Sunday, 12 December 2010

Yama Sushi Review



I'd heard great things about Yama on London Road and, after craving sushi for quite a while now, me and a friend decided to go along for supper.

It's very small, seating maybe twelve people, with low lights and elegant decor - my ideal kind of place to eat.

The waitress smiled when we arrived and let us choose where to sit. We decided to sit by the window. She handed us our menu and we ordered green tea that was served in a big pot with beautiful navy ceramic beakers to drink from.

The menu has a wide choice of sushi as well as a few noodle, soup and rice dishes - as well as tempura.

We opted for Unagi maki, a crab California roll, prawn and vegetable tempura, and some tofu miso gaku off the specials board.





We didn't have to wait long before our food arrived. It was beautifully presented on the black plates. The grilled eel maki (Unagi) was delicious: crispy eel, crunchy strips of cucumber and perfectly made sticky rice which complimented the oily fish very nicely. The finishing flavour being of the nutty black and white sesame seeds that the sushi has been rolled in.

The crab maki was very good and I loved the flying-fish roe: popping it between my front teeth, as I often do with the seeds in wholegrain mustard.

The tempura was just perfect. The accompanying dipping sauce was sweet and tangy with a hint of miso.

Our waitress brought us the tofu, and told us it was a new dish so any feedback would be appreciated. I was expecting a miso soup with tofu, but it consisted of two squares of fried tofu on sticks with a sweet miso paste spread on top. I loved it, and my friend (who isn't a fan of tofu) also enjoyed it.

I finished off with a bowl of miso soup, which had no faults whatsoever and was a perfect end to the meal.

Overall, I love this place. The food is so fresh, clean and light, and so well-made that I went back again the next night on my own. It will definitely not be my last visit. In fact, I'd go as far as to say this is my new favourite restaurant!

Keep up the good work, Yama!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A late post about China

A few months ago I visited my good friend Si in China and had an amazing time. There was so much weird and wonderful things for a foodie to eat and see. From noodles being prepared fresh in front of you on a small street in shanghai to encountering some of the more unusual (foul) smelling food such as stinky tofu and durian.

I ate huge amounts of delicious food for so little money. You can go out with two friends and order plenty of food and beer and pay around £8 altogether. I only cooked one meal whilst I was there and ate out for the rest of it.



Some more weird things I saw included a newsagents type shop where on the counter where all the gum was, was a clear bag with water and boiled eggs! I found that hilarious and bizarre. Also a lot of the shops have pet cats, in restaurants, greengrocers or even clothes shops there would be a tiny little cat usually sleeping in a corner somewhere.


I saw lots of unusual flavour combinations such as tea boiled eggs, "refreshing" kiwi crisps and so many different flavours of pocky I wanted to try them all. I tried my first dragon fruit for about 30p as well as wax berries.

I saw the famous century egg and pig snout or duck beak, boiled and on a stick and also the equally revolting balut and also fish being decapitated so its sold fresh, the separated head still gaping for air.


One restaurant in Hangzhou had the funniest menu I've ever seen including one dish called 'print hot spice plant belly movie' and another 'sauce explodes the pig does'.
The food I ate the most whilst I was there was silky braised aubergines they were just amazing I've tried to get them back in England but they are not the same.


The street food in amazing all over China. You can get tiny sticks of barbecued lamb and fish for 10p. For breakfast once we went to a lady who made incredible pancakes, she'd clearly been doing it for years.


Another delicious food over there is at KFC oddly enough. They have these Portuguese egg custards which are seriously one of the nicest desserts I've ever had. Its probably for the best that they don't sell them over here...


I went on a 24 hour long train ride with bunk beds and people eating weird vacuum packed chicken leg and boiled eggs and noodle cups. The toilets smelt so bad I ate and drank minimum so I wouldn't have to use them. It was worth it to see the terracotta warriors in Xi'an though.


My last night was spent dining out in one of Shanghai's more expensive restaurants which was still cheap by England's standards followed by a walk by the river and then the best cocktails I've ever had in an expensive bar with the most incredible view of the shanghai skyline.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Dartmouth Food Festival

Last weekend was the Dartmouth food festival!
I was lucky enough to visit the picturesque town thanks to my good friend Jonathan whose cousin and her husband own a b&b there and were lovely enough to let me stay!

I had a great time and ate many delicious things including the best brownies I've ever had which were lovely and gooey with cranberries and pecans...yum!
I also had my first oyster which was wonderful and saw some great chefs doing live demonstrations and got lots of free tasters.

The food markets were fun to walk around and south Devon chilli farm had a stall and being a fan of theirs already, I bought some spiced chocolate and a bottle of sweet chilli sauce.
I also tried raclette for the first time and it was cheese heaven, seriously incredible! Even the preparation was an experience to watch as the chef grilled the top of the cheese til golden and bubbling then scraped off a load onto some new potatoes and garnished with baby gherkins and pickled onions...delish.

On the Sunday we went crabbing! That was a whole new experience for me, basically you get a tiny string bag which you place bacon in then that's attached to a line which you throw over the side of the bank into the river below and wait for a bit before pulling up your line and see if any crabs are attached. It was so much fun! You count up your crabs at the end and then put them back in the sea. We caught 19 in total!

Dartmouth is a beautiful place. Everyone knows everyone and you can't stand outside a pub without seeing another one. There is lovely little shops and galleries, great live music and even a castle! Amazing!








Thursday, 16 September 2010

Free Fruit!



This month I have been taking advantage of all the wonderful fruits nature has to offer...and best of all they are free! I've braved brambles for fresh juicy blackberries all for the price of a few scratches. I've picked the tastiest plums from my grans back garden as well as lots of delicious apples and pears. I even took a few photos for you lovely people.








(seen outside a neighbours house - free cooking apples!)






If you are interested in picking free fruit of your own and learning more then go here to read about Abundance.
"Abundance is a project to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit like apples, pear and plums. Each year hundreds of fruit trees go unpicked either because people don’t notice them, may not be physically able to harvest them or there are just too many fruits at one time. Abundance is a team of volunteers who have been helping harvest city fruit and redistributing the surplus to the community on a non-profit basis - to community cafes, nurseries, Surestarts and individuals."

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Fancie









When the lovely ladies from Fancie invited me and two friends down for some tea and cake we just couldn't refuse.
I have seen Fancie cupcakes all around Sheffield, they did a stall at the food festival and I used to see them a year or so ago at vintage clothes fairs as well, they are pretty popular!

We go inside and are greeted by two very smiley members of staff and a huge pile of beautifully decorated cupcakes. All of them different colours, flavours and sizes. They even do gluten free cakes. They have a few specials of the day that half of the profits from selling go to the Macmillan cancer charity.

The decoration is very dolls house-esque, very dainty with doilies and delicate china plates and tea cups.
I'm delighted that they stock tea pig teas and I choose rooibos creme caramel tea which one of the smiley cupcake ladies tells me is her favourite. It doesn't disappoint!

After much decision I finally decide on the chocolate cherry cupcake with sour cream frosting from the specials of the day. My friends choose lemon and snickerlicious.
I try some of my cake and it is very good. The sour cherries in the cake mean the whole thing isn't too sickly sweet and compliment the chocolate as does the sour cream frosting.
I try some of the snickerlicious and its very sweet I don't think I could manage more than two mouthfuls of that! I'm very happy I chose mine.

So that's another wonderful shop to be found on and around ecclesall road I'll definitely be back when I'm in the area for a cup of lovely tea and another tasty cupcake...

Monday, 16 August 2010

Nonnas




My french cousin Sara came over to mine and requested that I take her somewhere where she can eat ice cream so after thinking about it for a while I decided to take her to Nonna's on ecclesall road. I've been before a couple of years ago and it was really really good and as its Italian it has to have good ice cream.

As usual there's people sitting outside, its not that warm but then people do like sitting outside restaurants and bars on ecclesall road. We explain that we're only after dessert and the friendly waiter shows us to a bar seat. All the staff speak Italian amongst each other which is pretty cool, feels like for a moment you are not in Sheffield anymore.

The dessert menu looks good, I choose a blueberry, banana and white chocolate cake with mandarin mascarpone. Sara asks what different types of ice cream they have and the waiter lists about six different flavours to which she replies "I'll take them all"...with chocolate sauce and sprinkles! The waiter laughs and says he'll see what he can do. He returns with two spectacular looking desserts!
Mine is good. The cake itself tastes mainly of banana but I get a hint of white chocolate.
The mandarin mascarpone is delicious, delicately flavoured and creamy. The almondy wafer thing is OK a bit bland.






I try some of Sara's ice cream which is very soft and tasty. I ask her what she thinks and she gives me a thumbs up. I like this place. Its sophisticated with great service and most importantly, great food. I'll definitely come again.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Mish Mash Review



I had heard good things about mish mash and so took my little sister along for lunch.
We go inside and there's three other people relaxing with coffee.
A friendly waiter greets us and tells us we can sit wherever we like. We choose a table and order some drinks, there's lots of interesting fruit juices. I go for mango whilst my sister opts for pineapple.

There's sandwiches, breakfasts, burgers, soup and fish and chips.
My sister goes for the home made fish finger sandwich with crayfish tartar sauce.
I'm having difficulty deciding what to choose and go for the veggie burger. A few seconds later the waiter comes and tells me the veggie burger is the only thing they do not have - unlucky!

I ask him which dish is his favourite and he tells me the rib eye steak with blue cheese sandwich so I go for that as I just can't make up my mind.
The food arrives pretty quickly and is well presented on little wooden boards.
My sister takes one look at the tartar sauce and decides she doesn't like it which is good news for me as I love crayfish and tartar sauce and this was amazing - juicy little crayfish and tiny capers with tangy gherkins and mayonnaise.

The chips are very good indeed. I can't remember the last time I had chips this good. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find good chips in Sheffield. The last time was probably at the tasty two steps on sharrow vale road.
But anyway back to the food...My sandwich was pretty good although the bread was a bit burnt on one side and the steak was quite chewy but perhaps that is normal for rib eye?
The flavour however was delicious. The caramelised red onions and blue cheese were a marriage made in heaven and the steak was cooked to perfection.
I nearly killed my sister for nicking a chip as they were the best bit!

The bill was just under £15. The evening menu looks very nice and the decent selection of spirits behind the bar suggests they make some lovely cocktails so I'll definitely be back to spend an evening here.


Cocoa - The Most Gorgeous Chocolate Shop Ever!



Today me and my sister went into the amazing cocoa on ecclesall road.
I don't often make the journey up there as its pretty far from where I live but when I do I make sure I pay this lovely shop a visit.

It's so beautiful inside with 3 different rooms that I saw.

The first room you step into is filled with the best chocolate in the world, shelves stacked high with goodies and walls lined with jars full of the magical stuff.
The lovely lady hidden behind this pile of sweet stuff was kind enough to let me take some photos and so I did but the shop is even more beautiful when you see it for yourself.

We entered the second room and it's like a dining room of a dolls house with teapots, pastel coloured things and chairs and hot chocolate and other drinks so you can have a nice sit down.
The third room upstairs was heavenly. Stunning cushions atop wooden benches, curtains draped across the ceiling and a shelf with more lovely things to buy.

We went back downstairs and I treated myself to some of the gorgeous and rich rococo chocolate and another beautifully wrapped bar and my little sister chose a few cute little chocolates from another shelf.

I pick up a leaflet that informs me of their very tempting chocolate tasting evenings..!
They also have a book club too which is a great idea! If only I lived closer!



(Sweeties and chocolate)

(Jars and jars of the stuff)


(The lovely lady behind some hand made chocolates)


(The tea room)


(Rococo chocolate)


(Upstairs)


(Beautiful)


(My 12 year old sister tells me she wants to live here)


(Butterflies)


(Cushions)


(My sisters chocolates)


(My treats)

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Real People's Recipes - Dave's Nachos






Today Dave made me his famous delicious nachos. I've had them before when he's brought them to parties. They make great party food and I must have the recipe. He invites me over for lunch and as I arrive he's halfway through making them...



Me - So Dave tell me how you've made the nachos.


Dave - I make it in layers and the first layer is just the plain nacho...nacho..you know, corn nacho. Then I layer in some avocado, some boiled egg, today I'm putting in something special from the garden - courgettes because they are available now so I steam them a bit then put them in with some mushrooms oh and I put some spring onion in and some olives, the pimento olives I've used today. I put some pine nuts in as well.


(Some of the ingredients)


Then I top it with some salsa mix then add an orange cheese, Leicester cheese. So I put two layers of that down then it all goes in the oven. You can put in different types of olives if you like but today I'm using pimento.

This one I'm making more tastier.


(Dave sprinkles on the pine nuts)



Its nice when you serve it with something else so today I'm serving some corn and some garlic bread
with cheese. Since I don't eat cheese I put a special cheese on the garlic bread so I can eat that, and that's it!




Me - Looks tasty!

Dave - So it becomes almost like a meal. It can be seen as a meal.

Me - So many layers.

Dave - its two layers. You gotta use a good nacho. I tried the cheaper ones but they get too soggy so I switched back to the more expensive ones. If you wanna add spice to it you can but you gotta be careful with how it will mix with the other ingredients. The cheese is important you don't want to use one that won't fit in with salsa.




(Layering the cheese and salsa)



Me- so how long are you going to cook it for?


Dave - til the cheese melts. It goes in the oven.

Me - So whilst that's cooking why don't you tell me a bit about yourself?

Dave - I used to watch my mother cook all the time and so that's where I picked up my interest in cooking. I enjoy it. I eat better if I cook for other people as well.

Me - Where were you born?

Dave - I was born in Chicago, Illinois. I grew up here, came here to study.

Me - What year did you move here?


Dave - 1980 I studied psychotherapy and developed teaching methods for teaching science and other subjects

Me - When was the first time you made nachos?

Dave - Oh for my kids with my family






The nachos come out with the cheese melting through the layers and looking delicious and Dave cuts into it like a pie and gives me a 'slice'.
It's delicious! What I love about this recipe is its versatility. You can use pretty much whatever you have in your cupboard/ fridge and everyone loves them. Plus there's lots of healthy veggies in there so it makes a very good lunch alongside salad or corn on the cob as I had today. Its wonderful party food. I think I might make it for a movie night in with friends. Thank you Dave for the recipe, interview and for cooking for me!