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Brunch Ox Club Leeds

A table full at Ox Club Leeds

What’s better than a Sunday morning brunch? Nothing, that’s what! Who doesn’t love that lazy and slightly fuzzy rise followed by plentiful portions and something strong to wash it all down? When it comes to the menu I’m not exclusively a pancake girl, a Prosecco guzzler or a granola fan, because for me variety is the spice of err… brunch. I love it all. Brunch is my bae. I just love brunch. 

Recently, mostly during Leeds Indie Food back in May, I’ve been blessed to enjoy some seriously delicious late morning meals. Mostly with Jen, my fun-loving brunch companion. Now I’ve got the little ones, I find a brunch break is a super convenient way to exercise my social skills. It’s much easier to leave them with their dad or my mother in law during the day because bedtime is a two man job, and I still get to drink! Wahey!

TO DIE FOR Cheddar Bacon Pancakes with Chipotle Maple Syrup, Green Chilli Mac n Cheese and Black Sauce Hot Wings at the Rita's pop-up at Ox Club during #LIF16 - with a glass of bubbly, of course.

TO DIE FOR Cheddar Bacon Pancakes with Chipotle Maple Syrup, Green Chilli Mac n Cheese and Black Sauce Hot Wings at the Rita’s pop-up at Ox Club during #LIF16 – with a glass of bubbly, of course.

Over the past few months we’ve snaffled a selection of exciting, indulgent plates at the Rita’s Ox Club pop-up, and we ate entirely plant-based at Izy Hossack and Noisette Bakehouse‘s In Defence of Plants (which Emma wrote about it full here). Unfortunately I missed out on BundoBrunch which saddens me greatly as Bundobust and Laynes Espresso are two of my ultimate faves. Last year, during #LIF15, I was lucky enough to get a spot at The Man Behind The Curtain x Laynes Espresso early sitting, where I ate, amongst other dishes, a “steak tartare” of watermelon with a mango “egg yolk” alongside a menu of matched coffees. It was easily one of the most creative dining experiences I’ve had – who said breakfast foods had to revolve around bacon, eh? … though in fairness I do love bacon.

Brunch at In Defense of Plants Izy Hossack Brunch

Oat pancakes, dill and potato waffles, granola, fruit salad and two Cherry Shrub fizzes at In Defense of Plants by Noisette Bakehouse and Izy Hossack at Sheaf Street Cafeteria during #LIF16

Nowadays if you’ve got yourself a hankering for a little avo on toast, you’ve never gotta look far. What a time to be alive! Here are the best spots in Leeds for a late morning pick-me-up:

Coffee and a Bloody Mary at Ox Club

Coffee and a Bloody Mary at Ox Club

Ox Club – Anywhere you can order steak before lunchtime is a winner in my book. Try the Steak & Cheddar Eggs, with meat charred on the custom 9ft grill that sits in the middle of their open kitchen, or go for Korean Fried Chicken with kimchi and wild rice. I fully endorse both, as well as the Corn Beef & Kale Hash and the Ricotta Pancakes. Don’t forget a Bloody Mary either. The simple decor is bright and breezy – a top setting to blow out the cobwebs from the night before, and afterwards you can pop upstairs to the roof terrace!

Those pancakes tho, at The Greedy Pig

Those pancakes tho, at The Greedy Pig

The Greedy Pig I’ve written about this gem before and I need to get back there asap. It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure (a double buggy will do that to you) but they’ve since added multiple new strings to their bow with their evening service The Swine That Dines going strong and a whole new brunch menu. No better pancakes in the city (served with fried chicken – hubba hubba), plus a house black pudding that’ll knock your socks off. That house Merguez looks pretty great too… Not open on Sunday, so save your visit for a sneaky mid-week treat.

Deeelish seasonal pancakes at House of Koko

Deeelish seasonal pancakes at House of Koko

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Killer Avo on Toast with plenty of chillies, plus a smoked salmon bagel at House of Koko

House of Koko – Tucked away at the heart of Chapel Allerton, House of Koko is a relatively new addition to the Leeds food and drink scene but man has it made its presence known. Try the avocado on toast, in its two different guises – the first piled high with chillies and pine nuts, the second with lemon, feta and spinach. Or go for any of the three options on their pancake menu, personally I like the classic with berries. Dip into their impressive tea menu for an unusual brew while you’re at it. 

Perfection on a plate - Avocado on sourdough with lemon and sumac at Laynes Espresso

Perfection on a plate – Avocado on sourdough with lemon and sumac at Laynes Espresso

My fave - Sweetcorn Fritters at Laynes Espresso

My fave

Laynes Espresso – When I’m going solo, Laynes is the brunch for me. Now serving at their original site on New Station Street, having handed the Sheaf Street Cafeteria reins over to The Grub & Grog Shop, it’s my favourite spot in town for a relaxed start to the day. Another top quality avocado on sourdough, this time with lemon and sumac, or there’s braised beans or one of the regularly changing seasonal specials. Basically, if you like Kasundi and duck eggs, you probably won’t leave disappointed. Served up alongside their top quality coffee too, obvs.

Happy brunching!

The One Where I Learnt How to Hand-Stitch Leather

Leather Workshop

Back in November sometime I booked a place on the Intro to Hand-Stitched Leather Workshop at Duke Studios. The workshop was run as part of their November Taster Sessions where attendees are invited to  learn something new in a manageable bitesize piece and for a super affordable price.

The class I’m going to tell you about had snuck into December, because thanks to the extreme popularity of the first taster sash which sold out in record time, it demanded a reprisal. Some of the other sessions up for grabs during November included Gin Tastings, Stitch-Up Knitting Intros, Natural Wine Tasters and much more. Keep an eye on the Duke Studios Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds to catch the next ones before they sell out.

Now, it’s a true Lil tradition to try something creative once a year. 2014 brought the excellent Wreath Making Workshop with Katie Laura Flowers and before that it was the short-lived Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group at work where I made a William Morris tote bag with a leather strap that was only big enough to hold a bottle of wine (arguably, that’s all you need). In 2015, it was the turn of the hand stitched, hand dyed leather purse and boy, let me tell you, it might’ve been my most successful yet. For your information, I think 2016 might be the year of Mindful Colouring – I’ll keep you updated. 

Duke Studios Leeds The Conservatory

The workshop was run by Ruth Pullan, a local lady who makes beautiful leather goods out of her home in Ilkley. Take a look, please, because the satchels, purses and belts she makes are gorgeous and really different from the others you find on the web. This isn’t your mediocre Cambridge Satchel Company shiz, you can really see the love and craftsmanship that goes into each item and they’d make for lovely, unique presents – for yourself or a special someone.

Ruth started us off by setting us each a place at the table in the Duke Studios Conservatory (available for hire, and totally the right environment to get those creative juices flowing after a long day at work), complete with all the tools we’d need to make our purses. Ahead of time we’d let Ruth know whether we’d prefer to make a coin pouch or card wallet. I’d chosen a coin purse, ideal for a night out or when you’re carrying a tiny handbag or clutch.

Dyeing

I failed to snap a pick of the natural leather shape we were provided with, but with that in hand we headed over to a table covered with both oil and water based stains. We were given scraps of leather to play around with and shown how to apply the stains for an all over colour, layered effect or use a cotton bud to create a more intricate pattern. Inspired by one of Ruth’s examples, I went for a mottled effect, using cotton wool to dab on blotches of yellow, green and blue dye with overlapping edges. My lack of artistic talent meant I threw caution to the wind and hence I was the first to finish, while much more artistic brains ummed, ahhed and perfected their designs. Mine had lots of time to dry! After staining, we used an old rag to rub oil into the leather, giving it the softer, shinier finish it would end up with.

Leather Workshop

Bevelling

This was maybe the most satisfying part of the whole process for me. We used a tool to turn the edges of the leather into smooth curves. We wiggled the exciting bevelling tool (pictured) into the leather at a corner before pushing with purpose to sheer off the sharp edges. Kinda like when you just push the sharp edges of your scissors through wrapping paper at Christmas, it felt awesome. Very satisfying and therapeutic, I could literally do it all day.

Leather Workshop

Burnishing

On these newly cut edges we then took this excellent smelling gum stuff and rubbed it on with our fingers on all the edges that weren’t going to be joined. We then rubbed the surface we’d just coated with a rag, because as I understand it, the process of burnishing is the softening of a rough surface via a “sliding” contact with another object. It smooths the surface/edges of the leather and makes it shinier.

Leather Workshop

Studs

Next up, we used a huge clamping device to make holes for our studs to go through which meant the flaps of our purses could fasten to the body. My very weak forearms somewhat failed me on this and I had to battle with the machinery to make my marks, which were then a bit wonky… more practice needed!

Stitching

I’ve probably forgotten a step or two here, but I think what we did next was use an excellent diamond shaped poker to make small holes along the edge of the leather where Ruth had helpfully made marks for us. This is where stitching happens. Next we glued the edges of the purse together where they should join to give it a bit provide the purse with a bit more strength and to give us stitchers a helping hand before we began. Then we picked out some thread/twine from the beautiful selection of colours and materials that Ruth had with her, I went for brown – everyone else went for white! 

Leather Workshop

Stitching was hard and I fell behind pretty quickly. I am in no way an adept sewer or knitter and my eyesight is not so sharp, so even threading the needle seemed to take forever for me. This ain’t no ordinary stitching either. You have two needles, one at each end of your thread and with your purse clamped in a handmade wooden vice popped between your legs, you work with both hands to create this super strong, super pretty stitch pattern. It was awesome but I definitely need some more practice – mine could be tidier! Ruth moved at a really realistic pace which meant I still enjoyed the process and didn’t beat myself up for being rubbish, no matter how many times I asked for help!

Leather Workshop

The Finished Product!

Once we finished the stitches, we burnished the newly joined edges and as you can see, I ended up with a pretty awesome coin purse. I absolutely loved working with leather, and I really enjoyed working with other people to see how they approached the same set of instructions – it was so interesting to see how everyone’s came out! Some people chose a straight-up, all over colour wash, and some of us got a bit funky with patterns. Overall it was a great three hours and I would definitely do it again – Ruth was a very relaxed, laid back teacher which made me feel comfortable going at my own pace, and it meant I could enjoy the experience without feeling rushed to keep up or risk missing the next step.

As I said up top, keep an eye on the Duke Studios feeds because I believe Ruth is coming back this year to teach some more workshops. This one only cost £20 which I think is a complete bargain considering all your materials are included, it’s three hours long and you get a purse to take away! I’d definitely be interested in making something else next time.

I can’t stress enough that if you’re new to Leeds, you’re self-employed or you just want to meet new people and get creative after working all day in an office job, I think these kind of workshops and classes are awesome. I know when I moved up north nearly five years ago now, I was aching for ways to meet people and put myself out there, without having to reach out to someone I barely knew and say “Hey man, let’s go for a coffee!” – this kind of thing would’ve been fab! 

Obviously, from February-ish my movements are going to be pretty restricted thanks to two little bundles of joy (aka tears, sick and poo) dropping into my life, but after the class Ruth emailed around the attendees and said she’d been thinking about putting some starter kits together including pre-cut and marked leather, a couple of the necessary tools, some thread and some dye etc – basically everything you need to get going at home, the way she did (Ruth isn’t formally trained, but discovered a talent for working with leather at a workshop and took things from there – v inspiring). I’m seriously considering investing and turning my dining room into a makeshift workshop between feeds and nappy changes… what do you think? Unrealistic?

Find Ruth over at her website ruthpullan.co.uk and on Instagram @ruthelizabethpullan.

Disclaimer: I’m a resident of Duke Studios and I’ve rented a workspace there for around three and a half years now. I absolutely love the place and was in no way paid or asked to recommend these sessions – I paid to attend with my own cash and just think there’s some great stuff on offer down there – check it out, and give me a wave through my studio window if you’re visiting!

Hendricks Gin and Tonic Afternoon Tea

The Grand Hotel York Hendricks Gin and Tonic Afternoon Tea

In general I’m not much of a Traditional Afternoon Tea person. I know it must seem blasphemous, and don’t get me wrong, I think they’re fun and all, it’s just always been more about the occasion and the company for me rather than the food. If, like me, you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, things can get a bit samey. Once the sandwiches are done with, game over. An afternoon tea done a little differently though… that’s something to get excited about.

On Sunday, nine of us met in the bar at the Cedar Court Grand in York to celebrate Jen’s birthday. Poised and ready for a last, festive blow-out before real life set back in, we were all on our best behaviour as the tinkly piano music played and the front of house staff took our coats. Indoor voices at the ready, we were lead into the dining room.

The Grand Hotel York Hendricks Gin and Tonic Afternoon Tea

From the off, the service was good. Attentive and very thoughtful, but relaxed enough to give you breathing room. Our dietary requirements had been requested when we booked, and in hushed tones they were confirmed and our preferences noted. We had one nut allergy within the group and one pregnancy, both were accommodated for without a second thought. Chairs were pulled, napkins draped across laps and we were left to peruse the menu at our leisure. 

Hendricks Gin & Tonic Afternoon Tea

Finger Sandwiches
Cucumber & dill on white bread
Egg mayonnaise & watercress on malted bread
Roasted turkey & apricot chutney on white bread
Smoked salmon with soft cheese & chive on malted bread
Ham and English Mustard on white bread

Christmas pudding Cheesecake, Mulled Syrup

Chestnut Cupcake, Pine Frosting

Tea loaf with Rum Butter

Chocolate & Satsuma Delice

Fig Cone, Spiced Bread Meringue

Two Mini Scones: Cranberry & Plain
Masham Clotted Cream
Selection of Preserves

The Grand Hotel York Hendricks Gin and Tonic Afternoon Tea

There were a couple of different choices on the menu. I can’t remember exactly what they were called, but there was a classic afternoon tea – the full menu and your choice of tea, the Sparkle afternoon tea – the full menu with a glass of Prosecco and your choice of tea, or the Hendricks Gin & Tonic afternoon tea – the full menu, with you guessed it, a cheeky gin and tonic on the side plus your choice of tea. No need to say what I went for. I like a hard spirit in the afternoon. The tea selection was classic but varied – everything from the usual black leaves like Earl Grey, Assam and Darjeeling to herbal choices like Ginger and Lemon, and Peppermint. Nothing to forge new ground, but a solid selection nonetheless. Enough to keep a tea enthusiast happy.

The Grand Hotel York Hendricks Gin and Tonic Afternoon Tea

My G&T came in a Hendrick’s branded tea pot, complete with matching cup and saucer. For the whole two hour stint it stayed cold and refreshing, and the pot gave me at least four cupfuls to sip as we ate. To be honest, I’d quite like one at my desk. On brand, the Hendricks was served with a slice of crunchy cucumber. It felt strangely decadent and refined at the same time, to be getting tipsy while nibbling sandwiches with the crusts off, but I was so into it. In fact, it was just the twist on an afternoon tea I needed. Alcohol makes things more interesting, who knew?

For a festive themed menu, and in such a traditional setting, I was really impressed by the creativity with which each sweet was devised. Distinctively Christmassy but with few of the usual cranberry cliches, there wasn’t a mince pie or a marzipan holly leaf in sight. The Christmas Cake Cheesecake was rich and boozy, and the cupcake a refreshing take on an overdone trend. The flavours were unusual enough to get us all talking and the decadent Chocolate & Satsuma Delice and delicate Fig Cone were balanced nicely by traditional, tasty sandwiches, scones baked to perfection (crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside) and tea loaf to make any granny proud. 

The Grand Hotel York Hendricks Gin and Tonic Afternoon Tea

To finish it all off, the surroundings were divine. Not so much the dining room, which was pretty but a bit bland, as the bar, hallways and even the loos. The interiors were rich and opulent without being flashy. It felt posh, but comfortable. I could seriously spend some time in front of a roaring fire in that bar, curled up in a jewel purple armchair with a mystery novel and a pair of fluffy socks on. The bathrooms are marble, with Molton Brown hand wash and cream, the stuff daydreams are made of.  The hotel is a 5-star and I understand why. It only left me wanting to sneak off to explore. For my next visit, I think I’ll try the spa!

For £29.50, I’d say the afternoon tea was good value. We were there for a good two and a half hours, never felt rushed and we left stuffed to the brim full of treats. We erupted out onto the forecourt rosy cheeked and laughing – a great afternoon of catching up and communal indulgence had by all.  I’d recommend The Grand to anyone looking for a good way to celebrate an occasion, or even just to treat themselves. The Afternoon Tea is a great way to entertain visiting family, spoil a birthday girl or treat a bride to be, and it’d be a great place to stay – conveniently located next to the station and easily walkable to and from town.

The Grand Hotel York Hendricks Gin and Tonic Afternoon Tea

The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa Station Rise, York, North Yorkshire YO1 6GD | 01904 380038

2014 Leeds Food Highlights

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Zucco’s Deep Fried Zucchini At this particular moment I’m very excited. I’m lucky enough to have bagged a space at the bar at Zucco tonight, so Matt and I can ring in 2015 in style. And let me tell you, the anticipation is high. No big deal, but this year the Deep Fried Zucchini single-handedly changed my mind about courgettes. I know, who am I kidding? That’s a big deal. Until this year I thought they were slimy, spongey buggers with no place in my life. However, made by Zucco: dipped in milk, coated in flour, then deep fried and sprinkled with mint, I’m pretty sure I could live on them.

Zucco is my favourite restaurant in Leeds, hands down. Probably in the world, actually. During 2014 Matt and I have become regulars, all too often springing up on a Friday night a little bit drunk, without a reservation and begging for a table. The staff at Zucco are so friendly, so accommodating and always make room for us. They’re very knowledgable about the food they serve and so much of it is steeped in tradition, without being remotely old fashioned. Without doubt every time I go I order the same three dishes, leaving Matt to experiment. That’s the beauty of sharing plates, see. I don’t think he’s rumbled my tactics yet. Zucchini is always top of my list, alongside Arancini and Braised Beef Pappardelle. I could eat and drink at Zucco for the rest of my life and I’m pretty sure I’d never get bored. Throw in an Aperol Spritz to start and a Moscato to finish and I don’t think life could get any better.

Zucco 603 Meanwood Road, Leeds, LS6 4AY | @zuccouk

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I didn’t have a pic of the beans, sorry. Here are two other delightful dishes from The Reliance

Green Beans with Shallots at The Reliance Oh, I love a side dish. I really do. They’re the glitter top coat of the culinary world. Let me start by saying that over the last year The Reliance has really risen up the ranks for me, I’d say it’s the best cooking in the city: forever reliable and never boring. Whether you drop in for a meatball sandwich at lunchtime or a full three courses plied with wine on an evening – the food, drinks and service are all consistently top notch. Somehow the food manages to be at once comforting and exciting, a place to take both fussy eaters and real food lovers alike. It’ll please your (my) “nothing foreign – well, Italian and French is ok… I suppose” parents as much as it’ll please the part of you that wants something a bit special on a Saturday night. Simplicity done exceptionally well seems hardly praise enough for this place but it’s the closest I can get. Green beans and shallots are just that, served in a cute pie dish in all of their seasonal glory, dripping with butter. Kale in Fig Salt is also a triumph, an extra worth getting excited about – whether you eat it with a humble plate of sausages and mash or a melting featherblade.

The Reliance 76-78 North Street, Leeds LS2 7PN | @The_Reliance

PattySmiths2014

Dirty Burger on the left, Colonel Patty and Session Fries on the right

Patty Smiths’ Dirty Burger It’s no bold claim that 2014 was the year of the burger for Leeds. This year Byron, MEATliquor, Almost Famous and Five Guys opened their doors in our fair city, alongside a new, independent offering from Boss Burgers in Hyde Park. Building on the success of their launch in 2013, Patty Smith’s – a concession at Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen – have been producing consistently brilliant, dirty, oozy burgers all year round. Menu originals the Dirty Burger and the Big Ron remain staples, with The Colonel Patty – a deep fried chicken burger, and Session Fries – fries seasoned with lardons, jalapeños and parmesan, as recent additions well worth trying. My “when in doubt” lunch, the Dirty Burger is just what you want on a hangover or for a cheeky treat. It basically fits any mood. Sticky like that untouchable (dare I say it?) McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger, sweet and salty, it’s cooked pink and the juices run down your chin and you just don’t give a s**t. Nothing beats a good burger, after all. And Patty Smith’s is perfection in a paper wrapper.

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen 1-1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP @PattySmithsUK

GrubandGrog2014

Grub and Grog Shop Breakfast at Northern Monk Refectory Silly I know, but I see the Grub and Grog Shop residency at Northern Monk Brewing Co as some sort of urban fairytale. Having consumed their sandwiches, stews and cocktails for over a year, it’s really amazing to see their hard work and talent turn into a sparkly kitchen at the new brewery in Holbeck. At launch night when I set eyes on their menu it was breakfast that really caught my eye, and it’s quickly become one of my favourite places to visit over the past few months. Homemade crumpets made with the yeast from the beer brewed by Northern Monk downstairs, and Breakfast Buns stuffed with celeriac fritters, hash browns, eggs and roast tomato sauce are the stuff dreams are made of. In true G&G style, there are shedloads of veggie and vegan options, along with healthier Breakfast Bowls made up of porridge, granola or Birchir muesli. Prices are really reasonable and the space is beautiful – high ceilings, big windows and perfect sunlight when you roll in at 10am, plus the added bonus of a cloud of hoppy air that envelopes you when you walk through the door. Not to be missed. 

The Grub & Grog Shop Northern Monk Refectory, Marshalls Mill, Holbeck, Leeds LS11 9YJ | @grubandgrogshop

Bundobust Leeds 2014

Bundo Chaat top centre

Bundo Chaat at Bundobust On pretty much every most-loved list of 2014, it’s safe to say that the launch of Bundobust – a collaboration between Bradford’s craft beer pub The Sparrow and Drighlington’s award-winning vegetarian Indian restaurant Prashad – has been the Leeds success story of the year. A bustling bar with canteen style seating, it offers arguably the best beer selection in Leeds and matches them with little pots of Indian street food. Bundo is a great place to start a night out, or refuel as you hop from place to place. The Bundo Chaat is my must order everytime I visit – crunchy, sweet, sour and gently spicy. It’s made up of chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney and crunchy samosa pastry and it’s like a bloody party in your mouth. The Masala Dosa is also pretty tops. A great place to take visiting friends and a real treat for veggies – a whole restaurant for them – imagine! A real highlight of 2014 for me, and I’ll keep going back.

Bundobust 6 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ @bundobust

The Fruit Stall, Chapel Allerton

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It’s probably become quite clear to people who know me, follow me on Twitter, see me about, that I love where I live. I mean, I really do. I’m a relative newcomer to suburban life, my move out of the city centre coincided with my wedding last September, but man have I adapted well. I’m fully into it. The neighbours, the local independent scene, my single piccolo at 9am every morning, served to me by my friendly neighbourhood barista. I’m one of those people now. Those inner city flats, they’re just so impersonal, aren’t they?! You can’t get asparagus fresh from the ground down there, can you! Those people just don’t understand what they’re missing. </patronising> Joking aside, I know you can shop independently in the city centre, but no one makes it easy for you. What I love about being in Chapel Allerton is that there are lovely, local people running lovely, local businesses everywhere. It’s great!

Anyway, I’m here to tell you about The Fruit Stall. It’s funny because it’s a shop, not a stall. But it was a stall. In the 18 months leading up to the opening in March, Richard set up his fruit and veg on Fridays and Saturdays under a canvas umbrella outside Yorkshire Bank on Stainbeck Lane. Now they have permanent premises in a unit just round the corner on Harrogate Rd, next to Neil the Butcher, so they can trade for longer hours and from a Wednesday through to Saturday.

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I’ve talked on the blog before about how, as I’ve got older, eating locally and seasonally has become much more important to me, so when I heard The Fruit Stall was expanding, I got pretty excited. It seemed like just the antidote the people of Chapel A needed, shortly after the announcement that a new Morrisons superstore was on it’s way. I mean, I’m not judging, I’m realistic: it’s easy to nip into the supermarket on your way home from work – they’re open late and they’re cheap. But the thing is, I believe that supermarkets have us missing out on the way things are supposed to be eaten and enjoyed. Personally, I don’t want to eat strawberries in February and asparagus in December. The supermarket confuses me. Everything is available all the time – and there’s a trade-off for that. Taste.  

That’s what I love about having The Fruit Stall so close to home. They stock what’s fresh. It’s out of the ground that morning, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Come September, those peaches are no where to be found and you just have to live with it until next June. Thing is though, there’s a silver lining: in return, you get plums. Modern day convenience, maybe not – but the taste comes back. Things are ripe, juicy. Shiny and green. You get what’s there at its very best, and I’m really into that.

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Way back in January I wrote about my philosophy on How to Eat Well. In that post, I explained that the way I operate is to buy little and often, what’s fresh and looks good. A little of what I fancy when I fancy it, if you will. It’s a very Nigel Slater way to be and it suits us in the Dix household. Annoyingly, it’s not the cheapest way to do things, and in some way it contradicts some of what we spoke about last week in Meal Planning. Buying day to day can be more expensive than planning ahead, but buying from independents can help keep that cost down. While a lot of local products are charged at a premium, what they sell at The Fruit Stall is amazing value for money. I rarely spend more than £3 a pop, and I still seem to have fresh fruit, veg and flowers at home for days. Packaged produce at the supermarket may have a longer shelf life, but the stuff grown around the corner is often bigger, rounder, brighter. All together, much more appealing.

I guess the purpose of this post is much the same as the purpose of my post on The Greedy Pig from a few weeks ago. I’m surrounded by a lot of people who have no qualms waxing lyrical about the sad state of local economy, but it’s those same people I see walking home with flame-orange Sainsbury’s bags every night. I’m not trying to vilify anyone, I don’t want to preach – after all, we all do it. I’m just here to slowly prod you, slowly coax you into visiting your local butcher, greengrocer, coffee shop, cafe, family-run restaurant. My generation is one of the first to become truly consumer driven – favouring cheap prices and bright, white warehouses over small spaces shrouded in passion, effort and history. Thankfully, there’s started to be a little backlash. If we make it a part of our routine to keep good, quality establishments in business, if we shake off that need to be anonymous as we browse but instead say hello as we hand over the cash, it should start to feel like second nature. Don’t you think?

/rant.  What do you think? Do you shop locally or do you see it as out of your price range right now?

The Fruit Stall 138 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 4NZ | @TheFruitStall