Our Meeting, Dining and Event Space is now open

We are please to announce that the first customers have now experienced our newly refurbished meeting, dining and event space at 54 Staniforth Road, Attercliffe and have pronounced it "superb".

For bookings please ring 0330 0431954

For bookings please ring 0330 0431954

The ash handrail was from locally sourced wood and flows up the stairs in a sculptural fashion

The ash handrail was from locally sourced wood and flows up the stairs in a sculptural fashion

A corporate thank you day was organised by a major retailer, treating their staff to a champagne reception and delicious afternoon tea.  We received many comments about the comfort of the space, the exciting visual appearance of elements like the bespoke ash handrail and the restored old roof trusses.

We are currently taking bookings for a range of events from business training sessions, wedding receptions, private dining parties and corporate meetings.  We have a very bespoke service and offer unique menus for each event to ensure our locally sourced catering meets individual needs.

More information here and here

Chef Lee and the Chatsworth Country Fair

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Lee Mangles, PJ taste's new Head Chef is this year once again in action at the Chatsworth Country Fair.  He will be found on Friday and Saturday "sandwiched" between Mary Berry and Paul Holywood in the Cookery Theatre.  There is a synopsis of all chefs here and here is the full schedule.

This year Lee will be demonstrating two PJ taste classics, The Sheffield Egg and our infusions of local herbs and fruits, Citrus HIts.  The Sheffield Egg has an interesting story - although we say it ourselves! 

The Sheffield Egg recipe as it appears in The Sheffield Cookbook, Second Helpings is here.

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The seasonal flavours of Citrus Hits Lee will be demonstrating are Rosehip with Hibiscus and Orange and Blackberry with Orange.  So this seems as good as any time to relook at the labels of all the flavours which feature some iconic Sheffield scenes.  Here they are!

Best of luck Lee.

Our Meeting and Dining Venue - finishing touches

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This week Ollie Allen has been cutting the Ash from the plot they look after near Doncaster to create the bespoke handrails for our new staircase. Not only is it exciting to be collaborating with such a creative guy but it will be the last element before we can officially open our new venue!  We are looking forward to welcoming the first guests who will be enjoying the unique space to hold a traning session.  Our Chefs table for lunch promises to be a highlight!

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I am also pleased to be contributing so some ash poles cut from our own plot last year.  These have some great natural kinks as well as angles from their original grafting joints so will help navigate around the contours of the staircase.

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Looking forward to sharing pictures of the finished creation.

Swarming Times - our local honey bees

It was action stations this morning as on my usual morning round in the garden I spotted a large swarm of honey bees in the old oak tree.

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In all probability these are from one of my two hives, which if so are indicative of a novice bee keeper having not be aware of its imminence or taken suitable preventative action. Actually I had observed that the hive from the swarm I caught in Heeley in May was going through strange times. I had seen a number of what I felt were supercedure cells being made in it. These are contructed by the female worker bees when they sense their current queen is starting to fail, that is her egg laying performace is deterioating and so threatens the future survival of the colony.

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Further than this eight days ago I had actually spotted what I assumed was a newly hatched queen and heared her “piping”. The video below has a small segment of this amazing vocal performace right at the beginning – its actually just two hoots from what was a quite prolonged and loud experience - you have to listen hard in the first two seconds!  My thought at this time was to leave well alone feeling that it was late in the year for a swarm ,the numbers of bees in this hive was not huge and that this new queen would take over in a perfect supercedure. This is a term bee keepers use for the situation where the new and old queen can actually live together for a period.  Its perfect as it reduces the gap between the old queen stopping laying and the new starting to lay new eggs.

I managed to catch the swarm by cutting down the branch to which they were attached attempting to drop this into a large cardborad box I positioned below. This did not go quite to plan with most of the branch missing the box meaning there was a lot of extra scooping to do in the undergrowth. I transferred the bees from the box into a “nuc” hive (a smaller specially designed bee hive for new colonies). Meanwhile “loose” bees were forming another smaller swarm on a branch close to the one I cut meaning another adventure up the ladder.

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I hope that I have got the queen and that the bees are happy to settle in this new home. If so there is a chance that I will increase my colony number to 3, giving more beneficial pollinators for the garden and beyond and the possibility of a local honey crop next year.

Our Meeting and Dining Venue Refurbishment Update #5

Our refurbishment of Upstairs@PJtaste is very nearly complete and we are taking bookings for September!  We have taken time to ensure that we respect the heritage of the building (dating back to 1850) but also wanted to add some interesting and bespoke new features of our own. 

The final task has been to construct and fit the handrails for the new entrance and staircase.  I am excited to have teamed up with talented local craftsman, Ollie Allen, and together we have designed a solution using local Ash (in fact some of it grown on our own plot).  This will have a sculptural feel and will hopefully appear to grow from the wall!

Ollie with an early sample of local Ash

Ollie with an early sample of local Ash

We are very happy with the warm feeling that we have created in the main room.  The natural colours in the grain of the wood from the handmade tables matching the original wooden trusses and working well with the Caligaris chairs. 

Roger Greensit provided all our plumbing input and made an excellent job despite being challenged with 10 inch concrete floors and very demanding clients!

Roger Greensit provided all our plumbing input and made an excellent job despite being challenged with 10 inch concrete floors and very demanding clients!

We're recruiting...

The growth in demand for our catering both at corporate and private events as well as within our new venue at Staniforth Road means we are looking for people to join us.

The positions are for the moment on a part time basis and we are looking for enthusiastic individuals for both customer service and kitchen work.  Experience can be useful but a desire to give amazing service and an interest in excellent local food is essential.

For more information call us on 0330 0431954 or email: ask@pjtaste.co.uk

Our Meeting and Dining Venue Refurbishment Update #4

Work continues on our major refurbishment to give a unique meeting, dining and event space at our base at 54 Stanifoth Road, Sheffield.  On the building work front it has been been great to see the faster progress now as Farlwoods, our excellent construction contractors from Sheffield,  complete plastering in the main room and tackle heavy concrete work removing the old staircase.  This will make way for a much more open and pleasant entrance and staircase.  This area will be completed with a kitchen, toilets and circulation into the main room.

With an opening date in May we are now working on the detail for the interior.  We have been fortunate to discover a talented Sheffield based lighting designer.  Diala Dajani has worked with our plans to advise how we can achieve flexible and stylish lighting solutions.  Flexible as the space will need to accommodate a range of events from business style events to more intimate dining.  And stylish in the sense that we enhance the buildings features particularly its industrial heritage and to show off the beautiful roof trusses.

A proposed layout for pendant and spot lights

A proposed layout for pendant and spot lights

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Working with local furniture suppliers, Ponsford, we have selected some contemporary Italian designer chairs.  We hope these will provide an interesting contrast to the very organic tables being made from reused pallets by the Daniel Bros.  Finally tiling for the toilets has been sourced from Nick Firth just down the road from us and vertical radiators in an anthracite colour are being fitted.  Can't wait until we can show you all around!

Our Meeting and Dining Venue Refurbishment Update #3

Having stripped the building back to the brickwork the excellent builders from Farlwood have progressed really well in the last week fitting thick insulated boards in the roof and all the walls.  Its amazing to see the skill of the plasterers as they complete a perfectly smooth finish to these surfaces.

Richard Hewins finishing the plastering

Richard Hewins finishing the plastering

A really interesting discovery has been a set of mermaid like gargoyles found embedded in the concrete running up the side of the staircase.  These have only been discovered as this old staircase is being removed.  Five of the cast iron figures were found behind a couple of layers of plaster mounted every foot or so onto a timber backing board.  At least a further three appear to be fixed behind a steel beam across the head of the stairs.  As this part is to be removed too we shall see if we can recover any more.  We would love to hear from anyone with any thoughts about what or why these were here.  In the meantime we are going to have a go at refurbishing them - some are missing various parts and all need a good clean.

Aside from the building work we have been planning the interior details.  Its great to have skilled suppliers so close on hand.  Aries Lighting in Darnall is working with us on some feature large hanging pendants, Full Volume looking at the AV installation with speakers made at Cloud Electronics (both based 2 minutes walk away) and the Daniel Bros are working on tables, curved feature walls and window sills!

Our Meeting and Dining Venue Refurbishment Update

Work has continued over the Christmas break taking the space on the first floor of our base at 54 Staniforth Road, Sheffield, back to its bare shell.  We will soon be ready to start the re-building to create our 100 seat meeting, dining and event venue.  Excitingly we have revealed the large roof trusses and the layers of paint added over many years are being stripped away.  The natural wood below has a lovely grain and should work well with the tables we are making from re-used pallets.  See our previous post for pictures.

The next job will be to remove the old plaster from the walls so that we can add thick layers of insulation both to the walls and the roof space to ensure our guests are toasty warm but also to minimise heating inputs and their environmental impacts.

Our electricians have already been busy and have actually completed their first fix to the first floor.  Theres over a mile of cable already gone in across the electrical, lighting, fire, security, audio, data and phone cables!  Great that they still look so happy!

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So progress but still lots to do!  Although its hard to imagine at the moment we are very confident that the result will be a unique venue reflecting our values of local sourcing, sustainability and innovative cooking with brilliant care for our guests.  So still very much on track to deliver the vision.

Our Fun with Christmas Menus

Lamb in a Manger, Rudolph and His Red Nose, Jerky Turkey.  Can you can see where we are going?  Its our Christmas themed BBQ.  This year we have put together a range of menus for a number of our corporate clients in Sheffield with the emphasis on Christmas fun.  So from Christmas pizza with Moss Valley slow cooked pork and a Christmas stuffing, to a generously filled Turkey Poblano burrito we have deliciously locally sourced food served with a twist.

See some menu ideas here.

Sheffield Cookbook

We are excited to announce that the sequel to the Sheffield Cookbook, The Sheffield Cookbook Second Helpings will be available from 14 November 2016.  Available to pre-order now at £14.95 this 320 page full colour book will make a brilliant Christmas present for any Sheffield food lover.  Order here

Sheffield and Yorkshire gift hampers

Our carefully selected hampers contain delicious foods sourced within Sheffield, South Yokshire and they are ideal for Christmas presents, birthday presents or simply gifts at any time of the year.

The PJ taste Sheffield Favourites Hamper

The PJ taste Sheffield Favourites Hamper

This year we have some of our own handmade preserves as well as an artisan chocolate bar which we have made using Barry Callebaut chocolate and chillies grown by John in Killamarsh.  The jams are made with fruit grown on our own plots and made with fairttrade sugar by our chefs.  Our Sheffield Favourite hamper is priced at just £19.95 and can be simply ordered on our web site.

We have added a lovely Christmas Chutney made by Matthew at Just Preserves based in Chippinghouse Road in Sheffield.  Matthew shares the same ethos as us when it comes to the care with which he sources his ingredients.

We have added a lovely Christmas Chutney made by Matthew at Just Preserves based in Chippinghouse Road in Sheffield.  Matthew shares the same ethos as us when it comes to the care with which he sources his ingredients.

Ther coffee is from another Sheffield company.  Cafeology buy extremely sustainably and it is seven years since they imported their first consignment of coffee from Asoapia in Colombia, buying direct from the cooperative.  The quality of this Columbian blend suitable for filter or cafetieres is amazing.

Other favourites of ours are Sheffield Honey and Hendersons Relish which complete the Sherffield Favourites hamper.

We are excited to be including within the Premium Hamper (at just £39.95) the SHeffield Cookbook - Second Helpings.  This is a bumper tome featuring the best of the Sheffield dining out scene.

Edible Chrysanthemum - preserving seasonal produce #3

Edible Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum coronarium, is an easy to grow annual plant which has thrived in the garden this year.  It is a member of the Asteraceae/Daisy family and otherwise known as garland chrysanthemum or chop suy greens.  Originally from the Mediterranean the plant has spead over Asia and the American continent

Simply grown from seed in the polytunnel with successional sowings over April, May and June the seedlings were hardy and grew quickly in a variety of soils and positions once planted out.

The stems and leaves are used in stir frys and steamed as a green and if you want to encourage this kind of growth then pinching out the top growth to prevent early flowering is useful.  However, having a ready supply of flowers has been brilliant for adding colourful garnishes to our delivered and event catering and these plants willingly started to flower and have kept flowering well into the Autumn, producing the lovely yellow and white and pure yellow blooms.

Chrysanthemum tea - a simple infusion of the flowers gives a golden brew

Chrysanthemum tea - a simple infusion of the flowers gives a golden brew

To preserve the flowers for use over the winter we have been drying them and crystallising them.  The dried flowers will make a lovely golden tea and the sugared ones will give an extra month or two on the garnishing front.

Taking preservation to its logical conclusion I am now collecting the drying seed heads ready for planting next year.  I suspect that there will also be a lot of self seeding going on and it will be useful to be able to recognise the seedlings in case they start to take over large parts of the garden!

Marigolds - preserving seasonal produce #2

I am always getting confused about which plants are being referred to when people talk about Marigolds so as always before consuming plants from the garden its vital that we know for sure which plants we are using.

Edible Marigold - Calendula officinalis

Edible Marigold - Calendula officinalis

The picture above is of Calendula officinalis or Pot Marigold.  It is a very easy to grow annual plant in the large Asteraceae family, the Sunflower family.  Also in this family is the Tagetes genus which are also called Marigolds!  Confusing but important as its really only the Calendula's which can be eaten in any quantity with Tagetes being potentially dangerous in any quantity.

Marigold from the Tegetes genus, edible but only in small quantities so care is required to separate from the above.

Marigold from the Tegetes genus, edible but only in small quantities so care is required to separate from the above.

Marigolds from the Calendula genus at varoius stages of growth

Marigolds from the Calendula genus at varoius stages of growth

Calendula officinalis has been used a an important medicinal herb for many centuries, to heal wounds and boost the immune system.  Officinalis refers to its use as an official plant in herbal law and Calendula is from the latin Calendae referring to how it can bloom almost right through the calendar.

Importantly for the caterer the flowers look amazing used fresh to decorate a whole range of dishes and can be used for sweet and savoury food.  The whole flowers can be used or the individual petals (technically "ray florets") pulled off and scattered.

Whole Marigolds decorating this cake of cheese

Whole Marigolds decorating this cake of cheese

Sunny scrambled eggs with garden vegetables and salad and Marigold "petals"

Sunny scrambled eggs with garden vegetables and salad and Marigold "petals"

Even though the season for flowers is long, here in Sheffield as September passes there are signs that blooming is waning.  Certainly the first frost will signal the end of harvesting so we need to preserve them to allow use over the other months of the year.  Luckily the flowers dried very well, either as whole flowers or individual petals.  We have been drying the petals and bottling into spice jars to add colour and tonic over the winter months.  We will be adding these to our hampers at Christmas.

References

There is an excellent article on the medicinal benefits of Marigolds here.

Pickled Nasturtium Seeds - preserving seasonal produce #1

We are learning more about growing our own food crops in a sustainable and productive way.  In this series of blog posts I will be picking one plant that I have grown this year and showing one simple and interesting way to preserve it.  The focus is on great taste and methods to store seasonal harvests into food which can be utilised in the coming months.

In this first post I look at Nasturtiums ,Tropaeolum minus, and how its simple to pickle the seeds to produce a caper like substitute.

Nasturium seed which has formed after the flower has finished (remanants of the brown and dried flower attached)

Nasturium seed which has formed after the flower has finished (remanants of the brown and dried flower attached)

Nasturiums are an easy to grow plant producing edible leaves, flowers and seeds.  In our new garden the rabbits seemed to love the young plants so after raising from seed in the polytunnel they were very vulnerable when initially planted out.  Tree guards worked well and from just a few plants we harvested dozens of flowers, followed by loads of seeds.  The dilema was how many to dry and save to plant for next year and how many to pickle!

Tree guards used to protect young nasturim plants - amazingly they plants grew to the top and flourished

Tree guards used to protect young nasturim plants - amazingly they plants grew to the top and flourished

As the flowers die back you will notice the distinctive seed pods forming.  These can be collected whilst still green straight from the plant (you may also notice that some will have already fallen to the ground - judicious selection will determine whether these too are collectable).

Pickling the seeds is simplicity itself and an excellent recipe and method can be found on the Decorators Notebook Blog

The distinctive seed pods still green and picked straight from the plant

The distinctive seed pods still green and picked straight from the plant

Our friends electric

Tracy and Jade both key members of our team have been well and truely zapped!  After driving our electric vans they are the latest converts to the benefits of zero tail pipe emissions and have both bought a Nissan Leaf.

This brings the electric vehicles in daily use for PJ taste to 4 when we add the 2 Nissan ENV 200 vans which have proved such great workhorses.  Tracy and Jade now enjoy extremely cost effective motoring and can use our rapid charger when at work.  (We especially like this when the sun is shining as our 37 solar panels mean that we do not need to draw from the national grid).

One of our Nissan vans alongside those from other Sheffield business on an Inmotion Open Day

One of our Nissan vans alongside those from other Sheffield business on an Inmotion Open Day

If you are interested in the green driving revolution check out the Top EV benefits here

Upstairs at PJ taste - the vision

Our beautiful dining and event space is has being created by carefully refurbishing the first floor at our premises at 54 Staniforth Road, Sheffield, S9 3HB.  With the original building dating back to at least 1870 we have uncovered the original timber trusses taking the ceiling up to the apex of the roof to give a fresh, airy feel.  An ideal meeting venue to get those creative juices going.

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The room will be furnished with beautiful tables being handmade from reused pallets by the Daniel Bros at the Portland Works in Sheffield.  The organic feel of this wood will picked up in the cladding of the main curved wall with subtle coloured led lighting reflecting the seasons.  Large globe pendant lights, being a reference to the buildings original incarnation as a billiard hall, along with discrete full sound and av system (being manufactured in Staniforth Road by Cloud Electronics) give the space great flexibility.  Our architects, Burnell Briercliffe in Sheffield, have worked hard to consider sustainability issues in the choice of materials.  The insulation is sustainable wood and all the paints will contain no volatile organic compounds.

Accommodating up to 100 people for a fully seated banquet or 150 people for more informal events our values of handmade, locally sourced and seasonal food will be the cornerstone of the menus.  Fully licensed we would like to feature our own specialities such as cider made from our own apples and perhaps even a Staniforth Road beer flavoured with our local grown Prima Donna hops.  However, guests will be able to create their own themes and menus and work with us to ensure their event is totally unique.

PJ taste Upstairs - refurbishment update

We expect our new meeting, dining and event space on the first floor of our buiding at 54 Staniforth Road (S9 3HB) to be complete in April 2017.

Throughout the planning process we have worked closely with our Sheffield based architects, Burnell Briercliffe, to make the refurbishment as environmentally sound as possible.  Considerations of sustainability are a key part of our core values and we wanted to carefully consider each step of the process from the demolition to the choice of materials used as well as aspects of the levels of insulation and on going impacts of each material chosen.

Talking of insulation we are installing a considerable amount to make the space much more efficient to heat.  We have chosen a product from Natural Building Technologies which is actually carbon negative in its manufacture.

Only wood from indigenous forests are used principally sawmill offcuts. Preference is given to wood from sustainable and socially acceptable sources. All the wood used is purchased within the European region, makes a significant contribution to a sustainable, ecological forestry industry.

Improving the insulation to this level will significantly reduce the gas required to operate the central heating meaning less radiators too.  In fact we are recycling the existing radiators rather than having to scrap these avoiding waste.  

The electrical demand will be minimised by the use of LED lighting throughout and energy efficient applicances along with movement sensor switches - chefs never turn off lights!

So with our Sheffield made tables (from re-used pallets) and 37 solar panels we are keeping things local and low impact.