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Recipe: Goats’ Cheese and Red Pepper Souffle

I received some Goats’ Cheese from the lovely folk at Delamere Dairy to try out earlier in the year. This Cheshire-based dairy was established around 20 years ago with just 3 goats. It’s grown a bit since then and now has a range of cheeses and milks from cows as well as goats.

Delamere goats' cheese

Delamere goats’ cheese

I received a block of medium hard, a tub of spreadable and a log of goats’ cheese. They weren’t the sort of products you’d put on your cheeseboard so Tom was given the recipe challenge for each. The first was easy – something even I could attempt – and is perfect for pre-dinner nibbles. smoked salmon on spreadable goats’ cheese on ritz crackers with a twist of lemon and a sprinkle of paprika. Yum!

pre-dinner nibbles

pre-dinner cheesy nibbles

The other two cheeses found their way into this goats’ cheese and red pepper souffle. Way more technical but equally tasty.

Goats Cheese and Red Pepper Souffle

goats' cheese souffle

You’ll Need:

  • 150g medium hard goats’ cheese
  • 60g goats’ cheese log
  • A handful of breadcrumbs
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • Two bell peppers (red or orange)
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 400 ml milk
  • 4 eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes

What You Do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 190ºC.
  • Take 4 ramekins and line with butter, then dust with breadcrumbs
  • Halve and seed the cherry tomatoes and thinly slice the peppers. Roast them all in a pan with salt, pepper and olive oil for 25 mins at 190ºC.
peppers and tomatoes

Peppers and tomatoes

  • When the veg are done, finely slice them ready to go into the souffle mix.
  • Then its time to make your cheese sauce.
  • First, melt the butter over a gentle heat.
  • Add the flour and beat with a whisk to a smooth paste.
  • Start to add the milk, bit by bit, whisking until smooth.
  • Grate and add the goats’ cheese along with a good slug of Worcestershire sauce, some salt & pepper, the garlic granules, chilli flakes and 1 egg yolk.
  • Add the roasted veg to the cheese sauce and remove from the heat to cool for around 15 mins, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce smooth.
  • Roughly chop the goats cheese log and add it to the sauce. This will give your souffle little nuggets of tasty, gooey cheese.
  • Take 4 egg whites and whisk them to soft peaks. Don’t over-whisk though as the bubbles will be too large and they’ll burst as you mix them.
  • Add 1/3 of the egg whites to your sauce and stir them in thoroughly.
  • Then add the reminder and fold in gently.
  • Place your mixture into the ramekins then into the oven (still at 190ºC) for 17-18 mins.
  • Once out of the oven leave to cool – but not for long as these souffles are too good not to snaffle down in one go!
Goats cheese souffle

Serve with crusty bread and butter…


I have to say, the Delamere cheeses were perfect for each recipe – the flavours were distinct enough without overpowering the other ingredients, and the spreadable cheese had a lovely smooth aftertaste which made it ideal for little pre-dinner snackerels – making a nice change from boring old Philadelphia.

I’d definitely look out for these cheeses again… and I’ll definitely be encouraging Tom to make the souffles again some time soon!

Restaurant Review: The Royal Oak, Staveley

If you found yourself in North Yorkshire, you may end up driving through Staveley. It’s a typical little village with a sprinkling of houses, a church and a village pub. You might be mistaken for missing the pub as you drive through as it is set a little way back from the main road and the subtle green sign blends in well (a bit too well?) with the leafy surroundings.

But if you do miss it, you’d be making a bit of a mistake. Because the Royal Oak at Staveley isn’t just a great country pub stocked with real ale, open fires and friendly faces. Their restaurant is home to some of the nicest food I’ve had in North Yorkshire in a long time.

The owner, Daniel Parry, has been cooking all over Yorkshire for a while and took over the Royal Oak about 4 years ago with his partner, Cheryl. They’ve created a something really special – a relaxed, local pub feel that is also inviting to outsiders, and the sort of place you’d travel to specially to eat.

We went on Saturday night with some friends and were treated to a six course tasting menu extravaganza. All by a roaring fire on a cold February night – bliss!

After drinks at the bar (which was fairly busy but by no means too crowded), the evening kicked off with a winter mushroom broth. Served in a deep round glass with a Wensleydale scone on the side, this soup was ridiculously intense in flavour.

Mushroom soup

The richest, most intense mushroom soup known to man

Probably because mixed in with the cream were field mushrooms, girolles, some truffle, truffle oil, truffle brine and probably about 10 other mushroom-related ingredients I’ve already forgotten! In fact, the soup was so rich I couldn’t eat it in one go – but because it was in a cheeky little glass I kept hold of it for the next couple of courses as a far superior substitute to water.

Next up was beetroot. But, at risk of sounding like a cheesy M&S ad, this wasn’t just any ordinary beetroot. The skill and creativity of the chefs came out through the beetroot spaghetti, beetroot caviar (little spherified gems), beetroot jelly (my total favourite), beetroot foam and beetroot sorbet. Ok, so I’m a bit biased as beetroot is one of my best ever foods but this really was a massive treat. Each element had a totally different texture but still retained that sweet, earthy taste. And while sometimes these dishes can be a bit style-over-substance-poncy, this one was the opposite. It showed off this ingredient in all its best lights.

textures of beetroot

How many ways can beetroot be awesome? This many!

The accompaniment for this beetroot bonanza was equally stunning. A choice of smoked salmon, goats’ cheese or ham hock. Each arrived in a little jar that opened to let a plume of smoke out. The salmon had been given an extra burst from the smoker that resides in the back garden of the pub. The theatrics were lots of fun and again, flavours were spot on.

smoked salmon

Applewood smoked salmon

I went for the ham hock which was lovely but think Tom’s choice of salmon edged it. The fish was a deep pinky orange and smoked with applewood. The aromas of applewood wafted round the room for the whole of this course which was a nice touch.

I was driving so couldn’t partake in the next course – winter Pimm’s. Note to self: NEVER AGAIN drive if I’m heading over the Staveley as I missed out on Pimm’s and brandy with grapefruit sorbet and Cinnamon. Although the drink was cold, the smells were all of Christmas – the perfect blend of winter and summer in a glass! We chucked the cinnamon sticks onto the fire to keep the drink going for that little bit longer.

Winter Pimm's

Winter and Summer mixed perfectly in a glass

I’m glad this course went by quickly so I could get back in the game for the main event.. braised Ox cheek with malted onion, winter greens, mash and gravy. Sounds simple but the flavours were again rich and intense. The Ox cheek has been slow cooked and melted in the mouth, the mash was creamy, rich and smooth and the veg had been shown a decent amount of butter. The onion was lovely and sweet from the malt and the gravy was almost a jus but just stayed on the right side of the gravy fence, and it’s always reassuring when extras turn up at the table.

braised ox cheek

8 hour braised ox cheek and malted onion

By this point I was flagging so couldn’t manage all of the delicious desert of raspberries, meringue and lemon mousse that arrived next. Again, a few variations on a raspberry theme (pulped, dehydrated and reduced) made for fun textures and I’m reliably informed by Tom (who got most of my pud) that the lemon mousse was smooth with just the right balance of sharp and sweet.

Iced lemon mousse with raspberry

Iced lemon mousse with raspberry meringue

Although stuffed, there is always room for cheese (I wonder how many times I can say this in one blog?!) and with a selection of Harrogate Blue, Kit Calvert and Abbott’s Choice cheddar it would have been rude not to have scoffed the lot. So I did. And to help it all down was some crunchy celery and a fine selection of crackers. Some cheesy ones, a few plain ones (for the rich blue cheese) and the most delicious crisp breads stuffed full of seeds, sun dried tomato and with a hint of chilli. I love it when restaurants put the same amount of thought into the crackers as they do the cheese. It make all the difference.

Phew – I’m stuffed again just writing about how much we ate! But, spaced over a good few hours (the service was spot on by the way – we never felt rushed but weren’t left hanging around either), it was just right.

So all that was left for the evening was to settle up – prices are pretty reasonable with main dishes costing around £15 – drive home and slip into a food coma.

Would I go back to the Royal Oak? Definitely. Would I drive there again? No chance. Too much boozy fun to be had.

But if you do happen to be driving up near Knaresborough then this is definitely a detour worth taking. You might not get textures of beetroot every day of the week but you will get great food in lovely surroundings next to a roaring fire… and on a cold winter’s day, life doesn’t get much better than that.

The Royal Oak on Urbanspoon

Yu Kyu: Trinity Kitchen

Last weekend it was Trinity time. The new cohort was all installed and as well as some familiar faces like Manjit’s Kitchen, there was also a Japanese option. And it wasn’t sushi! Not going to lie, I’m massively excited about Wasabi opening in Leeds (their freshly made sushi-to-go is the perfect lunchtime treat) but it’s nice to have something else on the menu.

And for Yu Kyu it was Katsu all the way.

Yu Kyu

Yu Kyu means ‘eternity’ in Japanese

Katsu (or tonkatsu) is basically a breaded, deep fried pork cutlet. It is a traditional Japanese dish and can be served on its own, in sandwiches or on top of curries. You can also get alternatives- like chicken or minced meat but pork  is the most well known.

I’ve usually had katsu curries so was quite excited to see sandwiches on the menu.

Yu Kyu menu

Not just the usual katsu curries on this menu

The sandwiches came in brioche buns with shredded red cabbage and a kind of savoury sauce. And they were really quite nice. Pork was good quality and breaded / fried to order so there was none of the greasiness from the food standing around. The cabbage was mixed with a cheeky bit of mayonnaise and the katsu sauce made the bread soft but not soggy. I have to say that I’m not a massive brioche fan and worried the sandwich bun might be a bit too sickly sweet but it actually contrasted well with the pork and the super soft texture against the crunch of the breadcrumbs worked a treat.

katsu sandwich

Tasty katsu sandwich

It wasn’t flash and it wasn’t fancy but it was fresh, simple and tasty. More good food to grace the streets of Leeds.

Recipe: Apple, Pear, Ginger and Lemongrass Juice

Ok, so it’s not the most complex of recipes but if, like me, you’re trying to be marginally more healthy this year then this super-juice concoction will help kick-start things. Apples and pears combined with ginger and lemongrass give you the perfect British-Winter, Asian-Summer fusion.

Fruity Goodness

The ultimate fruity healthy start to the year

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 apples (we used Braeburn)
  • 3 pears
  • 1 lime
  • 3 lemongrass stalks
  • a large handful of blueberries
  • an inch of ginger
  • A juicer

What You Do

  • Peel the apples, pears and ginger.
  • Juice the lime separately.
  • Chop the lemongrass stalks.
  • Put 1 apple, all the lemongrass and all the blueberries into the juicer and juice.
  • Juice the rest of the apple and pears.
  • Juice the ginger.
  • Pour into a jug and add the lime juice.
Apple, pear and ginger juice

Britain meets Asia in a glass

Drink whilst feeling very smug about the lovely vitamins you’re consuming.

Crave wine.

Open wine.

Normal service resumed.

Adios Donostia Social – come back soon!

Donostia Social left Trinity Kitchen last weekend – gutted! On the plus side we managed to get there again before it moved on. Come back to Yorkshire soon Donostia so we can have some more of this…


Black pudding with qualis egg and anchovy pintxos


perfect prawns


Classic tortilla


Moorish lamb chop with cous cous


succulent scallops


Saving the best till last – the most amazing mushrooms (we think with truffle oil)

Recipe: Yorkshire Puddings (the ultimate Yorkshire food)

You can’t get more Yorkshire than the good old pudding of the same name. And the only time really to post a recipe for this superstar of the North is on a Sunday lunchtime, just in time to be used for the roast of the day.

Yorkshire Pudding Perfection

Yorkshire Pudding Perfection!

Yorkshire puddings used to be called dripping puddings and Wikipedia tells me that the first known recipe appeared in a cookbook in 1737. Being from Leicester, I only ever had Yorkshires as an accompaniment to roast beef growing up. It wasn’t until I moved to God’s own country that I discovered the original (and proper) way to have them was on their own with gravy before your main course. And it wasn’t until I met my husband (Yorkshire born and bred) that I actually partook in this practice. It originates from the time when meat wasn’t so plentiful and so the Yorkshire Pudding served to fill you up before your meagre portions of meat arrived.

This is how Tom grew up eating Yorkshires and how we usually have them today. However (and don’t tell my pudding purist mother-in-law who is still getting over the shock of discovering I’d never had Yorkshires the traditional way until the age of 26), on the odd occasion I do manage to persuade him to make them the non-proper way as I still love loading mine up with a bit of meat and veg to make the perfect mouthful!

non traditional yorkshire pud

The non-traditional way to enjoy a Yorkshire pud

This recipe is Tom’s own, a recipe passed down through 3 generations of Yorkshire folk that has been honed and tweaked along the way. Tom’s quest for the perfect pud started 15 years ago and he’s been working on the perfect recipe ever since. And here it is….

What You’ll Need:

  • Large eggs (1 per 2 puddings)
  • Plain flour
  • Milk (whole or semi skimmed)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Goose or duck fat
  • A very hot oven

What You Do:

  • Take 3 identical glasses and add the large eggs to the first glass. 1 egg will make 2 puds and the more you do, the better they’re likely to be as it is easier to measure out the quantities.
  • Add equal amounts of milk and flour (by volume) to the remaining 2 glasses so all 3 are filled to the same height. Don’t forget to tap the flour glass firmly on the worktop to level it off.
yorkshire pud ingredients

All are equal and none are more equal than others

  • Throw the eggs and flour into a large bowl and whisk with the ferocity of a of a Yorkshire lady waving her winning ticket at a Scarborough Bingo Hall [Tom’s description!]. Whisking is a contentious issue as traditionally you’re not meant to. But having tried both approaches, it is a winner in our house.
yorkhire pud recipe

Controversial whisking

  • Once the batter is smooth, add the milk bit by bit until  it has all been blended.
  • Season and leave to stand in the fridge, covered in cling film for 4-12 hours. The longer you leave it the more the gluten develops the higher they’ll rise.
  • Set your oven to its hottest setting and add the trays. Each well should have a level teaspoon of duck or goose fat.
yorkshire pud tray

We prefer goose fat but either will do

  • Once the oven has reached temperature and the fat is smoking, remove the trays, allowing to cool for 10 seconds or so (to prevent the mix from frying).
  • Then add the batter.  Each well should be 3/4 full but be careful not to allow the mix to run as this will hinder the rise.

yorkshire pud batter

  • Place the puds in the oven and cook for approx 20 minutes – DO NOT open the oven!!!
oven yorkshires

Resisting the temptation to open the oven is a tough one

  • After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 220 and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.  The puddings should be golden brown and crisp all over.  If the middles are still bubbling, place them back in the oven quickly to prevent shrinkage (or what’s internationally recognised as a Lancashire Pudding).

Serve as you prefer – before the mains, with the mains, even after the mains. The main thing is to get them down your neck while they’re still piping hot and delicious.

That’s pudding perfection!

Perfect Yorkshire Puddings


Review: George and Joseph’s Cheese Shop

We were with my folks for Christmas. My mum is an incredible cook and so never wants any help with the starter, main course or desert but she does occasionally let us help out with other parts of the meal.

And I must have done something right because this year I received a promotion. That’s right – after 3 years’ hard graft on crackers (the Christmas pulling variety), I was given the serious responsibility of the cheeseboard. Head of Dairy-Based Produce, that was me.

christmas cake

Little sis was in charge of cake decoration hence the arctic /antarctic animal mash up instead of your standard nativity scene

So where to go to get the good stuff? There’s less choice in Leeds since the fromagerie in the Corn Exchange closed down but fortunately there’s a new shop in town (well, just outside town in Chappel Allerton) called George & Joseph. This artisan cheesemongers (set up in 2012) used to be an online only affair but last August the owner Stephen Fleming decided to go all bricks and mortar in the trendy North West Yorkshire suburb.

George & Joseph Cheese Shop

George & Joseph’s in Chappel Allerton

We visited the shop a few days before Christmas. Stephen told us that there had been a steady stream of people all day but fortunately we were there during a lull which meant our cheeses were perfectly wrapped and labelled. A good job as I promptly forget the name of everything I’ve purchased within about 10 minutes!

George & Joseph Cheese Counter

A good selection of British and French cheeses on offer

On offer was a good selection of British cheeses with a few cheeky French options in for good measure. And you know you’re in a good place when there are some cheeses you’ve not tried before. One of them made it onto the Christmas list and I’ll be back for the other soon! So here’s what we went for and how it went down on the big day (and the day after that, and the day after that…)

  • Ribblesdale Bowler – comes in a red truckle shaped like a bowling ball with crumbly creamy Wensleydale-like cheese inside.
  • Garlic Yarg – amazing as always. Cheddar-like cheese wrapped in wild garlic leaves that give a fresh, pungent aftertaste.
  • Swaledale Blue – a richer, creamier version of Stilton from the dales of Yorkshire. A firm favourite
  • Brinkburn Goats’ cheese – another classic. Hard and tangy and perfect with a bit of chutney.
  • Hellfire – a cheddar with mustard seeds washed with Hellfire ale from Leeds Brewery, apparently this cheese was inspired by the Tour de France and the fact that Lille has a cheese that is washed in ale. It was a great twist on the humble old cheddar.
  • Sparkenhoe Leicester – I dare not call it Red Leicester on here or mother dearest (Leicester born and bred) will demote me to crackers again as the red shouldn’t be mentioned (“what other Leicester cheese is there?”). Taste-wise it is a bit nuttier than your average cheddar with a zing at the end.

A Stilton, Brie and Dolcelatte sourced from elsewhere completed a board worthy of Christmas day feasting.

Christmas cheese board

Cheese is for life, not just for Christmas. But it’s nice at Christmas so we have loads…

So thanks to G&J I think I fulfilled my Christmas duties. I’ve probably got a few more years on cheese before I can think of promotion again (Head of Bread Sauce is the natural progression) so I will have to get thinking about what good old Yorkshire cheeses I can bring to the table next time around.

Fortunately one of my Christmas presents was membership to the Yorkshire Homage2Fromage club so I can get some inspiration throughout the year!

Forget dry January, going to the gym more and the juice diet…. my New Year’s resolution is to make 2014 the year of the cheese.


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