Food

Quick and easy dinner ideas

I haven’t done a recipe post in a very, very long time- but recently I’ve been really trying to cook from scratch more often, so I have control over the amount of salt, sugar etc that’s going into my meals. Here’s a few quick and easy recipes that I’ve been making over the last couple of months:

Mixed bean chilli soup with homemade guacamole

This is based on this BBC recipe for Mexican bean soup with guacamole.

Ingredients: 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 red pepper, 1 red chilli, tin of chopped tomatoes, tin of Tesco’s taco mixed beans, veg stock, chilli powder, coriander and cumin. Avocado and lime to make the guacamole.

Method

  • Chop up the onion, garlic clove, red pepper and 1/2 the red chilli, fry in a drop of oil
  • Once they’re starting to soften up (about 3-5 minutes) add a bit of chilli powder, coriander and cumin
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes, the tin of taco mixed beans and 200-300ml of vegetable stock
  • Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes
  • To make the guacamole: One chopped avocado, with quarter of a chopped red onion, the other half of the red chilli, a sprinkle of coriander and the juice of a lime – mash it all up!

 

Pad Thai

Adapted from Miguel Barclay’s ‘One Pound Meals: Fast & Fresh’.

Ingredients: Flat rice noodles, sesame oil, garlic clove, chilli flakes, red onion, stir fry veg (or other chopped veg – carrots etc), 3-4 spring onions, cooked and frozen prawns, crunchy peanut butter, 1 egg and soy sauce.

Method

  • Cook the rice noodles according to the packet’s instructions
  • Heat some sesame oil up in a frying pan, add a couple of pinches of chilli flakes, the red onion, garlic and whatever veg you’re using
  • Stir fry for a few minutes, then add the prawns and 2-3 tbsp of peanut butter
  • I also added a dash of fish sauce at this point
  • Move the veg to one side in the pan, crack the egg in the other side. Let it start cooking, and then scramble it up as it starts to fry and mix it with the veg.
  • Add in the noodles, pour on some soy sauce and mix it all up.

 

Chorizo and butterbean stew

Ingredients: 220g chorizo sausage, garlic clove, 1 tin of butter beans, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 red onion, tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and paprika.

Method

  • Chop up the chorizo into slices and then half or quarter the slices. Stick in the frying pan with the chopped red pepper, green pepper, red onion and garlic.
  • Leave it fry and sweat for a good five minutes, adding some paprkia to taste as you go.
  • Add in the tomato puree and 2 tbsp of green pesto, cook for another couple of minutes
  • Add in the chopped tomatoe and the butter beans. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • We ate it with skin on garlic mash on the side, which was delightful.

 

Red Thai prawn fried rice

This one makes a massive amount of food, and is great for another round of leftovers the next day. I followed this BBC recipe: Thai prawn fried rice.

Ingredients: 275g uncooked rice, 2 eggs, 300g frozen prawns (I use slightly less), 1 tin of cooked green beans, 1 lime, fish sauce, red Thai curry paste

Method

  • Cook the rice as normal and set aside
  • Pour two beaten eggs into a frying pan, move the pan to form a thin omelette and cook until it sets (about 1 minute).
  • Roll the omelette up and slice into thin strips
  • Heat 1-2 tbsp of red Thai curry paste in a big pan, with a drop of water and then mix in the rice to coat it.
  • Add the prawns and the green beans and heat through
  • Pour in 1 tbsp of fish sauce (I add a little more), and the juice of 1 lime, mix in the egg strips.
Food

Greens, Zetland Road, Bristol

Turn off the busy parade of Gloucester Road, and you find a handful of cute, independent restaurants along Zetland Road. One of my favourites for a special occasion is Greens; serving a small menu of traditional British dishes with influences from international cuisines, using high quality, local ingredients.

Greens is a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant, taken over by Head Chef Martin Laurentowicz, and front of house Nick Wallace, in 2012, whose partnership began in fine dining restaurants in Scotland.

From the outside, Greens looks cute and cosy; very enticing when you walk past at night. And inside it’s decorated very simply, with a cool, intimate atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you can dress up for on date night, or pop in on the spur of the moment if there’s a spare table.

Last time we went was over the weekend between Christmas and New Year, the time when you have no real clue what day it is. There were a handful of other tables, a mix of families, friends and dates.

To start I had the wild mushroom and buffalo mozzarella arancini with aioli and truffle oil (£8.50). Mushroom and mozzarella are always a perfect combination, so these were fried delights.

This was followed traditional Cullen skink with smoked haddock, braised leeks and cripsy potatoes (£16.50). Cullen is a thick Scottish soup – the smoked haddock flavour was almost overwhelming, but the braised leeks added a little taste of sweetness. Overall, it was a little too salty for my taste, but I did enjoy it.

Finally we shared a sticky toffee pudding with ice cream and cream. It was rich, decadent and amazing.

Greens is a lovely little place for an evening meal, especially if you catch their evening set menu of two courses for £17.95 or three courses for £23.95, Monday to Thursday.

Greens Restaurant. 25 Zetland Road, Bristol BS6 7AH.

Food

Quay St. Diner, Bristol

If you’re looking for a new brunch, lunch, dinner, all day dining spot in Bristol city centre, Quay St. Diner is the place to go. The California inspired restaurant is located in the former premises of Roll for the Soul, and has hit the spot with it’s laidback atmosphere, colourful interior and delicious menu.

Pride of place in their open kitchen is their custom charcoal grill, which has enabled them to build the menu around cooking over an open fire; ‘live fire cooking’.

We ventured in there on a rainy Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, for breakfast (maybe brunch is more accurate, it was nearly midday!) and were absolutely delighted with it.

First off, the coffee – I ordered a latte (£2.80), while Tom had a flat white. I’m not really much of a coffee expert, but I loved the giant teal coffee cup, and thoroughly enjoyed the coffee!

The brunch menu, served 9am-12pm Mon-Fri and 9am-2pm on the weekend, is full of tasty, California influenced choices, from Pancakes and Fruit to Brunch Tacos topped with grilled tomato and ancho chilli salsa, smashed avocado, pumpkin seeds, fruit salsa and pomegranate!

We both went for the Huevos Rancheros (£7) – baked Mexican eggs in a tomato salsa with crumbled feta on top and sourdough dippers, and added bacon (£2). It was incredible. The salsa was a little on the hot and spicy side, but full of flavour, and the contrast with the feta was just right. Oh, and the thick chunks of bacon were amazing.

The all day menu also looks exciting; small plates, tacos, and a selection of burgers, steak, salad etc. We’ll definitely be back to try it out.

Quay St. Diner is a great, friendly and welcoming place, with full flavour, smokey, delicious food – go now!

Quay St. Diner, 2, Quay Street, Bristol, BS1 2JL. 

Food

Wallfish Bistro, Clifton

Award winning restaurant, Wallfish Bistro is quietly tucked away on Princess Victoria Street in Clifton. It’s a small place, with a handful of tables upstairs and a few more in the basement, simple decor, and a laid back atmosphere. The menu offers contemporary British dishes, with an emphasis on fish and seafood.

As it was a special occasion (my mum’s birthday), we may have gone a little overboard with our food order, but once we’d read the menu it was hard to maintain self control – we wanted to try it all.

For the first round of food, between us we ordered an assortment of appetisers: Green Sicilian olives (£4.00), Radishes with mayonnaise and celery salt (£3.50), a Porlock oyster (£2.90) and the Scrumpy-fried oyster with jalapeno mayonnaise and pickled vegetables (£3.00). I’m not the biggest fan of oysters, but I had a little try of the fried oyster, and I’d definitely recommend it.

Then for a starter I had the Portland crab on toast with pickled cucumber, lemon and watercress (£9): big juicy flakes of crab, which contrasted perfectly with the tangy pickled cucumber.

For my main course I had the Smoked haddock (£18); a sizeable piece of fish, served up with braised leeks, saffron and a few mussels scattered around the edge. The combination of the sweet leeks, and the intensely fishy taste of smoked haddock was spot on.

Tom had the Rack of Cinderford Lamb (£22) which came with peas, girolles, shallots and green sauce. I don’t eat lamb, but he was adamant that it was the best lamb he’d ever had.

Finally, we made it to dessert, with a few simple offerings on the menu – I went for the Chocolate mousse cake with raspberries and creme fraiche (£6.50).

Wallfish Bistro is a perfect little place, however, the restaurant is currently up for sale, so if you’re tempted by all this insanely delicious food then call up and book a table ASAP!

Wallfish Bistro – 112 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol, BS84DB

Cardiff Bay, Cardiff
Food, Travel

Thali at Chai Street and Cardiff Bay

Last week, on an after work trip over to Cardiff, we decided to pop down to Cardiff Bay and soak up the last of the evening sun.

Cardiff Bay

I haven’t been down to Cardiff Bay in at least a couple of years, but it’s still just as buzzing as ever, with a lots of new exciting restaurants and bars around the waterfront.

Cardiff Bay, Cardif. Trousers: Zara, Tshirt: Monki
Tshirt – Monki, Cropped trousers – Zara, Sandals – Dr Martens.

Cardiff Bay, Cardiff

Chai Street, Cardiff Bay

This is my second visit to a branch of the Cardiff local gem, Chai Street Indian Street Kitchen. It’s a really laid back restaurant, with the best, bright and dazzling decor; ideal for just dropping in on a whim, or for a special meal.

Chai Street Indian Street Kitchen, Cardiff Bay

I went for the Traditional Chicken Thali (£11.95) – a spicy chicken curry, a potato curry, dal, raita, pickle, mini poppadums, rice and a naan bread. I love to try a bit of lots of different things, so thalis are ideal for that, plus the Chai Street thali is slightly different every time. Despite the heat, the chicken curry was definitely the highlight for me though.

Chicken Thali at Chai Street, Cardiff Bay

Tom, meanwhile, went all out and ordered the non-vegetarian Chai Special Thali (£13.25). This was a meal and a half, it included: a starter (baji), a chicken curry, a lamb curry, and some of the potato vegetable curry, as well as dal, raita, pickle, poppadums, rice and a naan bread.

Thali at Chai Street, Cardiff Bay

It was a really delicious thali (almost as good as Thali in Bristol), but I think next time I’m going to try out some of their ‘Street Delights’. The chicken lollypops (marinated with spices, ginger, garlic and then fried!), Prawn Chatpata and the samosas all sounded, smelled and looked incredible!

If you find yourself down at Cardiff Bay, hungry and fancy some authentic Indian street food, then definitely check out Chai Street. They also have restaurants in Canton and on the High Street in Cardiff – so there’s no excuse not to visit.

Bristol Harbour Festival 2018
Food, Travel

Bristol Harbour Festival 2018

This weekend was one of Bristol’s summer highlights, Bristol Harbour Festival. Friday through to Sunday saw in and around the harbour transformed into one, massive, free festival.

It’s one of my favourite weekends of the year; involving a LOT of walking, bumping into friends, eating some incredible food and enjoying a few local ciders in the sunshine. And, of course, encountering a variety of live music, circus acts and all kinds of performances on the different stages dotted around.

Saturday at Bristol Harbour Festival

On the Saturday we walked down the harbour, past the Arnolfini, across the bridge and along past M Shed. We had a quick stop off at Wild beer in Wapping Wharf and then met up with friends by SS Great Britain. From there we walked all the way around the harbour past The Pump House to the Grain Barge. We checked out the stage by the Grain Barge and then a little further along the Spoken Word stage.

Bristol Harbour Festival 2018

Eventually, we made it to Millennium Square and Lloyds Ampitheatre, before checking out the stage by Thekla. After listening to a bit of the music there, and having a delicious falafel wrap, we took a bit of time to sit on Prince Street Bridge and just enjoy the boats and the atmosphere.

Bristol Harbour Festival 2018

After a little visit to The Louisanna, we ended the night back at Lloyds Ampitheatre to watch Roni Size.

Sunday at Bristol Harbour Festival

The 19,000+ steps on Saturday just wasn’t enough to soak it all in – so we headed back down to the harbour on Sunday afternoon. We started off by checking out the food stalls around Queen Square.

Bristol Harbour Festival 2018

We then took a stroll down past the Cascade Steps stage and then back through Millennium Square. In the top part of the Lloyds Ampitheatre area, we stumbled across KOYKYO stall. We shared the Korean Fried Chicken and chips, and it was heavenly. 

 

After spending a little more time by the Thekla stage, we finished off the weekend with a quick drink in Small Bar.

 

Food

Edit: Audiophile restaurant on Cheltenham Road

One of Cheltenham Road’s newest offerings, Edit, is a unusual blend of classy tapas restaurant and cosy music bar. Labelling itself as an ‘audiophile restaurant’, the concept is inspired by Tokyo’s food and drink scene; offering Asian-inspired tapas style small plates, with an impressive Klipsch heritage sound system playing a range of ambient, soul, funk, electronica and world music. The idea is to delight all of your senses, and it achieves this, for the most part.

It’s very much a ‘drop-in’ place, with long high tables and bar chairs – making it feel casual yet a little sophisticated at the same time. The drinks menu is extensive and impressive, prepare yourself to be dazzled by a wide range of spirits, sake, beers and wine.

We decided to order and share a variety of their small plates and snacks; mushroom and miso bao, kimchi, fried squid with mango chilli sauce, chicken dumplings and prawn dumplings. For five dishes and two drinks it came to £32. 

Fried chicken dumplings from Edit, Cheltenham Road

While the food arrived in seemingly random dribs and drabs (including one of our plates being delivered to the couple sat next to us), it was all incredibly delicious.

Fried squid, Edit, Cheltenham Road, Bristol

The slightly spiced, fried chicken dumplings in gyoza style parcels, were the standout dish for us. But the fried squid was a close second; it would be a perfect dish to pick at while having a few drinks. I would advise ordering quite a few dishes if you’re hungry, they’re little and delightful and definitely leave you wanting more.

Mushroom and miso bao, Edit on Cheltenham Road, Bristol

Despite the slightly disorganised service, and a missing dish, we will definitely be returning.

As a concept, Edit is unique and quirky, just right for the Cheltenham Road/Gloucester Road junction that it finds itself on. However, it’s definitely more of a drinks,snacks and music venue, than somewhere you want to come for ‘dinner’ and leave completely filled up.

Find out more about Edit on Cheltenham Road, Bristol here.

Food

OOWEE Diner, Bristol

Over the last couple of months it seems like everyone has been talking about OOWEE diner in Montpelier, so last night I finally got to see what the hype is all about. Having made no dinner plans, but desperate for a decent burger this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Tucked away in a corner of Picton Street, OOWEE diner is a tiny little place filled with the most incredible smell of burgers, fries and all things greasy and super unhealthy.

 

OOWEE dinner burger in Bristol

It was pretty hard to narrow down what we wanted to just one meals worth of food – it all sounds, and smells, so so good. I went for the The Pimento: a beef patty with spicy pimento cheese, pickles and relish, with added bacon. (£6.50 + £1)

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The patty itself was well done on the outside but perfectly juicy on the inside; falling apart in your mouth kind of thing. The bacon was crispy and delicious, and the pickles were big – which always earns bonus points from me. The spicy cheese gave it that little extra kick to round off the flavour.

Dirty fries from OOWEE Diner, Bristol

I also went for some of their dirty fries – Bacon Jalapeno fries (£4.50), and a side of Buffalo Shrimp (£5). The fries didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but they were still wonderfuly decadent in their excessiveness. The overwhelming highlight though was the huge, juicy Buffalo Shrimp, while there was only five in the serving they were absolutely amazing, so next time I’m definitely going to give the Shrimp fries a try.

Buffalo Shrimp from OOWEE Diner, Bristol

OOWEE Diner is up there with some of the best burgers in Bristol. It’s simple, no fuss, dirty fried food that will fulfill all unhealthy food cravings. It’s also pretty good value!

Roast Dinner in Bristol
Food

Roast Dinners in Bristol

Roast Dinners are a big thing in Bristol and you’re absolutely spoilt for choice when Sunday afternoon rolls around.

Bristol Foodie’s blog on roast dinnners in Bristol has been really useful for finding great places to eat, so I thought I would start my own.

The Lazy Dog
112, Ashley Down Rd, Ashley Down, Bristol
BS7 9JR
0117 9244 809
Price: £10.95

A modern, cosy pub in Ashley Down, The Lazy Dog is a great place to end the week with a Sunday Roast.

Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog
Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog

We turned up at about 1.30pm, without booking and it was pretty busy but we found a little table in a corner. The beef was perfect, the yorkshire was huge and just the right combination of fluffy and crispy, and there was plenty of roast potatoes and vegetable.

Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog
Roast dinner at The Lazy Dog

Yurt Lush
Plot 3, Isambard Walk, Temple Quay, Bristol,
BS1 6DG

Price: £13

Right next to Temple Meads is Yurt Lush, is the one permanent home of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion. Inside is pretty warm in the summer so we sat on one of the benches outside. We didn’t book a table even though you can, but at 2pm on a Sunday there were two or three empty tables. The Yurt Lush roast is a little more than some others at £13, but the setting and the food make it worthwhile.

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Appetisers

The appetisers were delicious, and an added bonus to a great roast dinner.

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There was a fairly long wait for the food, and intially I was a little disappointed with the amount of vegetables, but there was a generous helping of meat and a huge yorkshire pudding.

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The Social
130, Cheltenham Road, Bristol
BS6 5RW

Price:

Stepping inside The Social feels a bit like going into a Tardis, a brief look in the window made us think it was quite small and very busy but when you go in it’s suprisingly big – we easily found a table towards the back at about 1pm for our roast dinner.
The atmosphere is laidback and cosy, perfect for recoperating after a heavy night or meeting up with friends.
However, the wait for the Sunday Roast was well over 45 minutes, and by the time they arrived we were desperately hungry!

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The size of the roast dinner made up for the wait though, plenty of tender beef as well as a generous amount of perfectly cooked vegetables. It might not look fancy, but it was just want a Sunday roast should be – delicious, fresh comfort food.

The Volunteer Tavern
9, New Street, Bristol
BS2 9DX
Price:£11.95

I’d heard really good things about roasts at The Volunteer Tavern, so I was pretty excited to try it out. We tried to book in advance, but apparently you can only book if you’re a party of 8 or more. When we arrived at 1pm all the empty tables inside were reserved, so we ended up sitting outside at the back.

We both went for the beef, and the food came out within about 5 minutes of ordering. Unfortunately, this was the only really impressive thing about the roast.

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For me  some of the meat was a little fatty and chewy, so much that I couldn’t cut some bits with a knife. However, there was plenty of meat that was tender and delicious.

The vegetables were a little on the stingey side – one brocolli floret, boiled carrots and cabbage – all well cooked but nothing special. And the yorkshire pudding was minimal. The roast potatoes were the highlight, crusty but fluffy on the inside.

Overall, for the price I wasn’t impressed with The Volunteer Tavern, there was nothing wrong with it, but I’ve definitely had better roast dinners in Bristol.