The great pasty challenge

In Cornwall last week for a few days and what is the first thing I yearn for? Apart from Rick Stein‘s fish and chips (which are sublime) it has to be the authentic Cornish pasty.

Just like Guinness in Dublin, the pasty definitely tastes better the other side of the River Tamar. Everybody will have their favourite bakers and recipes for the ubiquitous pasty and by and large I have to say I’ve yet to have a bad pasty in Cornwall.

For those not familiar with pasties, they originate from the miners who used to take them down the mine for food. Pasties tend to be variations on meat, swede and potato with bits and bobs added. Purists of course will insist on beef, onion, potato and swede with plenty of seasoning.

So who’s pasty is the best?

Well for a bit of fun I bought an authentic, traditional pasty from the Chough bakery in Padstow (award winning no less) and a pasty from the famous Rick Stein deli in the same town. Of course Stein has rather monopolised Padstow but I don’t mind as he’s definitely taken the place up market and the quality of his food is top notch.

This wasn’t a scientific test by any means but we blind tested the two pasties with our party and there was one resounding winner – Rick Stein’s. The flavour was infinitely better – well seasoned and the quality of the meat was superb. Oh, and it was bigger. So the locals may decry the johnny come lately Stein pasty but it is far superior to the ‘traditional’ recipe.

But what do we know? We’re just from Yorkshire…

Town Hall Tavern, Leeds

Both the Haynes and the Deans had recommended the Town Hall Tavern which has undergone a resurrection. On the way to Waitrose we decided at the very last minute to take the turn off to Central Leeds and nip in for a quick lunch. The interior is all wooden floors and gastro pub colours e.g. Farrow & Ball….
The place was busy but not rammed which is positive because even though it was Saturday the place is not in the shopping quarter and being by all the Law Courts you would expect weekdays to be naturally the busiest times.
The menu is quite extensive with “home cooked pub grub” but we found the tapas style little dishes very interesting and at £1.95 per dish great value.
D had the fish fingers and chips with spicy beans. The fish and chips were excellent with little pieces of lightly battered fresh fish and a few twice fried chips but the spicy beans were a bit bland. I had 3 little dishes, pigs cheek scotch egg which was fantastic, chicken and black pudding samosa which was fantastic and spicy squid which was….. good (a tad greasy). My pint of Landlord was superb.
“We must go again” and we will.

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Leeds Loves Food

 

Bit of a late post due to last week being somewhat mental. Anyhow, better late than never. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon wandering around the Leeds Food Festival last weekend. Of course the magnificent weather really helped proceedings but so did the event itself – it was excellent.

In previous years this event has struggled to get momentum but this year I felt it really hit its stride with excellent representation from a good selection of restaurants around the city and plenty of small food producers selling their wares. I would say that if they continue in this vein, next year’s festival will require a lot more space than Millennium Square.

Leeds deserves more events like this and the city has shown itself to be very diverse and sophisticated in its approach to food and the enjoyment of food. I’d like to see it push on next year and really up the ante with not only local chefs but internationally renowned chefs and produce.

And of course, we finished off the day sat out in the back garden in the sunshine eating all the delicious produce we’d found. Perfect.