Blogs

 I’m off on hols for a couple of weeks so thought i’d leave you with some foodie websites/blogs of interest in my absence… 😉

pin an awful lot of recipes from various places on the internet and sometimes make an interesting blog discovery through those.
Here are a few I think are worth a look:

He Needs Food

hanoi10b

hanoi11a

saigon08a

All Pictures by He Needs Food

He Needs Food is a food and travel blog by an Australian, I originally found the blog whilst looking up photo’s of Vietnam – he has taken some great ones! I pretty much used his posts on Vietnam as my culinary guide when we were in the country 🙂 He has some interesting recipes too though.

Lavender and Lovage

Parmesan & Chive Salmon with Garlic & Nutmeg Spinach

Parmesan & Chive Salmon with Garlic & Nutmeg Spinach

Chilli Peppered Chicken Steaks & Mediterranean Goat’s Cheese Vegetable Stacks

Chilli Peppered Chicken Steaks & Mediterranean Goat’s Cheese Vegetable Stacks

Butterbean & Chorizo Stew

Butterbean & Chorizo Stew

All photo’s Lavender and Lovage (clicking on photo will take you to recipe)

Lavender and Lovage is a website I found when trying out the 5:2 diet, the three recipes above are all low in calories but delicious! If you still want to eat interesting food on a diet then this is the website for you. It’s not all diet recipes however, there are all sorts of lovely sounding recipes to try out.

Not Without Salt

Bacon, Kale and Ricotta Sandwich

Bacon, Kale and Ricotta Sandwich

cocodate

Coconut Date shake

Tuscan Melon Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Prosciutto

Tuscan Melon Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Prosciutto

All Photos by Not without Salt (click for recipes)

Not Without Salt is a blog I found whilst perusing pinterest for rhubarb recipes (my first post was inspired by a recipe from this blog!). I love the photography and interesting mix of recipes, and the fact there are quite a few drink recipes also. Worth checking out!

Some other blogs/websites that have good food sections

A Beautiful Mess – Needs no introduction but as well as all the inspiring DIY ideas there are also lots of food and drink recipes (mostly vegetarian).

Sheer Luxe – A lifestyle website with great fashion and beauty tips, but also a really interesting selection of recipes – I think I’ve pinned most of the ones on their website!

The Critical Couple – No recipes here, but if you’ve ever wondered about what it’s like to eat in all the top restaurants in the world (who hasn’t!) then read these reviews and look at the pictures, and drool…

Red Online – Red Magazine has interesting recipes every month, and helpfully, they’re pretty much all archived on their website 🙂

BBC Good Food – Last but not least, an old friend of mine! BBC Good Food website always delivers the goods –  if I’ve lost inspiration, or feel like cooking something but don’t have a recipe, this is the website I turn to first.

I also have a trusty arsenal of recipe books that I will have to do a separate post on at a later date!

If anyone has any tips on good blogs, let me know.

Happy Reading!

Weekend Bakes: Coconut and Raspberry Cakes

20140615_214028

If you’re at a loose end this weekend and want something to munch on with a cup of tea – why not bake these beauties? The OH had a bake-off at work this week, and these did the job nicely! (NB. He did most of the work, i just helped – and took photo’s.)

Adapted from Miss Friday’s Feasts –  they are more-ish and very moist. As well as the addition of malibu and desiccated coconut, we also made a cream cheese frosting (instead of butter icing), which stopped the cakes from tasting too sweet. The decoration was all His idea – the theme being ‘Green Week’ – a Raspberry and Coconut flower would be a pretty great thing…

Makes 12 Cupcakes

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt
40ml malibu (or other coconut liqueur)
80ml milk
1 egg
200g of raspberries (you’ll need at least 24, depending on size)

To Decorate

150g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
approx 25g flaked coconut
Leftover raspberries
Freeze-dried raspberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare cupcake tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients and butter with an electric mixer (or by hand if you’re old school) until light and fluffy.

20140615_195320

Add malibu and milk, beat well and then add the beaten egg. Make sure the mixture is well combined.

Put raspberries into your paper cases – we had pretty large raspberries so just put one in each, but if you have small ones put two in. (If i do this recipe again i might try chopping up the raspberry first so it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake – let me know if anyone try’s this).

20140615_195051

20140615_200028

Spoon the cupcake mixture over the top until the raspberries are covered , then put in pre-heated oven for 25 mins or until golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

When cakes are cooked, put them onto a wire rack to cool.

20140615_203409

Whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the topping 🙂

Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and citrus juice into a bowl and beat well. Dry fry the coconut flakes until slightly coloured.

Wait until the cakes are fully cool to decorate, otherwise the topping will melt.

20140615_200500

Spread cream cheese frosting onto each cake, then place a raspberry in the centre.

Working from the inside-out, place flakes of coconut around the raspberry to create the look of petals – saving the larger flakes for the outer circle.

Sprinkle freeze-dried raspberries on top (if you have them – ours was from waitrose).

20140615_215547

This would be easier with masterchef-style culinary tweezers and a production line 😉

20140615_214021

But don’t they look pretty?

I shall be checking out Royal Crescent StrEAT this weekend – a street food festival on the Crescent in Bath, if you’re in Bath come along!

Easy to follow recipe below…

Makes 12 Cupcakes

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt
40ml malibu (or other coconut liqueur)
80ml milk
1 egg
200g of raspberries (you’ll need at least 24, depending on size)

To Decorate

150g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
approx 25g flaked coconut
Leftover raspberries
Freeze-dried raspberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare cupcake tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients and butter with an electric mixer (or by hand if you’re old school) until light and fluffy.

Add malibu and milk, beat well and then add the beaten egg.Make sure the mixture is well combined.

Put raspberries into your paper cases – we had pretty large raspberries so just put one in each, but if you have small ones put two in.

Spoon the cupcake mixture over the top until the raspberries are covered , then put in pre-heated oven for 25 mins or until golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

When cakes are cooked, put them onto a wire rack to cool.

Whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the topping 🙂

Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and citrus juice into a bowl and beat well. Dry fry the coconut flakes until slightly coloured.

Wait until the cakes are fully cool to decorate, otherwise the topping will melt.

Spread cream cheese frosting onto each cake, then place a raspberry in the centre.  Working from the inside-out, place flakes of coconut around the raspberry to create the look of petals – saving the larger flakes for the outer circle.  Sprinkle freeze-dried raspberries on top.

Feasts in East London Part 2: Brunch

I love Brunch. Maybe because week-day breakfasts are quick, small and not particularly exciting, maybe because it’s a meal that doesn’t really need to exist (like afternoon tea – another good in-between meal), but either way – if I’ve got a weekend off, I will mainly be thinking about what brunch I will be eating and/or making…

Yesterday was my day off (and the sun was shining hooray!), so i had Scrambled eggs on Tiger Bread, with a bit of grated parmesan and black truffle for extra luxuriousness. Yum!

 20140612_105121

A brunch without eggs doesn’t really feel like brunch to me. I’ll have them cooked any way, i’m an easy egg eater.

When we were in London we managed to fit in a couple of excellent brunches (both involving eggs of course), the first being at the appropriately named The Breakfast Club in Hoxton. I’d read about this chain of cafe’s, and our airbnb host had recommended it also, so this was our plan of action on day 1.

IMG_20140601_220552

Picture taken in the queue outside – yep it was pretty popular! We queued for about 15 minutes, debating slightly whether it would be worth the wait… When we got in, we realised it was 🙂

Apart from loving the decor (I would’ve taken photo’s but wanted to try and retain a level of ‘cool’ instead of being in total ‘tourist mode’!), the breakfast/brunch menu was massive – have a look at it here.

We ordered fresh orange juice and flat white’s to give us time to weigh-up all the various food options, and I was impressed that glasses of water were also brought along without having to ask.

I finally settled on the Chorizo Hashbrowns (Chorizo, Mushrooms, Peppers, Feta, Home-style Fried Potatoes and 2 Fried Eggs for £10.70 – £9.20 without the feta)20140531_111540

Wow. It was huge! I assumed it would be little bits of chorizo here and there, a couple of cubes of feta etc but it was a bit more rustic than that – two chorizo sausages, massive chunks of feta, loads of potatoes, peppers and mushrooms, and two big ol’ eggs – i’m ashamed to say i couldn’t finish it. It definitely set me up for the day though…

The OH had Huevos Al Benny (Poached Eggs, Chorizo, Roast Peppers, Avocado, Fresh Chillies, Spicy Hollandaise on Toasted English Muffin and Home-style fried potatoes £13 – £10.50 without the potatoes) which also looked huge and delicious, but he’d already started wolfing it down before i had a chance to get a picture of it.

The Breakfast Club

2-4 Rufus Street

N1 6PE

Day two of London Brunching was a bit less planned, we had vague ideas of finding a cafe called The Towpath Café which I’d read about in my London bible Eat Sleep Shop London, so set off down Regent’s Canal (which was lovely – quite peaceful and not really like London). After about 10 minutes wandering we got side-tracked by a little café up some steps, with a view of the canal. Arepa and Co is a Venezuelan Café/Bar with an interesting menu. They serve cocktails in the evening and breakfast in the morning,. Having never tried Venezuelan food before we thought we’d give it a go!

IMG_20140601_134721

I had Desayuno Criollo which was Perico(Venezuelan-style scrambled eggs), shredded beef, black beans, cheese & plantains served with an Arepa (cornbread). I also had a mango juice and flat white. The OH had Desayuno Reina – Perico, chicken, guacamole, black beans, cheese & plantains with  an Arepa. I can’t remember the prices of them unfortunately but I don’t remember being appalled when the bill came! It was very different to a normal brunch for me, but definitely kept us going till late afternoon. I especially liked the plantains and beef – very tasty, and you can’t beat fresh mango juice. I’ve read since that we should have used the Arepa as a pocket to stuff everything in which makes more sense as the corn bread was a bit bland on its own.

We’ll know for next time 😉

Arepa and Co

58A De Beauvoir Crescent

Haggerston

N15SB

Back in Bath – I’ve realised we tend to make our own brunch rather than drag ourselves out of the house, but the couple of times we have managed it Jika Jika have delivered the goods! Interesting menu, good coffees… we’ll have to go back soon. I’m also reliably informed that Wild Café does a good brunch, but have yet to try it.

Any other brunch suggestions around Bath or Bristol would be appreciated!

Feasts in East London Part 1: Dalston Yard Street Feast

Last weekend the Other Half and I went to East London and ate A LOT – it was great. We stayed in a very nice airbnb place just off the Kingsland Road (E2), booked mainly because of it’s proximity to ‘Little Vietnam’ or ‘Pho Mile’, i.e. loads of Vietnamese restaurants. We’ve become a bit obsessed with Vietnamese food since travelling in Vietnam late last year, so whenever we get the opportunity to eat it we will! More on that later…

We got there Friday evening and pretty much went straight out to Dalston Yard for Street Feast, which is running every Friday and Saturday evening over the summer, and is definitely worth checking out. There’s a lot of choice, but I’d heard about a stall there called Le Bun who do French-American food (mainly in buns funnily enough…), and wanted to check them out.

20140530_214355

I had their ‘Duck Confit Bun’ which consisted of:

Pulled Confit Duck, Straw Frites, Béarnaise Spread, Duck Sauce, House Slaw, Brioche Bun

And the OH (Other Half) had their ‘Le Bourguignon Bun’:

Slow & Low Beef Short Rib, Bourguignon Glaze, Truffle Mayo, Bacon Salt, House Slaw, Brioche Bun

Both were blinking tasty but I think the Bourguignon Bun just edged it (Truffle Mayo! Bacon Salt!).If you get a chance to try them – do it. They were priced at £8.50 each, which I think is reasonable considering the quality and amount of ingredients in the Buns. Maybe wear a bib though – they’re messy!

IMG_20140601_220720

There’s also a variety of Bars at Street Feast, including a Gin Yard! But as I’d already had a ‘Festival-Sized’ cocktail I didn’t indulge. we did indulge in some ice cream from Sorbitium though – Salted Caramel (naturally) and an Almond Toffee topping – which was £2.50 for one scoop in a tub or cone. It was a generous scoop, and pretty delicious.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening!

Rhubarb Syrup for Summer Days

I’m a bit obsessed with Rhubarb at the moment, particularly in drink-form. Cawston Press do a very nice Rhubarb and Apple drink (pictured) and Chase (the vodka people) do a Rhubarb Liqueur which i keep admiring in cocktails but can’t bring myself to spend £20 on a bottle just yet!

10338730_10154223253340343_52259622287462153_n

Instead, a couple of weeks ago i decided to make some Rhubarb Syrup to put in drinks, hoping this would satisfy my Rhubarb-y cravings… I’m happy to say it did! The recipe below is from http://www.notwithoutsalt.com (modified slightly) and it makes about 200ml of syrup which doesn’t sound like a lot, but as it’s concentrated rhubarb (and lots of sugar), you don’t need that much to make a glass of soda water taste delicious – and it would liven up a Gin and Tonic or some Prosecco if you just happen to have some lying around too…

IMG_20140518_153620

Rhubarb Syrup Recipe

(Makes enough for approx. 8 drinks)

450 g chopped rhubarb (approx. 4 stalks)

230 g sugar

 450 ml water

1 vanilla pod 

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly so the mixture continues to boil gently. Boil for 15 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by nearly half. The rhubarb will break down into a mush, and the liquid will get syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.

When cool, strain out the rhubarb. Save the rhubarb-y mush to eat with yogurt, on top of ice cream or make a deconstructed rhubarb crumble?!

Rhubarb syrup will keep covered in the fridge for two weeks (but it won’t last that long).

The colour is amazing and the taste reminds me a bit of Raspberry Ripple (maybe because of the vanilla pod?) It’s good in an ice cream float too… Quick make some before the sun comes back out! 😉