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.