What's New #19 : Light

I remember a friend once said that she found the colour Magnolia offensive. Well, there is nothing beige about "Red Candy". It's a company which has a huge range of modern and designer interior homeware. Their products are funky, colourful and fun. Their online catalogue is so fresh that for once, I decided to devote the whole of "What's New" just to it.


For a long time, I've been searching high and low for a light pendant nothing seemed to quite fit in our Bohemian looking lounge until of course not only one but several choices came along. Needless to say that He was not double-pleased with the idea of a pineapple on his desk but.....

As soon as we saw it, we both agreed on a pendant called "wild and wolf wild wolf" a bit of a mouth full I agree.

It diffuses the light beautifully but be quick because I hear that this line is to be discontinued. However, there is so much more to choose from  Red Candy, take a look.

In situs in the lounge

Disclaimer I was not financially compensated for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own and I retain full editorial control.

Chocolate Truffles with Japanese Flavours

These sophisticated chocolate truffles developed by Yutaka Japanese food experts come with a warning and you'll soon see why.

The same way, one will keep champagne truffles out of reach of little sticky fingers. Pickled Sushi Ginger, Wasabi Furikake and Yuzu flavoured chocolate truffles might be best kept among adults.

The basic recipe is as we know it. To make 30 - 36 truffles, you'll need
  • 200g dark good quality chocolate
  • 60ml double cream
  • 80g unsalted butter
Please note that when I try this recipe out I halved the proportions
Method for all truffles
In a double saucepan (or a Pyrex bowl in a saucepan), place chocolate, butter and cream. Heat through slowly until smooth whilst whisking. Remove from heat and divide into 3 equal portions, adding the various flavourings to each individual portion as below. Place in the fridge to set – overnight if possible. Get the mixture out a little before using it so that the hard layer which has formed overnight has time to soften.

I'll start with my favourite if you don't mind.

Yuzu chocolate tuffles
 Yuzu is a citrus. It always surprised me that it's yet to be widely used in Europe. Maybe we are waiting for the arrival of Yuku which is a sweeter version of this fruit as Yuzu is very tart. The flavour is akin to mandarin-orange and marries ever so well with chocolate. Yuzu is never eaten as a fruit but used in cooking only.
       To make Yuzu truffles, add 2 tsp Yutaka Yuzu to one of the bases before refrigerating.

Wasabi Furikake Chocolate Truffle
Furikake means shaking. These truffles are now known at Pebble Soup HQ as Wasabi Shaky Shaky. 

  • You'll need 2 tbs of the Yutaka ready mix which is a mixture of sesame seeds and Wasabi. 

This is a chocolate truffle for the more adventurous palates, on reflexion, He decided that though very pleasant, the wasabi mixture would be put to better use in a cracker recipe.

Pickled Sushi Ginger Flavouring
I'm very partial to ginger, however before now I never had the pleasure to cook with sushi ginger, it is so very different. I don't think I'll ever buy any other type of pickled ginger from now on. This sushi ginger is thinly sliced rather than Julienne (that's the long thicker stripe).
  • You'll need 2 tbs of chopped Yutaka sushi ginger
If you decide to make only one type of truffle out of these three, this is the one you should try out. On two accounts:
       1- you'll be able to use the sushi ginger in other recipes. Let's face it we don't want to end up with yet another jar in the fridge.
       2- most of us are already familiar with the taste of ginger. Delicious.

For the coating the choice is yours. I used Vermicelli, icing sugar and golden sugar nuggets as it's what I had in the pastry box. The recipe sheet recommended drinking chocolate, cocoa, melted white chocolate, pink salt crystal and dark chocolate.

Disclaimer: I was sent a voucher and the ingredients by Yutaka to recreate these recipes. No other payment was exchanged. As usual, words are my own.

Spiced Cod Falafel with Harissa Mayonnaise from "Fress" by Emma Spitzer

More Harissa but moreover, a recipe from a very talented Master Chef finalist, Emma Spitzer. 

Emma Spitzer was born and raised in Brighton to Jewish parents of Polish and Russian descent. "She’s definitely someone who cooks from the heart, and I love that” said John Torode. Her style is big, bold flavours with many different ingredients coming together on one plate. She creates a fusion of Middle-Eastern and Eastern European flavours 

As Masterchef returned to our screens, we hear from all the contestants that this is a program which changed their life. It's certainly the case for Tony Rodd (same series as Emma) who I interviewed recently for the Greenwich Visitor as Tony is opening a restaurant in Blackheath soon.

As for Emma, she has been teaching cookery classes and demonstrating at food festivals, running sell-out supper clubs and catering for private dining events and her debut cookbook, "Fress" is out today. So this recipe is a bit of a scoop.

Emma Spitzer creates a fusion of Middle-Eastern and Eastern European flavours with this contemporary Jewish cookbook. “Fress” is a Yiddish word meaning “to eat copiously and without restraint”’s debut cookbook. Spitzer’s style of cooking is unfussy and uncomplicated, extracting the maximum flavour from the humblest of ingredients without spending hours in the kitchen. Her food has a strong Jewish identity.

Her melting pot of inspiration embraces Poland and Russia, Jewish recipes learned from her mother, travels in Israel, Egypt, Jordan and North Africa, as well as Algerian recipes shared by her mother-in-law. Emma describes it to everyone in the know as Ashkenazi meets Sephardi.

In my opinion, "Fress" is a happy book or in the author's words “Fress is the realisation of a dream to bring classic, Jewish dishes into the modern day, in a book where the recipes are both accessible and exciting for the home cook to create.” 

* Small plates for sharing 
* Soups 
* Big plates with meat and fish 
* Big plates with veg 
* Dressings, pickles and sauces *
* Sides and salads *
* Sweets and baking *

Spiced Cod Falafel with Harissa Mayonnaise

Falafel is ubiquitous across the Middle East and there are numerous ways
to make them, but the humble chickpea is always the staple ingredient.
Accompanied with a nice runny Tahini Dressing, perhaps a dash
of chilli sauce and hot chips in doughy warm pitta bread, they are simply
heavenly. This is how you will find them served across falafel bars throughout
Israel. When you add some succulent white fish as the main ingredient, it
lightens them into more of a fishcake texture. They work beautifully with
a harissa mayonnaise, perfect for a starter or light supper.

Makes about 20 falafel

  • 200g dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
  • table salt
  • 800g skinless cod loin (or any similar
  • white fish fillet, such as coley, hake or
  • haddock), chopped into large pieces
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • large handful of coriander, stalks and
  • leaves finely chopped
  • small handful of dill, stalks and leaves
  • finely chopped
  • small handful of flat leaf parsley, stalks
  • and leaves finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 80g sesame seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g panko breadcrumbs, I use ordinary breadcrumbs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • sea salt flakes
  • lemon wedges, for squeezing

  • For the harissa mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Harissa
  • 3–4 tablespoons mayonnaise


Drain the chickpeas, rinse and place in a large saucepan. 
Cover with plenty of fresh salted water and bring to the boil. Continue to cook for at least 2 hours or until soft, then drain and leave to cool.

Cut the cod into chunks and add to a food processor along with the cooled
chickpeas, onion, garlic and herbs. 
Pulse in short bursts so as not to ruin the delicate nature of the fish – a meat grinder works really well here, if you have one. 

Transfer to a bowl, add the spices, 1 teaspoon table salt (or 2 teaspoons
coarse sea salt), a few twists of black pepper and the sesame seeds and stir

Cover and pop the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Wet your hands and roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and spread the breadcrumbs out on a plate. Dip each falafel in turn into the beaten egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.

Preheat the oven to 110°C/90°C fan/Gas Mark ¼.

Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer or large saucepan to around
150°C (don’t fill the pan more than halfway). 

Deep-fry the falafel, in batches, for about 5–6 minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper, then keep the cooked falafel warm in the oven while you fry the rest.

Meanwhile, mix the harissa with the mayonnaise, adding more or less of
each depending on how hot you want it.

Season the falafel with sea salt flakes and serve immediately accompanied

by the Harissa Mayonnaise and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

To get "Fress" from Amazon click here

As Emma's family meals reminds me very much of my maternal grandfather's, I link this recipe to Inheritance Recipes, hosted here this month in collaboration with Coffee 'n Vanilla

I am also linking this recipe to COOK BLOG SHARE

Cadbury's creme eggs mini brownies cupcakes

 Mini brownies cupcakes with Cadbury's creme eggs (sponsored post)

Before moving to London, I spend half a decade travelling to and fro from Lyon. It is said that long distance relationships are difficult. Ours wasn't but it was emotionally challenging.

Parting, of course, was the most difficult bit and I had to hold on very hard to what was waiting for me, in Lyon, in order not cry so much, that the train would become a blur. The image, I relished the most was the three little faces of my friends' children as they would throw themselves....on my bag at the first opportunity. Would it or wouldn't it this time round contained Cadbury Creme Eggs?

Forward twenty years and I were yet again at a transport hub, this time I was doing the waiting. Number three of these little boys was coming back from eighteen months around the world, looking all tanned, sporting a beard and all together very different from the toddler in home-made dungarees but, still adorable.

After a week, readjusting, it was time for him to return to Lyon but not before, getting hold of half a dozen of Cadbury's creme eggs.... for his friends' children.

So when Cadbury asked me to participate in their #CremeEggHuntingSeason, I smiled at the memories, chose my recipe and baked happy.

Mini Brownie Cupcakes with Cadbury Creme Eggs


125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
100g unsalted butter
125g light muscovado sugar
2 large Free range eggs
75g plain flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 160C fan, 180C conventional, 350F, gas 4.

Melt the butter and dark chocolate together either in the microwave or in a bowl over boiling water or in a large saucepan at very low temperature

when completely melted stir in the sugar and the 2 Free range eggs one by one. Fold in the flour and salt and spoon into the cupcake cases so they are nearly full. 

Pipe the fluff onto each cupcake and bake in the centre of the oven for 12 minutes. Leave to cool.

Then crush the cadburys creme eggs just add them to the top making sure they are evenly spread!

Read about Cadbury's world - a guest post review -

Inheritance Recipes - April 17 -

More than ever we need to show that we are a nation made of a myriad of cultures. We love our British recipes and we might well choose to pass them down to the younger generations. But we are also proud of our ancestry and the friends who still live in our country of origin. So we cook their recipes too. Please, join us, it's easy


Inheritance Recipes is a challenge that Margot of Coffee and Vanilla and I have started to celebrate dishes food bloggers cherish. We would love to hear about your friends and family recipes.

Recipes which have been passed down by a family member, a friend, through an ancestral culture and dishes which you would like to bestow to future generations.

Margot has rounded up March challenge, head to Coffee 'n Vanilla for inspiration

We will share your recipes via our social media channels and include them in the round-up (with pictures) at the end of the month. We will also add your recipes to the Inheritance Recipes Pinterest board (that has 2.3 K followers) and include your blog’s handle in our Inheritance Recipes list on Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe to them both!


Please, link back to challenge page on both: Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla blog.

If possible, display one of the IR badges on your recipe post. (Click through to open one of the badges, right-click to save it to your computer and then upload badge to your blog.)
Feel free to link up to past posts but please, update them with links to the challenge pages to qualify.

Recipe suggestions:
  1. traditional recipes or preparation methods,
  2. national recipes from all over the globe,
  3. dishes that you often prepare with your children (starting a new tradition),
  4. recipes inspired by childhood memories,
  5. dishes inherited from a family member or a friend.
Closing date is the 30th April.

Please note that entries that fail to follow “how to enter” instructions won’t be approved.

If you use Twitter to promote your recipe, please use #InheritanceRecipes, tweet it @coffeenvanilla or @solangeweb and we will re-tweet it.

And last but not least, have a look at the terms and conditions if you haven't yet done so.
We can't wait to see your recipes and read their stories.

April 17 collection

via Quinto Gusto

Via Pebble Soup an Emma Spitzer's recipe

via Veggie Dessert

Mauritian feast at Trader Vics

The Trader Vic's Hilton Hotel 22 Park Lane London W1K 1BE (44 207 493 4113) 

Pop up menu created by 2012 Master Chef winner Shelina Permallo and Executive Chef Shiran Fonseka - 3 course menu £29 per person, sharing patter for 2 £19

Add caption

Having a restaurant in a London basement can be a good business move especially if it's the Hilton's basement and the restaurant is more a cocktail bar than a fine dining place.

That's the case for the Trader Vics, a Polynesian-themed restaurant chain co-founded by Victor Jules Bergeron Jr in 1932. An institution which grew during the 50s and 60s when the Tiki culture was at its peak. 

London Trader Vics opened in 1963 in the Hilton's building. It follows the trademark marketing model: Polynesian artifacts, loud reggae music, bamboo bar, staff in flowery outfits, exotic cuisine and unique cocktails. The fiercely branded chain has opened its kitchen to talented guest chefs. This month it was the turn of 2012 Master Chef winner Shelima Permallo.
credit: Trader Vics
In 2012, Shelima introduced Mauritian cuisine to millions of viewers. If you have the chance to sample this tiny island's dishes jump at the chance to do so. The food is a mixture of European, Asian, Creole and Chinese reflecting the immigration waves known by this lovely melting pot of an island situated not too too far from Madagscar and Ile de la Reunion.

How does a pop-up and an established kitchen blend? How do they work together? Shelina's and Trader Vics' dishes are both inspired by their respective islands. One off New Zeland, the other off the South East coast of Africa. It's a bit like if tomorrow you decided to throw a dinner party with your friend from Peru. It only works to a certain extent.

The famous Trader Vics' Mai Tai cocktails are not famous for nothing. They are just brilliant, at tat expensive but this is no ordinary basement bar.  The starters a platter of coconut prawns, Chicken Croustillant and BBQ ribs the original 1972 Trader Vics' recipe, Octopus Salad and Green papaya Salad didn't work for me nor him. 

Nothing wrong with any of the dishes...individually, though I thought the octopus salad could have done with more octopus and less salad, they are all good dishes. They just don't belong together.

Our mains took a very long time to arrive. By then, I was craving to try out Shelina's food. Her Mauritian Coconut Sea Bass recipe was just out of this island. I want Shelina to be my friend so that I can watch her cooking forever. The sea bass was delicate, fragrant, no single ingredient was overpowering. A marvel. 

His Supreme Chicken seem to go down quite well, when it arrived but by then we were both wondering why oh why? should people have a 3 course menu in a cocktail bar? and the answer is: they should not. Coconut Bun is not best friend with BBQ spare ribs and cocktails.

In conclusion, too many culinary cultures spoil the broth but each taken individually is excellent. Go and try out the Trader Vics when you are in one of the towns where the chain has an outlet. Definitely try out anything with Shelina Permallo's name on, her food is as good as it looks on TV.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Trader Vics Ldn. Words as always are my own.

Caramelised onion in Puff - Mid-Week Dinner Idea

 Imagine you have a friend who has a favourite vegetable  As a host your first reaction would be to cook that very vegetable to please your friend wouldn't it?

Now imagine that the vegetable is an onion. Yes, you see the problem now and that is the conundrum which I faced when my friend came on one of her rare visits from Toronto.

So I called on Higgidy Pie because I know that Camilla Stephens always has an answer. To be perfectly honest, I was really looking for an onion tart recipe when I can across these Sticky Onions in the Higgidy Cookbook.

This recipe is a little marvel, it's quick, the sweetness of the caramel is counterbalanced by the pastry, it looks gorgeous and it makes for a quick mid-week idea or an accompaniment for fish, other vegetables etc...

Sticky Onions

ideally you'll need 4 small tartlet tins however you can get away with ramekins

2 Onions
80g caster sugar
Fresh Thyme leave stripped (but I used dried)
A little olive oil
200g puff pastry
salt pepper


Preheat oven at 220C gas mark 7

Peel the onion and slice in half 

Make the caramel in a saucepan by heating the sugar and pouring 80ml of water over the sugar, make sure the saucepan is squeaky clean, sugar is fussy. When the water is completely dissolved, turn the heat down and then watch your pan like a hawk. The caramel colour will appear suddenly. All this time there was NO stirring.

Now you need to work quickly, pour the caramel in the tins, sprinkle the thyme and place half the onion, large face down on the top. Bake for 25 minutes

Roll out the pastry to 3 mm thick, cut out 4 circles large enough for your tins. After 25 minutes get the onions out of the oven, let them cool long enough to handle. Place the pasty on the top of each dome. Return to the oven

Cook for another 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. 

Remove from the oven and quickly turn the tins over.

To clean the pan, fill with cold water and return to the stove, bring to boil, tackle the residue.

What's New #18 : Mother's day Gift Guide

Ancestry DNA kit at discounted price £69

What better day than Mother's day than to offer the gift of family lineage with AncestryDNA. None of us is 100% what we think we are and taking a simple test can be the start of a wonderful journey rich in discoveries. 

Here is the scientific bit : AncestryDNA is a cutting edge DNA testing service which combines advanced DNA science with the world’s largest online family history resource to predict your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections.

How does it work? you activate an account online, send a saliva sample and 6-8 weeks later you'll receive the results showing what percentage of each ethnicity your DNA is made of. The website helps you building your ancestry tree. It's fun. 

Penclic KB3 Mini Keyboard £79.99 from Penclic
For all those workaholic mum’s we have the perfect gift for them. 
Nothing shows how much you care then with the stylish yet functional mini keyboard, compatible with both iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth. The Penclic keyboard is Bluetooth, but gives you the option to switch to a corded connection, oozing sleekness and sophistication with every click. For the super stylish mum’s, keep an eye out for the release of the new rose gold, silver and regular gold designs.
If you are looking for a sweet gift Carluccio is your answer, if you are looking for a gift which will make your mum smile, Carluccio is your answer.
In fact, Carluccio's goodies are your answer to loads! It was hard to select only one item out of Carluccio's spring collection but I would recommend

BACI DI MERINGA - £5.95 from Carluccio online

For Mums who are yearning for a taste of summer. This mix of vanilla and strawberry meringues sandwiched together with chocolate perfectly fits the bill.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post, no money was exchanged. I was sent samples of the products mentioned. Every month, I choose the items which I think will interest the readers and share my review in the series "what's new" As always, wording and opinions expressed are our own.



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