Monday, 23 March 2015

SHWI Eats - The Bhaji Shop, Thali Cafe

SHWI member and blogger, Ros Arksey has written about the recent SHWI Eats trip to The Bhaji Shop for her food blog, Nibbly Pig. SHWI Eats is one of our spin-offs that organises trips to local eateries around Sheffield. She's kindly allowed us to post it below....

The Bhaji Shop, thali cafe, was our chosen venue for the March outing of the SHWI Eats group. This was my first visit to the cafe and first outing with the group, as I’m a ‘newbie’ Seven Hills WI member. Yes, it was inevitable that I was going to be drawn to the group which involved food…

Positioned on Chesterfield road, the Bhaji Shop is relatively new, having opened last year. It is run by brother and sister Matthew and Melissa, who between them and the wider Holdsworth family have plenty of culinary experience. (Many of you may be familiar with the famed bhajis from their dad's business ‘Masterchef’ based in Attercliffe).

As the name suggests, the food at ‘Bhaji’ focuses on spice, offering Indian-influenced wraps, curries,  bhajis and samosas - to mention a selection.  As we were taking over en masse (about 30 of us) we were lucky to have the opportunity to try a bit of everything from the menu with a buffet.

We arrived at 6.30 and were greeted by the colourful turquoise exterior and swathes of twinkling fairylights. The style made me think of the film Amélie with it’s warm kooky design and quirkiness. We even had our own special welcome written up on the blackboard.

Once everyone arrived and was seated, there was a real buzz and cosy atmosphere. Every table had a dish of poppodoms, chutney and raita, so we got stuck into those whilst watching the activity in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before Matthew let us know that the food was ready and served, then the queue formed quicker than you could say ‘bhaji’.

Everything was served together, so you could do starters first  and come back up for your main course of curries. Alternatively, depending on your strategy, you could use your time efficiently and pile your plate high with a bit of everything!

There was a real mix of tempting homemade delights to choose from and the aromatic smells were tormenting to those of us near the back of the queue!! There were big bowls of golden crisp bhajis, sweet potato fritters and samosas, plus coriander and plain flatbreads, coleslaw and green salad. Then there were large dishes of more ‘mains-style' meals with prawn Keralan curry, chickpea and sweet potato tagine, chargrilled harissa lamb steak, earthy daal, chunks of crisp paneer and tender marinated chicken skewers and rice. There was a selection of condiments too, I enjoyed the sweet and sour pineapple chutney.

There was plenty of food so there was no danger of anyone leaving hungry. We were well looked after by staff, with water constantly topped up as well as a seamless flow of dishes being brought through from the kitchen. I managed a few trips up to the buffet table so I could try as many of the different dishes as possible, (but I only had a small plate!). I think I managed a bit of everything, I enjoyed it all but my favourites were the king prawn Keralan and the spicy chickpea tagine (which reminded me of chana masala).

It was an enjoyable evening with lovely food, as well as an ideal chance to get to know other foodie-minded WI members too. I definitely plan on returning to the Bhaji Shop - but next time it will be a more sensible portion, as I was still full the next morning!

Having checked out their Facebook page, the menu changes regularly (with daily specials) and you can grab a lunchtime wrap or salad, go for something more substantial with a thali selection with curry or just indulge in a cup of tea and dessert.

The Bhaji Shop

53 Chesterfield Road,
Sheffield S8 0RL

Tasseled bracelets with Bobbins & Buttons

March's meeting kicked off in the 'usual' way with an introduction and welcome from President Kirsty and then it was onto the normal monthly WI business of announcements, spin off group details and information for planned events and news from WI federation. I should perhaps point out to new members and guests that whilst the news announcements and highlights are always interjected with a little SHWI humour - March was slightly 'unusual' and we had the awesome treat of a Birthday Bainbridge! This led to a lengthy and somewhat hilarious take on our normal SHWI announcements, I only wish we'd got it on video! If you missed anything, don't forget to check out Facebook for details of spin offs, events and to chat to other members.

There was then a quick break for cups of tea, coffee, mingling and some sampling of the amazing cakes and bakes brought by our lovely members - did you know that when you bake, you get free entry to our monthly raffle? I always say I'm trying to watch my weight, and was sorely tempted by the white chocolate blondies but when I saw the beautifully presented chocolate cake with the hidden star inside I weakened, and yes it was as good as it looks. 

Our guest craft activity leader for March was another of our members (you really are a talented bunch!) - Lauren Misiukanis, from Bobbins & Buttons skilfully demonstrated tassel making and bracelet construction to an enthralled crowd.

Then it was time to grab our cups, fill them full of beads (42 small or 32 large - unless you have somewhat chunkier wrists, such as myself in which case you may need a couple extra).

Lauren worked the room and was on hand to deal with tassel traumas as well as any extra hints and tips needed - the resulting bracelets all looked fantastic and all so different. 

After a long day at work there was something calming about sitting at a table with some new and old SHWI chums, just threading beads and chatting. We ended up with a room full of happy and glamorous SHWIers!

Big thanks to Sharrowvale based, Hudson & Wood for the raffle prize of a Citrus Massage & Facial! I'm now off to stick tassels onto anything and everything!

Caryl Carson
SHWI Committee member

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

We choose SAYiT as our charity of the year

At our February meeting, Seven Hills WI members voted SAYiT as our charity for 2015. A local independent organisation, SAYiT (Sheena Amos Youth Trust) supports young people who are LGBT or who are affected by HIV.

Fundraising events planned include Seven Hills WI’s annual baking stall at Sheffield Food Festival. Last year, we raised £1170 over two days by selling cakes and organising a best in show competition.

Sally Carr, Strategic Manager of SAYiT said “In the on-going quest to address homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in our society we know that we still have a long way to go, and the support of the WI will help to address this outdated and hurtful prejudice. We will use the money raised to continue our educational and awareness raising work which aims to make society a better place for everybody.”

Kirsty Bowen, President of Seven Hills WI said “I am very pleased that we have chosen SAYiT to be our charity in 2015, the WI’s centenary year. The WI has never shied away from important issues and we hope that we can make a real difference to young people affected in our local area.”

For more information on Seven Hills WI and our fundraising, email us at

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Charity and Cake

February 2015 brought a visit by one of our own - Claire Kemp and voting for our 2015 charity. As always we started the night with this month's WI business. We really are busy ladies with more activities than ever - we have nearly every base covered: You can gorge on tasty food with SHWI Eats, then burn off the calories with SHWI Runners and the SHWI Slimming group, whilst keeping busy with SHWI Mad Skills, SHWI Crafts, SHWI Cine-Club, SHWI at Night and SHWI Mummies! And now, with a SHWI night out in the diary, we can even get our groove on. Anyway, back to business … 

Our wonderful Fundraising and Campaigns Officer, Sarah Willoughby, introduced the charity voting process. We had 5 truly deserving charities to choose from this year put forward by  our members. But the winner was The Sheena Amos Youth Trust (SAYiT), an independent young people’s charity based in Sheffield that provide support, information and opportunities for young people aged up to 25 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) or who are affected by HIV. Now onto the cake… 

Claire kicked off the evening by explaining how she became a cake queen. Originally from an architecture and design background, Claire created her cake empire to combine her passion for baking with her professional design skills and artistic flair. 

She launched Claire Kemp Cake Studio, in 2011, with a 1:100 scale cake of The University of Sheffield's Arts Tower building that was almost 80cm high. Her bakes are extraordinary, not only are they very pretty but they are mini feats of engineering. 

Claire gave us a demo of her exquisitely smooth icing skills – divulging a few secrets along the way. So what did we learn?
Claires’ top tips included:
· Use icing sugar to roll out icing, but only on the underside. DO NOT flip over the icing (like one would with dough).
· Avoid wooden rolling pins.
· Always roll forward (rolling backwards creates air bubbles).
· Grey icing is surprising gorgeous!

I was really impressed with Claire’s cakes and will definitely be trying out her tips - I hope everyone else found it just as informative as I did! Next month we have jewellery-making with another one of our wonderful members – Lauren from Bobbins & Buttons (extra materials charge of £2 per member, and the start of our fundraising for SAYiT … see you there!

Alice Bullas 

Commitee member 

P.S A big thank you to The Broadfield for donating voucher for a pie & a pint for our raffle.