Saturday, 3 March 2012

Friday - Katsu Curry, Rice and Salad

This is a quick fire blog as I have a friend arriving from home soon, and we are heading into Leeds for the footy and few beers....happy days! With Jo away until Sunday, I reverted to type and thought about interesting ways to fry chicken - one of my favourite treats that Jo (thankfully) won't allow me to have to often.

With inspiration taken from a recent trip to Yo Sushi, I decided on Katsu Curry with some boiled rice and a little salad - luckily we had most of the ingredients for the curry at home and the panko breadcrumbs from scotch eggs I made at Christmas.....all in a pretty decent effort, although definitely made enough for at least two people (obviously ate it all though).

Katsu Curry

Thursday - Indian Kebabs

Jo is in Edinburgh at the moment, where she is hanging out with her lovely folks and doing fun wedding on Thursday I was fending for myself. I had chicken grilled in Indian spices with greenery on the side and a pita. What the picture doesn't show is the cous cous that I royally messed up...I bet you didn't think that was possible!

Indian Kebabs

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Wednesday - Stuff Mushrooms and Roasted Butternut Squash

Yesterday I was off work as I was ill!! A food blog isn't the place to go into the details, but suffice to say most of the day was spend in recovery in be honest, I can't remember the last time I was off work ill - it must have been a good 18 months or so when I was a really sick with a 48 hour bug....anyway back to dinner. Jo returned from work with plans to use the portobello mushrooms that we bought at the weekend that were stuffed with some bit including goats cheese (I am unsure what else were in them and she isn't her to ask!) and roasted butternut squash wedges on the side. It was lovely, although I didn't have much of an appetite! 

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tuesday and a lonely baked potato

Joe has been ill for the last couple of days which means I have been a little bit lonely!  He went to bed straight from work on Tuesday, slept all the way through and barely stirred as I got up today as well.  Poor thing.

This meant that on Tuesday I was left on my lonesome, watching girl's TV (Don't Tell the Bride, Gypsy Weddings etc.) and reading the Rock My Wedding blog (a total necessity for anyone getting married).  I did at least pull off my nifty trick of a baked potato in forty minutes (chop it in half before you do the skewering) so I had some nice dinner to keep me company.  There really is nothing better than a baked potato with beans and a little cheese - its a classic for a reason!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sunday Dim Sum

On Sunday we made a flying visit to the Hoylake food fair, held in the community hall.  It's only two minutes from Joe's mum's flat and was quite an exceptional food emporium.  There were around 50 suppliers with a huge variety of treats and demonstrations, from the usual cupcakes and chutneys, to paella, to giant meringues, pies and pastries.  I think we really are blessed in Leeds with an abundance of food events, but it was refreshing to meet some new suppliers and see a few new things.

Joe was particularly excited about Adams and Russell, purveyors of fine tea and coffee.  They are the only coffee roasters on the Wirral, based in Birkenhead, and had a huge variety of coffees and some tasty looking teas.  We picked up some Jamaican Blue Mountain beans, Assam and Jasmine tea, which should keep us going for a while!  The teas will also particularly suit our bargain tea cups, a fantastic find at the Age UK charity shop in West Kirby.  Vintage coolness.

Joe's mum also treated us some pear and ginger chutney, flap jacks, and treat upon treat, home made dim sum!  That's the first time I've seen that on sale at a food fair.

So we meandered home to Leeds, stocked up with treats, and set in for an afternoon of football and dim sum.  As well as steamed sui mai and shrimp dumplings, we had a prawn and vegetable soup with wantons.  They were superb tasty treats and the perfect accompaniment to a victorious afternoon.

Our tasty treats from the food fair
New tea cups!
Sui mai and shrimp dumplings
Prawn soup with wantons

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saturday - Part Two - Antep 7.5/10

The Saturday night Rees family outing was to Antep BBQ, a Turkish restaurant in Hoylake.  This is a restaurant that Stephie and Shereef have been to countless times and have always been very complimentary, so we thought we should give it a try.

I will preface this post by warning you that, as Antep BBQ does not currently have a website, I cannot guarantee the names of the dishes we had!  This is going to be more description than anything else so apologies!

This is a cute little family-run outfit, unassuming but very friendly and convivial.  While we were there on Saturday most of the tables were full, with new people arriving all evening.  They have a relaxed approach to dining, chatting with the customers and making everyone feel very welcome. 

Mum Rees and Brother Dave
Me and Stephie (looking surprisingly chipper for our night out on the Friday!)
Joe (less chipper!)
For starters we decided to try a range.  My favourite thing about restaurants like this is that the starters are particularly disposed to sharing, with little dips and hands-on tasters to get your taste buds going.  I am more than happy to admit that I have never been to Turkey, so I cannot comment on the authenticity of any of the food, but suffice to say it was all rather good.  We opted for the humous (more!  It's a good thing I like chickpeas), the roasted aubergine dip, a gorgeous blended tomato and chilli salad, pan fried liver, chicken wings and feta parcels.  The bread was something more akin to a foccacia than a flat bread, but was really tasty and topped with herbs.  My particular favourite was the tomato and chilli salad which was rich and spicy, but the roasted aubergine also deserves a recommendation.  I didn't get to the chicken wings, but the feta in filo was very good, and the liver an interesting option.
Antep BBQ - contact info
Bread and olives
Pan fried liver
Feta parcels
Chicken wings
The tomato and chilli salad
Roasted aubergine
The mains are divided into stews and grilled meats.  Although we were recommended the lamb chops, these will have to wait until next time.  Joe plumped for grilled spicy chilli chicken thighs with rice and salad, which were tender and juicy with a lovely rub.  Stephie, Sue and I all had a variation on the stew theme - Stephie had the vegetarian while I went for chicken and Sue had lamb.  Out of the lamb and chicken I think the chicken won out - lots of meat, roasted Mediterranean vegetables and a beautifully spiced sauce.  Stephie's veggie option subbed the chicken for feta and okra and also looked great.  The lamb just could have benefited from a touch more lamb (!).

They all came with a beautiful salad, a mixture of raw and lightly pickled treats in a delicious dressing, which was a great balance to the rich stew.
The grill, which looks out onto the restaurant and gives some great theatre.

Joe's Turkish lager, Efes
The salad
The lamb stew
The veggie
Joe's chicken thighs
I'll be honest, after such a glutinous day I was absolutely stuffed.  Most of the chicken stew came home with us, along with the lamb and vegetables stew (only to be scoffed by Dave after he came in from the pub!).  We couldn't face desserts, but did enjoy the marshmallow treats we were given.

All in, it was a lovely meal at a delightful restaurant.  Next time I wouldn't choose so many starters, or I'd just go for the starters and skip the mains.  Either way, I had a great time and will be going back.
marshmallow treats
Me and the owner.  Aww

Saturday - Part One - Sweetpea 9/10

After a Friday night out in the pub (Joe) and dancing (me) it was something of an effort to persuade Joe to get up and make the most of his weekend on the Wirral.  I do have one trick though, and that is bribery with food, which proves rather successful.

Following a stop off at the West Kirby Concourse for a Saturday morning swim, we headed to The Sweetpea Cafe in Acacia Grove in West Kirby for some lunch.  Sweetpea is a gorgeous little cafe with a properly home grown feel.  West Kirby is full of little cafes doing lunch and drinks: it is great to see them thriving when everyone is telling us things are so bad, and I couldn't be more pleased for Sweetpea as it is a total treat. 

After our food-free indulgences on Friday night we were both feeling like some healthy food was in order and this place really does cater for your needs.  It does a range of breakfasts, sandwiches, and more substantial foods.  This is a place where you can just order coffee and cake, cheese on toast, lamb koftas or beans and chorizo stew.  They really do cover all bases.

We opted for a Greek salad, falafels and some chips (ha!  to undo all the good work at the pool).  The Greek salad was full of pungent tomatoes, sweet red onions, cucumber, black olives and a delicious feta in a dressing.  It also came with a little dish of humous and flat breads.  A Greek salad is all about the ingredients and it was really nice to get something that was so flavourful.  The falafels were served on salad and flat bread with humous and sweet chilli.  The falafels were really good - light, spiced and a nice texture.  And well, who can complain about a good chip?

Overall it was a great lunch, accompanied by tasty coffees (they also do a good flat white!) tea and a hot chocolate.  Sweetpea is a great cafe to while away some hours eating good food, drinking good drinks, and eating the papers.  Thoroughly recommended. 

You even get water in a fancy bottle.
Falafel on salad and flat bread
Greek salad
Chips, yum

Friday in Liverpool

We always knew this day would come.  This is the sad day that Joe and I both failed to do any food pictures.  I know, we've let you down, and worse, we've let ourselves down too.

But let's not be too down heartened as we do have a good excuse for our failure.  Friday night was more about the drinks than the dinner.

On Friday Joe and I took a little trip along the M62 to the Wirral.  The main point of our visit was that our friends, Laura and Chris, have recently had a baby girl called Grace, and Friday night was Grace's head wetting drinks for the boys.  Joe went for a boys' night in the Black Horse in Heswall, dinner being usurped by a succession of pints of San Miguel.  You can't blame him really.

I was also out on the tiles, accompanying the lovely Stephie and Shereef to see Mr Scruff at The Magnet in Liverpool (I am so down with the kids!).  The Magnet is a super cool bar and club in the Cultural Quarter, around the corner from the Philharmonic pub.  It was established in 1958 and has seen the Beatles passing through, as well as the first gig of Freddie Mercury and Brian May in their pre-Queen days.  To me, that's pretty awesome.  The bar is 1950's diner inspired, with a great range of spirits and beers.  If you head downstairs, you are into the cave-esque club which, on Friday, was full of an eclectic range of people drinking and dancing to Mr Scruff's beats.  All in, it was a great night, and I'm sure you now understand why we might have failed on the food front....

Me and Stephie at the Magnet