Yorkshire Wraps

Have just been out to The Museum pub in Orchard Square. John's in town for a job thing, so we had a treat lunch together. I noticed a strange item on the menu, but it was too hot to order it and see what it actually was. Luckily the woman on the next table had one, so I now understand the principle behind the Yorkshire Wrap.

In a lot of pubs round here you can get a yorkshire pudding, usually somewhere between 4 and 10 inches across, filled with meat and gravy. The meat is traditionally a roast dinner – beef in gravy, say, and you get chips or roast potatoes on the side, plus boiled veg sometimes. The puddings are thick and flabby, like a very stodgy round pancake but with high side edges to hold in the filling. Someone has had a flash of inspiration, and re-created it as finger food.

Take a ready-made catering size pudding, and warm it through. Don't let it get crisp (which I think of as one of the key criteria for a yorkshire pudding, oh well, never mind). Lay it out flat and top it with slices of roast beef smeared with horseradish. Roll it up. Put it (or, dear god, more than one) on a hot plate, add a portion of chips and a large ramekin of good gravy, a salad garnish to look healthy and colourful. Eat with your fingers, dunking as you go.

The pub does two of these, the beef one as described above and another one with sausages and fried red onions, each priced at £6.25. Which is slightly cheaper than one of their (rather good) burgers.

 

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Momtaz

Last night I went to the Momtaz restaurant on Chesterfield Road, with Doug and Julia. It's practically at the end of our street, and I haven't been for years. Before this incarnation it was an Italian restaurant for a while, and a different Indian before that, which was probably the last time I've been in there. We've had fliers for their takeaway / delivery service, and I have wondered about trying them, but got no further than that. There is a surfeit of Indian restaurants and takeaways in our area, even a dedicated web-based delivery-only place, and you always tend to ignore the one right next door.

Well, not any more. It was completely empty, not unexpected for 8:30 on a Tuesday, especially with a match on at Bramall Lane. They have a wide-screen TV on the wall above the bar, which was playing mostly Asian music videos, not too loud. A joss-stick was burning on the bar, which I suppose is nicer than cigarette smoke but got a bit overpowering. The furniture is all decked out in a red and white livery, a bit too grubby for elegance but smarter than normal – showing willing, at least. The two wait-staff were attentive and cheerful – they told us later they'd just had a letter from the Good Food guide putting them Top, but Top for What and Where we don't yet know. I'm sure a certificate will materialise in the fullness of time.

The menu was yer bog standard, with some very rich Northern Indian additions. The terminology was bit unusual for round here, I ordered a starter called a Nababi Murgi Stick, and it turned out to be tandoori chicken on the bone – which I wouldn't normally have, still, my fault for experimenting. And not saying it wasn't good, because it was.

We started off with poppadums and pickles – no lime pickle, boo, but there was mango chutney (thin, no lumps), onion salad, and yellow yoghourt which was Very Sweet. Sweet was definitely the theme of the evening. Doug and I had Tiger beer, they've got Cobra in bottles too, nothing unusual.

Starters were the aforementioned Stick, which still had a lot of marinade/paste clinging to it, not just dried out red chicken. Julia had a puri, again it was called something else (which I forget), and Doug went for the sizzling Cox Bazaar Prawns, which were very very sizzly and had potato mixed in. Wolfed down in short order, we moved onto mains.

Lamb and aubergine for me, not too hot, lovely smoky taste from the aubergines. Julia had a chicken karhai "delight", which was their version of a korma, and came in a mini-copper-clad bucket. Incredibly creamy and sweet, with cardamom and shreds rather than lumps of chicken. Doug scored top, though, with the tandoori butter chicken – not only sweet and rich, you could smell the butter from across the table, but with added topping of aerosol whipped cream. Sides were a couple of garlic and coriander nan, which were smallish, but enough – crisp on the bottom and soft and puffy at the edges, and a keema rice which was well-flavoured but quite fatty from the minced meat.

We didn't investigate dessert, due to strawberries lurking at home. No idea on the total bill, as I was a Guest, but the menu said the Stick was about four quid, the lamb six, with a nan at two.

I picked up an up-to-date takeway menu, which says free delivery, 15% discount on collection and 10% on delivery. Think I'll add it to the favoured supplier list.

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Red Couscous

Following the M&S couscous salad the other week, I decided to make something similar for a party tomorrow. I got down a big mixing bowl, and:

Filled it about a third full with dry couscous and added a little salt and enough boiling water to cover it plus about half an inch, and left it for 5 minutes.

Got out the food processor and roughly chopped:

  • a large red onion
  • a seedless clementine
  • half a packet of frozen raw cranberries
  • a handful of organic dried apricots

When the couscous had absorbed all the water, I fluffed it up and added the veggie mix, along with a drained tin of chickpeas. I would have put in two tins if I'd had them, it would have improved the texture.

Then I put the processor back together again (unrinsed) and blended:

  • a huge bunch of fresh coriander, stalks and all
  • orange juice (about a mugful)
  • lemon juice (about a half a cup)
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • enough olive oil to make it look like a salad dressing
  • lots of spices, biggest amount first - mixed spice, cinnamon, paprika, ginger, oregano, thyme, cardamom, nutmeg
  • three heaped teaspoons chopped garlic from the jar

until the coriander was quite finely chopped, then I poured it over the couscous.

Before I mixed it in I also added:

  • a handful of very good dried sweetened cranberries, that were almost like glace cherries
  • a mugful of raisins
  • a mugful of flaked almonds
  • half a mug of dried barberries
  • half a mug of dried pomegranate seeds
  • half a mug of raw pumpkin seeds

I stirred it all well, and topped it up by sprinkling some of the still hot water over it – when the dressing starts to get absorbed it will dry out. It felt like making a really good Christmas pudding.

Tomorrow I will taste it again, and see if it needs more salt, I don't use a lot of salt automatically anymore and tend not to add enough. Also for sweetness – it's going to be one of those things that initially tastes very sharp but has a lot of lasting sweetness in it, so the first taste might need mellowing and the longer tones sharpening – honey and onion will do that nicely. And for heat – it will need just a little kick and some more paprika or even cayenne might be in order.

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