Yelly Eats

A hidden gem a stone’s throw from The Secret Annex

Originally posted on my TripAdvisor Account

With so many things to see and do in Amsterdam, one can be forgiven for opting to settle for the familiar internationally known fast food brand names. But as with every trip we do, we like to eat “where the locals eat”.

Sefa BBQ and Grill restaurant hasn’t actually come up in any of the searches we did while we prepared for the trip and researched food places to try. But, as luck would have it, most of the places we wanted to go to weren’t evening meal-type places. When we searched for cheap eats in Amsterdam, this came up. We loved a good mixed grill and the reviews were good. It was a a stone’s throw away from Anne Frank’s house, and this was a plus as we wanted to get our bearings because we were going to visit the Secret Annex the following day.

We got off the tram and only had to cross the street to get to Sefa. We were greeted with smiles and were seated right away. We looked at the menu. We chose our dishes from the grill section and chose the Kip Sis (chicken) Schotel and Isgara Kofte (minced lamb meat koftas) Schotel. The dish comes with bread and rice or chips (you can also choose to have half chips and half rice, or all rice or all chips), and a serving of salad.

When the dishes came out, we couldn’t believe how generous the portions were. There was a large amount of rice, a large serving of salad and a VERY generous portion of the grilled meats. We ordered fresh mint tea as our drinks (you’ll find that most restaurants in Amsterdam will have this on the menu).

The meats were beautifully cooked and seasoned well and not at all dry. It would be very easy to over cook the meats but the lamb patties were soft and juicy and the chicken pieces were grilled perfectly and succulent.

The service was quick and efficient and the food came out piping hot! Everyone was so kind and friendly. I loved that they automatically left containers of chilli and garlic sauce on the table. We didn’t have to ask for them!

The meal was excellent value for money. We paid just under €40 for our meal (including the 2 teas). They were generous with the meats and the sides, and what is most important is that the food was most certainly delicious! We are definitely going back and we will be telling our friends about Sefa!

If you see it, know that the unassuming and “usual kebab shop” front is deceiving. Go in and have something from the grill menu. You won’t regret it!

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Yelly Eats

Going the full monty

Sometimes, nothing else hits the spot like a full English breakfast.

This is my idea of a full english: rashers of bacon, hash browns, sausages, eggs over easy (or sunny side up), mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and black pudding. It’s a huge breakfast but it does fortify you for the day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s yummy and it’s a massive meal, but it’s not something I’d have every single day. It’s one of those things that you get when you’re on holiday or treating yourself to a lie-in.

Everything in moderation folks!

Yelly Eats

Yamagoya ramen

We visited Yamagoya several weeks ago, and as is always the case, real life gets in the way of my writing entries in my blog (yes, excuses, excuses! I know!).

 Yamagoya has 2 branches in London that I know of, in Southwark, just across from the station, and In Shaftesbury Avenue near Chinatown. We went to the Southwark branch because we thought it would better to visit the Southwark branch because it would be less busy than the Shaftesbury Avenue one. Yamagoya had a special edition cherry blossom rainbow cake.

But we thought, since we were there, we may as well try the ramen.

It felt like we stepped into a homey mom & pop ramen-ya, or at least it was how I’d always imagined it would look like. We went to the counter and ordered the gyozas, the chicken karaage and the signature Yamagoya ramen.

It was out-of-this-world-delicious! We took forever to photograph our food (this is what happens when a group of foodie instagrammers together!) but we managed to stop and actually enjoy this hug in a bowl!

The bone broth was SO good! It was so tasty! One sip and I felt like I was enfolded in a massive hug! Every element of the ramen bowl was meant to offer you comfort. The noodles were light enough for me to finish all of them but substantial enough to make you feel like you’ve had a meal; the marinated eggs were so flavourful — I can’t put into words how pleasurable it was when that runny yolk coated my mouth; but my absolute favourite was the chashu pork! I would love to order a few extra slices and have just that and rice!

If you’re near either the Shaftesbury Avenue or the Southwark branch, do go! It is an experience not to be missed!

Yelly Eats

Sunday lunching

It’s nearly 6pm on a Sunday and I’ve had a busy day.  I woke up after sleeping in, made mushrooms on toast for breakfast for Alan and me, chatted to my mum, sister and dad via FaceTime, cleared some of the mess in the kitchen and then batch cooked food for the week.

I’ve got bolognese slow-cooking on the hob right now but Alan and I have had lunch already.  I had smoked haddock leftover from when I made fish pie so we thought it would be a good idea to have kedgeree.  We wanted a fish meal as we’d been having so many meat meals and we, well, maybe me, more than anything else. wanted a fish meal.  So I dusted off my kedgeree recipe (I wrote it over 2 years ago now!) and cooked kedgeree.  It was lovely and comforting and always so photogenic (aided by a strategically placed sprig of coriander).

If you’d like to try your hand at cooking kedgeree, please try my version of it – the recipe is here.  And if you do, please let me know how you get on!

Yelly Eats

Blondies

I’ve always loved blondies but they’re not necessarily not something you see in most bakery stalls because it is more often overlookby it’s more popular cousin, the chocolate brownie.

This is my recipe for these gorgeous morsels.

Ingredients:

  • 225g good white chocolate, chopped
  • 125g butter, cubed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanila
  • 160g plain flour
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170ºC.
  2. In a heatproof bowl place the cubed butter, and the chopped white chocolate.  Place the bowl over slow boiling water, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of your bowl.  Allow the butter and chocolate to melt slowly, stirring it occasionally.  Once in a while, lift your bowl off the heat, rest on a towel and stir to help the chocolate to melt along with the butter.  This stops the butter-white chocolate mixture from getting too hot and the mixture won’t become grainy.  Once the white chocolate has completely melted, left the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. While the butter-white chocolate mixture is cooling, measure out the ground almonds and flour and mix with a balloon whisk to make sure they are well-combined.  Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar until smooth, thick, moussey and a very pale yellow colour .  I use a free standing mixer and this usually takes about 10 minutes on medium speed.  It will take about 15-20 minutes if you’re doing this by hand (depending on your forearm muscle strength and endurance!).  Add the vanilla and mix for a few seconds to make sure the vanilla is completely incorporated.
  5. Add your almond-flour mixture in three parts, each time making sure everything is mixed thoroughly before adding more of the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour the batter into a tray bake tin foil or a rectangular pan (about 20×30 cm) that has been greased and lined with baking parchment. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven (this varies because of how hot your oven can actually get), until the top becomes firm and shiny and when tested and a toothpick or skewer is inserted in the centre of the bake and comes out clean (sometimes with a few sticky crumbs sticking to it).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes (about 5 minutes during a cold winter!).  Once cool, gently lift from the pan and place on a cooling rack and allow the bake to get cold.
  7. Depending on how greedy you are, you can slice this into 18 to 24 squares.

Variations to flavours:

  • Raspberry and rose blondies – instead of the vanilla, add 3 tablespoons of rosewater to the eggs and sugar mixture (step 4). Wash your raspberries and dry thoroughly and roll them in flour.  The number of raspberries you add will be equal to how many blondie slices you want, i.e. for 24 slices, you add 24, etc.  Add 50g more of flour to your almond-flour mixture because the more fruit you want, the wetter the bake.  Bake for an extra 10 minutes, making sure you cover the top with foil when it browns too quickly.
  • Cardamom blondies – add 3 teaspoons of ground cardamom to the flour and almond mixture (step 3), instead of adding vanilla.

Let me know how you get on with the recipe or suggested variations and leave a comment please!