Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Review: Ceru Pop Up Restaurant, London

Exterior of Ceru Restaurant London

Can anyone tell me what the food of Levant means? I had no idea but it’s actually a region of the Middle East: Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Palestine, Jordan, and Turkey. Here you find the traditional Levantine cuisine which is famous for foods bursting with flavour as you’ll see below.

So let me introduce you to Ceru.........

This little beauty in London’s Fitzrovia has been doing the rounds for a little while now and after appearing at some major festivals, they have set up a pop up restaurant on Rathbone Place off London's Charlotte Street.

As we entered we were welcomed with a zingy and rather exotic Passionista cocktail which was the perfect way to start the evening. We were treated to tapas style dishes which were beautifully crafted and carefully curated for the eyes as well as for the tastebuds.

For starters we had a four in one dip selection for a reasonable £6.50 consisting of 'pancar' - roast beetroot, yoghurt, garlic and topped with pistachio nuts. Houmous - a spicy fiery roast red pepper dip and finally a fadi - fried baby courgette, purée with tahini, roast garlic yoghurt and lemon. They were all incredible!!!

Spicy Dips

Then came out another gorgeous little number - bite size pieces of Halloumi costing a very reasonable £5.50.

Halloumi main meal

We then opted for the slow roast lamb shoulder with a fresh pomegranate and pistachio dressing. This was an amazing combination which I’d love to replicate at home.

slow roast shoulder of lamb

Next, we enjoyed a palette cleansing crisp apple, pomegranate and mint salad. Visually it was stunning and interesting, even the red apple skin had a matching red bowl rim – talk about attention to detail here!

apple and mint salad

For dessert, we enjoyed a walnut and pistachio cake served with vanilla poached apricots!! Nothing too heavy and a great way to end the meal.

walnut and pistachio cake

Want to visit? Be quick! Their temporary home is only open until the 30th April.

To find out more visit Ceru Restaurants

Disclaimer:  We were invited to attend Ceru for review purposes.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Review: Vanilla Table by Natasha MacAller

Vanilla Table

Vanilla Table, the essence of exquisite cooking from the world's best chefs, is a culinary celebration of all things vanilla. Written by International Chef Natasha MacAller, there are 100 recipes and 33 international award winning chefs including the UK's Yotam Ottolenghi, Peter Gordon, William Curley and Galton Blackiston have contributed their vanilla recipes to this book.  The stunning photographs and food styling are by Danish photographer Manja Wachsmuth who specialises in food photography.

Butterscotch Pudding

The foreword is by Peter Gordon, The Vanilla Story, Vanilla 101. Chapters: Starter Plates, Main Plates, Blue Plates and Brunch Plates, Sharing Plates, Dessert Plates, Cake Plates, The Cookie Plate, Bevvie and Bar Snacks and Vanilla Pantry.

Vanilla is an essential ingredient in my kitchen, I have beans, paste and extract which I use on a regular basis for sweet bakes, I find it is very easy to use, it gives everything a lift and my cakes always taste and smell delicious.  I have never considered using this wonderful spice in savoury dishes and reading through the recipes I've discovered how to use vanilla in an array of dishes.

I've made a couple of recipes from the book, my first recipe was Ginger Fruit Squares which were very easy to make and made a delicious sweet treat, my only recommendation for these would be to use a smaller tin than that stated in the recipe.

My next bake from the book, and possibly the easiest, are the After School Cookies and Milk - this is an unusual recipe, they are made with vanilla extract, honey, milk powder, chocolate chips and bread flour, it's definitely the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever made. These are a delicious easy bake, with a chewy texture.

After School Cookies and Milk
Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

A book for the keen cook or budding food stylist and photographer.

Published by www.jacquismallpub.com
Release Date 19th March 2015

Reader Offer:
To order Vanilla Table at the discounted price of £20 including p&p* (RRP: £25), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG301.
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Disclaimer:  The book was sent to us for review.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Lovepickle: Review

Lovepickle assortment of Indian pickles

We've been trying a selection of Love Pickle Chilli Tomato Pickles which are crafted in South Yorkshire. The ingredients are sourced locally wherever possible and the pickle is made from tomatoes, fresh chilli, ginger, garlic and various spices. They are available in mild, medium, hot, very hot and super hot. For fans of Indian or spicy food these will make the perfect accompaniment.

Lovepickle started out in 2013 and have won a Great Taste Award and a National Chilli Award for Best Pickle. Launched by Michael Sohel who gave up his career in the City to create his own brand of a unique chilli tomato pickle that he and his family had been enjoying for years.

Textures of different jars of Indian tomato chilli pickles
Premium pickles that deliver on taste, texture and appearance

I like spicy food with heat but I'm on level 1 of the chilli heat thermometer so hubby had to do the majority of the taste testing. I tasted mild, when I removed the lid the aroma was outstanding, I really enjoyed the zing, spiciness and textures. Hubby warmed up a naan bread and ate this with the mild, medium and hot, he said the pickles are very impressive and will make a fabulous accompaniment to the next Indian meal I make for him.  The super hot pickle is being passed onto a friend who is a huge chilli fan, can take the heat, loves artisan products and we know he will become a Love Pickle fan too.

Available in 180g jars they can be purchased online or from independents across the UK.

Disclaimer:  We were sent the products for review.