Friday, 24 October 2014

Support Sheffield Independents #1 - Filthy Gorgeous

Whenever I have a friend visiting Sheffield, I can't wait to show them the hidden gems of my home town. From quirky bookshop cafés to Chinese grocery stores where you can buy fresh live lobster or tiny and potent bottles of ginseng.
Our city is full of independent shops, bars, cafés and restaurants that stand out.
Forget about your soulless restaurant chains and massive supermarkets with rows of processed food, combined with staff who have no passion for the produce.
Why go to those when you can save money in a local independent establishment? Did you know that For every £1 spent locally around 50p - 70p of that money recirculates back into the local economy. For the same £1 spent out of town or online only 5p goes back to the local community. With this in mind, I'm going to do a regular feature whereby I share with you my favourite independents in Sheffield.

I'm starting with my local health food shop - Filthy Gorgeous (Abbeydale road).
Angela the owner, is knowledgeable about all her products and health in general. If you follow Filthy Gorgeous on twitter or Facebook you can find recipes and interesting health related articles.

One thing that sets the shop apart from other nutritional grocery stores is the wine selection.
Every wine is organic and most free of sulphites, which some day can lead to headaches and other health problems.

I tasted the Familia Cecchin Malbec and it was really great, rich and delicious.

But my favourite thing she sells, which I've not seen anywhere else is the raw salted date caramel chocolate bars by coco caravan (a small organic company in Wales).
They have no refined sugar and are vegan, which makes them a perfect guilt free treat.

Tomorrow I hear she's doing free tasters of her gluten free range from 12pm. Why not go say hi and support your friendly local independent!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Eating healthy in Sheffield - How and Where

I eat out a fair amount and whilst it's best to prepare and cook food for yourself at home, a meal out every couple of weeks won't have a negative impact on your health as long as you make the right choices.

Here are five tips to help you make healthy choices.
  1. Choose olives to nibble on instead of bread, whilst you are perusing the menu.
  2. Think about whether or not you really need a starter as well as a main. Having a large glass of water before your meal will prevent overeating.
  3. Good drink choices include green or jasmine tea, water with lemon or dry white wine. Beer and coke are full of calories and will lead to unhealthy fat around the abdomen aka a "beer belly".
  4. If you are in a Chinese restaurant, avoid sweet and sour sauces, egg fried rice and deep fried anything! A light soup followed by kung pow chicken or steamed prawn and vegetables with plain rice would be a good option.
  5. If it's Italian you've chosen, avoid creamy sauces and fill half your plate with steamed vegetables or a fresh green salad. Better still, order something besides pasta. Grilled chicken or fish with potatoes and tomato sauce for example.

Top picks for healthy eating out in Sheffield:

Sharrow Marrow 

Not only is this an amazing green grocers but now boasts a lovely little cafe with Ottolenghi type dishes such as Sri Lankan beetroot curry and Asian broccoli rice noodle salad.

Pure on Raw   

My favourite restaurant because even with my dietary restrictions I can still eat dessert. My favourite is their apricot cheesecake with clementine ice cream. Their lavender ice cream is also incredible and a must try. The desserts are made from blended soaked cashew nuts and agave nectar - a natural low GL sweetener.

New Roots

Gets a mention for the pedal powered smoothies and wholesome snacks. The staff are super friendly too. Their healthy raw chocolate fudge is amazing.

Fusion Organic Cafe 

 I did used to work here so maybe I'm biased but this place deserves a recommendation for their use of organic local and seasonal vegetables and the wholesome learning experiences they offer for the students of freeman college. Teaching there was very rewarding. Try their salad platter and you get to taste exotic vegetables such as kohl rabi, salsify and cavelo nero.

Happy Cook 

My favourite hot pot haunt. Can't get much healthier than a simmering pan of stock in which you place raw ingredients! My favourite is the red thai stock and then I add loads of fish, prawns, lotus root, pak choi, mushrooms and whatever else I fancy then top with fresh coriander and chopped nuts and spring onions. If hotpot ain't your cup of tea then you can grill your fresh ingredients as shown above.

Little Hanoi 

 They have gorgeous summer spring rolls here, very fresh and clean. have these plus one of their wholesome salads and a glass of carrot juice to perk you up and make you feel great.


 These guys do amazing teppanyaki. Sashimi is a great option for those wanting to make healthier food choices. Go easy on sushi as the white rice is just another empty carb and can cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, leading to weight gain.


 Yes the falafel is deep fried so maybe don't make this a daily option! They get a mention for the vast array of colourful salads they cram into the box. Avoid a wrap and instead opt for a box with every salad plus healthy tahini sauce on top.

Saigon 68 

Great for big bowls of impossible to finish soup. Order glass noodles made from mung bean starch for extra protein. Chilli speeds up your metabolism so don't hold back on the sriracha!

Flurt Froyo

For those wanting a sweet treat then frozen yoghurt is a perfect option. Fat free and a good source of protein, just choose your toppings wisely. Fresh berries and nuts/seeds are perfect and a few dark chocolate curls are also a good option as cocoa is full of antioxidants and flavanoids (basically it does good things to your body as well as make you feel good).

The Rude Shipyard 
My favourite cafe. The friendly staff do their best to cater for every dietary need and always have fresh dishes plus nutritious salads on offer. Their hummus is amazing and the tea selection is very good.

So there you have my updated list of top healthy picks in Sheffield. Let me know your favourites. I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Vegetarian in Dublin

I needed a holiday big time, so when I noticed some cheap flights to Dublin I snapped them up without much thought. It was only once arriving in the city centre, after seeing numerous pub signs offering traditional Irish food that concern grew regarding what I could actually eat there.
Black pudding, sausage coddle and all sorts of meat based stews all sounded very interesting but I needed to find myself some plant based food!

Luckily for me, there are other veggies, vegans and health conscious folk in Dublin and therefore, numerous establishments that cater for them. Here are my favourite visits

There is a fro-yo and salad bar called "PóG", which is Irish for kiss apparently. It serves fresh juices, frozen yoghurt and build your own salad boxes. 
I went to a women's rights demo..

On the Saturday I visited a food market. There were a selection of olives, local cheese, oysters and meals. It was pretty small but I bought some organic eggs that I poached back at my hostel and they were the best eggs I've ever tasted!

This is the colourful and lively Temple Bar - a selection of quirky thrift stores, pubs and lots of live street music

This vegan falafel and hummus salad box from Staple Foods in temple bar was delicious and nutritious.

On Sunday I managed to find an incredible world culture day in this hall on the outskirts of the city. There were regional dishes from all over the world, plus yoga demonstrations, massage, belly-dancing and lots of laid back vibes. The place smelt of frankincense and beautiful food.
I sampled a Bulgarian vegetable stew which was rich with paprika and flavour. I also had Bangladeshi ginger tea and a raw chia hemp energy ball.

My favourite visit though was an amazing vegetarian restaurant called Cornucopia. They have a selection of foods for any diet, live music including harp every weekend and the serve kombucha! I had so much delicious food there, I found it very inspiring.

Kombucha at cornucopia
Veggie home made breakfast
Chocolate chilli raw vegan torte
I went on a couple of tours - the red bus one which stops all over the city and the jiffey river boat tour which gave you glimpses of the city from a different perspective. I enjoyed the latter more.

I found I actually prefer discovering a city by walking and exploring that way anyway. Places are easy to find plus it's good exercise.

The beautiful park in the centre of Dublin
Padlocks with lovers initials engraved on them on the ha'penny bridge.

The Dublin bikes that were everywhere but unfortunately as I only had a visa card, as opposed to a credit card I couldn't borrow one, so bear that in mind

A few places that I didn't photograph but enjoyed visiting were:
  • Tea Garden by the river Jiffey - really nice atmosphere in this sit down gourmet tea and shisha late open cafe.
  • Blazing salads - absolutely incredible health food bar, I was gutted to only discover this on the last day. Heaven for veggies. I bought divine shepherds pie and a date and orange sugar free slice.
  • Umi Falafel - tasty homemade falafel with lots of garnishes including baba ghanoush!
  • The Bachelors Wok - delicious Thai coconut soup and great value too.
  • The Winding Stair - really lovely bookshop with a restaurant that I didn't sample 
  • The Grand Social - nice quirky pub with an amazing flea market. Bought two dresses for 5 euros!
All in all, I had a great break. I visited 06-11/03/2014 The hostel was really lovely (Sky Backpackers), people are very friendly and even though I went alone, I met up with a couple of people off courchsurfing who provided me with lovely company and some great insider information about their hometown!

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!