Time for Reds

There was a time when I would travel for work, stay overnight and then go out and get something to eat.

Well I am not doing that now and don’t expect to be doing it for a while either. I have though still a few places to write about and review that I didn’t do so at the time. This is one such review.

Back in January when I could and did travel I was staying overnight in Leeds. I needed a place to eat. I rarely eat at the restaurants in the hotels, usually either they are very expensive and out of budget, or as was the case in Leeds, the hotel I was staying didn’t really have a proper restaurant, serving a few bar snack type meals only. The other thing I do find with hotel restaurants is that it can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to the quality of the food.

Around the corner from the hotel there was quite a choice of restaurants, this is so much easier these days with Google or Apple Maps which show the restaurant close to you.

I was checking the menus of a few nearby places, when I saw on their website, that Reds True Barbecue in Headingley had a 51% discount offer in January, if you pre-booked. So I decided I would go there to eat, the menu looked great as well. It was simple to book online and I walked down to the restaurant.

The outside looked very American to me, though I’ve never been to America and have thus never eaten at a proper American barbecue joint, and so have no frame of reference to what a real barbecue place is like. However if I was to say what I thought an American barbecue joint was like based on the films and TV programme I felt it looked like what I thought an American barbecue joint should look like.

Reds True Barbecue in Headingly in Leeds

Having walked through the door I was given a warm and friendly welcome. The place was crowded, considering it was a Tuesday night. Being in Headingley the clientele were quite young and I am guessing a fair few were students. Probably taking advantage of the 51% offer. I liked the look of the place, slightly industrial, wooden tables and American signs.

Though I had seen the menu online, I still took my time to have a good look over the menu choices. There were a range of starters, barbecue platters and to quote the menu, “things in bread” which had a range of burgers.

Having travelled up to Leeds during the day and missing lunch, I was quite hungry. I went with the barbecued three meats with two sides deal.

barbecued three meats with two sides

I chose the smoked brisket, the short rib and the sausage. For my sides I went with fries and onion rings. Though I was tempted by the chicken wings and the pork belly. To drink with the meal I ordered a bottle of Corona.

The food arrived pretty quickly and I was impressed with the look of the food and the portion size.

The sausages were really nice, meaty and spicy. The short rib was delicious and very tender. The brisket was nice, but I felt it was a little dry. I enjoyed both the sides, though I think on reflection I probably should have had some slaw alongside.

My meal should have cost £25, but with the 51% discount on food, in the end it was just £14.54 which was really good value.

Though I don’t expect to be going to Leeds anytime soon, I hope that I can because I think I would like to have a return visit to Reds for some more excellent barbecued food.

222

I was actually going to have a flat white at Caffe Nero in Cheltenham, but it was way too busy.

Near enough next door is 222 and it looked rather nice inside.

There are wooden floors, wood on the walls and comfortable seating.

We went upstairs and due to social distancing measure it wasn’t as cosy as I thought it could be, but still a nice environment, with more wood and industrial lighting.

A warm friendly welcome and I ordered my Flat White.  This was served promptly.

The coffee was great, good tasting coffee with the right feel and texture of a flat white.

I don’t go to Cheltenham very often, even less now with lockdown restrictions, so I think it might be sometime before I get back to have another coffee at 222.

Spicy Crunchy Chicken Bites

These were an attempt to make my own version of the Santa Maria Colombian Crunchy Chicken Bites that we usually have. I had to make my own, as I was unable to get hold of a pack of the Colombian Crunchy Chicken Bites Seasoned Corn Coating.

The end result wasn’t quite the same, however they were very tasty and enjoyed by all.

The method I used was to take some chicken thighs and slice them into equally sized strips.

These were then coated in gluten free flour, before then been coated in an egg mix and finally coated in a mix of gluten free breadcrumbs, cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper.

You could fry these, however I baked mine in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.

They go well with sour cream and wrapped in mini tortillas.

Time to visit the Green Coffee Machine again

Green Coffee Machine

The last visit to the Green Coffee Machine in Cheltenham was back in 2013 in my final month of working at Gloucestershire College. That previous visit was also my first visit to the Green Coffee Machine. I really enjoyed the coffee and toast I had back then.

Overall I did quite like the atmosphere, the service was excellent, the coffee was great, if you don’t mind a slighty confused design and decor and avoid the toast, then it’s a really nice place to spend time drinking coffee.

Having changed jobs and no longer working regularly in Cheltenham, I didn’t think I would ever have coffee at the Green Coffee Machine again.

So it was nice the other day when I was in Cheltenham and I had to kill time before my train, I went for a coffee at the Green Coffee Machine. I wasn’t sure if it was still going to be there, as it had been a fair few years and independent coffee shops don’t always survive. So it was nice to see that it was still open and serving coffee.

It was a slightly different experience to my last one, mainly as Covid-19 had changed how they operate and the layout of the place.

There was a warm and friendly welcome from the staff. I ordered my coffee, once it was made I sat at a table. The coffee was excellent and just what I needed. I was slightly disappointed that even though I was drinking in, it was served in a paper cup. Not sure if this was standard policy, or that it was only an hour until closing time. If I am drinking in, I would like a proper cup for my coffee please.

I think the decor has improved considerably as well, so was a pleasant place to drink coffee.

I don’t know if it will be back, but I certainly will  make the effort the next time I am in Cheltenham to have another coffee at the Green Coffee Machine.

Colombian Crunchy Chicken Bites Seasoned Corn Coating

I like this packet for making crunchy chicken bites.

A mild blend for light, oven-baked, crunchy, gluten free bites. Use our simple blend to make delicious Colombian-inspired crunchy chicken bites in your oven. We use corn, instead of wheat, to get that extra crispiness which is loved by adults and kids alike, making it perfect for a family night in. Buen provecho!

What I also like about this pack is that it is gluten-free.

The process is nice and simple, I take some chicken thighs and cut them into strips which are placed in a bowl, to which I add some sunflower oil and the contents of the pack. This is mixed together and then the chicken is placed on a baking tray. I usually line the tray with baking parchment.

The chicken strips are then cooked in the oven.

What you get a crunchy spicy chicken. I like to eat them in a wrap with some sour cream and pea shoots. 

However I am now having real trouble finding it in my local supermarkets, Morrisons no longer sell it, my local Waitrose had it on special for a while, but now it’s no longer on the shelves. In theory it’s available at Asda, but I have never seen it at my nearest branch. So as a result I have been looking at making my own version using spices and gluten free breadcrumbs.

Time for some Chicken Fajitas

Alongside my steak fajitas I made some chicken fajitas as well.

Chicken Fajitas

I make versions of this dish quite often, but the method is pretty much the same. With the chicken I prefer to use chicken thighs. These I cut into strips. I then added sliced onion and pepper to the chicken before adding some fajita seasoning.

This chicken, onion and pepper mix is then cooked in a hot frying pan until the chicken is cooked through. I finished off the dish with some chopped fresh coriander.

The fajitas I serve with warm tortilla wraps, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. I also like to add some pea shoots into the mix as well and thinly sliced radishes.

Sorry that’s not a flat white!

I was a little disappointed today.

We were visiting the VUE cinema at Cribbs Causeway, to see a film. I thought I would like a coffee, and I could see the Lavazza brand, so I asked if they could do me a flat white? They said yes.

However as I watched them make it I was not impressed.

They did the espresso coffee and then topped it off with hot water and finished with some cold milk.

Sorry that’s not a flat white!

I did reject it and they tried again., this time they managed with a little guidance from me, get it right.

I did actually quite enjoy the coffee, however if I hadn’t watched them make it I would have been very disappointed. The fact it was quite expensive at £3.49, would have made me even more disappointed if I didn’t get what I ordered and paid for.

I shouldn’t be too surprised, I am always a bit wary of cinema food and drink. It’s usually overpriced and often not very good.

Next time, have coffee before I get to the cinema.

Gluten Free Spicy Crispy Chicken Strips

I made these spicy crispy chicken strips to accompany an asian inspired meal I was cooking.

Gluten Free Spicy Crispy Chicken Strips

I cut some chicken thighs into strips and then coated them in a homemade batter. The batter was made from gluten free self raising flour, mixed with a single egg and flavoured with salt and pepper, and Schwartz Japanese 7 Spice Yakitori Seasoning. The aim was to coat the chicken with the batter, ensure the batter is thick enough to coat the chicken, but not too thick so that there is a thick layer of batter on the chicken.

The chicken strips are then shallow fried in batches in hot oil. After draining on kitchen paper, I finished them off in the oven.

I served them with sweet chilli sauce.

Nachos

Nachos

These are a regular dish at home and enjoyed by everyone in the family.

We use the kits from most supermarkets, which contain a bag of tortilla chips, and usually two sachets of salsa.. To this I usually add some grated cheese before heating in the oven for five or six minutes.

I serve them with guacamole and sour cream. Sometimes I will add the fajita mix to mine.

I do now check the ingredient list as, for example, the Asda kit contains gluten as it had Barley Malt Extract used in the salsa..

Time for Steak Fajitas

I make versions of this dish quite often, but the method is pretty much the same. My main variation is on the kind of steak I use. I like using ribeye, but other cuts work just as well. For this version, I used a bavette cut of steak, I fried this in a frying pan and when I was happy with how it was cooked, I removed the steak from the pan and let it rest.

Whilst the steak is resting, in the same pan, I cook the onions and peppers. I usually add some fajita seasoning at this point. For one piece of steak I use one pepper and one onion. Though as I like different coloured peppers, I might use a third of three different kinds.

I do find when I am usually cooking a bavette cut that I undercook it, so after the steak had rested I sliced it and then finished off the steak in the pans with the onions and pepper.

The fajitas I serve with warm tortilla wraps, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. I also like to add some pea shoots into the mix as well and thinly sliced radishes.