A great deal in Halifax



When Pat emailed round and suggested £15 pp bed and breakfast at the Shibden Mill Inn in return for having a 2 course dinner we were a little sceptical as it sounded too good to be true. On Pat and Tony’s recommendation we couldn’t turn this offer down.

The weather was super sunny so with the top down we set off to collect Tess and over to Pat and Tony’s. After a quick  progress viewing of the impressive new Priestley House we were soon at the Shibden Mill Inn and we have to say it is a pretty setting. The sun had given us a thirst so we sat outside and enjoyed drinks and nibbles. We have to admit we were apprehensive to see what kind of room you get for £30 a night…………no need to worry as our room was nicely furnished and more than adequate. Tess, Pat and Tony decided to walk to the Stump Cross Inn for a couple of drinks but D and I decided on a cheeky Veuve Cliqcout on the terrace reading poetry. Showers were followed by relaxed drinks in the bar.

Dinner was simply great, starters included, mussels, mackeral, tomato/mozzarella,. The star of the mains had to be the rib of beef which Tony and G enjoyed. Pudding stars were Eton mess and chocolate crunch, both top draw.

A couple of bottles of wine from a reasonable list complimented the meal. Cognacs and coffees in the bar topped off a beautiful day but we could not finish without mentioning breakfast, see it to believe it.

Probably the best value Dinner B&B we’ve had.



After a long day of meetings in London, my final meeting was at St Pancras (which, by the way if you haven’t visited is completely amazing in every way) so I decided to grab a late lunch before my last meet.

I’ve been a few times in the past – as it’s a pretty established chain in London – so I though it would be a better option than a one-off  bar that served food. Well, it was Ok. Bruschetta for starters was fine, but the tomatoes didn’t have the sunshine hit you need and the asparagus risotto (note emerging theme) was again OK but not exceptional. Glass of Puglian Rose was the best part of the meal to be honest. It was good food but quite pricey for what was on the plate. 

I’d certainly recommend it for a light lunch and in terms of what other chains deliver, they’re head and shoulder above the rest. To give you some idea of how it compares up North, if there was one in Leeds, I believe it would do very, very well.

Is there no end to this obsession?

Baked asparagus with pancetta

Using up the greedy third bundle of asparagus we bought from Sand Hutton at the weekend (yes, third), supper last night was sublime and sophisticated and it had nothing to do with me.

Rather than hoover up a dustbin lid full of junk after a busy and hungry day in London (no lunch til 3pm, and that’s easily done I can tell you), I snaffled the remaining bundle of green joy in the fridge. Inspired by Nigel Slater, I cobbled together a really quite ace supper.

Blanched asparagus were combined with butter-fried pancetta and parmesan then baked in th’oven making a perfect early summer supper that, when combine with the fabtabulous Eikendal South African Chardonnay for Majestic, delivered just what I needed after a hard day at the design coalface. Easy, fresh, very tasty, seasonal and cheap! There is no more to say. Nice pic to show I didn’t make this up.


Betty’s Macaroon Mountain


This is the final and fourth part of the York trilogy which when passing big Betty’s the window display did it’s job and enticed Linda to the selection of handmade macaroons. Four flavours were on offer … Pistachio, Lemon, Chocolate and Raspberry.  The presentation boxes were excellent and these would make a great gift, on this occasion it was to ourselves. The natural colourings were highlighted and a pleasant surprise, the taste and texture were both excellent with suitable chew-ability (spell checker put in the hyphen, I preferred without?). This rounded off a excellent day in York and Betty’s should always be on the visit list.

p.s. We did actually resist until returning home to try the macaroons with a pot of Betty’s leaf tea.

J&L 16/05/09

The Hairy Fig – Fossgate, York – Part Deux


Prior to our lunch at Jeff Bakers we stopped by at the Hairy Fig (click for link) which also on Fossgate offers a fine selection of regional and specialist foods. The Rosemary ciabatta is one of our favourite breads and we also got some of the fresh figs, shepherds purse cheese and Morecambe bay shrimps … a varied mix but this highlights the excellent selection on offer. A nice touch were the mini umbrellas sheltering the outside display from the elements. A great find and highly recommended if in York.

J&L. 16/05/09

J. Bakers Bistro Moderne – Fossgate, York – 16/05/09


In search of a wedding present we decided to have a day in York which un-planned turned in to an excellent foodie adventure. When in York we always have lunch at Jeff Bakers (click for link) on Fossgate and called in to book a table for lunch at one o’clock before hitting the shops. After a successful shopping mission we arrived to be seated at a table near the window. An excellent formula for Jeff Bakers is to sample the Grazing Menu which at lunch consists of three courses chosen by the kitchen for the modest sum of ten pounds. The offerings were Garlic soup, Hake and finally Calf’s liver. An appetiser plate of Wassabee Peas, dips and breads were brought initially with our glasses of house wines and a jug of iced water. Service was efficient and polite when needed. To finish a desert was shared along with two coffees, a plate of chocolate truffles and a cognac. The total bill was £38.00 which has to be one of the best value quality lunches we have had. Just a few of the extracts from Jeff’s web site history …..

  • Held a Michelin Star for 10 years 1996 to 2006 whilst heading up the kitchens of Pool Court.
  • First Chef to ever achieve a Michelin Star in Leeds.
  • Dom Perignon ‘The Collection’.
  • Listed as one of the top 35 Chefs in the UK.
  • Worked at 2 Star Château Montreuil.
  • Worked under Brian Turner and Nigel Davies at Sud Ouest.
  • Worked at 3 Star Tante Claire under the guidance of Pierre Koffman.
  • Yorkshire Chef of the Year 2005 – Yorkshire Life Magazine.
  • Awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Leeds Restaurant Industry’ – Leeds Restaurant Association Awards 2005.

J&L 16/05/09