Thai cafe opens in Leeds for street food experience

BKKcafeTwo Thai women who’ve made Leeds their home have set up this interesting sounding new cafe. I haven’t had the opportunity to pop by yet, but I like the sound of this place which offers the sort of street food that’s found in Bangkok and describes itself as a ’boutique’ cafe .

One of those behind the Bangkok Cafe venture, Bow told me more:

“We cook authentic thai meals which is not typical how takeaway places always do. Authentic Thai food from our interpretation is freshly cooked food with fresh ingredients and real thai herbs. Therefore, we cook each dish to order in front of you, using only the freshest ingredients you can see on display.

ingredients“Our tips for making good thai food are of course using fresh ingredients, good balance of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy tastes and cooking at right temperature especially high heats for stir fry dishes.

“We avoid using dried and packaged herbs for instance lemongrass and galangal because they hardly taste comparing to the fresh ones.”

The cafe has only been open a short time and, while they are finding that the well-known Pad Thai is proving to be the most popular choice, they also offer dishes less familiar to UK diners a such as Koa Pad Num Prik Kapi.

Bangkok Cafe is in Hyde Park Corner, Leeds.

Have you tried it? Share your experience with us via the comments below.

Marmite and soliders wins food award in London

If there’s two things I think I know about readers of this blog it’s 1. a love of discussing the merits of Marmite (five years and counting ) and 2. we all enjoy the opportunity to have a chuckle at southern silliness in the food department.

This then should be the perfect story.

The Yorkshire Dales food blog brings news from the capital – that a plate of toasted soldiers and Marmite has won an award. As the lovely pictures on the blog show – it even, yes wait for it, it even comes served in a Marmite jar!

The plate of ‘Marmite Royale’ (£8 but it does include foie gras) won the Best  Dish for London’s Club Gascon at the Taste of London Restaurant Festival.

C Wildman quotes a ‘delighted’ chef Pascal Aussignac:

“I’m honoured to win this award, especially in front of such wonderful London chefs. It’s an amazing feeling and I am so proud of my team……
“The dish is a combination of culinary influences and techniques from my French homeland and my adopted home London.”

Food news and moves this week

A few snippets of foodie news from the north this week:

* Congratulations to the Michelin starred Black Swan at Oldstead  in North Yorkshire which, SquidBeak reports, has just won the Food and Travel Magazine’s ‘Gourmet Bolthole of the Year’ award, voted by readers.
 (If you like the sound of that, don’t forget I mapped the north’s Michelin places which do lunch at a reasonable price here)

* Seafood specialists Livebait Leeds  and Manchester are under new ownership. The restaurants are now now part of a new, independent company called S.B.G Restaurants and there’s been changes to the menu as well as how the ingredients are sourced.

* Halifax will be hosting the town’s fifth annual food and drink festival on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 June. Entry is free for the first time and more than 60 stalls will be setting up shop. I’ve dropped more details on the noticeboard here.

* Manchester is soon be home to an Italian Gelateria – Fresco Freddo. They’ve been in touch to say they’ll be serving ‘fresh, traditional and authentic gelato’. No opening date as yet but it will be at 83 Oxford Street.

* If you’re looking to live it up a bit, the Fullerton Place Spa in Belsay has started doing light lunches and afternoon teas in the grounds of the retreat. For more information call Grace on: 01661 881804.

If you have food news from anywhere across the north to share, drop me an email or post it up on the noticeboard.

Schoolgirl food blogger’s sad farewell

“I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either. Goodbye, Veg”

And with that, nine-year-old Martha’s fantastic blog, Never Seconds, chronicling her school meals has ceased, the latest food blogger whose photography has been misunderstood. Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning, her dad made it clear that the quality photography was such a big part of the storytelling that the blog couldn’t continue.

What a shame. I hope that the small-minded actions of Argyll and Bute Council in halting this enterprising project doesn’t put her off publishing in future as Martha obviously has a flair for journalism.

The professional PR people employed by local taxpayers who will have to deal with the public annoyance at this petty pressure could learn a thing or too about engaging with the local community from Martha judging by the responses her blog and its closure has prompted this morning.

Northern men taking cooking lessons? Here’s proof

While looking around for examples of interesting cookery courses going on in the north, I came across this snippet from my Northerner colleague Martin Wainwright who claims to have unearthed something of a gender shift in the culinary arts.

He writes about the Cooking School at Dean Clough.

“A fish-cooking course last month had men as half the students, compared with a usual ratio of 80 percent women to 20 percent men, and it wasn’t a series of sessions in how to run a fish-and-chip shop (historically more of a male occupation, though not exclusively). Indian cookery courses have also seen more men involved, as have the ‘Taste of..’ adventures into global cuisine which the school runs on Monday evenings.

“Organisers have had a look at bookings and concluded that women buying a course as a gift is partly responsible, a good way round the familiar problem of men expressing great enthusiasm to have a go, knowing that they will be refused because of the probable mess and incompetence. The school’s chef manager Matthew Benson-Smith also suggests that there may have been a bit of ‘Look how clever he is..’ goading in front of TV sets at home, as celebrity hunks show off their cooking skills.”

You can read the full article here. Is this a kitchen revolution? I’d love to hear details of any more schools, courses or from people who have attended any such across the north of England. Please do drop me a line or comment below.

‘How Lewis and Cooper became a global gourmet emporium’

Lewis and Cooper is a grocery institution in north Yorkshire. It’s always a treat to visit the flagship Northallerton store because of the sheer range of quality goods on offer – for those unfamiliar, it’s a bit like the foodhall of a top-end department store, but more so.

I’ve often wondered why there’s only three stores, given the appreciation people always show, and in the latest edition of Yorkshire Life, the chairman explains the strategy.

It’s changed very little over the years, but that’s not down to a lack of ambition as the company’s Dr David Gearey explains.

“Yorkshire people don’t like us messing about with their store too much…….We want to expand further, but not at any cost. We have to find the right place and the right fit for us. Our objective is to have more stores and to become the north’s number one store for foodies, but caution is always key.”

Read the full article here.