Month: September 2011

Bill Granger’s coconut bread

Anyone that knows me will be fully aware that brunch is my favourite meal of the day. Why wouldn’t it be – it’s an excuse to eat sweet, sugary, cakey goodness for breakfast. So when I saw Bill Granger’s recent brunch spread in The Times Magazine, I got all excited and put the Coconut Bread recipe STRAIGHT to the test. The results were fabulous, utterly fabulous! Ingredients 2 eggs 300ml full fat milk 1 vanilla pod 310g plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 2 tsp ground cinnamon 230g golden caster sugar 150g desiccated coconut 75g unsalted butter, melted Butter and icing sugar, to serve Method 1. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4. Lightly whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together. 2. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, add the sugar and coconut, and stir to combine. 3. Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, being careful not to overmix. 4. Pour …

Quadrille guest post – Enjoying your Fish Responsibly

You can see this post on the Quadrille website here. Over the last few years, mine and I’m sure a lot of others attention has been brought to the sensitive issue of overfishing, which is happening in seas all over the world. This in turn has lead to a huge shortage of certain species. Celebrated chefs have done their part in educating the masses about which species should and shouldn’t be consumed. Restaurants also had to sit up and realise the problem. And if they continued to serve endangered species, they would be frowned upon. Probably the most well known example is when Nobu continued to serve Blue Fin Tuna, but recommended that their diners either don’t eat it, or ask for an alternative. Odd. You see, if we carry on eating these endangered species, they’ll quickly fade out and we’ll have to kiss goodbye to them forever. What the likes of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver have been telling us is to substitute certain species for ones that do exactly the same job. …

Sipsmith – Sloe vs Damson

The summer has come to an end and Autumn is creeping in. And although I’m not overly happy about having endured the worst summer in two decades, I do love Autumn. The crisp sunny mornings and the beautiful leaves strewn across the floor everywhere you go put a smile on my face. I can’t think of a better way of celebrating the start of the season than by heading down to the Sipsmith distillery to try out the new seasonal spirits, Damson Vodka and Sloe Gin, which I did last week. We were slightly confused whilst walking down a beautiful tree lined street full of the kind of Georgian houses that everyone wants to live in. ‘Maybe the distillery is in a house’ I said to my boyfriend. But then we stumbled upon it, a small room the size of a modest garage with a giant copper distillery toward the back. We had reached the Sipsmith distillery in Hammersmith, the equivalent of Charlie and the Chocolate factory for booze and the first copper distillery in …

Home made Dim Sum – minced pork dumplings

My first Dim Sum experience was shortly after I moved to London 6 years ago to embark upon my three year university experience. Well, I actually can’t say too much for a university experience but that’s a whole other story. ‘Lets go to Chinatown on Sunday to get Dim Sum’ exclaimed one of my course mates. Dim Sum I thought, what on earth could that be. Sure enough, when the bamboo baskets full of small pasta looking parcels arrived, I was a bit flabbergasted. I bit into my first one, a crunchy, pork filled morsel and devoured it in seconds. And so went the next and the next and the next until I was totally full and completely satisfied. Where I’m from (Nottingham), the most Cantonese we’d get was a sweet and sour chicken or beef in black bean sauce dish with a side of chips and curry sauce(!?) from the local take away on a Friday night. I don’t think Dim Sum exists in that part of the world! This is one of many …

Hong Kong – Live in London. Monday 12th – Sunday 18th September

On your marks, get set, GO! Although our experience of the Hong Kong tourism board treasure hunt was not competitive, our fitness levels were sure put to the test as we scurried, Anneka Rice style, around Central London on Thursday evening. It was a good job we put trainers on that morning! So, why did the Hong Kong tourism board have us running around London, gathering clues to inform our next move, with a quick pit stop to sample some delicious Cantonese fusion canapés courtesy of a two-Michelin starred chef before ending up in Aqua, one of London’s chicest bars to sip two of their latest Asian inspired cocktails on a grand terrace overlooking London’s unmistakable skyline? To showcase a few of the many cultural connections between our great city and Asia’s world city and to give us a preview of the week long street festival, Hong Kong – Live in London, taking place in Central London this week. Hong Kong – Live in London will run on South Molton Street from Monday 12th – …

Pan fried duck with damson sauce, bok choi and shiitake mushrooms

This dish was inspired by my recent London treasure hunt, where I was given an insight into the fascinating culture of Hong Kong. Read more about my experiences here. Ingredients 2 duck breasts 1 star anise 3 sprigs of rosemary 25 butter 10 shiitake mushrooms 1/2 red chilli, cut into rings (keep seeds in) 200g bok choi A few drops of fish sauce 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp groundnut oil 3 cloves garlic 120g white rice Sea salt and pepper to season For the damson sauce 3 cm ginger, grated 1 red chilli, seeds removed and diced 225g damsons, stoned and halved 75g light muscovado sugar 15ml balsamic vinegar Method For the damson sauce 1. Stone the damsons and place into a pan, along with the balsamic vinegar, chilli and ginger. Cover with the sugar and plase on a medium heat. Let the sugar dissolve and leave to bubble for 5 minutes or until the damsons are soft 2. Blend the damson mixture until smooth and the pass through a …

Homemade pizza – in a pizza oven

I adore going to my boyfriends parents house for the weekend. They live not too far from the coast and have the most amazing house – complete with a pizza oven and a large veg patch in the garden. Despite the fact that the pizza oven has been sat in the garden for a good couple of years, we had never used it – until a couple of weekends ago when I was determined to make the most of the bank holiday weekend (and the last of the summer days). For the toppings, we rummaged around in the veg patch and used home grown basil, potatoes, courgette – and used the eggs laid by the chickens that run free range around the garden! I also used a pack of the BEST iberico ham that I carved by hand at the Brindisa ham school a couple of weeks ago as a delicious topping. Here’s a recipe for dough and a basic tomato sauce – you can use whatever toppings you like. I usually prefer to keep …