Chargrilled Lamb Shish Kebab

Now as we leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some street food I had over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I just plain forget to write up the meal. 

So this is quite a long wait for this review which was four years ago in May 2017 It was a beautiful sunny day in Bristol and during my lunch break I popped out for a walk and went down to the Temple Quay street food market.

There were lots of choices and lots of people queuing. One of the challenges of the Temple Quay street food market is deciding what to choose. In the end the smell of the charcoal grill and the menu on MurrayMays van was very tempting.

The Lamb Shish kebab was £6.50 which is a more than I usually spend for lunch (well it was back then in 2017). However it sounded so good. It was charcoal grilled marinated salt marsh lamb leg, smokey babaganoush, wild garlic, pesto and preserved lemon. The kebab was served with a house salad, flatbread and dukkah pomegranate.

It looked great, despite the big preserved chilli on top, which in the end I didn’t eat.

The lamb was tender and had so much flavour. I really liked the flavour that the charcoal grilled process added. The accompaniments were excellent and a nice mix of taste and textures.

Despite really enjoying the dish, and having a similar dish in October 2017 as well, I don’t think I have made a return visit to the MurrayMays van. Sometimes I think this is because I fancy something else, or the queue for the van looks too long. However I also noticed on return visits that the  Lamb Shish kebab wasn’t on the menu, and the other menu items didn’t appeal. However now as we ease lockdown and I expect to be in Bristol quite a lot more now, I think I will search out the MurrayMays van and have another kebab for my lunch.

We waited a day…

With the easing of lockdown restrictions, restaurants from the 12th April were allowed to open for outside eating only. To be honest I wasn’t that excited about this, however with my birthday on the 13th we made the decision to go out to eat to celebrate. Last year on my birthday we were in the full lockdown and there was very little we could go and do, so had a lovely celebration at home and we had a fish supper with stir fry. So this year we were thinking could we do something different and could we go out to eat. 

We booked a table at Zizzi at Cabot Circus in Bristol. This is “outside” but is in many ways under some kind of cover as well. So if it did rain, it shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact on the experience. We did wrap up warm though.

We had a warm if slightly confused welcome from the manager and we were shown to our table.

The paper disposable menus provided a wide choice, but I did quite fancy pizza so I went with the Rustica Primavera which has goat’s cheese, artichokes, spinach, fire-roasted peppers, olives, mozzarella, sunblush tomatoes & super green pesto.

It looked great when it arrived.

Rustica Primavera

I really liked the freshness of the spinach, rocket and fresh pesto on the pizza. Though I like goat’s cheese, I actually think that I might prefer this pizza without it. The dough base was nice, and as it was stretched some areas were thin and cripsy, whilst other parts of the pizza were thick and doughy. I liked the olives and artichokes along with the tomatoes and peppers.

I have had this pizza before, and enjoyed it back then too.

Overall a very tasty pizza.

Woodland style pizza

Now as we start to leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some meals I had out over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal. 

Back in May 2019 we went out for pizza at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. I had the Funghi Luganica, a ‘white pizza’ with a mascarpone and porcini base, topped with garlic & thyme chestnut mushrooms, pancetta, Luganica sausage and mozzarella.

Funghi Luganica, a ‘white pizza’ with a mascarpone and porcini base, topped with garlic & thyme chestnut mushrooms, pancetta, Luganica sausage and mozzarella

I did enjoy this pizza and it was very woodland like in appearance and taste. It had a woodland or forest feel to it. I really enjoyed the mushrooms, which had very much a roasted flavour, rather than the insipid soggy texture and flavour you can usually find on some pizzas. The crumbled sausage added texture, saltiness as well as a meaty flavour to the pizza. I liked the fact that this was a ‘white pizza’ so no tomato. I do quite enjoy these kinds of pizza, however one day I will try and make my own ‘white pizza’.

I think this was the first time I had this pizza and enjoyed it so much that on return visits to Bella Italia I ordered it again in July at Cribbs Causeway and also ordered it when I was at a branch at Bella Italia in Leeds, which wasn’t as good as the versions I had earlier.

On my most most recent visit to Bella Italia which was way back in February 2020, just before lockdown, I actually went with a Calzone pizza. I don’t recall if the Funghi Luganica was on the menu or not, having checked the current menu it’s no longer there.

Reminiscing on the bento boxes

Finzel Reach Market

Now as we leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some street food I had over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal. 

Back in May 2019 I had visited the Finzle Reach Street Food market in Bristol. At the market there are various stalls however I was drawn once more to She Sells Sushi. As usual I was tempted by the ramen or the sushi, however I went with my favourite which was the bento box with the Beef Donburi and Hirata Bun.

So I had the delicious Beef Donburi. This is succulent short rib slow cooked in a teriyaki style marinade of soy, fresh ginger and garlic. It was served on a bed of rice  with beni shoga, mayu and spring onion.

Beef Donburi

As usual it was delicious and full of flavour. The beef was meltingly tender and the garnishes added to the dish. 

I had the tempura chicken hirata bun. The steamed bun is made with activated charcoal and inside I had the tempura chicken, known as the Finzel Flapper, complete with spring onions and Japanese mayo.

Finzel Flapper

I do like the combination of flavours and textures in the bun. She also does a pork belly hirata bun, which is just as tasty, but I like the textures you get with the tempura chicken.

Lisa from the stall always takes real care to cook and create great tasting and wonderful looking dishes.

I am looking forward to getting back to working in Bristol so I can once more eat some delicious street food.

Very nice

To actually go out for a coffee, now that’s not something I’ve done in a long time.

I was in Exeter today and I went to Chandos Deli and ordered a flat white. In many ways it was more like a cortado than a flat white, but it was was served in a proper glass (not a paper cup). Yes I had to sit outside, but the sun was shining, so was really lovely.

Yes I have had a real coffee from a real coffee place sitting outside and enjoying every mouthful. 

Very nice.

Old Frankie & Benny’s site to become a Burger King Drive-Thru

Now that the Frankie and Benny restaurant has closed on Flowerdown Retail Park. It would appear that the site will become a  Burger King with a drive-thru. Planning applications posted to the council show how the site will be converted into a drive-thru and local businesses have been consulted on the change.

I am not a great fan of fast food burger joints, so I think the chances of ever eating out there is very slim. If I am going out to eat I like the whole dining experience, queuing for a brown paper bag full of fast food, is not really my thing.

Combine this news with the new KFC opening up at the old Homebase in Queensway, Worle, the closure of Prezzo and Pizza Express, the eating out scene in Weston is slowly turning into one of fast food and drive-thru eating.

With all the exciting stuff that happens in Bristol on the food scene, it’s a pity that Weston is going down this fast food road.

Gluten Free Onion Rings

Gluten Free Onion Rings

I wasn’t expecting these to be as good as they were, but I was well pleased with how these turned out in the end.

I quite like onion rings and if I am out and about eating out (well when I could) I would often add some onion rings to my meal. Though I have tried various shop frozen onion rings, I haven’t found any that I would say are fantastic. Also not seen any gluten free ones either.

This is a relatively simply recipe for making gluten free onion rings.

I took a large brown onion and sliced it thickly across and then separated out the individual rings of onion.

I kept the rest of the onion, diced for another dish.

In a mixing bowl, I whisked up half a cup of gluten free self raising flour with an egg and some milk. Adding more milk until you have a batter which will coat and stick to the onion. 

Now if you have a deep fat fryer you could use that, I don’t have one so I didn’t.

I took my large frying pan and shallow fried the onion rings in hot oil a minute or so on each side until the batter was cooked and a golden brown.

Gluten Free Onion Rings

The end result was beautifully crisp onion rings, the batter had an excellent crunch, they had a succulent taste of onion on the inside. Unlike some I have had these weren’t greasy either, which I often think is a result of cooking rings twice.

We will certainly make these again, as they were probably the best onion rings I have ever cooked and to be honest the best I have ever tasted.

Time for some Ah Ma’s Dumplings

Now as we start to leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some street food I had over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal. 

Back in March 2017 I had visited the Temple Quay Street Food market in Bristol and had some great dumplings from Ah Ma’s Dumplings.

I first had dumplings from this stand a year before and had been impressed.

The stall has these huge towers of bamboo steamers laden with freshly steamed dumplings containing a choice of fillings.

My dumplings were then fried off in a pan. Alas the stall (at the time) fries the vegetarian dumplings in the same pan they fry off the meat ones. So if you are vegetarian you may want to have yours steamed and not fried off.

My dumplings were served with a delicious salad. I really enjoyed the dumplings.

That Wahaca Time in Clifton

Now as we start to leave the third lockdown I have been reflecting on some meals I had out over the last few years which never made it to the blog. Sometimes I just run out of time to write up a review and sometimes I forget to write up the meal. 

I had forgotten that I had eaten at Wahaca in Bristol in 2017. I had got a money off voucher from a meal kit that I had bought in a supermarket, so though I wouldn’t normally spend the kind of money that this lunch would cost, with the money off voucher  it made it a lot cheaper and value for money.

This was my first (and to date) only visit to the Wahaca branch in Clifton, Bristol. I have eaten at a fair few branches in London over the years, but  I have only visited the branch in Clifton just this once.

I had a warm and friendly welcome and was shown to a table. It was later in the day for lunch so the place was quite empty.

I went with three dishes. The first of these was the Grilled Steak Tacos.

These are three flash-grilled skirt steak filled toasted soft corn tortilla tacos with chipotle & tomatillo salsas. You could have had it with grilled cheese, but I chose to go without. When I last visited Wahaca in London last year the cheese wasn’t optional, I don’t think it needs the cheese. The tacos were delicious, the steak was cooked well and the different salsas added heat and spice.

The second of my dishes as the Ancho Chicken Baja Tacos.

Two corn and flour tortillas inspired by the beaches of baja filled with grilled chicken thighs marinated with sweet & smoky ancho chilli, topped with  and jalapeño-pickled carrots. I really enjoyed these the salad adding freshness to the dish, with the warm tasty grilled chicken.

As for my third dish was a special, the Mushroom Fundido.

Mushrooms roasted in garlic, thyme, chipotle and hibiscus glazed, baked in mozzarella, cheddar and local queso fresco.

When writing this article I checked what the dish was called from my Instagram feed when I posted a photo of it back in March 2017.

I then did a Google Search for more details about the dish and this tweet from Wahaca came up.

As you can see what I got looked very different to how the dish should have looked. Having said that, the dish tasted a lot better than it looked.

Overall three tasty dishes, excellent service.

Time for a Breakfast Bagel

Breakfast Bagel

Over the last week or so (and not every day) I have been treating myself to a home-made breakfast bagel. What even surprised me was how quickly I could cook this before starting work. It certainly helps I don’t need to commute to the office, but even if I did, I am pretty sure I could still cook this, clean the pans and dishes and put them away before heading out.

I take a small frying pan for the bacon and an even smaller frying pan for the fried egg.

Heat on both and then add a little sunflower oil to the bacon pan and more to the little frying pan to ensure that the entire cooking surface of the pan is covered.

Into the larger pan, place two rashes of folded back bacon. I used some oak smoked dry cured air dried back bacon rashers from Sainsburys.

bacon

What I liked about the bacon, was that as it was dry cured, it cooked easily in the frying pan without losing lots of liquid that standard supermarket bacon does. If I only had the standard stuff then I would probably grill it, however that takes longer, as I have to wait until the grill warms up.

So having folded the rashers and placed them in the hot frying pan. I crack the free range egg and fry them in the small frying pan.

I then slice the bagel and put it in the toaster.

When I started doing this I used some New York Bakery Co. Bagels, however I also tried and liked the New York Bakery Co. Sourdough Deli Bagels.

I also quite liked the M&S Sourdough Bagels as well.

While the bagel is toasting turn the bacon to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. I also baste the fried egg to speed up the cooking time.

Once the bagel has finished toasting, place the bottom half on a plate, add the rashers of bacon, add the egg. I also like to add a slice of (processed) cheese and then top with the top half of the bagel. You could add sauce if you like that kind of thing.