Monthly Archives: October 2011

Coming Soon in Leeds: November Roundup

Art

Golau Glau (pronounced Goll-eye Gl-eye) is an anonymous collective who met in Wales but are now based around Leeds. They bill themselves as musicians, photographers and artists, and their first art exhibition is at Test Space Leeds from the 10th to the 13th November. The opening night on Thursday the 10th, kicking off at 7.30pm, involves a free gig with a live performance from Hookworms and some DJ sets. There’s another event on Saturday 12th at 2.30pm, with another DJ set and a talk from Lauren Smith of Voices for the Library about library closures (Golau Glau are particularly interested in environments under threat). All events, and the exhibition, are free.

From the 25th November, the Northern Art Prize exhibition opens at Leeds Art Gallery. The four shortlisted artists will have their work displayed there until 19th February, and the winner will be announced on 19th January. There are also talks with each artist and their nominator throughout November and December, priced at £5/£3 concessions. Contact the gallery to book.

Theatre

Practically the whole of November at the Leeds Grand is devoted to We Will Rock You, which is here for four weeks and selling incredibly well. Are you ready to be transported to the future, to a world where the Bohemians are searching for a hero to lead them back to that golden age – known as the Rhapsody – when kids had instruments, formed their own bands and wrote their own songs? Then book tickets here. They’re pricey, but by all accounts it’s an incredible show.

This Christmas the West Yorkshire Playhouse is taking on the orphan of all orphans, Annie. It runs from 25th November to 15th January and promises to be a lovely family treat for Christmas.

If you’re looking for belly laughs, try One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, or if you want something to get you thinking, it’s got to be Can We Talk About This. For work with a Yorkshire flavour, the Lawrence Batley Theatre has We Are Three Sisters, about the Brontes.

Digital

The Leeds Digital Festival official launch is on the 1st November. There are tons of events happening: I’m at the Girl Geek Dinner so say hi! Write-Publish-Read, Culture Hack North and Snapshot Leeds all look fab.

The Chol Generation Event is a day of talks and workshops for emerging artistic producers who need help in getting their work up and running. Culture Vultures’ Emma Bearman will teach you Twitter tricks, Sara Robinson does 1 on 1 coaching sessions and Jenny Wilson helps you define and refine your ideas.

Bonfire Night

For some reason, the council seems to be embracing Friday 4th November as Bonfire Night, and that’s when all the bigger bonfires are being held. There’s a list of what’s going on here: as always,RoundhayPark is looking like the main event (and the most difficult to get to).

For a twist on Bonfire Night, try Mike Hoyland’s Pre-Bonfire Night Spectacular, which is an annual event in the style of a chemistry lecture, featuring explosions galore. This year it’s moved to Leeds City Museum from its usual venue at the University. It’s on Thursday 3rd November at 7pm.

Film Festival

This is what everyone’s talking about! The Leeds International Film Festival turns 25 this year and they’re pulling out all the stops. The big buzz is around festival opener Wuthering Heights, controversially grotesque horror The Human Centipede 2 and Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns. For hints and tips, see the festival’s Communications Manager Kay Brown’s picks, Kirsty Ware’s organisational tactics and this preview post from My Life in Leeds.

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Cornucopia at the Corn Exchange

Cornucopia was born from the success of Good Food Friday, a local food and drink event held in April of this year. It brings together local producers in a veritable smorgasbord of foodie delights, all under the beautiful roof of the Corn Exchange.

We (@antcarter and I) popped along to the Big Breakfast, which was an opportunity for press, bloggers and buyers to sample a couple of the products, learn more about the products and have a chat with the producers before the event opened properly.

Delicious breakfast granola from Yorkshire Dales Granola

The array of different food on offer was impressive but for me the thing that made the event was chatting to the producers and realising just how much passion they had for their produce. Regardless of whether they do it full time, part time or in spare moments squeezed around a ‘real’ job, every single person there was completely, one hundred per cent invested in their produce.

Although his products were all a bit spicy for me, in terms of product knowledge, The Chilli Jam Man (@thechillijamman) was in another league. He has a range of chilli jams and even a chilli mayonnaise (known as jammonnaise), some of which are made using the hottest commercial chillies available. I’m absolutely incapable of coping with any spice at all (as evidenced by my burning tongue after trying the jammonaise) but if you don’t mind a little kick to your dressings, then you should definitely check this guy out. You can buy online at his website, and there are a few Leeds based permanent suppliers but if you want to try before you buy then his upcoming dates are here. He’s in Wakefield on Sunday 6th November and at Northern Ballet for the Caribbean Christmas Fair on 26th and 27th November. Use them as a marinade, in sandwiches, on the barbecue…the list is endless. Plus they make a perfect foodie gift for the chilli lovers in your life! And I’ve got one word for the Chilli Jam Man: BETTAKULTCHA.

Buffalo sausages, with Chilli Jam just visible at the back!

We also swung by the Pudsey Pickles stall, because after trying the strawberry and pink champagne jam at the breakfast, we were basically hooked! We picked up 3 jars for £6, which is a total bargain. The plan is to give them to the brother and sister-in-law for Christmas – but if they last two months without being ‘sampled’ I’ll be extremely surprised! If Cranberry with Caramelised Red Onion and Port Relish, Beetroot Chutney or Pineapple with Malibu Jam sound good to you, then these guys are just the ticket.

Wandering around, we didn’t leave a single sample untried – and there was nothing that we didn’t enjoy! There were some incredible chocolates from Lauden Chocolate: pricey but definitely worth it as a special treat. Fayre by Alley’s Nanaimo Bar is pretty much the sugariest thing I have *ever* eaten and is weird but moreish – catch her at Kirkstall Deli Market on Saturday. Piazza by Anthony had a huge table piled high with fresh bread which smelled absolutely incredible, and the Sunshine Bakery had a huge stall packed with their usual fare of delicious cupcakes and distressingly large sausage rolls. There was also a lot of buzz about monthly meat boxes from Swillington Farm, too.

Nanaimo Bars by Fayre by Alley

You can’t leave a place like this without picking up a little treat for the afternoon, though – which is where the Yummy Yank comes in. Now here is a woman who loves to bake! We probably tried a little sample of pretty much everything on that stall and it was all to die for. Coca-cola cake, double chocolate cakes two feet tall, triple layer red velvet cake, chocolate chip cookie bar, peanut butter brownies, carrot cake… the whole lot was incredible. In the end we took home a slice of the butterscotch brownie and a wedge of the apple cheesecake pie (an apple pie with a layer of cheesecake baked in the middle) and they were both amazing. Keep an eye out for this woman at farmer’s markets throughout Yorkshire, and seriously do not go home without a treat!

The Yummy Yank's chocolate chip cookie bars

All in all it was a fabulous gathering, and I hope the producers got as much out of it as we did. Congratulations to Rebecca and Nick for really pulling this off!

The next Cornucopia will be held over three days: the 21st, 22nd and 23rd December. This makes it perfect for picking up last minute Christmas gifts and fresh ingredients for seasonal meals and parties. Keep an eye on their website or their Twitter for updates about the producers who will be attending for these dates.

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Leeds Pub Quizzes: The Adelphi

When: Tuesdays at 8pm

Where: The Adelphi,Hunslet Road,Leeds

The cost of a round: £10.90 for a gin and tonic, a pint of Leeds Pale, an orange juice and a sparkling water.

The quality of the crisps: Salty Dogs in a variety of flavours including chicken tikka, sweet chilli and strong cheddar and onion along with your usual suspects. Top notch and a huge hit.

The cost to enter: 50p per person

The questions: Four rounds of ten questions, each on a different theme, with another ten questions in the picture round. The themes vary pleasantly, and this time included famous cats, film quotes and religion. The film quotes were difficult in a desperately frustrating way (‘I’ve heard that voice before, who the hell is it?!’) while the current affairs just required a fairly sound knowledge of the news. Which we did not have!

The experience: This is where the Adelphi let us down, unfortunately. The only table we could find, despite arriving 30 minutes early, was in a dark, dingy corner with no light at all. We were given two tea lights to see by, but still had to use our phones to light the pictures so we could even start guessing who they were. The table next to us seemed nice enough until the answers were read out, at which point they let out an earsplitting ‘BBRRRAAAAPPPP’ after every answer. (I don’t know, apparently it’s something the kids are doing?) Finally, at the table opposite was a man who stared almost non-stop at us throughout the entire quiz which made us quite uncomfortable. Whether it was an attempt to cheat or a very misguided effort at flirting, I don’t know. All in all, we finished the quiz feeling more like we’d been working than like we’d had a few drinks with some mates. Yet I can’t help but think that this was an experience very specific to this visit: I’m quite tempted to give it another go, sat in a lighted room and hopefully near more balanced competitors. I suspect I’d enjoy myself a great deal more. On the plus side, the quizmaster had buckets of personality and excellent diction, so not all was lost.

The verdict: This quiz has potential, and excellent crisps. The pub has overall a nice atmosphere and some impressive bar snacks, but it was spoiled by the (lack of) lighting and our rowdy neighbours. 3/5

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Taster Session at Create

Over the last couple of months, I’ve barely been able to log into Twitter without seeing at least one person mention that they’d been to eat at Leeds’ latest restaurant, Create. The thing that makes Create a bit different is that they’re a social enterprise: they give training opportunities to people who really need a fresh start, or to be helped back up onto their feet. Which is, of course, admirable, and no wonder people are talking about it. But the vast majority of the buzz I was hearing was about the food, not the concept. The reviews have been promising: see Leeds Guide, TripAdvisor or the Yorkshire Evening Post, who are reserved but identify tons of potential.

I still haven’t eaten in the restaurant itself (apparently saving for a house deposit is more important than eating out?) so jumped at the chance to attend their first morning taster type session for free.

We all arrived at 11am, a bit bleary from Light Night the previous evening. We were greeted and sent upstairs, where coffee was available – I’m told it was lovely. I opted for orange juice, which was really delicious, obviously pure and not from concentrate. We were all seated at a long table and cracked on with working out whether we follow each other on Twitter, while we nibbled on some small mushroom pastries and little almond flavoured cakes (these did have a fancy French name which, unfortunately, eludes me).

In front of each of us were three wine glasses in a row, filled with small amounts of liquid. A very gentle sniff was all that was required to confirm that yes – this was the vodka we were going to learn all about.

Chris from Latitude Wines certainly knew his stuff. He gave us a quick tip on how to smell vodka (put your nose to the glass and breathe in gently through your mouth) and then spoke to us about Chase Vodka, their products and their manufacturing processes. We tried their standard vodka, their gin (which apparently is just flavoured vodka!) and their marmalade vodka. As I was driving, and I don’t drink generally so probably wouldn’t have enjoyed a good gulp, I just tasted the marmalade vodka by dipping my finger in. I have to say it tasted remarkably of marmalade…very orangey and tangy, but in a more full bodied way than an orange – what I’m trying to say is that it didn’t just taste of oranges but very specifically of marmalade! This is probably sacrilege but I imagine it would have been delicious with some lemonade. As you can see if you click on the links, these are pricey drinks and are really quite high end products. They’ve won tons of awards. The general feedback from other people at the table was firstly, they were super strong, and secondly, you could taste the difference between this and something like Smirnoff.

The demo table ready for action

Next, we headed downstairs for the food demo. This was led by the charismatic Richard Walton-Allen, who is Create’s National Executive chef. Before coming to Create, he was Executive Chef at Harvey Nichols, and he has over 20 years experience in the food industry. This experience was apparent as he took us through four different dishes with the help of Ed, the head chef. First, we were shown potted shrimp, second escabeche of bream, third, bresoala and fourth, beetroot cured salmon. The bresoala recipe was the only one we didn’t get to try, but seemed to be a massive hit. Everyone immediately said how great it would be for Christmas, and started discussing where they’d be able to hang it for a week, which is one of the steps of the recipe. The demonstration was great, you could see exactly what was going into the dishes and Richard also told us about the sourcing of their ingredients – they try to keep it as local as possible, but will use someone in Newcastle over someone in Leeds if they have much better produce.

Richard looking threatening with a knife. Salmon looking worried, with good cause

Once we’d seen all the dishes, our taster dishes were handed out (and about time too – by now it was 12.30pm and I was STARVING!). We tried (left to right) the beetroot salmon on a little blini, the escabeche of bream, potted duck (about to be added to the menu) and potted shrimp. Now, I’m not really the biggest fish fan but I tried everything and thought it was all delicious – really well cooked and nicely put together.

My sampler platter

As the morning came to an end, all I could think was how I’d heard such great stuff about Create’s desserts, and how we weren’t going to get to try any! Luckily, they’d thought about that and on our way out we were all presented with recipe packs along with a take home box with brownies, flapjack, meringue, biscotti and honeycomb inside. No, I didn’t share, yes they were all incredibly tasty!

The only negative points I would make were that it was a bit awkward both at the beginning and at the end in knowing what you were supposed to do. I’d have liked to have a little welcome talk at the beginning and a thanks and goodbye speech at the end. I think this opportunity could also have been used to tell us more about the social enterprise side of the business, which I for one was very curious about. Also, I would recommend making absolutely sure that you know and like what is going to be made and served. There was one vegetarian present and I can’t imagine it was that interesting for her since she will never make any of the foods, and there was also a rather brutal fish dissection that must have been especially unpleasant.

In future, these mornings will be every other Saturday, the next one being on Saturday October 22nd and focussing on wine tasting and Autumn cooking. They will be £10.75 each and if you’re interested in cooking and food, or in alcohol, then I think it’s brilliant value for money. Contact Create on Twitter or via their website to get more information. Personally, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the Christmas one!

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Coming Soon in Leeds: October Round Up

This unseasonable good weather has certainly been a boon to our ailing spirits this past week, but alas – it is not to last. Soon, the nights will grow colder and darker, and come 5pm we’ll all be hurrying home to eat comforting stews and warming pies. At the weekend we’ll venture out for only necessities, clad in cardigans and cagoules.

Lovely as that sounds, the spanner in the works, of course, is that October in Leeds is going to be an extremely exciting month! Everywhere you turn there’s an event or an exhibition, a festival or a fair. Here are the highlights.

Of course the one that everyone’s talking about this month is Light Night Leeds, which is on Friday 7th October at various venues around Leeds city centre. This is a multi-artform festival with 75 different events across 40+ venues. Almost all the events are free, but you do need to book in advance for some of them, which could be in smaller venues or be exceptionally popular. Check the downloadable programme for the full list of events and get planning your evening. My picks include number 23: The Leeds Festival Chorus performing short, haunting pieces at 3 different venues across the evening; 64: a burger-style van serving up free, personalised poems made to order and 54: a tour of the clocktower at Leeds Town Hall. If you find you haven’t left any time in your schedule for dinner, don’t worry: you can swing by Millenium Square where vendors including @nofishybusiness and @manjitskitchen will be selling quality hot food to eat on the go.

October is also Black History Month, and Leeds City Museum have put together a special trail around the museum. Pick up a leaflet from reception and follow the trail to learn more about this special month.

Temple Newsam have got two interesting weekends coming up this month. On both the 15th and 16th October, they are holding an event called Fungus Foray and Mushroom Medley. There’ll be a short talk to teach some of the basics: what’s edible and what’s not, what will kill you instantly, etc. Then a walk around the grounds, to forage for mushrooms. It’s £5/£3 concessions and starts at the Stable Courtyard, Temple Newsam at 2pm on both the Saturday and the Sunday. Call 0113 264 5535 to book your place. Meanwhile on the 22nd and 23rd October, discover Temple Newsam at night on a ghost walk for ages 8+ only. The Woman in Black and her loyal servant will take you through the House and grounds, all the while telling chilling tales of murder and mystery. £7.50/£4 concession.

Bookworms are spoilt for choice this month as the region hosts not one but two literature festivals. The one in Ilkley is running from 30th September to the 16th October while Morley is a bit shorter, running from 8th to 16th October. A couple of authors are attending both events, so if you can’t make their date at one, check the other. Headliners include Ranulph Fiennes, Alan Hollinghurst, Jon Ronson, Ian Rankin, Emma Henderson and Janet Street-Porter, whilst there will be expert talks on the Brontes, Dickens and the Bible. There’s also writing workshops, poetry recitals, academic lectures and a healthy dose of Doctor Who. Something for everyone!

If you’re a foodie, as well as the usual farmer’s markets we have a special new event at the Corn Exchange this month. Cornucopia Leeds is a two day extravaganza with stalls from local, independent food retailers and producers. Some great names have signed up already including @doughleeds, @theyummyyank and @indieices. It’s free entry and happening from 10am to 5pm on the 22nd and 23rd October.

There are tons more events that I don’t have the time or space to give them the attention they deserve. They include Ways of Looking, a photography festival in Bradford for the whole month, this fantastic Abolition exhibition, secret Bettakultcha and all. The. Amazing. Theatre. Happening in the region. Ignore the gloomy weather, get out there and make the most of Leeds this month!

You can stay at home in November, that’ll probably be crap. Nothing happens in November.

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