It’s been a very sad and unsettling time with the atrocities in Manchester, it still all feels unbelievable to me. I’m very proud of the attitude of the people of Manchester, who refuse to live in fear and have really pulled together to show their support. As an adopted Mancunian, I continue to be grateful for and thoroughly impressed by the warmth and spirit of this city.
It feels a little at odds with this week’s events to be talking in a celebratory way about what I’ve been eating, but I think it’s important to stay positive and share some joy.
A couple of weeks ago we headed to The Drop in Chorlton to meet friends for a Caribbean Sunday roast. It’s a gorgeous colourful Caribbean bar cafe with gorgeous colourful food! Everyone apart from me went for the Reggae Roast with jerk chicken, macaroni cheese and rice n’ peas, I diverged and went for the vegan Rasta Roast, which was pretty similar but with roasted pumpkin, fried plantain and feta cheese in place of the meat.
We virtuously cycled back from Drop Cafe to Hazel Grove along the River Mersey as it was glorious weather, and committed to continue with the healthy theme by baking a date, walnut and pecan loaf from my new healthy cake cookbook: Love Bake Nourish by Amber Rose. It was definitely a bread rather than a cake, as it was quite dry and not very sweet, but it was very nice none the less, especially with a good slathering of peanut butter.
Last week I attended a Guardian Masterclass on food photography and styling. What a cracking course. It made me rethink my current photography style and the thing that stood out to me is I’m so bored of taking overhead shots of food on my dining room table. As soon as I got home from a long day in London I demanded that we photograph our tea in the garden with Jamie as a model to get some real life atmosphere. I was rather pleased with the results. It was a chopped salad with bacon, sweetcorn and avocado and the deliciously fresh ingredients were from our Riverford veg box and the recipe was from Riverford’s Spring/Summer cookbook.
There does seem to be a bit of an obsession in our household with banana based cakes lately. Our next banana conquest was a cinnamon and banana cake with a generous dose of rum, also from Love Bake Nourish. It was supposedly a healthy cake as it used wholemeal spelt flour and maple syrup – not sure how healthy rum is though? But my goodness it tasted indulgent. Sweet and moist and rummy. Even better with a scoop of frozen yoghurt.
Proscuitto, grilled lettuce, cucumber and white bean salad (so good)
Spinach and ricotta gnocchi in lemon broth (yum)
Pork cheek, parsley potato cake with lardo and rosemary (how I adored that potato cake)
Lemon posset with almond shortbread (divine)
Gray’s is a lovely venue and it was a superb evening – excellent food and service and a very buzzy atmosphere.
On Tuesday I was in London again for a course and I treated myself to a Leon’s lunch. What a fabulous little chain Leon’s is – healthy food with imagination and flair. And if you don’t know already, now Manchester has a Leon restaurant at the Trafford Centre and another is due to open at Piccadilly station. I had the tasty Thai green chicken curry and I thoroughly enjoyed staring at all the healthy cakey treats at the counter, however I still went off to Amorino the artisanal gelato shop on Goodge Street for a decadent scoop of chocolate hazelnut and another of amarena cherry gelato, delizioso!
Leon’s Thai chicken curry
Thursday I combined business with pleasure by going to Wine and Wallop in Didsbury for a meeting and a sharing board. Everyone needs to try their platters! On ours we had Scotch eggs, pork pies, mackeral pate and posh cheese and ham – all so fresh and beautifully presented.
So lucky me, I’ve been eating superb food yet again. I’ll be back next week with more foodie updates on what I’ve been eating. Please let me know if you have any tips on great venues in Manchester to try.