Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Interview: The Pig and Pastry, York

Bishopthorpe road in York is arguably having one of it's best ever years. The Tour de France, which passed along the road at great speed, attracted thousands of visitors and created the perfect opportunity to host a massive street party.

There is a vibrant and active community, comprised of residents and the independant businesses which line the street.

I am lucky to live just down the river from Bishy Road and love visiting for the unique shops, bars and cafes. 

I have a specially affinity for The Pig and Pastry, especially after a having a particularly wonderful breakfast there once which cured a particularly spectacular hangover. That's why I was thrilled that Steve, the owner, let me interview him and discover a bit more about the cafe and it's approach to providing one of York's hippest streets with much needed coffee, cake and more.

The Pig and Pastry sits nestled between a well stocked greengrocers and an independent opticians. It has both cosy indoor and outdoor seating and it popular with locals and tourists alike! If you're after a larger plate, I advise getting there before 3pm, as lunchtimes are busy and the food is very popular. The vibe inside is very friendly and chatty and the staff, along with being extremely pleasant, make a very decent cappuccino.

Menu items range from hot and cold drinks along with cakes and other treats. If you're after something a bit more substantial, there is quite a plethora to choose from. The menu is subject to change, however whilst I was there you could choose from a range of sandwiches and salads, pancakes, soups, Eggs Florentine and even cheeks and mash (I'm praying this will be there on my next visit!)

Prices are slightly above average, but I always think you pay for what you get and the food here is flavoursome, well prepared and locally sourced where possible.

Click below to hear my interview with Steve.

The blog Steve mentions, The National Baking Society, can be found here

We enjoyed a Blueberry and Lemon Cake - perfectly moist and wonderfully flavoured!

Other treats were on offer!

Drinks selection, including ice cream milkshakes!!

Good coffee is on offer, which is one of the main things I look out for!

Americano and Cappuccino

Find The Pig and Pastry on Twitter and Facebook

Friday, 22 August 2014

A little bit of a life insight

I am writing this sat in the extremely glamorous Wetherspoons in Berwick Upon Tweed (free Wifi!!)

Life has been pretty manic the last few weeks, I have been travelling all over the country, including stints in Warwickshire, Manchester and now the Scottish border. Last month also included a wonderful trip to Paris, needless to say my wanderlust has been somewhat sated of late!

I thought I would give you a short pictorial insight into my life over the past few weeks, including some culinary highlights!

Caterpillars destroying the garden!

Travelling about Yorkshire often includes stumbling across ruins like these at

Sublime stained Glass at Sainte-Chapelle from my July trip to Paris

My bean harvest, a very modest crop but extremely tasty!

Pretty decadent cake in The Pig and Pastry (watch out for my interview with them coming soon)

Impromptu Dinner Party with an Ottolenghi marinated mozzarella starter

Amazing coffee at Fig + Sparrow in Manchester

Long may the travels continue!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

How to make the perfect Cafetiere

With a little know how, great coffee can be surprisingly easy. Here is a basic guide to getting consistently excellent results from your cafetiere, but don’t be afraid to use it as a jumping off point into further experimentation!

For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of working with coffee is exploring different flavours, timings and preparation methods. While espresso machines produce fantastic results, these coffees work just as well in a cafetiere.

An important first step is to pre heat your cafetiere for one minute using boiling water. Discard the water and add your coffee of choice, allowing 10g (approximately 1 dessertspoon) of ground coffee per cup. It’s important not to burn your coffee with boiling water, so allow your kettle to stand for a minute before use.

Slowly pour the water over the grounds and stir gently with a (preferably wooden) spoon so that the coffee oils “bloom” to the surface. Place the lid on the beaker and leave to stand for four minutes then gently plunge the coffee and serve immediately (top tip: for extra indulgence serve with double cream).

I would also advise on spending a bit more money on a caf to get something firm and durable. Here are some of my top picks!

1. Clean lines and design led - Sophie Conran for Portmeirion Cafetiere, £47, John Lewis

2. Cute and durable - Stainless Steel Heart Cafetière, £19.50, Marks and Spencer 

3. Great for on the move - Zyliss Cafetiere Hot Mug, £8.52, Amazon

4. Dishwasher safe - Bodum Brazil black French press coffee make, £29, House of Fraser

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Interview: The Duke of York

Last year York got a special treat with the opening of a Leeds Brewery pub right in our city centre!

Very soon after opening, the Duke of York became one of my favourite pubs in York. Situated on Kings Square, right in the heart of the city, the pub enjoys wonderful views over the medieval streets and Minster. What I like most is how versatile the pub is; I can go just for quiet daytime coffee by myself, evening drinks with friends or a hearty meal consisting of freshly prepared and filling pub grub!

There are two levels to the pub, the bar is downstairs along with a more relaxed seating area which often hosts live music events. Upstairs is more of a dining area, my top tip is to get the table overlooking Kings Square, you might have to kick me off it though as it's my favourite!

I also have a lot of respect for somewhere that continues to innovate and put on new offers and events, despite continuing to be ridiculously popular among locals and tourists alike. This is a pub which doesn't rest on it's laurels. 

The most recent addition to the Duke of York's offering are Cheese and Beer Boards. This idea was borne out of the pub's cheese and beer nights, which gave people the chance to try cheeses which had been paired with different beers.

Beer and Cheese Board, £5

I was pretty intrigued by the idea of beer complimenting food, so I met up with the manager Martin to discuss all things beer and food! We even discuss putting beer in cakes....

You can listen to my interview below:

Another quirky idea the pub is trialing is "The Dukes Gin Shop" - for £4 you can try out some amazing gins which have suggested flavour combinations.
I'm a Hendricks kind of girl and a G&T is pretty much always my drink of choice, so this caught my eye pretty quickly. I was actually very impressed by the value (York prices for a single G&T can be up to £7.... ouch!)

Whilst the pub obviously stocks the extremely moreish Leeds Brewery Beers, (my favourite is the dark Midnight Bell,) it is by no means limited to them. They often do swaps with other brewery's, barrel for barrel, meaning that there are always unusual and interesting beers on tap. The bottled selection is also impressive too, with some great Belgians, stouts and porters.

I'm also a fruit beer fan and found my fix with this raspberry Founder's Rübæus

The comfy downstairs seating area at the Duke

The lovely Martin showing me the proper way of pouring beer!

I really recommend the food here, you can also reserve tables which is a great touch!
To find out more, here is the address and contact info!

The Duke of York
King's Square

Twitter: @LBDukeofYork

01904 676 065

I hope you have enjoyed this review/ interview with The Duke of York. I'm always looking out for interesting interview subjects, so if you are an avid baker or a business owner with a unique perspective on food, get in touch - audacityoffood@gmail.com

You can also find tweets from Leeds Brewery here

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Mezze Menu Inspiration

Just a short little post here for you guys, as I want to crack on and get this weeks interview ready for you!

I've been having a bit of a crummy time of late, including family bereavement and general life stress. Luckily I have some pretty awesome friends who are willing to come over and be fed whilst we hash out my problems.

I thought I would share with you the menu I whipped up the other night for my friend Amy, who in true top babe style came over at very short notice. I had most of the items needed for my "kind of hybrid Mezze Platter" dishes already, all I needed to get was the chicken and fresh mint!

Most of these dishes are middle eastern, barring the tikka chicken, and work really well as a sharing platter between two, or even more!

My Mezze Platter Menu

Pulled Chicken Tikka - I used chicken drumsticks, coated them in yogurt and tikka spice mix, roasted for an hour and a half on 160, then shredded.

Bulgar Wheat - Add a chicken stock cube for extra flavour

Baked Falafel - I used this BBC recipe which calls for baking, rather than frying, the falafel!

Fresh Mint and Yogurt Dip - Finely dice the mint and mix into natural yogurt

Shredded Slaw - Finely chop up white cabbage, carrots and onions, mix well and coat lightly in cider vinegar. Add some fresh coriander for a garnish!

Roasted Aubergines - I sliced up the aubergine, placed the slices on a grill tray and brushed on olive oil mixed with Za'tar, then grilled each side until blackened.

Let me know if you have any Mezze dish suggestions! I'm going to have to do this again on a grander scale and invite lots more people for sure.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Interview: Kathryn Cakes

Not only do I have two very ace housemates, I am also lucky enough to live with a very talented baker! Kathryn has already promised us that come Christmas, we are to expect a gingerbread train complete with gingerbread carriages containing sweets. Of course I will have to share the pictures with you all when the time comes!

Kathryn's speciality has to be occasion cakes, she has made the most fabulous creations for Birthdays and Weddings, you can find her Facebook page and more information about her cakes here!

I have been lucky enough to persuade/badger relentlessly Kathryn into doing a little interview about her cakes.  Check out the YouTube video of my interview below (it's an audio interview with lots of pictures of her cakes.)

Hope you enjoy! X

Follow Audacity of Food's board Cakespiration! on Pinterest.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday Summation with a Hedgerow Crumble

I hope everyone is having a lovely start to their Sunday! I am going to spend mine basking in the glorious British summer weather. It has been beautiful, if not a little too hot. Yesterday probably was not the day to go for a 20km walk across the Yorkshire countryside, I'm feeling a little sore today!

The allotment needs A LOT of work after all this sunshine, so today's task is going to be preparing the ground for my medieval herb garden. We also have some onions plants that need to go in, albeit a lot later than we would have liked.

Blackberries at the jungle style allotment!

The blackberries are also starting to ripen, I managed to pick a good load last week and I'm hoping to get some more this evening. I think it's fair to expect a jam recipe in the near future! However if anyone has any recipes or ideas for using up hedgerow fruit, I would greatly appreciate them.

Another obvious way of using up the bumper crop is to make a fruit crumble. In my case I had an array of hedgerow fruit to use up, so I decided to make a hedgerow crumble!  Now in order to control sugar levels and make my crumbles slightly healthier, I cook the filling and topping separately

To make the filling I melted 1tsp butter in a large non stick pan, to this I added peeled and diced apple, washed blackberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries and gently heated until all the fruit was soft. I then added sugar to taste (I like things pretty tart, so it's probably better not to give you a quantity for this, just keep on adding and tasting.)

Whilst the fruit was softening, I made the crumble topping by combining 2 cups of oats with 1 tbsp golden syrup and 2 tbsp melted butter. I combined this mixture thoroughly and spread it out on a baking tray to cook at 180C for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Once the fruit is cooked through and very soft, I placed it in the bottom of a large dish and sprinkled my oat topping on top. Easy!

I couldn't even wait to photograph, I had to have some!

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