kaveyeats

 

I lied. I’m not offering you a partridge in a pear tree. That’s coming soon. But today I am in the business of sharing some fine game birds, namely partridges and pheasants.

Courtesy of the Wild Meat Company I’ve just taken delivery of their Poachers Delight Game Bird Box.

WildMeatCompany-GameBirdsBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-7389 WildMeatCompany-GameBirdsBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-7393

Inside eco-friendly wool insulation, nestled between a couple of ice packs, are 4 whole pheasants, 2 packs of 2 pheasant fillets, 4 whole red-legged partridges and 2 packs of 4 partridge fillets. The whole birds are oven ready – after hanging for 3 to 7 days they are dry plucked, waxed and eviscerated by hand before being wrapped ready for delivery. The fillets are skinned, prepped and vacuum packed, ready to cook.

I first learned about dry plucking and waxing versus wet plucking on a visit to Kelly Bronze Turkey Farm a couple of years ago. The key benefits of dry plucking are the reduction in damage to the skin and flesh of the bird, a less clammy texture and smell to the skin and an increased shelf life – the heat and moisture of wet plucking can accelerate the growth of bacteria.

WildMeatCompany-GameBirdsBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-7395

With the exception of one stuffed and boned pheasant from Borough Market last Christmas, I’ve never cooked game birds before, so I turned to friends for cooking recommendations. As usual they came up trumps and the recipe below was delicious (though not very photogenic). I’ll be sharing it soon.

Even though I’m a novice game bird cook, I’ve eaten my fair share over the years and can confirm that the quality of produce from the Wild Meat Company is excellent. The birds arrived in perfect condition, on time as promised and with nothing to do but choose a recipe and get cooking.

Pheasant-in-cider-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-1091
Pheasant braised in cider with pancetta, shallots and thyme (recipe coming soon)

 

COMPETITION

The Wild Meat Company are offering one reader of Kavey Eats a Poachers Delight Game Bird Box, with free delivery within the UK.

DISCOUNT CODE

Enter promotional code KAVEY10 to get 10% off all partridge and pheasant products until 28 February 2015. Please note that, as it’s coming up to the end of game bird season, orders for game birds placed after 9 February 2015 will receive frozen not fresh produce.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 2 ways – the more ways you enter, the higher your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me how you’d cook the contents of the box.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey and @WildMeatCompany on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below:
I’d love to win a @WildMeatCompany Poachers Delight Game Bird Box from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/gamebirds #KaveyEatsGameBirds
(Do not add the @Kavey twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th February 2015.
  • 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 (across blog and twitter) 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 Poachers Delight Game Bird Box, as described above. The prize includes delivery within the UK Mainland.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by the Wild Meat Company.
  • As the British game bird season is coming to a close, the latest date the box can be sent out fresh is the 14 February. If the winner prefers a later delivery, they will receive frozen rather than fresh game birds.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey and @WildMeatCompany at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 3 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a sample box from the Wild Meat Company.

 

With the exception of long-ago childhood excitement (mingled with dread) about whether (or not) I would receive a card from a secret admirer, I’ve never been a particularly gung-ho participator in Valentine’s day. I guess I’m one of those who tend to prefer the little everyday demonstrations of love and romance over the idea of a societally assigned day of cliché. I have dearly appreciated the romance of an electric foot warmer over flowers, I am thankful for the lovingly made soft-boiled eggs with neatly buttered and cut soldiers when I’ve come home hungry after a late night event and I prefer daily kisses, cuddles and kind words to a showy profession by way of a girly necklace or glittery ring,

I’m particularly glad Pete isn’t given to ostentatiously public displays; gaudy (and visibly expensive) bouquets sent to the office rather than given in person strike me as little more than showing off or worse, proprietarily staking a claim. Since when did romance require grabbing the attention of anyone other than the object of one’s affections?

That’s not to say I don’t like flowers; it’s simply that the unexpected bunch of bright yellow daffodils for no particular occasion is a far bigger delight than scentless red roses on the 14th February.

All that said and done, we never entirely bypass Valentine’s day because of a little addiction of mine. Hey, it’s not a problem, I’m not hurting anyone, I can stop anytime I want, I am totally in control!

Who am I fooling? I’m addicted to greeting cards. Yes, those little folded rectangles of card with cutesie images and anodyne statements;  I adore them. I love buying cards, I love sending cards and I am joyous to receive cards. (In seriousness, I have reined in my habit by agreeing not to buy more if my allocated greeting card drawer is already full. This is more challenging to stick to than you might imagine). So, there must always be cards, on Valentine’s day and through the rest of the year as well.

What else? Let’s take a look at a couple of offerings that have caught my eye.

Chocolate

We both adore chocolate so it’s often part of our birthday, Christmas and anytime gifts to each other. We seldom buy boxes of chocolates (it’s usually bars, far better value), and very rarely on Valentine’s day. But I confess I would be more than happy to be given this big chocolate Hotel Chocolat Love Birds chocolate heart! Featuring a very pretty love birds design, half is salted caramel chocolate and the other half 50% milk praline. (£26; 650 grams).

310303_Valentines 2015_Large solid heart_in box with ribbon_flat-2

Better still, Hotel Chocolat are kindly giving away one beautiful Love Birds chocolate heart to a Kavey Eats reader. Click here to enter.

Image 260 503341-cocoa-gin-250ml Image 138

Other products that have caught my eye in this year’s Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s range include:

  • The Valentines Goody Bag (containing chocolate and passion fruit truffles; a pack of caramel sweethearts; two 50g milk chocolate Mellow Heart slabs; Champagne Truffles; and a Valentine’s truffle duo of Caramel Gianduja and a Strawberry Cheesecake; £18).
  • This bottle of Cocoa Gin made in small batches in traditional copper-pot stills; roasted cocoa shells contribute to the rich flavour. (£15, 250ml).
  • A box of six balsamic caramel hearts (£3.75).

Drinking In

The last two years have seen a surge of specialist food and drink subscription services (such as the Carnivore Club cured meat and Beer 52 craft beer boxes I reviewed previously).

The latest to come to my attention is Tipple Box, a monthly cocktail subscription created by founder Sonny Charles. After launching just last month with the help of crowd-funding, Sonny is now ready for cocktail lovers to sign up. Each month, he sends out two cocktail recipes with ingredients (spirits, mixers and anything else in the recipe) and mixing jar. All you need to add is the ice.

Tipple Box-2759 small Stacked-TippleBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015

Pete and I enjoyed the two cocktails in our Tipple Box, one a combination of gin, marmalade and mixer, the other a blend of vodka, strawberry jam and mixer, though it’s a shame the two recipes were so similar. I’d like to see a little more creativity in future boxes (small batch spirits and mixers, rather than mainstream brands, and the addition of intriguing bitters, fruit and herb syrups and cordials, flavoured salts and sugars – the kinds of things a keen cocktail maker might not readily be able to source themselves in the supermarket).

But it’s a great start for a new business, very nicely presented and a rather lovely idea for an intimate night in making and drinking cocktails together. Of course, you can buy this to give to your loved one in person but I think it would also be a charming gift to send via the post to a LDR lover, ready and waiting to make cocktails the next time you get together.

One box costs £24 including delivery in the UK, with reductions in price for longer subscriptions.

Better still, Sonny is kindly giving away a one month Tipple Box to a Kavey Eats reader. Click here to enter.

Whether you win the competition or not, all readers can make use of discount code KAVEY10 for 10% off the monthly subscription price, valid until end of March 2015.

Eating Out

I can’t think of much worse (in terms of Valentine’s day celebrations) than booking a typical table for two on Valentine’s day. I know, I know, you already thought I was a killjoy when you read my introduction, now you are convinced I’m utterly heartless. But let me explain myself…

The idea of wasting money to order from a limited-choice, overpriced “special” Valentine’s menu, often laden down with so-called aphrodisiac ingredients at the expense of coherence and tastiness… sitting amongst a sea of couples, many of them looking like startled rabbits when suddenly faced with the prospect of actually spending an entire evening talking to their chosen “loved one”, some of them singularly failing to say a word… service rushed as waiters struggle to handle a higher volume of finicky small tables, customers even more demanding than usual as they claw for the evening to live up to their unrealistic expectations… uugh, it really doesn’t bear thinking about!

Our usual habit is to cook a tasty meal at home, settle down on the sofa to watch a good film, or to read our kindles in companiable and comfortable silence.

DrapersAr,s
Image courtesy of Nick Gibson, used with permission

This year, we shall be making our way with friends to The Drapers Arms, a wonderful pub in Islington. Not only are we guaranteed good food and a merry time, landlord Nick Gibson is once again donating 100% of the night’s takings to Refuge, a charity helping women in need of support. Read his eloquent post on why he’s doing this and book for a non-valentiney Valentine’s dinner with your partner or friends.

 

Kavey Eats received sample products from Hotel Chocolate and Tipple Box.

 

The last two years have seen a surge of specialist food and drink subscription services (such as the Carnivore Club cured meat and Beer 52 craft beer boxes I reviewed previously).

The latest to come to my attention is Tipple Box, a monthly cocktail subscription created by founder Sonny Charles. After launching just last month with the help of crowdfunding, Sonny is now ready for cocktail lovers to sign up. Each month, he sends out two cocktail recipes with ingredients (spirits, mixers and anything else in the recipe) and mixing jar. All you need to add is the ice.

Tipple Box-2759 small Stacked-TippleBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015

Pete and I enjoyed the two cocktails in our Tipple Box, one a combination of gin, marmalade and mixer, the other a blend of vodka, strawberry jam and mixer, though it’s a shame the two recipes were so similar. I’d like to see a little more creativity in future boxes (small batch spirits and mixers, rather than mainstream brands, and the addition of intriguing bitters, fruit and herb syrups and cordials, flavoured salts and sugars – the kinds of things a keen cocktail maker might not readily be able to source themselves in the supermarket).

But it’s a great start for a new business, very nicely presented and a rather lovely idea for an intimate night in making and drinking cocktails together. Of course, you can buy this to give to your loved one in person but I think it would also be a charming gift to send via the post to a LDR lover, ready and waiting to make cocktails the next time you get together.

One box costs £24 including delivery in the UK, with reductions in price for longer subscriptions.

COMPETITION

Tipple Box are are offering one reader of Kavey Eats a one month Tipple Box of recipe cards, ingredients and mixer jar. Prize includes delivery within the UK.

DISCOUNT CODE

Whether you win the competition or not, all readers can make use of discount code KAVEY10 for 10% off the monthly subscription price, valid until end of March 2015.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways – the more ways you enter, the higher your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite Valentine’s day memory.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey and @TippleBoxUK on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below:
I’d love to win a @TippleBoxUK cocktail box from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/valdaycomp #KaveyEatsTippleBox
(Do not add the @Kavey twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

Entry 3 – Instagram
Follow @KaveyF and @tipplebox on Instagram. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then:
Share an image of a cocktail or cocktail ingredient via your Instagram feed. In the caption include instagram usernames @KaveyF and @tipplebox and the hashtag #KaveyEatsTippleBox

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Thursday 5th February 2015.
  • 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 (across blog, twitter and instagram) 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 one month Tipple Box including recipe cards, ingredients and mixer jar for two cocktails. The prize includes delivery within the UK Mainland.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Tipple Box.
  • Tipple Box will do their best to deliver before 14th February 2015, but please note that this is not guaranteed.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Instagram entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but you do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey and @TippleBoxUK at the time of notification. For Instagram entries, winners must be following @KaveyF and @tipplebox at the 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 Instagram so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. 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 a sample box from Tipple Box.

 

We both adore chocolate so it’s often part of our birthday, Christmas and anytime gifts to each other. We seldom buy boxes of chocolates (it’s usually bars, far better value), and very rarely on Valentine’s day. But I confess I would be more than happy to be given this big chocolate Hotel Chocolat Love Birds chocolate heart! Featuring a very pretty love birds design, half is salted caramel chocolate and the other half 50% milk praline. (£26; 650 grams).

310303_Valentines-2015_Large-solid-h

356657_Valentines-2015_Goody-bag_thu  503341-cocoa-gin-250ml_thumb3  120319_Valentines-2015_Balsamic-Cara

Other products that have caught my eye in this year’s Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s range include:

  • The Valentines Goody Bag (containing chocolate and passion fruit truffles; a pack of caramel sweethearts; two 50g milk chocolate Mellow Heart slabs; Champagne Truffles; and a Valentine’s truffle duo of Caramel Gianduja and a Strawberry Cheesecake; £18).
  • This bottle of Cocoa Gin made in small batches in traditional copper-pot stills; roasted cocoa shells contribute to the rich flavour. (£15, 250ml).
  • A box of six balsamic caramel hearts (£3.75).

COMPETITION

Hotel Chocolat are offering one reader of Kavey Eats a Hotel Chocolat Love Birds chocolate heart. Prize includes delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways – the more ways you enter, the higher your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite Valentine’s day memory.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey and @HotelChocolat on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below:
I’d love to win a @HotelChocolat Love Birds Salted Caramel & Milk Praline heart from KaveyEats! http://bit.ly/valdaycomp #KaveyEatsHCValentine
(Do not add the @Kavey twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

Entry 3 – Instagram
Follow @KaveyF and @HotelChocolat  on Instagram. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then:
Share an image of chocolate via your Instagram feed. In the caption include instagram usernames @KaveyF and @HotelChocolat and the hashtag #KaveyEatsHCValentine

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Thursday 5th February 2015.
  • 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 (across blog, twitter and instagram) 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 Hotel Chocolat’s Love Birds chocolate heart and includes delivery within the UK Mainland.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Hotel Chocolat.
  • Hotel Chocolat will do their best to deliver before 14th February 2015, but please note that this is not guaranteed.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Instagram entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but you do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey and @HotelChocolat at the time of notification. For Instagram entries, winners must be following @KaveyF and @HotelChocolat at the 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 Instagram so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. 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 Hotel Chocolat.

 

Created by a driven, food-loving first-time restaurateur along with head chef Kyoichi Kai (formerly of Zuma), Kouzu is the latest high quality Japanese restaurant to open in Victoria. Once a neighbourhood not much associated with fine dining, the area seems finally to be coming into its own, with lots of on-going investment and building projects creating ever more commercial space for businesses and restaurants alike.

The team behind Kouzu share a dream of creating a restaurant of which they can be proud, one that uses the best ingredients to create delicious Japanese food in a luxurious but relaxed setting. The menu is, in the main part, traditional but the occasional fusion tweak reveals Kai’s classic French cuisine background.

Kouzu-groundfloorbar kouzi-sushi-counter
Images courtesy of Kouzu restaurant

Just a few steps from Victoria Station, Kouzu is housed in a beautiful 1850s period mansion; the enormous door looking out onto busy Grosvenor Gardens gives way to a small double-height lobby dominated by a fabulous modern art chandelier. One of the staff tells me that the design is based on the pupal cases of butterfly larvae, butterflies being the (understated) motif of the restaurant. Downstairs houses the bar and a restaurant space (as well as a private dining room). Upstairs is an extensive mezzanine floor where the omakase sushi bar and additional restaurant seating are located.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7284 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9891

We make two visits to Kouzu in December and January, the better to sample their extensive menu. On our first we sit downstairs, on the second, we visit the sushi bar.

New Stream Sashimi is one of the less traditional sections of the menu, bringing together Japanese and European influences in all six dishes.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0606

As soon as Yellowtail with Truffle Dressing (£15) is served to the table, the heady scents of truffle fill the air. On the palate, the shiso, myoga, ginger and spring onion hit the tastebuds first, and for a moment I’m disappointed. However the truffle flavour asserts itself a few moments later, and leaves a deliciously earthy aftertaste.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9892

Salmon with Yuzu Soy Dressing (£11) is a punchy dish of salmon dressed in yuzu, soy, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds and a ravigote sauce (the latter a classic French vinaigrette with shallots, capers and herbs). For me, the dressing has been applied a little too long before serving, resulting in the salmon being “cooked” by the acid and slightly too pappy in texture, but the flavours are super.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9894

Beef Fillet Tataki (£17.50) is beautifully cooked over charcoal and sliced, and served with what is described as an oriental sauce and julienne salad. The sauce is sharp and the little salad heavy in shisho, which I love. That said, although tataki simply refers to seared and sliced meat, I can’t help but wish for a sesame-based sauce, which I (no doubt unfairly) associate with the dish.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9897

For the price, I expect the Foie-Gras and Spinach with Teriyaki Wasabi (£12) to be far less generous. Instead, I’m delighted with the generous lobe of perfectly cooked liver served with wilted spinach, a light fruit coulis and a wasabi and teriyaki sauce. The combination of flavours is superb, with the bold umami of the teriyaki and mustardy heat of the wasabi complementing rather than overpowering the foie-gras.

Small Dishes and Salads offer a range of little sides that can accompany orders from any other section of the menu; likewise the short and sweet Vegetables section – the two could easily be amalgamated.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9889

There’s not much that can be said about Edamame (£4.50), served with a sprinkle of sea salt as we read the menu and decide what to order. I’d love to see a little inventiveness here, with a couple of options such as a spice and salt blend or even a sticky chilli sauce.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9896

I have to order Agedashi Tofu (£6.50), one of my staple orders when I go out for Japanese food. Kouzu’s version is another fusion dish, the blocks of fried tofu sitting not in the normal soy and dashi broth but in a glutinous vegetable and fish stock sauce. Whilst I like the sauce well enough, what I’m less keen on is how it smothers the tofu blocks, resulting in a lack of the crisp surface I usually enjoy against the pillowy interior.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9907

The Portobello Mushroom with Garlic Butter (£6.50) is firmly in the European camp, indeed I’m unable to detect any Japanese influences at all. Whilst the meaty mushroom, herby garlic butter and thick, glossy Madeira sauce are tasty, I find this dish a little at odds with the rest of the menu.

Items From The Charcoal Grill cover the widest price range, from £12 to a whopping £85 (though that is for 200 grams of high grade wagyu rib).

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9913

I absolutely adore the Lamb Chops with Spicy Miso Paste (£12), which are served medium rare, with a selection of grilled vegetables. Lamb meat and fat are both delicious, the miso really works well here. The vegetables are all individually cooked to just the right level of crunch, full of fresh garden flavour and a simply foil to the main.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0610 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0611

Yakitori chicken (£12) is offered shio or tare – the first is served with smoked sea-salt, the second basted in a special soy sauce. I’m expecting it to come in sticks, as that’s how I’ve usually enjoyed it but here the tender pieces of chicken thigh are simply piled on the plate alongside grilled spring onions, peppers and chinese cabbage.

Tempura has a menu section of its own.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9902

We ask for a mix of the various different vegetables, each available to order separately. Batter is super light and crisp, just as it should be, and each vegetable is perfectly cooked inside.

The Specials section might be mistaken for main dishes, based on the prices, but as they’re not significantly larger than many of the previous dishes, I’d be wary of ordering a traditional two or three course meal and expecting to be satiated.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9910

Roasted Black Cod (£28) is almost a given on high end Japanese restaurant menus these days. Marinated in miso, it’s perfectly cooked – the signature soft and silky texture that is a trademark of this species of fish is shown off nicely. The white miso sauce is a thing of beauty, and I like the orange and fennel salad, to cut through the richness and lighten the dish.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0662

Duck Breast with Sansho (£25) is described as being served with a Japanese pepper sauce. However, this is another of the dishes that strikes us as more French than Japanese, with that classic, glossy sauce. The duck is superbly tender and beautifully cooked, as are the vegetables served alongside.

Lastly there is the extensive From The Sushi Bar selection including sashimi, nigiri sushi, sushi rolls and a few more nibbles.

For these we dine at the sushi bar, served by our personal sushi chef, Voy. He is happy to talk to us about the ingredients and I enjoy watching him as he works.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0615 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0617

We run through the fish and seafood we would like to enjoy before Voy starts creating our nigiri sushi, moving from lighter white fish to stronger and fattier ones.

After forming the rice (in a small sized block, just as I requested), all the fish are painted in nikiri, a thin sweet of soy, dashi and mirin, before being grilled with a blowtorch, topped with a garnish and served to individual dishes on the counter.

First is yellowtail (£6 each) with pickled jalapeños and a tiny dribble of truffle oil.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0603 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0620

Next is scallop (£5 each), painted with nikiri and blowtorched, topped with a cherry tomato and ume plum compte and thinly sliced fresh shisho leaf. The shape of those blow torched browned cracks is the cause of much hilarity on my instagram feed!

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0621 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0623

Third is salmon (£4.50 each), painted with nikiri and blowtorched, topped with avocado and some minute slivers of katsuobushi.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0628 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0632

For nigiri sushi four, we have a split. I have ikura gunkan nigiri (£4, so named as the shape of the nori wrapper suggests a warship) filled with juicy salmon roe.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0630

Pete has instead chutoro (£7 each, medium fatty tuna), painted with nikiri and blowtorched, topped with a puree of sundried tomatoes, chopped chives and a couple of bright yellow kiku (edible chrysanthemum) petals.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0634 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0636

Next, Otoro (8.50 each, the fattiest tuna), painted with nikiri and blowtorched, topped with daikon, Japanese mustard cress and a tiny dusting of ichimi togarashi (chilli powder). The balance of rice, fish and garnish is excellent in all the pieces we have, but particularly so in this one, for me.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0639 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0640
Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0642 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0645

We finish our initial selection of with a spicy tuna roll (£8 for six pieces) includes tuna, tobiko (fish roe), crab “miso” (the brown goo from inside a crab), avocado, spicy mayo, cucumber and probably a few more I’ve missed! Again, this has a great balance of flavours and textures.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0649 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0652

Voy asks us if there are any  we’d like to have again, or any new ones we’d like to try.

We pick the salmon and the chutoro to have again, plus I ask if tamago is available.

Voy rings the changes by changing the garnishes second time around, thus the salmon, once painted with nikiri, blowtorched and topped with daikon is finished with ikura and shiso leaves.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0656

Chutoro is served with the same garnishes as previously, at my request.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0659

We finish with fat slices of nori-wrapped tamago (£3.50 each), astonishingly light and fluffy. It lacks the tree-bark layers of the traditional cooking method but however it’s made, it’s fabulous.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9920 Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-0664

At the end, desserts.

On our first visit we are too full, but accept a plate of mini macarons served with our tea. Flavours are super but texture of shell enormously inconsistent.

The next time we finish with a scoop each of sorbet, mine a puckeringly sharp yuzu and Pete’s an unexpectedly creamy chilli cacao. Both are super smooth and served with a stick of light crumbly biscuit.

Kouzu-Japanese-Restaurant-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9916

Both of us agree that although Kouzu is not a budget dining option, the majority of the dishes are really excellent value for their quality; this is a restaurant we are very keen to return to, albeit most likely for special occasions. My top tip would be to skip the specials, which will quickly ramp up your bill, and select a feast from the new sashimi, grill, small dishes and vegetables sections which are very reasonable. For sushi lovers, an omakase visit to the sushi bar is certainly recommended, our deluxe sushi selection above came to exactly £97 (without drinks, desserts and service).

Service, incidentally, is helpful and friendly without being obsequious or overfamiliar and location is excellent for public transport.

Kavey Eats dined as guests of Kouzu restaurant.
Kouzu on Urbanspoon

 

I’ve absolutely loved introducing you to some of my favourite bloggers, and their blogs in 2014, and will be continuing to share these going forward. However, I’ve decided to drop the frequency from weekly to fortnightly for the time being, to give me more time to focus on other content I have in the pipeline.

The first blogger I’d like you to say hello to in 2015 is Elizabeth, who writes Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, a blog heavily rooted in its locality, with a strong emphasis on supporting local producers.

EKD-Main-Logo

Hello and welcome, plea­se introduce yourself and tell us a little about the kind of content you share.

Hi! My name is Elizabeth and I am (as far as I am aware – well, I’m going to wear this hat until someone tells me otherwise) Britain’s most northerly food blogger, an ex-pat Canadian located in the wild and remote Shetland Islands.

Where is this place, you ask? It’s a small island archipelago 200 miles north of Aberdeen, Scotland, midway between Iceland, Norway and the mainland of Scotland. Most of you might vaguely recall a little island sitting in a box on the weather maps (if we’re included at all) off the east coast of Scotland – there. We’ve got dancing ponies, burly bearded Vikings and lots of puffins.

Is there a story behind your blog’s name?

My blog has had several incarnations since I started writing it in 2011 – first it was a private online recipe site for me to store recipes I’d tried, along with images and notes. Then I discovered a whole wonderful world of supportive food bloggers, and I changed the name to Elizabeth’s Kitchen, opened it to the public and haven’t looked back. In the Spring of this year I made the big move from blogger to self hosted WordPress and since the Elizabeth’s Kitchen URL was already taken I changed the blog name to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

elizabeth kitchen

What are your earliest memories of cooking OR Who / what inspired you to cook?

What inspired me to cook….. well, I grew up in rural Canada to a single mother who, although she could cook (she made a mean roast beef dinner!) her recipe collection was very, very basic and unseasoned. Meat and tatties, mostly, with very little fresh vegetables to be seen. Someone had given her a cookery book for Christmas one year when I was around 12 years old, and I remember seeing a recipe for pork chops with orange sauce in it. I made it. It was gorgeous. I started experimenting; flavours, textures, anything. Goodness me the things I have experimented with… the kitchen was like a chemistry lab when I was a child!

What are the biggest influences on your cooking at the moment?

At this moment the biggest influence on my cooking is the fact I put on two stone over this last year. Following a severe crush injury to my foot early last year, the running and five days at the gym habit I had to keep me trim and fit after having three children ended. Permanent damage to my nerves and ligaments meant I had to find a new way to keep the weight off while eating what I want. I’ve finally found a great intensive non-impact exercise program I can do at home and it’s working, but while I shed the remainder of this weight and regaining my fitness I’m eating simple, unprocessed whole, nutritious foods with plenty of fresh juice and smoothies.

Banana Nut Protein Smoothie

Tell us the story of your most spectacular kitchen failure!

Oh which one to pick?! The one that sticks out the most just now, because it’s the Christmas season, was last Christmas morning when I lovingly made my entire family home made waffles for breakfast. Clotted cream, blueberry preserve, freshly squeezed juice, the whole thing. Yet still my family made faces (they do that, frequently, I’m becoming immune to it!). I was grumpy at them for being ungrateful for their waffles which I’d slaved over to make. After they’d all been served I sat down to eat my own and realised the waffles tasted awful. Proper… awful! How could someone mess up a waffle recipe? Well, replacing the baking powder with cream of tartar will do it. I’d mistaken the very similar labels and confused the two ingredients. Plan B: cornflakes for Christmas morning breakfast!

Which food or ingredients could you not live without?

Spices! They go in absolutely everything. My favourites are whole cumin and coriander seeds, toasted and ground (never buy ready ground!) and whole black mustard seeds. Freshly ground black pepper is a must too. I love it – can’t get enough!

If I were coming for dinner, what would you cook for me?

I’m keen on using local produce as much as I possibly can. So, if you came over this weekend I would cook you a homely roast leg of Shetland lamb, roast Shetland black potatoes and veg from my gorgeous organic vegetable box. For afters, a gorgeous cheeseboard featuring the finest cheese from Britain’s most northerly cheese producer Shetland Cheese Ltd and some Valhalla Ale chutney from Shetlandeli. To wash down afterwards, perhaps a wee nip of the newly launched Shetland Reel Gin!

Shetland Cheese

What’s the single piece of equipment you wouldn’t be without? (It doesn’t have to be electrical)

I love my Froothie Optimum 9400 blender. I love it so, very, very much – more than I ever thought it was possible to love a blender. It does everything and it looks just so damn sexy sitting there next to my Optimum 600 juicer on the kitchen counter.

Honestly, check out the video my husband I made about our blender!

Since you started blogging, has your style and content changed over time, and if so, in what ways?

My style and content has definitely changed over time. It’s taken me three years but I have finally found my voice. I can write about anything these days – so much so that I’ve gained quite a bit of non-blogging freelance writing work. I’ve also learned how to take semi half decent photographs too. Freelance work enabled me to buy myself a new camera earlier on this year, and about three months ago I switched from manual to automatic. One of these days I hope to be able to call myself a photographer, in the meantime, I am a blogger who takes photos! So very, very much to learn!

What is the hardest aspect of blogging for you?

This time of year it’s the short days. In Shetland, at mid-winter, we only get 5 hours and 49 minutes of daylight and these hours are usually filled with gloomy oppressive clouds, rain and gales. Sometimes it just forgets to get light out, meaning taking photographs or even being inspired to be creative with food becomes difficult. I am still baking and cooking, but it’s mostly shared with instagram snaps instead of full blog posts.

What inspires you to keep blogging regularly?

The positive feedback I get from my readers inspires me to keep blogging regularly. Knowing that there are people out there who actually read what I write… it’s a fantastic feeling. I am indebted to you all – thank you!

beach 1

What are you absolutely loving cooking, eating, doing right now?

Right now I’m loving making fresh fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies. Keep an eye out in the New Year for a fantastic blogging series on this theme.

What’s the single most popular post on your blog?

Bizarrely enough it’s not even food related! It’s a tutorial for a sweater cat bed which wasn’t even my original idea, but I photographed what I did and it went viral!

Can we give a little extra love and attention to a post you love but didn’t catch the attention of your readers in the way you hoped?

My Middle Eastern Spiced Campfire Chickpeas recipe. This is one of those ideas in my head which came together perfectly during a family camping trip to the Lake District last summer and the photograph turned out so much better than I had hoped!

Middle Eastern Spiced Chickpeas

Spread the love

Blog URL http://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TangoRaindrop
Twitter handle https://twitter.com/TangoRaindrop
Pinterest profile http://www.pinterest.com/tangoraindrop/
Instagram handle http://instagram.com/tangoraindrop

 

Enjoyed this interview? Read the rest of my Meet The Blogger series, here.

Jan 092015
 

Back in November, I was invited to a Secret Supperclub dinner by Miele. Taking place in a “secret location” that would be revealed only when our cars delivered us to the address, all I knew was that the meal would showcase what could be achieved with Miele’s steam ovens.

The location turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, being in the Miele kitchen showroom in Cavendish Place – I’ve attended events there several times before, and assumed from the hush-hush secretiveness, that the venue would be somewhere more exciting.

Still, a large dining table at the back of the showroom was beautifully decked out in a Christmassy theme and we quickly learned that our chef for the evening was Martyn Meid of INK restaurant. Our hosts were welcoming and it was a jovial evening.

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2 Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-3
Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-4 Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-9

Hailing from Klaipeda, a small port town in Lithuania, Martyn grew up in a culinary culture that had access to superb fresh fish. In order to enjoy fish during winter months, it was preserved in different ways, and Martyn developed skills in pickling, curing and smoking fish and other produce. Today he is known for showcasing a very stripped back Nordic style of cooking, with strong reference to the preserving techniques of his youth. He focuses on fresh ingredients, simplicity and precision.

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-1 Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-11

Salmon roe on a two-week rye sourdough. I loved the burst and salty fish flavour of the caviar against the rich and dense rye bread.

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-12

Cured mackerel with betroot and hay ash, served with a shot of dill vodka. The ash was a common element in several of the dishes.

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-5 Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-13

Next up was my dish of the evening – raw seabass cured in lime, pickled ginger, served on on burnt chicory, with apple vinegar. Martyn mentioned that he’d used a whopping 2 kg of butter to cook the chicory! This dish was all the more surprising for me as I’m not usually a fan of chicory, but here the buttery cooking brought out a wonderful sweetness.

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-14

Sadly, this was my least favourite dish of the meal and indeed many of us had the same issue. Described as a salted egg yolk on a bed of potato, with morel mushrooms, the egg yolk was shockingly salty; even a tiny piece of yolk in a full spoon of potato was too salty to enjoy.

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-205040 Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-15

The presentation won me over before I’d even tasted it! Crab, razor clam, langoustine, crunchy cucumber balls, grilled onions and cucumber emulsion. Marvellous!

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-10

Next was 12 hour salted cod with textures of tomato. I enjoyed this, though not as much as the seabass and chicory or crab and onion dishes, but for my friend Gary, this was his dish of the night.

Miele-SecretSupperclub-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-18

To finish, a bread panna cotta with raw milk chocolate.

6H0F8366 6H0F8428
6H0F8752 6H0F8883
Images of Martyn and his team at work, courtesy of Miele

We did, on occasion, get up to watch Martyn and his team at work, preparing the dishes using the show kitchen equipment just by our table. However, they were very focused (as you’d expect) and too busy to be able to talk us through what they were doing. I was frustrated by my resulting lack of understanding about how the specialist Miele steam oven technology was used and what difference it made to the cooking of the various elements of the dishes.

The ovens (and other items in the showroom, such as the zoneless induction hobs and integrated induction woks) looked amazing, but it was hard to tell for sure without actually cooking on them. As our oven at home is on its very last legs, we’ll be in the market for a new one soon, and I’d hoped to get a better feel for the advantages of a steam oven over other models, but I’m still in the dark on that front.

However, I’m grateful to Miele for giving me the chance to experience Martyn’s cooking at this intimate private event.

Kavey Eats attended the Miele secret supperclub as a guest of Miele. Additional images (any without copyright text) provided courtesy of Miele.

 

There’s something very indulgent about taking a mini city break in your own city of residence.

Holidays at home (or staycations, in the American vernacular) usually involve heading out of town; a shorter journey than heading abroad, perhaps, but further afield than the place you live. On the rare occasions we allocate leisure time to our local area, we tend to day trip, returning home to our own beds overnight. But booking a night in a hotel in your own city transforms a couple of day trips into what feels more like a proper holiday. It’s so much fun! Added bonuses: the travel is easy, and you don’t need to take much luggage.

Pete and I recently spent a night in the Citizen M Bankside hotel, within easy reach of Borough Market and Maltby Street Market, as well as other local attractions.

Read on for my personal guide to the area, plus a review of the hotel.

Borough Market

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9759

Borough Market needs little introduction from me; a food market much loved by locals and tourists alike.

I love to come and shop here; browsing through the huge array of fresh produce – meat, fish, fruit, vegetables – and a vast selection of other food items; bread, cakes, biscuits and doughnuts, charcuterie, cheese (oh my, such wonderful cheese), honey, truffles, coffee and tea, fresh filled pasta, beers and wines…

Borough Market Collage 2

Some of my favourite stops include:

  • Neal’s Yard Dairy is an Aladdin’s cave of cheese – all kinds and all in perfect condition – served by enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff who are happy to guide you and give a few tasters as you make your choices; I always buy some delicious Coolea plus an oozer and a goats cheese as well and often a piece of Stichelton.

NYD-Borough-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9887 NYD-Borough-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9882
Neal’s Yard Dairy

  • Jumi is the outlet of a small and young cheese producer from Switzerland, I recommend their marvellously pungent Murgu (blue) and the creamy soft La Bouse – don’t be put off by the cowdung translation!
  • Cheese lovers will also love The French Comte stall, selling not only the cheese but other items from La Franche-Comté. And there are many more cheese vendors besides these.
  • Utobeer has a fantastic selection of bottled beers, making it a great place to buy gifts for beer lovers.
  • Turnips is one of the larger stalls at Borough, almost a mini-section of the market on its own and has a fabulous range of produce. I often find the fruit and vegetables a little pricy but I do make a beeline for their mushroom stall; there’s a fabulous selection, in very good condition and fairly priced. I can recommend the king oyster mushrooms in particular, but have bought many different mushrooms over the years.
  • Visit The Tomato Stall for full-of-flavour tomatoes and juices from Arreton Valley, on the Isle of Wight.
  • Bread Ahead Bakery has created quite a stir, most notably for their doughnuts, the creation of baker Justin Gellatly. I’ve been unlucky the previous two visits to their stall, once I was too late and the doughnuts had run out and the next visit was over Easter, and they had replaced them with hot cross buns. When I finally got to try them on this visit, I loved them so much I went back for more the very next morning! Of course, do try their other baked products as well.
  • I first discovered Caroline’s Free From Bakehouse after I met her through blogging and social media. She’s won many awards for her gluten-free range and also offers some dairy free and sugar free items in her range.
  • Tartufaia Truffles sell fresh truffles as well as truffle-infused products, including a very tasty truffle honey.
  • If you love charcuterie, you’ll be spoiled by Borough Market, as there are many stalls and shops to choose from, offering British and European charcuterie of different types. I don’t have a single favourite, but have enjoyed items from several stalls over the years.
  • Although you can sometimes now find Chegworth Valley fruit juices in supermarkets and farm shops, you’ll find an impressively wide range here, plus fruit from their farm too.
  • For fish lovers, there are several fresh fish mongers (Furness and Shellseekers are two from whom I’ve bought good quality seafood), I’d suggest checking all of them to see what appeals on the day. You’ll also often find high quality smoked fish and eel on sale; House of Sverre and Muirenn Smokehouse are two such vendors.
  • Meat is readily available too. I’ve loved the game birds and venison I’ve bought from Furness, and the bacon, sausages and various cuts of met from the Ginger Pig. There are also several butchers selling meat directly from the farm, including Rhug Farm, Sillfield Farm, Northfield Farm, Hillhead Farm Wild Beef, Wyndham House Poultry and many others. For those looking for camel, ostrich, zebra, crocodile and various antelope, try The Exotic Meat Company.
  • There are a number of stalls selling products from France, so do explore. I tend to head to Le Marché du Quartier as my first port of call.
  • Indeed, it’s not just France that’s represented at Borough Market; there are stalls selling produce from Argentina, Croatia, Grenada, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Turkey… a lovely way to travel the world without leaving London!
  • I’ve only recently discovered Spice Mountain, but want to explore further, as based on my brief initial visit, they offer a really wide range of spices, including a selection of spice blends.

Borough Market Collage 1

There are also an ever-increasing number of street food vendors, selling hot and cold food to eat there and then. I’m not a huge fan of eating on the hoof, so I’ve not paid much attention to these, but there are plenty to choose from.

For more information on traders and opening times, visit the Borough Market website.

 

Cheers!

I’ve already mentioned Utobeer within the market (and there are a number of wine vendors too).

Take a very short detour out of the market proper to Laithwaite’s Wine, at the north end of Stoney Street. It’s a great shop in its own right, with a wide range of wine and helpful staff. But in the Favelle household, it’s better known as the easiest way to reach The Whisky Exchange (the other way in being through Vinopolis); a small shop space housing a truly impressive selection of whiskies from around the world.

Whisky-Exchange-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9842
The Whisky Exchange

Back to beer lovers, there are several breweries to visit in the area around Borough, Maltby Street and Bermondsey Street. Look up Anspach & Hobday, Brew by Numbers, Bullfinch, Four Pure, Hiver, Kernel, Southwark Brewing Company, Partizan

Local pubs include The Rake, a favourite with lovers of real ale but frustratingly tiny inside, so best visited during warmer months or very quiet times of the day.

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9720 BrewWharf-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9844 BrewWharf-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9716
Umbrella art installation just outside; Brew Wharf

Another great place to stop for a pint or two is Brew Wharf, within the larger Vinopolis complex, which offers a range of beers from London, the rest of the UK and international breweries. They also brew on site in their own microbrewery.

Wine Wharf, just in front, is the wine lovers option; another lovely space in which to enjoy a drink is Bedales Wine Bar and Shop, within the market area.

 

A Warming Pit Stop

I love to stop regularly for coffee or hot chocolate, especially during the colder months, but let’s be honest, I find excuses in the summer too.

The Rabot 1745 cafe sells a tasty selection of hot chocolates; their salted caramel is my current favourite.

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9715 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6188

Monmouth Coffee is the best known caffeine option, but I’ve only once been able to find an inside space to sit in all the many visits I’ve made to Borough Market over the years; I’m not one for drinking on the go, nor do the benches outside appeal. The coffee is, of course, super.

Round the corner, Gelateria 3Bis offers coffee, ice cream and hot chocolate and has the advantage that there’s usually a couple of spaces free at the tables and staff are friendly.

For those who don’t mind drinking and walking, there are also a number of takeway coffee vendors within the market.

 

Maltby Street Market

About twenty minutes walk from Borough Market is the much smaller but altogether funkier Maltby Street Ropewalk Market. You might think it’s not worth the walk, since Borough is so much bigger, but you’d be missing out. The small selection of stalls, tucked under the arches or along the narrow alley are charming, and most are not duplicated over at Borough. I don’t think the vendors list on the website is up to date, but there is always a good range of high quality produce, some to buy and take home and some to enjoy on site.

My picks include African Volcano for the best peri peri sauce and delicious hot food made with the same (the sauce itself is a must-buy ingredient but save space to order Grant’s pulled pork in a bun, peri peri prawns or peri peri burger are), Monty’s Deli for pastrami and salt beef sandwiches, Hansen & Lydersen for smoked salmon, St John’s Bakery for doughnuts. There are usually also a range of beer, wine and cocktails on sale from various of the stalls and arches such as Bar Tozino, which also sells fantastic jamón and other tasty Spanish snacks. Next time I visit, I’m keen to try Gosnell’s London Mead.

Open on weekends only, and do check dates as can vary during winter.

If you enjoy rooting through architectural salvage, a rummage in LASSCO is in order, at 41 Maltby Street.

 

Bermondsey Street

Bermondsey Street is the trendy hub of a local community that clearly values good food, a relaxed vibe and quirkiness. Where once it might be have been described as up and coming, it’s now firmly “upped and comed”; gentrified but still rather hip. Deserving of a post in its own right, I’ll simply point you towards Pizzaro (and older sibling Jose) and Zucca and suggest you explore this neighbourhood on your own. Do share your favourite finds with me, though!

 

Tourist Attractions

Southwark Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, dating mainly from 1220 and 1420, although the nave is a late 19th-century reconstruction. All are welcome to attend services. Visitors may also enter to admire the cathedral, unless it is closed for an event. Do be mindful not to disturb those at worship.

HMS Belfast is a floating naval museum within a warship permanently moored alongside Tower Bridge. Adult entry is £15.50.

Borough-Market-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9813 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9755

I can’t believe I’ve not yet been inside The Shard, though I’d love to enjoy the views from the higher floors and I’m keen to try Hutong and Lang for high end Chinese and afternoon tea, respectively. You can buy tickets to access the Viewing Gallery online, though be warned, it’s £24.95 for an adult ticket.
 

Eating Out

If I offered a list of every good restaurant within the area, this would soon turn into a book!

Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-5462 Breakfast-Rabot1745-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6185
Breakfast at Rabot 1745

Borough-Market-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9868 Elliots-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9850
Elliot’s Cafe

Favourites in 2014 include two meals at Rabot 1745 (which offers a great breakfast menu, as well as their regular lunch and dinner offerings), some delicious dishes at Elliot’s Cafe (I did feel a few dishes were much pricier than justified; then again they’re always full!), a simple, tasty and reasonably priced menu at Hixter Bankside (but we had some frustrating issues with service which were eventually resolved by managers but not reflected in the bill), and I’ve always enjoyed Brindisa for a snack or light meal.

 

Hotel Citizen M Bankside

My first encounter with a Citizen M hotel was up in Glasgow; it was the perfect option for an overnight stop en route to Islay and had vastly more positive online reviews than other budget chains I considered. The Bankside property offers much the same and is less than a 10 minute walk from Borough Market.

The immediate vicinity is the focus of a lot of recent development, with several new restaurant and cafe openings along the short stretch between the Blue Fin Building and Citizen M.

londonbankside_ext_04_low londonbankside_int_06_low
londonbankside_int_11_low londonbankside_ext_03_low
Exterior and internal garden area, images courtesy of CitizenM

Check in is meant to be self-service, with a bank of check in computers provided just by the entrance. It’s very straightforward, so we find it a little disconcerting that there are always at least two members of staff to assist, and they tend to step forward immediately, rather than allow guests to self-service first. It’s friendly, but somewhat negates the point of self-service over a traditional check in desk.

Lifts to residential floors can only be operated by those with a room key card, which is good as the open-plan ground-floor lobby is enormously busy throughout the day and evening.

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9692 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9695
Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9693 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9735

Rooms are small but have been very cleverly designed to maximise space, and a lot of thought has been given to convenience and comfort; these are too often overlooked in favour of funky design. Beds are huge and very comfortable (though rather high off the ground, and it’s a bit of a clamber for whoever gets the window side). Storage is minimal but sufficient for a one or two night stay. Keeping the sink outside of the bathroom cubicle makes both seem more generous; the shower is much larger than the cruise-ship-style pods often used by budget chains. Much appreciated touches include a large TV with a good selection of films available on demand (and without extra charge), power sockets that cater for various international plugs, a USB charging point and a funky lighting system that allows you to set mood with coloured lighting; I particularly appreciated the ability to keep an unobtrusive red light on in the bathroom pod overnight. Despite the small size, I find the Citizen M rooms more comfortable and appealing than many poorly designed larger rooms I’ve stayed in over the years.

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9750 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9742

Another thing I enjoy about Citizen M hotels is the very bright, colourful and quirky design. The public spaces are a sensory overload of funky lighting and Vitra furniture, and all kinds of artwork and random objects to add interest. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I love it, and very much enjoyed wandering around peering at all the things.

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9744 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9729
Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9745 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9740
Ground floor spaces

The lobby is cleverly divided into areas for lounging around reading or chatting, for working (power sockets provided), for eating breakfast, for relaxing. The only slight issue is that, as it’s open to non-residents too, it can be hard to find space during busier times.

You may decide not to eat at the hotel, surrounded as you are by so many fantastic food options, but the hotel does provide breakfast and dinner. The former is in the form of a breakfast buffet; you can either include it when you book or pay on the day, as you prefer. The quality is better than I’ve experienced at far more expensive hotels, the pain au chocolat was superb, and the sausages and bacon good quality. For dinner there are just a handful of choices, but again, what I tried was tasty and decent value too. You are also permitted to bring food in from outside, so go ahead and buy yourself a picnic from Borough Market or order a takeaway from a local restaurant.

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9743 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9738 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9741
Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9732 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9737 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9734
Top row, breakfast; bottom row, dinner

In another nice change from other budget chains I’ve stayed in (and indeed, higher end places in the UK too), service is friendly and helpful to everyone, something we noticed at the Glasgow property as well.

Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-7270 Bankside-Kavey-Eats-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-7272
View into the internal atrium area from the corridor to our room

I’ve also now signed up for the free-to-join Citizen M club which gives me 15% off the best available rate when booking future rooms at any of the Citizen M hotels.

 

Kavey Eats were guests of Citizen M Bankside hotel.

 

We’re welcoming in the new year with a joint blogger challenge between Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream and Chocolate Log Blog’s We Should Cocoa: #WeShouldBSFIC!

shutterstock_123746647 shutterstock_188150696 shutterstock_99266363 shutterstock_140110885 shutterstock_184166999 shutterstock_217524868
Images from Shutterstock

The theme is easy. Your recipe needs to be frozen (ice cream, sorbet, gelato, semi-freddo, ice lolly…) and it needs to include chocolate (white, milk or dark, as you like). That’s it! The rest is up to you! You could create a simple chocolate ice lolly or sorbet, mint choc chip ice cream or vanilla stracciatella, a pile of chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches or a grand black forest ice cream gateau or baked alaska! Whatever your taste, time and fancy dictates!

 

How To Take Part In BSFIC

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

Both Choclette and I will post a round up showcasing and linking to all the entries and share posts via Pinterest, Stumble and Twitter.

If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #WeShouldBSFIC and/or #BSFIC I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

BSFIC-WeShouldCocoa

For more ideas, check out my my Pinterest ice cream board and past BSFIC Entries board.

Dec 312014
 

I’m wont to extremely long and rambling annual round ups, when it comes to the end of the year. When I start looking back, I get so excited about so many things I saw, did and ate that I struggle to narrow it down. This year is no different!

JANUARY

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5134

My recipe for Yakitori Chicken Hearts turns out to be the most popular one of the year, which I find encouraging, given how many people I know turn their noses up at offal. I posted this at a time when my culinary heart was still yearning for Japan (which we visited for the second time in late autumn 2013).

I also had fun learning all about cooking sous vide.

FEBRUARY

ChorizoBakedCod-4702

The older (and more experienced I get) the better I become at adapting recipes to suit our tastes. There have always been some dishes I have been able to cook more instinctively, but when I was younger, I didn’t have the confidence to make changes that might improve upon the recipes of others. Making a few minor adjustments to this Baked Chorizo, Cod and Potato dish elevated it into a firm favourite that we’ve made again more than once.

Much of the content I published in February harked back to the second Japan trip, including several photo essays, a review of Burger King’s Kuro Ninja and a visit to Suizenji Joju-en Park in Kumamoto.

MARCH

LambBiryani-5218

My most popular recipe this month (and one that continues to garner praise from those who make it) is my Mum’s Lucknowi-style Lamb Biryani.

March was definitely a recipe-lead month, with my primer on sous vide steak, our Japanese yakiniku at home experiment and cheese, ham and chilli jam pancakes for pancake day.

I was also surprised and fascinated by the responses to my little survey about ready meals versus home cooking.

APRIL

SousVide-Deep-Fried-KFC-Chicken-titled-5323 Spicy-Paprika-Coleslaw-Condensed-Milk-Cider-Vinegar-5372

There were two recipes I loved sharing in April – my Sous Vide Southern Fried Chicken and this unusual Smoky Paprika Coleslaw recipe featuring, of all ingredients, condensed milk! It really works! I also made a home made Mr Whippy ice cream; it worked superbly well but is a bit of a faff.

MAY

Heston 12 Heston 15

The filming was earlier in the year, but May was the broadcast date for Heston’s Great British Food Chocolate episode, to which I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest. An incredible experience!

Individual Marzipan Cakes

These Individual Marzipan Cakes, a tweaked Nigella recipe, are definitely overdue to be made again.

Warda-Lebanese-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6124

Salivating as I think of it, I had one of the best Lebanese meals I’ve had in the UK, at Warda restaurant in Southgate (North London). We’ve been again several times since and love it so much we’re taking my mum there for her birthday next month.

JUNE

Green-Bean-Shiraae-KaveyEats-KFavelle-text-1 Quick-Easy-Yuzu-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-KFavelle-800text-6761

More inspiration from Japan this month in two of my recipes – Green Beans with a Tofu, Miso and Sesame Dressing (Saya Ingen Shira-ae) and Quick & Easy Yuzu Ice Cream.

I also had great fun filming a recipe video for vouchercodesuk. You can view the video but also access the written recipe for my Chorizo, Spinach, Onion & Potato Frittata, here.

Another recipe I posted in June must surely be my simplest ever, with just a single ingredient! But readers and friends have let me know they have been delighted to learn about the slow cooker method of cooking jacket potatoes.

JULY

Brussels-Kavey-Eats--(c)-KFavelle-5652 Brussels-2014-KaveyEats-KFavelle-6552

In July, I shared a mammoth travel post, rounding up all my favourites from a city break in Brussels.

Brazilian-Brigadeiro-Chocolate-Bonbons-KaveyEats-KFavelle-text800-6738

The recipe of the month was definitely these deceptively simple, beautifully bling Brazilian Brigadeiro Chocolate Bonbons but a second runner would be Little Orange & Lime Cakes, also from Brazil.

AUGUST

White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-7049-titletext Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-7081-fulltext

In August I shared some great recipes made using my new Optimum 9400 Blender by Froothie. This smooth-as-silk White Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream was one such recipe, as was this Quick Courgette & Blue Cheese Soup.

Our garden and allotment began to reward us with lots of delicious courgettes. Unlike some, I relish the glut and shared a long list of courgette recipes including fabulous Sausage-Ragu Stuffed Globe Courgettes.

This month, I also launched my Meet The Blogger series, in which I introduce readers to some of my favourite bloggers by way of an interview.

SEPTEMBER

Croatia Instagram KaveyEats KFavelle (c)-153405 Croatia Instagram KaveyEats KFavelle (c)-184241

The undisputed highlight of my summer was attending my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Sharing images from the day, not to mention our dining highlights, was a lovely way to relive the occasion. I can’t wait to go back when it’s less searingly hot!

Pete and I also had a great experience attending the Billingsgate Seafood Cookery School’s evening class on smoking fish.

OCTOBER

Burnt-Apple-Bourbon-Icecream-KaveyEats-(c)KFavelle-addedtext-8489 Bacon-Wrapped-Icelandic-Hot-Dog-KaveyEats-(c)KFavelle-addedtext-8442

This tasty month included a recipe that turned out even better than I hoped; this Burnt Apple & Bourbon Ice Cream plus a taste of Iceland, after our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Iceland in August and September.

I was also very happy with my Chorizo, Pumpkin, Spinach & Giant Couscous Salad.

Kurobuta-Birthday-Lunch-KaveyEats-(c)KFavelle-notext-8480

Celebrating my end-of-September birthday with lunch at Kurobuta restaurant was an excellent choice, one that still has me dreaming about some of the dishes. My review went up in October.

NOVEMBER

Reykjavik-Iceland-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-181016 Reykjavik-Iceland-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-095907

I shared more from our trip to Iceland, with my Reykjavik Postcard full of our favourite sights, food and drink.

Butternut-Squash-Soup-Bacon-Brittle-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-fulltext

Having been reworking the recipe since I first posted a version last year, I finally posted an updated recipe of my Easy Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon Brittle.

DECEMBER

Viking-Sushi-Collage-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2014

First, another postcard from our late summer visit Iceland, the fantastic Viking Sushi Boat Excursion.

Agrobio-Almeria-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-8764 Agromark-Murcia-(c)KavitaFavelle-2014-9037

More travel, but this time in the form of an educational visit to Almeria and Murcia to learn about their agricultural Green Revolution.

Pineapple-Flower-Lemongrass-Coconut-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-fulltext

And my latest recipe, a choice of two recipes for lemongrass and coconut ice cream and decorative dried pineapple flowers with chilli.

 

Alongside all of that has been a steady flow of restaurant reviews, lots more Meet The Blogger interviews, some cookery book reviews and recipes featuring home grown produce from our garden and allotment.

This year I finally also joined instagram which I’ve really been enjoying, sharing the little food experiences (and wider life ones) that don’t make it onto Kavey Eats. This has proved particularly food fun during my travels, with friends kindly letting me know how much they’ve appreciated travelling along with me via the images and captions.

To readers old and new, thank you for taking the time to visit Kavey Eats. If you enjoy a post, a recipe, a tip or a story, do please leave me a comment with your thoughts or feedback. I love hearing from you.

Wishing you all the best for 2015!

© 2006 - 2014 Kavita Favelle Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha