Monthly archives: February 2016

Come To Where I’m From: Otley


We’re excited to announce a special one-off COME TO WHERE I’M FROM at 9:30pm this Friday 4 March as part of the Courthouse Words Festival at Otley Courthouse.

We’re heading to beautiful West Yorkshire to hear homespun tales from four ace local playwrights Emma Adams, Shazia Ashraf, John Hollingworth and Boff Whalley.

They’re the latest of more than 100 playwrights who have written short plays about their home towns since we launched the project back in 2010.

Emma, Shazia, John and Boff perform their own work live on Friday as part of Otley’s  boutique literary festival. We’re thrilled to be part of it. If that’s your neck of the woods come on down, we’d love to see you there.

Tickets are £8/6 in advance, £9/7 on the door and you can get them here.

Taste Tuesday: Cut-the-corner Jamaican Patties

Taste Tuesday took a short hiatus while we dealt with the small matter of getting four of our colleagues to the other side of the world (more on that here…) but thanks to Trainee Administrator, Bhavini it is BACK, and it was totally worth the wait…

My best mate Sydnee makes the best Jamaican patties, so I basically thought I could copy her and make some for the office. This is a super easy recipe – you could say it cuts corners, but it made everyone in the office a happy bunny and that’s all that matters.

Unfortunately I didn’t have measurements for the recipe because I work on the ‘hmm let’s add more of this and a pinch of that…’ policy in my cooking, so I will trust you all to do the same!

So the instructions on my *shop bought pastry* (I could only hide it for so long) advised me to only put cool fillings into the pastry otherwise it would break, so I cooked the filling the night before and allowed it to completely cool overnight.

Lamb Patty filling
– 500g Lamb mince
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 1 carrot, diced
– 1 tomato, diced
– Paprika
– Caribbean curry powder
– Chilli powder
– Salt

Fry the onions and carrots until tender. Once tender, add the curry powder, sautee for another 10 minutes until the carrots are soft and then add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes have reduced add the mince as well as the other spices and allow to cook and let your mouth water over the amazing flavours.

Veggie Patty filling
– 1 butternut squash (donated to me by the lovely Aysha Powell), finely diced
– A couple of celery sticks, finely diced
– 1 big carrot, finely diced
– 1 onion, finely diced
– 3 garlic cloves (I love garlic), finely chopped
– Caribbean curry powder
– Salt
– Passata (just a little bit…I did this instinctively)
– Coriander leaves, finely chopped
– Salt
Steam the butternut squash, carrot over boiling water for about 10 minutes until soft. At the same time, fry the chopped onion in a pan until soft and add the garlic until the onions are browned. Once the vegetables are steamed, add to the onions and allow the flavours to combine. Add the passata and the other spices and allow the mix to reduce.

Leave your fillings to cool overnight.
You’ll need:
– Shop bought pastry
– 1 egg for egg wash

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees, then ASSEMBLE:


When you’ve put a tbsp of filling onto the pastry, cut a moon shape around the filling and fold over to make a half moon shape. Pinch the ends and clamp over with a flat fork to secure the shape. Brush with egg wash.

If you get amazing shop bought pastry like mine it will come with greaseproof paper but if not, line an oven tray with greaseproof paper, place the patties in the pre-heated oven and cook for 25 minutes until golden brown.


And, in the words of Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan – there you have it! Cut-the-corner Jamaican Patties.


– Bhav x


What’s on the PP stereo?

Big up the real mad playlist this week, crossing genres and eras…too much fun!

‘If the truth is told, the youth can grow’ – Nas

Girls Are Great

Who would have thought being born into the world with the ‘wrong’ genitals for the job would be such a ball ache? [lol] Ok maybe ‘wrong’ is a bit of a stretch, but certainly something to think about.

Female directors in the arts – wow, you girls rock my world and Paines Plough’s very own Stef O’Driscoll has just been announced as the nabokov Artistic Director with Liz Counsell of Roundhouse glory as Producer. A powerhouse of talent, drive, determination and all round, top girls.

Back in 2014, Lyn Gardener wrote an article entitled, ‘Theatre’s leading female figures gather to shine a spotlight on gender gap’, and in it she stated that ‘of the artistic directors working across the 179 theatre organisations in Arts Council England’s national portfolio, 63% are male and 37% are female’. This information was compiled by Tonic and provides some interesting reading. Two years on, Emma Rice is AD at Shakespeare’s Globe, Anna Jordan’s Yen and Katerine Soper’s Wish List wins Bruntwood, and Nadia Amico finally realises being a woman from a working-class background doesn’t mean you’re destined to spend your days never quite achieving greatness.

I’ve had the privilege to assist Stef a fair few times now, and the first time I met her, she ran into the green room at PPHQ hollering through the halls how she was so happy there was coffee in the coffee pot. Over time I’ve grown to see how she works and I’m so incredibly honoured to have her as a mentor. She’s going to cringe massively at this, but she’s kind of a hero of mine. She wears mad clothes, she has no airs and graces, there’s no bulls***, she loves drum and bass music and she’s an incredible director and teacher. Not only does she give me hope that women in theatre can achieve so much at such a young age – she’s like 28 – but also that you can be yourself.

The worst thing in achieving your dream is losing yourself in the process. I spent a long time worried I’d have to tone down the swearing, stop expressing myself so sensitively, speak with a clipped accent and avoid telling people I was born in “Norf Landon’, that I was beginning to think maybe I should just jack it all in. And although PP’s Aysha does ask if my story is NSFW now, PP have certainly allowed me to be myself, and become a better version of myself.

I’ve spent many a coffee fuelled evening crying to Stef about how unfair things are, how I’ve got no money to move out, how I don’t feel respected enough because I’m too young and mainly how I feel like I’m in the wrong business sometimes. She always finds a way of predicting the future; being able to navigate the tides of change in the arts, keep spirits up. That’s the kind of AD we need, the kind of mentor we need, and the inspiration I need to keep smashing through that glass ceiling. And ultimately, if you’re ever in doubt, just remember…the best way to predict the future is to create it.

– Nadia

What’s on the PP stereo?

There’s been a pretty serious Arctic Monkeys fest in the Admin Office today, but here are some of the whole team’s highlights from across the whole week.

And last but not least…

Happy weekend!

Team PP x


‘Don’t believe the hype.’ – Alex Turner

We’re recruiting a Finance and Admin Assistant

We’re looking for a brilliant new FINANCE AND ADMIN ASSISTANT to join Team PP.

We’d love to meet someone who’s enthusiastic about theatre, particularly new writing and touring, and friendly and welcoming, as there’s always someone coming through the door at PPHQ. Good oral and written communication skills are key, as well as a good working knowledge of IT packages. If you are a fan of food as well, that would be a bonus.

Sound like you? Brilliant! Here’s a bit more info about the role.
The Finance and Admin Assistant will work across all company activities, providing vital support to ensure the effective and efficient running of Paines Plough. They will work closely with our Administrator Simone, supporting her in the day to day financial administration of the company and will also have the opportunity to take responsibility for the co-ordination of specific Paines Plough projects and events.

Download a full job description and application pack here or email

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 24 February at 12pm

We can’t wait to hear from you…

Paines Plough is committed to being an equal opportunities employer.
Registered charity number: 267523

Taste Tuesday: Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes

When I was growing up, my favourite thing to do with my Granny of an afternoon was to harass her in to helping me make fairycakes. And by ‘helping’, I obviously mean her doing the bulk of the work while I licked the spoon.


When my first Taste Tuesday rolled around I panicked – I cannot cook for the life of me and I was following Bhavini’s A-MA-ZING jambalaya. It was stressful times, guys.

Attempts to make an entire lemon drizzle cake ended in disaster – twice. One attempt exploded over the side of the cake tin thanks to baking powder which you’ll notice is absent from my ingredients list… The other fell apart while coming out of the baking tin. I managed to salvage it slightly by pouring over the lemon drizzle mixture and wrapping it in cling film – at least my flatmates got to enjoy it.

Unfortunately this resulted in a ‘Taste Blues-day’ in the office and after hearing the cries of disappointment from the Admin office when they read my email, I decided that I should attempt something smaller and more managable – Granny D’Arcy’s Fairy Cake recipe to the rescue!

Here’s the how-to:

Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes 


  • 225g (8 oz) butter , softened.
  • 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 275g (10 oz) self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 lemons

This makes a batch of about 24.


Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. I tried doing this with a whisk initially and it was an outright disaster so I recommend a fork so you can mash it all together good and proper!

Next you’ll need to beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour with each one to prevent curdling, and so that the mixture starts to thicken.

Once you’ve done that fold in the remaining flour and your 4 tablespoons of milk and with a spoon and spatula. This is where the whisk comes in to its own – whisk away until the mixture is smooth, making sure to get plenty of air into it so your cakes come out nice and fluffy!

Once you’re done, simply spoon the mixture into the paper cake cases. Two or three spoonfuls should be enough – you want to make sure there’s room for the cake to expand while heating.

Level the tops gently with the back of the spatula then pop your tray in the middle of the pre-heated oven to bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly with a finger in the centre.

Et voila!

I decided to go a little off-book with this next bit and add some lemon drizzle into the mix which I’d never done before, but it’s laughably easy. It’s the only part of the process I didn’t struggle with because literally all you do is mix the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small bowl. That’s it. Amazing. I’m basically Mary Berry now.

Use a fork to pierce the fairy cakes then spoon the mixture evenly over them whilst they still just warm and leave them to cool.

And you’re done!



– Rachel x

What’s on the PP Stereo?

A nice little collection of our favourite tunes this week!


‘You don’t know how much artists go through to make it look so easy. It’s all in the practice’ – Lauryn Hill

Taste Tuesday: Caribbean Brittle and Cheese Straws

So this week I made two different things that had absolutely no relation to each other and we all had to deal with it… it was a limited success. Oh and also there was A LOT of free-styling, so this all may be very vague, but it was fun … I think. Here goes:

Caribbean Brittle:20160126_110933

  1. Toast 300g of hazelnuts and 300g pumpkin seeds in the oven for about five minutes on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper.
  2. In a large pan on the lowest heat possible, heat 800g of caster sugar. This is going to take a LONG time, I’m talking 40 mins. DO NOT STIR. It’s quite magical, for the first 20 mins nothing will happen, and then you will start to see it caramelise and melt, looks a bit like lava. Move the caramel around in the pan by tipping it gently, making sure that no white sugar is left. Now, BE CAREFUL, the caramel is going to get very hot and very sticky and if you get any on you it will burn you so, word of warning and all that.
  3. Grate 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of nutmeg into a bowl and add a large pinch of salt (maybe two large pinches).
  4. When the sugar is totally caramelised, take off the heat, and it’s all systems go! You’re gonna have to be quick but don’t panic. Add 80g of salted butter, your cinnamon and nutmeg, evenly to the caramel. Then as quick as you can add the toasted hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds. THEN STIR LIKE MAD. It will soon seize up but keep stirring until you feel your arms about to break.
  5. With the caramel still soft, pour/spread the mixture evenly into the grease proof paper lined baking tray.
  6. Leave to cool for an hour, and when it has set break the brittle into small and large chunks by smashing it with a rolling pin. HAVE FUN!

Cheese Straws (mmmmm the perfect taste combination)


  1. Cover a wooden chopping board in flour.
  2. With the same rolling pin, roll and stretch out your puff pastry to A3 size (don’t break it).
  3. Sprinkle grated cheese and lots of black pepper on one half and fold the other half of the pastry over this half.
  4. Roll it out some more.
  5. Repeat sprinkling exercise and fold again.
  6. Cut pastry into finger size sticks.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10 mins, and leave to cool.

And there you have it – perfect party food!


Hugo x