Monday 30 December 2013

2013 - A year of good eating!

I hope this year has been most excellent for you. For me, I've gained experience working in no less than five different eateries. Each one has taught me something new and with that knowledge, I hope to start a very big and exciting adventure. I'm still planning it at the moment but don't worry, you'll be first to know any information!

Here are some of my favourite dishes from 2013!

Mid January I decided to go to Reykjavik, a truly beautiful city full of rich food and stunning scenery.

First choice has to be this pecan pie in Reykjavik - it was delicious gooey.

I had an unforgettable tomato soup at a massive greenhouse. Simply heated blended fresh tomatoes it was delicious.

I did eat well, including the freshest fish sushi

Just look at this incredible crepe at Cafe Babalu Rekjavik

Still in Iceland - Very much enjoyed this gourmet lunch of cured herring and plokkfiskur on rye with rye bread ice cream on the side.
Back in the UK I celebrated my birthday in February with this flour-less chocolate almond cake. It was huge!

I can't forget this delicious vegan breakfast I had in London.  The colours and flavours were so exciting and fresh.

Back in Sheffield for Nosh night market number 2. Enjoyed some horchata...
And a espresso martini from Tamper and Ohara's
These tasty handmade Easter eggs were from Birds Yard Sheffield

Holiday number two was in Madrid! How could I say no to churros?

Plentiful tapas were available too..

Back in UK and off to Leeds where I enjoyed a perfect poached egg

Another poached egg - this time in Manchester
Diddycool was introduced to us late spring. Just in time for one of the hottest summers I can remember!
An unforgettable summer dish was this bream dish from Chef Rico at The Rutland

Suddenly amazing parties were happening every weekend. I was fortunate to try these brigadeiro at one of them.

One of my summer garden parties..
And another.
Drinking champagne in the sun with Jade at Sharrow festival.

Picking fresh raspberries from the garden.

Then I discovered the wonders of raw food at Pure on Raw with this unbelievable mocha pie with clementine gelato
Loved it so much I went back and had the white chocolate pie -still vegan!

This watermelon thai red curry was made for me at a Fancie tasting evening. It was sweet, refreshing and spicy!

Another jaunt to London and more raw food. This time at Inspiral with this pumpkin pie.
Sheffield Markets opened November and I treated myself to some exquisite lychee sorbet with sprinkles at YeeKwan

Some Christmas treats included goodies from Zeds and Steel City Cakes.

 Next year will bring more adventures. Happy new year everyone!

Monday 18 November 2013

London Trip

A month ago I visited my good friend Louise in Brixton. I'd never seen Brixton before and it was like a completely different city! I loved the multicultural, laid back people with their eccentric clothes and the fact that there were markets all over the place. Brixton village is amazing! Rows of tiny cafes and restaurants all full with people enjoying dishes from all over the world, each of them quirky and with defining character and individuality.
After a very colourful party with awesome costumes, friendly folk and not much sleep, I headed out to explore. My first stop was the closest cafe. It just happened to serve one of my favourite drinks - vanilla chai latte AND they had almond milk!! It was liquid heaven and rid me of any hangover. I watched the browsers and shoppers of the market as I supped my hot cup of comfort.

Brixton market under the bridge

Inside Brixton village.
 Next I met up with another friend, Simon and we went for some food in Brixton village. I had a spicy scrambled egg breakfast with plantain which was exciting and unusual.

Camden lock market
 Once I was hungry again, later in the day I visited Camden lock. I found a stall that served these beautiful white corn rolls filled with shredded chicken, guacomole and more plantain!

 More exploring = hungry again so popped into this vegan and gluten free bakery near Camden. They had a rockabilly style and various awards so I tried their peanut butter chocolate chip cookie which was super sweet but tasty. It lasted me three days!

Vegan gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookie

 A bit more exploring of Camden with the owners of numerous stalls thrusting samples of their food on a stick outwards towards passers by. I also browsed the clothes stores. I love the unique style of some of the clothing and the fact you can haggle down prices

 Last stop was the incredible InSpiral lounge. The atmosphere and vibe here is great. They're big on ethical food, everything is vegan and most of it is raw. They host dj nights and open late, makes me sad that there is nothing like this in Sheffield. I had the raw pumpkin pie which was light and festively spiced.
Canal with InSpiral lounge on the right

Already I miss the excitement and activity that London has to offer. Sheffield feels so un-happening in comparison. I do love Sheffield though, it's my home after all and I have so many things to be grateful for here.

Next trip is Scotland!! See you soon readers x

Saturday 2 November 2013

Where to eat and shop for the health conscious and speciality diets in Sheffield

I care about what I eat and I look after myself. I've not always been this responsible but I've developed this passion over the past few years. I suppose this comes from working in an organic cafe, researching  nutrition and reading blogs and magazines that promote a healthy way of living.

With my limited diet comes limited eating out choices and I'm not the only one who struggles in finding places to eat and also buy their groceries from. Hopefully this list I've compiled will help those of you in the same boat, if you know anyone with a limited diet, share this post with them and maybe they've got a few I've missed off the list. I'm always keen to discover more places.

Filthy Gorgeous
Brand new greengrocers / health food store literally two minutes from my house. What sets them apart from other health stores is the fact that they make fresh smoothies, sell organic wine AND stock products from pure on raw, including cheesecake! Wonderful! Plus they are the only place I've come across in sheffield where you can buy multicoloured quinoa!
Great for - healthy treats, chia seeds, buckwheat, unusual vegetables.

Rude Shipyard
Not a secret that this is a fav' haunt of mine, they'll always do their best to make something I can eat even if its not on the menu. Lovely quirky bookshop cafe with individual clientèle that frequent there
Great for - cd's from local artists, home made breakfasts ( the potato cakes!), wonderful staff, live music evenings.

the rude shipyard

Beanies is run by a workers coop and stocks a variety of unusual vegetables, vegan vegetarian and wheat free produce. They are also Sheffield’s first, longest running, best quality and best value organic veg delivery scheme and they have their own blog too!
Great for - knowledgeable staff, ethical produce, organic veg, good chocolate (booja booja and montezumas)

Pure on Raw
Sheffields only raw restaurant. Their mocha pie with  clementine gelato is one of the best desserts I have ever eaten, fact. You can read my full review here.
Great for - raw macaroons, cashew cheese pizza, home made almond milk coffee

Pure on raw dishes

Quirky little shop, always seems like they are having a move around. Located in one of my favourite areas of sheffield, very inviting with green awning and lots of fresh veg and plants outside. Inside is a mix of organic and ethical produce from incense to toothpaste, nut butters and vegan cheese. A nice shop to spend time browsing in.
Great for - raw cacao raisins, dairy free ice creams, candles, tea

Zeds in nether edge

I go here a couple of times a month or more. The salad boxes are packed full of tasty veg, hot fresh falafel and sauce. Full of flavour, cheap and healthy.
Great for - in house pickled turnip, fresh juices, event posters, chatty staff

Incredible Nutshell
Much brighter and friendlier since the new management and name change from "in a nutshell" here is a small and sparkly health store who stock home made fresh soup to go as well as plenty of other exciting food and ethnic gifts and jewellery.
Great for - christmas shopping, happy kitchen brownies, local honey, smoked garlic, tofu

treats at incredible nutshell
Saigon 68
Previously pho 68, as far as I know, only the name has changed. They do the most amazing crunchy fresh vietnamese salad with chilli and palm sugar and peanuts. Lunch time offer includes a hot bowl of noodle soup which you can have with rice noodles, delicious and you get a free tea and fruit.
Great for - huge portions, sriracha, people watching on london rd, yee kwan sorbet for pudding

The Blue Moon Cafe
Popular vegetarian late opening cafe in the city centre. Has tasty vegan cakes and gluten free ones too. The specials are wholesome and they serve organic beer and wine too. Menu doesn't change that often if at all so if you have a favourite then you can rest assured they'll have it when you visit again.
Great for - vegan ice cream, tasty jam, a plethora of notices, quirky meal names, pre-theatre dinner.

Just Natural 
I always visit here whenever I'm in crookes. I love the layout, very neat and the little wicker baskets are cute. It is rather expensive though so watch out for that. I love the self-pour raisin and nut selection.
Great for - fresh orange juice, wide variety of fruit and veg, yoghurt raisins, hipster shoppers

Heeley Farm Kitchen
Small bright cafe, located on their farm so nice for visiting after looking at the animals. Always children, always vegan options.
Great for - bringing the kids, petting the animals, the veggie chilli

heeley farm kitchen

 Delicious moroccan food in a busy restaurant that caters for all dietary needs.
 I recently had the fish tagine and there was plenty of tender fish, very filling with the rice.
 Great for - live entertainment, garlic mushrooms, friendly staff

So there you have my favourites. Let me know what you think and tell me yours.

Monday 14 October 2013

Pure on Raw - Restaurant Review

Being a "health freak"-yes some people have actually used that phrase to describe me- I've dabbled in the raw preparation of food and it's something I'm a fan of so when Pure on Raw opened up, I couldn't wait to try it out. Eating food in it's freshest natural state ensures all nutrients are retained in the dish, so it's much healthier. Adding that most recipes avoid using refined carbs and sugars makes it even better and perfect for the health conscious.
I am intolerant to lactose and gluten intolerant so eating out can be very tricky.
These are a couple of reasons why I was incredibly excited to try this restaurant out..I'd be able to eat everything!

It was grey and rainy and I was searching Shalesmoor, outside of town when I saw it. From the outside it kind of looks like those protein muscle powder shake stores with it's bright pink banner and bold font that promises you can lose weight by eating here. I thought that was a bit off putting. Inside it's light and more clean with white walls and wicker lampshades. There are numerous health boosting food items for sale such as kale chips, agave syrup and raw virgin coconut oil plus pamphlets about vegans, the danger of vitamin pills plus details about the restaurant, you get the picture.

pure on raw, menu

 It took a while for the server to talk to me as she was on the phone chatting away for a few minutes, I didn't mind but it's not something I would ever do if someone walked into the cafe where I worked.
She pointed to a menu, still on the phone which I looked at. After her conversation with her phone friend, she talked me through what they had. I was impressed to see they make their own almond milk on site. I was slightly disappointed to see that they had regular "cooked" items on the menu such as banana pancakes and ciabatta sandwiches. So I couldn't eat everything. I still had plenty of choice though.

I started off with an almond milk hot chocolate whilst I waited for my friends. It was pretty good. Once my friends arrived we chatted, listened to the 90's pop classics they were playing which brought back memories (shola ama and sixpence non the richer). Rosie had a carrot, nut milk, banana and cinnamon smoothie which was almost as big as her and mike drank a cappucino with cold healthy coffee and something else, he said it was very sweet. Rosie loved her smoothie though.

Rosie with her carrot smoothie

About twenty minutes later our food arrived and the presentation was beautiful. I must admit, I've never had a cold soup in September before but once I tasted it, it was so full of flavour. It was actually one of the best soups I've ever eaten. The little "pizza" buckwheat squares with cashew cheese and nut loaf topping were really tasty too. Plus I also had my first ever kale crisps which I enjoyed more than regular crisps as I'm not much of a fan of those.

soup and "pizza"

 Rosie gave me some of her sweet pepper "pasta" which was light and also flavour packed. After I finished my main, I quickly ordered some of the mocha pie with clementine ice cream before my body registered it was full.

vegetable pasta

That dessert was seriously one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. It was silky and rich, without being sickly and that ice cream was just beautiful. This whole meal more than made up for the dodgy sign and phone greeting!

raw mocha pie with clemetine ice cream

I can't wait to go back here again. I love their food so much, it's a shame that they are in the middle of nowhere really otherwise I think they'd do really well. I stuffed my face, ate way more than my friends and didn't feel bloated or heavy at all. I felt so energised that I walked around town for a bit then all the way home. Total bill came to £16 which isn't bad for a guilt-free treat. If anyone thinks vegan food is boring then I would love to introduce them to this restaurant. I would eat anything off their menu over a steak any day. They also open Friday and Saturday nights which makes me happy.

Food 10/10
Service 7/10
Value 8/10

Monday 30 September 2013

Hot chocolate reviews and recipe

Recently I've become obsessed with hot chocolate...anywhere I go, I'll try their hot chocolate. A couple of months ago  I visited Madrid, their thick chocolate and churros were heavenly. You can get thick hot chocolate at Cocoa - a small independent chocolate shop on ecclesall road. I really love this shop, it's unlike any other shop I've seen in Sheffield. It's just unbelievable. You go in and just don't know where to look it's breathtaking and yes, they definitely do the best hot chocolate in Sheff.

Anyway my hot chocolate obsession has lead me to try out various hot chocolate to make at home and here are a few I've recently tried and my views on them. I've rated them out of 5.

Mortimer pure dark chocolate powder
This hot chocolate is unlike any of the others as it's actually powdered chocolate and 70% cocoa at that. Apparently it's great for cooking with. I found it had a slightly strange texture when I added it to my hot milk, kind of gloopy and didn't melt that well. Perhaps whisking would have helped with the consistency. The flavour was very rich although I added some honey to sweeten it slightly as I found it needed it. It's the most expensive of the ones I've reviewed here at 220g for £3.80.

Cadburys drinking chocolate
The texture of this is smooth, the colour is kind of grey and lighter than the others. It tastes cheap, sweet and disappointing. 500g £2.99 

Divine drinking chocolate
Well, Divine continues to be my favourite and it had been since I first tried it a few years ago. They've added salt which none of the others have done, this enhances the rich cocoa flavour. It melts beautifully and tastes delicious. 400g £4.00 

Green and blacks organic
The granule form is slightly odd but makes for easy combining with the milk. Another one lacking in sugar, maybe I'm just a sugar addict. It is organic though. It has dark slightly bitter taste with smooth texture 300g £3.59

Options hot chocolate - white choc
Something different here with this instant white chocolate variety. The initial flavour is really comforting, like a milky bar but unfortunately there is a nasty after-taste of aspartame, I guess flavour is something you have to sacrifice when you choose a 44 calories hot chocolate though. 220g £3.19
Cafe direct san cristobal
This produced a lovely dark colour when finished and the flavour was lovely with the perfect amount of sweetness but it had a chalky texture that kind of made me choke a little bit, very powdery.250g £2.79

Aero mint chocolate drink
 Another instant hot chocolate. This one is mint flavour, chocolate and mint is a favourite combination of mine and for an instant chocolate drink this one is very impressive. It has a foamy top with a delicious sweet minty flavour. Tastes just like the chocolate bar. 288g £3.49

Here is a recipe for the ultimate luxurious hot chocolate - perfect for a special treat

Serves 2
  • 1 mug (about 400ml) of milk (I used almond, cow is ok too)
  • 1 mug coconut milk from a tin (if there is a thick layer on top, include that)
  • 80g best dark chocolate - green and blacks maya gold is great here
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp sugar/honey to taste
  • a pinch of salt
Heat ingredients together on the hob, stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour into mugs, dollop on some whipped cream if you fancy and enjoy. Perfect for your bonfire night parties!