Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Shelford Deli, Cambridgeshire

Shelford Deli

The Shelford Delicatessen has to be one of the best loved spots in South Cambridgeshire, they are renowned for their amazing sandwiches which every office worker in within a 5 mile radius knows about. I worked nearby a few years ago and we regularly sent a colleague out with a sandwich order when the local supermarket offering got dull.

Back then they were just a small shop selling cheeses, meats, olives, all sorts of jams, pickles, oils and vinegars along with fresh pasta, bread and the aforementioned sandwiches. They also did a small line in fresh fruit and vegetables and the best tomatoes you could get your hands on.

I was tipped off recently that they'd extended the shop into a cafe which sold the same brilliant sandwiches along with hot dishes, pasta, salads, cakes and Monmouth coffee.

We settled upon a 'meze sandwich' each plus coffee. The sandwiches are in fact more like a ploughmans or a deli platter. Mine was ham with piles of pickles, salad and gorgeous granary bread, and of course English mustard. The ham is cooked and glazed in the deli and it certainly tasted so too, lovely. Mr had the vegetarian meze which consisted of a plentiful plate of homemade things - carrot houmous, guacamole, tapenade, olives and more fresh bread. The coffee is excellent, as you would expect with Monmouth.
Shelford Deli Mezze Veggie
We shared a chocolate cake (I am on a diet after all...) which was very rich, sugary and chocolatey - everything a proper chocolate cake should be I think.
Chocolate Cake Shelford Deli

The food here is great, a little on the pricey side as is normal for the area.The only thing I didn't really like about it is the strange ordering system, it is a bit like our experience at The Eden Cafe, but more complicated and ends up in lots of people bumping into each other - you order food at one place, drinks opposite, they write it all down on a bit of paper and you come back to a third till to pay at the end! Be prepared to get a bit confused, and queue in at least three queues, but the food is worth it!

Their website doesn't say anything about the new developments, they need to update it, and doesn't have opening times. I know closes at 2pm on a Saturday, closed Sunday and I think open all day during the week.

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Food blogger on a diet - eek!

Inspired by Miss Sue Flay's post I thought I'd write about my own mission to get healthier - eating better and exercising more (well exercising at all). Since I started blogging 4 years (!) ago I have learnt so much about food, how to cook and perfecting the perfect brownie, cake and bread. I still love baking and I am not giving up proper cakes and treats but now is the time to get a bit healthier and not always have a home baked sugary cake in the kitchen.

I've been half heartedly giving exercise a go since about January, when I went to my first Zumba class, which was a good introduction, but in the last few months I joined the gym which has helped me get into a routine, I am going to attempt to get better at running next - wish me luck!

But this is a FOOD blog so I am here to talk about some of the yummy and healthy things I've been enjoying lately.

Lazy Giraffe Blog - Granola
Lizi's Granola with greek yoghurt, honey and berries

Lazy Giraffe Blog Courgette Pecan Bread
Courgette & pecan bread (sugar and butter, apart from the peanut butter, free)

Lazy Giraffe Blog Granola

Food Doctor Granola (no sugar unlike Lizi's) with banana, sunflower seeds, apricots

Lazy Giraffe Blog Shashouska River Cottage Veg Everyday
Shashouska, quinoa and an egg

Lazy Giraffe Blog Pizza Ricotta
Healthier pizza, swap mozzarella with ricotta, swap tomato sauce for hidden vegetable sauce. More tomatoes and capers for flavour, teeny shaving of parmesan.

Lazy Giraffe Blog Tea Kandula Dr. Stuart's Chai Rooibos
Broadening my tea tastes!  

Lazy Giraffe Blog Chopped Salad
Chopped salad, houmous, pitta, sunbites - good if you really want crisps!

Lazy Giraffe Blog Granola
More granola, pretty breakfast!

Lazy Giraffe Blog Shelford Deli
 Amazing lunch at the Shelford Deli - lots of local and fresh produce (blog post coming soon)

Lazy Giraffe Blog
Haul of veggies from the market

I seem to mainly take pictures of breakfast, one of the main things about changing my diet has been eating a proper  breakfast instead of grabbing a chocolate bar on the way out or leaving it til lunch and then eating too many unhealthy things. 

I don't have any tips yet because I am still learning myself but I think keeping loads of fruit and healthy snacks around and banishing biscuits, chocolate and crisps from the house really helps you not reach for unhealthy things when you are peckish. Also working lots of veggies in to your meals as sides really helps you eat less carbs and get your vitamins - a simple salad or some steamed or roasted veggies. We've been enjoying coleslaw made with low fat yoghurt and dijon, roasted butternut squash, chilli spiked broccoli and fresh summer tomatoes dressed with a teeny bit of oil and plenty of herbs. 

I have by no means banished treats from my diet - I do still have a piece of cake if I am having a coffee with friends, or the odd piece of chocolate. But I am trying to moderate and be mindful of how often I am having a treat, which is helping me keep an eye on things.

Am hoping to include some of my favourite healthy recipes on the blog soon, along with the usual things too. I'll leave you with some of my new favourite healthy blogs:

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Tomato Bruschetta

So who else, whilst watching Celebrity Masterchef this week, thought - who boils tomatoes for bruschetta and removes the skins? I always thought the idea was to use fresh tomatoes?

Anyway, despite that, I really fancied some nice basil and olive oil spiked tomatoes after watching it. Here is a confession - my tomatoes which should have been some locally grown fresh summer tomatoes were actually from Tesco. Sorry, are my blogger credentials ruined?

Anyway, I used some cherry tomatoes which are sweeter than the normal sized ones and gave them some help with decent olive oil and basil from my garden. So I think I win a bit more because I grew the basil myself? I finely chopped and then crushed into a paste with the knife some garlic and added that, with plenty of seasoning.

Instead of the traditional ciabatta I used some pizza dough I had in the fridge to make pizza fritta. This is a pretty unhealthy but awesome way of making pizza, I got the recipe from Jamie Oliver's 'Jamie at Home' book. Basically you fry it in olive oil on both sides til it fluffs up - then add toppings and grill to melt the cheese. For this I just topped with tomatoes and served it up.

This was a perfect indulgent but light lunch and the extra flavourings from basil and garlic pimped up (sorry been reading too much Joliver) some ordinary tomatoes. I will try it with some 'proper' local tomatoes soon, I'm sure it will be amazing!

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Exploring China & Sichuan Salmon

One of my favourite programmes at the moment is Exploring China, I wrote about catching up on it in my food programmes post recently and I am really glad I found out about it, it is a brilliant series. I've learnt a lot about Chinese cooking from it and am keen to try some new recipes from the series.

The programme in Sichuan was very interesting, having seen many Sichuan restaurants popping up in London and even one in Cambridge, I was keen to know about the province a bit more and also how to use the infamous Sichaun Pepper.

I liked the idea of creating a Sichuan pepper spiced hot oil to pour over the dish to finish it off so I tried it on a fillet of salmon. Not a traditional thing to use with Sichuan cuisine as they don't use much seafood, but it was delicious and diet friendly (more on the dreaded diet soon). A warning: the photo is pretty unphotogenic but it tasted delicious!

I poached the salmon fillet in vegetable stock (you could use fish stock if you had some) for about 10 minutes on a medium low heat. Meanwhile I fried finely chopped garlic, a teaspoon of chilli bean paste, finely chopped ginger and about 10 Sichuan peppercorns crushed up. When the salmon was ready I poured the fragrant hot oil over it. I had it with a cabbage and carrot salad spiked with rice vinegar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. A perfect light dinner with tons of flavour.

You can find (very few of) the recipes on the BBC Website, I wish there were a few more there but I suppose they want me to buy the book! Exploring China is on Sundays at 8pm, the next episode will be in Taiwan and Canton.

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Platelickers Anonymous Supper Club

I went to the second Platelickers Supper Club, cooked, hosted and run by miss igs and afternoontease back in July, so I do apologise for the extreme lateness of this blog post.

Along with an absence of enough good restaurants there aren't many supper clubs in Cambridge either, but with the amount of Cambridge food bloggers there are (hi everyone!) I did think someone would set one up eventually. Whilst I have wild ambitions to do a supper club with all the spare time I don't have, I don't think I could manage it as brilliantly as the ladies from Platelickers.

The supper club was in the St. Pauls Church on Hills Road, which was a quirky location - we ate amongst lovely stained glass windows and pews, with candles lighting the room and making everything very pretty.

This was the second Platelickers Anonymous, with a moroccan/middle eastern theme. We started with some gorgeous and garlicky houmous and some baba ganoush with pitta and vegetables to dip - neither of which I have successfully been able to make myself - these were shining examples of how to make these dips properly.

The drinks were not forgotten too, a lovely vodka and pomegranate cocktail. We were both thankful for these as we'd bought along a hastily purchased really awful bottle of wine to drink!

The starter was a chilled green gazpacho, nice to have something different to the usual tomato. We all mused over what it contained, we think peas, basil, garlic and maybe some other green vegetables. The soup was fresh and with lots of flavour for a cold dish.

Main for meat eaters (which I failed to take a picture of) was a slow cooked pork belly served with herby cous cous, gooseberry chutney and green beans with orange. Best crackling ever! And the pork just melted, the gooseberry was a really nice take on the traditional apple sauce. For the veggie dish Mr got courgette and feta fritters, which I wanted to steal one of when he wasn't looking! But I didn't. I'm nice.

Pudding was two desserts - win! Baked peaches with a lovely sugary nutty topping and almond and polenta cake. It was Mr's birthday so the ladies had kindly put a little candle in the top for him, sweet touch :)

We had a lovely time at the supper club, which was well attended by some local food bloggers, it is great to be supporting a little venture like this and try some new and interesting things in a relaxed atmosphere.

Details of the next supper club haven't been announced yet but follow Miss Igs and Afternoontease's blogs for updates.

They've also blogged some of the recipes from the evening too.
Roasted Pork Belly
Gooseberry, elderflower and ginger relish

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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Food Programmes Galore - Great British Bake Off, Masterchef, Hairy Dieters

I've been seeing lots of tweets here and there about food programmes, some adverts, and it turns out there is  A LOT of food programming on in the next week and continuing for a couple of months, brilliant!

Despite being one of the biggest cynics I did get very addicted to the Olympic coverage, and so I am very happy there is now something to filled that swimming pool sized (geddit? sorry) void I have in my TV watching. *

Celebrity Masterchef
I missed the first one yesterday but fully intend to catch up on it this evening as soon as possible, I hear TV presenter from our teens Jamie Theakston is on it. 6.30pm every weekday for 6 weeks, BBC2.

Simply Italian
This has been on for a couple of weeks now,  hosted by TV newbie Michela Cappia. Despite the slightly annoying presenting style (and over pronunciation of things in an Italian accent in an English sentence) the recipes on here look really interesting and I'm keeping a mental note of a few to try soon. Mondays, 8.30pm, Channel 4.

Great British Bake Off
Back for a third series, one of my favourite programmes, is back on tonight. I've seen a few bloggers saying they are applying for it so I hope to recognise one or two of the contestants, or at least their blog names. Tuesday, 8pm, BBC2.

Lorraine Pascale - Fast, Fresh and Easy (don't snigger)
I watched this last night, it was ok, maybe it is aimed at beginners? I liked the idea of the Aussie Damper Bread but really a re-hash of the soda bread she made in a previous series. I would like to visit the street food truck she helped at though. Mondays, 8pm, BBC2.

Hairy Dieters
I love the Hairy Bikers, I really enjoyed their tour of Europe in their last series but I was having worries about the sheer amount of food they were eating and wondering if they really did eat like that! Turns out they do, or did. Apparently Dave Myers has lost 3 stone since they started filming it, some good recipes here, particularly as I'm trying to cut down on treats myself, and also, as always, quite fun to watch. Thursday, 8pm, Channel 4.

Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure
Featuring Ken Hom and super smiley chef Ching He-Huang, I need to catch up with this on iPlayer, thanks to Ireena for the heads up.

Also, Nigella is back in the Autumn for more totally over the top programming which will no doubt set Twitter on fire with comments, I do look forward to the pantomime nature of her TV shows. I'm sure River Cottage will be back with something too and I think Jamie Oliver is filming.

So there we are, void filled! How I am going to keep to a diet I don't know.

* Of course there is the Paralympics too and I will be watching that as well!

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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Weekend in Cornwall

After our wonderful trip to Rome we were lucky enough to have also planned a weekend in Cornwall soon after, centered around seeing Blink 182 play the Eden Project on Sunday night. With such a flying visit we tried to pack in as much as possible in a short time - and a trip to Fowey was something I made sure we fitted in along with a day at the Eden Project.

We ate at The Boathouse, an Italian restaurant right by the water, a beautifully fresh prawn linguine for me and a vegetarian pizza made in a wood fired oven for the Mr. We had a stroll around the town, and made a note to come back again for at least a week.

The Eden Project was the next day, last time we went about 3 years ago they had a so so canteen area and a little organic cafe which was good - the food has improved vastly since then. It is now called 'The Eden Bakery' which is actually the Town Mill Bakery under another name. The bakery is laid out with long benches and there is a counter at the top. You choose what you want, choose a drink and pay at the till. We ate a mid morning pastry there (pain au raisin), a fantastic lunch for £6 each (mine was salmon, new potatoes, salad, raita and bread) and then came back again for coffee and afternoon cakes (carrot and beetroot and banana muffin).

The food was fantastic, there was also a little shop upstairs selling ice cream made on site but we couldn't fit anymore food in. In the Rainforest Biome there is also a little stand where they sell Baobab Smoothies, a tropical fruit grown in the biome, which tastes a bit like mango and pineapple.

The Eden Project has always been somewhere different to go and I'm really glad the food now matches up to the atmosphere.

Oh and Blink 182 were AMAZING!

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