Edd Kimber’s Flourless Chocolate & Almond Bundts | from Chocolate by Dom Ramsey

A few weeks ago I reviewed Chocolate: Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic. This lovely book by my friend and chocolate expert Dom Ramsey is the perfect gift for anyone who loves good chocolate and wants to learn more about its history, how it’s made, where it’s grown, what fair trade and bean-to-bar mean, and even how to make your own chocolate from scratch. There are also lots of delicious recipes, including this gorgeous brownie pudding from professional baker and cookery book author Edd Kimber.

Three lucky readers have already won their own copy of Chocolate by Dom Ramsey but everyone can enjoy this delicious recipe, which publishers Dorling Kindersley have given me permission to share with you.

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Edd Kimber’s Flourless Chocolate & Almond Bundts

Extracted from Chocolate by Dom Ramsey, with permission from Dorling Kindersley

Many flourless cakes are dense and rich, but this recipe has light, fudge-like results. My recipe is definitely one for chocolate lovers – for all-out flavour it combines chocolate and cocoa in the cake, and drizzled chocolate on top.

MAKES 6

Time 25–30 mins

Ingredients
115g (4oz) unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp baking powder
30g (1oz) cocoa powder
115g (4oz) ground almonds
155g (5½oz) good-quality
dark chocolate, 60–70% cocoa, chopped
3 large eggs, separated
115g (4oz) caster sugar

Special equipment: 6-hole mini bundt tin

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4). Grease the bundt tin, paying particular attention to the bottom of the moulds and around the central rings. Chill the tin until needed.
  • Combine the baking powder, cocoa powder, and almonds in a bowl and set aside. Heat the butter and 55g (1¾oz) of the chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring regularly, until melted and combined. Set aside.
  • Place the egg yolks and half the sugar in a large bowl and beat with a hand-held electric whisk until pale. Gradually pour the chocolate mixture into the egg-yolk mixture and stir together using a silicone spatula until combined. Add the cocoa and almond mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Slowly pour in the remaining sugar, whisking constantly, until the meringue forms glossy, sti_ peaks.
  • Add one-third of the meringue mixture to the chocolate batter and gently fold to combine. Repeat with the remaining meringue, adding it in two additions.
  • Divide the mixture equally between the bundt moulds. Bake for 15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Melt the remaining chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water.
  • Serve the cooled bundt cakes with the melted chocolate drizzled over the top. You can store the bundt cakes, without topping, in an airtight container for 2–3 days.

TIP If you’re having trouble removing the cakes from the tin, soak a clean tea towel in boiling water, place the cakes in their tin on top of the tea towel, and leave for 5–10 minutes. This should make it easier to invert the cakes onto a wire rack, as per step 6.

 

This recipe extract was published with permission from Dorling Kindersley. Chocolate | Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic | Become A Bean-to-Bar Expert is currently available from Amazon UK for £13.48 (RRP £15).

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School of Wok’s Stir Fried Sichuan Chicken Recipe

I’ve attended many, many, many cookery classes over the years. I’ve enjoyed nearly all of them but a few have definitely stood out from the crowd, and those include every class I’ve ever taken at School of Wok. There is a great balance between fun and learning, with class sizes of 8-16 ensuring that everyone gets all the help they need throughout the class. Everyone is encouraged to relax and enjoy the experience but the tutors are very good at leading everyone through the class agenda and making sure that everything promised is covered and covered well. As well as basic knowledge such as knife skills and using a wok, the class works through several recipes – the tutors demonstrate first and the students have a go afterwards. After all the hard work, everyone is invited to have a drink while the staff clear up and set the table, ready for you to sit and eat all the delicious treats you have cooked.

The hands-on learning is so important and is what differentiates attending a class like this from reading a cookery book or watching a recipe video.

KFInstagramSchoolofWok

This Stir Fried Sichuan Chicken had so much flavour and texture. The School of Wok Clock system of laying out ingredients on a plate in the order in which they are used made the wok cooking really easy to do.

You can win a School of Wok round-bottomed carbon steel wok and steel wok ring in my giveaway, here.

 

School of Wok’s Stir Fried Sichuan Chicken

Published with permission.

Ingredients
200g chicken thigh, or breast
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Sichuan pepper corns
1 Birdseye chilli
1 onion
1 pepper
2 spring onions
100g cashew nuts
The Marinade
Sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch Chinese 5 spice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn flour
The Sauce
1 tsp chilli bean paste / chilli paste
1 tbsp hoi sin sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 capfuls rice wine
To finish
Sesame oil

Preparation

  • Cut the chicken into large slices and place in a medium sized prep bowl.
  • Finely chop the garlic and chilli and place in separate prep bowls.
  • Slice the onion & pepper and place in a prep bowl.
  • Throw all the marinade seasoning into the meat bowl and massage well ensuring you add the corn flour last.
  • Finely slice the spring onion and place in a small prep bowl.

Cooking

  • Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok to high heat.
  • Once smoking hot, add the onions & peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  • Push the onions & peppers to the side of the wok and add an extra tbsp vegetable oil to the centre of the wok.
  • Bring oil to a high heat and add the crushed pepper corns, garlic and chicken. Stir-fry until chicken is golden brown.
  • Add the cashew nuts to the wok and stir fry for a further 2 minutes.
  • Now add the chillies along with all ‘The Sauce’ ingredients to the wok. Continue to stir-fry on a high heat.
  • Add the spring onion and a drop of sesame oil to finish.

Note: If sauce is too thick, add a dash of hot water to the wok whilst cooking the meat through. If too thin, use corn flour paste to thicken.

  • Garnish with finely sliced spring onion before serving.

 

Kavey Eats attended a cookery class as a guest of School of Wok. This recipe is published with permission.

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School of Wok & Dexam Giveaway

As I mentioned in my post about a recent special event cooking class I attended, the School of Wok has recently launched its own branded range of cookware, utensils and accessories created in partnership with Dexam. The range includes woks, steamers, cooking utensils as well as branded aprons and tea-towels.

Jeremy advocates classic carbon steel woks over non-stick – though there are a few non-stick in the range for those who prefer them. It’s worth learning how to care for a carbon steel wok properly – you’ll need to season the new wok before use and then clean as instructed to keep it in good condition.

And if you’re looking for a great recipe to test your wok skills, try the School of Wok’s Stir Fried Sichuan Chicken.

WokInPackaging_thumb[3]
WokRing_thumb[2]

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the launch of the new range, I’m giving away one 13” (33cm) School of Wok ‘Wok & Roll’ Round Bottom Wok as well as a Steel Wok Ring. The round bottomed wok makes it superbly easy to quickly move your food around the wok for even cooking and the ring allows you to properly balance the wok on your stove top. The prize includes free delivery within the UK.

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 Chinese recipe to cook at home and why?

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 just entered the Kavey Eats giveaway of a @SchoolOfWok carbon steel round-bottomed wok +  wok ring. http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsSOW #KaveyEatsSOW
(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 30th December 2016.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is one 13” School of Wok Carbon Steel Round Bottom Wok and one Steel Wok Ring.
  • The prize is provided by Dexam and 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 winner 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.

Kavey Eats attended a launch event for the new School of Wok range as a guest of School of Wok. We were also given a wok and wok ring to take home.

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Wok & Roll At The School of Wok | Giveaway + Recipe

At the School of Wok you’ll not only learn to wok around the clock, you’ll become a bona fide wok star! Yes the puns come thick and fast but teaching is taken seriously, with a clear focus on students not only having fun (of which there is plenty) but also learning, learning, learning.

Over the last few years I’ve attended several classes at this excellent Asian-focused cookery school in central London and I’ve always come away with lots of new skills and the confidence to recreate what I’ve learned at home.

KFInstagramSchoolofWok

Tonight’s class was a special event to launch the School of Wok’s own range of woks and cooking utensils, available to purchase at the school as well as from a range of other stockists. The school was already selling a range of cookware related to the classes. However, always keen to improve every detail of what the school offers, Jeremy Pang (School of Wok’s charismatic founder), has been working with Dexam to perfect a branded range that performs to his exacting specifications.

Dexam is a family company celebrating its 60th anniversary next year. Founded by two brothers who travelled the world discovering and importing great products for the domestic kitchen, they have built a successful business selling all manner of kitchen and home goods from tools and utensils to cookware and tableware, not to mention accessories such as aprons, table linen and storage products.

The Dexam School of Wok range includes woks, steamers, cooking utensils as well as branded aprons and tea-towels.

Our session was based on the school’s popular Understanding The Wok class. As well as learning and practicing basic knife skills, we were taught how to stuff and fold Jao Zi (dumplings), and how to cook Egg Fried Rice and a delicious Stir Fried Sichuan Chicken. After a demonstration, each pair of students took to the wok – there is nothing like hands on experience to cement learning!

Jeremy advocates classic carbon steel woks over non-stick – though there are a few non-stick in the range for those who prefer them – and our class also included a tutorial on how to season and clean our woks to keep them in good condition.

WokInPackaging
WokRing

To celebrate the launch of the new range, I’m giving away one 13” School of Wok ‘Wok & Roll’ Round Bottom Wok and a Steel Wok Ring that makes it easier to balance your wok on your stove top.

Click here to read more and to enter the giveaway.

For those interested in the food, check out the School of Wok Stir Fried Sichuan Chicken recipe here.

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Eat Your Books 1 Year Membership Giveaway

I used to find it hard to make use of my full collection until I started using Eat Your Books, an online service that helps you catalogue all the books you own, and to easily search the resulting index to find recipes using a given ingredient… if you’re wondering just what to do with that beautiful plump aubergine, harissa paste or tub of crème fraiche, just type those ingredients into the Search box to see a list of every matching recipe in the books you own – all you have to do is grab the relevant book from your shelf and flick to the right page. You can also search on cuisines or by course if you prefer. And to add even more value, Eat Your Books also catalogues and links to a huge list of recipes online, including some of mine here on Kavey Eats.

You can read my full review of Eat Your Books here, though note that prices and features may have changed slightly since then.

If you love cookbooks, don’t forget to check out my 2016 round up of cookery books, here.

Bookshelf

GIVEAWAY

Eat Your Books are kindly offering a reader of Kavey Eats a free year’s membership of Eat Your Books worth US$30.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment Tell me about the food books on your wish list at the moment? What books are you after and why?

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’ve just entered the Kavey Eats giveaway of a one year membership of @EatYourBooks. http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsEYB #KaveyEatsEYB
(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 30th December 2016.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a one year membership of Eat Your Books. The user will be sent a voucher code that can be redeemed directly on the Eat Your Books website.
  • The prize is offered by Eat Your Books and 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 winner 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.

Kavey Eats was not compensated for this post, but still uses a subscription to Eat Your Books originally provided for review in 2014.

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Kavey Eats Cookbooks 2016 + Eat Your Books Giveaway

I’ve enjoyed lots and lots of great cookery books this year, and reviewed several of them here on Kavey Eats.

I used to find it hard to make use of my full collection until I started using Eat Your Books, an online service that helps you catalogue all the books you own, and to easily search the resulting index to find recipes using a given ingredient… if you’re wondering just what to do with that aubergine and tub of crème fraiche, just plug in those ingredients to see a list of every matching recipe so that all you have to do is grab the relevant book from your shelf and flick to the right page. You can also search on cuisines or by course if you prefer. And to add even more value, Eat Your Books also catalogues and links to a huge list of recipes online, including some of mine here on Kavey Eats. You can read my full review of Eat Your Books here, though note that prices and features may have changed slightly since then.

My friends over at Eat Your Books are offering a reader a free year’s membership of Eat Your Books worth US$30.
Click here to enter.

In the meantime, here is a reminder of all the books I’ve reviewed this year. Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links (see sidebar for more information).

Tokyo Cult Recipes cover

Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota.
Read my full review of Tokyo Cult Recipes.
Find Tokyo Cult Recipes on Amazon.

growyourowncake

Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell.
Read my full review of Grow Your Own Cake.
Find Grow Your Own Cake on Amazon.

Vegetable Perfection Mat Follas

Vegetable Perfection by Mat Follas.
Read my full review of Vegetable Perfection.
Find Vegetable Perfection on Amazon.

Pride and Pudding (mini)

Pride and Pudding by Regula Ysewijn.
Read my full review of Pride and Pudding.
Find Pride and Pudding on Amazon.

everyday harumi 2016 paperback cover

Everyday Harumi by Harumi Kurihara.
Read my full review of Everyday Harumi.
Find Everyday Harumi on Amazon.

Ferment Pickle Dry cover

Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley.
Read my full review of Ferment Pickle Dry.
Find Ferment Pickle Dry on Amazon.

Chocolate jacket

Chocolate: Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic by Dom Ramsey.
Read my full review of Chocolate: Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic.
Find Chocolate: Indulge Your Inner Chocoholic on Amazon.

If you are looking for more great cookery books, check out my round up of cookbooks from 2015 here.

 

Kavey Eats was not compensated for this post, but still uses a subscription to Eat Your Books originally provided for review in 2014. Amazon links are affiliate links – please see sidebar for more information.

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Travel Quote Tuesday | Confucius

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Applicable to so much more in life than travel. Simple advice from Confucius.

(c) Kavita Favelle - Confucius - Japan

Before our first visit to Kyoto, I had read about this idea of visiting too many temples, becoming ’templed out’, if you will. But for us, that never happened. In the city of a thousand temples (and shrines), we visited only a fraction and yet we enjoyed every one so much. Each is quite different to the other, and every one is beautiful and fascinating. So too is the observation of those who come to worship, or simply to admire, as we did.

This is Fushimi Inari-taisha, known for its senbon torii (thousands of gates) winding up the mountainside – and there really are thousands of them, painted bright red, as is the tradition!

More Kavey Eats Travel Quotes.

You are welcome to save or share this via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram provided you do not alter the image or crop out the attribution text.

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24 Hours in Braga | The Heart of Historical Northern Portugal

Have you heard of Braga in Northern Portugal? I confess I hadn’t until I was invited to visit the area recently.

I quickly learned that Braga is the oldest city in Portugal and has a very long and fascinating history which is still very much in evidence today.

Braga (together with nearby Guimarães and Tenões) is located in the historical Minho Province, which borders the current-day Galicia region of Spain. Indeed the area can trace its history back through the Middle Ages (when both areas were collectively known as Gallaecia), the era of the Roman Empire and even further back to the Celtic Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages!

It’s also celebrated as the birthplace of Portugal. After Henry of the House of Burgundy merged the counties of Portugal and Coimbra, both of which were part of the Kingdom of León (Spain), control passed to his son Afonso Henriques upon his death. Following the Battle of São Mamede Afonso proclaimed himself first the Prince and then the King, establishing the Kingdom of Portugal in 1139. Portugal was formally recognised as a country by the Kingdom of León in 1143 and by papal bull in 1179.

But even if you are not much interested in history, Braga is perfect for a European city break – it offers a historical old town full of beautiful buildings, bustling cafes and an assortment of churches, gardens, museums and palaces. The local cuisine is utterly delicious. And it’s less than an hour’s drive from Porto – Portugal’s second largest city (more of which in an upcoming post).

Braga and Guimaraes Portugal on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-110806 Braga and Guimaraes Portugal on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-095836
A city mascot; The Arco da Porta Nova (New Gate)

Sometimes called ‘the Rome of Portugal’, a reflection of the importance of its role in the history of Portugal, Braga feels altogether more approachable than its Italian counterpart. Don’t get me wrong, I really loved visiting Rome – for its history, its culture, its food and its place in popular culture via film – but I find it a little daunting too. Where Rome is a sharp-suited business woman wearing towering heels and don’t-fuck-with-me sunglasses, Braga is a silver-haired grandpa in a pair of worn corduroys and a patterned-knit jumper. Braga is warm, friendly, colourful and charming.

Braga Tiled Buildings Collage
Braga buildings decorated in azulejos

I’m sure a big part of that mental image is down to the beautiful and colourful tiles that adorn many of the buildings in Braga.

Braga Tiles Collage
Azulejos

Known as azulejos – these tiles are used extensively to decorate walls and floors and occasionally even ceilings. Most have a geometric design, but some are multi-tile painted panels portraying historical or cultural scenes. A few are even 3D, creating a gorgeous tactile surface that catches the light and shadows of the moving sun.

Ceramic tiles were introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors, and indeed the name comes from the Arabic word for tiles, itself a reference to the polished stone mosaics of the Roman Era. In the thirteenth century, the Iberian tile industry was centred in Seville but King Manuel I introduced the techniques to Portugal after a visit to Seville in 1503. The Portuguese adopted the Moorish tradition of covering walls completely with azulejos

Episcopal Palace Braga Collage
The Episcopal Palace of Braga

The best way to enjoy the old town of Braga is on foot. After passing through the Arco da Porta Nova – a somewhat ironic name given that it was built in the late eighteenth century; the city walls date back fourteenth century, so the gate is certainly new compared to that – we walked along narrow commercial streets full of shops, churches and beautiful buildings.

The Episcopal Palace of Braga caught our attention more than once, as we encountered different wings of its sprawling footprint. After passing the Misericórdia Church to our left, we came to the beautiful Paço square on our left, a courtyard bounded at three sides by the South Wing of the Episcopal Palace and open to the street on the fourth. The fountain here is still in use by locals; a man approaches casually to wash his hands.

Later we saw the Gothic style Medieval wing fronted by the Santa Bárbara gardens, and with a fountain of George’s dragon opposite. The gardens are kept in flower for as much of the year as possible, courtesy of a local nursery from which flowers are swapped in and out of the beds as needed.

There is also an eighteenth century Baroque wing with an ornate stone and white render facade, which we didn’t visit.

Today, the palace buildings house the University of Minho, the town’s public library and the district archive.

Braga Doors and Windows Collage
Doors and windows of Braga

I have always been drawn to door and window details and Braga afforded me plenty of wonderful examples to capture.

I love the variety of architectural styles and find much beauty in the dilapidation of wear and tear and graffiti.

Praca da Republica Square Braga Collage
Praça da Republica Square

Another of Braga’s nicknames is ‘city of fountains’ and the reason becomes most evident when we reach the Praça da Republica Square. The beautiful Vianna fountain forms a focal point to an asymmetrically shaped space surrounded by buildings of different eras, styles and colours. There are churches, cafes, even the remnants of Braga Castle. Stretching away to one side is the Avenida Central Garden, with more fountains and plenty of space to sit and relax.

Cafe Brasileira Braga Collage
The Café A Brasileira

As we moved on from the Praça da Republica Square our destination for a well-earned coffee and cake stop was the iconic Café A Brasileira, housed in a beautiful blue-tile fronted building with ornate metalwork and signage. Inside is just as gorgeous – sets of tiny tables and chairs receive plenty of light from the floor to ceiling windows, and a counter full of temptation shows off lots of delicious pastries.

Opened in 1907, it was founded by Porto-born merchant businessman who imported coffee from Brasil to Portugal, and created a chain of shops in which to sell it. In order to attract customers to his wholesale business, he offered a free cup of coffee with every two 500 gram bags of coffee beans purchased and the rest, as they say, was history.

I love my coffee weak and milky, so ordered a cafe meia de leite clara – ‘clear’ coffee with milk.

Not really hungry but keen to try as many local specialities as possible, some of us shared a local pastry known as the Jesuita which originated in the village of Santo Tirso, half way between Braga and Porto. Shaped like a monk’s robe, layers of crisp puff pastry were iced with a sweet and crunchy meringue.

 San Marcos and Santa Cruz Churches in Braga Collage
Santa Cruz Church and São Marcos Hospital Church

Suitably restored, we continued on to the Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) Church. Peering up at the detailed stonework, we strove to spot the two roosters carved into the facade – legend has it that if a visitor spots them on their first visit, they will soon find a good match in marriage!

To the left of the Santa Cruz is the São Marcos Hospital Church. Built in the eighteenth century, its baroque features are imposingly grand, especially with the menace of rainclouds above.

On a future trip, I hope to see inside both of these beautiful buildings.

Palacio Do Raio Braga Collage
The Palácio Do Raio

From the moment we drove past it on our way from the airport to our hotel, I was eager to return to the stunning Palácio Do Raio, located just around the corner from São Marcos Hospital Church.

The late Baroque-early Rococo style two-storey building was built in the mid-eighteenth century as a family residence for João Duarte de Faria, a knight of the Order of Christ and a rich local merchant. He commissioned André Soares to design and supervise construction; Soares was already well regarded in Braga as a sculptor, engineer and architect. The building came to be known as a palace over a century later, after being acquired in 1867 by Miguel José Raio, the Viscount of São Lázaro.

The gorgeous blue tiles, blue-painted doors and metalwork are stunning against the warmth of the carved granite and it was hard to pull my eyes away from this beautiful, striking building.

Before moving on, we poked our heads inside only briefly, to see the blue and white painted tiles running up the walls of the central staircase.

Shopping by Braga Cathedral Collage
Braga Cathedral and nearby shops

Towards the end of our city walk we skirted round the beautiful Braga Cathedral. The Diocese of Braga dates back to the third century AD, making it one of the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula and an important centre for the Christianisation of the region. Braga lost its bishop seat after the arrival of the moors, regaining it only in 1071 once the city fell back into Christian hands. Construction of the cathedral began soon after the bishopric was regained. During Henry of Burgundy’s rule, the Pope promoted Braga into an archbishopric, giving it power over a larger region. The original cathedral, completed in the twelfth century, was Romanesque in style and influenced many other churches and monasteries built in that period. Modifications in later periods mean that today it is a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Baroque architecture.

A couple of us gave into the temptation of the brightly coloured printed cloths on sale in the tourist shops outside.

Braga Collage

There is plenty more to see in Braga – more churches and other historic buildings, more streets to walk, more fountains, cafes and shops to explore.

But with a packed itinerary, it was time for us to move onwards.

Bom Jesus do Monte Guimaraes Collage
Bom Jesus do Monte

Even in the drizzling rain, Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary located in neighbouring Tenões is an impressive site indeed.

Under the patronage of successive Archbishops of Braga the best architects, artists and builders were commissioned to create the religious sanctuary over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Still an important site of pilgrimage, hardy visitors climb the extensive stairways up the mountainside, pausing for reflection and prayer at the small chapels between. The rest take the easy option, climbing up the winding road in the warm and comfort of cars and buses.

The most impressive element of the site is the theatrical Baroque Via Sacre (sacred way) staircase that zig zags up to the Bom Jesus sanctuary at the top of the hill. The contrast between granite and white plaster really shows off the geometrical symmetry of the design. Stone carvings along the staircase depict the life of Jesus and fountains represent each of the five senses – sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste.

Our first stop was at the bottom of the Sacred Way, where we stepped onto the cobbled mosaic and enjoyed a beautiful view out over the local countryside and upwards to the church above. I tried to imagine the sight of modern day pilgrims climbing the stairs on their hands and knees, a penance still observed by many during Holy Week and Pentecost. We clambered back into our van to shortcut the last step of the journey to the grounds and church at the top.

Beautiful formal planting provided a welcome burst of colour even under the gloomy grey skies of a rainy day. While the others explored some of the multi-level balconies at the top of the Via Sacre, I entered the church quietly just as worshippers burst into song. All too soon, it was time to move on again.

Another way to travel to and from the top of the hill is via the Funicular, installed in 1882. Designed and supervised by French Portuguese engineer Raul Mesnier du Ponsard under the direction of Swiss expert Nikolaus Riggenbach, it uses an ingenious hydraulic system whereby water tanks in each of a pair of trams are used as counterbalances, the tanks emptied and filled in turn. As one tram rises, the other descends, both arriving into the top and bottom stations simultaneously. It’s the oldest such funicular in the world and its success resulted in Mesnier going on to create a series of funiculars and cable lifts in the capital, Lisbon, some of which are also still in use today.

Pousada Santa Marinha da Costa Collage
Pousada de Santa Marinha

Our next stop was the most delicious of the trip.

Wowed first by the exterior and interior of the Pousada de Santa Marinha in Guimarães, a former monastery turned into a luxury hotel, I was even more impressed by our lunch.

Dating from the twelfth century, the monastery retains a wealth of beautiful and ornate original features – of course there are many examples of azulejos, including blue and white panels depicting local scenes and stories – in large reception rooms, along stairways and on the walls of an open terrace area with a fountain, chairs and tables and a stunning view. The hotel also has many amenities including a library, various lounges, a pool and spa services.

Pousada Santa Marinha da Costa Lunch Collage
Lunch in Pousada de Santa Marinha

In a space that was once used as the wine cellars of the monastery, we enjoyred a meal of beautifully presented traditional dishes.

Alheira, served as part of our amuse bouche, tells the tale of some of the region’s religious history. In the fifteenth century, the Jewish population were given the choice of converting to Christianity or being expelled from the country. Many converted in public, but practised their beliefs behind closed doors, including the avoidance of pork. Scared that their neighbours may note the absence of the ubiquitous pork sausages hung up to dry cure or smoke, the Jews created a version made from chicken and game, which they could hang up and eat, to give the impression of eating pork. Later, the non-pork sausage recipe became popular with the wider population.

While the others in my group enjoyed a traditional caldo verde, the famous cabbage and potato soup flavoured with chorizo or pork, I chose the ‘golden egg’ starter, a slow-cooked egg in a crisp potato nest with mushrooms and a smoked sausage and truffle ball.

My starter was good but it was the main dishes that made the meal so special.

The two key dishes were served into individual plates from large cooking dishes brought out to us on a trolley. We were about a fifty fifty split between the Arroz malandrinho (cheeky rice, as we called it) full of monkfish and prawns, and the Cachaço de porco preto (black pork neck) slow cooked with clams, prawns and potatoes. My pork was so tender and so full of flavour, and utterly fantastic with the richly flavoured sauce, seafood and potatoes.

For dessert, we were served a selection of regional sweets including Pudim Abade de Priscos (an extremely rich pudding of egg yolks, sugar and fat), Torta de Laranja (orange cake) and Toucinho Do Céu (which literally translates as bacon from heaven, because of the pork lard used liberally in the recipe). The version we had was made with chila (figleaf gourd).

Many of these dishes originated in Braga and Guimarães, or in wider region.

In a trip of much excellent food, this was the stand out meal for me. Next time I visit the area, I’m determined to stay overnight and experience the rest of the pousada.

We packed all of this into a single day, along with a short walk around Guimarães, to see the castle and old city walls as well as a quick walk in the old town centre. It certainly didn’t feel rushed, though there’s plenty much more to see in Braga, Guimarães and Tenões. The area is a perfect destination for a self-drive holiday, combined with nearby Porto, and I’m plotting a return trip to see more of the region.

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24 Hours in Braga Northern Portugal

Coming soon, a post on our time in Porto – one of the most beautiful city break destinations in Europe.

Kavey Eats visited Northern Portugal as a guest of the Portuguese Tourist Office and TAP Portugal. TAP flies direct from London Gatwick to Porto twice daily. With enormous thanks to all those who hosted and organised the trip.

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A Breakfast Shared with Brioche Pasquier

PARTNEREDPOSTBrioche Pasquier have been making traditional brioche and other French pâtisseries since they were founded in 1936 in a small village bakery in Les Cerqueux, France.

Founder Gabriel Pasquier taught his traditional levain-based recipes to his sons who built the business into Brioche Pasquier, now a large and successful company with over 3,000 employees. Levain, (sometimes called leaven in English, but more commonly referred to as a starter) is a natural raising agent which not only raises the dough but contributes a welcome acidity and flavour to the finished bread. All products are free from artificial colours, flavours, hydrogenated fats and preservatives. This has made the brand into one of the most popular brioche brands on the market.

Shared Moments with Brioche Pasquier - Kavey Eats (1)

As an avowed Francophile (and slightly rusty francophone) I adore brioche – indeed I eat brioche buns for breakfast at least two or three times a week. There’s something rather wonderful about the light, egg-enriched dough that I can’t get enough of.

The Brioche Pasquier offering is lovely and light with an excellent flavour – nice on its own but even better with salted butter and homemade jam. In the unlikely event you don’t eat the whole loaf in very short order, it also makes a really superb bread and butter pudding. The soft style butter croissants and pains au chocolat are also very enjoyable – with jam, chocolate hazelnut spread or dipped into a French-style bowl of hot chocolate.

The pre-sliced brioche loaf and the individually wrapped pains au chocolat, croissants and pain au lait (milk bread) rolls are perfect for a shared weekend breakfast, a more continental alternative to a full cooked breakfast and much quicker to serve too.

And when we book self-catering holidays in the UK, these are exactly the kind of products we take with us to stock the cupboards on our arrival – not only for breakfast but as perfect on-the-go snacks while we are out and about, or a welcome bite between meals.

 

Kavey Eats was commissioned by Brioche Pasquier to create this post and participate in the #shareamoment campaign.

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What Makes A Great Sunday Roast? | Sunday Dining at Hatchetts in Mayfair

A really good Sunday Roast is a very fine thing indeed. But how to define ‘really good’?

Perhaps surprisingly, the element that comes first for me is roast potatoes. Yep, spuds over meat (though that’s a very close second). Roasties that are beautifully fluffy inside but have a properly crunchy exterior (that doesn’t give up its crisp at the first sign of gravy or steam from the heat) are paramount!

The meat is still very important, and whether it’s beef, lamb, pork or chicken I look for plenty of flavour, tenderness and moistness. And there’s an extra thumbs up for restaurants that source British meat, of course.

Next, the gravy. It has to be generous on the plate (or a jug of extra on the side) and with bags of flavour that complements the meat and spuds.

Yorkshire puddings are a wondrous thing so anywhere that includes them with all roasts, not just with the beef, gets another extra thumbs up.

When it comes to the other vegetables, I’m a little more relaxed though not, of course, without opinions! I really dislike pickled or fermented cabbage – fine with big fat bratwurst but not with my Sunday roast, thanks… And peas, whilst usually a benign vegetable choice, have a habit of scattering all over the plate in a way I don’t think works with roast meat and gravy.

Give me savoy cabbage and carrots and I’m as happy as Larry. Add something special (such as a slice roasted squash) and it’s yet another extra thumbs up!

Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-122324 Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-122607

With a dearth of options in my local neighbourhood for a really great Sunday roast, I am more willing to travel further afield. A few weeks ago, Pete and I headed down to Hatchetts in Mayfair, which we visited for dinner shortly after they opened in July. Hatchetts have now introduced a Sunday roast to their offering and it’s a cracker.

Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-9586 Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-9591

Having had no breakfast, and with my belly rumbling, I accepted the offer of bread and ordered a starter, though we shared one between us to so as not to spoil our appetite for the roasts to come.

Smoked salmon (£9) dotted with dollops of caper and raisin puree was served with lightly toasted brown soda bread. The light smoke on the fish and sweet sharp puree mean we made very quick work of the dish.

Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-9598 Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-9596

Time for the roasts! I chose the Marinated leg of blackface lamb, spiced autumn squash, rosemary gravy and mint sauce (£18). I was not disappointed.

Two thick slices of beautifully flavoured and tender lamb with four perfect roast potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding, a pile of savoy cabbage, one medium carrot and two slices of (different) roasted squash. Oh and a generous lake of glossy and deeply flavoured gravy and some homemade mint sauce.

This really was a superb plate of food – one of the best roasts I’ve had for a long time. Very little I’d change – a touch less salt in the savoy cabbage and the carrot cooked more briefly to retain more bite and texture but those are minor niggles.

Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle- Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-9593

Pete was just as happy with his Organic Sussex chicken breast, confit leg croquette, roast shallots, thyme gravy (£16.50). On his plate the slightly oversalted cabbage was balanced out by the sweetness of the roasted shallots. The chicken was full of flavour and beautifully cooked and the two leg meat croquettes provided an extra texture and taste. Yorkshire pudding comes with all roasts here, so he didn’t miss out on that either. And the spuds and gravy were, like mine, excellent.

Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-9604 Hatchetts Sunday Roast on Kavey Eats (c) Kavita Favelle-9606

Being greedy bastards, and mostly because we’d spotted it when ordering our mains and couldn’t get it out of our minds, we ordered a Sticky toffee pudding, bourbon caramel, crème fraiche ice cream (£6) to share. This was bloody fantastic too! The pudding itself was moist and rich – featuring coca-cola soaked prunes we were told – and the caramel sauce providing a perfect balanced bitterness. We couldn’t detect the bourbon, nor much of a crème fraiche tang in the ice cream, but the dish was delicious as it was and we didn’t miss either.

The London pubs I’ve visited for a Sunday roast in the last year or two – and I mean the gastropub kind here, not your local Wetherspoon – price their roasts between £12 and £16, sometimes more. Taking that into account, I think the Hatchetts offering is well worth the extra two or three quid more and I’d absolutely recommend it.

At the moment the downstairs dining room lacks atmosphere – not enough locals have discovered just how good the food is. Sadly, it’s not a particularly attractive space either; very 1980s. A polished concrete floor and some fun wall art are the only concessions to the current decade. The more casual upstairs bar area is far more appealing, and benefits from natural light during the day too so I’d suggest asking for a table there instead if it’s not too busy.

If you are a fan of really excellent Sunday roasts, this is definitely one to add to your list.

Kavey Eats dined as guests of Hatchetts Restaurant.

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