Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Valentine's treat with Billecart-Salmon Rose Champagne



Food and romance are two things that perfectly blend together. This explains why the idea of most people on how to have a romantic date is to have it complemented with good food. Food, without a doubt, enhances intimacy, passion, satisfaction, and desire.

In every stage of your relationship, for sure, food has been a necessary element. Look at this timeline of most relationships and see how food is involved.

•    First Date: You most probably had dinner at a casual restaurant and had a bottle of wine.
•    Third Date: You considered it as an opportunity to show off your culinary skills, which us why you prepared a home-cooked meal.
•    First Sleep Over: A good but awkward morning greeted you with a hearty breakfast.
•    Introduction to Friends: Fun times over wine and food at your favourite wine bar.
•    Introduction to Parents: Dinner at your folks’ house and having a hard time deciding on what to cook to welcome your loved one.
•    Introduction to the Entire Family: A festive dinner
•    When You Realise the Relationship is Getting Serious: Intimate dinner with both of your parents
•    Proposal: Dinner at an expensive restaurant with a beautiful bottle of champagne
•    Wedding: Planning on choosing the best caterer, having food tasting, and deciding on whether to have a sit-down or buffet meal

From the stages of a relationship mentioned above, it is pretty much obvious that food is always involved. Why is such the case?

According to one theory, the involvement of food in a relationship is basically because it shows how much you care for the other person. Giving someone good food is tantamount into showing the other person that you want to spoil them and take care of them. Sharing a hearty meal can lead into a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling that might not be sparked by anything else. It is also believed that your emotional response to food is similar to your emotional response when you receive affection from someone.

For those who like lighter and simple treats today's recipe is a delightful guava mousse topped with various fruits. The best thing about this recipe is you can choose yours or loved one's favourite seasonal fruit to celebrate Valentine's day.  Another unique Valentine's touch is the addition of champagne. Nothing is better than celebrating with a good quality of champagne  - after all; it is a special occasion. What more remarkable than quaff one of the most coveted champagnes, Billecart-Salmon Rose. It enchants all who indulge it with its fascinating berry character and delicately creamy mousse finish in appearance. It's a 'non-vintage', meaning that it is a blended product of grapes from multiple vintages in this case of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir vinified as red wine. Most of the base will be from a single year vintage with producers blending anywhere from 10–15% (even as high as 40%) of wine from older vintages.

This champagne goes really well with red berries  and now I discovered with tropical guava too. 



This is the second time that I paired Billecart-Salmon with food. My first experience was the immensely enjoyable. You can read it here. Despite its royal and aristocratic prestige, Champagne houses also portray champagne as a luxury that can be enjoyed by anyone and any occasion. Billecart-Salmon Rose  is particularly exceptional - worth splashing out on this fantastic bottle.

Fruity Valentine's treat

Makes: 4
easy
can be made the day before


Ingredients:
1  box of savoiardi biscuits  or recipe of simple sponge cake
1 cup de fruit of choice, I chose pink/red guava canned and drained, about 250g of fruit (already peeled)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of caster sugar, 30g
1 cup whipped cream, 200ml
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste

Method:
1) wash, peel- if fresh and dice the fruits
2) blend the fruits, lemon juice, and sugar to puree, for a fine consistency sieve it and discard any peeps and skins. It should make about 200g of puree. Reserve.
3) Beat the cream in the mixer at low speed, to increase to double the volume and fluffy. Keep an eye, not turn into butter!  Switch off the mixer. Add the vanilla paste and the fruit puree, mixing very gently. 
4) Place a very thin and even layer of the cake on the bottom of individual bowls. Top with the mousse and decorate with fruits. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until the time to serve.

Tips: I bought the red/pink guava canned in the supermarket and online,  fresh is nearly impossible to find in the UK.
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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Quinoa Pancake recipe

Quinoa Pancake
Not too long ago, quinoa was an unknown ingredient, native to the Andean highlands it is cultivated for its rich in goodness seeds.  Hispanics in Latin America pronounce quinoa kee-NO-ah, others pronounce it KEEN-wah. This Andean grain is a crop primarily used for centuries by indigenous peasant communities and regular consumption in Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile.  They are used to prepare different dishes including beverages and processed foods.

Peru is the country where most farmers cultivate, consume and where you have selected a large number of varieties of quinoa. In the region of the valleys, it is grown in fields of corn and beans, or potato crop edge. But it is in the highlands, where maize is not grown,  that the quinoa culture becomes the staple.

How to cook Quinoa

One cup of quinoa to two cups of water.
Place in a pan the quinoa and water, after the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. It will take about 15 minutes to cook. Switch off the heat and cover for 5-10  minutes. The grains have now become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself.  Ready to eat or to add to a recipe.

For a nuttier flavor, dry roast it before cooking; to dry roast, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir constantly for five minutes. Do not leave unattended.

I was given by Quinoa Peru a selection of red, white and black quinoa to cook at home and for the first recipe had to be a breakfast one.

Quinoa Pancake recipe

makes about600ml of batter
about 10 pancakes,  9cm diameter

ingredients
 1 cup of all purpose flour
 1 teaspoon of baking powder
 1 teaspoon baking soda
 1 tablespoon caster sugar
 a pinch of salt
 2 large organic eggs
 1 cup of  buttermilk, 200ml
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
 1/2 cup Peruvian cooked quinoa (any type), 60g
 1 cup of your favourite fruits, washed and diced
 a handful of nuts toasted

method
 1)Sieve together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. reserve.
 2)In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the buttermilk, the vanilla extract and the oil and whisk for another minute.
 3) Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and quickly whisk together to combine.  Fold in the cooked quinoa. Take to the fridge for 1 hour.
4)Heat a pancake pan or hot plate over medium-hot heat.  Brush it with butter or oil.
5)Drop a ladle full of the batter onto the hot pancake pan. Cook until bubbles begin to break through,  about two minutes then turn and cook on the other side for about a minute more or until nicely browned.
6)Remove from the heat, and continue cooking until all of the batter is used up.
7)Serve hot with butter,  yogurt, maple syrup or honey, fruits and nuts of choice

Tip
Advance preparation:
The batter can be made in advance and kept overnight in the fridge or it can be cooked, refrigerated and reheated.

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Friday, 29 January 2016

Sunday lunch in London at The Ship Tavern, Oak Room

The Ship Tavern in London

Sundays are made to get cosy and enjoy the week’s stresses away;  the Ship Tavern is the perfect spot for it. It’s considered as one of London’s most traditional taverns since it has been built during the mid-1500s. This British Dining Room and Ale House has a lot of treats which visitors can enjoy so if you’re looking for some old school hospitality, drop by  The Ship Tavern.

A Warm Welcome at The Ship Tavern


Upon entering the pub, you can visit the Oak Room on the first floor and see how it has its own, unique and traditional charm. In here, you’ll see antique furniture pieces, books, paintings and trinkets. You’ll also be fond of seeing the walls with mahogany panels along with an open fire to keep you warm even during the coolest days of the year. Visitors may also opt to dine in private as they order the most sumptuous treats in the tavern.

Taste Some Well-Loved, British Meals from the Menu


The Ship Tavern’s Menu has plenty of selections which you can certainly relish, well I did. Starters or Appetisers include Salt and Pepper Calamari, Braised Ox Cheek and Seared King Scallops among other choices. Some of the main meals include Sunday Roasts,  Pan Fried Sea Bass, Caramelised French Onion and Goat’s Cheese Tart and Beef and ‘1549’ Real Ale Sausages. Fans of ribs can also try The Ship Tavern’s Sticky Glazed Pork Ribs.

Warm Up and Sip Some Brews from the Bar


Did you know The Ship Tavern has a comprehensive list of wines for you to try out? Whether you’re a connoisseur who likes to practice on some profile tasting, or you simply want to taste different tasty wine flavours, you can definitely seek out your best options upon drinking from the bar. They also have Gin and Jazz Sundays, where people can retire after getting pleasant and filling servings of their brunch.



The Oak Room at The Ship Tavern

Some Interesting Stories about the Ship Tavern


Before being the well-loved pub which people know of today, The Ship Tavern used to be a hideaway especially during the rule of King Henry VIII. This was the place where Catholics would sneak into whenever they would want to hear Mass, as priests would also officiate the celebration.

However whenever the King’s officials would check into the tavern and see priests hiding in holes, they would assassinate the said religious, on the spot. Today, some would feature the tavern’s areas as haunted. Still, people would drop by the pub to have the most sumptuous and relaxing meal experiences.

If you’re looking for a traditional place to unwind, then The Ship Tavern is a definite must-see. With its British food and interiors, diners will certainly have a pleasant experience in this go-to pub.
The Oak Room at The Ship Tavern
The Oak Room at The Ship Tavern
The Oak Room at The Ship Tavern: smoked bloody Mary and mimosa
3 flavoured butter : olives, paprika and rocket served with fresh bread
Seared King Scallops with juicy and tasty rabbit and sage meatballs and garden pea puree
Salt & pepper calamari was tender with a nice crispy batter with delicious spring onion mayo
perfectly cooked sea bass with potted brown shrimps

A enormous Sunday roast of tender pork belly served  with apple sauce, perfect goose fat roasted potatoes, vegetable medley, cauliflower cheese and Massive Yorkshire pudding and gravy - heaven!

Sticky toffee pudding

Bailey’s crème brulee with raspberry sorbet:  it was a revelation! Love it

I really enjoyed the Sunday lunch at The Oak Room, it's a very traditional  deco in keeping with the building, staff is very friendly.  It's a great place to eat and drink with friends and family but without children. The food was very good at very reasonable prices. It's a popular place so book well in advance.

The Ship Tavern

12 Gate Street
Holborn
London
WC2A 3HP
020 7405 1992
info@theshiptavern.co.uk

The Oak Room  at The Ship Tavern London

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Disclosure: I was a guest of The Ship tavern. All views are my own - what a fab place!
The Ship Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal
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