Category: Food and Drink

The Food Report: Caribbean Supper Club

The Food Report: Caribbean Supper Club

I really love creating new traditions. My friends and I can sometimes be a bit stuck in our ways when it comes to our little rituals and places to go, but we’re still always looking for new things to add to the list. When Olivia returned from Thailand last summer she wanted to cook us all Thai food. An afternoon in the pub and a few pints later, our supper club was born. The idea was simple – pick a theme, pick a date, everyone brings a dish or two and then we eat it all! Nom Nom Club was born.

So far we’ve had curry, Mexican, Japanese food complete with sushi, American diner, Alpine dining, Christmas nibbles and Chinese. This weekend, we headed to Stafford for a Caribbean edition.

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We had goat curry, prawns, jerk chicken, rice and peas, sweet potatoes, slaw, and mango salsa – all washed down with a Red Stripe and rum punch. Nicole made an incredible upside down pineapple and coconut cake for pudding.

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We all agreed that Caribbean supper club was our best ever Nom Nom – delicious food on a beautiful day, everything was ready at the same time (we’ve been known to forgo a sit-down meal in favour of grabbing things out of pans in the past), and no excessive leftovers!

We played Articulate and Cards against Humanity late into the night, and a good time was had by all!

Have you ever been in a supper club? Do you like to hold dinner parties?

I’ll pop the rum punch recipe (it was constantly changing really) in the drinks report on Thursday. 

 

 

The Drinks Report: Lassi and books

The Drinks Report: Lassi and books

Hello!

First up on this week’s drinks report, mango lassi. For those of you who don’t know, lassi is an Indian yoghurt-based drink, the mango version of which is now almost widely available in the UK. Last night we went on a little work trip to Lucha Libre and I had a Mint and Mango Lassi with tequila in it. Tequila and I are not friends, but this drink might rekindle our relationship (for those of you reading who know how I react to tequila, be reassured that I didn’t fall down). This drink was delicious, creamy and just a tad alcoholic, and to be honest I really love any drink with a spring of mint in it.

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As it’s World Book Day I also wanted to share some drinks related books that I love or would love to have. Infuse: Discover the World of Tea was a gift from Emily years ago, but I still like to flick through its pages every now and then. The innocent smoothie recipe book is a firm favourite as I love a good smoothie (another blog post about them will be coming soon) and this book has plenty of inspiration. I have occasionally lusted after the Savoy Cocktail Book, but I would also say that any cocktail book is an ideal 18th birthday gift (I received a tinned collection of recipe cards which served me well!), and for real World Book Day points it has to be Tequila Mockingbird. I will truly never stop laughing at this pun.

Today I would also recommend Carol Ann Duffy’s Teawhich so perfectly captures love in tiny rituals, and to remember what Hemingway said:

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

What are your favourite poems, books and stories about drinks? 

The Food Report

The Food Report

Today’s Food Report comes to you in 3 parts: food I ate, food I made and some news.

Food I ate

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Today for a team lunch at work we went to Free State Kitchen on Maryland St. I’m pretty ashamed to say I haven’t been before considering how long I’ve been meaning to, but it was certainly worth the wait.

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I had the American Cheeseburger with a side of slaw and both were delicious. Sticking to their principle of medium is best the burger was truly melt-in-the-mouth, a refreshing surprise after the so often overcooked offerings of the recent deluge of high-class-fast-food purveyors. The brioche bun was perfectly toasted, with melted cheese and not too much salad.

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The slaw was thinly cut, not too heavy on the mayo and had slices of apple amongst it, which divided opinion in our party but I loved the sweet crunch. The fries were perfectly crisp and the whole meal was completed with a huge jar of pickles brought to the table and condiments in glass bottles.  The decor is on-point – no garish red here, but clean white tiles, whilst the food is served in Falcon enamelware, which I love.

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Despite eating quite a huge meal I didn’t feel overly full because everything was so light and well-cooked. I’ll definitely be back!

Food I made

It’s Pancake Day!

I love pancakes so I made them for my whole evening meal, both savoury and sweet.

First I used up some of my leftover taleggio with some spinach (tip: fold this over and pop it in the oven for a minute to melt the cheese properly).

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Then some grated cheddar and avocado, followed by a classic lemon and sugar.

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I finished up with a snickers pancake (another tip: melt it very briefly in the microwave to chop it into pieces, then pop it on the pancake in the pan). 

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The news

Last week was Student Volunteering Week and I headed along to a foodbank with a group of volunteers. It’s completely unjust that we need foodbanks in 2014 when some people have so much, but it’s an incredible resource for people in need right now. It made me ridiculously grateful to be able to just go out for lunch. We were at the Trussell Trust but there are other foodbanks – if you see donation points or can help out at one I would really urge you to do so.

The Drinks Report: Instant Teas

The Drinks Report: Instant Teas

Alongside the food report, I am also starting a drinks report – here you’ll find tea, coffee, wine and the occasional wildcard. Enjoy!

As a lover of tea, I was dubious about the idea of instant teas. It conjures up visions of weak Lipton Instant and overly sugary drinks.

But Whittard’s does a really extensive range and over the last year or so I’ve tried several of them and been converted!

First,  it was mulled wine tea – a Christmassy non-alcoholic cup of red spiced tea that is incredibly warming when it’s not actually appropriate to drink wine. I thought this would be cloyingly sweet, as so many instant-Christmas things are. On this occasion, thought, it’s excellent.

 
Mulled Wine Tea

This was just the start of my conversion though. Back home I had the Turkish Apple Tea which my family love. This one can be drunk both hot or cold and is quite frankly delicious. Beware, this is a sweet one – it’s super tangy and flavoursome too but very sugary. In moderation, though, it’s incredible. Add a sprig of mint for a non-traditional addition.

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To make my final conversion, my stocking had a big pot of Dreamtime Tea. It’s flavoured with honey, apricot and vanilla – as my mother said “This is my idea of hell, but I knew you’d love it”. I really do! It’s soothing before bed and really tastes of tea alongside the sweet fruitiness.

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Despite my surprise, I really love these instant teas and can’t wait to try some new flavours.

Do you like instant teas? I’ve only tried Whittard’s ones so far – what are your favourite brands and flavours?

 

The Food Report: Leek and Taleggio Tart

The Food Report: Leek and Taleggio Tart

Since the ‘eating’ section of my weekly report normally takes over the post I have decided to start a separate food report for recipes, reviews and so on. I hope you enjoy it!

This leek and taleggio tart is one that my mother has made for me on several occasions; it comes from a Nigel Slater recipe and it’s delicious. We’re both big fans – cookbooks that I can take to bed with me and properly read are my dream.

This week I thought it was about time I attempted to make it for myself.

Taleggio is an Italian cow’s milk cheese, somewhere between soft and hard. I grabbed mine from Delifonseca and it was a good one, perhaps not as tangy as some that I’ve tried, but deliciously creamy and full of flavour nonetheless. I absolutely love the smell of leeks, and pulling them out of my bag and cooking them down in butter really smelt like the promise of spring. The combination of sweet green leeks and cheese is perfect, almost an upmarket cheese and onion.

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This tart is delicious hot from the oven, oozing milky cheese onto the plate, the pastry glistening and flaky. The next day though, it’s almost even better – when cold it forms proper slices which lift perfectly from the pie. For my day-after portion I had half a slice hot and half a slice cold, so delicious were both options.

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My tart split a little at the top, but I’m never one for worrying too much about presentation. I served it with green beans and spinach with a mustardy dressing, but it would be great with a salad or even some creamy potatoes for a more hearty meal.

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The best bit of this tart might be that I have a little taleggio left over! What would you make with it?