Student Eats – Staying in
There are many advantages to sharing a house with friends and one of the things most students discover when they first move away from home is the magic of house parties.
There's no 10 deep queue at the bar, no closing time, no expensive admission prices and you get to choose the music!
It's not all crazy partying though and sometimes it's nice to do something a bit simpler. And what better way to bond with your new house mates than over food? Whether it's a takeaway or a home cooked dinner, sharing meals will bring you closer together (as well as saving you some pennies).
Everyone's got their favourite take out and once found, you'll remain forever loyal. Here in Sheffield we've got plenty of the standard pizza and kebab takeaways (and you'll find a lot of these on London Road), but if you're after something a bit different, then try some of these gems…
For a decent curry, Bilash Tandoori is a good choice. It's been going for 25 years and it's become a bit of a Sheffield institution. It's well loved by vegetarians due to its extensive (and well priced) veggie menu, but there is a standard menu with meat dishes on there too. Personally when I'm eating curry, I do like to try the vegetarian dishes as I really enjoy the different tastes and textures. I like the creaminess of the Tarka Dal, lentils cooked with garlic (£3.30) and the bite of the Bhindi Bhuna, okra cooked with tomatoes and peppers (£3.50). I always like a bit of paneer and Bilash has 12 different paneer dishes including a lovely Aubergine Paneer dish (£3.70).
Of course, meat eaters are not forgotten and again there is a decent variety to choose from. As well as the standard bhunas, kormas and biryanis (£3.40 to £7.65), you'll find Indian fresh water fish marinated and cooked with cream, almonds and medium spices (£6.50). Unfortunately they don't deliver but they're well located on Sharrow Vale Road, just before Hunters Bar Roundabout.
If you fancy a pizza why not go full hog Italian at Italian Express? They won Sheffield Star Takeaway of the Year last year and promise to bring restaurant quality food into your home. Ok, some of the dishes, such as the steaks, are a bit pricey but pizzas and pastas are affordable, especially with the 10% student discount.
And with pizzas with names such as Dolce Latte e Parma on the menu, you know you're in for something authentically Italian. Pasta wise, there's almost 20 different varieties and some of my favourites include Matriciana (bacon, garlic, chilli and tomato) with spaghetti or penne (£4.45) or a vegetarian lasagne (£5.95). Italian Express deliver on orders over £12 (with a £2 charge), and if you spend over £30, you'll get a free bottle of wine thrown in too!
If you fancy a treat then a Japanese takeaway from Sushi Express will really hit the nail on the head. The sushi and sashimi (slices of raw fish) is always fresh and tasty. My favourites include the Salmon Roe (£1.50 each) and Salmon Sashimi (£5). If you want a bit of variety, try the Rainbow Maki (£5.95 for 8 pieces).
There's a good selection of cooked dishes too and my favourite is Katsu Curry Don (£6.80). You have a choice of chicken or pork which is then breaded and served in a curry sauce with sticky rice. For the more adventurous you could give chicken heart skewers a go. I haven't tried them myself, but at £2 for 2 skewers I think I'll try them next time. Of course, you also have to order some Edemame (£1.20) as these salted soya beans are fabulous with drinks.
The Food Shop
Where you shop for food will probably depend on where you're living. There's plenty of Tescos and Sainsburys around and both offer value ranges, but if you're after a different shopping experience then try and make it down to the market.
Castle Market is another Sheffield institution, but many would quite like to deny its existence. See it's not as pristine as your average supermarket, but what this place lacks in reward cards and posh bags for life it makes up for in friendly service and excellent value for money.
Just take a wander round the food market and you'll see what I mean. There are butchers, fishmongers, dairies, grocers and bakers all offering fresh produce at prices cheaper than any supermarket. Head to W Buntings and Son for top quality meat including burgers for 50p each and sausages for about £2 for 6. Anthony Andrews Fish and Poultry has a good selection of fish and often have 1kg bags of sardines for about £2.50 – just make sure you ask for them straight out of the freezer, otherwise they'll have defrosted and you won't be able to freeze them again.
Stuart's fruit and veg have lots of bargains on offer. They change weekly, but they'll often have bags of apples, tomatoes, mixed peppers and courgettes for 50p each. Lately they've had great offers like 4 figs for £1, 4 pomegranates for £1 and 8 nectarines for £1. No supermarket can beat those prices! T Pickles has a good selection of cheese and cooked meats. My favourite cheese is Horlicks Extra Mature Cheddar (about 85p for 100g). It's really tasty and and as it's quite strong, you won't need much if you're making a sauce. The Yorkshire ham is really good and excellent quality at 75p for 100g (about 3 large slices).
Another interesting place to shop is Tai Sun. It specialises in Chinese and Japanese food and there's plenty of convenience food which is popular during exam time! I recently visited and had a tour around the store with manager Mei. I managed to pick up some fabulous foodie tips and recipes. Check my tour out here.
If you want to find out more about the food we produce in Sheffield then there are some good farmers markets to visit. Sheffield Farmers Market is held on Fargate in town on the 4th Thursday of every month. It's ideal if you've got lectures in town as you could pop over to pick up a tasty sausage butty and a bun for your lunch. For details of who you'll find at the market click here. Other good markets to look out for include Bradfield Farmers Market and Nether Edge Farmers Market.
Cooking at Home
Cooking for others can be fun especially if you have a group of friends/housemates who also like food and, more importantly, will return the favour! Here are some impressive, but cheap and easy recipes to try.
Honey and Mustard Glazed Ham Hock
I think my ultimate recipe would have to be Honey and Mustard Glazed Ham Hock. You can pick up a hock for about £1.60 from Castle Market. It will have been salted so rinse it off under cold running water when you get home. Then soak it in a large bowl of water in the fridge overnight. The next day, you'll need to drain the water off and then simmer it for 3 hours with a chopped up onion, two chopped up carrots, a bay leaf and 5 cloves (if you have them, don't worry too much if you don't).
Three hours later you need to take the ham out of the water and let it cool for 10 minutes or so. Whilst that's happening, take about 200g honey and 60g wholegrain mustard and mix them together in a bowl. Then slice all the skin off, trying to leave a layer of the fat covering the meat, score into the fat with a knife, and pour the mustard mix over the hock, ensuring that it's all coated in the mix. It then needs to cook in a pre heated oven at 200C for half an hour. This is great hot or cold and will easily serve 4/5 people. For a detailed recipe click here.
Sausages are good student grub, but they're even better when served in a delicious casserole of tasty vegetables. Make sure you spend a bit of cash on the sausages though, you don't want a mouth full of gristle with every bite. Get yourself down to Castle Market for the veg as you'll pick up all the required ingredients cheap as chips down there.
This is a shorter version of a favourite recipe. For the original, along with added ingredients, click here. First up, dice an onion and fry it off in a large pan with some oil. Chop up an aubergine, a large courgette, a pepper (any colour), 8 mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic. Add them to the pan and fry gently for 10-15 mins. Then add a tin of tomatoes along with about 150mls of beef stock, a good squirt of tomato puree, a ¼ teaspoon of dried mixed herbs and some salt and pepper. Give that a good mix and let it simmer away for 45 minutes or so.
Brown off six good quality sausages in a frying pan. This is just to get some colour to the skin, not to cook them through. Add them to the veg and tomato mix to cook for about half an hour. Once the sausages are cooked through serve the casserole up with mash or jacket potatoes. You'll get three big servings out of this, but if you need more, just double up the ingredients and don't forget that you can freeze portions too.
For a veggie version, skip the sausages, cook the tomato and veg mix for about an hour and then add a tin of kidney beans and cook for another 10 mins.
Everyone likes a pie don't they? A fish pie is probably the healthiest pie of the lot; mainly due to the lack of pastry. Travelling chef, Craig Middleton (@Craig_middleton) kindly donated this recipe.
Peel and chop 1kg of potatoes and boil in a pan to make mash. Whilst they're boiling gently fry off a sliced onion, 2 chopped up cloves of garlic and a sliced leek with a bit of butter and seasoning. Once soft, not coloured, add 2 pints of milk to the pan and bring it to the boil. Then add 1kg of fish trimmings (you'll find this at Castle Market) and cook for 2 mins. Remove the fish using a slotted spoon and set aside. Don't throw the milk away!
In another pan slowly melt 100g butter then stir in 100g of white flour. Slowly pour in the hot milk whilst stirring until you have a nice sauce (you might not need all the milk). Next up place the cooked fish in a deep pie dish and add 2 quartered hard boiled eggs (optional), sprinkle over 4tbsp of chopped fresh parsley and some frozen peas. Then pour over enough sauce to just cover the fish mixture half way. To finish, top off with the mash, sprinkle over 100g of cheese and bake in a pre heated over at 200C for 15 mins. Lovely!