Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Porridge of the Week #20: Special Edition!


Porridge of the Week: #20
Thousand Treasure Porridge

Category: Flavoured/ healthy

The night before making, take the Thousand Treasure beans and soak overnight in water. By the morning, the water should be absorbed and the beans swollen. Rinse and drain, then tip into a pan and cover with a suitable quantity of water or sweetened soya milk. Once heated through and at a good consistency, stir in a spoonful of sugar and a generous heap of desiccated coconut, to taste. I also added dried mango and cranberry.
Serve, and top with another tiny shake of sugar and a sprinkle of coconut.

For the 20th of edition I wanted to do a special porridge to commemorate the occasion, which is why I chose Thousand Island Porridge, made with sticky rice, crushed corn, red bean, mung bean, kidney bean, black rice, red jujube, hushed buckwheat, peanut and lotus seed.. My sister got it for me, but you can source it in most Chinese supermarkets. I was a little unsure of how it would turn out, but it was rather lovely- a distinct Chinese blend of savoury and sweet. It's also very nutritious and full of good morning protein.

Porridge of the Week: The 20th Edition Competition!

As this is the 20th ever Porridge of the Week, I wanted to celebrate with a competition! To win, simply send me your favourite or most creative porridge recipe! (Hint: photos or anecdotes may help your chances...)
The recipe that most inspires me will become the 21st Porridge of the Week and the winner will recieve some luxury Fortnum and Mason Porridge and a spurtle.
To enter, simply email me at loulovesfood@mail.com
Please include your name, porridge recipe, and address.
Goodluck, and thankyou for getting involved!

The winner will be announced next week alongside Porridge of the Week #21, and the prize will be sent out via post.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

(Thai) dinner: 19.10.2010


My friend Charlie went travelling round Asia recently. He's one of those people that also geeks out over dishes so I was simultaneously insanely jealous and impressed that he kept a food journal and did a few classes whilst he travelled.
He gave me this recipe for Green Papaya salad and I promised I would try it as soon as possible, so here it is... It's really gorgeous and the flavours are amazing.

Green Papaya Salad

Here's how you do it-
Tip a handful of peanuts, about 3 chopped tomatoes, 2 chopped birds eye chillis (or thai chillis, if you can get them) a chopped garlic clove, a handful of cut green beans and a heap of crushed cashew nuts into a mortar and pestle. Crush the mixture together. If you can get your hands on green papaya, julienne them and crush with the rest if not, then like us, use julienned carrots. It works, and stills still lovely!
It'll get messy, but that's okay...

I used peanuts from the Chinese Supermarkets- vacuum packed with dried chilli- super spicy!

Add a tablespoon of dark soy and another of light soy, a teaspoon of sugar dissolved in water and the juice of a lime. You can tweak this to taste- I like it with lots of chilli and lime. Serve up and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

On the Side:

Thai bay scented prawns with basil lime mayonaise

This one is really easy! I was searching for a side to make this meal more substantial, without moving away from the Asian vibe. I got this from the GoodFood 101 fish and seafood dishes, which I love!

Boil the basil leaves in a pan for a minute and then put into cold water. Drain and tip into a food processor with 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Whizz into a fine paste. Add the mayonnaise and a squeeze of lime juice. Make sure you reserve the skins.
Blend again, then tip into a bowl and chill.
Thread the bay leaves and prawns onto a skewer or wooden stick. Brush with oil and grill for 4 or 5 minutes. Spoon the mix into the lime skins and serve with the prawns.


Food Fact of the Day


The hottest chilli in the world is from Dorset, and measures 92,3000 Scoville Heat Units (A jalapeno has 4,500... ) Pure capsicum powder delivers 15-16 million SHU.
Pharmacists who experiment with it must work in a filtered 'toxic room' wearing a full protective body suit with a closed hood to prevent inhalation.

There are around 3,510 varieties of chilli.

Thanks to John for finding this fact for me, and all his research!


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Chocolate Week: London's Best Chocolatiers


William Curley

A pattissier chocolatier, William Curley has a vast array of both chocolates and patitissier. Teaming up with the equally award winning pattissier Suzue Curley, many of the chocolates have an Asian twist- Szechuan Pepper, Green Tea and Japanese Black Vinegar all grace the extensive menu, alongside more British flavours like Mulled Wine and Thyme and Scottish Heather Honey.
With beautiful and elegant shops in the beautiful and elegant Richmond and Belgravia, William Curley is the place to go for extravagance- with a £15 Dessert Bar set menu that boasts Basil infused icecream, Green tea Creme Brulee and Yuzu Jelly.
LouLovesFood recommends the hot chocolate (the time of year for it!) - The Aztec Hot Chocolate and Gianduja are renowned.
To celebrate National Chocolate Week, William Curley will be collaborating with Claridge's for exclusive Chocolate Afternoon Teas and with Michelin-starred The Bingham, creating a unique Chocolate Lover's menu... Time is running out!

Theobroma Cocoa

My research of the Theobrama Cocoa shop in Chiswick is nothing if not extensive... A sign in itself that the chocolates are good! In contrast to many of their counterparts like Melt... Theobroma chocolates are distinctively light and understated- the Champagne and Lavender Hearts don't try hard to get your attention. They have a strong lavender perfume but are summery, fresh and delicately infused. Even the Caramelised Almond chocolate is light- filled with a fine dry marzipan as opposed to a crunchy praline that I suppose I had expected.
The Assam Tea is a little richer, deep and rich with charcoal flavours. The taste of tea leaves is well balanced against the strong truffle. Other chocolates that pack more of a punch is the Stuffed Fig- with almond, walnuts, orange peel, Cinnamon, French Bourbon Vanilla and Grand Marnier. Phew! The result is sweet and textured, crunchy with strong infusions of flavour and the distinct taste of alcohol.


Looking adorable and classically 'chocolate shop' (or at least the Notting Hill equivelant) Melt... is lined with bowls of chocolates, their flavours written in chalk on blackboards mounted onto the walls. Unlike so many of the other chocolate shops that have to cope with the demand of large scale orders, Melt... restrict their stock so that all their chocolate is still home made- you can see it being created, in fact, in their tiny kitchen at the back of the shop. I truly believe you can taste the love and attention.
Their salted caramels (including Olive caramel) are also beautiful enough to rival Artisan Du Chocolat. No mean feat!
Other flavours worth a go are Peanut Butter and Raspberry jam, Chilli Cube and Coffee and Cardamom Cup. Nice.
I can honestly say I've eaten about half the flavours Melt... stocks, and there are none I wouldn't recommend. The Burnt Orange is a personal favourite, the kind of chocolate you have to stop all else whilst you eat itArtisan Du Chocolat

Artisan Du Chocolat

Cross the road from Melt... and you will find yourself at Artisan Du Chocolat, flanked by tables resembling slabs of chocolate. This is an elegant chocolate boutique selling silver coated chocolate moulded stilettos and their famous liquid salted caramels. With chic Chanel-esque branding, these little round chocolates come in a range of experimental flavours, from Sage and Thyme (No.15) to Madagascan Pink Peppercorns (No.4).

LouLovesFood recommends Red Fruits and Violets O and No.7 Liquid salted caramel. I won't say which flavour it is- why take the fun out of it..?
Artisan also a fantastic cafe menu of coffees, hot chocolates, and amazingly, cocktails.
Chocolate cocktails.
Oh yes.
The cocktail options are stunning and the pudding menu really gets your pulse racing- the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart (below), a rich, oily, salty melting goo of beauty- and well worth the £5 price tag.

Paul A Young

Nestled away amongst backstreets and antique clothing is the magical shop of Paul A Young. Tiny, dark and tucked away, it's like something out of a novel- and being hand made each morning in the shop's chocolate kitchen, his range is renowned. Favourites include Pimms truffle, Chocolate Cheesecake truffle, but there are also some other surprising flavours, including Marmite and Port and Stilton. I wish I could tell you how this one tastes, I'm desperate to try it!
Chocolate Week may come a bit late, but if you find yourself in Angel over the summer, expect to see streams of beaming chocolate smudged faces, home made ice cream gripped in sticky hands. The ice creams are topped with cocoa nibs and molten chocolate, and flavours include white chocolate and raspberry or sea-salted caramel (with 85 per cent dark chocolate).
With a clear passion for his work and a beautiful range of flavours, Paul A Young is one of my chocolate week highlights!

Another area like Notting Hill with a duo of chocolate aristocracies would be Marylebone, home of both Coco Maya and Rococo...

Located in Marylebone, Chelsea and Belgravia, Rococo has made a base in all of London's high end boroughs.
Selling a vast array of chocolate bars including Orange and Cardamom, Rose and Earl Grey, their packaging is as delicate, beautiful and elegant as the chocolate themselves. If you really want to make a feature of chocolate week, they also do chocolate classes, kids parties and (oh my gosh!) chocolate sleepovers.

Coco Maya

Set up by three of London's big fashion players, including founder of Agent Provocateur, Serena Rees, I had expected Coco Maya to follow along similar themes- after all, I'm sure the women folk would agree that chocolate and Agent Provocateur style decadence go hand in hand. So I have to admit I was expecting sumptuous surroundings; rich colours, low lighting and lace... Sexy and sleek. Instead, the tiny Chocolatier and Artisan Bakery "one of London's hippest hangouts" is kitsch and classically English, verging on twee, with decor reminiscent of an English tea party- with gold trimmed bone china tea cup and lace doilies. No less gorgeous, but a little surprising.
I tried the interesting Blackberry and Lime. The first bite oozed an amazing tangy liquid- but the chocolate itself was bland and lacking in any character strong enough to compliment its lovely fruity filling.
I followed with a classic truffle to test this further and found that despite it's soft, rich texture, the chocolate didn't pull through, lacking any punch. Not cool, Coco Maya.
Instead, I recommend nipping in for a peek- and if you do feel tempted, go next door to the Bakery...

Unfortunately, I'm only one girl, and hard as I try, I can't eat everywhere! If you know of any places that the world should really know about, please please leave a comment and let us know! Enjoy Chocolate Week!


Friday, 15 October 2010

Chocolate Week: Chocolate Cupcakes


Here are a range of chocolate cupcakes I was comissioned to make in celebration of Chocolate Week... Om nom.

Banana and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and a topping inspired by Cupcake Junkie.

Double chocolate chip, with chocolate buttercream and hot chocolate drizzle

Double chocolate chip with caramel shapes

Chocolate Irish Cream with white chocolate spiders web- design taken from BBC Good Food

Monday, 11 October 2010

Food Fact : It's Chocolate Week!

The average Swiss person eats 19lbs of chocolate a year.

Hmm. That doesn't sound like all that much to me...
It's Chocolate Week! And whilst it's Chocolate Week, expect a series of Chocolate themed LouLovesFood posts...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Porridge of the Week # 19

Porridge of the Week # 19
Egg and Bacon Porridge

This is a kind of tough one to get right, so there are a couple of ways of doing it. Start by soaking the oats in water and a sprinkle of salt. Warm it through, so it gets properly hot. Whilst this is on the go, grill four rashers of bacon and scramble one egg in a seperate pan. Get the oats to just before the ideal consistency- but a little extra runny.
When it is ready and the egg and bacon is prepped, get a second egg and crack into the centre of the porridge. Leave it to warm for a minute. Stir the edges of the porridge, leaving the egg in the centre. Continue to do this until the egg begins to cook, then stir in. Tip in the scrambled egg and mosr of the bacon, chopped into pieces, leaving some aside, and stir just enough to mix in.
Divide the porridge between two bowls. Top with the remaining bacon and crack black pepper over. Serve.

This is a good porridge for those who don't like sweet things in the morning. It's tough to gt right as the egg can disappear into the oats if added or stirred too early- hence adding a bit of scrambled! You could also chop in a poached egg. I drizzled with a bit of brown sauce, which went down well.
I'm not sure I would do it regularly, but these things have to be tried! It's fun to serve up, at least.


Food Fact of the Day...


Chewing gum has been used since at least the Neolithic period.
5,000 year old chewing gum with tooth imprints, made of birch bark tar, has been found in Kierikki, Yli-Ii, Finland. The bark is believed to have antiseptic and medicinal properties.
The ancient Aztecs also used it as a mouth freshener.

Talking of Gum...

Bompas and Parr is building an Artisanal Chewing Gum Factory an at Whiteleys Shopping Centre opening between 25 – 31 October. People are invited to learn the secrets of chewing gum manufacture at the world’s first mirco-factory.

Each visitor will be able to choose and combine a 200 familiar and unusual flavours including iris, Hendrick’s Gin and tonic, curry and beer yeast. In total 40,000 flavour combinations are possible.

I think I will be checking this out, so if you like the sound of it, just keep hitting my blog!


Thursday, 7 October 2010

Food News: Innocent 5 for 5

Innocent 5 for 5

I really want to try this out, but I don't know if I have time for this amongst cooking school and baking... But if you're in London you should go and try it! Here's what Innocent have to say ...

"Things you should know about our cafe:

1. From 1st October, we’re opening our very own cafe for just seven days.

2. We’ve called it 5 for 5 because you’ll be able to pick and choose your way to 5 a day for only £5.

3. Our menu has been designed by guest chef Gizzi Erskine.

4. You’ll find our cafe in The Tramshed, next to Old Street in East London.

5. It’s bookings only. Tickets are limited so bagsy yourself a seat right now. "

What a lovely idea...


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Cupcakes of the Week...

I've been a busy girl- and I'll be a master baker in no time!
Check out http://www.blogger.com/www.chez-nu.blogspot.com for the whole of yesterday's baking collection. All of the sugar paste decorations are made by me. I love the bear! Not really my style, but I really enjoyed modelling with the fondant...
Go take a look- I hope you like them!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Eye Candy!

'Somewhere in a secret kitchen, new forms of confectionary are being brought to life. Armed with a dizzying array of edible glitters, powder pigments and a host of magical ingredients, the Curious Confectioner’s creations disregard the traditional confectionary forms in a bid to entertain new possibilities of both form and function. Employing a hand and eye for artistry, a healthy dose of humour and a desire to innovate and subvert, this Confectionery wizard is on a mission to take the artistry of sweet delights where it has never been before and to share his adventures with the world'.

When I first set up LouLovesFood, I introduced you to Cupcake Junkie, the photostream of pretty and inspired cupcake porn. After attending the Experimental Food Society, I am now a regular lurker of my new favourite food crush- The Curious Confectioner.

These cakes don't just look good enough to eat. His chocolate bird-topped creations are filled with pomegranate, violet and rose fondant filling.

Other cakes include Burger and Fries muffins and a dead rodent cake. Obviously.
(Actually, I wish I had the thought of that. It's not something you would really expect to have an obvious target audience but I'm sure it would send my sister into a paroxism of joyful squeels...)


Friday, 1 October 2010

The Experimental Food Society



The Experimental Food Society

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that food isn't just something we consume to survive. It goes beyond sandwiches from Pret or getting the right nutritional fat-to-mineral-to-protien ratio on a plate. As as artist as well as a cook, it's fascinating to see food and art come together. It's refreshing to be shown that food isn't just art when it comes on an oversized plate with a Michelin star (or three...) and that you don't need to have attended Leith's and spent twenty years in a kitchen to make an impact on the food industry. And I can't think of a more exciting way to be reminded of this than by The Experimental Food Society.

Last week The Experimental Food Society 'The UK's most talented culinary creatives' held their annual edible exhibition, to showcase the new ways in which the gourmet artist's blend food with art, entertainment and science.

I booked my tickets weeks ago and ticked off the days to this year's event held in the Brick House on Brick Lane- and on Saturday I trotted down, camera in hand...

Bompass and Parr Ether Jelly

Feasts of the senses included a life sized suckling pig cake, a sculpted fondant gorilla and Paul A Young's Burning Ember Truffle -filled with black cardamom, tobacco and chilli.

Simon Smith at work, carving sculptures out of margerine.

I chatted with Paul Wayne Gregory, who proved chocolatiers are some of the most passionate members of the food world, whilst rolling out his champagne and white rum truffles.
I also enjoyed Ginger's icecream; 'This Monkey's Gone to Heaven' was a gorgeous mix of Banana, peanut and bitter chocolate - served out of an old school icecream van.

Its Paul O'Grady- A portrait comissioned by Jelly Belly and made of Jelly Beans. I do not know why. Impressive. Bemusing... But impressive.

A Carl Warner food landscape.

... Till next year! xxx !