Category Archives: Food

HS2 & Swillington Farm

This Christmas we went all out and got a Goose from Swillington Organic Farm. It’s a great place which has built a strong community spirit, but is under threat from HS2.

I’m not against HS2 by any means – it makes sense to me to build infrastructure (especially at a time of economic trouble) but to trash a local business like this is strange, especially when there’s an alternative on offer which will be cheaper to build and cause less environmental and economic impact.

Take a look at this video from Swillington Farm, and take a look at their page here for more info!

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 customer service

Viva Sometimes, a place is just so nice to you, they deserve to be shouted about.

Last Friday, I was playing the Cockpit with March of Dimes. You might have heard me mention it once or twice.

Wondering around, Jon, Gordy and I needed a bite to eat quickly, and we popped by Viva. Wondering if we had enough time to get a bowl of pasta, Gordy asked very nicely if they could rush us through as we had a gig to play… Quick as a flash we were sat down, some very nice bruchetta was brought out and, what seemed a couple of minutes after we’d ordered, a plate of very tasty pasta.

We were in and out in 20 minutes, had some really great food at a great price, and left (being waved and hand-shaken by pretty much the entire staff) really happy that this is somewhere like Viva in Leeds. Proper Italian hospitality.

If the true measure of a place is how they deal with out-of-the-ordinary requests, Viva has to be one of the greatest examples of customer service in Leeds right now.

Well done them!