Cibare

Issue Two, January 2015

Issue two, January 2015

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Contents

HEALTH AND NUTRITION
A Successful New Year’s Resolution
Kicking Sugar
Raw Food to Help You Detox
Cleansing Your Body

SHOPPING LOCAL

Buying Your Food Locally
Your Local Produce

FEATURES

REVIEW
Tea
Coffee
Booze
Beer
Jam
Snacks
Kids’ Food
Italian Restaurants
Secret Café
The Foodies Festival
Borough Market

Theo Michaels - Chasing Dreams
A Modern Good Life
Baby Buzz Magazine Review

GARDENING
Little London Garden - A Special Harvest

TRAVELLING TALES
FOOD

A Travelling Food Diary
A Very Rustic Dinner

Breakfast Ideas
Lunch
Soups From Us All
Dinner
Bolognese
Fakeaway
Theo’s Hummus

RELAXING

SOURCES AND CREDITS
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This is our second issue and already we have expanded by three amazing writers. We have the
lovely Richard away on his travels around Asia,
sending us photos of the fabulous food he is finding on his adventures. We have Rebecca talking to
us about her favourite cookbook and giving us her
review. And of course the wonderful Theo from
Masterchef 2014 and his tales of becoming the chef
he is today after his complete change of career and
life after the programme.
All this and of course our other excellent writers sharing with us their reviews, opinions and
knowledge on health, food and drink and delicious
sauces and soups to get you through the winter. I
certainly hope you enjoy our food lovers’ magazine
full of food for thought and food for everyone.

cibare

Editor’s Note

What I have I done since the last issue?
Tentazioni
BAFTA in Piccadilly, where we watched BirdWonderful central London Christmas tasting man and drank gin and tonics.
menu
New Year’s Eve, which we spent in Brighton
Sex Life Premier
having good times and drinking bad cocktails.
The Grosvenor Hotel in Mayfair, where I ate
popcorn and drank Vodka and Elderflower Martinis, Unicoco coconut water, and of
course Green & Black’s dark chocolate ice
cream.
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Porridge with Sugar, ,Jam or Honey

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FOOD

Breakfast

Mini Frittata

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REVIEW

Juice or Smoothie Maker?
by The Editor

Sage by Heston BlumenthalThe Nutri Juicer Plus

Breville Blend-Active Personal
Blender

I have to start by saying that I love my juicer.
My parents had one years ago and we barely
used it as it was so hard to clean, but this one
is so easy I can put it into the dishwasher.

This is a specific smoothie maker and it is
great. No waste, just pure whizzed up fruit
and veg. I love that I can add ice and milk
or water to it without a fuss as it’s all in one
bottle. That’s all you need to wash too, other
than the blades. It’s not quite as fast as the
traditional blender but if you give it a bit of a
wiggle to help it on its way, you aren’t really
waiting that much longer for your smoothie.
It’s a great little machine that you can keep
in the cupboard and whip out when you need
it. It also comes with a couple of bottles so
that you can make one up to help your special someone stay healthy too. Or of course
you can make milkshakes in it as well! Add
a chocolate bar to some milk and ice-cream
and hey presto – you have a very naughty drink that you can make far too quickly.
But why not, once in a while! A must buy for
the health and diet conscious brigade, and a
great price point too.
Available from Amazon for £29.99

The juicer doesn’t produce a lot of waste and
that which it does produce is much dryer
than you might think. The juice itself is wonderful and of course depending on the fruit
that you use it’s quite clear. It does produce
a scum-like substance on the top with the
juice underneath, but that is a natural occurrence as far as I can see. I actually like
that part on the top as I enjoy my juice with
bits, so I mix it back in. But that brings me to
the fact that it’s a smoothie maker too. I’m
only going to say that I don’t use in this way,
as I don’t think it works that well. As a juicer
it’s perfect but the change of blades seems to
make it wasteful of the fruit and veg. Sorry
Sage.
Available from Amazon for £178.00
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REVIEW

Something for the kids
by The Editor

Bear Nibbles Safari Paws
(Orange & Strawberry)
This cute little yellow bag of sweet goodness
is just yummy. Basically the manufacturers
have taken their chewy pure fruit rolls and
made them into bear paw shapes so that they
are easy to eat in the buggy or just handy
because they are in a bag. They are really
tasty, a little bit sticky on the teeth in the way
that dried fruit is, but a very healthy option
that is a bit more fun now it is available in
these new shapes. The kids say yes! And so
do I. Bear Nibbles are based in ‘The Deepest Darkest Woods’ in the heart of London
and a visit to their website at www.bearnibbles.co.uk is definitely worthwhile. Their
Paws are available in four different flavours
– Safari, Jungle, Arctic and Dino – all made
with pure fruit and the promise of ‘no added
nonsense’.
You can buy Bear Nibbles at most supermarkets and health / wholefood stores, as well as
online, at around £2.00 for any four packs.
Vita Coco Kids Mango and Pineapple Juice
The kids really liked this – it’s fruity and to
me it tastes like a virgin piña colada but the
kids said that it was sweet and tasted nice.
The important fact for me is the addition of
the coconut water, which of course is so full
of those essential vitamins and protein that
make this delicious juice just that bit better
than standard versions. Also because the
manufacturers have included coconut water, the juice contains less sugar than regular kids’ drinks and healthier sweet stuff.

Not that I’m too worried to be honest about
my kids drinking fruit juices, but the inclusion of less junk and more good ingredients
always makes me happy. And yes - the great
bonus about this juice from the adult viewpoint is that when the kids are in bed and
you’ve run out of mixers, this will more than
do the trick! There are three flavours in all.
For more information, visit the website at
www.vitacocokids.com
You can buy Vita Coco Kids at most supermarkets and food stores at around £3.00 per
box of four sachets.
Organix Raspberry and Blueberry Rice
Cakes
These are quite simply organic rice cakes
which come in many different flavours all
of which are naturally sweetened with fruit
juice and flavourings like cinnamon. These
however are the best invention on the planet. I don’t know of any child who won’t eat
them by the packet and enjoy every last bite.
From one of their first finger foods to my 6
year old eating them like popcorn or crisps
whilst watching TV, they are just a much
loved snack in our house, and are available
in a total of seven flavours. For full nutritional details, visit their website at www.organix.com.
You can buy Organics Rice Cakes at most
supermarkets and online, including via their
own website, at around £1.00 per packet.

SHOPPING LOCAL

The Food Assembly
by The Editor

A fantastic idea that was conceived in France
seems to be spreading right across Europe
and it has now crossed the Channel and
has arrived here too. Like our article about
shopping locally in the last issue, The Food
Assembly is all about sourcing the food we
eat from local farmers. Not only is the aim
to ensure that we get the best available produce but that the farmers get a better profit
from selling it too.

It’s no more expensive buying from the Food
Assembly than from anywhere else either
and to be honest I bought the best sausages
I’ve ever eaten from their producer Marsh
Produce, which I couldn’t even try and buy
from a supermarket or high street shop.
They were so good! With them I bought
some amazing rainbow carrots, purple potatoes, heavenly cheese and bread and local
honey! All in all, the perfect meal.

There is much to be said about eating food
that has been grown in your area. First and
foremost it’s better for the environment and
it is actually supposed to be healthier for you
in many ways as well. It has been said that
if you eat locally produced honey, it will help
to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever. And
why travel to the other side of the world for
an apple or a potato when you can grow it
up the road? And do we really need to eat
strawberries in the winter? I realise that’s
a different article all on its own, but I’m just
throwing it out there!

It just makes me happy to be able to buy
wonderful food without breaking the bank.
I think that many of us are under the impression that we need to pay a lot more for
better quality or taste, but it’s not always so.
We just need to look in the right place, which
may well be right on our doorsteps.
The Food Assembly is also a business in
which you can participate. It works in a
similar way to a franchise as you can set up
your own Assembly in your local area as long
as you can find a certain number of farmers and producers within a given radius. It’s
such a lovely job too! And while it may not
be a massive money making scheme it is lots
of fun and you get to eat amazing food and
create a fabulous hub for your community to
buy locally produced food. I think the community aspect is a really important part of
this venture. Oh and the food too!

I believe that there is a lot to be said about
buying from local farms and helping them
stay in business, as well as eating seasonally and reducing our carbon footprint. As
human beings we should be pretty much in
tune with the world so going with its flow
and seasonal cycles is important for our
wellbeing. Right, that’s enough of the sermonising!
https://thefoodassembly.com/en
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REVIEW

Time for a coffee
Coffee Beans
by Dorothy Martinez

Java with medium roast beans from Brazil, Sumatra and India.

THE BEAN SHOP
Brazil Daterra Bruzzi
Sustainable coffee has been grown and harvested at the Brazillian Daterra farm since 1999. The
estate is aided in production by its unique landscape and weather system which means that
this Arabica is grown with plenty of rain and
plenty of sun. The farm has become known for
its high quality coffee and it’s one I’ll be looking
out for in future. Judging by this example it’s
clear to see why. It also packs a hefty caffeine
hit – I feel decidedly perkier having had a cup.

Aroma: Creamy, buttery, tobacco
Taste: This is probably one for people who
like a bold cup of coffee. A very dark chocolate flavour with a definite hint of grapefruit in
the aftertaste when brewed in the French press
intensifies into a flavour of pipe tobacco in the
espresso variant. The most interesting part for
me was that after a long cup, my mouth felt like
a highly polished surface, which was, oddly,
most pleasant.

Aroma: Earthy, fruity, a hint of soft berries

PALEO COFFEE COMPANY

Taste: This coffee was lovely as either a long or
a short drink, with a satisfying, mellow flavour
of soft fruits and dark chocolate apparent when
poured from the French press, intensifying in
espresso form. With its rounded flavour I could
see this appealing to most coffee lovers, especially those who like an easy drinking coffee
with plenty of flavour.

Tanzania, AB Mondul Estate
Coffee has been produced on the Mondul estate
for over 70 years and has a reputation for being
one of the best coffees in Tanzania. The fruit is
soaked and washed from the beans using local
spring water.
Aroma: Dark chocolate, fruit flavoured Skittles

Bean Shop Blend

Taste: Refreshing as a long cup of coffee with
an initial bitterness of very dark chocolate, melThis blend has been produced by the Bean Shop
lowing to a subtle coffee aftertaste with a note
for the past 10 years and combines dark roast
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of lemon. As an espresso, the citrus element is
intensified into the initial taste along with an
almost cranberry flavoured tartness, giving way
to a very pleasant second stage of Irish Cream.
My personal preference would be to drink this
as an espresso.
Ethiopian bean, Yirgacheffe
Grown between 5,800 and 6,600ft above sea level in the Ethiopian highlands, Yirgacheffe coffee
is considered to be one of the finest in the world.
It is generally wet processed and then fermented for up to 72 hours before being washed
and dried.

Kenyan bean, AB Kagumo-ini
The Kagumo-ini factory serves the farms in the
Mugaga Cooperative in Nyeri where coffee is
grown in red volcanic loam soil, at around 5,250
feet above sea level. Mugaga farmers are known
for meticulously selecting the largest beans with
the most flavour.
Aroma: Cream, butter, butterscotch

Taste: In its long form a strong grapefruit and
lemon taste was apparent, giving way to a caramelly, butterscotch mid to aftertaste. This condensed into a bitter, burnt toffee flavour with a
sharpness of citrus and iron. I preferred this
Aroma: Gingerbread, sweet, typical Ethiopian, brewed in the French press, which really almolassed chaff
lowed its complexity and richness to emerge.
Taste: As a long drink, this has the sweet taste
of fermented grass which we’ve come to regard
as fairly typical for Ethiopian coffee, although
this one isn’t as strong as others we’ve tried.
Interestingly, that sweetness morphs into very
definite citrus flavours, specifically grapefruit.
As an espresso, lemon and lime come through
very powerfully, as does strawberry. In fact, if
you were blindfolded, you might mistake this
for a lemon zinger tea. It’s very pleasant as both
long and short drinks, but my preference would
be for the latter.

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HEALTH AND NUTRITION

How To Make Your New Year’s
Resolution A Successful One
by Anne Iarchy

Losing weight is the top New Year’s resolution - at least in the US and Europe.
If you’re one of the nearly 50% of people that
make New Year’s resolutions, here are some
statistics for you:

feasibly attain. For instance “I am going to
run the London marathon in April.”

Realistic
This must be something that you are willing
and able to work toward. If you hate run1.
Only 8% will be successful in achiev- ning, setting yourself a goal to run the Loning their resolutions.
don marathon is probably not realistic.
2.
24% of people never succeed and they
fail on their resolution each year!!!
Timely
3.
After the first week, 25% have already Set a specific time to reach your goal, for exmessed up.
ample “I will achieve my goal by 24 December 2015.”
With this in mind, most people who deal
with goal setting will go back to the tried and However, time after time, I’ve seen people
tested model know as SMART.
set their own SMART goals and then not
achieve them.
Specific
More often than not, those who fail to
This is the ‘who, what, when, where and achieve their resolutions blame their lack of
how’ of your goal. Don’t just say “I’m going willpower for that failure. It’s actually one of
to go to the gym each week”. Instead say “I the most common responses that I get when
will be going to the spinning class on Mon- I have a consultation with potential new
days from 7 to 8pm at the gym, to my circuit clients and ask them why they think their
training class on Tuesdays at 12:15 during my previous efforts have failed. Willpower, self
lunch break” and so on.
sabotage and boredom are cited every single
time.
Measurable
You have to be able to measure your goal, for But is that really the problem? And are
example you say “I am planning to lose 3st SMART goals the way forward?
this year, going from 17st to 14st.”
Waking up on New Year’s Day with a heavy
hangover and after eating loads during the
Attainable
month of December, everyone wants to feel
The goal needs to be something that you can lighter and fitter. Especially as we’re still in
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the middle of the winter, at least in the UK,
it’s dark and cold, and we just feel lethargic
from too much over-indulgence in food and
drink.
Hence, New Year’s weight loss resolutions
are so common! But do people really want
and consider the whole process that goes
with losing weight?
Before making any resolution, you need to
ask yourself the question “WHY”. Your big
“WHY” is what will make the difference between being successful or unsuccessful.
From being part of the 8% or the other 92%.
Here is my Four Step Plan to making any
project, including weight loss, a success and
it doesn’t have to be a New Year’s resolution.
Step 1 – Finding your big WHY
Take some time to sit down and ask yourself
the following questions:
- Why do you want to lose a certain amount
of weight?
- What impact does the current situation
have on your life right now?
- What has stopped you from achieving your
goal up until now?
- What needs to change or what has already
changed in order to achieve your goal?
- What do you think will happen if you don’t
address your weight or health problem?
- How committed are you to making a change
right now?

Step 3 - Defining your positive action planYour action plan would be a precise and
positive ‘to do’ list including items like the
ones below:
- I will eat at least one type of vegetable with
every meal
- I will drink a large glass of water before
each meal
- I will go to my exercise session on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I will put a
timeslot into my diary and treat it as any
other meeting/appointment
- I will go for a 30 minute walk on the days I
am not exercising
- I will take 20 minutes “me time” twice a
week, once at the weekend and once during
the week.
- I will plan my meals, and shopping in advance.
- I will allow myself one dessert a week and
really enjoy every bite of it.
Those are all the things that you know need
to change to make your weight loss or health
journey a successful one.
One major problem with most of us is that
when we tackle a New Year’s resolution, we
try and do everything in one go. And this is
just impossible

So from that action plan list, pick three items
that you initially want to focus on. And focus
on those three for the next 21 days. Research
Those are all questions that go much much has shown that it takes 21 days of repeatedly
deeper than just setting a SMART goal. And doing something to form a new habit or to
unless you have strong and valid answers to break an old one.
those questions, the chances of success are
very low. This, I would say, is Step 1.
Once you feel comfortable with those three
items, or at least one of them, pick another
Step 2 - Setting SMART goals
one from the list.
Work out your goals using the examples If you feel the habit isn’t quite formed, don’t
above as a guide. Creating vision boards pick another one yet. Keep on focusing on
is always a good tool as well, with articles, the original target.
photographs and other media that appeal to
or resonate with you.
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Step 4 - Review
Always keep reviewing how things are going.
And that doesn’t mean hopping on the scales
every morning.
By reviewing I mean that if you are struggling with an action item, ask yourself the
question why. Why do you believe you are
struggling with it and try and find a way to
work around the problem. Generally when
we struggle with something it’s because it
requires us to do things differently. Things
that we haven’t done before and that are outside our comfort zone. We might put a barrier up and resist the change. And it’s important to find why we’re doing that. Once
we know why, it’s much easier to overcome
that barrier and make the change a habit.

years, so it’s not a surprise if we find change
difficult. So don’t be harsh on yourself. Don’t
call yourself a failure. Just try and find the
reason why it’s hard, and find a way round
it. Most importantly, do it the positive way.
I hope this Four Step Plan to a successful
weight loss and health journey will make
2015 the year when you will be one of the 8%
of successful people!
If you want to make it a success but need
some help, I am offering you a free consultation.
To claim yours, all you have to do is email
me on anne@barnetpersonaltrainer.co.uk.
http://www.barnetpersonaltrainer.co.uk

We’ve been doing things in certain ways for

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REVIEW

Foodies Festival
by The Editor

The Foodies are a group of food lovers who
set up food events for everyone to come and
enjoy, at whatever age. It’s a cross between
an amazing market full of stalls selling all
manner of food and drink and street food,
and of course there are demonstrations and
events where you can learn how to cook or
bake or literally anything and everything to
do with food and eating or drinking.
I’ll be honest - I’ve been waiting for ages
to get into one of their events, and after so
many events in the summer that I missed
(so upset!), I finally made it to their Christmas show. It was so good. I had set aside
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some money so that I could just buy whatever I wanted, and I bought so many wonderful
things - it was heavenly.
From cheeses and meats, chillis and sausages, rye crackers and cakes, jams and soft
drinks to beer and sweets! Oh, and I nearly
forgot – a fantastic selection of books.
I bought freshly squeezed raw juice and
gluten and sugar free nibbles from Sweetly
Simple, a lovely little company whose ethos
is all about wellbeing and nutrition. I absolutely loved their raw macaroons – they were
so good that one wasn’t enough and I had to
have two!. And I bought so much food that
I wanted to take home with me, although I
guess I could have walked around the festival eating a big lump of cheese!
After my raw treats I discovered different
flavoured salts from Flavour Magic, which
were amazing. We all season our food but
this takes seasoning to another level altogether. Where you would normally add some
salt to a simple salad, you can add rosemary
or lemon to it just by adding the salt, which
has been infused with the other flavours. It’s
a really interesting concept and product.
Then there’s the honey beer, and the answer
to that particular question is quite simply
WOW. I bought an amazing garlic grater that looks like a little plate with specific
grooves moulded into it, with a lovely little
pattern around the edge. You rub the garlic,
or ginger if you wish, around the plate and
the grooves just ‘melt’ the vegetable down to
a lovely pulp and juice leaving no waste at all
– a simple yet brilliant idea.

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I also got some Wonjo juice ( that I will be
reviewing online) and some jams that we are
reviewing in a different section of our magazine, so don’t forget to read up about those
too.
When we had had our fill of the indoors we
ventured out into the street food area for a
well earned giant hot dog! The atmosphere
was one of enormous fun and we all had
a great time. Next time there’s a Foodies
event I will be cancelling any other plans to
ensure that I’m there too. And did I end up
giving the gifts I bought from the festival for
Christmas? Did I hell, but nobody noticed
that I ate them as I kept that a secret. Until
now!
A fantastic day out for the entire family of
food lovers!
http://foodiesfestival.com

REVIEW

Putting the East in Yeast
Beer Brewed in the East End
by Paul Ralhan

Only someone drinking from a lady’s
shoe can confirm whether or not it altered the taste of the alcohol, or if his
subject was charmed by this 18th century custom of toasting a lady’s beauty.
A slightly more palatable explanation of
where the term to ‘toast’ originates predates
the shoe-drinking practice by about a century (what the gentlemen did to woo a lady for
those 100 years is probably best left to history).
A piece of (often spiced) toasted bread would
be floated in a communal cup, and passed
around in the name of a person, or event.
The host would consume this now soaked
bread – along with the remaining drops of
liquid, after the ‘loving cup’ was shared for
one round amongst the guests. In modern
times toasting has changed significantly. The
communal spirit however has not. Today we
raise our own individual drinking vessels
to honour our subjects. Yet a delicate hint
of things toasted underlines the etymology.
It’s easy to link pizza to toasted bread, but
how do you go from beer to stone baked pizza? The solution is not as abstract as it may
seem. First, head into Hackney Wick, East
London and make your way down White
Post Lane. Hop over the bridge, chuck a right
into Queens Yard, bear right and keep your
mince pies peeled for The White Building,
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otherwise known as the Crate Brewery and
Pizzeria. Bish, bash and indeed, bosh. Described as a ‘bar in old factory with recycled
decor and its own micro-brewery plus inventive pizzas’, it promises to stimulate four
of the five senses… “and DJ sets”. Correction:
all five senses. If you’re a beer journeyman,
and are still dipping your toe to test the water, Crate’s ‘Best’ is a fabulous ‘bitter’ ale for
those making the transition from commercial beer. It certainly is quite easy to deconstruct the beer flavours to compare the tasting notes: “A classic full-bodied bitter with
biscuity malt and delicate hop flavours”.
A nice touch to the label is also the ‘Brew
Crew’, and Big Nelly, Cal and Jeff have delivered tremendous experience in every drop
of Best (the simplicity in the names is effective, and in keeping with the overall theme:
to the point). If the weather outside is cold,
you might find it’s just right for a much darker ale, ‘Stout’. Big Nelly appears to have gone
solo on this one to produce an unmistakably
black and velvety stout which boasts toasted
coffee aromas through the nose, leaving your
taste buds tickled with forest fruit flavours as
the smooth liquid glides down your Gregory.

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It’s easy to link pizza to toasted

bread, but how do you go from beer
to stone baked pizza?

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Just a stone’s throw from Crate – virtually
in the same manor - is another hidden gem.
Tucked into a cul-de-sac is The Five Points
Brewing Company. Getting you to this micro brewery however, is not the aim; getting
one of head brewer, Greg Hobbs’, carefully
crafted beers to your lips is. As it happens,
founder and brewery owner Ed Mason is no
stranger to delivering beer to thirsty punters. He is also the proprietor of Whitelock’s
Ale House (the oldest pub in Leeds) and The
Deramore Arms in York. Despite these very
‘oop north’ locations, Ed certainly isn’t lost
in London. Not only does he live in Hackney (as well as co-founder, Gregg), he also
used to run The Duke of Wellington pub in
nearby Dalston. He’s clearly no stranger to
the locale, and each bottled beer proudly displays ‘London Brew’ on the label.
The Five Points Brewery presents three beers
to choose from: Hook Island Red, Five Points
Pale, and Railway Porter, each available in
three different mediums: bottle, cask or keg.
Much goes into developing recipes and this
is proven in the taste, and into sourcing the
ingredients (mainly hops). Elbowing its way
onto the scene as it windsurfs towards lovers of pale ales is Five Points Pale, a fresh,
zesty and aromatic ‘Pacific Ale’ brewed with
malted barley. ‘A little’ wheat is added, as
well as Amarillo, Centennial and Citra hops
from the West Coast of the USA. Five Points
leads the charge as “the British ale tradition
collides head first with the best of the US
craft beer movement” and it is this radical
approach to brewing pale ale which results
in a tremendously drinkable ‘PPA’ full of
US hop aroma and flavour. Contrast to this
beer is provided by Railway Porter with its
East Kent Goldings hops, brewed to produce
distinctly chocolate and coffee sensations,
and a taste of toffee gently makes its way
through the aroma to settle on the tongue.

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Make no mistake, a lot of good ale is coming out of East London. Pubs may be
closing their doors in alarming numbers, but the micro breweries are standing strong, toasting their own successes,
and we too toast these celebrants (just as
long as you don’t pour the ‘King Lear’ in a
‘rhythm ‘n’ blue’ to toast them). Cheers!

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REVIEW

Booze
by Andy Tudor

“Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. Yeah, that’ll people still associate with vodka though be it. I’ll try again tomorrow.”
this a liqueur. It’s bold and intense and…
cinnamonny. I don’t know how else to say
We’ve all said that - maybe after a bad game this - it’s unequivocally cinnamonny. And as
of poker. Or a lacklustre session at the gym. the drink started to warm up the aroma got
But probably never when sipping what more intense and the taste became more roshould be a pretty interesting drink that’s bust. Some would say overpowering but let’s
right up your street.
just say ‘characteristic’ for now ;-)
Vodka? Well I think personally I’ve moved on
to darker spirits, but okay! Smirnoff Special
Gold Collection Edition? Interesting! Gold
flakes floating in it? Oooh! It has the immediate reaction of - “I’ll stick it in the freezer
and try it later!”
But… something isn’t quite right.
As with some other spirits like Jagermeister, I
keep my vodka in the freezer - it calms down
the tones of some of the harsher drinks and
negates the need for ice that would otherwise water it down.
Yet as I came to pour a couple of fingers into
a glass, I recoiled in horror that it was plopping out like curdled milk - crawling out
some sort of crystal sludge. Erm, okay, that’s
not a good start. Even swirling the glass
around a few times didn’t do anything. Still
though, for a Cinnamon-flavoured drink it
was pleasantly quite delicate.
Taking a sip of the syrupy liquid it certainly
doesn’t taste like the rubbing alcohol some
22

And so we return back to my original statement that maybe I wasn’t in the mood that
particular night. There aren’t many drinks
that turn me away - and that includes a back
portfolio of flaming shots, chilli vodkas, Peruvian fire water, and Blue Nun ;-) But even
after returning a second night to see if I
could appreciate it more I found this particular tipple is one I would not readily order in a bar. The gold flakes are an intriguing
decadence that ultimately is pointless, and
even as an ingredient in an Apple Bite cocktail I think many connoisseurs would probably prefer something cleaner like a Ketel
One instead.
Final verdict… if you like cinnamon and want
a bit of a party conversation piece then this
is a great one to bring out for people to try.
And if you want to make a mean Apple Bite
then this saves the need of finding an alternative cinnamon source. But as a standalone
sipper, it wasn’t to this particular reviewer’s
taste.

Cibare Food Magazine

www.cibare.co.uk

With a heavyweight price of £79.95 in the
UK, the old adage that you get what you pay
for is certainly true for Bacardi’s new vodka-cognac hybrid “Grey Goose VX”.
Similar in interest-piquing presentation to
the Smirnoff Gold, the VX (short for Vodka
Exceptionnelle) comes carefully positioned
like a trophy within its elegant blue packaging. Close inspection reveals delicate
engraving on around the cork and a pleasing harmony of transparent and frosted
glass that make you feel like you’re holding
an item completely fresh and pure before
you’ve even tasted it.
And my! When you do, it’s like nothing
before. Immediately, it tastes extremely
light and pure - coincidentally like some
high-quality sakes I’ve had in the past but it’s the hint of cognac (5%) that really
is a game-changer. If you love your darker
spirits like I do then that instantly-familiar
taste mixed with the clarity of the vodka are
something that immediately makes you take
another sip.
I honestly can’t say a bad thing about this it’s clean and exquisite and intriguing all at
the same time. Ideally to be drank with ice
(personally I’d invest in a silicone ice ball),
it’s a perfect blend of vodka with apricot/
citrus notes and a shortbread/raisin cognac.
Is it £79.95 good though? At that premium
price it relegates itself into the ‘very special
occasion present to only be drank on special
occasions’ category. But still, if you’ve grown
out of the fad of flavoured vodkas and want
to get back to something truly unique, this
is the one to invest in.

www.cibare.co.uk

Cibare Food Magazine

23

FOOD

Lunch

Hazelnut Butter and Jam or
Bananna and Local Honey Sanwiches
24

Cibare Food Magazine

www.cibare.co.uk

Haloumi, Lunsa and Tomato, or
Tomato, Avocado and Alfalfa Sprout Sandwiches
www.cibare.co.uk

Cibare Food Magazine

25

FOOD

Soup

‘Tis the season for ... soup
Introduction by Dorothy Martinez
We probably all grew up on Heinz Cream of Tomato soup and the Campbells soup cans have
become an iconic cultural reference, but whether you prefer thick and hearty vegetables or
thinner Asian styles, soup is an easy meal and a great way of getting a good hit of veggies
and making use of anything that is seasonally cheap or on special offer in the supermarket.
There are different schools of thought when it comes to vegetable soups. Traditionally, one
would sweat the vegetables in butter or oil and this is still my preference, especially if I’m
using spices or herbs, and 20 minutes of sweating seems to introduce the flavours gradually, making the end result richer. However, Cibare’s own Gilly B mentioned that simply
gently boiling the veggies in stock and adding a spoonful of butter at the end yields much
the same result with a lower fat content. I generally make single vegetable soups with some
sort of spice.
Here are some great recipes to get you started from the Cibare writers.

Leftover Roast Chicken and Noodle soup

Basic recipe and method for a thick Leftover roast chicken noodle soup
vegetable soup (serves 4-6)
The vegetables listed are suggestions, but
the method is good for pretty much anything fruity (i.e. tomatoes or squash) or veggie (leeks and potatoes).

Ingredients
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
75g butter
700ml vegetable stock
700g of any of the following (and some optional additions):
Carrot (with a thumb length of ginger to be
added at the sweating stage)
Butternut squash or pumpkin (with tbsp
cumin seeds to be added at the sweating
stage)
Broccoli (with 150g stilton to be added at the
end)
Peas (can be cooked already)
Celeriac

Method
Soften onions in oil over medium heat, stirring regularly
Add roughly chopped vegetables and the additional ingredients if desired and stir in
Turn down the heat, cover and leave to sweat
for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add 700ml vegetable stock and simmer for
10 minutes
Remove from heat and blend using a stick
blender or blending jug / liquidiser.
If you want the soup to be thinner, add water at the end of the cooking process or, if
you’re in the mood, stir in 300ml of single
cream (or less if you prefer). To lighten it up
a bit you could add a large splodge of sour
cream and stir it in.

www.cibare.co.uk

This great use of leftovers was inspired by
Karen Nash of Karen’s Kitchen at St Luke’s,
but with my own, fierier and undoubtedly more calorific recipe. If you can get your
hands on some galangal, lemon grass and
Thai garlic then you are half way to a Tom
Yum soup – add some prawns and you’re
pretty much there; but rest assured that the
dish is wonderful with standard ginger and
garlic. This should serve two adults comfortably – if you need to bump up the quantity a
bit then just use a few more mushrooms and
peppers and some other veggies if you like.

Ingredients
Ginger to taste (minimum 15g, roughly
chopped)
Garlic to taste (minimum 3 cloves, roughly
chopped)
Chilli to taste (I happened to have one from
Cibare’s own Carol Stanley hanging around)
1tbsp sesame oil
3tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 chicken stock cubes
Leftover veggies
Celery (cut into thinish batons)
Mushrooms (sliced)
Red peppers (thinly sliced)
1tbsp olive oil or leftover bacon or sausage
fat if you have it.
Leftover roast chicken
Noodles of your choice

Method
Gently soften the ginger, garlic and chilli in
the sesame oil on a moderate heat, stirring
frequently
Add the rice wine vinegar and continue to
heat for a few minutes
Add the stock cubes with about 2 pints of
boiling water and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Cibare Food Magazine

27

Greek Avgolemono- Chicken, Egg and Lemon Soup

Simple Pea Soup

Green Vegetable Soup

Mushroom and Wild Mushroom Soup

Meanwhile, gently fry the leftover and sliced
vegetables in the olive oil or bacon/sausage
fat until they start to crisp up and soften the
noodles in boiling water.
Arrange veggies, chicken and noodles in the
bowls and using a sieve, pour the stock on
top.
Garnish if desired with fresh coriander and/
or spring onions.

Whisk the eggs with the lemon juice in a
bowl. When the rice is done, turn off the
heat. Whisk one ladle full of hot broth into
the eggs slowly so the eggs do not curdle.
Gradually whisk in more broth until the egg
mixture is heated. Then pour the egg mixture back into the pot, whisking briskly. The
result should be a creamy, cloudy looking
soup.
Check your seasoning and you may want to
Chicken soup with egg, lemon, rice, carrots add a little more lemon juice at this point.
& leeks
You may add pieces of chicken to the soup
before serving, top with fresh parsley and a
This is Dani Gavriel’s take on the touch of ground cinnamon
traditional Greek Avgolemono - Optional:
You can also serve with a warm bread roll or
chicken, egg & lemon soup.
try adding croutons or sautéed pancetta
The soup will last in the fridge for two days
Ingredients:
or can be frozen.
1 large whole chicken (preferably corn fed or
organic)
1/2 cup of uncooked white rice or brown rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 free range eggs, beaten
2 lemons, juiced
Small handful of freshly chopped parsley
1 sliced leek
2 peeled & chopped carrots
Ground cinnamon

Method:
Place your chicken in a pot large enough to
hold the bird and sufficient water to cover it
completely. Cover with the lid and bring to
a boil. When boiling, reduce heat to low and
simmer for 1 hour, skimming the fat from
the top as it collects.
When the chicken is done, transfer to a large
bowl set aside to cool.
Now add the rice, carrot and leeks and season the broth with salt and pepper. Simmer
over low heat for 20 more minutes for white
rice or 30 minutes for brown rice, or until
rice is tender.
30

The next two soups are from Gilly B and have
the options of being vegan, low fat and dairy
free!

Mushroom and Wild Mushroom
Soup
Ingredients:
500g cup mushrooms (a mixture of white
and chestnut), roughly chopped
30g dried porcini / wild / forest mushrooms
200ml boiling water
100g roughly chopped onion (ie 1 small to
medium onion)
150g sliced leek (ie 2 washed and trimmed
leeks)
200g peeled and roughly chopped potato (ie
1 baking potato)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1ltr vegetable stock, plus 500ml of water
(chicken stock can also be used)
300ml coconut milk (Koko or Alpro) or other
milk of choice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Cibare Food Magazine

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Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Add the parsley then blitz the soup with a
A little single cream (optional)
stick blender or in a liquidiser. For extra
1 tsp of butter (optional)
richness, you can also add a teaspoon of
butter once the soup has been blended.
This soup is delicious served with a side orMethod:
der of Parmesan Poppy Seed Crisps.
Put the dried mushrooms in the boiling water for about 20 minutes to reconstitute. Simple Pea Soup
Drain and reserve the water, ensuring there
is no grit in the mushrooms.
Ingredients:
Add all vegetables to a large pot, cover with
the stock, water and mushroom water, sea- One bag of frozen peas
son then cook until all ingredients are soft. Water
Blitz the soup with a stick blender or in a liq- Seasoning
uidiser then add the milk to finish. For extra richness, you can also add a teaspoon of Method:
butter once the soup has been blended.
Swirl a teaspoon of single cream into each Add the bag of peas to your pan and put
bowl of soup before serving, if desired.
enough water into it for the peas to not quite
be covered. Boil and when peas are cooked
through and hot, blend the water and the
peas. Then just season to taste and add to
your favourite bowl. The perfect simple pea
soup.

Green Vegetable Soup
Ingredients:
500g sliced courgette
1 sliced Little Gem lettuce
150g roughly chopped onion (ie 1 medium to
large onion)
150g sliced leek (ie 2 washed and trimmed
leeks)
200g peeled and roughly chopped potato (ie
1 baking potato)
3 chopped celery sticks
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1.5ltr vegetable stock (chicken stock can be
used if preferred)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Handful of fresh curly or flatleaf parsley
1 tsp of butter (optional)
Add all vegetables (excluding the parsley) to
a large pot, cover with the stock, season then
cook until all ingredients are soft.

www.cibare.co.uk

Cibare Food Magazine

31

Theo’s Leftover Winter Soup

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients:

Method:

PICTURE CREDITS: Theo Michaels

Gently fry the onions and carrot until the
onions are soft, add the garlic and bay leafs
1 onion diced
and stir for a minute (don’t burn the garlic).
1 carrot - peeled and diced
Turn up the heat and add the wine and re1 clove garlic diced
duce by half.
1/2 glass of white wine
Once done, add all your leftovers or if mak2 Bay leafs
ing from fresh (cooked meat, runner beans
Leftovers - but try to include:
- some greens (runner beans, or chopped anything else to hand)
Pour in a couple of pint of chicken stock and
kale)
- some potatoes (chopped roasted pota- bring to a light simmer for 10 mins.
toes or throw in a few boiled new potatoes
Turn off the heat and spoon in your hummus
- chopped in half)
and mix into the broth. Season and taste,
Stock (vegetable or chicken)
then add a little squeeze of lemon juice.
Squeeze of lemon
Pinch dried chilli flakes
Serve in bowls, garnish with some fresh
Seasoning
2-3 tablespoons Yellow Split Pea Hummus parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and
(see http://theocooks.com/?p=1407 for rec- a pinch of chilli flakes.
ipe) - or just use shop bought if you don’t
have!

32

Cibare Food Magazine

www.cibare.co.uk

FEATURE

Theo Michaels
Chasing Dreams
by Theo Michaels

There are times in your life when you wonder
how you got where you are, how you ended
up doing what you do.
For me, it was coming home from the family
holiday and sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon in June 2013. Suffering from
a bad case of the holiday blues I was mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of
emails, phone calls, bored meetings (intentionally spelt) and I started wondering how
the bloody hell I ended up doing what I do.
I don’t remember any conversation in school
when, as my fellow leaders-of-tomorrow
stated they wanted to be astronauts, ballerinas, a banker (always one), I said that I wanted to be a recruitment consultant. How did
that happen?
I guess it happens the same way it does for
most of us - you meander through life, get
a job while you are waiting for NASA to call
and eventually wake up one day doing whatever it is life threw at you.
For many years, my entire life actually,
cooking has been my passion, my escape,
my own personal catharsis. It was with this
in mind as I sat in the garden on that sunny
June afternoon that I spotted the application
for Masterchef and without giving it much
thought but writing from the heart I completed the form, sent it off and then forgot
all about it, until...
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Cibare Food Magazine

33

About two months later when in the throes
of another day running a recruitment business - managing clients, candidates, sales
teams, preparing for more of those bored
meetings - a call came in.
“Is that Theo?”
“Yes”
“Oh great, it’s Masterchef can we talk?”
OMG! OMG! OMG!
With a childlike manner of looking like I
needed to pee (slightly bent, holding my
crotch and pasting a ridiculous grin across
my face) I found an empty room. A brief moment of composure, a deep breath, a moment to stand tall: ‘Yes it’s me! It’s me!’ – I
never did composure very well.
I had a 20 minute conversation. I didn’t
know it then, but it would ultimately change
my life.
Just to appear on the show you have to go
through a dozen stages during which Masterchef whittle down the thousands of applicants (rumours are that there are somewhere
between 8000 to 10,000 for each series) to a
final selection of 60 that make the show.
Eventually after a few months the final call
came through and Masterchef allowed me to
grace the TV screens of millions of unsuspecting viewers. I loved it. And it was at that
point that I knew it would change my life – I
finally knew what I wanted to do when I grew
up. I wanted to cook.
If you’ve seen the show you’ll know how
I did, if you haven’t seen the show - I was
A-MAZ-ING! OK, I made it to the semi-finals and down to the final 10 contestants. I
didn’t win (yes, I am a sore loser) but it gave
me confidence and a hunger for success.
Yes, that’s right, not winning really gave me
something to prove, I was now the underdog
having to make my own success in the world
of food – and I kinda like that, it sounds cool
(utter b*l?@ks of course, I’d much rather
have won).
34

So I made the decision that I eventually
wanted to hang up my suit and start donning
an apron, but first I needed to know that I
could make a living from it.
That sentence sort of makes it sound easy...
well it wasn’t. It was exhausting.
I have two kids, a wife, a mortgage and I
don’t have a money tree in the garden. So,
while working fulltime during the day, in
the evenings I would cook, photograph and
blog. I decided to organise my own popup
restaurant. I had no idea how it would work
out but I spent weekends pleading with local venues, eventually found a place, stuck a
date in the diary, designed a menu and then
it all went quiet. The calm before the storm,
the moment you realise that now you’ve got
to see if anyone will actually come.
There is a point when planning only goes so
far, when you stand on the edge of the precipice and just have to close your eyes and
jump off. I jumped.
That first jump was at exactly 8.27 on a
Wednesday night when I decided to post a
message online to see if anyone would come
- I had 40 seats to fill. In my head I knew it
would be 38 friends and possibly one or two
that pressed the wrong button and ended up
with a ticket.
Tickets sold out in 20 minutes, by 8.47 I had a
full house. I couldn’t believe it, utter shock is
the only description. Then shock gave way to
pride, then pride gave way to panic – “FORTY GUESTS!!” It was nerve wracking, I’d never served more than 10 people and never any
paying guests, so what the hell had I done?
But like anything I worked my butt off prepping for the night, getting the dishes just
perfect and it turned out to be a huge success, with a waiting list that was suddenly
growing daily. I knew the time had come.
It was time to make a move, to decide what I
was going to do fulltime - chase the dream
and risk unemployment, financial worries
etc or stay put.

Cibare Food Magazine

www.cibare.co.uk

“Is that Theo?”
“Yes”
“Oh great, it’s Masterchef can we talk?”
OMG! OMG! OMG!

I handed in my notice the next day.
I’m now fulltime in the world of gastronomy
and it’s wonderful. I mean, let’s be clear every vocation has its ups and downs. When
I’m prepping an eight course taster menu
for 40 people at two in the morning the idea
of sitting at a desk sipping coffee and talking
to someone about their career seems quite
appealing. But I’m a realist and when my
popup restaurant nights happen I love it.
The roar of guests enjoying themselves, the
‘oohs and ahs’ as my food is served, rave reviews, some ego feeding (yes, I know...) there
is nothing like it.
I started running the popup restaurants
once a month, with the tickets selling out
more quickly each time. Each night it got
a little better, tweaking the service, hiring
staff, organising suppliers. I was learning a
trade, becoming a popup restaurateur. Off
the back of my popups I started getting requests for private dining from people that
couldn’t get a table. I loved every minute.
Almost a year on from appearing on Masterchef, and my vocation as a popup restaurateur is going well, it’s still hard work but
I’ve been lucky enough to do a little more
TV, some radio and spend most of my time
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designing new dishes, championing modern Greek food and experimenting with flavours – basically, indulging in my passion.
And make no mistake – without Masterchef
giving me the confidence or the profile, none
of that would probably have been possible.
In every success there is a bit of luck, then a
ton of hard work.
OK, I earn less money now than I did a year
ago, it is physically harder and I still have
bills to pay. But money was never the reason.
If it was, I would have stayed in recruitment.
I still moonlight in my suit now and again –
but don’t tell my apron, she’s gets very possessive.
As for the future? Who knows... What I do
know is it’s still only the beginning, I’m still
learning my craft and have a long way to go
to be the best I can be, but my philosophy is
simple. Do something you love, do it with
passion, never compromise and success will
come.
Or that’s what I keep telling my bank manager anyway.

Cibare Food Magazine

35

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Tasty Raw Food to Help You Detox
and Lose Weight
As well as making you feel Fantastic!
by Alison Matthews

Eating raw food can help you to:

Have more energy

Lose weight

Feel less tired

Feel less stressed and anxious

Have mental clarity

Have glowing skin

Improve your digestion
I started my raw food journey because I
wanted to have more energy. I did not expect to lose weight as I had never successfully shed my extra couple of stone and kept
them off in the past. I was amazed that, at
the end of the first week of a raw detox, I had
dropped a dress size! That was over 2 years
ago and I have not put the weight back on,
36

even when I have been less raw than I like
to be.
I’m often asked ‘What is raw food?’ My quick
answer is ‘Vegan food consisting of vegetables, salad, nuts and seeds’. Of course there
are a lot more food groups in a true raw diet,
such as fermented food. This may seem
daunting if you follow a traditional western
diet. There are 100% raw foodies out there
and I admire them for their dedication to
this way of eating. Personally, I don’t think
that 100% raw is practical, and it is not for
everyone. We all change over the years and
need different nutrients in our diets depending on our age, level of activity, stress
levels, seasons, hormonal changes etc and
we need different foods in our diets to help
us during these times.
If 2015 is your year to lose weight and feel
fantastic, here are a few simple recipes
which are quick and easy to prepare and
you won’t need any special equipment. Try
replacing one meal a day with one of these
recipes, drink water and cut down on sugar
and avoid alcohol. It’s better for us to lose
weight slowly and that way we also keep it
off. If you wish to ‘go for it’, please talk to me
about a detox programme.

Cibare Food Magazine

www.cibare.co.uk

PICTURE CREDITS: Alison Matthews

At the beginning of a new year our thoughts
often turn towards our health and fitness,
maybe deciding to lose weight and go to the
gym regularly. Maybe, like me, you’ve tried
every diet that’s ever been written about and
all to no avail. The weight just creeps back
on and, to make matters worse, you have
less energy and feel deprived. What if you
could lose weight and have more energy too,
as well as focussing on what you can eat in a
good way?

SMOOTHIES
Smoothies are a great way to get lots of good
nutrition into your body in an easily digestible form. Just a word of caution - if you want
to lose weight, don’t have too much fruit as
fruit contains high levels of sugar. Smoothies are great for breakfast and you can put
your smoothie in a sports bottle and take it
to work with you.

Apple and Spinach Smoothie



2 small eating apples (cored)*
Large handful of spinach
Half an avocado
1 cup of water
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¼ teaspoon of spirulina powder (optional)

Agave syrup or honey to taste (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend.
You may wish to add more water if you want
your smoothie a bit runnier. * if you have a
high powered or professional blender (such
as Blendtec or Vitamix) you can leave the
skin on, otherwise consider peeling the apples.
Variations: Use blueberries instead of apples. Or mango which tastes lovely in this
smoothie but mango is a very sweet fruit so
it’s not so good for weight loss!

Cibare Food Magazine

37

CRUDITES WITH RAW DIP

PASTA … BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT!

A nice healthy lunch which you can take to Courgette Pasta with Tomato Sauce
work with you if you wish. It looks attractive, too.

2 cups raw tomatoes (chopped)

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
Red Pepper and Tomato Dip

1 red pepper (cored, seeded and
chopped)

1 red pepper (cored, seeded and •
1 spring onion
chopped)

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup sun dried tomatoes

1 cloves of garlic

½ cup raw tomatoes (chopped)

Juice of ½ a lemon

½ cup raw tahini

Handful of fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

1 Medjool date (stoned)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch of sea salt

Juice of 1 small lemon

Water as required

Pinch of sea salt

1 large courgette

1 teaspoon cumin

Macadamia or cashew nuts

½ teaspoon paprika

Water if required
Use a spiralizer to turn your courgette into
something which looks very like pasta. If you
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend don’t have a spiralizer, you could use a gratuntil smooth. Add water a little at a time if er or vegetable peeler to create thin strips of
you need to. This dip will keep in the fridge courgette ‘pasta’.
for about 3 days.
Put all the other ingredients into a blender
and blend until you create a smooth paste.
Guacamole Pesto Dip
Put in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to begin with
and add the other if you need to. Add water

1 ripe avocado (stoned)
if your sauce is too thick, a little at a time.

1 tablespoon olive oil
Pour your sauce over the courgette pasta

Juice of ½ a lemon
and garnish with a few basil leaves.

1 clove of garlic
Grate or crush a few macadamia or cashew

1 cup of basil leaves
nuts and sprinkle on top (just like parmesan

½ cup pine nuts
cheese).

Water as required
Blend all the ingredients together, adding
water a little bit at a time until you reach the
consistency you want. Sprinkle with paprika
and some basil leaves to serve.
Serve both dips with crudités of your choice
– carrot sticks, peppers, cucumber, cauliflower florets, broccoli.

38

Alternatives: You could use the guacamole
pasta dip as a sauce for the courgette pasta if
you fancy something more creamy (and a bit
more fattening, I’m afraid!)

Cibare Food Magazine

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GARDENING

Little London Garden
A Special Harvest

by Carole Stanley

Each year my favourite harvest is something I cannot eat. It takes about a year to
produce, smells sweet and earthy and, as an
organic gardener, is my pride and joy. Yes, I
am talking about making my own compost.
Many books are written on the subject and
myths abound about what you can and cannot compost on a small scale (as opposed to
on an industrial level). But if you follow a few
simple rules, making your own compost at
home is easy to do and the benefits to the
soil, and thus your harvests, are well worth
the effort.

matter and, if need be, some paper and/or
cardboard to bulk up the brown material.
You can also add the straw or paper bedding
and litter from herbivore pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs, coffee grounds, tea bags
and wood ash. Whatever you use, remember
that the smaller the pieces, the quicker they
will decompose. So for instance don’t add a
whole lettuce, chop it into chunks, and cut
woody prunings into short sticks of no more
than a few inches long.

What can I compost?

Under no circumstances should you add
cooked food at this will attract rats and flies.
Nor should you add cat litter because it contains dangerous pathogens. Avoid bones,
chunks of wood, thick plant stems, ever-

In theory you can compost anything that has
ever lived. In practice, when using a compost bin or small heap, it is wise to restrict
materials to uncooked vegetable and plant
40

What should I avoid adding to my
compost bin?

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green leaves and egg shells too as these will
take many years to compost down. I also
avoid roots of pernicious weeds such as
ground elder and bindweed, diseased material and the seed heads of anything I do not
want to spread throughout the garden.
Using green and brown ingredients
People are often put off composting at home
because it all sounds too difficult. But believe me it isn’t. All you need is a good mix
of green and brown materials and this will
provide the right conditions for nature to
take its course and turn your waste materials from the kitchen and garden into lovely,
friable compost. Green materials include
grass cuttings, weeds, plant trimmings, vegetable scraps and fruit peelings (including
citrus). Brown ingredients are dead or dry
plant material, spent compost and torn up
or shredded paper and cardboard.

That’s the way to do it

In a small garden it is best to use a lidded
compost bin set on soil – not concrete or
paving slabs - and in the sunniest position
you can spare. This keeps the contents tidy,
helps to retain heat and allows any excess
moisture to drain off into the soil.
Most people are unlikely to have enough material to fill the bin in one go. If you can then
fine, but if not the same rules apply. Simply
add brown and green ingredients in roughly equally measures (and certainly no more
than two parts green to one part brown),
finishing off with a brown layer, ideally an
inch or two of spent compost or shredded
paper. This is my top tip. In the past I’ve had
a problem with fruit flies because condensation has caused the top layer of the compost
to get too wet. A top layer of brown material
soaks up the excess moisture and prevents
this unpleasant problem.

bin regularly and you should see the contents diminishing significantly as decomposition takes place. But if nothing seems to be
happening after a few weeks then you may
need to make some adjustments:

If the contents look neither sodden
nor dry and smell pleasant then nothing
is wrong, they just haven’t reached a high
enough temperature for the composting
process to begin. You might consider adding an activator - either bought in or diluted
urine - but I am always inclined to let nature
take its course and be patient.

If the contents look sodden and smell
musty then they are too wet. Add more
brown ingredients and give the heap a good
stir to add more air.

If the contents look very dry, water a
little every day, turning as you go to ensure
equal coverage, for about a week or until the
dryness abates.
With a bit of trial and error and regular
monitoring you will soon know by instinct
whether any action is needed to keep your
compost bin in prime condition. And within
6 to 12 months you will be ready to harvest
the compost and put it to good use.

How can I use my home made
compost?

Assuming that you won’t have shed loads of
homemade compost then you will want to
use it wisely. It is not high in nutrients so it
cannot be used as a replacement for bought
in multi-purpose compost on its own but
it does make an excellent seed and cutting medium. Or it can be added to top soil
and sharp sand to make potting compost
if that’s what you need. But the best use of
homemade compost is as a top dressing for
beds and borders to help improve the soil.
Sprinkle it on an inch or two thick and let
With the right balance of green and brown the worms do their work. It is pure garden
materials the composting process will start magic.
to take place almost immediately. Check the
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41

REVIEW

My Secret Café
Café Fresco
by The Editor

As I walk towards this little café situated in a
village just outside Southgate, I see that it’s
just across the road from a ‘far too big for
this village’ pub. You walk into a warm atmosphere in which people of every generation are having cups of tea and cake and big
plates full of jacket potatoes and salads. The
room is decorated in a beautiful shade of
blue and in the corner by the window there
is a set of shelves where they display and sell
the products of local micro businesses, focussing on one artisan product each month.
This time it’s local honey sourced from the
bee keepers round the corner. The counter
is full of home made cakes which are a speciality of the café. You would most certainly
come here for a delicious afternoon tea: they
hold tea parties here regularly in the summer as they have an adorable little garden
out the back that catches the sun.
I sat and looked at the menu and there was
not a chip in sight. ‘We’re not that type of
café,’ I heard someone say - they love to eat
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healthily. Although you can get a fry up to
an extent, they push a much healthier type
of meal that apparently members of the local slimming club enjoy too. I ordered an
omelette that was served with salad and vinaigrette dressing on the side so that I could
add what I wanted or not depending on how
I felt that day. My tea came with milk on the
side and a tiny plate on which to place my
spoon. I love these little additions which
mean that I don’t have to drink a cup of tea
that’s either too strong or too milky, and if I
don’t want lashings of vinaigrette that some
places drown your food in, I don’t have to
have it.
The whole café has a modern yet vintage feel,
and I think it’s these little details that make
it so special. I took a friend with me and
we both ate a an excellent meal and sat and
chatted for a while. The owner came over to
see if we were ok and she chatted with us too
- she seemed to know everyone in the vil-

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lage. As people came in, she would welcome
them and ask if they wanted their cup of tea
of coffee, whichever seemingly was their
usual. After a lovely lunch it was time to go
but neither of us could leave without trying
some cake, which we decided to take home
rather than eat there, as our lunch was nicely
filling and I had been so good! It was shortly before Christmas and the owner (who had
been a patisserie chef for many years) had
made fresh mince pies and Christmas cake.
Even though she had everything from chocolate and fruitcakes to gluten and dairy free
cakes, I went for the mince pies.
When we eventually came home with our
cakes that had been lovingly placed in boxes and packed for us, we decided that now
was the time to devour them. I think my
first words were OH MY GOD as I rolled my
eyes in delight. The Christmas cake, which
I wasn’t allowed even to try, was apparently just as good and hands may have been
slapped in the process of my trying to grab

a crumb. I was told that it was sweet and a
little boozy, and just perfect. More tea was
needed. My partner came down to find us
eating (again), snatched up a mince pie and
took a bite. And yes, admittedly I did buy
more than one in case he found me. ‘Where
the bloody hell did you get these?’ he demanded. ‘Go and get some more!’ A call was
made and an order was placed. A very merry
Christmas was had and I’ll be totally honest
- we didn’t share. Well, just with each other!
Café Fresco is in East Barnet Village, the
perfect place for tea and cake as well as
breakfast or lunch any day. For a treat or
just because you can be good, why not. It’s
simply a lovely place to visit. And if by some
faint chance you need any more persuasion,
there’s free wi-fi and free parking too.
Café Fresco, 11 Church Hill Road, Barnet,
EN4 8SY
Tel: 020 8440 8054

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

The Herbalist
Cleansing Your Body

Detoxing, bleugh! I hate the phrase and
equally the idea. It went through a bit of a
trendy phase in the early noughties and to
me conjures up lots of images of nasty looking juices and dry bland foods. In truth, it
doesn’t need to be that way at all - in fact,
our bodies do a fairly good job of keeping
us detoxed day to day thanks to our livers.
There’s very little need to do a detox apart
from at those times of year when we have
seriously over indulged, Christmas being
one of those times. There are many schools
of thought on this whole process, and many
faddy products and diets available from
companies that lure you in with promises
of weight loss along with a harsh cleanse,
all involving the purchase of their high cost
products, which I don’t endorse in any way.
Following the excesses of Christmas, this is
may appear to be a promise which seems
too good to miss! A nutritionist friend of
mine suggests a three day detox diet if you
want to follow that route, which excludes
all alcohol, red meat and sugars. No funky
juices, no weird pills, just a fruit and vegetable diet for three days. Sounds pretty
ordinary doesn’t it, but I think that simple
is often the best solution and much easier
to stick to given that it only lasts three days.
As I’ve already said, the liver is an amazing
organ. It regenerates like nothing else in
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the body, meaning that it can deal very well
with damage and over-indulgence. That’s
not to say that we should try and damage
this hard working organ! Although there
are chronic conditions that do have an impact on its capacity to do this, generally it
has an amazing ability to heal itself. Alongside a diet of fruit and veg you want to be
considering things that you can do to support the liver and kidneys – plenty of water helps flush out the kidneys and bladder and just giving your body a break from
booze, fat and sugar is a benefit in itself!
I spoke about nettle in my last article and
this is another excellent time to use this
wonderful plant. Nettle is great for the kidneys and bladder, though at this time of year
I’d be trying to source dried nettle rather
than fresh. Our lovely native Dandelions are
also a fantastic tool for this: found in abundance in the UK this hardy plant is known
as a weed to most. It has many names,
the main one Dandelion coming from the
French ‘dent de lion’ which means ‘lion’s
teeth’, referring to the shape of the leaves. It
is also called ‘wet-a-bed’ and ‘wild endive’.
Dandelion roots, in the form of dried powder, tincture or even dandelion coffee are
brilliant for the liver. This bitter extract
helps to stimulate the flow of bile and the

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PICTURE CREDITS: Gary Hume

by Jo Farren

leaf is a diuretic, so has a similar effect to
the nettle. Dandelion leaves are also rich
in vitamins A, B, C as well as minerals such
as calcium and iron, so the plant is not only
medicinal but also nutritionally valuable,
just like our friend the nettle. A great (and
cheap!) way to help your detox is to pick and
eat Dandelion leaves. They grow all year
round (as I’m sure anyone with a garden will
notice!) so in theory their leaves can be gathered throughout the year. During the spring
they are generally at their best but as long as
you’re collecting the younger leaves then I’m
sure they’ll be palatable. You should only
ever harvest from an area where there is no
heavy traffic or pollution, no animals and no
pesticides/fertiliser used, so your best allotment may be your back garden in this case.
Make sure it’s Dandelion that you’re gathering and grab a handful of leaves. Wash
them and eat them! It’s as simple as that.
A good and tasty recipe for a salad is
Handful of Dandelion leaves
Half a red onion, diced
Fresh basil, a few leaves
Three large tomatoes, chopped or halved if
they’re baby
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Mix it all up and voilà! You may find that
older Dandelion leaves are very bitter, so
the younger ones are better for eating in a
salad. The roots will always be pungent but
that’s because their main effect is on the
liver and these bitter principles are what
make them so effective, so it’s unavoidable.

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45

I also really like simple remedies like hot
water with ginger and lemon. The lemon
juice helps to stimulate the bowel first thing
in the morning and many say that it helps
to kick start their metabolism although this
is debatable – your metabolism is working all the time and in fact a glass of water
is more likely to boost it, or a spice such
as chilli. Ginger has an affinity for digestion and many sickness remedies contain
this old favourite. If, however, you suffer
with heartburn, I would recommend that
you avoid it, as it can increase stomach acid
production and exacerbate the symptoms.

lying medical conditions it may well be that
seeking the help of a professional herbalist will be of benefit to you. For those with
chronic conditions, particularly digestive
complaints, this path may not be for you. It’s
always recommended that you seek professional guidance before undertaking any kind
of new diet/detox or lifestyle change, but
even more so if you fall into these categories.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me
for some help and advice if you’re unsure.
So to sum up, avoid faddy detox and weight
loss products - your best tools are water
and the weeds in your garden as well as
store cupboard favourites and fruit and veg.
Don’t overdo any of it, either the drinking
or the detoxing – but do have fun with it!
Wishing you a very happy (and healthy) new
year!

For people who have more complex under- Joanne
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PICTURE CREDITS: Gary Hume

As mentioned before, you can buy dandelion root coffee which is a great substitute for
regular coffee, perfect if you are on a detox
and avoiding caffeine as it not only replaces
your regular drink but has a medicinal effect
on the liver so you’re getting a double benefit.

IGilly B’s
Bakery
Cakes made
with Love

Find her on Facebook and Twitter!
GillyB’sBakery

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Three Sweet Tips for
Kicking Sugar
by Thomas Bisson
Can you imagine sitting down at your kitchen table and proceeding to eat 34 teaspoons
of sugar in one sitting? Apparently that’s not
so far-fetched as you may think. According
to the Daily Telegraph (2014), the average UK
citizen consumes 34 teaspoons of sugar per
day. That’s 238 teaspoons per week! You may
think you fall below these averages, but the
surprising fact is that most of those sugars
are hidden in foods that we don’t think are
“sugary” at all.
What would you say is your daily intake of
sugar? What’s the longest you have ever
gone without it? When trying to eliminate
a substance so addictive, you have to take a
lot more into account than you might previously have thought. When I started my sugar free lifestyle six weeks ago, I thought it
would be easy. Unfortunately I found that it
wasn’t going to be as simple as cutting out
candy and soft drinks. During my first few
weeks of abstaining from sugar I found myself feeling a little grouchy and low on energy. You may be surprised how much you have
come to rely on that sweet kick, whether it’s
in your granola bar, a piece of chocolate or
your morning coffee. On my way to work I
thoughtlessly popped a stick of chewing
gum into my mouth, and after several minutes I noticed a boost in my energy, mood
and appreciation of the music on the radio.
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Even the smallest sugar boost can entirely
change your mood, much like any other addictive substance. What I have had to do on
this sugar kick is learn how to wait out the
moodiness and the cravings in order to rid
my body of my addiction. It hasn’t been easy
but I’m feeling much better for it. If you’re
looking to eliminate sugar from your diet or
even just to decrease your intake, here are
my top tips for surviving the transition.

1.

Educate yourself. It’s time to start
learning about what is actually going into
the food that you are eating. You will be surprised and perhaps horrified at what is food
manufacturers put into their products, but
remember that knowledge is power and it is
the first step to taking full responsibility for
what you consume in your daily life. There
are plenty of books, articles, and documentaries exposing the facts about sugar in the
current food market. Study up!

2.

Identify why you are kicking the habit.
Now that you’ve done some research about
the effects of processed sugar, you’ll be able
to think about how much of it you want out
of your life and WHY. It may be the link to future health problems, the way it makes you
feel, the lack of nutritional value... Whatever
your reason, you will need it in mind to help

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you resist temptation and stay on track. Trust
me, the sugar cravings will kick in at some point
and you will need that personal reason to keep
you motivated. Remember that without a goal,
self-discipline is nothing but punishment.

3.

Prepare yourself for what’s to come. Setting a day where you bake treats or cook meals
to see you through the week is a great way to
keep you on track. It will save you from caving
in and indulging when you have pre-made options available. Figure out when it is that you’re
having sugar (in your coffee, after lunch, before
bed) and decide how you can still have those
things without the sugar. If it’s a sweet morning coffee that you’re used to, try using honey
or agave instead of refined sugar. Swap out your
afternoon candy bar for a banana an orange.
Check out Pinterest and DIY blogs for some
easy sugar free dessert recipes. You may even
find that you soon start to prefer these treats
over your processed, sugary foods of the past.
Making your own treats can be fun! My partner
and I went into a sweet shop and had a browse,
we each wrote down five varieties that were our
favourites, and then we went home and made
the healthy and sugar free versions of them.
Making the goodies yourself is its own version
of sweetness. Preparation also includes preparing yourself emotionally - there will be mood
swings and irritability as your body detoxes. I
chose to do the sugar cleanse with my partner.
Consider using a buddy system to keep you on
track. As you move forward on your sugar free
journey, you will be able to identify how best to
prepare yourself for the hard times.
Bottom line, cutting or reducing processed
sugar may be difficult at times, but your body
and mind will thank you. Take the right steps
to avoid yo-yo dieting. If you educate yourself,
identify your motivations and prepare accordingly, you’ll find your new sugar-free lifestyle
much easier to handle.

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REVIEW

It’s all about Tea
by The Editor

There is nothing quite like a hot cup of tea,
but preferring a non caffeinated cup I tend
to go for the herbal teas after many years of
drinking fruit teas with no flavour.
For me I love my cuppa in the morning and
before bed, and in the evening it’s quite important for me to have something soothing
as I need my brain to calm down after a busy
day’s work and running around with the
kids. So with that in mind I’ve been sampling bedtime teas to see how they are for
my mind and for my taste buds too.

Pukka Night Time

Any tea that has anything to do with calming
the mind contains lots of chamomile and I
guess this is no different except that it’s in
no way overpowering. I can happily taste
the lavender but that too very mild and there
is a subtle undertone of licorice that I love
but again, given that it has some very strong
flavours, it’s mild and need I say calming.
I’m very much enjoying it and I will admit
that I’ve been drinking it during the day too
as it’s quite refreshing. When trying to do
too many things at the same time I do find
that a cup of tea is a good way to take a break
but this particular tea naturally calms your
mind too without any naughty caffeine getting in the way. A lovely cup of herbal tea.
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Baskervilles Rainbow Infusion, 15 Tea
Clouds

One of my favorite places to go is Baskervilles Tea Room in Palmers Green. I love going there for breakfast as well as for a very
naughty slice of cake, and that’s even with
the kids! But the best thing about this place
(other than the cake) is their extensive list
of teas that you can now buy and take home
with you. Usually at the tearoom you get a
teapot with loose leaves, but they have handily put the tealeaves into bags for those of us
who don’t have a pot but who love the taste.
This is certainly one of the most beautiful
teas that I’ve ever seen, and the rainbow tag
I assume relates to the colours of the stunning herbs and flowers that the tea is made
from. It’s a wonderful red from the rosehip
it contains and I can also taste the orange
and the apple over the rosehip: they sweeten
the tea and leave a really nice after taste. It’s
not tart and unlike some fruit teas it doesn’t
need sugar, it’s just mild and comforting.
Although I can’t taste the rainbow or what I
would imagine a rainbow tastes like, it is delicious and I would happily keep this at home
for that ‘something different’ tea.

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REVIEW

JAM

by The Editor

We all like a little treat and sometimes it’s as simple and straightforward as something nice
on toast. Jam of course is the answer to that craving and why not try something a little different. I have found two amazing jams for you to try and enjoy.

Piddington Apricot & Rosemary
“Jam with a hint of mischief“

When you first open the lid, there is an overwhelming smell of rosemary with an underlying
sweetness to it but when you taste the jam both of these flavours are present in equal measure. This delicious confection tastes both fruity and sweet with a fragrant rosemary spike.
I tried it alone and also with some strong cheese, which I have to say was just amazing. I
love chutneys but they frequently have an acidic note. This doesn’t and is definitely a wonderful jam. Spread it on toast or on a cheesy scone and you will be in heaven. I would even
give it as a gift as it’s the perfect addition to a small or large foodie hamper or present.
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Wild at Heart Elderflower with Crabapple
I love elderflower and that was all I could very happily smell when opening this jar of jam.
It’s very thick and almost like a jelly but lovely to dig your spoon into. It felt nice in my
mouth as it’s very smooth as well. The tartness of the crabapple is a lovely base for the elderflower to sink into and it really is just delicious. Again I had some on toast and also on a
sweet scone. Yes I did have it with a sneaky dollop of clotted cream and it was very naughty
and cake heavenly good. But on toast it is a fantastic every day treat too. This jam is fit for
any good store cupboard and perfect for any teatime treat.

Piddington (£6.00) and

Wild at Heart (£4.25) were found
at the Foodies Festival, but you
can buy both online or at any
great Food event!
www.piddingtonjam.co.uk
www.wildatheartfoods.co.uk

REVIEW

Borough Market
by The Editor

Foodie heaven in the heart of London is
called Borough Market. The market’s on
every week, almost every day and it’s full
not only of amazing foods from the length
and breadth our great nation, there are
some amazing stalls from Europe too. If
the cheese guy from France isn’t there I do
get a bit upset but there is always wonderful cheese, meat, bread, cakes - you name it
you can buy it from Borough Market and it’s
always fresh and delicious.

One of the reasons that I love coming to this
market and it’s such a special treat is because
all the produce is extremely high quality. I
will admit that some of it is more expensive
than my local shops and market, but I can’t
always get my fancy meat there either. A
while ago I worked quite close to the market
and it was so nice to nip in there and grab
some lunch – admittedly on the way to the
pub! The street food is fantastic and so varied, from kebabs to curries, burgers to burritos, you can find pretty much everything
here including the often overlooked vegan
option too. It’s a great place to eat. All in
all it truly is one of the great foodie places to
go, not just for your shopping but for a thoroughly enjoyable day out. And when you’re
all fooded out, you can nip round the lovely
Tate Modern, as it’s just round the corner
past the Globe Theatre!

My favourite stalls are those that sell the different kinds of meat, and when I say different I mean things like ostrich which makes
an amazing burger and steaks to die for.
Boar burgers are delicious too and not forgetting those sausages that you just have to
take home with you. I don’t usually buy my
veggies there as I get those locally but a special loaf of bread, preferably sourdough or
rye, always goes down a treat.
Borough Market, By London Bridge Station,
8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL
I do love visiting those stalls that I’ve never www.boroughmarket.org.uk
seen before, such as the one where I bought
the cereal for our breakfast ideas …. a great
little business working hard to sell us a simple yet amazing product. I love it!
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SHOPPING LOCAL

Sourcing your food locally
Where I shop
by Dorothy Martinez
Given a limitless budget, I would probably
shop organically and locally at all times –
but I haven’t been given a limitless budget
and so my key priorities with shopping are
good food at good prices. Some things we
get through a lot of – coffee, parmesan, olive oil – and by buying these things in bulk,
we are able to spend a bit more on fancier,
higher quality and independently produced
food when we want to. I truly love to wander
the aisles of a supermarket and can spend
hours doing so (I know I’m sad), especially
the world food aisles, and particularly like to
spend time in the many Turkish supermarkets in our area, which have a huge variety of
things at great prices. I do use mainstream
supermarkets, but increasingly less so these
days.

Wholesalers

is a range of origins and roasts, including
some house blends, produced by Starbucks,
all of which are good for everyday drinking.
Our coffee bill, which was easily £10 a week,
is now closer to that per month. Finish-inthe-oven bread is also a bargain there and
we often get the Ciabatta and demi-baguettes. It’s also a fantastic place to get huge
amounts of laundry liquid (or powder) at a
fraction of the price. We often buy a couple
at once from either Costco or Makro.

Hoo Hing

There seems to be a Hoo Hing supermarket and wholesaler at each compass point in
London and there are others throughout the
UK. Generally I stock up on frozen prawns
and lime leaves from here, which are a bargain. There is also a good range of Thai curry
pastes and spices, though do check packets
for things like MSG and tartrazine if you try
to avoid those things in your diet. It’s also a
good place for huge bottles of Asian oils and
condiments, rices and fresh fruit and veg
from the East, from galangal to Asian celery
to the foul smelling durian fruit, if you’re so
inclined.
Dried herbs, spices, grains, beans, pulses
and flours.

One of the perks of being part of the barely
sane self-employed demographic is having
access to wholesalers. We mainly use Costco
and I generally buy the things we use a lot
of from there. It’s great for cheese; we get
our Parmesan, Pecorino, goat’s cheese and
Halloumi from Costco – it’s all a perfectly
acceptable quality and around £7 to £9 for a
decent quantity of each that lasts us up to six
weeks (depending on shelf life). If we’re getting through a lot of cooked and cured meats It’s been a long time since I bought a jar of
then great savings can be made here too. overpriced dried herbs or spices from the
Also coffee – we buy beans and grind – there supermarket and the fact that they are still
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so expensive and that anyone buys them
continues to baffle me. What is more, in my
local “Big Four”, 500g of chapatti flour costs
around £2.50, when you can get 2kg of the
stuff for £1.99 at their competitors with a
better World Foods aisle, along with an extensive and very reasonably priced selection
of beans and pulses. With the exception of
saffron, I almost always use the Rajah or East
End ranges, where you often get five times as
much for half the price, which I then store in
old jam jars. While many of these are available in supermarkets, my favourite place to
shop for them is Edmonton Green shopping
centre market, which has some of the less
common products. However, for some of the
more specific things (I’m recalling my need
for pomegranate powder that arose last
year), it has to be Brick Lane. Herbs (dried
and some fresh) are best bought in Turkish
supermarkets as are products like couscous,
barley and bulgur wheat. I can also recommend the Village Wholefoods Store at Forty Hall for organic herbs and spices, grains,
beans, pulses and seeds, as well as some of
the weirder and more wonderful flours and
sugars.
I’ve recently got into Mexican cooking and
have started to stick my toe in the water of
Middle Eastern cooking, each of which call
for particular ingredients. For my Mexican dried chillies, cinnamon and Mexican

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oregano, I generally use Capsicana (mail order) who have a great range of dried chillies
from Ancho Poblano to Chipotle and produce a range of chilli sauces too. For Middle Eastern necessities, I have found lots of
great things at Steenbergs.co.uk, all at reasonable prices.

Fruit and Veg

You can buy fruit and veg in your local Turkish grocers at a fraction of the price you pay
in one of the Big Four. At some times of the
year, 5kg tomatoes will cost you a mere £2.99
and a huge box of sultana grapes something
like £5. Many offer a 25% discount for fruit
and veg if you shop on a Sunday. Again, Edmonton Green Market has a great stall which
has a range of Indian vegetables, including
drumsticks, gourds, and green mangoes, a
huge variety of aubergines, fresh turmeric
and Jamaican ginger. It’s well worth a visit
if you’re venturing out into the wonderful
world of vegetarian Indian cookery, though
check that what you’re buying is fresh and
ask if they have any more if it’s looking a bit
dry. Of course, these sellers rarely offer organic fruit and veg, so if that’s important for
you then it’s probably not going to be your
thing. But for us, shopping this way saves
us a lot of money and we can support some
of the smaller businesses. For berries and
fresh herbs, I have to say that I haven’t really
found anywhere as reliable as the “Big Four”

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for quality, variety and price but sometimes
the Turkish supermarkets do well on that
and are great for huge bunches of parsley,
coriander, mint and less often thyme.

the fishmonger there can advise on lower
cost alternatives to fancy fish suggestions if
you’re not yet in the income bracket where
you can afford to curry monkfish.

Turkish Supermarkets

The “Big Four” Tesco, Sainsbury’s,
Other things on offer at your local Turkish Morrison’s and Asda
supermarket are probably also available in
your “Big Four” at twice the price. They often
have great prices on large quantities of olive
oil, Halloumi cheese and yogurt which can
be good if, like us, you get through a lot of it.
Speciality ingredients like preserved lemons
and an unprecedented variety of fruit molasses (including pomegranate) can be found
at non-speciality prices. Larger shops also
tend to have a good selection of breads and
pastries which are well worth a browse, as
well as a meat counter.

Meat and Fish

We have recently started to buy most of
our meat from James Gubb Butchers, who
have a wholesale business in Smithfields.
Mrs Gubb, Joanne, runs a Facebook group
through which people local to Enfield can
order very reasonably priced meat, comparable if not superior in quality to what you
would buy in a supermarket. We particularly use the minced beef which is fantastic,
the chicken thighs and breasts and braising
steak, most of which we store in the freezer.
If we are doing a steak tartare, I tend to go
to one of the excellent local butchers, either
Wades Hill or Peatchey’s.
For fish, I have recently started to use Justin and Sarah Venn Coles‘ Facebook group,
Just Fish, which is extremely reasonable and
great quality, all suitable for sushi and ceviche if that’s what you fancy. Prices fluctuate
a bit (as fish tends to), but it’s always great
value. They deliver to your door early morning, Tuesday to Saturday. Another good place
for fish is Edmonton Green Market again –
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So what’s left to buy from these guys? Well,
they each have some excellent products and
they do some things particularly well; I have
favourite products in each that I tend to go
for. For example, I really like the chorizo and
own-brand butter in Tesco and Sainsbury’s
Taste the Difference sausages are practically the only ones we use. They have great offers on good brands of pasta and a variety
of speciality rice. We would generally look
for special offers on processed foods such
as breaded fish and scampi. Canned and
frozen vegetables (mushy peas, sweetcorn,
garden peas etc) as well as oven chips, hash
browns and ice cream always come from a
mainstream supermarket. Another thing
they’re good for is more unusual fruit and
vegetables (although admittedly with a heavy
carbon footprint) and if you need a variety
of fresh herbs then that’s where you’ll find
them. The question of whether bags of salad are a good idea is hotly debated, but I’m
all for them – you can get a variety of mixed
leaves in one bag that would be an expensive
and probably wasteful nightmare if you were
to assemble such a salad yourself.
Obviously we don’t travel the length and
breadth of the borough to each of these
shops every week, but if I’m in the area then
I pop in and get what we need. Shopping
in this way means that when we do happen
upon a farmers’ market or a food show, we
can afford to blow fifty quid on exotic chilli
sauce, apple juice or a few packets of squid
ink spaghetti.

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59

REVIEW

Snacks
by The Editor

Dynabites Berry Burst
A fusion of raspberry, beetroot, coconut and
honey
This is a delicious little bar that’s not too
sweet. The coconut makes it chewy and occasionally you can taste the cashews coming
through as well, but the predominant texture is that of coconut and of course that is
also the overriding taste. It does have those
sweet fruity flavours in it too and the raspberry tastes particularly good. I can taste the
beetroot as well and these flavours perfectly
complement one another – it’s almost as if I
can taste the colour of the fruit and vegetables the bar contains. I thoroughly enjoyed
it and it’s very handy to pop into your bag
and run off with - I just wonder if I’ll need
two? With the added advantage of being gluten, wheat and dairy free, as well as high in
protein, this bar comes in two other flavours
as well.
You can buy Dynabites in specialist shops
and via www.missnutritionist.com

with a lovely texture that is almost like that
of a chocolate truffle, but it also has quite a
strong flavor. It’s packed full of lovely coconut chips and seeds, so I can’t really taste
anything else other than the chocolate and
some coconut, even though it has the chia
and pumpkin ‘crunch’. Nonetheless it’s really flavoursome and I love the fact that it
has no naughty things in it so you can eat
it without worrying, as it’s actually quite
healthy for you. All Conscious Chocolate
products are made by hand and from a very
small start they now produce 15 different
flavours. Chocolate that’s good for you, how
perfect is that. The bars are also suitable for
raw foodists, diabetics, coeliacs, vegetarians
and vegans – for more detailed information
visit their website at www.consciouschocolate.co.uk.
You can buy Conscious Chocolate bars from
most good health, organic and wholefood
specialists at around £2.50 per bar, or directly via their website.
Love Raw Coconut and Chia Organic Bar

Conscious Chocolate ‘Coconut Crunch’ Organic Raw Chocolate
Raw 100% Organic Superfood Energy Bar
The difference with the Love Raw bar is that
With chia seeds, coconut chips and pumpkin it’s full of superfood Omega 3 + 6 oils which
seeds.
for me make it something very different.
This is chocolate with a difference, although The consistency is very much like that of a
yes, it is raw and so it has a slightly differ- moist cereal bar but also similar to the texent consistency than you are used to with ture of a dried fig, which admittedly it is the
‘standard’ chocolate. It’s soft and smooth, stuff that holds it all together. Although the
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bar contains almonds and chia, once again
the strongest flavour coconut. It’s soft, with
little crunchy bits inside, but with a coconutty after taste. I love the packaging, and I
love that you get a big bar too. It’s also by far
and away the healthiest bar I’ve ever had and
that’s a great benefit. The bars are made and
packed by hand and are available in a total of
four flavours: for detailed nutritional information visit their website at www.eatloveraw.com.
You can buy Love Raw bars at all good health
food shops at around £2.79 per bar, or directly via their website.
Montezuma’s Dark Chocolate with Chilli
This is pure heaven. It’s a very strong dark
chocolate which is my all time favorite.
When you first bite into the bar, the chocolate tastes creamy but all of sudden you can
feel your tongue tingling and then a slight
burning sensation. Not a lot, just a little. It’s
absolutely delicious and yes, it’s also very
naughty but you can’t be good all the time.
They have a vast selection of every kind of
chocolate with all sorts of flavours that are
sheer chocolate joy. They are my new favourite ‘non-raw’ chocolate! I found this
product on the Riverford website but Montezuma’s have their own network of stores.
And despite the fact that this ‘remains entirely a family love affair with chocolate’, according to their own website, these yummy
goodies are available in a large selection of
stores as well as online. Further information about their extensive range of chocolate types and flavours can be found on their
website at www.montezumas.co.uk
You can buy Montezuma’s Chocolate Bars
from good supermarkets, food stores and
websites at around £2.39 per bar.

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61

FOOD

Dinner

FAKEAWAY: Southern Fried Chicken
by Dorothy Martinez

I don’t know about you, but fried chicken
shops make me feel dirty on the inside – and
not in a good way. But my beloved and our
children love it, so I set to and started to research some spice blends with the intention
of faking it at home. I had wondered whether I could make it slightly healthier, but let’s
not kid ourselves, we’re talking about fried
chicken here, so whichever way you look at
it, it’s going to be cooked in some sort of oil.
However, there’s a lot to be said for retaining control of the salt and sugar content, for
being reassured that there’s no MSG and for
not using a pressure fryer.

you off, but do play around with it and create
your very own ‘special blend’.

I am partial to a fried chicken burger with
a hash brown and did successfully recreate
that using a hash brown, some iceberg lettuce, some cheap, orange burger cheese and
a sesame seed bun. Find some decent chips
and perhaps steam and butter some sweet
corn to serve with it.
I can happily confirm that I didn’t feel dirty
after eating this home-cooked version of
fried chicken.

Breadcrumb chicken

As you would expect, this recipe is rather
heavy on the ingredients, many of which can
be sourced cheaply from Edmonton Green
Market and The Village Food Store. I used
chicken breasts, but you could experiment
with bone-in chicken and perhaps even
pork, fish and seafood. Experiment too with
the mix of spices – use this recipe to start
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Ingredients
Seasoning

1½ tbsp onion powder
1½ tbsp chicken seasoning (by Rajah or East
End Spice)
½ tbsp caster sugar (golden or white)
1 tsp each of garlic powder, paprika, cumin,
savoury, oregano, sage, pepper and salt
½ tsp ginger powder
Cayenne pepper to taste
4 chicken breasts
1 quantity of spice mix
3 eggs
Flour for dusting
Breadcrumbs
A liberal quantity of sunflower or vegetable
oil

Method

Cut the chicken into the size and shape you
like, place it in a bowl and cover with milk.
Leave to stand for an hour.
Meanwhile, mix the herbs and spices with
the breadcrumbs and make sure all the dry
ingredients are well combined.
When the chicken is ready to coat, pour sunflower oil (about 2mm deep) into a shallow

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baking tray, turn the oven on to gas mark 7
(or a medium hot oven at 220 C) and allow to
preheat with the baking tray in the oven.
Remove the chicken from the milk and drain.
Then coat in flour, toss in the egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture so it’s properly
covered. Set the pieces aside on a plate.
When all chicken is coated, remove the tray
from the oven and, ensuring the oil is evenly spread across it, place the chicken on the
tray. Using tongs, gently turn it over a couple
of times to ensure the chicken is coated with
the oil. Try not to overcrowd it.
After 15 minutes, turn the chicken and check
again after another 10 minutes. If the coating
isn’t yet crispy then turn the oven down to a
medium-low heat and check and turn every
7 minutes.

Chicken nuggets/battered mini bites
4 chicken breasts
1 quantity of spice mix
100g plain flour, sifted
200ml cold water
Flour for dusting
Oil for deep frying (corn or vegetable oil)

Method

Cut the chicken into fairly flat nugget shapes
or smallish cubes (you don’t want it too thick
as it needs to cook through reliably in the
fryer), place it in a bowl and cover with milk.
Leave to stand for an hour.
Meanwhile, beat the water and flour together
until it’s combined into a thick, gloopy batter. Add the spice mix and beat together.
When the chicken is ready to drain, start to
heat the oil in your wok or deep fat frying
pan, about 2” (5cm) deep. Drain the chicken
and squeeze out some of the milk. Toss the
chicken in the flour a few pieces at a time.
When the oil is hot enough, dip the chicken pieces in the batter one at a time and put
straight into the hot oil until the surface of
the oil is full, though with room for the chicken pieces to move a bit.
Fry until the batter is golden, then remove
from the fryer and onto a plate with a piece
of kitchen paper on it. Keep warm, uncovered, in a low oven until all chicken is ready.

FOOD

SAUCE

Bolognese

by Dorothy Martinez, with recipies added by Daniela Gavriel
Spaghetti Bolognese is no doubt up there with Chicken Tikka Masala as one of Britain’s favourite adopted dishes. It’s a great family favourite and in our house, it is the only disguise
for vegetables that actually works on the kids. From top chefs to the rest of us, everyone has
their own way of making a Bolognese sauce, however, according to some authors, what we
primarily know as a recipe for minced beef was traditionally a recipe for a whole joint of
meat and the end result would be used in two dishes, rather than just one.
For many Italians, pasta is a first course, usually followed by a meat dish, and the Bolognese
sauce would be the thickened stock in which the meat had stewed, stirred into pasta: the
stewed joint would then be served with salad or vegetables as the second course. In his 2003
book, ‘Passion for Pasta’, veteran maestro Antonio Carluccio suggests using one or more
joints of beef, lamb or pork, all on the bone while, although he sticks with using mince, the
younger Gino D’Acampo recommends a combination of beef and pork, which seems to be
commonly used among Italian cooks. Some people add bacon or pancetta as well. Dani has
even included a Greek version based on pork mince with the addition of cinnamon.
Then there is the question of the base. Some would never use anything other than a soffritto
(an ‘under-fried’ fried mixture of chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic), while others
would advocate well softened onions, garlic and possibly chilli.
After that, you need to decide where you stand on the subject of adding vegetables. There
are those who would use mushrooms as standard, while others would finely chop courgettes, aubergine and possibly peppers as well, or, in the absence of using a soffritto base,
would grate some carrot in there too. I imagine the good people of Bologna quivering with
rage at the suggestion of adding an assortment of vegetables to their local dish, and perhaps
at this point, it might be useful to consider the concept of the Ragù, a term which can be
used more generally to describe a meat based sauce.
Finally, is your preference for spaghetti or for short pasta, penne perhaps or rigatoni? If my
son is choosing, we might go for the unorthodox farfalle: to my mind, fusilli would just be
weird. However, this is entirely a matter of personal preference and, as with the rest of the
recipe, you can make your own decision.
At last comes the question of cheese. Always use an Italian hard cheese, such as Parmesan, Grana Padano or Peccorino but do use fresh rather than ready grated or dried. You’ve
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made the effort with the sauce, so don’t un- Add the salt and chilli powder and stir well.
dermine it with sub-standard dried cheese. Taste and add more if necessary.
Simmer uncovered on a low heat for about
Although I personally do make use of the 15 minutes stirring regularly. You want the
cloaking qualities of the Bolognese or Ragù sauce to reduce to a thick consistency but
to get a wider variety of veggies into my not to dry out, so if the pot gets too dry, add
children, my favourite version of the sauce another 100 to 150ml of water and simmer
gravitates towards the simple, using a base down. Don’t worry about overcooking it – if
of well softened onions and garlic, stock, you add too much water, you can just let the
blended tomatoes and minced beef, with the excess evaporate, but don’t let it burn.
unorthodox addition of a little chilli powder Serve over your pasta of choice and finish by
to taste.
grating an Italian hard cheese over the dish.

Dorothy’s version:

Three versions from Dani:

My basic recipe can be used by itself, but I
have included some other variations that I
use as well.

Ingredients
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Half a bulb of garlic (or more or less to taste),
finely chopped
3 tbsp of olive oil (or substitute one tbsp for
butter)
400ml beef stock
2tbsp tomato paste
500g minced beef
1 can tomatoes or 3-4 vine tomatoes peeled
and blended to a smooth consistency
Salt to taste
Chilli powder to taste

Method

Gently soften onions and garlic in the oil or
oil and butter mixture, ideally in a large, flat
saucepan, taking care not to let them burn.
This should take about 8 to 10minutes on a
low to medium heat.
Dissolve the tomato paste in the beef stock
and then add the mixture to the pan and
bring to the boil.
Add the mince (adding the mince to the stock
in this way helps to break it up and avoid
clumps of meat, making the sauce smoother).
Once the meat has started cooking and has
separated, add the tomatoes and return to
the boil.
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Base recipe:
4 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
1 large white onion, peeled & finely chopped
800g lean mince, either beef or pork
2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper

Method

Sauté garlic and onion in olive oil
Add minced meat and brown off
Add 100ml of water along with a stock cube
Add chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, dried herbs and chilli flakes
Simmer on a low heat for 1.5 hours

Variations:
Traditional: pork mince with celery & carrot:
This recipe is based on a traditional Sicilian recipe handed down by my mother and
grandmother. Garnish it with Parmesan or
Grana Padano.

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Add:

Greek style: Pork mince with
Three stalks of celery finely chopped after cinnamon:
browning your minced meat
Four carrots, diced after browning your
minced meat
Ragu style: beef mince with mushrooms:
I came up with this recipe after eating many
Bolognese dishes in my favourite restaurants and trying out lots of recipes from
cook books and online. I must say, it’s divine. Garnish with fresh mozzarella or traditional hard cheeses (my hubby grates mild
cheddar cheese on his).

My pork mince with parsley, mint and cinnamon is based on my father-in-law’s traditional Greek recipe. Use Greek salted halloumi or anari cheese.

Add:

1 tsp ground cinnamon after browning your
minced meat
1/2 tsp ground cloves after browning your
minced meat
A handful of fresh parsley after adding your
tinned tomatoes
Add:
A handful of fresh mint after adding your
A handful of sliced chestnut mushrooms af- tinned tomatoes
ter browning your mince meat
5 fresh basil leaves finely chopped after adding tomatoes
A splash of red wine after adding your tomatoes

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67

RESTURANT REVIEW

Valentino’s On The Park
by The Editor

A hidden gem, Valentino’s On the Park is just
across the road from the beautiful Broomfield Park and next door to one of the most
talked about Greek restaurants in North London. Valentino’s is under new management
and is jostling with the big boys to become
your ‘go to’ place for an authentic Italian experience. The food is definitely like mamma
used to make with hearty pasta dishes and
pizzas, but the restaurant looks like a place I
used to go to in Florence with its vintage feel,
soft lighting and paisley table cloths.

the point that I nearly licked the plate, but I
didn’t think that was a great example for the
kids!

I’ve been to Valentino’s on the Park a couple of times and, after visiting with friends,
I decided that my family deserved a treat
too. They cater for everyone. Being parents
themselves, the sisters who run the restaurant felt that it should be somewhere where
you can enjoy quality family time, and what
could be more Mediterranean than that?

As for their pizza - well, my other half decided the Calzone was so good that he ate
it all and it was huge. He couldn’t move the
next day but said he had to finish as it was
too good to leave! The kids had their usual Pepperoni Pizza and a bowl of Spaghetti
Bolognese, both of which completely disappeared, and my children are the fussiest eaters on the planet. All in all, this is the perfect
place for the family and for friends to eat and
I’ve done both. The food standard is really
high for what could easily be just another local pizza house, but the vision for the owners
of this restaurant is to make a fantastic place
where everyone, regardless of age, can enjoy delicious Italian food in a homely atmosphere – and that is exactly what you get at
Valentino’s.

Whilst the kids get a meal with a smile, we
adults can enjoy a fantastic Italian wine and
a selection of pizzas, pasta and mains from
Veal Milanese and Rib Eye Steak to Seabass
and Cod Livornese. When I had a starter of
Bruschetta I couldn’t tell you whether I was
in North London or Italy, particularly with
my favourite Chianti Reserve. My main
dish was Melanzane Parmigiana, a delicious
combination of aubergine, tomato, béchamel sauce and cheese. It’s unusual for me
to choose a vegetarian meal, but it was hot
and comforting whilst being light and filling
at the same time. The aubergines were sweet
and the cheese wasn’t too heavy, but lovely
and creamy. There was nothing left of it to
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Having been more than once I must say that
the Crispy Arancini (rice balls filled with
mozzarella and tomato sauce) are simply to
die for, and the Grilled King Prawns with
chilli, garlic and lime were sublime. I am
very much someone who could eat a dozen
starters in a restaurant but these are worth
coming back for again and again.

Valentino’s on the Park, 64 Aldermans Hill, Palmers
Green, London N13 4PP
Tel: 020 8920 9744
Valentino’s On The Park - Buy one pizza get one free
every Wednesday!

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RESTURANT REVIEW

Tentazioni
by The Editor
An elegant Italian restaurant, Tentazioni
is located in the heart of Bermondsey and
London Bridge, across the road from one
of the most prestigious games studios in
the country. As you enter the restaurant,
it’s filled with contemporary art but at
the same time it’s warm and inviting with
its red walls, authentic Italian music and
charming staff.
I sampled a number of dishes all of which
were just delightful. Beef Fillet Carpaccio
with White Chicory served with Foie Gras
ice cream and juicy fresh figs. This was
simply amazing. Maybe as a point of principle I shouldn’t like foie gras (although I do
prefer it to be ethically sourced) but it tasted wonderful as an ice cream, almost better
than a pâté in my opinion. The combination of carpaccio and chicory with foie gras
was a perfect treat: it just melted in your
mouth and woke up your taste buds.
My favorite dish was probably the simplest
too. It was Roast King Pumpkin Ravioli
with Amaretti Biscuits and Fruit Mustard
served with a butter and sage sauce. The
pumpkin is a delicate flavour contrasting
with the delicious buttery sage sauce that
blew my mind. The amaretti biscuits were
a wonderful and unexpected enhancement
to the sage, sweetening the herb to make
the entire dish outstanding and a world
apart from the average ravioli seen in other restaurants. But oddly and wonderfully
it was the balsamic drizzle to finish that
brought everything together with a fruity
sweetness.
I could go on. All of the meals that I sampled were perfection and Tentazioni has the
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hallmarks of a Michelin star: regardless of
the fact that they have been open for more
than ten years, they deserve it. With dishes
like these and delights such as Grilled Wild
Scottish Lobster with Beef Fillet Carpaccio
Millefeuille served with Garden Salad and
Deep Fried Granny Smith Apple, and Fresh
Egg Tagliatelle with Black Truffle Sauce
(also available with foie gras which is heavenly and creamy), it’s a restaurant that you
simply must visit when you get the chance.
Tentazioni Restaurant, 2 Mill Street, London SE1 2BD
Tel: 020 7237 1100

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FEATURE

A Modern Good Life
by Emma De Souza

I am just an ordinary woman, married with
three beautiful kids and a nice house in a
good neighbourhood in the suburbs of London. I do however have a dream of one day
owning a smallholding filled with animals
and enough land to grow my own veg, keep
bees and have a small but productive cut
flower patch that I can incorporate into my
already up and running floristry business.
But for the time being I do the best I can
while living what I guess is an urban life – I
keep a small flock of hens in my back garden
and I have three beautiful rescue dogs who
are the constant and calming influence in
my life and fill it with fabulous walks in the
local woods. As I write this one of my dogs
has his handsome face on my lap with his
deep chocolate eyes that would melt even
the hardest of hearts gazing up at me with
pure love and adoration. My animals ask for
nothing – except maybe a good square meal
and the odd walk. They are always happy to
see me no matter what and they love me unconditionally.

over the last year it has grown into something I am immensely proud off. I recently
took on an allotment and the next few years
will be spent learning all I can about growing
cut flowers. In January I start a Royal Horticultural Society course on Plant Growth,
Propagation and Development which I will
fit in around the business, my family and the
animals.

My three rescue dogs were all rescued from
Romania where there is a huge problem
with stray street dogs. We started with two
of them a couple of years ago and recently
took in another five month old puppy who
has settled well into family life. We have kept
chickens for more than eight years now and
more recently quails which all keep us (and
the neighbours) in fresh eggs – some days
we get over 10 eggs a day so there is plenty to
go around! I try to work during the day and
finish in time to collect the children from
school when family time kicks in – it’s not
always possible but I do my best. If I could
have one wish it would for there to be more
I run my own floristry business from a pur- hours in the day – there is never enough
pose built studio at the end of my garden and time – but I think this a modern day prob70

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lem and so many people I know have such
hectic lives it makes you wonder how they all
do what they do!
I grew up in North London. I always loved
art as a child and went to art college and then
on to university to study Printed Textiles, after which I went onto to work in the fashion
industry for 14 years, working my way up to
buyer in companies like River Island, Arcadia and BHS. When I was made redundant
in 2007 I decided to quit the industry and I
went to work and study at a local florist’s. I
fell in love with flowers – they allowed me
to be artistic and I gradually started my own
business working from home doing weddings for friends which slowly grew into
what is now a relatively successful floristry
business. It also allowed me to work from
home and still be around for my children
who were fast growing up, but with two still
at primary school it is important for me to
be there for them when they get home from
school. It has allowed me to indulge in my
passion for animals (albeit on a small scale)
and if I didn’t work from home it would make
it much more difficult to have them in my
life as I wouldn’t be here.

that the flowers they buy should be as environmentally friendly as the food on their tables. I try where possible to support British
Grown flowers and use them when I can in
my work. There is nothing more satisfying
that working in my Flower Studio with my
three dogs sleeping at my feet and the chickens clucking outside the doors looking in at
what we are getting up to.
Winter always means a tough few months
for me as there are so few daylight hours
to squeeze everything into. Chickens need
to be fed and cleaned out, dogs need to be
walked and now there is the allotment to
clear ready for planting out in the Spring as
well as the business to keep going. Although
at times I feel overwhelmed by what I have to
do on a daily basis I am truly grateful for everything I have. A job I love, my kids and my
animals, a supportive husband – although
it’s all hard work I know I am lucky that I enjoy what I do. An hour or two spent digging
at the allotment is heaven for me. So I carry on – deep breathing as I go. Roll on the
summer and the long light days!

Every day I give thanks for my life – it’s by
no means perfect but I have a job I love and
I have my family around me. I try to live as
healthy and green a life as possible and I
believe that by making even small changes
to our lives we can make a difference. The
flowers I will grow at the allotment will be
as green (excuse the pun!) as possible and I
hope and believe that people are slowly beginning to see that it is equally important

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FEATURE

Anyone Can Grow

An interview with Douglas Mallette of Cybernated
Farm Systems (CFS)

As population grows and traditional methods of farming have become increasingly
unfit for purpose (global yields have been
declining for years), around the world visionaries and have-a-go heroes are working
on the solutions that should (fingers crossed)
be mankind’s salvation. Douglas Mallette is
setting himself up to become the epitome of
this movement, nurturing his foetal business that will enable communities to feed
themselves - and inspiring a new generation
of forward-thinking science-lovers.
“Cybernated Farm Systems have designed
an off-grid, sustainable, aquaponic greenhouse that is highly automated. Managed by
computers for the most part, it allows the
user to learn how to farm without having to
know how to do it to start with. The brain
of the building is like an interactive tutorial
operational system so the building will tell
you what needs to be done, how to do it and
why - you do that enough times and you’ll
end up learning about fish tank operation,
solar panel operation, computer systems,
sensors. So it’s designed to educate and provide at the same time.”

with the Water Body Restoration Group
[WBRG] who use biological systems to clean
polluted water from rivers, streams and
lakes. We’re putting their systems into our
buildings, so the CFS building not just grows
food, not just provides fish, not just provides
excess clean energy power that you can plug
into the building (it’s not a big power station but you can charge cell phones, laptops,
things like that, that the village could use
for communication) but we’re able to plug
a building into a polluted stream or something, a waterbody the people can’t drink
from currently, and eventually over a couple
of years we can clean that water out so now
they can have a cleaner water system around
them.”

Douglas is passionate about solutions to
problems that have “a lot of little plusses”.
Sustainability is a lot better than causing
our planet harm but it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s just not enough. With the
WBRG technology and the clean power production integrated into his design (which
in isolated communities in the developing
world can replace diesel generators that
pollute terribly), not to mention the oppor“My big focus to help people is food and wa- tunities for users to educate themselves,
ter together which is why we also partnered CFS greenhouses will improve the condition
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© Cyberfarm Systems www.cyberfarmsystems.com

by Elizabeth Hobson

of the planet. He calls this philosophy ‘Sus+’
and hopes that in time it will become the industry standard. The genesis of his current
vocation was in adversity:
“I’m a former space shuttle systems engineer. I used to work in space shuttle operations out of Houston. We all knew that the
space programme was going to end and we
had to figure out what we were going to be
when we grew up, because we no longer
got to play with spaceships anymore. With
human space flight dwindling down, given
that all the new space companies aren’t really big enough yet, there’s kind of a vacuum
between industries. I tried to figure out how
I could use my engineering background for
something productive - and then the Haitian earthquake happened. I was looking at
the disaster and how they handled it and I
realised: we’re very rapid to drop food and
help right away when the problem occurs,
you see millions of dollars raised in very
short spaces of time to put in a whole bunch
of food and all that - but that doesn’t help
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the long term recovery process. Years later
there are parts of Haiti that are still messed
up. There’s fraud, waste and abuse built into
this unsustainable way of doing things.”
“Starting out originally as disaster relief and
humanitarian aid - and factoring in climate
change and how the world is changing in not
so good ways because of what we’re doing
to it - that’s where the automated off-grid
aquaponic greenhouse system came from.
It’s a greenhouse that doesn’t depend on soil
(it runs on fishtanks), collects its own energy
to run itself (solar and wind powered), it’s
more efficient - and if you can get the weather out of the picture by putting agriculture
in a climate controlled box, in a sustainable
way, that’s clean and healthy, why not?”
“We’ve got nearly a billion people on this
planet who are starving or undernourished
or malnourished in some way, not getting
the proteins and nutrients that they need to
survive adequately, and I think we can put
a serious dent in that by helping them grow
locally and more sustainably. I have had the

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information is awesome. But globalisation
of agriculture has been a pain in the butt growing something on one side of the planet
and then spraying it with God knows what
so that it doesn’t go rotten when you ship it
to the other side of the planet (which has a
huge carbon footprint) to sell it somewhere
else. The export market in food is atrocious
for the planet and you’re not really getting
that great a quality of food either so local
production and local distribution of food and textiles as far as I’m concerned - is the
direction in which we’re heading.”
Douglas’ message is encouraging in bewildering times and invokes excitement
instead of the usual fear instilled into us
about famine in the developing world and
food prices and quality in our own. One of
my favourite aspects is the prospect of self
sufficiency that CFS greenhouses will bring
to host communities. The big guys (governments, non-governmental organisations,
corporations) have really dropped the ball
on these issues and meanwhile people have
been suffering to greater and lesser degrees,
powerless to help ourselves. Not for much
longer. Not with pioneers like Douglas Mallette throwing the light onto our capabilities.
Godspeed to humanity.

“It’s not just a developing world thing though.
Even the developed world could benefit
from doing things better. Our buildings can
be used in a lot of different ways - we are
also talking about putting buildings in grocery stores, or on top of grocery stores on
the roofs, so they’re growing their own local
produce, so that the cost drastically drops
and food gets a lot cheaper for everyone even in the developed world. I’m not saving
their lives but I am making their lives better. It’s important to be as locally dependent http://www.cyberfarmsystems.com
as possible. Globalisation of knowledge and

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© Cyberfarm Systems www.cyberfarmsystems.com

pleasure of attending the Caux ‘Initiatives of
Change Conference’ in Switzerland and I’ve
made some amazing connections with people coming together to try to tackle problems
and figure out ways to handle certain things.
The first time I went to the conference I ended up sitting down and having lunch and tea
with a gentleman. I was discussing CFS and
he kind of raised his eyebrows. He turned
out to be the former councillor to the king of
Cambodia and said “That would be amazing
for Cambodia. When you’re a little bit further on let me know and come visit”. Earlier
this year I went and met him and some other people. They want to get CFS in the orphanages around Penang (PEN) so that the
orphanages can feed themselves- and also
grow more food than they need so they can
sell, there’s that aspect of it.”

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A FRENCH TALE

A Very Rustic Dinner
Life across in France, c’est simple, non?

Some years back, during a late autumn visit to the village, I was invited with my close
friends to have dinner at the home of a couple they know very well. This charming couple, L and A, have since become close friends
of mine too.
There were eight of us for dinner that evening, and I had already been told that A was
a very good cook, and that she loved to use
as much local produce as possible. I didn’t
immediately realise just how local this produce was.
I have learned over the years that A always
serves a very generous ‘apero’ before we
even start dinner, and this evening was no
exception. Several bottles of champagne
were opened and consumed, along with all
manner of tasty titbits, including slices of
savoury cake, olives, nuts, little filled pastry canapés, crudités and dips. And when
I commented on the delicious radishes,
my hostess happily informed me that they
had been grown in her garden. Maybe this
should have alerted me to what was to come!

A had already placed the starter plates at
each place, each one holding a cornucopia
of goodies. And each of these goodies had
its own tale.
A slice of pâté rested upon a crisp green lettuce leaf, surrounded by marinated forest
mushrooms, slices of more of the delicious
radishes with cucumber and tomato slices,
some fig jam, little cornichons and grilled,
marinated red peppers. Of all these items,
only one had been bought in a shop!
Controversial it may be, but L is a hunter,
in common with many of my friends and
neighbours. However, these local gents
don’t mount horses and send dogs baying
after terrified foxes. In the main, they are
hunting wild boar, which can cause incalculable damage to smallholdings and to livestock. One of my friends lost his beloved pet
goat to a marauding boar a few years ago, in
very unpleasant circumstances. They also
bag rabbits for the pot, as they too are very
destructive and will eat just about any crop
they come across. And if they do go after
a fox, it will be because said fox has been
slaughtering the local chickens, and he will
be despatched quickly and cleanly.

We moved into the dining room to begin the
meal proper, each person taking his or her
allocated seat at the table. The table had
been beautifully set, and in the soft light the So the pâté had been made by L after a parglasses and cutlery twinkled and gleamed. ticularly successful hunt when the locals
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PICTURE CREDITS: Gillian Balcombe

by Gillian Balcombe

rie that was just the right combination of
crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
And finally the dessert. A brought to the table a beautiful ‘Tarte Normande’ in a fluted
ceramic flan dish – a traditional open apple
tart composed of sliced apple arranged in a
homemade, buttery shortcrust pastry case,
on top of a layer of crème patissière, with a
glaze over the apples formed by a sprinkling
of brown sugar that caramelises in the oven.
Absolutely yummy – and even more so when
the apples have been picked only a short
while before. More excellent produce from
L and A’s garden.
Now you may think that this is all a bit excessive for a retired couple living in the South
of France but it is certainly not unusual up
in the hills. One of my friends lives on a very
rocky patch of land but nonetheless grows
all her own tomatoes, herbs and courgettes
– and often provides the glorious yellow
courgette flowers to her neighbours for
deep frying in a light tempura batter, stuffed
or otherwise. Even if I can’t get hold of the
flowers from any of my friends, I can buy
them in the market at 2€ for a bunch of 12 or
15. The prices charged for them in my local
London greengrocer make me shudder!

On to the main course. Wonderful aromas were wafting from the kitchen, and A
brought to the table an enormous casserole
dish which contained tender pheasant in a
mushroom, cream and brandy sauce. This
was accompanied by smooth and creamy
mashed potatoes and garlicky green beans.
It turned out that the pheasant had been
bagged by L on another of his hunting expeditions and the mushrooms were more of
the scrumptious sanguins that he had foraged in the woods – but not marinated. The
potatoes and beans? And the onions in the But I digress. This is one of the joys of life on
sauce? Yes, you’re right – they were grown my French hillside – an abundance of fresh,
by L and A in their garden!
home grown foodstuffs whose flavours will
enliven your taste buds after a lifetime of
Dinners and Sunday lunches in France tend bland supermarket fruit and veg. This is
to be lengthy affairs due to the amount produce grown with love and care and no
of food served and the resultant need for chemicals, picked at just the right moment
breathing space. As you can see from this and treated with the utmost respect in the
description of the various courses, this one kitchen. What better way to demonstrate a
was no exception. After a suitable pause, a love of food?
platter of cheeses was served. This was the
only course that did not include something
that had been hunted, foraged or grown by
my friends, but the cheeses were delicious,
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PICTURE CREDITS: Gillian Balcombe

had brought down a boar or two and shared
out the spoils. The lettuce leaf upon which
it rested was grown in L and A’s garden, as
were the radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes. The peppers were also grown there,
and were marinated, grilled and bottled by
A. And the forest mushrooms? A little foraging by L in the local woods and A was able
to put up for the winter numerous jars of
delicious marinated ‘sanguins’, as they are
known. Finally, the fig jam – you’d be hard
put to find a garden in our area that doesn’t
have at least one fig tree, and A’s is no exception. Her larder holds countless jars of
fig and other jams made from the fruit trees
on their land. No prizes then, for guessing
that the only things that were bought were
the cornichons.

FEATURE FOOD

Theo’s
Humous
Yellow Split Pea Hummus with Smoked Garlic & Tahini
by Theo Michaels
Ingredients:

Yellow split peas, smoked garlic, tahini,
zesty lemon and super healthy… need I say
more? I mean, just look at that picture and
tell me you’re not salivating already! Sometimes you just want to curl up on the sofa
and gorge on something until you explode
– that’s where my Yellow Split Pea Hummus
recipe comes in!
A new take on the traditional chickpea hummus we’ve all come to know and love using
yellow split peas, it has a fabulous flavour, is
super healthy (gluten free) and really cheap
to make! You will need:

1. A comfy sofa to relax on whilst
eating it
2. Some fresh crusty bread to
dip into it
3. A rubbish film to watch

So, let’s make this!

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2 cups dried yellow split peas (no need to
pre-soak, you can cook from dried in 30 to
40 minutes)
4 to 5 tablespoons tahini paste
4 cups vegetable stock (just use a good quality stock cube)
1 bayleaf
2 cloves smoked garlic (unsmoked is fine if
you can’t find any smoked)
Generous squeeze of lemon juice to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley
Chopped fresh oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or dried chilli
flakes if you’re without)
Method:
Rinse the dried yellow split peas several
times until the water runs fairly clear, pop
into a saucepan, add the vegetable stock,
bayleaf and one whole clove of garlic. Bring
the water to the boil then reduce to a simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes, periodically
spooning out any white froth that forms on
the top during cooking.
Keep an eye on the water level, topping up if
needed, and taste a couple of the peas near
the end of the cooking time – you want them
to be slightly firm but not crunchy. Don’t
worry about adding too much water as you’ll
drain them anyway. Once the peas are done,
drain if necessary, reserving the cooking
liquid.

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Remove the bayleaf and leave the garlic
clove in with the peas. Get a hand blender and blitz that mixture until it’s smooth (if
you want to be double-hard mash by hand,
but my God why bother if you have a hand
blender..). You will probably end up adding
most of the reserved liquid back into the
mixture. My preference is for a runny porridge like consistency but you may like it
more or less thick – after all, you’re going to
be eating it!

blended together. You can buy jars of tahini paste in all supermarkets nowadays. Stir
it in really well, then taste and add more if
needed. What you are looking for is just a
hint of the tahini – don’t overpower it!

Season really well – the mixture can take a
decent hit of salt and pepper. Crush the other garlic clove to a pulp (not chopped – it
must be crushed) and add it to the mixture.
Now for the secret ingredient of all varieties
of hummus - the tahini.

Add a touch of water if needed, garnish with
a pinch of cayenne pepper, some chopped
fresh oregano and parsley and a drizzle of
olive oil.

Finally, add the squeeze of lemon juice, a few
heavy glugs of extra virgin olive oil (almost
1/3 of cup) and stir well. Taste the mixture
again to make sure the balance of flavours is
to your liking.

Goes well with Theo’s Greek Slow Roasted
Lamb – Kleftiko - or just on its own with
Tahini is basically toasted sesame seed paste some crusty bread and a nice dry white wine!
– on its own it has a lethal thick glue like
consistency and tastes pretty damn bad – but NB. You could make the same dish with
add a few tablespoons to a bunch of puréed chickpeas. If using tinned chickpeas this
yellow split peas or chick peas and it trans- would reduce your cooking time dramatiforms the average into something heavenly. cally and be more traditional: but why do
that when all the cool kids are cooking with
Start by adding about three tablespoons of yellow split peas?!! I know, no cool kid has
tahini paste once you’ve given the contents ever said that…
of the jar a really good mix to ensure it’s all

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A TRAVELERS TALE

A Travelling Food Diary
An exotic food diary of Cambodia and Thailand
by Richard Williamson
Cought some fish
today and ate it
on Koh Rong Long
Beach

Grilled Kep crab with Kampot green pepper.
Bloody delicious! The Crab Market Kep Cambodia

Snacks and very sweet
coffee for the journey to
Cambodia from Thailand
on the coach

Breakfast.
Lunch on the go in
Thialand

BOOKS

Cookbook Review

How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
by Rebecca Stratton
when passing on a prized family recipe.
This book fuelled my obsession for baking.

I still remember unwrapping this glorious
book on Christmas morning 2002. Emblazoned with a cute white cupcake on the cover (in the pre-major-UK-cupcake-crazedays) I was immediately looking forward to
reading the book.

The recipes range from the tea time classics,
such as Lemon Syrup Cake, Victoria Sponge
(with some killer variations), Cherry Almond
Loaf and Blueberry Muffins; to Pistachio
Macarons, Soufflé, Madeleines, Chocolate
Raspberry Tarts and the as-good-as-itsounds Chocolate-Coffee Volcano dessert
cake. For the non-sweet-toothed person in
your life, how about Pizza Rustica, Courgette
and Chickpea Filo Pie, Game Pie and Garlic
and Parsley Hearthbreads.
One of the things I love about this book is the
way the recipes are sectioned - Cakes, Biscuits, Pies, Puddings, Chocolate, Children,
Christmas, Bread and Yeast, Larder. Each
and every single recipe is well described and
they work. A recipe must be worth the outcome. I hate wasting ingredients and time
on a recipe that doesn’t work, or that doesn’t
live up to its promise. You will not be disappointed on either count with this delightful
book.

It seems the foodie world is rather divided on
Ms Lawson. I have always liked her, and her
style of writing – along with the obvious passion she has for cooking, and indeed eating.
Though I know a lot of people don’t share my
enthusiasm. By her own admission, her only
qualification is as an eater and she doesn’t This book is quite simply my favourite kitchclaim to be a chef.
en companion. Many of the recipes have
worked their way into my daily and seasonal
I found the book warm and inviting. I loved repertoire. So much so that I refuse to get
the anecdotes that accompanied each reci- rid of my original tattered copy - mainly bepe, rather like the way a friend would write cause I have scribbled notes all over it!
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RELAXING

I love you a Latte

How do you like your coffee and from where?

Karen went to Boydens Kitchen
Neil is at Coffee Seeker

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Gary went to Mojo’s Kitchen

Eve is at Karen’s Kitchen

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Penny is at Cafe Fresco

Fine Dining at its best!
With one of the most romantic days of the
year almost upon us, we’ve been looking for
some of the best places to treat your loved
one(s). We reviewed the Mary Beale Restaurant which is within West Lodge Park – a
4-star luxury hotel on the border of Hertfordshire and London (within very close
proximity to Cockfosters, the last stop on
the Piccadilly Line).
West Lodge is a classically beautiful hotel
steeped in history. It has fifty nine individually named and decorated en-suite bedrooms and is set within 35 acres of glorious grounds. The Mary Beale Restaurant is
named after the stunning art work by Britain’s first professional woman painter, many
of whose original works adorn the walls.
Deservedly proud is Executive Chef Wayne
Turner who, along with his team, has been
awarded the AA 2 Rosette Award for the past
four years, demonstrating absolute consistency at a very high level over a long period
of time.

very mellow, with music playing in the background (although it seemed this was on repeat and we heard the same songs over and
over again - perhaps it should be changed
a little more regularly). The décor is a little
traditional but fits in with the style of the
hotel. We had several members of staff assist us throughout the meal from the initial
drinks orders to the main course and finally dessert, all of whom were very attentive,
informative and welcoming. The menu is
what first caught my attention, as there is a
varied selection of meat, vegetarian and fish
options - something to suit every dietary requirement - and the desserts are to die for!

Food Review

Before we had ordered our courses, we were
treated to the ultimate in bread baskets. I
know, I know - most people think whatever but really this was exquisite. It came with
every type of bread, from crispy thins, to
fruit bread to the freshest of white and bread
slices, all served with perfect room temperWe were directed to the restaurant by a very ature butter and sea salt. This was devoured
jolly chap, who hummed a merry tune as he in no time and could easily have been eaten
led us through reception, past the very wel- two or three times over!
coming roaring open fire. The clientèle on
the day was very mixed from elderly couples Eggs Benedict - Poached Free-Range Egg,
to families and even a baby shower party. Homemade Brioche, Ham Hock and a HolThe overall ambience of the restaurant was landaise Sauce. With my oldest daughter be86

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ing quite fussy, I had wondered what she would
opt for and it wasn’t really a surprise that she
chose the Eggs Benedict. This was a very different
take on an old classic. The ham hock was delicious
with the hollandaise sauce, the egg was perfectly
cooked and all was seasoned to perfection.
Dressed Crab - Crabmeat, Celeriac Salad, Green
Salad comprising Pea Shoots, Salad Leaves, Rocket Aand Croutons. This was wonderful! The crab
was seasoned perfectly and was topped with a Marie-Rose sauce: the celeriac salad made for a delicious combination. My one small criticism would
be to add a tangy element to the dish, perhaps a
wedge of lemon, and to increase slightly the serving of crabmeat, otherwise this made for a fantastic starter.
Shetland King Scallops - Creamed Celeriac &
Chanterelle Mushrooms. For us this was the definite favourite out of the three starters! The flavours, the texture of the scallops and the creamed
celeriac were just incredible, you couldn’t fault
any part of it. We were all trying to pick at nanny’s plate (much to her dismay). This alone would
be worth the visit - please don’t ever remove this
from the menu!
Blixes Farm Lamb Duo - Slow Roasted Breast,
Grilled Cutlet, Boulangère Potatoes, Spinach,
Carrot Purée. As a cooking teacher for many years,
my mum loved this and commented on how perfectly cooked the boulangère potatoes were. The
lamb was pink and moist and the accompaniment
of the spinach and carrot purée tied it all together
perfectly.
8oz Sacombe Hill Farm 28 Day Aged Sirloin Steak
- Béarnaise Sauce, Mushroom, Spinach, Grilled
Tomato, Chips, Red Wine Jus. Wow, oh wow! The
flavour sensation from this hits you like a ton of
bricks! The steak was so succulent and the béarnaise sauce was just heavenly. I would interpret
this as your high class grill with the best chips on
the planet!

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Beales Burger Made With 28 Day Aged Sacombe Hill Farm Beef - Tomato, Lettuce,
Red Onion, Chips, Mayonnaise. This was
the big hit out of the three mains. The burger
was incredible - moist and juicy and so full
of flavour! I would suggest serving the chips
from steak dish above with this to make it
the ultimate main course. Mia struggled to
eat all of it purely because of the sheer size
of it - you get great value for money!
Croissant Bread & Butter Pudding With
Apricot Custard. This was extremely good
albeit a little over sweet and the bottom became a little ‘eggy’. Great flavour custard!
Belgian Chocolate Tart With White Chocolate Sauce & Brandy Orange Ice Cream. This
was divine in every way and for me who has
a sweet tooth it certainly didn’t disappoint. I
could have eaten two! Mum and Mia found it
a little too sweet but overall it was fabulous.
Vanilla Crème Brûlée With Homemade
Shortbread. The outright winner of the desserts was this dish! We all tucked in much to
Mia’s annoyance! This is one of my favourite
desserts and I have to say it was one of the
best that I’ve had yet - coupled with the two
biggest homemade shortbread biscuits you
couldn’t go wrong. Heaven in a bowl!
Overall Thoughts:
An absolutely incredible meal, hotel and
ambience that readers will love. Top marks
from us! We also caught sight of the afternoon tea that is available and will definitely
be returning to try this out.
For more information or to make a reservation, please contact:
www.bealeshotels.co.uk/westlodgepark
Tel: 020 8216 3900 (Restaurant Bookings)
West Lodge Park,
Cockfosters Road,
Hadley Wood,
Herts, EN4 0PY

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Photo Credits

Tasty Raw Food to Help You Detox and Lose
Weight © Alison Matthews
How to make your New Years Resolution a
Sucess by Anne Iarchy
© Ostill www.123rf.com
Clensing Your Body by Jo Faren
©Gary Hume
A Moden Good Life
© Emma Sousa
A Very Rustic Dinner
©Gillian Balcombe
Theo’s Humous
© Theo Michaels
Elizabeth Hobson
© Cyberfarm Systems
http://www.cyberfarmsystems.com
Traveling Food Diary
© Richard Williamson and
Yukiko Goto
Cookbook Review
How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
© Nigella Lawson

Special Thanks to:
Karen’s Kitchen
Mojo’s Kitchen
Coffee Seeker
Cafe Fresco
Boydens Kitchen