As I write this, it’s pouring with rain outside and has been since I woke up some hours ago. Heavy drops are bouncing hard on the flat roof outside the window, making quickly-dissipating concentric circles one after the other after the other in mesmerising, ever-changing patterns. Grey skies and endless water have washed away the skin-warming heat we experienced just a few weeks ago.

The beginning of July felt like one of those endless summers of childhood. Sunblock was vigorously applied, sun-starved limbs were eagerly exposed, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses saved us from squinting against the bright light, and barbeques across the nation were eagerly dusted off and put back to use.

For me, there are few snacks that speak of summer as much as ice lollies; the perfect cooling refreshment. Best eaten quickly before the heat starts to drive sticky, melted rivers of sweetness down the stick, onto hands, from there to drip drip drip onto bare feet, or better yet the parched grass underfoot.

Unsurprisingly, most of the entries for this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream were made earlier on in the month, when the weather still had us yearning for icy treats.

CucumberLemonPops550

Kate, author of Veggie Desserts, is an expert at incorporating vegetables often thought of as savoury, into sweet treats. Her Cucumber and Lemon Popsicles look super refreshing. I’ve often heard people suggest that cucumber has no flavour, but it certainly does, especially when the flavour is allowed to be the star of the show.

BSFIC-July2015-wonderlusting

Wonderlusting Lynda is not new to BSFIC but has not entered for a while, so it was such a pleasure to see her bright Coconutty, Carrot & Mango Ice Lollies, a welcome splash of colour and flavour. And how funky does that nail polish look against the orange and red?!

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle -notext-9048

I was delighted by how well my Eton Mess Ice Lollies turned out – a simple combination of fresh strawberries, sugar, double cream and crushed meringue. I took these along to a barbeque with friends and they seemed to go down well!

fruity yoghurt pops

Kate from Happy Igloo created these attractively layered Fruity Yogurt Pops by combining fresh fruit with natural yoghurt for a healthy ice lolly. Yoghurt makes such great ice lollies, adding a welcome tang to the taste of sweet ripe fruit.

peach and banana lollipops 3

Great minds think alike – Corina from Searching For Spice also chose to mix natural yoghurt with fruit for her Peach and Banana Ice Lollipops, opting for a two-layer lolly. I love the shape of her moulds too!

debi double cherry popsicles

Debi, author of lifestyle blog Life Currents, made these pretty Double Cherry Popsicles by combining dried and fresh cherries with lemonade. You must check out the adorable penguin lolly mould she used for one of the lollies!

cows

Caroline’s Chocolate Milk Ice Cream Lollies tasted delicious but the lollipop moulds she tried out didn’t quite work – the head broke off one cow and the stick off the other. The important thing is that they tasted good and hopefully won’t put Caroline off further ice cream experiments!

tofu strawberry lollyBSFIC

I’m so excited by these Korean Inspired Strawberry and Tofu Lollies by Sneige from Orange Thyme. We had been chatting on twitter and I suggested she try something with a Korean influence. I learned when making a traditional Japanese shira-ae salad dressing quite how versatile tofu can be but would never have thought to use it as a base for a sweet ice lolly – so clever!

Nutella lollies cropped

Lisa aka the Cookwitch was determined to make some ice lollies this month. Her first attempt – a rhubarb and custard jam, peanut butter and condensed milk experiment – sounded utterly delicious but woefully, it didn’t freeze. However, Lisa came up trumps on her second try, with these Melty Nutella Ice Lollies.

Fruity Lemonade Lolly sm

Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary is full of colour this week, after she posted her Fruity Lemonade Ice Lollies against a field of yellow. Elizabeth uses her Froothie Optimum power blender to blitz whole lemons for the recipe so these are super sharp, just as her kids like them, but the beauty of the recipe is that you can adjust the sweetness to your personal tastes.

Cucumber-Elderflower-and-mint-Ice-pops-captioned1

Last but not least is Fuss Free Flavours Helen’s delightful Cooling Cucumber Elderflower Mint Ice Pops which make great use of a power blender to combine cucumber, mint, elderflower cordial and water for a light and refreshing lolly.

IceCreamChallenge mini

That’s it for this month – some super ice lollies, I hope you agree.

Keep your eyes open, August’s BSFIC post will be up very soon!

 

The Chemex Coffeemaker is an iconic design; a beautiful narrow-waisted glass jug with polished wooden collar and simple leather tie. The sleek coffee apparatus is so timeless you could be forgiven for assuming the Chemex is a recent creation but it was invented in 1941 by German inventor Peter Schlumbohm.

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

Schlumbohm’s Most Famous Invention

Conscripted into the army during World War II, Schlumbohm returned from fighting in France unwilling to take on the reigns of his father’s successful paint and chemical business, as was expected of him. Instead he signed away his rights to inherit in return for the family’s financial support to keep him in education for as long as he wished to study. Alongside chemistry, he studied psychology, keen to understand what had lead to “the mess of a war”, his experiences on the battlefield inciting him to call for the abolition of the military and a technocratic leadership for Germany.

After graduating in chemistry Schlumbohm became an inventor, specialising in vacuum and refrigeration, the former being a key component in the latter. After visiting the United States in the early 1930s to market some of his inventions he eventually moved there, filing thousands of patents during his lifetime for a variety of chemical, mechanical and engineering breakthroughs.

For Schlumbohm, the Chemex – which he originally patented in 1939 as a laboratory ‘filtering device’ – held far less promise than the refrigeration device he exhibited at the 1939 New York World’s Fair and which he believed would make his fortune. Looking for financial investment to take the refrigerator prototype into production, he raised capital by selling a minority interest in the filtering device, setting up The Chemex Corporation to produce and market it as a coffeemaker later that same year. It was the Chemex that became Schlumbohm’s most successful and enduring invention.

Within a couple of years, Schlumbohm had simplified the design , eliminating the spout and handle in favour of a simple pouring groove. The classic Chemex design was born.

Launching in the wartime years was a challenge, requiring approval from the War Production Board for allocation of materials and production, which was eventually undertaken by the Corning Glass Works. The lack of metals in the product meant no competition over supplies with armament producers and other core industries.

The Chemex tapped perfectly into the design sensibilities of the era, which valued functional objects with a simplicity of shape and construction; indeed it complimented perfectly the influential Bauhaus aesthetic, bringing together creative design with practicality of form and skill of manufacture. It was quickly lauded by the Museum of Modern Art, cementing its place as a design classic.

In subsequent years, Schlumbohm focused on building the public profile of the Chemex by way of trade shows, prominent advertising and strategically gifting products to those in a position of influence – artists, politicians, authors and film-makers.

Today the Chemex is much loved across the world and has experienced a renaissance in recent decades, as coffee lovers around the world rekindle their love-affair with pour-over filter coffee.

How To Make Pour-Over Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker

To use the Chemex you will need:

  • Chemex Coffeemaker (mine is the 10 cup size, which equates to approximately 1.4 litres)
  • Chemex filters *
  • A set of scales, accurate to within a gram or two
  • Whole beans coffee ^ + a coffee grinder with adjustable grind setting
  • Filtered water ~
  • A measuring jug or pouring kettle
  • A timer / stopwatch

* Chemex filters are much thicker than standard filters for regular coffee machines. The thicker paper traps sediment more effectively, and removes a higher volume of coffee oils, resulting in a unique taste when compared with coffee brewed using other methods. It also has an impact on how quickly the water drips through.

^ If using pre-ground coffee, look for coffee that has been ground fairly coarsely, usually labelled for use in cafetières and filter coffee machines. Espresso grind is much too fine.

~ Filtering water before using it to make your coffee (or tea, for that matter) removes unwanted substances that are present in most tap water supplies. This has a significant positive impact on the clarity and taste of your finished coffee.  You can either use a filter jug to clean your water before boiling or use a kettle with a Brita filter incorporated into the design to filter and boil in one step.

How Much Coffee To Use

Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9071 Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9072

The ideal ratio for Chemex coffeemakers is between 55 grams and 65 grams of coffee per litre of water.

Simply scale those ratios up or down depending on how much coffee you want to make. For 500 ml of water, use 27.5 to 32.5 grams of coffee, and so on.

The exact amount of coffee will vary according to the variety and roasting levels of the coffee you choose, the grind you’ve applied and your personal preferences in how you like your coffee. Heavy roasting not only intensifies the flavour of a coffee bean, it also makes it lighter in weight, so 50 grams in weight equals many more heavily roasted coffee beans than lightly roasted ones. Don’t be afraid to adjust each time you switch to a new coffee – the ratios are just a starting point.

How To Assess The Grind

Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9079 Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9088

Do a test run. Weigh and grind your coffee, noting down the grind setting used.

Make your coffee following the instructions below, timing the process from the moment you pour hot water onto the coffee to the moment it pretty much stops dripping through.

It should take around 3.5 minutes for the water to drip through.

If it takes significantly longer, the grind may be too fine – water takes longer to work its way through finer grounds as they naturally pack more tightly within the filter, and so extracts a lot more from the grinds as it passes through. You may find the resulting coffee too strong and bitter. Adjust your grinder to achieve a coarser grind and try again.

If your water makes its way through much faster than 3.5 minutes, the grind may be too coarse – the resulting coffee may taste weak and insipid. Adjust your grinder to achieve a finer grind and try again.

Keep in mind that the outcome will also be affected by the individual coffee – dark roasts result in stronger, more bitter brews than light roasts and the variety, origin, growing conditions and many other factors affect the taste.

The 3.5 minutes is a guide to make adjustments again, not a fixed rule.

How To Make Pour-Over Coffee

Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9084 Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-9076

Weigh and grind the coffee beans.

Place a Chemex filter paper into the funnel of the Chemex, with the triple folded side centred against the pouring groove.

Filter your water in a filter jug, or use a filtering kettle to boil sufficient water for the amount of coffee you want to make, plus a little extra.

Pour a little hot water into the filter to wet the paper. Pour this water out of the Chemex jug and discard.

Place your ground coffee into the dampened filter paper.

Measure 500 ml of boiled water and start pouring slowly and steadily into the Chemex, starting the timer as you start to pour. Rather than pouring only into the centre of the coffee, use circular movements to distribute the water across the surface area of the coffee. Pause during pouring if you need to, to keep the level of water a couple of centimetres below the lip of the Chemex.

Stop the timer once the coffee pretty much stops dripping through.

Gather the top edges of the coffee filter together, pick it up and quickly set it aside in a mug or on a plate. The paper and coffee grounds can be composted, if you have a compost bin.

Your coffee is now ready to pour and enjoy!

Making Pourover Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle - 9066 withtext

 

Kavey Eats attended a Chemex coffee making class run by the DunneFrankowski Creative Coffee Consultancy at The Gentlemen Baristas coffee shop as part of Brita’s #BetterWithBrita campaign. Kavey Eats received a Chemex coffee-making kit, Brita filter jug and Morphy Richards Brita Water Filter Kettle from Brita.

 

I developed this recipe when writing a piece about Carob Molasses recently for Good Things magazine. (You can read it by following the link). The inspiration for the combination is entirely thanks to the wonderful Beiruti blogger, Joumana Accad, author of  tasteofbeirut.com.

The malty caramel flavour of carob molasses and the delicious sesame of the tahini work wonderfully with chocolate and make for a delicious, unusual chocolate brownie.

If you’ve never tried the combination before, its well worth seeking out carob molasses from your nearest Lebanese, Turkish or Greek specialist store to make it.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - text

Carob Molasses & Tahini Chocolate Brownies

Combining the classical flavours of debs bi tahini (carob molasses mixed with tahini) with chocolate in a rich, fudgy brownie.

Makes 36 squares

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
120 grams Demerara or light brown sugar
120 grams carob molasses
60 grams unsalted butter, melted
40 grams tahini
200 grams plain flour
30 grams cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt

Tip: For the sugar, carob molasses and tahini I suggest weighing these directly into the mixing bowl as you reach the steps where they are added. Other ingredients are best weighed out ahead.

Equipment: I use a stand mixer to make the batter but you can use an electric whisk or beat by hand, if you prefer. This recipe is for an 8 inch / 20 cm square baking tin.

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Line a 8 inch / 20 cm square baking pan or dish with parchment paper (or grease with butter), and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until well combined and a little frothy.
  • Add the carob molasses and beat again to combine, then add the melted butter and tahini and mix until smooth.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour,  cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; if using a stand mixer or electric whisk, start at the lowest speed and increase once most of the flour mix is folded in. This stops the dry ingredients flying out of the mixing bowl!
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula to spread it evenly into the corners and create a reasonably smooth surface.
  • Bake for 20 minutes for a fudgy texture or 25 minutes for a more cake-like finish.
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack. Baking parchment makes this task easier, as you can grab the paper at the sides and lift the entire cake up and out.
  • Once cool, transfer to a chopping board and cut into squares. An 8 inch / 20 cm square tin divides nicely into 6 x 6 brownies.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle-7533

LoveCakelinklogoThese brownies will last for up to a week in an airtight plastic box.

I’m entering this bake into Jibber Jabber’s cakes from around the world challenge.

 

Summer means strawberries! It calls to mind strawberry picking at a local farm, strawberries and cream (and Wimbledon), home made strawberry liqueur, hot bubbling pans of strawberry jam and the special pleasure of eating home grown strawberries from the back garden.

It’s also the best time of year to make one of our favourite desserts, Eton Mess, a jumbled mix of fresh strawberries, whipped cream and broken meringues. For those of a tidier inclination who prefer to keep it more elegant, strawberry pavlova is a rather tidier presentation of exactly the same ingredients!

When I set the theme to July’s #BSFIC challenge as Ice Lollies the plentiful fresh strawberries available in the shops just now made it a no brainer.

I made Eton Mess Ice Lollies!

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle -overtext

 

Eton Mess Ice Lollies (Strawberries, Cream & Crushed Meringue)

Makes 8-10 generous lollies, depending on size of moulds

Ingredients
500 g strawberries, hulled and finely chopped
50-75 g sugar (depending on tartness of strawberries)
300 ml double cream (divided into 2 x 150 ml)
50 g dry meringues, broken into pieces

Note: Make sure you chop the strawberries fairly small, so that each bite of ice lolly has a nice mix of fruit, cream and meringue.

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-162709 Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-170049 Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-201045

Method

  • In a large bowl, mix the strawberries, 50 grams of sugar and 150 ml of double cream. If the strawberries are tart, use an extra 25 grams of sugar – the mixture needs to be super sweet as it will be combined with unsweetened cream later.
  • Cover and leave in the fridge for at least two hours. The sugar helps the strawberries to macerate, releasing more juice into the cream.
  • Whip the other 150 ml of double cream until stiff and combine carefully with the macerated strawberry mixture and the crushed meringue.
  • Spoon the mixture into lolly moulds or small cups and insert lolly sticks. The mixture should be thick enough for the sticks to remain upright, but if not, use some sticky tape to keep them in place.
  • Transfer to the freezer overnight until frozen solid.
  • To serve, cup the moulds in warm hands or dip into a cup of hot water for a few seconds to help the lolly slip out of its mould.

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle  overtext

I’ve made these lollies for July’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream. I’m also entering them into Allotment2Kitchen’s The Vegetable Palette.

IceCreamChallenge mini

If you make and blog an ice lolly recipe this month, do join in!

 

I love raw salmon – I don’t think there’s enough salmon sashimi in this world to sate me. And I love cured and smoked salmon – both the hot and cold smoked varieties… utterly gorgeous.

But although I’ve had lovely cooked salmon plenty of times, I’ve also been served some hideously overcooked salmon; so much so that I no longer order it when eating out. Salmon is a fish that doesn’t forgive overcooking and the gap between perfectly cooked and woaaah there, Nelly, you’ve turned it into a fishy rusk covered in unsightly streaks of white albumin seems to be about 5 seconds!

The advantage of sous vide cooking is that you can take a piece of salmon (or steak or an egg or whatever you like) up to the exact temperature that will change its texture to just cooked but leaving it in an extra few minutes won’t make a bit of difference. Heck, you could leave it in an extra 30 minutes and it’d be just fine. Click here to understand more about how sous vide works.

So sous vide salmon has been on my list to try at home for the longest time. (Yes, I know, I’ve had a sous vide machine for 18 months… what the heck took me so long? how the heck can I call myself a food blogger? blah blah blah…)

The texture is just gorgeous. Silky, silky soft with the gentle wobble of just-cooked fish – it’s a wonderful way to enjoy salmon!

Sous Vide Salmon with Lime Butter - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - 9040

What prompted me to finally give it a go was getting our Codlo, a super nifty space-saving device that turns your regular slow cooker or rice cooker into a sous vide water bath. Read my original review of the Codlo, here.

I’m genuinely an enormous fan of this device – we’ve enjoyed the results of our Sous Vide Supreme for over a year but struggled with storage, as it’s really quite large. The Codlo takes hardly any space, indeed it’s small enough that we can store it inside our slow cooker!

When we tested the two devices in a side by side comparison, we couldn’t tell any difference in the results, making Codlo a very viable alternative, not to mention significantly less expensive too.

codlo book 2[3]

The accompanying book, Codlo Sous-Vide Guide & Recipes written by Codlo creator Grace Lee, is packed with instructions about sous vide cooking techniques plus temperatures and times for different types of foods and lots of tempting recipes.

We followed Grace’s instructions for cooking salmon, but served it with a very simple lime butter instead of the parsley sauce suggested.

As the salmon needs a brief brine bath before cooking, start this recipe about an hour before you wish to serve.

Sous Vide Salmon with Lime Butter - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - 9035 Sous Vide Salmon with Lime Butter - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - 9038

Sous Vide Salmon With Lime Butter

Serves 2

Ingredients
– For the brine

500 ml (2 cups) water
50 grams (3 tablespoons) salt
– For cooking the salmon
2 fresh salmon fillets
30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
– For the butter
25 grams butter, softened
Juice of half a lime, freshly squeezed
– Vegetables
As you prefer, we chose baby new potatoes and peas

Note: You will also need sealable bags in which to vacuum-pack the salmon. Use a vacuum sealing machine with specialist bags provided or food-safe ziplock bags and the water displacement method.

Method

  • Fill your slow cooker or rice cooker with water, plug in the Codlo, set the temperature to 50 °C (122 °F) and allow to come up to temperature.
  • In a large bowl dissolve the brine salt in the water. Place the salmon fillets in the brine solution so that they are completely submerged and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the salmon from the brine and place into your sous vide bag with the olive oil. Remove the air from the bag and seal securely.
  • Once your Codlo-controlled water bath is up to temperature, set the timer for 20 minutes and submerge your bagged salmon in the heated water.
  • Use these 20 minutes to cook your chosen vegetables and make the lime butter.
  • To make the lime butter, mix the lime juice into the softened butter; you might prefer to add half the juice first and taste before adding more, to balance the acidity to your taste.
  • Once the cooking time is up, remove the salmon from the water bath, open the bag and carefully slide the fillets onto plates. Be gentle as they are quite fragile once cooked.
  • Spoon lime butter over the fish (and the potatoes too, in our case).
  • Serve immediately.

Sous Vide Salmon with Lime Butter - Kavey Eats

Kavey Eats received a Codlo for review purposes. All opinions are genuine and 100% honest, as always.  Codlo is currently priced at £119, available here; given how much I love the product, I accepted an invitation to become an affiliate, please see blog sidebar for further information.

 

For the latest Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream I set a theme of sorbets and granitas.

Corin Sorbet

Corin at Pro-Ware Kitchen created this rather grown up Tangerine and Prosecco Sorbet, the perfect palate cleanser. I love the beautiful orange colour and am seriously coveting the pretty champagne coupe glass.

Caroline Sorbet

One advantage of sorbet over ice cream is that it’s a little easier to make low calorie versions. Caroline from Caroline Makes shares this Slimming World Kiwi and Lime Sorbet which substitutes powdered sweetener for sugar. Of course, you can stick to sugar if you like!

no churn lemon 3

Regular BSFIC participant Alicia Foodycat put forward a rogue entry, a No-Churn Lemon Ripple Ice Cream! Yes it has dairy, but as she says, lemon is so refreshing it’s almost like a sorbet! Besides, BSFIC is all about sharing frozen treats, so I’m happy if she is!

Jen granita

Another grown up entry from Jen of Jen’s Food in the form of this Sloe Gin and Tonic Granita. Doesn’t this look just the thing for a warm midsummer’s evening?

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle -landscape-text

Lastly, I made use of some of the herbs from our back garden for this simple Lemon Balm Sorbet which also features a slosh of white rum to add flavour and keep it super soft.

IceCreamChallenge

Thanks to everyone who joined in. July’s BSFIC theme is ice lollies, so do get freezing and join in!

Jun 282015
 

The herb patch in our back garden has gone wild. Lemon balm is one of the winners of the battle for space and light, thrusting proud stems laden with aromatic leaves in all directions. We also have bold bushes of sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme.

I think the pure and subtle flavour of herbs can be a little too tempered in dairy ice creams, but sings loudly in simple and refreshing sorbets. Since I’ve enjoyed both mint and basil sorbets in the past, I figured a lemon balm sorbet would work nicely and give us a way of using up some of that lemon balm bonanza.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle -landscape-text

I opted to use my wonderful Froothie’s Optimum power blender to speed up the process. Blending together sugar, water and lemon balm leaves and a large dose of white rum took only minutes and produced a super smooth liquid which I cooled down and churned in my beautiful Smart Scoop ice cream machine (from the Sage by Heston Blumenthal range).

The advantage of this method is that it’s super fast and the flavour of the herb is good and strong.

The colour, of course, is much darker than steeping herbs in a sugar syrup and straining out before churning.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle --9021 Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle --9025

The rum adds a punch of flavour but also keeps the sorbet super soft. If you prefer your sorbet to freeze really hard, use less or omit entirely.

Simple Lemon Balm Sorbet

Ingredients
200 grams caster sugar
300 ml water
10 grams freshly picked lemon balm leaves, stems removed
1-2 tablespoons white rum

Method

  • Place all ingredients into the power blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Transfer to fridge to cool.
  • Churn in an ice cream machine, or transfer to freezer in a tub and fork through every hour for 3-4 hours.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - portrait-text

This is my entry for the Early Summer Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, which has a theme of sorbets and granitas.

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The Optimum 9200, the newer model of my 9400, retails for £429 but is currently on sale for £349. Visit Froothie’s website for details and don’t forget to enter “Special Ambassador Offer” on checkout for an additional 2 year warranty free of charge. Please use my affiliate link (here and in my sidebar) to support Kavey Eats.

 

I don’t often gravitate towards cookery books focusing on a single ingredient as they so often have a core of fabulous recipes padded out with a bunch of weak page fillers.

But Diana Henry’s A Bird In The Hand is a wonderful exception, chock – or should that be chook? – full of appealing recipes for simple, tasty chicken dinners.

A-bird-in-the-hand Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-withtext

In the UK we purchase and eat a lot of chicken. It’s so good roasted, grilled or barbequed, fried (pan or deep), poached, cooked in a stew or casserole… and well-suited to flavours from all around the world – a wonderfully versatile meat.

In this book Diana Henry shares a collection of over 100 chicken recipes that range from quick and casual to impressive and celebratory. I am tempted by nearly all of them! 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.

Others are dishes we’ve not thought to try ourselves. My copy of the book is frilled along the top edge with little scraps of paper bookmarking those I want to try soon – Spanish Chicken, 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.

They all sound so good, don’t they?

Diana Henry's Crusted Chicken and Chorizo Paella - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-1 Diana Henry's Crusted Chicken and Chorizo Paella - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-3

Both dishes we have made so far have been enormously comforting, delicious and likely to be repeated again and again. Though there are only two of us, we felt the Crusted Chicken and Chorizo Paella was best made in a large quantity; we scaled it down to make two thirds and that served us both for two meals, plus a generous portion for my lunchbox one day too. Warm, comforting, tasty and not complicated to make.

The Chicken with Pumpkin, Cream and Gruyère actually blew me away. As you can see, it’s such a simple recipe and yet I would never have thought to combine chicken and pumpkin, nor to cook the combination so simply in cream flavoured with garlic and grated cheese. Be warned, this is a rich dish, so small portions will be plenty. A crisp vinaigrette-dressed green salad is my perfect accompaniment.

Again, we scaled the recipe down by half. We used chicken thighs (which I much prefer to breasts) and butternut squash and switched the two hard cheeses for close cousins we had on hand. We also decided to cut the thighs into three pieces before frying, rather than after as in the recipe.

Full, original recipe provided below.

Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-1

Diana Henry’s Chicken with Pumpkin, Cream and Gruyère

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) pumpkin or butternut squash (unprepared weight)
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts
400 ml (14 fl oz) double cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
25 g (scant 1 oz) grated Gruyère
25 g (scant 1 oz) grated Parmesan

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Peel and deseed the pumpkin and cut it into wedges. Put the wedges into a roasting tin, brush with olive oil, season and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until completely tender (and even slightly caramelised). Now put the squash into a gratin or other ovenproof dish, one that is big enough to accommodate the chicken too.

Meanwhile, cook the chicken. Simply season it all over, heat one and a half tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the chicken on both sides until golden and cooked through, eight to ten minutes. Cut each piece into three. Add the chicken to the pumpkin.

Heat the cream with the garlic until it’s boiling, take off the heat, season and pour over the chicken and pumpkin. Sprinkle on both cheeses and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The dish should be bubbling and golden. Serve. You need something to cut the richness so a salad of bitter leaves is good. Children like it with pasta, but I prefer brown rice or another nutty whole grain.

Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-1 Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-2 Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-3

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A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry is available from Amazon for £9.99 (RRP £20). Published by Mitchell Beazley. Kavey Eats received a review copy from the publisher.

 

Islay, aaah, Islay, it’s always such a pleasure to visit your beautiful landscapes again.

Even if you made a liar out of me when I told our Islay newbie friends how we have always had gorgeous weather for Feis Ile (whisky and musical festival) week and would surely have it again.

Even in the driving winds and rains, you were beautiful.

Though the weather made me grateful for the cosiness of our self-catering house with its deep, soft sofas, small but well-equipped kitchen and comfortable bedrooms.

And its windows out across glorious views of green grass, yellow gorse, blue sea and cows. I spent long moments standing watch as baby rabbits, deranged with excitement, hopped and swallows swooped across the spring sky.

There were seven in our group this time; two crazy brave folks on bicycles and the rest of us in joyously rain-proof cars. I think – I hope – we all enjoyed the week, though I remain in awe of the cyclists’ sheer determination and tenacity!

We didn’t visit as many of your beautiful locations as we usually do – no excursions to Kilnave Chapel, the Kildarton Cross or to the ancient seat of the Lordship of the Isles, on the shores of Loch Finlaggan. Few meanders across sand beaches or stony shorelines. And a little less time sitting out in the sunshine with a whisky in hand and the merry notes of live music nearby.

Still we visited all the distilleries: Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Laphroaig and Islay Ales too.

We didn’t diligently attend every distillery open day this time – since our first visit in 2006 the popularity of the festival has grown year on year and there are far more fellow visitors to contend with than ever before. Of itself, that’s no bad thing – it’s an extra pleasure chatting to locals and other travellers – but the narrow, twisting roads and limited parking at many of the distilleries makes transport logistics ever more difficult and there were a occasions when we bowed out of the long, slow queues for park and ride minibuses and pootled away somewhere else instead.

We took it easy, visiting distilleries on their quieter days and booked into only a couple of specialist events – partly be design and partly because they now book out within minutes of tickets being released. I am reliably informed that Jim McEwan’s last Bruichladdich masterclass and Dr Kirstie McCallum’s straight-from-the-cask tasting session at Bunnahabhain were both very fantastic.

Congratulations to both Ardbeg and Laphroaig, both celebrating 200 years as legally registered distilleries. Lagavulin follows suit next year. And a hearty congratulations to Kilchoman on their tenth birthday!

We made two lovely visits to my favourite Scottish pub, An Tigh Seinnse in Portnahaven, run by lovely Laura and her husband.

Of course, I gorged myself on crab claws and scallops from the Seafood Shack – no squat lobsters this time but the crab and scallops were as good as ever.

We cooked three communal dinners in the house and enjoyed two barbeques in the fantastic barbeque hut in the garden – I refer to this handsome hexagonal hut as the Hobbit House, though in reality it’s plenty large enough for the tallest in our group and seven of us had plenty of space to spread out inside. A large central barbeque is surrounded by benches covered in soft animal skins with light coming in from small windows. Next time, I shall pack a few candles for when the darkness falls. ASPorter butchers in Bowmore were the source of delicious meats, and the Bowmore co-op provided most of the rest. Plus some wild garlic foraged by Lagavulin’s car park and, later, from the back garden when we realised it was growing rampant there too.

We returned to The Lochside Hotel in Bowmore for a couple of lunches.

And we made a new discovery when we stopped into the Ballygrant Inn to a warm welcome in the well-stocked whisky bar there. Another welcome respite from the rain, especially for damp cyclists!

Even in the rain, driving around Islay afforded one stunning view after another; verges bright with blooming bluebells and tightly curled ferns, marshy grassland dotted with sheep and cattle, wide sweeping shorelines with gently lapping waters or wind-whipped, white-tipped waves, winding single-lane roads with quaint passing points that were slightly hair-raising when the island’s bus or a large lorry hurtled at speed towards you.

I did a lot of the driving as the only non whisky-drinker in the group, though I rather enjoyed it, perhaps more than my passengers did!

And when the sun came out more resolutely, for our last couple of days… oh Islay, you were, as always, glorious!

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Views from the main house

 

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Inside the Hobbit House

 

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Two visits to Ardbeg, one for Feis Ile open day and one for a quieter lunch in the Old Kiln Cafe

 

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A salad with foraged wild garlic; a newly discovered pleasure – cambozola cheese in Pedro Ximinez sherry; ASPorter butchers; farm-fresh eggs from the chickens by the house; my sparkling sake whisky alternative; serving up my banoffee dessert; the aftermaths of after-dinner drinking

 

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Laphroaig, celebrating 200 years this year

 

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An Tigh Seinnse (with birthday boy Pete and frenzied crab-eating Kavey); Portnahaven harbour views

 

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Birthday puzzle; whisky and chocolate tasting at Lagavulin; Ballygrant Inn whisky bar; one of An Gleann tablet makers resident peacocks displaying at a very disinterested peahen

 

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Two visits to Bruichladdich, one for Feis Ile open day and another to buy whisky when the shop was less rammed

 

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The boys walked to Caol Ila, I waited for the minibus and beat them there; beautiful views across to Jura

 

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Just some of my lunch purchases from the Seafood Shack

 

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Although we missed Kilchoman’s open day we did go for tea and cake on a quieter day instead, completing a quick crossword in the car and cafe

 

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Two visits to Bunnahabhain during the week

 

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Whisky tastings at Bowmore; Bowmore’s round church, Kilarrow, designed to give the devil no corners in which to hide; lunch at The Lochside Hotel

 

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Taking shelter from the downpour in the Islay Ales open day tent; I found cake!

 

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A trip to Islay starts and ends with a CalMac journey

 

Although this isn’t a typical entry, I’m submitting this to Celia’s In My Kitchen, since we did lots of wonderful cooking in our Islay home-from-home and the fabulous Hobbit House!

Big thanks to my friend Matt Gibson for extra photos, credited by image.

May 092015
 

I had so much fun with last month’s In My Kitchen – a romp through a busy month by way of Instagram – that I thought I’d rinse and repeat!

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My little baby nephew was born and I couldn’t wait to meet him. The first time he was 10 days old, and the second, he was a month old that day. Isn’t he gorgeous?

 

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For a while we had glorious sunshine. For a while…

 

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Allotment leeks in a delicious blue cheese and leek risotto.

 

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Deliciously sweet oranges and some apple and guava juice, both bought from Waitrose during my lunch break. Pain au chocolat from a local bakery and wagyu burgers from Aldi, not the highest quality wagyu but decent beef burgers for the price.

 

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We enjoyed a really lovely stay at Glazebrook House Hotel in Devon.

 

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And we attended an excellent Italian cookery class at Manna from Devon – we covered so much during the day – making pasta from scratch, some of which became tagliatelle and the rest ravioli, carpaccio of beef, bruschetta with red peppers and broccoli, lemon polenta cake, a crab risotto, a fish stew. Everything was delicious and the location itself is just beautiful.

 

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Driving in Devon is always a joy, especially when the sun is shining and the views of the coast are so beautiful!

 

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During our weekend in the Dartmouth area, we popped into local seafood restaurant Rockfish for a super fresh and delicious fish dinner. Check out the giant onion rings!

 

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After visiting London’s Piada Bar in Soho, I was given a packet of three piada flatbreads. We made some very quick and very tasty flatbread pizzas with them using ready-made pizza sauce, pre-grated mozzarella and a variety of charcuterie languishing in the fridge. So, so good!

 

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Our friends at The Bull in Highgate invited Pete and I to attend their Northern Line beer and food matching event. We enjoyed the evening immensely, and there were some very interesting matches too. Do keep an eye out on their Events page for future dinners.

 

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We took friends to the lovely Warda Lebanese restaurant in Southgate. I still think this is the best Lebanese food outside Lebanon!

 

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Two visits to Korean restaurants in New Malden for a sit down meal, the first Yami (top row) which did a fantastic modum namal including yellowbeansprouts as well as regular beansprouts, and their marinated short rib was excellen and Palace (bottom row) which was a little disappointing on the bbq front but did a decent tteokbokki (rice cake, fish cake, chilli dish).

 

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Pete pulled the last of our leeks from the allotment and combined them with a few leftover rashers of bacon, some wild garlic from the back garden and a little cream for a very tasty pasta sauce. Weirdly, this seems to be the most popular instagram I’ve shared thus far, no idea why!

 

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I loved visiting Wing Yip when I was a kid and it’s no less exciting now, several decades later. I took a Friday off to make a long weekend longer, and we took advantage to enjoy a dim sum lunch at Wing Yip’s Wing Thai restaurant, without the weekend crowds. A quick stop in the cafe bakery next door afterwards for a custard tart, a jin doy and some banana cake.

 

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We enjoyed a delicious ‘Chinese Spagbol’ recipe from Lizzie Mabbott’s ChinaTown Kitchen, a great recipe that we’ll make again and we have lots more bookmarked to try soon.

 

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We visited new local Japanese restaurant, Sushi Mania. Service is poor and when we visited, the place was overrun by really loud families, but the food we tried was all very good. At lunch time the a la carte is half price – that’s what I’d recommend; the full prices are too steep.

 

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We used to go to this local pizzeria a lot under previous management, but hadn’t been since it changed hands. Pizzas are just as good as ever, though a touch more pricy than the competition. Tasty, though!

 

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A few weeks of glorious sunshine have mostly been swept away by overcast skies and hard showers. This rose leaf in our front garden glistened after one such downpour.

 

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Our first dish from Diana Henry’s A Bird In The Hand was this very delicious and simple chicken, butternut squash and cream bake. Definitely one to make again!

 

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Two of my favourite fruits –  Asian mangoes and pears, the mangoes from a local grocery store and the Nashi pears from Wing Yip.

 

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Bank holiday Monday lunch at our local (Bohemia), roast dinner, shared with friends. Lovely end to a long weekend.

 

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Friends shared some of the Japanese kit kat stash with me, which they brought back with them from their recent trip. Wasabi and citrus gold blend were as good as I remember from my 2012 Japanese kit kat tasting. Strawberry cheesecake was vastly better, the balance of flavour completely different and far more pleasant. I’d never had the chilli variety before, so that was great fun to try – at first it seemed mild and then the chilli heat came through!

 

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With half a butternut squash leftover from the Diana Henry recipe, I found a gnocchi recipe online, which Pete made for a weeknight dinner. Served with mini fresh mozarella balls, grated parmesan-a-like and deep fried sage leaves (from the rampant bush in the back garden).

 

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We’ve been munching far too many sugary sweets since the start of our three month Scoff subscription. You can win a three month subscription of your own, here.

 

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I’ve been at  my new contract in New Malden for 5-6 weeks now and loving the lunch options in the vicinity of my office. My favourite is Ohaio – a hole-in-the-wall place at the entrance to the rail station, which sells a wide range of Korean, Japanese and Thai dishes, made hot and all fantastic value. Most lunch deals are £4.50 or £4.90 and include the main plus miso soup and some mini spring rolls.

 

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We took some friends to our local Korean, Yijo, for another delicious feast. Above you can see Japchae, Kimchi mandu (dumplings), tteokbokki (a dish of chewy rice cake worms and fish cake slices in a hot sauce), a beef, tofu and vegetable hot pot and some meat on the table barbeque, a proper charcoal one. The portion of meat for the price has dropped significantly but everything else is still tasty and great value.

 

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Pussy Galoaf, our sourdough starter (and daughter of Priscilla) is going strong. For loaf 10, Pete upped the ratio of starter to give more sourdough flavour and baked the loaf in a silicon loaf tin inside a large lidded casserole dish. It was good!

 

This is my entry into the wonderful Celia’s In My Kitchen event.

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