I do love a good chocolate brownie and for me that means dense and gooey – none of this crumbly cake-like stuff – and redolent of top quality dark chocolate. I want the texture to be rich, fudge-like, just short of too sticky to hold and I want to taste the natural flavour of the cocoa bean from which the chocolate was made.

When such a brownie can be mine for twenty-odd quid and a day or two’s wait for it to made to order and sent to me by post, there’s absolutely no reason not to indulge from time to time. And of course, it means I can spread the love by sending lovely parcels of deliciousness to friends – for a birthday or anniversary, as a thank you gift, as a get well message or just because I know someone who will utterly adore them!

B is for Brownie offers such a service, selling handmade single origin chocolate brownies across the UK via an online shop.

B is for Brownie on Kavey Eats-8642 B is for Brownie on Kavey Eats-8643
B is for Brownie on Kavey Eats-8647 B is for Brownie on Kavey Eats-8651

I recently tried their offering (see my review below) and had a chat to founder Lou Cox. I also have a box to giveaway to a lucky reader, and a reader discount code to share too.

B is for Brownie | Interview

When did you decide to launch a business selling your brownies to the public? And when did you launch?

My decision to go into brownie baking happened in the autumn of 2014. I was on a mission to produce the very best brownie that I could. There was lots of experimentation during which I discovered that you could taste the character of different origins of chocolate in the brownies and that seemed like the most obvious route for me to take. The online business launched in August 2015.

How did you come up with the name and brand design for B is for Brownie?

My partner came up with the name and it just sounded right. I worked on the brand design with a very talented web designer called Sarah Webb. I didn’t initially want a black and white design, but in the end the logo looked so clean and fresh and timeless that I went with it.

All your brownies are gluten free. Was that a conscious decision based on a personal need to avoid gluten, a desire to be suitable for gluten-free consumers or simply that your favourite brownie recipe happened to be gluten free?

During the development stage I decided to offer a wheat free version. When I baked with wheat free flour I was so impressed by the texture that I felt that the brownies actually benefited from being wheat free, so that’s the recipe I now use. I don’t shout about it, it just happened to be the best thing for my brownies.

Where do you source the chocolate for your single original chocolate brownies, and how do you select it?

I source by flavour, it must have plenty of character to shine through in the baked brownie. I prefer chocolate without vanilla and soya lecithin where possible.

For your Grenadan brownies, you actually make the chocolate yourself from the bean, before using it in your brownies! Why did you decide to take this approach? Can you tell me more about how you chose these Grenadan beans and how you make your chocolate?

I just wanted to take the whole process further and I enjoy experimenting. I have a science degree, and spent nearly six years working for Hotel Chocolat within the development team. So felt confident in my abilities to take brownie baking to the next level. I simply chose the Grenadan beans for their character and also from a practical point of view I am a very small business and cannot justify buying tens of kilos at a time. The bean to brownie is intended to be a limited edition brownie baked simply without any additional flavour to show case the cocoa bean. I intend to change the bean origin from time to time.

The process for making chocolate is very simple but a little time consuming. Basically you roast some beans, allow to cool remove the shell, grind to create small nibs then heat the nibs and add to a grinder and grind for 4 hours. [You can read more about Lou’s methods and equipment in Lou’s recent blog post, here.]

Which is your best seller?

The sea salted butterscotch without a doubt!

How do you develop new brownie flavours?

Firstly they need to be able to withstand the character of the chocolate, secondly I tend not to blend flavours through the brownie batter as this would mask the flavour of the single origin chocolate. I like the contrast or harmony between the topping and the chocolate. Sometimes you get more topping than brownie and sometimes more brownie!

Can you tell us about flavours currently in development and coming soon?

I’ve just developed The Hazelnut Gianduja Brownie for which I am making the gianduja myself – roasting and blending hazelnuts with chocolate and sea salt – before submerging chunks into a brownie slab just before baking.

I’m also looking at a Rum & Raisin brownie for summer / Father’s Day. I am soaking flame raisins in spiced rum before baking them into the brownie.

Sum up your brownies in 5 words or less.

Immensely dense, intensely good. Truffley (not really a word I know!)

B is for Brownie | Review

My brownies arrive securely packed in a sturdy box that should fit readily through most letterboxes. Inside, the brownies are beautifully wrapped in branded paper tied with ribbon, and also in parchment paper, so they arrive safe and sound.

B is for Brownie on Kavey Eats-8652
B is for Brownie on Kavey Eats-8648 B is for Brownie on Kavey Eats-8655

Lou hand-makes the brownies to order so they are freshly baked when posted and remain in good condition for about a week after arrival. You can also freeze some of the pieces if you like, to spread the enjoyment out; I froze a couple of mine, wrapped tightly in some of the parchment paper they arrived in, and can confirm that they freeze and defrost well.

The slab Lou made for me is single origin Madagascan chocolate and she created a mix of flavours so I could get a feel for her range. Fingers crossed that a similar assorted brownie slab will be available for order in her shop soon as I love the idea! From left tor right the flavours in my slab are Sea Salted Fudge, Raspberry, plain Madagascan and Hazelnut Gianduja [coming soon].

Unlike many flavoured brownies I’ve tried before, Lou doesn’t mix her flavourings into the batter as she is keen for the flavour of the single origin chocolate to shine through. Instead, she adds ingredients as toppings or – like the Hazelnut Gianduja – pushes a layer down inside the batter so it bakes into the middle. This tactic works really well and the flavourings complement rather than overwhelm the chocolate. And with chocolate this good, that’s a very good thing – the delicious red berry fruit notes typical of Madagascan chocolate sing on the palate.

I love all four that I try but I think my favourite is the raspberry jam – the fruit accentuates the natural flavours of the cacao so perfectly!

Most of the B is for Brownies range is priced between £18 and £23 per 500 gram slab. The Goldie is the outlier priced at £30, not unreasonable given the brilliant bling of 23 carat gold leaf that adorns it. Delivery is an additional £3.35 per box.

Hint: If ever you want to get in my good books, a box of Lou’s brownies would go a long way towards ensuring your place!

B is for Brownie | Giveaway

PRIZE

B is for Brownie are offering a box of single original brownies in their latest flavour, Hazelnut Gianduja, to a reader of Kavey Eats. The box will contain a 500 gram slab of handmade chocolate brownies and includes delivery to a UK address.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
What new brownie flavour would you like to see B is for Brownie developing next?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey and @Bisforbrownie on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a box of single origin chocolate brownies by @Bisforbrownie from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KE-BIFB #KaveyEatsBIFB
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 24th June 2016.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a B is for Brownie box of Hazelnut Gianduja brownies. Delivery to a UK address is included.
  • The prize is offered by B is for Brownie and cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey and @Bisforbrownie at the time of notification.
  • For Blog comment entries, entrants must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

B is for Brownie | Reader Code

If you would like to order a box of single original chocolate brownies for yourself or a friend (and I’m telling you, you or the friend will love you for it!), B is for Brownie are offering 15% off to Kavey Eats readers. Enter KAVEY2016 on checkout; valid till 30th June 2016. Discount applies to contents of  cart; delivery cost remains the same.

Kavey Eats received a review box of chocolate brownies from B is for Brownie.

 

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

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

growyourowncake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

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

GIVEAWAY

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

HOW TO ENTER

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

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

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win Grow Your Own Cake published by @Frances_Lincoln from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsGYOC #KaveyEatsGYOC
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th May 2016.
  • The two winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each prize is a copy of Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell and Jason Ingram, published by Frances Lincoln. Delivery to UK addresses is included.
  • The prizes are offered by Frances Lincoln and cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

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

The two winners of the giveaway are Patricia Whittaker and Emily Knight.

 

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

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

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

Brownie Heaven - Kavey Eats -8235

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

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

Brownie Heaven - Kavey Eats -8225 Brownie Heaven - Kavey Eats -8228

GIVEAWAY

Brownie Heaven are offering one mixed box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs to a reader of Kavey Eats. The box will contain two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente and includes delivery to a UK address.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
If you were designing a new brownie for Brownie Heaven, what would you put in the centre of a Chocolate Brownie Scotch Egg?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey and @brownieheaven on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a box of Chocolate Brownie Scotch Eggs by @BrownieHeaven from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsBH #KaveyEatsBrownieHeaven
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th May 2016.
  • The two winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a Brownie Heaven box containing two Scotch Cream Eggs, one Salted Pretzel Scotch Caramel Egg and one Ferrero Scotch Brownie Eggcelente. Delivery to a UK address is included.
  • The prize is offered by Brownie Heaven and cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey and @brownieheaven at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

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

The winner of the giveaway was Lindsey Stuart.

 

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

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

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

Tokyo Cult Recipes cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GIVEAWAY

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

HOW TO ENTER

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

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

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win Tokyo Cult Recipes published by @murdochbooksuk from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsTCR #KaveyEatsTCR
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 18th March 2016.
  • The two winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each prize is a copy of Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota, published by Murdoch Books. Delivery to UK addresses is included.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following both @Kavey at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

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

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

 

Named for the twin brothers who founded it, Joseph Joseph is a British success story, founded in 2003 and now selling in over 100 countries around the world.

The houseware brand is perhaps best known for its super-durable chopping boards (both folding ones that angle into a chute for easy transfer to the cooking pot and colour-coded preparation ones) that are one of its core product ranges. Today Joseph Joseph also manufacture food storage (both for the kitchen and on the go), microwave cookware, all kinds of kitchen tools (from bowls and dishes to measuring cups, jugs and scales to scissors and knives to graters and peelers) and a wide selection of cooking and cleaning utensils.

Their entire range is very much design-led with thought given to practical functionality, durability and looks.

Over the last few weeks Pete and I have been putting a few Joseph Joseph products to the test and have been really impressed by each of those aspects.

Index Regular Chopping Board Set Index Steel Chopping Board Set 3
Index Steel Chopping Board Set 4 Index Steel Chopping Board Set 5

Index chopping boards are colour-coded to help prevent cross-contamination – red for meat, blue for fish, green for vegetables and white for cooked food. Each of the boards have non-slip feet and additional clever touches that make using them a pleasure – a channel around the meat board collects any escaping juices; fish are discouraged from sliding about the board by a strip of textured surface along the centre.

All four boards are easily stored in a space-saving upright box from which they can easily be pulled out and best of all, they are dishwasher safe too.

For small kitchens, the Index Mini offers a similarly colour-coded set in a smaller size. Also great for caravans or keen cooks who like to travel with a set of kitchen essentials when they go on holiday.

Cut and carve 2 Cut and carve 1 Cut and carve 3

The Cut & Carve board has one smooth side that can be used as a normal chopping board, but it’s the other side that has earned it a permanent place in our kitchen – spikes in the centre of the board hold meat in place as you carve and the surface is slightly sloped with a generous lip to catch juices, which can then easily be poured from the corner straight into pan to make gravy! Of course, it’s also good for cutting other foods that have a tendency to leak (fresh mozzarella) or create a surfeit of crumbs (bread).

Elevate 1 Elevate 2
Elevate 3 Elevate 4

Elevate utensils have a stand integrated into the handle so you can rest them on the worktop without the food-dipped end touching the surface. These can be purchased in a set with a carousel stand, or individually. The two we chose have become well-used tools.

The products above are the ones we’ve been testing ourselves. They’re really practical to use, they’re dishwasher proof, they feel really durable and the clever design touches make using them a very positive experience.

There are many other Joseph Joseph products that catch my eye, from the cleverly nesting set of bowls and measuring cups to the dimpled ice cream scoop, and of course, the ones I’ve picked to giveaway to one lucky reader, below.

Twist and grate 2 Twist and grate 3 Twist and grate 1

The Twist Grater has two different stainless steel grating blades. When the handle is straight, use to grate straight above a dish or container; twist the handle to hold the grater firmly against the work surface. It comes in three colours and with a choice of three blade pairs – coarse and fine, extra coarse and ribbon or star and extra fine.

 

GIVEAWAY

Joseph Joseph are offering a reader of Kavey Eats a regular size Index colour-coded chopping board set (top, £50) and a green coarse and fine Twist Grater (above, £20). Delivery to UK and EU addresses is included.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
What kind of cook are you in the kitchen? Tell me about your cooking style and skills in the comments section below.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey and @JosephJoseph on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win fabulous @JosephJoseph prizes from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsJJ #KaveyEatsJosephJoseph
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 18th March 2016.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Joseph Joseph.
  • The prize is a regular size Index colour-coded chopping board set and a green coarse and fine Twist Grater. Delivery to UK and EU addresses is included.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following both @Kavey and @josephjoseph at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

Kavey Eats received review products from Joseph Joseph. As always, all opinions 100% honest.We recommend only products we truly believe in.

The winner of this giveaway was Frances Darvill, who entered via a blog comment.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What We Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any Negatives?

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

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

Other Points Of Note

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

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

GIVEAWAY

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

HOW TO ENTER

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

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

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey and @SimplyCookCom on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a 3-month subscription to @SimplyCookCom from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsSimplyCook #KaveyEatsSimplyCook
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 26th February 2016.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Simply Cook.
  • Each prize is a 3-month subscription (one box per month) to Simply Cook. Winners can choose between the Discovery, Light and Gluten Free options. Delivery to UK addresses is included.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following both @Kavey and @SimplyCookCom at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

TRY A BOX FOR JUST £1 (EXPIRED, SEE BELOW)

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

£1 TRIAL BOX

The above trial offer has now expired. However, you can still get your first Simply Cook box for £1 using this link.

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

Kavey Eats received a review subscription from Simply Cook.

The winners of this giveaway are Lindsey Loughtman and Sarah N.

 

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

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

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

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

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

Magazine Addict - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-151110

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

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

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

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

So I do miss reading magazines.

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

Introducing Readly

This is where Readly comes in.

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

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

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

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

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

In More Detail!

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

You can also limit the maximum number of downloaded items.

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

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

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Setting up additional profiles is very straightforward.

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

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

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

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

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Of my areas of interest…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016-01-02 (42) 2016-01-02 (50)

 

Giveaway

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

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

How To Enter

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

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

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a 6 month subscription to @ReadlyUK from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsReadly #KaveyEatsReadly
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

Rules, Terms & Conditions

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 5th February 2016.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Readly UK.
  • The prize is a 6 month subscription to the Readly UK service. The gift certificate can be redeemed anywhere in the world, but the winner must select UK as country when redeeming it. This will provide access to all Readly UK content (including international titles covered by Readly UK).
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Discount Code

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

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

Kavey Eats received a review subscription from Readly UK.

 

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

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

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

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

NIKKEI_JACKET

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

In Luiz’ own words:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seabream 1

Nikkei Sea Bream with Yuzu & Green Jalapeño Rice

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

Cooked in a Clay Pot

Serves 8–10

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

Method

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

Seabream 2

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

GIVEAWAY

Jacqui Small are offering a copy of Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara to two lucky readers of Kavey Eats! The prize includes free delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment telling me about your favourite Japanese or South American dish.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a copy of Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsNikkei #KaveyEatsNikkei
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

Rules, Terms & Conditions

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 4th December 2015.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each (of two) prizes is a copy of Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara, published by Jacqui Small. The prize includes delivery within in the UK. We cannot guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery date.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Jacqui Small.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a review copy from Jacqui Small . Nikkei Cuisine is currently available from Amazon UK for £19.99 (RRP £25) (at time of posting).

 

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

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

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

260739-wreath-box

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

310321-cookie-caramel-wreath-large

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

260773-marzipan-autumn-box

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

GIVEAWAY

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

HOW TO ENTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wild Drinks & Cocktails

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

Recipes are divided into six chapters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wild Drinks and Cocktails Vin dOrange crp

Homemade Vin D’Orange

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

Makes: about 940 ml / 1 quart

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

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

Method

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

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

GIVEAWAY

Fair Winds Press are offering a copy of Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han to two lucky readers of Kavey Eats! Each prize includes free delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

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

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment telling me about your favourite drink made from fruits, vegetables, herbs or spices.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a copy of Wild Drinks & Cocktails by Emily Han from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsWildDrinks #KaveyEatsWildDrinks
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle at the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 4th December 2015.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries (across blog and twitter) using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each (of two) prizes is a copy of Emily Han’s Wild Drinks and Cocktails published by Fair Winds Press, and includes delivery within the UK. We cannot guarantee a pre-Christmas delivery date.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Fair Winds Press.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Wild Drinks and Cocktails. Published by Fair Winds Press, a member of the Quarto Publishing Group, this title is currently available for £14.99 (RRP).

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