Friday, 4 May 2018

Vegetarian 101 Recipes Celebrating Fresh Seasonal Ingredients Review

This classic vegetarian book by Alice Hart has recently been reissued. The first edition published in 2011 was a classic and critically acclaimed cookery book specialising in Vegetarian cuisine. There are many vegetarian and vegan cookery books being released at the moment, but this book in my opinion will be a classic. There are a number of fresh and delicious recipes which challenges people to change the way they think about vegetarian cooking. I like the flavour combinations and innovative recipes used throughout and although the recipes are innovative, the recipes are accessible. The cookery book has a sleek design with illustrations on the cover and there are a number of accompanying recipes. Vegetarian is currently retailing at £9.99  and is a welcome addition for any discerning cook. 


The cookery book is split into the following chapters:
  • Breakfast and Brunch, recipes to try include: Pear and Walnut Bircher Muesli and Blackberry Milkshake.
  • Small Bites: stand out recipes include Cumin Potato Skins and Guacamole Salsa, Spring Vegetable Pakoras and Pressed Leek Terrine with Dijon Rice.
  • Big Salads: recipes to try include Warm Salad of Slow-Roast Tomatoes and Labne on Murjadhara, Blood Orange, Mozzarella, Toasted Sourdough and Radicchio Salad.
  • Soups: Stand out recipes include: Summer Minestrone , Beetroot and Porcini Broth.
  • Breads: Recipes to try include: Quick Soda Bread and Pizza Bianca.
  • Fast: Stand out recipes include: Chilli and Crushed Walnut Rigatoni, Potato Cakes with Olives and Poached Eggs and Cashew Fried Rice.
  • One Pots and Bakes: Stand out recipes include: Malaysian Egg Curry and Mushroom Basil Lasagne.
  • Special: Recipes to try include: Pan-Fried Mushrooms and Sour Cherries and Rich Almond Tart. 
There's also handy bits in this cookery book such as sharing a variety of tomato recipes, salad toppings and flavoured water. So far, I've made the Camembert, Watercress and Marinated Figs with Walnut Dressing. Not only was this salad incredibly fresh and light. 


Recipe for Camembert, Watercress and Marinated Figs with Walnut Dressing.
Serves 4
Ingredients
200ml balsamic vinegar
100g caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, brushed
6 thyme sprigs
6 plump figs, halved length ways
4 tablespoon walnut oil
a large handful of watercress, thick stalks trimmed
150g ripe Camembert or brie, sliced
75g walnuts

Method
Place the vinegar, sugar, garlic and 4 of the thyme sprigs in a saucepan and add 100ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute to dissolve the sugar and cook out some of the vinegary flavour. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then pour the halved figs and leave to marinate for an hour or two.
Discard the thyme sprigs and garlic from the marinade and spoon 5 tablespoons into a small lidded jar. Strip the leaves from the remaining 2 thyme sprigs and add to the jar with the walnut oil, a little salt and plenty of pepper. Screw on the lid and shake well until combined to make a dressing.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and sear the drained figs, cut sides down for a minute or so until they caramelise. Remove the pan from the heat, turn the figs over and set aside.
Put the watercress in a large bowl and drizzle with a little of the dressing , tossing to coat the leaves. Add the Camembert or brie, walnuts and divide among serving plates. Spoon the remaining dressing over each plate of salad.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publishers.

xxx
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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Thai Food Made Easy Review and Recipe

I'm so glad I recently discovered the tropical and vibrant delights of Thai cuisine. As Thai cuisine is relatively new to me, I've fully immersed myself with learning all I can about this cuisine. I was delighted when I received a review copy of Thai Food Made Easy by Tom Kime. I've never heard of the author before, but having done some research he is a highly trained chef having worked at The River Cafe and with Rick Stein. This cookery book doesn't feel like a chefy book, there's no overly complicated cooking methods which is perfect for the home cook. The author describes Thai food as "electrifying and invigorating and makes the tongue tingle with excitement" and I agree.

This cookery book introduces the reader to easy to follow recipes and shares all the key ingredients necessary to make authentic Thai food. This cookery book is perfect for newcomers to Thai cuisine and due to the versatility in recipes it will also appeal to those who are experienced in cooking Thai food. There are accompanying colour photos for the majority of the recipes which is stunning. Thai Food Made Easy is currently on sale for £14.99



There are a number of gorgeous recipes to try and all bases are covered in the comprehensive chapters:
  • Introduction
  • Ingredients for Thai Cooking - a chapter focusing on key fresh ingredients, spices, pantry larder and liquids.
  • 15 must-have herbs & spices - including Thai basil, lemongrass and five spice. 
  • Snacks and finger food- everyone loves a good snack especially when it includes: Glass Noodle & Pork Spring Rolls, Spiced Prawn cakes on Lemongrass Sticks, Chicken Satay with Turmeric & Ginger and Curried Sweetcorn Fritters. 
  • Salads- stand out recipes include: Prawn Noodle Salad with chili & toasted cashews, Hot & Sour Grilled Beef Salad and Sesame Chicken Salad. 
  • Slow roast, smoking grill & hot wok: tempting recipes include: Kai yang Issan-style grilled Chicken, Thai Beef skewers, Barbecued pork and herb salad and Wok-fried Chilli & Basil chicken. 
  • Fish & seafood: Gorgeous recipes to try include: Sesame-seared Tuna with Lemongrass & Ginger, Turmeric Grilled Fish, Stir-fried Cod with Sugar Snap Peas, Ginger & Five Spice and Grilled Fish with Chilli, Garlic & Ginger.
  • Curries & Soups , stand out recipes include: Coconut Fish Curry, Thai Green Curry,  Hot & Sour Orange Curry with Grilled Salmon & Geng gari curry with Roast Chicken.
  • Rice, Noodles & Sides: recipes to try include: Pad Thai Fried Noodles, Pad Ki Mow (spicy beef noodles with kaffir lime leaves) and Braised Chicken with Rice, Turmeric & Spices. 
  • Desserts & drinks: stand out recipes include: Thai Citrus & Young Coconut Jelly, Sticky rice with Mango and Banana & Coconut Pancakes. 
  • Basics: recipes to try include: this chapter includes a number of dressings and sauces.
  • Menu planner.
So far I've made the prawn noodle salad and grilled fish .



Recipe for Prawn Noodle Salad with Chilli & Toasted Cashews
Serves 4
Preparation 10 minutes
Ingredients
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
juice of 2 limes
250g thin rice noodles, drained and chilled
250g cooked prawns, peeled and halved
4 spring onions, finely chopped
4 mint sprigs, leaves picked and torn

Spices
freshly ground black pepper

pantry/larder
2 tablespoons light soy sauce 
1 tablespoon blended sesame oil
3 tablespoon cashews
salt.

Method
Mix the chilli, ginger and lime juice together in a large bowl. Add the light soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the noodles and prawns and mix together. Add the spring onions and season well with a little salt and black pepper.
When ready to serve, add the herbs to the noodles and mix together (only add the herbs when you are ready to serve because the acidity of the dressing will turn the leaves black). Scatter with the cashews. Taste the noodles to check the balance of flavours and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this cookery book from the publishers. 

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Friday, 17 November 2017

Wine Lover's Kitchen Review, Recipe and Giveaway

A lovely cookery book arrived whilst I was away on holiday in Jamaica. Wine Lover's Kitchen by Fiona Beckett is a stunning collection of recipes featuring one of the nations most loved alcoholic beverage, wine.  Fiona is one of the nations leading and authoritative voices in food and drink, having published an impressive  23 books and is the current wine columnist for The Guardian.
I enjoy drinking a lovely glass of of wine, whether it's a rich full bodied red wine,  fruity white wine, crisp prosecco and my current favourite, mulled wine. But cooking with it, I'm not so sure,  I occasionally add a glug of red wine to stews, chili con carne and the like but that's about it. Wine Lovers Kitchen features a number of inspiring innovative recipes where wine is featured from starters to desserts. Retailing at £12, this book contains 70 recipes, many with accompanying photos. 
Having had a a thorough read of his book I would say it isn't aimed for beginner cooks, but for the more confident and ambitious cook. 


Wine Lovers Kitchen is split into the following chapters:

Wine - the magic ingredient discussing the benefits of wine. 
10 things you need to know about cooking with wine
Soups, Salads and Appetisers: Recipes to try include: Smoked Duck, Mandarin and Pecan Salad with Pinot Noir, Warm Scallop Salad with Crispy Pancetta and Parsnip Chips and Luxury Cheese Fondue.
Pasta and Grains: Stand out recipes include: Rigatoni with Aubergine, Sausage and Zinfandel Sauce, Wild Mushroom and Champagne Risotto and Beetroot and Pinot Risotto. 
Fish and Seafood: Recipes to try include: Moules Marinieres with Muscadet, Quick Tiger Prawns with Pinot Grigio, Fresh Tomato and Basil and Roast Monkfish with Pancetta, Rosemary and Red Wine Gravy. 
Meat and Poultry: Stand out recipes include: Burgundy-style pork with white wine and mustard, sauce, Slow-braised lamb shanks with red wine, rosemary and garlic, Venison Sausages with Red Wine and Rosemary Gravy,  Entrecôte Marchand de Vin and Pepper-crusted steak with Red Wine Sauce. 
Vegetable Dishes and Pulses: Recipes to try include: Vignarole (spring vegetable stew), Fennel and Parmesan Sourdough Gratin and Courgettes and Mushrooms a la Grecque. 
Sauces, Butters and Relishes: Stand out recipes include: Plum and Pinot Jam, Apricot and Moscatel Relish and Roast Chicken Salad.
Sweet Things and Baking: Recipes to try include: Red Wine and Cherry Ripple Ice Cream, Super Boozy Christmas Fruit Cake, Roasted Pears with Sweet Wine, Honey and Pin Nuts and Red Wine and Chocolate Frosted Cake. 

So far, I've made the Entrecôte Marchand De Vin but have booked marked many more recipes.



Recipe for Entrecote Marchand De Vin
Ingredients
2 entrecote or sirloin steaks (225g/8oz each)
1 tbsp olive oil
40g tablespoons butter, softened
2 shallots, very finely chopped
125ml cup good quality red wine, such as Bordeaux or Shiraz
2 rounded tablespoons freshly chopped flat parsley 
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
sautéed potatoes and a mixed leaf salad, to serve

Method
Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Heat a heavy-based frying pan/skillet over a medium to high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, when it is hot, add 15g of butter. Wait until the foaming subsides, then put the steaks in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes for a medium-rare steak. Transfer to a warm plate and cover lightly with aluminium foil.
Discard the fat in the pan and add half the remaining butter. Once it has melted, add the shallots and cook over a low heat for about 2 minutes. 
Increase the heat, pour in the wine and let bubble away for 2-3 minutes until it has reduced by about two thirds. Gradually whisk the remaining butter, pour in any juices that have accumulated under the steak and stir, Season with salt and pepper , then add the parsley. 
Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over, accompanied by sautéed potatoes and a mixed salad leaves.


The lovely people at Ryland Peters and Smalls are giving one lucky reader a copy or the Wine Lovers Kitchen. 

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget. 
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the right side of the website using Google Friend Connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT. 
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  • Ryland Peters and Small will post a copy of the book. 
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Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Flexible Vegetarian Review and Giveaway.

The Flexible Vegetarian is the fifth cookery book by TV Cook and food editor, Jo Pratt. This is the first cookery book that I have of Jo's, focusing on delicious and practical recipes which can easily be catered for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Jo focuses on recipes that are flavoursome and suitable for vegetarians, for those who absolutely have to eat meat to fish, there a few simple meat and fish options. I think the vegetarian recipes are stunning enough that the meat and fish recipes can be omitted. A big thumbs up for me is that any cookery book  which has a dedicated breakfast chapter is an automatic winner for me and the recipes featured in this section are incredibly tempting. 

I often flick through cookery books and do the "flick test", checking out the finished pictures of recipes. This enables me to see whether there is enough tempting recipes for me to purchase the book. I can say that The Flexible Vegetarian passes the flick test. The finished recipes look tantalising and there are a number of options from quick mid-week meals to lazy weekend suppers. The Flexible Vegetarian is currently on Amazon for £13.60 and is available from all good book stores. 


There were a number of recipes that I've bookmarked to try, but so far I've made the Black Bean Chilli and Maple Cornbread. I omitted the maple from the maple cornbread and the cornbread tasted amazing. 




The cookery book is split into the following chapters:
  • The Flexible Store Cupboard - all the key ingredients that make making easy vegetarian dishes including lentils, grains and eggs. 
  • Breakfast/Brunch - A chapter focusing on recipes to kick start the day: The Green Omlette, Budha Breakfast Bowl, Courgette Fritters and Miso Mushrooms on Toast. 
  • Soups and Broths: recipes to try include Cauliflower Cream Cheese Soup, Roast Beetroot Soup and Cream of Cashew and Mushroom Soup.
  • Small Plates: stand out recipes include: Smashed Bean, Kale and Tomato Toast, Roast Garlic and Lemon Hummus, Pea and Carrot Pakoras, Sweet Potato and Chiptole Bean Tacos and Fried Chickpeas, Tomato and Labneh Flatbread.
  • Big Plates: recipes to try include: Southern Mac N Cheese, Black Bean Chilli and Maple Butter Cornbread, Ultimate Vegetable Burgers, Braised Lentils and Cauliflower Steaks and Roast Fennel and Aubergine Paella.
  • Dips and Bits: stand out recipes include: Sweet Carrot and Harissa Humus, Pea and Sorrel Humus, Roast Tomato and Basil Pesto and Coriander, Peanut and Chilli Pesto.
For the Black Bean Chilli

3 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed
2 star anise
1 cinnamon sick, broken in half
250ml cup of red wine
4 x 400g tins black beans, drained
2 x 400g chopped tomatoes
2tbsp tomato puree
3 red peppers from a jar, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbsp chipotle paste
2 tbsp coco powder
pinch of dried chilli flakes
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Maple Butter cornbread
Time taken 25 minutes, Serves 8
200g cornmeal or fine polenta
150g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
300ml buttermilk
175ml cup milk
75g butter, plus an extra knob
75ml maple syrup

Method for the Black Bean Chilli
Time Taken 1 hour Serves 6-8
Heat the oil in a large casserole or saucepan . Add the onion, garlic, cumin seeds, star anise and cinnamon stick and gently sauté for 10 minutes until the onion is softened and becoming nicely golden.

Increase the heat and add the red wine. Boil for 1 minute to reduce, then add the black beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, red peppers, chipolote paste and cocoa powder, and sea on with salt and pepper. If you know you want a really chilli, add a pinch of chili flakes. You can add this nearer to the end of the time after you've had a taste.

Bring to the simmer, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 35-45 minutes, stirring every so often, until rich and thickened.

While the chili is cooking, mix together the sour cream and paprika. Place in a serving bowl and mop up the chili juices with a wedge of cornbread.

Method for the cornbread
Heat the oven to 200F/400F/gas mark 6

Place the cornmeal or polenta in a large bowl with the flour, bicarbonate of soda, onion and salt.

Break the egg into a jug and mix with the buttermilk and milk. Pour into the dry ingredients then mix until just combined, making sure you don't over mix otherwise you will make the cornbread tough.

Place a 23cm-25cm 9/10 inch non-stick ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and add the knob of butter. Swirl around to coat the inside of the pan. Pour in the bread batter and level the surface. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until golden and just firm.

Whilst the cornbread is cooking,  melt together the measured butter and the maple syrup to give you a golden sweet liquid.

As soon as the cornbread is cooked, immediately pour over the maple butter, covering the whole surface. Return to the oven for 1 minute allowing the maple butter to bubble around the edges of the pan.

Remove from the heat and serve hot, cut into wedges or simply spooned straight of the pan.


***Giveaway***
The lovely publishers are giving one lucky ready a copy of The Flexible Vegetarian. To be in with a chance of winning this cookery book, follow these instructions.


  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left corner of the right side of the website using Google Friend Connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
  • For additional entries like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. 
  • All entered will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 30.9.17 - 5.11.17
  • Winner will need to respond within 5 working days of being contacted. 
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over. 
  • Frances Lincoln will send a copy of the cookery book.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway.


Many thanks to Frances Lincoln for a copy of this book. 
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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Made in Vietnam Review

I only very recently discovered the delights of Far Eastern cooking. This was by chance, during a trip to New York in April this year. I was tired of all the heavy carb based dishes and fancied a light Thai meal. After eating a fiery, light and flavoursome Thai dish in New York, I made it my mission to explore this cuisine and other cuisines in the Far East. I know very little about Vietnam or Vietnamese cuisine, but as a hungry foodie, I am always eager to learn.

This cookery book Made In Vietnam enables me to go on a culinary cooking tour for Vietnamese cooking virgin, such as me, the authors Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl, give a short introduction to Vietnamese Cuisine and the cornerstones to the cuisine: rice, fish and herbs. Also, the authors share the influences to this cuisine such as Chinese and French influences. The recipes in this book are dishes the authors have collected over the years and been living and travelling in this country. There are some harder to find ingredients in the cookery book, however if you live near a city featuring a Far Eastern community, you will be able to easily access such ingredients, or use substitutes. 
Made In Vietnam is currently on sale for £14.99, many recipes have photos, recipes are in English and Vietnamese which offers another unusual touch.




The chapters in this book are:
  • Rice and Bread - lots of luscious side dishes including: Broken Rice, Fried Sticky Rice and Vietnamese Baguette.
  • Vegetables and Salads - recipes to try include: Cabbage and Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Mint, Choko and Barbecued Pork Salad, Crispy Noodle Cake, With Sauteed Prawns and Vegetables and Green Mango and Sun Dried Squid Salad and Squid Pomelo Salad. 
  • Barbecued Prawns with Lemongrass, Fish Cakes in Young Green Rice, Prawn Tails Cooked in Coconut Milk and Salted Fish and Fried Rice.
  • Poultry - standout recipes include: Baby Chicken with Char grilled with Kaffir Lime Leaves, Crispy Chicken Wings with Fish Sauce, Soy Poached Chicken and Hoi An Chicken and Rice.
  • Pork, Beef and Goat: standout recipes include: Sticky Rice From The Countryside with Pork and Mung Beans, Pork Ribs Braised with Peanut and Lemongrass and Goat Curry.
  • Condiments: recipes include: Hoisin Dipping Sauce and Lime Chili Dipping Salt.
  • Sweets: standout recipes include: Coconut Ice-cream, Sticky Rice with Red Beans, Coconut and Sesame Seeds and Salty Peanut and Sesame Cookies. 

Recipe for Cabbage and Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Mint
Serves 6
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, cut into long thin strips
3 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced
1 handful Vietnamese mint
1 long chilli, cut into rings
2 tablespoon roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped, plus 1 teaspoon extra, to serve

Dressing
120g sugar
100ml lime juice
60ml fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Method
Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a chopping board, leave to cool, then cut or shred the chicken into thin strips. Place in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, whisk together the sugar and lime juice until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce and garlic.
Add the vegetables, min, chili and peanuts to the chicken. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. 
Serve on a large platter, sprinkled with the remaining peanuts. 

xxx
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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Review of Sharing Plates by Luke Mangan

As many of you know, I love cookbooks. When I'm thinking of purchasing or reviewing a new cookbook, I always consider books that specialise in a specific subject, or new chefs which challenge me with creating more adventurous dishes. What really appealed to me about one of the latest addition to my ever expanding cookbook collection is Sharing Plates: For Brunch, Lunch and Dinner with Friends by Luke Mangan. Currently on sale for £15.90 on Amazon, but can be brought slightly cheaper on other online book stores. I really enjoy cooking feasts and tapas/mezze style dishes to feast on, so the idea of a cookbook dedicated to recipes to share really appealed to me. The author is an Australian chef who owns a number of restaurants. The authors professional chef background is evident throughout this cookery book. I would say that this cookery book is more for the accomplished cook. Because of the theme of Sharing Plates, a lot of the recipes take some time to make, but the flavour combinations and innovative recipes make up for the fact that the recipes take a little longer than the average. 



There are a number of chapters in this book and there is a recipe for any time of the day. Any cookbook which features a chapter on breakfast is a winner for me.
  • Breakfast and Brunch, recipes to try include : Quail Eggs Benedict with Chilli Kale on Mini Muffins, Pancetta & Onion tarts with Asparagus, Buffalo Mozzarella & Honey Thyme Dressing, Smoked Ham, Tomato, Creamed Chard & Gruyere Toasties and the recipe featured Shakshuka with Spinach Parathas. 
  • Bread - lovely looking recipes include: Potato, Caramelised Onion, Fig, Gorgonzola and Grilled Raddicchio Pizzas, Truffled Mushroom & Pecorina Flatbreads and Fruit and Nut bread. 
  • Snacks and Salads - recipe to try include Samosas of Curried Pumpkin & Feta with Mint & Lime yogurt, Salad of Roasted Pumpkin, Chorizo, Chickpeas, Quinoa & Blue Cheese and Honey & Oregano Haloumi with Fig with Golden Beets, Dandelion & Walnuts. 
  • Oyster & Sashimi, recipes to try include - Oysters in Chickpea Batter with Smoky Eggplant & Tzatski and Kingfish Sashimi with nam jim, lime leaf, Coconut Yoghurt & Toasted Jasmine Rice. 
  • Fish and Shellfish - standout recipes include: Salt Cod Croquettes with Piccalilli, Milk Buns with Lobster & Vietnamese Slaw, Seared Scallops with Padron Peppers, fresh Cheese, Romesco & Chorizo Jam and Grilled Chorizo & Octopus with Piquillo Peppers & Apple & Ginger Puree. 
  • Meat - lovely looking recipes include: Moroccan Lamb Cutlets with Raisin & Caper Puree, Broccolini & Hazelnuts,  Beef Short Ribs with Pedra Ximenez roasted red onion and carrot & Cumin Puree and Thai Beef Koftas in Lettuce Cups with Coconut Sauce.
  • Poultry - recipes to try include: Duck Prosciutto with Sliced Peach, Toasted Walnuts & Elderflower Dressing, Chicken Garam Masala with Raita & Tomato & Onion Salad and Salt and Sugar-Cured Duck Breast with Sichuan Pepper, Turnip & Tamarillo Glaze. 
  • Sweet - Stand out recipes include: Salted Chocolate Honeycomb, Pistachio & Chocolate Cake with Red Wine & Coffee-Braised Quince, Mini Pistachio Creme Brûlée Tarts and Bounty Bars.



Recipe for Shakshuka and Spinach Parathas
One of my favourite brunch dishes, the Middle Eastern favourite is served with Moerish spinach Parathas. 
Ingredients
For the Shakshua
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
400g tin crushed tomatoes
6 large free-range eggs
1/4 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves only, chopped
1/4 bunch dil, leaves only chopped. 

For the spinach parathas
325g plain flour
1 egg
1 tablespoom extra virgin olive oil
250g spinach, blanched
3 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 large garlic cloves peeled 
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
vegetable oil, for greasing

Method for Shakshuka
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, capsicum, chilli, cumin and paprika and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Place the mixture in an ovenproof dish and onto a baking tray. Using a serving spoon to make six small wells, then crack an egg into each well. 
Cover the dish with a plate or foil. Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the eggs are just set. 

Method for Spinach Parathas 
Combine the flour, egg ad olive oil in a bowl, mixing well. Place the spinach, yoghurt, garlic, salt and spiced in a blender. Whiz to a smooth paste, adding a little water if necessary, then add to the flour mixture and mix to form a medium-firm dough. You may need to add some water.
Shape the dough into a ball, then rub a few drops of vegetable oil on the top to stop the dough drying out. Cover and rest for 15-20 minutes in a warm place. 
Heat a tava pan, cast-iron pan or skillet over medium heat. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 2-3 minutes. Divide into golf ball sized portions roughly 80g each. Roll one portion at a time into a smooth ball and flatten it out with your palms on a clean bench. Smear each piece of dough with a little vegetable oil.
Stretch one piece of dough out from the sides until it is four times its original size. Fold back into the centre from all the corners, to make a round 13-15 cm (5-6 inch diameter) paratha. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
One at a time, place a paratha onto the pan and cook over low heat until bubbles appear. Flip it over and cook 1-2 minutes. Lightly brush more oil on top, then flip it over again and cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate and cover with a clean towel to keep warm, while cooking the remaining parathas. 
The parathas are best served warm. They can be reheated by wrapping in foil and warming in a 180C oven for 5 minutes. 

Many thanks to Murdoch books for this cookery book. 
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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Jam Makers Garden Recipe, Review and Giveaway.

I am quite the avid jam, chutney and preserve maker. I love nothing more than buying ridiculously cheap fruits and vegetables from my local food market and turning them into wonderful preserves, to be eaten when the colder months set in. What I've never really considered to do is, as this preserve book, The Jam Makers Garden suggests, to grow my own seasonal fruit and vegetables and then turn them into a preserve. This idea, has two advantages for me; firstly, I love the idea of using seasonal fruits and vegetables that are not available all year round, turning them into a preserve which can be eaten in the dark depths of winner. Secondly, the idea of growing my own vegetables is sustainable and quite easy to do as long as you have the time.

The Jam Makers Garden, by Holly Farrell is on sale for £15:58 on Amazon which is a little pricey for a preserve book,  however I've also seen this book for slightly cheaper on other book websites.  



This preserve book is good for the experienced and amateur preserver. There are enough interesting flavour combinations to satisfy the more confident and equally there are easy to follow recipes for new beginners. If you are quite limited with knowledge about growing your own fruit and vegetables (this includes me as I only grow herbs in my back garden), there is a handy 14 page guidance to this art. There is another section on ensuring you make the best jams, such as sterilisation and how to ensure your jam is set.

There are a small number of accompanying photographs for the recipes, alongside photographs of the diverse range of fruit and vegetables used in the recipes. The chapters are split into three sections:
  • From the fruit garden: Spring and Summer and Late Summer and Autumn. 
  • From the veg garden: Spring and Summer and Late Summer and Autumn. 
  • From the herb garden.
There are a number of tantalising recipes that I want to try from all sections. From the fruit garden Spring and Summer, the recipes that I would like to make include: Blueberry Conserve, Bramble Jam. and Pear Caramel. From the veg garden section, I would love to make Beetroot Chutney, Carrot Jam, Sweetcorn Relish and Pumpkin Jam.  From the herb garden section, I would like to make the Herb and Flower Syrups.

So far, I've made the Pickled Rhubarb, I was slightly sceptical and worried about my teeth sampling raw beetroot. I should not of worried, this was crunchy and sweet.



Recipe for Pickled Rhubarb
Makes about 300g/10oz
Ingredients
300g rhubarb, preferably forced
1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
3 juniper berries
3 tsp coriander seeds
90ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp water
45g caster sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt

Method
Cut the rhubarb stems into uniform pieces 2cm/ 3/4 in long.
Pack the stems on end into a sterilised jar and add the peppercorns, juniper berries and coriander seeds.
Put the vinegar, water, sugar and salt into a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.
Once they are dissolved and the liquid is boiling, pout it into the jar so that the rhubarb is completely submerged (tap the base of the jar gently on the work surface to dislodge any air bubbles) but there is still a clear 1cm 1/2 inch gap between the liquid and rim.
Seal immediately, and leave to mature for 2 days before eating. 

The lovely people at Frances Lincoln is giving one lucky reader a copy of The Jam Makers Garden.  To be in with a chance of winning this book, please follow the instructions below:

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget.
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  • All entries will be checked and verified. 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 5.7.17 - 6.8.17
  • Winners will need to respond within 5 working days of being contacted. 
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over. 
  • Frances Lincoln will post a copy of the book. 
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 

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Many thanks for sending out a copy of The Jam Makers Gardner. 
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Friday, 26 May 2017

Zoe's Ghana Kitchen Review and Recipe

West African food is on the up in the UK. Once a relatively unknown cuisine, African food is becoming more visible in our cities, at food markets and on the TV competition programmes. With food bloggers and chefs showcasing a range of African recipes, West African food is becoming more popular than ever. Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe's Ghana Kitchen pop up restaurants has been showcasing modern Ghanaian recipes for a number of years, her first cookbook is a celebration of the food of her heritage. Zoe's Ghana Kitchen pop up restaurants have been running for a number of years now, she has her own permanent restaurant at Pop Brixton. Most people have heard of Jollof Rice as a popular West African meal, but what about the other dishes that is eaten in this region. Step forward this cookery book which showcases around 100 recipes diverse, vibrant and exotic recipes. There are a range of diverse recipes from hearty stews, light dishes, vegetarian and a few recipes which includes more exotic ingredients, there is something for every season and every occasion. Zoe's Ghana Kitchen rrp is £25, but is at the time of writing on sale on Amazon for £11.49 which is an absolute bargain. 



I found this cookery book to be quirky and informative, Zoe's mixed heritage, her Ghanaian and Irish story really came through. This cookery book informs the reader of the spices and herbs that are key features in this cookery book. Zoe states "This book is for anyone with an interest in food and an inquisitive palate, and there should be something for everyone". There really is something for everyone.

The chapters in this book is divided into the following:

  • Yam 5 Ways & Plantain 5 Ways - recipes to try include: Golden Mashed Yam,  Yam and Plantain Peanut Curry and Tatale (Plantain Pancakes). 
  • Salads -  stand out recipes include: Avocado, Papaya and Ginger Salad,  Mango and Pineapple Salad, Plantain Salad and Scotch Bonnet Coleslaw.
  • Fish and Seafood - recipes to try include Pan-roasted Cod seasoned with Grains of Paradise, Whole Grilled Tilapia, Fried Barracuda and Fante Fried Fish with Shaved Papaya. 
  • Veggie - Stand out recipes to try include: Spinach and Agushi Curry, Ghana Dhal and Red Red Stew.
  • Meat -  recipes to try include: Lamb Cutlets with Peanut Sauce, Pork Ribs in Sticky Plantain Sauce, Jollof Fried Chicken, Jollof and Palm Soup.
  • Sides -A wonderful selection of side dishes including Baked Cassava Fries and Coconut Rice.
  • Desserts- Sand out recipes include Cubeb Spiced Shortbread, Honey & Plantain Ginger Cake and Coconut & Cassava Chips. 
  • Drinks & Snacks  - standout recipes include Black-Eyed Bean Fritters, Spiced Cassava Patties  and Mango-Lime Smoothie
  • Dips, Sauces & Salsas - Recipes to try include: Shito Mayo and Pineapple and Ginger Chutney. 
So far I've made the Kyenam (Fante Fried Fish), but I made it without the papaya and did not substitute this for mango. Despite the lack of papaya, I found the fish to be light, flavoursome and refreshing. There was a gentle heat kick to the dish and was incredibly easy to make. The Kyenam could be served with a vibrant salad or rice.



Recipe for Kyenam (Fante Fried Fish with Shaved Papaya)
4 whole fresh red snapper, small grouper or trout, scaled, gutted and washed.
Juice of 2 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50-75ml rapeseed oil or vegetable oil

Marinade 
5cm (2-inch) piece fresh root ginger, grated (unpeeled if organic)
1 teaspoon ground hot pepper or substitute cayenne pepper
1 red onion, very finely diced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil or vegetable oil (optional)

To Garnish
1 red onion, sliced
lemon wedges
1 green or medium ripe papaya, shaved.

Method
Trim the tail of each fish so that they fit neatly into a medium sized frying pan. Using a sharp cook's knife, carefully cut 2 evenly spaced diagonal slashes into either side of the fish. Place the prepared fish in a dish.
Using a mortar and pestle, or traditional Ghanian asanka pot if you have one, grind all the marinade ingredients together to a paste. Alternatively use a blender, adding oil if necessary to achieve past consistency.
Use half the marinade to rub into the slashes and inside the cavity of each fish, and the other half to coat the fish. Squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle sea salt liberally all over, then season with black pepper. Cover the dish with cling film and leave the fish to marinate in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours, preferably overnight.
Heat 50ml oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the fish, in batches and adding the extra oil if necessary, and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, trying not to move the fish around too much and only turning once, until you've got nice crispy skins.
Remove the fish from the pan and drain on kitchen paper before serving hot with sliced ken key and shito, garnished with the sliced red onion, lemon wedges and shaving of papaya. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to the publishers for my review copy. 
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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Saffron Soul review and giveaway

Indian food is one of the nations favourite cuisines. Fiery curries, aromatic flavours, full of spice, I can see what this cuisine is so popular. When I think of Indian food, often the thought of some of the wonderful curries that I've eaten in established curry houses come to mind, all feature meat dishes such as lamb sagwalla, butter chicken and lamb rogan josh. But what about vegetarian dishes, the majority of those resident in India are in fact vegetarians. 
With bold and robust spices and flavours, vegetables work well with Indian spices and Saffron Soul focuses on beautiful, healthy recipes from India. A lot of people, including me associate Indian cooking with heavy and rich curries, but this isn't always the case. The author, Mira focuses on her Gujerati heritage to create colourful,  health, exotic and easy to follow dishes. What I also like about this book is the family heritage, full of stories which makes the reader feel part of Mira's family. From the story of her family heritage from Gujarat to Uganda and to London, to the numerous family photos, this is a cookbook to treasure. So far, I've made two recipes: Cauliflower & Pea Curry and Gujerati Dal - both were easy to make and full of flavour. Currently on sale on Amazon for £13.60, this is a well worth investment.



The cookbook is split into the following chapters:
  • My Favourite Ingredients - includes all the key ingredients to make authentic Indian dishes.
  • Pastes - includes a few easy to make pastes that can be used in curries, dals and other dishes.
  • Soulful Mornings- recipes to try include: Green Cinnamon Detox Smoothie, Saffron Porridge with Jaggery and Multigrain Spinach Parathas.
  • Anytime Favourites: Standout recipes to try anytime of the day including: Roasted Poppadoms & Roti is with Dips, Spinach Pancakes with Chilli Yoghurt and Red Lentil Soup with Garlic Labneh. 
  • Light Meals: recipes to try include: Indian Summers Salad, Chickpea Tikkis and Masala Dal Vegetable risotto.
  • Traditional Thalis: standout recipes include: Gujerati Dal, Cauliflower and Pea Curry and Chhutti Dal.
  • Desserts: recipes to try include: Mango Shirkhand Cheesecake, Carrot Malpua with Frozen Yoghurt & Blueberries and Spiced Walnut Cake.
  • Spiced Drinks: standout recipes include: Masala Almond Milk and Saffron Limeade. 




I decided to serve the cauliflower and pea curry as a side dish, with chicken tikka (I know, not quite ready to have an all veggie meal yet), dal and naan bread.

Cauliflower and Pea Curry
Serves 4 as part of a thali or 2 as a main dish.
Ingredients
350g - 400g cauliflower florets (about 1 cauliflower)
150g frozen peas
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp Madras curry powder
1 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt

Method
First cut the cauliflower into small florets and rinse the peas in hot water a couple of times. To make the curry base, heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and cook until the mustard seeds pop, then add the cauliflower and peas. 
Next add the rest of the ingredients and stir everything together. Leave the curry to cook on a low heat for 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked but still a little crunchy.

The lovely people at Jacqui Small Publishing is giving one lucky ready a copy of Saffron Soul, to be in with a chance follow the instructions below:

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget.
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the right side of the website using Google Friend connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
  • For additional entries, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. 
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 14.5.17-11.6.17
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  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over.
  • Jacqui Small publishing will post a copy of the book.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 
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Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy.
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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Harvest Cookbook Review

The best fruit and vegetables are those eaten in season as they are often at their juiciest and tastiest.  Lamb and game meat are also associated with seasons throughout the year and also taste their best when eaten in season.The British fruit and vegetable seasons offer a range of wonderful seasonal fare which is great for those who want to eat ingredients that taste great and also at it's cheapest.

 This cookery book, Harvest by Parisian Emilie Guelpa showcases a range of seasonal recipes based on the 4 seasons: Summer, Autumn, Spring and Winter. The concept of this book is that one featured ingredient, which is cultivated in a particular season, such as: Plums, Peach, Pears, Lamb and rhubarb, is followed by a number of recipes showing the versatility of the featured ingredient. The result is a cookery book containing 180 recipes. Harvest, published by Hardie Grant is currently on sale via Amazon for £13.49, which I think is good value for money given the number of recipes, easy to follow recipes and that most of the recipes are family friendly. 


As stated the recipes are split into 4 seasons, standout recipes include:
  • Summer - recipes to try include: Almond, Marzipan and Blueberry Slice, Sticky Lemon Roast Chicken with Sweet Tomatoes, Linguine with Broad Beans, Pancetta and Spicy Tomato and Cauliflower, Mint and Chickpea Salad.
  • Autumn - standout recipes include: Pear and Almond Tart, Five-Spiced Duck and Pomegranate Salad and Maple and Cranberry Chicken Drumsticks.
  • Winter - recipes to try include: Lentil and Cauliflower Curry, Thai Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry, Salad of Fennel, Pomegranate and Candied Walnuts and Chipotle-Braised Beef Ribs with Spicy Baked Pumpkin.
  • Spring - stand out recipes include: Herb-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Hot Broad Bean and Feta Dressing, Ginger-Lime Glazed Chicken, Coriander Salmon Tacos, Rhubarb and Cinnamon Muffins and Pineapple and Cinnamon Relish. 

There are a number of tantalising recipes featured in this book, but the recipe which I made was the Herb-roasted leg of lamb. I omitted the suggested serving of the hot broad bean and feta dressing. However, will include this in case you want to recreate the recipe in full.



Recipe for Herb-Roasted Leg of Lamb wit Hot Broad Bean and Feta Dressing.
Serves 6
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped basil
zest of 2 lemons
125ml olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.5kg lamb leg
1.5kg fava beans
80g pitted kalamata olives
1 handful flat leaf parsley
1 small handful of mint
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
100g crushed feta cheese

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) Grind the garlic using a mortar and pestle. Add the herbs and lemon zest and grind to a rough paste. Add the olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix until combined.
Rub the herb-and-garlic paste all over the lamb. Place in a deep roasting tin and roast for 1- 1 1/2 hours. To check if the lamb is done, insert a small knife into the centre of the roast. Count to five. If the knife feels warm (tepid), the meat is rare. If it feels bearably hot, the meat is medium. You're aiming for medium to medium-rare. If necessary, cook for a further for 5 minutes and test again. Cover and rest for 20 minutes in a warm place before carving.
Meanwhile, remove the broad beans from their pods and bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cook the beans for 1 minute, then drain and refresh under cold water. Remove the pale green skins by creating a slit in the skin and pushing beans through it. Discard the skins.
Toss the broad beans, olives, parsley and mint together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour into a large frying pan over medium-low heat, add the feta and the broad bean mixture and cook gently until just warmed through. Pour the lamb roasting-pan juices into the dressing and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.

To serve, carve the lamb and top with the hot broad bean and feta dressing.

Many thanks to Hardie Grant for sending me a review copy.

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Mountain Berries and Desert Spice Review and Giveaway.

This is the second book from Sumayya Usmani, the chef introducing the UK to the delights of Pakistani cuisine. I've previously reviewed her debut book Summers Under The Tamarind Tree and I must say, I much prefer this book, Mountain Berries and Summer Fruits. Perhaps it's because I have a ridiculously sweet tooth, or that the book brings back memories of my teenage years. Growing up in a multi-cultural city, I tried many an Indian sweets and there are some sweets featured in this book such as the Jalebis which I developed a slight addiction to when I lived in Leicester. But there are many other sweet recipes, some which uses familiar ingredients and others where you may have to source out.

There are key ingredients which are featured in many recipes and alternatives given - so you can easily recreate the recipes featured. It's hard to describe how the recipes are split into different chapters as there are reference to type of fruits and also regions and seasons. The recipes feature a range of delicious sweetness and spice which will spice up your usual sweet treats. There is also a wonderful guidance and informative history of the diversity of Pakistan. The climate, for example can influence the fruit and spices grown, heck the diversity of the dishes. I've pencil marked a number of recipes and so far have made the Shahi turka brioche bread, although I plan on making many more.




This cookery book is split into the following chapters.

  • Sour morning berries, Rising to mouth-watering spice. Recipes which stood out for me include Sharbat (Buckwhet porridge with pink salt, cardamom and stewed Hunza apricots), Hunza barove giyaling (Buckwhet pancakes with summer berries, walnuts and apricot oil) and Sweet parathas (filled with date, walnut and milk fudge).
  • Sugar almonds and buffalo milk, The sweetness of diversity.  Recipes include Gajrela (Carrot rice pudding), Bejewelled Parsi wedding custard, Dar ni puri (sweet bread filled with channa daal and candied peel) and Memon lappi (crunch oats with jaggery, cinnamon and fennel seeds).
  • Kits, kingdoms and cardamom samosas, Flavours from Lahore and the Mughal Empire. Recipes to devour include: Pakistani jalebis (spiralled fermented doughnuts in turmeric - infused syrup) and Shakarkandi ki kheer (sweet potato pudding with rice flour and spices. 
  • Through mulberry valleys, Summer fruits in harsh winters. Standout recipes Spiced apple samosas, Chamborough (Stewed Hunza apricots with cream and apricot kennels) and Gajar mukhadi (Semolina and carrot pudding).
  • A saffron blaze, Following the spice caravans. Recipes to try include Khanfaroush (Spiced saffron crumpets with honey) and Peshawari pistachio ice cream. 
  • Festive spice and roses, Celebratory sweets. Standout recipes include Shahi turka brioche bread pudding (with saffron, ricotta, cranberries and chopped nuts), Milk fudge fill samosas with coconut, cloves and pomegranate and Kashmiri shufta (paneer cheese with floral spiced nuts).
  • Chilli mangoes and ocean breeze, The sweetness of homecoming. Recipes to try include Mummy's panjeri semolina granola with mixed nuts, dried fruit and puffed Arabic gum and Karachi halva with pumpkin seeds and cashews.
The recipe that I tried and enjoyed was the shahi turks brioche bread pudding. I found this recipe incredibly easy to make, with all the ingredients available in my local supermarket. This pudding is rich, indulgent and sweet - a perfect end to a lazy weekend. 

Preparation: 25 minutes and chilling 
Cooking: 30 minutes
Serves 6-8

Ingredients 
1 litre whole milk
250ml generous 1 cup condensed milk
a pinch of saffron threads
4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely crushed
150g ricorra
3 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
10 slices of brioche loaf, cut in half
handful of chopped pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, dried cranberries, cherries and raisins

Method
Put the milk, condensed milk, saffron and cardamom together in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boiled over a low-medium heat down to low, add the ricotta, stir until smooth (tiny lumps may remain which are fine) and cook for 10 minutes until thick. Take the pan off the heat and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the ghee in a pan, add a brioche slice and fry until it is toasted on both sides. Transfer the brioche to an ovenproof dish and repeat frying all each slice of brioche in 1 teaspoon of ghee.
Pour the milk mixture over the brioche and decorate with nuts, berries and raisins. At this point you can either refrigerate or bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

The lovely people at Frances Lincoln are giving a copy of this lovely book. To be in with a chance follow the instructions on the blog.

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget. 
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the right side of the website using Google Friend connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT. 
  • For additional entries, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. 
  • All entries will be checked and verified. 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 03.04.17 - 01.05.17.
  • Winners will need to respond in 5 working days of being contacted. 
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over. 
  • Frances Lincoln will post a copy of the book.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this cookery book from the publishers. All opinions are my own.
xxx
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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my lovely readers of my blog. Hope to see you next year with more scrumptious cookbook reviews, restaurant openings and travel destinations.



xxx
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Sicily: Recipes from an Italian Island

Before I share lots of seasonal and Christmas recipes, I want to transport you to the culinary delights Mediterranean island of Sicily. This cookery book, Sicily: Recipes from an Italian Island with it's vibrant cover and stunning recipes give a comprehensive history of the largest island in the Mediterranean sea. With cookery books which focus on a specific cuisine, I like to be transported and be immersed in the recipes, stories and history and what not better way then seeing stunning on location photograph
 I learnt so much about Sicilian cuisine by reading this cookery book: their love for seasonal foods, the influence from East and West which makes this cuisine so different from the mainland and the love of keeping food simple. What I really liked about this cookery book, is that even in the depths of Winter, there are a number of accessible, seasonal and stunning recipes. Many of the recipes include accompanying beautiful photography alongside some quirky illustrations. Sicily rrp is £25 and is currently on sale at £20 on Amazon.

The cookery book is split into the following chapters:
  • Introduction
  • Palermo & Its Street Food, recipes to try include: arancine, chickpea fritters and Sicilian pizza. 
  • Antipasti, stand out recipes include:sardine patties, Romano Peppers Stuffed with Pork Mince & Herbs.
  • Soups, recipes to try include: Broad Bean & Fennel Seed Soup. 
  • Contorini, stand out recipes include: Sicilian Chips, Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Spicy Almond Crunch. 
  • Pasta, Rice and Couscous, recipes to try include: Romanesco with Pasta, Slow-Cooked Beef & Sausage Ragu and Pasta with Aubergines & Tomato.
  • Meat and Poultry, stand out recipes include: Chicken Parmigiana and Rack of Lamb with Citrus Gremolata. 
  • Fish, recipes to try include: Tuna Steaks in a Quinoa Crust on Courgettes and Grilled Mackerel with Caponata. 
  • Dolci and Cocktails, stand out recipes to Clementine & Almond Slice and Coffee Chocolate & Walnut Cake,


Recipe for Sweet & Sour Aubergines

2 large aubergines
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil for roasting
salt and ground white or black pepper
1 onion, cut in half from root to tip and thinly sliced into half- moons
1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed
4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 celery heart and eaves rough cut in 1 cm cubes
50g stoned green olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon capers in salt, rinsed
200g tinned whole tomatoes roughly chopped
2 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
3-4 white wine vinegar

To Serve 
Cocoa power
toasted almonds or pine nuts
a few mint leaves.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Hardie Grant for sending me a review copy of Sicily: Recipes from an Italian Island. 


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