I spent last weekend in Leeds with the Wunderkind. Great city, loved it. Lively and yet down-to-earth, with a fantastic industrial heritage. It was quite disappointing not to be able to cook – we were staying in the Travelodge in Vicar Lane, just up the road from the food market. Would have been great to trundle into the market with a tartan trolley-bag and load up with all their magnificent fruit and veg and fish and meat and bread. But hey, you can’t always have it all.
I arrived in Leeds before my laddie, on Friday, and found a great lunch in Pieminister – a chain which hasn’t yet reached Scotland. Below is a picture of my Kate and Sidney (steak and kidney) – hearty and wholesome, and a bit nostalgic – we don’t often get kidney nowadays. The sausage-looking things on the skewer and fork are actually deep-fried courgettes, nice touch. As you all know, I’m a pie aficionado and have considered the merits of starting up a pie business. But I think Pieminister has done everything I’d want to do in a pie shop.
We had to go back the next day as WK was jealous of my pie (I’d texted him a photo) – this time, his was called Deer and Beer – rich and gamey. Great pastry. For myself, I’m sorry to say I couldn’t manage a pie two days running – I must be getting old – I had a Caesar Salad with chicken and ham and astonished myself by not being able to finish it. Not finish a salad? Was I ill or something? No, it was just a very substantial salad. Who’d have thunk it?
Pieminister, according to my waitress, originated in Bristol, and has a number of branches round the country. It has a brick-and-steel, industrial kind of interior but manages to be warm and cheery. Or maybe that was just the couple at the next table who were happy to exchange pie reminiscences. Theyre’s a cookbook – ‘A Pie for All Seasons’ – and I had to buy it and am glad I did because it’s full of brilliant recipes including a good number of vegetarian wonders. The waitress came back with my change and a free gift of a jar of Pieminister ‘pie chutney’, very kind. Will share my own Pieminister pie efforts in due course.