Beef Donburi and a Crispy Chicken Hirata Bun

Went out at lunchtime for a walk on Thursday, I decided to head to the Temple Quay Market. In the end I succumbed to temptation and ordered a bento box from She Sells Sushi, going for the Beef Donburi and a Crispy Chicken Hirata Bun. I noticed that they now also sell an XL bento box, which allows you to choose three dishes. I decided I wasn’t that hungry.

This a street food dish I have had many times, as this was as good as I’ve had on previous visits. The beef was full of flavour and the garnishes added to the dish.

The chicken hirata bun was tasty, a charcoal bao bun with two pieces of crispy chicken.

I will say I prefer the crispy chicken that came with the original Finzel Flapper bun they did a few years ago. The mayo dressing was spicier than I remember.

Overall a really nice lunch.

Salt dry-aged British sirloin of beef

I blog about what we eat for Christmas lunch, mainly to remember things that worked well and for those that didn’t, not to repeat that mistake.

We have a tradition of having our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. We’ve done this for ten years now. We do this for a few reasons. On Christmas Day itself, the children are often too excited to sit down for a long meal, so don’t eat or enjoy the meal or the occasion. It also usually means I spend a fair few hours in the kitchen, which means I miss them opening and playing with their presents. I also find it quite demanding to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, whilst creating a wonderful dining experience.

Having the meal on Christmas Eve means that we can both spend a bit more time preparing the meal (less stressful in itself) and enjoy eating the meal (as do the children). As a result for them it helps pass the time on one of the more exciting days of the year as they anticipate the arrival of a sleigh full of presents being pulled by eight tiny reindeer! Even though they are older now, we still maintain the tradition.

As to what we eat on Christmas day itself, well we have lots of lovely leftovers, cheeses, pickles, hot bread, etc…. quick and easy to prepare and delicious.

One of the three roasts I cooked, one was the M&S Salt dry-aged  British sirloin of beef roast.

This was quite an expensive joint of beef, so I had quite high expectations for it.

Roast beef packaging

After removing from the fridge for thirty minutes, the joint was seasoned and then seared in a hot pan before roasting in the over for seventy five minutes.

I let it rest and then carved the beef. It was a very tender roast and full of flavour. I did have some gristle running through the joint which I was not too impressed with.

Though it was delicious, we didn’t eat much of it, I think people enjoyed the turkey roast we had. 

I am not sure I would get it again as a secondary festive roast. I think I would save for, say a Boxing Day meal.

My recipe for Bolognese

spaghetti bolognese
Image by -Rita-👩‍🍳 und 📷 mit ❤ from Pixabay

This is my recipe for making Bolognese sauce for serving with spaghetti or other pasta.

500g minced beef, I try and get 5% or 10% fat mince, otherwise the end result can be a bit greasy

Splash of olive oil

One onion, diced

One carrot, finely diced. The carrot is there to add some veg to the dish as well as flavour

One red pepper, diced

Handful of mushrooms, chopped

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Knorr beef stockpot

Dried Italian herbs

Tin of tomatoes

Tomato purée

I usually use a big pan for cooking this dish. I heat the pan add the olive oil and then brown off the mince until it is all done. If you have excess fat in the pan then drain the cooked mince and discard the excess oil and fat.

Add the onion, carrot and pepper. You can add extra vegetables at this point, or extra pepper. After a few minutes add the mushrooms. 

Once the onion is soft and cooked, add the tin of tomatoes, the herbs, the tomato purée and the balsamic vinegar.

Cook for at least 20 minutes on a low heat, though longer would ensure that the beef is tender.

Serve with spaghetti or a pasta of your choice. Add freshly grated Parmesan to taste.

Back to the Bento Box

If you are a regular visitor to the blog then you will know I am a fan of the bento box from She Sells Sushi, one of the regular stalls at Finzel Reach (and Temple Quay) street food markets.

On a recent visit to Finzel Reach, it was raining, so the queues were shorter, but hey ho, I really did fancy a bento box for my lunch.

The last bento box I had from She Sells Sushi I had decided against the hirata bun and had some delicious Takoyaki. The reason was, way back in April I had eaten a panko crumbed Katsu chicken hirata bun.

I have to say I was a little disappointed. I found the chicken rather dry and lacking flavour. Compared to the tempura chicken hirata bun, the Finzel Flapper I’ve had in the past, this new version of the hirata bun was nowhere near as nice. I think if I order again I will go for the Takoyaki instead.

Which on my next visit I did.

This time though they had a different kind of chicken, so why not. So I ordered a bento box with the chicken hirata bun and my usual beef donburi.

The beef was as usual, excellent. It is tasty tender beef rib on a bed of sushi rice and served with pickle and spring onions.

The chicken hirata bun was also really good, though it was slightly “drowned” in accompaniments.

It was delicious, yes back on form and something I would order again.

A lovely box of food, which I really enjoyed.

M&S Aberdeen Angus Beef Côte De Boeuf

Went out and did some food shopping, first to Aldi, then M&S. 

I was looking around when I noticed that there was a reduced M&S Select Farms Aberdeen Angus Beef Côte De Boeuf.

M&S Aberdeen Angus Beef Côte De Boeuf

However I also noticed that there was a member of staff doing the secondary reductions on the other side of the aisle. I had to wait around the aisle for a while, as the M&S person reducing stuff got round to it. The full price was nearly £27 and I got it for just over £9.


I did think about potentially getting something like this for Christmas dinner, so was pleased I could give it a try before the festive period.

Back home went to cook it. I followed the instructions for the Côte De Boeuf. This required seasoning the joint and then searing and browning in a hot frying pan before placing in a hot oven.

I did initially think I may have undercooked the joint, but when I carved it, I realised I had slightly overcooked it compared to how I wanted it.

It was lovely and tender, but it didn’t have the flavour I thought it would.

I certainly would get it again, but only if I either got it reduced again, or had loads of spare money to pay full price.

Rocket’s Burger

I was over in Dublin for an event, and having arrived late to my hotel, I decided I wanted a quick lunch, but didn’t really have the time to head into the city centre or even looking around. I could have eaten in the hotel, but I thought it was a little bit pricey.

After a quick browse around the area I decided to try out Rocket’s and have a burger and fries. The look and feel, the menu and the concept reminded me of Five Guys in the UK.

There was a lot of choice of different burgers, but in the end I went with a cheeseburger with fries, and a coke. After placing my order I took a seat and my burger was served to me at my table, which is always nice.


It was a good burger, tasty and nice toppings, you could also taste the cheese. The burger had a good meaty beefy flavour and I liked the sauce it was dressed with. I did feel that it was a bit thrown together, but that does seem to be the norm with this kind of burger though. I had a similar experience recently at 1885 Burgers in Harwell. As a result it can be quite challenging to eat, without making a mess. Can I be the only person who eats a burger with a knife and fork now and again?


The fries were okay as was the drink. 

Would I go again? Well I think it’s unlikely I will be in Dublin in that location again for sometime, so I would have a burger there, but I don’t think that will happen in the foreseeable future.

The Windsor Castle BBQ

The Windsor Castle

I was listening to some live music at The Windsor Castle and decided to have a burger from their barbecue.

The chef heated up the (recently) cooked burger on the plancha on the barbecue. This was then served in a roll with cooked onions. I then had to add my own cheese, lettuce, tomato and sauce.

It was quite a tasty burger, lots of nice flavours. 

I do think it was a little pricey at £5.50 for what I got (and what I had to do).

1885 Burgers

I occasionally find myself at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, where we have an office, and on a recent visit was looking for lunch.

Pre-pandemic I would usually find lunch at the RAL Restaurant, which was pretty good.

On this recent visit I decided to try out the DiSH pop-up dining experience. This had opened in September 2021, but this was my first visit.

There are quite a few vendors to choose from, I decided to go for a burger from 1885 Burgers.

1885 burgers serves delicious, juicy burgers including veggie options inspired from when the burger was first created, in 1885! Buns are made fresh daily from a local baker, and the meat is sourced locally too.

The 1885 was two beef patties, American cheese, smoked bacon, in a toasted brioche bun.

This was a rather nice burger, full of flavour.

Roast Beef Dinner

Back in May I was staying over at the Drayton Court Hotel in West Ealing. Having arrived Sunday evening, I went to the bar to get something to eat. Sunday at the Drayton Court Hotel in West Ealing means that it is Sunday roast day.

Having had an excellent Sunday roast at the hotel in April, I again went with the dry-aged sirloin of Owton’s beef. On the plate was two slices of roast beef, roasted parsnip and carrot, roast potatoes, pan fried greens, cauliflower cheese, a huge Yorkshire pudding and served with red wine gravy.

Roast Beef Dinner

The dry-aged sirloin beef was excellent, it was full of flavour and really tender, melt in the mouth tender. I got a lot more beef this time as well. I really enjoyed the vegetables too. The Yorkshire pudding was a little dry, but there was ample gravy to go with it.

When I had this before the temperature of the food was inconsistent, this time it was much better and was a hot throughout.

Overall a delicious plate of food.

Well that was nice

I was working in Bristol and for lunch I headed out to the Temple Quay Market. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, so looked around. I really liked the idea of Big Nath’s BBQ, however they had (basically) sold out. This was both disappointing and reassuring, in that I didn’t get my food, but it must be good if it had sold out!

I looked around, and did think about getting some fried fish from the Kingfin stall, but in the end I went to She Sells Sushi.

Having not really enjoyed the hirata bun on my last visit, this time in my bento box I went with the beef donburi and some Takoyaki in octopus and duck varieties.

The beef teriyaki donburi was delicious.

This is tasty tender beef rib on a bed of sushi rice and served with pickle and spring onions.

The Takoyaki were very nice too. Beautifully presented with sauces drizzled over them and garnished with herbs and bento flakes.

I had two duck dumplings and two octopus ones.