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 -

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!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Easy Peasy Cheesy Recipe (Make your own Paneer!)

I was actually inspired to make paneer by this recipe from the BBC Food Website!

I have been cooking a lot of Indian inspired recipes recently, including thick daals and chickpea currys. Whilst these are no doubt hearty and enjoyable dishes, I sometimes feel that they can be missing an extra element.

 I'm currently living on a very small income, so meat is pretty much our of the question. Blocks of paneer can also be around £2-£3 from the supermarket. However, this recipe for paneer means that I can add some protein to my meal, all for the price of a pint of milk and some lemon juice!

My homemade daal topped with fried paneer and coriander
To make a small block (feeds 1)

1pint of Whole Milk
2 tsp Lemon Juice


1. Bring the milk slowly to the boil in a large saucepan

2. As the milk starts to boil, add the lemon juice and stir. You should start to see the curds (opaque masses) separate from the whey (white liquid.) Take the saucepan off the heat.

3. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and drain away the whey, until you are left with the curds.

4. Wrap tightly in the cloth and hang the curds from the tap in a small ball over the sink for 20 minutes, this will drain away more of the whey.

5.  Take down the curds wrapped cheesecloth and fill a large saucepan with water and press the ball of curds under this for an hour or more (still in the cheesecloth and on a plate to catch excess liquid.)

6. The paneer is now ready to use in any way you desire! It will keep for several days immersed in water in the fridge. I cut mine into cubes and fried them until golden in a little vegetable oil.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Middle Eastern Bread with Za'atar

This is my version of Manakeesh, a popular Levantine food consisting of bread which is most commonly topped with Za'atar.

Yotam Ottolenghi describes za'atar as "A traditional spice blend from Palestine including dried thyme (za’atar) from the hills of Jenin in the north of the West Bank mixed with ground sesame seeds plus a touch of sumac, salt and vegetable oil. Perfect as a dip with Palestinian olive oil and freshly baked bread. This zesty seasoning is served at breakfast in many Middle Eastern countries – can be used with meat, fish, cheese, eggs or sprinkled on a pizza"

I first came across za'atar whilst in Israel and bought a jar back with me to experiment with back home. When mixed with olive oil, I would say that it is somewhat like pesto, with a wonderful savoury and salty taste.  It works perfectly as a topping on fleshly baked bread.

I managed to source it back in the UK in my local organic shop, Aligator Wholefoods.  I have also seen it in Fair Trade shops.

This recipe makes a small  round loaf, double all quantities for a larger one!


200g Strong Wholemeal Flour
A pinch of Salt
1tsp dried Coriander Leaf
1tsp dried Parsley
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper

50ml warm Water (body temperature)
50ml warm Milk (again, body temperature)
1 sachet of Instant Yeast
1tsp Sugar or Honey

2tsp Za'atar 
2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1. Prepare the yeast by placing the warm water and milk in a small jug, then add the sugar and sprinkle with the yeast. Leave this for 10 minutes, until the yeast is thick and frothy.

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, herbs, salt and pepper.

3.. Slowly add the yeast mixture until a dough is formed (you may need to add a little extra warm water if the dough doesn't come together easily.) Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes.

 4. Shape the dough into a disk and place on a baking tray (I lined mine with foil.) Cover this with clingfilm and leave the dough in a warm place to rise for 1-1.5 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C, Mix together the za'atar and Olive Oil in a small bowl and spread on top of the dough.

6. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and hollow when tapped underneath. Serve warm with lashings of butter!

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