Posts Tagged ‘meal’

Finland’s 100th birthday

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017 | Events

Finland turned 100 this year. It’s fun walking around Helsinki because many of the buildings and companies have their incorporation date above the door, and many of them are before Finland was officially a country.

We celebrated the anniversary with Illallinen taivaan alla (dinner under the sky) back in August. However, Finland’s Independence Day is 6th December. Too cold for a dinner outside, but an event that we wanted to mark none the less.

So, we invited some friends around and cooked some Finnish food.

If you saw my post on Nordic food, you might recall that Finnish food only comes in one colour. And that colour is brown. It’s a cuisine of permanent autumnal themes.

For the starter, crayfish filo tartlets, Karelian pasties and homemade gravlax. They were so popular, I only managed to snap the last tartlet.

For the main, Karelian stew. With a British stew, you would typically pick a single meat and stew it with a selection of vegetables. With Karelian stew, you pick a single vegetable and stew it with beef, pork and lamb. Ideally for a couple of days.

Finally, for dessert, pinwheels and a ginger cake.

HSoWY Winter Social 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016 | Events, Humanism

The annual West Yorkshire Humanist’s summer social has been running since long before my time. For the past two years, we have been running a picnic at Kirkstall Abbey. Last year, we also added a Winter Social, to fill in the gap left by the Atheist Society’s Winter Solstice meals.

This year we had ten people attend, including plenty of old faces, and some new faces too.

The venue was the Lawnswood Arms, as it was last year. The food was fine. It is a family-friendly and affordable pub, with mains priced around £7-10, so you got what you paid for: the food turned up edible and hot, with is all you really need when you have good company.

Multi-course meals

Sunday, January 24th, 2016 | Food, Thoughts


For our New Year’s Eve murder mystery dinner party I planned a multi-course meal. To be exact I planned 11 courses. However, everyone was so full after the ninth course that we never made it to the final two.

Here is the menu I served up.


Wood-smoked salmon pâté
Served on baguette

Goat’s cheese tart
Served with Asian-inspired coleslaw

Mexican tomato and bean soup
Served with maneesh and bloomer

Breaded fish
Served with tomato chutney and lettuce

Yorkshire pudding
Served in a Thai red curry sauce on a steak

Served with slow-cooked ratatouille

Carrot, orange and chervil salad

Fruit pie
Served with honeycomb ice cream

Caramel chocolate shortbread

Cheese board
With crackers and grapes

Tea & coffee
Served with chocolate biscuits

Usually I would go for a big bang approach with dinner parties. There may or may not be a starter. Most of the food would arrive with the main course, which might consist of multiple potential centerpiece dishes and many different sides.

This was very difficult to do well. The myriad dishes all had to come out hot at the same time. There was competition for attention in those final minutes and a constant strain on hob and oven space. Then you had to fit everything on the table at the same time, as well as people’s plates, and provide implements for serving everything.

My plan on New Year was to avoid all of this. By breaking everything down into small courses I would eliminate many of these problems. There was be less competition for hob and oven space as every course was spaced half an hour apart and prepared one by one. Dishes were then plated up in the kitchen and bought to the table.

Some of the effort was also wiped our by cheating, or arguably careful planning. Many of the dishes were simply cold for example. There were only four hot dishes: the soup, the fish and the two meat courses. The rest were served at room temperature, or chilled (some in my second fridge: the balcony!). I also pressed my slow cooker into use to make the ratatouille. I was able to prepare this hours in advance, slow cook it and have it sat there ready.

The advantages were clear. Each dish got more attention. Everything could be nicely presented. There was no fighting for oven space. Taking the plates to the table meant that were was plenty of space for people’s drinks, bottles of wine and even an array of candles. Many small courses also allows for more variety in the meal.

The disadvantages were reasonably few. It could be that I spent more time at the kitchen rather than at the table, but it did not feel that way. The biggest problem was plates. You need a lot of them. You either need a lot of them, or the ability to wash and dry them quickly. In the end we used a combination of both.

We bought some high quality disposable plates. They were made of plastic but easily stood being washed up and re-used. Being plastic I could not warm them however. We also had to re-use cutlery.

Overall, I think I am a convert to the multi-course meal. The biggest advantage being it takes the pressure off the one big delivery. It also allows you to spend more time crafting small and varied dishes. I suspect 11 is probably a little over the top though…

Humanist winter social

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 | Events, Humanism


To end the year West Yorkshire Humanists held a social at the Lawnswood Arms.

Humanist winter social

Sunday, December 20th, 2015 | Events, Humanism


For this year’s Humanist winter social, we had a meal at the Lawnswood Arms.

Galileo Day Feast 2015

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 | Life



Just your average dinner of roast pork, Yorkshires, ratatouille, refried beans, new potatoes, mashed potatoes, three types of vegetables, Asian inspired coleslaw, seafood platter, cheese and tomato tart, salad and five different types of bread.

The real achievement was that we managed to eat almost all of it. Or at least will have by the time this is published…

End of Year Meal

Sunday, July 14th, 2013 | Events

Following the recent elections, we handed over to the new committee at White Rose and celebrated with a meal at Las Iguanas. The restaurant itself was a big disappointment – it took an hour and a half from us arriving to the food being served, but the company was good.

IMG_4716 IMG_4717 IMG_4718

Winter Solstice meal

Sunday, December 19th, 2010 | Humanism, Life

On Tuesday we headed down to Red Hot World Buffet for the Atheist Society’s annual Winter Solstice meal.

Or at least, that is where we thought we were heading. We had decided that we didn’t need to book because only six people had confirmed as coming on Facebook and it was a Tuesday and it was a buffet and it was huge.

However, on the night, 12 people turned up and when Norm, who had gone on ahead of us, asked how long the wait would be on an appropriated sized table – he was told, two weeks! I mean seriously, who holds their Christmas party on a Tuesday and goes to a buffet? Standards these days.

Luckily Spice Quarter were kind enough to fit us in so we enjoyed a high quality buffer after all.

End of Year Ball ’09

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 | Events, Humanism

Tuesday saw the End of Year Ball which this year saw several of the freethinking societies in and around Leeds unite. While it was mostly an A-Soc affair we got people from Skeptics, York Brights, the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire and HAG there, even if this is mostly the same crowd lol.

We kicked things off at Spice Quarter where I managed to get through a reasonably respectable five plates though I believe I was significantly trailing Zoltan who was on a mission to eat everything they owned.

The made in front of you stir fry had to be the winning dish as you literally can just pile everything on your plate and get them to stir fry it. Interesting, despite what sause I asked for it all seemed to come out of the same pot but it actually tasted like what I asked for so I’m not going to complain.

Afterwards we headed to Bourbon for their Mix Tape Project night which was really good if people did start disappearing – the last people to leave the place where myself and Paul! That’ll show those kids who can really party… :D.

In the end we had 34 people turn up which I think is quite respectable.

Spice Quarter Liz and Chris Bourbon