As I write this, it’s pouring with rain outside and has been since I woke up some hours ago. Heavy drops are bouncing hard on the flat roof outside the window, making quickly-dissipating concentric circles one after the other after the other in mesmerising, ever-changing patterns. Grey skies and endless water have washed away the skin-warming heat we experienced just a few weeks ago.

The beginning of July felt like one of those endless summers of childhood. Sunblock was vigorously applied, sun-starved limbs were eagerly exposed, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses saved us from squinting against the bright light, and barbeques across the nation were eagerly dusted off and put back to use.

For me, there are few snacks that speak of summer as much as ice lollies; the perfect cooling refreshment. Best eaten quickly before the heat starts to drive sticky, melted rivers of sweetness down the stick, onto hands, from there to drip drip drip onto bare feet, or better yet the parched grass underfoot.

Unsurprisingly, most of the entries for this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream were made earlier on in the month, when the weather still had us yearning for icy treats.

CucumberLemonPops550

Kate, author of Veggie Desserts, is an expert at incorporating vegetables often thought of as savoury, into sweet treats. Her Cucumber and Lemon Popsicles look super refreshing. I’ve often heard people suggest that cucumber has no flavour, but it certainly does, especially when the flavour is allowed to be the star of the show.

BSFIC-July2015-wonderlusting

Wonderlusting Lynda is not new to BSFIC but has not entered for a while, so it was such a pleasure to see her bright Coconutty, Carrot & Mango Ice Lollies, a welcome splash of colour and flavour. And how funky does that nail polish look against the orange and red?!

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle -notext-9048

I was delighted by how well my Eton Mess Ice Lollies turned out – a simple combination of fresh strawberries, sugar, double cream and crushed meringue. I took these along to a barbeque with friends and they seemed to go down well!

fruity yoghurt pops

Kate from Happy Igloo created these attractively layered Fruity Yogurt Pops by combining fresh fruit with natural yoghurt for a healthy ice lolly. Yoghurt makes such great ice lollies, adding a welcome tang to the taste of sweet ripe fruit.

peach and banana lollipops 3

Great minds think alike – Corina from Searching For Spice also chose to mix natural yoghurt with fruit for her Peach and Banana Ice Lollipops, opting for a two-layer lolly. I love the shape of her moulds too!

debi double cherry popsicles

Debi, author of lifestyle blog Life Currents, made these pretty Double Cherry Popsicles by combining dried and fresh cherries with lemonade. You must check out the adorable penguin lolly mould she used for one of the lollies!

cows

Caroline’s Chocolate Milk Ice Cream Lollies tasted delicious but the lollipop moulds she tried out didn’t quite work – the head broke off one cow and the stick off the other. The important thing is that they tasted good and hopefully won’t put Caroline off further ice cream experiments!

tofu strawberry lollyBSFIC

I’m so excited by these Korean Inspired Strawberry and Tofu Lollies by Sneige from Orange Thyme. We had been chatting on twitter and I suggested she try something with a Korean influence. I learned when making a traditional Japanese shira-ae salad dressing quite how versatile tofu can be but would never have thought to use it as a base for a sweet ice lolly – so clever!

Nutella lollies cropped

Lisa aka the Cookwitch was determined to make some ice lollies this month. Her first attempt – a rhubarb and custard jam, peanut butter and condensed milk experiment – sounded utterly delicious but woefully, it didn’t freeze. However, Lisa came up trumps on her second try, with these Melty Nutella Ice Lollies.

Fruity Lemonade Lolly sm

Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary is full of colour this week, after she posted her Fruity Lemonade Ice Lollies against a field of yellow. Elizabeth uses her Froothie Optimum power blender to blitz whole lemons for the recipe so these are super sharp, just as her kids like them, but the beauty of the recipe is that you can adjust the sweetness to your personal tastes.

Cucumber-Elderflower-and-mint-Ice-pops-captioned1

Last but not least is Fuss Free Flavours Helen’s delightful Cooling Cucumber Elderflower Mint Ice Pops which make great use of a power blender to combine cucumber, mint, elderflower cordial and water for a light and refreshing lolly.

IceCreamChallenge mini

That’s it for this month – some super ice lollies, I hope you agree.

Keep your eyes open, August’s BSFIC post will be up very soon!

 

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 developed this recipe when writing a piece about Carob Molasses recently for Good Things magazine. (You can read it by following the link). The inspiration for the combination is entirely thanks to the wonderful Beiruti blogger, Joumana Accad, author of  tasteofbeirut.com.

The malty caramel flavour of carob molasses and the delicious sesame of the tahini work wonderfully with chocolate and make for a delicious, unusual chocolate brownie.

If you’ve never tried the combination before, its well worth seeking out carob molasses from your nearest Lebanese, Turkish or Greek specialist store to make it.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - text

Carob Molasses & Tahini Chocolate Brownies

Combining the classical flavours of debs bi tahini (carob molasses mixed with tahini) with chocolate in a rich, fudgy brownie.

Makes 36 squares

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
120 grams Demerara or light brown sugar
120 grams carob molasses
60 grams unsalted butter, melted
40 grams tahini
200 grams plain flour
30 grams cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt

Tip: For the sugar, carob molasses and tahini I suggest weighing these directly into the mixing bowl as you reach the steps where they are added. Other ingredients are best weighed out ahead.

Equipment: I use a stand mixer to make the batter but you can use an electric whisk or beat by hand, if you prefer. This recipe is for an 8 inch / 20 cm square baking tin.

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Line a 8 inch / 20 cm square baking pan or dish with parchment paper (or grease with butter), and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until well combined and a little frothy.
  • Add the carob molasses and beat again to combine, then add the melted butter and tahini and mix until smooth.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour,  cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; if using a stand mixer or electric whisk, start at the lowest speed and increase once most of the flour mix is folded in. This stops the dry ingredients flying out of the mixing bowl!
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula to spread it evenly into the corners and create a reasonably smooth surface.
  • Bake for 20 minutes for a fudgy texture or 25 minutes for a more cake-like finish.
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack. Baking parchment makes this task easier, as you can grab the paper at the sides and lift the entire cake up and out.
  • Once cool, transfer to a chopping board and cut into squares. An 8 inch / 20 cm square tin divides nicely into 6 x 6 brownies.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle-7533

LoveCakelinklogoThese brownies will last for up to a week in an airtight plastic box.

I’m entering this bake into Jibber Jabber’s cakes from around the world challenge.

 

Summer means strawberries! It calls to mind strawberry picking at a local farm, strawberries and cream (and Wimbledon), home made strawberry liqueur, hot bubbling pans of strawberry jam and the special pleasure of eating home grown strawberries from the back garden.

It’s also the best time of year to make one of our favourite desserts, Eton Mess, a jumbled mix of fresh strawberries, whipped cream and broken meringues. For those of a tidier inclination who prefer to keep it more elegant, strawberry pavlova is a rather tidier presentation of exactly the same ingredients!

When I set the theme to July’s #BSFIC challenge as Ice Lollies the plentiful fresh strawberries available in the shops just now made it a no brainer.

I made Eton Mess Ice Lollies!

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle -overtext

 

Eton Mess Ice Lollies (Strawberries, Cream & Crushed Meringue)

Makes 8-10 generous lollies, depending on size of moulds

Ingredients
500 g strawberries, hulled and finely chopped
50-75 g sugar (depending on tartness of strawberries)
300 ml double cream (divided into 2 x 150 ml)
50 g dry meringues, broken into pieces

Note: Make sure you chop the strawberries fairly small, so that each bite of ice lolly has a nice mix of fruit, cream and meringue.

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-162709 Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-170049 Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle-201045

Method

  • In a large bowl, mix the strawberries, 50 grams of sugar and 150 ml of double cream. If the strawberries are tart, use an extra 25 grams of sugar – the mixture needs to be super sweet as it will be combined with unsweetened cream later.
  • Cover and leave in the fridge for at least two hours. The sugar helps the strawberries to macerate, releasing more juice into the cream.
  • Whip the other 150 ml of double cream until stiff and combine carefully with the macerated strawberry mixture and the crushed meringue.
  • Spoon the mixture into lolly moulds or small cups and insert lolly sticks. The mixture should be thick enough for the sticks to remain upright, but if not, use some sticky tape to keep them in place.
  • Transfer to the freezer overnight until frozen solid.
  • To serve, cup the moulds in warm hands or dip into a cup of hot water for a few seconds to help the lolly slip out of its mould.

Eton Mess Strawberry Cream Meringue Lollies - Kavey Eats - © Kavita Favelle  overtext

I’ve made these lollies for July’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream. I’m also entering them into Allotment2Kitchen’s The Vegetable Palette.

IceCreamChallenge mini

If you make and blog an ice lolly recipe this month, do join in!

 

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.

 

For the latest Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream I set a theme of sorbets and granitas.

Corin Sorbet

Corin at Pro-Ware Kitchen created this rather grown up Tangerine and Prosecco Sorbet, the perfect palate cleanser. I love the beautiful orange colour and am seriously coveting the pretty champagne coupe glass.

Caroline Sorbet

One advantage of sorbet over ice cream is that it’s a little easier to make low calorie versions. Caroline from Caroline Makes shares this Slimming World Kiwi and Lime Sorbet which substitutes powdered sweetener for sugar. Of course, you can stick to sugar if you like!

no churn lemon 3

Regular BSFIC participant Alicia Foodycat put forward a rogue entry, a No-Churn Lemon Ripple Ice Cream! Yes it has dairy, but as she says, lemon is so refreshing it’s almost like a sorbet! Besides, BSFIC is all about sharing frozen treats, so I’m happy if she is!

Jen granita

Another grown up entry from Jen of Jen’s Food in the form of this Sloe Gin and Tonic Granita. Doesn’t this look just the thing for a warm midsummer’s evening?

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle -landscape-text

Lastly, I made use of some of the herbs from our back garden for this simple Lemon Balm Sorbet which also features a slosh of white rum to add flavour and keep it super soft.

IceCreamChallenge

Thanks to everyone who joined in. July’s BSFIC theme is ice lollies, so do get freezing and join in!

Jun 282015
 

The herb patch in our back garden has gone wild. Lemon balm is one of the winners of the battle for space and light, thrusting proud stems laden with aromatic leaves in all directions. We also have bold bushes of sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme.

I think the pure and subtle flavour of herbs can be a little too tempered in dairy ice creams, but sings loudly in simple and refreshing sorbets. Since I’ve enjoyed both mint and basil sorbets in the past, I figured a lemon balm sorbet would work nicely and give us a way of using up some of that lemon balm bonanza.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle -landscape-text

I opted to use my wonderful Froothie’s Optimum power blender to speed up the process. Blending together sugar, water and lemon balm leaves and a large dose of white rum took only minutes and produced a super smooth liquid which I cooled down and churned in my beautiful Smart Scoop ice cream machine (from the Sage by Heston Blumenthal range).

The advantage of this method is that it’s super fast and the flavour of the herb is good and strong.

The colour, of course, is much darker than steeping herbs in a sugar syrup and straining out before churning.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle --9021 Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle --9025

The rum adds a punch of flavour but also keeps the sorbet super soft. If you prefer your sorbet to freeze really hard, use less or omit entirely.

Simple Lemon Balm Sorbet

Ingredients
200 grams caster sugar
300 ml water
10 grams freshly picked lemon balm leaves, stems removed
1-2 tablespoons white rum

Method

  • Place all ingredients into the power blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Transfer to fridge to cool.
  • Churn in an ice cream machine, or transfer to freezer in a tub and fork through every hour for 3-4 hours.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - portrait-text

This is my entry for the Early Summer Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, which has a theme of sorbets and granitas.

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The Optimum 9200, the newer model of my 9400, retails for £429 but is currently on sale for £349. Visit Froothie’s website for details and don’t forget to enter “Special Ambassador Offer” on checkout for an additional 2 year warranty free of charge. Please use my affiliate link (here and in my sidebar) to support Kavey Eats.

 

I don’t often gravitate towards cookery books focusing on a single ingredient as they so often have a core of fabulous recipes padded out with a bunch of weak page fillers.

But Diana Henry’s A Bird In The Hand is a wonderful exception, chock – or should that be chook? – full of appealing recipes for simple, tasty chicken dinners.

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

In the UK we purchase and eat a lot of chicken. It’s so good roasted, grilled or barbequed, fried (pan or deep), poached, cooked in a stew or casserole… and well-suited to flavours from all around the world – a wonderfully versatile meat.

In this book Diana Henry shares a collection of over 100 chicken recipes that range from quick and casual to impressive and celebratory. I am tempted by nearly all of them! Some, like Baked Chicken with Tarragon and Dijon Mustard, Chicken Forestière, Thai Chicken Burgers, Soothing North Indian Curry and Japanese Negima Yakitori are similar to recipes we have made and enjoyed before; a good reminder to make them again soon.

Others are dishes we’ve not thought to try ourselves. My copy of the book is frilled along the top edge with little scraps of paper bookmarking those I want to try soon – Spanish Chicken, Morcilla and Sherry, Vietnamese Lemongrass and Chilli Chicken, Bourbon and Marmalade-glazed Drumsticks, Chicken with Shaoxing Wine, Crisp Radishes and Pickled Ginger, Tagine of Chicken, Caramelised Onion and Pears, Chicken Legs in Pinot Noir with Sour Cherries and Parsnip Purée, Roast chicken stuffed with black pudding and apple and mustard sauce, Ginger beer can chicken, Chicken Pot-Roasted in Milk, Bay and Nutmeg, Pot-Roast Chicken with Figs.

They all sound so good, don’t they?

Diana Henry's Crusted Chicken and Chorizo Paella - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-1 Diana Henry's Crusted Chicken and Chorizo Paella - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-3

Both dishes we have made so far have been enormously comforting, delicious and likely to be repeated again and again. Though there are only two of us, we felt the Crusted Chicken and Chorizo Paella was best made in a large quantity; we scaled it down to make two thirds and that served us both for two meals, plus a generous portion for my lunchbox one day too. Warm, comforting, tasty and not complicated to make.

The Chicken with Pumpkin, Cream and Gruyère actually blew me away. As you can see, it’s such a simple recipe and yet I would never have thought to combine chicken and pumpkin, nor to cook the combination so simply in cream flavoured with garlic and grated cheese. Be warned, this is a rich dish, so small portions will be plenty. A crisp vinaigrette-dressed green salad is my perfect accompaniment.

Again, we scaled the recipe down by half. We used chicken thighs (which I much prefer to breasts) and butternut squash and switched the two hard cheeses for close cousins we had on hand. We also decided to cut the thighs into three pieces before frying, rather than after as in the recipe.

Full, original recipe provided below.

Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-1

Diana Henry’s Chicken with Pumpkin, Cream and Gruyère

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) pumpkin or butternut squash (unprepared weight)
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts
400 ml (14 fl oz) double cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
25 g (scant 1 oz) grated Gruyère
25 g (scant 1 oz) grated Parmesan

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Peel and deseed the pumpkin and cut it into wedges. Put the wedges into a roasting tin, brush with olive oil, season and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until completely tender (and even slightly caramelised). Now put the squash into a gratin or other ovenproof dish, one that is big enough to accommodate the chicken too.

Meanwhile, cook the chicken. Simply season it all over, heat one and a half tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the chicken on both sides until golden and cooked through, eight to ten minutes. Cut each piece into three. Add the chicken to the pumpkin.

Heat the cream with the garlic until it’s boiling, take off the heat, season and pour over the chicken and pumpkin. Sprinkle on both cheeses and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The dish should be bubbling and golden. Serve. You need something to cut the richness so a salad of bitter leaves is good. Children like it with pasta, but I prefer brown rice or another nutty whole grain.

Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-1 Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-2 Diana Henry's Chicken with Pumpkin Cream and Gruyere - KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-3

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A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry is available from Amazon for £9.99 (RRP £20). Published by Mitchell Beazley. Kavey Eats received a review copy from the publisher.

 

I’ve been reading about black garlic for the last few years. I’ve even tried a product made with black garlic – my friend Dave made some striking black garlic cheese which I used in a delicious seasonal butternut squash and cheese bake.

But until this week, I’d never actually tried the stuff as it comes, nor used it in cooking.

If you haven’t come across black garlic, you might be wondering what it is? Well, it’s not a new or different variety of the plant we love and know. Simply put, it’s very caramelised garlic. Sold in whole bulbs, it can be (peeled and) eaten as is or used as an ingredient in cooking.

The process to make it is occasionally (and erroneously) referred to as fermentation – but there is no microbial action involved. Black garlic is made by gently heating whole bulbs of ordinary garlic for a long period of time, until the cloves inside caramelise. Just like roasting garlic brings out a wonderfully mellow sweetness, so too does this process for making black garlic. The key differences are that black garlic remains (marginally) firmer than roasted garlic, and there is a hint of acidity to the flavour of black garlic that is rather like molasses or reduced balsamic vinegar. In both cases, the fiery nature of raw garlic is completely tamed.

Apparently the idea originated in East Asia – possibly Korea – where black garlic is commonly marketed as a health product. It started gaining popularity in the USA less than a decade ago and quickly crossed to the UK, initially as an import. It is now produced here from British-grown garlic by a number of brands. The one I’m using below has just rebranded to Balsajo, so packaging may look a little different if you seek it out in the supermarket. Mine is from Sainsbury’s.

Black Garlic Mushroom and Cream Penne Pasta KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-8542 Black Garlic Mushroom and Cream Penne Pasta KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-8546

The packet contains just one bulb (and mine was a fairly small one) so I wanted to use it in a way that would show off the flavour. A simple pasta dish seemed just the ticket, with mushrooms to balance the sweetness and cream to make it more decadent.

 

Black Garlic, Mushroom & Cream Penne Pasta

Serves 2 (could easily stretch to 3)

Ingredients

Penne pasta, amounts as per your usual portions – we use 50 grams dried per person
1 bulb black garlic
Small splash of vegetable oil
500 grams cup mushrooms, halved and sliced
150 ml double cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Put the pasta on to boil.
  • In a large frying pan, fry mushrooms in a small splash of vegetable oil until they have released their juices. Continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated / been reabsorbed by the mushrooms and they take on a little golden colour.

Black Garlic Mushroom and Cream Penne Pasta KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-8549 Black Garlic Mushroom and Cream Penne Pasta KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-8552

  • While the mushrooms are frying, gently peel and slice the black garlic and set aside.

Black Garlic Mushroom and Cream Penne Pasta KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle-8556

  • When the pasta is nearly cooked, reduce the heat under the frying pan, stir in the double cream and add the black garlic.
  • Stir to distribute the black garlic evenly through the mushrooms and give the cream and black garlic time to heat through.
  • Season to taste.
  • Drain the pasta thoroughly.
  • Either combine pasta with the sauce in the pan or divide pasta into bowls and spoon sauce over the top.

Black Garlic Mushroom and Cream Penne Pasta KaveyEats (c)KavitaFavelle textoverlay

I love the sweet flavour of black garlic! It’s a lot like sweet and sticky caramelised onion, but with that familiar garlic flavour, mellowed as it is when roasted. Utterly gorgeous and well worth seeking out!

For more inspiration on how to use black garlic, check out:

Kavey Eats received a sample of black garlic, plus a small contribution towards ingredients, from Sainsbury’s. Current price per packet is £1.50.

 

Green smoothies are all the rage.

But I’ve just not developed a taste for kale, spinach, broccoli or any other green vegetable in my smoothies and prefer to stick to my fruit concoctions.

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A banana is a great start to the day. In recent years, bananas have received some bad press because they do not score as low on the Glycaemic Index (GI) as many other fruits and vegetables. But, as this really excellent guide explains, there are weaknesses in using the GI to assess food – you have to eat a lot more of some foods to hit the 50 grams of digestible carbs on which the score is calculated than you do for others – although bananas have a GI score of around 50 (depending on ripeness) you’d need to eat 3 bananas to hit that 50 grams of digestible carbs. It’s also worth remembering that the GI doesn’t take into account the nutritional benefits (or lack of them) of different types of food – crisps are only a touch higher than bananas in terms of their GI score! A banana for breakfast not only keeps me feeling full for quite a few hours, it is also a good source of fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and B6.

Recently I’ve been drinking even more matcha than usual, after writing an article all about it for a recent issue of Good Things magazine. Although the method of grinding tea leaves into a powder originated in China, it was not until the practice reached Japan by way of Zen Buddhist monks that it developed into the drink we know today. Matcha is traditionally made by stone grinding green leaves of shade-grown tea (gyokuro). Before grinding the leaves are dried, de-veined and de-stemmed, in this state they are known as tencha. Growing tea in shade slows down the growth, stimulating an increase in chlorophyll levels. This turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids, in particular L-Theanine, which provides a distinctive umami flavour. L-Theanine is also claimed to reduce stress, sharpen cognitive performance and improve mood, especially when combined with caffeine, as it is in matcha.

Prunes – dried plums – have long been used as a mild natural laxative, although there’s no real evidence that they’re any more effective than other fruits and vegetables that are good sources of dietary fibre, bananas included. But I love their rich flavour, and they’re a great natural sweetener.

Of course, the dark colour of prunes turns what would otherwise be a brighter green smoothie into a less visually attractive brown one, so feel to substitute with dried dates or apricots, or a generous squirt of honey or maple syrup, each of which will create a quite different flavour profile for your 3 ingredient smoothie.

3 Ingredient Breakfast Smoothie | Banana, Prune & Matcha

Ingredients
1 large banana, peeled – about 125 grams peeled weight
2-3 teaspoons matcha (Japanese green tea powder)
60 grams pitted dried prunes*
1 cup of water, or more for a thinner smoothie

* substitute with dried dates, dried apricots, honey or maple syrup if preferred.

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Pour into a glass and drink straight away.

Tip: My Froothie Optimum power blender makes quick work of even the toughest dried fruits, but if yours is not as effective, soak the dried fruits in water for 30 minutes before blending – you can use the soaking water in the smoothie too.

3-Ingredient-Smoothie-Banana-Matcha-Prune-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8088 3-Ingredient-Smoothie-Banana-Matcha-Prune-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8090

For more fruit smoothie inspiration check out:

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