Monday, 24 February 2014


I have been meaning to post about this special little place called Kitschen for a while now and it seems like a good time to post as I have had the honour of whipping up some tasty sweet treats for their lucky punters. 

Photo: Kitschen

Whilst tucked away behind the Corn Exchange and Call Lane, Kitschen, a relatively new street food vendor to the Leeds scene it is certainly worth stumbling upon this new little gem.

Quirky it may be with it's black and white exterior, Kitschen specialises in freshly made pizza slices, dough balls and pulled pork sandwiches (aka SANGA'S!), all made on site using locally sourced products.

Photos: Kitschen

With lovely staff and an upstairs drenched in retro memorabilia (including a whole wall dedicated to Elvis!) and ironing boards as tables it is not hard to lose yourself in this rather 'kitsch' little wonderland.

My bakes have also been going down a right old treat at Kitschen, with favourites like my White Chocolate Rocky Road with caramel popcorn, salted peanuts and fudge, as well as my Chocolate Pretzel Fudge bars!

Kitschen will also be making their debut as a pop up this Friday 28 February, serving up their AMAZING pulled pork sanga's at the Brandon Street Night Market at Canal Mills.

Go down and show some love and support for this great new independent in Leeds.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


A few weeks ago I was invited to La Tasca for the launch of their new Bar de Sangria in Leeds.
Basing their new menu on using only the finest quality fresh ingredients, head chef Antony sources ingredients from as many artisan suppliers across Spain as possible.

Specialising in sangria (of course), as well as paella and tapas, La Tasca have re-branded and returned with a new authentic take on traditional Spanish cuisine and drink.

Arriving at La Tasca, we walked through the restaurant and were guided to a spiral staircase which led down to the bar. Down we hopped and a busy bar welcoming us with lots of friendly greetings from bar and PR staff.

Awaiting us at the bar were multiple glasses of dark red sangria so we dived in. At first we were not sure what to expect about what the night ahead entailed, but we were soon informed that there would be a big paella cooked live by a chef with some tapas dishes on offer too.

As we took a seat, the chef set up to cook the paella and we watched in awe. A huge paella pan adorned the table with dozens of fresh ingredients being thrown in. Chorizo and chicken paella was being made and boy did it smell good as the wafts of smoked paprika spread the room.

Whilst watching the paella being made we went through a few sangria's, however every single glass we were given tasted completely different and ranged from a rose to a deep red. My only qualm about the quality.

The food was ready and we all dived in. As well as paella we were lucky enough to sample some delicious tapas, including chorizo, rustic bread, Spanish omelette, croquettes and meatballs.

Everything on offer was extremely tasty and it was nice to know it had all been freshly made and using good quality ingredients. I was also surprised at how 'healthy' the tapas felt as sometimes tapas dishes can be very oily and heavy.

We had a highly enjoyable evening and were extremely well looked after. The food was a nice treat, and we were sent home ladened with gift bags of Spanish ingredients.

Whilst La Tasca is not somewhere I would usually visit. I definitely consider heading back for tapas and sangria with friends in the future.

Photos: La Tasca 

Sunday, 16 February 2014


I love to bake with polenta and having not made a polenta cake in a while I thought I would try out with a new recipe.

The grittiness and nutty texture of the polenta compliments the bite of the dessicated coconut. When both are combined and drenched in a lime syrup drizzle it makes for a super moist cake.


200g Caster Sugar
200g Butter
3 Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Essence
Zest of 2 Limes
100g Polenta
140g Self-Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
70g Dessicated Coconut
4tbsp Milk

Juice of 2 Limes
40g Granulated Sugar
50g Caster Sugar

6tbsp Icing Sugar
1tsp of Water
2tbsp Toasted Dessicated Coconut


1. Preheat your oven to 180C and grease and line a loose bottomed 8" cake tin.

2. In a bowl, place the milk over the dessicated coconut and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until it is light in colour and fluffy in texture.

4. Add the eggs, vanilla essence and lime zest and beat the mixture together until it is well combined.

5. Add the flour, polenta and baking powder to the wet ingredients and fold them together.

6. Add the milk soaked dessicated coconut to this mixture and fold together until a smooth cake batter is formed.

7. Place the mixture into the cake tin and place on the centre shelf of your oven to bake for 30-40 minutes.

8. To make the drizzle, take the juice of 2 limes and stir together with the granulated sugar and caster sugar. Once the cake has been removed from the oven, immediately pierce it with a skewer all over and then pour the lime drizzle mix on top of the cake.

9. Once the cake has cooled and the drizzle has set you can remove the cake from the tin. Make up the icing mix by sieving the icing sugar and adding the water to create a thick drizzling consistency. Drizzle this over the cake in lines and then scatter with the toasted dessicated coconut.

Sunday, 9 February 2014


Yesterday the Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds played host to the second Belgrave Street Feast. A delectable affair offering some of the finest independent street food vendors on offer.

Current foodie residents, including Dough Boys Pizza, Patty Smith's, Fu-Schnickens and Laynes Espresso were joined by outsiders Noisette Bakehouse, Bundobust and Fish& for the delicious street feast that lay ahead.

Joining my friend Sarah who runs her own bakery business Noisette Bakehouse (you may have also seen her in her lovely van Madeleine Express), I went down to help out on their stall for the day and to get stuck in to all the great food on offer.

Noisette Bakehouse provided a generous selection of freshly baked cakes, tarts, brownies and preserves which indeed got the crowds eyes oggling and mouths watering. Situated next to Laynes Espresso, who couldn't resist a cup of fine coffee with a delicious slice of cake?

With salted caramel brownies flying out left right and centre, there was also high demand for their decadent peanut butter chocolate cake and rhubarb and quince tart.

A vendor I was particularly excited to try was the long-anticipated Bundobust. A collaboration between highly famed Prashad restaurant and The Sparrow Bier Cafe in Bradford.

Having missed them at previous street food pop up events I was eager to try some of their vegetarian Indian street food after being teased with pictures of it all over my Twitter feed.

I went for the Pav Bhaji which came in at £6 for a generous sized portion. An original Mumbai street food, it consists of mashed veg, tomatoes and butter seasoned with spices and served with bread. It was truly delicious and warming with a great spicy kick. It was just what I needed to cut through the stinking cold that I currently have.

Bundobust will be opening a craft beer bar serving Indian street food on Mill Hill in Leeds City Centre very soon so watch this space.

Next up we have Fish&! Leeds street food favourites returned to the Belgrave after their residency here last Autumn. Serving up with their usual Fish& twist I just could not resist trying out the Brooklyn Brewery Lager Steamed Mussels on offer.

Served in a bread bowl, the mussels were steamed in Brooklyn Brewery Lager and finished with a chilli and parsley garnish. At £4 this was bargainous. I shared this with a few friends and we were all super impressed. Juicy mussels with lots of flavour and a bread bowl drenched in sweet beer and chilli was a fantastic moppable treat.

Belly bursting at this point I was sadly unable to try out all the food vendors yesterday!

Patty Smith's burgers were rolling out and so was the Taiwanese street food from Fu-Schnickens.
With a permanent queue, Fu-Schnickens were in high demand yesterday and sold out before close.

Serving up Taiwanese favourites Guo Bao, everyone was intrigued to sample something a little different. With three flavours on offer, steamed buns were filled with braised belly pork, crispy panko chilli chicken and a vegetarian option of glazed portabello mushroom and a tasty selection of toppings and garnishes.

But as the street feaat ended and Noisette Bakehouse had a near-sell out success we settled down to a pint of Saltaire Blonde and a slice of what's nice with a serving of the vegetarian pizza Paul and Linda from Dough Boys Pizza. With it being half price for a slice (totalling £1.40!) before 7pm it would have been rude not to. 

A great day of creative foodie talent in a fabulous setting.
I cannot wait for the next one on March 8th were I shall indeed be returning with Noisette Bakehouse!

Friday, 7 February 2014


Opening its first restaurant in London in 2005, Pho has kept its values of being a family run, small and informal whilst serving great value, deliciously healthy and authentically prepared Vietnamese street food.

Now with seven restaurants, its latest opening was at Trinity Kitchen in Leeds as a permanent trader back in October last year.

Picture: Diane Wong

As someone who likes to eat out on a regular basis I have welcomed Pho as my post work dinner stop for a quick, healthy and reasonable priced place to eat.

Healthy is the keyword here and although I am a regular Pho-goer I was invited to come and try out their menu and to discover just how healthy the options on offer were.

Whilst ordering some drinks and prawn crackers to start with. With a lovely sweet Vietnamese beer, their SUPER green juice made with kale, pineapple, apple and lime and a serving of Bánh Phồng Tôm which were prawn crackers with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

We sat down to start analysing the nutritional guide we were handed alongside our menu. The menu is sensible with a small but good mixture of Vietnamese street food on offer. This allows them to have the time to make everything in-house and fresh food.

Just scrolling through the list it is hard to find anything remotely naughty (except maybe the spring rolls!) which means that you can pretty much choose any dish you like and be comfortable with knowing that you have not overindulged.

We ordered our starters, sides and mains to arrive together. As a group of three we over-ordered but we still got to try lots of different dishes.

For starters my friends partner opted for the Nem Nướng, which are homemade pork and lemongrass meatballs homemade pork & lemongrass meatballs, whilst my friend and I chose the Gỏi Cuốn Tom which are lovely little rice paper summer rolls bursting with prawns, fresh vegetables and herbs.

We all had our own main dish. I went for the Phở Tái Lan which is a steaming bowl of rice noodle soup served with fresh herbs and flash fried beef (Hanoi style). It's the national dish of Vietnam and is extremely tasty, healthy and good for you! This massive bowl comes in at only 347 calories and 1g of saturated fat.

Pho is also extremely adaptable and a bit of a DIY act. Accompanying my Pho came a platter of hot red chilli, coriander, mint, beansprouts and lime for me to add at my pleasure. 

My friend and her partner both opted for the Bun Noodles with chicken and juicy tiger prawns which were still shockingly under 500 calories at 424 and 362 calories respectively.

 This came in a bowl with sot vermicelli rice noodles, fresh herbs, crunchy carrot and mooli pickle, crisp lettuce and a spicy seasoning to top. Garnished with roasted peanuts and fried shallots, it is meant to be soaked in the nuoc cham sauce which accompanies the dish and mixed before eating.

On hearing that all of the salads from Pho are under 300 calories we wanted to try a few of them out.

We went for the Gỏi Xoài salad which is a spicy green mango salad topped with pork, dried shrimp and peanuts, as well as the Gỏi Ngó Sen with tangy lotus stems, chicken, king prawns, green beans and sesame seeds. Both were extremely filling and deliciously fresh in flavour. A definite highlight.

I really enjoy the food at Pho and in particular I am impressed by their salads. With it being so close to where I work it is the perfect option for a healthy meal at an affordable price (most main dishes range from £5-8).

You can view all the nutritional information for Pho online here.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


We had some beautiful sunshine last weekend and I couldn't resist taking a stroll down to the Farmers Market on Briggate before going to the Laynes Espresso Brunch at Belgrave Music Hall (see my post on this here).

Always fascinated by the array of local produce on offer, I am particularly enticed by the stall with dead pheasants and game.

Lovely pizzettes, tarts and cakes as big as your head were also on offer from Podge.

Fresh oysters from Tarbett's Fishmongers Oyster Bar.

Fresh raspberry and rhubarb cordials and jams from The Seasonal Larder.

A beautiful array of baked goods from Hepworth's Deli.

The Farmers Market is on Briggate every first and third Sunday of the month from 10-4pm and is well worth a visit if you want to explore local produce and buy some treats.