Equipment, books, gifts, all things shopping.

 

When you have a waffle maker, everything looks like a waffle!’ So says a dear friend of mine and I reckon he’s not wrong.

It’s full steam ahead on the waffle wagon here at Kavey Eats and today it’s the turn of the humble potato. Our first experiment with potato waffles used mash potato mixed with egg, a little flour, a little cheese and seasoning. The idea worked pretty well but the waffles were a bit of a faff to make, a little bland and they didn’t crisp up as we’d hoped.

So my next thought was to try the potato rösti route. I recently had great success in adapting potato rösti into a pizza base, so I was hopeful it would make a great waffle.

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats-8254

For our first attempt we completely winged it, guestimating quantities and method by eye, and assuming we’d need to tweak the recipe at least once or twice before it was ready to share. But we totally nailed it on the first attempt and I’m urging you to make these for yourself and tell us what you think!

You need just three core ingredients plus a little oil to create these crispy-surfaced, gooey-centred waffles with a gentle smoky flavour and heat from the paprika.

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats (1)

Parmesan & Paprika Potato Waffles

Makes 4 waffles in the Smart Waffle maker

Ingredients
500 g raw potato, grated
2 tbs vegetable oil
100 g parmesan, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Note: I used La Chinata smoked paprika which has a wonderful flavour and a nice kick of heat.

Method

  • Preheat the waffle maker.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil through the grated potato and microwave until soft; 3-4 minutes.
  • Mix the paprika through the grated cheese and then add to the cooked potato.

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats-8247

  • Mix well to distribute cheese throughout the mix.
  • Spoon a quarter of the mix into each side of the waffle maker and close, and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove and set aside on a hot dish or in a very low temperature oven for a few minutes until all the waffles are ready.
  • Repeat with second half of the mixture.
  • Serve hot and crisp!

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats (2)

You may also enjoy these savoury waffle recipes from fellow food bloggers:

 

Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle for review. As always, I was not expected 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.

 

A few days ago I shared my review of Grow Your Own Cake, published by Frances Lincoln. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This intriguing cookbook features 46 recipes for savoury and sweet cakes and bakes featuring vegetables and fruits you can grow yourself. The author Holly Farrell, an experienced gardening writer, shares invaluable tips on how to grow and harvest each crop, before putting it to use in the recipe provided. Photography is by Jason Ingram, who illustrates both gardening tips and recipes throughout the book.

growyourowncake grown your own cake sweet potato
Book jacket; sweet potato image by Jason Ingram

Pete and I have thus far made two recipes from the book, an Upside-down Pear Cake and this Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake, published below with permission from Frances Lincoln. I love the idea of taking a combination associated with American Thanksgiving menus and turning it into a cake.

We weren’t sure what to expect from this cake – in taste, in texture, in appearance. To our surprise the crumb is actually fairly light and not overly sweet, in fact it’s a lovely gently flavoured sponge which would work very well on it’s own, without the ganache filling or marshmallow fluff topping. We over-baked by just a few minutes, which gave the outside a slightly darker colour, but it didn’t affect the taste at all.

I am not sure adding mini marshmallows into the batter serves much purpose – as the cake cooks they seem to melt away leaving odd pockets in the sponge, lined with a crunchy sugar glaze – so I might skip those next time. The sweet potato cake is the real winner in this recipe, and you could lose the marshmallow elements if you wanted to and serve it as a simple unadorned sponge.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (2)

Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Cake

If sweet potato & marshmallow casserole, the traditional Thanksgiving dish, is too sweet for your turkey dinner, use this great pairing in cake form instead. It is perfect after a long winter’s walk.

Makes a two-layer cake

Ingredients

Mashed sweet potatoes
800–900g/1lb 12oz–2lb sweet potatoes

Cake
400g/14oz plain flour
11⁄2 tbsp baking powder
3⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
1⁄2 nutmeg, finely grated, or 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
165g/51⁄2oz unsalted butter
250g/8oz light muscovado sugar
4 eggs
450g/1lb mashed sweet potatoes
90g/3oz mini-marshmallows

Ganache
45ml/11⁄2fl oz double cream
100g/3oz white chocolate

Decoration
1⁄2 jar of marshmallow fluff (about 100g/31⁄2oz)
100g/31⁄2oz marshmallows

Equipment
2 × deep, round cake tins, 20cm/8in diameter, greased and base-lined

Method

  • For the mashed sweet potatoes, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roast the sweet potatoes for around 45 minutes until they are soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, then pop them out of their skins. Mash well (use a potato ricer if you have one).
  • For the cake, preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8309 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8313

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well; leave to one side. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each egg. Mix in the mashed sweet potato, then the flour and spice mix. Quickly stir in the mini-marshmallows and divide the cake mixture between the two tins. Make sure that all the marshmallows on the surface are coated with mixture to prevent them burning. Bake for 50–60 minutes. To check if it is ready insert a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes in the tins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

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  • For the ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until just under boiling point. Pour over the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is smooth. Leave to cool until the mixture is thick enough to spread without running.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8319 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8329

  • To assemble, sandwich the two cake layers together with the ganache, spread marshmallow fluff on the top and sprinkle with whole marshmallows.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Grow Your Own Cake from Frances Lincoln, part of Quarto Publishing Group UK. Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell, photographs by Jason Ingram is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).

 

The premise of using vegetables in cakes is nothing new – carrot cake has been a well known favourite as long as I can remember, chocolate and beetroot cakes and brownies have gained popularity in the last decade and more recently courgette cakes are stretching peoples’ definitions of what a cake can be made with.

For me, it goes much further than that, as I’ve long been a huge fan of fellow blogger Kate Hackworthy who writes the much-loved and respected blog Veggie Desserts. As the blog name and tagline suggest, the recipes Kate develops and shares are all about using vegetables in ‘cakes, bakes, breakfasts and meals’ and Kate has won much recognition for the innovation of her recipes, and the stunning photographs with which she illustrates them. You’ll find everything from cookies featuring romanesco cauliflower, cupcakes featuring cucumber, peas or spinach, and cakes full of celeriac, kale and swede! So when I first heard about a cookery book focusing on vegetable- and fruit-based cakes I was already primed for these kind of recipes!

growyourowncake

However, publisher Frances Lincoln have taken a different slant for this new title and teamed up with established gardening author Holly Farrell (who has written multiple books on kitchen gardening and contributed to a range of gardening magazines) and Jason Ingram (a garden and food photographer). Holly is also a keen baker, and in Grow Your Own Cake, she treats the garden as a larder for her baking, providing not only recipes but advice on how to grow the main crop featured in each one.

The recipes range from savoury to sweet, using both fruit and vegetables from the plot, with detailed and well-illustrated guidance for the novice gardener looking to grow some of their own produce in their garden or allotment.

There are fifty recipes in the book; some are already classics, such as the carrot cake and beetroot brownies I mention above. Others such as fennel cake and pea cheesecake are more unusual. Recipes are organised somewhat seasonally, with the first chapter covering spring and summer cakes and the second autumn and winter ones. Next come afternoon tea ideas, puddings and savoury bakes.

Many of the recipes are appealing and I’m waiting eagerly for the main ingredients to come into season in our allotment, rather than buying from the supermarket out of season. I’d like to try the rose cake (featuring home made rose water), the parsnip winter cake (ours didn’t survive the slugs so none for us this winter) and the tomato cupcakes, to name a few.

Photography is lovely – pretty and practical without being overly fussy in the styling, a little old school but comfortingly so. My only complaint on this front is that while there are plenty of photographs of the gardening element of the book, there aren’t as many food images as I’d like to see – it’s frustrating not to have a picture of the finished dish for many of the recipes, especially when they are unfamiliar – what kind of colour do the tomato cupcakes have, for example and how should the icing for the sweet potato and marshmallow cake look? A few more images on the food side would be a huge help.

Thus far, Pete and I have made two recipes from the book, the Upside-down Pear Cake and the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake; both have worked well, though the lack of photographs has made it feel a little more of a shot in the dark, even with Holly’s fairly clear instructions. Most importantly, both were delicious, and I’d happily make and eat both again.

I have permission to share the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake recipe with you, so keep your eyes peeled for that in an upcoming post.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

In the meantime, here’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy of this lovely book:

GIVEAWAY

Frances Lincoln are offering two copies of Grow Your Own Cake for a Kavey Eats reader giveaway. Each prize includes delivery to UK addresses.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
What kind of fruit or vegetable have your tried in cakes and what did you think?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @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 Grow Your Own Cake published by @Frances_Lincoln from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsGYOC #KaveyEatsGYOC
(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 6th May 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 Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell and Jason Ingram, published by Frances Lincoln. Delivery to UK addresses is included.
  • The prizes are offered by Frances Lincoln 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 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.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Grow Your Own Cake from Frances Lincoln, part of Quarto Publishing Group UK.
Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell, photographs by Jason Ingram is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).

 

You might be wondering why I’m sharing chocolate eggs with you now, on Good Friday, when it’s a little late to get your hands on them in time? But the good news is that Brownie Heaven sell their amazing eggs all year round, so if you didn’t get the egg of your dreams this Easter, why not make up for it by ordering one of these beauties for yourself?!

I’ve been seeing a few of these brownie-coated egg creations recently but Brownie Heaven have been making them since 2010 and believe they are the original brownie egg baker! Their Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs are made by wrapping a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, Cadbury’s Caramel Egg or Ferrero Rocher in a thick layer of chocolate brownie mixture and baking it in an egg shape. The Creme egg ones are dusted in biscuit crumbs, the Caramel egg version are coated in salty pretzels and the Ferrero Rocher eggs are coated in crushed Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

Brownie Heaven’s range also includes regular brownies, not just plain chocolate ones but a riot of flavours including Chocolate Chilli, Cognac Truffle, Dr Pepper flavour, Irish Whiskey, Milk Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road, Salted Caramel, Sticky Peanut Butter and more. Brownie Heaven have been making and selling their brownies since 2007, starting in their coffee shop and catering business in East Yorkshire, before expanding to food festivals and markets, before finally setting up their website for online mail order.

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They usually sell their Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs in boxes of four of one type, but recently sent me a mixed box for review with two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente. A box of four Cadbury’s Creme Egg Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs or Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs retails for £22.95, a box of Salted Pretzel Caramel Scotch Eggs is £23.95 and both prices include courier delivery in the UK.

I thought these were great fun, and a really unusual idea too, even if they’ve been much copied since. The brownie is dense and rich, so a quarter or half egg at a time is plenty, which means you can share these with a friend or just eke them out for a week! We shared ours with some friends who also really enjoyed them.

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GIVEAWAY

Brownie Heaven are offering one mixed box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs to a reader of Kavey Eats. The box will contain two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente and 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
If you were designing a new brownie for Brownie Heaven, what would you put in the centre of a Chocolate Brownie Scotch Egg?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey and @brownieheaven 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 box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs by @BrownieHeaven from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsBH #KaveyEatsBrownieHeaven
(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 6th May 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.
  • The prize is a Brownie Heaven box containing two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente. Delivery to a UK address is included.
  • The prize is offered by Brownie Heaven 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 and @brownieheaven 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.

Kavey Eats received a review box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs from Brownie Heaven.

 

Pete and I have been waffling-mad the last few weeks! We’ve made regular waffles, Belgian waffles, mashed potato waffles and more, and the list of ideas still to try is at least ten times that long.

It’s all down to our new waffle maker, Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle. We’ve already test driven the Smart Scoop ice cream machine, the Quick Touch microwave and the Tea Maker kettle, all part of the same range, and all with similarly clever ideas that make using each one a pleasure.

The Smart Waffle has a number of clever features that set it above other waffle makers on the market. There’s a wide wraparound moat to catch and cook overflow batter, so you can safely add enough batter to properly fill the space without worrying that the excess will surge out and make a mess on your worktop. The waffle plates are made of cast aluminium which ensures that heat is distributed evenly, and they are also are good and deep, creating lovely thick, square waffles. The housing is stainless steel and easy to keep clean.

There are different settings for different types of waffles – Belgian, Classic, Chocolate or Buttermilk – and you can also adjust colour from Light to Dark with 12 levels to choose from. These combine to set temperature and cooking time automatically. Like the microwave, there’s the A Bit More button to give a short burst of extra cooking time if you open the machine when it beeps that it’s done but feel it needs a little longer after all.

So far, we’ve found it a pleasure to use, and all our different waffle recipes have all come out very well.

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Waffles - Kavey Eats-8237 The Smart Waffle

Next on the list was a decadent chocolate waffle that would be perfect for breakfast or dessert. There are hundreds of recipes all around the web to choose from but the one that stood out was this brownie belgium waffle by American blogger Sommer. This produces a super rich chocolate waffle that’s not as sweet as you’d assume given the 100 grams of sugar. The ‘double chocolate’ comes from cocoa powder and chocolate chips and the soft interior and crisp exterior are exactly what’s promised by ‘brownie-style’. I’ve rewritten the recipe in metric measurements and provided new instructions to suit our waffle maker, though of course you can adjust to use whatever waffle maker you have.

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Waffles - Kavey Eats (2)

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Belgian Waffles

Makes 4 waffles in the Smart Waffle maker

Ingredients
Waffle batter

200 g granulated sugar
80 g plain flour
80 g (unsweetened) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60 ml water
90 g unsalted butter, melted
120 g mini dark chocolate chips*
vegetable oil, to spray
Topping
100 ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1-2 bananas
1 small pack blueberries

Note: If you cannot find mini dark chocolate chips, finely chop a bar of dark chocolate instead. The small size allows little bits of chocolate to distribute evenly within the batter.

Method

  • Preheat your waffle maker. Ours has a Belgian waffle setting, which we selected for this recipe, with the darkness level set to 2 up from Lightest.
  • In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • In a small bowl beat the eggs, vanilla extract and water, before adding to the dry ingredients and mixing together.
  • Add in the melted butter and beat vigorously to mix well and create a thick, gloopy batter.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Oil the waffle maker with vegetable oil using a spray or wipe on with kitchen towel.
  • Spoon a quarter of the batter into each half of the waffle machine, close and cook until the machine beeps (about 3 minutes), or until fully shaped but soft to the touch.
  • Open the machine and leave to cool for 30 seconds. As these waffles are super soft and very fragile when hot, we found it easiest to place a small baking tray over the cooked waffles and flip the entire machine upside down; this is a two person job but the easiest way to get them out without breaking. After a few seconds of cooling outside the waffle machine, the surfaces start to crisp up beautifully. The inside stays soft, like a brownie or chocolate cake.
    If flipping the waffle machine over is not a good option for you, cook the waffles on the Lightest setting, open the waffle maker when it beeps done and leave in the machine to cool down for at least 5 minutes before carefully removing the waffles with a pair flexible spatulas.
  • Repeat cooking steps for second half of the mixture.
  • We served with lightly-sweetened whipped double cream, sliced bananas and blueberries.

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Waffles - Kavey Eats (1)

You may also enjoy these sweet waffle recipes from fellow food bloggers:

Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle for review. As always, I was not expected 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.

 

I’ve been enthusing for over a year about my friend Dom Ramsey’s bean-to-bar chocolate business, Damson, established in February 2015 and now based in dedicated premises in Chapel Market, Angel Islington. Dom makes superb chocolate which won awards from the get go and you can buy it in the shop or online. If you’ve not tried it yet, his Buffalo Milk chocolate (of which there have been several batches made with different cocoa beans) is amazing, and the Madagascar 70% is also a winner. The Liquorice & Sea Salt is not one I’m ever going to try but I know liquorice fans adore it. And if you can get your hands on the Whisky Cream – milk chocolate aged alongside wooden chips from a barrel in which Glen Garioch whisky was once aged, until the chocolate takes on flavours that soaked into the wood – you won’t be sorry!

DamsonWhiskyCream

Until recently, I thought Dom was the only bean-to-bar chocolate producer in London – the majority of specialist chocolate shops in London are chocolatiers and most chocolatiers don’t make bean-to-bar chocolate, they buy chocolate in from producers and either use it as is in their chocolate products, or blend different batches to create just what they need. Some work with the producers to have chocolate made to their personal specifications, giving them great control over quality and flavour without taking on the production directly.

But Dom tells me that the bean-to-bar category is expanding fast and that there are now many more people producing their own chocolate across the UK. Some of those are making chocolate at home, for their own pleasure and enjoyment, and others are creating businesses to sell their chocolate commercially.

Tadzio Chocolate on Kavey Eats -084518

A few weeks ago I heard from Tad Osborne, founder of Tadzio Chocolate, another London-based bean-to-bar producer making chocolate from single source beans and unrefined cane sugar. He roasts, hand winnows (peels), grinds and conches by hand and then sets some of the chocolate into solid bars, using the rest to make chocolate truffles.

Tad has always enjoyed good chocolate and making chocolate brownies and truffles for friends but, like Dom, his background is not a culinary one; indeed he is currently still working as a contractor in financial services.

A few months ago he travelled to Vietnam and while there he visited MAROU’s factory in Ho Chi Minh City. MAROU, founded by Samuel Maruta and Vincent Morou, is one of my favourite chocolate brands (one I first tried through Dom, I think), so I can completely understand how Tad was so inspired. As he says, ‘their chocolate is incredible and uses nothing but sugar and cocoa solids. When I got home I bought a grinder and some cocoa beans and got to work. That was about 4 months ago.

Like Marou, Tadzio Chocolate uses nothing but minimum 70% cocoa solids and unrefined cane sugar; Tad is keen ‘to let people taste and enjoy the vast difference in cocoa varieties and regions without disguising their flavours.

I am enormously taken with the Japanese-design packaging – a small circular red seal that turns out to be Tad’s name (‘Tado’) in the phonetic hiragana script – and beautiful artistic stickers used to seal wrappers and bags. I ask Tad to tell me more about it and he explains that he spent some time living in Japan, has a Japanese girlfriend and is also appreciative of ‘the meticulous attention to detail the Japanese have in all of their activities’, something he tries to adopt himself. It’s a way to express something about himself as a person in the way he presents his products.

Tadzio Chocolate on Kavey Eats -160114 Tadzio Chocolate on Kavey Eats -160243

As for the chocolate, Tad first sent me a bar of 71% Venezuelan Puerto Cabello and a bag of truffles made from the same chocolate plus cream, vanilla essence and salt. Both are delicious. The chocolate is well made, with a pleasing aroma, nice snap and really rich and intense flavours, mostly in the fruity spectrum – both fresh berries and dried fruit – but with quite low acidity, just enough to give balance. I would recommend that Tad tap the moulds more robustly after pouring in the chocolate as there were a few bubbles in the bar, but this is a minor issue and doesn’t affect taste or texture of the chocolate itself.

The truffles are similarly rich and intense. I can’t detect the vanilla but I’m glad of that – I’m not sure this chocolate needs it. I particularly like the smooth texture and same excellent flavour as in the bar.

It’s great to see more high quality bean-to-bar chocolate in London, and from what I’ve tried so far, Tadzio Chocolate will be a welcome addition to the category once he starts trading fully. I certainly look forward to trying more of his chocolate soon.

Thus far, Tad has set up a limited company and is licensed to sell his products, but hasn’t yet established a website or online store but you can get in touch with him via his Facebook page, or email him directly at tad.osborne@gmail.com if you’d like to place an order. His 50 gram bars are currently £3 each and a bag of 7 truffles is £6. As he makes small batches, you will need to ask him what variety he has available at the time.

Kavey Eats received review samples from Tadzio Chocolate.

 

Do you know Niagara-on-the-Lake?

No? Well you can probably guess a couple of things about it at least – that it’s near Niagara Falls, and that it’s on the shores of a lake! That’s all I knew too, but last autumn I visited for myself, and discovered a lot more.

What I came away with, as well as an appreciation of the warmth of the local population and the beauty of the landscape, was some serious envy about the quality and variety of fresh produce grown here. Readily available directly from the farm, at farmers markets and in local stores, it’s put to fantastic use by local producers, restaurateurs and home chefs.

Inn the Pines Farmgate Shop

InnthePine Collage1

Very much a farming community, many of the farms have a farmgate shop – exactly what it sounds like, a shop or stall from which farmers sell direct to their customers just yards from where the produce is grown.

We stopped at Inn the Pines in St. Catharines to admire their produce, watch happily squawking chickens enjoy freshly harvested corn on the cob, and chat to owners Cheryl and Barney Barnes – that’s Barney posing on the back of his pickup and feeding the chooks. As we learned a little about some of the produce they grow and sell to both restaurateurs and home cooks, an elderly couple arrived to buy corn by the barrow-load, deftly peeling away the husks which will no doubt be thrown onto a nearby compost heap and bemused by my request to take a photo.

There’s something rather special about buying produce direct from the farmers; one of the things I can’t help but envy, as a London-based city slicker.

Whitty Farms & 13th Street Bakery

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Whitty Farms is another local farm just outside  St. Catharines, and like Inn the Pines, has been handed down through the generations. Today, it’s the turn of Doug and Karen Whitty, and just like Inn the Pines, customers can buy direct from the farm.

But there’s another treat not to be missed alongside all the fresh produce and that’s the output of 13th Street Bakery. Their butter tart may be a contender for best in Niagara, if not all of Ontario or indeed the entirety of Canada; if anyone is looking for someone to do a more comprehensive survey, point me at the application form right now!

Butter Tarts are a much-loved treat across Canada and there’s hot debate on just what a good butter tart should (and shouldn’t) be. A basic butter tart has a filling of butter, sugar, syrup and egg baked in a flaky pastry casing, often with the addition of Canadian maple syrup. Purists eschew the addition of pecan nuts or raisins, let alone anything more exotic . It’s less clear cut whether ‘traditional’ allows for a firmer or softer filling but the ongoing argument is a good excuse to taste as many examples as possible.

The Whittys, with their friends John and June Mann also set up 13th Street Winery at the same site, more of which in an upcoming post.

Upper Canada Cheese Company

UpperCanadaCheeseCo Collage1

Another favourite stop for me as a cheese addict, Upper Canada Cheese Company in Jordan Station is a small local creamery producing a range of cheeses from the milk of local Guernsey cows and goats.

We tried a selection including Niagara Gold, a semi-firm washed-rind based on traditional Loire Valley cheeses, Comfort Cream, a camembert-style soft bloomed rind cheese which is best when super ripe, the maple-smoked version of Jordan Station, another semi-firm cheese and Nanny Noir, a goats milk camembert-style cheese rolled in vegetable ash and allowed to ripen for four weeks. We also tried an experimental new blue cheese – great flavour but some more work needed on the texture.

This is everything you want of a cheese shop – great cheeses and very helpful staff happy to give tasters and help every customer find just the cheese (or cheeses) they need.

White Meadows Farms Maple Shop

WhiteMeadows Collage1

Maple syrup is produced across quite a swathe of Canada and I had already tasted and purchased a lot of it during the few days I spent in Montreal and Quebec, before heading down to Niagara. (So much, in fact, that my case was overweight and I had to post a box of goodies home to myself, thus instantly rendering my bargainous purchases into some of the most expensive maple syrup ever!)

But I was still keen as maple-mustard to visit White Meadows Farms and sample their four grades of maple syrup, and to taste their range of maple syrup products – sauces and mustards, vinegars and salad dressings,  maple sugar and maple butter (maple syrup boiled until it’s dry and whipped into a spreadable form, respectively), fruit and maple jams, and of course, traditional maple candies.

Maple syrup, made from sap collected from maple trees, is graded by colour into Light, Medium, Amber and Dark. Canadian maple syrup must be 100% maple sap, and the finished product must have a sugar level of 66%, achieved by boiling natural sap to evaporate the water content which thickens the consistency and concentrates the sugars. The boiled syrup is then filtered before being packaged for sale. The colour is governed by the sap, with early season sap usually producing the lightest finished syrup. Dark is harder to find, as it’s produced right at the end of the season when the sap is at its richest and the strong flavour is not to everyone’s taste.

Dark proved to my favourite, and I bought a few bottles to bring home.

Welland Farmers’ Market

Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario Canada - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-103102 Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario Canada - Kavey Eats-103825
Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario Canada - Kavey Eats-104204 Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario Canada - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-105952

Wellands Farmers’ Market is not as huge as the amazing markets I visited in Montreal and Quebec but it’s the perfect place to buy local produce, and there’s a great selection. However, I was focused on just one main ingredient, after our hosts chefs Anna and Michael Olson set us a cooking challenge! More on that cooking experience in an upcoming post…

The best thing about the market, aside from the top quality produce itself, were the very friendly stall holders, keen to tell us about their goods and to welcome us to their town.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario Canada - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-104052

The market consists of two main buildings dating from 1919, and some outdoor marquees as well. Alongside fruits and vegetables you can find fresh meat and eggs, charcuterie, local honeys, fresh baked goods, cheese, chocolates, flowers and wine.

Kavey Eats visited Ontario as a guest of Destinations Canada. With additional thanks to Anna and Michael Olson for being our hosts, and Diane Helinski for being our tour manager and guide.

 

On the weekend I shared my review of Maori Murota’s Tokyo Cult Recipes, published by Murdoch Books. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This beautiful hard back cookery book features over 100 recipes loved by Tokyoites, covering breakfast, lunch, sweet snacks and dinner, both foods that are typically cooked at home as well as those most often eaten out in cafes, restaurants and izakaya (pubs).

When it comes to sweets, the Japanese embrace both wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) and yougashi (Western-inspired cakes and pastries, often with a Japanese twist such as the addition of matcha or sesame). Pete and I visited many wonderful tea and coffee shops during our previous visits to Japan, often treating ourselves to a slice of beautiful freshly-baked cake alongside.

Tokyo Cult Recipes Matcha and White Chocolate Cake

Matcha & White Chocolate Cake

Recipe extracted with permission from Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota

Makes 1 loaf cake
15 mins preparation time
40 mins cooking time

Ingredients
3 eggs
softened butter – the same weight as the eggs
caster (superfine) sugar – the same weight as the eggs
plain (all-purpose) flour – the same weight as the eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha (green tea powder)
70 g (2½ oz) white chocolate chips

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), and butter and flour a 19 x 19 x 8 cm (7½ x 7½ x 3¼ in) loaf tin.
  • Weigh the eggs, then weigh out the same amount of butter, sugar and flour.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter together for 5 minutes, or until light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each one in well before adding the next. Sift in the flour, baking powder and matcha.
  • Combine using a spatula. Stir through the white chocolate chips, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes.
  • The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

 

Kavey Eats received a review copy from Murdoch Books. Published by Murdoch Books, photography by Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle. Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota is currently available on Amazon for £13.60 (RRP £20).

 

Yesterday I shared my review of Maori Murota’s Tokyo Cult Recipes, published by Murdoch Books. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This beautiful hard back cookery book features over 100 recipes loved by Tokyoites, covering breakfast, lunch, sweet snacks and dinner, both foods that are typically cooked at home as well as those most often eaten out in cafes, restaurants and izakaya (pubs).

Sukiyaki is one of my favourite hotpots; I absolutely love the sweetness of the cooking broth – it gives such a lovely flavour to the meat, tofu, vegetables and mushrooms cooked in it.

Tokyo Cult Recipes Beef Hot Pot (Sukiyaki)

Sukiyaki (Japanese Beef Hotpot)

Recipe extracted with permission from Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota

Serves 4
15 mins preparation time
15 mins cooking time

Ingredients
1 packet shirataki* (about 400 g/14 oz)
1 pack shimeji mushrooms 1 leek (white part)
½ bunch shungiku* or rocket (arugula)
¼ Chinese cabbage
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) tofu
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) sliced beef
4 extra-fresh organic eggs
100–200 ml (3½–7 fl oz) dashi (see below for recipe)
2 packets pre-cooked udon noodles
Sukiyaki broth
100 ml (3½ fl oz) soy sauce
100 ml (3½ fl oz) sake
3 tablespoons raw sugar

Method

  • Rinse the shirataki well and drain. Cut into 3 lengths.
  • Wash the shimeji and roughly separate them. Cut the leek into 2 cm (¾ in) slices on the diagonal. Wash the shungiku, then cut across into 2 sections. Wash the Chinese cabbage and cut into 3 pieces. Cut the tofu into 3 cm (1¼ in) cubes.
  • Place half of the prepared ingredients in a pot, ideally side by side. (If necessary, use a frying pan that doesn’t leave too much space around the ingredients.) Pour over the sukiyaki broth, then cover and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add half of the beef.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, bring the pot to the table on a burner. Break the eggs into individual bowls and lightly beat with chopsticks. Let guests serve themselves, dipping the different foods in the beaten egg in their bowl. Gradually add more foods to the pot as they run out and repeat the cooking process as you go, according to the appetites of your guests. If there is not enough liquid, add some dashi. Right at the end of cooking (when there are no more ingredients in the sauce), add the cooked udon noodles.

* Kavey Eats’ Notes on Sukiyaki Ingredients
Shirataki
noodles are thin vermicelli made from konnyaku, a type of yam also known as konjac. The translucent and gelatinous noodles are also popular in the West for their zero (or very low) calorie value. They also have no carbs or gluten, so are a good option for low-carb and low-gluten diets.
Shinguku are edible chrysanthemums which are widely eaten in Japan, especially during winter.

Dashi Recipe

40 mins preparation time – 17 mins cooking time

Ingredients and quantities
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water
10 g (¼ oz) kombu seaweed
10 g (¼ oz) katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

It is easy to remember the quantities of katsuobushi and kombu: 1% of the quantity of water.

Preparation

  • Soaking in water – Place the water in a saucepan. Cut the kombu into 2 pieces and add to the water, then leave to soak for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. You can do this the night before or a few hours ahead of time.
  • Cooking the dashi – Heat the water on a low heat until it just comes to a simmer, about 15 minutes. Don’t let it boil, or the seaweed flavour will be too strong. Take out the kombu just before the stock comes to the boil and add the katsuobushi all at once. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then turn off the heat immediately. Let it infuse for 10 minutes.
  • Straining – Strain the dashi into a bowl. Let the dashi drip through, pressing lightly.

Kavey Eats received a review copy from Murdoch Books. Published by Murdoch Books, photography by Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle. Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota is currently available on Amazon for £13.60 (RRP £20).

 

It’s probably no secret to friends and readers that I have a strong interest in Japan; most especially when it comes to the food. Some might even (and do) call it an obsession.

In fact, Pete and I are heading back there in a few weeks for trip number three, and I’m really, really, really excited!

So when new cookery books on the cuisine are released, I’m always keen to take a look. This one has been out a few months and already has some excellent reviews.

Tokyo Cult Recipes cover

The title of Tokyo Cult Recipes threw me at first – to me it implied that the content would focus only on dishes that had achieved some kind of cult status; the coolest kids on the block, so to speak. In fact, author Maori Murota (who now lives in France) covers a wide range of everyday dishes covering both home-cooking and the kind of food more commonly eaten out, basing her recipes on memories of growing up in Tokyo and also her mother’s cooking.

Although there is certainly a lot of regionally specific cooking in Japan, the majority of these recipes will be familiar to anyone who has travelled in Japan, both to Tokyo and beyond.

The ‘Cult Recipes’ title identifies the book as part of a series; it’s third in the list after New York Cult Recipes and Venice Cult Recipes, also published by Murdoch Books.

Recipes are divided into six chapters, based on the type of meal a dish is most commonly associated with.

A traditional Japanese breakfast usually includes rice, miso soup, tsukemono (pickles), fish and eggs. The Asa Teishoku (breakfast) chapter starts with lessons on some of the cornerstones of the Japanese diet – rice, dashi (stock), miso – before sharing recipes for simple tsukemono, tamago yaki (the densely rolled omelette that is also often served at the end of a sushi meal), salted fish, fresh tofu with two different sauces, and for the brave amongst us, the preparation of natto – magnificently pungent fermented soy beans.

Lunch at home is usually dishes that are ‘simple to make and quick to eat’. The Ohiru (lunch) chapter includes donburi (different toppings over a bowl of rice) and noodle dishes. Recipes for zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles with a dipping sauce), curry udon (noodles in a curry soup), tempura don (a selection of tempura over on rice) and maguro avocado don (marinated tuna and avocado with rice) are straightforward but adventurous cooks may be drawn to the recipe for making soba noodles from scratch, with step-by-step photographs provided. Some dishes, such as ramen (with broths that can take hours to make) and yakisoba (fried noodles) may more commonly be eaten out, but of course they are made at home too. Modern Tokyo has embraced washoku (western cuisine); spaghetti napolitan the Japanese way is a well-loved example as is tonkatsu (panko-breaded and fried pork cutlets), here shared in popular sando (sandwich) form.

Oyakodon Chicken and Omelette on Rice - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7867 Oyakodon Chicken and Omelette on Rice - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7871
Oyakodon Chicken and Omelette on Rice - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7875

My favourite recipe in this chapter is oyako don (rice with chicken and omelette). Murota doesn’t mention that the Japanese name translates as parent-and-child – a reference to the use of both chicken and egg. Chicken and leeks are cooked with dashi, soy, mirin and eggs and transferred hot from the pan over bowls of rice. This recipe transported me straight to Japan on the first mouthful and is one we’ll certainly make again and again.

Bento boxes have become well known across the world; the simple box-packed lunch transformed almost into an art form by Japanese creativity and presentation. As Murota explains, a typical bento contains some protein, fresh or pickled vegetables and rice. bento are enjoyed by workers, children and travellers – indeed each major train station offers its own speciality ekiben (station bento) that are perfect to enjoy during the journey. Of course, the recipes in this chapter can be made for bento boxes or a regular meal at the table. Hourenso no goma-ae (spinach with sesame sauce), ebi no kousai-ae (prawns with coriander), tsukune (chicken meatballs, also popular on skewers, as yakitori), saba no tatsuga-age (deep-fried marinated mackerel), pickled cucumber and a variety of side vegetables and salads are followed by a selection of onigiri (rice balls, often with stuffing inside).

Oyatsu (snacks) are predominantly sweet, with both yougashi (Western-inspired cakes) and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) very popular. Wagashi shared in this chapter include another personal favourite, mitarashi dango (chewy balls made of rice flour served in a sweet salty soy sauce syrup), sweet potato cakes and dorayaki (pancakes filled with adzuki red bean paste). Yougashi infuse European cakes and desserts with Japanese flavours; matcha and white chocolate cake, purin (crème caramel), coffee roll cake, strawberry short cake and ice creams flavoured with black sesame, matcha or adzuki.

Izakaya are best described as Japanese pubs that serve a range of small dishes alongside drinks. Here, Murota shares some well known items such as edamame (fresh soy beans), agedashi tofu (deep fried cubes of tofu served in a thin sauce), a couple of chazuke dishes (rice with hot tea), kara-age (fried chicken), and some less well known ideas like asari no sakamushi (sake-steamed clams), furofuki daikon (simmered white radish), oden (a Japanese winter stew in which a selection of foods are simmered in a simple stock) and lotus root fritters.

The last chapter in the book is Uchishoku; home cooking. This includes a wide range of different dishes; a range of gyoza (dumplings) with different fillings, nibuta chashu (anise simmered pork) and stir fried pork, omuraisu (an omelette filled with rice and often served with either ketchup or another condiment over the top), roll kyabetsu (Japanese stuffed cabbage). This chapter also includes a wide range of simmered dishes such as sukiyaki (beef and other ingredients simmered in a slightly sweet stock), tonyu nabe (a soy milk hotpot) and the very homely nikujaga (simmered beef and potatoes), which we made recently – although our sauce didn’t reduce as much as expected, the flavours once again transported us to Japan. Sushi and sashimi plates are also included here.

The book is interspersed not only with beautiful photographs of the recipes, but also evocative images of Tokyo – people and places, specialist food producers and shop and restaurant owners. At the end of the first chapter is a photo-essay on Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market, home to the largest fish market in the world. The second chapter closes with an introduction to sampuru, the super-expensive plastic food replicas that are displayed by many restaurants – did you know that the term comes from the English word sample? The bento chapter gives us photos of a traditional senbei (rice cracker) shop, with images showing how they are made as well as displayed for sale. Within the snacks chapter you’ll find one photo-essay on confectionary plus another on crèpe stalls, a popular Tokyo street snack. The izakaya chapter showcases a lovely selection of traditional ceramics as well as some charming photographs of Tokyo izakaya; indeed several of the recipe images look to be taken in such establishments. The final recipe chapter takes us to Kappabashi Dori, a street famous for its many kitchenware shops.

This is appropriate, as the last section of the book is the Appendices, where Murota shares advice on utensils and ingredients, plus a final few recipes for sauces, dressings and pickling liquids.

I have permission to share two recipes with you, so keep your eyes peeled for Murota’s Sukiyaki (beef hot pot) and her Matcha & White Chocolate Cake, both coming soon now published on Kavey Eats.

In the meantime, here’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy of this lovely book:

GIVEAWAY

In the meantime, Murdoch Books are offering two copies of Tokyo Cult Recipes for a Kavey Eats reader giveaway. Each prize includes delivery to UK addresses.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
What’s your favourite Japanese food and which recipe from Murota’s book (see review above) would you most like to make?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @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 Tokyo Cult Recipes published by @murdochbooksuk from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsTCR #KaveyEatsTCR
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at 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 18th March 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 Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota, published by Murdoch Books. Delivery to UK addresses is included.
  • The prizes 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 both @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.

Kavey Eats received a review copy from Murdoch Books. Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota is currently available on Amazon for £13.60 (RRP £20). Published by Murdoch Books, photography by Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle.

The winners of the giveaway copies were Urvashi and Janie, both blog comment entries.

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