26 Jun 2015

Raspberry, Almond and Custard Cake Recipe

Raspberry, Almond and Custard Cake fresh from the oven

The custard layer for this cake is made from Birds Custard Powder, in this house we love it. Posh custard out of a carton isn't suitable, neither is low fat, out of a can, ready made or a fancy version of home made.........it's just got to be yellow custard powder made with milk and cooked without any lumps!

Last time I made this cake I used frozen raspberries and they all sank to the bottom of the cake, so let's forget the fact that I ruined a perfectly good bake.  This time round I used fresh and they stayed on top of the cake.  I also baked the cake on a conventional setting rather than the fan setting and this allowed the cake to rise gently without the cake batter rising and burying the raspberries.

So, if you are looking for a large cake that's easy to make and love the bright yellow stuff, then maybe this recipe will be perfect for you too.

A slice of raspberry, almond and custard cake

It's best to make the custard the day before you make the cake.

You will need:  22cm deep springform tin greased and lined sides and base

250g salted butter, softened
2 tablespoons finely grated orange rind
330g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self-raising flour
75g plain flour
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice or from a carton
60g ground almonds
150g fresh
20g flaked almonds

For the Custard:
2 tablespoons custard powder
55g caster sugar
250ml milk
20g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. To make the custard: Place the custard powder and sugar in a small saucepan, gradually stir in the milk. Cook, stirring, until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Wet a  piece of clingwrap and press over the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Place in the fridge until cold.
2. Preheat oven to 170°C.
3. Place the butter, orange rind and sugar in a large bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Gradually fold in the flours, orange juice and ground almonds.
4. Spread two-thirds of the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Dollop small spoonfuls of custard over the cake batter. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over custard, carefully spread with a small spatula to completely cover the custard. Sprinkle over the raspberries followed by the flaked almonds.
5. Bake for about 1 hour 25 minutes or until cooked, if it shows signs of getting too brown cover the tin loosely with a piece of foil and bake for a few minutes longer until cooked.  Cool the cake in the tin.
6. Serve the cake with whipped cream just as it is.
7. Store in the fridge.
Adapted from an Australian Women's Weekly recipe.

Are you yay or nay when it comes to Birds Custard?

Bird's Custard is an egg free alternative to custard and The Black Country Bugle tells the story about the famous brand.

For more raspberry inspiration:
Raspberry, Chocolate and Almond Cake
The Perfect Raspberry and Almond Cake
Mini Raspberry Cream Brownies


24 Jun 2015

Taste of London Review

AEG Taste Theatre Taste of London

Phew. It was quite a weekend at Taste of London. Forgive me if I need a breather, but after so much food and drink it’s kinda needed.

The annual Taste festival in Regent’s Park has now been and gone. It was definitely bigger and better than ever with a mix of big name restaurants, a tasting theatre and cookery school with AEG plus lots of smaller independents sampling their wares.

The shows main partner AEG was showcasing live demonstrations by top international chefs using their latest appliances including Raymond Blanc - Le Manoir, Marcus Wareing - Tredwell's and Michel Roux Jnr.

This is what we feasted on…

The House of Ho
A bloomin’ amazing slow-cooked apple smoked pork belly with braised cabbage and quails egg. We will now be going to their London restaurant for one of their infamous Sunday brunches with bottomless bubbles.

Artusi
Peckham’s most famous restaurant made a bold debut and pulled it out of the bag. We enjoyed octopus and potatoes with parsley! This was another stand out dish and cemented what I knew – this place is awesome! They also served their signature dish – ox tongue with salsa verde.

Artusi Restaurant Octopus, Potatoes and Parsley

Palomar
Now I’ve heard this place has lively nights on London’s Rupert Street in Soho and can feel like a wild night out in Tel Aviv. We ate a magical polenta Jerusalem style with asparagus, mushroom ragout, parmesan and truffle oil.

Tredwell’s (Marcus Wareing)
Pulled pork, apple and ginger slider – beautifully presented and we saw the famous chef too!

Marcus Wareing Tredwell's Restaurant Pork, Ginger and Apple Slider

Chai Wu
The Chinese special - A mantou bun deep filled with roast duck.

Mantou Bun filled with roast duck

Sushi Samba
Shrimp tempura, quinoa and spicy mayo in an edible paper cone casing which looked stunning (I’m dying to visit this restaurant!)

We also had a nose at Asda’s BBQ stand and sampled some Asti whilst watching their BBQ demonstration. If you would like to take barbecuing to the next level, you may wish to watch the very hip DJ BBQ who has partnered up with the supermarket using some cool recipes.

Asda wine demonstration Taste of London


Asda Wine Experience Taste of London

Overall, it’s been another great year at the Taste of London festival. It's always great to eat food from the best restaurants and as some were so amazingly good, I will definitely be going back for the full experience.

Disclaimer:  We were invited guests, all thoughts are our own.

23 Jun 2015

Review East London Liquor Company and Fever Tree

East London Liquor Company Gin

The London reporter rolls up his sleeves for a serious night on the G&T’s.

If you hadn’t noticed, it was World Gin Day a few weeks back and the repercussions are still being felt!

I was recently a guest at a Zomato meet up for bloggers at the East London Liquor Company. It was a great opportunity to try their very own distilled gins with Fever Tree’s tonics.

The East London Liquor Company (ELLC) is in London’s hip East End and has a stunning bar with exposed brickwork and glass pieces, a copper distillery and boutique shop.

We kicked off the evening with a talk about tonic water and particularly the history.

Now, we all know that gin was big in the UK during the days of the empire but it wasn’t until the British in India discovered it went well with their medicinal quinine tonic that the humble gin and tonic was born and exported back to Britain (thank goodness!).

Foodbloggers Event with ZomatoUK at East London Liquor Company

We then had a tour of the distillery, which sits behind glass panels and forms a highly visual back drop to the bar. We tried two gins neat and got an insight into the creative process.

Guy explaining how Gin is made


The distillery East London Liquor Company

It was thirsty work as you can probably imagine so when we sat down again it was time to see which of their gins we preferred with a range of Fever Tree’s different tonics.

Tonic Water

The ELLC’s iconic drink is the London dry gin which uses British wheat, lemon & grapefruit peel, coriander, angelica root, juniper berries, cardamom and more.

Some of the fruits that go into the making of Gin

We even tried a British vodka with a Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and the subtle flavours really complimented each other. So much so that it could catch on!

So with British gin, unique Fever Tree tonic waters and a steeped cup of ice – this really is the holy trinity for a long summer nights drink.

Find out how to make the perfect G&T this summer along with the full range of tonics at Fever-Tree.

Disclaimer:  I was a guest of ELLC and ZomatoUK

21 Jun 2015

Raspberry and Coconut Scones Recipe

Raspberry and Coconut Scones Fresh from the Oven

I came across this scone recipe on the BBC Good Food website and they looked so temptingly delicious I thought I'd get the pinny on and see how they turned out.

Coconut and raspberries are a delightful combo, these light and fluffy scones are amazing and all you need is a dollop of whipped cream for the perfect mouthful!

Raspberry and Coconut Scones Recipe

Raspberries are one of my favourite berries and I love the sweet/sharp flavour. They are the cooks friend, you can use them fresh or frozen and they liven up even the humblest of bakes.

Slightly adapted recipe:

200g self-raising flour
25g desiccated coconut, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling
50g cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
25g golden caster sugar
100ml buttermilk
1-2 tbsp full-fat milk
50g frozen raspberries
1 egg, beaten

You will need: Large baking tray dusted with flour.

1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
2. Place the flour in a bowl with the coconut and salt. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix in. Pour in the buttermilk and milk. Mix with a knife until the mixture has almost come together,add the raspberries and mix again, trying not to break up the fruit too much.
3. Tip the dough onto a work surface and knead a little to bring it togetherv– don’t overwork or the scones will be heavy. Pat the dough into a square about 4-5cm deep.
4. Cut into 4 pieces, shape them back into squares.
5. Place onto a baking tray, brush with egg, sprinkle with a little coconut.

Raspberry and Coconut Scones Ready for the Oven

6. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and risen. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
7. Either eat on the same day or freeze the cooked scones.

For more scone inspiration you may also like:
In Search of the Perfect Scone Recipe
Fresh Berry Scones
Blueberry Breakfast Scones



20 Jun 2015

PDO Certified Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Review

Modena Traditional Vinegar

A PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) certified Balsamic Vinegar of Modena aged 12 years, presented in an elegant bottle with a traditional wax sealing. 

This balsamic is far removed from the one you will normally find in my kitchen cupboard. I mostly buy a vinegar that can be used in salad dressings or dipped into without a second thought.

I can say, in all honesty, that this balsamic vinegar is wonderful, it has a sweet/sour taste and is matured in oak barrels by artisans who are passionate about their product, and you can tell.  La Tradizione is I am told a cooperative company composed by 'artisans of quality balsamic'.

I made a summer salad of rocket, cucumber, avocado, walnuts and strawberries dressed with balsamic vinegar.......

Rocket, Strawberries, Avocado, Cucumber and Walnut Salad dressed with Modena Traditional balsamic vinegar

The bottle comes with a pourer which helps the thick and shiny vinegar come out gently for either drizzling or to add a few drops to the plate.

Modena Traditional Balsamic Vinegar with pourer

The sun eventually made an appearance today and a salad of Italian Ham, Rocket and Parmesan Cheese is dressed with balsamic vinegar, and just before serving a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.

Ham, Rocket, Parmesan Cheese and dressed with Balsamic Vinegar

For further information and online availability please visit: ArtimondoUK - Currently priced at £39.03 for 100ml. The bottle arrives in a superb presentation pack with a booklet explaining how it is made, tasting and bottling, who makes it and recipes.

La Tradizione: is a cooperative specialising in the production of balsamic vinegar of Modena, Italy.

Disclaimer: We were sent the product for review.

17 Jun 2015

The J-dog - The New #YOLO Menu At Yo! Sushi (Review)

Yo! Sushi

There is so much more than just sushi at the ubiquitous restaurant chain Yo! Sushi. And to be fair, some of their best dishes require ordering off-piste and won’t be seen whizzing around on the conveyor belt.

So, Yo! Sushi are showing us their more naughty side this year with a new limited edition menu range inspired by the burgeoning street food scene.

The launch of the J-dog is part of their ‘YOLO’ campaign. To less Twitter savvy readers, #YOLO was a mega trending hashtag on Twitter a few years back and stands for’ You Only Live Once’. It’s to encourage you to go out and be crazy and seize the day, which fits well with these surprisingly indulgent foodie items from Yo! Sushi.

The star of the menu, the J-dog, is a Japanese pork arabiki sausage, sandwiched in a soft brioche bun topped with sesame seeds and dried seaweed and a teriyaki sauce. To launch the J-dog, you can currently grab a limited edition mini sriracha sauce keyring (a hot sauce served in some sort of cult packaging).

On biting into the J-dog (pictured top left in the Polaroid), it is very soft, sweet and slightly hot from the sauce and completely different to what you expect. It isn’t a British style hotdog so put those thoughts to the side now because it just isn’t as stodgy and filling.

They were also serving fries in foil bags which were described as wet fries and required a side packet of seasoning to go inside and to be shaken. It was very 80's and loaded with nostalgia. It was just like those old bags of Smiths crisps where you had to add salt from a sachet found in the bag and give it a good shake. I wasn’t mad about all the green herbs from the seasoning which decided to make my teeth their new home and the chips were indeed… wet!

For dessert they’ve developed a rather indulgent and FUN Gyoza with apple (pan fried Japanese dumpling), black sesame ice cream and salted caramel ready to squirt from a novel plastic syringe (pictured bottom right of the Polaroid). Oh, and also topped off with a cute Pocky stick which are a very popular Japanese chocolate coated biscuit stick (I feel full just writing this).

Yo! Sushi are being brave souls with this menu and I can’t wait to see what they bring out next. I have a feeling that it will be more street inspired mash-ups which are currently the darlings of London’s infomal dining scene.

Address: 52 Poland Street, Soho, London W1F 7NQ

Disclaimer:  We were guests of Yo! Sushi, all thoughts are our own.

15 Jun 2015

Le Garrick, French Restaurant, Covent Garden (Restaurant Review)

Le Garrick French Restaurant, Covent Garden

On a warm balmy London afternoon there is nothing better than grabbing an outside table in the sunshine and enjoying a good bottle of wine and some food.

Last week, we were invited to review Le Garrick, a traditional French restaurant in London's Covent Garden.

Now I've been aware of this restaurant for years and you can't really miss it. It's painted green and has a large French flag that waves boisterously in the wind. It's also one of those places with inviting outside seats and red chequered table clothes which always lure me in and are ideal for watching the world go by.

When we arrived we were looked after by our friendly waiter Jacques who then talked us through the menu choices. After the G&T's, we chose a mid range white Burgundy number - the Reserve Personelle, Macon Charnay, Burgundy (2013).

We were feeling very brave on this particular day and for our entree we chose the snails (or escargots as I prefer to say) from Toulouse. There were around 6 in total without shells which came in a flat plate with dimpled circular holes to house each snail. Served in a baking hot garlic and butter sauce with some crusty bread - make no mistake, this was the real deal! We also shared some mussels (moules) which although very pleasant, could have been served slightly hotter.

A plate of moules

Moving onto mains, we went for a beef burger with a French twist (it had a layer of blue cheese) and of course French fries served on a wooden board. Although the burger was tasty, I did feel they have underestimated the strong competition from the more premium burger joints in the area.

We also went for a beautifully presented sea bass (head on) and chopped new potatoes in herbs which was a picture!

For dessert, we couldn't resist the very French creme brûlée which I thought had been executed well with the crunchy glazed sugar topping cracking perfectly with the strike of my spoon. We also had a home made chocolate mousse pot which I'm sure was a deadly sin;)

Creme brulee

Overall, we had very attentive service and were even brought out a selection of petit fours with a number of canele.

So for a taste of France, book yourself a table in the sunshine now! Don't forget to look at the excellent pre/post theatre menu from £13.50 too - just call for details.

Address: Le Garrick Restaurant, 10-12 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9BH

Disclaimer:  We were guests of the restaurant, all thoughts are our own.

Here is our French Pinterest Board from a trip to Bordeaux


13 Jun 2015

Little Apple and Almond Cakes Recipe

Little Apple and Almond Cakes with Creme Fraiche

These little cakes remind me in taste and texture of almond macaroons which I ate as a child.  They are easy to make and taste delicious.

My tins (in the photograph below) have removable bases and were given to me by an elderly lady who had been an avid baker but found she was baking less and less. The tins are old, well used and I love them. I'm sure you too have baking tins that have been passed onto you.

If you need a dessertcumcake recipe that is inexpensive to make then look no further......

Slightly adapted recipe from Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites.

Makes: 6

You will need:  six tins with removable bases measuring approximately 7cm or a muffin tin

75g butter, melted
100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
½ tsp almond extract
1 x Braeburn apple, peeled and thinly sliced
15g flaked almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Grease the inside of the tins with butter and dust with flour. Place the tins on a baking tray.
3. Pour the melted butter into a bowl. Add the sugar, flour, egg and almond extract and mix until smooth.
4. Spoon a little of the mixture into the base of each tin, arrange a few apple slices over the cake batter and spoon the remaining cake mixture on top, level with the back of a teaspoon.
5. Scatter the flaked almonds over the cake mixture. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until risen and golden.

The baked apple and almond cakes

6. Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, remove the cakes from the tins. Serve warm (reheat in a microwave) with crème fraîche or ice cream.

Mini Apple and Almond Cakes


10 Jun 2015

Fenchurch Seafood Bar And Grill At Sky Garden - Restaurant Review

The Sky Garden

Arguably one of the hottest restaurants in town right now, Fenchurch At Sky Garden takes sky high dining to a dizzying level with spectacular views over London. At 37 floors up in 20 Fenchurch Street (aka the Walkie Talkie to me and you), this place is super cool.

20 Fenchurch Street, London

The décor is elegant, warming and definitely 5 star with the real treat being the outstanding view!

Spectacular view over London from Sky Garden

Now, here at the Kitchen Delights blog we love bubbles, and a bottle of prosecco at the £40 price mark was swiftly opened whilst we deliberated over the menu. The food is mostly seafood and meat based but I was very impressed with how well they had catered for vegetarians with a number of creative dishes.

The wine waiter at Sky Garden

Our waiter gave us complimentary dough balls with warm oozy butter inside (gorgeous). We then dived into the starters and shared a rabbit Bolognese with wild garlic, Berkswell & sourdough which was rich and warming and probably best suited to a cooler evening. We also shared a delightfully colourful vegetarian dish – gnocchi with cauliflower and apple and pomegranate. The small apple pieces and gnocchi made for a surprisingly winning combination.

Bread selection at Sky Garden


gnocchi with cauliflower at Sky Garden

For our main courses, we enjoyed new season lamb with peas, morels & mint, then for a second dish to share, we chose the fillet steak with a side of double cooked chips and garlic macaroni cheese. Both dishes were generous in portion size and could not be faulted!

New Season Lamb with Mint and Peas

Desserts at Fenchurch were on another level aesthetically. The strawberry doughnuts, buttermilk and lime ice cream and honeycomb were presented in a such a way that you didn’t know where to lay your eyes and take your first bite.  There were so many interesting shapes, tastes and textures waiting to be explored. It was the same for the Caramelised chocolate puff pastry with praline, banana and passion fruit (dessert heaven).

Strawberry Doughnuts luxury dessert

We were incredibly full by this point, such a shame because I would have eaten the Neal’s Yard cheese from the rather fetching but slightly 80's cheese trolley which was doing the rounds (my biggest regret, so don’t make it yours!). Let me tell you this – they all looked to die for!

We had a super night and thought the service was attentive but not intrusive, with the waiter advising on food when requested in a non pretentious way and able to make you feel comfortable. With the scenery ever changing by the hour and a sunset creeping into view, we reflected and thought about our experience. Beautifully arranged food, the complimentary little extras and the Sky Garden bar with all the plants waiting for us below – this place makes for a must visit on the culinary scene!

Address: 20 Fenchurch Street, City, London EC3M 3BY.

Disclaimer:  We were guests of the restaurant, all thoughts are our own

9 Jun 2015

Ceru at London's Riviera (Review)

Bloggers eating street food in London

We’ve been blogging for 9 years now and it’s fair to say that whenever we are invited to a foodie gathering, some places just leave you wanting more! Ceru does just that following my earlier visit, as you can see here.

Currently making huge waves at London’s 'Riviera' - a summer long food and drink pop-up housed in an old shipping container right next to City Hall, Ceru are bringing their taste of the Levantine to Londoners.

When you approach the pop up, it’s like being on holiday but in the city with it’s easy on the eye shabby chic bar exterior, dance music, colourful summer umbrellas and even sunbeds! It could almost be the Blue Marlin cocktail bar in Ibiza, for those who have been;)

a group of food bloggers at the pop up Ceru

The food Ceru are dishing up is bright, colourful, refreshing and very tasty and what makes it even more exclusive is that it’s on the pop-up food circuit so it’s very trendy. You'll have to be quick to catch it though.

This is what we ate from the exceptionally skilled and very passionate Executive Chef Tom Kime fresh from Sydney…

First up was a beautiful selection of dips consisting of Pancar (bright purple from the roasted beetroot with yoghurt and a hit of garlic and pistachio nuts) as well as a roasted red pepper number with molasses. Great with a few pita breads to share with mates.

We then enjoyed crispy spiced squid which was perfect. I sometimes find this dish troublesome because it’s often cooked underwhelmingly soft with no flavour, but get it right and dare I say it – al dente in style – and then it’s a beaut! Ceru own this!

crispy spiced squid

One of Ceru’s specialities is their lamb shoulder. It looks incredible and tastes exceptional with a melt in the mouth texture. It’s covered in pomegranates and pistachio nuts and makes the brain wake up with all the exciting flavour combinations. There was also shawarma spices which added interest but didn't over power the meat. As my dining companion said "A triumph!"



For dessert, we enjoyed velvety Baklava ice cream with burnt crystalised crunchy honey caramel and nut brittle – I guarantee you won’t have tasted this one before!

Baklava ice cream

Ceru at the London Riviera is open until the end of October, but don’t delay in seeking out the fun! As the chef says, this is food ‘without borders’ given it’s origins in the east, so go and see what the fuss is about and don’t forget your shades;)

'parrot' sipping a cocktail

A huge thank you to Ceru for a fabulous time.

Disclaimer:  We were invited guests, all thoughts are our own.

7 Jun 2015

Cheese and Spring Onion Quiche Recipe

Cheese and Spring Onion Quiche

Do you remember the quiche I made a while back?  I've taken the same pastry recipe because it works every time and the same savoury custard filling because it's delicious.  This time, however, I've used a combination of spring onions which saves cooking onions, Leicester cheese for colour and because I grew up in Leicestershire and miss the local Leicester cheese, and cheddar cheese because it's always in the fridge. This time though I've used a 20cm deep tin instead of the 23cm tin I used in the last recipe.

My chive flowers are just for fun.  When I picked them they were in a tight bud and all you have to do is gently rub the bud between your fingers and they will gradually open. Place your fingers on top of the flower and gently stroke the bud open to reveal the flowers. Carnation buds sometimes refuse to open and you can use this trick with them too.

This is a fairly quick and easy recipe and after all who wants to spend loads of time in the kitchen when the sun is shining.

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
140g cold butter, diced
1 tsp icing sugar
1 egg yolk

For the filling:
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
75g Red Leicester cheese, grated
75g Mature Cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
300ml double cream

You will need: 20cm loose base fluted tin 2.5cm deep

1. Add the flour, pinch of salt and the butter into the bowl of a food processor and whiz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Now add the icing sugar, egg yolk and 3 tbsp cold water, to form a firm dough. Wrap in cling film and rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.
2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Roll out the pastry and line the tart tin. Cover the tin with crumpled baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Cook for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans. Brush the pastry base with beaten egg and cook for 5-10 minutes more until the tart case is pale.
3. Turn the oven down to 160ºC.  Scatter over the spring onions and cheeses over the base of the tart case. Whisk together the eggs and cream, season. Pour into the tart case and cook for 40-45 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

If you like this post you may like these recipes too:
Cherry Tomato, Cheese and Red Onion Marmalade Quiche
Cheese, Onion and Potato Quiche with Wild Rice Salad
Roasted Tomato, Basil and Parmesan Quiche




4 Jun 2015

The Meat Co, Westfield Shopping Centre, London (Review)

The Meat Co, Westfield Shopping Centre, London
The Meat Co is a destination in its own right, if you are a complete carnivore and love a steak!
Originating from South Africa and with locations in the Middle East and now in Westfield Shopping Centre in London, this upmarket chain is a force to be reckoned with.

Décor
No expense has been spared. This place is huge and runs over two levels with an outside area. From the moment you walk in and are asked whether they can take your coat, there is so much to look at. Decorative light shades, curvy furniture, African tribal masks and a picture of Nelson Mandela - all wrapped up in a warming orange glow as if it’s the sun!

Drinks
The drinks menu is extensive with a wide selection of whisky, rum and vodka based cocktails with an enticing range of titles including a Coco Expresso, Passion Blast, Pink Panther and a Jungle Bear. I went for a frozen mango Daiquiri which was very nice! We were also served complimentary biltong (dried cured meat - a staple of South Africa).

Starters
We kept it quite simple given that we knew our main course would be a meaty feast. We opted for a chocolate bread to share which was beautiful!

Main courses
We were here to try the ‘Lux’ Burgers (think luxury). Take a classic burger but top it with scallops, prawns and lobsters. Visually they look stunning and it’s the first time I’ve seen such a unique twist on a burger which I thoroughly recommend. It’s what you’d expect from a South African restaurant and if you’ve ever visited the rainbow country – then this will take you back with all the colours and quirky twists. We also went for the rib-eye steak – 300g for £33. Whilst that wasn’t the cheapest cut, you can get a rump steak at 200g for £18. It was served with chunky chips and garlic butter. There is also a great selection of sides such as asparagus and mushrooms.

Luxury Burgers

Desserts
We shared a Madiba Charity Malva Pudding (phew! that was a mouthful writing that). The waiter said it was Nelson Mandela’s favourite dessert and I can see why. It’s like sticky toffee pudding and very comforting.

Overall
This is a fantastic restaurant with a big heart straight from South Africa. The service is very attentive and any questions or recommendations we needed were reacted to positively! I’ve been to South Africa and the food there is incredible and it’s lovely to have a taster of this in the UK. We’ll be back.

The Meat Co, Westfield, Ariel Way, London W12 7GA
www.themeatco.com

Disclaimer: We were guests of the restaurant, all thoughts are our own.

3 Jun 2015

Foodies Festival Syon Park, West London (Review)

Foodies Festival Syon Park, West London
We often get invited to food festivals and this was the first time we’d had an invite to the ‘Foodies Festival’ in Syon Park in West London.

Set just off the grounds of the historic Syon House (owned by the Duke of Northumberland) near Kew Gardens, the festival feels like its set in the country side with its many acres of green grass.

On arrival at the festival site, there was a band and a selection of stalls, tents, bars and food vendors – foodie heaven from the off!

What struck us most was that this was a food festival trying to do things differently to everyone else and taking full advantage of the outside space. Apart from the usual food and drinks theatres, it was also striving to create a great atmosphere with fantastic bands throughout the day and quirky bars.

We loved the old London Routemaster bus which had been converted into a working bar. There was also a ‘Deco Bar’ using an American airstream van with props for selfies. At this point someone asked if we fancied taking part in a silent disco which we politely declined.

To eat, we were torn between home made sausage rolls and a tagine but given the tagine stand looked incredibly healthy and tasty we went for that – and I’m very glad we did!

In the afternoon with frequent glasses of Prosecco in hand, we strolled around the different wine, cake and kitchen gadget stands.  We stopped to see a a Spiralizer in action which is the first time I've seen one demonstrated.

We also discovered a new chef called Richard Fox giving a BBQ demonstration for Broil King and he spoke passionately about food waste. In his kitchen nothing goes to waste. One to watch!

Please visit Foodies Festival website for more information and to find out when there is one near you.

You may also like:
The Foodies Festival, Birmingham

Disclaimer:  We were invited to be blogger VIP's for the day.

1 Jun 2015

Black Forest Muffins Recipe

Black Forest Muffins Recipe

I remember Mum buying frozen Black Forest Gateau, it was considered posh and definitely not an everyday cakecumdessert, we always ate this on high days and holidays. I love a bit of 70's nostalgia, but looking back, I'm not quite sure what the gateau was actually made from!

Fast forward and today we still love the magical combination of chocolate and cherries, hence these delicious muffins.

Tinned cherries can sometimes lack in flavour and I added a few drops of cherry flavouring (purchased from Lakeland) to the cake batter.

You will need: 12 hole muffin tin lined with 12 muffin/tulip cases

Makes: 12
250g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
2tsp baking powder
175g caster sugar
pinch of salt
175ml milk
2 large eggs
100ml sunflower or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
few drops of cherry flavouring (I used Lakeland)
425g can pitted black cherries, drained

Buttercream:
140g unsalted butter, softened
280g icing sugar,sieved
1 tbsp milk
grated chocolate and fresh cherries to decorate

Optional: Kirsch to brush over the cooked muffins

1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
2.Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and stir in the sugar. Add the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the cherries, and mix gently together. Now add the cherries and fold in carefully trying not to break up the fruit.
3.Using an ice cream scoop place the mixture into the cases.
4. Bake for 20 mins or cooked. Cool for 10 mins, brush with kirsch, then transfer to a wire rack and leave until cold.

To make the buttercream:
1. Place the sieved icing sugar into a large bowl followed by the softened butter and milk.  Using either a handwhisk or stand mixer beat together for a good 5 minutes until the mixture is white and a light texture.
2. Using a piping bag and large plain nozzle pipe swirls on top of the cooled muffins.
3. Decorate with a whole cherry and grated chocolate.

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