25 June 10

Quinoa Salad with Lemon Tahini Vinaigrette

I find quinoa fascinating, I still treat is as a new found ingredient even though it’s been in my store cupboard for two years now and sold in most supermarkets.

At first I thought it would be a quick cook like the wonder couscous, where you add hot water  and it is ready in a flash, but no you must boil it as you do with pasta. I’m not sure if I am disappointed as the preparation is not snappy, however cooking it for 15 – 20 minutes is not that time consuming and it gives me enough time to prepare the rest of the ingredients and make a delicious vinaigrette.

If you cook quinoa it’s got a fairly pale and un-appetising look so I add a teaspoon of turmeric to the boiling water to stain the quinoa a bright yellow colour, perfect for summer.

What is Quinoa? It originated


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22 June 10

Mango and Orange Blossom Pudding, Orange Polenta Biscuits

With the summer looming it’s time to get creative with salads and cold puddings. I love finding new ingredients, not necessarily new in the true sense but could be those that are new to me or those products from the past which may have fallen out of fashion. Orange blossom water is one of those ingredients that I remember using in top London restaurants about 10 years ago. We used to make a lovely orange blossom water sorbet which was refreshing and very fragrant.

We discovered Arabica Food and Spice at Borough market about two years ago and fell in love with the range of quality products that they sell. We got hooked on their spices Ras-el-Hanout and Wild Sumac, these are available elsewhere but nothing beats the quality from Arabica Food and Spice. Ever heard or used the phrase “you get what you pay for” well that is definitely


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17 June 10

Pickled Summer Carrot, Salmon Gravalax and Borage

Once the blue flowers of the borage appear, followed closely by the electric orange and yellow flowers of the nasturtium I know summer is in full swing. It makes me smile, as it not only gives me instant pleasure  but  transports me back in time to my childhood and evokes  fond memories of my grand parents. They were simple folk living a decent but simple life and I would not have it any other way as it laid the foundations of who and what I have become. They lived in the small village of Porterville in the middle of nearly nowhere in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Granddad only knew farming and  how to drive a bus, but due to severe diabetes he had to give them up and consequently the illness took him away from us. He was a firm man with very strong morals and beliefs, however he


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14 June 10

How to make Culinary Foams, Air and Espumas

Espuma is the Spanish word for foam or froth and is the descriptive word for a technique developed by Ferran Adrià.

A culinary foam consists of natural flavours such as fruit juices or vegetable purees, soup and stock bases mixed with gelling or stabilising agents such as lecithin, gelatine or natural fats in cream and other dairy produce .This is achieved by the introduction of air by using either a mechanical technique of whipping the fluids with either a hand held immersion blender or extruded through a cream whipper using N2O cartridges.

This technique is not new to us and has been used for many generations such as the making of cappuccinos and the old childhood favourite  for adding a topping to an Ice-cream Sunday. Adrià has taken this 1970′s technique and equipment, refined the philosophy and used the science behind it all to develop the