Eat well - travel often

Month: July 2013

Easy Summer Supper – Homemade Beef Burgers & Rice

Easy Summer Supper – Homemade Beef Burgers & Rice

This week my father-in-law stopped by our house on his way back from his butcher.  He brought me some of the fresh lean mince he had just had the butcher mince up for him. My first thought was to pop it into the freezer but […]

Restaurant Review – The Real Greek – Covent Garden

Restaurant Review – The Real Greek – Covent Garden

This week I was able to attend a restaurant in London called The Real Greek (Covent Garden branch) to do a review. I used to live in North London where there are strong Greek and GreekCypriot communities which means there is a plethora of Greek restaurants […]

Kitchen Chat – Saviour (Feel Good Snacking)

Kitchen Chat – Saviour (Feel Good Snacking)

Saviour provides a box of healthy snacks for your workplace or office and this can be on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis or a one off order.  They have three sizes and they sent me the middle size.

My initial impression was how nice the packaging was and this is important to have an attractive box in your communal area to attaract people to it. These snacks are without hydrogenated fats, artificial colours or preservatives. Also no MSG, high fructose corn syrups or genetically modified foods.

They are real ingredients that you can recognise or pronounce!

Their range includes breakfast options, soups, protein bars, nuts, seeds, corn cakes, raw chocolate and lots of other savoury treats. The contents vary week to week so you don’t get bored.

 
 
 

The box I was sent contained about 15 snacks but for a larger office there is a much bigger box available.

 

Thank you Saviour for sending me a box to try. Better than having a box of crisps in the office for sure!!

HomeSense Opens in Watford

HomeSense Opens in Watford

My favourite part of popping into TK Maxx is having a browse in the homewares department. However my local store doesn’t have loads of space and the store near our large supermarkets doesn’t have a homeware department at all. HomeSense is a new range of […]

Down on the Strawberry Farm Searching for Perfection

Down on the Strawberry Farm Searching for Perfection

Have you ever been on a quest to find the perfect strawberry? Well look no further because I think I have found them for you! I was recently invited to visit a strawberry farm near Canterbury in Kent and the weather could have been made […]

Chocolate and Coffee – How do they go together

Chocolate and Coffee – How do they go together

My ideal coffee-chocolate moment is to take a sip of my evening coffee and pop into my mouth a Lindt chocolate ball and let it melt with the warmth of the coffee. Mmmmm heaven!

But there is more to coffee pairing with chocolate than my little moment.

I was invited to an event with De’Longhi and Lindt and along with a Master Chocolatier and Master Coffee Blender we went through some of the aspects of how the coffee and chocolate go together.  Most of the examples we tasted were really defined coffee from countries like Ethopia and Baku to name a few.

My problem with this way of tasting coffee was that they were too strong for my taste buds so what could I do with all the lovely chocolate I got to take home and how to describe them.

Well in the words if a certain meerkat “simples”! I would do a coffee-chocolate comparison of my own!!
I chose to compare with the Lindt Excellence range.
Firstly I used my De’Longhi Icona vintage espresso maker and made my self a latte.  A latte is a very milky coffee and a sip of latte with a square of the dark (47% cocoa solids) especially Stawberry Intense from the Lindt Excellence range is simple a melting moment of summer and fresh strawberries.

Next I made a strongish coffee in my French press coffee maker and tried it with Lindt Excellence chocolate with chilli.  A dark chocolate with 49% cocoa solids and a hint of chilli. The smooth richness of the coffee melted the dark chocolate leaving a tingle on the tongue from the chilli!

47% cocoa solids feature in the Lindt Excellence chocolate with  A Touch of Sea Salt and with an Americano coffee (freshly made coffee from my De’Longhi machine with a touch of cold milk) left a haunting taste on the tongue in an interesting but still slightly dull background note of salt.

I followed on to the Lindt Excellence 70% chocolate which is smooth and velvety with slight undertones of vanilla, perfect with a hot steamy cappuccino and the chocolate with 85% cocoa solids which when melting in your mouth with a sip of hot coffee is just about as good as it gets!! This chocolate is neither bitter nor overpowering so neither should your coffee.  These latter two coffees also melt exceedngly well and make a chocolate cake so much more chocolatey and delicious!

What this all boils down to is that coffee and chocolate are two universal pleasures and at the same time are very individual. A great way to find out your tasting pleasures is to try a up of coffee that you really enjoy with a square of fine chocolate and let it melt on your tongue from the warmth of the coffee.

So put the kettle on or switch your coffee maker on and get tasting!!

 

Happy Birthday to KitchenTalk!

Happy Birthday to KitchenTalk!

Happy Birthday to Kitchen Talk.  Two years old today!  Who would have thought two years ago that I would have written so much about food, cook books, cooking equipment, attended events, cooked with my food heroes and much more. When I published my first post I never […]

Allotment Inspired Dinner

Allotment Inspired Dinner

There are loads of ‘Here’s what I had for dinner’ blogs but please grant me this one because I grew a good deal of the meal on my allotment! I do feel quite proud of myself lugging my trug home full of produce that I […]

Pyrex Slows Things Down with their New Slow Cooker

Pyrex Slows Things Down with their New Slow Cooker

Slow cookers are the ‘in’ way of cooking these days. You just put things into the pot and forget about it for a few hours.  Pyrex, known for their great glass cooking dishes have brought out an enamelled cast iron slow cooker.  It is great for simmering due to its superior heat retention properties. It comes in different sizes and is suitable for a range of cookers. Mine is the 20cm – 2.2L which is the smallest and holds loads.You can use it on the hob or pop it into the oven. They are easy to clean and come in a vibrant red.

I wanted to cook some sauerkraut after trying some of Ren Behan’s Polish bigos.  I have long loved sauerkraut from my days living in Austria and Germany.

I started with a little bit of olive oil,

then into the pot I added some chopped smoked bacon, a piece of choritzo and a red onion finely chopped and sauteed until the onion was getting soft and the bacon and choritzo was cooked.  I tipped in a jar of sauerkraut, a red pepper and three carrots grated into the pot. 

 
 
 

To this mixture I added ground pepper, sea salt, caraway seeds, a tablespoon of tomato puree, paprika and a glass of water. You want some moisture but not too much so that you keep the texture since you do not want to boil the kraut.  Instead of water you could add a glass of white wine or a lager.

A couple of sprigs of thyme from my allotment and the whole pot went into the oven on a lowish to medium heat for about two and a half hours.  The smell in the house was absolutely heavenly!

I served the sauerkraut with a homemade potato salad and bratwurst.  We sat outside on a summer evening, dinner on the plate and a glass of wine in the hand. Perfect!!

80’s Inspired Coffee and Walnut Cake

80’s Inspired Coffee and Walnut Cake

I was recently sent some Nielsen Massey vanilla extract and a couple of others in their range. One of them was coffee extract which inspired me to make my 80’s inspired Coffee Walnut Cake. Recipe Preheat oven to 180oC – grease and lightly flour two sandwich […]