Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Pho 68 Review





I had a day off work today so decided to go for lunch somewhere as on my days off the last thing I want to do is cook!

I actually was planning on going to wasabisabi but its closed from 2:30 til 5:30 and it was just after 3 o clock so I walked a bit further down the road and came to pho 68. I've visited here before once on valentine's day and it was delicious and fresh so I was looking forward to it. They have a lunchtime deal on where you can get a drink, a main and dessert for £5.50 which sounds good so I go inside.

Its lovely inside, light green and white with photos and many lights. I sit in the window and there is two other tables in but pretty soon after I get my food they leave and I have the whole place to myself.

I choose honey ribs and aubergine and tofu in black bean sauce, honey ribs being one of my favourite dishes and the aubergine dish is one I had a few times whilst in china and was curious to whether or not it would be similar to this. I also order some plain rice and tap water.

There's free prawn crackers which I am not really that bothered about but they are crunchy and fresh which is good because they haven't been sitting out all day!

My ribs arrive and they look lovely, I attempt to eat them with my chopsticks which proves a challenge and the waiter who must have noticed my struggle brings out a bowl of water with lemon slices so I can use my fingers and wash them afterwards. I get stuck in to the ribs - quite literally they are very sticky with a rich caramel sauce that coated my teeth but in a good way, and tender pork within. I leave three which the waiter kindly puts in a little takeaway box for me.

My main arrives and the smell instantly reminds me of china and the waiter scoops some of the rice out of its little wooden holder into my bowl. I realise the honey coating from the ribs is now set hard around my chopsticks and try to lick it off and the taste kind of reminds me of those red dummy shaped lollipops you get sometimes when you are young on the beach.

I try the aubergine and its so good, silky slices of aubergine with crunchy green pepper and spongy tofu all in a rich dark sauce with spring onions, fresh coriander and those delicious salty black beans. The rice is perfectly cooked too. I can't manage it all so it gets boxed up and joins my ribs which will make a lovely dinner for me tomorrow.

The bill comes to £11. Great value. I'll be back.





Friday, 23 July 2010

Yo! Sushi








I first tried sushi five years ago and really didn't enjoy it but that was back then so tonight I thought I'd give it another go to see if my taste buds have changed.
My friend invited me along to Yo! sushi in meadowhall and I have to admit, I was pretty excited about the idea of just picking your food from a conveyor belt full of different dishes.
My friend warns me that its very easy to get carried away and just keep eating and get a nasty shock when the bill arrives and its £60!

For anyone who has never been the way it works is there are six different colour plates, each is a different price from £1.70 to £5.00 and you just pick the ones you like the look of off the conveyor belt or choose hot dishes from the menu. The waitress counts up your empty plates at the end to work out your bill.

We try many different dishes, its a great place to go if you love to share your food which I do.
I think we tried about 15 different plates all of which I won't list on here but my favourites were the spicy chicken, crispy salmon skin roll, spicy pepper squid, chicken gyoza and the crunchy prawn.
I'm not such a big fan of the thick pieces of raw fish which is why I was pleased to see that they had so many other dishes to offer.

The food was delicious. Theres pickled ginger and wasabi for free as well as your own tap for still or sparkling water so you can help yourself to these, theres also a button for you to call the waiting staff with.
I have rediscovered sushi and Japanese food and I am a fan, such fresh clean flavours that leave you satisfied but not bloated. Hard to believe its a chain restaurant.

I had a voucher for a third off for registering on the website and our bill for three of us came to just under £40!
So if you are in meadowhall be sure to give this place a try for something different, fun and delicious.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Fagans...

...The best full English in Sheffield?




My friend recommended this place to me for their full English breakfasts so I had to go try it.
We step inside and its very cosy. A traditional pub with friendly chatty staff, old photographs on the walls, newspapers, fireplace and dixie chicks quietly playing on the cd player.




The blackboard menu has some very tasty food at great prices most of which are 5.50 including ploughmans lunch, monkfish in bacon and a very impressive looking steak pie that I caught a glimpse of someone eating.
The most expensive item is the rib eye steak at 8.50 now that aint bad at all!



We both order the English breakfast and I decide against chips which I'm sure would have been lovely but a bit too much.
I also order a mug of tea and an orange juice.

The food arrives and its wonderful. A salty tasty mushroom, smoked bacon, proper porky sausages with sage, a grilled tomato, lovely beans, rich, peppery black pudding, brown bread toasted AND fried and a perfectly cooked egg to top it all off.



It was exactly how all full English breakfasts should be, home made and delicious!
I couldn't manage all of it and after stuffing myself I was ready for a kip.
I wish this place wasn't so out of town because it has a lovely selection of ales and ciders too as well as being so welcoming and comfortable but this definitely won't be my last visit.

Hong Kong Wok

I noticed this new place now open where the Vietnamese noodle bar used to be on London road and thought I'd give it a try.
The inside is nicely decorated with wooden floors and a picture of what I'm guessing is the honk kong skyline.

The prices are average and the menu is pretty much identical to the noodle inn which is a few doors down so I go for what I always choose when dining at the noodle inn which is honey ribs.

I also choose aubergine tempura and my friend chooses chicken with crispy fried noodles.

The food arrives pretty quickly and the ribs are a disappointment, not as good as the ones from noodle inn.

The meat isn't as soft and there isn't as much of it.
My friend however, really likes them.

The aubergine tempura is really tasty, very light, crispy batter encasing a soft fluffy slice of aubergine served with a delicious black bean dip.






The chicken is very bland with no sauce just a few vegetables for company sitting on a bed of plain noodles which quickly go soggy from the juices. So a bit of a disappointment there with the exception of the aubergine which was lovely, don't think I'll be going here again.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Gluten Free Cherry and Almond Buns!

I haven't posted a recipe in a while so thought I'd give one for these delicious little buns. I made them at work and a woman liked them so much and wanted the recipe as she'd never tried a gluten free cake that wasn't horrible and dry, most gluten free cakes do tend to be dry but a solution to this is adding plenty of liquid or moist fruits like I do with this one. I used fresh black cherries.

Ingredients
  • 150g gluten free flour (I use doves organic)
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 250g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g sugar
  • 200g cherries
  • 3 tsp g.f baking powder
  • few tsp icing sugar
  • few toasted flaked almonds

Method
  1. Remove the stones from the cherries by giving them a little squash with a bowl or similar so the stone is easily removed (important - some juice will come out, you want to save this)
  2. Cream together your butter and sugar
  3. Add your eggs, mix til combined
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and ground almonds, mix til combined
  5. Add your cherries and give a quick mix
  6. Spoon into cases and bake for 18 minutes at 180 degrees
  7. For the icing mix the reserved cherry juice with the icing sugar to form a smooth runny paste, when buns are cool drizzle this over them and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
  8. Eat!

Sharrow Chef Of The Year

Today was the Sharrow chef of the year competition!
I've been looking forward to this as I asked to be on the judging panel (not cheffing as I'm not in sharrow) and they said they'd love to have me.
I arrived and found the organiser who introduced me to the other judge, the third judged hadn't shown up but we found a guy who would be able to help judge part of it before he had to leave to go somewhere.






The first restaurant was East & West who are my favourite Indian restaurant in Sheffield so I was looking forward to watching them cook and tasting the delicious food. The second restaurant was La Terrazza, an Italian restaurant. The other two restaurants All Siam and Cool Runnings didn't turn up unfortunately.

East and West started and it was really entertaining to watch and the guy shared many tips as he was cooking some of which I'd never heard of including rubbing an onion (cut side) against a hot pan as it will stop whatever you are cooking which was in his case a pancake from sticking.





W
e had a sweet minty coconut drink to start which really helped to whet my appetite and was very refreshing.
Next was the pancake (dosa ) it was not as good as I've had in the restaurant but then they are having to make do with different equipment here so that could have been why. The filling was delicious though as was the next course - Kerala king fish curry, very nicely spiced with the meaty fish's own flavours still managing to shine through.



Me and the guy who couldn't stay long both agreed the flavours were superb, very fresh and aromatic. The third judge didn't rate the food as much though so while we gave him a 9 each, the third guy gave him 8. I managed to get a copy of the tasty recipes to try at home too.

The next chefs came on and they were pretty young, my age but the head chef had been cooking for 10 years because it was his dads place and he used to help out a lot. They brought out a cake they made with ricotta and decorated with physalis which was delicious and everyone loved it.



Polenta with salmon was their main course and it looked stunning on the plate, the chef brought out a bottle of wine for the judges to wash down the meal with which I could only have a sip of as I am on antibiotics but it did taste nice and complimented the meal well.



I gave another 9, it would have been a 10 but the polenta I felt was undercooked.
The other judges loved them and gave them 10 each which made la terrazza the winners of the huge Sharrow chef of the year trophey!

I had a great time, its a shame more people didn't turn up but I'll be going again next year definitely.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Amigos Mexican Kitchen Review






Many times I've walked past what used to be
Bohans Irish kitchen on London road and wondered what if anything is going to open next...but not this time as I noticed that its now Amigos, a Mexican kitchen serving traditional Mexican food, cakes and illy coffee.

Being a fan of Mexican food I just have to try this place. Luckily for me its just a few minutes away from my favourite pub as well so after a quick drink in the pub its a short walk up to Amigos to sample the food.

You may remember me mentioning the
Mexican food I had at Sharrow festival which I thoroughly enjoyed, well this is the place! So I had high hopes.

The menu has classic
Mexican dishes including burritos, tacos, enchiladas and nachos as well as a few cakes and some breakfast items too. Its all very reasonably priced with the most chilli con carne being one of the most expensive items at £4.25 and that's served with sour cream, rice and nachos.

I go for a roasted vegetable
quesadilla whilst my friend opts for a chicken mole burrito. The food arrives and is well presented, we also get 4 dips - sour cream, guacamole, salsa and tomatillo sauce.

Without any hesitation we tuck in. I love the crunchy outside of the
quesadilla and the delicious filling with the melted cheese and flavourful roasted vegetables with a hint of spice. My friend enjoys her burrito which is jam packed with tasty filling but is somehow managing not to collapse.

The tortilla crisps are also very good as are the sauces, the fresh tomato salsa being exceptionally good with its fresh coriander.

'Let me know if you want any more sauces', says the friendly waiter. We ask for another guacamole and he brings us one at no extra cost.

I have a chat with the owner and find hes been pretty busy which I'm not surprised by as
Sheffield was in desperate need of a good Mexican cafe and this little place really hits the spot.
He also tells me he'll soon be doing delivery and also a lot of festivals too.
We take a couple of oaty raisin biscuits each and he informs us they are made by his wife at home. All together the bill comes to £4.25 each.

Being this close to my favourite pub and on my way home from work as well as such good value this will
definitely not be my last visit! Another wonderful eatery to add to the amazing selection available on London road.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Sharrow Festival



Saturday was the wonderful Sharrow festival!

I have many memories of this festival which I've been to, I think every year since it started many years ago and the weather was just beautiful.
I got there a little too early I think as there wasn't as many people as I usually remember but the atmosphere was still there and there was loads of stalls selling books, food, tombolas, jewellery etc.

I was tempted by the fresh scones with cream and fresh strawberries but after noticing the Mexican stand and being a huge lover of Mexican food I got my food from there and it didn't disappoint.

I had a chicken burrito, the chicken marinated in mole sauce and served inside a tortilla with cheese added then warmed til the cheese melted.
This was served with sour cream, fresh salsa and guacamole.
My taste buds were in heaven! this was truly the best festival food I'd ever had, perfection
and all for £3.50.



My one and only photo from the whole day was of course of the food.



I took a walk back to the stall and was overjoyed to find that they have opened a new restaurant on London road with more delicious Mexican food!!
I can assure you that you will soon be reading a review from the restaurant.

Back to the rest of the festival though, there was a little stall selling bits and bobs where I spotted a lovely green skirt which I snapped up which will be great for summer.
I have a browse through a vintage stall and find a stunning dress which fits like a dream so I also buy that.
Theres lots of delicious new food stalls that I've not seen before including a lemongrass and thyme one and a tasty vegan stall with the vibrant healthy looking dishes.

I rested my tired legs in the tea tent with a cup of tea and then noticed there was a dance group starting so had a wander over and they were actually really really good, can't remember the name unfortunately but there were 6 teenagers, street dance style with one being an amazing break dancer, it was very entertaining to watch.

I get pretty tired soon because I only arrived back home from my two week holiday in china on Friday so I'm feeling a bit jet lagged so I stroll home passing some of my favourite Sharrow shops on the way including the rude shipyard with its wonderful books which I had to take a look at and bragazzis which of course I had to go in and sit down with a tasty hot chocolate.

I also stopped by my old school Meersbrook bank which was having a fair and being with my two little sisters who also went there, I stopped to have a quick look inside but it was very quick as I was very tired and didn't see much except for a woman singing a Nina Simone song which sounded great and splat the rat and other similar stalls before I was on my way home.


Saturday, 3 July 2010

Clearly Food Kitchen Review




I decided to check this place out after seeing it on the guardians top ten budget places to eat in Sheffield and having not even heard of it I thought I'd give it a go.

Its a really nice little place, quite small with pizzas and a few quiches and hot pots and a few cakes too.

I'm having breakfast and the portobello mushroom, fried egg and roast tomato in a bread cake looks nice so I give it a go.

I sit upstairs and theres coldplay playing, good if you like coldplay..I don't really but this isn't a restaurant choice of music review so yeah back to the food..

The sandwich comes and its huge! I really can't fit it in my mouth so use cutlery, it needs seasoning as it tastes like theres none of it on at all, the bread isn't that good but then again that could be because I have very high standards for bread.

The egg is lovely though, as is the cup of tea I wash it down with.
I choose banana cake for afterwards and its really tasty, I just love banana cake!

I take away a brownie to share with friends which I thought was pretty good, very sweet though with not much real cocoa flavour but good for people with a sweet tooth. My friends had different opinions, some said too sweet and one tells me its from a supplier as he's had the same ones elsewhere which wouldn't surprise me as most places buy their cakes in, in fact I can only think of a couple that don't.

All together its around £7.
Its a nice place to relax in as theres lots of cooking magazines which are my favourite kind.
I'll probably go back again.

The Bohemian Review



This review is from when I visited about a month ago and didn't have time to write


I have to add that I worked there about 2 years ago and it had its ups and downs and I was made redundant before Christmas as they weren't making enough money to keep me there.

I had no food in the house so decided to stroll down the road to the bohemian.
Its a nice little place, very bohemian style with huge chalkboards with the specials and a nice looking cake stand.

The waitress was friendly and polite and I had a quick chat with the chef before ordering my food along with a hot chocolate which was very sweet but OK.

The menu is mainly vegetarian with vegan and fish options and only recently they started doing meat as well, I'm guessing because there isn't enough vegetarians in meersbrook to keep their business alive.

Its warm outside so I go for calamari and deep fried brie with cranberry dip.
They arrive along with free falafel and some salad on a plate, theres a lot of it and I dig in.
The brie is nice enough, crispy and mild with the sweet dip.
The calamari tastes shop bought which makes me think the brie may also be shop bought but they are still tasty, not amazing but good.
The falafel is good but could do with a bit more spice which surprises me as the owners are Asian and have cooked many delicious spicy foods but they weren't there tonight as they are building a orphanage in Pakistan at the moment, according to Jeff the chef.

I would have liked a glass of wine but they don't serve it, its bring your own though so go prepared unlike me.

Maybe I made a bad choice and just happened to pick the items that didn't taste very home made, maybe I should have gone for the three cheese gnocchi or veggie lasagna or sole fillets but it was hot outside and I wanted food you could pick at.

The desserts look good and vary from sticky toffee pudding to cheesecake to chocolaty slices. I go for a chocolate and fruit nut slice and its very big again.
I didn't finish my main course so I have a few bites of the very hard slice and take the rest home.

Sorry for the bad photo



The whole meal came to £10.