Thursday, 29 August 2013

Eating out for less in Sheffield

Sheffield is full of places to eat, good and bad, cheap and pricey. On here I mostly talk about the good but today I'm sharing just a few of the great AND cheap bargain food and drink to be found in Sheffield. This list is mainly focused on places around nether edge, sharrow and town because they are the areas I spent 90% of my time. If you know any others please add a comment and share them with us! All food listed is fresh and made on the premises, no processed packaged food included!

For people wanting a colourful box of flavour packed healthiness then Fanoush offers a falafel salad box for £3.50. Not just any salad either - they have their own pickled turnip, a variety of hummus to choose from and delicious sauces including mango pickle and tahini. Freshly cooked falafel makes this a really satisfying meal. You can also add halloumi, cauliflower or aubergine for slightly extra. Available in City centre or London road.

If you fancy lunch on London road then Pho 68 has a great deal on lunch - a massive plate of delicious and fresh vietnamese food plus fresh fruit for dessert for only £5.90. There is a limited selection if you're veggie but the meat options are very good indeed.

Those after a hot, quick meal should head to Zoobys in the winter garden and get a home made soup for only £2! Great after a look around graves art gallery. Head down the escalator for a take away drink for only £1. You can sit outside and there is free wifi!

You'd be hard pushed to find a cheap meal in Sheffield city centre right? Wrong! Breakfast at The Blue Moon Cafe is a bargain- just today I had the softest scrambled egg with mushroom and fried potato, a perfect portion size for me PLUS a loose leaf mint tea for just £5. It wasn't on the menu but because I don't eat wheat (scrambled egg on toast there is just over £3), they were falling over themselves to offer up alternatives. You do not get service like that everywhere I guarantee that.

If you're feeling knowledgable then get yourself down to The Cremorne where you can enter the weekly quiz which includes a free bowl of rice and curry at the end for only 50p! Yes, actually 50 pence. Cheaper than the price of quizzes alone at some places. Every Monday night on London road

Love chai lattes? You are not alone, unfortunately you will struggle to find one that isn't at one of the large coffee chains and that wont set you back around £4 depending on the location. Feast on Chapel Walk offers chai latte for £1.85. They also have a selection of cakes for only £1 a piece.

For those who love a bit of spice then you'd be hard pushed to find a better meal then at Khushi on London rd. Fresh authentic Pakistani food ranging from on the bone lamb curries to saag aloo and chana dahl, plus a selection of naan and rice, salads and dips. To start you can enjoy the best masala fish I've tasted or huge bhajis, tandoori chicken wings and sheesh kebab. For as much as you can eat you only pay £7.99. Save your hunger and stuff your face here, no one will judge you. If you are lucky then you'll find sweet vermicelli pudding garnished with nuts. Its like a hug in your mouth.

Sweet toothed folk can rejoice with the fresh home made wide selection of cakes including at least one vegan option at Steel City Cakes, London rd. Any huge cake PLUS any hot drink including smooth lattes and hot chocolates for only £2.50. Thats cheaper than the price of just cake at most places!

So there you have it, my selection of tasty and fresh food at a wallet friendly price. Please add your favourite budget eateries, I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Real People's Recipes - Val's Russian Salad

It's no secret that I love trying food from other countries and discovering the history behind each dish. When I was at Val and his girlfriend Olivia's leaving party the other day, he started preparing this Russian salad and I was really interested and then I remembered I hadn't done this feature in a while so luckily he agreed to share his recipe with me and my readers. The party was amazing, the variety of food was great and I also got to try these tasty Brazilian condensed milk sweets - Brigadeiro.

Tasty traditional Brazilian sweets - like a squidgy caramel with cocoa
"The dish is called "Olivier salad" but in restaurants its usually just called a "Russian salad".
The version i usually make is vegetarian and very easy, some people add meat to it like fine chopped chicken or duck.
As its a very popular salad in Russia, I'm sure each chef makes their own special recipe. Its usually served as a garnish to a roast dinner, like they add peas to dinner in UK I guess :)

I moved to UK when I was 13. I have always been able to cook for myself, but lately I found that the only way to get the Russian cuisine was to make it. So now I find recipes for the dishes I like on the internet and then tweak it to my taste, also my mother gives me tips and cooking techniques.

In Russia many people buy fresh produce on the market or grow it themselves on allotments - so much of the cuisine is seasonal and uses local products only. Here in UK you get so much imported ingredients its easy to cook dishes from anywhere and any time of year."

Val peeling the eggs

The potatoes which are boiled whole

The delicious finished salad

4 large potatoes - boiled whole then diced
2 carrots - boiled whole then diced
lots of gherkins! - diced fine
about a cup of peas  - cooked
4 boiled eggs - chopped
mayonnaise - enough to coat
fresh dill
salt and pepper

Just combine the ingredients in a bowl then serve. Didn't last long at the party, everyone loved it!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Ginseng restaurant review

Today was my last chance to spend time with my friend Susie, who has returned to Sheffield from Madrid for the summer. Having taken her to the bubble tea place, "lol" (that's the name of the place) which is in west one, we noticed Ginseng and having heard good things about it, I suggested we come and eat here.
When we first arrived the waiter told us to wait for 20 minutes because they were busy so we told him to hold our table and went for some cocktails at the Great Gatsby. She had a pina colada and I had something with pineapple, coconut and banana which I've forgotten the name of but was very tasty and only £4!

Cocktails at the Great Gatsby
After enjoying our cocktails we strolled back along division street and entered the restaurant again.
It is a very asthetically pleasing establishment, with wall hangings and black marble style tables with their in-built barbeque grill, plus your standard east asian fish tank and a small bar.
We peruse the menu with its large coloured photographs and I feel genuinely excited. Korean food is totally new to me, I'm kind of expecting it to be similar to the food I had in China but really, not knowing what it's going to be like is making me look forward to eating it even more than with any other restaurant.

Beautiful crockery
Our waitress helps us out and thanks to her recommendation we order a rice, seafood, vegetable and egg bowl to share then each have a soup dish. I also order kimchi as I'm a fan of its spicy sour goodness.
We are the only "western" people eating here which is usually a good sign. It's mostly students too, I guess west one tends to attract these types because they're either too scared to venture away from town or crookes and find other places to eat, or maybe that this is a cool area to hang out.
A couple of dishes arrive and we are told they are our free sides. One is a slippery sweet cabbage and one is grated carrot with something else I'm not sure about, maybe daikon but I don't know.
One thing that strikes me is that this is going to be a hard review to write because a lot of the tastes are new to me and describing them would be challenging.

Kimchi and free side dishes
I'm not a fan of these metal chopsticks though, the appeal of chopsticks for me is their organic nature, that's why they are second preferable eating utensil, after my hands. The wooden ones that is..
Anyway the food arrived and it looked exactly as shown in the pictures, my casserole had half a chicken and the kimchi was that napa cabbage, left in whole leaves. Different to how I've had before but still delicious. The waitress asked if we wanted her to mix our egg rice dish but I said no it's ok. I waited 'til she left before taking a picture as I thought it would be more photogenic that way.

Chicken and date casserole
I struggled slightly with the chicken. I've eaten chicken legs with chopsticks before but this was in a red hot clay bowl of soup and any sudden movements could lead to pain for me so I carefully eased the meat off the leg with my spoon. I found a lump of rice shaped like the leg kind of inside the leg which was an interesting surprise. The whole dish is very light in flavour with a comforting sweetness from the dates. It feels good for me, like something an old Chinese person would cook for me if I was ill. The whole ginseng root floating around in there added to this little fantasy.
That egg and rice dish is really tasty. It came with a red sauce which wasn't as hot as expected.
Everything is light and not greasy at all.

Egg dish
The drinks we ordered: cinnamon punch for me and grape punch for Susie are really different to any I've had before. Mine reminded me of those atomic fireball sweets I used to go crazy for when I was younger and eventually led to my 10 year hatred of anything containing cinnamon. I love cinnamon now though and this was refreshing with a floral after taste. The grape one had  pulp of jellified grape inside and tastes like american grape flavoured things do.

Cinnamon punch
Eventually we ask for the bill and it's £35 for two which is pretty good, especially for town.
I'll definitely visit again. It's great to have somewhere to add to my lift of places to eat in the city centre too. Anyone else been?

Food  - 7.5/10
Service - 8/10
Value -  7/10

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Natural Balance Food - Nakd Bars and Raisins Review

I got an email recently from Natural Balance Foods asking if they could send me some natural bars to try in return for a review on my blog. Being a huge fan of the nakd bars anyway I wasn't going to say no.
A few days later my parcel arrived and I had no idea what it was because I'd forgotten all about it but then I realised and got really excited when I saw the box full of 18 different nakd products!

I had my favourite - the cocoa orange, first. They are lovely: orangey at first then you chew the nougat-ey textured bar and the chocolate fruity flavour is released. It's so satisfying I nearly think to put the box away and try something else later but I had to try these cola raisins as I was intrigued.

Upon opening the packet you are greeted with the exact smell of rum and coke! When I tasted it, however it was reminiscent of those fizzy cola bottle shaped sweets you got in a 10p bag that would be covered in sugar. They are tangy and sweet so I'm surprised when I read the back and discover no added sugar.

I love these bars as I'm a fan of healthy food that tastes awesome. The site is great because they charge less than how much you usually see them for in the shop which is 99p each. That box would be £13 and you don't have to leave the house. Although it is good to leave the house sometimes.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Manchester - Sister's day out

It had been a while since I spent some quality time with my younger sisters and so I arranged a day trip shopping to Manchester. I used to practically live there a few years ago so know my way around pretty well. We visited Affleks palace, the Arndale centre and went out for some food too. The weather was a bit hit and miss but it was good to get out of Sheffield for a bit as I've got the whole of August off work.

Cute Totoro's in Affleks palace!

My beautiful sister enjoying her nutella and toasted marshmallow milkshake at "home sweet home"


Sister's falafel halloumi wrap- she loved it!

My fishcake which  the chef didn't pane for me so I could avoid the wheat, with poached egg and hollandaise. Was pretty good but a lot of dressing and the staff were kind of rude

Sweet potato chips were tepid but tasty

the outside

In a separate cafe enjoying an iced green tea and a gluten free peanut butter brownie which was divine!!

I also took advantage of yo sushi's £2.50 blue Monday plates but after just one plate of rather warm sushi I decided to change my mind and have a hot chocolate from the nearby cafe piazza instead.
So far my August has been really enjoyable. A couple of nights ago I met a favourite singer of mine - The Beat's Ranking Roger! I was at DonValley photographing bands and because of my backstage pass I asked for a snap and got a cheeky hug. He is a lovely guy and I enjoyed taking the pictures!
You can view the rest of them here if you like. It's my first venture into band photography but they've been well received and have definitely sparked an interest into a new part time hobby!

So would any readers like to recommend my next day trip?

Monday, 5 August 2013

Liverpool Day Trip..

I had a rather spontaneous road trip to Liverpool with my boyfriend last week. The weather was a bit hit and miss but the drive down there was wonderful. Liverpool museum was great and they even had a shanty band performing . Folks on twitter offered helpful recommendations for places to eat and I treated myself to two new cookbooks from an Oxfam - a Sophie Dahl and World Cafe 2.

Enjoying the drive down

The Liver bird
Liverpool museum
The centre, raining
At Leaf cafe or "L"
A quick selfie whilst I enjoy my hot chocolate
Their veggie breakfast and perfect poached eggs!
Post-freak storm rainbow for the drive home
I enjoyed my visit. Manchester is next with my lovely sisters! Any recommendations on places to see and eat there, leave a comment. Thanks!