Cooking Without a Kitchen Launches!

Books, Events, Recipes

The countdown has begun, it’s official, my book will be in physical, published and purchasable form ready for the London Art Book Fair next week!

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It is my first cookery book and it is called “Cooking Without A Kitchen”. Comprised of 20 recipes for dishes you can create without setting foot in a kitchen. The original idea was born out of too many business trips resulting in awkward dinners in hotel restaurants. I wanted to cook for myself, to unwind at end of the day. So, I set about creating meals in my room which were tasty, easy and didn’t make a mess or set off the hotel sprinkler system!

The idea grew to many more scenarios where you need to cook but can’t access basic kitchen equipment like an oven, hob or even microwave.

If you would like to find out more please visit the website of Pedestrian Publishing who are not only responsible for the publishing but all of the design as well; like the fantastic cover designed by Nina Vlotides and made from a hand screen printed tea towel!

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I would also be honoured if you would like to pop along to the London Art Book Fair where it first goes on sale. I shall be there at the opening event on Thursday 12th of September, 6pm at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. It would be fantastic to meet fellow bloggers and readers.

If you can’t make it then don’t fret, the book will be on sale via Pedestrian Publishing and I will post information here and on my Facebook page when it goes live.

But for a little taster of what’s to come I have created exclusive recipes for a cocktail and a canapé which you could whip up away from your kitchen. The following recipes do not appear in the book or anywhere else, they’re just for my smashing blog readers without whom none of this would have been possible. Cheers! Xxx

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Canapé: Cinnamon Bagel with Goats cheese and Berries.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon of blackcurrant jam
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1 raisin and cinnamon bagel
Small piece of soft goats cheese (approx 50g)
Handful of fresh blueberries
Few fresh mint leaves

Kit:
2 Teaspoons
Scissors
Grease proof baking paper
Iron & ironing board*
Small bowl
Plate or board for serving

Method:
1. Mix the blackcurrant jam and balsamic vinegar together in a bowl and set aside.
2. Split the bagel in half using the scissors (you can use a knife or fancy bagel slicer but I prefer to carry scissors instead of knives if I’m out and about)
3. Lay the 2 bagel halves out side by side on a large piece of grease proof baking paper. Fold the paper over and seal with folds to make a parcel.
4. Heat the iron to its hottest setting and when it is up to temperature gently iron the parcel for around 5 minutes each side. This will warm the bagel halves and very lightly toast them.
5. Turn off the iron and open the parcel carefully. Use a tea towel to protect your hands as it will be hot. When the bagel is cool enough to handle cut each half into 8 pieces using the scissors.
6. Break the goats cheese into small chunks and use to top each of the bagel pieces.
7. Drizzle each canapé with a little of the jam and balsamic mixture and top with a blueberry.
8. Snip the mint leaves up into fine shreds and sprinkle over all of the canapés to serve. Enjoy immediately.

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Cocktail: Ice-lolly Fizz!
This is a sweet and silly cocktail which allows you to make something chilled and fizzy without a fridge or freezer (just need an ice cream van or a newsagents!)
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of elderflower liqueur
1 fruit ice lolly (pineapple or lemon works best, not ice cream based ones)
Small bottle of sparkling wine such as cava, prosecco or champagne
2 sprigs of fresh mint

Kit:
2 champagne flutes, or plastic/paper cups if you’re outdoors
Tablespoon

Method:
1. Put one tablespoon of elderflower liqueur in each glass
2. Break up the ice lollies and put the pieces into each glass then top up with sparkling wine.
3. Garnish with the mint sprigs and the lolly sticks for stirrers and serve.

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* in this recipe I used an iron to toast the bagel but you can of course use a conventional toaster instead. If you do decide to use the iron you do so at your own risk and please note that using electrical equipment in a way other than which it was intended may invalidate and guarantee or warrantee you have on the product. Please also check with the owner of the iron and ironing board before you get cooking. Xxx

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

In the bag

This year Richard is up in Edinburgh performing in The Collision of Things at the pleasance. So I headed up there for a long weekend to catch up with him, see lots of theatre and eat haggis with every meal! (Haggis pie pictured below)

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There’s still a few days left of the festival so if you’re heading up there here’s my Ed Fringe survival kit:

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1. Hair brush – be prepared for gusty winds and drizzly rain at festival time. There’s no way I’m going to waste valuable fun time heading back to the digs or hotel to get ready for dinner or another show, so much prefer to keep my barnet in check on the go!

2. Umbrella – I know it’s Summer but this is Scotland, it’s beautiful, it’s fun, but it rains.

3. Stapler – If you’re hanging out with performers (very good idea-they know where the good shows are) bring a stapler. As reviews are published they print out quotes and staple them to their flyers and posters. Lend a hand with the admin and they might just reward you with great recommendations or even a complimentary ticket to their show.

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4. Botanics All Bright – refreshing eye roll-on – Do the fringe right and you’ll be in and out of shows from the moment you arrive. Constantly going from the blackouts in the auditorium to the summer sunshine pushing through the rain clouds outside gives your eyes a bit of a rough deal. This cooling eye gunk is the travel equivalent of the old teaspoons in the freezer trick.

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5. Sweater – most venues are pretty warm inside but after about 6pm there’s a definite autumnal vibe outside. Plus, if you drop haggis down you’re t-shirt you can cover up with a nice clean sweater.

6. Cash – tickets can be paid for with card but take a few quid for signed books, programmes and merchandise. It’s such a blur by the end you’ll want a few things to remind you what happened.

7. Pen – there’s no shortage of scraps of paper and what’s on guides but don’t forget a pen to mark what it is you actually want to see or the directions of how to get there.

8. Bag – bring a bag bigger than you need, to stash all the flyers and tickets for the shows you want to go to.

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9. Small towel – hand dryers break…and did I mention it rains?

10. Comfy shoes. You prefer heels? You’re braver than me.

Shows to see:

The Collision of Things – Move to Stand. Richard’s show! There’s a cast of three, original music and…oh if I tell you any more I’ll ruin it, go see it, you won’t regret it.


Colin Hoult: Character Horse
I love going to see Colin’s shows, not just because he often utilises his fine Nottinghamshire accent thus making me feel less homesick but because he’s hillarious.

Battleacts!
Anyone else miss “Who’s line is it anyway?” never fear Battleacts will quench your satirical improvisation thirst. They are a wonderful bunch. And it’s free!!

La Merda – Silvia Gallerano
Ok, there’s a lady, sat on a plinth with no clothes on getting a bit shouty. From that description I wasn’t keen but the reviews were glowing, 4 and 5 stars all over the place. We popped along to see what all the fuss was about. Amazing, go see.

More favourites…

Ben Moor: Each of Us

Missing – gecko theatre

Solfatara – atresbandes

That Pair: Never Liked Her Anyway

Have a wonderful time x

Riverfood

Events, Food Heroes

It’s summertime, so the blogosphere is humming with delicious holiday snaps – pictures of ripe fruits straight from the tree, local village cheeses or fragrant sweets from exotic markets…

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…for the most part I’ll be at home in London, not really known for its fresh produce…although I did rob a bit of elderflower from someone’s garden the other week, ooh and there’s a fig tree near the bus stop (might, also be in someone else’s garden).

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So, when I received an invitation to the launch event for Coopers Restaurant Consultants, on a boat, where all the food was going to be predominantly sourced from the Thames I was excited and dubious in equal proportions.

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We arrived at Festival pier on the Southbank to board the MV Royalty for the #riverfood event. It was a boiling hot but choppy day and the boat rocked enthusiastically from side to side. Once aboard, making our way towards the complementary cocktails I began to recall a sense of wobbly unease, like walking across one of those rope bridges at the adventure playground with your big brother jumping up and down on it at the opposite end.
As Richard and I carefully sipped grapefruit margaritas and watermelon Mojitos we were both unsure how we were going to cope with the seafood based menu should sea sickness fully take hold.

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To our surprise we set sail along the river and even more surprisingly this helped settle us and with wafts of London’s approximation of fresh air drifting in through the windows, we even started to feel hungry.

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Coopers had arranged for some really lovely waiting staff who shuffled along in precarious zigzags carrying huge platters of canapés. The first were Hollowshore Oysters with shallot vinegar and Tabasco jelly followed by a seemingly endless supply of freshly shucked ones. Both were delicious.

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Next we were presented with some zingy Green Tomato Soup with Pickled Whelks served in small painted sake cups.

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Here’s the Estuary Smoked Kipper with Egg & Cress that came next…

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…and I had seconds of the Old father Thames Smoked Pike.

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We snuck out onto the deck to watch the chef in action, barbecuing some zander which was served with smoked bacon, white onions and bay.

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So as well as a pile of fantastic fresh riverfood, I ate my words. London has some wonderful fresh produce, so, fellow staycationers, if the MV Royalty #riverfood ship sets sail again soon get yourselves down to the Thames x

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Foodie Penpals pt. 4

Foodie Penpals

For my July pen pal adventure I got a parcel from Lucia from Lulabella’s Kitchen.
I was away at my cousins wedding when it arrived, but I knew the postman had been because I got a message from my housemate frantically cleaning oil from everything. It appeared the sorting office had been a bit too keen to hurl my parcel to London and in so doing a jar of olives in olive oil had leaked.
This was by no means a disaster (although I think it’s my turn to buy the kitchen paper this week) and it meant that I could legitimately eat ALL of the olives straight away. I ate half of them whilst finishing some of the illustrations for my book (shameless plug!) and the rest went into a tapenade which I served with tomatoes and courgette ribbons.

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After the delicious olives I went straight for the strawberry chocolate. I did this because I had planned to get into shape and start eating much healthier from the following day (recipe testing has basically gone straight to my hips!) and thought it best to eat it all in one go so that I wouldn’t be tempted by it during the week. This is possibly the silliest logic ever. Done now. Anyway, it was thoroughly enjoyed whilst watching The Sweetest Thing – hmm eating chocolate and watching Cameron Diaz films, turns out I’m still 15!

The rest of the parcel contained some whole grain crispbread things which are amazing, a bottle of Polish soup seasoning which I can’t wait to try and some Lebanese sweets. She also included chilli salsa, chilli shot, coffee and to get me drinking milk; some milkshake haribo which I thought was hilarious!

What a smashing parcel with ace illustrations. Oh AND she also does private catering, clearly a sister-from-another-mister!
Thanks Lucia you’re a star!

If you want to see what I sent out for July just head over here

And if you would also like to be a foodie penpal then what the hell are you waiting for:

FOODIE PENPALS UK & EUROPE: HTTP://THISISROCKSALT.COM/FOODIE-PENPALS/

FOODIE PENPALS US: HTTP://WWW.THELEANGREENBEAN.COM/FOODIE-PENPALS/

xx

Going Live!

Events

Pan Roast Strawbs! Great British Chefs asked me to join in their live Google+ hangout on Thursday night. Chef Josh Eggleton was stationed in Stratford’s Westfield Centre demonstrating his dish of Pan Roasted Sweet Eve Strawberries, Spiced Eggy Bread and Warm Elderflower Cream. All I had to do was set up my webcam in the kitchen, log in to the hangout and cook along with Josh, sounds simple…

Ingredients were all good to go, particularly excited about using the elderflower liqueur and after scouring the neighbourhood managed to “acquire” a sprig of fresh elderflower! Ssshhh!
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Pots and pans all lined up ready…
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…now to precariously perch my laptop on a step ladder!
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At about 2 minutes before the cook-a-long was due to start my laptop decided not to recognise the ethernet cable so I had to rely on the wireless connection. My laptop is quite old (I won’t insult it too much in case it crashes whilst I type this) and the router is upstairs so let’s just say it struggled, so I wasn’t able to ask Josh my question live on air (they had to cut to someone else) the joys of live filming!

But, I did manage to finish my dish on time, whoop! If you want a giggle you can watch the whole thing here – Great British Chefs Google Hangout.

I’m the second one in on the bottom row (mostly in shadow, oops!)

I particularly loved making the Elderflower Cream, which was a Sabayon flavoured with Elderflower Liqueur. I had tried sabayon once in Paris (ooh err!) and just assumed it must be ridiculously complicated, but it’s not! Hurrah! There is now a danger that I might become a little bit obsessed with it and start serving it with everything!

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I must admit I did get Richard to do the blowtorch bit, simply because I was far too chicken! We don’t have a kitchen blowtorch so we were using his brother’s DIY one (don’t try this at home kids) it was probably more suited to doing something dangerous with roofing felt but it did the job of caramelising the sabayon beautifully, thanks Rich!DSC05087

Great British Chefs have uploaded a whole load of Strawberry recipes on their site worth checking out and I’ll let you know as soon as Josh’s recipe is available, blowtorches at the ready peeps!

Have a lovely, sunny weekend xx

Foodie Penpals pt. 3

Foodie Penpals

Eek, bit late with this one, sorry dudes! Firstly a big thank you to Georgina from www.whatpegmade.blogspot.co.uk for the really lovely foodie penpal parcel this month including super cute handmade card. lovely handmade card! foodie pen pal gifts

The tea shelf is now very happy with its new additions and I made swift work of the nãkd bars. They’re pretty low guilt as they’re mostly made of squished up nuts and dates so deffo need to have a go at making cereal bars this way.

foodie goodies!

I umm-ed and ahh-ed about what to do with the chocolate because it seemed too exciting to just munch as is…but didn’t want to go too elaborate either because I’d hate to detract from the geranium.

So, after much deliberation here is a very, very simple recipe for chocolate florentines. These fancy chocolate buttons are possibly the easiest chocolates to make and look lovely in a box of handmade truffles or as a super gift to take to a last minute dinner party.

Chocolate Florentines

Chocolate Florentines.

Ingredients

100g of chocolate (I used Montezuma’s Dark Chocolate with Orange & Geranium, but any chocolate you like including white chocolate would be fine)
Handful of mixed nuts, seeds, edible flowers and dried fruits

Method
1. Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
2. Lay a large piece of tin foil flat on a work surface or large chopping board, preferably in a cool place.
3. Carefully drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate onto the foil and spread out so they are just slightly bigger than a £2 coin.
4. Decorate each one with a few nuts, dried fruit etc. It looks really smart if they all look the same.

Decorated with sultanas, hazelnuts, lavender and elderflowers
5. Leave to set hard somewhere cool and serve. They’re really nice with coffee or as and edible decoration to a simple dessert.

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If you would also like to be a foodie penpal then what the hell are you waiting for:

FOODIE PENPALS UK & EUROPE: HTTP://THISISROCKSALT.COM/FOODIE-PENPALS/

FOODIE PENPALS US: HTTP://WWW.THELEANGREENBEAN.COM/FOODIE-PENPALS/

xx

Out of Office

Books

Typing away

So, here’s some news… I’m writing a cook book and it looks like it’s actually going to get published!!!! (currently doing lots of little dances!) anyway, I have to get it all finished by the end of July so I might be a bit quiet on the blogging front. I do promise to keep you posted on all developments & any fun launch events we come up with. Wish me luck you lovely lot!
Smooches! Xx

Miriam Nice

Foodie Penpals pt.2

Foodie Penpals

This month I got a parcel of food related goodies from the marvellous Meg of meg-made.blogspot.com .

As with last months parcel, some of it went immediately, in this case the Hello Sailor chocolate bar. Some good chums of mine are in a band called Hello Sailor, they’re an all girl, ukelele & vocal group, they wear sailor hats and are fantastic fun! Check them out:


Anyway, what else did I get…oh yes, now these tulip papers are wonderful, I’ve attempted to make these quite a few times, usually out of necessity when I’m out of muffin cases. I start by cutting a square of grease proof paper, lay it over the muffin tin hole and then slam a jam jar or pint glass in to form the creases. Sounds like it works really well…sort of does..sort of doesn’t. Conclusion, proper tulip papers look really good.

The hibiscus tea is lovely, Meg suggested that I use it in cocktails so I whipped these up to drink whilst watching Eurovision Song Contest the other week…yep, I’m that cool!

Take 2 bags of hibiscus tea, and pop them in a heatproof jug full of 400ml of boiling water. Add 1 lime which has been sliced and leave to stand until pink. Remove the tea bags and leave to cool. Pour into a bigger jug or carafe and add ice, 4 shots of white rum, the juice of another lime and 1 shot of pomegranate syrup. Put some pomegranate seeds into martini glasses and pour in the cocktail, serve! “Douze points!”

Meg also sent some of this lovely popcorn, check it out once popped!

And finally some dried chillies. I still have the pickling spice from last months parcel so I think a serious pickling/chutney making session is getting very over due! I will keep you posted!

If you’re wondering what I sent out last month have a little wander over to Annika’s lovely blog http://www.allthelivelongday.com/

If you would also like to be a foodie penpal then what the hell are you waiting for:

FOODIE PENPALS UK & EUROPE: HTTP://THISISROCKSALT.COM/FOODIE-PENPALS/

FOODIE PENPALS US: HTTP://WWW.THELEANGREENBEAN.COM/FOODIE-PENPALS/

The Trouble with Trousers

Events, Recipes

Taylor & NiceThis week Bradley Taylor & I have re-launched our catering business Taylor & Nice with a new Private Chef Hire offering. We’ve been booked to do some quite exciting events over the next few weeks, so we’ve been busy buying new chef jackets, plates and cutlery in preparation. I think I could lose whole days in cookware shops. I am completely obsessed with seeing pans in every possibly size – ranging right from dolls house scale to a saucepan I could probably install a kitchen and a couple of bedrooms in.

The only thing we’re struggling with is trousers. Here’s a venn diagram I’ve put together to explain what I mean:

trouble with trousers

Rant over, it’s back to the kitchen to get perfecting some of our recipes ready for our upcoming events. This week I have been putting the finishing touches on a recipe for a melon & ginger biscuit dessert.

Melon Curd

We’re serving this homemade melon curd with lemon posset, ginger biscuits, and fresh melon pieces but I’m sure it would be lovely on toast, stirred through yoghurt or in a tart.

Taylor and Nice biscuitsIngredients:

1/2 a Galia Melon, deseeded and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
200g of caster sugar
100g of unsalted butter
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk whisked together with a fork

Method

1) Put everything except the egg mixture in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water

2) Stir together until the butter has melted

3) Whisk in the eggs and keep stirring or gently whisking for around 15-20mins until the mixture thickens.

4) Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool, don’t forget to remove any remaining melon pieces and discard them (or eat them, they taste a bit like stewed apple and custard) then put the curd in the fridge to chill and thicken up a bit more ready for spreading, or drizzling.

Melon Curd Breakfast

If you’d like to find out more about Taylor & Nice or you know where we can get catering clothes that don’t look like we’ve had little accidents and had to change, please get in touch via our website: taylorandnice.com

x

Pomegranate Syrup

Recipes

Pomegranate Syrup with Pomegranate & Greek Yoghurt

This stuff is brilliant. I came across it whilst testing a recipe for a new Taylor & Nice client, where Pomegranate Molasses/Syrup was listed in the ingredients. I had no idea where to even begin looking for it. Instead I flicked through a few recipes online and got experimenting. Subsequently I have found that it is quite readily available in smaller shops but I quite like making it, it’s really satisfying and you can control the flavour and consistency yourself. I intend to have a go at making similar syrups from other pressed fruit juices; I tried it with pineapple juice and it was equally delicious – any other suggestions?

Pomegranate Syrup with Greek Yoghurt

Pomegranate syrup

Ingredients

300ml of pomegranate juice – you need 100% juice for this not anything labelled “juice drink” because then you’re just concentrating additional sugars, sweetners and water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 dessertspoon of caster sugar

Method

1) Put everything into a small pan over a high heat, occasionally swirling the pan to mix the ingredients, no need to stir

2) Heat until it starts to bubble rapidly

3) Once the mixture is the consistency of runny honey or golden syrup (and has reduced by about two thirds) take it off the heat – and that, is that!

It’s so delicious. The recipe we were working on was chicken based so deffo drizzle a bit on grilled chicken or barbequed meat. I mixed up a quick salad too with a load of couscous, feta, rocket, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of this syrup – delish! It’s very sticky, sweet but also sharp so it works really well with sweet and savoury dishes, also you can drizzle it nicely over the plate so my normal everyday cooking can look super extra fancy 😉

Toasted bagel with cream cheese and either pineapple or pomegranate syrup

Why not have it for breakfast folded through yoghurt with some fresh pomegranate seeds scattered about.

Pomegranate-based Breakfast

It’s Eurovision this weekend too, so if there’s any left it’s going into a cocktail for sure! Yummers! x