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

Recipe: Balsamic Beetroot Stew

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Regular readers will have seen me sing the praises of Leeds Market Delivered, who I’ve been buying my Fruit & Veg from for a couple of weeks now.  One of the things I like most about the service is the fact that Vegetables are sold as hampers; you choose how much to spend and they send you a corresponding amount of produce, it turns meal times into a play-at-home version of Ready Steady Cook.

In the week I try to eat as sensibly as possible to justify my indulgence in Farmers Markets and restaurants at weekends.  Having received a load of root vegetables from Market Delivered, I set about coming up with a nutritious stew, with roasted Beetroots at the helm.


Ingredients

  • 4 Beetroots
  • 2 Parsnips
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 Medium White Onion
  • 2 Sticks of Celery
  • 1 Litre Vegetable Stock
  • 3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • Knob of butter
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Clove of Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Method

1. Finely dice your onion and celery, chop the clove of garlic, and fry these with a knob of butter over a low heat until soft.  This should take about 10-15 minutes, but the longer you can cook them for at the start, the more flavour you’ll get from them in the final dish.

2. Peel your root vegetables and chop them into large chunks, at a jaunty, blog-friendly angle.

 3. Add your roots to the softened onion and celery, pour a glug of olive oil on top of everything and give it a big stir until everything’s coated.

 4. Roast everything in a 200°c oven for 40 minutes.

5. This is completely optional, but at this point I added a few squares of really dark chocolate.  The cocoa works well with the balsamic vinegar, and the chocolate give a nice thick gloss to the gravy.  Feel free to skip this if it isn’t to your taste though.
6. Add the vegetable stock and balsamic vinegar, and bring to the boil on the hob.  Cover, and cook in the oven again at 200°c for a further 30 minutes.

You can serve this as you would any other stew, with some nice crusty bread to mop up the excess gravy.  Personally I paired it with a cold Minted Bulgur Wheat & Chick Pea salad, with some Apple & Celery slaw for a contrast of flavours.