Chefs tour the north west and north Yorkshire food stars

The north of England’s foodie hotspots have been discovered by The Guardian this weekend with both north Yorkshire and the north west being featured.

Writing in food and drink pages, Michelin-starred chef of the Yorke Arms in Pately Bridge, Frances Atkins takes a look at places including Harrogate, Ripon and Wensleydale.

Meanwhile chef Mary-Ellen McTague makes the case for looking past the clubbing and nightlife scene of north west cities and instead thinking food.

We’ve always done other stuff brilliantly in the north-west: art, music, fashion, design, clubbing, brawling … But we never quite got that combination of cool and quality right where food is concerned. But things have changed around here over the past couple of years, and we have a load of places to be proud of.

Check out her recommendations here.

What you eat for breakfast mapped

eggsI joined in with this Guardian Witness challenge to snap your breakfast this week when I happened to be in the lovely courtyard of Piercebridge Organics enjoying some of their tasty fresh eggs and home-baked teacake (well I am on holiday!).

At the time I did it, there was just one other contribution from a northern food snapper who likewise posted a toast-based option from Lancaster.

Browsing through the gallery of several hundred submissions is an interesting scroll through people’s habits and range of choices.

But when you put them all onto a world map, the project tells a more interesting story.

Who knew someone in Australia chose to eat tacos to start the day and then there’s the Greek salad option for breakfast in Dubai or edible flowers in Russia.
You can join in with the Guardian Witness assignment here and the map above will update to show your submission.

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Welcoming the Veggie Runners to the food bloggers map

veggierunnersToday it’s a warm welcome to the intrepid Leeds duo – the Veggie Runners at the northern food bloggers map.

I first met this mother and daughter powerhouse back at a Blog North event and it’s been a bit remiss of me not to have them on the map to date so here they are at last.

Doing what it says in the title, they blog about running and health veggie fayre but if that all sounds a bit intimidating they say:

You don’t have to be a runner or a vegetarian to hang out here on the blog – we just want to help you be the healthiest you can be. We provide tasty, innovative recipes, exercise tips and fun fitness chat.

Give them a go and keep them in mind when those New Year’s Resolutions come round.

If you belong on the map, please let me know via the comments below or twitter @foodiesarah or email

Bradford battles it out for curry capital crown (again)

Last year a quarter of a million curry fans voted for their favourite city, with Bradford narrowly beating Glasgow and Wolverhampton to receive the prestigious Curry Capital crown – for the third time.

And it’s voting time again.

In a press release, organisers the Federation of Specialist Restaurants (Fedrest), in association with lead sponsors sent through the following informationa and the chance to win a £300 voucher.

Founded by food historian and author Peter Grove, the Curry Capital of Britain is part of National Curry Week and showcases the cultural richness of Britain’s largest cities, encapsulating the passion of the British Indian food industry.
Each participating city will be represented by four local restaurants, who will campaign on behalf of their city and make their case to the judges. The public can also now vote online for their chosen city via the new website:, with the winning city announced on October 13. An awards ceremony will take place on an exclusive Thames River Cruise on October 27 and the trophy will be presented to the winner.

For the first time ever the awards will recognise the excellent quality of takeaway restaurants in Britain with the inclusion of the Takeaway Award. The new award will go to the winning city’s best takeaway restaurant, as selected by’s Top Takeways Campaign 2013.

Gallery: A whirlwind food trip in Cannes and Montecarlo

There’s the holiday over then. Rather than attempt to review places which many blog readers here are unlikely to visit I kept a short picture diary of places visited and food served up.

To see the locations and further details of any of the dishes just click on the image and the posting I made to my noticeboard while out and about in Cannes and MonteCarlo will open up.

Hope you enjoy – it’s made me hungry putting it together!

A trip to a north east foodbank

TasteoftheNorth blog went along to Bay Foodbank in north Tyneside, one of the many foodbanks springing up across the UK to find out more about food poverty.

What gripped me as I was walking around the shelving in their new warehouse (their old warehouse in Blyth was unsafe), is the realisation that I take my kitchen and fresh ingredients for granted because not everyone has a hob or oven, something which Jackie and the volunteers thinks about when sorting the food for parcels. It makes me angry that this is happening in GREAT Britain in 2013. On our doorstep. It also makes me realise that any donation of food would make a difference to someone’s life and wellbeing.

Read more about the visit in this thought-provoking post here. There’s also a form for people to donate here.

Welcome Patchy Growth and Taste of the North to the bloggers map

Two new additions to the map of northern food blogs this weekend – both from the north east.

First up it’s Lee with his blog of allotment-related affairs which also covers restaurants reviews and recipes at Not just cooking but growing the stuff as well.

Second is Paul with the does what it say title of tasteofthenorth. He describes his site:

Northern England has a wonderful larder and with a sweeping coastline, we have great access to fresh fish from various harbours. We also have a great variety of butchers, bakers, grocers and brewers that make it a mecca for foodies. I want to promote what the North has to offer whether it be Eateries, Watering Holes, Producers or Shops.

Taste Of The North includes recipes, reviews, food writing and photography.

I’m looking forward to following them both.

If you belong on the map, please let me know via the comments below or twitter or email

Glazed roast chicken to liven up Sunday

Tesco’s been doing some research among its customers to find out what’s cooking at home and people’s attitudes towards food.

The supermarket carried out a survey of 2,000 parents and quizzed them about such things as their level of passion for cooking and how often a microwave was used for the main family meal.

And among the findings they also identified favourite meals and came up with this top five list for Manchester meals which show a pretty traditional, and it could be said, unadventurous, selection:

  • Roast dinner (14%)
  • Spaghetti bolognaise (8%)
  • Pizza (8%)
  • Lasgne (7%)
  • BBQ chicken/cottage pie (5%)

So as part of its Love Every Mouthful campaign, they’ve come up with this recipe for a different sort of roast chicken and asked me to try it out. Could this oriental inspired glazed chicken tempt you into trying something different?

Glazed roast chicken

Glazed roast chicken with lemon roast potatoes and broccoli

61/2 tbsp clear honey
5tbsp soy sauce
small piece of grated ginger
9 crushed garlic cloves
5 tbsp rice wine
1 chicken
2lb halved charlotte pots
2 thinly sliced lemons
1tbsp olive oil
200g tenderstem broccoli

It’s simple enough to do. Put the honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and ricewine in a pan and bring to the boil for 5 mins. It should go thick and sticky but I have to admit mine remained quite runny so I think I’d add some extra honey next time.

Coat the chicken with the half the glaze and stick it in an oven pre-heated to 190c.

30 mins before then end of the cooking time (which will depend on how big your bird is), remove from the oven to add the final half of the glaze and add the lemons and potatoes tossed in oil to the oven for the final cooking.

Verdict: The glaze kept the bird very moist and succulent. The flavours were delicate and makes for an extra zing to the Sunday roast with the potatoes also lighter than your standard roasties.

Tescos is hoping people will share their resulting creations on social media using the hashtag #loveeverymouthful and so you might well find other recipes popping up across Twitter and Instagram.

North east business to deliver More More More food at home

More More More is making a move into the online home delivery market with range of homemade style everyday dishes.

Earlier this week the entrepreneurial owners of Newcastle’s Assembly Rooms invited some of us food bloggers over to show us their ambitious new venture and give us a taste of what’s on offer.

To get a proper feel for what’s cooking,we went into the kitchen to see the chefs cooking up a starter – lime leaf chicken with sweet chili sauce .

Then it was time to sample the mains – a shepherd’s pie and a lasagne and compare to some similar products from Waitrose.

The idea is to provide a different experience to the supermarket ready meal. The dishes are made fresh to order by the chef in the kitchens and sent out in simple packaging in portions of four so the helpings can be eaten or frozen.

It puts the north east company into a national market with surprisingly few competitors – the most well known being Forman and Field (which we’ve blogged about before here) – and taps into the same home dining trend all the supermarkets seem to be targeting with their starter-main-desert eat-in offers.

So how does it compare?

Price: At first glance, the prices might look steep but don’t forget the price given is for four portions. At £3.94 per person, the generous size chicken starter for example sounds more sensible.

Fantastic cheesecake

Appearance: The containers looked very familiar – and they are. The quality kilner jars and trays are from the same supplier as Forman and Field and both more pleasant to use and more attractive than the plastic and film supermarket versions.

Taste: Of the dishes we sampled, the chicken starter had great fresh, summery taste, the shepherd’s pie was nothing special but the standout star of the evening had to be the dessert of blueberry and mascarpone cheesecake bursting with fruit and perfectly balanced.

Verdict: Looking through the selection online there’s some great dishes on show. Personally, I don’t think I’d ever order up a shepherd’s pie – it just seems a bit too everyday and easy to bother with. But some of the other dishes and products offer something a bit different and more exciting and I wouldn’t overlook the dessert based on this week’s experience.

Having the added advantage of seeing where the food’s produced, ordering up something that’s more homemade than assembly line could be a handy backstop for a busy week.

One I made earlier – sort of

Hundreds of viewers complain about the latest Marmite ad

In just 24 hours, the Advertising Standards Authority received 250 complaints about this ad.

Marmite trailed the advert’s debut, during Monday’s Coronation Street on ITV, on its Facebook page and The BBC reports it received mixed responses following its broadcast.

“This ad shows no regard for all those involved with animal welfair [sic] and I personaly [sic] will no longer eat Marmite till this ad is pulled,” wrote one.

Funny or tactless? Have your say below.