Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Langtons No 1 Gin

I'll get my apologies out of the way nice and early. Yes, it's been around a month since I last blogged, yes my last blogpost was a bit of a cop out and yes I have barely picked up any of my cookbooks in the last two months. All I can say is that I've had a LOT on my plate (ha) and the blog has ended up way down at the bottom of a long list of priorities. 

And I could bore you with the ins and outs, but it's all pretty dull, so I'll spare you... essentially I'm back and ready to get stuck back into Feast and Glory.

So, let me tell you about an event I went to recently. Organised by Craig Macdonald, Brand Ambassador for Langtons No 1 Gin, this lovely, informal event consisted of meeting up with a couple of other bloggers and some people from the local bar industry for a few (too many) gin and tonics. 

Craig was keen to let the gin do most of the talking and we started off by trying it neat. He'd also laid out all the individual botanicals used in Langtons, so we were able to have a smell and taste of each one to see if we could then find the flavour in the gin itself. 

Langtons No 1 Gin

We then moved onto gin and tonics (and a rather special chamomile cocktail*) whilst Craig talked us through the gin's history and the reasons why he thinks it's so special.

And, essentially, it mostly comes down to the water used. Sourced from an aquifer that sits under the mountain of Skiddaw, Keswick and Derwent Water, the water is up to a million years old and has been filtered through black slate that is 450 million years old.

All sounds pretty amazing, yes? Well, added to this magical water is a blend of eleven botanicals including ancient Lake District Oak Bark (which smells absolutely divine by the way). And, well, the end result is a smooth, yet flavoursome gin that is perfectly enjoyable on its own with a little ice, with a little tonic or in a cocktail.

Langtons No 1 Gin retails for around £30 which might seem a little pricey to some, but I think it's actually quite good value given the quality of the ingredients and the smoothness of the end product... I'll be buying some as soon as I've finished the last stuff I bought.

* made with 40ml Langtons, 20ml Homemade Camomile tea syrup, 15ml Fresh lemon juice, 2 drops orange bitters, egg white and topped with soda.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

New House

Well... We've finally moved house! And I cannot tell you how happy we are!! Honestly, living in town was great but the noise and lack of space has been doing my head in for about 4/5 years. And thanks to the crash in house prices we've had to ride it out and wait for the right time to sell... And that time came earlier this year.

Initially we quite fancied Walkley or Nether Edge/Sharrow, but so did a lot of people and after bidding well over the asking price on a Walkley terrace, only to lose, we decided to look further afield.

Which is how we ended up in Hillsborough! It's not quite the foodie destination of the north but on spotting three butchers, one fishmongers, a grocers and a bakers (not to mention the amazing Beres) on the main street I figured we'd do alright. I also now gather that I can get Our Cow Molly milk delivered to my back door... perfect!

Anyway our house is gorgeous! It's on a quiet road, we have lovely neighbours, it's larger than the average terrace and it's full of character and original features.

So... here's a few pics of the things I love about our new house. I'll be adding more over the next week or so too. Oh and do note that it's nowhere near as clean as I would like it, so please ignore the muck... I still need to get some scrubbing done!!

Oh and I'm also sorry for the lack of captions on the photos, I won't have wifi until 1st July (God help me), so I'm blogging this from my phone!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The kind of tea that I will be eating in my garden.... when I finally move.

In case you didn't already know (ha), I am about to move house. Amongst a few other things, this means that we will finally have a garden - with grass and everything. It's only small, but it's more than enough for Gav and I to have the odd alfresco tea. I'm also dreaming of whiling away the odd afternoon with nothing but the birds and a couple of Aperol spritz to keep me company.

Anyhoo, for me eating outside calls for light meals and fresh flavours - which is what I also fancied for tea last night. I had a go at this slow cooked cauliflower and I also cooked some broccoli with garlic, chilli and anchovies as per the recipe here.

Both were delicious and, served with bread, olives and a salad of tomatoes, garlic and fresh thyme, they made a more than ample dinner. I do think I may have gone overboard on the garlic intake though... so keep your distance for a bit!

The Wanders of Sheffield

I do like a good wander. And when I say wander, I mean somat urban. See, I do my wandering alone which means that I need to feel safe AND I need some entertainment along the way. And although a pub is generally a welcome form of entertainment, cafes, delis, butchers, bakers, fishmongers and grocers work nicely too. 

My wanders have allowed me to explore different areas of Sheffield - living in town, it's good to get out and about a bit, and it means that I'm central to a lot of good wandering places. As I've said, I like to do my wandering alone - it means that I'm more inclined to stop and chat to the people I meet on the way, that I can spend as much time as I like drooling at the display of meats in a butcher's window and if I suddenly find that I'm now longer in a wandering mood, I can just admit defeat to myself and get the bus home.

Previous wanders have seen me walking the length of Abbeydale and London Road, around Crookes and Walkely and around Eccy Road and Sharrowvale Road.

In fact, just last week I took a wander down London Road. I love this little strip of town - it's home to many of my favourite restaurants - but the Turkish and Polish supermarkets make it great for a wander too. Baklava, olives, spices, smoked meats and strange looking cheeses can keep me amused for hours and Ozmen is my absolute favourite for a good nosey.

It was lunch time when I last visited so I took a little detour off the main strip and headed for South View Road. Since eating at The Three Bears Kitchen with a friend a while back, I'd been dying to return. It's a daytime cafe and only opens Mon-Fri so a bit of planning is required if you do want to go. Situated in the Old Junior School, it's incredibly informal, but the food is really good (and very reasonably priced). Go for a salad, or one of their specials.

Gnocchi with pork ragu at Three Bears Kitchen - £6
Back onto London Road and I carried on down Abbeydale Road where my attention switched from food to retro/vintage/second hand furniture shops - I had to stop myself from looking as we're about to move house and I'll be shopping for furniture once I'm in my new house, not beforehand. 

Having said that I did pass quite a few Asian supermarkets (great for big packs of spices which are good value if you cook a lot), Forge Bakehouse and, new to the scene, Mr Pickles' Yorkshire Food Emporium. I popped in to meet Mr Pickles and I was impressed by the size of the store - having only been open for a week or so, there's a butcher's counter and a grocery section as well as a load of dried goods and drinks. Essentially Mr Pickles' will soon become your local supermarket (they will shortly have a supply of Sheffield's own gin too!).

Porter Brook Deli - Thanks Nibbly Pig for the pic!
I then turned back and headed back towards town, but as I reached Waitrose, I realised I hadn't quite had enough and I strolled down Eccy Road. With Fancie, Cocoa and Pollards, there's plenty for the foodie here, but Sharrowvale Road is also delicious with Sharrow Marrow grocers (and cafe), Roney's butchers, Mann's fishmongers, Seven Hills Bakery and Porter Brook Deli amongst others. After a swift pint of shandy in the Lescar (I was thirsty) I resisted getting the bus and walked home... which was when I realised how much my feet hurt!

However, I now have the wandering bug and yesterday I decided it was time that I explored Oakbrook Road. Wanting to fit in a trip to the Botanical Gardens, I strolled up Glossop Road, onto Clarkehouse Road where I cut through the gardens onto Eccy Road. Having not been in this part of the world for quite a while, I was taken aback by the beauty of the flowers and plants, along with the incredibly calm feel to the place.

Botanical Gardens
Onto Eccy Road however, and I was soon in Endcliffe Park which, packed with kids and dogs, was the complete opposite of calm. Heading out the other end, I was at Oakbrook Road and I soon hit my first destination - La Coppola Deli.

I sat outside and enjoyed a salad of cheese and meats, an espresso and a can of Sanpellegrino - blood orange. It's a wonderful spot and I'll be returning with Gav at some point - especially as they sell the perfect ingredients for a carbonara (guanciale, spaghetti and Italian eggs). Sitting outside, it did remind me a little of holidays in Rome - although the addition of some graffiti and cheap wine available by the tumbler would really make it for me!

Continuing with my stroll I soon passed Oakbrook Tea House and reminded myself that I needed to try it one day (one of the downsides of wandering alone - had I taken Gav he would've had room for a piece of cake). My next destination was Oakbrook deli where I picked up some rather delicious green olives to have with our tea later and then to Nethergreens where I also bought a few bits.

I then trekked up Hangingwater Road (which is when I started dreaming of having the money to live on this side of town), to Fulwood Road. I somehow resisted the temptation of a glass of wine at West 10 and strolled into Broomhill where a nosey round Oxfam, a drooling at Remo's menu and an apple from Fruit-a-Peel gave me enough sustenance for my walk back to town via Glossop Road.


Future plans for wanders include Nether Edge (another excuse to visit London Road/Abbeydale Road), Chesterfield Road and Woodseats (I used to live up there and haven't been back for years), Hillsborough (I'm about to move up there) and Kelham Island (I'm hoping to nail this one today).

Is there anywhere I've missed? Where do you like to go for a wander? 

Monday, 5 May 2014

WaDing, Sheffield

This is just a quick post re the lunch I had at WaDing today. Situated above the new Chinese supermarket in West One, WaDing is owned by the people behind Tai Sun supermarket. Both shops are worth a visit - WaDing is a bit classier than the other Chinese supermarkets in the city. And by classy, I mean that it stocks health food, organic toiletries, posh filtered water and the like.

Anyhoo the canteen is accessible from the shop - just follow your nose up the stairs! Occupying a bright and airy room, WaDing's canteen is clean and inviting - the open kitchen will appeal to diners too. Using ingredients from the shop, the menu is both simple and appealing. There are main dishes, noodle dishes and 'specials' and it's good to see that WaDing's healthy eating ethos travels upstairs from shop to canteen. 

We decided to take advantage of the set menu option which meant that we had a soup and an appetiser along with our chosen dish. We also went for a half and half of two mains each, an option available for an extra quid, so that we could try a few different things.

I opted for the belly beef with red beancurd, king prawns with mixed vegetables and an appetiser of spinach mixed with vermicelli (£7.99). My food looked incredibly fresh and appealing - the amount of veg on the plate also made me smile. 

It seems that WaDing believes in letting the ingredients do most of the talking as neither my beef or prawns dishes were heavily flavoured and, unlike much of the Chinese food I have eaten recently, they were free of chilli (and oil slicks for that matter). Everything tasted good though; beef was tender and homely, prawns were fat and juicy, veg was cooked al dente and the side of spinach and vermicelli was fresh tasting. The soup was superfluous to be honest - actually I didn't really NEED that appetiser either - the main was huge, especially as there was a surprise half egg on the plate too! But the simple broth with some greens tasted healthy and reminded me of something that I would like to eat when full of cold.

WaDing isn't licensed so I had a peach white tea (£1) which was quite sweet, but very refreshing. Gav had opted for the steamed salmon and steamed pork ribs along with the appetiser of celery with spicy peanuts. Again, he was perfectly happy with his choice and we both agreed that we'd return.

So, although WaDing doesn't exactly punch you in the face with chilli heat, it is a fabulous option for a healthy and tasty meal at very reasonable prices.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Saudies - a hungryhouse top takeaway 2014

Following on from our Sakushi takeaway ordered through hungryhouse a couple of weeks ago, we headed back to the site to use up the last of my complimentary voucher last Friday. 

Fancying a curry, we were tempted by the menu at Saudies. It was a new one on us, but as it was on the hungryhouse top takeaway list, we ordered with confidence.

Once again we found the ordering process nice and easy at hungryhouse. It was timely too - in fact a little too timely as it arrived earlier than we'd expected.

Everything was well packed, in a combination of plastic and tin containers, and the food was hot on arrival. I was also pleased to see that Saudies had also thrown in a couple of onion bhajis for free.

I'm a real fan of vegetarian curries so we went for a mix of meat and non-meat dishes. Bhindi bhaji (£3.20) and tarka daal (£3.20) are real favourites of ours and we like to order our veggie dishes as side portions as they let us try a few things in one sitting.

Meat wise we had the ordered the lamb balti (£6.00) and the lamb shashlik (£5.50) - a kebab of lamb chunks, peppers and onions. It was good to be able to choose how hot we wanted the balti and we found 'fairly hot' to be just right for us. The meat was tender and flavoursome in both of the dishes too.

Moving on to the sides, we had a garlic roti (£1.20) which a little bland and doughy for us and a mushroom rice (£2.30) which was fine.

We were more than happy with our takeaway from Saudies. Everything was hot, the flavours were good, pricing was fair and the portions were more than ample (i.e. there was enough for leftovers the next day).

Saudies will be somewhere we try again in future.