soberandhungry's Blog

we love wine, we love food and we love sharing


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Vis – Croatia – where to eat / best restaurant: Konoba Stončica

After a couple of nights in Split we embarked on our next adventure to Vis the farthest inhabited island off the Croatian mainland. The ferry took a couple of hours and as we entered the harbour we were both pretty chuffed that we had decided to visit. Vis is stunning.

The island itself is not huge with an area of 90.26 square kilometres but it felt like there was a lot to do and the size of the island makes it accessible for exploration! All around the edges of the island are small intimate beaches and our host had recommended a small sandy beach which stood out amongst the pebble beaches we had become accustomed to in Croatia. This adventure led us to discover Konoba Stončica which was our favorite find on the island.

We rented bicycles to get there and where feeling pretty parched as we manoeuvred our way down the side of a hill to lock up our bikes.  Only intending to stay for a drink our eyes were drawn to the food and we stayed for 3 hours! Here we discovered some delicious Croatian Rose that we later discovered was a highly rated brand, the best Octopus Salad we have ever had and Croatian’s can cook potatoes as well as my mum’s Sunday Roasties. Again, the fish came out on a silver plate and they only had the freshest in stock (some items on the menu were not available because they had not been caught) and again we feasted on the best seafood that the Dalmatian sea had to offer. The total bill came to 575.00kn (2 people). After the meal we enjoyed some snorkelling in the sea.

TripAdviosr’s no 1 restaurant at the time of publishing this post is Roki’s. They specialize in ‘Peka’. A Peka is a large metal baking dish with a bell-shaped dome lid. It is used to cook food in an open fireplace, with hot coals and embers placed on top of the dome for even, slow cooking. You need to book 3 hours in advance and we chose the lamb. All the vegetables where freshly plucked from their gardens and their wine is home-made. The restaurant is situated in the heart of Vis and the owner will arrange a car to pick you up. It is worth a visit if you have the time. The total bill came to 496.12kn (2 people)

Some other useful notes if you are off to Vis:  

  • Outdoor Cinema: for 25kn you can sit out under the stars and watch one of the latest blockbusters (in English with Croatian subtitles, need a total of 8 people for the film to show)
  • Rent a bike: to get to all the beaches
  • Rent a Scooter: to get to Komiža which is the other side of the island. Ride through all the vineyards that make up 20% of the arable land
  • War History: we did not find the time to do it, but Vis is island steeped in war history. As well as tours revealing Vis’s secrets, there is a World War Two US bomber at the bottom of the ocean if you are into Scuba Diving. One for our to do list next time.
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Split – Croatia – where to eat / best restaurant: Konoba Matejuška

Following on from our amazing holiday in Pula we quickly booked another holiday back to Croatia to satisfy our hunger for Dalmatian life! This time we planned to visit 3 new areas. Firstly we went to Split, the second-largest city in Croatia. Our apartment was in the old town a stone’s throw away from the Diocletian’s Palace (a Unesco World Heritage site). We had done our research ahead of the trip and knew which bars and restaurants we needed to frequent for our short stay ahead of travelling to Vis.

The number 1 restaurant on TripAdvisor, as well as our favourite, was Konoba Matejuška. Situated off a side street from the main Riva, this unassuming restaurant probably only seats around 20 people. We had emailed and called ahead to book to no avail. On our first day we walked to the restaurant to book ourselves in and found that there was only one table available during our stay late in the evening (they do not check their emails we were informed).

On our arrival we were greeted by a very friendly waiter and ordered the local wine (the wine is usually classed as first rate or second rate, if you go for first rate you are getting a top notch bottle). He then came out with a huge silver plate of fish. You select your fish from the plate and that is what they cook with the fish charged by weight! For our starter we had muscles in a white wine sauce and squid ink risotto. The muscles were cleaned really well and were huge – the biggest muscles I have ever seen and the squid ink risotto was exquisite. We chose a large Sea Bass and a mixed fish plate including Tuna and Shark (with a side salad to add some colour). Our waiter de-boned the white fish at the table which was charming and impressive. The total bill came to 1,109.90kn (for 4).

Another restaurant that is worth noting is Trattoria Bajamont. Although it is not rated in the top 50 restaurants on Trip Advisor (and has some mixed reviews), other bloggers rated it, as did we. The muscles did have a little crunch at times but the sauce they were in was amazing. As we were looking at the menu the waitress came out to cross out all the dishes that had been sold out and we were quick to secure a spaghetti and scampi (king prawns) and a spaghetti and mixed sea food dish. They were both substantial portions and we enjoyed sitting outside the restaurant on a rickety small street in the heart of the old town. The total bill came to 435kn (for 2).

Some other useful notes if you are off to Split: 

  • Bobis: within the Diocletian’s palace there is a  bakery chain called Bobis – great for a cheap light bite.
  • The Basement of the Diocletian’s Palace: For 40kn you can go under the Palace and walk around the impressive basements (also good for GOT fans I am informed)
  • Tour Ticket: you pay 10-20kn to get into the attractions within the center. Rather than paying individually the most cost efficient way is to by a muti-ticket for 45kn which will get you into the Cathedral, Treasury, Crypt, Bell Tower and Baptistery.
  • Rent a bike: Split is really bike-friendly, we would recommend renting a bike and cycling around ‘Marjan’ a hill on the peninsula of the city. It is covered in a dense Mediterranean pine forest and completely surrounded by the city and the sea, making it a unique sight.
  • Froggyland: a fun collection of stuffed frogs in human poses 35.00kn


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‘Seven’ Course Tasting Menu – Typing Room Bethnal Green

Stepping out of Bethnal Green station onto an unassuming crossroads, you would not know that a mini Old Street has formed on Paradise Row and an innovative modern restaurant serving European dishes has appeared in East London’s Town Hall.

My friend recommended visiting Paradise Row’s Mother’s Kelly which boasts 23 taps of beer with massive fridges full of bottled goodies, before heading to Pen and Patriot for a very posh cocktail and smoothly moving on to Typing Room for my anniversary dinner (Pen and Patriot is next to Typing Room). Although named after the building’s original typing room in which all communications from the mayoral, council and judicial system were scribbled, it is a far cry from what I imagine a ‘typing room’ would have looked like. With teal / grey walls, open seating and a bustling kitchen to our right, we sat through a ‘Seven’ Course Tasting Menu’ with accompanying wines.

I will let the pictures below do the talking…


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Dave’s Toad in the Hole with self raising flour

Today we embarked on a culinary exploration into a world of unique batters unspoken of in other Toad in the Hole recipes (having no plain flour in the cupboard we used self raising flour). The results were pretty spectacular…

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If you yourself fancy being filled with innuendo (words fail me today and everything I pen has an air of, well, erm), here is how we did it…

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Game of Thrones Cake Topper – King’s Landing

Our latest creation has been a chocolaty version of King’s Landing from GOT. Our building materials included many of our favourite chocolate treats including chocolate Fingers, Rolos, After Eights, a chocolate log, ORIOS, mini chocolate rolls, Caramel Buttons and White Buttons – all cemented together with melted chocolate.

Finished topper

We started with a picture of King’s Landing from the opening sequence and worked out how our materials would be best utilised to construct the castle. The large chocolate roll formed the base of the castle with the mini chocolate rolls used for the larger towers and fingers for the smaller towers. Rolos and ORIOS created the detail around the base of the towers with Caramel Buttons and White Buttons creating the detail around the top of the towers. We made spears by melting chocolate into foil cones and cogs by painting chocolate patterns onto White Buttons… below is a step-by-step picture guide. 

All you really need to do is get creative with chocolate! Enjoy S&H


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Practice Christmas Dinner & The Best Yorkshire Pud!

The weather is turning, which S&H do not mind as it means warm winter foods are starting to come on the menu! Aside from the staple curries and casseroles we went a bit mad last week and decided on the ultimate winter meal  and had a practice Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings. The most successful element was our massive Yorkshire Pudding. It has to be shared with you all…

Yorkshire

Ingredients: 

  • 140g plain flour (this is about 200ml/7fl oz)
  • 4 eggs (200ml/7fl oz)
  • 200ml milk
  • sunflower oil, for cooking

Instructions:

  1. The oven should be nice and hot from all your other yummy food! However, if it is not, pre-heat the oven to 210C
  2. Make the batter first – in a bowl beat the eggs into the flour
  3. You then need to gradually add the milk to the mix – (my trick is to do this in a protein shaker!) – transfer the batter into the shaker and then add the milk bit by bit shaking manically in between. If you  do not have a shaker – add it to the bowl ensuring the you beat into the batter until lump free
  4. Season to taste and let the batter rest
  5. Drizzel sunflower oil into a large 12″ tin and heat through in the oven (5 mins)
  6. Pour the batter carefully onto the hot oil covering the tin with 1cm of batter (this mix makes two yorkshires)
  7. Cook undisturbed for 25 mins until the puddings have puffed up and browned
  8. Serve immediately
  9. NB: You can also freeze the cooked yorkshires for up to 1 month.


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A meal to remember: Easter Feast 2013

Although between us we could not profess to having partaken in a forty-day period of fasting prior to the Easter weekend; it had been a while since we had arranged an S&H meal to remember! This had to be rectified and our Easter Feast 2013 turned into somewhat of a Master Chef skills test as we stretched our culinary skills creating some of our best food to date!

Our antipasto instantly raised the steaks – Homemade Cured Fillet of Beef. This is a timely process in which a whole fillet of beef is cured for 3 days covered in salt,  sugar and rosemary. It is worth being patient as the final product is an intense, melt in your mouth explosion! We served this with finely chopped celeriac, creme fraiche and French mustard salad along with some buffalo mozzarella (standard!)… and washed it down with some French red wine.

This was followed by a traditional dish from Milan. A superb Saffron Risotto. This was cooked with Homemade Chicken Stock and dried saffron that gave the risotto its famed rich yellow colour.

We had a last minute change for the main. Initially we planned to cook Ox Tail, but after visiting the butcher it was decided that the Ox Tail just was not big enough! So we bought the Ox Tail for another occasion and also bought a shin of beef.

The Shin of Beef was Stuffed with Sausage Meat and Wrapped in Caul Fat. Then braised for 4 hours in brandy, port and red wine … we then braised ourselves in a similar fashion!

We enjoyed a couple of desserts. Firstly munching down on some homemade and decorated chocolate cupcakes followed by some rum cake that had traveled all the way from Barbados to the S&H table. We washed this down with some dessert wine and whiskey…

Easter Cup Cake

The recipes for the bits in bold will follow.

We hope you all had a great Easter too!

S&H