All posts by Jo

It’s flipping Pancake Tuesday!

Hello! Jo here, borrowing Sean’s blog. Again.

This morning's pancakes!
This morning's pancakes!

Pancake Day is brilliant. I still get ridiculously and unashamedly excited about it! When I was little we’d sit around the table every year, while my Mum made pancake after pancake, bringing each one through as they were made until we were full. I think it might have gone on for hours! I still make them every year on Pancake Day, and at every opportunity in between. I don’t know why, but pancakes seem a lot more fun than a lot of foods?!

Please make your own pancakes on Pancake Day! Packet mixtures, especially when made from things that are already in most people’s cupboards, make me unreasonably cross. It’s cheaper, and so much better to make your own. People say it’s easier from a packet, but it honestly isn’t for pancakes – making the batter is the easy bit!

(Also, I just googled ‘why use packet food’, and on the first page was a link – Tips for adding taste to bland packet food – enough said.)

Here is the recipe that I’ve used ever since I can remember, from the olde worlde cookery book I pinched from home. It’s really simple and has worked every time. (Apart from when I was at university, and a friend thought that adding red wine to the batter would make for an interesting pancake… disastrous!)

Give it a go this Pancake Day!

What do you have on yours? I’m a lemon a sugar classic pancake girl myself.

Restaurant Review: Fazenda

Guestblog from @JoMurricane

The opening of Fazenda injected warmth and and vibrancy to an icy cold winter night in Leeds. The gas torches on entry were a welcoming sight to the guests as they arrived, and the restaurant itself is beautifully decorated, mixing brickwork with dark wood panelling, red carpets and candles together with vibrant music, you feel both comfortable and energised at once.

The Brazilian restaurant offers a new and exciting dining concept for Leeds, and it’s one that works exceptionally well. Fazenda uses the ‘all you can eat’ idea, in that diners pay a set fee to cover their meal, but they do it with such class and style. There is a salad bar, which offers an extensive range of delicious foods including gourmet salads, asparagus, sun blushed tomatoes, stuffed peppers, cured meats, and an impressive collection of cheeses. The selection is magnificent, so there’s definitely something for everyone.

However, the truly distinctive element of this restaurant is the meat. There is a selection of 15 cuts, which are carved and served from the kebab skewer at your table. I wasn’t sure how this would work in practice, and whether I would find it interruptive, but it was a really exciting way to dine, and allows you to take time over your food, and sample an incredible selection of meats, which are all cooked to perfection. The star of the show for me was the fillet mignon. It was cooked exceptionally well, and was perfectly tender. I also tried the rump steak, chicken thighs and cured sausages, which were all amazing, and there were all set off by the explosive chimichurri sauce that you find on every table.

The gaucho chefs roast the cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken using traditional techniques that have been used for centuries, and this restaurant is a fantastic way to share these with us. A simple method of having a card showing red or green tells the chefs whether you’d like to be served or not, so they never disturb you if you have enough and would like to be left to dine in peace. The staff members were all terrifically welcoming and friendly, providing such a great atmosphere that I didn’t to leave at the end of the night.

Fazenda is definitely a meat lover’s dream. There are even outlines of animals on the ceiling showing where the different cuts of meat come from. I think this is brilliant, and for me the way they respect and celebrate meat is fantastic, but I would warn vegetarians that this probably isn’t a restaurant for them!

Fazenda’s opening night was an exceptional success. All the guests seemed to be having a brilliant time, and the chatter and laughter in the room was a clear sign that the owners had struck exactly the right tone with this new venture. Fazenda has brought some Brazilian tradition and warmth to Leeds, and this new dining experience is one not to be missed.

Great North Run 2010

Guest blog post from Jo!


I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU for sponsoring me to do The Great North Run!! Your support means a lot, and the money raised for Cancer Research UK is fantastic – £450!! Thank you! The charity does brilliant work, and it means a lot to me and my family.

So. I did it!!

It was an incredible day, and the whole experience was fantastic, although some of it was a bit little horrendous at the same time! The start of the event was overwhelming, I hadn’t imagined just what a huge event this is, and when we arrived I couldn’t believe it. The atmoshere was electric, and I’ve never seen so many people! Everyone was really excited, and The Red Arrows did their first fly by! Good old Ant and Dec were there to start us off, and they read out all the charities we were running for as we went passed, which raised a bit of a tear to the eye of many, just seeing what everyone was doing and why, and how determined people were. On the back of people’s vests they could put who they were running for, and one teenage lad had put, very simply, ‘Me Mam’, and that just about did it for me.

Then we got going, and the start was really exciting – running across Tyne Bridge was brilliant! The Geordie crowds were out in full and were fantastic at cheering us on etc.

It was at mile 4 that things got tough, as it was really humid and we were approaching the quiet, barren and unrelenting uphill dual carriageway. At this point there was a massive banner overhead, which read: ‘Feeling tired? Train more next time’. Probably best I don’t repeat my thoughts from that moment!

We plodded on though and the Geordes really did their best for us, ‘Come on pet!’, ‘Rich tea biscuit?’, and there were some people were outside their houses with hosepipes, spraying us to cool us down! Brilliant.

At about mile 10 the sky turned leaden, (as did my legs), and at mile 11 the heavens opened with a torrential downpour, which I really enjoyed at first! Then it got quite tiring… I’m sure these miles were longer than normal miles! But the Geordies once again came to the rescue, ‘Almost there lass!’, ‘Come on!’, and they still turned out a massive grinning crowd despite the weather.

So I stumbled and tottered along to the finish line, and you’ll see the ever so attractive picture taken at this point!! haha, I was so relieved that I’d finished though. My time was 2hours 53 minutes. I’d hoped to do a lot better, but going on holiday for 2 weeks before and eating cheese and drinking mojitos probably didn’t help. It wasn’t mentioned in the training schedule for some reason?! I’m just massively relieved to have done it, especially as in February I couldn’t even run for more than two minutes at a time!

Thanks again for your support, it really means a lot, and it helped me plod on more than you’ll ever know!