A few days ago I shared my review of Grow Your Own Cake, published by Frances Lincoln. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This intriguing cookbook features 46 recipes for savoury and sweet cakes and bakes featuring vegetables and fruits you can grow yourself. The author Holly Farrell, an experienced gardening writer, shares invaluable tips on how to grow and harvest each crop, before putting it to use in the recipe provided. Photography is by Jason Ingram, who illustrates both gardening tips and recipes throughout the book.

growyourowncake grown your own cake sweet potato
Book jacket; sweet potato image by Jason Ingram

Pete and I have thus far made two recipes from the book, an Upside-down Pear Cake and this Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake, published below with permission from Frances Lincoln. I love the idea of taking a combination associated with American Thanksgiving menus and turning it into a cake.

We weren’t sure what to expect from this cake – in taste, in texture, in appearance. To our surprise the crumb is actually fairly light and not overly sweet, in fact it’s a lovely gently flavoured sponge which would work very well on it’s own, without the ganache filling or marshmallow fluff topping. We over-baked by just a few minutes, which gave the outside a slightly darker colour, but it didn’t affect the taste at all.

I am not sure adding mini marshmallows into the batter serves much purpose – as the cake cooks they seem to melt away leaving odd pockets in the sponge, lined with a crunchy sugar glaze – so I might skip those next time. The sweet potato cake is the real winner in this recipe, and you could lose the marshmallow elements if you wanted to and serve it as a simple unadorned sponge.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (2)

Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Cake

If sweet potato & marshmallow casserole, the traditional Thanksgiving dish, is too sweet for your turkey dinner, use this great pairing in cake form instead. It is perfect after a long winter’s walk.

Makes a two-layer cake

Ingredients

Mashed sweet potatoes
800–900g/1lb 12oz–2lb sweet potatoes

Cake
400g/14oz plain flour
11⁄2 tbsp baking powder
3⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
1⁄2 nutmeg, finely grated, or 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
165g/51⁄2oz unsalted butter
250g/8oz light muscovado sugar
4 eggs
450g/1lb mashed sweet potatoes
90g/3oz mini-marshmallows

Ganache
45ml/11⁄2fl oz double cream
100g/3oz white chocolate

Decoration
1⁄2 jar of marshmallow fluff (about 100g/31⁄2oz)
100g/31⁄2oz marshmallows

Equipment
2 × deep, round cake tins, 20cm/8in diameter, greased and base-lined

Method

  • For the mashed sweet potatoes, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roast the sweet potatoes for around 45 minutes until they are soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, then pop them out of their skins. Mash well (use a potato ricer if you have one).
  • For the cake, preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8309 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8313

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well; leave to one side. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each egg. Mix in the mashed sweet potato, then the flour and spice mix. Quickly stir in the mini-marshmallows and divide the cake mixture between the two tins. Make sure that all the marshmallows on the surface are coated with mixture to prevent them burning. Bake for 50–60 minutes. To check if it is ready insert a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes in the tins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8314 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8316

  • For the ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until just under boiling point. Pour over the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is smooth. Leave to cool until the mixture is thick enough to spread without running.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8319 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats-8329

  • To assemble, sandwich the two cake layers together with the ganache, spread marshmallow fluff on the top and sprinkle with whole marshmallows.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

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).

 

PARTNEREDPOSTFor the last few weeks my mind has been firmly on comforting, one-pot dishes using lamb and beef. We produce really excellent quality meat in the UK and it’s a pleasure to cook dishes that make the most of it.

I recently shared a tasty beef goulash recipe that uses shin of beef, a very affordable cut. I love this kind of stewing cut – long slow cooking can be so convenient, allowing us to put a dish in the oven earlier in the day and come home to a delicious meal later on; it also turns a cheaper cut into something utterly delicious – it’s an almost magical transformation! My favourite cut of beef for this kind of cooking is beef cheek (also known as ox cheek); it becomes so tender after a few hours of cooking and has such a wonderful flavour.

Check out my guide to which cuts of beef are best for which type of dish or cooking method.

For today’s recipe, I decided to splurge a little on a half leg of lamb, which currently costs less than £10 a kilo at most supermarkets and generously feeds four.

This one pot dish is very straightforward to make; it’s comforting yet a little different to the typical stew, and smells absolutely gorgeous too. The red wine and balsamic vinegar give a wonderful flavour which is just so good with lamb, a genius combination that I learned from Genevieve Taylor in her book, Stew!, published a few years ago.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats (2)

Leg of Lamb & Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine & Balsamic Vinegar

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 kilo half leg of lamb on the bone
5-6 medium white onions, peeled and quartered
2 heaped teaspoons crushed garlic
1 heaped teaspoon dried rosemary
350 ml red wine
150 ml balsamic vinegar
vegetable oil
150 g pearl barley
250 ml water

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8471

Method

  • Preheat oven to 150°C.
  • Measure wine and balsamic vinegar into a measuring jug and set aside.
  • In a large casserole dish that can also be used on the stove, heat a little vegetable oil, then brown the lamb on all sides. Remove the lamb from the dish and set aside on a plate.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8475

  • Add more oil only if needed, then cook the quartered onions in the same dish until some of the edges char to brown, stirring occasionally. The wedges usually break into one or two pieces during this stage.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8473

  • Add the garlic and rosemary to the onions, stir well and then place the browned lamb over the top.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8479

  • Pour the wine and vinegar mix into the casserole dish, over the lamb and onions.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8482 Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8492

  • Place a lid over the lamb and put into the oven.
  • After two hours, take the dish out of the oven.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8494

  • Add the pearl barley and water and stir well. It may be easier to remove the lamb first and then put it back in after you’ve added the barley and water. Turn the lamb other side up, to allow the rest of it to submerge in the cooking liquid.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8501 Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8503

  • Return to the oven for a further hour, removing the lid for the final 15 minutes.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats -8504

  • At this stage, the pearl barley should be plump and cooked through, and the lamb will come away from the bone easily with a fork or spoon.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats-8522

  • Serve with some fresh green salad or green vegetables.

Note: If you’d like to make this recipe without the pearl barley, omit both pearl barley and the water that is added with it. Do stir and turn the lamb over at that same point, and if the volume of liquid remaining is high, remove the lid for the final 30 minutes instead of 15.

Simply Beef and Lamb is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. It supports the Red Tractor Mark and the Quality Standard Mark which provide consumers with confidence in what they are buying. The Red Tractor Mark covers food safety, animal safety, traceability and environmental impact. The Quality Standard Mark, as its name suggests, is all about the quality of the meat itself, and requires that all beef and lamb awarded the mark meets very high standards throughout the food chain, from farm through to meat counter.

Leg of Lamb and Pearl Barley Braised in Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar on Kavey Eats (1)

This post is part of Simply Beef and Lamb’s #LivePeasant campaign, encouraging us to embrace a more rustic approach to cooking, and to think about traditional recipes using beef and lamb.

You may also enjoy these #LivePeasant recipes by fellow bloggers:

This post is a paid commission for Simply Beef and Lamb and part of their #LivePeasant campaign. Visit their website for more great beef and lamb recipes and detailed nutritional 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.

 

PARTNEREDPOST_thumb.jpg

I’ve said it before and I’ll surely say it again: British beef and lamb are fantastic and really can’t be beaten for quality and taste!

Simply Beef and Lamb, a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, support the Red Tractor Mark and the Quality Standard Mark for beef and lamb, so that consumers can be confident about what they are buying. Their website also provides helpful information on nutrition, understanding different cuts of meat, advice on cooking and carving and of course, lots of recipes to enjoy.

These days most of us eat far more globally than our parents and grandparents, by which I mean we travel the world on our plates; Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese… these and many more have become a regular part of our repertoire, and it’s commonplace to find exotic ingredients in the local supermarket.

But I’d like to use this post to remind you not to overlook the joy of beef and lamb, or to forget the simple, hearty meals that have been enjoyed across the UK and Europe for generations. One-pot dishes are particularly handy for easy weekday suppers, and great for busy weekends too. The #LivePeasant is all about encouraging us to embrace a more rustic approach to cooking, and to think about traditional recipes using beef and lamb.

Food shoot at First Option studios for ADHB

One such hearty recipe recommended (and provided) by Simply Beef and Lamb is this delicious beef goulash made with stewing or braising beef.

Goulash is a Hungarian soup or stew seasoned with paprika, and popular not only in Hungary but across Central Europe, Scandinavia and Southern Europe. It originated in the 9th century with shepherds and cattle herders who carried cubes of sun-dried meat with them and reconstituted these into a nutritious stew by cooking them in water – indeed the name itself comes from gulyás which means herder. Tomato and paprika are more recent additions, but very much a part of the recipe today.

Beef Goulash

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 1-1½ hours

Ingredients
450g/1lb lean boneless shin, stewing or braising beef, cut into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
30ml/2tbsp sunflower oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced OR 2 x 450g packs diced onions
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed OR 5ml/1tsp garlic purée
15ml/1tbsp ground paprika
5ml/1tsp caraway seeds, optional
600ml/1pint good, hot beef stock
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
15ml/1tbsp tomato purée
15ml/1tbsp cornflour
Freshly chopped parsley, to garnish
Soured cream, to garnish

Method

  • Place the beef in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Beef Goulash Simply Beef and Lamb

  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the meat in batches for 3-4 minutes until brown.
  • Transfer to a large casserole dish. In the same pan cook the onions and garlic with the paprika, caraway seeds (if used) .

Beef Goulash Simply Beef and Lamb

  • Add the stock, tomatoes and tomato purée. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat for 1-1½ hours.
  • Mix the cornflour with 60ml/4tbsp cold water and stir into the goulash. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with parsley and a swirl of soured cream before serving with cooked potatoes or pasta.

Beef Ghoulash Simply Beef and Lamb

If you are not sure which cuts of beef are best suited for which kind of dishes and cooking techniques, check out my comprehensive guide on beef cuts and cooking here.

What’s your favourite one-pot recipe for beef or lamb?

I’ll be sharing one of my own much-loved one-pot lamb recipes in a few weeks time. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the goulash!

Recipe and images provided by Simply Beef and Lamb. This post is a paid commission for Simply Beef and Lamb and part of their #LivePeasant campaign. Visit their website for more great beef and lamb recipes and detailed nutritional information.

 

On the weekend I shared my review of Maori Murota’s Tokyo Cult Recipes, published by Murdoch Books. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This beautiful hard back cookery book features over 100 recipes loved by Tokyoites, covering breakfast, lunch, sweet snacks and dinner, both foods that are typically cooked at home as well as those most often eaten out in cafes, restaurants and izakaya (pubs).

When it comes to sweets, the Japanese embrace both wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) and yougashi (Western-inspired cakes and pastries, often with a Japanese twist such as the addition of matcha or sesame). Pete and I visited many wonderful tea and coffee shops during our previous visits to Japan, often treating ourselves to a slice of beautiful freshly-baked cake alongside.

Tokyo Cult Recipes Matcha and White Chocolate Cake

Matcha & White Chocolate Cake

Recipe extracted with permission from Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota

Makes 1 loaf cake
15 mins preparation time
40 mins cooking time

Ingredients
3 eggs
softened butter – the same weight as the eggs
caster (superfine) sugar – the same weight as the eggs
plain (all-purpose) flour – the same weight as the eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha (green tea powder)
70 g (2½ oz) white chocolate chips

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), and butter and flour a 19 x 19 x 8 cm (7½ x 7½ x 3¼ in) loaf tin.
  • Weigh the eggs, then weigh out the same amount of butter, sugar and flour.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter together for 5 minutes, or until light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each one in well before adding the next. Sift in the flour, baking powder and matcha.
  • Combine using a spatula. Stir through the white chocolate chips, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes.
  • The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

 

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

 

Yesterday I shared my review of Maori Murota’s Tokyo Cult Recipes, published by Murdoch Books. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This beautiful hard back cookery book features over 100 recipes loved by Tokyoites, covering breakfast, lunch, sweet snacks and dinner, both foods that are typically cooked at home as well as those most often eaten out in cafes, restaurants and izakaya (pubs).

Sukiyaki is one of my favourite hotpots; I absolutely love the sweetness of the cooking broth – it gives such a lovely flavour to the meat, tofu, vegetables and mushrooms cooked in it.

Tokyo Cult Recipes Beef Hot Pot (Sukiyaki)

Sukiyaki (Japanese Beef Hotpot)

Recipe extracted with permission from Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota

Serves 4
15 mins preparation time
15 mins cooking time

Ingredients
1 packet shirataki* (about 400 g/14 oz)
1 pack shimeji mushrooms 1 leek (white part)
½ bunch shungiku* or rocket (arugula)
¼ Chinese cabbage
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) tofu
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) sliced beef
4 extra-fresh organic eggs
100–200 ml (3½–7 fl oz) dashi (see below for recipe)
2 packets pre-cooked udon noodles
Sukiyaki broth
100 ml (3½ fl oz) soy sauce
100 ml (3½ fl oz) sake
3 tablespoons raw sugar

Method

  • Rinse the shirataki well and drain. Cut into 3 lengths.
  • Wash the shimeji and roughly separate them. Cut the leek into 2 cm (¾ in) slices on the diagonal. Wash the shungiku, then cut across into 2 sections. Wash the Chinese cabbage and cut into 3 pieces. Cut the tofu into 3 cm (1¼ in) cubes.
  • Place half of the prepared ingredients in a pot, ideally side by side. (If necessary, use a frying pan that doesn’t leave too much space around the ingredients.) Pour over the sukiyaki broth, then cover and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add half of the beef.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, bring the pot to the table on a burner. Break the eggs into individual bowls and lightly beat with chopsticks. Let guests serve themselves, dipping the different foods in the beaten egg in their bowl. Gradually add more foods to the pot as they run out and repeat the cooking process as you go, according to the appetites of your guests. If there is not enough liquid, add some dashi. Right at the end of cooking (when there are no more ingredients in the sauce), add the cooked udon noodles.

* Kavey Eats’ Notes on Sukiyaki Ingredients
Shirataki
noodles are thin vermicelli made from konnyaku, a type of yam also known as konjac. The translucent and gelatinous noodles are also popular in the West for their zero (or very low) calorie value. They also have no carbs or gluten, so are a good option for low-carb and low-gluten diets.
Shinguku are edible chrysanthemums which are widely eaten in Japan, especially during winter.

Dashi Recipe

40 mins preparation time – 17 mins cooking time

Ingredients and quantities
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water
10 g (¼ oz) kombu seaweed
10 g (¼ oz) katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

It is easy to remember the quantities of katsuobushi and kombu: 1% of the quantity of water.

Preparation

  • Soaking in water – Place the water in a saucepan. Cut the kombu into 2 pieces and add to the water, then leave to soak for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. You can do this the night before or a few hours ahead of time.
  • Cooking the dashi – Heat the water on a low heat until it just comes to a simmer, about 15 minutes. Don’t let it boil, or the seaweed flavour will be too strong. Take out the kombu just before the stock comes to the boil and add the katsuobushi all at once. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then turn off the heat immediately. Let it infuse for 10 minutes.
  • Straining – Strain the dashi into a bowl. Let the dashi drip through, pressing lightly.

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

 

Last month I got it into my head that I wanted to make a persimmon fruit curd. That was a little odd on my part really, since before this, I’d never even eaten persimmons at home – only on my travels. But this winter their orange piles have been beckoning me from several local grocery shops, and I was really keen to experiment. Once the idea of persimmon curd entered my brain, I couldn’t dislodge it!

Persimmons are a fascinating fruit. Bright orange with a smooth skin, at first glance they look a little like orange tomatoes or tomatillos, though they are related to neither. They vary in shape from round to ovoid and even square – such an unusual shape for fruit! – and the colour runs from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange. Botanically a berry, persimmons range in size from a couple of centimetres up to 9 centimetres but most I’ve come across are towards the larger end of that scale.

The most widely cultivated variety is the oriental persimmon Diospyros kaki, native to China where it has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. In Japan, persimmons are known as kaki fruit and are hugely popular. You may also know them as sharon fruit, the name by which the fruit is marketed in Israel, another key producer.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2852 Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2012 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2574

I first tasted them in Japan; they were in season during our two Autumn trips and many trees still had the orange fruits hanging to their branches, though all the leaves had long since fallen. Market stalls and supermarkets created striking displays of huge piles of evenly sized and coloured fruits.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2012 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2827 Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-5805

When under ripe, the taste of many persimmon varieties is rather astringent; the high levels of tannin are unpleasantly mouth-puckering. Other varieties, such as the Japanese fuyu, are much less bitter and can therefore be enjoyed when not fully ripe – at this stage the flesh is still firm and crisp.

When fully ripe, the flesh becomes jelly-like with a rich flavour and intense sweetness.

They are also enjoyed dried, a great way of preserving a seasonal favourite.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-3099

Having fixated on the idea of making fruit curd, which is known as fruit butter in North America by the way, I wanted very ripe fruits with sweet, jellied interiors so I was delighted to spot a bowl of seven slightly-past-their-best persimmons for £1 at one of my local ethnic grocery shops. I can rarely walk past the displays of fruit lined along the outside front of the shop without buying something good to eat!

Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8006 Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8021

My first attempt – persimmon and lemon curd – had a wonderful flavour but I blended it for it too long and as it overheated, the eggs curdled. In the mouth, it still felt super smooth and didn’t taste eggy but visually, it had a curdled texture.

For my second trial I adjusted the recipe ratios a touch, but changed the timings a lot and that resulted in a thick, silky smooth curd that was everything I hoped it would be. I also increased volumes to use the remainder of the persimmons, but you can certainly scale the recipe down to two thirds or even a third, easily enough.

I also switched lemon for bergamot on the second run, as I had a couple on hand. Bergamot are actually sour oranges but their yellow skin and sour flesh and juice mean they make a perfect substitute for lemons, and their zest gives off that trademark Earl Grey scent – the tea is flavoured with bergamot oil extracted from the skin of these distinctive citrus fruits.

Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8009 Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8019

The flower-shaped calyx of the persimmon fruit can be hard to remove, more so when the fruits are not fully ripe. My tip is to place the fruits upside down on the chopping board, calyx-side down. Cut the fruit in half until the knife is pushing on the calyx. Then take the two halves of the fruit, still joined at the calyx, and pull them apart. The calyx will remain attached to one half. You can then either pull it off by hand or use a sharp knife to cut it away from the fruit.

Because I wanted super ripe fruits, there were a few patches on some of the persimmons that were too ripe to use. I cut these out and discarded them. To get 500 grams of chopped fruit (skin on) I used four fruits.

Persimmon Fruit Curd on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (overlay)

Persimmon & Bergamot Fruit Curd | Power Blender Recipe

Makes approximately 1 litre fruit curd; can be scaled down as required

Ingredients
500 grams roughly chopped persimmon fruit (see note below on peeling)
200 grams caster sugar
zest of 2 bergamot oranges (or 1 lemon)
120 ml bergamot orange juice (or lemon juice)
3 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
150 grams butter, roughly cubed
0.5 teaspoon salt

Note: Because I knew my Froothie Optimum power blender could handle them, I decided to keep the skin on to add extra colour and fibre. However, the skin is pretty tough so if you make this using a less powerful blender, you may prefer to peel the fruit.

Note: The Froothie Optimum 9400 has an incredibly powerful motor that powers the blade to 44,000 rpm – and it’s the friction generated by that speed which heats up the mixture as it blends, allowing you to blend and cook the curd in one step. If you make this using a less powerful blender, you may need to transfer the blended mixture to a pan and cook over very gentle heat to thicken the curd.

Note: I sterilise my jam jars in the oven (and boil lids in a saucepan on the stove) before I start weighing and preparing ingredients. Before I transfer ingredients to the blender jug to make the curd, I remove the jars from the oven and lay the lids out onto a clean tea towel, so they cool off a little before I pour the finished curd into the jars a few minutes later.

Method

  • Place all ingredients except butter into the blender jug and switch on at low power. Smoothly turn up the power to full. After about a minute the ingredients should be blended into a super smooth liquid.
  • With the blender still on, remove the cap in the lid and gently drop the butter in piece by piece. I took about a minute to drop all the butter into the mix.
  • Blend for another two to three minutes until the jug starts to feel a little warm to the touch. Don’t let it get really hot – you don’t want to overheat the curd.
  • As soon as the jug feels warm, switch off the blender and dip a spoon in to check taste and texture. The curd should be thick and smooth. If it is, you’re done. If not, blend for a little longer and check again.
  • Transfer straight into still-warm sterilised jam jars and seal.

Persimmon Fruit Curd on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8033

Other power blender fruit curd recipes you may enjoy:

Kavey Eats is a brand ambassador for Froothie. Please see my sidebar for further details. I affiliate with and recommend only brands and products I truly believe in.

 

This cake is a very famous cake. I reckon nearly everyone who likes baking knows of the recipe, and a good many who simply like eating cake too. I have heard and read people singing its praises for many, many years and yet, we’d never got round to making it at home.

Given that clementines are one of my very favourite fruits, this is an outrageous oversight that needed to be put right. A gift of a box of organic clementines, when the fruit bowl was already overflowing with them, gave us the perfect excuse.

Nigellas Clementine Cake on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (title overlay)

Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake

Original recipe

Ingredients
400 grams clementines (approximately 3 medium-sized ones)
6 large eggs
225 grams white sugar
250 grams ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

  • Put the whole clementines in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours. We used a small pan so the water was reasonably deep.
  • Drain and allow to cool, then cut each clementine open and remove the pips.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Butter the rim of a 21 cm diameter spring form tin and cover the base with greaseproof paper.
  • In a food processor or power blender, blitz the clementines (skins, pith and fruit). Then add eggs, sugar, ground almonds and baking powder and blend again until smooth.
  • Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. In Nigella’s recipe she suggests covering the surface with foil or greaseproof paper after the first 40 minutes to stop the top browning; we didn’t put our foil on soon enough so the surface browned more than Nigella’s. I think it looks pretty though!

Nigellas Clementine Cake on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7864

  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, on a wire rack.
  • When cold, remove from the tin.

Serve as it is or with some yuzu ice cream. My friend recommends lemon curd mixed into fresh cream.

This cake lasts very well in a sealed container for several days, indeed it’s even better a day or two after it’s made.

 Nigellas Clementine Cake on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7888

 

Sometimes the best ideas are spur of the moment, driven by the ingredients you happen to have on hand. So it was with this banana, turmeric and maple syrup smoothie which I liked so much I made it three days in a row.

Banana Turmeric and Maple Syrup Smoothie on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (title overlay)

Banana is my staple base for a smoothie – I love the flavour and the thick creamy texture it gives, whether as the star ingredient or as a base for other fruits. I like to use natural sweeteners – usually honey, dates or maple syrup.  I first made this smoothie in a snatched 5 minutes before leaving for work early on a dark January morning and it gave me a burst of energy as I headed out into the cold.

A recent fruit and vegetable box gift from Abel & Cole included fresh turmeric root and I was keen to try it raw. Turmeric is the spice that gives many Asian dishes their vivid yellow colour and has a distinct, earthy flavour; strong, a little bitter and quite unlike any other ingredient that I can think of.

I’ve been taking the powdered form, on and off, as a natural anti-inflammatory – recommended by Ayurveda for thousands of years, but only recently being researched by Western medicine. It is said to help with digestive complaints and poor circulation too. My daily dose is mixed with ginger and fenugreek, a combination that tastes pretty vile so I stir half a teaspoon into a few tablespoons of cold water and swallow fast, chasing it down with a long glass of cold water and quickly brushing my teeth! Does it work? Hard to tell, since I also rely on a range of more conventional treatments. Right now, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.

That said, I’m not making any health claims for turmeric; I’m not qualified medically or scientifically, and I’m not a fan of the current crop of health gurus that make pronouncements about excluding various food groups based on the flimsiest of anecdotal, purportedly personal, evidence.

In this recipe, the turmeric is far more palatable, adding a vibrant colour and distinctive flavour to this quick-to-make, energy-boosting smoothie.

Banana Turmeric and Maple Syrup Smoothie on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7899 Banana Turmeric and Maple Syrup Smoothie on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7902

Golden Banana, Turmeric & Maple Syrup Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients
1-2 bananas, peeled
1 small piece of fresh turmeric root*
Maple syrup to taste, I use about 2 tablespoons
120 ml water ^
Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon~

* I used a piece of turmeric root about the size of the top joint of my forefinger. I didn’t bother peeling as the skin was soft and thin, but if yours is tough, peel first. If you don’t have fresh, by all means substitute ground turmeric instead; half a teaspoon of dried will be sufficient here.
^ I like a thick but pourable smoothie. Adjust amount of water up or down if you prefer a thinner or extra thick smoothie.
~ Cinnamon is such a natural bedfellow for maple syrup and banana that I added a teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon to the last batch. It’s not that strong against the turmeric but adds a lovely dimension to the scent.

Method

  • Place ingredients into a well-powered blender and blitz until smooth. If you like your smoothies with less sweetness, use half the maple syrup to start and add more to taste if you need it. Likewise, adjust volume of water to your preference.
  • The banana will start to oxidise and brown after a while, so this smoothie is best enjoyed as soon as it’s made.

As you may have spotted, I used my much-loved Froothie Optimum blender to make my smoothie. We’ve been using the Optimum 9400 for over a year now and it’s one of the best appliances in our kitchen. It’s enormously powerful – enough to blend solid frozen chunks of fruit easily or ice cubes if you want some instant slushie base. In fact the motor whips those blades to an impressive 44,000 rpm which generates enough friction heat to make piping hot soup or one-step custard. You can use it to make your own nut butters and nut milks too. See the affiliate box in my sidebar for information on how to claim an extra 2 year warranty on any Froothie appliance.

Other Recipes Featuring Fresh Turmeric

 

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).

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