Saturday, 5 August 2017

July 2017 Monthly Eatings

July is another bumper month food wise, I've visited a number of fabulous restaurants which i'm pleased to share with you.

Mughale Azam - Birmingham - full review will be on the blog shortly

Casaba - Birmingham 

Ginger and Co Shrewsbury


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

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

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.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Summers Under The Tamarind Tree, Review & Giveaway

Summers Under The Tamarind Tree is the debut cookery book by food writer, Sumayya Usmani. I think this cookery book is a first of it's kind as it documents recipes from Pakistan. Many of us are familiar with Indian cooking and the fiery curries that are associated with that country, but what about Pakistan, what dishes are associated with this country? For some reason, unbeknown to me, Pakistani cooking is somewhat of an unknown entity. Luckily, for you and I, Sumayya has shared her family recipes, a combination of Arab, Persian and Indian influences. I think the publishers, Frances Lincoln have done a wonderful job here, there's stunning on-location photography with some mouth-watering photos of the finished dish. Having flicked through several of the pages to and fro and book marked several, I think that this cookery book will be considered to be a "classic" in years to come. Not only for introducing the reader to Pakistani cuisine, but also for the breath of the recipes that are covered and beautiful food writing. This is my favourite sort of cookbook, one which is personal, a narrative and contains do-able recipes.

This cookery book gets a big thumbs up for a whole chapter on breakfast - one of my favourite ways to start the day.So far, I've only tried two recipes, the khagina (spicy scrambled eggs with tomatoes and coriander) and Lahori Fish (in chickpea batter and ajwain seeds) but I plan on making much more. The recipe I choose to share is the Lahori Fish, coated in gram flour, this gives a traditional haddock more of an unusual, interesting and delightful take, one which I loved.
Lahori Fish

Spicy Eggs with Tomato and Coriander.

Lahori Fish, In Chickpea Batter and Ajwan Seeds
Preparation - 20 minutes, Cooking 10-15 minutes, Serves 4-6
4-6 haddock fillets
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
100g generous gram flour
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp dry-roasted chin seeds
1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
100ml rice water (made by boiling 1 cup wear, straining and reserving the water.

Rub the fish with the lemon juice, turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix the gram flour, rice flour, cumin, ajwain, red chill flakes and remaining salt together in a bowl. Pour the rice water into another bowl. Dip the fish into the dry gram flour mix then in the rice water and repeat again. Continue until pall the pieces of fish are covered. Heat the oil in a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and fry the fish for 4-5 minutes each sir until cooked through with a crisp coating.

The lovely people over at Frances Lincoln are giving one lucky reader a copy of Summers Under The Tamarind Tree. To be in with a chance of winning a copy, follow the below instructions:
  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand corner of the site and join using Google Friend Connector). This is an ESSENTIAL requirement.
  • For additional entries, subscribe to my Youtube channel, Instragram, Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter
  • All entires will be checked and verified. 
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 28.04.16 - 29.05.16
  • Winners will need to respond in 5 working days. 
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 
  • Frances Lincoln publishers is responsible for sending out a copy of the cookery book. 

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