Not that different, just a little different

I know in my last blog post about SheSellsSushi I said that I would go for something the next time I went to Lisa’s stall. Well I did and I didn’t.

I once more 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. Do I know what they are? Well I know what spring onions are, as for the others I would need to Google them.

Beef Donburi, 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, 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.

As usual it was delicious and full of flavour. The beef was meltingly tender and the garnishes added to the dish. I always love the care and attention that Lisa pays to each and every dish. This isn’t just thrown togther, this is food artistry made with love and passion. The result is amazing cooking and delicious food.

I once more went again with the tempura chicken hirata bun. The steamed bun is made with activated charcoal and inside

The steamed bun is made with activated charcoal and inside is chicken thigh deep fried in a crispy tempura batter and served with a range of sauces and garnishes.

I do like the combination of flavours and textures in the bun.

So though I went with my normal order, I also added a side order of Takoyaki in octopus and duck varieties. These are freshly cooked on the stall and always look really nice.

dumplings with tonkatsu sauce, japanese mayo, toasted seaweed and bonito flakes

They are covered in a range of sauces and garnishes, and I couldn’t tell you what they were, but thankfully Lisa on her website describes them as dumplings with tonkatsu sauce, japanese mayo, toasted seaweed and bonito flakes. Again some googling required for some of those ingredients. I did enjoy these, however having had them from SheSellsSushi (and Yo! Sushi) I don’t think they are my favourite dish, so next time it will probably be the just the donburi and the hirata bun. However if the summer weather has gone, I might just try out the ramen. Oh and one day must try the sushi.

I promise next time, I will choose differently!

She Sells Sushi stall

After a last minute change of plan I found myself in Bristol on a Thursday, which meant that I had the opportunity to attend the Temple Quay Market. There was a wide range of stalls and a lot of choice. As is my usual practice, it was a quick look round to see what was there, what was available and where the queues were. It was a beautiful day, quite hot and sunny, and the market was proving popular and the queues for most stalls were quite long.

I was tempted by the pasta at Socarrat Catering, this always sounds delicious, but felt it wasn’t quite the weather for pasta. I did feel like trying the seafood chicken & chorizo paella from Chef De Maison, however it had proved popular and there was none left when I looked. I do like squid, so the South Street Kitchen with their crispy squid was tempting, as was the Neapolitan style pizzas straight from the wood fired oven of Wood Chop Pizza.

In the end I splurged at Lisa’s She Sells Sushi stall. I know I could have chosen something new or different, but SheSellsSushi is really delicious, very tempting and certainly a favourite of mine. There was quite a queue, so it game me time to think about what to have. Lisa has started selling ramen and it did sound rather nice, and as I got closer to getting served I did see how it came together and it looked delicious. The sushi looked wonderful as usual and looked very tempting, as did the Takoyaki available in octopus and duck varieties. As I stood in the queue the woman behind me was chatting with her friend and I couldn’t help overhearing her, how she always intended to have something different, but in the end always went with her favourites of the Beef Donburi and sushi. That I could certainly identify with.

I try not to have what I have had before, this time I went again with what I had before. Which was exactly what I did last time I visited the stall. Next time I am promising myself to go with something different.

As is typical for me I took a bento box with the Beef Donburi, which is slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce with a hirata bun.

Like last time there was a choice of two hirata buns, pork belly with kimchi and a chicken tempura. Both served in a charcoal steamed bun. Previously there was only the choice of the pork belly bun. This time I was (slightly) different and went with the chicken tempura hirata bun,

Beef Donburi

The Donburi beef was again delicious, the flavour is great, it was well balanced and so tasty. Served with rice and spring onions, great rice with some really tasty savoury tender beef. Really tasty and moreish.

tempura chicken hirata bun

I really enjoyed the tempura chicken hirata bun, the chicken was flavoursome, as well as being nice and crispy. I also did enjoy the soft charcoal steamed bun it came in.

Again it was really nice, delicious food and I know I will probably have it again, but next time I am planning to go with some variety, the ramen did look very tempting.

I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for…

Sometimes having too much choice can be a bad thing. I was up in Sheffield for an event and aiming for a quick meal I popped to the dining quarter of Meadowhall within there are a range of eating options.

The lower level is mainly fast food chains, but I was intrigued by Yangtze, a Chinese takeaway, but the queue was quite long and I really fancied taking my time being waited upon. On the upper level I did like the idea of the Spanish Tapas place, but felt it was quite expensive for what was on offer. There was also Las Iguanas which I don’t think I’ve been to, but looked tempting.

In the end I decided to go with Wagamama. I wanted to try out the Tama Squid, crispy fried squid balls, drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. finished with aonori and bonito flakes. I thought to myself I wouldn’t also mind trying Wagamama’s hirata steam buns to see if they are as good as the ones from She Sells Sushi. For the main course I thought Yakisoba would be a good choice.

As I queued for Wagamama, which seemed to be taking a long time, I thought about it, well of the three dishes I wanted, I could get the same three , well three similar, dishes at YO! Sushi as part of their blue plate Monday offer. So reflecting, I turned away and headed off to YO! Sushi.

As I arrived I could see how busy YO! Sushi was, but was given a warm welcome and they found me a seat very quickly (which was simplified because I was on my own).

The thing about YO! Sushi is you can look at the menu or just take things from the conveyor belt.

While I perused the menu I took a plate of avocado maki.

I then ordered some hot dishes, which took a little time to arrive, but I was expecting that so didn’t mind.

The maki were nice and fresh and was a great start to my meal.

Whilst the ordered dishes arrived I took another dish from the belt, the Beef Tataki Sashimi, which is pepper-seared rare beef and a tangy coriander pesto.

Beef Tataki Sashimi

I’ve wanted to try this dish for a while and it matched my expectations. The beef was nice and tender and I did like the tangy coriander pesto which enhanced both the beef and the grated mooli on the dish.

The next dish was the Vegetable Yakisoba, described as yakisoba noodles in a tangy sauce served with crunchy, fresh vegetables.

Vegetable Yakisoba

I wasn’t impressed with this dish, the tangy sauce wasn’t to my taste and I didn’t like the texture of the noodles so much. I think I should have gone with a rice dish instead. I did wonder if the Wagamama version would be better?

I really like the Spicy Pepper Squid from YO! Sushi.

Spicy Pepper Squid

The spicy marinated squid, fried until crisp was garnished with red chilli and spring onions. I really like the texture and taste of this dish and it did not fail to impress.

When I was placing my order, the server recommended the Cod Nanbanzuke, which though not on the blue plate menu was part of the blue plate deal. The menu describes it as “Japan’s answer to sweet and sour! Crispy fried cod bites in a sweet and sour sauce.”

Cod Nanbanzuke

Though I did think it could have been a little more crispier than it was, I really did enjoy this dish. The cod was tasty and the sweet and sour sauce didn’t overpower the taste of the fish. This was quite a big portion as well.

A little later the final of my four hot dishes I had ordered arrived, a portion of Takoyaki.

Takoyaki

The menu says that this is Osaka’s number one street food! Lightly battered dough balls with octopus, topped with mayo, bonito and lots more.

I thought this was a really nice concept, but wasn’t too hot on the execution of it. It was too much dough and to little octopus.

My final dish was fish. Salmon Sashimi Our freshest cuts of thick-sliced Scottish salmon, with mooli and lemon.

I hadn’t planned to take this dish, but seeing the chef preparing them and thought if there’s any left on the conveyor belt then I will have one. It was a nice clean refreshing dish to finish the meal off with.

Overall I had a really nice meal and the blue plate offer made a difference to the value for money.

It’s so tempting and it’s my favourite

I am not in Bristol on many Friday’s so I often miss the Finzel’s Reach Market. At their first birthday though I was lucky enough to be in Bristol and went to the market. There is usually a wide choice of stalls to choose from.

In the end I splurged at Lisa’s SheSellsSushi stall. I know I could have chosen something new or different, but SheSellsSushi is really delicious, very tempting and certainly a favourite of mine. So though I try not to have what I have had before, this time I went with what I had before.

I took a bento box with the Beef Donburi, which is slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce with a hirata bun.

This time there was a choice of two hirata buns, pork belly with kimchi and a chicken tempura. Both served in a charcoal steamed bun.

It was hard making a choice, so in the end I went greedy and had both.

The Donburi beef was as usual delicious, the flavour is great, it was well balanced and so tasty. Served with rice and spring onions, great rice with some really tasty savoury tender beef.

slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce donburi

I really enjoyed the tempura chicken hirata bun, the chicken was flavoursome, as well as being nice and crispy. I did enjoy the charcoal steamed bun it came in.

hirata bun with tempura chicken

The pork belly one was nice too, but it wasn’t as good as the ones I have had previously.

hirata bun with pork belly and kimchi

Overall it was really nice, delicious food and I will probably have it again.

It was a little disappointing…

With an overnight stay in Glasgow I needed somewhere to eat, and there was a lot of choice, both close by and not too far away. There are lots of choices and I did spend a little time looking over what was around on Google Maps, when noticed Smoke Barbecue. Well that was my choice made up for me.

One of my regular favourite places in Bristol is the Smoke Catering stall at the Temple Quay Market. They do a lovely piece of barbecued brisket and so was looking forward to having something similar up in Glasgow. As you can imagine having had some delicious barbecued food I had quite high expectations for Smoke Barbecue in Glasgow.

The venue is airy and somewhat industrial, lots of wood and metal. There are benches and tables and big windows.

They had a wide ranging menu with a lot of choices, but in the end I went with the Brisket plate. This is brisket, spiced & rubbed, then smoked for up to 18 hours. It comes with burnt ends, brisket hash and twice-cooked chips. I took my side order of choice of crispy onion strings. I added a portion of pit smoked chicken thighs as well.

When it arrived it was a big plate of food, well it wasn’t a plate it was a metal cooking tray of food. Yes I know it’s fashionable not to have plates, but okay serve it on a cooking tray, but provide a nice plate to eat it off.

brisket

It looked great and I really liked the look of it. The chips were nice, different, and then I tried some of the brisket…

Well…

It was okay, it certainly had a good bold flavour, but it wasn’t anything like the barbecued brisket I have had before, it was a bit dry and not as tender as I would have expected.

The Smoke Catering brisket, which I had eaten in Bristol, was tender, moist and melt in the mouth.

I had anticipated that the crispy onion strings would be nice and crispy, well some were, others weren’t. Good flavour though.

The pit smoked chicken thighs had been smoked previously and then finished off on the charcoal grill. I really liked the flavour of these, but like the brisket was a little dry.

There was a lot of food and I think upon reflection I wouldn’t have ordered the chicken as well as the brisket.

Overall it was okay, I think the challenge was I had really high expectations and I was expecting something amazing.

Carbon – charcoal grilled bavette steak

On a previous visit to London I found Carbon in Convent Garden, I was trying to find Wahaca when I chanced upon this eclectic charcoal grill. I said to myself the next time I need to buy lunch in London I am going to try it out. So the next time I was in London I did just that. I really like food cooked over a charcoal grill, I also really like freshly cooked ingredients for lunch too.

There was a queue, which in my experience is a good thing. There is a wide menu of stuff including lamb kofta, prawns, spiced lamb merguez sausage, or lemon and thyme seared halloumi.

In the end I went with the seared bavette steak. This was served with a chimichurri salsa, baked potato with cheese and a citrus tender leaf salad.

The Argentine from @carbonsoho charcoal grilled bavette steak with salad and a jacket potato.

I had quite high expectations about eating this and I wasn’t disappointed. The steak was perfect, I loved the chargrill, it was tender and full of flavour. The rest of the box was nice too. A nice mix of solid filling potato, light salad and piquant salsa.

Skimming over their Twitter feed I did like the sound of some of their specials. So the following day I went there again and the special was charcoal grilled leg of lamb with couscous and spiced vegetables. I thought to myself, yes please, alas many others had thought the same and they had sold out. Pity, maybe next time.

Finzel Friday

So there I was in Bristol on a Friday, well that means I can visit the Finzel Reach Market down at, well you guessed it, Finzel Reach! The market has grown slightly since I last went. It use to be just one row of stalls, now there are stalls facing each other. This is good news, it shows that the market is working and is popular with punters. As usual there was a wide choice of street food stalls including some of my favourites. I was tempted by the Crispy Squid from the South Kitchen, likewise the barbecued meats from Low N Slow was also looking very tasty. In the end I went with SheSellsSushi and a bento box with Teriyaki Beef Donburi and a Hirata Bun.

I have had these before, slightly breaking my own rule of trying new and different things, but last time I really enjoyed the Donburi and the Hirata Bun, so this time decided to repeat the experience.

Donburi Beef

The Doburi was slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce, served on rice with garnishes. The beef was tender, tasty and scrummy.

This was a charcoal bun (not what I initially thought was a squid ink bun) with delicious tender pork belly, sorting onions and tasty sauce.

The Hirata Bun was a black charcoal bun with delicious tender pork belly, spring onions and tasty sauce.The bun was light and fluffy, the pork tender and delicious.

Again a lovely eating experience.

Beef and Mushroom Stew with Dumplings

Beef and Mushroom Stew with Dumplings

I do like my slow cooker, but I certainly could use it more often, if I had the time! My most recent recipe was a beef and mushroom stew with dumplings.

To make this I took some shin of beef, which I cubed and then coated in seasoned flour. This was then browned in a pan before placing it in the slow cooker. The flour not only helps with the browning process but also helps thicken the stew during the stewing process. In the pan I used to brown the meat, I then added some carrots, leeks and onions. You could at this stage adding some other root vegetables such as parsnips or swede. These were cooked in the pan for a short time before also adding to the slow cooker. I then added some water from the kettle to the pan to deglaze it, before adding it to the slow cooker as well. I then topped up the slow cooker with water to not quite cover the ingredients.

I then added a Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pot. I quite like these stock pots, not just for the flavouring, but how they thicken the stew as well. One of the challenges with a slow cooker meal is that the sauce doesn’t thicken in the same way that cooking in a oven does.

The stew was then cooked in the slow cooker on the medium setting for four hours. My slow cooker has two settings, low for eight hours or medium for four hours. Though you can change the time manually.

After four hours the stew was allowed to cool and was then left overnight. I do like leaving stews or casseroles to “stew” overnight as it seems to improve the flavour.

The next day I put the stew in the “normal” oven.

I then cooked some bacon lardons in a pan and once nearly cooked added a range of mushrooms. I used chestnut mushrooms, some chanterelles that I had alongside a range of woodland mushrooms. These were cooked lightly before the bacon and mushrooms were added to the stew and stirred in.

I have been using the woodland mushrooms from Morrisons for a while now. Now I know they are not from woodlands, but are farmed, but they make a nice difference to dishes that usually use common mushrooms. The woodland mushrooms include oyster, and some others that I haven’t identified! According to the Morrisons website the pack contains three of the following: oyster, shiitake, eryngi, maitake, shiro shimeji, enoki, and buna shimeji.

Woodland mushrooms

Tesco use to sell wild mushrooms in my local branch, however they haven’t for a while, but you may be luckier at your own branch.

Wild mushrooms

The chanterelles on the other hand were found amongst the range of exotic mushrooms mini packs that they do stock in my local Tesco. This range includes varieties such as oyster, shiitake amongst others.

Exotic mushrooms

On top of the stew I added some dumplings and the whole thing was cooked for about 25-30 minutes. The idea was that the dumplings would have a nice crust and the stew would be bubbling underneath.

Overall the stew was lovely, full of deep flavours. The beef was tender and melt in the mouth, whilst the vegetables still had texture. The bacon and mushrooms added a new dimension and by adding them later in the cooking stage they weren’t lost within the stew.

Yes I will be cooking this again.

Smoking again

BBQ Box from Smoke Catering

On a recent visit to the Temple Quay market I decided after looking around to have the BBQ Box from Smoke Catering. I have really enjoyed food from them before.

They were there with their big smoker and their choice of Texan style smoked meats. Their huge smoker always impresses me filled with delicious food and the surrounding aroma and smoke.

On the menu was nine hour beef brisket with homemade slaw, garlic mash and beans. You could have chosen the seven hour pulled pork in a brioche bun with a smoked pork and chilli sausage, or smoked Beef Rib. They also had the BBQ box which was advertised as containing the beef brisket, pulled pork, a smoked pork and chilli sausage, served with the homemade slaw, garlic mash and beans.

However by the time I got there, the pulled pork had sold out, so with the BBQ Box the pulled pork was replaced with the beef rib. Which to be honest I was pleased with, as I had enjoyed it last time.

Generally the more popular stalls will run out , so my usual advice with the Temple Quay markets is to get there early and usually before half past twelve, though I did get to the market at 12:30ish, Smoke Catering’s pulled pork brioche was obviously very popular that day.

I don’t generally understand why some stalls are more popular than others. The Thai stall had a immense queue crossing the entire market and then some. They always have big queues, which to be honest is why I’ve not tried them yet. There are also other stalls which have no queue at all, it’s not as though the food isn’t any good, from my experience when I’ve tried them they were delicious and tasty.

I was also doubly pleased with a bigger portion of meat than the last time I had the box from Smoke Catering. The beef brisket was melt in the mouth tender, enhanced with the crisp “burnt” edges. The rib was also beautifully tender and full of flavour. I did feel that I was really getting my money’s worth with this box. The sausage was meaty and tasty, the chilli enhanced the flavour and didn’t overpower. I enjoyed the combination of the slaw, mash and beans. The mash was wonderfully smooth and creamy with a hint of garlic, no bitterness or harshness. The beans spicy and full of flavour and it was great to mix in with the mash. The homemade slaw was fresh and crunchy, maybe a little too sloppy, but minor point, in what was a tasty meal. Overall a delicious box of food.

She doesn’t just sell sushi!

One of the regular stalls at the St Nicks market in Bristol on Friday is SheSellsSushi and it is one of my favourite, even if I have never actually had the sushi from there…. yet!

My usual lunch order with the stall is the bento box containing a choice of two dishes from the menu. I usually go for the Donburi, which is slow cooked beef rib in a teriyaki sauce combined with some octopus (or duck) balls (takoyaki).

Donburi Beef

However Lisa, on the stall has been recently selling steamed Hirata bun, so in my bento box this time, I once more had the Donburi, but this time I went with the Hirata bun.

This was a charcoal bun (not what I initially thought was a squid ink bun) with delicious tender pork belly, sorting onions and tasty sauce.

This was a charcoal bun (not what I initially thought was a squid ink bun) with delicious tender pork belly, spring onions and tasty sauce.

The bun was light and fluffy, the pork tender, all in all great flavour. I really wanted another one. I do like the takoyaki I usually go for, but now, I will always go with the Hirata bun.

The Donburi beef was as usual delicious, the flavour is perfect, you can sometimes overdo the teriyaki, but this was well balanced and so tasty. Served with rice and spring onions.

I have spoken to others who really recommend the sushi, so I think I will have to try that next time (with a Hirata bun).