Brighton Born and Bread

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

M&S Beef, How to cook thick cut sirloin

I am a foodie. I love all things food; cooking it, eating it and talking about it A LOT, but recently I have realised that to love it is to know where it comes from. Trust me, I am not here to preach and often we can all lose sight of quality and traceability over convenience.  Which is why Marks and Spencer's latest campaign is so important. 

As the only national retailer who are able to trace their beef back to farm..and then animal, they perfectly combine knowledge of food with convenience to buy and accessible recipes. To promote their latest beef traceability campaign I was invited to try some of their beef recipes and see for myself the difference knowledge makes on their beef. 

And what better way to test that all than with a steak? Thick cut sirloin steak to be exact. 

The secret to a good steak, for me, is to get organised. Know your timings and have all of your equipment ready to go. I always start by allowing the meat to rest before frying. Then cover the steak in a light olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. I tend to do this for ten minutes whilst sorting out the rest of the kitchen.

Then, in a very hot dry pan, fry for the allotted time- for these thick-cut steaks you are advised to go for 2 minutes on each side. The pan should split and sizzle when you put the steak on, make sure you've got the extractor fan on and try not to get spat at!

Once the steak has been fried on both sides, you can do one of two things. Either place the steaks into a preheated oven for 10 minutes (rare) to 16 which is well done, or turn down the heat and continue to fry. Henry and I like our steaks differently but this just meant taking one out earlier than the other.

I was lucky enough to be gifted some of their famous chunky chips to go alongside the steak, if you haven't tried them then you are missing out! They take 15 minutes in the oven so I would put them in slightly after the steak. It is always best, if not a bit frustrating, to allow the steak to rest once it's been cooked so make sure you leave the gap so your chips don't go cold. 

You can't have a good steak without a good selection of sides; chunky chips, of course, some kind of green (we went for wilted spinach) and a sauce to go alongside. In our home, a favourite sauce is a classic red wine. Pop the oven tray that the steak was cooked in over a hob to keep it hot, deglaze with red wine and flour to thicken. Season it well and let it simmer with a bay leaf in. Pour over your steak, or if you're feeling fancy you can always serve in a separate jug. 

And the final touch? A good glass of red - a Merlot or Malbec are my go-to options. I am no wine connoisseur but the deep flavours always work well alongside a rich sauce and luxurious steak dinner. 

This meal was delicious (If I do say so myself), we have a particularly hot oven so make sure to check your meat before resting so it is cooked perfectly but the chips were perfectly timed and our homemade sauce was great. I will definitely be buying the steaks again.

I love steak, both cooking it at home and ordering it out. 

Did you see my last post? I was invited back to the Brighton Community kitchen (Where I took an amazing class on how to make pasta) and took their masterclass all about handmade sushi 


Monday, 16 July 2018

Sushi making at The community kitchen

I am so in love with this city right now. I don't know if it's the sun or the fact it's nearing the summer holidays, but I feel so lucky to live in Brighton. It is not only beautiful but it is filled with some great people and projects and one of those, is the community kitchen. 

The community kitchen is a space in central Brighton run by the Brighton food partnership that launched at the end of May (I was lucky enough to be at one of the launch courses and wrote all about my pasta making experience here)
It has a range of courses from how to cook vegeterian food to baking at home, sushi skills to italian style cooking. Alongside these commercial classes, they also host courses for disadvantaged people in Brighton, giving them invaluable cookery skills.

After their launch I completely fell in love with the project again (I had gone on one of their courses a few years ago, before the fancy kitchen) and I couldn't wait to go back and try one of their courses. 

The course itself was run by Jethro, who will be hosting/teaching a range of the courses. When we arrived the kitchen was fully prepped, rice cooked and all of the equipment and ingredients out already. He had already made up the rice which was a great time saver. 

We were lucky enough to get to make a range of types of sushi, starting with Norimaki. We had a selection of fillings to choose throughout the course, starting with vege options for this. I loved learning all of the techniques and tips; seaweed shiny side down and thinly cut vegetables.

Next, we attempted Uramakihe Uramki which was basically 'inside-out' sushi. It was definitely a step up in technique and a lot more fiddly but I loved the final look of it, we finished all of them by rolling them in poppy or sesame seeds. I filled mine with salmon, avocado and cucumber and I have to say it tasted great.

The whole course was so well organised and I loved that we had the recipes in front of us. The equipment was already laid out when we arrived and alongside the vegeterian options, there were also two kinds of salmon and sushi grade mackarel. Lots of options to choose from. 

We made two other styles of sushi; Temaki hand rolls and Gunkanmaki (battleship rolls). We were again encouraged to pick our own toppings and most of us opted for fish. 

Even after all that there was still more to make.. we were shown how to make teriyaki chicken with noodles. It was great to learn how to make the teriyaki sauce from scratch and I will definitely be making it again, maybe even with salmon this time. 

One of my favourite part of the course was the meal. Each person laid out their selection of sushi and their handmade teriyaki chicken noodles and ate together at the table. It was a great chance to sit around and eat the food whilst talking about all things food and asking Jethro questions. We even got to try some sake at the end which I suprisingly liked. 

I cannot recommend the course enough, the kitchen itself was beautifully done and perfectly set out; easily fitting 10-12 people around the workspace. Jethro was knowledgable without being patronising and I learnt so much more about sushi and even perfected a roll or two. I also want to mention the volunteers, who were both so friendly and made me (as the only single person on the course) feel so welcome and comfortable. They had the hard job of washing up but did it all with a smile. 

Make sure to go to their website to find out more about the Brighton and Hove food partnership and all of the courses. 

Did you see my last post? Carrying on the sushi theme, mum and I went to Tropical sushi and reviewed it here. 


Friday, 6 July 2018

Tropical sushi

Fusion food confuses me. Sometimes it's amazing and sometimes it's just not great. So when I was invited down to Tropical Sushi I was sceptically excited- I had only heard good things and with a combination of some of my favourite flavours and foods, I was hoping I would love it. 

The Restaurant and Menu 

The restaurant itself is at the Hove end of Western Road, a perfect place to get to for Brightonians and Hove (actually) people. I loved the decor of the restaurant; a combination of simple seating and beautiful artwork on the wall. All of the food was served on vibrant colourful acrylic boards which added a unique twist.

The menu is set out as an almost flipbook, with sections for everything from starters and bites, to fusion rolls and sushi platters. It was well designed and had options for all dietery requirements. 

The Food

We started our meal with one of their signature fusion dishes, a nori taco which was filled with salmon, avocado, wakame and an eel and spicy mayo sauce. Mine was also served with plantain but my Mum's wasn't. I cannot recommend the taco enough. It was a great flavour combo and I loved the crunch of the taco with the smoothness of the salmon and avocado. The plantain was a lovely surpirse as well, adding a sweetness to the other flavours. 

Next, we had one of their platters. We were given the Amazon's platter which had five different kinds of rolls (four of each) with a couple of alterations to suit Mum's nut and banana allergies.

The first roll on the platter was the Tricolour roll; a combination of salmon and avocado, wrapped in tuna, salmon and avocado. Salmon and avocado is one of my favourite flavours together and this roll was delicious, topped with tempura flakes, there was a great mix of textures.

Next was the Mi Amor roll. This was a king prawn tempura with avocado with a smooth crab topping, it was a flavour I haden't had before but it was a nice creamy addition to the roll. 

The third was Andrea, which was another king prawn tempura roll but topped with king prawn tempura aswell and served with their Fuji sauce. The fourth was The Tropical. This again was a salmon roll but this was definitely my favourite; the most fusion in my opinion, as it was topped with plantain and served with sliced cucumber it was another great flavour combination. 

We also got to try one their vegetarian options which were a combination of tempura vegetable served with inari tofu and a teriyaki drizzle.

The final roll we were served was the Tiger roll. This was a king prawn tempura with avocado but with a crispy nori exterior- it was something I've not seen before and loved the crispy (almost deep fried) texture around the edge.

We were lucky enough to be invited along to Tropical Sushi and so our dishes were a chef's selection. The platter itself had a great combination of flavour but for two was far too much food, I will definitely be returning but my order would be slightly different; with less salmon and more of (for me) their speciality rolls which focus more on the true fusion element. I'm still thinking about the nori taco, it was a standout part. 

We finished with a stunning pineapple ice cream which was beautifully smooth and even came served in a hollowed out pineapple. 

The Allergies 

With short notice they were very accommodating to all of the allergies that we had, making the rolls by hand to order meant that they could make all of the appropriate substitutions. The menu itself offers a lot of different options for different dietary requirements so would be a great place for a large group. 

Mum and I both agreed we can't wait to head back, if you were to head to Tropical Sushi what would you be ordering from their great selection? Let me know in the comments or tag me in your pictures over on instagram


Thursday, 28 June 2018

Pago fruit juice cocktail

Summer is finally here and my ultimate summer activity always involves a drink in the sun. As a Brighton based blogger I am lucky enough to have so many outside spaces to enjoy a drink or two in the sunshine, from the beach to the downs, there are so many places to sit with friends and enjoy something refreshing..and luckily I even have a garden. 

So when Pago sent me some of their fruit drinks, I wanted to make them into something a little more special.  They have such a big range of flavours available, but to go along with my grapefruit juice I was sent there was nothing better than a summer cocktail!

For two cocktails, combine half a bottle of Pago with a small bottle of prosecco. There's nothing worse on a picnic than a warm drink so I like to add some frozen fruit; it keeps it cold, adds extra flavour and of course, looks cute too

I am so looking forward to more drinks and picnics in the park soon! 
What is your favourite flavour available from Pago to take on your summer outings? I loved the flavours they sent but am dying to try their rhubarb and pear one..maybe mixed with a nice gin?


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Three Stack move to Hove

I am a breakfast person. I can never turn down a good brunch and I love waking up on a weekend and taking time to make an amazing breakfast. I don't have a preference, savoury or sweet. But something that fits for everyone is pancakes. 

I am not sure how I managed to miss Three Stack at their previous home in town, I always heard good things but just never seemed to be near it at the weekend. When I heard they were coming to Hove, and to somewhere literally round the corner from my house, I was so excited! I headed down on their opening night to see what all of the fuss was about.

Firstly lets talk about the decor. The newly fitted cafe is stunning. A perfect combination of real plants and plan white walls with plenty of tables and plugs for computers, it is a perfect spot for working with a side order of pancakes. The venue itself (The Villas) is a community building which already has a small cafe and a large soft play area, with a grassy area outside which is great in both sun and rain. 

The pancakes themselves were being made-to-order outside the venue in their kitchen. The menu varied from a vegan option of blueberries and vegan yogurt to the indulgent Choc Overload which was a stunning mixture of chocolate pancakes  Oreos, chocolate chip and chocolate sauce. 

At only £5 per pancakes (£6 for the vegan) the price is reasonable for the size of the portion. 

The mothers and I went for something in between; a banoffee pie pancake for me and fresh and fruity for them. My banoffee pie was a perfect combination of tangy yogurt, crunchy biscuit and sweet caramel sauce. The pancakes were perfectly light and the three medium size pancakes were a perfect portion size. 

My mothers both went for the fresh and fruity which was a combination of fruit; strawberry, blueberry and banana (they didn't have banana as they are both allergic to bananas). The fruit was fresh and a nice mix with the sweet pancake. 

I am so excited to head back to enjoy one of their coffees or a Bird and Blend (formally Bluebird) tea that they also have on offer, with a side of perfect pancakes soon.

Check out their website to find more about them and what they offer, I know I'm tempted to hire them for an event soon- maybe even the next Brighton Blogger event?

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