Yesterday I read a news article mocking the English Defence League for failing to realise that a satirical news story claiming a bakery had decided to remove the ‘offensive’ cross from traditional hot cross buns was indeed a spoof and reacting with their usual rabid froth of outrage.

One indignant commenter declared, ‘What next, ”hot crescent bun” …?

And that was it, the idea for my Hot Multicultural Buns was born. I mean, if right-wing bigots think it’s a bad idea, surely it’s a bloody excellent one, right? And of course, I took it a few steps further too!

Kaveys Hot Multicultural Buns 1 mini

I enlisted Pete to help me make these buns today, so keen was I to counter the rhetoric of the EDL.

Using a Nigella Lawson recipe from her excellent book, Feast, we made eight buns. I pasted a traditional Christian cross on two, an Islamic crescent and star on two more, a Jewish star of David on another two and a Hindu swastika on the last pair.

My icing skills aren’t great and we forgot to egg-wash the buns before I piped on the shapes but you can just about make out the designs and I hope you’ll enjoy and perpetuate the idea.

Kaveys Hot Multicultural Buns 2 mini

Kavey’s Hot Multicultural Buns

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Hot Cross Buns
Nigella makes 16 mini buns with this recipe; we made 8 regular sized ones instead.

Ingredients

For the dough
150 millilitres milk
50 grams butter
zest of 1 orange
1 clove
2 cardamom pods
400 grams bread flour
1 x 7 grams packet easy-blend yeast
125 grams mixed dried fruit
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
For the egg wash
1 large egg (beaten with a little milk)
For the multicultural patterns
3 tablespoons plain flour
½ tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
For the sugar glaze
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon boiling water

Extra equipment: You will also need a clear plastic freezer bag or piping bag to pipe the multicultural symbols onto the buns.

Method

  • Heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove and cardamom pods in a saucepan until the butter melts, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse as it cools down.
  • Weigh the flour, yeast and dried fruit into a large bowl and add the spices. When the milk has cooled to blood temperature remove the whole spices and beat in the egg. Pour the mix into the dry ingredients and bring together into a dough.
  • Knead by hand or with a machine with a dough hook; if too dry add a little more warm milk or water. Knead until the dough is silky and elastic, though the dried fruit won’t allow for a satin smooth finish.
  • Shape into a ball, place into a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove overnight in the fridge or for several hours in a cool room.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and set aside for half hour to come up to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF.
  • Punch the dough down and knead again.
  • Divide the dough into 8 portions and roll into rounds.
  • Line the buns up fairly snugly but not quite toughing on a silicon baking sheet or lined baking tray. Cover with clingfilm or a clean teatowel and leave to rise again for 45-60 minutes.
  • Brush the buns with an egg wash.
  • Mix flour, sugar and water into a smooth, thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with narrow nozzle or plastic freezer bag, then snipping the very tip of the corner off.
  • Pipe crosses, crescents, stars of david and swastikas as you like.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Just before taking the buns out of the oven, mix sugar and boiling water together for the glaze.
  • Brush each bun with the glaze as soon you remove them from the oven to give a sweet and shiny finish.

Kaveys Hot Multicultural Buns 3 mini

Enjoy warm, halved and spread generously with good quality salted butter, or leave to cool and serve toasted with butter and jam. Indeed enjoy them however you like, but I do hope you share them with friends of all colours, backgrounds and faiths!

Edit: Please be clear. The swastika iced onto my buns is a Hindu swastika, a symbol perverted by the Nazis to be sure, but reclaimed here as a symbol of the Hindu faith. I do not hold with suggestions that Hindus (and others) may no longer use the swastika, which has been associated with their faith for hundreds and hundreds of years. If you cannot see past Nazism, that is your prerogative, but this post is absolutely not showing any support whatsoever to Nazism or its supporters.

Feb 062016
 

Ichiryu brings fast food udon noodles to London’s increasingly diverse Japanese dining scene and it’s about time!

In the last 5 years, ramen has spread its wings and there are now umpteen London restaurants specialising in ramen – including a few small chains – selling delicious bowls of the much-loved Japanese noodle soup.

But udon noodles haven’t enjoyed the same rate of growth; not yet at least. Koya, particularly loved by the fooderati, has been a stalwart of course, but the main restaurant closed it’s doors last year, leaving only Koya Bar still in operation; in any case there was never any expectation of the brand expanding. Den Udon in King’s Cross was open for mere months before it closed its doors again, perhaps a victim of its rather out-of-the-way location. And so the best bet for udon-loving Londoners is usually a general Japanese restaurant that happens to offer one or two udon dishes amongst the sushi, katsu and teriyaki.

Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7917

As one of those udon-loving Londoners, I’m hoping that 2016 is the year that udon makes more of a splash!

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Located on New Oxford Street a few steps away from Tottenham Court Road station, Ichiryu Hakata Udon House, to give it its full name, is another business venture from entrepreneur Tak Tokumine, founder of the long-established and much-loved Japan Centre in 1976, as well as Shoryu Ramen — now a chain with five locations. Tak’s hometown is Hakata, in Fukuoka city, Kyushu which claims to be one of the birthplaces of udon in Japan. Just as Shoryu’s original menu focused on Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen (there are now multiple styles of broth available), Ichiryu also looks to Kyushu for inspiration.

Note that Ichiryu is set up for fast dining, though not as fully self-service as your usual burger or chicken joint.

Guests are seated and given a menu as in most restaurants, but must place and pay for their orders at the till, giving their table number on ordering. Food and drinks are then served to the table by staff, and tables are cleared by them too.

The menu focuses on udon and tempura with a range of sides, a few rice bowls and some sushi and onigiri.

Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7918 Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7921

The Hakata Bun (£4.50) with its filling of BBQ pork, Cod Tempura or Chicken Tempura inside a pillowy white steamed bun will be familiar to Shoryu customers, and it’s just as delicious here. I love the combo of pork, lettuce, cucumber, Japanese mayo and barbeque sauce.

Tempura is hit and miss for me. The single Tempura Prawn (£2) is decent; the batter light and crisp and the prawn cooked just right. But the mixed vegetable Kakiage (£2) is very unwieldy to eat and very quickly goes soggy as steam gets trapped within the ‘nest’.

Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7930 Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7931

After these snacks it’s on to the udon. For those of you not yet familiar with these noodles, they are thick and white with a distinctive chewy texture that is enormously satisfying. Ichiryu’s udons are made fresh daily using Japanese wheat flour.

From the Hot Udon list we choose Niku Beef (£11.50) described as sukiyaki beef, spring onion in tsuyu bonito soup.

The broth is light yet with a decent beefy flavour, and the noodles are cooked to retain that lovely chew. My surprise on tasting this is that the generous portion of thinly sliced beef is plain and not marinated in a soy, sugar and mirin mix as I’d expected from the sukiyaki label. That makes the dish a little blander than I’d like, overall. It’s good but doesn’t blow me away; when it comes to soup noodles I’d prefer a bowl of intensely rich tonkotsu ramen.

Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7926 Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7936

Our choice from the Cold Udon list is something far more special.

Ontama Egg (£8.40) comes with an ontama poached egg, spring onion, ginger and tempura pieces in tsuyu bonito sauce. There’s a dollop of fresh ginger paste too.

This dish shows off the udon noodles far more successfully, and the first mouthful of noodles, slippery from the sauce and studded with a few crunchy bits of tenkasu, transports me immediately to Japan. It’s an immediate visceral reaction that remains with me through subsequent mouthfuls. The cold perfectly poached egg, the soft raw ginger, the fresh spring onions and the crunchy tempura fragments combine with the noodles and sauce in perfect harmony.

This is the dish I will be returning for again and again and again.

Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7947 Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7950

For dessert, Pete enjoys a Kagua Rouge Craft Beer (£6.30, 330ml, 9% abv), brewed on license in Belgium.

I can’t resist Mochi Ice Cream (£6 for 3 pieces) and am delighted to find that they are Little Moon ice cream mochi, which have admired since they launched a couple of years ago. From front to back, they are matcha, sesame and yuzu flavours.

Ichiryu Udon Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -7937

With it’s fast food approach, Ichiryu doesn’t take reservations. Opening hours are Mondays to Saturdays 12 – 22:30 and Sundays 12 – 21:30. Last orders 30 minutes before closing.

Do yourself a favour and find time to drop in for a Hakata Bun and a bowl of Ontama Egg Cold Udon. You will not be sorry!

 

Kavey Eats dined as guests of Ichiryu Hakata Udon House.

Square Meal
Ichiryu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

13 days off from work has been blissful. I started the holidays full of determination to tick things off my To Do list – as always, I have a long list of posts I’m eager to write and share. In the end, I did far less than planned – quickly succumbing to the realisation that I just needed to rest and relax.

It’s been a tiring year, with some tough times but of course, there have been many positives too, and as always, lots of great food, drink and travel.

Before I get too far into 2016, here’s a look back at 2015 on Kavey Eats.

January

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I started off the year with my handy guide to visiting Borough Market, Maltby Street, Bermondsey & Bankside.

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In 2014 I launched a series called Meet The Blogger, interviewing the bloggers behind some of my favourite blogs. I carried this into 2015, but let it fall by the wayside somewhat as the year progressed. One of my goals for 2016 is to resume the series as a regular feature.

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I continued my love affair with Japanese food, visiting Kouzu restaurant in Victoria.

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I reported back on my trip to the beautiful city of Vilnius in Lithuania.

I shared a killer recipe for the richest, densest dark chocolate ice cream ever – simplified to make in a power blender. Pour it into ice lolly moulds for the best ever fudgsicles!

February

Despite it being the shortest month, I crammed a lot into February!

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I started by sharing all the reasons why I love my microwave, asking fellow food writers, bloggers and chefs for their input too.

You may also enjoy my recipe for Easy Microwave Salted Caramels.

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I shared more about the phenomenon of Super Tasting, from a personal perspective.

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One of my most popular posts was this guide on which cuts of beef are best for which kind of recipes, including a few lessons from a master butcher.

There were more restaurant visits – including Japanese yakiniku at Kintan and delicious cocktails and food at Old Tom & English.

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And a warming cider braised pheasant with shallots apples and thyme.

March

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If you don’t already read Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, you should – it’s a wonderful blog written by my friend Celia, who lives in Sydney. Celia has been spreading good cheer, good bread and good friendship by way of deyhdrated portions of her super sourdough starter, Priscilla. In March I introduced you to Pussy Galoaf, as we called our Priscilla offspring. She makes amazing sourdough!

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My Japanese addiction was catered to by way of a Japanese afternoon tea, an umeshu (Japanese plum wine) tasting event and a matcha masterclass by Lalani & Co.

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I absolutely loved the Peruvian-inspired cocktails and food at Pachamama restaurant in London.

Also on the dining out front, I had an incredible supperclub experience at my friend Jason’s Peranakan Palace and tasty Moroccan food at Le Menar.

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My personal favourite recipe of the month was my grandfather’s spicy tomato ketchup, a recipe I’ve been making for several years using tomatoes from our garden. But there was also a lot of interest in this chocolate and coconut dairy-free ice cream, rum optional and my Chorizo, Cod & Pea Fish Pie.

April

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I started the month by sharing some recent instagrams including a visit to the Sky Garden, some juicy lychees, being a judge for the International Chocolate Awards again and a delicious tea tasting wit Momo Cha Fine Teas.

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I swapped my enormous sous vide water bath with a nifty, space-saving and affordable Codlo sous vide adaptor. Codlo is priced at £119, available here.

Collage Glazebrook interiors (c) Kavita and Pete Favelle

This month, my travel piece was a staycation in glorious Glazebrook House Hotel, a luxurious hideaway on the edge of Dartmoor.

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On the recipe front, it was a really simple idea that caught readers’ imaginations this month: I’m not one for green smoothies – the kind featuring kale, spinach, wheatgrass or other green vegetables – but I do like to add matcha into a regular fruit smoothie – for flavour, caffeine and L-theanine – believed to boost concentration.

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By the way, the single best thing that happened last year was nothing to do with food or travel; my gorgeous baby nephew was born! He’s grown up so much as the year has progressed. All of us absolutely adore him!

May

 Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-164435

After a few weeks of play, I published my review of the new Huawei Ascend G7 smartphone. There’s a lot to like, especially at the price point, but a fair few frustrating niggles too.

Holar-Iceland-collage-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2014_thumb[1] Northern Iceland-collage-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2014_thumb[1]

Having been a bit remiss in sharing more of our 2014 Iceland trip, I wrote a few more postcards from Iceland for you in May and June.

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2015 has seen me turn more and more often to my trusty Froothie Optimum power blender. Read here for a summary of why it’s so great.

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When Pete and I eat lunch out locally, we tend to favour Japanese. Sushi Mania is a relatively new local restaurant with great food (but frustratingly, consistently poor service).

June

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

One of my favourite cookbooks this year has been Diana Henry’s A Bird in the Hand. This Chicken with Pumpkin, Cream & Gruyère recipe has quickly become a regular weekday supper.

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This month’s travel post is a visual report on our fourth trip to Islay, a beautiful island off Scotland’s West Coast, best known for it’s numerous whisky distilleries.

July

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

My most popular post this year has been this guide on how to make pour-over coffee in a Chemex coffeemaker. This beautifully elegant glass jug coffee apparatus looks modern but was invented back in 1941!

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - text Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle -overtext

I’m delighted that you’ve also given a big thumbs up to both July’s recipe posts too – Lebanese-inspired Carob Molasses & Tahini Chocolate Brownies and Eton Mess Ice Lollies (strawberries, cream & meringue on a stick, what’s not to like?)

August

 Jamies Italian Restaurant - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-184455 Lobos Meat and Tapas - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-9342

We enjoyed eating out this month. Jamie’s Italian really surprised us; we loved it! We were similarly impressed with Lobos Meat & Tapas next to Borough Market. And the modern Filipino food we tasted at Luzon left us keen to try more.

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Images from
shutterstock.com

Since our first visit to Japan back in 2012, I’ve been trying to learn more about sake and to develop my palate and understand my own tastes. In this guide, I’ve shared everything I’ve learned about sake, and given you some handy information about classifications, different varieties and some recommendations too.

Roasted Banana Ice Lollies aka Paletas Ice Pops Popsicles - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -overlay 1 Lizzie Mabbott Chinese Spagbol - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle overlay

Two key recipes this month. The first is another summery ice lolly, roasted banana and cream paletas – the roasting really intensifies the banana. The second is Lizzie Mabbott’s Chinese Spag Bol from her excellent book, Chinatown Kitchen.

September

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Pete and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this month. That’s weird mostly because in my head we’re still the barely-adult youths we were when we met!

9399-Shoryu Liverpool Street Restaurant Review - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle

Of course, I was still loving Japanese food, this time at Shoryu’s Liverpool Street branch, with proper robata grill.

Plum and Blackberry Sticky Buns - Anna Olson Recipe - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle - textoverlay

I’ve been gradually sharing my experiences in Canada since my September visit, with many more still to come. The first was this delicious sticky buns recipe which we learned from Chef Anna Olson when visiting her and husband Michael Olson’s home in Welland, Niagara.

We also loved dining with a view over London, in the Sky Garden’s Fenchurch restaurant.

October

Marche Jean Talon Collage - Kavey Eats

I published my first Markets of Canada post, on Montreal’s Marché Jean-Talon.

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My favourite meals out were at newly opened Viet Food in Chinatown.

Quick Golden Baked Peri Peri Chicken Yoghurt and Rice Cake - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (text2)

Pete and I developed a few new recipes this month, including this absolute winner: quick golden-baked peri peri chicken, yoghurt & rice cake, not only a showstopper but very quick and easy to make too.

November

Rostizza - Potato Rosti Pizza Base on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (4)

The second home-developed recipe was a potato rosti pizza base, not only delicious in its own right but also a great alternative for gluten-free diets.

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From the Canada trip I wrote about my fine dining experience at Toqué restaurant and enthused about another market, Quebec City’s Marché du Vieux-Port plus nearby Île d’Orléans. For a preview of the entire trip, check out the overview I shared.

It was a month of books with reviews and recipes from NOPI: The Cookbook, Wild Drinks & Cocktails and Nikkei: Japanese Food the South American Way.

December

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

You can tell that Japan is never far from my thoughts. I loved telling you about the Japanese legend of the mochi-making rabbit in the moon.

Cookbooks fans will hopefully enjoy my pick of favourite cookbooks from 2015.

First Nation Cuisine at Huron-Wendat - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle - notext-1559 First Nation Cuisine at Huron-Wendat - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-9746 First Nation Cuisine at Huron-Wendat - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-1565

I finished the year with another travel post from my trip to Canada, this time learning about First Nations food and culture at Wendake’s Huron-Wendat Museum.

 

Many thanks to all my readers for visiting Kavey Eats, and especially to those of you who leave me a comment on a post you’ve enjoyed. I appreciate every single one, and love hearing your reactions to recipes, reviews and travel experiences.

Wishing you a happy new year!

 

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love from me…
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I’m taking you on a slight departure from my usual content today, to share a personal ramble about trees and broccoli.

It was prompted by this link that I came across on Twitter, of a story about a project in Melbourne in which individual trees were given email addresses. The intention was to give locals a quick way to report issues related to the threes that might need local government attention, but what happened was the most delightful correspondence, in which locals wrote letters to their favourite trees instead.

It made me smile. In fact it made me grin with delight!

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Image from
shutterstock.com

I love trees. I love to talk to them. I often admire them. Whenever we drive anywhere – unless it’s one of the trips in which I fall quickly asleep and snore all the way – I excitedly point out the most pretty trees to Pete , to which he usually responds with disappointing disinterest or a reminder that he should really watch the road rather than join me in judging the beauty of trees.

I used to want to eat all the prettiest leaves because some of them are just so green and beautiful. But since I didn’t know which ones were poisonous I did stop myself from doing that. It’s odd really that I’m not as drawn to salad, but it just isn’t the same as leaves from trees. Sometimes I pluck a particularly beautiful leaf and lick it but I keep this to a minimum since, you know, that whole poisonous thing and I have enough trouble with people assuming I’m a loon as it is. And only ones from above the dog piss line, obviously.

I thought at first that I would write rather a lot to trees if our local ones had email addresses. But perhaps I’d eschew email and stick to talking to them, since I don’t think any of the ones I know have access to computers. I am confident they can hear me when I talk.

Then I got to thinking… (I know, the insights above are probably a scary enough look into my mind already, but bear with me.)

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Images from shutterstock.com

I have never liked eating calabrese broccoli, because to me it looks halfway between a tree and a shaving brush.

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Allotment harvests

I do like sprouting broccoli though, because, less tree like. The purple stuff is the best because it’s purple!
Are you a broccoli fan? And what about trees?!

May 042015
 

Since my first smartphone, I’ve been a loyal Android girl. Having worked extensively with Apple macs in a professional capacity I was never as bowled over by their alleged coolness as many of my contemporaries, nor willing to pay the premium. I started with an HTC Wildfire which didn’t disappoint; I quickly became used to checking and responding to emails and social media, navigating via Google Maps and accessing the full extent of the web.

In 2012 I was given a Nokia Lumia 800 to review but quickly discovered that despite loving the physical design I absolutely hated the Windows platform. With a vengeance. I switched back to my HTC before the Lumia and I came to blows. When I eventually looked to upgrade the Wildfire I stayed loyal to the brand – that proved to be a mistake; the entry level HTC Desire was three years newer and yet slower, with poorer battery life, than the Wildfire it was intended to replace.

I was reluctant to blow the big bucks when I’d only just upgraded but was seriously considering it… when along came an offer to review the brand new Samsung Galaxy S4. I totally clicked with my S4 phone and have been using it happily for two years now.

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Out of the box; after a few weeks

My latest review item is a Huawei Ascend G7, launched in the UK late in April.

The Ascend G7 is an Android smartphone with large screen size, smart, slim, metal casing, 4G capable and an attractive midrange price point – currently around £200.

If, like me, you hadn’t heard of Huawei, here’s the cheat sheet: Huawei is a global Chinese company specialising in telecomms networking and equipment; one of the largest manufacturers in the world. You may well have encountered their products before, as a large part of their business is making white-label products for other brands. Now they are promoting their own brand mobile handsets across Europe.

I’ve now been using the G7 for a few weeks. There are a few aspects I really like, but quite a bit that I find frustrating – I haven’t yet made a decision on whether I’ll be stick with the G7 or switch back to my S4.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE HUAWEI ASCEND G7

Physical phone

The slim form metal case is attractive, there’s no denying this is a good looking phone.

But bigger isn’t always better – I’ve come to realise that the size is just that little bit too large for my hands; the extra 7 mm width means I can’t comfortably use the G7 one-handed without quickly feeling muscle strain. That’s a personal issue, of course, and not a criticism of the G7 and it will suit those who are looking for a larger screen.

 

Image & Sound Quality

Sound quality seems pretty similar on the S4 an the G7, certainly I’ve not found myself thinking the G7 is better or worse than the S4. In fact, I just played the same music video on both phones and I’d say the sound is definitely comparable.

Officially, the resolution of the S4 is much higher (441 ppi against the G7’s 267 ppi) but I think the G7 does a fantastic job of harnessing those pixels – everything looks good and sharp, with nice colour definition and,to my surprise, I haven’t felt a step down from the S4.

However the (impressively large) screen shows every fingerprint and smear in a way that my Galaxy S4’s screen doesn’t. The smears are really intrusive in bright light, and I’m constantly rubbing the phone against my trouser leg trying to clear up that display.

Likewise, I struggle to see the screen in bright light, making outdoor photography and general phone use rather tricky when the sun is shining.

Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-164306

 

Phone Manager & Battery Life

Hands down my favourite feature of the G7 is this clever app management (and security) software which allows me to easily and quickly close apps and clear trash files, thereby hugely extending battery life. I can choose myself which apps will never be closed by the Phone Manager and can manually override on an individual basis.

There are a number of power save settings available, which will likely come in useful for those occasional times when I am not able to plug the phone in for a charge overnight.

Apparently there is also a harassment filter which can be used to block nuisance calls or messages from specified numbers and even a Do Not Disturb mode which blocks all calls save those from your personal Allowed list.

And by the way, battery life is phenomenal – I’ve never come close to draining the phone, even on a really heavy-use day.

Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-58 Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-15
Before running the optimisation and after

 

Missing Apps Tray

In their infinite wisdom (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my words, even in the written format?) Huawei have done away with the Apps Tray which means that every single app you install, plus all the ones they’ve preloaded the phone with (including quite a few useless ones), are crowded into your five home screen pages.

Having an Apps Tray (a standard part of the Android platform) means that all apps are automatically listed in alphabetical order, which makes it very easy to find those I only need to access very rarely. I can therefore create shortcuts on my home screen pages only for those apps I use on a regular basis, creating a layout that is customised to my needs.

On the G7, every time I install a new app it randomly inserts itself into one of the few free spaces in one of my home screen pages, and I have to waste several minutes moving several other app shortcuts around (rather fiddly) in order to position the new app in alphabetical order. This is utterly nuts and a really stupid decision on Huawei’s part, no doubt an attempt to emulate the iPhone platform.

Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-26
My customised home screen centre page

 

App Names & Icons

Speaking of icons and shortcuts, I’ve quickly discarded Huawei’s own Calendar and SMS Messaging apps – they just aren’t very good – and unfortunately, when I install my preferred Google Calendar and the standard Android SMS, the G7 doesn’t pull through the relevant icons, using instead the same ones as it’s own label versions. Very confusing. I’ve had to hide the Huawei versions away in a dumping ground apps folder in order to keep them out of the way. (Yes, still missing the Apps Tray, here).

 

Camera

The camera really failed to impress for the first couple of weeks. I couldn’t understand why my images were so frequently out of focus until I eventually realised that it seemed to be back-focusing. Since social media is a key reason I use a smartphone, a camera that didn’t work for me was an immediate deal breaker.

Thank goodness, Pete suggested trying some other camera apps to assess whether it was the camera hardware itself at fault or just a poorly-written camera app.

I’m currently using the Google Camera app, which is much much better and gives me handy exposure compensation controls, which I appreciate. Certainly I’m not having any trouble with focus / sharp images anymore. Unfortunately, this app plays an annoying shutter click sound even when my phone is in silent mode and there’s no setting I can find to override that. That said, it has at least proved to me that the camera hardware itself is fine, which is a huge relief.

I’m keen to find a better solution and am considering Camera FV-5, but the free trial version restricts me to very low res images which are hard to assess properly. If you have any experience of Camera FV-5 or other good Android phone apps, please leave me a comment – I’d be hugely grateful for your suggestions!

For number crunchers, the G7 has a 13 MP main camera with f2.0 aperture and LED flash. The front (selfie) camera is 5 MP. (Virtually the same as my trusty S4, the only difference is a f2.2 aperture).

I’ve not explored the G7’s camera software features much as I so quickly gave up on using Huawei’s camera app but the app boasts HDR, panorama settings (on both front and rear cameras) and a facial-enhancement feature called Beauty Mode. An intriguing All-Focus mode allows you to take a photo and then select the focus later, blurring the foreground or background appropriately to create shallow depth of field after the fact – weird but it does work, should you want it!

 

File & Image Folders

Samsung’s Gallery feature was irritating as hell but once I worked out how to turn it off, I was happy with image organisation and could easily create folders and move / copy images between them.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be possible to create folders and sort content within the G7 File Manager, and that applies to image files too. Irritating!

 

Notifications, Shortcuts & Settings

Both Push Notifications and Shortcuts to key settings are accessed by swiping down the top menu. Unfortunately, the Huawei skin hasn’t made this user friendly.

On my S4, the first swipe down immediately lists notifications, and then a tap on either of the two icons provided will take me to either Shortcuts or to full Settings. On the G7, swiping down gives me access to either Notifications or Shortcuts, seldom the one I want at the time, and I have to switch between them.

Furthermore, the Shortcuts list is truncated and there doesn’t seem to be any way to tell it to always display in full; given that you can’t customise which settings are shown in the list, and that all the ones listed fit easily on screen, this seems a pointless extra step.

The main Settings panel has also been reskinned for no good reason, making everything that little bit trickier to find, but not offering a single advantage over the Android standard.

Although I’m open to innovations that provide a benefit, I’m really not a fan of change for change’s sake.

Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-41 Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-48
Shortcuts shown as they first come up, and expanded

 

Performance

I remember from my brief switch to the HTC Desire (before I got my S4) the frustration of slow performance when I was used to fast.

Although the tech review sites have highlighted laggy performance in their G7 reviews, I can’t say this is something I’ve noticed at all and I’m very happy with the phone’s performance.

 

Other Niggles

I nearly always set my phone to Vibration mode (zero volume, buzzing for incoming calls and notifications) and it’s easy enough to select that option. Unfortunately, time and time and time again (several times a day) I discover that the G7 has switched into completely Silent mode, without vibration. This is driving me crazy, so if anyone has an answer to how it keeps happening, or better still, a way to stop it, I’m listening!

And speaking of Vibration mode, the vibration is really weak. Perhaps that contributes to the excellent battery life but I’d sure like a way to pump it up a little. (Hey, get your mind out of the gutter, yes you!)

Like most of Huawei’s in-house software, the Phone Dialler must surely also have been written by people who just don’t use phones very much! I can work out how to call a number from my Contacts and I can see how to type a number in myself. What I can’t readily do is paste in a phone number that I’ve copied from an email or tweet – the only way I’ve found is to start typing a number in to the Diallier, paste my copied number in and then go back and delete the number I typed in to bring the field up in the first place.

 

In conclusion

Although my review isn’t altogether positive, the Phone Manager / battery life are such strong additions to the Pros column that they do go a long way to balancing the Cons. And if Huawei gave up their insistence on replacing perfectly good default functionality with crappy in-house versions, most of the Cons could be crossed off the list.

Let me end with a few photos taken on the G7 (and posted to instagram):

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IMG_20150419_194334 IMG_20150419_144036 IMG_20150418_220209 IMG_20150418_215705 IMG_20150418_174305
IMG_20150418_133028 IMG_20150416_080708 IMG_20150414_184322 IMG_20150412_131644 IMG_20150411_151708
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Kavey Eats was provided a Huawei Ascend G7 for review purposes.

Dec 312014
 

I’m wont to extremely long and rambling annual round ups, when it comes to the end of the year. When I start looking back, I get so excited about so many things I saw, did and ate that I struggle to narrow it down. This year is no different!

JANUARY

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5134

My recipe for Yakitori Chicken Hearts turns out to be the most popular one of the year, which I find encouraging, given how many people I know turn their noses up at offal. I posted this at a time when my culinary heart was still yearning for Japan (which we visited for the second time in late autumn 2013).

I also had fun learning all about cooking sous vide.

FEBRUARY

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The older (and more experienced I get) the better I become at adapting recipes to suit our tastes. There have always been some dishes I have been able to cook more instinctively, but when I was younger, I didn’t have the confidence to make changes that might improve upon the recipes of others. Making a few minor adjustments to this Baked Chorizo, Cod and Potato dish elevated it into a firm favourite that we’ve made again more than once.

Much of the content I published in February harked back to the second Japan trip, including several photo essays, a review of Burger King’s Kuro Ninja and a visit to Suizenji Joju-en Park in Kumamoto.

MARCH

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My most popular recipe this month (and one that continues to garner praise from those who make it) is my Mum’s Lucknowi-style Lamb Biryani.

March was definitely a recipe-lead month, with my primer on sous vide steak, our Japanese yakiniku at home experiment and cheese, ham and chilli jam pancakes for pancake day.

I was also surprised and fascinated by the responses to my little survey about ready meals versus home cooking.

APRIL

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There were two recipes I loved sharing in April – my Sous Vide Southern Fried Chicken and this unusual Smoky Paprika Coleslaw recipe featuring, of all ingredients, condensed milk! It really works! I also made a home made Mr Whippy ice cream; it worked superbly well but is a bit of a faff.

MAY

Heston 12 Heston 15

The filming was earlier in the year, but May was the broadcast date for Heston’s Great British Food Chocolate episode, to which I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest. An incredible experience!

Individual Marzipan Cakes

These Individual Marzipan Cakes, a tweaked Nigella recipe, are definitely overdue to be made again.

Warda-Lebanese-Restaurant-London-KFavelle-KaveyEats-6124

Salivating as I think of it, I had one of the best Lebanese meals I’ve had in the UK, at Warda restaurant in Southgate (North London). We’ve been again several times since and love it so much we’re taking my mum there for her birthday next month.

JUNE

Green-Bean-Shiraae-KaveyEats-KFavelle-text-1 Quick-Easy-Yuzu-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-KFavelle-800text-6761

More inspiration from Japan this month in two of my recipes – Green Beans with a Tofu, Miso and Sesame Dressing (Saya Ingen Shira-ae) and Quick & Easy Yuzu Ice Cream.

I also had great fun filming a recipe video for vouchercodesuk. You can view the video but also access the written recipe for my Chorizo, Spinach, Onion & Potato Frittata, here.

Another recipe I posted in June must surely be my simplest ever, with just a single ingredient! But readers and friends have let me know they have been delighted to learn about the slow cooker method of cooking jacket potatoes.

JULY

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In July, I shared a mammoth travel post, rounding up all my favourites from a city break in Brussels.

Brazilian-Brigadeiro-Chocolate-Bonbons-KaveyEats-KFavelle-text800-6738

The recipe of the month was definitely these deceptively simple, beautifully bling Brazilian Brigadeiro Chocolate Bonbons but a second runner would be Little Orange & Lime Cakes, also from Brazil.

AUGUST

White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-7049-titletext Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats--(c)-KFavelle-7081-fulltext

In August I shared some great recipes made using my new Optimum 9400 Blender by Froothie. This smooth-as-silk White Chocolate Vanilla Ice Cream was one such recipe, as was this Quick Courgette & Blue Cheese Soup.

Our garden and allotment began to reward us with lots of delicious courgettes. Unlike some, I relish the glut and shared a long list of courgette recipes including fabulous Sausage-Ragu Stuffed Globe Courgettes.

This month, I also launched my Meet The Blogger series, in which I introduce readers to some of my favourite bloggers by way of an interview.

SEPTEMBER

Croatia Instagram KaveyEats KFavelle (c)-153405 Croatia Instagram KaveyEats KFavelle (c)-184241

The undisputed highlight of my summer was attending my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Sharing images from the day, not to mention our dining highlights, was a lovely way to relive the occasion. I can’t wait to go back when it’s less searingly hot!

Pete and I also had a great experience attending the Billingsgate Seafood Cookery School’s evening class on smoking fish.

OCTOBER

Burnt-Apple-Bourbon-Icecream-KaveyEats-(c)KFavelle-addedtext-8489 Bacon-Wrapped-Icelandic-Hot-Dog-KaveyEats-(c)KFavelle-addedtext-8442

This tasty month included a recipe that turned out even better than I hoped; this Burnt Apple & Bourbon Ice Cream plus a taste of Iceland, after our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Iceland in August and September.

I was also very happy with my Chorizo, Pumpkin, Spinach & Giant Couscous Salad.

Kurobuta-Birthday-Lunch-KaveyEats-(c)KFavelle-notext-8480

Celebrating my end-of-September birthday with lunch at Kurobuta restaurant was an excellent choice, one that still has me dreaming about some of the dishes. My review went up in October.

NOVEMBER

Reykjavik-Iceland-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-181016 Reykjavik-Iceland-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-095907

I shared more from our trip to Iceland, with my Reykjavik Postcard full of our favourite sights, food and drink.

Butternut-Squash-Soup-Bacon-Brittle-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-fulltext

Having been reworking the recipe since I first posted a version last year, I finally posted an updated recipe of my Easy Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon Brittle.

DECEMBER

Viking-Sushi-Collage-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2014

First, another postcard from our late summer visit Iceland, the fantastic Viking Sushi Boat Excursion.

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More travel, but this time in the form of an educational visit to Almeria and Murcia to learn about their agricultural Green Revolution.

Pineapple-Flower-Lemongrass-Coconut-Ice-Cream-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-fulltext

And my latest recipe, a choice of two recipes for lemongrass and coconut ice cream and decorative dried pineapple flowers with chilli.

 

Alongside all of that has been a steady flow of restaurant reviews, lots more Meet The Blogger interviews, some cookery book reviews and recipes featuring home grown produce from our garden and allotment.

This year I finally also joined instagram which I’ve really been enjoying, sharing the little food experiences (and wider life ones) that don’t make it onto Kavey Eats. This has proved particularly food fun during my travels, with friends kindly letting me know how much they’ve appreciated travelling along with me via the images and captions.

To readers old and new, thank you for taking the time to visit Kavey Eats. If you enjoy a post, a recipe, a tip or a story, do please leave me a comment with your thoughts or feedback. I love hearing from you.

Wishing you all the best for 2015!

Dec 242014
 

xmas2014

Christmas Market in Cathedral Square, Vilnius

Nov 222014
 

By most measures, I have a good life.

I have a husband I adore, a loving family and wonderful friends. I am self-employed in IT and enjoy my job. Our house is utter chaos but at least it’s ours and, hey, it’s lived in!

I have a smile on my face most of the time.

Of course, life isn’t always a bed of roses. Health issues result in regular pain and that sometimes turns into frustration and moping. Here are some of my favourite ways to find joy when life conspires to get me down or I’m feeling frazzled by the mundane.

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Image by David Steele

Writing

Putting words onto paper (or screen) gives me great pleasure. I love the way it helps me tease my jumbled thoughts into order and it’s great fun to share an experience, an idea, a recipe or a place with others. It’s also a lovely way to connect with people around the world with the same interests. I invest several hours every week into my blog, Kavey Eats, and over the years it’s become one of my favourite hobbies. Through that, I’ve also become a regular contributor to a food and travel magazine, giving me a way of sharing my words with a wider audience.

Writing doesn’t have to be about an audience, of course. Some say that the key element is to express themselves, even if it’s in the confines of a private diary. Whether you want to talk about food and cooking, politics and current affairs, the trials and tribulations of bringing up a family or your thoughts about last night’s TV, grab a notebook or create a diary or personal website and start writing.

brigadeiro-chocolate-bon-bons

Food & drink

Being a food blogger, it’s no surprise that I love food and it’s something I can find enormous pleasure in. When I’m looking for comfort, I turn to a familiar and nostalgia-inducing favourite. When I’m feeling creative, I try and develop a new recipe. For a more sociable experience, I love eating out and there are just so many fabulous restaurants to choose from. And there’s also great pleasure in discovering a new treat, whether it’s a bar of top quality chocolate, a jar of British honey or a beautifully marbled steak.

Travelling

As a contractor, I’m able to take a fair bit of time off – it’s one of the reasons I went freelance in the first place – and I love to travel and explore the rest of the world. Of course, I can’t be travelling all the time, so when I’m at home I spend lots of time reading trip reports from other travellers, and researching my next big adventure. Honestly, I get as much pleasure from planning a trip as I do from the trip itself; anticipation of pleasures to come is a powerful happiness generator!

growing-veg

Gardening

My husband and I have grown our own vegetables in our small suburban back garden for many years. A few years ago we also took on an allotment plot, giving us lots of extra space to grow a wider range of produce. Sometimes, the harvest for one or more crops is disappointing but there’s always something that gives us a plentiful bounty and there’s a lot of joy in the process itself. My husband much prefers it to a gym and it’s far cheaper too!

We always grow at least one new fruit or vegetable a year, alongside our trusty favourites. This year we enjoyed our first physalis, butternut squashes and red apples. Last year, the new tomatillos did very well.

Art

A friend of mine once said many years ago that he didn’t think of himself as creative; creative was a word he associated with other people. Regardless of that thought, he pursued an interest in photography and realised that creativity isn’t always something innate; it can be nurtured through practice and determination. Today he’s a successful and talented photographer who shares his skills with others.

I, too, love photography and have always found it a great way of emptying my mind of everyday worries while I focus on capturing the image I want. I also find it a powerful tool for making me stop, look and appreciate the subject more closely, whether it’s a building or landscape, a person or animal or even a worn park bench!

I believe this applies equally to other artforms so if you’ve always liked the idea of painting, pottery, crochet or origami, stop worrying about not being any good at it and just have a go!

This article on my top tips for finding (and creating) joy in your life was commissioned by Thorntons.

 

Recently, I asked my friends “The Mapes” to review Five Valleys Cordials for Kavey Eats. There are seven cordials in the range, made from natural ingredients with no artificial flavours, sweeteners, colourings or preservatives. They are available from Waitrose and Ocado, as well as a number of Gloucestershire retailers.

Over to “Daddy Mape”, Mark:

fivevalleysrange

When we received the cordials we decided to make a game of trying them with our children. Each new bottle was chosen at random and the label kept hidden. We then made up glasses of the cordial and tried to guess what the cordial was. Between us we always got the main ingredient and about half of the time we got the second ingredient.

IMG_1815 IMG_1816

We used some of the cordials with our SodaStream and ice lolly maker.

Reviews

Cherry & Beetroot

Nice cherry flavour, strongly reminiscent of cherry flavoured cough remedies (which L found slightly off putting) but if that’s the flavour of cough sweets that you’d choose, we would highly recommend.
3/5

Apricot and Ginger

The bottle wasn’t big enough and was emptied very quickly! If not drunk quickly it separates into two drinks – a really refreshing apricot followed by delicious ginger; this is not necessarily a bad thing but makes for an interesting experience.
5/5

Lemon & Mint

Very minty, not a preferred choice as we never quite worked out the best way to drink it. If you like mint drinks or have a favourite mint cocktail would highly recommend.
2/5

Sloe & Raspberry

Disappeared quickly (too quickly to try the serving suggestion of drinking it hot). Very reminiscent of a posh Vimto.
5/5

Coconut and Kaffir Lime

Confession time – only one of the 4 of us likes coconut! All of us tried it but it was too coconutty for three of us. L found it really refreshing and it would be a great drink on a summers evening.
1/5 or 4/5

Peach and Lychee

Sweet as you’d expect, in fact too sweet for us. We could smell the lychees more than taste them.
1/5
Made good lollies 3/5

Rose and Pomegranate

Turkish delight in a glass, what’s not to like? You could use the smell to scent your room.
5/5

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Summary

The cordials on a whole were really good and we’d drink most of them again. For us they’re not for everyday use but we’d happily buy for a summer party or if we wanted cocktail mixers.

 

With thanks to Five Valleys Cordials for their review samples and to “The Mapes” for their review.

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