Thursday, 30 October 2014

Napoleons Casino and Restaurant at Owlerton Stadium, Sheffield

Since moving to Hillsborough I've been trying to suss out the local restaurants and cafes. Ok, there isn't a huge amount of choice here - certainly not as much as there is in town - but there are a few options... including Napoleons at Owlerton.

After eating at Eccy Road's Napoleons a couple of times, I was intrigued to try the Hillsborough venue. And, thanks to a £2 million refurbishment along with an invite to check out the new restaurant, it wasn't long before we were heading down to the bright lights of the casino.

Having not seen the restaurant prior to the refurbishment, I can't really comment on it. But, I can say that it's looking pretty smart  - it's located towards the back of the casino too - a little away from the gaming tables.

In terms of menu choice, it's a similar set up to Eccy Road - £17/£19 for two courses or £19/£21 for three, which is pretty good value.

I started with Moules mariniere and garlic ciabatta. In terms of the cooking, the mussels were spot on - flavours were good too.

Gav went for the curried parsnip soup with mini onion bhajis. This was warming and tasty and he loved the added bhajis which were a nice touch and added a bit of texture.

Come mains and it was a toss up between the pork loin cutlet and the sirloin steak for me. In the end I opted for the steak which was served exactly as I requested - rare. Tender and tasty, it was a good piece of meat. Sadly, the sides of wedges and Yorkshire pudding didn't work for me (it was all a bit brown). But that was my own fault! I could have enjoyed the traditional sides of tomato, mushrooms and onion rings had I ordered from the grill section of the menu. Lesson learnt!

Gav had the lamb shank which was beautifully 'fall off the bone' tender. A rich red wine sauce and garlic butter beans were good accompaniments and he was perfectly happy with his choice.

Stuffed, we couldn't manage a full dessert each and we decided to share the lemon and lime tartlet between us. Regular readers will know that this is one of my favourite desserts and that I like it good and zesty - this one was just right.

Although happy with the food, I must give special mention to the atmosphere. The casino was pretty quiet, but the bar and restaurant areas were nicely busy and, with good service thrown in, we were quite comfortable. I'm sure we'll be back for more...

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Packed Lunch

After a year of part time work I am finally back full time again. And this means that the packed lunch has become a really important issue again - especially as I'm now based in a business park in Wath Upon Dearne - popping out for a Street Food Chef really isn't on the cards any more. 

So, this month has been about getting my packed lunch on! I need things that can be knocked up quite quickly and don't require any warming up. And, although I do like the odd sandwich, I wouldn't want one every day! So I've been looking at salads, pastas and the like and here are a few of the things I've been lunching on this month.

Rice salad

I've been making variations of rice salads for a long time now, but I think I nailed the best combo this month. 

Cold rice was mixed with kidney beans, chickpeas, sweetcorn, spring onions, red pepper, black olives, sundried tomatoes, chargrilled aubergine and courgette slices (out of a jar), coriander, mint, parsley and chunks of cheese. Yes, there are a fair few ingredients, but it was very easy to put together, and it tasted great!

I also like cold rice served with kidney beans, chunks of cheese and a simple salsa of tomatoes, chilli, onion and coriander. Just make sure you stick plenty of chilli in there to ensure it gets your lips tingling!

Mackerel/tuna salad

Potatoes, green beans and smoked mackerel or tinned tuna is a great combination. And, with a few salad leaves, it's a healthy and filling lunch.

Although it works best with fresh vegetables, I have been known to use tinned potatoes and green beans. Ok, not my finest hour, but incredibly cheap!

Egg, avocado and potato salad
I know it's probably a bit seventies but I think there's something a little luxurious about adding an egg to a salad - it easily turns a bunch of green stuff into a meal. Go a couple of steps further and add half an avocado and some baby potatoes and you're dining like a king (ish).

When making this lunch, I tend to stick in whatever I have in the fridge - salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, spring onions, sweetcorn, green beans - they all work well.

Aubergine, Tomatoes and Chickpeas

This is a simple HFW recipe from Three Good Things. Basically, aubergine, tomatoes and chickpeas are thrown into the oven with cinnamon sticks and chilli flakes. This is lovely warm, but perfectly acceptable cool come lunch time. 

Roasted Veg Salad

This is a bit of a go to dish for me - for both lunches and teas. I just roast veg for about 40 minutes with garlic, chilli, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I usually use aubergines, peppers, courgettes and tomatoes, but I sometimes add mushrooms, potatoes and/or parsnips too - it really does just depend on what's in my fridge at the time.

I like to have this with a chunk of Stilton, some mozzarella or cottage cheese - lovely!

Pasta with Pesto
Easy peasy, especially as I cheat and use pesto from a jar. I like to add halved cherry tomatoes and sliced black olives too.

Smoked Mackerel and Watercress Sandwich
As I said, I couldn't eat sandwiches every day, but I do like a one once in a while.  And this is a really good combination - the peppery watercress works really well with the rich and oily mackerel. I like to use granary bread and lots of mayo for this one.

I don't think I've done too badly, do you? But there is always room for improvement and here are a few tips I received through Twitter...

Bento Box with both savoury and sweet sections - fruit, veggies, rice, potato salad, mini sandwiches, biscuits, iced gems and nibbles - @GillCodd

Tapas Box with bits of leftover cheese, meats and salad - @MashtunAndMeow

Smoked mackerel pate with oatcakes and a cherry tomato, avocado and coriander salad - @Penny2304 

A bulgar wheat salad - @NibblyPig

What about you? What are your favourite midweek lunches?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Seasonal Recipes - Courgettes

Ok, so we're coming to the very end of the season for courgettes - but I was lucky enough to take delivery of the last 1.6 kg from my parents' garden. And, whenever I have a fridge full of courgettes, I immediately look to this recipe for courgettes on toast (thanks again to @missstephwalker for recommending it to me).

Courgettes on Toast

It might not sound like the most exciting of teas, but courgettes on toast really does work well for a light midweek option. Sure it takes a while to cook, but it's very easy. And I like that I can also use the mix as a pasta sauce (just add some of the pasta water whilst cooking to achieve the right consistency). I also like that I can pep it up a bit with chilli and lemon if I fancy.

Courgettes on Toast

Courgettes on Toast 

Courgettes on Toast

 So, tell me, what are your favourite courgette recipes?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

Prashad, the Leeds based Indian restaurant, published a cookbook a few years ago and it's become one of my all time favourites. Which is pretty amazing given all the recipes are vegetarian! But, when it comes to Indian food, I actually like to go vegetarian. There's something about fresh, light and spicy food that really works for me. 

Prashad cookbook is my go-to book for midweek teas as the majority of the recipes are super quick and easy to cook. Now that I have all the spices in, they're all pretty cheap too. Having said that, they're still bloody tasty and I've served some of the dishes up at dinner parties. Another good thing about the recipes is that I can prepare them in advance, and just reheat on the day - which is why I decided to cook from Prashad when I had family round for dinner recently. 

I kicked off with poppadoms and dips. Sadly I did end up using ready made poppadoms, rather than make my own (have you ever tried frying these things? They can smoke a whole house out!). I did, however, make a coriander, chilli and garlic relish along with a raita from Prashad. I also made a mango and chilli chutney from Floyd's India (RIP King Floyd).

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

Then we moved onto spicy paneer skewers which are chunks of paneer, peppers and onion, marinated overnight with a fair amount of spices and coriander and then grilled. These are really tasty and make the perfect starter.

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

For mains I cooked the aubergine and potato curry (a true favourite of mine - it's so quick and easy), the chole (a little more fiddly, but beautiful thanks to the cinnamon in there) and the tarka dhal (I could live off this stuff...) from Prashad, along with their chilli, carrot, cabbage and pepper salad. And, because I also quite fancied a rich and meaty curry I cooked the mutton curry from Floyd's India (RIP King Floyd), but used lamb shoulder rather than mutton. 

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

I have to admit to cheating when it came to dessert as I'd spotted some tins of gulab jamun on offer at Tesco... but it all went down very well and I can safely say that Prashad didn't let me down one jot!

Cookbook Reviews - Prashad

I honestly cannot recommend the Prashad cookbook enough - to meat eaters as well as vegetarians - stunning food that's quick, easy and pretty cheap to prepare.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Choco Latte, Hillsborough

Ever so slightly worse for wear, we headed into Hillsborough for brunch last weekend. I've got to be honest, I wasn't overly hopeful. After years of having the likes of Tamper and the Wig and Pen on my doorstep, I have been a little spoiled in the breakfast department, and I had no idea what I'd end up with in Hillsborough.

Choco Latte was already on my radar for their bistro evenings and as we wandered through the main shopping area, we noticed the cafe was quite busy and decided to give it a go for brunch.

Light and bright inside with a choice of tables and sofa area, Choco Latte is clean and inviting. A quick glance at the chalkboard menu and I spotted that there was a smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagel on offer - I was sold.

Smoked salmon bagel - Choco Latte, Hillsborough

Sadly I hadn't spotted the eggy bread with bacon, but Gav had...

Eggy bread with bacon - Choco Latte, Hillsborough

For less than a tenner for both plates, including a coffee each, we were more than happy with Choco Latte. The food was tasty, servings were perfectly ample and there was a laid back and easy vibe to the place. 

We haven't had chance to try many of the cafes in Hillsborough, but I'm pretty sure Choco Latte will become a bit of a regular haunt for us - in fact we're already booked in for one of their bistro nights!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Late Night Diner at The Harley, Sheffield

Late Night Diner sees Twisted Burger Company serve their special diner menu from 10pm all the way through to 4am, Sunday to Wednesday. Sound-tracked by The Harley’s resident DJs playing afrobeat, funk, psych, hip hop and more, Late Night Diner will be the perfect place to hang out with friends and grab some late night scran. With free entry and good drinks at good prices, the Late Night Diner is set to shake up Sheffield’s bar culture!

Charlotte Leaver, Brand Manager for Twisted said: We are so excited to launch the Late Night Diner with The Harley. It’s a totally new way of late night eating – no more questionable kebabs on the way home from a night out or sad chocolate bars from the library vending machine! Our special diner menu is great value for money as we’re using the same high quality ingredients as we use during normal restaurant hours and can be eaten in or taken away.”
Late Night Diner at The Harley, Sheffield

Twisted’s diner menu features simplified version of the burgers so many know and love. From the Steel City Cheeseburger (beef patty, American cheese, Techno Burger Sauce - £4.00) through to Just Falafs (falafel patty, minted sour cream, red onion - £3.50) as well as a range of fries, late night diners will be hard pushed to find better grub at 2am!

  • The Harley is situated at 334 Glossop Road, Sheffield, S102HW, just up from the University of Sheffield tram stop.
  • Opening hours:
   Twisted Burger Breakfast Club served: Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 11.30am,  Saturday & Sunday, 8.30am – 11.30am.
     Full menu served: Monday – Sunday, midday – 10pm.
     Late Night Diner menu served: Sunday – Wednesday, 10pm – 4am.