Delve, a new magazine for Yorkshire launched at #blognorth4

Delve

The big news from #blognorth4 is this – the launch of a new glossy magazine from a team which includes CultureVultures bloggers Emma (Bearman) and Phil(Kirby) plus Fran (Graham).

Called Delve it’s described as a bi-annual appetiser for the discerning and adventurous. It contains articles and pictures of some of the things that are best about Yorkshire.

In this first edition there’s articles about cheese, there’s a personal account about a Pakistanin breakfast dish and there’s design – this is not a listings or recommendations site.

At launch during the lunch break Emma explained why she’s got into print after becoming so well known for blogging and tweeting.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t exist on twitter or blog. When you talk to people who don’t engage in social media about the amount of things going on, they are amazed at the sort of stuff they are missing out on.

” For me it’s also been about taking a but of time out, maybe I have gone down a worm hole of excessive Twitter use. So much stuff is throw away and disposable. Delve is almost the flip of ultra- on culture. I was early into blogging but maybe it’s time that I’m putting some limit’s on that.”

Earlier at #blognorth4:

We heard from professional food photographer, Paul Winch Furness who offered some tips on getting the best shots and took a small group of us out on a photo walk around Kirkgate market.

“Think of the persuasiveness of the photo, what do I want to achieve with this. Do they illustrate the text or do they have to stand up with them for themselves?

“There’s no such thing as the best camera to do food photography, the best phone is the one in your pocket or handbag.I find that if you use Instagram, there’s something more authentic and people seem to believe the picture more than with a studio shot.”

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Join the take-away inspection investigation

Over on The Northerner blog today I launched the start of an investigation to reveal the full findings of the food premises rated zero duirng inspections over the past year.

You can read the findings from the first two councils to release the information (Sunderland and Carlisle) and more are on their way in the next few weeks – they are Leeds, Manchester, and Middlesbrough.

If you’d like to join in with the investigation by filing your own Freedom of Information request to your local council here’s how:

Making the Freedom of Information request

1. Go to the site http://www.whatdotheyknow.com (you’ll need to sign up) and click on ‘make a request’.

2. You’ll be asked to ‘select an authority’ – that’s your local council.

3. After doing a search just to double check that the information isn’t already public, click on the tab to ‘make a request’.

4. Here is a template request using the form of words I’ve already used:

Dear [name of council],

Please treat the following questions as a Freedom of Information
request.

I would like any response to be made electronically wherever
possible in spreadsheet form.

This request aims to establish details about the food hygiene
ratings in your area.

Please could you provide the full inspection reports for those
business premises given a food hygiene rating of zero in the last
year.

Along with the inspectors full findings, please can you detail the
date of inspection, the date of the premises’ next inspection,
name, address and action required or undertaken.

Is there any additional information held about enforcement action
or improvements undertaken?

If you are only able to release some of the information I would ask
that you release this data rather than withhold the entire set.

If you would like more clarification on this issue do not hesitate
to contact me using this site – as I would expect to be contacted
should you need any clarification.

Please can you confirm that you have received this request and I’d
like to remind you that under the freedom of information act 2000
you are bound to respond in 20 days.

Yours faithfully,

5. The whatdo theyknow website will lead you through the process and give you the date when the information has to, by law, be released to you. Please just drop me a line via the comments below or by email (foodiesarah@me.com) to let me know you’ve requested it.

Posting your inspection report to The Guardian’s map

– The map is generated via n0tice.com so, if this is your first visit you’ll need to sign-up. You can do this via your existing Facebook or Twitter accounts or by creating a user name and entering your email address.
– once logged in, go to http://foodhygiene.n0tice.com and click on ‘post a new report’
– you will be presented with a simple form asking for the information mentioned above.

Curry change at Bull’s Head, Old Glossop

Made a flying visit to Old Glossop last week and what do I find? All change.

The village with three pubs is down to two with a sign pasted on the door of the Queen’s Arms saying it’s closed due to fire. Don’t know why and don’t know when it will re-open – nothing in the local papers about it and no-one around the locked and dark place to ask.

But the bigger change is the new Indian restaurant at The Bull’s Head – and no more ‘memory man’ Mamood.

Mamood (and I apologise if the spelling isn’t right) was an institution and known far and wide for his amazing ability to remember exactly what customers liked to order – and how they liked their food prepared.

We’d got so used to having individualised Indian food – extra ginger in the daal, more chilli for our macho friend, lassi with slightly less sugar – that eating anywhere else felt like eating processed food. (Something I’ve previously blogged about here).

Lamb Handi
New food

The new broom comes courtesy of Longsight’s Lazeeza. After the shock of the new we tried out the lamb handi (very rustic preparation style of lamb on the bone with a robust spicy tomato sauce), daal (which was sadly very salty), mushroom rice and chapati (good bread, no ‘wet flannels’!).

The old place has been given a much-needed re-furb with curtains, a lick of paint and fresh flowers brightening up what could previously be quite a dingy back room.

It’s a good new menu, a friendly greeting and a pleasing environment, so I wish the new management all the best in their endeavours, even if Mamood’s particular attention to customer service will be a hard act to follow.

New pub opened in Old Glossop

01052009187A Bank Holiday treat this weekend – a new local pub, The Wheatsheaf, opened on Friday. Now when I say new, that’s not entirely correct as this pub has been up near the Church for so long it was even featured in the local paper’s memories page this week.

It’s a traditional stone built Derbyshire inn had most recently been trading as a (v nasty) Greek Taverna.

In these days of nearly 30 UK  pub closures every week it’s a welcome sight and means there’s now a choice of three pubs for us few hundred villagers.

The interior has been given an overhaul with freshly painted walls, new flooring and smart furnishings as well as feature fireplaces.

They’ll soon be serving a full menu of the steak and grills variety but, for now, they’re offering some pleasingly fresh sandwiches, jackets and the like as bar snacks while they get going.

The landlords Bob and Irene Skupham say trade has exceeded expectations so far so good luck to them for the future!

Restaurant at 54, Glossop

After eating (yet another) fantastic meal at this place, I realised I’ve never really done a proper review of Restaurant at 54.

Not sure why – perhaps because it’s on my doorstep and I like to eat there without the pressure of writing it up for work – or maybe it’s simply that I keep forgetting to take the pictures before the food is devoured.

Either way, it doesn’t seem fair not to spread the word about this little gem so I’m putting it right.

The restaurant has been operating for nearly a year now and is the sort of neighbourhood eaterie everyone wants in their locality – well-priced simple cooking with friendly service.

(They also do regular special nights with set menus – a recent fish and garden five courser being particularly memorable.)

Plus the menus change regularly and aren’t overly long so avoiding menu fatigue for us regulars!
Last night’s meal was typical of what’s on offer for the midweek special (two courses £10.95/3 courses £13.95 per person with complimentary glass of house wine).
To start I enjoyed a smoked haddock and mussel chowder while he tucked into some succulent sausages and a poached egg. Nothing fancy there but well-cooked, well-presented fare.

Similarly the main course of hake with a creamy prawn sauce (mine) and pork loin for him demonstrated the care the chefs take here – everything is perfectly done, the meat seems rested and the fish is always at that flaked stage, never over cooked.
The sauces tend to be fairly full-on – powerful in their stance but, because they’re served with a selection of plainly cooked veg, they aren’t overpowering.

The front of house is also worth a mention for its friendly and relaxed service too and what more can I say – I like it and if you’re ever in Glossop, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Restaurant at 54 is at 54 High Street West, Glossop. 01457 861054.

Strines Inn @ Bradfield Dale

HEARTY walks, as everyone knows, lead to hearty appetites and Strines Inn is perfectly placed for some whatever-the-weather British exertion in expectation of a rewarding feast.
Being deep into the Peak District, walkers seeing this as a beacon for lunch or dinner would have needed to walk a very long way indeed to take advantage of one of the house specialities – the “mammoth mixed grill” .
“Steak, pork chop, lamb chop, gammon, liver, kidney, sausage with egg, mushroom AND chips.” All for £12.25. Phew! That’s a marathon of a meal however far you’ve strolled.
Not being quite that hale and hearty we made it to this 13th century former manor house in a horseless carriage. Although far removed from the metropolitan centres of both Manchester and Sheffield, this seemingly remote location is less than an hours drive from either and gives the city dweller a chance to escape.
On a bright day, peacocks pecking outside welcome visitors up the winding lane from Snake Pass, eagerly hoping to beg chips from the dinners sitting outside rewarding their travels with the high views over the reservoirs 1,000 ft below.
We settled to look at the menus having failed to work up anything more than the usual greediness in the journey from the car to the door. It’s a pub that’s high on tradition with a selection of grills, sandwiches and giant Yorkshire puds as well as having a daily fish and pie option which caught our eyes.
I went for the whole trout (£9.95) while he plumped for a very meaty steak and ale pie (£8.40). After seeing the other menu items we rightly anticipated large portions. My perfectly pan-fried trout came with real chips. If you remember chips that see off the vinegar into trickling rivulets, refusing to get soggy and retaining their mouth-blowing hotness for extraordinary length of time, this is the pub for you. Made me wonder how exactly those oven cousins have so successfully usurped their country brethren.
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Between sampling a glass of Jennings Cocker Hoop ale (after taking an age to decide between that house ale and the guest beers on display) he tucked into the satisfying pie which was far more steak than gravy under a crisp crust of melting pastry.
Having been relatively restrained(sic) with our choice of mains we contemplated the dessert menu while taking note of how many sets of eyes were upon us. The traditional interior of the pub seems to have been decorated following a closing down sale at Manchester Museum and there’s barely a wall or window sill which isn’t displaying stuffed game birds and creatures.
Regardless of their staring opinion, I selected an indulgent treacle sponge (£3.60) with custard much to the consternation of a visiting American drinking in the bar who considered this traditional delicacy an abomination of “molasses”, whatever that is.
He went a bit modern with the chocolate sundae (£3.65) which proved to be an extravagance of chocolate ice-cream, chocolate chucks, a chocolate flake and cream. He was defeated.
Obviously time for a hike to walk all this off. A very, very long one.
Strines Inn is at Bradfield Dale, near Sheffield off the A57. Call on 0114 2851247 or use the postcode S6 6JE for sat nav.

Restaurant at 54 opens

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A new restaurant opening in the village I currently live is always cause for celebration. For too long Glossop has been the home of take-aways, sandwich shops (which call themselves delis for some reason) and microwaved pub grub.
So it was pleasing to see Restaurant at 54 open for business today. The warm welcome we received for the opening Sunday lunch revealed that this is the latest enterprise from the people who used to run the the Bull’s Head at Tintwistle – including the same chef.
So far so good. Although it’s too early to carry out a proper review (you can still smell the paint) today’s menu certainly holds out promise.
We tucked into a very generous roast Derbyshire beef and a subtle salmon and scallops with thermidor sauce. Both were good. Well-cooked and well-seasoned.
They succeded in building a recipe for success at the pub, so good luck to them in this new venture. We’ll no doubt be back.
Restaurant at 54 is at 54 High Street West, Glossop. 01457 861054.

Lane Ends Inn @ Marple Bridge

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As signs and signifiers go, it wasn’t an auspicious start to our dining experience at the Lane Ends Inn. Two people who’d arrived shortly before us at this hilly point in Marple Bridge turned and fled saying they didn’t like the look of it.
Then we entered under the large neon “bar and grill” sign to find a completely empty establishment where the only sound was a distant radio which seemed to be tuned into somewhere in the middle east and a loud banging noise that we put down to the chef beating steaks but could just as easily have been someone doing a bit of DIY.
But first impressions can sometimes be misleading. There was no getting away from the fact that it was empty but, as the waitress/barmaid explained, it was match day and they don’t allow football in the bar.
So we settled into the comfy leather sofas to peruse the menu. Mainly grill favourites – steak, chicken etc but also plenty of fish and some Mediterranean dishes which might be more at home in the pub owners’ other venture, the Mediterranean Restaurant at The Romper.
We placed our order and settled ourselves in the dining area of the pub. An oddly different style and feel to the cosy bar area, most easily described as being a bit like your grannies best room.
The pub was refurbished late last year and aims to have the feel of a hunting lodge with guns on the walls, a pair of antlers above the fireplace and even a large wall hanging of big cats.
But the dining area still has the patterned carpets, tablecloths and stripy curtains of a 1980s TV makeover show giving the whole place a strangely disjointed feeling.
The banging stopped, the radio was silenced and music faintly filled the area giving the place a warmer feel as our starters arrived – and some more diners arrived.
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I tucked into a giant slab of mozzarella which had been bread crumbed alongside some large and generously garlicky mushrooms while he sampled a plate of smoked salmon (£4.90), simply dressed with lemon juice served on a salad with mascerpone cheese.
The salmon would have benefited from some bread accompaniment but was good and generous while the rustic style of the mozzarella fungi fritter (£4.50) would defeat even the most hungry Italian.
The main courses were similarly large – and served on what must be the world’s largest plates. My prawns with cream and mushrooms ( I had actually ordered prawns with chili and tomato (£10.90), but they looked good so I eat them anyway!) were succulent, well-flavoured and garlicky once more.
The rack of lamb (£10.95) proved to be tender and well-trimmed with a well tuned rosemary gravy. The new potatoes turned out to be of the sliced and baked variety while the generous variety of vegetables – carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, parsnip would have benefited from a shorter cooking time.
The choice of wines by the glass was limited to the singe serving bottle which seem to taking over in pubs at the moment.
Iwas disappointed by a Romanian Pinot Grigio while he fared better with a well kept pint of Bombardier.
The size of the meals really did make having deserts a no go zone and the selection of pre-packed types – ice-cream, cheesecake, apple pie etc didn’t inspire us to blow out.
By the time we had finished our meal, the match was over, customers were filing back into the pub and the fancily atmosphere of the dining room was being put to good use in providing a youngster who had wanted nothing but chicken nuggets with a proper meal (they don’t do nuggets).
Wherever the couple who had turned and fled in front of us ended up, they would have found this place hard to beat in terms of simple home-cooked food done large.
Lane Ends Inn is at 2 Ley Lane, Marple Bridge. 0871 2076677.
More pictures from the meal at the Flickr group.

Afternoon menu @ Ladybower Inn

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After the disappointment of the Strines Inn, we called at the nearby Ladybower Inn.
The Ladybower serves food all day and by the time we got there, we were in time for the afternoon menu. A selection of pies, sandwiches and traditional dishes such as gammon and salmon were on offer – well suited for being washed down with choice from the wide selection of beers.
The award-winning Barnsley bitter from the nearby Acorn brewery got a starring role in his lunch choice – in both liquid and solid form as part of the beef pie topped with a crisp pasty and simply accompanied with a generous handful of chips and peas (£8.75). The beer’s nutty taste giving a deep, full flavour in both its solo and cameo appearances.
I went for the interesting sounding grilled lamb chops with chick pea salad (£9.60)
A glass of rather nasty house wine (Merlot or Cabernet being the only choice offered) was regretted as soon as purchased but the roaring fire was working some magic on the day and I resolved myself to the fact that ordering wine in a pub which has such a good selection of beer should probably bring some sort of repentance anyway.

The trio of braised lamb chops was meaty if a little fatty, the veg portion ws generous – carrots, cabbage, parsnip and new pots – and cooked with some thought. In fact it was all good home-cooked fare. But sadly not what I’d ordered!

Whether it was the appetite inducing fresh air, the stressful week at work or that open fire, I don’t know. But I didn’t actually notice that my meal wasn’t the one ordered until I’d finished it and so decided it was perhaps a bit late to inquire what had happened to my salad.
We waited for a long while to order a pudding. A very long time. There were various shop bought sounding cheesecake type desserts on offer, some interesting sounding local ice cream and a proper pud – apple and peach crumble. All options were £4. I looked forward to that crumble for the first 20 minutes but then couldn’t be bothered to order after seemingly being forgotten by the staff.
Despite the inattentive staffing and the menu mix-up, the Ladybower Inn is worth dropping into for a weekend family day. It feels a world away from the city but, at less than 20 miles away, easily achievable destination for some fresh air and a change of pace and to tuck into the sort of food you’d have at home if you had the time – plus it won’t break the bank.
The Ladybower Inn is at Bamford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire. S33 0AX. 01433 651 24.
See pictures from this venue at my Flickrstream here.