Posts tagged ‘Create restaurant’

February 18, 2012

Lunch at Create: A menu dilemma

This week, I managed to tick off a rather lovely one of my 35:35 Challenges and finally eat at Create, a restaurant in the centre of Leeds. Not just a restaurant but a social enterprise too, offering jobs and training to people who have suffered from long term unemployment. Of course the social enterprise part would be all very worthy but not enough, if not backed up by great food. Thankfully, as reviewed by everyone from Twitter friends to Jay Rayner, the food is excellent. Truly excellent. At the moment, there is a lunchtime offer. Two people, two courses, £18.50. Incredible value for such lovely food. Which is why the place was  full on Wednesday lunchtime!

I’m clearly not a restaurant critic or food writer. I have some very odd favourite foods. I do like food a lot though (which is why I’ll never be waif-like) and therefore feel that I have enough of an opinion to comment. I had a spelt pumpkin risotto to start and then (as recommended by the friendly waitress)  smoked haddock topped with an amazing fried poached egg with leeks and potatoes as main. The risotto was a great size for a starter, the texture was lovely and the goats cheese mixed in with the pumpkin gave it a lovely little bit of sharpness amongst the creaminess of the spelt. My haddock was perfect. Smoked without that horrible yellow colour, thank goodness, and topped with a perfectly poached and still-soft egg, it was a plate of pure pleasure to eat. Just thinking about it again is making me hungry!

My lunchtime companion had a pumpkin bake as a main course followed by a shiny pale pink rhubarb pavlova dessert. She said that everything was lovely too.

The main problem I had was in choosing what to eat. I always approach every food-choosing opportunity as if it were my last meal ever. One day, in the hopefully VERY distant future, it will be. I really do need to get over it every day though. The other thing I struggle with is the dilemma of whether to choose something I know I love, and will therefore enjoy, or something that I’ve never had before. This obviously is a bit risky, as it could turn out to be horrible. However, like I say to my kids – you’ll never know if you like it if you don’t try it!

So – new rules for me:

1 – Sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich. Something to keep me from hunger. I am obviously grateful for this, but I don’t need to take all day deciding between egg or cheese. Seriously.

2 – When eating out in a restaurant, if I’m only having one course,  I will pick something I know I like. If I’m having more than one course, I’m going to make sure I include something new. Life is supposed to be a series of new experiences, after all!

We had such a great lunch that we’re already planning our next visit to Create, during which I will follow my new rule – something I know I like and something new. Who knows, if we keep going back, I might get to work my way through the whole menu anyway…

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December 12, 2011

A Scanner’s Resolutions

I’ve written in the past about my Scanner Daybook, although I recently realised how little I’d been using it since starting this blog. It seems that recording life here is enough for me!

For as long as I can remember, I have written a plan for each year. During December, I spend some time planning the next year and reviewing the past one. I am loathe to call my plans ‘resolutions’, as they rarely fall into the ‘lose weight, stop smoking’ type of plan – although I am going to make more time for the gym next year, if only so I am fit enough for everything else! So, I suppose they are, really. A scanner never really stops making plans, but writing them in time for the New Year is a convenient way for me to organise them.

Generally, I write enough plans to keep me occupied full time and I am pretty bad at being rational about how much time I have to spend on them – but given how many new things I have already managed to do this year (see my 35:35 Challenge page) I am pretty confident that I might manage at least some of them. My usual method of managing everything is to have a monthly check on progress and to be flexible. They always say that life is what happens when you are busy making plans, and so I always allow for that, which basically means being kind to myself and not beating myself up if something doesn’t happen. After all, anyone with small children knows just how much time we spend each week on the routine of school, laundry, homework, cooking, tidying-up, etc. and that is the most important part of my life. Wanting to still be ‘me’ as well as ‘Mummy’ means fitting all of my plans around the family as well as my full-time job, and generally, I do quite well.

So, here are my (flexible) plans for 2012:

Physical:

  • Make time for the gym each week
  • Return to horse-riding, starting with a lunge lesson to work on my seat.
  • Undertake a physical challenge (akin to previous ones: Lyke Wake Walk, Three Peaks, Cycletta) The exact challenge is still to be decided, but I can rely on my dear family to come up with something that will at some point make me cry but ultimately be a brilliant experience. (35:35)
  • Have a go at some off road mountain biking
  • Have a beginner’s canoe session with my lovely friend Hillary (35:35)
  • Complete Cycletta again, and beat my 2011 finish time.

Travel

  • A week in Rome in the Spring (35:35)
  • A family holiday with the kids, hopefully on the Isle of Wight, where my Mum is from and where we have spent many a happy summer.
  • Paris in the winter, for a couple of days before Christmas ( this is pretty ambitious, given our budget, but I might as well add it in!)

Clothing

  • Keep a record of my monthly expenditure on clothing, accessories, beauty, skincare, magazines etc, so I can see exactly what I am spending on what (inspired by my lovely  friend’s plan to do this) I’m quite interested to see if my behaviour changes because of the act of recording it, as it is assumed  – and to a certain extent, I hope it will anyway because of the next plan.
  • Buy (or save up for) a piece of clothing each month. This seems like an indulgence but really, most of my clothes are falling apart. I seem to have drifted to a place where ‘fashion’ is something that exists in another world, not linked to my real life. Which means I barely own a pair of socks, and at the age of 35 I feel like I should be able to go to work in something that makes me look like a grown up, even if I rarely feel like one! I’m not talking about spending lots of money, but if there are pieces of clothing that I really like, I will save each monthly (still to be decided) budget to buy something really worth having. I always prefer quality over quantity when it comes to clothes, but this seems to have resulted in me genuinely struggling to find anything in my wardrobe to wear!

Allotment

  • Aim for four productive raised beds. These are all built, manured, and were in production last year, so it shouldn’t be too hard. I need to spend some time planning what to grow and working out the crop rotation in January.
  • Build the children their own small raised bed each for planting their choice of flowers, fruit and vegetables, or just for driving toy tractors on!
  • Dig over the area where we plan to put the poly-tunnel and mark it all out.
  • Sort out the supports for the cordoned apple trees

Learning

  • A one to one sewing session with Sew You in January (35:35)
  • Some time learning the basics of silver-smithing with my lovely sister in law (35:35)
  • Return to learning Italian in preparation for Rome, and try to find some structured time for this each week. (35:35)

Happiness

  • Make sure there is lots of time for just being in the moment, playing with the kids. As you can probably tell from this, and previous posts, I am not very good at slowing down and being present, instead of planning for the future or dwelling on the past, so I need to be careful of this.
  • Try to have a regular massage and try Lomi Lomi massage (35:35)
  • Eat at Create, Leeds, which, judging by the reviews I’ve seen may well be the best restaurant in the city! (35:35)
  • Hot Air Balloon trip (as per the survey I did here earlier, 35:35)
  • Have a falconry session.(35:35)
  • Continue with Operation: Bedroom Sanctuary and then when I am happy with that, move onto the other rooms.
  • Put together some photograph albums and get some more photos framed and put up on the walls.
  • Try to buy a second hand DSLR to take better photos for this blog, and learn more about IT so I can continue to improve it.

Now I’ve shared my plans with you all, I feel as though I am more likely to complete them, so I’ve added a new page to the blog to record my progress.

So next year is all organised. Now I can relax and enjoy Christmas…