Festivals, shows and other events.

 

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.

Jul 012015
 

Temperatures are soaring and that can only mean one thing: ice lollies – or ice pops, popsicles and freeze pops, as some of you call them!

Whether you go for the simplest lolly made with cordial or fruit juice, layer stripes of different colours and flavours or make a cream or custard base – as long as you freeze it on a stick, we’re good to go.

Ice Lollies
Images courtesy of
shutterstock.com

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a suitable recipe in July 2015, published by 28th July.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • Include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below).
  • Email me (by the 28th of July) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer) and the link to your post.
  • Please include in your email an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 600 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

I’ll post a round up showcasing and linking to all the entries and I’ll also share your posts via Pinterest, Stumble and Twitter. If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC, I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share the links to your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

IceCreamChallenge_thumb1

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

 

When the sun comes out, it’s time to look to the freezer for sweet, delicious, frozen treats.

shutterstock_4135684-cropped shutterstock_91971101 shutterstock_113650723 shutterstock_182578346
Images from Shutterstock.com

For this extended Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, I’m looking for refreshing sorbets and granitas!

Get blitzing, freezing and blogging!

All bloggers are welcome – food, lifestyle, parenting or health and from anywhere around the world – if you share recipes with your readers, we’d love to have you join in!

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a suitable recipe between May 1st and June 28th 2015.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • Include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below).
  • Email me (by June 28th) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer) and the link to your post.
  • Please include in your email an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 600 pixels on the longest side and without decorative borders applied.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

I’ll post a round up showcasing and linking to all the entries, a few days after the closing date.

Your posts will also be shared via my Pinterest and Stumble accounts.

If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC, I’ll retweet any I see.

You are also welcome to share links to your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

IceCreamChallenge_thumb1

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

 

In the last few years I’ve discovered that I have a taste for sake. I’ve learned the basics about how it’s made and the different types available, but haven’t sampled enough to get a handle on my preferences. There’s a very distinctive taste that most sakes have in common, despite their many differences and it’s a taste I like very much. But having one or two sakes in isolation once every few months serves only to let me choose my favourite between the two – such tastings are too few and far between for me to build up a coherent library of taste memories in my head, and thereby gain more confidence on choosing well in the future. One of the outstanding items on my Food & Drink To Do list is to immerse myself more fully in the world of sake and work out which styles, regions and even producers I love the most.

The Chisou restaurant group have been running a Sake Club for about a year now, a regular evening of tutored tastings with matched Japanese snacks provided. I’ve been meaning to attend since they launched, but have singularly failed.

What finally spurred me to action was actually a deviation from the norm – a special umeshu tasting.

Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8012 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8017

The tastings are held in a private room – in Chisou Knightsbridge this was the upstairs dining room – properly separated from regular diners. We shared a table with a couple who were also first timers to the Sake Club, Gareth and Nirvana, and had a lot of fun talking about food and drink, life in London and visiting Japan.

Chisou’s Marketing Manager Mark McCafferty hosted the evening and started by giving us an introduction to umeshu, though a printed crib sheet was also provided for each guest. He introduced each of the six drinks, and the snacks that were served with them, sharing tasting tips and notes throughout.

Although umeshu is usually described in English as plum wine, the ume fruit is not actually a plum; although nicknames include both Chinese Plum and Japanese Apricot, it’s a distinct species within the Prunus genus (which also includes plums and apricots); if a comparison is still needed, the ume is a stone fruit that is closer to the apricot than to the plum.

Why did Chisou decide to hold an umeshu night as part of their Sake Club series? Because umeshu is traditionally made using surplus sake or shōchū – a distilled spirit made from a variety of different carbohydrates – or to use up batches which have not turned out quite as planned. That said, as it’s popularity has increased, many breweries make umeshu as part of their standard product range, and some use high grade sake or shōchū and top quality ume fruit to do so.

The method is very straightforward and will be familiar to those who’ve made sloe gin or other fruit-based spirits – strawberry vodka, anyone? Whole ume fruit are steeped in alcohol – the longer the period, the more the fruit breaks down and its flavour leaches into the alcohol. Some umeshu is left to mature for years, allowing the almond-flavour of the stone to become more pronounced.

In many cases, additional sugar is added to the umeshu, to create a sweeter liqueur. Many households make their own umeshu when the ume fruit is in season, as it’s a very simple drink to make.

The whole fruits are often left in the umeshu – both in home made and commercial versions – and served alongside the drink. Take care, as the stone is still inside!

The welcome drink, as everyone settled in and we waited for a few late arrivals, was a Kir-style cocktail of prosecco and Hannari Kyo umeshu. With this we enjoyed orange-salted edamame beans and wasabi peas.

Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8014 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8016

Next, an Ozeki umeshu on the rocks served with a generous plate of pork scratchings with individual bowls of an umami-explosion shiitake mayonnaise. In Japan, the highest quality of fruit is often very expensive, and Mark explained that this particular brewery use top quality ume for their umeshu. For Pete, this was “reminiscent of a sherry” and Nirvana liked the “aftertaste of almond”. I loved this umeshu, one of my favourites of the evening.

Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8019

Third was a cloudy version – Morikawa umeshumade with a ginjo sake (using highly polished rice), so quite unusual. For me, this tasted stronger than the previous one, but in fact it was a slightly lower ABV – I think this may simply have been because more bitterness was evident in the taste. Mark suggested we should “warm it up like a mulled wine, to make the most of it’s spiciness”. Gareth particularly enjoyed the “mouthfeel” of this umeshu. Pete thought it would an amazing match with a cheese – a perfect replacement for port.

With this came a small skewer of smoked duck with apple cider, miso and fresh ginger, served theatrically beneath a smoke-filled dome. I could have eaten an entire plate of these, instead of just one!

Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7471 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8024 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8026

I was surprised how much I liked the fourth option, as I couldn’t imagine the combination on first reading the menu. The Tomio Uji Gyokuro umeshu combines traditional shade-grown green tea with umeshu to add a rich umami note to the finished product. Oxidisation means the drink is amber rather than green, but the meaty and medicinal notes are evidence of the presence of green tea.

Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8023

Next was a cocktail combining Hannari Kyo umeshu with Yamagata Masamune sake, lime juice and angostura bitters. I found this a too bitter and dry for my tastes, so asked if I could taste the Hannari Kyo umeshu on its own, as we’d only tried it with mixers thus far. It’s a lovely umeshu but couldn’t compete with the Ozeki umeshu or the Tomio Uji Gyokuro umeshu for me.

Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8028 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7473 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7474

Last, we were served a cup of good quality vanilla ice cream with warm Morikawa umeshu to pour over the top, affogato-style. As you’d imagine, the sweet and sour notes of the fruit liqueur really work well with cold vanilla ice cream, making it what Nirvana called “a very grown up ice cream”. As Mark commented, “warm it up and it really comes alive”.

Pete and I decided to stay on and order a few dishes from the food menu to soak up the alcohol before heading home, umeshu-happy.

Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8031 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8034
Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8038 Chisou-Umeshu-SakeClub-London-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8040
agedashi tofu, gyoza, pork with kimchi, chicken karaage

After such a great evening, we are keen to attend more Sake Club events. Umeshu night was very well priced at £40 per person and was a great learning experience, a fun social evening and very delicious. If you book Sake Club, do take care that you go the right location. The club is alternately held at different branches of the restaurant and it’s not uncommon for regulars to go to the wrong one, resulting in a mad dash across town.

Kavey Eats attended the Umeshu tasting as guests of Chisou Knightsbridge. The additional dishes pictured at the end were on our own tab.

 

February came and went without me posting a theme for BSFIC so I’m diving straight into March with a call for Dairy Free recipes.

Whether you use a dairy-free substitute – such as almond, soy or coconut milk – or opt for a sorbet instead, it’s completely up to you.

shutterstock_4135684-cropped shutterstock_197534360 shutterstock_91971101 shutterstock_133126538-cropped
shutterstock_160417358-cropped
Images from Shutterstock stock library

Prize for Best Entry

To help us celebrate this month’s Dairy Free theme, Hotel Chocolat are awarding the best entry of the challenge a delicious treat made from their new dairy-free milk chocolate. Instead of using milk, they have developed a recipe using almond milk, a real treat for dairy-intolerant milk chocolate lovers everywhere.

The prize is one of their new Milk-Free Milk Scrambled Egg easter eggs and includes delivery within the UK.

300425_Easter 2015_Scrambled Egg_Milkless Milk_v2

To ensure impartiality, I’ll be asking Hotel Chocolat to pick their favourite challenge entry.

Get your thinking caps on, make a dairy free ice cream and blog it for March BSFIC. All entries will automatically be entered into the judging but don’t let this make you feel pressured. We’re looking for fun and simple dairy free ice creams; your post doesn’t have to be polished professional or slick, just tasty and dairy free.

 

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a suitable recipe in March 2015, published by 28th March.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • Include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below).
  • Email me (by the 28th of the March) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer) and the link to your post.
  • Please include in your email an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 600 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

I’ll post a round up showcasing and linking to all the entries and I’ll also share your posts via Pinterest, Stumble and Twitter. If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC, I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share the links to your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

IceCreamChallenge_thumb1

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

 

I was a lucky child. Neither my sister nor I experienced any major accidents, illnesses or health issues. Our occasional visits to hospital were brief and easily dealt with by our local hospital or local health services.

But some families are not so lucky. Some families have to deal with serious childhood sicknesses that are desperately worrying, may require specialist treatment and can result in short or long stays in hospitals far from home. How hard it must be for parents to handle the extra stress of journeys to and from home and hospital, trying to simultaneously provide love and support to the child in hospital and as normal an environment for their other children, let alone trying to keep on top of work commitments and everyday chores.

SCT logo1

The Sick Children’s Trust provides free, high quality ‘Home from Home’ accommodation as well as emotional and practical support to families who have seriously ill children in hospital. Founded in 1982 by two paediatric specialists Dr Jon Pritchard and Professor James Malpas, the charity has ten houses based at major paediatric hospitals across the UK and it costs them just £28 per night to provide their much-needed service. They currently support around 3,500 families a year and demand is growing, as children must increasingly travel long distances for the specialist treatment they need.

At a recent launch event for the trust’s Big Chocolate Tea Party, I listened first hand to the stories of parents who had stayed in one of the homes, and unsurprisingly, it made a huge difference to each and every one of them. The accommodation allows the parents and any siblings of the sick child to stay together in a location close to the hospital, providing not only a base to sleep but also a place to rest, to unwind and to emotionally recharge during a very tough time.

The Sick Children’s Trust is once again asking supporters to host their own Big Chocolate Tea Party between now and May to help raise funds to support the charity’s work.

They aim to raise £100,000 which will go a huge way in helping them support sick children and their families. Remember, just £28 provides a room in a Home from Home for a night.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset SCT soufffle
Edd Kimber’s S’more Choux Buns and John Whaite’s Chocolate Teaser soufflé

Paul A Young, master chocolatier and Vice President of the Sick Children’s Trust has been inspired and touched by the charity’s work. The Big Chocolate Tea Party gives him “the perfect opportunity to use [his] love of chocolate to fundraise in a fun and indulgent way while supporting many families who are facing the most difficult of circumstances miles from their home.”

Paul,  Raymond Blanc, Edd Kimber and John Whaite have provided recipes to inspire anyone keen to get involved, you can find ideas and download some of these recipes and fundraising materials here.

Alternatively, email email chocolate@sickchildrenstrust.org for a free party pack, which includes more recipes.

As a thank you for taking part and helping to raise funds to support the charity’s homes, all those who host a party or bake-off during the May 2015 Big Chocolate Tea Party campaign will be entered into a draw for a chocolate tea weekend for two in Paris, including Premium Leisure Eurostar tickets, two nights bed and breakfast accommodation in a five star Paris hotel and a pair of tickets to Salon du Chocolate, the prestigious annual chocolate show.

John Whaite’s Chocolate Teaser soufflé

This recipe is blissfully easy, but more importantly, it’s decadently perfect for a lazy, indulgent brunch. The mayonnaise isn’t a typing error – I use mayonnaise a lot when working with chocolate cakes I need to be gooey. The mayonnaise adds an egg-like texture, which helps create an unctuous inside because it doesn’t coagulate like an egg.

Makes four

Ingredients
2 tsp golden caster sugar
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (60% is fine, don’t go overly bitter)
70g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp golden syrup
5 eggs, separated
1 tbsp mayonnaise
200g Maltesers, roughly bashed
For the sauce
100g milk chocolate
100ml double cream
100g Maltesers, bashed to fine pieces
Essential equipment
4 x 200ml ramekins, very well greased with butter
Baking sheet

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.
  • Sprinkle the sugar into the greased ramekins and shake about so the sides and base are covered.
  • Place the chocolates and golden syrup into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow the chocolate to slowly melt together with the syrup, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, but not set.
  • Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a mixing bowl and whisk until they are fluffy and stiff.
  • Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate along with the mayonnaise. Gently fold in the roughly bashed Maltesers, before very gently folding in the whisked whites – you want the mixture to be a smooth, even- toned batter, though of course with humps of Malteser.
  • Divide the mixture between the ramekins, cleaning the rim of each with your thumb. Set on to the baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes, or until beautifully risen. They may crack on top, but who cares – you’re going to be diving in soon anyway.
  • To make the sauce, simply place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, allow the chocolate to melt into the cream until you have a smooth, glossy sauce.
  • To serve, tell the eater to take a spoonful out of the centre, then pour in some of glorious, warm sauce.

Thank you to The Sick Children’s Trust for inviting me along to your launch event, and sharing with me the amazing work you do to help sick children and their families. Recipe and images courtesy of The Sick Children’s Trust.

 

If you have never been to a calçotada, it’s about time you did. This seasonal celebration of the calçot hails from Spain’s Catalan region, where locals celebrate the humble allium with much merriment and greed every year. I first learned of it from Rachel McCormack, who brought the tradition to London when she organised a calçotada at The Draper’s Arms a few years ago.

The calçot is a variety of spring onion much like those we have here, but the difference is in the growing – the calçot is earthed up as it grows, resulting in an extended white bulb with a shorter green top.

For calçotada the onions are cooked on a hot charcoal grill, briefly wrapped in paper to steam (which softens the outer layer) and then served to the table with romesco sauce – made with red peppers, almonds and hazelnuts, garlic, oil and nyora (a small, round red bell pepper that has been sun dried). Diners (usually bibbed) peel away the blackened outer layer of the calçot, dip the end in romesco and then tip up their heads and lower the calçot into their mouths.

Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7963 Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7959
Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7962 Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-201238

This is not dainty dining!

Calçots are followed with generous plates of grilled meats and sausages, and if you have any space left, a traditional Catalan dessert. I’m not going to admit in public how many calçots, lamb chops, chistorra (spicy sausages) and butifarra (fat pork sausages) I ate but let’s just say I definitely didn’t leave hungry!

Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7971 Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7969
Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-203537 Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7968

At Rosita & The Sherry Bar near Clapham Junction, the calçots are in season right now and you have two opportunities to join the calçotada, on Thursday 26th February & Wednesday 11th March.

For £35 per person, you can enjoy a set menu of olives, almonds, crispy aubergine to start, before calçots and romesco sauce followed by a selection from the grill – chistorra, lamb chops, Iberian pork presa and pork ribs (in place of the butifarra I had). On the side, chunky chips and little gem salad with pickled tuna. To finish, crema Catalana with cinnamon ice cream. Wash that all down with ½ bottle of cava Vilarnau rose per person – we tried drinking it from traditional porrón (pitchers).

Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-212211 Calcotada-RositaTheSherry-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-200340

Event details: Thursday 26th February & Wednesday 11th March 2015. Menu price £35pp. Payment will be required at the time of booking. Book via the Rosita website or ring 020 7998 9093. Full calçotada menu can be viewed on website.

Kavey Eats attended the calçotada as a guest of Rosita & The Sherry Bar.

 

With the exception of long-ago childhood excitement (mingled with dread) about whether (or not) I would receive a card from a secret admirer, I’ve never been a particularly gung-ho participator in Valentine’s day. I guess I’m one of those who tend to prefer the little everyday demonstrations of love and romance over the idea of a societally assigned day of cliché. I have dearly appreciated the romance of an electric foot warmer over flowers, I am thankful for the lovingly made soft-boiled eggs with neatly buttered and cut soldiers when I’ve come home hungry after a late night event and I prefer daily kisses, cuddles and kind words to a showy profession by way of a girly necklace or glittery ring,

I’m particularly glad Pete isn’t given to ostentatiously public displays; gaudy (and visibly expensive) bouquets sent to the office rather than given in person strike me as little more than showing off or worse, proprietarily staking a claim. Since when did romance require grabbing the attention of anyone other than the object of one’s affections?

That’s not to say I don’t like flowers; it’s simply that the unexpected bunch of bright yellow daffodils for no particular occasion is a far bigger delight than scentless red roses on the 14th February.

All that said and done, we never entirely bypass Valentine’s day because of a little addiction of mine. Hey, it’s not a problem, I’m not hurting anyone, I can stop anytime I want, I am totally in control!

Who am I fooling? I’m addicted to greeting cards. Yes, those little folded rectangles of card with cutesie images and anodyne statements;  I adore them. I love buying cards, I love sending cards and I am joyous to receive cards. (In seriousness, I have reined in my habit by agreeing not to buy more if my allocated greeting card drawer is already full. This is more challenging to stick to than you might imagine). So, there must always be cards, on Valentine’s day and through the rest of the year as well.

What else? Let’s take a look at a couple of offerings that have caught my eye.

Chocolate

We both adore chocolate so it’s often part of our birthday, Christmas and anytime gifts to each other. We seldom buy boxes of chocolates (it’s usually bars, far better value), and very rarely on Valentine’s day. But I confess I would be more than happy to be given this big chocolate Hotel Chocolat Love Birds chocolate heart! Featuring a very pretty love birds design, half is salted caramel chocolate and the other half 50% milk praline. (£26; 650 grams).

310303_Valentines 2015_Large solid heart_in box with ribbon_flat-2

Better still, Hotel Chocolat are kindly giving away one beautiful Love Birds chocolate heart to a Kavey Eats reader. Click here to enter.

Image 260 503341-cocoa-gin-250ml Image 138

Other products that have caught my eye in this year’s Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s range include:

  • The Valentines Goody Bag (containing chocolate and passion fruit truffles; a pack of caramel sweethearts; two 50g milk chocolate Mellow Heart slabs; Champagne Truffles; and a Valentine’s truffle duo of Caramel Gianduja and a Strawberry Cheesecake; £18).
  • This bottle of Cocoa Gin made in small batches in traditional copper-pot stills; roasted cocoa shells contribute to the rich flavour. (£15, 250ml).
  • A box of six balsamic caramel hearts (£3.75).

Drinking In

The last two years have seen a surge of specialist food and drink subscription services (such as the Carnivore Club cured meat and Beer 52 craft beer boxes I reviewed previously).

The latest to come to my attention is Tipple Box, a monthly cocktail subscription created by founder Sonny Charles. After launching just last month with the help of crowd-funding, Sonny is now ready for cocktail lovers to sign up. Each month, he sends out two cocktail recipes with ingredients (spirits, mixers and anything else in the recipe) and mixing jar. All you need to add is the ice.

Tipple Box-2759 small Stacked-TippleBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015

Pete and I enjoyed the two cocktails in our Tipple Box, one a combination of gin, marmalade and mixer, the other a blend of vodka, strawberry jam and mixer, though it’s a shame the two recipes were so similar. I’d like to see a little more creativity in future boxes (small batch spirits and mixers, rather than mainstream brands, and the addition of intriguing bitters, fruit and herb syrups and cordials, flavoured salts and sugars – the kinds of things a keen cocktail maker might not readily be able to source themselves in the supermarket).

But it’s a great start for a new business, very nicely presented and a rather lovely idea for an intimate night in making and drinking cocktails together. Of course, you can buy this to give to your loved one in person but I think it would also be a charming gift to send via the post to a LDR lover, ready and waiting to make cocktails the next time you get together.

One box costs £24 including delivery in the UK, with reductions in price for longer subscriptions.

Better still, Sonny is kindly giving away a one month Tipple Box to a Kavey Eats reader. Click here to enter.

Whether you win the competition or not, all readers can make use of discount code KAVEY10 for 10% off the monthly subscription price, valid until end of March 2015.

Eating Out

I can’t think of much worse (in terms of Valentine’s day celebrations) than booking a typical table for two on Valentine’s day. I know, I know, you already thought I was a killjoy when you read my introduction, now you are convinced I’m utterly heartless. But let me explain myself…

The idea of wasting money to order from a limited-choice, overpriced “special” Valentine’s menu, often laden down with so-called aphrodisiac ingredients at the expense of coherence and tastiness… sitting amongst a sea of couples, many of them looking like startled rabbits when suddenly faced with the prospect of actually spending an entire evening talking to their chosen “loved one”, some of them singularly failing to say a word… service rushed as waiters struggle to handle a higher volume of finicky small tables, customers even more demanding than usual as they claw for the evening to live up to their unrealistic expectations… uugh, it really doesn’t bear thinking about!

Our usual habit is to cook a tasty meal at home, settle down on the sofa to watch a good film, or to read our kindles in companiable and comfortable silence.

DrapersAr,s
Image courtesy of Nick Gibson, used with permission

This year, we shall be making our way with friends to The Drapers Arms, a wonderful pub in Islington. Not only are we guaranteed good food and a merry time, landlord Nick Gibson is once again donating 100% of the night’s takings to Refuge, a charity helping women in need of support. Read his eloquent post on why he’s doing this and book for a non-valentiney Valentine’s dinner with your partner or friends.

 

Kavey Eats received sample products from Hotel Chocolate and Tipple Box.

 

We’re welcoming in the new year with a joint blogger challenge between Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream and Chocolate Log Blog’s We Should Cocoa: #WeShouldBSFIC!

shutterstock_123746647 shutterstock_188150696 shutterstock_99266363 shutterstock_140110885 shutterstock_184166999 shutterstock_217524868
Images from Shutterstock

The theme is easy. Your recipe needs to be frozen (ice cream, sorbet, gelato, semi-freddo, ice lolly…) and it needs to include chocolate (white, milk or dark, as you like). That’s it! The rest is up to you! You could create a simple chocolate ice lolly or sorbet, mint choc chip ice cream or vanilla stracciatella, a pile of chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches or a grand black forest ice cream gateau or baked alaska! Whatever your taste, time and fancy dictates!

 

How To Take Part In BSFIC

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

Both Choclette and I will post a round up showcasing and linking to all the entries and share posts via Pinterest, Stumble and Twitter.

If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #WeShouldBSFIC and/or #BSFIC I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

BSFIC-WeShouldCocoa

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

 

I have a personal definition of the four seasons which is somewhat at odds with the official one, which assigns three months of the year to each season. In my 2-4-2-4 view, Spring covers the months of March and April, Summer stretches across May, June, July and August, Autumn is the months of September and October and Winter is with us from November right through to the end of February.

So as far as I’m concerned, we’re in Winter now.

Here in the UK, that means cold days and long dark nights but also crackling fires, a warm blanket, comforting food. Ice cream might not be the obvious sweet treat at this time of year but as long as the heating’s on and I’m feeling cosy in a lovely warm house, I am happy to enjoy ice cream all year round.

And don’t forget that the season to be merry is upon us, which gives us an extra excuse to indulge!

shutterstock_19652137 shutterstock_99266363 shutterstock_194596199 shutterstock_163398845 shutterstock_136369493 shutterstock_140110885 shutterstock_184166999 shutterstock_124277110 shutterstock_184955480 shutterstock_188150705 shutterstock_206058088 shutterstock_93849577 shutterstock_110774504 shutterstock_217524868 shutterstock_194877503 shutterstock_219710647
Images of ice cream cakes, sundaes, baked alaskas and semifreddos from
Shutterstock

For this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, I’m calling for Ice Cream Showstoppers – think ice cream cakes, baked alaska, ice cream sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, semifreddo terrines or any other extravaganza of ice cream or sorbet.

And you’re welcome to use shop-bought ice cream for this challenge, by the way. I’m always a supporter of maximum effect for minimum effort!

How To Take Part In BSFIC

  • Create and blog a suitable recipe any time in November or December. The deadline is December 28th.
  • In your post, mention and link to this Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream post.
  • Include the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream badge (below).
  • Email me (by the 28th of the December) with your first name or nickname (as you prefer) and the link to your post.
  • Please include in your email an image for my roundup, sized to no larger than 600 pixels on the longest side.

You are welcome to submit your post to as many blogger challenge events as you like.

If the recipe is not your own, please be aware of copyright issues. Email me if you would like to discuss this.

I’ll post a round up showcasing and linking to all the entries and I’ll also share your posts via Pinterest, Stumble and Twitter. If you tweet about your post using the hashtag #BSFIC I’ll retweet any I see. You are also welcome to share the links to your posts on my Kavey Eats Facebook page.

IceCreamChallenge_thumb1

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

© 2006 - 2014 Kavita Favelle Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha