With thoughts of summer holidays in mind, I set the theme for August’s BSFIC as ice lollies.

Summer made you lethargic, and we had less entries than usual, but that simply gave a better a chance to win the wonderful prize from Lakeland, for those who made the effort!

Here are all the lollies!

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So eager was I to share my genius idea with you that I posted my first BSFIC post right at the beginning of the month! My Pickleback Ice Lollies (bourbon + pickled gherkin brine) were both lauded as fabulous and scorned as disgusting, but hey, they definitely got a strong reaction! Let me know what you think but if you’re at all curious, I’d suggest giving these a go yourself. I also made versions with just the pickled gherkin brine, and loved these too!

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Hannah from Corner Cottage Bakery created these very indulgent adult-only Peach Bellini Lollies. The process is two fold: first Hannah pureed and combined peaches, lemon juice, vodka and sugar which she froze in lolly moulds, and then she served the lollies in glasses of champagne. Flat peaches are still in the shops – I’ve been gorging myself on them for many weeks – so you’ve plenty of time to make your own!

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From adults only to a recreation of a favourite childhood memory: Laura from How to Cook Good Food made a Banana Shake Pop that couldn’t be more simple – her instructions call for you to "go to your local corner shop, sweet shop or post office and buy yourself a bottle of banana milkshake. Pour it into some lolly moulds and freeze." Nostalgia rules!

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Back to me again for my second entry this month. I made Coke Float Ice Lollies in honour of that much-loved magic that is the coke float. The outer shell is vanilla custard and the inside is frozen Coca Cola. They worked well enough, but am keen to try them again haven taken on board the suggestion to reduce the Coca Cola to a more concentrated syrup first. Since the fizz doesn’t freeze anyway, this would be a great way to achieve a stronger coke flavour.

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Something quite unusual from Gill, the author of Tales of Pigling Bland who posted about her BFG Lollies, so named for the black forest gateau flavours of chocolate and cherry. Gill combined chocolate cake, cherryade and a few ripe cherries, though she adds a postscript wondering whether the cherry wine she came across recently might have been even better. I really like the multi-level aspect of these!

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BB from London Busy Body wanted to celebrate the sunshine with "something that tasted like I was on a tropical island", featuring fruit and not too sweet. She combined fresh pineapple, ginger, lime zest and juice with ginger beer and rum to make Pine-ginger Rum Pops. All the ingredients except the ginger beer were blitzed together to make a thick liquid, and the ginger beer mixed in with a spoon before pouring into the moulds.

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Jennie from Things I Eat worried that her Summer Lollies wouldn’t count as proper lollies as they’re not a frozen liquid. But my definition is much broader, including frozen fruit puree, custards or really anything liquid enough to pour into the moulds and enjoy frozen on a stick! She made an Italian meringue into which she folded sieved raspberries and double cream. This was frozen (around a core of whole fresh raspberries) and then dipped into crushed freeze-dried raspberries for a fantastic finish.

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Monica from Smarter Fitter has a bit of a thing for frozen things, so it’s no surprise we made a fair few when Pete and I visited one weekend during August. In fact we spent the whole weekend cooking and eating! After a blackberry picking walk, I made some simple blackberry jam and Monica combined some of it with a little alcohol before swirling it into thick, tangy Greek yoghurt to make these refreshing Easy Yoghurt & Jam Popsicles.

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Squeezing in just before the midnight deadline, Procrastibaking blamed man-flu for his tardiness, though he’d been experimenting on his entry for some weeks. Having made my coke float ice lollies above, I’d lamented on twitter about the way the fizz disappears on freezing the coke. So this cute young scientist determined that he’d find a way to make Fizzy Ice Lollies. After trying many methods (including making a micelle, yes I’ve learned a new word!) he finally struck upon the idea of putting the fizz into the chocolate shell surrounding the frozen liquid. Very clever!

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Mardi from Eat Live Travel Write sent this one in just past the deadline, so I’m including it in the roundup but not the competition. After making delicious peach melbas for a Dorie Greenspan challenge, Mardi wondered what to do with the two portions that had melted in the heat. After popping them into the fridge to think about, she suddenly thought to freeze them, and made some delicious Peach Melba Ice Lollies!

 

Even with only a few entries, it was really hard to pick a winner, but in the end I was seduced by the originality of the idea, the step-by-step photographs and the fact I’m desperate to try this lolly for myself.

The Zoku Quick Pop Maker and Zoku Character Kit are going to… Jennie from Things I Eat. Please can you send me your postal address, and I’ll pass them on to Lakeland to have your prize sent on to you! Congratulations!

I’d also like to send a consolation prize to Procrastibaking, who came a very close second place. Please send me your address too.

 

Thanks again for entering and thank you to everyone for reading. If you like what you see, do pop over and leave your comments on the individual blogs.

I’ll be posting a new theme for September’s BSFIC in a couple of days. I hope it will inspire you to have a go too!

 

Recently, Pete and I trialled a home ingredients and recipe delivery service called Gousto.

We really liked it so I am happy to share a discount code especially for Kavey Eats readers, giving you the chance to trial a box for half price.

  • Visit Gousto‘s website to place your order.
  • Discount code: kaveyeats
  • Expiry date: 30 September 2012
  • Limit: 1 discounted order per household, applies to the first box only.

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Elizabeth Shaw have recently been inviting bloggers to review their range, sending out a generous box of their classic mints as well as the new chocolate crisp flavours and their chocolate flutes.

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Although I love a bit of posh chocolate, there are times when the tastes of our childhood are what’s called for, and I’ve long been a fan of Elizabeth Shaw mint crisps. For me, the dark chocolate mint crisps were better than the milk chocolate ones. I was also a huge fan of the dark chocolate mint creams – classic after dinner mints. The squares of mint chocolate were alright, reminiscent of the mints our local Indian takeaway sends out with an order! Pete liked the milk ones as well as the dark.

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The new Crisp Collection was intriguing. From left to right, the chocolates are described as Dark Cocoa Crunch (dark chocolate with cocoa nibs), Milk Butterscotch Crisp (butterscotch flavour milk chocolate with honeycomb), Dark Caramel Crisp (caramel flavour dark chocolate with honeycomb) and Milk Honeycomb Crisp (honeycomb flavour milk chocolate with honeycomb).

The three honeycomb ones had the best texture, in my opinion – the cocoa nibs didn’t work as well on that front, though the discs taste fine.  The Dark Caramel Crisp was as described, with a strong, almost burnt caramel flavour which worked quite well. But I was confused about the other two: For me, the Milk Butterscotch Crisp had no discernible butterscotch flavour and tasted like regular milk chocolate with honeycomb pieces. And yet the Milk Honeycomb crisp had a strong butterscotch flavour, as well as the honeycomb crunchiness. My best guess is that these two were mixed up on the packaging floor and had their shiny metal wrappings swapped. I liked these chocolates well enough, but not quite as much as the mint originals.

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The flutes are long slim sticks of chocolate which come in mint, amaretto, orange and latte flavours. For me, they were a little too sweet and the flavour a touch synthetic, but Pete found them pleasant and polished them off quickly.

I haven’t yet had a chance to try the bars but as they’re dark chocolate mint crisp, dark chocolate cocoa crunch and milk chocolate butterscotch crisp, I’m sure they will be much as the disk versions in taste and texture.

 

COMPETITION

Elizabeth Shaw are generously offering the same selection of chocolates they sent to me, to one Kavey Eats reader.

 

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 2 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, answering the following question:
What flavour chocolate crisp would you create, if given the chance to suggest a new flavour?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @KaveyF on twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below:
I’d love to win Elizabeth Shaw chocolates from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/dbkzv #KaveyEatsEShaw

 

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 7th September 2012.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • The prize is a selection of Elizabeth Shaw chocolates (as detailed above) and includes delivery to a UK mainland address only.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for cash.
  • The prize is offered directly by Elizabeth Shaw Limited.
  • One blog entry per person only. One twitter entry per person only. You do not have to enter both ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For twitter entries, winners must be following @KaveyF at the time of notification, as this will be sent by Direct Message.
  • Blog comment entries must provide an email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or twitter. If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

This competition is now closed. Winner = Corina (entry via blog)

 

Back in June, Pete and I were invited to spend a few days in South West Cornwall on a “Seafood Safari” holiday organised by The Food Travel Company. Based in the lovely Coswyn Barn conversion at Lanyon Cottages, our small group enjoyed an early morning trip to Newlyn Harbour, a pootle around Cornwall and two fantastic seafood cookery classes taught by Lee Groves.

The classes each lasted over four hours, probably nearer to five and were held in the wonderful big kitchen in Coswyn Barn.

On the first day, Lee took us through several fish dishes, including lots of tips on how to choose and prep fish and ideas for cooking them. It was also as hands on as we wanted, and we took turns gutting, filleting, boning fish, shucking oysters and smelling and tasting everything offered.

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On the second day, Lee focused on seafood. First we enjoyed his Thai-inspired mussels, a suggestion from two lovely little girls in our group, then a punchy and hearty fish stew. After that, Lee created some enormous seafood platters, two served cold and two served hot. These were a feast of Fresh crab, lobster, scallops razor clams, squid, oysters and langoustines.

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One of the lobsters, a feisty chap even after 24 hours in the fridge, was the biggest lobster I’ve ever seen, Lee said it was likely to be 30-40 years old. The idea of a critter that could be as old as me was impressive, though didn’t make me enjoy eating it any less when it was served on the platter!

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All the seafood was Cornwall sourced and incredibly fresh and of the very best quality, with the exception of the mussels which were from Devon as Lee finds them more consistent in quality. Lee showed us the various tags that certified origin (and could be used to track it, should we wish).

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We made so many fabulous dishes; it was really inspirational, not to mention delicious!

  • Trout served with a simple dressing of halved cherry tomatoes in a vanilla vinaigrette
  • Monkfish with samphire and cherry tomatoes
  • Turbot with asparagus in a wine cream sauce
  • Mackerel three ways – grilled, lightly pickled and smoked
  • Hake with butter, cucumber and chives
  • Trout gravadlax
  • Ray wings in a pepper and brown butter sauce
  • Sashimi tastings of all the fish, and the scallops
  • Oysters
  • Thai mussels
  • Fish stew
  • Hot seafood platter with a herbed breadcrumb topping
  • Cold seafood platter on ice

See my next post for an interview with Lee Groves and his recipe for the Ray Wings.

 

Our visit to Cornwall was part of a week-long South West Tour courtesy of The Food Travel Company. They are a new company offering specialist trips for food (and drink) lovers, with group departures and customised itineraries available.

Aug 222012
 

I’ve just learned that Cinnamon Club opened at around the same time that we launched Mamta’s Kitchen, in spring 2001. This surprised me, as the head chef Vivek Singh and the restaurant have such strong reputations, I assumed it had been around much longer.

Cinnamon Club was conceived by owner Iqbal Wahhab, who dreamed of opening an Indian restaurant that could match the sophistication and service of Michelin-starred restaurants. It took him several years to bring the project to fruition, not least because some rash remarks resulted in his original investors pulling out and the loss of his original location not to mention the chef he’d originally brought on board, Vineet Bhatia, who gave up waiting and took a position as head chef at Zaika.

Eventually, Wahhab found new investors, a new (and arguably better) location and a new head chef, Vivek Singh, then working in India.

Born in Bengal, India, Singh was always expected to become an engineer, like his father though when younger, he was determined to join the Indian Air Force. Instead, inspired by Marco Pierre White’s ‘White Heat’ and a grand feast served at a catered wedding he attended as a guest, Singh decided to study hospitality and catering. On graduating, he was selected from thousands of hopefuls to join the Oberoi hotel group where he first worked in their flight kitchens (producing meals for airlines) before cooking in several of their prestigious hotels including their flagship Rajvilas in Japiur. That’s where he was working when approached by Wahhab.

Singh was fully in agreement with Wahhab about marrying Indian flavours with Western culinary styles to redefine the expectations and experience of Indian food in London.

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images from web

The restaurant is located in the Old Westminster Library, just behind Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. The grand Victorian building is Grade II listed and retains beautiful original wooden panelling and parquet floors. It’s a very traditional setting, which no doubt suits the clientele – locally based lawyers, politicians and business men and women.

I admire the original features, but find it staid and a little overbearing. I much prefer the styling of younger sister, Cinnamon Kitchen.

On the service front, there are lots of staff, so easy to get attention and service throughout the meal.

The menu offers a decent selection of starters, mains and sides. There’s also an inexpensive set menu available at certain times only (£22/£24) , and a tasting menu for £75. At the moment, you can also order a special 5-course Chettinad menu showcasing dishes from the province for £50.

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I’m a bit surprised that the restaurant has decided to cater for guests who don’t fancy Indian food by offering a European starter and main, both designed by Eric Chavot. I have never seen a restaurant that specialise in a particular cuisine doing this, and find it a bit strange.

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We order from the regular menu, with our waiter suggesting some of the courses for us.

An amuse bouche of vegetable croquette with a yoghurt dip is mildly spiced, crunchy and soft.

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Chargrilled Welsh lamb fillet with nutmeg, sweetbread bhaji and caper kachumber (£9.50) is fabulous. The lamb is really full flavoured, and gently spiced to let the quality of the meat shine through. It’s so moist and tender. The coriander and mint chutney is much like mum’s, simple and tasty and of course, mint is always a winner with lamb. The caper cucumber salad gives a nice crunch and tang. The sweetbread is also a delight, smooth inside against crisp crumb coating.

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Tandoori breast of Anjou pigeon with chickpea and tamarind (£14.50) is also super. Robust tandoori flavours work well with tender and moist pigeon. Chickpeas are simply cooked, with good flavours.

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Our waiter suggests we take a selection of breads (£6.00) with our starter rather than our main. The naan is pillowy soft and with a gentle smokiness. The multigrain roti is chewy and dense; I don’t like it at all. The potato paratha is mediocre.

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Our waiter encourages me to try the Seared rump steak of Wagyu beef with Keralan spices, truffle potato puree. At £45.00, this is the most expensive main, with the rest priced between £16 and £32. I’ve not had wagyu before, and honestly, I am underwhelmed. The meat is far less tender than most restaurant steaks I’ve eaten in the last year or two, even cuts that are usually expected to be less so, such as rib eye and flank! The flavour is decent, but again, not as good as many far less expensive steaks I’ve enjoyed. The spices on top are lovely but I can’t see the benefit of the restaurant using expensive wagyu rather than regular good quality British beef. The truffled potato confuses me – it is pale green and tastes more like pureed brassica than potato. I can’t decide whether I like it, to be honest.

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Pete’s Roast Cumbrian wild red deer saddle with corn and millet kedgeree (£32.00) is a far better choice. Not very gamey, the generous portion of deer tastes like good quality beef and in fact it’s more tender and with better flavour than my wagyu! The accompanying sauce is very tasty.

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For our sides we have one portion of stir-fry of seasonal greens with ‘kadhai’ spices and peanut (£4.50) and one of marsala chicken livers with green peas (£7.00). The first is a straightforward dish; simple fresh vegetables and a pleasant crunch from the peanuts. The second isn’t really the kind of thing I’d consider a side dish, but I order it because it strikes me as unusual and I love chicken livers. It is indeed very tasty, but I stand by my feeling that it’s not really something to have on the side. Perhaps if I’d ordered a vegetarian main dish but fancied a little meat protein too? Very tasty though!

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So far so good. But dessert is a serious let down. I choose dark chocolate and pecan nut pudding with garam masala ice cream (£8.50). The ice cream is fabulous, reminiscent of masala chai. But the chocolate pudding tastes awful and not the nicest texture either. It is so sweet it tastes like really cheap and nasty chocolate, though perhaps they used decent stuff and somehow killed it. I can’t stand it and leave the pudding un-eaten save for the two bites I took to give it fair chance.

To our waiter’s credit, I am asked if there is anything wrong and offered a different dessert when I admit that I don’t like it. I decline, because I am full, but appreciate the offer.

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Pete skips a normal dessert and orders instead a Tiramisu Martini (£8.00) which he declares as utterly fantastic. All the flavours of a favourite dessert in a drink, this slips down very easily.

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With my masala tea (not listed on the hot drinks menu, to my surprise, but available on request) we are given a little dish of sweet treats. The fruit jelly is nice, the chocolates are so-so and the miniature madeleine dried up beyond recognition.

 

A 500 ml carafe of red wine,  selected for Pete by the sommelier, is fairly priced at £22.70. On the drinks front, Cinnamon Club has a decent wine list with many reasonably priced bottles, a small but reasonable soft drinks selection and an extensive and tempting list of single malt whiskies too, so Pete tells me. Of the carafe of wine, he says he wishes more restaurants offered small and medium carafes at reasonable prices. When only one is drinking, a bottle is too much, a glass too small but a carafe, rather like baby bear’s porridge, is just right.

The bill comes to £168.70 plus service, though we’re not paying for our meal this evening. That’s for 2 starters, 2 mains, 3 sides (including the bread), 1 dessert, 1 carafe of wine, 1 cocktail and no other drinks. Whilst we could have knocked off at least £30 by choosing less expensive mains, we could also have ordered aperitifs and a soft drink or two. This is an expensive meal.

Overall we enjoyed it, though there were issues with some dishes.

Having now eaten in Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen and Cinnamon Soho, I would say that Cinnamon Club is my least favourite of the three. For similarly elegant dishes in a more open and airy setting, I would recommend Cinnamon Kitchen. For more standard dishes still cooked well, I’d suggest Cinnamon Soho.

 

Kavey Eats dined a as a guest of Cinnamon Club.

Cinnamon Club on Urbanspoon

Aug 192012
 

One of the things that most excites me about the Zoku ice lolly maker is the ability to make ice lollies with shells made of a different liquid than the filling. I don’t mean chocolate-dipping finished lollies, but actual layers like you find in the Walls Solero or this clever gelatin-wrapped Chinese lolly.

The first idea that popped into my head was also the one that just wouldn’t let go.

I was determined to make a coke float lolly. There’s something magical about the way coke and vanilla ice cream transmogrify into something wholly new and different when they are combined. It’s delightful!

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Using good quality fresh ready-made custard, I filled the Zoku moulds with custard and let the unit start to freeze the lollies from the outside in. After a few minutes, I used a straw to suck out the unfrozen liquid centre and poured in some coca cola in its place. Then it was just a case of waiting for the lollies to freeze all the way through.

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It worked!

The coca cola looks much paler once it’s frozen, and of course, it’s lost its fizz! But the combination o ftwo different tastes and textures in the mouth works!

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With the exception of adding little decorative pieces of gherkin to my pickleback ice lollies, most of the lollies I’ve made using the Zoku have been recipes I could just as easily make in regular ice lolly moulds. The only advantage has been the vastly quicker freezing time. But this example showcases a lolly I’d find very difficult, if not impossible, to make without the Zoku and I’m delighted with how it came out.

Don’t forget, there’s a Zoku just waiting to be won by one of the participants in the August Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge.

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What two (or three!) layer lollies would you make?

 

Pemba Lama is an ex-Gurkha soldier, chef for the British army and the author of The Ultimate Nepalese Cook Book. The book is very close to Pemba Lama’s heart, as a £2 donation goes to the Gurkha Welfare Trust for every copy sold.

Pemba recently cooked at a luncheon for the Dalai Lama, during his tour of the UK, for which he presented a predominantly vegetarian menu of dishes from his cook book. He was honoured when the Dalai Lamai signed a copy of the book; it’s very rare for him to do so.

A preview of the book, including several of the recipes included, can be found at the dedicated website.

I asked my mum, Mamta, to review the book, as she’s familiar with Nepalese cuisine, and of course, with Indian, which has much in common with it.

 

Introduction

When Kavita asked me to review this book my first thought was, “I am going to enjoy this”, because I had very fond memories of Nepalese food from our trip there a few years back. When I opened the book and saw Pemba Lama’s picture on the inside sleeve, with such a gentle expression on his face as he handled the food, that view was strengthened.

Not good enough reasons? Well that is what first impressions are about!

front cover

Nepalese food is very similar to Indian food and the recipes seemed very familiar to me, only they had slightly different names.

 

Golebhera Ko Bhat (Tomato Rice)

My husband just had some dental work done, so I thought this would be perfect and it seemed so simple to cook. The end result did not disappoint me, it was gently garlicky and tasted delicious; it was superb! I have made it again for friends and they have all liked it.

I did however have a couple of minor problems with the recipe, which I could easily adjust, but someone who is not as familiar with cooking might not know to do:

The recipe gives only 400 ml of tomato juice for 300 grams of rice. Most recipes give double the amount of liquid to rice, perhaps a little less when the rice has been pre-soaked. I added water to increase the total liquid, and that worked fine.

The picture at the top right of the page shows a hand adding what look like nigella seeds to the pan but they are not listed in hte ingredients. Perhaps the picture is for some other recipe.

This is a recipe I will make regularly.

Tomto rice, page 46  (2) Tomto rice, page 46  (4) Tomto rice, page 46  (5)

 

Pyazis (Onion Bhajis)

Next I tried a favourite of the English nation – Pyazis. This recipe can be found online, here.

Marinating onions in vinegar and salt for bhajis is new to me, but it worked and tasted pretty good.

Making the batter required a couple of tablespoons of extra water, which was not listed in the ingredients or given in the steps. The vinegar, in which the onions were marinated, wasn’t enough liquid to make a batter. The book says ‘soft and thick batter’ but I’m not sure quite what that means. It was not a problem for me because I am used to making onion bhajis but a first timer might not know what the batter should be like.

These were simple to make and quite tasty. A neighbour dropped in while I was making them and loved them.

One personal observation from a regular onion bhaji maker: the bhajis could have been lighter and crisper, perhaps a pinch of baking powder is needed in the batter?

Onion Bhajies 4-Onions and besan added togetherand batter made Onion Bhajies 6-Frying in oil 2 Onion Bhajies 7 -ready 1

 

Keema (Mince Meat) Curry with Peas and Potatoes

I followed the recipe carefully, as it is a little different to mine, both in ingredients and the order of the recipe.

I didn’t add any potatoes as they are listed as optional; I didn’t have any in the basket and was feeling too lazy to go out and dig some! The picture in the book also does not have any potatoes. Pemba’s recipe included one ingredient which I have not used in this way before – dark soy sauce.

I don’t eat meat any more but my husband and friends seemed to enjoy it. They all said it was great.

Keema

 

Alhaichi Kulfee (Cardamom) Kulfee with Raspberry Coulis

I thought I would try the kulfi because this is something I make quite often myself and am familiar with different ways of making it. This one was made with tinned condensed milk and cream, instead of slowly simmering and condensing the milk at home over a long period.

I will definitely make it again, but need to tweak it a bit.

The recipe could have better instructions; it calls for “20 ml gelatine, melted” but doesn’t say how much powder/ leaf gelatine to use or how to melt gelatine. It says to “semi whip the cream” (singular), but doesn’t specify whether that’s the single and double cream together, or one or the other. I whisked both the creams together and it seemed to work.

I decided to make it without the mango, which the recipe mixes into the kulfee cream. I served it with raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries, but I made mine ‘sugar free.

The result was soft and delicious.

Alhaichi (cardamom) Kulfi 1-Boil milk, sugar and cardamooms together Alhaichi (cardamom) Kulfi 3-whisk slowly Alhaichi (cardamom) Kulfi 4- add pistachios
Alhaichi (cardamom) Kulfi 8-freeze in remikins Alhaichi (cardamom) Kulfi 10-serve with raspberries and raspberry coulis 2 Alhaichi (cardamom) Kulfi 10-serve with raspberries and raspberry coulis 3

The book has a second dessert section written by Nicci Gurr, who was “invited to add a UK twist” to the book. Unfortunately I did not try any of her recipes. I would like to try some in due course., but being a diabetic, I have to control how many desserts I make. They all look good and I have no reason to think that the recipes in this section will not work.

 

Conclusion

The book has a pleasant cover which makes a good first impression.

The photos of Pemba lama are lovely, and you can’t help warming up to him. It’s obvious that he loves food and has shared some delicious dishes here.

However, I get the impression that the recipes are not written by him, but by someone watching him cook. Some steps are not very clear and some are completely missing, which leaves you to interpret what is required by yourself and I think this would cause anxiety to a beginner. I think the book would work best for people who have some experience of this type of cooking, because some adjustments are needed here and there in several of the recipes.

There are also minor errors, such as references to recipes on other pages, with incorrect page numbers given.

As with the Tomato Rice, there are a couple of recipes which have a wrong picture shown, such as a photograph of steamed broccoli with ginger and chilli for a recipe of curried potatoes and peas.

The index is not complete. Searching for the cardamom kulfi recipe above, it is not listed under kulfi, cardamom or ice cream but under pistachio and raspberry.

Despite these small issues, I loved the book and all the food I cooked from it. Definitely my kind of dishes.

 

 

You can buy a softback copy of the book for £14.99 + £2 P&P or get the eBook version for £8. Click here or here to buy.

Kavey Eats was sent a review copy of The Ultimate Nepalese Cookbook by Grierson Publications.

 

When this second outpost of popular Fowey bistro Sam’s describes itself as “on the beach”, it’s not kidding!

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from Sam’s image gallery

Located in the old RNLI lifeboat station on Polkerris beach, customers can enter from the back or up the ramp and steps from the sandy beach itself. Our table by the window gives us wonderful views. Only a few hardy souls are braving the cold and rain outside during our June visit.

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Inside is a large open space with wooden floors and walls and a soaring high ceiling strung with Scandi-style heart banners. The open kitchen and bar are on a platform level at the back. On the walls are a commemorative plaque for the RNLI, two specials boards and a few random pictures.

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The menu is surprisingly extensive. As well as starters are sections for moules, shellfish and fish, meat dishes, salads and pizzas. I’m usually put off by long menus, wondering how a small kitchen can offer so much variety and still keep everything fresh but this place has a great reputation so I put my worries aside.

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Hungrier than Pete, I decide to have a starter and a main. My soft shell crab (£7.25) is served over salad, with a sweet chilli drip. Served hot out of the fryer, this is a generous portion and that’s just as well as it’s delicious!

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At just £16.95 I cannot resist the Seafood Platter for 1. On ordering, I’m told that they are out of the palourde clams that usually come with the mussels, so it will be mussels mariniere only. Fine by me! Also on the plate are hot freshly grilled sardines and tiger prawns and chilled crab claws, smaller prawns and a slice of tasty focaccia. Fabulously fresh, I tear into all of it, happily.

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Not in the mood for seafood, Pete chooses instead the Hot Meat pizza £11.45 for the 10 inch medium). A decent base is topped with chorizo, salami, parma ham, jalapenos, red onions and pepper dews [sic]. It’s a combination he really enjoys, though as a seafood lover, I can’t help look at my dishes and feel a bit smug!

Pudding is out of the question, though choices such as Beach Lemon Meringue Mess (£5.50) and Cappuccino Coffee Chocolate Pot (£4.95) do tempt.

This is a great place to stop for a meal. If you’re visiting the Cornish South Coast, I recommend you make a visit.

 

Our visit to Sam’s On The Beach was part of a week-long South West Tour courtesy of The Food Travel Company. They are a new company offering specialist trips for food (and drink) lovers, with group departures and customised itineraries available.

 

A while ago, I was sent the beautiful book Modern Flavours of Arabia by Suzanne Husseini.

Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, Suzanne’s family emigrated to Canada when she was just 4, and started a new life there. Suzanne’s mother continued to create the Arabic dishes of the Middle East, and although Suzanne learned many other cuisines, it was Arabic cuisine she loved most strongly and which she has shared in her first book.

The book is filled with Suzanne’s versions of a range of traditional recipes, plus modern dishes with an Arabic twist. She conjures up the Middle East kitchen with ingredients that have, thankfully, become much easier for global cooks to find in their local shops – cardamom and rose, pistachios and dates, chickpeas and bulgur and many more.

She kindly gave me the interview below to share with my readers.

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Firstly, congratulations on your beautiful book and thank you for giving this interview to Kavey Eats.

My pleasure.

You explain in your introduction that your family emigrated to Canada when you were very young. Where did you emigrate from and do you have any memories of your birth country from before the move? Were there things you and your family particularly missed (other than people)?

My parents were living in Kuwait at the time when we emigrated to Canada. My parents are both of Palestinian origin. My parents decided to start a new life in a new country with 4 small children. I was the eldest. I know my young mother was barely 24. Of course this move was very exciting for us as children but it was most challenging for my mother. She left family, friends, and special memories. We arrived around Christmas time in Canada . The cold and snow was quite a novelty for us but it made my mother even more homesick for the warm surroundings she grew up in.

She always mentioned how much she missed certain fresh ingredients, typical Middle eastern supplies and after tasting many fruits declared that they were ‘tasteless’. She made the best of this situation and reconnected us with our roots by cooking the most amazing meals that always brought us comfort and joy on the coldest of days.

You mention that you found a way to make friends with curious classmates through the exotic (for them) foods that your mother made for your lunch box, and when they visited your home. Was it that easy, or was the food a way to open the avenues of communication, in contrast to some of the harder and crueller experiences of being an immigrant?

When I was taking my strange sandwiches to school I was about 7 years old. I think the fact that I was so young and innocent and really didn’t see what all the fuss was about…. So when they teased me about my food choices and made fun of my heritage it didn’t affect me as much as it would of if I was older where you become truly sensitive to cruel remarks. I overcame all that by inviting my class mates to my home often and bringing foods like Falafel to school to share with them.

As a child , I didn’t realize or was aware how powerful the act of feeding people can be. It did indeed open the channels of communication for me. My classmates accepted me and my differences and understood this very profound message. Food is love. I have always and still do take every opportunity to seek understanding by feeding my friends. It is the perfect recipe to forge new friendships and promote peace, love and understanding one plate at a time.

My parents came to the UK from India before I was born. Mum certainly cooked lots of wonderful Indian food during our childhood, but also learned to make British classics, as well as international dishes from China, Greece, Italy, France… Did you have a similarly multi-faceted exposure to food, or did your mum tend to stick more closely to the cuisine of her home? Did you always embrace Arabian cuisine, or did you find yourself drawn to it more as you got older?

My mother made her own Arabic/Pitta bread from scratch. She made Falafel when people still didn’t know what it is. She would shop for the freshest fruits in season to make her own jam. Homemade yoghurt was a staple in our home. She delighted us with homemade traditional Arabic desserts. She drew from her memory and made mostly Arabic inspired meals that she knew best. I fell in love with Arabic cuisine from day one. As I got older , I experimented with other foods but always was drawn to the familiar flavors of the Mediterranean and I would find that in Italian, Greek and Southern French Food particularly.

Many immigrant families will be familiar with the challenge of recreating traditional dishes without access to all the usual ingredients. How did your mum cope with this issue? Were there many recipes she had to adapt during your childhood?

If she couldn’t find it she would improvise and make her own version of a dish and make it as close to the original as possible. I think her godsend was discovering Italian and Indian supermarkets that would carry herbs like basil, coriander and spices. She would make a trip to the farmer’s markets that were frequented by the Italian community and find vegetables like tomatoes, lemons, parsley in abundance.

Of course there were items that she just couldn’t find and she would rely on new friends traveling back to the Middle East to bring her some unique supplies.

Are there any tips you have for readers who might find it difficult to find some of the specialist ingredients?

Really the ingredients that I have used throughout my book are easily found in anyone’s supermarket. Now that Middle Eastern Grocers are common it’s not hard to find the once considered exotic ingredients like Tahini, Pomegranate Molasses, Zaatar, Sumac, and Grape vine leaves.

Many items can be substituted like spinach instead of swiss chard for instance or if purslane is difficult then watercress is a good choice.

I notice that both your father and yourself describe yourself as Arabian rather than from a specific country? Is this because you don’t really identify with one country in particular, or because you prefer to rise above the divisions and differences of nationality in favour of wider cultural and regional similarities?

My parents are both very proud of their Palestinian heritage which is a part of the larger Arabian picture. When you refer to yourself as ‘Arabian’ means you share a language, a culture, the hospitality, a history, a story that is common to all people of Arabic origin regardless which country they come from. The divisions are only on the map. We grew up in a household where my family showed us how to be proud of our Arabic heritage and celebrate it. We also grew up loving everyone regardless of their differences be it religion, color, or nationality. I will always be thankful for parents who instilled in their children such values.

I am proud to say that my dining table is not only laden with food but is always graced by the presence of dear colorful friends from all corners of the world.

You explain that your recipes are not intended to be a “historical account of Arabic cooking” but a collection of recipes you grew up with, influenced by what you’ve learned during your years of cooking and teaching since. How close are the recipes in Modern Flavours of Arabia to what one might find in the kitchens of the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East? Would you describe them as fairly traditional or more of a personal and modern interpretation of Arabic food?

All of my recipes are certainly Arabic in one way or another. I have all the traditional dishes that have become common to all like Hummus, Tabbouli, Baba Ghanouje which are not my personal creations. But I do add a little of this and a dab of that. I re introduce a traditional that’s been made one way forever and give it a makeover. In my modern interpretations I do try to maintain the integrity of the dish. My aim is to respect it , be authentic and only change something if I feel it is complimentary. So as you must know by now , I’m not a fan of fusion food where you bring two opposing food cultures to collide to create or distort a dish for sake of being ‘new’.

My food represents mostly the flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean as it is the most varied and by shear history and geography has evolved into one of the most amazing cuisines of the world. That also includes North Africa, the Gulf and the neighboring countries of the Middle East who naturally influenced this diverse and sophisticated food culture.

Was it hard to narrow down the recipes in your repertoire to the number you needed for the book or did you know instinctively which ones must be included?

I had many more recipes to share but my publisher at the time advised me to cut back so the book wouldn’t be too big. So I had to make the difficult choice of deciding which ones would make the cut for the time being. I am cooking up a second book now and a lot of those recipes will make make an appearance.

Were there recipes you chose not to include because your audience might not appreciate them, or because they might struggle to find the ingredients?

Not at all, all the recipes are accessible and have been tested on many good friends who love to eat them and with their encouragement I decided to include them. When I’m cooking , I go through the same process as everyone else. I go to shop for my ingredients and get inspired to cook that way. I don’t have any secret location where I buy certain thing. It’s all home cook friendly.

Which is your favourite recipe in the book, either because you love the dish, or have a personal memory associated with it?

I love all of the recipes which is why they all made it to be part of my book. The cover photo depicts my Arugula Salad with Roasted Aubergines and a Sweet and Sour Pomegranate Dressing. That is one of my favorites… The peppery Arugula leaves are complimented by the sweet buttery aubergine, the bite of the onions and the delightful crunch of the pine nuts. The pomegranate dressing pulls it all together.

What is next for you? Another book, or another project? Can you tell us about it?

As I mentioned earlier I am working on a new book with a collection of new recipes.

I am working on a new special TV cooking show highlighting the beautiful Arabian cuisine that I adore.

I have begun my cooking classes again to keen students wanting to unlock the mysteries of Middle Eastern cuisine.

This summer my ‘modern flavors of Arabia’ will be launched in Canada and the US. I am very excited to be on tour cooking , signing books and sharing my food and stories with everyone.

 

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Sumac Eggs with Potato Rosti, cooked from Suzanne’s recipe

 

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Modern Flavours of Arabia.

 

I have a soft spot for The Gherkin. I like its simple bulbous shape; I like its reflective surface; I like the cross-crossing spiral pattern of different coloured glass. So when I was invited by my friend Dom to attend an event there recently, I jumped at the chance.

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Welcomed by Barry Callebaut‘s UK & Ireland Gourmet Business Development Manager, Robert Harrison, we were given lots of information about the The World Chocolate Masters, a biennial competition that celebrates both the ingredient itself and the masters who work with it.

We learned about the competition itself through videos and during a talk from previous contestant, Mark Tilling. Mark twice won the UK feeder competition, to place 12th and 7th in the two world finals in which he participated. We also heard from three of the five finalists for the current UK competition about their inspirations, hopes and strategies.

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We also met Soraya Gadelrab, Event Manager for the Speciality & Fine Food Fair. For the last couple of years, the fair has also included a Speciality Chocolate Fair. This year, the finals for the UK Chocolate Masters competition will be held there, over a 3 day period.

I enjoyed learning a little more about the competition, especially from a former competitor.

But for me, the highlight was the opportunity to enjoy the views of London from the 38th floor room and the viewing corridor next door. And watching two workmen in a manoeuvrable boom lift outside made my breath catch in my throat!

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Kavey Eats was a guest of Barry Callebaut at The World Chocolate Masters Launch Event.

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