Equipment, books, gifts, all things shopping.

 

During the last few weeks we’ve been enjoying some very quick and tasty dinners at home, thanks to Simply Cook – one of the many recipe-by-post subscription services now available in the UK.

Unlike many of the competitors, Simply Cook’s offering is a little different. Instead of sending a full set of ingredients including fresh items with limited shelf-life, they provide letter-box friendly packs containing the flavourings and cooking instructions for 4 dishes, all of which can be stored for a few months, often more.

Each recipe needs only a handful of fresh ingredients to be purchased and takes only 20 minutes to cook. The range of dishes available is wide and appealing, with lots of globally-inspired dishes packed with flavour.

Inside the box you’ll find four recipe cards and the three flavour pots needed to make each one. These pots might contain flavoured oils, herb and spice blends, marinades and pastes, dressings and sauces, and even garnishes to top the finished dish. Each recipe is sized to feed 2-3 people.

One of the key attractions for us is to bring a wider range of cuisine into our weekday repertoire – it’s so easy to fall into a rut, especially at this time of year when the excesses and meal-planning extravaganzas of December are just behind us.

Scroll down for our review and giveaway and to find our special discount code to try a box for yourself for just £1.

Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7755 Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7766

There are three ranges to choose from – the original Discovery Box, a Gluten Free Box and a Light Box with all meals less than 600 calories (based on 2 people sharing the recipe as written).

Simply Cook’s resident chef Anisa Jamal sent us four of her favourite recipes to give us a taste of the range.

Each recipe card has a handy tear-off slip at the top to use as a shopping list when buying fresh ingredients, just 4 or 5 per recipe.

Goan Fish Curry - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7770 Goan Fish Curry - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7773

Goan Fish Curry comes with Goan paste, coconut paste and a spice blend and you’ll need to buy an onion, tomatoes, rice, coconut milk and some cod fillet.

Malay Laksa - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7785 Malay Laksa - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7789

Malay Laksa comes with laksa paste, chicken stock and Malay garnish and you’ll need to buy butternut squash, chicken, coconut milk, rice noodles and asparagus spears.

Cajun Chicken - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7812 Cajun Chicken - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7813
Cajun Chicken - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7819

Jerk Chicken comes with jerk seasoning, jerk paste and chicken stock and you’ll need to buy chicken, basmati rice, coconut milk, black-eyed peas and an onion.

Jerk Chicken - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7775 Jerk Chicken - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7776
Jerk Chicken - Simply Cook on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7780

Cajun Chicken comes with garlic oil, cajun seasoning and red pepper stock and you’ll need to buy sweet potatoes, chicken, bacon and either okra or courgettes.

What We Thought

All four recipes were delicious and we particularly loved the Jerk chicken and Cajun chicken meals. All four were packed with flavour.

Additional ingredients, because there are only a handful for each recipe, are not hugely expensive and you are free to buy from your preferred shop or market. We spent £4-5 on each of these four recipes, but did have rice and onions already in the store cupboard. With some of the recipes, we had some ingredients left over, which we easily used in our cooking over the next couple of days. Add this to the £2.25 per-recipe cost of Simply Cook flavourings and that’s around £6-7 per recipe, £3-3.50 per portion (based on splitting each meal between 2). That compares very favourably with the £6.50 per portion from HelloFresh (based on 3 meals for 2) and £5.75 per portion from Gousto (based on 4 meals for 2).

Recipes were generous and certainly could have stretched to feed 3, especially the Jerk chicken. In fact, the flavour pots are pretty generous, so you could easily scale up the main ingredients a touch and feed four without compromising on taste.

None of the ingredients were difficult to find – all should be readily available across the UK in season; Simply Cook switch the recipes offered according to time of year, so you shouldn’t find yourself asked to buy butternut squash in the height of summer.

Pete, who did the shopping, cooking and prep, found all four recipes very accurate. He also really appreciated the little tear-off shopping list.

The recipes really did only take 20 minutes each to make; perfect for weekday dinners.

Any Negatives?

If you’re looking for the most authentic version of international dishes, Simply Cook doesn’t always provide that. The Malay Laksa was very enjoyable but didn’t much resemble the Malaysian versions I’ve tried, particularly in terms of fresh ingredients suggested – butternut squash and asparagus spears – rather than the flavourings. I don’t know Jerk or Cajun well enough to comment knowledgably on authenticity but we absolutely loved both. The Goan curry was pretty good and the flavours seemed right to me.

You won’t learn to cook new recipes from this subscription; because all the key flavours are in the secret-recipe flavour pots, you can’t keep the cards and use them again as you can with some subscription meal services, for example – we’ve made variations of a pasta dish we learned from a long-ago Gousto review a few times since.

Other Points Of Note

Simply Cook don’t currently offer the option of buying one-off boxes unless you are already signed up for a subscription. However this is very easy to cancel at any time, so you can certainly sign up for a discounted trial box and cancel your subscription before it rolls over to a full priced box if you decide it’s not for you.

Once you’ve set up an account the first box you get is selected by Simply Cook to introduce you to their boxes. After that you can swap one, two or even all four proposed dishes out for any of the recipes currently listed. When I played around with this feature, I had 51 recipes to choose from!

GIVEAWAY

Simply Cook are offering two lucky readers of Kavey Eats a 3-month subscription (of one box per month) each, worth £26.95. Winners can choose between the Discovery, Light and Gluten Free options. Delivery to UK addresses is included.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment telling me about your favourite international recipe – what is it and why do you love it?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey and @SimplyCookCom 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 3-month subscription to @SimplyCookCom from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsSimplyCook #KaveyEatsSimplyCook
(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 26th February 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 prizes are offered and provided by Simply Cook.
  • Each prize is a 3-month subscription (one box per month) to Simply Cook. Winners can choose between the Discovery, Light and Gluten Free options. 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, winners must be following both @Kavey and @SimplyCookCom 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.

TRY A BOX FOR JUST £1

If you’re still not sure whether Simply Cook is for you, here’s a fantastic offer – Kavey Eats readers are invited to try a box for just £1 using discount code KAVEY1, valid through to the end of March 2016.

Note that you will need to sign up for a subscription with future boxes priced at £8.99 but you are free to cancel after your first (discounted) box if you wish, though you may be hooked, as we now are! I signed up a new account and used the discount code myself to check, and it’s very easy to pause deliveries for a month at a time or to cancel indefinitely – in which case your account remains active but you receive no further deliveries until you go back in and kick them off again.

Kavey Eats received a review subscription from Simply Cook.

 

My name is Kavey and I’m a recovering magazine addict.

You might laugh, but fellow addicts know that this particular affliction can be a hard habit to break. Of course, as addictions go it’s by no means the worse to have, not by a long shot. But still, it can be pretty expensive. And if you like to keep titles for future reference, it’s a storage nightmare too.

When Pete and I bought our house 21 years ago, I got hooked on Home decorating magazines. Not a huge surprise to start with, given the unreconstructed 60s and 70s interiors we inherited – not so much retro as hideous, and dilapidated too. More of a surprise a few years later, given how little of the magazines’ ideas I’d put into use – though at least the swirly carpets, melamine kitchen and metal-framed louvre windows were quickly replaced. I never did get my stencilling, stippling or sponging on – which I’m very glad about in retrospect.

I weaned myself off those after a few years but as my interest in that topic waned, so my hunger for travel magazines and photography titles grew and there were just as many subscriptions dropping through the letterbox as ever before. Food magazines tended to be adhoc purchases, especially supermarket inhouse ones. But I was easily buying 8 or more, per month. Plus Pete’s computer ones on top of that!

It wasn’t until piles of magazines started taking over the house that I cancelled virtually all of them and went somewhat cold turkey. That was around ten years ago…

Magazine Addict - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-151110

… but I didn’t entirely get rid of all the back issues, as this photo (taken today) proves all too well.

Actually, you know what? I’m going to take an action point right now to get rid of most of them within the next few weeks!

Around the time I cancelled most of the subs, I started reading a lot more blogs – I was an avid blog reader for years before I launched Kavey Eats.

I loved (and still love) the world of blogs, and there’s a lot of content I enjoy that simply wouldn’t be published by commercial magazine titles. But there’s still a strong place for traditional magazines, still quite distinct from blogs – certainly the single-author type like this. The forecasters and fortune tellers have been predicting the end of print media for many years now, and while I think they are no doubt right, I am also certain it’s a long way off yet.

So I do miss reading magazines.

Only my memory of how quickly magazine mountains can build up stops me from falling back into my old addiction.

Introducing Readly

This is where Readly comes in.

Clever, clever Readly is an absolute godsend for people like me – providing access to over 1,300 magazine titles in digital format for one single subscription price of £9.99 a month. Given that most of the titles I enjoy reading cost around £4 or £5 per issue, that’s pretty good value.

Once you have signed up, you can access Readly on multiple devices – your desktop PC or Mac, your laptop, your tablet, your phone… and when you switch devices, you can resume reading a given title where you left off on a different device, making it a seamless experience. All the screenshots below are from the PC Desktop app. I have also been accessing Readly via my Android phone, and via our Nexus tablet. All work perfectly well, though obviously there’s an advantage to devices with larger screens!

You can share the service with your family too – a single Readly account supports up to 5 profiles, allowing you to save different magazines into your profile Favourites lists, save personal bookmarks individually and so on. Note that you will all sign in using the same login and password, and have access to all available profiles so if privacy of content is an issue, this may not be suitable for you. For Pete and I it’s perfect, as he can save beer and brewing, science and tech content into his profile and I can save food, travel and photography content into mine. If you do have multiple profiles set up, Readly will ask who is reading each time you login, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally messing up each others’ profiles.

You don’t have be online to read a magazine on Readly, though if you just want to browse and flick through a bunch of magazines that is certainly easiest. Readly also allows you to download magazines to your device when you are connected, and they will remain available for you to read when offline. The number you can save depends on the space available on your device, so you may need to housekeep and delete downloaded titles you’ve finished with now and again.

This means I can catch up on magazines during my Tube commute – a very handy feature!

In More Detail!

The Settings box allows you to ensure that magazines are only downloaded to the device if you are on an unmetered internet connection.

You can also limit the maximum number of downloaded items.

If you prefer to see only newer content, you can hide publications according to how old they are.

Parental Control allows you to apply a password to access Readly, however I believe this across the entire account, not per profile.

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Setting up additional profiles is very straightforward.

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Before starting to browse, I suggest you access the language settings and restrict to those you can read. I have mine set to English only, but like that I could add French titles in to my mix if I choose.

You can filter the country of publication too, if you wish, but I am happy to view magazines published elsewhere, as long as they are English-language.

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Go to Magazines to browse the entire list (of titles available in your specified language) or filter by subject matter.

There are plenty of categories – Animals & Pets, Comics, Health and Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, History, Music, Sport, TV & Film & Cinema and many more.

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Of my areas of interest…

Food & Drink is very well represented with 46 English-language titles currently listed. Of those, I have added several to my Favourites list including Good Things (which I wrote for from launch until late last year), Lucky Peach (a fantastic US title which would cost me a whopping £8 an issue to buy in print form), Saveur, Olive, Delicious and BBC Good Food.

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Photography is similarly well represented with 25 English-language titles currently listed including Practical Photography (which I used to subscribe to), Photoshop Creative and Shutterbug.

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Travel is the weakest category for me. Despite having 66 English-language titles currently listed, most of these are region-specific – Sussex Life, Kent Life, Best of Bavaria. Of those remaining, only Wanderlust and Lonely Planet are titles I want to read, though I appreciate special interest travellers will enjoy Practical Caravan, Cruising World, Canal Boat, Yachts International, Skiing, and Climbing!

The ones I’m really missing are Food & Travel (the UK title, not the Californian one listed), National Geographic Traveller UK, Sunday Times Travel, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel Africa.

If you’re not sure whether Readly will cover the titles that interest you, do check out their full titles list via their website. For me, even with the gaps that I’d love to see plugged, the list of titles available is pretty appealing.

Of course, once you’re subscribed, you can search for and read any available title – not only the latest issue but several back issues too. The number of back issues varies by title, so for Olive I can go back to October 2014, whereas only the latest 4 issues of Lucky Peach are listed.

For titles you want to read regularly, adding them to your Favourites list makes it quick to access them without searching. When viewing the Magazines list, select one or more titles, then Add to Favourites.

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You can then access them without searching, via your Favourites list. You can also choose to be notified when a new issue of any of your Favourites is available.

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On larger devices, Readly displays a double-page spread – on smaller devices, a single page is shown at a time. You can easily access a quick navigation scroll bar which shows small versions of all the pages, making it quick to skip through without reading every page.

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Once you’re viewing a page (or double page spread), you can zoom in easily to read small text or view the images in more detail.

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Here is some of my own content in Good Things magazine, issues 7 and 8.

If, as you’re reading, there’s an article you want to come back to, you can create a bookmark. This allows you to return to a specific page in a specific issue of a specific title with a single click.

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Giveaway

Readly UK are offering one reader of Kavey Eats a 6 month subscription to their service, worth £59.94.

The subscription will be provided via a gift card which can be redeemed anywhere in the world (see Rules, Terms & Conditions).

How To Enter

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment telling me what you love reading about in your favourite magazines.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a 6 month subscription to @ReadlyUK from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsReadly #KaveyEatsReadly
(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 5th February 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 offered and provided by Readly UK.
  • The prize is a 6 month subscription to the Readly UK service. The gift certificate can be redeemed anywhere in the world, but the winner must select UK as country when redeeming it. This will provide access to all Readly UK content (including international titles covered by Readly UK).
  • The prize 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, winners 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.

Discount Code

Kavey Eats readers are invited to join Readly UK for just £1 for the first month.

The winner of the giveaway is @LindyHine, via twitter.

Kavey Eats received a review subscription from Readly UK.

 

For the last couple of years I’ve been writing the cookery book review slot for Good Things magazine (amongst other series and one off pieces as well). That means I’ve been reviewing lots of wonderful newly published titles, but not always sharing them here on Kavey Eats. So my picks for 2016 include my favourites from those commissioned pieces, plus others I’ve reviewed at home.

I’ve included an Amazon link for each book, but of course you can pop into your local bookshop to pick these up for Christmas presents.

homemade memories (sized)

Undoubtedly, this has been one of my top two books of the year.

I’ve long followed author Kate Doran in the guise of Little Loaf, her popular food blog full of recipes that often make me salivate. The title comes from an old family nickname given to toddler Kate ‘by a great aunt who noticed [her] appetite for bread was bigger than [she] was’. Over time, Kate noticed that the recipes which resonated most strongly with readers were the ones ‘which evoked powerful food memories’. Reading her reminisces about things she loved to eat as a child, readers were reminded of their own childhood memories as they followed the recipes she created. In Homemade Memories Kate distils that nostalgia factor into a truly captivating collection that includes a handful of favourites from The Little Loaf plus over 80 new recipes. Her inspiration comes from two key sources – classic comfort puddings her mum and granny used to make – cakes, crumbles, buns and jellies, and homemade versions of shop bought favourites – Angel Delight, Fruit Pastilles, Jaffa Cakes, Milky Way Bars and many more. Recipes are ordered into chapters covering Crumbs (biscuits), Sticky fingers (handheld treats that will surely leave your fingers covered in sugar, chocolate, icing or syrup), Cakes, Puddings, Ice Creams, Midnight Feasts (chocolates and sweets worth staying up late for) and Drinks. The last chapter is where Kate shares her favourite bread recipe and some handy extras including homemade peanut butter, lemon curd, fruity jam, hot chocolate fudge sauce and vanilla extract. Nearly every recipe has a gorgeous photograph and it’s hard not to bookmark virtually every page. Recipes are accurate and delicious; the Real Bourbon Biscuits – given a grown-up twist by the injection of bourbon whiskey into the filling – were even better than we expected and straightforward and fun to make. This book brings a bit of childhood magic back into your kitchen and is definitely one of my must buys.

Homemade Memories: Childhood Treats With A Twist by Kate Doran is currently available for £15.90 (RRP £18.99). Published by Orion.

 

G64 PLCJ 10.5 spine

Milkshakes just got drunk.’ So says Boozy Shakes author Victoria Glass as she tells us why we should give the milkshakes of our childhood an adult makeover. This books is all about harking back to childhood, getting your retro on and bringing it back to the future! Adding ‘a hearty measure of hard liquor’ to a milkshake offers the best of both worlds and Victoria shares 27 tempting recipes based on sweets, cocktails, desserts, even on music! At the beginning are a set of basic recipes – here you’ll learn how to make ice cream, sorbet, sauces such as chocolate fudge, whisky butterscotch and cherry, Swiss meringue, fruit compote and flavouring syrups. Then it’s on to the shakes themselves, divided into chapters The Candy Bar (based on sweet shop favourites), The Cake Shop, The Cocktail Shaker and Shake Rattle and Roll (where ideas are inspired by classic song titles).

Boozy Shakes by Victoria Glass is currently available for £9.99. Published by Ryland Peters & Small.

 

Anatolia book jacket (sized)

Turkish-Australian restaurateur Somer Sivrioğlu and food and travel writer David Dale combined forces to create a book that would help readers understand the food of Turkey and show them how to create classic dishes at home. The result, Anatolia, is a hefty tome bound in beautiful blue fabric and full of vibrant, eye-catching images of Turkey, its people and its food. The generous introduction includes the history of the region, dating back 5 millennia, as a key to understanding the culture and cuisine, familiarisation with core ingredients and equipment and a range of cooking techniques. Then come more thn 150 recipes, each one prefaced by an engaging tale – the origins of the dish and its place in folklore, an anecdote from the authors, a passage about a traditional producer. Incor uyatmasi (sleeping figs) is introduced with a delightful poem that provides the backstory to this simple pudding. Recipes are organised by time of day, from breakfast and lunch through afternoon tea and sweets to dinner. This book is particularly appealing as an insight into the culinary traditions, culture, ingredients and techniques of Turkish cuisine.

Anatolia by Somer Sivrioğlu and David Dale is currently available for £20.40 (RRP £30). Published by Murdoch Books.

 

Cooking for Geeks Jeff Potter

A revised edition of the 2010 original, Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter is part cookbook, part science primer as the author investigates the science of food and why ingredients and recipes work the way they do. It’s not only informative to read but educational in a practical sense too though I’d say it’s geared most strongly to those who want to understand the how and why of a recipe or technique more than those who simply want to cook. Don’t expect to find lush colour photographs of delectable recipes – instead most illustrations are appealing hand-drawn sketches, a range of graphs and diagrams and small (and frankly amateurish) black and white photographs but don’t let that put you off; this book is enormously fun and genuinely a joy to read. I am only a couple of chapters in but have particularly enjoyed the passages on the history of recipe writing, medieval cooking and even an interview with Myth Busters’ Adam Savage. One amazon reviewer postulates that “Jeff Potter must be the love child of Julia Child and Albert Einstein” and that’s right on the nose. A great gift for the curious and geeky cook.

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food by Jeff Porter is currently available for £18.02. Published by  O’Reilly Media.

 

chinatownkitchen

Another book from a blogger I’ve been following for many years, Chinatown Kitchen is written by Lizzie Mabbott, also known as Hollowlegs. For her first cookbook, Lizzie draws upon her amazing heritage; she is Anglo-Chinese, born in Hong Kong where she spent her formative years growing up not only on Chinese food but also exposed to the many cuisines of South East Asia. At 13 she was transplanted to England, where she has been ever since – albeit with some judicious globetrotting to feed those hollow legs! To describe the book as simply another tome on South East Asian cooking is to put it into a box that it doesn’t neatly fit into. It’s much more than Chinese – or even South East Asian – food made easy; rather it’s a very personal collection of recipes that represent Lizzie’s personal food story. There are classic Chinese and South East Asian dishes, sure, but there are also a fair few of Lizzie’s own inventions including some excellent mashups such as this Chinese Spag Bol recipe and an Udon Carbonara. At the heart of the book is the idea of seeking out ingredients in the food shops of your nearest Chinatown – or indeed any oriental supermarkets or groceries you can find – and putting them to delicious use. To that end, the book is not just a set of recipes but also a shopping and ingredient guide. Add to that an introduction to key equipment and techniques and you are all set to get cooking. Both recipes we’ve made so far have ended up on the repeat list – her Chinese Spag Bol is a simple pork mince dish that is absolutely full of flavour. The Roast Rice-Stuffed Chicken is marinated and basted in an incredible paste which is utterly delicious and we now use this for a quick Sunday roast, without bothering with the more time-consuming rice-stuffing. Also on the wishlist to make are Grilled Aubergines with Nuoc Cham, Chinese Chive Breads, Banana Rotis, Spicy Peanut and Tofu Puff Salad, Mu Shu Pork, Steamed Egg Custard with Century and Salted Eggs, Xinjiang Lamb Skewers and Red Bean Ice Lollies!

Chinatown Kitchen: From Noodles to Nuoc Cham by Lizzie Mabbot is currently available on Amazon UK for £10 (RRP £20). Published by Mitchell Beazley.

 

Spice at Home jacket (sized)

One of Britain’s most celebrated Indian chefs, Vivek Singh has been executive chef at the Cinnamon Club since it opened and also oversees sister restaurants Cinnamon Kitchen and Cinnamon Soho. He’s also a regular face on the TV cookery show circuit and has published several popular cookbooks about his contemporary Indian restaurant cooking and exploring ‘curry’ from India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In Spice At Home, he changes tack and shares the kind of cooking he enjoys at home. Weaving together ingredients, flavours and techniques from around the world, these recipes are a modern global approach to cooking, predominantly Indian but with many fusion influences. He is inspired by the global larder available in London, ‘a melting pot of different cultures’. At the core of this book is Vivek’s grouping of spices into three clusters, the basics, the aromatics and the rare and he shares good advice on storing and using spices effectively. Recipes are divided by when they are best enjoyed, breakfast, lunch, dinner or for entertaining and there are chapters on sides and sweets plus a final section on basics, additional spice blends and core ingredients and techniques. There are plenty of authentic Indian recipes here but the ones that catch my eye are the fusion ideas – chorizo and cumin potatoes, bangla scotch eggs, pasta moily or lamg rogan josh pithivier.

Spice At Home by Vivek Singh is currently available for £18.00 (RRP £25). Published by Absolute Press.

 

chinese unchopped cover

Coming from three generations of chefs, Jeremy Pang didn’t initially plan to work in the industry; first studying biochemical engineering and then working in marketing. But the pull of cooking was strong, and after studying at Le Cordon Blue Institute he worked and travelled across South East Asia to learn everything he could about the cooking of this vast region. I first met Jeremy Pang at School of Wok, the popular and successful cookery school he launched on his return, initially out of his home and then in a dedicated location in the heart of London. Years of developing classes for the school, working out just how to unravel recipes and present them to students in an easy-to-learn way whilst retaining the authenticity and essence of the dishes, provided the perfect material for his first cookbook, Chinese Unchopped. First are Chinese Kitchen Essentials, selecting and caring for equipment and techniques for preparing ingredients. Then comes an introduction to the Chinese Pantry; level 1 ingredients are those that are essential to Chinese cooking (most of which are readily available in British supermarkets); level 2 items are those suggested for cooks ready to delve further into the cuisine (and which may require a visit to specialist oriental grocery stores). The recipes themselves are presented by technique, with chapters on stir-frying, deep-drying, steaming, poaching and braising, roasting and double cooking. Last is a collection of salads, pickles and sides. The dishes come from across China, and there are a few that show influences from Thailand and Malaysia too. Chinese takeaway staples such as Cantonese duck and sweet and sour pork sit side by side with more adventurous (and less familiar) recipes such as lionhead meatballs, five spice lotus leaf chicken and yam with hoisin. There is a tendency for books on specific cuisines to end up as a somewhat daunting encyclopaedic tome, but Chinese Unchopped is a refreshing change, imparting the essentials by showcasing cooking methods, each with an edited selection of recipes. As you’d expect from a teacher, the recipes are really well written, clear and easy to follow. A nice feature is the ‘swapsies’ provided in many recipes, letting you know when an alternative for one or more ingredients would work well.

Chinese Unchopped by Jeremy Pang is currently available for £16.59 (RRP £20). Published by Quadrille.

 

Layout 4

Back in 2009 I was still an avid watcher of Masterchef, the cooking challenge for amateur chefs dreaming of a career in food. From early days, I cheered on cheerful kiwi Mat Follas also known as Ming and was thrilled to see him win the series. (Since then, I confess, I’ve grown steadily less of a fan of our two UK judges not to mention the formulaic format of studio kitchen, pro restaurant, mass catering and round and round again, so I’ve switched allegiance to Aussie Masterchef which is so much better – and the three judges are amazing too!) Anyway, back to Ming: Winning the competition gave Mat the confidence and publicity to launch his own restaurant, making the permanent switch from corporate IT to food and hospitality. Wild Garlic in Beaminster received rave reviews and it was a sad day when it closed its doors a few years later, but Mat is now feeding happy diners at The Casterbridge Hotel in Dorchester on Friday and Saturday nights. From the start, Mat has had a strong affinity with seafood, and is a strong proponent of making good use of the local catch. In his first cookbook, Fish, he shares recipes adapted from his time on Masterchef, plus customer favourites from The Wild Garlic and a summer seafood restaurant he ran on Chesil Beach for a few months before opening at The Casterbridge. Every recipe is modified for a domestic kitchena and uses only ingredients that are readily available to home cooks. Aware that ‘many people are scared of seafood because of bones or the complexity of filleting fish’ Mat has included guidance on both, but reminds us that, in the same way we expect our butchers to prepare and portion our meat, we can ask fishmongers to prepare fish too. Organising chapters by types of fish makes it simple to find a recipe to suit the catch (or purchase) of the day, and makes it easier too to work out which fish can successfully be substituted for each other. A few recipes need time and are best suited to a leisurely weekend of cooking but many are perfect for a quick midweek supper – 25 can be made in half an hour or less.

Fish: Delicious recipes for fish and shellfish by Mat Follas is currently available for £8.94 (RRP £19.99). Published by Ryland Peters & Small.

 

A-bird-in-the-hand

My other top cookbook this year is Diana Henry’s A Bird In The Hand, which I reviewed in June.

We eat a lot of chicken in the UK – it’s such a versatile meat; good roasted, grilled or barbequed, fried (pan or deep), poached, cooked in a stew or casserole… and so adaptable in terms of flavours and cuisines. Diana Henry shares over 100 chicken recipes that range from quick and casual to impressive and celebratory. And as is my wont when flicking through books that are destined to become favourites, the first time I read it I bookmarked so many recipes I may just have well have opened the book at random to find one! Some, like Baked Chicken with Tarragon and Dijon Mustard, Chicken Forestière, Thai Chicken Burgers, Soothing North Indian Curry and Japanese Negima Yakitori are similar to recipes we have made and enjoyed before; a good reminder to make them again soon. But others are ideas we’ve not tried before – Spanish Chicken with Morcilla and Sherry, Vietnamese Lemongrass and Chilli Chicken, Bourbon and Marmalade-glazed Drumsticks, Chicken with Shaoxing Wine, Crisp Radishes and Pickled Ginger, Tagine of Chicken, Caramelised Onion and Pears, Chicken Legs in Pinot Noir with Sour Cherries and Parsnip Purée, Roast chicken stuffed with black pudding and apple and mustard sauce, Ginger beer can chicken, Chicken Pot-Roasted in Milk, Bay and Nutmeg, Pot-Roast Chicken with Figs. I mean, that’s a long list and it was hard to narrow down to just that! The dish that’s quickly become our favourite is Chicken with Pumpkin, Cream and Gruyère and we make this at least once a month, usually with butternut squash. This is a great reference book to have on your shelf and a good prod to try something different instead of the usual rut.

A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry is currently available from Amazon for £6.99 (RRP £20). Published by Mitchell Beazley.

 

NIKKEI_JACKET Wild Drinks & Cocktails

You may also like to read my recent reviews of Nikkei Cuisine by Luiz Hara and Wild Drinks & Cocktails by Emily Han, both of which include recipes extracted from the books.

Nikkei Cuisine is currently available from Amazon UK for £19.99 (RRP £25). Published by Jacqui Small.

Wild Drinks and Cocktails is currently available from Amazon for  £14.99. Published by Fair Winds Press, a member of the Quarto Publishing Group

 

For more food book suggestions, check last year’s recommended books guide.

 

Prices correct at time of publication. The Amazon links above are affiliate links (please see sidebar for more information), which means that I will receive a small commission for any purchases made. Kavey Eats received review copies of most of these titles.

 

If you’ve not already checked out this year’s Christmas Gift Guide, do have a browse.

In the meantime, enjoy my 2015 picks of alcoholic treats.

inniskillin sparkling ice wine vidal

Earlier this year I enjoyed the most wonderful press trip to Canada which included a food and drink tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake. We visited several vineyards, one of which was Inniskillin, well known for their top quality ice wine. I loved most of the ice wines I tasted at a number of different vineyards but my absolute favourite (and one of two bottles I bought to bring home with me) was Inniskillin’s Sparkling Ice Wine, made with Vidal. Available from Drinks Direct (£48.95 + PP £5.99), The Drinks Shop (£44.84 + PP £4.99) and Wine Direct (£45 + PP £7) – note these may be different vintages.

 

liquor-2

Demijohn describe themselves as The Liquid Deli and that’s a very apt description. At their four shops (in Edinburgh, Glasgow, York and Oxford) or via their online store you can buy a variety of alcohol, oils and vinegars by the measure, starting from 40 ml and going up to a whopping 3 litres. A lovely touch on the website is the information provided on the individual producers, and there are drinking / serving suggestions too. The Chocolate Rum Liqueur is made by infusing cacao in Golden Caribbean Rum and the result is a beautifully grown up drink – both the rum and chocolate flavours come through clearly and it’s far more complex than the usual one-dimensional chocolate liqueurs I’ve tasted. Toffee Liqueur combines butterscotch and caramel with Scotch whisky for another complex and appealing liqueur with the taste of the underlying whisky still wonderfully clear. Prices are by 100 ml and are reasonable. UK regulations prohibit filling into customers’ own containers, so you are obliged to buy a bottle too. A nice touch is that they hand-label the bottles with a liquid paint pen and can add personal messages. The ink is semi-permanent, allowing for it to be cleaned and the bottle re-used. Being familiar with wholesale prices for glass jars and bottles, these seem on the pricy side to me – however Demijohn do offer refills into containers purchased from them previously, which is good news for repeat customers.

 

whiteways apricot whiteways cherry

I’ve not tried this pair of sweet fruit wines by Whiteways but at this very low price, I’d be willing to take a punt. I’d like to try them as they are over ice, served with vanilla ice cream (or perhaps even added to the mix before freezing) and mixed with soda water or lemonade. Whiteways Apricot Wine and Whiteways Cherry Wine, £4 each from Morrisons.

 

gekkeikan-horin-junmai-daiginjo-sake gekkeikan-sawayaka-fruity-nigori-sake gekkeikan-unfiltered-yuzu-sake-yuzu-nigorishu gekkeikan-umeshu-plum-wine
gekkeikan-utakata-apple-sparkling-sake gekkeikan-fruity-beauty-wine-assortment-umeshu-and-momoshu-furoshiki

The more sake I drink, the more I come to love it and the more I narrow down my personal tastes and favourites. If you would like to know more about sake – how it’s made, the different classifications and types, read my post on Learning About Sake.

Gekkeikan is a well-respected Kyoto sake producer that is readily available in the UK. Japan Centre stocks a wide range including Gekkeikan Horin Junmai Daiginjo Sake (300 ml for £10.75, 720 ml for £36.90), Gekkeikan Sawayaka Fruity Nigori Sake (500 ml for £18.90), Gekkeikan Unfiltered Yuzu Sake (yuzu in a nigori sake, 500 ml for £12),  Gekkeikan Umeshu Plum Wine (720 ml for £19), Gekkeikan Utakata Apple Sparkling Sake (305 ml for £7.25) and this sweet gift set, the Gekkeikan Fruity Beauty Wine Assortment (Umeshu And Momoshu) wrapped in a Furoshiki Cloth (2 x 300 ml plus furoshiki for £18).

 

korean-plum-wine

Since the end of March I’ve been working for a client in New Malden, and exploring the many local Korean restaurants during lunch. Usually, there’s only time to grab a takeaway and bring it back to the office but occasionally, it’s nice to sit down to a meal in a restaurant instead. Yesterday, my colleague and I celebrated the end of a crazily busy week in Kangnam, the newest kid on the block and decided to try Korean plum wine with our meal. I guessed it would be much like Japanese umeshu and that was exactly right; it is made from the same fruit, Prunus mume, known in Japan as ume and in Korea as maesil. The fruits are soaked in soju with either honey or sugar and left to steep until the alcohol is redolent with the flavour of the plums, with a lovely balance between sweet and sharp. Sous Chef sell the same brand we enjoyed, Sooljoongmae Korean Plum Wine (375 ml for £8.50 + PP £2.99).

 

Bruichladdich-the-botanist-gin

I’m a very late comer to gin, having always thought I disliked the taste only to realise in the last year that it’s actually the bitterness of tonic water I can’t abide. So I have over 3 decades of gin enjoyment to catch up on! On our latest trip to Islay, I fell for Bruichladdich’s The Botanist, described as “an exploration of the botanical heritage” of Islay. Available from Bruichladdich’s online shop (70cl for £33, 20cl for £13.99 + PP £7.19) or slightly cheaper via Amazon (70cl for £32.99, free delivery in UK).

 

pickerings gin

In Spring Pete and I spent a lovely few days in Edinburgh, exploring the food and drink of the city. During the trip we made a visit to Pickering’s, a relatively new distillery based in Summerhall and producing fantastic gin in a tiny space. We admired Gert, the beautiful copper still in which botanicals are distilled with spirit to an old and secret recipe and were given the low down on production methods. The finished gin is still bottled by hand next door. Their original Pickering’s 1947 is (£29.48 + PP £5.75). They also sell a Navy Strength version and small batch editions.

 

gin foundry botanical odyssey

Given my recent gin birth, I’m coveting this gin tasting pack from Gin Foundry. Although the core botanical for all gin is juniper (from which it takes its name) there are, of course, many other botanicals that are also used to create gin – it’s the selection of these that give gins their individual characteristics. This set has been created to explore four key flavour profiles – Citrus, Floral, Herbal and Spiced – and comes with a booklet that provides more information about the botanicals and also gives recommendations for other commercially available gins that you may enjoy if you like one or other of the four gins. Available from Amazon (£75, free delivery in UK). On a similar bent, check out Gin Foundry’s Anthology of Gin tasting pack which covers the four key gin styles – Genever, Old Tom, Navy Strength and London Dry, also available via Amazon (£79, free delivery in UK).

 

woodford-reserve-bourbon-whiskey woodford-reserve-double-oaked

Pete has been a fan of Woodford Reserve (Kentucky Bourbon) for several years – it’s readily available in the UK and a very reasonably priced easy drinking whiskey. Last year, during a short trip to Washington DC and Virginia, he came across Woodford Reserve Double Oaked which he also really liked; the second maturation period is in a barrel that is deeply toasted then lightly charred – this adds a deeper sweet oak character to the bourbon. Woodford Reserve available from Master Of Malt (£30.96 + PP £6.95) or Waitrose Cellar (£23.50, free delivery), also available in store at the same price. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked available from Master Of Malt (£46.09 + PP £6.95) or Waitrose Cellar (£50, free delivery).

 

Harveys VORS PX

I listed this one in my 2013 guide and I’m suggesting it again this year so I’ll just quote what I said previously: “I adore PX; an intensely rich,  gloriously sticky, syrupy-sweet sherry with its flavours of figs, prunes and raisins is utterly redolent of Christmas. Made in Jerez, in the heart of Cadiz province in Andalusia, this is a drink I enjoy all year round. I have tried many brands over the years and this is one I go back to again and again. Harveys’ VORS tag tells us this PX has been aged using the traditional solera process for at least 30 years. A shot over good quality vanilla ice cream makes a simple but decadent dessert.” Harveys Pedro Ximenez VORS Sherry £21.99 from Ocado or £21.84 + PP £4.99 from Amazon UK.

 

greekred

Another recommendation I’m carrying over from 2013 is this Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras, a dark red dessert wine made in Greece. A friend introduced me to it years ago and I’m a big fan of the full-bodied black berries and dried fruits richness. As I explained last year, “the mavrodaphne is a black grape variety indigenous to the Achaea region of Greece (the capital of which is Patras). The wine is vinified in large vats exposed to the sun; once matured, distillate prepared from previous vintages is added, and then the wine is transferred to underground cellars for maturation; there, the solera method of adding older vintages to new ones is used to create a balanced blend.” Available from major supermarkets including Tesco for £5.

 

For more ideas, especially on the sweet side, check out my 2013 sweet-toothed drinkers’ guide and my 2014 Christmas gift guide.

Prices correct at time of publication. Where products are available from multiple online retailers, I’ve provided a link to one or more vendors, but others may also be available. Some of the links are affiliate links (please see sidebar for more information), which means that I will receive a small commission for any purchases made.

 

Once upon a time, the Old Man of the Moon decided to visit the Earth. Disguised as a beggar, he came across three friends who lived together in the forest – Fox (Kitsune), Monkey (Saru) and Rabbit (Usagi) and asked them for something to eat. Monkey leapt up into the trees to gather fruit and nuts; Fox ran to a stream to catch a fish; these they presented to the old man. Rabbit raced around the forest grassland finding nothing but grass and returned forlorn to the teasing of his two friends. Desperate to help their visitor, Rabbit asked him to build a fire. Leaping into the flames, he offered himself to the old man to eat. Quickly the beggar changed back to his true form and pulled Rabbit from the fire, restoring him to life. He thanked each of the forest friends for their generous kindness but to Rabbit he said, “Your selfless sacrifice was the kindest of all. I will take you to the moon with me!” To this day, if you look up at the moon, you can see Rabbit there, pounding mochi in his mortar and pestle.

This is the story of Tsuki no Usagi (Moon Rabbit), told to me recently by a Japanese friend.

The myth originated 2400 years ago in the Indian Buddhist Jātaka tales, stories about the previous lives of Buddha in both human and animal form. One such tale tells the story of a monkey, an otter, a jackal and a rabbit, similarly called upon to find food for a beggar. When the rabbit offered himself in the fire, the beggar revealed himself as a god and drew the likeness of the rabbit on the Moon for all to see.

As is often the case, the details of the story changed as it spread. In China, the rabbit pounds medicinal herbs to make an elixir of life for Chang’e, the Moon Goddess.

Only in Japan is Rabbit thought to pound rice for the creation of delicious mochi (rice cakes).

Short-grain japonica glutinous rice (known in Japan as mochigome) has a higher protein concentration and less amylose in its starch than other types of rice, which results in a soft but firm consistency – it is delightfully chewy, the gummy elasticity a highly prized texture.

Traditional mochi are made by pounding soaked and steamed mochigome into a smooth paste. The paste is formed into a variety of shapes, often with a filling of sweet azuki bean paste. In other variations, flavourings are mixed into the paste itself, and these days there are many different fillings to choose from. Mochi is enjoyed in many dishes, savoury and sweet; one of my personal favourites is mitarashi dango – solid balls of mochi served on a stick with a sweet-savoury soy sauce glaze.

Another popular sweet is mochi ice cream – a ball of smooth, delicious ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of chewy mochi. These are a relatively recent phenomenon, appearing for the first time in the early eighties but they have quickly gained popularity across Japan.

Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7671 Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7684

I first encountered Little Moons mochi ice creams two years ago, at a pop up dinner by United Ramen. Asking afterwards about the utterly gorgeous ice cream mochi dessert, I learned they were made by Little Moons, a fledgling company launched by entrepreneur siblings Howard and Vivien Wong. Several months later, I came across them again when I visited Kanada-ya ramenya just after they opened. Today, Little Moons are served by several Japanese restaurants across London including Bone Daddies, Tonkotsu and Shoryu Ramen. Ramenandmochitastic!

Howard and Vivien worked with Nobu’s head patisserie chef, Regis Cursan to develop their range, and have updated the new Japanese classic by using artisan gelato fillings in six flavours – currently Vanilla, Toasted Sesame, Coconut, Matcha Green Tea, Mango and Raspberry. Little Moons mochi are hand-rolled in London to the traditional Japanese method, and the range is free from artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. The mochi are also gluten free and less than 100 calories per ball.

The Wongs have also created a second brand, Tsuki Mochi under which they sell mochi truffles. The Dark Chocolate ones are filled with Belgian chocolate ganache and dusted with cocoa. Tsuki Mochi also make a Yuzu Lemon Cheesecake edition which I must, as a yuzu addict, try soon!

Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7674 Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7681
Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7676 Little Moons Tsuki Mochi on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7683

Last weekend I hosted a lovely afternoon tea featuring all six Little Moons mochi ice creams and the Tsuki Mochi dark chocolate ganache mochi. We enjoyed these with some delicious Adagio Teas served in an absolutely beautiful Japanese teaware set with an elegant metallic grey finish.

The mochi ice cream were as good as I remembered (though I do miss the wonderful pineapple flavour I first fell in love with at the ramen pop up dinner). My favourites were the mango and the matcha, though I loved them all. Pete’s favourite was the toasted sesame – he also loved the flavour of the raspberry gelato but wasn’t sure it worked so well in a mochi wrapping. Our guests both favoured the rich vanilla, flecked with vanilla seeds, with the coconut and mango also winning high praise.

All four of us adored the mochi truffles – these had a superbly rich, dark chocolate flavour and a light mousse-like texture within.

On the tea front, we started with Adagio’s kukicha, a blend of green tea leaves and stems. The tea had a powerful aroma as it brewed, but was light and refreshing to drink. Later we switched to genmai cha, the nutty flavours of toasted popped rice were particularly satisfying on a cold November day.

Of course, mochi are far more than a sweet treat to enjoy with afternoon tea – they make superb desserts after a meal, particularly the mochi ice cream which are stored in the freezer and need just a few minutes to soften before serving. Although small, they are surprisingly filling and just one or two balls would be perfect after a meal.

Little Moons come in a box of six and are currently stocked by Whole Foods (£5.99) and Partridges (£6.95). Tsuki Mochi truffles come in a box of four and are available from Selfridges (£4.50).

Kavey Eats received product samples from Little Moons / Tsuki Mochi plus a Japanese teaware set and Adagio teas, to host a Japanese afternoon tea.

 

It’s that time of the year when I share a list of ideas for seasonal gifts – whatever you celebrate, or even if you just love giving and receiving presents, here are some lovely things that might appeal. These ideas are a mix of products I have tried myself and others that I covet!

Sushi socks 1 Sushi socks 2 Sushi socks 3 Sushi socks 4
Sushi socks 5 Sushi socks 6 Sushi socks 7 Sushi socks 8

I giggle every time I look at the pictures of these Sushi Socks; there are 7 designs available including Egg, Masuzushi, Octopus, Red Caviar, Salmon, Shrimp and Tuna. Buy all seven pairs for £39.99 or any individual design for £7.99, from Firebox.

 

Suck UK robot nutcracker blue Suck UK robot nutcracker red Suck UK robot nutcracker natural

I find screw type nut crackers far easier to use than the more common squeeze type, and I’m very attached to a simple polished wooden one I bought in India several years ago. These wooden robot nut crackers by Suck UK caught my eye, available in natural, red or blue from £12.95.

 

Niederegger selection Niederegger Advent Niederegger selection 2

It’s no secret that I adore marzipan, and when it comes to good quality marzipan, you really can’t beat Niederegger. I did a post about Niederegger last year – do have a read if you’d like to understand just why I think their marzipan is so damn good. As well as a variety of different selection boxes, some with Christmas themed packaging, they also have large advent calendars featuring an art work of their café in Lubeck and a tall slim Advent calendar in long, thin boxes. Amazon offer a really wide range, including this 400 gram selection box for £13.99 and this 200 gram selection featuring some of my favourite Niederegger liqueur marzipan flavours for £7.99.

 

bamboo drawer knife rack

Although we do have a knife block on our windowsill, in which we keep several of our larger knives, I really like this idea – a pretty Robert Welch signature bamboo drawer unit as a way to keep the rest of the collection safely stored, £29.95 from the Kitchen Cookshop.

 

Paddington apron

Also from the Kitchen Cookshop is this sweet Paddington Bear PVC Apron for little cooks, just £6.95.

 

MonCheri PocketCoffee

This entry, I admit, is a big fat hint to anyone trying to think of what to buy me for Christmas! I adore Mon Cheri chocolates and for some reason they are only ever on sale in the UK during the Christmas season. This 25 piece box of Mon Cheri is £14.49. Oh and while I’m at it, I absolutely love their Pocket Coffee chocolates too! This 18 piece box of Pocket Coffee is £12.99.

 

Fridgeezoo

I first spotted Fridgeezoo’s fridge pets back in 2011 and indeed they featured in my Christmas Gift Guide for that year – if you don’t remember back that far, these cute critters call out a greeting you when you open the fridge door! With new designs available, I still think they’re super cute! £16.99 from Firebox or go to Amazon for a wider Fridgeezoo range, from £13.60 (note that some talk in Japanese and some in an American English accent).

 

ginmug flowchart ginmug gin and cake ginmug gin coffee ginmug i_love_exercise_gin
mug latte valium vodka fox sake mug food thoughts mug hangry

Love this series of gin mugs from Super Mug. All mugs are £8.95 plus postage and there are 24 designs to choose from; my favourites are the Gin Flowchart, Gin and Cake, Coffee and Gin and Exercise and Gin. If you’re shopping for a beer lover, coffee addict or vodka drinker, you’re all set too. The whisky ones are all spelled “whiskey” so only suitable for Irish or American whiskey drinkers.

 

White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-7001 White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-6999
Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-7057 Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-7069 Optimum9400-KFavelle-KaveyEats-2014-6887

For just over a year I’ve been putting my Froothie Optimum power blender through its paces. It’s a real powerhouse of a blender that can blend ice cubes, frozen fruit and other solid items easily including grains, rice and nuts to make flours and nut butters. Making fresh soups is easy, as the friction from the super powerful blades generates enough heat to make the contents piping hot. I’ve also made custard, smoothies and sauces in mine and friends have made all kinds of amazing recipes.

The model I have, an Optimum 9400, is currently on sale for £299; and you can get an extra 2 years warranty for free by using my affiliate link to open the Froothie site, choosing your appliance and entering “Special Ambassador Offer” into the comments / code field at check out. The code applies to blenders, juicers and also to the brand new Froothie Thermocook, a multifunction cooking appliance that can cook, steam, blend and more; I’ve just received one to play with and can’t wait to get cooking. The Thermocook is currently discounted from £895 to £549.

 

Birds Custard Jug

Bird’s Custard is an iconic brand, and their well-known packaging design makes for a colourful 750 ml jug (£15.44). Perfect for gravy, sauces and custard, of course!

 

Premier Housewares Ella collection

A lot of people may suck their teeth at this but Pete and I often eat dinner on the sofa in front of the telly. We don’t have kids, and we certainly manage plenty of good conversation during our day, so catching up on recorded telly is our most common dinnertime activity. For ages I’ve been using a cushion with a tray balanced on top, but I was recently sent this Lap Tray from Premier Housewares Ella Collection (£12.60) instead – far more comfortable, not to mention much prettier! The matching Ella tea towel set (£10.17) has also caught my eye – such pretty patterns and colours.

 

SC measuring-jug SC mini-oval-dish_1 SC pasta_bowls-set_of_4 SC white-saucepan-large-and-small

I’m coveting much of the White Ceramics range available from Sophie Conran, especially the measuring jug, the mini oval roasting dish, the set of 4 pasta bowls and the white saucepans with their shiny handles.

 

Codlo with Slow Cooker adj

Another tool that I’ve absolutely loved using this year is clever Codlo, a superbly designed and nifty device that turns your slow cooker, rice cooker or other such cooking appliance into a bona fida sous vide water bath. We use our Codlo with our slow cooker and it performs extremely well, certainly a match for far more expensive and bulky options. The Codlo is priced at £119, available here and would make the perfect gift for an enthusiastic amateur cook keen to try with sous vide cooking.

 

NealsYardGeraniumOrange NealsYardRosePomegranate vitacocooil

Long hot soaky baths are one of my favourite things, and I’m a creature of habit when it comes to what gets added to my bath. Neal’s Yard Remedies Geranium & Orange Bath Oil and Rose & Pomegranate Bath Oil are both £15 for 100 ml and I adore both scents. I always add a teaspoon of Vita Coco Coconut Oil (£9.98 for 500ml) to my bath too, which makes it even more moisturising for my skin.

 

In Season bunny SP brain SP

I can’t resist the amusement value of these two Salt and Pepper Shaker sets from LazyBoneUK. The randy black and white bunny rabbit salt and pepper shaker set is £6.99 and the ghoulish brain halves salt and pepper shaker set is £19.99!

 

Barnaby and Co StudioPS green taped cup

A friend of mine recently set up a lovely new site called Barnaby & Co. specialising in modern homewares and quirky gifts from independent makers. My eye is on these darling green taped design ceramic cups by Dutch based duo Studio PS, £16 each but do browse the entire site as there are many lovely things.

 

prestat yuzu

One of the things I love about Prestat (quite apart from the deliciousness of their chocolates) is their gorgeous, vividly-coloured packaging – indeed it’s so pretty that it doesn’t really need wrapping – all you need to do is tie a ribbon and tag around it and it’s ready to go! My pick this year are these Yuzu Sake Truffles £12.50, which feature a yuzu and sake ganache filling inside a crisp dark chocolate shell dusted in icing sugar. Yuzu lovers will not be disappointed!

 

Bonieri 1 Bonieri 2

Similarly gorgeous packaging containing equally delicious treats within can be found at Bonieri, purveyors of fine Italian gianduja products featuring the Piedmont-grown ‘Tonda Gentile delle Langhe’ hazelnut. Here’s my review of a few of their products, earlier this year. My personal favourites are the Chocolate Covered Hazelnut Nougat (which I purchased more of as soon as I’d finished my samples!)

 

Wayfair Artland Peacock Wine Glass %28Set of 4%29 Wayfair Baci-Milano-Baroque-and-Rock-Acrylic-Water-Glass-BABRGWA.BAR Wayfair Sagaform-Atherstone-20-cL-Glass-SGF1850-SGF1851

I’ve recently been browsing the Wayfair site (and have written a post on Christmas edible gift ideas for them which should be up on their Inspirations blog soon). If you’re looking for some elegant, colourful glassware, they usually have some great designs available. The nature of their site means that stock and prices change regularly, so the exact products above may not be available – they are ones I’ve bookmarked in the last month.

 

Heston-Salter-Scales-(c)KavitaFavelle-8124

We’ve had a great year for discovering new appliances this year. One great kitchen tool that we use several times a week is the Salter Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform Precision Scale (£44.89)which we reviewed in March. It’s called Precision because that’s precisely what if offers, allowing you to weigh accurately in increments as small as 0.1 grams and up to a total weight of 10 kg, it’s a well-designed, attractive and very useful kitchen essential.

Other Heston for Sage appliances we’ve reviewed and been super impressed by are the Quick Touch Microwave £251.95 (my review here) and the Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker £299.95 (my reviews here and here).

 

sous chef fuchsia sous chef mimi sous chef maverick

One of the best resources for high quality ingredients and equipment for very keen cooks is the Sous Chef site, which I’ve recommended many times before. Perfect for Christmas are their Cooking Sets, each one contains one of the best recipe books on the cuisine plus a selection of core ingredients to get you started. On my wish list are MiMi Aye’s Noodle! cooking set (£22.50), the Fuchsia Dunlop Chinese cooking set (£39.50) and the Movida Spanish cooking set (£39.50). Any of the items in the Sous Chef Maverick Flavour range would also make a fantastic gift.

 

Carluccios choc coated digs Carluccios Gianduiotti Carluccios Pistachio Torrone

Anyone wanting to win my favour could do worse than treat me to one of these classic Italian delights from Carluccio’s! Chocolate coated figs £9.95, Gianduiotti Milk & Hazelnut Chocolates £8.95 and Pistachio Torrone £6.95.

 

Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle - 9093 withtext

In our house it’s Pete who is the more serious coffee drinker – I am happy enough with instant! But I did fall head over glassware for the beautiful Chemex coffee maker, which I was introduced to earlier this year. In this case, it’s the curvaceous waisted glass jug and the ritual of the process that appeals. Read my guide on How to Make Pour Over Coffee in a Chemex Coffee Maker and then buy your own 10-Cup Chemex (£48) or 6-Cup Chemex (£38.07).

 

alright duck hello chicken noths original_bejewelled-cotton-tea-towel noths original_magpie-tea-towel
noths original_poppies-tea-towel-purple noths original_poppies-tea-towel-red noths original_table-for-two-tea-towel noths original_tea-eye-test-linen-tea-towel
noths original_flamingos-and-pineapples-tea-towel noths original_kitchen-herbs-and-spices-gift-tea-towel noths original_english-tea-cake-tea-towel uw_robins_teatowel

I don’t know why I have such a fondness for tea towels since we’re firmly a dishwasher household and even when things are washed by hand, they’re usually left to drain rather than towel-dryed. And yet, I still covet tea towels with pretty patterns, pictures and sayings. Tesco Direct have lots of great designs from a variety of retail partners. My favourites include Hello Chicken £5.95 and Alright Duck £5.95. Not On The High Street have an amazing selection including my picks – Bejewelled design tea towel £7.50, Magpie tea towel £9, Poppies tea towel £4.50 (sale price), Table for Two tea towel £9.50, Tea Eye Test tea towel £7.50, Flamingos and pineapples tea towel £9.95, Herbs and Spices tea towel £6.95 and English Tea and Cake tea towel £9.95. Last but not least, I love this sweet robin tea towel by Ulster Weave £6.95.

 

anth fika stand 3 tier pink glass stand
artis cake stand anton cake stand

I want more cakes in my life! The coloured glass single level Fika cake stands from Anthropologie are £10 for the smaller size and available in orange, blue or green. Or check out these 2-tier and 3-tier pink glass stands from Premier Housewares, £9.99 and £15.97 respectively. Artis offer a modern square-plated, 3-tier stand for £19.99. Or lastly, I’m rather taken by this rectangular single stand from Anton in striking aqua blue, £15.60.

 

anth norse blue anth norse purple anth norse red

Anthropologie always have something to tempt me. Right now it’s these elegant Norse Glasses, available in blue, purple and red colour schemes for £12 each, oh and they’re dishwasher safe!

 

Flare Pan thermospatula

I told you last Christmas about these gorgeous Flare pans that were new in at Lakeland. Since then, we’ve put our 20 cm saucepan to frequent use and really love it. Although you’d be forgiven for assuming that these pans are all about their good looks, the unusual flared ridges adorning the sides of the pans are designed specifically to distribute heat from the flames of a gas hob evenly across the base and up the sides which heats up the contents of the pan more quickly. Designed by Oxford Professor Dr. Thomas Povey whose expertise is thermodynamics applied to advanced jet engine design, the pans are formed from cast aluminium with stainless steel handles. They can be used on electric, ceramic and halogen hobs too, but you won’t get the faster cooking that they provide on gas.

The other winner from Lakeland for us has been the Thermospatula £14.97 which is such a simple yet revolutionary idea – it combines a silicone spatula with a digital thermometer, making it so much easier to stir jam while still keeping an eye on the temperature. You can also slip the thermometer out from the spoon to use it on its own. We use this device a lot and wouldn’t go back to the clunky clip-on metal jam thermometers!

 

cezanne1 cezanne 3 cezanne 2
cezanne 4 cezanne 5 cezanne 6

Divertimenti currently have a sale on these Cezanne fruit mugs, £11.21 each.

 

That’s it for now, though I’ll be sharing some ideas for cookery books and favourite tipples in the next week or two. In the mean time, happy shopping! Need more ideas? Check out my previous years’ gift guides for more fun things!

 

Prices correct at time of publication. Where products are available from multiple online retailers, I’ve provided a link to one retailer, usually Amazon if available. Some of the links are affiliate links (please see sidebar for more information), which means that I will receive a small commission for any purchases made. Where I list a product I have tried, this means I genuinely love and recommend the product. There are also many items in the list that I do not own / have not tried personally but which appeal to me as a shopper and which I think would make great gifts.

 

Luiz Hara aka The London Foodie was one of the first fellow bloggers I met shortly after launching Kavey Eats in spring 2009. I can no longer remember how we met but I do know that we built a friendship on that most important of bases – food!

Born in Brazil to Brazilian-Japanese parents, Luiz moved to London at the age of 19, fully intending to return to Brazil once his studies were completed. But fate intervened, he met his partner and settled down in the UK instead. His family background gives him an amazing range of cuisines to draw from in his cooking. I went to some of his earliest Japanese supperclubs which were a delight, and also loved his Cooking Club, during which each guest took a turn to cook a dish to the evening’s theme, creating a multi-course extravaganza.

I remember when Luiz decided to leave behind the world of finance and dedicate himself wholeheartedly to food, kicking off with a diploma course at the Cordon Bleu cooking school and including a stint learning more about traditional Japanese cooking in Tokyo.

His supperclub has continued apace to become one of London’s best; places are highly sought after and sell out within moments of going on sale. Although the food is predominantly home-style Japanese, Luiz regularly adds touches of South American influence, not to mention techniques from classic French cuisine, providing a feast of dishes you would be hard-pushed to find anywhere else in London.

NIKKEI_JACKET

The good news is that his first cookbook, Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way, shares many of the recipes he has developed and perfected over the last few years.

In Luiz’ own words:

At its simplest, Nikkei cuisine is the cooking of the Japanese diaspora. When my family and millions of other Japanese people migrated to South America at the start of the 20th century, they recreated their native cuisine using local ingredients. This style of Japanese cooking is known today as Nikkei Cuisine. For historical reasons, Nikkei cuisine is mostly associated with Peru and Brazil (where I was born).

The book is his personal collection of over 100 recipes and includes family favourites and contributions from Japanese and Nikkei chefs he met during research trips, as well as the many recipes Luiz has developed himself.

Recipes are divided into chapters for Small Eats; Sushi, Tiraditos & Ceviches (a chapter which really brings home the parallels between the South American and Japanese approach to raw fish); Rice & Noodles; Soups & Hotpots; Mains; Vegetables, Salads and Tofu and Desserts. There is also a chapter on mastering the basics of Sauces, Marinades & Condiments.

Photographs are colourful and appealing, with handy step-by-step illustrations for trickier techniques such as Japanese rolled omelette and Maki (sushi) rolls.

The good news is that I have two copies of Nikkei to give away. Scroll down for the chance to win this beautiful book.

In the meantime, enjoy Luiz’ delicious recipe for Nikkei Sea Bream with Yuzu & Green Jalapeño Rice.

Seabream 1

Nikkei Sea Bream with Yuzu & Green Jalapeño Rice

Tai gohan (sea-bream rice) is a classic of Japanese home cooking and is a dish I have always loved. It can be made in a rice cooker or in a clay pot or elegant pan to be served at the table for added wow. The fish is cooked over the rice, imparting a delicious flavour to the dish. Here I give my Nikkei interpretation, by adding a dressing of olive oil, yuzu juice and jalapeño green chillies, mixed into the rice just before serving. It’s like traditional Japan embracing the spice of South America.

Cooked in a Clay Pot

Serves 8–10

Ingredients
600g (1lb 5oz/2 ¾ cups) short-grain white rice
550ml (19fl oz/2 ½ cups) dashi (Japanese fish and seaweed stock) or water
100ml (3.fl oz/ ½ cup) mirin
100ml (3.fl oz/ ½ cup) light soy sauce
2.5cm (1in) piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into fine julienne strips
4 sea bream fillets, scaled and pin-boned
a sprinkle of sansho pepper
For the yuzu & green jalapeño dressing
1 green jalapeño chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
4 tbsp finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
4 tbsp yuzu juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Wash the rice in a bowl with plenty of fresh water using a circular motion with your hand.
  • Drain the water and repeat this rinsing three or four times until the water runs clear. Let the rice drain in a colander for at least 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the soaking and cooking broth. Combine the dashi or water, mirin and light soy sauce and set aside. Soak the drained rice in the cooking broth in a clay pot or a rice cooker (see below) for 30 minutes.
  • Rice cooker method: After the soaking and before cooking, scatter half of the ginger strips over the rice, lay the sea bream fillets on top and turn the rice cooker on. It should take about 15–20 minutes to cook. Once the rice cooker’s alarm beeps indicating that the rice is cooked, let the rice rest for at least 15 minutes before opening the rice cooker.
  • Clay pot method: Tightly wrap a tea-towel (dish towel) over the lid of a Japanese clay pot (known as donabe) or if you do not have one you can use a heavy casserole pan (Dutch oven). After the soaking and before cooking, scatter half of the ginger strips over the rice, lay the sea bream fillets on the top (I like to arrange the fillets to look like an open flower), place the lid on top and bring to the boil. Once boiling, bring the temperature down to the lowest setting and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and without opening the lid (don’t open the lid at any stage of the cooking process), rest for a further 15 minutes.
  • Up to this stage, this rice is a traditional Japanese tai gohan or Japanese sea bream rice and can be served as it is – it will taste delicious. But for added va-va-voom, I like serving this with a yuzu and green jalapeño dressing, which I pour over the fish and rice just before serving. To make the dressing just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.
  • Take the unopened clay pot to the table, open it in front of your guests and, if desired, carefully remove the skin of the fish. Pour the dressing over the fish and rice then using a wide wooden spoon, fluff the rice well, breaking the fish into tiny pieces and mixing it together with the dressing into the rice. Mix thoroughly. If you are using a rice cooker, follow all the above steps but do not take the rice cooker to the table! Make all the necessary preparations and serve the rice in individual bowls at the table.
  • To serve, place the rice in individual rice bowls, top with the remaining julienned ginger in the centre of each bowl followed by a sprinkle of sansho pepper and serve immediately.

Seabream 2

Recipe and images extracted from Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara. Photography by Lisa Linder. Published by Jacqui Small (£25).

GIVEAWAY

Jacqui Small are offering a copy of Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara to two lucky readers of Kavey Eats! 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
Leave a comment telling me about your favourite Japanese or South American dish.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a copy of Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsNikkei #KaveyEatsNikkei
(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 4th December 2015.
  • 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.
  • Each (of two) prizes is a copy of Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara, published by Jacqui Small. The prize includes delivery within in the UK. We cannot guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery date.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Jacqui Small.
  • 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, winners 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 your 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 Jacqui Small . Nikkei Cuisine is currently available from Amazon UK for £19.99 (RRP £25) (at time of posting).

 

One of the classic signs that Christmas has come to Kavey Eats is our annual Hotel Chocolat Giveaway! As always, Hotel Chocolat’s Christmas Collection is bursting with delicious treats, beautifully packaged and perfect to give away or keep for yourself.

This year’s design is a very elegant with lots of white accented by silver, gold and red.

As always, Hotel Chocolat have kindly let me choose my personal picks for this giveaway, and here are the three wonderful prizes on offer.

260739-wreath-box

For the first prize winner I’ve selected this gorgeous prize. I love the design of this Christmas Wreath Box with it’s striking snowflake decoration and big red ribbon. Inside is even better, containing 43 truffles, a chunky cookie wreath and two large chocolate snowflakes, one in salted caramel chocolate and the other in 85% dark chocolate.

310321-cookie-caramel-wreath-large

It’s all about wreaths for me this year – as I’ve chosen this Festive Wreath for second prize. Moulded from Hotel Chocolat’s 50% milk chocolate and studded with cocoa biscuits, shortbread biscuits and caramelised Florentine squares, it’s a perfect edible centre piece.

260773-marzipan-autumn-box

For the third prize, I’ve indulged my love for marzipan with this lovely Marzipan Box.

GIVEAWAY

It’s my pleasure to share this Hotel Chocolat giveaway with readers of Kavey Eats!

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 2 ways – entering in both ways gives you double the chance of winning!

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite story about decorating the Christmas tree.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win @HotelChocolat Christmas prizes from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsHC2015 #KaveyEatsHC2015
(Do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

RULES & DETAILS
  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Wednesday 9th December 2014.
  • The 3 winners will be selected from all valid entries (across blog comments and twitter) using a random number generator. The first name selected will win the first prize. The second name selected will win the second prize. The third name selected will win the third prize.
  • 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.
  • First prize is Hotel Chocolat’s Christmas Wreath Box. Second prize is a Hotel Chocolat’s Cookie Caramel Festive Wreath. Third prize is Hotel Chocolat’s Marzipan Box. Each prize includes delivery within the UK.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Hotel Chocolat.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid name and email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.
 

Food and drink books written by an American authors don’t always translate well for a UK audience but Wild Drinks & Cocktails  by Emily Han is one of the exceptions; the recipes list ingredients in both Imperial and metric units, and the vast majority of ingredients are familiar and available across both sides of the pond.

Wild Drinks & Cocktails: Handcrafted Squashes, Shrubs, Switchels, Tonics, and Infusions to Mix at Home is packed full of recipes for drinks you can make using ingredients that can be grown in your garden or readily foraged – in the countryside or even in the urban landscape. Of course, you can buy many of the fruits, herbs and spices in shops and markets.

Wild Drinks & Cocktails

Before sharing recipes, Han runs through some key introductory topics: First, a guide to foraging, which stresses the importance of absolute certainty in plant identification, and provides a gentle reminder to consider the ethics of harvesting rare species or plants that local wildlife rely on for food or shelter; Next, how to harvest, with techniques for leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and roots and suggestions of harvesting tools you may find useful; After that, an ingredients primer which covers herbs, spices and a comprehensive list of sweeteners from processed sugars and molasses to honey, agave nectar and maple syrup; and last, a list of kitchen equipment for making the recipes, including a guide on sanitising and sterilising tools and containers.

Recipes are divided into six chapters:

  • Teas, Juices and Lemonades
  • Syrups, Squashes and Cordials
  • Oxymels, Shrubs and Switchels
  • Infusions, Bitters and Liqueurs
  • Wines and Punches
  • Fizzy Fermentations

At the start of each chapter, Han explains the origins and methods for each type of drink it covers, so if you don’t know your infusion from your dedoction or your shrub from your switchel, you will soon! Likewise, many of the recipe introductions are enormously informative about ingredients and recipe history. In many cases, there is guidance too about health benefits of certain ingredients or concoctions, though there’s a wise reminder in Han’s introduction that the contents of the book should not be taken as medical advice. On a personal note, it’s good to see the world of western medicine waking up to the claims of traditional medicinal systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese about a variety of natural ingredients, many of which are now being investigated scientifically and several of which have been found to have beneficial effects.

Interspersed in the recipes for teas, cordials, vinegars, wines and so on are suggested cocktails – a great way to use some of your home made items.

Not every recipe has an accompanying photograph, but most do, and these are bright and appealing.

The recipes also provide an indication of how long you can keep the finished product. Although the liqueurs have a long shelf life, my only disappointment with the book is that many of the other recipes have surprisingly short one – for me, one of the key reasons to make cordials, vinegars and syrups is to preserve the season’s bounty to a time of the year when that ingredient is no longer available. I would have thought that cordials and syrups with a high sugar content – if made in clean equipment and stored in sterilised bottles – would surely last much longer than 2 weeks.

What I do like is that these are not just the run-of-the-mill recipes we’ve all encountered time and time again – instead Han brings an inventiveness not just in terms of some of the ingredients she uses but also in the combinations she suggests for well-known ingredients.

The good news is that I have two copies of Wild Drinks & Cocktails  to give away. Scroll down for the chance to win this beautiful book.

In the meantime, enjoy Emily Han’s delightful recipe for Vin D’Orange.

Wild Drinks and Cocktails Vin dOrange crp

Homemade Vin D’Orange

Here’s a vital bit of kitchen (and wildcrafting) wisdom: some recipes are meant to be enjoyed right away, while others are lovingly prepared for future pleasure. Vin d’orange falls into the latter category. Infused with winter citrus fruits, it reaches its prime in spring or summer—and that’s when you’ll thank yourself for having such foresight. (It’s also when you’ll lament that you didn’t put up more!) Served as an aperitif, vin d’orange is traditionally made from bitter oranges and dry white or French-style rosé wine. Depending on where you live, bitter oranges may be hard to locate, so this version calls for more readily available navel oranges plus grapefruit. The result is a wine that’s pleasantly bittersweet—delicious on its own over ice, or mixed with a little sparkling water.

Makes: about 940 ml / 1 quart

Ingredients
2 large navel oranges (preferably Cara Cara)
1 small grapefruit (preferably white)
1⁄2 vanilla bean, split
1⁄2 cup (100 g) sugar
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) vodka
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) brandy
1 bottle (750 ml, or 31⁄4 cups) dry white or dry rosé wine

Variation: To use bitter oranges, replace the oranges and grapefruit with 3 Seville oranges.

Method

  • Rinse and dry the oranges and grapefruit. Trim and discard the stem ends. Cut each orange into 1/4-inch-thick (6 mm) rounds. Cut the grapefruit in half and then cut each half into 1/4-inch-thick (6 mm) half-circles.
  • Combine the oranges, grapefruit, vanilla, and sugar in a sterilized quart (1 L) jar. Pour the vodka, brandy, and wine into the jar and push the fruit down with a wooden spoon to submerge it as much as possible (it will insist on floating up). Cover the jar tightly.
  • Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 1 month, shaking it daily to moisten the floating pieces of fruit with the alcohol mixture.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids.
  • Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
  • Age for at least 1 month before drinking: the Vin d’Orange will continue to improve with age. Serve chilled.

Recipe extract from Wild Drink and Cocktails by Emily Han, published with permission from Fair Wind Press.

GIVEAWAY

Fair Winds Press are offering a copy of Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han to two lucky readers of Kavey Eats! Each 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
Leave a comment telling me about your favourite drink made from fruits, vegetables, herbs or spices.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a copy of Wild Drinks & Cocktails by Emily Han from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsWildDrinks #KaveyEatsWildDrinks
(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 4th December 2015.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries (across blog and twitter) using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each (of two) prizes is a copy of Emily Han’s Wild Drinks and Cocktails published by Fair Winds Press, and includes delivery within the UK. We cannot guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery date.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Fair Winds Press.
  • 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, winners 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 your 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 Wild Drinks and Cocktails. Published by Fair Winds Press, a member of the Quarto Publishing Group, this title is currently available for £14.99 (RRP).

 

Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookery books are amongst the titles I hear most frequently recommended to others by those who own them, with particular praise for his way with vegetables; although his cooking is not vegetarian, he has a much-lauded knack for making vegetables the star of the show.

nopi-book Plenty More Ottolenghi Cover

His most recently published title, NOPI: The Cookbook, is written with Ramael Scully, the head chef at Yotam’s Nopi restaurant – it’s a real all-rounder with dishes featuring vegetables, fruits, fish and meat and the recipes are a heady mix of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian flavours with additional influences from all over the world. The book is full of temptations such as Roasted aubergine with black garlic, pine nuts and basil, Butternut squash with ginger tomatoes and lime yoghurt, Seared scallops with pickled daikon and chilli jam, Tomatoes with wasabi mascarpone and pine nuts, Sticky sesame rice, Lemon sole with burnt butter, nori and fried capers, White pepper-crusted lamb sweetbreads with pea purée and miso, Venison fillet with date labneh, blackberries and peanut crumble, Chicken supremes with roast garlic and tarragon brioche pudding, Persian love rice with burnt butter tzatziki, Black rice with mango and coconut cream, Caramel peanut ice cream with chocolate sauce and peanut brittle and Coffee and pecan financiers. That’s just the list that leapt out at me on the first look, but there are so many more recipes that intrigue me. Read my guest poster’s review of Nopi: The Cookbook, here.

Plenty More, published last year, is a vegetarian cookery book in which recipes are grouped by cooking method – tossed, steamed, blanched, simmered, braised, grilled, roasted, fried, mashed, cracked, baked and sweetened. After the enormous success of Plenty back in 2010, fans old and new were delighted to discover another 150 vegetarian recipes to enjoy at home.

The good news is that I have a copy of each to give away. Scroll down for the chance to win both books.

In the meantime, enjoy this delicious recipe for Courgette and Manouri Fritters with Lime and cardamom Soured Cream from NOPI: The Cookbook.

NOPI Courgette and Manouri Fritters

NOPI’s Courgette & Manouri Fritters with Lime & Cardamom Soured Cream

Makes 12 fritters, to serve 4, or 24 smaller fritters, to serve 8 as a snack

Ingredients
3 medium courgettes, trimmed
and coarsely grated (580g)
2 small shallots, finely chopped (50g)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
finely grated zest of 2 limes
60g self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
21/2 tsp ground coriander
11/2 tsp ground cardamom
150g manouri (or halloumi or feta), roughly broken into 1–2cm chunks
about 150ml sunflower oil, for frying
coarse sea salt and black pepper
For the Lime and cardamom soured cream
200ml soured cream
5g coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

Method

  • Mix together all the ingredients for the soured cream sauce in a small bowl, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a grind of black pepper. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Place the grated courgettes in a colander and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 10minutes, then squeeze them to remove most of the liquid: you want the courgettes to keep a little bit of moisture, so don’t squeeze them completely dry.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and add the shallots, garlic, lime zest, flour, eggs, ground coriander, cardamom and a grind of black pepper. Mix well to form a uniform batter, then fold in the manouri cheese gently so it doesn’t break up much.
  • Pour enough oil into a large frying pan so it rises 2–3mm up the sides and place on a medium heat. Once hot, add 4 separate heaped dessertspoons of mixture to the pan, spacing them well apart and flattening each fritter slightly with the flat side of a slotted spoon as they cook. Cook for 6 minutes, turning once halfway through, until golden and crisp on both sides. Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate and keep somewhere warm while you continue with the remaining two batches.
  • Place 3 fritters on each plate and serve at once, with the sauce alongside or in a bowl on the side.

Recipe extracted from NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully. (Ebury Press, £28). Photography by Jonathan Lovekin.

GIVEAWAY

Ebury Press are offering a copy of NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully plus a copy of Plenty More  by Yotam Ottolenghi to one lucky reader of Kavey Eats! 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
Leave a comment telling me about your favourite recipe for showcasing vegetables.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win copies of NOPI: The cookbook and Plenty More from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsNopi #KaveyEatsNopi
(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 4th December 2015.
  • 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 copy of NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully and one copy of Plenty More  by Yotam Ottolenghi, both published by Ebury Press. The prize includes delivery within in the UK. We cannot guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery date.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Ebury Press.
  • 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, winners 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 your 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 review copies of both titles from Ebury Press. NOPI: The Cookbook is currently available for £12.99 (RRP £28). Plenty More is currently available for £12 (RRP £27). (At time of posting).

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