Tuesday, 11 November 2014

NYC Bar & Grill - Bawtry

The NYC Bar & Grill is one of my favourite places to eat right now. Bawtry is a sweet little town not too far away from Epworth where I live, and has a good selection of bars, cafes and restaurants for an after work catch up or relaxed weekend beverage and bite to eat, the NYC being the latest much welcome addition. 

I visited about 6 months ago with my lovely cousins for a girly night, but I've heard mixed reviews since and knew I needed to try it out again just to make sure. It's one for the youngsters with its American Diner style look and the sorts of things offered on the menu (hot dogs, burgers, shakes). 

On arriving friendly staff with iPads took welcomed us and directed us right to the bar. It was a Thursday evening but it was rather busy, so we had a 5 minute wait until one freed up. The waitress sorted us or with drinks in the meantime, and I opted for a bottomless soda. You could choose from any number of drinks, such as vanilla coke, diet cherry coke, the list of drinks alone was quite impressive. The shakes looked very good but I knew I was in for a feast so I held back.

Once we got to our table we were getting peckish so we ordered classic nachos with sour cream, salsa, jalapeƱos and guac to start, which arrived quickly and looked darn good. 


Plenty of molten cheese atop a mountain of toppings and crispy tortillas. The perfect starter really!

For our mains we both opted for sliders, as opposed to one big burger. This way you get a taste of 3 different burgers! I opted for The Rodeo (BBQ sauce, onion rings, bacon, The Mac Burger (macaroni cheese!) and the Original Juicy Lucy (stuffed with melted cheddar). 


The Rodeo was great but the other two were slightly disappointing. There wasn't much topping at all on the Mac slider and the Juicy Lucy didn't live up to its name as it wasn't filled with much cheese at all. I can't help but think this wouldn't be the case of ordered as a full size burger, but as a slider I would say avoid these two. The meat was cooked so well, the chips were great and the toasted brioche buns were divine. Also the burgers come with a side of purple slaw, which was a welcome addition!



We shared an onion ring pole as a side which was great, crispy battered rings which were lovely and hot. My one criticism would be that we could have done with more sauce for dipping. 
 
The venue is quite small, but very popular because of the quirkiness of the venue and the quality and value of the food. My advice would be don't be a chancer like me and book in advance to avoid disappointment. I will be back. Very much worth a visit if you live in or around Doncaster and like 'Merican food!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tarte Tatin


Tarte Tatin is my ultimate dessert right now. It's luxurious and fulfilling but also quite delicate  When I was younger I was a chocolate pudding lover through and through but nowadays I will always opt for a fruitier pud rather than a death by chocolate affair. 


The caramelised apples create an amazing golden colour so it looks lovely for dinner parties and celebrations. Make the most of the autumn British apples available at the moment and make this to treat yourself!

(Serves 6, takes 2 hours from start to finish)

Ingredients

Pastry:
150g flour, plus extra for dusting
100g butter, softened
25g cater sugar
2 egg yolks

Apples:
100g caster sugar
40g butter
5 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/gas 6. For the pastry, rub together the flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar. Add the egg yolks and gather in to a ball. Turn out the pastry on the a floured board and knead together for 2 mins. Chill the pastry in the fridge for 30 mins. 

2. In a frying pan, melt the butter and sugar together on low for 5 mins until thick and syrupy. Arrange the apple quarters in the frying pan and cook for 15 mins. This gives a golden colour to the apples and allows the sugar to caramelise. 

3. Roll out the pastry on a floured board to a size slightly larger than your chosen dish. Line the dish and fill with the slices of apple. Place in the oven and cook for 20 mins, then reduce the heat to 160c/gas 3 and cook for a further 20 mins. Remove front he oven, allow to cool slightly and serve while still warm. 



This dish is best served warm with a little single cream, or I chose creme Anglaise (custard!) to serve with mine this time.



Fantastique!



Monday, 3 November 2014

York


Jules came to visit me for a whole 5 days last week and I was so excited and pleased to see him after a long 3 and a half weeks. He's a Southerner so I wanted to take him somewhere lovely up Nooorth he'd never been before. I've been to York a handful of times before, but mainly as a child looking for pottery along the old Roman roads. My mum went to Uni in York so knows the city very well and always speaks very highly of it in terms of cultural (and shopping!) value.

We used the fantastic Askham Bar park and ride service which was a total bargain - free parking and £2.70 each for a return bus ticket. Will definitely be using it again! We got all over the place, stopping for a lovely lunch at the prettiest Ask Italian I've ever seen. 



My date. We had calamari to start and a ginormous pizza each for our main. Beautiful!


After lunch we decided we needed to stretch our legs, so we had a mosey on down to the Minster.



It is an amazing church and reminds me very much of Canterbury Cathedral in size and atmosphere.



The grounds surrounding the Minster looked very autumnal with all the colourful leaves from the trees scattered over the floor.




York is one of the prettiest cities there is going. Just look at these ye olde houses! The shambles are little pedestrianised shopping alleys packed with crooked little independent shops and give the city a lot of personality. Not to mention there are the old city walls all around the perimeter which you can get on and walk around for £0. There are also larger chain shops if you are starting your Christmas shopping and plenty of lovely cafes and restaurants to refuel after a long day of shopping.

York, I shall be back soon!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Mojitos


We all love a mojito, right?! It's my cocktail of choice whenever, and whenever I'm presented with a menu at a cocktail bar chockablock with all sorts of unknown drinks with weird and wonderful names, I always seem to return faithfully to my M because it's so darn delicious. This is another recipe which has been taken from Lorraine Pascale's 'Fast, Fresh and Easy Food' slightly and ever so slightly adapted. I love this book as there are so many fun, tasty and easy to do recipes such as this. 

Next time you're celebrating or you are in need of an extra special treat on an evening you can knock up these in minutes at home. You need very few ingredients, most of which you'll probably have on hand anyway, and it's guaranteed to hit the spot every time! (Ps, the rum can be replaced with extra soda water or lemonade for a non-alcoholic version of you lean that way).

(Makes 4, takes 15 minutes)

Ingredients

3 limes
8-12 tbsp demarara sugar
400g crushed ice
Generous handful of fresh mint
300ml white rum
300ml soda water or lemonade

Method

1. Cut the lines in to quarters lengthways and out three pieces in the bottom of each medium serving glass. Ensure the glasses are wide enough to fit the end of a rolling pin in. (You'll see why).

2. Add 2-3 tablespoons sugar to each one. Then, using the end of a rolling pin, squash everything together to squeeze the lime juice out and mix with the sugar.

3. Fill the glasses almost to the top with crushed ice. Pick and reserve a few pretty mint sprigs from the bunch and then tip the remaining mint leaves on to the ice. Divide the rum evenly between the glasses and then top with the soda water or lemonade.


    

4. Mix everything together with a spoon, then add a sprig of mint to each glass and serve.


Et voila! Looks like a party to me! Emerge with these on a tray like the bonafide cocktail-maker you are and serve your delighted guests. 

These drinks are sure to go down a treat. 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Instagram Update

Hello lovelies! I've been mighty mighty busy in the last 10 days whizzing around Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Sheffield doing work placements, interviews, skills tests an even managing to have a shopping sesh and a couple of nice meals in there too; but I haven't had much time to sit down and have a good old blogging sesh. 

I always make time for Instagram though so I thought I'd give you a little update of what I've been up to in picture format :)

Visiting a dear friend in Birmingham and walking through my old campus at night.


The leaves quickly falling from the trees and showing that autumn is upon us once more. 


Shopping fuel. Delicious nibbles for a late lunch in Sheffield.



A day trip to Manchester and stumbling upon the famous big wheel.


Getting back in to soups seeing as the weather is chilly. Brocolli and Stilton is just delicious.


I've seen lots of extremely early mornings the past couple of weeks which equals beautiful skies like this. 


Reigniting my love of the Croque Madame (et pommes frites!) Divine.


Shopping in Leeds Trinity after work.


Treated to a meal out by my lovely Gran, and chose possibly the nicest burger and biggest burger known to man. Bacon and blue cheese. MmmMmmm.


Evening cuddles with this furry madam.


And that's what my last ten days have looked like! 

See you soon for the next update :) xo

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Coq au Vin


If you're planning a dinner party or want to make a special meal to impress, then look no further than this French classic. Don't be fooled by the fancy name, this recipe is really easy to make and you can leave it blipping away in the oven while you socialise.  

It's elegant haute cuisine made easy!

(Serves 4, takes 25 mins to prep)

Ingredients

1 large free range chicken 
500 ml red wine
Glug of olive oil
6 rashers thick unsmoked bacon, chopped
2 onions, finely diced 
200g sliced or button mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp flour
300ml chicken stock
Sprinkle of thyme
Salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190c/gas 4. Add a glug of olive oil to your largest saucepan and add the bacon. (It needs to be big as you're going to need to get the chicken in). Sizzle for 2 minutes and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 mins until starting to brown. Add the mushrooms and stir gently, cooking the mixture for a further 2 mins.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour. Then gently lay the whole chicken on top of the onion mixture. Pour the red wine in to the pan along with the chicken stock, thyme and seasonings. 

3. Cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the chicken is golden on top and cooked through.


Then decide who is for breast and who is for leg, and plate up for your hungry guests! I served mine with rustic mashed potatoes which went with the Coq au Vin beautifully. 



Proper French chefs may disagree but I really don't think it matters what kind of wine you use in this recipe; it's only going to be boiled within an inch of its life so the less expensive stuff is grand. When you're serving though, it would be nice to have a glass of something very nice to compliment the dish.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Broccoli and Stilton Soup


As the nights are starting to draw in and there is a bit of a nip in the air, I'm starting to crave warm, comforting food for my evening meal. I'd fancied having a go at making this soup for a while now, and I have to say it hits the comfort food spot perfectly. It's perfect for chilly autumn evenings with a lovely big hunk of warm homemade bread for dipping. Soup is still very much underrated in my humble opinion, being so easy and inexpensive to make, but also tasty and good for you! This one in particular is all those things. 

For blue cheese fans, this is a dream come true, but for those of you who aren't a fan or prefer a milder flavour using mature cheddar would also work nicely. 

(Serves 4 as a starter, 3 as a main. Takes 30 mins)

Ingredients 

A generous glug of olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 potato, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed 
A large head of broccoli, cut in to florets and chop the stalk 
800ml veg/chicken stock
200g Stilton cheese (plus extra for sprinkling)

Method

1. In a large saucepan, add the olive oil and throw in the potato, onion and garlic, and cook on a medium heat for 10 mins.

2. Add the broccoli and stock and cook for a further 8-9, until the veg is tender and retained its colour. (This recipe is particularly great and thrifty because it uses up the broccoli stalk too, which is packed with nutrients but which usually gets thrown away). 

3. Crumble in the Stilton and stir through. Zizz with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste and crumble extra Stilton on top if you really really love Stilton.

Serve with freshly cut homemade bread for a gorgeous, hearty winter tea.



Easy, hearty, delicious soup made from scratch on to the table in less than 30 mins. It's a perfect after uni/work pick-me-up meal that will rejuvenate you and satisfy your tastebuds too. 

Let me know if you've tried this or have any soupy recommendations! 



Saturday, 11 October 2014

Feathery and Furry Friends


Home is where the animals are! Last weekend I went with my mum to the next village along to have a look at some new chickens, to get some new friends for our old ones. The nights are drawing in fast now and it's eating chillier day by day, so we wanted to boost our flock so they can all cuddle together at night and keep one another nice and warm. 

The problem is with chickens, there really is a "pecking order" between them and they can be rather nasty when they want to be! If you have smaller/younger chickens they are likely to get bullied and pecked by the bigger and older ones (something we have learned through experience) so we wanted some chunky ones to stand their ground against our original feisty girls!

We have had them nearly a week (!) so now that they've settled nicely I thought it would be nice to introduce you to our new lovely feathery ladies.


And these are the girls we chose!


Aren't they pretty ladies?! The white ones are Sussex hens and the greys are Bluebells. 


We got 2 of each, which is good because our original chickens are still quite bossy! Here is Annie the Maran chasing them away from a feeder... the naughty girl.


This is often the scene - a ginger tearing across the lawn chasing a white hen! The white Sussex's are much more friendly than the Bluebells. The white ones will try and be mates with the gingers but the Bluebells are very timid and know better. It doesn't stop them being chased aswell though! 



Someone is always running away from someone else. It's chaos out there! But they're really fun to watch strutting all over the grass and having a good scratch and a flap.




Our other girls were out and about in the garden to see what was going on.

Tabitha, wearing her camouflage.



Molly the Collie, having a snooze.




As usual I took far too many photos, it was difficult to decide which ones to include so in the end I nearly included them all. The girls are all just too photogenic!

Thank you for reading/looking :)