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.

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.

 

 

Garden Report - Edible Flower Special

Edible flowers are blooming in the garden following the ground work reported in my last garden up-date.  Its great that we have been able to raise all these from seed, despite a late start this year.  This is with the exception of the wild flowers which are being foraged from within the garden.  In the pictures below this is represented by the Rose Bay Willowherb with everything else cultivated.

We are enjoying using these as interesting and colourful garnishes for our food with them enhancing daily buffet deliveries and our wedding catering.  However, we have quickly found that at the peak of the season we are producing far more flowers than we can use so are now supplying to the Urban Pantry in Crookes, Sheffield.  In addition we are preserving through drying Marigold petals, crystallising borage and looking to make Rose Bay Willowherb syrup.

A Wedding Cake of Cheese (supplied by Reece at  Urban Pantry ) decorated with hop (dwarf variety Prima Donna), Marigold ,Viola, Nasturium, Borage and foraged Meadowsweet

A Wedding Cake of Cheese (supplied by Reece at Urban Pantry) decorated with hop (dwarf variety Prima Donna), Marigold ,Viola, Nasturium, Borage and foraged Meadowsweet

Here is a bit more detail about some of the flowers we are growing along with there uses:

Marigold - Calendula Officinalis

Otherwise known as Pot Marigold or the Common Marigold the stunning bright orange or yellow petals can be removed and scattered through salads, rice, cous cous, or to finish cupcakes. The petals can also be simmered in milk and used as a saffron substitute.

 

Viola

Flowers have a lettuce-like flavour and make a decorative addition to a green salad or to garnish a pâté or dessert. They can be crystallised and used on cakes, cookies or creamy desserts.

Nasturium

Nasturtium flowers are available from June until the first frost, growing in a beautiful range of colours from acid yellows, through oranges, to deep reds and multi colour. Nasturtium flowers have a distinctive sweet peppery taste when fresh. They can be eaten whole or petals stripped and strewn over salads, risottos, and are also very good fried in a crispy tempura batter.

Malope Trifida

These white Vulcan flowers have been grown from the seed of plants raised in 2014.

Borage

One of the very best known edible flowers, borage is a classic, blue or white star-shaped flower with a mild cucumber taste. An essential addition to a jug of Pimms, they work perfectly with all refreshing summer drinks, puddings and salads and are strong enough to hold their shape when refrigerated. N.B. Pregnant and lactating women should avoid borage flowers, as more than eight to ten flowers can cause milk to flow. They can also have a diuretic effect, so should not be eaten in great quantity.

Shungiku

Yellow and white petals of the edible chrysantheum with a slight peppery after taste, beautiful strewn across both sweet and savoury dishes.


 

Disclaimer: PJ taste has researched the food safety aspects of all the edible flowers which we offer. However, individuals consuming the flowers or derivatives which can be made from them do so entirely at their own risk. There can be dangers for people who are pregnant, suffer from aliments such as hay fever, asthma or severe allergies or other health issues in case of doubt please consult your doctor.

Our Christmas Quiz to win a Sheffield Favourites Hamper

From Prosecco and Pomegranate Punch to Handmade Sausage and Cranberry Rolls we are providing some unique locally sourced and Sheffield Made menus this Christmas - see our Menus

 Win a PJ taste Hamper!

In the year since we moved to sunny Attercliffe our 37 solar panels have been working hard. To win a Sheffield Favourites Hamper "calculate" the tonnes of CO2 this has saved.  Just email your answer and the nearest wins - closing date 30/11/15.  Good luck.


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On the road to sustainability

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Since moving to our new production kitchen and premises at 54 Staniforth Road we have become increasingly interested in how to develop more sustainability. 

We have been extremely impressed with our Nissan electric van since taking delivery in March.  This was sourced through the Inmotion Scheme which adds very favourable grants for business.  We are able to charge the van via the 39 panels installed on our roof which effectively makes the running costs free and not to say zero carbon!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Rob Samuelson from jump energy and peter moulam at pj taste on the completion of the solar install - with our locally sustainable sheffield egg!

Now working on the refurbishment of floor 2 at Staniforth Road we are keen to incorporate as many features as possible to increase the sustainability of resources used in years to come.  Built into the plan so far are effective insulation, low energy lighting, rain water harvesting and grey water harvesting (of excess kitchen water use) as well as indoor growing!  This will involve extending our recent experiments in growing micro greens indoors to incorporating it as a key feature in the new space.  With Sheffield Architects Burnell Briercliffe working with us on the scheme we would welcome any further tips on building sustainability into this refurbishment.

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

its simple to grow a range of "microgreens" indoors supplying excellent leaves for garnish and smaller salads - saves importing and transporting from external suppliers

Talking about growing we are extending the volume of crops we grow ourselves and are looking for land on which to develop an Urban Forrest style garden.  The ambition would be to grow more unusual perennial plants, bushes and trees to produce crops which we can then use and preserve for out of season use within our menus.  Of course some supplies are hard to grow and source locally.  Whilst we obtain excellent organic Yorkshire flours and oats from Driffield, sugar at the moment is a more global commodity.  It is arguably grown relatively unsustainably in the UK (see my previous post here) so its good to see the progress of our Stevia growing experiment.  Planted out in June the foliage has developed well and we are looking forward to our first harvest in the Autumn.  Once dried we can make a dried powder and a liquid sugar substitute.  On a larger scale it could make a significant contribution to our sweetening needs.  We will be taking cuttings in the Autumn and try to sustain more plants through the winter.  They are not frost hardy so we will need need to think about this.

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

Stevia plants july 2015 - lets have some more sun!

On the waste front we have a way to go.  We do compost all our organic kitchen waste and recycle cardboard and glass but our general waste bin always seems to fill up fast.  Good kitchen management can help by using just in time stock ordering, sensible portion planning, preservation techniques and clever use by-products.  This should result in virtually no direct waste of ingredients although packaging of ingredients always seems excessive - any ideas to reduce this? 

Our ultimate aim is to produce creative and exciting food for your event that is as near to carbon free as possible.  See our menus here and watch our progress!