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A dish from the Middle East that’s become increasingly popular in recent years, shakshuka is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner – a delicious bowl of eggs braised in a spiced tomato sauce, usually served with freshly baked bread. Cafe Loren owner Lee Penn is a huge fan which is why his Camden-based restaurant specialises in this one dish. He first learned to make the dish from his grandmother, who cooked it for the family often. But he soon branched out to innovate many variations, running his own shakshuka restaurant in Israel before moving to London and launching Cafe Loren.

Just under the bridge by Camden Lock, several small tables are nestled in the space beneath one of the arches, right at the heart of Camden’s best shopping and eating. It’s a cosy little space, warm and welcoming.

Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-132400 Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-

The menu is short and sweet; eight different shakshukas plus a seasonal special that changes daily and a few sharing plates that make a great shared starter or a handy lunch for one on their own. There are also a few sweet treats if you want to pop in for a quick coffee break rather than a full meal.

Not all the shakshuka options include tomato – there’s a Green Shakshuka (£8.70) featuring spinach, leeks, green peppers, avocado and basil and a White Shakshuka (£8.60) that combines onions, mushrooms, feta and cream cheese.

Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-132807 Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-8731

We start with the Mediterranean Plate (£5.50) of challah bread, homemade hummus, cheese burakas and olives. Also on the board are sharp salty olives, some crunchy slices of cucumber and a glossy pot of tahini. The hummus is delicious, fresh and with great texture and flavour. The cheese buraka is lifted by the properly tangy mature cheese within and the challah bread is wonderfully fresh and soft.

Lee explains that he buys the bread in fresh every day from a local specialist bakery.

Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-8733

Red Shakshuka (£8.50) is a classic combination of eggs poached in a tomato, onion, red pepper, girl and harissa mix. It comes with olives, tahini and a delicious plump pitta bread. I find the sauce a little light and liquidy – I prefer my shakshuka sauce to be richer and more cooked down, but the flavours are delicious and wonderful with the pitta.

Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-8737 Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-133836

The Green Shakshuka (£8.70) is likewise quite wet, though that works well for dipping chunks of the seeded brown roll. It comes with a tangy garlic sauce and I add a tiny pot of smoked salmon on the side (80p). I love this idea of a green shakshuka and the basil flavour of the sauce is delightful.

 Cafe Loren in Camden London on Kavey Eats-8728

Drinks include the usual hot teas, coffees and Hot chocolate (£2.85) plus a selection of freshly made fruit and vegetable smoothies and a list of iced coffees for summer.

Open a year this week, Cafe Loren has already built up a loyal customer base who drop by regularly for a tasty meal at any time of the day.  Open from 8.00 am to 8.30 pm, this is a lovely addition to the food options around Camden Lock.

Kavey Eats dined as guests of Cafe Loren.

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PARTNEREDPOSTFor me, mayonnaise is indelibly associated with the summer; an integral part of food eaten outside. The picnic rugs and garden tables of my childhood were laden with bacon and mayo-dressed potato-salad, rich and creamy coleslaws, a huge bowl of tuna-sweetcorn-mayo and a bottle of homemade Marie Rose sauce to slather over burgers and sausages charred from the barbeque. And that remains the same today.

To celebrate the launch of their new [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise, Heinz have set a challenge to create a recipe including the new mayonnaise as a key ingredient; the recipe is to be presented on a spoon, a single mouthful packed with flavour. Given that canapés are often made in large numbers, I favour ideas that deliver hugely on taste but are quick and easy to make and don’t need a long list of ingredients. These Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes with Miso Mayonnaise are my entry into the Heinz [Seriously] Good Spoonfuls Competition – simple, delicious four-ingredient spoonfuls based on my favourite Japanese flavours.

Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise on Kavey Eats (Titled2)

At the heart of these canapés is hot smoked salmon. You might be wondering what the difference is between regular smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon and gravlax? For the first, raw salmon is smoked without heat which cures the fish without cooking, resulting in a silky slippery texture that is best suited to serving in thin slices. For the second, the fish is either hung or laid out in racks within hot smoke, creating the wonderful flaky texture of cooked fish plus all that delicious flavour from the smoke. Gravlax and lox are both made by curing salmon without any smoke at all, applying combinations of salt, sugar, herbs and spices to draw out the moisture and preserve the fish – the texture is much like smoked salmon but the flavour is quite different.

Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise on Kavey Eats (c)-8793

Miso paste is a fabulously versatile ingredient and great for adding a savoury note to all manner of dishes. Made by fermenting soybeans with a fungus known in Japanese as kōjikin, the pungent, salty and umami-rich paste is used as a seasoning throughout Japanese cooking. There are many different varieties available in Japan, usually broadly divided by their colour. White is the mildest and sweetest. Red, aged for longer, is stronger and saltier. As it is aged miso paste darkens through red into brown. Some varieties have grains such as rice or barley added to the soybeans.

Nori is the Japanese name for edible Pyropia seaweed and usually refers to thin dried sheets that are made by shredding, pressing and drying fresh seaweed. These are most commonly used in sushi – particularly for maki rolls and gunkan maki and for tying toppings to nigiri sushi – but are also a popular garnish for all manner of dishes including rice and ramen.

Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise

Makes 12 one-bite canapés

Ingredients
Approx. 250 grams hot smoked salmon fillet (see note)
100 grams Heinz [Seriously} Good Mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons miso paste, to taste (see note)
1 sheet nori (Japanese dried seaweed)

Note: Hot smoked salmon is also known as kiln-roasted salmon. Look for pieces cut across the fillet – this will make it easier to cut evenly sized cubes.
Note: I used white miso paste for my Miso Mayo, as I had a tub open in the fridge, but you can use whichever you prefer. The saltiness and intensity of flavour vary hugely between different types and brands, so add a little and then taste before adding more.

Method

  • Carefully cut the hot smoked salmon fillets into evenly sized cubes. Depending on the shape and size of your fillets, you may get a few more than 12. The salmon is delicate and will flake easily, so be gentle!
  • Weigh the mayonnaise into a bowl and add one tablespoon of miso paste. Mix thoroughly and taste before adding more if necessary.
  • Carefully cut the nori sheet into thin strips.
  • Carefully wrap a strip of nori around each cube of salmon, letting the two ends overlap underneath. They should stick easily to the oily fish and remain in place.
  • Spoon a small dollop of miso mayonnaise on top of each piece and serve.

 Nori-Wrapped Hot Smoked Salmon Cubes With Miso Mayonnaise on Kavey Eats (Titled1)

Other delicious Heinz [Seriously] Good Spoonfuls canapé ideas from some of my friends:

Kavey Eats was compensated by Heinz Foods UK for the development and publication of this recipe.

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Popularised by Heston Blumenthal, triple-cooked chips (french fries for you North Americans) are very simple to make at home and not at all as faffy as they sound.

The first cooking is to parboil the chipped potatoes; the next is to fry the chips at a low-to-medium temperature and allow them to cool and dry; the third is to fry again at a higher temperature to finish. One of the handy aspects of this recipe is that it allows you to do the prep and first two stages of cooking in advance, so that you are left only with a quick hot fry to finish just before serving.

Says Heston, ‘The first secret is cooking the chips until they are almost falling apart as the cracks are what makes them so crispy. The second secret is allowing the chips to steam dry then sit in the freezer for an hour to get rid of as much moisture as possible. The final secret is to cook the chips in very hot oil for a crispy, glass-like crust.

Even without putting them in the freezer, following Heston’s method will result in very delicious chips indeed.

Heston Blumenthals Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats

Rather appropriately, we made our triple-cooked chips in the Smart Fryer designed by Heston Blumenthal for Sage Appliances. This is a fantastic step up from our last deep fat fryer which served us well for the last three years but is now falling apart, particularly the basket and the hinge of the lid. That was our first deep fat fryer and it was a great improvement over using a deep casserole dish on our gas hob. But it was heavy and unwieldy making it hard to empty the oil out of and a pain to clean.

Our new Sage Smart Fryer has an ingenious design – the entire fryer separates into five components: a heating element and control panel unit, the exterior shell of the fryer, a removable inner well, the frying basket and the lid. With the exception of the element and control panel unit, all the other components are dishwasher safe, which is very handy for cleaning. Being able to remove the inner well of the fryer also makes it so much easier to pour out the 4 litres of oil that the fryer holds. Other helpful design aspects include a double-walled exterior shell for insulation, a viewing window in the lid and a foldable handle on the fryer basket so it can be stored inside the basket when not in use.

In terms of cooking, you can set temperature and time manually in Custom mode or use one of the six preset Cook modes. These are Twice Fried Chips (that’s triple cooked chips in other words – the first cooking being the parboiling), Fish, Nuggets, Calamari, Doughnuts or (single fry) Chips. Choosing any of these Cook modes will display the preset time and temperature, which you can manually adjust if you wish. Once you’ve pressed the Start / Cancel button, just wait for the Heating message to disappear, then indicate whether you’re putting in Fresh or Frozen food, press the Timer button and lower the basket of food into the oil. When it’s finished, the fryer will beep. At this point you can either press the Timer and cook for an additional period, or press Start / Cancel to turn off the heating element. The Twice Fried Chips setting has an additional choice to make – whether you’re on the 1st Fry or the 2nd Fry. The Scroll / Select knob allows you to indicate this.

If you do not have a deep fat fryer you can fry the chips in a heavy-based casserole dish or pan on your hob, however you will need a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil.

sage the smart fryer 3 sage the smart fryer 1
images provided by Sage

Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips

Recipe method by Kavey Eats

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chips
groundnut or grapeseed oil to fry
Salt, to serve

Note: Heston recommends traditional floury varieties such as Maris Piper, Desiree or King Edward and suggests cutting the chips chunky – 2 cm x 2 cm thick – but smaller is also fine.
Note: Keep the peeled potatoes in a bowl of cold water as you work, and likewise with the chips as you cut them. This will stop browning on exposure to the air.
Note: The v
olume of oil needed depends on the capacity of your deep fat fryer. Mine is 4 litres.

Method

  • Place the chips into a large saucepan of cold water (making sure they are covered with water) and cook over a medium heat. Simmer until the chips are soft all the way through.
    [Pete’s technique is to bring the pan of cold water and chips to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave to soak for five minutes.]
  • Drain the chips and carefully spread them out on a cooling rack or baking tray to dry out. You can also place them into the freezer for an hour to remove more moisture, if you have space and time.

Heston Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats-181215 Heston Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats-181953

  • Heat the oil in your deep-fat fryer to 130 °C. Once it reaches temperature, fry the chips (in batches if need be) until they take on a pale yellow colouring. This takes at least 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oil, drain and spread out to cool before the second frying. At this stage, if you don’t want to cook and serve the chips straight away you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days, if you wish.

Heston Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats-182528 Heston Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats-185401

  • Now heat your oil to 180 °C. Once it reaches temperature, fry the chips until golden brown, around 5-7 minutes.
  • Drain, sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Note: If you are using the Smart Fryer’s Twice Fried setting, note that the recipe provided doesn’t include the parboiling stage, and therefore frying times are a little longer to cook the chips through to the centre. You can still use this mode to make Triple Cooked Chips but adjust the timer down by a couple of minutes for each fry.

Heston Triple Cooked Chips on Kavey Eats-185815

Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal Smart Fryer for review. As always, I was not obliged to write a positive review; all opinions are my own and I recommend only products I truly believe in. This post contains affiliate links; please see my sidebar for further information.

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From its name you might think it’s a type of tomato. It certainly looks a lot like one, once its husk is peeled away.

In fact, although the tomatillo is a member of the expansive nightshade family (which includes tomatoes as well as potatoes, aubergines, chillis and peppers), it actually falls within the physalis genus, making it more closely related to the cape gooseberry.

Like the cape gooseberry, the tomatillo is a smooth-skinned round fruit enveloped in a delicate, paper-thin, lantern-shaped husk. Green and pliant on the plant, once picked the husk starts to dry out, turning brown and brittle; the greener the husk, the more freshly picked the tomatillo.

Both cape gooseberries and tomatillos hark originally from Central and South America and, indeed, tomatillos are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine. They are eaten fried, grilled or boiled in many different preparations and are a core ingredient of salsa verde.

Ripe tomatillo fruits can range from yellow to red and purple but green is the most common colour, making them look even more like unripe tomatoes.

IMG_5169 - Homegrown Tomatillos on Kavey Eats - 1

The similarity of their names is no coincidence; both words come from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, with tomatillos originally being known as tomātl (fat water) and tomatoes as xitomatl (fat water with navel). When the Spaniards exported the tomato to the rest of the world, they took with them the name tomate.

But unlike the tomato, the tomatillo has not yet become a common global ingredient. Although imported Mexican fresh tomatillos are sometimes available in Europe, it has often been easier to find the fruit in tinned form.

However, in recent years, specialist farmers have started to grow tomatillos here in the UK. Edible Ornamentals, a chilli specialist in Bedfordshire, is the largest tomatillo grower in the UK and sells the fruit commercially. Owners Shawn and Joanna Plumb once lived in San Antonio, Texas, where they became very familiar with tomatillos along with many varieties of chilli. Mexican cooking is very popular in Texas.

Joanna is an enormous fan of tomatillos, explaining that “the flavour is like nothing I have ever tasted. It is a cross between a tomato, a cucumber and a water melon. Very refreshing.” Although she loves eating the fruits straight off the plant, she also enjoys them in a traditional green salsa.

Of course, one sure-fireway of getting your hands on fresh tomatillos is to grow them yourself. “Tomatillos grow like triffids,” warns Joanna, and recommends training them up a vertical support so they don’t take over your garden. You will need at least two plants as they pollinate each other.

Keen gardeners can buy tomatillo plants directly from Edible Ornamentals’ nursery in Chawston, Bedfordshire and visiting the farm also offers the opportunity of a chilli tour and Pick Your Own. You can also grow from seed – available from a number of seed catalogue companies. Tomatillos usually start fruiting in July or August and, if you grow them in a greenhouse or polytunnel, continue until the frost comes along.

If you are able to find fresh tomatillos, the good news is that they last for a couple of weeks in the fridge; up to twice that if the husks are removed. They can also be frozen, whole or chopped. And, of course, you can cook them and preserve in jars. It’s worth noting that tomatillos have a high pectin content, making them a great ingredient to add to jams and chutneys.

IMG_5185 - Homegrown Tomatillos on Kavey Eats - 2 IMG_1798 - Homegrown Tomatillos on Kavey Eats - 1
Homegrown tomatillos, fresh tomatillos in the kitchen of a London-based Mexican restaurant chain

Tomatillo Salsa Recipe

by Joanna Plumb of Edible Ornamentals

Ingredients
10 tomatillos with husk removed, finely diced
Half a finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
0.5 teaspoon ground cumin
0.5 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Method

  • Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and Serrano chilli into a bowl.
  • Season with coriander, oregano, cumin and salt.
  • Leave for about 30 minutes and then serve.
  • Can be used as a side dish, in fajitas or as a dip for tortilla chips.

You may also be interested in Joanna’s chilli growing tips, which she shared with us during our visit.

Tomatillo Salsa and an introduction to tomatillos

This piece was written in 2014 and first published in Good Things magazine. ©Kavita Favelle.

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A few days ago I shared my review of Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara. Kurihara is one of Japan’s most well known cookery book writers and TV cookery show presenters and also runs a chain of home ware shops and cafes, and publishes a quarterly recipe magazine. To write Everyday Harumi, she spent time living, shopping and cooking in England all the better to ensure that the recipes were achievable for British cooks.

We have made her delicious green beans with minced pork a few times and love the balance of flavours and textures. It’s quick and simple to cook and a small amount of meat goes a long way, so it’s perfect if you’re trying to reduce the amount of meat you eat.

Don’t forget, you can win a copy of the new paperback edition of Everyday Harumi in my latest giveaway.

greenbeans/mincepork

Green Beans with Minced Pork

This dish is something of a tradition in my household. It is easy to prepare, only needing soy sauce for seasoning, and makes use of wonderful ingredients like ginger, garlic and Japanese leeks. It is a great dish that can be rustled up quickly if guests drop in unexpectedly. I usually serve it with white rice and if there are any leftovers, they don’t last long in our house.

Serves 4

Ingredients
500 g green beans
40 g leek
15 g fresh ginger, peeled
8 g garlic
Sunflower or vegetable oil – for frying
200 g minced pork
30–45 ml soy sauce
sliced fresh or dried red chillies – to taste
sesame oil – to taste

Method

  • Prepare the green beans, lightly cook in boiling water, then rinse under cold running water.
  • Drain the beans, pat-dry and cut diagonally into easy-to-eat pieces.
  • Finely chop the leek, ginger and garlic.
  • Put a little oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the chopped leek, ginger and garlic, allowing the flavours to infuse in the oil, then add the minced pork and stir-fry.
  • Add the green beans, then add soy sauce and red chilli to taste.
  • Continue to cook until the beans have heated through. Add a little sesame oil to taste and serve with hot white rice.

Recipe extracted from Everyday Harumi with permission from Conran Octopus.

Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara is published by Conran Octopus. The hardback edition is currently available on Amazon for £16.59 (RRP £20). The newly published paperback version is available on Amazon for £13.48 (RRP £14.99).

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A few days ago I shared my review of Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara. Kurihara is one of Japan’s most well known cookery book writers and TV cookery show presenters and also runs a chain of home ware shops and cafes, and publishes a quarterly recipe magazine. To write Everyday Harumi, she spent time living, shopping and cooking in England all the better to ensure that the recipes were achievable for British cooks.

everyday harumi 2016 paperback cover

GIVEAWAY

Publisher Conran Octopus are giving away two copies of the newly released paperback edition of Everyday Harumi to readers of Kavey Eats. Each prize includes delivery to a UK address.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways increases your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
What is your favourite Japanese dish and what do you love most about it?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a copy of Everyday Harumi by Conran Octopus from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsHarumi #KaveyEatsHarumi
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid. Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 29th July 2016.
  • The two winners 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.
  • Each prize is a copy of the new paperback edition of Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara, published by Conran Octopus. Delivery to a UK address is included.
  • The prizes are offered by Conran Octopusand cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • 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 each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara is published by Conran Octopus. The hardback edition is currently available on Amazon for £16.59 (RRP £20). The newly published paperback version is available on Amazon for £13.48 (RRP £14.99).

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With three trips to Japan under my belt, yet still dreaming about the next one, my interest in Japanese food shows no signs of fading. One of my favourite books on my cookbook shelf is Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara, first published in 2009. A new paperback edition ahs just been released, so to celebrate, here’s a review I wrote a couple of years ago and your chance to win a copy for yourself.

everyday harumi hardback cover everyday harumi 2016 paperback cover

Harumi Kurihara is to Japan what Martha Stewart is to Americans, Donna Hay is to Australians and Nigella and Delia are to us Brits – that is to say she’s a hugely successful cookery writer with over 20 bestselling cookbooks, a quarterly recipe magazine, popular television shows, a line of kitchenware and even a chain of shops, restaurants and cafés under her belt.

Despite her immense success, Kurihara, known affectionately by her fans as Harumi K, still sees herself first and foremost as a housewife – indeed she is fêted in Japan as a karisuma shufu (charisma housewife) – and is committed to cooking at home for her husband every day. Her cookery books are aimed squarely at helping others to prepare tasty and enjoyable food in the home.

Everyday Harumi is the third of Kurihara’s books to be published in English but it’s the first book she has researched and written in England; she wanted to understand the British way of shopping, eating and cooking to ensure that her recipes were realistic and accessible for non-Japanese cooks.

After a foreword in which Kurihara talks a little about her background, how she came to write the book and how healthy and enjoyable a Japanese diet can be, the book begins with a list of store cupboard essentials. These are the ingredients Kurihara deems to be at the heart of Japanese home cooking and each one appears in many of the recipes in the book. This chapter introduces each ingredient in detail and includes instructions on cooking rice and making dashi stock; it also provides recipes for sauces and pastes such as ponzu, mentsuyu, sesame paste and miso paste that are referenced later in the book.

Recipes are grouped by key ingredient, such as; type of meat or fish, rice, noodles, eggs, tofu, miso, ginger, sesame and various vegetables.

Although her recipes are clearly Japanese, Kurihara is not a slave to authenticity for the sake of it; many of her dishes simplify ingredients and techniques and some blend washoku (traditional Japanese cooking) with yōshoku (Western cuisine). This is not a sop to her foreign audiences, however – in fact it reflects the reality of how many Japanese now cook at home, eagerly incorporating ingredients and influences from around the world. Above all, these dishes are very well suited to tasty mid-week evening meals, when speed and simplicity are a priority.

Flicking through the book between recipes such as Steak in a Miso Marinade, Tsukune with Teriyaki Sauce, Scallops with Nori Seaweed, Udon Noodles with a Minced Meat Miso Sauce, Tofu Salad with a Sesame Dressing, Egg Drop Soup, Lightly Cooked Spinach with Soy Sauce, Japanese Coleslaw Salad and Aubergine in Spicy Sauce it becomes clear how much variety can be achieved by combining the essential ingredients in different ways.

Photographer Jason Lowe illustrates every recipe with bright and beautiful colour images. In each, the food is shown off in a wonderfully varied selection of crockery – Kurihara has a particular love of collecting unmatched pieces in which to serve her food. There are several cheery photographs of Kurihara cooking too. Recipe instructions are straightforward and easy to follow and it’s particularly gratifying that my own attempts turn out just like the pictures in the book.

Whether you are new to Japanese cooking or are looking for further inspiration, Everyday Harumi offers an immensely approachable and appealing range of simple Japanese dishes to enjoy with your family and friends.

 

I have two copies of the newly released paperback edition of Everyday Harumi to giveaway to readers; click here to enter.

Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara is published by Conran Octopus. The hardback version, published in 2009, is currently available on Amazon for £16.59 (RRP £20). The newly published paperback version is available on Amazon for £13.48 (RRP £14.99).

The original book review above was written in 2014 and first published in Good Things magazine. ©Kavita Favelle.

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Also known as a fruit crisp in parts of North America a fruit crumble is one of Britain’s favourite desserts; a comforting bowl of cooked fruit topped with a layer of flour, sugar and fat crumbled together and baked in a hot oven.

It’s popularity grew enormously in the era of rationing during and after World War II, when a thin layer of crumble was an economic alternative to the volume of pastry needed to make a pie. Foraged and home grown fruit made it even more so.

A crumble is also wonderfully easy to make, especially versions where the fruit filling doesn’t need to be cooked ahead of assembly.

The most popular fruit for crumble is apple, often combined with blackberries or rhubarb, though I’ve also enjoyed crumbles made with peaches, plums or gooseberries. Cherry crumbles are less common, perhaps because the fruit is one that remains quite expensive here, even when its in season.

Recently I bought a bag of ‘sweet cherries’ at a local market that were anything but – far too sharp but with a lovely flavour beneath the acidity.

Although I do love the basic flour, sugar and butter crumble mix, I have come to prefer this version with rolled oats added to the mix. The combination of oats and flour makes for a topping that remains crisp and crumbly on top, but still provides that magical layer of gooey stodginess, where the crumble has sucked up some of the moisture from the fruit below.

20160606_140101 - Sweet Cherry Crumble Recipe on Kavey Eats - 1 Sweet Cherry Crumble Crisp Recipe on Kavey Eats

I’m calling this a ‘crumble crisp’ because I love both the British and North American names for this dish, and combining them makes me smile.

Sweet Cherry Crumble Crisp

Serves 4-5

Ingredients
Filling

400-450 grams pitted cherries, halved
Optional: 25 grams Demerara sugar
Optional: 1 tablespoon cherry brandy or other cherry liqueur
Topping
100 grams plain flour
75 grams butter
100 grams Demerara sugar
50 grams rolled oats

Note: As I don’t have a cherry pitter, I halved each cherry and used the tip of the paring knife to help slip out the pip. Since the cherries sit more snugly together when halved, I recommend halving them even if you have a proper pitter.

Equipment: Our casserole dish has a 7 inch (18 cm) diameter, which results in a decent depth of fruit beneath a generous layer of topping. Using a larger dish will result in thinner layers and may require an adjustment to the cooking times. However, you can double the quantities and use a 10 inch (25 cm) diameter dish to make a larger crumble, if you prefer.

Method

  • If the cherries are a little sharp, sprinkle with 25 grams of Demerara sugar, cover with cling film and set aside for an hour.
  • If you plan to bake the crumble as soon as it’s assembled, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Alternatively, you can prepare the crumble a few hours in advance, set aside, and bake in a preheated oven when required.
  • To create the crumble crisp topping, blend the flour and butter in a food processor for a few seconds until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Using the pulse function helps to distribute the butter evenly and ensure that the entire mixture is crumbled. If you don’t have a food processor or prefer to do this by hand make sure the butter is cold, cut it into small cubes and then rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until the entire mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the Demerara sugar and rolled oats to the flour and butter mixture and stir with a spoon or spatula. Be gentle enough not to compress the topping, but ensure that the oats and sugar are well mixed in.
  • If you are adding cherry brandy or liqueur to the cherries, pour the alcohol over the cherries, stir well and then transfer cherries to your baking dish (see above), making sure to include all the juices and liquid in the bowl.

20160606_180327 - Sweet Cherry Crumble Recipe on Kavey Eats - 2 20160606_180358 - Sweet Cherry Crumble Recipe on Kavey Eats - 3

  • Spread the crumble crisp topping evenly over the cherry filling. Don’t pat it down, the intention is for it to retain an aerated crumbly texture.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the topping has taken on a golden colour.
  • Serve hot with custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.

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What’s your favourite recipe for fresh cherries? Have you used them in a crumble or do you prefer a more traditional apple filling? And what do you think of adding oats into the topping? Let me know in the comments; I love hearing from you!

Other ideas for fresh, canned and dried cherries:

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For this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, I’m looking for ice creams, sorbets, ice lollies, granitas, shaved ice – indeed any sweet frozen treat – that is completely dairy free. Whether you use a dairy free substitute (such as coconut or almond milk) or create a recipe that doesn’t need one is completely up to you.

BSFIC Dairy Free

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a suitable recipe, published between July 1st and 29th 2016.
  • In your post, link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • If you like, include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below). Just right click and save the image, and insert into your post as a regular image. Feel free to resize as needed.
  • Email me (by the 29th of July) with the link to your post, your name and a photograph for the roundup sized to a maximum of 600 pixels on the longest side.

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.

I publish a dedicated roundup post showcasing all the entries, featuring an image and introduction to each. I also pin your posts on Pinterest and save to Yummly too. If you tweet your post using the hashtag #BSFIC, I’ll retweet it and I’ll share all entries via Facebook and twitter at the end of the month.

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

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Resurrecting Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream (now the summer is supposedly here), I left the theme wide open, calling upon my fellow bloggers to create a frozen treat that reminds us how wonderful ice cream, sorbet, ice lollies etc. can be when the sun is shining.

As it turns out, June hasn’t been the wonderfully sunny and summery month it so often is – instead it’s either been raining or about to rain most of the time!

Still, my fellow bloggers have created some lovely treats that are just as good eaten indoors as out.

Strawberry, Banana & Custard Ice Lollies (Camilla)

Camilla at Fab Food 4 All is the queen of making great use of the random ingredients she has to hand – often from her amazing supermarket bargain runs – and these Strawberry Banana Custard Ice Lollies are no exception. She added melted chocolate and sprinkles to make them even more special.

Prosecco and Elderflower Popsicles (Nicky)

How elegant do these wonderful Prosecco Elderflower Popsicles look? Nicky from Kitchen Sanctuary has made a very grown up ice lolly that wouldn’t look out of place in the glitziest of garden parties.

Mixed berry Granita (Nayna)

For her summery Mixed Berry Granita Nayna of Simply Sensational Food has combined a selection of in-season berries with a little sugar and water. After blitzing, the mixture is poured into a tub and frozen, making sure to stir a few times as it freezes.

Blueberry Yoghurt Ripple Lollies (May)

May from Eat Cook Explore has combined blueberries, yoghurt, creme fraiche and honey for her refreshing and light Blueberry Yoghurt Ripple Ice Lollies.

Cocoa Cashew Slice 1 (Lisa)

Lisa from Cookwitch Creations is a blogger who loves to experiment. For this Cashew Cocoa Iced Dessert she’s combined cashew nuts, dates, pistachios, honey, cocoa and vanilla to create a layered sliceable block.

Mango Lassi Ice Lollies on Kavey Eats (titled 1)

I’ve been revelling in Indian Kesar mangoes this year. Towards the end of one big box I had a few that ripened all at once and needed using up. Inspired by the increasingly popular Indian drink, mango lassi, I created these rippled Mango Lassi Ice Lollies.

Mango-Mousse-Ice-Lollies (Janice)

Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen was also inspired by my favourite fruit. For her Mango Mousse Ice Lollies she created a clever dessert that can be served chilled as a mousse or frozen to make ice lollies – two desserts in one. I love the melted chocolate and coconut flake jackets too!

Strawberry Ripple (Heidi)

Like us, Heidi of Kitchen Talk also has an allotment. Unlike us, her strawberries are cropping well and she used some of her harvest to make this Strawberry and Coconut Ice Cream with its pretty ripple effect.

Peanut butter ice lollies (Claire)

Claire aka the Foodie Quine made these lovely Peanut Butter Ice Lollies with a melted chocolate and roasted peanuts coating. The base combines flavoured yoghurt and custard with smooth peanut butter for a rich lolly with lots of flavour.

Bloody Mary Sorbet (Claire)

Putting the rest of us to shame, Claire created a second frozen treat in June – this very grown up Bloody Mary Sorbet inspired by gazpacho soup. Adding alcohol to frozen treats is also a great way to keep them that little bit softer, making it easier to scoop and serve.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed these wonderful recipes. Do click through to visit each one, and leave a comment to let the bloggers know what you think.

July’s BSFIC will be up soon and is open to bloggers anywhere in the world.

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