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pinche pinche 2

Since I was showing my Uni friends my favourite parts of Leeds, it was only fitting to take them to my favourite restaurant as well. I first discovered Pinche Pinche three years ago at the Leeds Loves Food festival and I’ve been hooked ever since. Living just down the road makes it the perfect spot for date nights, special occasions and just because dinners.

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pinche pinche 7

They have an extensive menu – from mini portions of tacos for starters or sharing to big plates – which means it can take some time to choose! I’ll give you a hand – the lamb is excellent, and if you’re a meat eater, you will seriously regret it if you don’t have at least one lamb dish. It’s melt in your mouth and crazy delicious. I like it in their enchiladas – covered in melted cheese, with a mild green salsa. Paul prefers it in tacos with a spicier version of the salsa – although be warned if you think you’re hard enough for their spiciest version. You’re probably not. I also love their little prawn tacos to start – the mango salsa is lovely and fresh and the prawns are big and juicy. The perfect combination.

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Suffice to say, we were pretty stuffed and decided to pass on pudding on this occasion. However, if you have a sweet tooth like me then the churros are the obvious choice. Who doesn’t love fried dough dipped in chocolate? No one, that’s who.

The best way to end a meal at Pinche Pinche, however, is with one of their tequilas. So many people I know don’t like tequila but when it’s served like this – for sipping, not shooting – it’s totally delicious. One is definitely enough but I can’t resist that one!

I literally cannot rave about Pinche Pinche enough – it’s excellent value for money (I don’t ever part with much more than £30 for drinks and three courses), the service is always friendly and the food is some of the best to be found in Leeds. I’m not the only one who thinks so, so be sure to book if you want to go on a Friday or Saturday!

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Dark & Stormy Brownies - Rum and Ginger Brownies // Amy Elizabeth

Ready, set, bake! 

If you caught last week’s post then you’ll know that I’m having a friendly little competition to celebrate the new series of the Great British Bake Off! I hope you’ve all been busy sifting, folding and icing because here it is!

To be in the running to win a Great British Bake Off cookbook of your choice, just add your link at the bottom of this post. All the information and rules can be found here, although mostly it’s just that there are no rules! You can add whatever you like to the mix, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro or a newbie baker. It’s all jolly good fun. The link-up will be open until midnight on Friday to give you a little bit extra time and I’ll be announcing the winner on Monday!

It would be great if you checked out your fellow contestants work and spread the baking love. If you want to tweet then I’ll be using the hashtag #GBBBO so I can keep track of everyone and make sure that I get to drool at all of your delicious bakes! Good luck!

UPDATE: I’ve now extended the entry deadline to midnight on Sunday and I’ll be announcing the winner on Tuesday! Happy Baking!

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All the Gang

Living in halls at University is a bit of a strange experience. A bunch of (mostly) 18 year olds thrown into a dormitory of sorts and expected to live together in harmony for almost a year. You’re all strangers to each other in a strange place. But you know what? Some of the best friendships of my life were forged in that environment and I know that I’m not the only one that feels that way. If you’re nervous about heading off for University in September, don’t be – there will be hard times but there will also be brilliant times. Just fake it ’till you make it confidence-wise and bring a door-stop to make your room the welcoming one. That is my best bit of pre-University advice.

Amy Drinking Wine

Mike and Dani

All this to say that some of my University friends came to stay last weekend. It was their first time to Leeds in the three years I’ve lived here so I was keen to show them the best parts of this city. I love showing off Leeds – I feel like it belongs to me in a way so when guests compliment the bars, restaurants and parks of my hometown I feel a strange sense of pride. It was a glorious weekend – ridiculously hot and sunny but made all the better from hanging out with people that are just so much fun. People that you’ve known long enough to be comfortable with, but that you don’t get to see often enough. I feel like most of my friendships are a bit like that nowadays.

Mike Drinking Beer

Amy and James

In the daytime we soaked up the rare sunshine on the rooftop of Belgrave, snacking on Dough Boys pizza (£1 a slice! Total bargain.) and drinking G&Ts. A brief pitstop at Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton before a quick outfit change and some time spent at MustardStock – where these photos were taken. A whistle stop tour of some of my favourite places – although on such a flying visit it’s hard to pack it all in. Mostly I just wanted to spend time with these fantastic people. Thanks for visiting you guys, let’s now leave it so long next time!

Katie and Edd

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sushi school 3

I don’t know about you, but sushi is kind of a mystery to me. When I eat out, I like to choose places that offer me something that I can’t make myself. If I can whip up a better version at home, I feel a bit cheated. So for me, sushi is the ultimate luxury – something that cannot be recreated in my kitchen. I have a standing sushi date with my friend Eloise where I can satisfy my cravings for all things sushi (and those delicious duck gyozas) and I occasionally venture to Wasabi at lunchtime, but otherwise I must live a sushi-less life.

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I was hoping that I might write this introductory paragraph, and then turn it all around by saying that the sushi school at Yo! Sushi changed my life and now I’m whipping up sashimi and nigiri on the regular. When I ventured there with my colleagues a couple of weeks ago, that was what I was expecting. However, despite the excellent tuition, I am doomed to forever buy my sushi ready-made – I am certainly no natural at this dish!

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That being said, I was super impressed with the class. The teacher explained so much about sushi, its history and the methods for making it so I learnt a lot in theory, even if not in practice! We also got to make a whole bunch of different kinds of sushi – from little cucumber makis to salmon nigiri (my favourite) and crab hand rolls.

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I’d definitely recommend giving this a go if you’re into sushi – you do get some great sushi secrets (like where to pick up the best fish, how to cook the rice and how to get creative with your sushi at home) and we were stuffed by the end of it. That’s something that always surprises me about sushi – I always expect to be hungry because the pieces look so small but it’s never the case!

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Don’t let my incompetence put you off – my fellow students fared much better than me; Erin made some lovely triangular maki whilst on more than one occasion was someone else’s work pronounced ‘perfect’. I was just a little overzealous with the rice, which meant rolling them up was a bit of a challenge… I did improve by the end though – I was pretty proud of my hand roll!

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Geese

So, what have you all been up to this week? I have been stressing about the amount of stuff I have to do recently, which is really not a positive place to be. It’s silly really, because so much of it is self-imposed but when I get a bee in my bonnet about an idea then I want to see it through. And oh boy, do I have an idea. And a whole hive of bees. I’m not sure about that metaphor, but you get me. I am also a perfectionist, which is both a blessing and a curse as fellow over-achievers will attest to. I suspect that’s the case for a lot of bloggers – otherwise why would we pick a hobby that can sometimes be so much like work? I kind of wish that I was really into a sport or painting or something instead. But I’m not. Blogging is my jam.

However, despite all that stress I have had a pretty awesome week. Yesterday we went to Knaresborough for a bit of exploration – it’s such a quaint little place! I also enjoyed watching Lil’s cooking demonstration at the Le Creuset store in Leeds, having afternoon tea with Emma and some Tuesday night drinks with Katie & Ed, where we spent too much time marvelling over the fact that Red from Orange is the New Black is Captain Janeway. Mind. Blown. Today we’re off to Paul’s parents house for his grandparents’ anniversary party. I hope there’s cake!

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Yorkshire Tea Bread

In my experience, being from the Home Counties doesn’t inspire a lot of loyalty. You’ll often find people from even the most idyllic parts of our fair country decrying their hometown as, well, a bit shit. I think it’s because there’s not a lot to do when you’re growing up in the commuter belt. London sucks everything inwards, and whilst most people I know will proudly declare they love for the big city, their own home doesn’t get a lot of love.

The opposite appears to be true for Yorkshire-folk. The love and devotion that locals feel for their county is both very touching and a little baffling. It’s also something I very much want to be a part of – even if I have started saying my vowels funny from living here so long. It’s easy to see why Yorkshire inspires such loyalty – it’s an absolutely glorious place to live. If we drive fifteen minutes one way, we end up in the city centre with all the fabulous metropolitan benefits that affords. If we drive fifteen minutes the other way, we’re confronted with stunning views of rolling fields. There’s nothing quite like Yorkshire countryside – it has a ruggedness about it that we just can’t achieve in the South. It’s also true what they say – people are friendlier up North. And they know how to throw one hell of a party. If you read this blog with any frequency, you’ll also know that the food is pretty fantastic.

All of this to say that today is Yorkshire Day. Another example of that Yorkshire pride I’ve been talking about – I’m not sure there is a Kent Day. I feel more at home in Yorkshire than I ever have anywhere else, and I am excited to share in a little part of that pride – as far as I’m allowed as a born-and-bred Southerner. So I made a Yorkshire Tea Bread, adapted from Ruby Tandoh’s version but with, what else, Yorkshire Tea. Serve with a cuppa and a big slab of butter smeared on top. Cheers, Yorkshire!

Yorkshire Tea Bread // Amy Elizabeth
You’ll need:

  • 275g mixed dried fruit
  • 300ml strong Yorkshire Tea (I used three teabags)
  • 60g soft dark brown sugar
  • zest of a lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • sprinkle of demerara sugar

Yorkshire Tea Bread // Amy Elizabeth

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and grease a loaf tin.

2. Pop the fruit into a large saucepan and pour over the tea. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, leaving to simmer for a couple of minutes.

3. Stir in the dark brown sugar and take off the heat.

4. Leave for 15-20 minutes before adding the lemon zest and eggs. Stir until combined.

5. In that time, sift together the dry ingredients (except the demerara sugar). Add to the saucepan once it’s ready.

6. Stir gently until fully combined. Pour into the prepared loaf tin.

7. Sprinkle the sugar on top (it gives a lovely crispy top) and pop into the oven for 45-50 minutes.

8. Leave to cool and then cut into slices to enjoy with your cup of Yorkshire Tea!

Yorkshire Tea Bread // Amy Elizabeth

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field

(photo by Lucas Lof)

Attending two weddings and shedding lots of (happy) tears.

Celebrating the birthday of my sweet friend Eloise.

Remembering to send birthday cards and presents to friends who are further away.

Running more often than usual.

Missing Le Grand Depart (but getting super exciting anyway).

Shouting ‘I am a Feminist’ at Caitlin Moran’s show.

Drinking cocktails on a Sunday with Emma & Sally.

Stuffing my face with cheese at Homage to Fromage.

Making jar salads to take to work.

Organising the Great British Blogger Bake Off

Learning to make sushi

Dreaming of running a cookbook shop (would you come?).

Hosting some of my favourite friends.

Showing them the sights of Leeds.

Feeling too hot, most of the time.

Spending my time outside, which is very unlike me.

Coveting more maxi dresses but not being able to find any to fit.

Planning a minimalist wardrobe. I want to be Un-Fancy.

Trying to like beer. I still don’t.

How about you? 

 

 

 

 

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strawberries

(Photos by Victor Hanacek)

I can’t be the only one that has full blown Great British Bake Off fever? It’s just over a week until it’s back on our telly boxes in all its innuendo-laden glory. So, in honour of this glorious televisual event, I’d like to organise a little Great British Blogger Bake Off. Or a big Great British Blogger Bake Off, depending on how many of you want to break out your pinnies.

Want to be involved? Here’s what you need to do:

  • Whip up your very own Show-stopping Signature Bake.
  • Post a blog post between Wednesday 6th & Friday 8th August
  • Come back here and post your link on my #GBBBO (careful with the number of Bs!) blogpost so I can perv at all the baked goods.
  • Check out the competitions and leave nice comments. Drool a little.
  • Scoff your creation.
  • Watch your email carefully to find out if you’ve won!

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I will judge your lovely cakes over the weekend and select one to win the Great British Bake Off cookbook of your choosing! (I have How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and other Baking Secrets, and I would recommend it!). Plus, you’ll win the glory of being a Star Baker and get to boast to all your friends, which is the real prize in my eyes.

Whilst I love the Internet, it does have one major downfall in that I will not be able to taste the cakes. So the judging criteria will be as follows:

  • Creativity/Originality
  • Presentation
  • Clear Instructions for Recreating Your Masterpiece

As in all things, the judge’s decision is final (although I can be bribed with brownies…) and, I’ll admit, kind of subjective. I can be swayed as equally by pretty pictures as pretty prose. There are no rules for what you have to bake – it can be sweet or savoury, biscuits or bread. Just watch those soggy bottoms…

If you have any questions, drop me a line at hello@amyliz.co.uk or on Twitter @amy__liz and we’ll talk baking!

Ready, set, bake! 

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honey

So, can I complain about the weather for a minute? I’m not into it. I liked June, when it was warm enough to go without a coat and sit outside but not so warm that I can’t function. It doesn’t help that I pulled out my summer clothes and none of them fit me any more. Probably because it’s been around three years since we had a decent summer/I went on a sunny holiday – so they’re not new purchases! So I’m torn between wearing something I feel comfortable in weather-wise (seriously, my office is like a sauna) and something that I feel comfortable in body-image-wise. Not a fun choice. Tell me I’m not the only one with a crisis of confidence over shorts and tiny dresses?

Other than that though, this week has been pretty rad. I went to a sushi-making class with some people from work, which was fun but I quickly learnt that whilst I am a pro at eating sushi, I am certainly not a natural at making it. I also celebrated my sweet friend Eloise’s birthday with a feast of Mexican food at Cielo Blanco and prosecco on Angelica’s beautiful terrace. Leeds, you may not have the prettiest skyline but I will never be bored of looking at you.

I’ve also got some of my wonderful Uni friends coming up this weekend. I’m writing this ahead of time, so I’ll have to share our adventures at a later date! It’s their first time in Leeds so I’m hoping to show them the best our city has to offer so they want to come back again and again! My plans are Belgrave roof garden, Mustardstock and dinner at Pinche Pinche. I think that should tempt them back.

How was your week, friends?

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vase

Hey everyone! Today I’m borrowing a blog post idea from Allie Lehman (you should totally check her out!) because I want to know a bit about you! I am so thankful that you read this blog – I’m pretty proud of it, if you don’t mind me saying and it makes me happy that you might find something helpful, delicious or interesting in these pages. I would love us to be friends – so let’s chat!

1. Are you a dog or a cat person? 

2. What’s your signature drink?

3. You have an evening all to yourself – what do you do? 

4. If you could only eat one nationality of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

5. What are you reading right now? Would you recommend it? 

My answers: 

1. A bit of both. I know you’re supposed to be one or the other, but I can totally see the appeal of both cats and dogs. Even though she hates me, I love Tuna Fey so much and having her around has definitely made our house a home. But if I had to choose? I would have a dog. They’re just so much a part of the team and they give back the love you show them in spades. It’s not a reality for us right now, but I would love us one day to have a little beagle puppy.

2. This is a bit of a Cosmo-ish question, I apologise. I don’t think that your ‘signature’ drink says much about you other than your tastebuds really, if that helps. If you’re going to the bar and I don’t fancy anything in particular, my default is a glass of Pinot Grigio or a Hendricks & Tonic (although I’ll take a different gin, in a pinch).

3. If we had a bath, I would take a bath. Instead I am stuck with just a shower and that is certainly no fun. If I’m home alone, I usually make myself a big bowl of pasta and catch up on all the TV that Paul hates. Sometimes I knit or blog. I usually go to bed early. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.

4. It’s a toss up between Mexican and Italian. I think I’d have to go with Mexican, although I’m glad it’s not a real life question because I couldn’t live without pasta.

5. Right now I am reading Lolita by Vladimir Nobakov. I have read the first half so many times but never got to the end for some reason, so I am persevering. The prose is beautiful despite the haunting subject matter, but it is slow going because it’s quite dense. I would recommend it if you’re the kind of person who, like me, cares as much (if not more) about the language and the way the story is told than about the storyline. It’s not a light beach read, but it is glorious.

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