May 152016
 

We recently spent a lovely few days visiting our friends in their gorgeous rural home in Monmouthshire. While they were at work, Pete and I took over their large kitchen (with beautiful views of the countryside) and cooked up a storm. Having packed our new Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle maker, on our first full day in the kitchen we went waffling mad, making rich, decadent double chocolate waffles for breakfast followed by smoky paprika and cheesy potato ones for lunch, both big successes and utterly delicious.

We thought (briefly) about having a non-waffle breakfast the next morning and got as far as discussing toast, bacon and eggs. But the thought of hot buttered toast with Marmite, a breakfast staple in both houses, lead me to suggest Marmite Waffles instead and the very enthusiastic response to the idea meant there was no going back!

We adapted the Classic Waffle recipe from the Smart Waffle maker guide book, reducing the sugar and adding Marmite, and to our delight, the waffles came out beautifully. Just the right amount of Marmite flavour, not so subtle that you struggle to taste it but not overwhelmingly strong either.

These are light waffles perfect to serve straight out of the waffle maker with soft boiled eggs and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

As Pete discovered, on nibbling a leftover waffle that afternoon, these are also great cold as a savoury snack.

Marmite Waffles on Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle (2)

Marmite Waffles Recipe

Makes 5 waffles in the Smart Waffle maker

Ingredients
80 g butter, melted
300 ml milk, warmed to tepid
2 level tablespoons (or 2 very heaped teaspoons) Marmite, or your preferred brand of yeast extract
2 large eggs
200 grams plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 generously heaped teaspoon baking powder

Method

  • Preheat your waffle maker. We used the Smart Waffle’s Classic setting, and set the Lightness-Darkness dial to two lighter than the middle notch.

Marmite Waffles on Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle (4) Marmite Waffles on Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle (5)

  • Whisk butter, milk, marmite and eggs together.
  • Place dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ones and whisk to form a runny batter.
  • Pour batter into waffle maker; don’t overfill.
  • Cook for about 3 minutes, or until nicely browned and crisp on the surface.

Marmite Waffles on Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle (3)

  • Remove and serve hot.

To read more about the Smart Waffle from Sage by Heston Blumenthal, check out this post where I share a recipe for very indulgent and delicious Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Belgian Waffles.

Marmite Waffles on Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle (1)

Here are a few more waffle ideas featuring well-known food brands:

 

Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle for review. As always, I was not expected to write a positive review; all opinions are my own and I recommend only products I truly believe in. This post contains affiliate links; please see my sidebar for further information.

 

When you have a waffle maker, everything looks like a waffle!’ So says a dear friend of mine and I reckon he’s not wrong.

It’s full steam ahead on the waffle wagon here at Kavey Eats and today it’s the turn of the humble potato. Our first experiment with potato waffles used mash potato mixed with egg, a little flour, a little cheese and seasoning. The idea worked pretty well but the waffles were a bit of a faff to make, a little bland and they didn’t crisp up as we’d hoped.

So my next thought was to try the potato rösti route. I recently had great success in adapting potato rösti into a pizza base, so I was hopeful it would make a great waffle.

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats-8254

For our first attempt we completely winged it, guestimating quantities and method by eye, and assuming we’d need to tweak the recipe at least once or twice before it was ready to share. But we totally nailed it on the first attempt and I’m urging you to make these for yourself and tell us what you think!

You need just three core ingredients plus a little oil to create these crispy-surfaced, gooey-centred waffles with a gentle smoky flavour and heat from the paprika.

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats (1)

Parmesan & Paprika Potato Waffles

Makes 4 waffles in the Smart Waffle maker

Ingredients
500 g raw potato, grated
2 tbs vegetable oil
100 g parmesan, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Note: I used La Chinata smoked paprika which has a wonderful flavour and a nice kick of heat.

Method

  • Preheat the waffle maker.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil through the grated potato and microwave until soft; 3-4 minutes.
  • Mix the paprika through the grated cheese and then add to the cooked potato.

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats-8247

  • Mix well to distribute cheese throughout the mix.
  • Spoon a quarter of the mix into each side of the waffle maker and close, and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove and set aside on a hot dish or in a very low temperature oven for a few minutes until all the waffles are ready.
  • Repeat with second half of the mixture.
  • Serve hot and crisp!

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats (2)

You may also enjoy these savoury waffle recipes from fellow food bloggers:

 

Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle for review. As always, I was not expected to write a positive review; all opinions are my own and I recommend only products I truly believe in. This post contains affiliate links; please see my sidebar for further information.

 

Pete and I have been waffling-mad the last few weeks! We’ve made regular waffles, Belgian waffles, mashed potato waffles and more, and the list of ideas still to try is at least ten times that long.

It’s all down to our new waffle maker, Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle. We’ve already test driven the Smart Scoop ice cream machine, the Quick Touch microwave and the Tea Maker kettle, all part of the same range, and all with similarly clever ideas that make using each one a pleasure.

The Smart Waffle has a number of clever features that set it above other waffle makers on the market. There’s a wide wraparound moat to catch and cook overflow batter, so you can safely add enough batter to properly fill the space without worrying that the excess will surge out and make a mess on your worktop. The waffle plates are made of cast aluminium which ensures that heat is distributed evenly, and they are also are good and deep, creating lovely thick, square waffles. The housing is stainless steel and easy to keep clean.

There are different settings for different types of waffles – Belgian, Classic, Chocolate or Buttermilk – and you can also adjust colour from Light to Dark with 12 levels to choose from. These combine to set temperature and cooking time automatically. Like the microwave, there’s the A Bit More button to give a short burst of extra cooking time if you open the machine when it beeps that it’s done but feel it needs a little longer after all.

So far, we’ve found it a pleasure to use, and all our different waffle recipes have all come out very well.

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Waffles - Kavey Eats-8237 The Smart Waffle

Next on the list was a decadent chocolate waffle that would be perfect for breakfast or dessert. There are hundreds of recipes all around the web to choose from but the one that stood out was this brownie belgium waffle by American blogger Sommer. This produces a super rich chocolate waffle that’s not as sweet as you’d assume given the 100 grams of sugar. The ‘double chocolate’ comes from cocoa powder and chocolate chips and the soft interior and crisp exterior are exactly what’s promised by ‘brownie-style’. I’ve rewritten the recipe in metric measurements and provided new instructions to suit our waffle maker, though of course you can adjust to use whatever waffle maker you have.

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Waffles - Kavey Eats (2)

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Belgian Waffles

Makes 4 waffles in the Smart Waffle maker

Ingredients
Waffle batter

200 g granulated sugar
80 g plain flour
80 g (unsweetened) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60 ml water
90 g unsalted butter, melted
120 g mini dark chocolate chips*
vegetable oil, to spray
Topping
100 ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1-2 bananas
1 small pack blueberries

Note: If you cannot find mini dark chocolate chips, finely chop a bar of dark chocolate instead. The small size allows little bits of chocolate to distribute evenly within the batter.

Method

  • Preheat your waffle maker. Ours has a Belgian waffle setting, which we selected for this recipe, with the darkness level set to 2 up from Lightest.
  • In a large bowl mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • In a small bowl beat the eggs, vanilla extract and water, before adding to the dry ingredients and mixing together.
  • Add in the melted butter and beat vigorously to mix well and create a thick, gloopy batter.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Oil the waffle maker with vegetable oil using a spray or wipe on with kitchen towel.
  • Spoon a quarter of the batter into each half of the waffle machine, close and cook until the machine beeps (about 3 minutes), or until fully shaped but soft to the touch.
  • Open the machine and leave to cool for 30 seconds. As these waffles are super soft and very fragile when hot, we found it easiest to place a small baking tray over the cooked waffles and flip the entire machine upside down; this is a two person job but the easiest way to get them out without breaking. After a few seconds of cooling outside the waffle machine, the surfaces start to crisp up beautifully. The inside stays soft, like a brownie or chocolate cake.
    If flipping the waffle machine over is not a good option for you, cook the waffles on the Lightest setting, open the waffle maker when it beeps done and leave in the machine to cool down for at least 5 minutes before carefully removing the waffles with a pair flexible spatulas.
  • Repeat cooking steps for second half of the mixture.
  • We served with lightly-sweetened whipped double cream, sliced bananas and blueberries.

Double Chocolate Brownie-Style Waffles - Kavey Eats (1)

You may also enjoy these sweet waffle recipes from fellow food bloggers:

 

 

Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle for review. As always, I was not expected to write a positive review; all opinions are my own and I recommend only products I truly believe in. This post contains affiliate links; please see my sidebar for further information.

 

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.

 

Edge of Belgravia is a contemporary chef knife brand established in 2010. Based in London, the brand prides itself on the avant-gard design and quality of its products combined with a modern marketing approach.

EoB collection_5_slide_1_image

The Black Diamond knife block, designed by Christian Bird, is not only a piece of art for the kitchen but also superbly useful, suitable for most knives with a blade thickness of up to 4 mm. The futuristic design can hold up to 11 knives, but looks just as elegant with less. Clever use of weighting holds knives securely in place and they are easy to extract too.

Edge of Belgravia’s Precision Chef Knives have a similarly bold and modern design, and look wonderful in the Black Diamond knife block. The stainless steel blades cut well and are easy to sharpen. The Complete Set contains a bread knife, a chef’s knife, a paring knife and a deba (aka Japanese salmon) knife.

EoB Black_Diamond_front_1024x1024 EoB precision_set

GIVEAWAY

Edge of Belgravia are giving away a Black Diamond Knife Block (RRP £99.90) and the Precision Chef knife Complete Set (£69.90) to one lucky Kavey Eats reader.

The prize includes free delivery in the UK.

Entry to the giveaway is via Rafflecopter and we’ve provided lots of ways to gain extra entries and increase your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Kavey Eats received review samples from Edge of Belgravia.

 

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

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

Schlumbohm’s Most Famous Invention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Make Pour-Over Coffee in a Chemex Coffeemaker

To use the Chemex you will need:

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

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

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

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

How Much Coffee To Use

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

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

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

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

How To Assess The Grind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Make Pour-Over Coffee

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

Weigh and grind the coffee beans.

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

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

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

Place your ground coffee into the dampened filter paper.

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

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

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

Your coffee is now ready to pour and enjoy!

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

codlo book 2[3]

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

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

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

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

Sous Vide Salmon With Lime Butter

Serves 2

Ingredients
– For the brine

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

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

Method

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

Sous Vide Salmon with Lime Butter - Kavey Eats

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

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.

Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-165511 Hauwei G7 - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-164435
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):

IMG_20150503_194234 IMG_20150503_141646 IMG_20150502_132250 IMG_20150502_131956 IMG_20150502_092030
IMG_20150501_210539 IMG_20150501_144335 IMG_20150501_135718 IMG_20150427_130339 IMG_20150425_111804
IMG_20150424_201734 IMG_20150423_145903 IMG_20150423_125706 IMG_20150419_201134 IMG_20150419_200029
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
IMG_20150408_160848 IMG_20150406_190831 IMG_20150404_221009 IMG_20150403_130801 IMG_20150402_173133

Kavey Eats was provided a Huawei Ascend G7 for review purposes.

 

Sous-vide is a wonderful cooking technique, but it’s not an ideal option for anyone tight on either budget or space. Our ‘prosumer’ water bath (the SousVide Supreme) is the size of a small microwave and has a list price on the wrong side of £370. Even disregarding the price angle, kitchens are already groaning under the weight of numerous popular appliances; the need to find space for a bulky water bath next to the toaster, the food processer, the stand mixer, the blender, the microwave, the deep fat fryer, the rice cooker, the juicer and the slow cooker rules out a traditional sous vide machine even for many who can afford it.

Hang on a minute… the slow cooker… the slow cooker is half-way to a water bath already; it’s a large container that can heat liquid (such as water!) for hours at a time.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a small device that could convert an existing slow cooker to a sous vide water bath by way of accurately controlling the temperature of the water inside? Well of course, that’s where Codlo steps in.

Codlo 1 Codlo-Steaks-sidebyside-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7497
Official product image; my Codlo in our Kitchen (don’t look at the un-grouted tiles!)

Codlo is one of those ideas that’s really obvious once someone else has had it, not to mention done all the hard graft in getting it to work. This clever device turns your slow cooker – or rice cooker, or tea urn, or anything else that holds and heats water – into your very own sous vide water bath. Essentially Codlo is a small plug-in gadget with a temperature probe which allows it to turn the power of the attached appliance on and off and on in order to achieve and maintain your target temperature. That’s the theory but how does it work out in practice?

Codlo with Slow Cooker adj
Codlo and glass slow cooker (image provided by Codlo, mine was completely out of focus!)

The short answer is, remarkably well.

In the name of science, we cooked two identical steaks (here’s my guide to cooking steaks sous vide) – one in our SousVide Supreme and the other in our venerable old Breville slow cooker attached to the Codlo. After cooking one steak in each bath, we fried them together in the same pan for exactly the same amount of time before tucking in to a delicious dinner, each of us eating half of each steak. We genuinely couldn’t perceive any difference in the end result; texture and level of cooking were identical.

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Codlo-Steaks-sidebyside-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7503 Codlo-Steaks-sidebyside-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-7506

That’s not to say that the Codlo-controlled Breville performs identically to the SousVide Supreme. Firstly, it takes a little longer to come up to temperature – but that’s understandable, as our slow cooker is a 290W model and we ran it on Low (we will try the High setting next time) whereas the SousVide Supreme is rated at a much higher 550W. Given that sous-vide cooking is usually a long process, adding an extra 15 minutes at the start isn’t a big deal for us. Of course, this difference also depends on what appliance you plug the Codlo into – a more powerful appliance will likely reach temperature just as quickly as the SousVide Supreme.

Also worth noting is that the temperature in the Codlo-controlled Breville takes a little time to settle; it (deliberately) sails past the target by a couple of degrees, drops below it when the food is added and gradually heats back up again. However, once it’s settled at the target temperature – around 10-15 minutes on our slow cooker’s Low setting – it’s rock steady, varying less than the SousVide Supreme. And the food seems to be none the worse for wear because of that initial temperature variance. The makers of Codlo advise us that the device adapts to each individual cooker it is attached to so these times will likely vary depending on the appliance you use.

codlo book 2

In addition to the Codlo controller, there is also an accompanying cookery book – Codlo Sous-Vide Guide & Recipes – full of information on the sous vide cooking technique, on temperatures and times for different types of foods and lots of tempting recipes. This would be useful not just to Codlo users but to anyone starting out in sous vide cooking and I’m hoping to share a recipe or two from the book soon.

Codlo does everything it promises, turning inexpensive equipment we already owned into a functional sous vide water bath, with results that equal our bulky and pricy prosumer alternative.

Kavey Eats received a Codlo for review purposes. Codlo is priced at £119, available here. This is an affiliate link, please see blog sidebar for further information.

 

One for the Star Wars fans, this – an X-Wing Knife Block – created by bluw to celebrate the release of the seventh film later this year.

Starwars Knife Block (c)KavitaFavelle-8106 Starwars Knife Block (c)KavitaFavelle-8111
Starwars Knife Block (c)KavitaFavelle-8108 Starwars Knife Block (c)KavitaFavelle-8114

The officially licensed set contains an X-Wing shaped knife block with five stainless steel knives – a bread knife, a carving knife, a utility knife, a paring knife and a cook’s knife. Each knife has a protection sheath that it slots into.

The block is frustratingly flimsy – you have to hold it with one hand to pull a knife from it with the other and the knives are very lightweight too; it’ll be interesting to see how long they last. This is much more of a novelty gift than a serious kitchen set, I’d say. However, I can’t help but smile at the idea, regardless. Prices vary considerably from £48.99 to £79.99 so it’s worth shopping around, if you want to buy one.

Kavey Eats received a product sample from bluw.

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