Friday 21 May 2010

Real Ale Fruit Cake

It's been a funny week, been very busy and had three catering events. I made 4 fruit cakes this morning which has been relaxing, to take to Spain for a yoga retreat - one step ahead of myself ;)

I didn't get a chance for many photos but did get one of my mini hazelnut chocolate cups dusted with gold powder.

It's not all been hard work...I was also treated this week to a wonderful day of free food, wine and champagne at a sneak preview for Taste London. Let me get a slice of fruit cake and make a cuppa then I shall blog away... back in ten.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Sushi 54

Wow this place does the best takeaway sushi, great varied menu and really reasonably priced. They're on my road too so the miso is nice and steaming when delivered ;) 
I really recommend this place for a healthy and delicious, fresh takeaway. (not sure I would go out to eat there though, bit quiet looking)

Mini cupcakes, and hundreds of them!

 Having an order of so many mini cupcakes is dangerous, so easy to pop one in your mouth and forget about it before the next one goes in :S 

Monday 17 May 2010

Hazelnut Floppy Tops

I wanted to create a recipe for something bite size and sort of Italian for the new Deli. I've got to say, these were really scrumptious. They look like brownies but when you take a bite, the inside is almost fluffy and really moist. The Italian flavours to me are the rich chocolate, brandy and toasted hazelnut and the dusting of gold on the top for decadence sake! I was a bit surprised when i could see them doubling in size but that's how airy they are. I took them out to cool upside down so they flopped, then covered in chocolate and more chopped hazelnuts. 
Recipe below-

4 medium eggs
200g jar of nutella (wash out jar and keep as a glass!) 
60g of unsalted butter, melted
1 capful of brandy
60g of ground hazelnuts or almonds
60g melted chocolate

Toasted chopped hazelnuts and melted white and dark chocolate for decoration


Beat the nutella with the melted butter and tiny pinch of salt and add the brandy.
Mix in the melted chocolate and ground nuts and egg yolks.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then loosen up the mix with a spoonful, stirring. 
When loosened, start to fold gently the remaining egg whites.

Spoon into a pre greased mini muffin tray and bake on 180C for 12 minutes (check if ready and firm on top. 

Cool on wire rack, unside down before decorating. 

Sunday 16 May 2010

Slow roast lamb, roast veg and mash

You can't really go wrong with a shoulder of lamb and 4 hours of slow roasting in the oven. Some things are just better left alone, like Nick after an Everton loss.
I think I was so relaxed about dinner that I had forgotten pudding dun dun durrrr... but I have about 5 varieties of jarred cherries at the moment and if you've got cherries or blueberries or pretty much any fruit really, you can make a clafoutis. I made a cherry syrup out of the juices and some sugar and ate with creme fraiche and all that can be done within half an hour so easy to do whilst eating. The next night, we went to Moro.. review to follow ;) 

Thursday 13 May 2010

Elderflower and Basil Jelly

I picked up a couple of vintage jelly moulds at Broadway Market last weekend, they're from Paris, which made me think they were elegant and romantic, pfft I am a sucker. Bought them home to make elderflower jelly with vanilla ice cream. 
Have you heard about the Jelly mongers Bompas and Parr? They create the most incredible avante-garde bespoke jellies
check out the glow-in-the-dark absinthe jellies! 

Monday 10 May 2010

Cherry and almond cake

I was experimenting a bit with this cake for a new Italian Deli opening on the Kings Road. It turned out very well and was really moist and delicious. The cherries stay juicy and make a welcome change from a chewy glace!

200g caster sugar
220g of pitted cherries (I like the organic cherries in a jar in apple juice)
225g butter
4  eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

100g ground almonds (and some flaked for decoration)
10 tablespoon milk
Beat the sugar and butter together until pale and beat in eggs. Scrape down bowl, beat further and add the self raising flour and almonds. 
Finally add the vanilla and stir in the milk until the mix has loosened up.
Spoon into a greased tin and push the cherries in evenly and spaced a little apart. 
Scatter flaked almonds and caster sugar over the top and bake in the oven at 180C for 40 minutes before checking with a knife to see if it needs any more time. 

Save the cherry juice for another time, maybe to make into a syrup.

After taking this picture I scattered some sugar over the top, got to be honest I wanted to scoop a bit out and eat it raw - danger here is not sure if I'd be able to stop myself!

Dust with icing sugar and slice

Manson - Fulham Road SW6

There seems to be a new restaurant opening every week in London! Food is somewhat recession proof purely as it's a necessity and then of course 'good' food makes us happy right?.. and so the recession will find it difficult to stop Londoners enjoying themselves. 

I've decided to start blogging some brief restaurant reviews on here and will try and find a way to archive better.

So, first review - Manson on the Fulham Road. 
Head chef Gemma Tuley worked under Gordon Ramsey and she really has put some yummy dishes on the menu. 
A couple of dishes are really imaginative like the mackerel with golden sultanas and orange dressing which looked wonderful and tasted sublime. Then there was a special, the wood pigeon with a pomegranate salad and walnut puree which reminded me of that wonderful combination of roast duck and pomegranate molasses. 
The Roast chicken was good, (but to be honest, not as juicy as a nandos) It came with two perfectly cooked polenta chips with what tasted like brie encased inside.

The lamb dish with 'pea custard' was cooked nice and pink with freshly shelled broad beans and peas, pea shoots. Sadly it sat in what tasted like a cold diluted consume.. this dish needed something to pull all the delicate flavours together with a little contrast of texture and the 'custard' was merely a mound of mushy peas!

I had the cod on samphire and spinach with a gratin of potatoes I imagine to look like the scales of the fish. This cod was beautiful, it's flakes just slide easily off with my fork and it was really flavourful and would have been ruined with a sauce. 

Pudding - if you like cheese, go for cheese. Manson have a fantastic selection of English cheeses to choose from at £2 each and the board is brought to your table with knowledgeable staff to guide you. I went for the flourless chocolate cake which I was surprised looked more like a thin brownie, and the presentation was lacking any of the finesse from previous dishes. It did however, taste great and accompanied by fresh raspberries and raspberry mousse, ended the meal on a comforting sweet note. 

The bill came to £123 for three people and wine, (wine list is fab) and although other reviews comment on the interiors looking like a chain wine bar, I couldn't disagree more. They had the most wonderful lighting from Parisian street lamps bought at auction and a bar the staff help make out of old fruit and veg crates. The Manager Toby, was more than happy to fill us in on the background of the restaurant, the man behind it all and where certain things came from and he led a restaurant of charming staff who seem proud of what they have achieved - and rightly so! 

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Autumn Coleslaw - Skye G

So we're coming into Spring but the weather has been so temperamental that dinner seems to follow suit. This coleslaw, is a far cry from those pots that come with chicken buckets or the shredded carrot and cabbage that swims in mayonnaise. This is fresh and crunchy and light with zingy lemon juice and a kick from the mustard. I added radish for that peppery hit and of course because it looks pretty and if you get the  organic beetroot or cook it yourself you can sometimes miss out on that vibrant pink that comes from the pickling. 

We had this with chicken, but I think it would work really well with lamb too. Or just as a salad at a barbeque. 

Thinly slice 3 cox apples, 1 bulb of fennel, 1 small white or red cabbage, 5 radishes, 2 beetroot (really thin if eating raw) (I chose cooked to make slaw juicy) and 2 carrots. 
Make a small dressing - 1 egg yolk, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp pomegranate molasses and a dollop of mustard. 

Mix it all together with hands in a spacious bowl and then tear some herbs over the top - I used fresh oregano, Skye uses tarragon. 

Sunday 2 May 2010

Orange, Cointreau, vanilla & raspberry cake

Sometimes my dad will start planning a build and after a while it will become apparent that the purpose of the build will be in order to use a truss or beam that he has collected with an afterthought for function! On a much smaller scale, I do the same when I purchase or come across a new ingredient. Yesterday I bought a lovely looking horseradish - this will lead to a roast this bank holiday I'm sure. Last week I found a lovely little shop only selling mini liqueurs for baking and I bought a little bottle of Cointreau and a little bottle of Framboise. The cake below was baked purely to use these ingredients and I hadn't the patience to find a recipe so I made it up as I went a long...