Leeds Restaurant Cheat Sheet

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Trying to decide where to go out to eat is one of the great dilemmas of our time – up there with “What should I watch from my Netflix queue?” and “Which pet would I save in the event of a house fire?” (Broad City and whichever one usually gets the most likes on Instagram, respectively) – so here’s the Leeds Restaurant Cheat Sheet, a handy tool to help take the stress out of choosing.

I’ll try and provide a few suggestions for each type of cuisine, suited to different price ranges and occasions – Just decide what you’re in the mood for use the brief summaries to help guide your decision.  The list will be updated regularly to try and keep up with the frantic pace of Leeds food.

Coffee & BreakfastPan-AsianMexican & South AmericanItalianBurgers & BBQNorth African & MediterraneanVegetarian & VeganBritish & SeasonalSupper Clubs & Something PoshOther

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Cauliflower Buffalo “Wings”

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Hey guys, are you sat down comfortably?  Good, because I’m about to drop a couple of universal-truth bombs on you:

1. Chicken Wings, when made well, are one of the greatest, most fun things you can eat – no question about it.

2. Chicken Wings, when made at home, are an unequivocal disaster of poor seasoning, flabby skin and questionable wet meat.

To make them properly you need a decent quality of chicken that supermarkets generally don’t provide, maybe a smoker if you want to get really fancy, and an industrial-grade deep-fryer to crisp that skin up just right and make it taught against the meat – if the oil’s not hot enough then they end up half-fried, half-confit, and all bogus.

Bearing in mind all of these obstacles, you might want to consider a different vehicle for transferring hot sauce from a plate to your mouth – that’s where cauliflower comes in.  Cauliflower is getting a lot of Buzzfeed/Pinterest love recently for its versatility as a replacement for various things – rice, flour, pizza bases etc – and it also happens to do a much better chicken impression than any of the Bluth family.  Read more

Recipe: Vegan Shepherd’s PIe

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I’d been working on this Vegan Shepherd’s Pie recipe for a few weeks, ever since my fiancee decided that she was going to be a vegetarian again, which, in the wise words of Jules from Pulp Fiction, pretty much makes me one too.  Since that decision was made for me, I’ve been trying to find/create meat-free, vegetable and pulse-heavy recipes which are enjoyable to eat rather than comparable to self-flagellation (self…flageolation?)
 

As unlikely as it sounds, a handful of my friends have “strict ethics” and “a moral code” (whatever that is) which stipulates that they don’t eat meat either, so when they came round for Sunday lunch last week I couldn’t rely on my foolproof hosting method of cooking a big cheap cut of Beef or Lamb until it becomes delicious – so this recipe was my go-to.This was the second or third attempt at it and the one that I was most happy with – the combination of mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and flageolet beans gives a satisfying hearty sense of substance with an umami flavour that gives lamb a run for its money, and the smashed root veg topping is a lot more interesting than regular mashed potato. Read more

Feigning Blood – New vegan-friendly burger simulates minced flesh

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OBLIGATORY DAILY BURGER STORY!! OBLIGATORY DAILY BURGER STORY!! OBLIGATORY DAILY BURGER STORY!! 

Vegetarian burgers are crap.  They taste like the congealed bits you find in off-brand Pot Noodles and have the same texture as Nerf bullets – that’s why any restaurant that wants you to spend upwards of £6 on something in a bun always offers a big mushroom in lieu of an imitation burger.  Their savour could be here though, in the form of a completely vegan-friendly burger which simulates the taste and physical properties of real dead-stuff.
Impossible Foods – started by former Stanford Biology professor Patrick Brown – is working on plant-based products which will replace meats and cheeses by not only imitating their taste, but the full “eating experience” – smell, texture, tensile properties, reaction to heat, and (probably) sound.  They do this through finding molecules in plants which also lend certain properties to meat, and then doing some other science things which will go right over all of our heads – I imagine you’ve already stopped reading this sentence already and got distracted by the photo underneath.
Burgers are of course being pushed forward as the attention-grabbing flagship product, and they appear to have replicated to ubiquitous big, soggy, pink patty pretty perfectly.  You’ll have to judge with your eyes for now though, as it isn’t available the general public just yet.  According to the Wall Street Journal it’s “more akin to a turkey patty” and “arguably several rungs below a gourmet burger”, but then again so are a lot of burgers in “gourmet burger” restaurants: Zing.
Last year something similar was developed, with a $325,000 lab-grown burger (take that, Honky Tonk) made from delicious stem cells being devoured in a press conference.  Both that and Impossible Foods’ plant-burger are a long way from mainstream public availability at the minute, but they serve as clear evidence that companies are putting money into developing sustainable sources for products which carry a massive environmental toll.