Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Bailey's Chocolate Chai Tea, a winter warmer

A boozy tea? I hear you asking, yes it is!  Why not?

Winter is in full swing now, and it’s no doubt the best time to be warming up with your favourite hot drinks, teas and infusions. Chai is probably one of the most famous and beloved drinks from the West to the East. Today there are many variations of the traditional Indian spiced tea blend.  It can be homemade to suit a particular taste or can be bought already made as loose tea or in bags.

I love a cup of tea, especially in the winter, I have endless cups of the brew throughout the day and night.
About a month ago I went to an event where they served was they called Hong Kong Chai, it was delicious welcome drink. Their version was non-alcoholic. 

I just adore Bailey's Chocolate, the Irish whisky and cream based liqueur married with a beautiful mix of chocolate. It's a rich, creamy drink great on its own or with ice.  But I decided to add to chai for a personal festive touch.

Bailey's Chocolate Chai Tea Recipe

serves: 2

400ml of hot water
2x bags of Black Tea
50ml of condensed milk
50ml of Bailey's chocolate or more if you wish!
1x black cardamon, crushed
1x star anise
2x cinnamon sticks
Dust of nutmeg

1)Brew the tea with the spices, except the nutmeg,  let it steep for 10 minutes. Discard the spices and mix in the condensed milk.
2)Add the Bailey's chocolate
3)Garnish with a cinnamon stick and dust of nutmeg and let it sit for a minute. Enjoy!

Disclosure : I was sent a bottle of Bailey's Chocolate to make a festive drink.  All options are my own.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

About Grana Padano & Prosciutto di San Daniele

Cheese and Ham are one of those perfect food pairings. I was sent a sample of Grana Padano and San  Daniele ham. I notice the PDO label on their packages. I was curious to find out more about PDO.

PDO - Protected Designation of Origin

All PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products adhere to the regulations dictated by the Production Specifications and must be subjected to regular inspections conducted by an entity approved by the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.

Grana Padano

This particular cheese was first introduced in the 12th century by Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle. Since then, it has been awarded DOP status on June 12, 1996. It is currently produced in the north-eastern region of Italy, within the Po River Valley.

Semi-skimmed, unpasteurised cow’s milk is aged for about two years, which allows a thick, hard and red-tinted rind to develop. This allows the strong-smelling, dry interior to be protected.

Grana, meaning “grainy” in Italian, has a robust and sweet taste to it. Like the name suggests, its texture has a fine granular character. The ageing process rids the cheese of this flavour and texture, and the cheese becomes quite more savoury and crumbly.

Each Grana Padano wheel measures at 15-18 centimetres in height and 35-45 centimetres in diameter. Customers have some choices in ripening stages. They are currently sold as Grana Padano, which is aged 9-16 months; Grana Padano oltre 16 mesi, aged at least 16 months; and Grana Padano Riserva, aged at least 20 months.

Prosciutto di San Daniele

The Friuli Venezia Giulia region, located close to San Daniele of the Udine province, is the only area where Prosciutto di San Daniele can be made. This north-eastern region produces this distinct prosciutto, characterised by its guitar-shaped and visible trotter. The Consortium brand, Prosciutto di San Daniele, is produced with pigs that are born and bred only in Italy.

This product is completely natural, without any preservatives or additives. Only high quality, Italian pork meat and sea salt are used to create it. It’s perfect for all consumers, as it is easily digestible and has a high nutritional value.

The ham requires at least 13 months of ageing. Due to the amount of sea salt, optimal temperatures, moisture, and excellent ventilation; the product remains superb without the help of additional preservatives. The particular ageing techniques and method used to produce the ham leads to its unusual smell, taste and soft texture.

San Daniele ham was recognised by the European Union in 1996 and was awarded PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status. This allowed specific protections that restricted its area of origin and processing techniques.

This is my recipe for a winter starter or light lunch

Winter salad with San Daniele and Grana Padano recipe

Serves 4 - 6

60ml extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon of  parsley, finely chopped
150g cream cheese
50g of finely grated Grana Padano
pepper to taste
50g pea shoots, cleaned and dried
150g thin sliced Prosciutto di San Daniele, cut into strips lengthwise  and rolled
50g  Grana Padano, shaved - optional
4 persimmons, finely sliced
4 radishes, finely sliced
1 small fennel bulb, finely sliced
100g caramelised walnut halves
55g of sugar
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
Salt & pepper to taste

1)prepare the walnuts:  in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the walnuts, granulated sugar and butter, cook for 5 minutes, frequently stirring so your mixture doesn't burn - especially towards the end. Pour the nuts over baking parchment to cool - reserve.
2)In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper thoroughly. Set aside.
3)In another small bowl, mix same of the parsley, cream cheese and grated Grana Padano and pepper to taste
3) Place the persimmons in circles.Add the pea shoots, fennel on each plate.  Add half of the dressing,  Grana Padano shaves and caramelised walnuts.  Dress the salad with olive oil mix, add a spoon of Grana Padano cream to each plate.   Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil dressing.
4) Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Recipe: Îles Flottantes

Îles Flottantes

Îles Flottante is French dessert that consists of a cooked meringue served with a creamy sauce make of egg yolks, in this case, the crème anglaise. The look is very similar to floating island on the plate. In our family in Brazil, it's known  as 'ovos nevados'

My mum used to prepare this recipe at least once a month for a weekend treat. At the time,  she placed each individually cooked meringue in a large deep porcelain bowl, very similar to the one below but large! And we would help ourselves. I just adore the silky yellow cream with speckles of vanilla seeds.      

This recipe for me defines sweet comfort food. Delicate and incredibly tasty carries me right way back to my childhood in the first spoonful. Try eating it with your eyes closed; It's an amazing feeling.

This recipe is a crowd pleaser. Everyone loves it, but few people think of making it.  It is not too complicated. You can prepare the custard / crème Anglaise the day before.
Îles Flottantes

Îles flottantes  recipe

Îles Flottantes

3 egg whites, room temperature
120g caster sugar
500 ml of whole milk

1)In a thoroughly clean, degreased and dry bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks. Gently add the sugar and continue beating until it forms stiff peaks.
2)Bring the milk to a boil in a deep pot, meanwhile, with the help of two spoons cast meringue forming quenelles. It can also be cast in spoonfuls.
3)Lower the heat and place the meringue in the simmering milk, cook then gently for 15 seconds on each side. Place another batch of a maxim of three a time and place on a plate. At the end there will be some milk left, sieve it and reserve it.

Crème Anglaise

3 egg yolks (at room temperature)
300 ml of whole milk
45g icing sugar
1 vanilla bean


1)Open the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds and place in a separate pan with the leftover milk place over medium heat.
2)Remove the film from the yolks and beat with the sugar in a small bowl until pale. Reserve
3)Once the milk starts to boil turn off the heat and turn half of it into the yolk mixture, mixing vigorously with a whisk.
4)After that, turn the yolk into the milk in the pan and stir over low heat until thickened. To find the right pass point the finger on the back of a spoon, it should be a clean stroke.
5)Turn off the heat, allow to cool and arrange the cream in bowls with meringue quenelles on top.
6)Chill and serve cold.

 Tip: I made this dessert with coconut milk - it's delicious!
Îles Flottantes pairing with Cremant de Loire
Wine pairing: sparkling wine  from the Loire Valley, Cremant  de Loire.
Grapes: Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay, with a creamy texture in the mouth and fruity finish in the palate., complex aromas of white flowers well balanced sparkling wine is full bodied with good length.  Rich and very refreshing a great pair with desserts.

Available from Oxford Wine Company RRP: £13.99

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Friday, 2 December 2016

Häagen-Dazs, Meringue and Ice recipe

I've been avoiding shopping in the supermarkets lately as I am always tempted to buy things I don't really need. But one thing I don't skimp on is ice cream. I just adore the cold, creamy feel in the mouth and there are some delightful flavours out there.

The new flavour for Autumn/Winter 2016 from Häagen-Dazs with Honey Walnut & Cream is out now. It's made of natural ice cream with a honey sauce, real cream and crunchy caramelised walnuts. The ratio is honey swirl (10%) and caramelised walnuts (7%), just perfect!

Even though there are a few more ingredients than the original cream flavour, it is a quite simple confection. It is delectable! The honey swirl is placed evenly in the pot.  It's a sweet in a right way and amount.  The chewy walnut breaks the creaminess - again the right amount of nuts.

Häagen-Dazs rates highly at home. But I must say that I feel rather sad that 500ml goes so quickly so to make it last longer and serve more people I came up with a solution - transform it into a more substantial dessert. Nothing too complicated, it's only assembling all ingredients together.

This recipe has some of my preferred sweets all-in-one!
It's a heavenly mix of sweet, crisp Italian ladyfingers (Savoiardi), ice cream and a very light meringue crowning this dessert - making it rather special.

Meringue and Ice, recipe

Serves: 6

1 tub of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, 500ml
1/2 pack of Savoiardi, Italian sponge fingers, about 12 fingers
2-3 egg whites, beaten into firm peaks
30g of icing sugar (powdered sugar), 2 tablespoons

1) start by letting the ice cream to get soft out the freezer for 15-20 minutes maximum
2) Cut the sponge fingers in half and place on the wall of the baking moulds or glasses, 9cm diameter.
3) add the soften ice cream in the centre to cover the biscuits make sure that the ice cream gets in all the crannies.
4) place the baking moulds in the freezer for at least a couple of hours.
5) 10 minutes before serving, beat the egg whites to form firm peaks with the sugar. Take the baking moulds out of the freezer and slowly but firmly take the ice cream and biscuits out them. Spread or pipe the meringue over the ice cream- I do it free form!
6) Place them on an oven-proof plate and let them cook slightly till golden under the grill, it's a very quick process (about 2-3 minutes). Keep an eye on them!
7) Serve immediately!  Enjoy!

Disclosure: This post has been sponsor by Häagen-Dazs. All views, writing, photos and recipe are Hot&Chilli - thanks

Friday, 28 October 2016

Sparkling thriller, a rum Halloween cocktail

Every year my neighbour and I celebrate Halloween by having excellent drinks and lovely comfort food for dinner on the 31st October.  It's such a fun time; decorations go up, and we dress up. The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. We have a good catching up time too.  Halloween falls right in between autumn and winter, it's a time of magic, mystery, celebration and superstition.

It is thought that Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), people would light open-air fires and wear costumes to fight off roaming ghosts. Pope Gregory III appointed November 1 as a time to honour all saints and martyrs. The holiday, All Saints’ Day, was incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain in the eighth century.

The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later changed to Halloween. Over time, Halloween developed into a non-religious, community-based event with child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In some countries as the nights get colder and the days grow shorter people welcome the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

On Halloween eve, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the mortal world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognised by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. To keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

But back to reality of 2016....Last month I was given a bottle of Captain Morgan's spiced rum to come up with a cocktail for Halloween. This is what we are going to be drinking for our Halloween gathering this year:

Sparkling thriller, a Halloween cocktail recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves : 1

50ml  Captain Morgan Spiced Gold Rum
25ml of hibiscus syrup
20ml  fresh lime juice
1 - 2 drops of chilli spice drops, optional
Champagne to top up
Fresh small Chilli to decorate

1) chill a martini glass with ice
2) In a cocktail shaker mix the  Rum, hibiscus and fresh lime with ice cubes and shake for a minute.
3) Discard the ice in the cocktail glass and strain the mixture into the chilled martini glass, add chilli drops (optional)  and top with champagne.
4) Serve  immediately

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Disclosure : I was sent a bottle of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold to make a Halloween cocktail.  All options are my own.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Peixada, Brazilian fish & seafood recipe

Peixada, Brazilian fish & seafood recipe

Like other large countries, we can not identify the Brazilian food without looking into the kitchen of each region. Dishes and preparation methods differ dramatically in this diverse country, which a range extends from exotic  Amazonian fruits from the north to the delicious southern barbecues. 

Many of these differences are due to the history, geography, climate and ethnicity. Particular ingredients and preparation methods base to form a separate regional food which in combination contribute to the identity of the consumer. However, revenue from local food includes more than just ingredients and preparation. Ethnicity, race and class mix all aspects of life, including food.

This recipe is quite similar to moqueca, but without palm oil and coconut milk.   It's a simple, quick and friendly comforting dish. In some parts of Brazil; people add other vegetables like potato, coconut milk,  and prawns as the case on this recipe.

This dish definitely matches with white wine. The wine of choice today is the Bordeaux Blanc, the intense Château Lestrille Capmartin Bordeaux Blanc 2013. The grapes are 65% Sauvignon Gris, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon.  The fresh and citrus flavours pairs really well with fish and seafood.
Available from Wine Trust

Peixada recipe

Peixada, Brazilian fish & seafood recipe

Serves: 6 generous portions - family dish
time: 30 minutes cooking plus 30 minutes idle

2K Swordfish in slices of about 1cm thick
Salt and juice of 2 lemons for seasoning
Two handfuls of Parsley 
2-3 Spring onion stalks, sliced
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
100g of carrots, in batons  or any shape of choice
2 ripe large tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
400g shrimp, shelled and cleaned
1 handful of coriander to decorate

1)Season the fish with salt, half of the garlic,  half of the spring onion, half of parsley and lemon juice and leave it to marinate for half an hour.
3) lace the oil in the pan and saute in the rest of garlic, onion and tomato for 5-10 minutes, add the carrots and the fish and 200ml of water, let it cook gently for 15-20 min, pending on the thickness of the fish slices. Check the water, if too dry add a bit more.
3)With the fish cooked, add the shrimp and cook for about 5-10 minutes, the dish should be juicy but not too watery.
4) Serve sprinkled with coriander and lime wedges.  Rice is usually the side dish of choice.

Thanks to Bordeaux wine for the sample . For more info on Bordeaux Wines head to


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Recipe: Apple and Calvados Cake

Celebrating world Apple day, 21st October  with a delicious and comforting cake. Using almost all parts of the apple to make  a real treat. No waste!
Happy Apple day!

Apple and Calvados Cake recipe

prep time:  30 minutes + baking time (50mins)
Medium Bundt cake mould - 1L
serves 6

2 cups  chopped apple (250g); I used Bramley - reserve the skins
1 cup caster sugar, 200g
2 large whole organic eggs, 120g
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2  cups plain (all-purpose) flour, 180g
1/2 cup flavourless oil, 200 ml
35ml of Calvados

1. pre-heat the oven to 170C. prepare a bundt cake tin grease and flour it.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl - reserve
3. In a blender, add the apple skins, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and Calvados. Blend very well, until the apple skins are very fine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula, until well combined. Place in the prepared tin.
5 - Bake in a greased pan for about 50 minutes
6. Let it cool for 10 min, in the meantime make the caramel sauce

Calvados Salted caramel sauce
1 cup brown sugar, 200g
 6 tablespoons salted butter, cut up into 6 pieces, 100g
 1/2 cup heavy/double cream, 120ml
 1 teaspoon salt, I use Maldon
 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
 1 tablespoon of Calvados

Place all ingredients, except the Calvados a pan let the sugar dissolve cook for 5 minutes, switch off the heat and add  Calvados.  Drizzle over the warm cake.

Tip, caramel sauce:
It will keep a couple of weeks in the fridge and 1 day out of the refrigerator.

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Monday, 10 October 2016

Brigadeirão, Brazilian chocolate flan recipe

The brigadeiro  (Portuguese for Brigadier); is a common Brazilian sweet, created in 1940. It is common throughout the entire country and is present in almost all the major Brazilian celebrations.
The brigadeiro is made from condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter and covered with chocolate sprinkles. It's a childhood favourite.

This sweet is so popular that it has been the inspiration for many other spin-offs like ice creams, cake topping, sauces, etc.  This recipe is a twist on the pudim-de-leite, another famous Brazilian dessert very much like a creme caramel, but this recipe adds chocolate and sprinkles just like brigadeiro!

Brigadeirão recipe

1 can of condensed milk (395g)
1 can of double (heavy) cream (400g)
100g of cocoa powder, I use Green & Blacks Organic
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
 1 tablespoon of butter at room temperature
 3 large organic eggs, at room temperature
 butter for greasing
 chocolate sprinkles to decorate

1) grease a mould around 20cm x 9 cm deep. reserve.
2) pre-heat the oven 180 ° C
3) Blend the condensed milk, cream, chocolate powder, sugar, butter and eggs. When smooth, pour into a rounded shaped mold with a central hole (20cm in diameter) greased well with butter.
4) Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a water bath in a medium oven (170 ° C) for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Leave to cool down a bit for 30m minutes
5)Unmold still warm and decorate the entire surface with chocolate sprinkles. Refrigerate for about 6 hours.
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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Mango, chilli, coconut popsicles recipe

Mango, chilli, coconut popsicles

Popsicle, known in Brazil as picolé,  is a variety of ice cream that consists of a solidified block fruit juice. It's usually in rectangular or cylindrical shape having a stick vertically through it and with a free extension of the solidified block in one of its ends, intended for easy handling and tasting.

It's believed the origin of popsicles came from Frank Epperson (1894-1983), when he was 11 and lived in San Francisco, USA, forgot a glass of juice with a spoon in the backyard on a very cold night in 1905. Upon awakening the youth realized that the juice had frozen, and I was stuck in the scoop creating a sort of ice with fruit flavor. After this event, only in 1912 that Epperson had a similar recipe to frozen juice of his 11-year-old. The formula was a success, he decided to patent the recipe in 1913 and market his invention. In 1925 the rights were sold to a  Joe Lowe Company, a New York company.

The first name Popsicle was "eppsicle", which then eventually changed to "popsicle" ("Pop's Icicle).  This ice treat is know as  popsicle in  Canada and the U.S, freeze pop in Ireland and U.S, ice lolly (United Kingdom and Ireland; ice block or icy pole in parts of Australia and New Zealand, or chihiro (Cayman Islands); picolé in Brazil and paleta in Mexico.

As the temperature rises so does the need for refreshing treats.  Mixing a little cachaca or rum with popsicle mix is an adult alternative option to relax with friends or alone.

A simple recipe, easy, practical and quick to make just a little patience waiting for the popsicle to set. Perfect for barbecues and Summer parties as a cocktail in the stick or served as dessert anytime of the year.  The flavours can vary according to the fruit of your choice, herbs, alcohol or chillies.
Invent, create and have fun! 

Mango, coconut & chilli popsicles recipe

makes: 8 popsicles
very easy

2-3 large mangos, pulp 450ml, when prepared
3 tablespoons of cachaca or rum
1 teaspoon of chilli jam, to taste
100ml simple syrup
3/4 cups Coconut Yogurt (180ml)
1 tablespoon of honey
1 chilli sliced to decorate

1) Place the mango pulp, simple syrup, chilli jam and cachaca or rum in a blender, mix well. Place in the container with a lid and the freeze for a couple of hours only. When ready to assemble, use mix well with a fork.
2) In the meantime, mix the coconut yoghurt and honey. Reserve
3) Assembly: place a slice of chilli in the mould, alternate the mango and yogurt mix in each lolly case, nothing too perfect to give a unique pattern.
4) Place the sticks and take the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight to set.
5) Take out of the freezer and deep the moulds for 10 seconds in a bowl of hot water to loosen the popsicles.
6) Serve immediately. 

Mango, chilli and coconut popsicles

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lime, Physalis and Elderflower Caipiroska recipe

The Caipirinha is one of the most famous cocktails in Brazil, in general, no visitors from other countries who visit Brazil can leave Brazilian soil without tasting this delightful drink.

An interesting thing about this popular drink, full of green, is that it has a multitude of possibilities. The proof of this is in the Caipirinha recipe with Vodka, also known as caipiroska or caipivodka.

This type of Caipirinha is quite common. It's said that the use of vodka
probably arose from the difficulty of finding a good cachaça in the major cities so that they could make a decent caipirinha.  Anyone can make caipiroska all over the world.

This option is ideal for gatherings, parties, BBQ or when watching your favorite sports event. I took the inspiration for this recipe from thebar by Diageo, and the seasonal  Elderflower to make a light and a summery cocktail to liven up any occasion.

Lime, Physalis and Elderflower Caipiroska recipe

Serves: 1

50ml Smirnoff No. 21® Vodka
1 lime
10ml Elderflower Sugar Syrup (bought or recipe below)
4-5 physalis
crushed ice

1 x Short Glass
1 x Crushed ice
1 x Jigger
1 x Muddler
1 x Chopping Board
1 x Knife

1)Cut the lime in wedges, take out the white membrane, then cut the physalis in half and place in a glass.
2)Muddle the lime, physalis with the Elderflower sugar syrup in the glass.
3) With a muddler press down on the lime and physalis to extract flavour and juices.
4)Fill the glass with ice.
5)Top up with Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka.
6) decorate with a slice of lime and physalis



elderflower syrup

makes: 1L

1L of water
1kg of sugar
20 Elderflower heads
1 lemon
1 orange

Cook: 10mins
1)Carefully wash the elderflower heads and remove any insects or dirt. 2)Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest.
3)Bring 1 litre of water and 1 kilo of sugar to simmering point until the sugar has completely dissolved, boil for 5 minutes.
4)Switch off the heat and pour over the elderflowers and citrus zest. Cover and leave infusing 24 hours
5)Sieve the liquid through a piece of muslin.
6) Use a funnel to pour the liquid into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, cleaned screw-tops or corks.

For more Summer cocktails inspiration head to thebar

Disclosure: This post was written by me and sponsored by Diageo, the makers of Smirnoff Vodka.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Bolinhos de Chuva, Brazilian Mini Doughnuts recipe

Bolinho de chuva,  translates as rainy day doughnuts, it is one of those recipes that back home we usually you don't look it up, we just make it by heart or make up as you go along.   This recipe is the perfect treat on a raining day - so the name  Bolinho de Chuva ( rainy day little/mini doughnuts).  Wet outside and comfort treat in the house ideal pairing to a cup fo tea or coffee.
Nothing like a sweet childhood memory...

Bolinho de chuva, Brazilian rainy day doughnuts recipe

Yield:  about 20-25 (small doughnuts)

1 large organic egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted (15g)
1/2 cup of sugar, 90g
1/2 cup of whole milk, 100ml
1 cup of plain/all-purpose flour, 200g
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder (for cakes)
1L flavourless oil to deep fry

Decoration: powder sugar and grounded cinnamon

1)In a bowl mix 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of butter (melted)  and 1/2 cup sugar
Mix well to form a light batter and the sugar has dissolved.
2)add 1/2 cup milk and 1 cup of flour , 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and 1 dessert spoon of baking powder.
3)Blend everything very well.
4) Heat the oil in a deep pan to medium heat around 160-180C, drop the batter by teaspoonfuls into the hot oil.  Let the nuggets fry for around 4 minutes, max of 4-5 at a time.
5)take them out with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels
6)coat them in a sugar mixed with cinnamon. Serve immediately.

1) Keep an eye on the hot pan. Don't leave them frying in very high heat oil as it will burn outside and not cook on the inside.
2) a spoonful of chocolate powder too if you want for chocolate flavour
3) You can add any other spice to the batter and sugar sprinkle at the end
4) add a mashed banana to the batter for extra flavour.
5) you can serve with chocolate or salted caramel sauce on the side too.
6) you can add chocolate chips to the filling

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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Something for the Weekend: Shellfish & Champagne

Long weekends are bliss. Perfect time to get together with family and friends, share some quality time. And why not catch up over some uncomplicated food and drink?  Indulge and linger over a glass of refreshing bubbly to ease slowly into a pleasant state of relaxation.

I can stress how much I enjoy getting together over a long lunch over the weekend and even more at  Bank Holidays - extra time to socialise and have fun - perfect recreation time.

Sometimes is nice to indulge in some high-quality champagne too and to celebrate  Spring, my chosen tipple this week is Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006. This Extra Brut dosage wine  (zero dosage = no added sugar) has a beautiful personality of Champenois Pinot Noir (75%), counterbalanced by the elegance and subtlety of the Côte des Blancs Chardonnay.
Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006
Its Golden yellow hue flowed gently into the glass and highlighted by a plentiful and lively bubbles. Fruity and elegant aromas with a biscuity finish. A sensorial experience accentuated by notes of buttery of pastry.

It's a beautifully refreshing wine with a mousse-like palate. A delicately refined champagne with a  finish is firm and rounded persistent.
Regarding food pairings, it again goes well with top quality fish and shellfish dishes, fine hams and light risottos, not too substantial or robust in flavours.

My suggestion for a meal  to match this beautiful champagne is seafood platter with an appetising sauce. This recipe is actually inspired by my food travels. This time is Barcelona, where they have Suquet de Peix, a Catalan fish stew which is made with picada, a nutty and light sauce. It's a deconstructed version of it.  I added brown crab meat to the sauce and used Brazil nuts; the Catalans used almonds - of course! In any case, it's delicious!
Shellfish Platter

Delightful Shellfish Platter & Crab Sauce Recipe 

drinks suggestion: Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006

500g Clams, scrubbed
500g Mussels, scrubbed
150g squid, cleaned and  cut into rings
250g white crab meat, already prepared
250g Freshwater prawns

1 cup of preferred nuts, toasted - I used Brazil Nuts
2 cloves of garlic
Handful of coriander (30g)
30g croutons (a handful)
4 tomatoes, grated or crushed
150g of brown crab meat
100ml Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

start with the crab sauce:
1) in a pestle and mortar, or food processor,  place the nuts, the peeled garlic and the coriander leaves. Pound and mix well. Add the olive oil, croutons and tomatoes. Pound more and mix well. Season to taste and add the lemon juice.  Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve.  It's a thick sauce. Just before serving blend in the brown crab meat. Serve immediately. It makes about 500g.

Platter method:
1) Slowly simmer 1 cup (200ml)  dry white wine, 2 finely chopped shallots, 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), and 1 bay leaf in a big pot for 5 minutes.
2)Add the scrubbed clams, cover the pot, and turn the heat to high, cook for 5 minutes, shake the pan,  check if most of the shells have opened. If not, continue steaming until they do. Throw away any unopened shells. Reserve.
3)In another pan start the process above but cooking the mussels for 3 minutes, until they all open. Throw away any unopened shells. Reserve.
4) Cook the prawns, brush the prawns with a little olive oil and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper and garlic. Shallow fry for 3 - 4 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink. Remove from the heat and reserve.
5)start to assemble the platter, as you like and see fit,  and at last cook, the squid pieces just need to be cooked for 30-40 seconds on a very high heat. Serve immediately with the sauce on the side and crusty bread.

The RRP for the Billecart-Salmon Vintage  2006 cuvée  from £62, a good price for a great vintage champagne. Harvey Nichols and The Good Wine Shop are good places to find Billecart-Salmon range, either in store or online.
Disclosure: I was sent a bottle of Billecart-Salmon to pair with on of my favourite dish. All views are my own.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Häagen-Dazs Spring Flavours and Recipes

Häagen-Dazs new flavours (limited editions): Lychee Raspberry Rose  and  Apricot Lavender

Spring has just arrived, what a delightful season!  Fantastic time to start enjoying the outdoors with newly flourishing gardens and renewed energy for the rest of year ahead. I was asked to collaborate with Häagen-Dazs to came up with recipes using their new (very limited edition) ice creams for Spring 2016. To celebrate the new season, Häagen-Dazs is launching two unique ice cream flavours:

Lychee Raspberry Rose using Turkish rose extract and stirring in real lychees and raspberries - I just adore Lychee, so I knew it would be a winner for me. This recipe reminds me of Ispahan  Pierre Hermé best-selling macaron. The rose taste and aromas are quite strong, but you still find the lychee taste in there together with the raspberry tang. 

The Apricot Lavender has a delicately aromatic base, a thick apricot sauce and real apricot pieces sourced from Morocco blended throughout.
I remember trying homemade lavender ice cream in the South of France but thought it was a bit 'soapy-like' in taste. However, the Häagen-Dazs is well balanced with the apricot just cutting through with its fruitiness. 
Both ice creams are very floral, fruit, feminine perfume takes over the room and suitable for the new season.

These ice treats are exclusively available at Liberty's London. It's worth a trip to taste and purchase these ice-creams available from the 11th April to Sunday 24th April at the store at the RRP £5.95 (each).

No surprisingly, Häagen-Dazs has created another two very palatable ice creams, the tubs designed by Jardins de Babylone, a team of botanical artists from Paris, meaning the products fit seamlessly into Liberty’s luxurious shop floor.

Using the new flavours on sweet treats

Ice cake

Ice cake recipe

serves 5-6
timing: 4 hours - 3.5 hours inactive

1 recipe of simple cake (below)
500g of Häagen-Dazs ice cream
raspberry jam, seedless
25ml cognac
200ml whipped cream
30g Icing sugar (powdered)

Cake Ingredients
 110g plain flour
 110g  butter, at room temperature
 110g caster sugar
 2 large organic eggs
1/2teaspoon baking powder

Cake Method:
1)Preheat the oven to medium heat at 180 C. Prepare a round 18cm diameter mould (cake tin) butter and parchment paper, reserve it.
2)Measure all the ingredients place them in a large bowl.
3)Mix all of the ingredients using a whisk, until well blended.
4)Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
5)Place the cake in the oven and bake until golden brown 20-25 minutes.
6)Cool on a wire rack before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
7)Take the ice cream out of the freezer, about 20 minutes before moving to the next step. Once the cake is at room temperature, unmold and cut the top to level it.
8)Place the cake back into the cake tin and spread a thin layer of raspberry jam and cognac mixed and top with a layer of ice cream, which should be soft enough and spreadable by now. Smooth it over and level. Place the cake/ice cream in the freezer for a further about 2-3 hours.
8)Whip the cream and icing sugar and spread over the cake. (I added a few drops of pink food colouring)
9)Place in the freezer until ready to serve. Retrieve from the freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving.
10)Decorate with fresh raspberries and rose petals.
Ice cake

Ice cake

Deep fried ice dream recipe

I've been dreaming of making this recipe for ages. I had a look around the web for some inspirations.  I love the contrast between hot and cold and silky texture of the ice cream against the crisp shell. It's important to work quite quickly on the few making stages of this method. 

Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 15-20 minutes before start working.
Serves: 4
time: 5 hours (lots of 2 and 1 hours in the freezer, inactive)  + frying time

500ml of Häagen-Dazs ice cream (Apricot and Lavender)
150g digestive biscuits
50g Hazelnuts blanched
1 organic egg
Oil to deep fry

serving suggestion:
Lavender honey- drizzle
apricot sauce

1)Quickly scoop ice cream into 4 round balls and place on a paper-lined tray in the freezer. Freeze them for about 2 hours until very firm.
2)Crush the digestive biscuits and hazelnuts into fine crumbs and place in a shallow tray.
3)Roll the frozen balls in the crumbs to cover evenly, then back into the freezer for another 2 hours or more.
4) In a bowl lightly beat one egg. Quickly cover each ball first in egg mix, shake off the excess, followed by a second coat of the crumbs.
5) Return the coated balls to the freezer for another 2 hours. I actually left overnight.
6)fill a deep-fryer or a large saucepan with sunflower oil and heat to 190°C. If you don't have a deep-fryer thermometer, a cube of bread will turn golden in 30 seconds when oil is hot enough.
7)Fry the balls in two batches, fry each ice cream ball for 10-15 seconds until golden. Remove from the oil with the help of a slotted spoon, drain briefly on a paper towel, then plate them immediately, and drizzled with lavender honey on top of apricot sauce.

Fried Ice cream

Fried Ice cream

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Disclosure: Written in collaboration with Häagen-Dazs. I was sent the new flavours ice cream and compensated for my time. I retain full editorial control over this post. All opinions are my own.
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