Drum and Monkey, Harrogate

I was lucky enough to be treated to a meal at Drum and Monkey, Harrogate when my family were visiting earlier in the month. I absolutely adored Drum and Monkey last time I visited and I was excited to visit the place again. Drum and Monkey is a popular seafood restaurant in the Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate. The interior and exterior of the place remind me very much of traditional restaurants like you’d see in films and I really hope it doesn’t change under new ownership (part of the enjoyment I get from eating in lovely restaurants is taking in my surroundings).

When we visited it was at the start of the heatwave and I had spent the day at the Yorkshire Show in the heat so I wanted to keep my meal light. I basically just photographed my own meal as I didn’t want everybody’s food to get cold!

To start with I had queen scallops with garlic butter and Gruyère. This was absolutely fabulous. The scallops were perfectly tender and the cheese and garlic butter flavours complimented the scallops perfectly. I could have eaten a small mountain of this!

2013-07-11 20.28.22

To follow I had a cold seafood platter which included tuna, langoustines, razor clams, smoked salmon, crab claws and lots and lots of different types of prawns. This was amazingly fresh and light. My dad had the same thing as me and he remarked that it was the first time he’d had a razor clam that wasn’t chewy. I agree that everything was perfectly cooked. I also was pleasantly surprised at how much crab meat you can get from one claw! This was such a perfect summer dish, so light and refreshing.

2013-07-11 20.55.34

If you’re visiting Harrogate and want a seafood restaurant to visit, or you live in Harrogate and want to go somewhere special for a meal, you can’t go wrong with Drum and Monkey.

The Drum and Monkey website is currently under construction but you can also visit their Facebook page.

Advertisements

The Underground Cookery School, London

Well, an exciting thing happened to me this month. After getting shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan blog awards. I was lucky enough to be invited to a blogger event with the Underground Cookery School in Central London. The Underground Cookery School was established in 2003 and offers a range of cookery events from Stag and Hen do’s to more corporate team building events. I arrived at the event a looking a bit like a rabbit caught in the headlights, following a long train journey (London is  obviously big and scary!) All of the staff made me feel immediately at ease and the other bloggers were completely lovely too.

The Cookery School itself is pretty unobtrusive from the outside. Situated on City Road the only way to find the place is by the number on the front door. However, the two kitchens they use for classes are lovely. Completely perfect for their purpose – hosting large parties of people eager to cook. When I was there the space was set up into a long table, a more “kitcheny bit” with the oven and things and a long table where we sat down to dine.

Prosecco in hand, myself and my fellow bloggers and their guest made our own pasta from scratch, learned how to joint guinea fowl (and consequently other birds) and prepared artichokes. I have never made pasta before and it was way more straightforward than I thought. I will definitely be making it at home. I must admit before being shown at the cookery school I wasn’t 100% sure which part of an artichoke is actually best to eat! I did accidentally “flavour my food with Prosecco” during the preparing food component of the evening. I am clumsy at the best of times and nerves make me flail a bit. (I had no reason to be nervous, I was just needlessly shy).

While we were cooking we learned a bit of background about Matt Kemp, the patron of the Underground cookery school. I was a little bit too excited to learn that he worked at the River Cafe. Since childhood I have read snippets about the River Cafe in my parent’s Guardian weekend magazine and I have always fancied going.

While the bloggers and their guests drank wine and chatted the chefs worked their magic on the food we had prepared and we were treated to a fantastic meal of homemade pasta with artichokes, guinea fowl with green beans and broad beans (apparently I like them now mum!) and cheesecake. I left full and happy with a goody bag in tow and skipped off into London.

Here are some pictures I took from the event for your amusement.

I had a truly wonderful time at this event and I highly recommend giving cookery classes with you. If you are considering a corporate event consider this: the relaxed atmosphere at these classes got people who had previously not met talking, imagine what it can do within a workplace. Cooking is fun and they cater from everyone from beginners to keen cooks. My only disappointment of the whole evening was that the staff didn’t sit down with us to eat this delicious meal. It would have been really great to learn more about them as well as other bloggers.

I was invited to this event free of charge but if you want to make an enquiry as to how much it costs to book a class you can enquire here.

 

Venison steak salad

So last Thursday I went for a day out to the Yorkshire Show in Harrogate (picture heavy post to come) and I picket up some Venison minute steaks. At the Yorkshire show they were heavily promoting eating game with game cookery demonstrations. I know some people are squeamish about eating venison and certain other types of game but it is a good idea to embrace the idea of it. All venison are free range, they are often killed for meat in order to control their numbers and they live a better life out in the open when compared with some animals farmed for meat. Venison is also a very lean and tasty red meat. However, I am aware that some people’s opinions will not be changed so the meat can be substituted for normal beef steak.

To contrast with the flavour of the meat I used salad items with a bit of peppery bite to them. To make this salad I mixed a fiery “Foragers Salad” (reduced in M&S) with watercress. (Basically just mix watercress or rocket with the salad leaves of your choice). To this I added radishes and tomatoes slow roasted in basil and olive oil. I fried the minute steak for just under a minute and let it rest for a few minutes (the meat tastes way juicier this way). Finally I dressed the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sliced the venison. After taking this picture J tossed the salad to ensure everything was mixed more evenly.

DSCN1268

For those of you with sharp eyes, you may have noticed that there are flowers dotted in this salad. In my opinion they make everything look prettier and don’t taste too floral. However, I do appreciate that some of you will sympathise with J for having an annoying girlfriend that forces him to eat flowers!

I hope you carnivores enjoy this meat based salad. It’s definitely a lighter way to enjoy meat in the summer.

Picnic times at Harewood House

I am loving this heatwave! After so many summers looking wistfully out on the window to cloudy skies, drizzle or intense rainfall its nice to enjoy the excellent weather. With this in mind J and I decided to venture out to Harewood House last Saturday for a picnic. So I covered up in factor 30 (lobster red skin is never a good look in my opinion), put together a salad based picnic and we chilled out in a shady spot by the lake.

What are your favourite picnic places and picnic foods?

Cookies – inspired by Lyddie

When I was a student I lived in a house share with rather a lot of girls. It was as you would expect, fun, very messy and more pairs of make-up and hair products under our roof than we could possibly use. Now, I occasionally used to bake with my friend Lyd. At the time we didn’t even have a mixing bowl, we used to mix up our cookies in our biggest pan. Then we used to share out cookies and watch endless episodes of whatever tv programme E4 happened to be playing on a loop that day.

Now Lyd is now a very accomplished baker (far better than me!). She makes the most beautiful looking cakes and it makes me both miss baking with her and feel horribly jealous that I no longer live close enough that I can sample the goodies.

Anyway, to remind you of the good old old days of toasties and supernoodles, here is a basic cookie recipe that can be cooked anywhere as long as you have an oven, a baking tray, a wooden spoon and a receptacle large enough to hold your cookie dough. The dough actually tastes pretty nice raw; but don’t go making yourself sick eating it or you won’t have enough cookies to enjoy for the rest of the week. (Well I say the rest of the week, I took mine to my Uncle’s and they were pretty well received).

To make these cookies you will need:

125g butter (softened)

1 mug soft brown sugar

1 1/2 mugs self raising flour

1 large egg (please please buy free range)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100g of chocolate chunks (or Smarties, Rolos or M&Ms)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a baking tray or line with baking paper or a silicone liner. Cream the butter and the sugar together.

DSCN1111

DSCN1113

Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract.

DSCN1114
Sadly not a double yolker

Add the chocolate chips and the flour and mix well.

DSCN1115
These will be very chunky chocolate cookies
DSCN1116
Almost an action shot
DSCN1119
Cookie dough – this tastes pretty fantastic raw (J always tells me off for this, he thinks I’m going to catch salmonella!)

Make little balls from the cookie dough – whatever size you fancy. Place on your greased/lined baking tray.

DSCN1120

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.

DSCN1121

Place on a wire rack to cool (use a plate if you don’t have a wire rack).

DSCN1124

Serve with endless cups of tea. If you’re still a student and you’re making these for a party or a girls night, they also go well with cheap wine!

If you have any left put in a tupperware container or biscuit tin to keep fresh.

Viet Village, Bury

Last Summer, my friends RC, M1ke and Mr Dave took a trip to Vietnam to visit our friend CC. CC has been living and teaching in Vietnam for a good couple of years (apart from the few months doing his PGCE). He’s a music teacher and also a pretty epic pianist. Anyway, back to the grub. Travelling around Vietnam really gave RC, M1ke and Mr Dave an education in Vietnamese cuisine, starting with a bowl of pho every morning for breakfast.

Last week RC invited us all to Viet Village, a Vietnamese restaurant it Bury that has received some great reviews from people who have visited. I personally loved all of the dishes I tried, especially the pho which was comfort food at its best.

2013-06-29 20.17.48
My beloved Sriracha hot sauce
2013-06-29 20.18.43
Makes the happiest looking prawn cracker
2013-06-29 20.20.07
I also messed around with some hoisin sauce with a goose on it
2013-06-29 20.20.40
This looks strangely like a cartoon ghost

To start with Miss B and I shared Summer rolls and Spring rolls. The Spring rolls were delicious, not too oily which they can be. I loved the Summer rolls, they were deliciously fresh and looked so pretty.

2013-06-29 20.24.15
Summer rolls

2013-06-29 20.25.53

I followed this with seafood pho. This was really really lovely. It was light and tasty and filling without feeling weighed down with too much food.

2013-06-29 20.59.30
Pho is souper….

Here is a selection of some other photos I took of other people’s dinners…..

2013-06-29 20.50.06
Food stalking doesn’t always work…
2013-06-29 20.51.10
Yum
2013-06-29 20.52.20
The beef in this looks superb
2013-06-29 20.55.31
Whisky beef. Oh so tender

As official designated driver I finished off my meal with some iced coffee.

2013-06-29 21.58.06

A wonderful and very reasonably priced meal. If you live in or near to Bury, this restaurant is well worth a visit, My only regret about the whole night was not getting a picture of RC’s traditional Vietnamese outfit to show you all.

You can find out more about Viet Village here.