Interview for Qype Does London Blog



I've been interviewed for Qype's blog! Find out all the riveting things I have to say about blogging, Brighton's hidden gems and squirrels here.

BOOK REVIEW & RECIPE: Terre á Terre, The Vegetarian Cookbook by Amanda Powley with Philip Taylor and a Bum recipe



Terre á Terre is an incredibly successful restaurant in Brighton. It's a restaurant that in many ways has elevated vegetarian food, making it well, sexier. No hemp, no hippies, no sticky tablecloths, no iffy music. It's amazing that there aren't more veggie restaurants like this one, because the concept is simple; to treat food like any other top quality restaurant, sans meat. No apologies and no substitutes. Just well presented and with original thought that keeps people going back again and again.

So I was interested to hear they had released a cookbook as I think they may well be one of the first Brighton restaurants to do so. Cracking it open, I couldn't remember being so excited about cooking from a book. The photography is truly a feast for the eyes. I mean, for one, the food has all been styled vertical, standing proud as punch on the plate. Perspex sheets give the food a glossy, sexy edge, a contrast to the typical styling for this genre where natural, homely and rustic is the norm.



The instructions at first glance will really put the willies up you, especially as most recipes span over two pages, but on closer inspection you will see that the recipes are all broken down into separate elements that you can include or exclude. If you go through it all you'll see that the components themselves are generally not that difficult either, just be careful as some parts will need making ahead and refrigerating, setting or cooling etc.



This is not really my sort of everyday food (or I doubt many peoples) but it really inspires you to hone down your cooking techniques. I see it as an achievable challenge as it is approachable and not some uber-chefs' ridiculous egotistical instructions including lots of equipment that most restaurants even will not own. The copy is warm, friendly and encouraging.

I really wanted to cook the Elephant and Rocket Oil Twice Baked Soufflé which is a twice baked Jerusalem artichoke soufflé, wrapped in hazelnut and rosemary parchment pastry with elephant garlic velouté and rocket oil. I mean look at it:



Unfortunately, and after a bit of advice from the restaurant direct on Twitter, I was unable to get some of the ingredients. But I will conquer this bad boy one day when I can get the garlic in season.

So what to cook? In true end of the pier Brightonian humour, I went for the Bum. A sweet sheep's milk cheesecake, with sambuca-soaked sultanas, served with lemon rosemary syrup and warm walnut biscotti. I chose this as like some of the other recipes, it champions local produce, in this case the amazing Sussex Slipcote cheese. This is in some ways my perfect "Happy Ever Afters" as I'm often torn between a cheese board or something sweet. This combines the two successfully, packing in a hell of a lot of flavours and textures. I'll also be making the biscotti again on their own, just to have around the house for coffee dunking.



Recipe: Bum
Serves 6

Walnut biscotti
200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground star anise
1 teaspoon baking powder
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 2 limes
2 eggs and 2 yolks, beaten
150g walnuts, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon fennel seeds

Place the flour, sugar, star anise, baking powder, citrus zests and fennel seeds in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the beaten egg mix and work together to form a sticky dough. Mix in the walnuts and turn out on to a floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough, for ease of handling, and roll the mix into a sausage shape about 30cm long.

Place gently on a lined baking sheet, but do not worry if it breaks as it is easy to stick back together. Bake at 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and set. The mix will spread and rise as it cooks. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes then place on a chopping board and gently cut with a serrated knife into 2cm slices. (There should be about 16 in all.)

Put the slices back on to a baking tray and dry out in the oven at 130ºC/Gas Mark ½ for about 20 minutes. Cool down and store in an airtight container. The biscuits will keep for a couple of weeks.

Sweet sheep’s milk cheesecakes
400g soft sheep’s milk cheese (Sussex Slipcote is ideal)
1 egg and 3 yolks, beaten
50g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
400ml double cream
6 rosemary sprigs
2 teaspoons olive oil

for the sambuca sultanas
about 45ml sambuca
100g sultanas

First prepare the sambuca sultanas. Pour sambuca over the sultanas to cover, and leave to marinate at room temperature for 24 hours.

You can make individual cheesecakes or one large round: choose 6 deep rings 7.5 x 5cm, or 1 deep spring-form tin 25 x 5cm. Crumble the cheese into a bowl and add the egg mix, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice. Mix with a spatula to form a smooth paste, then add the cream in 2 batches until combined. Stir in the soaked sultanas and mix well.

Now line your rings (this sounds more complicated than it is). For the small rings cut a 15cm square of greaseproof paper and gently mould it into the rings, taking care not to tear it and leaving a slight overhang. (Use the same principle for the large ring mould.) Carefully fill the moulds with the cheese mix. Coat the rosemary sprigs in olive oil and push a sprig into the centre of each mould (or press all the sprigs into the large single mould). The rosemary will infuse into the cheese mix as it cooks.

Place the rings in a deep sided roasting tray and pour in hot water to come three quarters of the way up the sides of the rings. Bake at 160ºC/Gas Mark 3 for 20 minutes. Once set, remove the rings from the bain-marie on to a flat tray and leave to cool. Refrigerate until needed.

Rosemary syrup
200g caster sugar
200ml water
2 rosemary sprigs
zest of ½ lemon, cut into strips
juice of ½ lemon

Bring the sugar and water to the boil, then and add the rosemary and lemon zest. Simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain. Finally, mix in the lemon juice. Refrigerate until needed.

To assemble
Remove the rings from the cheesecakes and carefully peel off the greaseproof paper, then place on serving plates. Serve each cheesecake with a couple of warm biscotti (they can be heated gently at 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 for just a few minutes) and some rosemary syrup drizzled over the top. A large, single cheesecake can be cut and served in a similar way.



This book has really reignited my passion for the restaurant, and I really think will be a book to benchmark vegetarian cooking (hence the italic The in the title). A perfect gift and reading for both vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Terre á Terre, The Vegetarian Cookbook is published by Absolute Press and costs £20.00.

With thanks to Absolute Press for this review copy and all the dreadful Bum puns.

REVIEW: Dehesa charcuterie and tapas bar, London

I needed to find a decent place to eat at 3pm in London on a recent trip up. Seemingly this is no easy challenge. All the good places understandably shut between lunch and dinner and the prospect of eating in some mediocre chain establishment sank my little heart. To the rescue came Dehesa, a Spanish/Italian charcuterie and tapas bar. Hurrah!

I love tapas, but so often all I get a reheated little plates of overpriced food yet I try and try again. And sometimes it pays off.



Things however did get off to a lukewarm start. The Padrón Peppers (£3.65) that I had been hearing so much about were not the taste sensation I was expecting. Pleasant yes, but I was left wondering what the hype was about. But then came in the Courgette Flowers with Monte Enebro and Honey (£7.40). On the face of it it seems a little on the expensive side for two flowers but my goodness, worth every penny once you taste them. The inside of the flower revealed gorgeous, salty, gooey goat cheese that worked incredibly well with the sweetness of the honey. Amazing. Quite possibly the nicest thing I have eaten for a while.



Also good were the three Manchegos with Membrillo (£7.15) - one of my favourite cheeses next to Pecorino, Chorizo a la Plancha (£4.00) had a super kick and as I have said before the oil released from grilled or fried chorizo is one of the best tastes out there. Fact. The Prawns a la Plancha with Saffron Potatoes, Piquillo Peppers and Chilli (£6.75) won prettiest plate.

I've never had duck livers before I don't think so I ordered them here with Manzanilla, Caramelised Onion, Raisins, Pine Nuts and Migas (£5.75). I loved the sweetness of the dish but they were served very, very rare and although tender, chomping down on raw liver is not my idea of fun. Cooked a bit more for my liking and this would have been a great dish. What WAS a great dish was the Confit of Old Spot Pork Belly with Rosemary Scented Cannellini Beans (£6.25). Crispy crackling and soft, sweet pork. And I'm totally stealing the idea of the rosemary scented beans too.

We also had a Classic Tortilla (£4.00) which is always good, Patatas Fritas with Romesco Sauce and Alioli (£3.50), the sauces being better than the potatoes which were glorified chips really and I wasn't keen on the olive oil served with the Chargrilled Country Style Bread (£2.50).

I did eye up the charcuterie selections where you could choose from either Italian or Spanish meats but I really couldn't eat a single bite more.

Lovely interior, really nice staff in a great location which is open all day at the weekends. A perfect place for a very late and long lunch. So late in fact that it ran right into my next meeting with friends for dinner. Ooof.

At £70 for 3 people with only two glasses of wine ordered in total, it isn't the cheapest lunch in London but is a price definitely worth paying. After eating so well at Dehesa I would love to try out their sister restaurant Salt Yard on my next trip up.

Dehesa
25 Ganton Street
London W1F 9BP
+44 (0) 20 7494 4170

RECIPE: Valentine special, Edward's Chocolate and Amaretti pot



When Mr Graphic Foodie temporarily worked in sales in London (which included selling his soul) there were certain perks. One of these came from a chap he used to work with called Edward, who made the most wonderful sweet treats and brought them into work for everyone to share. Due to the amount of people working in the office only a select few got a taste of these, and I soon realised that when Mr GF brought me home a little taster of these cakes and cookies that it was a real sign of true love as he often had to forgo a taste himself. Can't say I would have done the same for him!

This chocolate pot was one of my favourites and luckily Mr GF got the recipe from Edward before he left. Edward, I never met you or know where you are but thanks for the recipe and hope you don't mind me posting it here! Share the love and all.

This recipe is so easy, something between a chocolate fondant and chocolate cake. The textures of this dessert are fantastic, the richness of the chocolate, the chewiness of the crushed amaretti biscuits and the gooeyness of the centre.



The flowers are a bunch of Fairtrade roses and lisianthus sent to me by Interflora. Thanks very much. Mr GF may share his food but he seemingly hasn't figured out how to order flowers so it was a real treat! Anyway, I like Fairtrade products because the price paid to the producers and workers includes a premium that is invested in projects that benefit workers and their families. Schools, health centres, facilities - that sort of thing. Nice Interflora are doing the same.

Inspired by the flowers, I decided to use a Fairtrade dark chocolate flavoured with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon spices and orange oil (from the Co-op) which worked really well but also good is just a plain chocolate that I normally use.

Makes 2

Ingredients
45g Plain chocolate (or flavoured - one with rose may be nice, I love the Organic Seed and Bean Company's Fairtrade chocolate with Rose)
45g Butter
1 Large egg
45g Caster sugar
12g Plain flour
15g Amaretti biscuits, lightly crushed
1/2tsp Vanilla extract
A little extra butter and sugar to line the ramekins

You will need 2 ramekins, about 7cm diameter.

Method
Preheat the oven to 190C or 170C fan.

Gently melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat.

Beat the eggs and vanilla together and then stir in the flour and sugar.

Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, mixing thoroughly and then fold in the crushed amaretti biscuits.

Butter and sugar the inside of the ramekins and pour in the mixture.

Place the ramekins on a tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until they have risen.

Served immediately, they should still be nice and gooey in the middle.

RECIPE: Baked Crespelle stuffed with Celeriac, Pancetta, Ricotta, Thyme, Garlic and Parmesan topped with Béchamel and served with Tomato Sauce



Now here really is an alternative for pancake day! Crespelle are the Italian version of pancakes but use a standard pancake batter recipe. They are often stuffed and rolled to be used in place of cannelloni sleeves in recipes but can also be stacked or folded into triangles. The crespelle create a lighter, softer and slightly fluffier version of oven baked pasta dishes.

For this recipe I've stuffed the crespelle with a tasty mixture of smoked pancetta, garlic, thyme and celeriac but a wide range of ricotta based fillings could be used, from a classic ricotta and spinach to wild mushrooms and truffle.

Again, this was a recipe for Morrisons who gave me a celeriac as the seasonal ingredient to work around for their Seasonal Pancake Challenge. The ingredient was originally supposed to be Jerusalem Artichokes which will also work well in this.

And if you missed yesterday's post and fancy something sweet for pancake day, I included a recipe for Sicilian Cannoli inspired Pancakes filled with Sweet Ricotta, Vanilla, Orange and Toasted Almonds served with Clementine Sauce.

Serves 3-4 people

INGREDIENTS

Crespelle
120g plain flour
2 Eggs
300ml Milk
Olive oil

Filling
Olive oil
125g Smoked pancetta, cubed (or lardons or chopped streaky bacon)
200g celeriac, cut into 5mm cubes
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 Generous sprigs thyme, leaves removed
250g Ricotta
60g Parmesan, freshly grated
Seasoning

Béchamel sauce
25g Butter
25g Plain flour
250ml Milk
Seasoning
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Tomato sauce
Olive oil
Half an onion, chopped finely
400g Tinned whole tomatoes
Fresh basil, 6 leaves
Seasoning

METHOD

Make the Pancake batter. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and beat with a fork. Gradually beat in the milk until you have a smooth batter. You may want to use a whisk at this point. Pop the batter in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile you can make the filling and the sauces.

Make the tomato sauce. In a saucepan heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and fry until translucent, making sure it does not brown. Add the tinned tomatoes, crushing them with the side of a wooded spoon to break up. Add one heaped tablespoon of tomato puree and cook for 20 minutes. Add the basil leaves and season and continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until thick and reduced.

Make the filling. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the pancetta cubes. Fry gently for 4 minutes until the fat melts out. Add the cubed celeriac, crushed garlic and thyme leaves and continue to fry until the celeriac softens. In a bowl place the ricotta, Parmesan and the pancetta mixture. Season well and combine thoroughly.

Make the béchamel. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the milk gradually, whisking the whole time. Continue to whisk until the sauce begins to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season and add a pinch of nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

Make the crespelle. Using a piece of kitchen paper, scantily coat the base of a 10cm frying pan with a little olive oil. Ladle in just enough batter to thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden. Turn (or flip if your fancy) and cook the other side. The batter should make eight crespelle.

Pour half the béchamel into the base of an ovenproof dish. Place an eighth of the ricotta mixture into the centre of each crespelle and spread. Fold in half then half again to form a triangle. Place in the ovenproof dish on top of the béchamel. Repeat with the remaining crespelle, overlapping them slightly in the dish. Pour over the remaining béchamel and bake for 30 minutes.

Reheat the tomato sauce if needed.

Serve the crespelle with the tomato sauce.

RECIPE: Sicilian Cannoli inspired Pancakes filled with Sweet Ricotta, Vanilla, Orange and Toasted Almonds served with Clementine Sauce



Shrove Tuesday falls upon us on the 16th of February this year. Traditionally Shrove Tuesday was celebrated as the last indulgence before lent as pancakes contain butter and eggs, forbidden during this time of abstinence. So if you're going to indulge, do it properly!

This post comes to you in two parts, today is a sweet recipe and tomorrow a savoury, oven baked version, both with an Italian twist. I produced both recipes for Morrisons, who gave me a few seasonal ingredients to work with as a base for a pancake recipe. For this version I received clementines and almonds.

These sweet pancakes were inspired by my favourite pastries of all time, Sicilian cannoli. No matter how many I eat I just can’t get enough of these crisp, fried pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta and candied peel with the ends dipped in either crushed pistachios, chocolate curls or finished with a glace cherry. Gorgeous!

I decided to work the clementines and almonds into a sweet ricotta filling, the crunch of the pastry replaced with the texture of toasted almonds and clemetine sauce in place of the citrus candied peel.

Although there seems to be quite a lot of stages just for some humble pancakes, each component is incredibly easy and quick. As the batter stands for 30 minutes, the filling and the sauce can be made. Alternatively the sauce can be made in advance.

Serves 4 people (2 pancakes each)

INGREDIENTS

Pancakes
120g plain flour
2 Eggs
300ml Milk
Very small knob of butter

Clementine sauce
4 Clementines
100g Caster sugar
60ml Cold water

Filling
250g Full-fat ricotta
40g Icing sugar
A vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
Grated zest on an orange
A little grated nutmeg
80g flaked almonds

To assemble
A handful more of toasted flaked almonds
1 clementine, cut into segments

METHOD

Make the Pancake batter. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and beat with a fork. Gradually beat in the milk until you have a smooth batter. You may want to use a whisk at this point. Pop the batter in the fridge for 30 minutes. (Meanwhile you can make the clementine sauce and the ricotta filling.)

Make the Clementine sauce. Peel and segment the clementines. Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Continue to boil until the liquid has reduced by a third. Add the segments to this syrup and cook down for a couple of minutes. Leave to cool. Once cooled, blend to a purée. Pass through a fine sieve, reserving the liquid and discarding all the pith and segment skins.

Make the filling. In a dry frying pan over a moderate heat, toast the almond flakes well (also toast the additional almonds for the garnish). Set aside. Place the ricotta in a bowl. Beat in the icing sugar, seeds from the vanilla pod, orange zest and nutmeg. Stir in the toasted almonds, keeping back those set aside for garnishing.

Make the pancakes. Heat the butter in a 10cm frying pan. Ladle in just enough batter to thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes until golden. Turn (or flip if your fancy) and cook the other side. Keep the pancakes warm until you have made all eight.

Assemble. Spoon an eighth of the ricotta filling in the middle of a pancake and fold the sides in to form a square parcel. Repeat with all the pancakes. Place two pancakes on a plate per person, drizzle with the clementine sauce and top with the reserved toasted almond flakes and some clementine segments.