Saturday 4 January 2014

Tastes of 2013

Happy New Year everyone, I'm still here! The blog has gone down the pan for the last couple of months for one reason, and one reason only. Here she is:

I'll resist the temptation to start writing blog posts about my baby, this is a food blog after all, and she's a bit rubbish at eating (milk>vomit>milk>repeat being the general scheme of things), so I'll just say that I'm a very proud Dad and leave it at that.

I was going to write a review of last year in the same vein as the previous two years, but there were too few contenders in half of the categories to make it worthwhile bothering. So instead here are twenty things I ate in 2013, from January through to December.

1. Falafel wrap from Cafe Moor in Leeds market. Nice guys, breathing life into the market, and most importantly serving exemplary middle eastern snack food, the best I've eaten outside that region.

2. The cheeseburger toastie at Home Sweet Home in Manchester. Twee place, gimmicky food was what I suspected. I couldn't have been more wrong. Great place, very good coffee, and that toastie is a work of genius (it's the gherkins that make it).

3. The Iskender kebab at Zeugma in Sheffield. A divine mix of tender, charred lamb, spicy tomato sauce, buttery bread and thick, sharp super-creamy yoghurt. Everything else is excellent too at this proper Turkish grill house.

4. The perfect pint, at the Stag's Head in Sheffield. More unusual and exciting styles have their place but for ultimate beery satisfaction I keep returning to a pint of cask bitter (or did months ago the last time I spent any time in the pub). Maybe I'm getting old or maybe this sort of beer is criminally underrated by beery trendsetters. My favourite examples: Ilkley Brewery Best, Marble Pint, Thornbridge Lord Marples.

5. The Crich Square, from the Loaf Bakery (branches in Crich and Matlock). Like a denser, yeastier toasted teacake. Toasted buttery heaven.

6. 2013 brought two Red Chill feasts, both at the Leeds branch. Excellent food and excellent value as always. The highlight: the shallow fried pork dumplings. The aftermath of one of those feasts is pictured.

7. A Sunday roast with a difference, rather than serve up the usual dessicated topside in gravy or whatever, the Wig and Pen in Sheffield came up with this beef cheek offering. Dense moist strands of cowface, cooked for an eternity, reformed into a cricket ball sized lump of joy and served with the darkest most marmitey gravy known to man. Ace.

8. Our tapas crawl in Malaga back in April wasn't a gourmet affair, but these pintxos were simple perfection.

9. The only curry of any real interest that I ate all year was this chicken chettinad at a South Indian caff in Reading. Dark, roasted spice rich and very more-ish.

10. I can't think of a city that conforms to stereotype more than Munich. The locals really do love the whole giant beers, sausages and singing thing. Skip the overtouristed Hofbrauhaus and head to the Augustiner Keller where the beer is better and whopping great plates of bratwurst and sauerkraut mit senf go down a treat.

11. The flat white at Bold Street Coffee in Liverpool. Faultless.

12. Fools, lovely fools. Cold, smooth whipped cream and tart English fruit. Easy peasy puddings for a genuinely warm summer (at least the first half of it). Gooseberry was my favourite, closely followed by rhubarb.

13. Another summer addiction, bread salad. I'd never realised how good panzanella and the like could be. They know what they're doing those Italians.

14. The final of my home made summer successes: watermelon, mint and feta salad. Served chilled on the hottest day of the year.

15. Iberico presa at Bar 44 in South Wales. The high point of an excellent tapas dinner. Pig of dreams.

16. Roast belly pork in soup noodles at Noodle Inn in Sheffield. Decent broth and bouncy noodles in support of beautiful roast meat; tender flesh, rendered melting fat, snappy crackling.

17. Rillettes, cornichons, bread, a glass of local plonk. I loved it in France.

18. Sticky toffee baked apples. A successful alternative to mincemeat, I stuffed these apples with dates and a quick butter and demerara sugar caramel. They were lovely.

19. The most memorable thing I ate in Amsterdam? The Flemish style chips. Best eaten from a cone bigger than your head, after a few ales, with a ridiculous combination of sauces (cheese and chilli pictured).

20. Christmas dinner sandwich. Christmas dinner itself was really the memorable occasion, eaten at home with my new family, just the three of us.

Food-wise I'll opt for the leftovers sarnie though, as I really cracked that this year. Use crusty white bread (I used ciabatta), butttered, then heat up your fillings and add them in this order: Sliced turkey, crispy bacon, bubble and squeak made from all the leftover veg (ideally roast spuds, cabbage, sprouts and carrots), bread sauce and gravy.


Ian Williams said...

Hi Dave

Congratulations on the new arrival!

There is always a queue outside the Moorish place in Leeds Market. Have you tried the Caribbean place down the way on butcher's row? Very good stuff.

Also, Fish Out is currently doing the beat fish and chips in Leeds at the mo.

Although whether it can match Amsterdam frites is another matter!


San said...

Congratulations :)

Gillian said...


Dave said...

Ian - thanks! Yep I've been to the Caribbean place, I did like it (there's a review on here somewhere). I went to Trinity Kitchen last week and caught Fish& before they left - good stuff.

San - thanks!

Gillian - thanks!


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