Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: local produce
Showing posts with label local produce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local produce. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sober November: The Caffeine Diaries

Those of you who follow our social media channels may have noticed that for the month of November we've given up all alcohol. Not easy when you work in a brewery and run a drinks focused blog, but we wanted something that was a real challenge to show that we were taking things seriously as we aim to raise money for CALM, a charity that's very close to both of our hearts. Anyone interested can take a look at our page (and donate should they wish!) here.

Firstly - the humble tea leaf. Tea is a drink that Laura in particular enjoys anyway, but we've both drank a lot more of it over the past few weeks, with the sheer range of types and flavours available meaning there's generally something to suit any mood!

Birdhouse Tea Co

Our most local tea producer, Birdhouse Tea Co, is run by the absolutely fantastic Rebecca (a qualified Tea Champion) and her mum Julie, and is a real Sheffield gem. A recent successful crowdfund campaign has contributed towards their soon to open new premises which will include a retail area, cafe, takeaway tea bar and even a classroom where regular tasting events can be held.

As well as a monumental plethora of single origin teas, Birdhouse create a huge array of their own blends focusing on "health and happiness", with collections based on themes such as Sheffield, the Peak District, and sweetshop classics! I've tried probably about 30 of the blends (and have also created my very own at a workshop last year) and they've without exception been real showcases of flavours and with carefully selected additional ingredients to allow the tea itself to shine. If I had to pick a favourite, I'd go for Princess Peach - a delicate sencha green tea with peachy flavours and rose and sunflower petals.

I really can't recommend Birdhouse enough, and for those of you not lucky enough to have them on your doorstep in Sheffield, their blends are all available via their online shop.

Tea Tourist

Tea Tourist is a monthly subscription service which delivers six samples of (usually loose leaf) tea, all from different producers, direct to your door in a handy letterbox friendly box. We're received five of the boxes so far, and each one has showcased a totally different variety of teas. The boxes are beautifully presented and well put together, with comprehensive information provided on each tea producer and suggestions for the best ways to brew and enjoy your tea. Each sample is designed to provide four cups, although often I've got plenty more than this from them. Favourites have included the relaxing Camomile, Rose and Fennel blend from Edgcumbes, and the smoky and punchy Sherlock Holmes tea, featuring lapsang souchong tea and elderflower blossom, from Chash

Improvements and developments have been made to the boxes in the time we've been receiving them (including the welcome introduction of tasty snacks and treats to accompany your brew), in response to feedback from customers and it's been great to see how this new company (which this month celebrates it's first birthday) is growing and changing. You can also get 30% off your first box using the code MASHTUN30.

Once our usual service has been resumed, keep your eyes peeled as we're in the process of compiling a series of tea based cocktails which we'll be sharing with you soon.

We've also enjoyed this month discovering the world of craft coffee. Coffee seems to be experiencing a similar sort of upsurge in interest as beer has done over the last few years, bringing with it the accompanying increase in artisan producers. Here are a couple we've particularly enjoyed discovering.

Frazer's Coffee Roasters

Based in Sheffield, run by Frazer himself! A massively knowledgeable gent who I had the pleasure of spending a few hours chatting coffee with at a recent Meet the Producer session at our lovely local shop Mr Pickles. Here, the emphasis is on not just producing amazing coffee grown with provenance (Frazer knows exactly where all of his beans come from, supporting small farms and community projects),  but also on educating the drinker in the best way to look after and make your coffee to get the best possible drink out of it.

Frazer's Steel City blend is inspired by Sheffield's industrial heritage, and is rich and hearty with a very dark roast providing a sumptuous bonfire toffee quality. A great pick-me-up for the morning. We've also enjoyed the newly released Christmas blend, using beans from Guatemala and Rwanda. No festive spice here, just the absolute finest of beans lightly roasted to give a beautifully rounded and smooth nutty character with hints of vanilla and a gentle sweetness. Reckon this would be a perfect afternoon treat with a good hunk of homemade gingerbread!

Dark Woods Coffee

We first became aware of these guys, hailing from Huddersfield, through their collaboration with Magic Rock - Common Grounds, a coffee porter made using a bespoke blend of Dark Woods beans (Dark Woods themselves have also since released the beans aged in whiskey barrels, which is a really interesting concept).

Our favourite blend we've tried is the Great Taste award-winning Under Milk Wood, deliciously balanced with a gorgeous sweetness almost akin to caramel. Really drinkable and a gentle start to any day.

As with Frazer's, Dark Woods are keen for their coffee to be treated well once it's made it into your home and so offer plenty of information on how to brew. It's a fairly new idea to us that coffee isn't just coffee, and that it isn't necessarily a good thing to chuck a glug of milk and a sugar in, but that different blends will have totally different flavour profiles and the notes and nuances within them should be allowed to sing. It's been really interesting discovering some of the complexities of the coffee and we're definitely converts to quality.


Laura and Jim

Disclosure: we receive Tea Tourist boxes FOC each month as part of their Tea Ambassador programme. However we have reviewed the product honestly and all views expressed are entirely our own.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Sheffield Cookbook: Second Helpings

The second release of the Sheffield Cookbook, from Meze Publishing, is out now just in time for Christmas, and a veritable plethora of Sheffield's restaurants, cafe and pubs are showcasing their top recipes within. Now we're big fans of the first book, and have the Nottingham version too, and this second edition is MASSIVE... proof that Sheffield has a thriving and vibrant foodie scene!

Being the beery types that we are, one of the things that we first noticed about this book is that Sheffield breweries and pubs are very well represented. Abbeydale Brewery is represented by their pub, The Rising Sun in Nether Green, who's kitchen team have whipped up a rolled lamb breast dish with crispy lamb neck bon bons, using Abbeydale's Daily Bread (we have since been to the Rising Sun to taste this dish and can absolutely vouch for it's deliciousness!).

Sentinel Brewery have created a pork and black pudding Scotch egg (which has malt in the coating!), served with brown sauce made from brewer's wort - a really interesting way to incorporate beer and the brewing process into food!

If you're more of a dessert person, one of our favourite shops, Beer Central, has submitted a chocolate cake recipe using Thornbridge Brewery's sumptuous Cocoa Wonderland stout. Thornbridge's best bitter, Lord Marples, is also represented by the Stag's Head pub (which forms part of the Thornbridge portfolio) who use it as a braising liquor for their venison shank.

The recipes are mainly targeted towards pretty ambitious home cooking, but generally use ingredients that are easy to get hold of, making the book perfect for those who like a bit of a challenge in the kitchen. For example, the ham hock ballotine with textures of apple from Thyme Cafe is an excellent mix of simple flavour combinations, incorporating a more technical way of cooking. We're also dying to have a go at one of our absolute favourite dishes - Rico from the Rutland Arms has shared his secrets on how to recreate his INCREDIBLE cod dish, which comprises beautiful roasted fish with arroz nigre (a risotto type dish made with squid ink), braised octopus in garlic and smoked paprika XO emulsion. We always make a beeline for the Rutland whenever we spy this on the specials menu, and the recipe is detailed and informative enough that we have confidence we can at least have a go at doing the dish a bit of justice (we will report back in due course!).

So much deliciousness in every single one of it's 318 pages. Bravo, Sheffield Cookbook!


Jim and Laura

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Toasted Sandwiches: Brewdog Sheffield

Everyone knows that sandwiches are the perfect hearty pub snack - one step up from the humble pork pie, but without needing to resort to a knife and fork. Sheffield's Brewdog have just announced a new toastie menu to accompany their range of hot Pieminister pies (you do get cutlery with this option!), and we were invited along to give them a try. On the night, Jim was stricken with an evil bug, so it was a solo Mrs Mashtun mission this time - it's a hard life!

The menu labels itself as "toasted sandwiches", but there were no flimsy triangles of disappointment here, oh no. Every sandwich is made on fresh ciabatta bread from Seven Hills Bakery, and stuffed full of tasty treats with an emphasis placed on quality local ingredients. They're also very reasonably priced, at between £4.50 and £6 for a filling sandwich with a couple of little accroutements on the side.

We were first treated to "The Big Italian" - a generous portion of Milano salami from the lovely folks at Porter Brook Deli, with goat's cheese, mozzarella, and little semi-dried tomatoes which gave a beautiful burst of Mediterranean freshness. I was covered in it after the first bite, so it's fair to say this was a little on the messy side, but cheese and meat on your face is an excellent way to get to know each other. A good sandwich for bonding. It came paired with Brewdog's Libertine Black IPA, and the citrussy, spicy nature of the beer cut through the richness of the sandwich really well.

On the side, we also got a little dish of Salty Dog steak flavour crisps, and a pot of the most adorable mini gherkins I've ever seen in my life. I'm an absolute cornichon whore and predictably I loved them.

The second toasted sandwich turned out to be my favourite. Cheese, cheese, and cheese, all melted onto the crusty bread to form a hefty portion of molten scrumptiousness. The cheeses in question were more mozzarella and goat's cheese, with a great tangy cheddar alongside. What made this one a cut above for me was that the whole piece of ciabatta is doused in Henderson's Relish (for those unawares, a Yorkshire and better version of Worcestershire sauce) before the cheese is melted onto it. After eating this, I don't think I ever want to eat a sandwich again that hasn't been treated to a Henderson's dip. A Weihenstephaner Hefeweisse was selected to go with this and the creamy freshness of the beer cut through the cheese at the same time as complementing it. The little accompaniment here was the world's longest sweet pickled chilli, which was delicious and another component of the meal which ended up coating my chin.

Up next was a Brewdog twist on the classic ham, cheese and pickle - the twist being that the pickle had beer in it! The menu advertises Punk IPA pickle, but on the night we were given 5am Saint chutney, to go with the beer we were drinking (5am Saint itself!). The sharp cheddar and frankly awesome chutney were both great ingredients but it was the thick cut ham from Trearly Farm in Wales (but again acquired from Porter Brook Deli) which made this sandwich stand out - just lovely. This would be a perfect lazy lunch.

The veggie option was also delicious - griddled aubergine and courgette, marinated in garlic oil, with an olive tapenade and some more of those lovely semi-dried tomatoes. Admittedly not the option I'd have originally picked as an out-an-out lover of meat, but definitely one I'd consider in the future although I think I'd choose to add on some goat's cheese (75p supplement). To go with this we were treated to the single-hopped Citra version of Brewdog's IPA is Dead, which provided a refreshing balance to the slightly salty sandwich.

Every Brewdog bar differs in kitchen facilities and this is reflected in their menus. The Sheffield team are proof that a lot can be done with just a single grill and a pie oven. The whole group was really impressed with the sandwiches on offer, and the fact that every ingredient has been clearly thought out and carefully sourced. These are toasties done proper, Sheffield style!



Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Wick At Both Ends: Spring/Summer Menu Launch

After our move back to Sheffield 18 months ago, we discovered a few places we'd never been to before which made us fall right back in love with our hometown. The Wick At Both Ends is certainly one of these, with a great seasonal menu (featuring an array of locally-sourced ingredients), artisan drinks and a Sunday roast dinner to rival your mum's, so when we were invited to sample the new menu we couldn't wait to book a table.

We started our evening as all good evenings should begin - with a cocktail. I strayed from my usual favourite, the Hansel (gin, raspberries, rhubarb liqueur and gingerbread syrup) and went for a Clover Club. Similar to the Hansel in that it had gin (Portobello), and raspberry, this classic drink also featured vermouth and an egg white. Egg in a cocktail is something I used to shy away from, but took the plunge to discover it adds a beautiful frothiness that makes the drink feel like a proper treat. A massive hit of fresh raspberries gave a pleasant tang. Jim selected the famous whiskey sour, which was made with Bailie Nicol Jarvie and citrus, which was slightly too long a drink for his usual taste but still whet the appetite for the meal to come.

For starter we shared the potted crayfish with soda bread, which was a good unusual appetiser. The butter to crayfish ratio could have been adjusted a little to give more of a seafood hit, but it was nonetheless very tasty, and the warm soda bread was delicious. 

My roast haddock main course was well cooked, and came served with new potatoes and a fennel and cucumber salad. The freshness of the crunchy aniseedy fennel worked really well with the fish, and the whole thing was doused in a lovely green watercress sauce. The dish just sang of spring.

The star dish of the meal was Jim's choice of lamb rump. This came to the table deliciously pink, sat on a little cushion of rosemary and mint rosti. The flavour of this was more rosemary than mint, but this was no bad thing, and ensured it married beautifully with the lamb. Carrots and redcurrant jus completed the dish, with a few jewelled nuggets of sour redcurrant which added a real burst of flavour. Lovely.
To finish, we indulged ourselves and shared a cheeseboard. This consisted of Y-Fenni mustard and ale, with a creamy heat of mustard definitely making itself apparent, Cropwell Bishop Stilton, and a delicious soft goats cheese. Alongside the cheese was a homemade caramelised red onion chutney and some nice little crackers. The only downside was we only got one grape, which isn't a fruit that is easy to share!
The meal was washed down with a couple of pints of Hop Studio Citra, one of two cask ales on the bar (the other being the solid local favourite, Abbeydale Deception).

I've noticed on twitter that the chef is already dabbling in some new dishes for the next seasonal change, but I do hope he takes a step back and savours those he's already created - the food at the Wick is a triumph in the world of "pub grub" and it's for this reason that we will return again and again.


Laura x

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas Farmer's Market

This weekend saw the annual Nether Edge Christmas Farmer's Market, a fantastic event showcasing a huge variety of local businesses, including Christmas crafts, handmade art pieces and a huge assortment of food and drink. After a very busy weekend, we decided to have a wander round and pick up some bits for tea.

We started off our afternoon with a cup of mulled wine, just to get us fully in the festive mood!

With such an array of top quality produce on display, it was really hard to decide what to go for. The market was packed full of people and had a proper Christmassy feel. The stallholders were friendly, enthusiastic, and more than happy to talk about their goods. Sheffield seems to have had a bit of a revival recently, with numerous new companies popping up all over the city. 

One such business is the fantastic Forge Bakehouse on Abbeydale Road which makes absolutely gorgeous bread, setting unique recipes alongside the more traditional ones. We eventually selected a Mr Potato Bread, filled with rosemary and chunks of potato, and the intriguingly titled Cardamom Snurr (my new favourite thing). 
Before heading home, we treated ourselves to a mulled wine flavour cupcake!
Glittery cherry on top! From Cupcake Time - yum!
The rest of our post-Christmas tree decorating meal consisted of a venison and cranberry pie, a chicken, thyme and apricot pie, smoked trout pate, a creamy horseradish flavoured cheese and two Trippel-style "Drink Me" Mad Hatter ales, which I couldn't resist on account of the Alice in Wonderland theme, from new speciality beer shop Hop Hideout

It's so nice to be able to find such top-quality products right on our own doorstep and support small, local businesses at the same time. The whole meal once put together felt like a proper special occasion and was the perfect end to a great weekend.



Monday, 25 November 2013

The Old House, Sheffield

With an ever-excellent, seasonally changing food menu, and an always stellar (never Stella) beer selection, including local and guest ales and an array of continental lagers, The Old House, on Division Street in Sheffield, is one of the great bars run by the mini-chain of gastro pubs, Forum Cafe Bars, and our favourite of the group.

With its walls adorned with music and alcohol memorabilia - from Johnny Cash to Havana Club, from Leo Sayer to Timmermans (plus a massive Hogarth print and some Prohibition propaganda), this is a place that oozes nostalgic cool.

We've eaten here a number of times, and 9 times out of 10 we choose the pie. The pie menu changes daily, and there are always four homemade varieties on offer, including a veggie option. Unusually, tonight we both went for the same - the intriguing sounding chicken, chocolate and orange. Weird it was indeed but in a very good way - tasty, meaty, and just the right combination of bitter and sweet. Pie-lights of the past have included beef stroganoff (with tiny little pickled onions!), ham hock and cranberry, and harissa beef and kidney. The pies are excellent value at £7.95 which includes mushy peas and handmade chips.

The rest of the food menu is also worth a mention, with locally sourced produce and good old-fashioned English recipes.

Whilst the puddings looked yummy, neither of us could quite fit one in after our hearty main meal, so went instead for a beverage-based treat. Jim went for a tasty dram - the Macallan Gold - and I selected a speciality cocktail, the Whiskey and Stout Flip. Containing bourbon, dark ale, caramel and A WHOLE EGG it is smooth, sweet and utterly delicious.

As well as being a great place just to relax over a post-work drink or meal, The Old House also hosts a variety of special events, including themed evenings and gin tasting nights, which we would also highly recommend. The staff are without exception friendly and always willing to offer suggestions from the extensive menus.

The only downside on this occasion was that we didn't manage to drink enough beer to get the "Coming Soon" ale, my favourite Titanic Plum Porter, onto the bar!