We have a wonderful new addition to Todmorden’s culinary & social scene.
Following a few soft launches & dry runs, Site Pizzeria officially opened for business on Friday evening.
We had an early timeslot booked, which gave us the opportunity to take photographs of the restaurant – pristine & untouched.
The décor is perfectly judged – paintwork in shades of grey & cream, industrial touches, an eclectic mix of seating with striking contemporary artwork. There’s a small courtyard at the back, the tables shaded by three beautiful umbrella-shaped plane trees. It will be the perfect place to eat on a hot, sunny day. Winter dining will be a warm, cosy experience too – with a real fire, atmospheric lighting and orange glow from the pizza oven.
We pass the building most days on the way to town centre shops or our antiques centre space – or walking the dog of course. We’ve seen it miraculously transform from a long-disused shop with bedsits above to this wonderful place…
…and much of the hard graft done by owners Natalie & Olly themselves. Every time we passed they were digging, sawing, lifting, or hammering. They’ve done a remarkable job.
And so on to the food – the freshly-made, traditional wood-fired oven pizzas which we love.
Takeaways or supermarket offerings just can’t replicate the delicious flavours & texture of an authentic pizza.
We had some delicious olives & spiced nuts as an appetiser – followed by two of the best pizzas we’d ever eaten – all washed down with a lovely bottle of crisp, dry rose wine. Perfect!
It’s congratulations to Natalie & Olly on what they’ve achieved so far. We wish them every success with their future business and hope to see them there on a regular basis!!
Update: We’ve taken a photo of the Site Pizzeria menu in case you want a preview before you visit! Click on the image for a magnified view.
The county has three national parks either wholly or partially within its borders, which is quite something. This stunning scenery was a major factor in Yorkshire being chosen for the Grand Départ for this year”s Tour de France. The enthusiasm of the population & amazing spectator numbers would follow later.
The man-made additions can make a wonderful impact on the landscape – just look at the stunning Ribblehead Viaduct which we featured as our main photo – or the classic dry stone walls which snake for thousands of miles across the countryside.
view over Scarborough from the castle | Image credit: Dave Kilroy
There’s amazing architecture both old & new – from ancient castles like the coastal fortress at Scarborough to spectacular abbeys like Rievaulx, Bolton & Fountains. Stately homes like Castle Howard – through to classic Georgian market towns & spas such as Richmond & Harrogate.
Workers’ houses, Saltaire | Image credit: Tim Green
Victorian mill buildings & civic splendour of the 19th century – Saltaire immediately springs to mind!
Relative to size, the number of listed buildings in industrial towns like Halifax & Huddersfield is amazing.
Twins l and ll by Jaume Plensa, Yorkshire Sculpture Park | Image credit: Bryan Ledgard
Then right into the 21st century with places like Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Even the humble car park can grab your attention. This is the Charles Street car park in Sheffield, christened ‘the cheese grater’ by the locals (it’s been voted the 3rd coolest in the world don”t you know!).
We love the Yorkshire Dales and the coast around Whitby. Malham is a great place to visit – with it’s stunning limestone scenery of streams, springs, caverns, gorges, clints & grykes – it’s a real life geography text book!
…and just mentioning Whitby makes us dream wistfully about a trip over there.
It’s a lovely drive from here – through Helmsley & Pickering, across the North York Moors – stopping for a sandwich & a cuppa at the Hole of Horcum – then dropping down through Sleights and into picturesque Whitby.
We’d probably stay at the Old Dispensary. No doubt, there’d be walks on the beach or coastal path to Staithes or Robin Hood’s Bay. A mooch around the town maybe, fish & chips on the harbour at sunset. Perhaps a few drinks in the Black Horse pub – and a lazy breakfast with the newspapers the morning after. Bliss – the perfect weekend away.
Staithes Harbour looking out to sea | Image credit: PauliCarmody
We really enjoy a drive out somewhere – a day wandering around the local sights & shops – stopping for a coffee. We’re spoilt for choice really – places like Ripon, Ilkley, Harrogate, Skipton and Richmond all within reach. It brings to mind another favourite little trip – with flask of tea made, take the lovely drive over the moors through Oxenhope to Addingham (where you can pick up a snack for lunchtime if you haven’t brought a packed lunch. Spend a couple of hours by the river at Bolton Abbey, then onto Ilkley or Skipton for the afternoon. Each has its own attractions depending on what you fancy that day – auction house, antiques centre, shops, park, boat trip on the canal, medieval castle, Betty’s Tea Rooms!
Stepping stones across the river at Bolton Abbey | Image credit: linearclassifier
And then there’s home of course – we can’t write a post about Yorkshire without highlighting our own little corner of the county. We live & work in the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. We know the neighbouring towns of Todmorden & Hebden Bridge particularly well having lived in both.
Todmorden stone on entering the town centre
It’s Todmorden at the moment and we’re very happy here. It’s actually very easy to shop & socialise in both which is ideal. Two for the price of one! A ten minute drive or train hop between the two – or an hour’s walk along a lovely stretch of that canal we mentioned earlier – the perfect distance for a stroll with a well-deserved pub lunch at the other end!
Rochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge | Image credit: Phil King
There’s a lot going on here for relatively small towns. Interesting independent shops, markets, art galleries, restaurants & bars. Each town has a lovely, big park where they stage a wide variety of events. There are agricultural shows, vintage car rallies, beer & music festivals and spectacular fire work displays.
We have beautiful countryside on our doorstep where we spend many hours walking with our dog Fudge. The folk are friendly & helpful and there’s a strong will to give things a go – whether it be a new business or social endeavour. Just take Incredible Edible as the perfect example – a wonderful organisation aiming to provide access to good local food for all.
View of Todmorden nestled in the Calder valley
So, that’s our Yorkshire. In addition to sharing lots of lovely images, this post gives us the opportunity to highlight the importance of Yorkshire Water in all this. It’s actually one of the county’s largest landowners and has given access to thousands of acres of their land for everyone to enjoy. Their Blueprint for Yorkshire details their achievements to date & plans for the next 25 years. Their work is essential, from providing our drinking water, to reducing flooding to protecting wildlife and the natural environment. Their activities affect residents & visitors alike and are vital for the well-being of this county.
Have you noticed that we’ve been a little scarce on the blog and social media front since last week?
Well the reason behind it is that we were one of the flood victims in the Calder River Valley on Friday night.
A metre of water lapped at our front & back door and it was soon apparent that we wouldn’t be able to stop it coming inside – it quickly came up through the floorboards to a height of about a foot and a half. We managed to save a lot of our things by putting them on our big kitchen table or taking them upstairs but alas, bigger items of furniture, kitchen cupboards and appliances have been ruined. And there’s now an awful lot of cleaning up to do – there’s a layer of mud on every horizontal surface!
Any further blog posts will be postponed until we get everything sorted out and back to normal. We’ll just leave you with a little clip of video we took on our mobile phone out of a top floor window after we’d retreated to higher ground:
We’ve been having the most glorious late spring/early summer weather here in Todmorden and our vintage garden chairs have been seeing some action for the first time this year. We completely disagree with whoever came up with, “blue and green should never be seen”!
There’s always a little ‘hold your breath’ moment as you cut the first slice and have a look at the crumb. Proper, big ciabatta holes!
I had a few slices, fresh from the oven, with a handful of watercress and East Lee soft cheese made locally by the Pextenement Cheese Company… Justin had his with the slightly less healthy option for his Sunday brunch – fried eggs with pork & chive sausages – but it was all local produce too – and delicious he said.
350g/12 oz/3 cups unbleached plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
For the dough
15g/½ oz fresh yeast
400ml/14fl oz/1⅔ cups lukewarm water
60ml/4 tbsp lukewarm milk
500g/1¼ lb/5 cups unbleached white bread flour
10ml/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Makes 3 loaves
Cream the yeast for the biga starter with a little of the water. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Gradually mix in the yeast mixture and sufficient of the remaining water to form a firm dough.
Turn out the biga starter dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 12-15 hours or until the dough has risen and is starting to collapse.
Sprinkle 3 baking sheets with flour. Mix the yeast for the dough with a little of the water until creamy, then mix in the remainder. Add the yeast mixture to the biga and gradually mix in.
Mix the milk, beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using your hand, gradually beat in the flour, lifting the dough as you mix. Mixing the dough will take 15 minutes or more and form a very wet mix, impossible to knead on a work surface.
Beat in the salt and olive oil. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
With a spoon, carefully tip one third of the dough at a time on to the baking sheets without knocking back the dough in the process.
7 Using floured hands, shape into rough, oblong loaf shapes, about 2.5cm/1” thick. Flatten slightly with splayed fingers. Sprinkle with flour and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.