Leeds Indie Food Festivalis about to start in a matter of weeks, I can’t believe it’s coming round so quickly, it’s really exciting! Recently I posted about which events were on my must go to list, if time and money were no object, one of those was Gorse: A Dinner Experience for Curious Gastronomes. Who are Gorse? Well, they are a two-man team – Geoffroy and Richard, a French/Scottish duo who have conjured up a six course tasting menu based around vegetables. Now even though I’m a full on meat-loving carnivore, as regular readers may’ve cottoned onto, the last few years I’ve grown more of a fondness of meat-free food and was more than intrigued when one of the events during the festival was solely based around vegetables. What particularly caught my eye was that the whole experience was to showcase produce from around Yorkshire and collaboration, both being at the heart of the festival’s ethos.
Hosted by Mrs Atha’s, we were treated to the dishes as a preview to their 10 night pop-up in May.
Here are some photos of the evening:
I won’t describe each one in detail as I’d rather you find out for yourselves, but what I will say is that it was delicious, combining lots of interesting tastes and textures flowing through the savoury and the sweet. As mentioned earlier, Gorse is one of the events in the Leeds Indie Food festival, I’d recommend going, even for the most hardened carnivore it’s well worth it!! If you want anymore information on getting tickets click on the link here!!
Long-time readers of the blog may have an inkling of my penchant for pastry, whether they be pie, pasty, tarts…trust me carb loading I’m good at, especially when it comes to the good stuff!!!Belgrave Music Hallheld their very first (hopefully of many) Pie & Cider Festival on Easter Sunday and I wasn’t going to miss out on being able to feast!
The line-up was impressive to say the least; with over 50 varieties of pies in different forms….pies, sausage rolls, scotch egg, empanadas, scotch eggs, tarts made by the best Yorkshire producers, including Keelham Farm, Wilsons, WIlkinsons, Beasty Boys, Lishmans, Robinsons Farm Shop, Voakes and The Greedy Pig!! As always, dietary requirements were taken care of too with a range of goodies for those with intolerances to gluten, wheat or dairy.
To balance out the savoury, there had to be something sweet to keep things in check, so Belgrave regularNoisette Bakehousewas on hand to sort us out with another tour into her culinary wizardry, including a salt caramel brownie pie, taking the infamous salt caramel brownie up a notch!!
After all the feasting to quench the thirst there was also 30 varieties of cider and 20 different ales and beers to take your pick from!!
Here’s a selection of the spread on offer, get ready for some serious pastry action!!
Now for the sweet stuff, courtesy of Noisette Bakehouse!!
Of course, I wasn’t going to just take photos and leave without eating something, no chance!!
Such a winner of a pie from Robinsons Farm Shop, definitely a pork pie with a difference. It was like a mini meal in itself; beautiful pastry, lovely seasoned pork and stuffing all topped with chunky apple!! So good!!
I went home with a small bounty to graze on as well, it frankly would’ve been rude not to!
I’d tried the empanada from the Beasty Boys at one of Belgrave’s feasts last year and loved it then, this was equally as good and I immediately wished I bought more of them! Lovely crisp, yet flaky pastry and a filling that was meaty with a delicate smokiness. Delicious!! The pork pie caught me a little by surprise, only because I’d asked for a steak, potato and ale one at the time, nevertheless, I was still more than happy as it was delicious. Not too much jelly which was great for me, beautiful pork filling and its pastry casing wasn’t too thick.
Ah, that pineapple and black pepper hand pie was my first of the three sweet options to get wolfed down! So good that i’d love it to be a regular on the Bakehouse menu!! It’s a bit like a pimped up turnover, the pineapple gives it some oomph and the black pepper brought its innate sweet and sourness out even more!
A couple of Sundays ago began with a very misty, autumnal October morning, a planned walk with the in-laws was momentarily scuppered until a quick re-think to our route resolved the matter. Instead of a Stanza Stone walk we’d cross Penistone Hill to Bronte Falls, starting and ending in Haworth. Starting at the Bronte Parsonage Museum we headed out into the mist.
On our way, you could see how the mist slowly rolled in and out of the hills, it made the scenery change very quickly. Walking towards to the Bronte Falls away from the mist, soon finding ourselves underneath beautiful blue skies and sunshine lighting up the stunning countryside in front of us. We passed fields filled with a scattering of sheep bathed in the sun, whilst being followed by a group of children led by a team leader playing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, it was all a little surreal, but of course very apt.
As we neared Bronte Falls the terrain became more rugged and we started noticing the odd fell runner passing us, approaching the falls it soon became apparent it was the middle of a race, with a steady stream of runners started bounding bravely down the rugged hillside, I watched in admiration! Having only ever done one beginners trail race in my life, even the mere thought of this was very daunting!
After crossing the bridge and heading up the hill, a trail of fell runners could be seen running against the heather in the distance. We continued to admire the views that had been afforded us, in particular our view of Lower Laithe reservoir slightly masked by a mixture of mist and hazy sunshine.
Following the path round we made our way through Stanbury, enjoying the views that stretched across the area, including the Lower Laithe reservoir.
The walk back into Haworth inevitably brought us to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, St Michael & All Angels Church and the cemetery. Getting back in time for lunch there were a couple of options that hadn’t been tried out before, depending on how busy it was. A number of pubs have been here for years, such as The Old White Lion and The Fleece Inn, but we wanted to try out somewhere different for a change.
Haworth Steam Brewing Company supposedly had a reputation of a decent pie, so when we popped our heads in to see one table for four left, we grabbed it!
Haworth is well known for its steep Main Street lined with quirky shops, The pub is found at the top of the street opposite the sweet shop, it’s open all day serving breakfast, a lunchtime and an evening menu. In general plenty of classic dishes are on show, like scampi, bangers and mash, lasagne, and shepherd’s pie, for something a little different there’s a specials board. Drinks wise, being a family run brewery they produce a selection of cask ales and craft keg beers to suit a range of tastes.
Initially we all went for the steak and ale pie, but after the news that there was only three portions left, the other half graciously chose fish and chips instead. I was happy though, because I could still tuck into pie and chips!
So after an hour or so of waiting our food arrived, normally I would have kicked up a big fuss, probably would have left a very long time ago, but the staff had told us throughout what the situation was, there was a birthday meal going on and a few tables had their orders in before us, so we waited knowing fully well it could be some time. I was just hoping the wait would be worth it!
The other half’s fish and chips with additional sides tartare sauce, mushy peas and bread and butter. It’s always a sign of good things when there isn’t much noise coming from the other side of the table. I tried a little bit of the fish and the batter was light, golden and crisp, the fish was soft, it ticked all the boxes for me. I’m not fussed about mushy peas personally, but the other half’s quite picky and was full of compliments for it!
The rest of us were lucky to get the last three portions of ‘Mrs Gascoigne’s Famous Steak and Ale Pie’. I’m pernickety about pies, for me they should have a pastry bottom as well as a top to be a proper pie, you may well have a difference of opinion, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this occasion.
This pie was the type that’s made without the pastry bottom, just the top, I wasn’t going to hold that against it, but would be comparing it to the amazing pie I tried at The Craven Arms recently. The pastry was nice and buttery, but a little on the thick side, it came with a generous amount of meat and lashings of gravy too. The meat was quite tender, but didn’t quite fall apart like the Craven Arms’ pie and even though it wasn’t as rich and deep in meaty flavour, it was still tasty nonetheless! With the chips and vegetables it made for a hefty lunch and we were all pretty full by the end.
After we’d finished, a nice touch was that we got an apology from the chef, realising the time length we had waited and gave us a free round of drinks as compensation, which we gratefully accepted! It could be said that yes, we should have received an apology etc, but lets face it, it doesn’t always happen!!
Our lunch for four was £60.55, including drinks.
Food: Menu full of home comforts and classic dishes. Generously sized portions, decent cooking.
Service: Staff were friendly, informative and tried their best to help in any way. Our food was brought well over an hour after ordering, but staff always kept us informed.
Atmosphere: Very popular place, lively but not intrusive to put you off your food. Not the biggest of spaces so there can be a wait for a table.
A couple of weekends ago we had the pleasure of spending some time with relatives who live in Australia, for the short time they had in the UK some day trips were planned to show them around the area. One of these trips was whistle-stop tour into the Dales, firstly popping to Betty’s for a quick cuppa and a buttered tea cake, where we got superb service throughout.
A quick saunter around Bolton Abbey; taking in the view for a few moments listening to sheep baa-ing away, watching the other half and his dad skim stones in the river, quietly walking through the priory ruins and its cemetery. There was even a wedding going on as we walked passed the Priory Church, nice little touch was the tractor, adorned with ribbons (I think, not too hot on farming equipment!)
With lunchtime was fast approaching, the plan was to make our way to The Craven Arms, in the lovely sounding village Appletreewick. My father-in law knows most of the Dales like the back of his hand, and has visited this charming pub many a time after long walks in the area. You could tell it was a popular pub early on, as we’d passed one down the road with hardly any one there, but this one had people spilling onto the street outside! A good sign, but could we get a table for seven?
After a few minutes of hunting around, a man and his partner very kindly offered up theirs as they weren’t eating, which we gratefully thanked them for. Initially thinking we couldn’t all fit around, with a little bit of budging up we managed it and decided on our lunch order.
The menu is written up on black boards behind the bar with a number of family favourites, such as Yorkshire pudding with red onion gravy, beef burger and shepherds pie topped with cheesy mash potato. Great to see the chefs make use of their local produce, reading dishes using locally sourced partridge, lambs liver, grouse and mallard too. I also liked the sound of the items listed on the artisan deli menu: homemade cider flavoured black pudding, piccalilli, marmalade and chutneys.
Food arrived in good time and were certainly hearty portions, I didn’t expect anything less being in the Dales. Mine especially looked massive (Jacksons pork sausages with mash)! It was so big I just couldn’t finish it, shame really as there were meaty sausages, smooth mash and decent gravy going to waste. Before I got too full I did manage to get a little taster of the other half’s steak and ale pie….extremely good, light, buttery pastry the meat was tender and fell apart, came with decent chips and a rich glossy gravy. That’ll be my choice the next time I visit! But saying that the fish and chips looked particularly handsome too.
We were all pretty much full and needed to walk it off, so the last part of our whistle-stop tour was a stop in Grassington, straight up the Main Street, passed The Square and back around, it was a shame we were running out of time and could’ve spent a little longer absorbing the area more, but a lot had been planned into one day. From the response of our visitors, it seemed like the day had been a success, they got a taste of the Yorkshire Dales.
Lunch for seven people came to £97.10 with drinks.
Food: hearty, uses local produce, decent portions, filling.
Service: lovely staff who were friendly and helpful.
Atmosphere: it has a buzz about the place, filled with many locals and visitors.
Yorkshire is the UK’s largest county and I think it’s a great place to live in! There’s no bias going on here, as I’ve got no reason to be; especially because I’m not from here. However, after moving to Leeds in 2000, my penchant for a good old day trip has allowed me get to know the place a bit better.
When I thought about the old-school stereotypes often associated with Yorkshire, the phrase ‘flat-cap and whippet’, Last of the Summer Wine, Yorkshire Pudding and Wensleydale cheese, amongst others, sprung to mind. These were things that as a person uneducated on the area had thought before actually living here. But there’s so much more to the county, and it has a great deal to offer with coastal regions, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and loads of cultural and historic landmarks.
As you can imagine with food, I’ve documented much of what I’ve seen with photographs, literally thousands. I often look back, open an album and happily day dream about trips and mini jaunts around the county. So I thought it’d be a nice idea to share some of the places I’ve enjoyed visiting, I hope you don’t mind. Being the largest in the country, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see and do everything on offer in Yorkshire, but here’s a selection of the places that are memorable to me.
There’s no order as such; I’ve just started with landmarks in Leeds and then worked my way outwards.
Kirkstall Abbey– I used to live just up the road in Leeds and see this gem every day. With the River Aire running alongside the grounds surrounding the abbey, it’s an amazing sight whether strolling through the park, driving past or nowadays when I run passed. The abbey and grounds are still used for local cultural events, such as monthly Kirkstall Deli Market and yearly held Classical Fantasia. One memory that’ll always stick in the mind was a friend’s birthday celebrated with a sports day in the grounds! Three-legged, sack, egg and spoon and wheel barrow races galore all went on, all whilst swans gracefully swam passed us!
Bolton Abbey is slap bang in the Yorkshire Dales on the banks of the River Wharfe. With the Priory ruins surrounded by beautiful countryside, and mile after mile of footpaths. There’s plenty of space to explore and relax in, whatever age you are, I always like to test my nerve and cross the river using the 57 stepping stones which span it. The Strid Wood down the river is another lovely part to see if you get the chance.
Yorkshire is crazy lucky to have so much art and creativity in abundance, across the region. Highlights include TheYorkshire Sculpture Triangle; made up of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Hepworth Museum, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. If that’s not enough, Salts Mill built by Sir Titus Salt in Saltaire is home to the art of David Hockney.
Yorkshire Sculpture Parkis one of the best, if not the best, outdoor art space currently in the UK, just this year it was named Art Museum of the Year 2014, by the Art Fund. With indoor galleries, acres of beautiful parkland and the River Dearne in West Bretton, they showcase contemporary and modern art from some of the world’s leading artists. There’s always something new to see and experience and is one of my favourite places in the county.
Hepworth Museum– I like to think of the Hepworth as a modern beauty on Yorkshire’s landscape, located on the edge of the River Calder in Wakefield. It exhibits contemporary art, the museums central focus is the work of Barbara Hepworth, and contemporaries such as Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson.
Haworth,Keighley & Worth Valley Rail –the in-laws are very knowledgeable on Yorkshire as a whole, and were the first to introduce me this part of the world. I’d watched the film The Railway Children as a child, but had no idea it was filmed on location near here. A trip to Haworth on an original steam train is the start of a lovely day out for the family! It’s not just the railway that attracts visitors, but the areas connection to the Brontë sisters, quaint shops, such as Rose & Co’s Apothecary and the rugged outdoors of Haworth. The area is synonymous with beautiful countryside, and often called Brontë country due to its links to the books.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden found near Ripon, is Grade I listed and on the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage sights. A Cistercian monastery, one of the largest in the England which was disbanded by Henry VIII in the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Abbey itself is stunning to wander through, but hours could be easily spent meandering around the water gardens surrounded by follies and other hidden treasures. One of the highlights for me is the view from Anne Boleyns’ seat which shows how the River Skell winds itself around the landscape.
Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Fossin Malhamdaleare three of the areas main draws. Well known for its limestone pavement, I remember spectacular views and gasping when the other half dropped off the edge to take a photo for me. Luckily he was on a lip, even to this day looking at the photo makes my stomach turn. The unusual landscape full of Clints (limestone blocks) and Grykes (gaps) created by acid erosion have resulted in a unique environment, so you’ll often see the likes of plants Wood Sorrel and Herb Robert. Gordale Scar is something that caught me unawares, as you don’t actually see it until you walk around and into the Scar. The waterfall was formed after the Ice Age and is often climbed by many a brave soul. Then a short walk away is waterfall Janet’s Foss, which carries the water from Gordale Beck into a pool.
Knaresborough–this North Yorkshire market town is found around the River Nidd, Knaresborough Castle and Mother Shipton’s Cave are well-known landmarks easily within reach on a day trip. The view of the aqueduct spanning the river is stunning, and definitely worth a moment of anyone’s time for a photo opportunity. Other local gems York, Harrogate and Ripon are close by.
Skipton Castle– I love Skipton Castle! I’m a big castle fan anyway, I don’t know why, I just love ’em and have visited quite a few! This one is particularly special because at over 900 years old it’s been very well preserved and still has it’s roof intact! When you visit you get an excellent map which sends you on a trail around the castle to explore. The area of Skipton is lovely in itself and this year came top in The Sunday Times’s annual survey to find the 101 Best Places to Live in Britain, not bad eh?!
Ribblehead Viaduct –the 24 arches of this viaduct is an attraction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway. The train journey provides you with lots of beautiful landscapes, such as Bingley Five Rise Locks and the Three Peaks Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent.
Brimham Rocksin Nidderdale is where’ll you find unusual rock formations, some seem to balance as if by magic. The other half remembers visiting as a child and is often frequented by families as it’s a fab day out with tonnes of exploring potential. Views stretch out as far as 40 miles in some parts and throughout the year, the views change as plant types change with the seasons. A few miles away is the delightful Pateley Bridge too.
Yorkshire is fortunate to benefit from some beautiful coastal areas, such as Whitby and Scarborough, all have a unique character of their own and great fish and chips! Whitby with their ever present red-roofed houses, Whitby Abbey and the 199 steps which need to be ascended to reach it, for those lovers of fish and chips the famous The Magpie Cafe is a landmark.
Now as you can imagine with Yorkshire being so vast, looking after it is by no means an easy task, so Yorkshire Water has put together a plan called Blueprint to ultimately ‘take better care of our little part of the world’ and try to do their bit. Such as improving the quality of water at our beaches to increase the number achieving blue flag status. Make sure the regions sewers and reservoirs are well maintained and working with the Environment Agency to improve the areas natural environment. Hopefully the work they’ve already done and plans they have for the future will bring even more tourism and draw in new businesses to the county.
So if you’ve got this far, I’ll just say ‘thanks for reading!’ I personally think any investment to improve the area is fantastic, and as part of writing this post and looking at the county, it’s given me a thirst to explore the region even further. I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the beauties in Yorkshire, where in the county do you love to visit and why? I’d like to read some of your ideas!
DISCLAIMER: I am writing this post to promote Yorkshire as I’ve always loved the area and what it has to offer, part of this was to mention Yorkshire Water’s Blueprint for Yorkshire as a sponsored post.
Hi, I'm Diane and welcome to my blog. I'm currently hopping between Leeds and the South finding the best and the worst in food and drink whilst on my travels. You'll find reviews and recommendations, sometimes the odd thing about running, travel and my life in general.