to visit and document every pub in London - and still finds time to try brewing his own, which, by the looks of it, won't be long in coming. His article on Sam Smiths pubs in London is excellent also.

Also, I stumbled across a local blog here in Leeds, run by two lads who simply love beer and the pubs and bars this region has to offer. Thier blog is called 'A Pint of Ale', and is an informative read.

This are great blogs written by Beer Lovers for Beer Lovers - and i am pleased to link them both. Drop by.

The Dales Festival Of Food And Drink 2007

Well, it’s that time of the year again. The Dales Festival of Food & Drink is in full swing, and opening day was as manic as usual.
I’ve visited loads of food festivals, but this is easily my favourite. Stalls seem to grow in number and ambition each year, and the beer tent seems to offer more and more choice. In short, if the weather stays good, it’s a foodie’s paradise.

Over the coming weeks I will be bringing profiles on the suppliers that impressed me the most, as hard as that may be. The standard of this market is incredibly high – and a fantastic advert for local produce.

Raydale Preserves were in attendance as usual, and their excellent Jams and Jellies grow in range year on year. The Rushyford Game stall had a massive queue at lunchtime and their range of game and venison pies and sandwiches looked awesome.

Most impressive, however, were the sausages from The Yorkshire Dales Meat Company. Everything a sausage should be – porky, meaty and cooked to perfection. Their humble sausage sandwich was easily the hit of the weekend for us. Also impressing was the mackerel pate offered by Mackenzie’s Yorkshire Smokehouse. It lived up to the standard set by their bacon, which is outstanding. Smeared thickly on crisp toasts it made the perfect light supper on the return home.
The Pies and pastries on the North Country Lass stall looked absolutely perfect, and Loopy Lisa’s fudge proved that people still have sweet teeth when it comes to home-made fudge. Keep an eye out for profiles of these companies and many more over the forthcoming weeks on The Good Stuff, and a full run-down of the excellent beer festival.

Loopy Lisa’s
4 Loop Lane, Butterknowle, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham DL13 5JR
Tel - 01388718794
E-mail: loopylisasfudge@hotmail.con

Yorkshire Dales Meat Co.
Mill Close Farm, Patrick Brompton, Bedale DL8 1JY Tel. 01748 810042

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Those superstars over at Feast have sorted themselves out with a brand new website. For those who don't know, Feast work tirelessly supporting Farmer's Markets and Local Produce firms, organising events, training and publicity among other things. If your'e interested in supporting your local producers, from cheesemakers to brewers, then drop by. You'll find a permanent link here on The Good Stuff.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Feast for The Eyes

Whilst browsing in Borders the other day, it occurred to me the cookery book section seemed to be growing. Fast. Cookbooks are getting bigger, more colourful, more specialised, more expensive – it occurred to me that in this current ‘foodie-friendly’ market, Cookbooks are big business.

And why not? After all, us amateurs love to write; even better to write about food. Call me picky; elitist even, but I think a really special cookbook should go above and beyond the mere nut-and-bolts (pots and pans?) of how to make a meal. I want humour, context, history – and, most of all – what makes this meal special.

So, to illustrate, I present to you my current faves. All should be pretty much available at your friendly high-street bookstore or internet site. Some are expensive, but again, as with food, sometimes you get what you pay for.

Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries; A Year in The Kitchen – Simply astounding; a captivating read as well as looking awesome and containing seasonal recipes, one for each day, that you actually would cook. The best cookbook I have seen since:
The Silver Spoon – To put it simply, you don’t need another Italian cookbook. It may be big, it may be rough, but it’s a godsend. Indispensable.
Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halle Cookbook – Not for vegetarians – if you like you meat and like it bistro style, this is for you. Everything is covered from basic knifework to planning a menu. All done in Anthony’s witty style.
Floyd’s American Pie – a great read and worth trawling the second-hand shops for. Some great stories and some great recipes, all classic American dishes from Po’Boys to Ceviche to Gumbo.

As for drinks, well, i'm yet to find a wine guide that isn't too dry (no pun intended) - but i can wholeheartedly reccommend 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!!! by Roger Protz. Colourful, info-packed and interesting. A vital reference.

Those are my main one at the moment. Keep your eyes out, especially in second hand stores. Let me know of any that are keeping you in the kitchen these days…

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Masham will be familiar to all those interested in local produce, in particular Beer, with both the Theakston’s and The Black Sheep Breweries anchoring this lovely market town.

If you head down to the market square, however, you’ll find another lynchpin of the community – Joneva. With almost too much stock to fit in it’s tiny premises, Joneva is a treasure trove for foodies – handmade chocolates, local preserves and sweets sit side by side with an excellent deli, serving such treats as terrines, fresh pickled fish, olives, biscuits…the list is endless!

Joneva truly is a shop-of-all trades but the chocolate is where it prides itself. And good it is, too. Always fresh, always delicious – I can recommend their praline-filled chocolate animals. Really.

Joneva has been open for over ten years now and to visit Masham without dropping by is a huge mistake – you will be unable to resist buying yourself a little treat, I can assure you of that. The obvious pride and passion of John and Mary Reah makes Joneva a wonderful example of gourmet independence that our region is so good at producing. We take our food seriously in Yorkshire, don’t you know!
7 Market Place,

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Wellington Inn

... I was determined to get out of the house – I didn’t care where; all I knew was it had to be the opposite of the city. I wanted a drive, sunshine, English country air and, most importantly, a pub at the end of it. The week at work had been draining and dull; I wanted to feel good again.

We’ve all been here. Some of us have our favourite places to go; I know I do. It was onto one of those places once that we passed The Wellington Inn, which sits proudly nestled in Darley, just near Harrogate. I made a mental note. It looked good, and the carpark was packed - an excellent sign.

So it was with fierce Yorkshire determination that we headed out, through a couple of snowstorms (I’m not making this up), to sample what The Wellington had to offer. For the record, we're glad we did.

This is the kind of place you dream of stumbling across. I'm talking ‘Old English’ pub-style here – the roaring fire that greets you is huge and angry, the beers on offer are well-kept favourites and the place is full, but not too full, of smiling, red-faced locals.

We took our seat near the aforementioned fire, and spent the next ten minutes reading the food-boards. It takes that long. Every taste is catered for; it’s a huge menu that serves both the general dining area and the restaurant toward the back of the pub. I plumped for a roast belly of pork on red cabbage and my partner for a simple sausage sandwhich with onion marmalade.

The pork, a burnished slab of juicy meat, was just enough to fill; tender, sweet and sticky, with a good amount of crackling. The red cabbage it lay upon only enhanced the dish with a sharper jamminess. Wonderful. The sausages were good also, real and with a good, porky taste that we all know can be so woefully absent from sausages these days.

All the meat and produce on the menu is sourced locally, and this was evident in the quality. Talk about ‘food miles’ all you want – the meat on my plate probably only travelled a matter of yards to the kitchen here!

This, my friends, was a real good Sunday lunch. A dessert of espresso-flavoured crème brulee rounded the meal off on a note that little bit higher than your usual Sunday-pub-lunch fare;
add to this the most helpful and genuinely happy staff that i have encountered and you have a real pearl in the Yorkshire countryside.

The Wellington Inn
Darley, Harrogate
North Yorkshire
Telephone: (01423) 780362

Monday, March 05, 2007

Question Time with Sean Franklin, Roosters Brewery

Rooster's Beers have been a firm favourite of mine for a long time. Now widely available at such pubs as The Maltings in York, The Old Bell in Harrogate and The Palace in Leeds, Rooster's in already a firm favourite in Yorkshire.
That's not suprising - Rooster's range is all wonderful - hoppy, smooth ales that are obviously produced with pride and a respect to the craft.
Sean Franklin, founder of Rooster's, took some time to answer a few questions.

The Good Stuff: Why did you set up Roosters? Has brewing been a passion all your life or was there a moment where you thought '...This is something i have to do'?

Sean: I used to be in the UK wine business. I started as a cellerhand in Wapping in the East End of London and after two years got up to head office to work in the sample room. Eventually I ended up as a Quality Controller. We did tasting and simple lab work under a great guy called Bill Warre. Went over to France a few times, worked at Louis Latour in Aloxe Corton for a few years then went to Bordeaux University to study Oenology and tasting. One of the profs was a guy called Emile Peyaud. World famous and a great taster. He changed the face of Bordeaux Wine quality in a generation.

I set up the brewery because I got back to the UK and started working as a cab driver (no QC jobs) One day went to the Turkey Inn at Goose Eye near Laycock, Keighley. Early Spring day, sun coming through the windows, flag floor, early doors. I had a pint of Goose Eye and decided I could do it. From then on it took 18 months to open Franklins Brewery. That was right at the very start of the new micros. The brewery was at the Gardeners Arms in Harrogate. After a couple of years I got tired of the high rent and sold to Tommy Thomas who runs it now (but does not brew)

Did you have to give up a 'day job' as such to do it? If so, how was that?
Sean: I drove the taxi and delivered the beer in the same vehicle until I bought a pick up. Quite soon I concentrated on the brewing and sold my Black Taxi plate.

What's your favourite Rooster's and non-Roosters beers/Breweries?
Sean: New Belgian in Fort Collins Colorado for the philosophy and management attitude. Sierra Nevada in Chico California for the dedication (second to none) to making the very best beer. There’s lots of heroes in the brewing business. I like the Crouch Vale beers and Harvestoun too. There’s lots of great beers out there. I like any beer that has complexity and intensity of aroma, balance of ‘primary tastes' and a long ‘finish’. There’s too many to mention.

Do you find much opposition from pubs/bars to stock artisan brews these days, or has the current 'foodie' climate made things any easier to get your wares stocked?
Sean: We only sell on draught so it’s pubs only we sell to. Things got a lot better since some of the tied houses began to take micro brews. Make no mistake that it is the major breweries and the pub group that control how much of the market is open to us. The halving of the duty rate for small brewers helped a lot financially.

Where do you drink?
Sean:Old Bell Tavern in Harrogate is one of my favourites. The Maltings in York is another.

Could you give any advice to any aspiring young brewers out there?
Sean:Just go for it.

What will 2007 hold for Rooster's & Outlaw?

Sean: More and more hop aroma and individuality in the beers. There's no news for the present other than the beers coming out next week, see -
We alsohave a bottler coming which should allow for the sale of some pretty original beers at the brewery door.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Salt's Deli

Hidden away not a stone’s throw from The Adelphi at the bottom end of Leeds sits Salt’s – a real foodie jewel in the crown of Leeds.

Firstly, the shop itself is heaven for gastrophiles – polished woods and an ornate tiled floor give the place the feel of Andalusia or Tuscany, and the sheer range of foods, both hand-made and imported do nothing to quell that vibe. Hams and meats hang from the ceiling; pates, cheeses, preserves, breads and pastas in every shape and form line the shelves and cabinets.

Friendly staff, importantly, seem to know what they are serving; the sandwich menu ranges from such staples as Cheese and Yorkshire Dales pickle, to the more rare and artisanal varieties such as Pastrami with sauerkraut on Rye bread. Certainly beats the high street bakers over the road!

Add to that tartines, soups, salads, and a hamper service, and you’ve got a wonderfully unique shop that, in my mind, certainly represents the lush, European – style deli that secretly, we all wish we owned.

Salt’s Deli
14 Swinegate, Leeds
Tel 0113 2432323

Thursday, February 15, 2007

North Bar, Leeds: From Hell to Heaven via Pink Floyd

It’s Sunday, just after one o’clock, on a typical may day in Leeds. Outside, rain is battering the pavement, and inside I’m draining a bottle of Anchor Porter. There are few places I would rather be than North Bar.

Fact: North Bar is one of the best places to drink in Leeds. It’s easily my favourite, anyway, at least in the ‘city bar’ stakes, anyway. However, I didn’t always feel this way; in fact, the first three or four times I visited it I hated it. ‘It’s full of pretentious idiots’ I would moan, ‘…and I only like about two of the fifty or so beers they have there’. In those days (many, many moons ago) , all I knew about ‘World Beers’ was that they were all weird, cloudy beverages with enough alcohol in them to strip paint. ‘Too strong to drink all night…’ I would complain, as my friends got more and more smashed as the prospect of yet another early night due to the alcoholic horrors of North Bar loomed.

This was my opinion of North Bar circa the turn of the century. For a couple of years I stayed clear, and then, inevitably, I got into food, wine and beer -I mean really got into food, wine and beer. I discovered a whole world of boozing that didn’t even acknowledge the horrors of ‘Generic Beers’ and ‘Alcopops’; a world where taste and pleasure were the main reasons for drinking, and getting drunk was a happy side-effect of this. The world of fast-food drinking and chain-bars was one I had left behind, and I was never going to look back.

I found a small, yet highly trained crack team of aficionados to share this epiphany with. I became enamoured with American craft breweries in particular, and slowly, but surely, decided to go back to North.

Home, Home Again...
Rediscovering North was like that third or fourth spin of Dark Side of the Moon – where it al clicks into place. You realise that what you have is a masterpiece, not because of individual performances, but al the little things added up. North is the drinking equivalent of DSOTM; mysterious and pretentious to the uninitiated, adored by the regulars and the people who hold it as a benchmark for modern drinking. I was wrong, but now I am right.

I wonder if Bigfoot listens Pink Floyd?
Ok, the reasons why North is great;

Rotation. Every time I go (on average once a week), there is an element of surprise – a new beer on tap, two new bottles in the fridges, ones I haven’t yet tried. Given the amount of beer I have tried/know about, this is some achievement.

They have their own beer – North Bar Ale. It’s brewed by the Outlaw Brewing Co, and comes in an old-school glass tankard with those square knobbly bits on. It’s great – smooth and too drinkable for its own good. Tastes like Tim Taylor Landlord but fruitier. Lovely, although seasonal.

Staff. Always happy, always ready to help you out with your choice of tipple should you come unstuck. Down to earth too – there are a couple of bars in Leeds that must recruit staff on a ‘must be pretentious’ policy. I don’t need my pint of Jever spun around like a top, please.

The Bar itself – come on! No contest. Loads of bottles, at least ten pumps, filled with distinct world beers. All the time. No generic beers ever. Local beers. Fruits, Lambics, and SIERRA NEVADA ON TAP. (Also worth a try is the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale – at 9% abv it doesn’t hide the alcohol in silk like, say, Duvel, - it kicks you straight in the face with a big, hairy claw.)

Music – never thumping, always tasteful. A few nights ago we had Hendrix tunes played by some jazz band. Folk, World, Jazz, Blues - all the great drinking albums. (Imagine if they played DSOTM - i'd just about lose my mind!)

A great selection of spirits; Hendricks gin, about 6 different rums, I could go on…add to that an Observer Food Monthly “Best Place to drink in Britain” award, along with the other accolades North has garnered throughout the last few years.. Not that I’m all about awards, but it’s not often the press get it so right. If it’s good enough for Nigel Slater, then it’s good enough for me.
Top Five; North Bar

Any Roosters ale - fast becoming a staple, Roosters brew simply fine beers. not tasted a bad one from thier brewhouse yet. light and ultimately quaffable.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap. One of the finest brews to come out of the States, tastes even better on tap.
Anchor Porter: want the taste of stout but none of the heaviness? Then try this. Second only to Sierra Nevada Porter.
Goose Island Honkers’ Ale – always good, wherever. Tastes of caramel and one is never enough.
Little Creatures Pale Ale: Wonderful Aussie brew – clean, crisp, but still manages to pack in a lot of flavour.

Today i am a total beer nerd and i owe it all to North.

24 New Briggate