Missing my monthly ice cream fix, I decided to resurrect Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, kicking off with the last theme I set before the hiatus, Chasing The Ice Cream Van.

Here are the lovely recipes (and stories) we shared:

Karen ice cream soda

Karen, author of Lavender & Lovage, spent some of her childhood years in Hong Kong. In this post she remembers sneaking off, at the age of five, to the The Shatin Heights Hotel where she demanded an Ice Cream Soda. Kind staff obliged, while phoning her parents who had no idea where she was! She shares her low-calorie recipe for the Ice Cream Soda of her memories.

chloe

Chloe, who writes Gannet & Parrot, created a Blackcurrant Fruit Pastilles Sorbet inspired by the fruit lollies which were themselves based on the fruit gum sweets. The fresh fruit came from a friend’s allotment and she boosted the flavour (and the vitamin C) with some damson vodka for a grown up treat.

Foodycat gaytime (small)

Foodycat Alicia always comes up with such fun ideas and her entry certainly brought a smile to my face. She shares a marvellously retro TV advert for Gaytime ice cream before creating an ice cream with the flavours of Golden Gaytime – but instead of trying to form toffee ice cream around a vanilla ice cream core and coat the entire thing in chocolate and biscuit crumbs, she used the flavours as inspiration for an ice cream featuring vanilla custard, canned caramel and crushed chocolate-dipped honeycomb biscuits.

Screwball-Homemade-MrWhippy-Ice-Cream-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6244

I took a literal approach to the theme, deciding to recreate a Mr Whippy-based Screwball. Sourcing the gumball bubblegum wasn’t too difficult but creating the distinctive white soft-serve ice cream was more of a challenge. I found a gelatin-based recipe that involved whipping, freezing and blending and it worked pretty well. A lack of moulded plastic cones resulted in my upside down Screwball.

Monica snow cone

My American friend Monica of Smarter Fitter had the clever idea of making a grown up version of the Snow Cone. Her Snow Cone Margarita features tequila, lime juice and agave or flavoured syrup over shaved ice. Very refreshing!

Hannah Oyster

Hannah from Corner Cottage Bakery paints a (slightly disturbing) image of childhood Egyptian burials for her teddy bears and a creepy ice cream van that played a distorted version of Greensleeves. She goes on to share her recipe for Ice Cream Oysters. The oyster shells are made by shaping hot waffle cone pancakes over bowls and she has filled them with vanilla ice cream and toasted marshmallows.

rosana

Rosana, who writes Hot & Chilli, has fond memories of the ice cream van. She used to love coconut or lime popsicles but now she’s more interested in chocolate. For this month’s challenge she has recreated the Magnum – a vanilla ice cream core dunked in a thick dark chocolate shell. I think her version looks absolutely beautiful!

IceCreamChallenge mini

Thanks to Karen, Chloe, Monica, Hannah and Rosana for joining me in this challenge. I’ll post May’s theme in the next couple of days.

 

Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6185

Several months ago in early December, Pete and I had a lovely lunch at Rabot 1745, Hotel Chocolat’s newly-opened restaurant in the heart of Borough Market. More recently, we returned for breakfast, before a shopping expedition around the market.

My initial worries about the gimmicky nature of a themed restaurant were quickly assuaged. As we flicked through the lunch and dinner menu, it became clear that Rabot 1745’s “cocoa-centric” menu makes use of a wide range of elements derived from pod and bean – subtle cocoa accents are added via crunchy cocoa nibs, the fruity flesh of the cocoa pod, infused oils and vinegars, and only occasionally, actual chocolate.

Located in the heart of Borough Market, Rabot 1745 brings to Londoners what sister restaurant Boucan has delivered to St Lucians since 2011. The restaurant name comes from a cocoa plantation named The Rabot Estate, situated on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. First established in 1745, it was purchased by the founders of Hotel Chocolat eight years ago and has become a key part of the chain’s branding since. Although only a tiny volume of the chocolate they sell originates there, the Rabot 1745 name has been applied to their collection of rare, high quality chocolates from all around the world.

Downstairs are a Hotel Chocolat shop and a café, in which customers can order from a short menu of sweet and savoury items alongside their drink of choice – the range of hot chocolates is excellent.

Unusually, chocolate is made from bean to bar right here in the café – on site and on show. The norm is for cocoa farmers to have little involvement in the rest of the process, with most of the profits going to the big companies who buy cheap cocoa and transform it into a higher value end-product. So Rabot 1745′s farm to plate approach is particularly innovative and refreshing, especially when combined with the company’s Engaged Ethics programme to empower local cocoa farming communities.

Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6164 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6171
Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6166
Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6170 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6167

Upstairs, via stairs at the back of the cafe, is the restaurant, boasting a warm and elegant interior inspired by a traditional Saint Lucian plantation house. A day time visit will allow you to enjoy the sunlight flooding in through floor to ceiling windows overlooking Bedale street; or come in the evening for an altogether cosier ambience.

The menu, crafted by Executive Chef John Bentham, draws on culinary traditions from Britain and the Caribbean. This is most evident in the lunch and dinner offering – in December we enjoyed a scallop salad of perfectly seared plump Scottish scallops, colourful thinly sliced beetroot and watercress leaves in lightly curried cacao nib oil and a horseradish and white chocolate sauce; barley scotch eggs, a great vegetarian option, thanks to a non-sausage meat coating of nib-crusted pearl barley enveloping soft-cooked quail eggs, served with roasted root vegetables and a goat’s cheese dressing; an impressive 35-day aged galloway short horn rib-eye steak marinated in cacao, topped with slices of buttery marrow, accompanied by roast winter vegetables and a rich, glossy red wine and cacao gravy and roast saddle of rabbit rolled in smoked bacon, served with Armagnac-soaked prunes, roasted carrots, a white chocolate mash and another rich, glossy gravy. Desserts of Perigord walnut tart and rum baba served with cacao-infused cream didn’t disappoint.

Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6175 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6176

This time, we returned to try the breakfast menu, launched a couple of months ago.

The menu is fairly short, featuring a couple of fresh fruit and cereal options, a short list of hot dishes, a similarly brief list of bakery items and drinks. Helpfully, items that are Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Vegetarian are clearly labelled.

Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6178 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6188

We eschewed the invitation to start with a breakfast cocktail (£9 each), though the cacao bellini (featuring cacao pulp) and breakfast martini (with marmalade) might appeal if you want to push the boat out.

My smoothie power shot (£2.50) was the only disappointing element of the meal. Unpleasantly full of ice crystals, the tiny and surprisingly bland “smoothie” consisted of banana, oats and a dairy, almond or soy milk base. When it’s so easy to create smoothies that are both tasty and nutritious, there is no excuse for this offering, nor for the shot glass portion sold at a tall glass price.

A Monmouth Beans café latte (£2.50) and a hazelnut drinking chocolate (£3.50) were far more successful choices.

Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-5462 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6182

Pete was very happy with his Crispy Dry-Cure Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Roast Tomatoes, Grilled Mushrooms (£8). Served on toast, good quality ingredients were well cooked and satisfying.

Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6184 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6179

I could not resist ordering Lobster Slices, Lobster Hollandaise, Spinach, Poached Eggs (£12). For the price, I was delighted with the generous portion of sweet, succulent lobster meat at one end of my long slice of crunchy toast. Piled over spinach, perfectly poached eggs were napped with a rich Hollandaise; my only regret is that more sauce wasn’t provided, perhaps in a jug on the side.

Of course, there are many on-the-hoof breakfast options in Borough Market, from doughnuts, brownies and pastries to grilled cheese sandwiches, from fresh fruit smoothies to sausages in a hearty roll. But sometimes it’s good to relax on comfortable chairs at a nicely laid table, order delicious breakfast treats from a menu, and share a leisurely chat with your companion or read a good book or newspaper while you eat. For those occasions, Rabot 1745 fits the bill.

Kavey Eats dined as guests of Rabot 1745.

Rabot 1745 on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

 

Whether you ordered Flake 99 in a cone or a bubble-gum toting Screwball in moulded plastic, at the heart of both was pale-as-snow, smooth-flowing, soft-serve Mr Whippy vanilla-flavoured ice cream.

There were actually two variations of Screwball that Pete and I remember – the ready-filled ones with raspberry ripple ice cream under a cardboard lid and the Mr Whippy one, but when I decided to recreate a Screwball for my entry into the resurrected Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge, it had to be Mr Whippy. Well of course it did! I quickly realised that making ice cream van dispenser-style soft-serve ice cream at home is not as straightforward as it might seem. But I found an online recipe that seemed doable and, with Pete’s help, had a go.

To our surprise, the strange recipe worked!

In the absence of suitable plastic moulds (I considered finding and cannibalising a model dalek but decided that might be a bit expensive), I served my upside-down Screwball in a pretty glass instead.

Screwball-Homemade-MrWhippy-Ice-Cream-KFavelle-KaveyEats-TEXT-6244

 

Screwball Featuring Homemade Mr Whippy Ice Cream

Serves 3-4

Ingredients
170 ml double cream
160 full fat milk
75 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 leaf of gelatin (and cold water to soak)
3-4 bubblegum balls

Note: I accidentally changed the ratios of cream to milk in the original recipe, when I realised I’d bought the wrong size tub of cream, but the recipe worked, so I’m sharing what I used, above.

Method

  • Soak the gelatin leaf in a bowl of cold water.
  • Combine double cream, milk and vanilla extract in a pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring constantly and checking that the mixture doesn’t boil.
  • When the mixture reaches simmering point, retrieve the gelatin from the water, squeeze excess water out (and discard) and add to the saucepan.
  • Continue to cook until the mixture starts to thicken a little.
  • Once the mixture has thickened sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool.
  • Then refrigerate to chill for an hour.
  • After chilling, whisk for 5 minutes using an electric whisk at full power.
    (Moopy should drink whisky for five minutes, at this stage…)

Screwball-Homemade-MrWhippy-Ice-Cream-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6224 Screwball-Homemade-MrWhippy-Ice-Cream-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6225

  • Decant into ice cube trays and place in the freezer to set solid.
    Note: it’s very difficult to remove the set ice cream from regular plastic trays. We found ice cube bags the easiest but silicone ice cube trays may also be OK.
  • Once the cubes have frozen solid, remove and place into a (powerful) blender or food processor and blitz until reduced to a frozen paste.

Screwball-Homemade-MrWhippy-Ice-Cream-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6230

  • Transfer into a piping bag and pipe into cones or serving dishes.

Screwball-Homemade-MrWhippy-Ice-Cream-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6222

  • Add a bubblegum ball to each serving.

Screwball-Homemade-MrWhippy-Ice-Cream-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6240

This is my entry into BSFIC.

IceCreamChallenge

There’s still time to enter the challenge, so please check this post for more details.

Happy ice cream making!

 

“I love Jelly Belly Jelly Beans!”

That’s exactly how I started a post last year, in which I shared my recipe for a simple no-churn jelly bean ice cream. If you are interested in the history of this well known brand, I talk about it in the same post.

Today is National Jelly Bean Day (in the US and the UK, anyway) and we’re celebrating by giving you the chance to win this wonderful Jelly Belly Bean Machine and a kilo of beans to fill it! Read on to find out how to enter, and for some interesting facts about Jelly Belly.

Jelly Belly Bean Machine B

  • Jelly Belly first created jelly beans in 1976 and their beans were the first to be sold in single flavours and come with a flavour menu.
  • The original eight flavours of Jelly Belly beans were Very Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Lemon, Liquorice and Grape.
  • There are currently over 100 different flavours!
  • Each Jelly Belly jelly bean contains just 4 calories.
  • Jelly Belly jelly beans are free from fat, wheat, nuts, gluten, dairy and  gelatine. (They are also certified OU Kosher and suitable for vegetarians).
  • Jelly Belly is now available in over 63 countries worldwide. Each one has their favourite flavours and they’re all different. The reigning number one flavour in the UK is Strawberry Cheesecake.
  • Juicy Pear costs more to create than any other Jelly Belly flavour because special D’Anjou Pears are shipped in especially from France.
  • Jelly Belly beans were the first jelly beans in outer space when President Reagan sent them on the 1983 flight of the space shuttle Challenger.
  • As well as eating Jelly Belly beans one at a time, to savour the flavors, aficionados also combine them to create recipes. Add your own to the UK Jelly Belly recipe database.

 

COMPETITION

Jelly Belly are offering one Kavey Eats reader this retrotastic Jelly Belly Bean Machine and a kilo bag of jelly beans with which to fill it. The prize includes delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me what flavour you think would make a tasty new Jelly Belly jelly bean.

Entry 2 – Facebook
Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter
Follow
@Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win a @JellyBellyUK Jelly Bean Machine from Kavey Eats!
http://goo.gl/HZQT21 #KaveyEatsJellyBelly
(Please do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And you don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 9 May 2014.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a Jelly Belly Bean Machine and a kilo of Jelly Belly jelly beans and includes free delivery within the UK.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Jelly Belly.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

Kavey Eats received sample products from Jelly Belly.

This competition was won by Laura Banks.

 

I’ve been trying to nail Southern Fried Chicken for quite some time.

Some recipes call for the chicken to be brined before cooking. Others marinade the meat in buttermilk instead. Some recipes don’t feature brine or marinade at all. Some cooks coat the chicken with nothing but flour and spices; others use buttermilk or an egg-and-milk mix to help the flour and spices adhere to the chicken. And of course, I’ve come across countless online recipes claiming to have cracked the secret spice blend for a KFC copycat, if that’s what you’re after…

The key problem for us has been in ensuring the chicken is cooked all the way through without overcooking the crispy coating. Of course, setting the right oil temperature helps a lot with that, as does the size of chicken pieces. But it’s remained my main point of difficulty.

When we received our Sous Vide Supreme, we poached chicken in it as one of our first experiments in getting a feel for how it worked and where the strengths of the technique lie. (For the record, the chicken was moist and evenly cooked, but no more so than if we’d poached it in our slow cooker).

But that experiment made it occur to me that we could sous vide the chicken first, to ensure that it was cooked right the way through and then apply the coating and deep fry.

Bingo! No more worries about the chicken being cooked at the core…

Of course, if you don’t have a sous vide machine, you can seal the chicken into bags (or wrap in cling film) and poach at a low simmer until cooked all the way through.

The next question is one of flavourings. The previous times I’ve made Southern Fried Chicken, I’ve blended my own spice mix in which I’ve included dried oregano, dried sage, dried rosemary, garlic powder, paprika, chilli powder, ground black pepper and salt. Of those, I’d say the core ingredients are oregano, paprika, chilli powder and garlic powder.

But this time I realised I had the perfect ready-made seasoning mix sitting in front of me – a tub of African Volcano Seasoning Rub (Medium). In case you can’t get hold of this, I’ve provided an alternative blend in the recipe below.

SousVide-Deep-Fried-KFC-Chicken-titled-5323

Southern Fried Chicken | Making Use of Sous Vide

Serves 2-3

Ingredients
6 boneless chicken thighs
150-200 ml (about 1 cup) buttermilk
150-200 grams (about 1 cup) plain flour
2-3 tablespoons African Volcano Seasoning Rub (or see note, below)
Salt and pepper

Note: You can substitute African Volcano Seasoning Rub with 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon chilli powder and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

Method

  • Pre-heat your sous vide machine to 66 °C (151 °F).
  • Open out the chicken thighs and cut them into two or three pieces each.
  • Add one to two tablespoons of buttermilk to the chicken and coat all the pieces.
  • Spread the chicken out flat in a food-grade plastic pouch and seal with a vacuum sealer.
  • Cook for two hours in the sous vide machine.
    Note: If you don’t have a sous vide machine, seal the chicken and buttermilk into bags (or wrap in cling film) and poach in water at a low simmer until cooked all the way through.

SousVide-Deep-Fried-KFC-Chicken-5317 SousVide-Deep-Fried-KFC-Chicken-5318

  • Before removing chicken from the water bath, prepare the plates of coating ready to dip and switch on your deep fat fryer to pre-heat to 170-175 °C.
  • Pour half a cup of buttermilk into a bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, spice blend and salt and pepper. Have an empty plate ready for floured chicken pieces.
  • Remove the chicken from the water bath, open the pouch, discard the juices and remove chicken pieces onto a plate or dish.
    Note: you don’t want the chicken to cool down in the centre, as you won’t be deep frying it for as long as usual, so allow it to cool for just a couple of minutes before continuing with the recipe.
  • As soon as the chicken has cooled enough to handle, dip each piece into the buttermilk and then into the seasoned flour, ensuring that plenty of flour has adhered to all surfaces of the chicken.

SousVide-Deep-Fried-KFC-Chicken-5319

  • Repeat for the rest of the chicken, adding more buttermilk to the dipping bowl as and when required.
    Ideally, if there are two of you, one person can fry the first batch while the second person dips and flours the remaining chicken.

SousVide-Deep-Fried-KFC-Chicken-5320

  • Fry in small batches, depending on the size of your deep fat fryer.
  • Ours took 5 minutes for the coating to crisp and brown. Increase cooking time if necessary, to achieve the necessary colour and texture.
  • Drain on to a paper towel and serve hot.

SousVide-Deep-Fried-KFC-Chicken-5328

Although that’s shop-bought coleslaw in the photographs, this southern fried chicken is even better served with my smoky paprika coleslaw, which can be made beforehand. Do give it a try.

 

Kavey Eats received a SousVide Supreme and vacuum sealer in exchange for sharing my experiences using the equipment.

 

Although I first read about A Wong on the (sadly now defunct) Eat Love Noodles blog back in spring 2013, it wasn’t until this year that I finally visited, in the company of Mr Noodles himself, as well as fellow blogger, the Insatiable Eater and his partner. It was the innovative dim sum that I was so keen to try, as it’s rare to see the dim sum classics so cleverly modernised.

We met at the restaurant one sunny Saturday lunch time at the beginning of March, buoyed by the earliness of spring sunshine and with empty bellies at the ready.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5008 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5009

One of the things I really appreciate about A Wong’s dim sum menu is that items are priced (and ordered) individually, making it easy to order the required number whether you’re dining alone or in a group. The usual multiples of three makes it difficult to order for parties of two or four, but here, we simply ordered 4 pieces of most of the dim sum on the menu. In addition, we ordered a couple of items from the snacks section and, later, some noodles and dessert.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5010 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5011

On the table, chilli oils and goji berries (respectively, too fiery and too sharp for me) but I think my friends enjoyed the chilli.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5013

First to arrive was the smoked duck and jellyfish and pork crackling salad (£4.95), a beautifully balanced blend of textures and tastes. This perfectly whetted our appetite for what was still to come, and didn’t last long at all!

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5014

Pickled cucumber (£2) was less immediately exciting but I loved the freshness of cooling crisp cucumber against the heat of the chilli and the sesame dressing.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5027 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5028

I’ve never come across Shanxi province honeycomb noodles with coriander and chilli dip (£4.50) before; I was fascinated by the presentation, for which sheets of pasta had carefully been folded into tubes and arranged within the confines of a bamboo steamer. For me, the noodles themselves were a little dry and chewy, but the dipping sauce was a genuine highlight.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5018 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5021

Quail egg croquette puffs (£1.75 each) feature the familiar delicate wrapping of a taro croquette (one of my default orders for any dim sum meal). Here, the lacy coat surrounded a perfectly soft-boiled quail egg, providing another superb taste and texture combination. The ginger and spring onion dipping sauce was a winner too.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5035 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5037

Time for sui mai, another dim sum classic, this time updated with a crispy curl of crackling. The pork and prawn dumplings, pork crackling (£1.30 each) were pleasant enough, but for me, it was not feasible to eat the dumpling and crackling in a single mouthful. I’d prefer plain sui mai and a bowl of crackling as a side dish.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5024 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5032

Baked roasted pork buns with a sugared coating (£1.50 each) were a riff on pork puff pastries and crunchy-topped bolo bao (pineapple buns). They were OK, but the pork inside lacked depth of flavour; I’d rather have the regular barbecue puff pastry version or a steamed char sui bao.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5043 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5047

Crab, seafood and beancurd cannelloni, pickled cockles were £3.50 each but our waiter advised us to order two portions, as each one is served cut into two pieces. These looked pretty but I found them a little bland compared to many of the other dim sum.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5023

Har gau (shrimp dumplings) are another regular dim sum order for me. These clear shrimp dumplings, sweet chilli sauce, citrus foam (£1.30) arrived wearing bubble bath robes – pretty as a picture but the foam didn’t add much to the eating experience. Still, the "oooh" moment when the bubbles caught the sunlight was fun!

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5029

Probably one of the most striking dishes, visually, was the scallop puff with XO sauce (£2). These vibrant orange blooms were super crunchy, and the XO sauce packed a punch, though I’m not sure I could detect much of the scallop flavour inside. Still, its silky texture was much in evidence. I enjoyed these!

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5042 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5045

I didn’t know what to expect of foie gras sticky sesame dumplings (£2 each) so I was very happy to discover they were essentially small jin doy, a sweet pastry treat that I often buy from Chinese bakeries. The spherical shell is a sticky, chewy delight and there’s usually a pellet of sweet red bean paste inside; in this case, the red bean paste was replaced by a (sadly very tiny) piece of foie gras. I liked the aesthetic impact of using both black and white sesame seeds but the foie gras was too small to give much flavour against the glutinous rice wrapper.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5020 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5051

There were two variations of sui long bao on the menu – Shanghai steamed dumplings, ginger infused vinegar (£1.50 each) and Yunnan mushroom, pork and truffle dumplings (£1.75 each). All of us audibly sighed in appreciation at the heady aromas of truffle that wafted across the table as soon as the latter were delivered. With very careful lifting, I managed to retain the broth inside mine, though the wonderfully thin wrappers meant this was a challenge not all of us passed. The dumplings were utterly delicious, one of the best of the meal. The ginger vinegar dumplings were pleasant but I’m a overly sensitive to sharper flavours, so personally, I’d have preferred the vinegar relegated to a dipping sauce.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5049 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5054

This rather alienesque little number is the deep fried prawn ball with abalone and chilli vinaigrette (£1.75 each). These are deeply savoury, bouncy balls of protein that, once again, contrast nicely with the texture of the crunchy threads around them.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5057 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5058

By this stage, I was thoroughly stuffed, and had I been sensible, I would have stopped there. But I was far too easily persuaded by my eager companions, that we should continue on to some noodles and dessert. Well.. they didn’t have to twist my arm too hard!

Mr. Mak’s tossed noodles with oyster sauce and shrimp roe (£8) came with a pipette of sauce and a side dish of broth. While I enjoyed the shrimp roe flavours, I found the noodles a bit dry and the accompanying broth quite bland.

The noodles in the won ton noodle soup (£8) were better, but again, I found the dish a little lacking in depth of flavour. I would have liked more greens and wontons, both.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5066 A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5069

Beijing yoghurt with chilli barbecued pineapple and sichuan pepper ice cream (£6.50) came with a certificate of authentication for the yoghurt, which is apparently a very highly respected brand in China. The yoghurt was OK, though I didn’t find it anything special to justify the hype (or import). But the barbecued pineapple was delicious; it paired superbly with the sichuan pepper ice cream, but what a shame the portion of ice cream was so tiny! Even if we hadn’t been sharing desserts, I’d have been disappointed in this tiny pellet.

(Incidentally, if you like the sound of sichuan pepper ice cream, here’s my own recipe for it, from last summer).

Our second dessert was tobacco smoked banana, nut crumble, chocolate, soy caramel (£6.50). This was presented with pomp, the hot caramel sauce poured onto a chocolate sphere from great height, until its warmth melted through the chocolate shell to reveal the ice cream within, Bob Bob Ricard style. For me, the overall taste was far too sweet; cloyingly, tooth-achingly so. Having enjoyed tobacco chocolates from Artisan du Chocolat, I was also disappointed that the flavour and kick of tobacco didn’t come through more clearly. Still, it was eagerly eaten by my friends, so it’s a matter of personal taste.

A-Wong-Dim-Sum-Restaurant-London-Kavita-Favelle-5073

Stuffed to bursting, we finally requested the bill, noticing that the previously packed-to-the-rafters dining room was virtually empty by the time we finished our long and leisurely lunch. With service, the bill came to just under £32 per person. Dropping noodles and desserts from our order (which would still have left me comfortable satiated) would bring that down to £23.50 per person.

Finally, a great and reasonably-priced dining choice in the vicinity of Victoria station!

Although I’ve expressed minor reservations about some aspects of a few of the items we ordered, in the main part, I found the meal very enjoyable indeed. The dim sum was as innovative, exciting and delicious as I’d been promised and I’m keen to visit for more soon. Based on the two noodle dishes, I’m curious about how well the rest of the menu performs; if you’ve been for dinner, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

A. Wong on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

 

Surely it’s impossible not to love soda bread! Not only is it soft and delicious, it’s ridiculously quick and easy to make.

Malted-Spelt-Soda-Bread-5239 Malted-Spelt-Soda-Bread-5241

When I talk about soda bread, I am using the term to cover any bread where bicarbonate of soda is the rising agent, rather than yeast.

This type of bread making is thought to have originated in the Americas, where European settlers and indigenous peoples used potash to leaven quick breads. Recipes began to appear in American cookbooks from the last few years of the 18th century onwards. The technique didn’t really appear in Europe until the middle of the 19th century, when bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) first became available here.

Regardless of the origins, for me Ireland is the spiritual home of soda bread where it’s widely enjoyed, much loved and considered a classic, perhaps even a staple.

Soda bread can be made with wholemeal or white flour, or a combination of both. In Ireland, only versions made from white flour are commonly called soda bread. In Northern Ireland, wholemeal varieties are known as wheaten bread (and are often a little sweetened); in Éire, wholemeal versions are simply called brown bread.

With the exception of buttermilk, the ingredients are all long-life store cupboard essentials, so you can knock up a loaf at short notice. Even if you don’t have buttermilk, which is used in most traditional recipes, natural yoghurt or acidulated milk can be substituted in its place (see recipe). The key is to include an acidic element to activate the bicarbonate of soda.

Indeed, this recipe came about when Pete and I fancied some warm, freshly-baked home bread for lunch but weren’t prepared to wait the several hours a yeasted loaf would have taken.

I have a trusted recipe for soda bread but this time we decided to replace the whole meal flour with spelt – spelt flour is better suited to soda bread than yeasted recipes, as its gluten doesn’t readily form the elasticity required to stretch and trap the air bubbles created by yeast.

We also added malt extract, to give a little more flavour.

Some recipes use a higher proportion of oats to flour than ours, but we find this can make the texture a little too dense and heavy for our liking. Here, we used Mornflake medium oatmeal. Mornflake has been milling oats in South Chesire since 1675 and is still family-owned and managed by the descendants of the original miller, William Lea. The company contracts farms throughout the UK to supply it with grain and now sells both milled oats and a range of breakfast cereals.

We used Sharpham Park white spelt flour, grown on an organic farm in Somerset. We are also huge fans of their pearled spelt, which we use regularly in recipes like this chicken and pea farotto, a risotto-like dish in which spelt takes the place of rice.

 

Malted Spelt Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients
175g spelt flour (wholegrain or white)
75g strong white flour
25g medium oatmeal
half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
half teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon malt extract
250-300ml buttermilk

Note: The spelt flour in this recipe can be replaced with regular wholemeal flour.
Note: If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can use plain (natural) yoghurt thinned down with a little milk or sour 250 ml of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.
Note: This recipe can be doubled up to make a larger loaf, but you’ll need to increase baking time accordingly.

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 210 C (fan).
  • Combine flours, oatmeal, bicarbonate of soda, salt and malt extract together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add half the buttermilk and mix with the dry ingredients to start forming a dough, then add the remaining buttermilk a little at a time – you may not need the full 300 ml and adding too much results in a very stick dough that’s hard to handle. There’s is no need to knead the dough; simply mix quickly until everything is properly combined and avoid over-working.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place in the centre of a baking tray lined with baking parchment or a silicon liner.
  • Pat down to flatten into a disc, about an inch deep. For a traditionally shaped loaf, press the blunt edge of a knife down into the dough twice to form a cross-shaped indent.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • Check the bread at 20 minutes by tapping the bottom – the crust should be firm; the sound should be a dull thwack – if not, return to the oven for a few more minutes before checking again.
  • Once done, leave to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  • Break into pieces along the indentation lines and enjoy warm with salted butter and your favourite sweet or savoury topping.

Malted-Spelt-Soda-Bread-5240

Kavey Eats received product samples from Mornflake Cereals. We have previously received samples from Sharpham Park.

 

Given how much I enjoy coleslaw – it’s a must-have accompaniment to breaded chicken fillets, deep fried chicken and chicken burgers – it’s a little surprising to me that I’d never made my own; It’s not exactly complicated to shred some raw vegetables and toss in a home-made dressing, after all.

I was finally prompted to do so by my desire to road test two food slicer appliances I was sent for review.

But I couldn’t decide which recipe to use for the dressing. I found many recipes for mayonnaise sweetened with a little sugar or tarted up with horseradish or mustard. I found yoghurt-based recipes and recipes for buttermilk with maple syrup. I found recipes for dairy-free vinaigrette versions. I even found a recipe for a flour-based roux “mayonnaise” that looked like no mayonnaise I’ve ever heard of!

But when I asked friends for tried and tested suggestions, one recommendation immediately stood out:

My friend Jaxie told me about  her partner’s condensed milk and vinegar dressing, assuring me that although it “sounds insane”, actually, “it’s bloody delicious”. As I love condensed milk in coffee, there’s always some in our house, so I just had to give this unusual coleslaw dressing a try.

She advised that TS adds mustard powder for extra flavour, but I had a eureka moment and decided to use some wonderfully smoky sweet paprika I bought from a Spanish market in London last May. I chose cider vinegar to pair with the condensed milk as I love the gentle fruitiness it provides.

Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5370 Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5377

All I can say is “Wow” – this was definitely a winner!

The tart vinegar balances out the intensely sweet condensed milk. The smoky paprika gives a fabulously earthy flavour that brings to mind the smoky aromas of a summer barbecue.

For me, an equal amount of cider vinegar and condensed milk created just the right balance, but you can adjust the ratio to create a sweeter or sharper dressing if you prefer.

Although I’ve provided approximate amounts for the salad vegetables, I suggest you grate as much or little coleslaw as you like, mix up a batch of dressing and mix it in a little at a time until you have a ratio of salad to dressing that works best for you.

You can always mix up another batch of dressing if you need more.

Smoky Paprika Coleslaw | An Unusual But Winning Recipe

Ingredients
For the salad

100-150 grams (about a quarter of a small) white cabbage
100-150 grams (about a quarter of a small) red cabbage
100-150 grams (about 1 medium) carrot
For the dressing
3 tablespoons condensed milk
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Half teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Note: The salad ingredients are, to my mind, the three core choices for a traditional coleslaw. You might also like to add red or white onion or sliced spring onion greens.
Note: Make sure you use sweet smoked paprika rather than the hot kind. The smokiness is key to the flavour of this dressing and sweet paprika gives a pleasing but mild kick.

Method

  • Combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Add a little more vinegar or condensed milk if you would like the dressing to be a touch tarter or sweeter. Taste, adjust seasoning and set aside.

Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5368 Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5330

  • Remove any damaged or tough outer cabbage leaves. Wash your vegetables. Top, tail and peel the carrot.
  • Grate your vegetables using a food processor or finely shred by hand. Mix together in a large bowl.

Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5345 Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5363 Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5367

  • Add the dressing to the salad and combine thoroughly. If you prefer lightly dressed coleslaw, you can add the dressing in batches, mix well and add more as required.

Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5372

  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5376

I absolutely love the simple combination of condensed milk and cider vinegar, and will definitely make this again, not just for coleslaw but as a general salad dressing.

The addition of a generous amount of smoky sweet paprika provided a very distinctive flavour for my coleslaw but you could stick to TS’s original suggestion of mustard powder or try other spices and herbs, to ring the changes.

 

I’m entering this recipe into Helen and Michelle’s Extra Veg Blog Challenge.

Extra-Veg-Badge-003

 

Coming soon… a side-by-side review of the two food slicers pictured.

 

Recently, I asked my friends “The Mapes” to review Five Valleys Cordials for Kavey Eats. There are seven cordials in the range, made from natural ingredients with no artificial flavours, sweeteners, colourings or preservatives. They are available from Waitrose and Ocado, as well as a number of Gloucestershire retailers.

Over to “Daddy Mape”, Mark:

fivevalleysrange

When we received the cordials we decided to make a game of trying them with our children. Each new bottle was chosen at random and the label kept hidden. We then made up glasses of the cordial and tried to guess what the cordial was. Between us we always got the main ingredient and about half of the time we got the second ingredient.

IMG_1815 IMG_1816

We used some of the cordials with our SodaStream and ice lolly maker.

Reviews

Cherry & Beetroot

Nice cherry flavour, strongly reminiscent of cherry flavoured cough remedies (which L found slightly off putting) but if that’s the flavour of cough sweets that you’d choose, we would highly recommend.
3/5

Apricot and Ginger

The bottle wasn’t big enough and was emptied very quickly! If not drunk quickly it separates into two drinks – a really refreshing apricot followed by delicious ginger; this is not necessarily a bad thing but makes for an interesting experience.
5/5

Lemon & Mint

Very minty, not a preferred choice as we never quite worked out the best way to drink it. If you like mint drinks or have a favourite mint cocktail would highly recommend.
2/5

Sloe & Raspberry

Disappeared quickly (too quickly to try the serving suggestion of drinking it hot). Very reminiscent of a posh Vimto.
5/5

Coconut and Kaffir Lime

Confession time – only one of the 4 of us likes coconut! All of us tried it but it was too coconutty for three of us. L found it really refreshing and it would be a great drink on a summers evening.
1/5 or 4/5

Peach and Lychee

Sweet as you’d expect, in fact too sweet for us. We could smell the lychees more than taste them.
1/5
Made good lollies 3/5

Rose and Pomegranate

Turkish delight in a glass, what’s not to like? You could use the smell to scent your room.
5/5

IMG_1814

Summary

The cordials on a whole were really good and we’d drink most of them again. For us they’re not for everyday use but we’d happily buy for a summer party or if we wanted cocktail mixers.

 

With thanks to Five Valleys Cordials for their review samples and to “The Mapes” for their review.

 

After two trips to Japan in two years, I’ve fallen even more in love with Japanese food. Both holidays gave us plenty of opportunities to enjoy traditional washoku cuisine, particularly in the multi-course kaiseki ryori meals we enjoyed at a number of ryokans.

While sushi is increasingly popular in the UK, the many, many other dishes that make up this tasty cuisine have been less widely available. But in the last few years, particularly in London, Japanese food is growing its fan base and more and more Japanese restaurants are opening their doors. It’s not that we didn’t have Japanese restaurants before, but they certainly weren’t (and still aren’t) as ubiquitous as Indian, Chinese, Italian, Thai…

I’ve written previously about London’s ramen awakening; after Wagamama popularised a simplified version, authentic ramen is now coming into its own.

Sushi remains a lunch-time favourite, sold by supermarkets and sandwich chains across the country, but Chef Toru Takahashi of Sushi Tetsu is one of a new generation bringing the higher end experience to the UK. I’ve not yet been, but it’s very high on my wish list!

Even kaiseki ryori is now available in London – another place that I’m enormously keen to visit is The Shiori, where Chef Takashi Takagi recreates a Kyoto-style kaiseki experience for enthusiastic London diners.

Chisou-5276

I learned about Chisou Japanese Restaurant during a chance encounter at a United Ramen pop-up I went to in January. A fellow diner told me about it, having recently taken up a job with them. Recently, he extended an invitation to visit and try their Japanese menu for myself. There are actually three restaurants in this mini-chain – the original Mayfair branch which opened in 2002, the Knightsbridge location I visited, which opened in 2010, and the newest one out in Chiswick, which opened in 2012.

Each restaurant has its own head chef – at Knightsbridge, Chef Ryota Tsuji is at the helm. The core menu is common to all three restaurants, but each head chef also offers a selection of their own specialities as well.

On the website, Chisou describe themselves as closer to an izakaya (casual Japanese bars that also serve food) than to a formal kaiseki restaurant, though I’d place the Knightsbridge restaurant somewhere between the two. It’s definitely more upmarket than most izakaya but not as rarefied as a traditional Kyoto kaiseki restaurant. The website is not great – clicking on Food (in the hope of seeing the menu) takes you to a long passage about private hire, which would be far better given its own section of the menu. Scroll down, down, down past all of that to eventually find the menu, laid out in sections you have to read one at a time. Use the sub-menu on the left to navigate between these. Frustratingly, prices are not listed – one of my pet hates; a complete website revamp would be a great investment!

Still, the menu has many appealing dishes including several that I haven’t much encountered in the UK.

I take friend and fellow Japanophile MiMi with me to review.

Chisou-5277

We are warmly greeted by general manager (and sommelier) John who is a little disappointed that we’re not wine drinkers, and that we also turn down the offer of sake, but cheers up when we ask for umeshu (plum liqueur) instead. It’s lovely to be served our sweet Ozeki Kanjuku Umeshu (£6.50 glass) with a whole alcohol-pickled plum in each glass, which I greedily eat after finishing my drink.

Chisou-5280 Chisou-5281

Chewy, slightly fishy strands of seaweed with sesame seeds are a tasty nibble, placed on the table soon after we arrive. Edamame beans (£4.50) are served simply, in salt.

Chisou-5284 Chisou-5285

Horenso salad (£9.90), described as “ baby spinach topped with spicy prawns and sweet carrot, drizzled in yuzu vinaigrette” is artfully presented, though a little fussy. I’d like just a few more prawns, given the price tag, but the flavours are excellent. And the yuzu comes through loud and clear, which is good news since we both love it. When the dish arrives, we’ve forgotten the mention of sweet carrot on the menu, and wonder what the strange  orange fibres are made of – their flavour doesn’t clue us in to their carrot nature but they do add an interesting texture.

Hotate Carpaccio Yuzukosho Salt (£11.95) is described as wild-caught Alaskan scallop carpaccio served with yuzukosho and ponzu sauce. The scallops are delicious, served in thin sashimi slices. I can’t detect the yuzukosho (a salty spicy condiment made from yuzu citrus) very well but the dressing, rich in sesame, is refreshing.

Chisou-5286 Chisou-5293

Yakitori (£4.90) is disappointing. It’s offered coated in chef’s “special sauce” or lightly salted, and we choose the latter but find the yakitori woefully under seasoned. The chicken meat has very little flavour and these are a bland, chewy let-down.

Tempura Moriawase (£13.90) is another dish that I think is over-priced for the portion. The quality of the ingredients is good and the tempura is excellent – a lovely light batter cooked to a perfect crisp and not at all oily – but a plate of three prawns, one small piece of fish and a small number vegetables is not enough for the price.

Chisou-5288 Chisou-5291

Chawan Mushi (£7.50) is an absolute winner of a dish, one of the best of the night. Within the delicately flavoured savoury custard (that has just the right wobble and silken texture) are prawns, chicken and mushrooms. It immediately transports me back to the delicious chawan mushi I enjoyed in Japan and both MiMi and I agree we’d come back to Chisou for this dish in a heartbeat.

 Chisou-5299

The menu offers lots of choice on sashimi and sushi, but we decide to leave it in the hands of the chef, and order Sanpin Sashimi (£19.90). The chef selects three different types of fish from the catch of the day and three pieces of each are served. Knowing what I pay for excellent quality fresh sashimi at Atari-ya, the mark-up seems a touch high once again, but the quality of fish is decent.

Chisou-5305 Chisou-5302
Eel; Salmon belly

After asking about two pork belly dishes, we choose one of them along with Unagi Kabayaki (£25.80) and Aburi Sake Toro (£7.20), plus a bowl of plain boiled rice (£3) and Konomono (assorted pickles) (£4.10). In the end, we are eventually told that neither pork belly dish is available, but we have plenty with our two fish choices, so don’t bother choosing a replacement.

The unagi (eel) is beautifully cooked, coated with a traditional sweet barbecue sauce; the flesh is almost jelly like and full of flavour.

Likewise, the aburi sake toro (seared salmon belly), served with a yuzu soy sauce, is delicious and suitably fatty, as the cut suggests. Visually, they look similar, but flavours are quite distinct.

The pickles are very good: four contrasting colours, tastes and textures.

Chisou-5308

I don’t think either of us intend to have dessert but once we glance at the menu, we can’t resist the ice creams and sorbets; two scoops (£4.90).

My yuzu sorbet is the essence of yuzu, just as MiMi’s lychee sorbet is nothing but pure fruit flavour. Her green tea ice cream is decent (though not the best I’ve tasted). My soy and brown sugar ice cream is alright but the soy doesn’t come through at all, which is a shame – I had hoped for the classic flavour of soy and sugar combined, like the glaze on mitarashi dango. I am a little surprised at presentation of the ice creams – thus far in the meal, plates have been so carefully arranged but here the scoops are sloppily shaped and my bowl is actually quite messy.

Overall, our meal has been good, with some real highlights – the spinach and prawn salad, chawan mushi, pickles and unagi. Pricing is a little variable, with some dishes providing far better value than others. Including our two glasses of umeshu and a green tea, our bill would be approximately £70 a head – a lot even given the number of dishes we ordered. Judicious ordering would reduce that – swap out the sashimi and the unagi for three or four additional small dishes and you could bring that down by at least a tenner per person. That’s still at the top edge of what I’d pay. Then again, the restaurants is within a stone’s throw of Harrods and the multi-million-pound mansions of the very wealthy, so perhaps it is simply targeting its locale clientele.

Certainly there are many more dishes I’d like to try, including Buta Bara Kimuchi (£5.90) – belly pork stir fried with garlic and kimchi, Kani Karaage (£13.50) – deep fried soft shell crab with a ponzu dip, Kodako Nanban Age (£8.20) – deep fried and marinated baby octopus, Saikyo Yaki (£12.50) – grilled black cod in white miso, Wagyu Steak & Foie Gras Truffle Teriyaki (£24.50) – featuring 50 grams of Chilean wagyu rib eye, and Sake Chazuke (£4.90/£7.20) – plain rice served in a hot soup and sprinkled with flakes of salmon.

So yes, it’s expensive but the range of dishes and the quality of most of them means it’s worthy of consideration for a little taste of traditional Japanese washoku in London.

Kavey Eats dined as guests of Chisou Restaurant.

Chisou Japanese Restaurant Knightsbridge on Urbanspoon
Square Meal

© 2006 - 2014 Kavita Favelle Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha