Manchester Meal – In Memory

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Manchester Meal

This recipe takes its inspiration from Manchester’s dynamic multi-cultural cuisine. The busy China town streets with aromas of steaming foods, fermented vegetables and fresh fish. The curry mile with its tastes and aromas of the Middle East and Asia, Manchester’s own bustling street food scene with its massive wholesale markets. The love of pies and fish chip suppers on a Friday evening, the brewed ales from the many local brewers and not forgetting a reference to bees that symbolise Manchester – honey.

Manchester’s food is as diverse as the people that make this great city.


Braised Five Spice Ox Cheeks with Pak Choi and Sweet Potato Nutmeg Mash 

Ingredients- Serves 4
  • 1 tbsp. butter / vegetable oil
  • 2 brown onions sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed and pureed
  • 1 large carrot diced small
  • 2 sticks of celery peeled and diced
  • 400g ox cheeks trimmed and cleaned – (vegan – replace with 400g of tofu)
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 tsp. Chinese five spice
  • 1 pint beef stock fresh or cube 1 pint of ale (vegan – check labels and use veg stock)
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Heat an oven proof pan/casserole dish on the hob, add the butter and oil, when hot and foamy add the onions, turn the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, celery, carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Take all the vegetables from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
  4. In the same pan/casserole dish add more butter and oil, heat until foaming. Put the flour and spice mix onto a plate and dust the ox cheeks in the mix, place into the hot plan and cook until golden – about 3 minutes each side. (Do the same for tofu)
  5. Add the stock or ale, all the vegetables and tomato paste to the pan and stir. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 10 mins. Transfer pan/casserole dish to the oven for at least 2 hours or until meat is tender – when a knife easily pierces the ox cheek. (Do the same for tofu cooking for 30 mins).

Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients – serves 4
  • 2 large sweet potatoes washed dried
  • 100g butter (vegan – use 80ml oil)
  • 1 tsp. of nutmeg
  • Salt pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place the sweet potato on an oven tray in the oven, cook for 30-40 minutes or until soft when touched.
  2. Cut one end of each potato and squeeze over a deep bowl, the soft cooked potato will pop out easily.
  3. Add the butter (oil), season with salt pepper add nutmeg and beat into a soft mash.
  4. Keep warm until needed.

Pak Choi

Ingredients – Serves 4

  •  2 large whole Pak choi cut into 4 length ways
  • ½ pint vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 50g butter – 1 tsp of vegetable oil


  1. Heat a heavy deep frying pan or wok
  2. Add the oil / butter until it foams, add the four pieces of Pak choi, cut side down. Cook for 3 minutes each side.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and soya sauce, cover the pan reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes
  4. Keep warm until needed.

To plate the dish

  1. Take 4 heated large bowls and place a big spoon of creamy sweet mash in the centre.
  2. Divide ox cheek or tofu into four portions and spoon on top of the mash with lots of sauce and onions.
  3. Now top with pak choi

Sorcery Tips

Chopped, fresh coriander or curly parsley adds a nice twist

Baklava – ‘Our Honey’

Turks have a strong claim to influencing baklava. It’s likely that traditions from many cultures from the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Middle East combined to create this wonderfully succulent dessert. Honey is a natural crowd pleaser, perfect for dessert tables, it satisfies our sweet tooth while promoting good health and healing all at the same time.

Image of baklave to make manchester feel better made at Food Sorcery cookery school didsbury manchester

Makes 25-30 pieces

Ingredients – For the Baklava

  • 18 sheets ready-made filo pastry (unwrap and keep under a damp tea-towel until you are ready to use)
  • 150g unsalted butter, you’ll need extra for greasing
  • 200g chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pistachios are best, or use a combination of them)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

For the Syrup

  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 340g of honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Finely ground pistachios for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease a 17cm x 28cm (11in x 7in) baking tray with butter.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat or in a microwave.
  4. Lay 10 sheets of filo pastry, one at a time, into the tray, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next.
  5. In a clean bowl, mix together the nuts, sugar and cardamom and spread the mixture over the pastry in the tray.
  6. Layer up the remaining sheets on top of the nut mixture, brushing each sheet with butter, as before.
  7. Using a sharp knife, cut into the top layers of the pastry to make small squares.
  8. Place baklava in the preheated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown, and edges appear slightly crisp. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
  9. For the syrup, heat the sugar, water, lemon juice, honey and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce to medium low heat and let simmer for 7 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  10. Pour the syrup over the baklava and leave to cool. Garnish with some finely crushed pistachios if desired and cut into small pieces to serve.

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