Sunday, 23 June 2013

Masala Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

This is a super easy and wholesome recipe full of flavour and nutrients.
Serves 3 or 4 depending on greed/ hunger.

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 onions, finely diced
1 thumb ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp chana masala mix (available in asian stores)
600ml coconut milk (found in the dairy isle in a carton, the cow milk replacement type)
1/2 a stock cube (veg or chicken)
coriander to garnish

Saute onions in a bit of oil, add a splash of water if they start to burn and season with salt
Add the garlic, ginger and masala and cook for two minutes.
Add the butternut squash and the coconut milk with the stock cube
Cook til squash is soft then blend and garnish with coriander

Hope you enjoy this quick and easy recipe!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sheffield's food scene is amazing!

I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to live in a city where I can enjoy incredibly delicious food from pretty much every country in the world. The variety of food available and all within thirty minutes of my house. Be it Sri Lankan, Turkish, Mexican, Vietnamese or Greek, Sheffield has it all and this makes greedy lil me very happy to call it my home.
Now don't get me wrong I love good fish and chips (despite the heartburn) but a city with no ethnic diversity, no exciting new dishes and ingredients which you can also buy on your way home from the pub at 3am, that city doesn't even bear thinking about.
The growing number of new cuisines and trends - bubble tea and frozen yoghurt anyone? - excites and delights me. I love travelling all over the world and sampling authentic local food, so returning from my travels and finding replications of these dishes cooked here in my home city fills me with pure joy and nostalgia.
So bearing all this in mind, here is a collection of my favourite places to eat that serve international food.

1.Japanese - Yama sushi - London Road
For the best and freshest sushi in Sheffield this small eatery cannot be beaten. Do not visit without trying their soft shell crab tempura. Unless you have an allergy to shellfish or something like that then yeah, it's ok you don't have to eat that.

Yama Sushi Unagi Maki and California Roll

2.Turkish - Cafe Des Amis - Chesterfield road
Lovely cafe/ restaurant in Meerbrook. Serves Turkish/ Middle eastern food and amazing breakfasts. It's very good value too. The decor is beautiful as is their chocolate "sinsation" tart - layers of chocolate mousse and chopped mars bar on a chocolate shell crust. Incredible.

Cafe Des Amis Chocolate Sinsation Tart

3. Mexican - Amigos - London road
Amigos have gone from strength to strength. I first saw them at sharrow market about 4 years ago where they had a stall, I begged them to open a shop after trying a quesadilla and they did just that. Their shiny new large restaurant on London road is busy every evening serving spicy fajitas, burritos and lots more.

Amigos Quesadilla

4. Indian - Urban Choola - London road
This is my favourite Indian restaurant in Sheffield, followed closely by East & West and then Dhanistas. Their Chilli paneer wraps are so spicy that you'll be sporting rouge lips that would give Dita von Teese a run for her money. It's owned by the same people as Amigos too, so you know they're doing something right.

Urban Choola Chicken Wings

5. International - Fusion Organic Cafe - Arundel street

I may be biased in naming this as one of my favourite eateries in Sheffield as I've worked here for four years, nevertheless I love everything about this place. From the fact that they are part of freeman college, giving real work experience to young students with learning difficulties inside the cafe, to the lovely little art and jewellery galleries alongside it. They also cater for pretty much every food intolerance and have lovely staff! (haha) If there is a special on, have it and you will not regret it.

Strawberry white chocolate cheesecake Fusion Organic Cafe

6. Italian - The Italian Kitchen - Ecclesall road
Seen as taste has closed down, my next choice for tasty Italian fare would have to be Italian Kitchen. They serve proper stone baked pizza  with a home made sauce and a wide variety of toppings. Nonna's is incredible too, great for a treat as it can be a bit pricy.

Goats Cheese Veggie Pizza at The Italian Kitchen

7. North African - Tassili - London road
With authentic Moroccan style rugs covering the walls and food baked and served in tagines, Tassili really does give diners an experience of the taste and atmosphere of being in Marrakesh! Tender squid and delicious and fresh juice are reason to visit alone, add great value and some silky aubergines and you got yourself a deal!

It was dark!! Aubergine with Potatoes at Tassili

8. Brazilian - Tropeiro - Leopold square

If you like barbecued meat and being able to eat as much as you want until your trouser button literally pings off straight into your dining companions eye then Tropeiro is the place for you. If you don't fancy getting your meat sweats on then the vegetarian food is pretty darn good. Plus the unlimited salad bar has Fejouada - that's stewed pork belly and black beans, one hell of a salad!

Waiters carve you strips from hunks of grilled meat at your table at Tropeiro
9. French - La Patisserie - Ecclesall Road
I actually couldn't think of a proper French restaurant that isn't a chain..I have a lot more exploring of Sheffield to do, if anyone can help me out here by recommending somewhere I'd appreciate that!
For now let me tell you about the rich chocolate ganache enveloped around tart raspberries baked inside a salty crispy pastry shell. Sound good? Get some.

Raspberry Torte and Baileys Cheesecake at La Patisserie

9.Vietnamese - Pho 68 - London road
A trip to pho 68 is worth it for their Vietnamese salad alone. Fine strips of carrot, beansprouts, chilli and peanuts are mixed with some other party in your mouth ingredients AND it's pretty healthy too.
They also have a great lunch time deal where it's just over a fiver for a massive plate of food with fresh fruit and tea. Do not miss out

Aubergine hotpot at Pho 68

10. Greek - The Greedy Greek - Sharrow Vale Road
I'm amazed that I haven't ever actually reviewed the legendary Greedy Greek on my blog! I've been there so many times I've lost count. No other Greek restaurant in Sheffield even compares with this place. A true Sheffield favourite. The strofilia makes me very happy.

11.Middle Eastern - Fanoush - London Road
There are no tables or chairs here, just a vast display of colours, pictures of exploding wraps containing falafel and vegetables plus posters advertising local music nights. When places specialise in one dish only, you know it's going to be good. Freshly fried falafel to order and about 10 times the salad options of any kebab shop including their own pickled turnip. Make mine a 10 inch falafel and halloumi wrap with tahini and mango pickle thanks!

Constructing my wrap at Fanoush

12.Pakistani - Kushi - Abbeydale Road
A favourite cuisine of mine for sure, what with being the food I grew up eating of course. Lucky me, I know. These guys make food just as good as my mums and if you've ever had authentic Pakistani food at someones house then you know how amazing it can be. I've never had fish masala better than these guys do it and the vermicelli pudding is like a hug. The deal breaker here is that it's literally all you can eat for under £8. Yes you read that right. Amazing.

Masala fish, saag, chana, pilau plus some other tastiness at Khushi

So here it is my list of twelve places to eat some delicious and exciting ethnic food. I know there is more and I'll probably add them at some point later on, for now though, these eateries make me very happy.  Where is your favourite??

Friday, 14 June 2013

Madrid - City of churros, sunshine and beautiful people

I just returned from a few days visiting my good friend Susie, we've been friends since we've been alive so it was great to catch up with her. She showed me a few highlights of Madrid including Sol and where to find the best churros y chocolate.
The temperature reached 35 degrees which was lovely and I made the most of the cities culinary delights. I even improved my Spanish!

The churros place. First thing I ate in Madrid was these long fried strips of dough dipped in hot thick chocolate!

As shown here. I don't know how I stayed still long enough with a churro in my hand for this photo to be taken, they were so good.

These guys dress up as giant cartoon characters including mickey mouse, bart and even chucky (terrifying).  They shout guappa at the ladies and try and tempt people to pose for a photo for a price or buy a balloon. One day when I was exploring alone alone, a mickey mouse kissed my hand then turned us around presumably looking for my companion to take a picture of us. He was just stood there posing with his arm round me until he realised there was no one there, was pretty funny. Half of the time they walk around with their characters head off, talking to one another. Must be pretty weird for kids to see that.

A nice restaurant where I had these red wine baked clams with oyster mushrooms.  It was incredibly salty . In the middle is octopus, easily the best I've had and we also ordered some queso - local cheese selection.

The salty restaurant. The waitress was pretty mardy. Also me and my friend couldn't stop laughing (happened regularly on my visit) and we were just sat there with tears running down our faces. 

After the restaurant we stopped at this place which was open at 11pm and got a nutella crepe to share

tasty nutella crepe

Back at sol there was a pastry and sweet shop selling a wide variety of tasty food. I ordered some almond tuille type biscuits and an espresso, both were great!

An indoor market that sold horchata, mojitos, fresh fruit and veg, lots of fish and traditional Spanish dishes. You can buy a cocktail stick with quails eggs, anchovy, olive etc on for a euro and they are  good for nibbling on as you are looking round

enjoying an ice cold horchata from the market

A peruvian restaurant. This meal of garlic chicken was ok but the lemon meringue pie was amazing!!

The amazing lemon meringue pie

The thick hot chocolate that I became addicted to and will make any hot chocolate I ever have inferior by comparison...except cocoa on ecclesall road, there's is very good and similar to this. I'm gonna have to go there to get my fix soon

Inside a cafe, trying to escape the heat of the afternoon sun. The chocolate was good, the matcha  yoghurt smoothie and the rude staff not so good.

Went into starbucks and this was the view from the floor to ceiling windows

A nice looking building, there were many of these and I have no idea what actually goes on inside them

I do love this drink, jut sat in the starbucks patio

Quick snap as I enjoyed my ice tea 

Me and Susie

More architecture. 

One of the streets of Sol, filled with ice cream stores, clothing shops and tapas restarants

A rather blurry shot of some alcohol that graced the walls of a tapas restaurant 

Patatas bravas, ridiculously cheap wine and fried green peppers


A lovely spread

Me doing what I enjoy

And again..this time cooling off with some mint chocolate chip ice cream at a parlour

The early evening sky

Some tapas. The tortilla was different to how I've had it in barcelona in that the potato was diced and very soft as opposed to sliced waxy type. I also had calamari which was good and chicken in red wine tomato sauce,

The tapas restarant. I swear I was so spaced out most of the time from lack of sleep and excitement that I mistook these  scary mannequins for real people twice!

A very wide building. This square had lots of restaurants that try to entice you to eat there.

My friend was terrified of this sparkly dancing goat type thing that repeatedly opened and closed his wooden mouth.

Mojitos! They also sold caprinhas, weirdly enough I only drank one glass of wine the whole holiday!  Wasn't feeling the booze really.

So there it is, very photo heavy and words light but hope you enjoy it none the less.
Have any of you been to Madrid, or Spain? If so, what did you do?

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Nosh night street food market

A week or so ago, Nosh had their third night street food market. It was the first one I've attended and here's what I thought.
The evening was held at the old Sharrow junior school, a familiar location to me as I've attended numerous clothes swaps, life drawing and and choir practises there.
All the food stalls were situated in the playground area outside and to be honest the temperature wasn't ideal, it was freezing! It seemed I wasn't the only one who failed to dress appropriately for the occasion as the other market goers -all of a similar age to myself, a lot of them trendy hipster types- were shivering away themselves, huddled together drinking real ale and clutching hot dogs and pad Thais.

I spotted Chinampas, who were recently featured in the guardian and had a little chat. I can't wait to see her at the summer nether edge market and sip at a cooling horchata.

After some indecisiveness about which cocktail to go for at the tamper stall, Adrian recommended an espresso martini, which was apparently invented when a model asked a barman for something to perk her up and fuck her up! I was advised not to have more than three, and having work tomorrow I agreed that would probably be a good idea. Pretty much all the spirits you see in the picture were shaken with ice and fresh espresso before being topped with three coffee beans. The result was delicious, not that alcoholic tasting and warmed me up nicely. In fact I enjoyed it so much that when, a couple of nights later, Adrian had the same bar at my local, the Cremorne, I had three more!

Once I'd finished munching a couple of spicy tacos from Street Food Chef and listening to the beautiful vocal skills of a curly haired girl whose name I failed to catch I decided it was time for some cake.
I opted for a fruity flapjack and my boyfriend had a chocolate cupcake. The flapjack was definitely in my top three flapjacks ever eaten and the cupcake was moist and not too sweet.

A wander around inside the art stalls inside offered a nice change of scenery and some warmth. I may or may not have seen a stall selling bacon jam. Upon exiting the warmth of indoors and stepping back outside I remembered how cold it was and called it a night.

All in all it was a fun evening, hopefully it will be warmer for the next one!