My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

My philosophy

This blog is dedicated to my love of eating, cooking, writing and reading about food. In it you'll find recipes, book reviews, restaurant reviews and various other food related bits and pieces.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Elif Turkish BBQ restaurant

Hey guys, just a quick note; apologies this review is a couple of days old- I've been up to my eyeballs in freelance work, plus the slog of the old 9-5... anyway, enjoy!

You know that Sunday morning feeling? You're hungover, tired, can't be bothered to even get dressed? Definitely don't want to cook, or simply can't cook (due to the delicate nature of the stomach after a night on the tiles!)

I know what you need... something to soak up all those nasty spirits you consumed, something a little classier than your Donner or Shish kebab... you need to go to Elif's!

This was the situation I found myself in. Sunday night. Bored, hungry, hungover, so a little pick-me-up was in order, and my stomach wanted one thing, and one thing only- meat, meat and more meat! Considering we were on our merry way to a kebab house, we were certainly going to the right place!

To counteract my throbbing headache, I started off with a beer, we certainly did the trick (hair of the dog...) My partner and I chose to share a couple of Mezes- we opted for the char-grilled peppers with Feta cheese, olive oil and garlic and the Calamari tubes stuffed again, with feta and parsley. My goodness these were tasty! Just thinking back to them now is making me salivate! The contrast between the fresh textures with the smoky, charcoal aroma was phenomenal- and that was just for starters!

For our main course, we decided to opt for the popular Southern Turkish dish, Adana, made with succulently spiced lamb, chili flakes, peppers and flat leaf parsley. Again, the range of textures and flavours were very palate pleasing, along with the sharp sou
rness of the jalapeno on the side!

After failing to finish my meal (due to the colossal size of it) I decided I still deserved a pudding- or to share one at least... Simply ice-cream. I don't think my stomach would have thanked me had I put any more chillies its way...

My advice- book it! This place gets very busy, very qu
ickly. Not your fanciest of restaurants, but a great place to socialise and recover!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Victorian Farm- BBC2

By trying to escape the daily drudgery of life by relaxing to some television, it's easy to forget how different life was some 200 years ago.

It's hard to feel sorry for yourself (and your aching feet) when watching 21st Century archaeologists and domestic historians slogging their guts out at a Victorian farm...
The progression of farming and its related technology is explored using local craftsmen and historians, as the team of three continue to live authentically as Victorians for the year.

Set to the lush backdrop of The Acton Hall Estate, Shropshire, Goodman, Langlands and Ginn pit themselves against the elements in an attempt to live
life the Victorian way. For starters, they have to restore a dilapitated farmhouse (uninhabited for 50 years!)and forage for food and kindling, before they can even thing of getting livestock (or a hot meal)!

This is not your usual nostalgic 'tea towel history
' documentary. This program highlights the back-breaking, labour intensive chores the everyday Victorian farmer (and his wife) encountered in order to sustain both themselves, their farm, and their livestock. But, despite the grim truth, certain matters hit home. By highlighting the lost art of family entertainment such as parlour games, it defines the importance of simple things we modern-folk take for granted- such as daylight!

To me this is absolutely fascinting, as I have a profoun
d interest in the Victorian era. But I can't help but be overwhelmed with a certain sense of sadness when I watch programmes such as this. It highlights the importance of the individual before, during and after the industrial revolution, as well as keeping community spirit alive through the local parish.

Both human and animal labour were be
coming obsolete, making way for steam technology in the wake of the industrial revolution.
I'll certainly keep following this series that demonstrates the way that all societies are shaped through the food production process.

Product of the month

September's product of the month is the very versatile, and very tasty- Jamon Serrano. This traditionally produced Spanish ham is much loved throughout the country, and indeed, the world. It keeps alive the age old rituals such as the slaughtering and curing processes (which can take up to 18 months) of these specially reared pigs. This country ham is a source of great pride among Spaniards.

The secret (i've heard) to a good Jamon joint lies in its curing. Traditionally in the rural areas of Spain, family and friends gather to slaughter their livestock in preparation for the winter months.

After being placed in salt briefly, the selected joints are hung. As the seasons continue to progress, changes in temperature affect the curing process. It’s only when an experienced butcher inserts a splinter of cow bone into the meat and sniffs it, that anyone knows it’s ready.
A lengthly process, but i'm sure you'll agree, well worth the wait. Great to use for an impressive Antipasti platter, or in cooking in place of ham or bacon, for something a little more sophisticated.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Me, a slacker? Never!

I feel guilty... Lately i've been neglecting my baby (my blog) but I intend to remedy this with lots of new and exciting features. Starting from.... tomorrow! Give a gal a break!
Now to eat my curry!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Talk about Freaky Eating!

Like most of the population, the world over I like to browse YouTube every once in a while to see what's what. I also like to look up recipes, amateur cooking shows (as well as Cooking with Coolio!) and various other miscellanies.

The video below however, is in a league of its own... whoever came up with the concept for this advertising campaign needs help- and fast! Enjoy!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival Coverage

To add to my ever-expanding portfolio of work, click here to read my article about locally sourced produce, focusing in on Welsh Black Beef- a meaty issue which concerns us all!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Catfish, a purr-fect meal...

Sadly, last night I attended the leaving meal of one of my favourite colleagues- Petra.

She returns to Slovakia this Saturday to start University at the end of the month (so good luck to her!)

Over the past months, I've shared cocktails, tequila and tapas with this great gal, and last night we went for an all-out Mexican feast (or as Mexican as you can get in Liverpool at least!)

About ten of us walked into Tavern Co. in Queen's Square, and we hadn't booked a table or anything (how rude!) we were there on a whim... Luckily, we were eagerly greeted by the accommodating, friendly members of staff.

We ordered wine as we waited for late comers and were promptly shown to our table, slightly inebriated by this point.

At first glance of the menu, I couldn't see past the burritos, enchiladas and other 'typical' dishes that I occasionally make at home... and then I saw the catfish...

Now I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who like's to try things I've never eaten or cooked before, just to break the monotony of meal time. As well as broaden my palate! And after sharing a communal plate of Nachos, and other tempting nibbles, I was certainly ready to wolf down the Cajun-style catch of the day!

Described as 'Creole fish and chips' this interesting twist on a British classic intrigued me. Coming from the sea-side village of St. Ives in Cornwall, I'm used to high quality, award winning fish and chips, but never in my life have I had my fish southern fried, with corn on the cob on the side!

In my book, this combination worked. The catfish was light and moist, the batter was crisp, golden and well seasoned, and the 'Texas fries' (or potato wedges to you and me) were a nice, unobtrusive touch.

My only criticism would be that the piece of fish was actually too big for me! This is coming from someone who constantly grazes throughout the day, and was utterly ravenous by the time she ordered! My eyes must be bigger than my belly...

Anyway, I ate as much as was humanly possible, before reluctantly sharing the remnants with my co-diners and went to bed, full of wine, fish and warm southern spices!

My advice- book it! But make sure you go with a group of friends, this is rib-sticking food at it's finest, made for sharing!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

My version of a simple supper... Spaghetti Carbonara

I'm sure as an avid follower of my blog, you'll have read my review of Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers...

Now, I didn't completely write it off, but instead, took inspiration from it, devising my own version of a classic dish Carbonara (please note that I work in a deli and kind of planned to have this dish in advance, hence the lavish ingredients!): Remember, this ISN'T a recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take some onion and garlic, fry it in a little olive oil until golden. Add sliced mushrooms, continue to cook until golden. Add some double cream and a splash of sherry, allow to bubble. Reduce the heat. Add some spaghetti to a pan of salted water. Add some shredded Serrano ham, grated Parmesan, sun dried tomato, seasonings and a few drops of Truffle oil to the mushroom mix. Drain the pasta and mingle with the sauce. Crumble over some goat's cheese and cracked black pepper.

In true Slater-style, this dish is completely adaptable and can be made with bacon, ham, pancetta, mascarpone and many other contrasting flavours. This dish was very rich and creamy, real comfort eating and by my standards, this IS a recipe.

So what are you talking about Mr Slater? You've made me look like a hypocrite! Any form of instruction when it comes to food is a recipe, not my words, but the Oxford English Dictionary's (and who can argue with that?)-

"a list of ingredients and instructions for preparing a dish. something likely to lead to a particular outcome: a recipe for disaster.

— ORIGIN Latin, ‘receive!’ (originally used as an instruction in medical prescriptions)."

A true taste of summer @ Esteban

Well hasn't the weather these past few days been glorious? It feels like mid-summer, with the intense heat and beautiful sunsets (and the amount of wasps and bees still buzzing about).

So, in the spirit of summer, my partner and I decided to have a late lunch on Lark Lane (try saying that 3 times without tripping over your tongue!) and we headed to our favourite
little tapas restaurant- Esteban.

We frequent this restaurant quite regularly, and it's always a casual affair, usually starting with a refreshing bottle of beer with a chunky wedge of lime.

Sure enough, we were seated outside in the courtyard, sipping our cerveza and perusing the menu, and I honestly felt that I was on holiday somewhere in the Mediterranean. Had it not have been for the congregation of mums with their kids clad in Liverpool football strips!

But then, you always meet English people when you're on holiday, right?

As it was a late lunch in the blazing sun, we kept it light, opting to share the Bruschetta, which was crisp, drizzled in Olive oil and stacked with chunks of fresh tomato, feta and herbs.
We also had two other dishes to ourselves. I had my favourite- Mussels in a cream and white wine sauce, a simple classic. It delivered on taste and texture, the sauce was thick and had lovely chunks of red onion running through it. The only disappointment was that a cou
ple of the mussels hadn't opened!

My other dish was aubergine topped with sun dried tomato, Serrano ham and mozzarella. Greedily ploughing my way through the succulent slices of aubergine,
the contrast between the creamy cheese and salty ham cut through the sweet tomato, and was very pleasing to the palate!

Obviously we chopped and changed our tapas- as is the way..
. and we decided to have Cheshire Farm ice-cream for dessert from the new Moon and Pea Deli on Lark Lane. The perfect finish to an endless summers day! This place is usually packed, so my advice is Book it!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Delifonseca @ Liverpool Food and Drink Festival 13th-21st September

This Sunday sees the launch of the 2nd Liverpool Food and Drink Festival which promises bigger and better bites and nibbles of knowledge from around the globe than last year! With support from The Mersey Partnership and Liverpool City Council, this year’s events guarantee a family experience with a difference.

Candice Fonseca, owner of Delifonseca on Stanley Street adds emphasis on the impact of this intrinsic cultural collaboration: “The success of last year’s festival has already created an impressive list of sponsors and supporters for 09’s event and speaks volumes about the magnitude of the city’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene.”

Launch day Sunday 13th sees 60 stall holders congregate in Sefton Park, including local chefs, foodies, and more nationally renowned brands such as Industry experts offer advice and knowledge as to how to get the best from your local suppliers without breaking the bank. As if that wasn't enough, special celebrity Chef Marco Pierre White will be drawing in crowds in the thousands!

To name a few local food heroes, Delifonseca, Host, Quarter, Keith’s Food and Wine Bar and Chilli Banana will be providing tasty treats and samples on their stalls, as well as a chance to purchase some goodies to take home.

Remember to get there quick though as there’s goody bags for the first 1,000 visitors (which ran out in record timing last year!)
Demonstrations, talks and workshops provide sustenance for the launch event, more light-hearted pastimes include live music, arts and crafts, face painting and other child friendly activities (sponsored by FamilyGoLive) as well as a German Beer tent for the dad’s!

Spanning over the following seven days, participating restaurants all over the city will focus on themed events:

Monday £15 a head-
featured restaurant, Delifonseca will be providing a chance to sample the highly sought after prime Welsh Black beef ribeye steak. And if you think that’s a bit of a mouthful, then you’re in for a treat for the rest of the week!

Tuesday plays host to the Chocolate or cheese night. Need I say any more? If chocolate’s your thing, then make sure you book a table on Tuesday! If you’re not inclined to indulge in such sweet practices, there an alternative savoury cheese platter.

Wednesday and Thursday play host to traditional British cuisine with a Delifonseca twist. Expect to see locally inspired sharing platters as well as slow-cooked meals infused with regional real ales.

Friday’s fish evening sees the return of Delifonseca’s famous Deluxe Fish Stew. Packed with Saffron, olive oil and a medley of fish. Be sure to book a table for this event as the stew sold out by early evening last year!

At various locations around the city, Let’s do Lunch! on Saturday emphasises the lunch on the go, providing light bites, and dining with a difference.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the final course of the week, Sunday’s Hope Street Feast delivers a
day of free food, promotional offers, film, dance, theatre and a farmers market, giving you a chance to unwind and digest at a somewhat leisurely pace.
For more information visit and don’t forget to vote for your favourite restaurant to win!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers, BBC1, 7.30pm

Nigel Slater's latest series kicked off this evening with an informative programme entitled: Making it up isn't making do. In it, he insists that you don't need to follow recipes or rules, yet he instructs us to use certain ingredients, but encourages adapting these 'recipes'.

In my eyes, Slater is easily the most inoffensive cook on TV (he doesn't even call himself a chef!), familiarising himself with the audience by recounting his quirky tales of the endless battle between himself and his mischievous garden critters... He even visits an allotment where a seemingly normal couple (I say seemingly because not only does the guy not like vegetables, he also has a really peculiar mullet) grown their own veg. He promptly rustles up a medley of vegetables which they gratifyingly wolf down (thus converting mullet man)- not really an inspiring dish.

The ongoing meals Slater suggests are supposedly a weeks worth of grub- providing you've got your own vegetable patch/allotment and an endless supply of Parma Ham and Parmesan. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed
Simple Suppers, I just wish it wasn't so preachy about 'grow your own.'

Something else that didn't sit well with me was the soundtrack. It doesn't really fit Slater's persona. He's more of a romantic, savouring flavour and memory together, none of which I think fit the criteria of the warblings Duffy!

Slater goes on to meet renowned garlic farmer, Colin Boswell, of the Isle of Wight (who I actually met at the Harrogate Speciality Food show earlier in the year). This is a man who's passion for all things garlic, knows no bounds. So suffice to say, I think he would've been a little disappointed at Slater's offering of Goats Cheese on Garlic Toast!

Do I think I'll be watching the show next week? Surprisingly- yes! As next week's programme is all about using up leftovers. So as long as it doesn't involve using any scraps of Foie Gras or black Truffle I might just have knocking about, then I'm in!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Guy’s Oyster Festival, Preston, Sunday 6th September

After a grey start to the day, our journey concluded in the lush rural outskirts of Bilsborrow, Preston. Guy’s Thatched Hamlet was quite overwhelming, more like a village, or a theme park than a pub or tavern. A drink by the canal was good place to start, it seemed, after having to squeeze past the colossal queue for food leading out the door. I did however, manage to muscle my way to the bar.
From the long list of guest ales displayed on the blackboard, I selected the Pendle Witches Brew (a Lancastrian ale) and settled down canal-side to plan our itinerary.We decided to take a short stroll around the site, passing canal boats, and lots of locals with their dogs. We explored the various smoke emporiums, gift and curios shops, getting a great sense of nostalgia. This quaint hamlet holds many elements in its folds. And we were pleasantly surprised as we passed a three piece rag-time band, playing superb Clarinet and Trumpet solos outside Guy’s very own version of Hi-di- Hi. The red arrows passed overhead as we continued to the 18th Annual Oyster festival.
Upon entering the tent, we were greeted by the smell of hot carvery beef and bouncy castles, as hoards of children with hula hoops begged their parents to watch them. It was Family Fun Day after all. I just came for the Oysters though.
As I approached the bar to buy my first Guinness and my vouchers for the Oysters, my heart sank as I was informed that they were out of Oysters completely! After guzzling their way through 7,000 Oysters so far, in all honesty, I wasn’t surprised. So instead, I opted for the next best thing, clam chowder and a seafood salad...
At £3.50, the Clam Chowder was rich and creamy, not quite as chunky as I’d have liked but it had a lovely texture all the same. Contrasting with the coarse grain in the traditional Irish wheaten bread with lots of butter, this was a meal in itself.
The seafood salad was a more substantial £8.50 and plenty for two people to share! Consisting of crab claws, salmon fillets, mussels, prawns with Marie Rose sauce, king prawns, coleslaw and a salad garnish, there were so many elements to choose, from this fresh, simple dish.
The entertainment continued as we watched the cricket outside. The Irish band had taken a break and the children eagerly awaited the Punch and Judy show. We watched in awe as Uncle Martin persuaded the children to wake up Punch!
This festival has something for everyone. As young city-dwellers, used to going to pubs and clubs, this made a nice change, as we were able to explore at our leisure and sample the many delights that Guy’s has to offer. We wound down the day with a friendly game of pool in ‘Owd Nell’s Canalside Tavern and vowed that next year, we’d be getting there earlier for the Oysters!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Resurrection

Several years ago, I came up with a format for a website called The Pudding Pundit. Now I'm not sure if any of you visited it when it was running on The Monro website, but I've decided to give it another go. The format was simple, informative and effective, aiming to educate people as well as get them cooking. With original insight and research into the history of the pudding in question as well as fun seasonal facts and of course, a recipe.
So that's another taste of things to come for the month of September.

I'm off to the land of nod on the eve of Guy's Oyster Festival, but I'll be posting pictures and a review tomorrow on my return!
Adios amigos!

Friday, 4 September 2009


Oysters are a recently discovered favourite food of mine. This Sunday I'll be indulging myself at Guy's Oyster Festival Family Fun Day in Preston, where I'll have a chance to sample fresh, local seafood and Oysters (with Guiness of course!) And maybe watch a Punch and Judy show, and get my face painted while I'm there???
There will be a review upon my return...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Chelsea Buns

For one reason or another, every time I've attempted to use yeast, it's gone horribly wrong. I either ended up with inedible rocks of clay or a plasticine-like dough that failed to rise in or out of the oven. But today, my luck changed. Whether it was due to my patience, not over-working the dough or sheer luck, my Chelsea Buns turned out beautifully (as evidenced below). I adapted the recipe from an old Sainsbury's Cookbook Healthy Eating Cookbooks- Bread by Sarah Brown.

Chelsea Buns

50g Sultanas
150ml Peach Iced Tea
1 tsp Dried Citrus Peel
15g Fresh Yeast
65ml Warm Milk
25g Butter
1 Egg
A Tablespoon of Clear Honey
300g Strong White Flour (sifted)
A pinch of Salt
A sprinkle of Cinnamon
A sprinkle of Golden Caster Sugar
Milk (for glazing buns)

1. Stew the Sultanas, peel and iced tea in a saucepan on a medium heat for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat.
2. Whisk the yeast and warm milk together. Leave to ferment for 5 minutes (until frothy).
3. Melt half of the butter, add to the yeast along with the egg and honey, beating well.
4. Add about 75g of the flour and beat again until no lumps remain. Leave this batter in a warm place for 15 minutes to ferment.
5. Beat in the remaining flour and the salt and begin to knead (with floured hands).
6. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until dough becomes elastic.
7. Roll dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl covered in cling film, to prove for 30 minutes.
8. Place dough on a floured surface, and roll out with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape. Lightly spread the remaining butter over the surface to the edges. Sprinkle over some Cinnamon to taste.
9. Drain any remaining liquid off the sultanas and sprinkle over the dough.
10. Roll up the dough from the long side and cut into 4cm sections. Place buns sideways, on a greased baking sheet, and cover with a clean tea towel to prove for a further 20 minutes.
11. Brush buns with a little milk to glaze, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and bake in a pre-heated oven 200
°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 8-10 buns

To spice things up....

I'm adding a new feature to my blog (drum roll please)...
it's my
Blog of the Month- Kitchen Retro.
September brings with it rain, wind and a sense of nostalgia, as vague memories of crunching through piles of leaves on a blustery autumnal morning as a child come
flooding back.
This blog however, is a little before my time. Never the less, it evokes memories of a bygone era that we can all relate to in one way or another, as we're educated as to the demands of being a
'retro domestic Goddess'.
Highlighting the 1940's and 1950's targeted style, my particular favourite features on the site, were the carefully selected images (see right) depicting some very strange gadgets indeed. These give 'creations' definitely give insight into the values of society and the position women held within it. Articles on how to 'ensnare' a man are made light of with these bizarre ad-campaigns targeted specifically at the housewife- well I never!