Press Coffeehouse, Harrogate

Press Coffeehouse

by rich on August 31, 2014

There are a lot of subscription coffee services around at the moment.

It’s quite the thing, and a definite sign that more people are waking up to the complexities and intricacies that separate a mediocre cup of coffee from a good cup of coffee from a truly superb one.

The idea is simple – hook into a subscription, pay a few quid a month, coffee arrives at your door.

It’s a very effective model, and a good way for the people to easily access some interesting and unusual beans.

This is what Press Coffeehouse from Harrogate do, but with a few little twists.

The first thing is packaging.

Coffee packaging is nice. It’s a hip little creative industry, and design is important. Seems a shame to waste it by re-bagging beans from some uber-fashionable far-flung coffee roaster into boring bags that just happen to be shaped so that they fit through a letterbox. It’s surely better to present the beans in the way that the roaster intended, because you would be safe in betting your house that that little hip artisan roaster in some back street in Barcelona agonised for days over the design of the bag their lovingly roasted beans ended up in.

Press reckon you should enjoy that bag, and so do I, but there’s also the matter of the coffee itself, so a set of cupping notes are included, along with a couple of complementary recipes. There’s also a little extra sweetener each month, something food, art or design centred. This month brought a box of sea salt and orange almond caramel from the sublime Noisette Bakehouse.

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Review: Dhruv Baker's Spice: Layers of Flavour

Spice: Layers of Flavour, by Dhruv Baker

by rich on August 22, 2014

Dhruv Baker won Masterchef a few years ago.

Now, normally at this point, I’d start reeling off a whole series of snide, unhelpful and generally smart arse comments about TV chefs, etc, etc, but I remember Baker coming across as a nice chap, and his food was astonishingly good, so much so that the relish with which I tore open the package that contained this book took me a little by surprise.

Spice: Layers of Flavour is a collection of Baker’s recipes strung together by the common theme of, yes, you guessed it, spice.

It’s a loose theme, but that’s not a problem, because that looseness brings with it range, and this is a book packed full of the sort of things I actually want to cook.

That’s quite an important point … I read a lot of cookbooks, and many of them are very good indeed, and some are not so good, but there are few that I actually want to cook more than a couple of recipes from. That isn’t to say that these are bad books – they aren’t – they just don’t hit that particular nerve that sends me scrabbling around for bits of scrap paper to mark pages and to make lists of ingredients to hunt down.

This book did exactly that.

I sat reading it over breakfast one morning, making mental notes about this recipe, that recipe. That night, I knocked together a chicken curry from it, having earlier quizzed the fishmongers in Kirkgate Market in Leeds about the availability of razor clams (plentiful, all the time, if you’re interested) for a lovely little recipe that involves steaming them in wine and then drenching them in spiced cream. There’s a recipe for a chocolate and cinnamon torte that I’m going to make tomorrow for when my sister arrives.

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Bundobust, Leeds

August 6, 2014
Bundobust, Indian beer cafe, Mill Hill, Leeds

One word review, please Astonishing. Well, that’s decisive, at least … care to expand? Well, there are few things in life more certain than being disappointed by an over-hyped, over-played and over-done restaurant. It happens all the time – a new place opens, everybody gets all excited about it, but it turns out to be […]

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Pane di Como, or Italian country bread

July 27, 2014
Como bread, traditional Italian country bread from Lake Como.

Most of the bread I bake follows a fairly standard pattern. I’ve got a couple of staple recipes, one for an everyday loaf that works well for white or whole grain and any variation in between and a couple of ways with sourdough, too. The everyday loaf is the most versatile, and it can easily […]

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The dawn of the supermarket meat counter

July 21, 2014
The dawn of the supermarket meat counter

“In his way, the meat cutter is an artist”. Here’s a wonderful little American promotional film from the Fifties, that walks through the process of butchering a side of beef into cuts suitable for selling shrink-wrapped in those new-fangled supermarkets. Just look at the marbling on that beef. Try to ignore the naïve sexism about […]

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Chicken Chukka

July 14, 2014
Chicken chukka - chicken curry, made with coconut and spices

On the way home on Saturday, I stopped off at an Asian supermarket close to where we live. It’s a ramshackle, haphazard kind of place, piled high with a huge range of things. There are sacks of rice piled high, fruit and vegetables – big bunches of coriander, five for a quid, coconuts, curry leaves, […]

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