2014 : What a Year That Was

Once more you have made a year very special. Readership increased by 70% which resulted in Pebble Soup ranking 28 in December. I've been working with some wonderful people and shared some great recipes with you. In 2014, I pluck up the courage to make my writing more personal.
Because of its popularity, Pebble Soup attracted more and bigger brands in turn  allowing  for better give-aways,  I was delighted to share with you, some of the products which I was sent for review and I intend to continue doing so in 2015.
Consolidating on the previous year, I wrote food articles for Great British Chefs and travel pieces for Trip Reporter on a regular basis.  The cherry on the cake came with my very own food column in The Greenwich Visitor. There were some great commissions from national newspapers and each time I shared with you, what happened "behind the scene" .
All in all 2014 was a great vintage at Pebble Soup and I have high hopes for 2015. Thank you so much for dropping by regularly.
I wish you a wonderful 2015, may your dreams come true.
Solange with love x
Here a few 2014 highlights

In January, I had to face up to my Gingerbread Men addiction. February's Kiwi Muffins recipe was extremely popular. March was cold but didn't stop a  inspiring visit to Vienna for Trip Reporter. In April, I worked with Mustard Maille to create a Salmon and Dill Verrine.

During spring and summer, I attended a class at the Ateliers des Chefs where to my amazement, I baked macarons, a triumph on the other end entering #Tuscanycookoff was a disappointment, rules changed at the last minute, I since heard that could be reported and I think bloggers should be more forceful with these matters.

Volunteering in Greenwich park Queen's orchard and Bringing vegetables back home boosted creativity, you particularly liked another muffin recipe, this time: chocolate and beetroot. Last but not least a few chefs cooked us breakfast and lunch.
Dragon fruit cheese cake dessert
The rest of the year went slightly crazy with developing recipes for magazines and travelling for articles and if it's anything to go by, 2015 will bring you recipes from Canada, Greece, Turkey among other things.

Chicken/Turkey with Vanilla & Maple Syrup Wrap

chicken turkey vanilla maple syrup mission wrap

When this post will be published, Christmas won't have happened yet but at Pebble Soup we'll have already eaten the left-overs. Did we get a Tardis for Christmas? sadly no.

Chicken or Turkey with Vanilla and Maple syrup wrap

I accepted a mission.
Mission Deli, as in the Wraps were looking for new recipes for their web-site blog. The perfect opportunity to try a Vanilla 'n Maple Syrup Glaze. Of course it has a hint of sweetness but the vinegar cuts right through it and the end product is like nothing else. You've got to try it. 

It's tasty and healthy perfect for Boxing Day and hopefully you'll make it again in the new year.
Vanilla & Maple Glazed Chicken/Turkey
Chicken or Turkey with Vanilla and Maple syrup wrapPREPARATION: 10 MINS
COOKING: 20 min
300g free range chicken goujons or left over turkey
Freshly ground salt and pepper
½ fresh Orange or 50ml of juice
75ml Maple Syrup
1 ½ teaspoons Taylor and Colledge Vanilla Bean Paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 wrap per person + salad or spring onions, mashed avocado any green which takes your fancy.
Season the chicken/turkey with salt and pepper and fry it in a little hot olive oil so that it browns. If you are using the chicken you need to cook it through which should take about 8 mins. If you are using the turkey you just need the colour.
Meanwhile, combine maple syrup, vanilla bean paste, orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, thyme and chilli in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.

Pour the mixture over the chicken and let it reduce for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it, when it glaze the meat, it's ready
Serve on a plate immediately  drizzling it generously with the pan juices so that dinners can make their own wrap. I've used mashed avocado and lamb lettuce to add to the wrap but anything which takes you fancy or is in the fridge will do nicely.

Chicken or Turkey with Vanilla and Maple syrup wrap

Christmas in Avignon

Going to Avignon earlier this month, made me realised how much unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves in the Anglo-Saxon world. When there,  on several occasions, I mentioned, "Black Friday" just to be met with a look a complete incomprehension.
It was the start of the second week in December and shops had just started displaying their Xmas goods. Les Halles - the largest intra-muros food market- wasn't showing any sign of Christmas yet. 

mur vegetale avignon

One peculiarity of Les Halles in Avignon is its wall, 30m x 11,50m, set up by botanist Patrick Blanc. It has a sophisticated irrigation system, as you can imagine, being in the south of France. Growing vertically is an interesting concept. A Pebble Soup's guest blog post which is still very popular was written about this subject matter, Urban Eden in the Sky
Traders mentioned the Christmas tradition of the 13 desserts, symbol of Christ and the 12 apostles. The 13 desserts traditionally end the "big supper" on Christmas eve before midnight mass. 

Though there are variations, it's often green melon kept safe in straw since harvest, apples, pears, grapes, nuts , figs , oranges, mandarins and nougat. There is jam, "focaccia" and mulled wine too.
Of what I have seen tradition has evolved a little and the fruits are often "confits".
Avignon fruits confits

Another outlet which should not be missed when strolling in the papal city is Aline Géhant's, a chocolatiere with a real talent for soft but strong flavours. Her chocolates infused with star-anise (badiane) or lavender are unique.

Give Away #29 : Two 50ml bottles of the new Quizas Seduccion by Loewe

This Christmas, I would like to add my present under 2 lucky readers' Christmas tree. I searched for something relevant to the latest news and as from this month, I am writing The Greenwich Visitor food pages, going local seemed to be the answer.
For once it's not food related, Christmas Give Away is a  chance to win
Not one but two 50ml bottles of the new Quizas Seduccion by Loewe which is launching at The Fragrance Shop in the Lewisham Centre this Christmas to give away to two lucky readers.
The range is from Loewe, a luxury Spanish label, which is based in the cultural capital of Madrid, and who specialise in high quality perfumes, aftershaves and luggage. With unrivalled experience in luxury perfumes since 1972, The Fragrance Shop is one of the very few retailers to stock Loewe scents in the UK.
Quizás Loewe Seducción is a floral-fruity fragrance with aphrodisiac powers. It opens with a fruity cocktail of tempting passion fruit, sweet orange and blackberry. Its full floral heart combines elegant Sambac jasmine with strong tuberose and orange blossom. The base of the perfume features sweet notes of caramel and vanilla.
The Eau de Parfum comes in an elegant black bottle in 30ml (£44.50), 50ml (£62.50) and 100ml (£85). The give away is 50 ml.
You will need to collect the 50ml eau de parfum bottle from The Fragrance Shop, Unit 63A, Lewisham Centre, SE13 7EP. An opportunity to have a look around the vegetable and fruit market.
Three ways to win
 1 – Comment on the blog Leave a comment below, telling us what is your Christmas wish.
2 – Twitter Follow @solangeweb on Twitter. If you already follow, it goes without saying that you are welcome too. Then tweet the following:
I've entered @FragranceShopUK 'n @solangeweb #giveaway to win a 50ml #Quizas #Loewe eau de #parfum #PebbleSoupXmas http://www.pebblesoup.co.uk/2014/12/give-away-29-two-50ml-bottles-of-new.html

Cut and paste is safer. I'll track your entry with the Twitter handle   

3- Facebook Like Pebble Soup page   

Entries will close on Friday 19th December at midday (12.00GMT) collection in person from Lewisham Fragrance Shop

Terms and conditions:
Winner will need to collect the 50ml bottle directly from the fragrance shop in Lewisham or send a trusty friend.
One Winner will be selected via digital Randomiser shortly after closing date and announced on Twitter and on this page.
Only one entry per category per person, (1 comment, 1 twitter, 1 facebook) all entries will be verified.
This give-away is open to UK residents only.
There is no cash alternative. 
The prize will have to be claimed within 3 days so please make sure you check your account for notification.


Gardiane de Boeuf AKA Beef Gardiane

On a recent visit to Avignon, flavours associated to my early childhood tickled my nose, once more. First meal, I ordered a Gardiane de Boeuf, a speciality of the area, now made with beef, yesterdays with bull meat.

guardiane de boeuf - beef gardiane recipe - camargue recipe
Growing up in Nimes with a bullfighting aficionado for a dad, I had my fair share of bull meat. Gardiane was always on restaurant menus and always a family favourite.

Bull is now replaced by beef, as sourcing bull is complicated. Guardiane is a dish typical of Camargue, the Rhone delta, a wonderful swamp where flamingos, local horses and bulls live roam.
The dish called Gardiane as it was gardians' pack lunch. Gardians are horsemen who tended to bull herds, in another words a cow-boys and gardiane is a sophisticated boeuf bourguignon.
The meat needs to marinate over night. This is a dish with strong flavours which requires rice and/or wild rice to soak up the lovely juices.
Have a peep at the ingredients:
1 kg stewing beef -diced- serves 4 to 6 people
2  onions -peeled and chopped-
2 carrots- peeled and sliced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, left whole
3  anchovy fillets
green olives as many as you like
1/2 bottle of red wine
500ml beef stock
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
olive oil
Salt and pepper
Peel and slice the onions. Peel the garlic cloves and leave them whole. Place in a bowl with herbs and a little olive oil. Marinate overnight.
The next day, Heat a pan with a little olive oil. Add beef pieces, mix and allow to color slightly, retrieve the meat and replace with  the onions and garlic for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse, peel and cut the carrots into thick slices. Add them to the pan, stir.
Add the anchovies, bouillon. Salt and pepper, add the olives and cover with red wine.
Simmer with a lead on for 2 hours.
When cooked, taste to check the seasoning. Increase heat to reduce the juices
Serve Camarguaise rice, a delicious French rice, firm and rather plain in flavour often mixed with black wild rice.

Palais des papes
Inside the Palais des Papes in Avignon - Article soon on Trip Reporter

Miele Secret Supper Club

The black car rolled silently down our little street, I jumped in and off we went toward a secret destination for a steam dinner prepared by Nordic Chef Martyn Mied.

First impression: Miele London Gallery with its exciting kitchen appliances had been tastefully transformed into a "food theatre"

Here I was going to have my first taste of hay hash. At this stage, I got a little confused. Not helped by my neighbour who was looking at me with a knowing smirk.
Obviously, I had missed a trend and here it is explained as Nordic food is on the rise.  Ashes from burnt hay are sprinkled on food in upscale restaurants, something which has been done from way-way back but has been revived by René Redzepi of Denmark's Noma.
It's said to add bitter and smoky flavours to the dishes. Ashes worked well with Mackerel & Beet. The colours were drastic and the smoky flavour noticeable.

Usually burning your food is not quite acceptable unless you are chef Mied and then it becomes an art. Vegetables are burnt too to add extra crisp, as in the Seabass and Burnt Chicory

After 6 courses we parted with a delicate plate of Luxury Chocolate

disclaimer: I was a guest at the Miele Secret supper club, no money was exchange and I was not requested to write a review. I would like to thank FrankPR for inviting me

Pebble Soup's Mini Gift Guide

In July traditionally, journalists and bloggers are invited to attend Christmas presentations. Though it's a bit odd to visit Santa's grotto in strappy T-shirt and to listen to Xmas carols when it's 23C outside, we all happily attend.
This year, a few products caught my attention - There are not that many but they are just perfect as Xmas presents so here they are in no particular order
Supermarket slap Aldi's new make-up range if you have not use their budget line yet, treat yourself and a friend. Lacura Eye Shadow Box, £3.99
Lakeland 50th anniversary recipe book £6.99. Favourite recipes from customers and contributions from a few of Lakeland's famous friends – Michel Roux Jnr, the Hairy Bikers and Mary Berry to name just a few. The collection contains than 60 delicious recipes, plenty of anecdotes and beautiful photography.
All profits from the book are being donated by Lakeland to the BBC Children in Need Appeal
Mark & Spencer Gin & Tea with Gold Flakes £11.99, the bottle with its amber liquid and gold flakes is the perfect present for G&T drinkers. Even if like me Gin is not your preferred drink, this Gin & Tea will convert you in no time.

Goat Cheese, Green Tomato & Apple Chutney Tartlet - Quick dinner

Goat Cheese, Green Tomato & Apple Chutney Tartlet - Quick recipe
More depressing than an Adele's song is a recently published survey  which reveals that 55% of Londoners are turning to quick snacks for an evening meal. And here they are:
1.       Toast
2.       Cereal
3.       Cheese and crackers
4.       Ham sandwich
5.       Crisps or nachos
6.       Crumpets
7.       Packet / tinned soup
8.       Instant noodles / rice / pasta
9.       Porridge
10.   Nutella on toast
Turn up the volume on that 21 album, it might cheer me up as reading the rest of the survey* had me in tears. Concomitantly, new research carried out by Love Food Hate Waste and Mumsnet demonstrates that "As modern life becomes busier, and quick solutions become more favourable, we are at risk of losing valuable cooking skills and knowledge to pass on to the next generation."
See infographic**.

What is going on? the food scene is buzzing, there is cookery program of  some sort, with a record audience, every hour, on TV, in the meantime Londoners are eating Nutella on toast standing up in front of their fridge!
So where can we find inspiration? my lastest source of, was provided by Jeanne of Cooksister and a canapé served at an event promoting Canadian railways.
Let's backtrack a little. He recently harvested the last of the tomatoes on the two plants which provided a bumper crop this year. Considering the neighbour has a monster 16+ feet tree by the fence which completely over-shadows our garden, we were able to make the grand total of two red tomato salads and the same amount of green tomato chutney.
I would recommend Cooksister chutney recipe which can be adapted to other fruits, alternatively there is a lot of good brands out there, but don't just spread chutney on toast....wait...
Here come part two of the inspiration, at a press event as the canapés were doing the rounds, a tiny little tart with deliciousness on the top attracted my attention. After inconspicuously poking at deliciousness, it was decided that it contained goat cheese topped with chutney.
Genius doesn't come into the assembling of such but served with fresh veggies that is a quick dinner worthy of a mention.
How does it work?
You'll need one tartlet tray or a small pie tray.
1/2 packet of shortcrust pastry roll out thin and cut to the size of the above tray
150g goat cheese, ring removed, mashed with a fork and combined with
150g of ricotta (failing ricotta) use 4tbsp milk to loosen the goat cheese.
Grease the tray with a little oil, place the pastry in, top with cheese mixture.
Bake for 20minutes in pre-heated oven 220C/fan 200C/gas 7
           watch that the pastry doesn't turn too golden (mine did)
Remove from the oven, leave it to cool before topping with a generous spoon of green tomato and apple chutney serve with baked bean or fresh vegetables

More Chutney recipes
*survey : Researchers from Pukka Pies polled 2000 workers
**Love food hate waste & Mumsnet research

Soya Yogurt 5 Ways

If Maison Cupcake first soya experience was in the 80's in the form of "bean feast" a recurring dish at her mum's table, ours at Pebble Soup happened about at the same time while trekking in the Golden Triangle.
We camped outside villages. In the evening we used people's open fire to cook our meals. One night our Burmese guide magicked tofu, that night, we went to bed persuaded to have eaten a delicious wild animal. That's what happens when you taste blind something you never had before.
Soya has keep a little magic, I am very partial to "soya and horseradish cheese", Alpro Soya Yogurt are not far behind. The texture is much lighted than conventional yogurt and the scientific blurb tells us that they are:
  • Naturally low in saturated fat, low in sugars: 50cal, 2.3g fat. 2.5sugar per 100g
  • Naturally lactose free 'n gluten free
  • Contains calcium, vitamins B12 and D

  • Alpro is running an Inspiration Campaign which is bloggers led and opened to all to participate, have a peep at #Alprotops and see what you can magic.

    In the meantime here are my suggestions:

    Intrigued by the many Alpro tops
    I made a beeline for goji berries which were known, until the naughties, as wolfberries, when marketing hooked on their nutrient value and rebranded them as super-fruit. Don't they look attractive? on the top of this Lemon 'n Lime Soya Yogurt Milkshake
    yogurt milkshake soya recipe
    Next day happened to be the week-end and that often means cocktail time. His face was a picture when presented with Vanilla 'n Whirl Maple Syrup Whirl topped with chocolate shavings
    Next came Muffins - Strawberry soya yogurt, chia seeds a new one on me. Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, another one with  nutrients galore.

     Left with Alpro simply plain and now well in my stride, breakfast muesli got the treatment

    and how nice it was and last but not least, armed myself with a large spoon and polished the pot.
     disclaimer: my thanks to Alpro for including Pebble Soup in their campaign
    more information on the products used on Alpro Website

    Fochabers Gingerbread recipe

    Gingerbread, cake, spicy cake, beer cake,

    Food blogging is many things. It's likely that there are as many reasons to write a food blog as there are food bloggers. The question is "what are we recording"? which is not already recorded in our cookbooks collection.
    great opportunity to display the bookcase I built to host my cookbooks
     My own answer is that we are recording stories we love, which show who we are  such as The Curious Tale of the Gingerbread, stories which connect dishes with their own history and ultimately stories which connect each one of us to the other.

    In researching Gingerbread cakes, I came across this anecdote which is set in France, in the 19th century and shows how important gingerbread was then. Mr Thiers, one of the French Prime Ministers at the time, declared : " no man can call himself great until he gets his effigy made out of gingerbread" That important!

    I wonder what their gingerbread tasted like in these days. Probably not like a Fochabers' as this recipe is quite unique with its beer, dried fruits and candied peel.
    Fochabers Gingerbread
    100g butter
    100g sugar 
    100g black treacle (molasses), slightly warmed 
    2tsp ground ginger 
    pinch of ground cloves  
    2tsp mixed spice
    1/2tsp cinnamon 
    1 eggs  
    250g plain flour  
    50g currants  
    50g sultanas 
    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda   
    25g mixed peel chopped 
    150ml beer
    1- Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3/fan 140C. Grease a (2 pint) loaf tin. Using a food processor or an electric whisk, beat the butter together with the sugar and treacle until light and creamy. beat in the egg
    2- Measure the bicarbonate of soda into the beer, stir it and set aside. Stir all the remaining ingredients into the creamed mixture. Stir the beer mixture then pour it into the cake mixture, beating well until thoroughly incorporated.
    3- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour. When the cake is cooked, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes then turn out on to a cooling rack and leave until completely cold.

    Give-Away #28 : A beautiful Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar

    Last minute announcement: the winner is Nia Wyn Dunn
    Some cultures are luckier than others when it comes to Christmas traditions. Growing up in France the only calendar we  looked forward to was l'Almanach des Postes. A piece of cardboard with an old-fashion picture in the center.
    Children have the privilege to choose which picture will adorn the wall in the kitchen or the loo. The choice is limited, sweating donkeys with heavy loads on their back, young 19th century lady in négligée, that was my dad's choice if I happened to be at school when the postman pop in for his annual tip and the sale of the horrid calendar.
    First time I heard about an advent calendar was through a friend from Lille. Allegedly the advent tradition was strong in the north. Almost enough to make me pack my baby rucksack and move.
    I have since made up  for lost time and it's with glee that this year, I am sharing the advent calendar good fortune with one Pebble Soup reader.  The countdown to Christmas begins with this beautiful Hotel Chocolat advent calendar. Featuring 24 fabulous Christmas sculptures, including reindeer, snowmen, penguins and enchanted Christmas trees, to name just a few.
    The winner will have the choice of one milk, dark or white chocolates.
    Three ways to win
     1 – Comment on the blog Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite Christmas chocolates. Mine is definitely orange peel.
    2 – Twitter Follow @solangeweb on Twitter. If you already follow, it goes without saying that you are welcome too. Then tweet the following:
    I've entered @HotelChocolat Advent Calendars #giveaway from Pebble Soup http://goo.gl/l8CAuW #PebbleSoupAdvent

    Cut and paste is safer. I'll track your entry with the Twitter handle   

    3- Facebook Like Pebble Soup page   

    Entries will close on Tuesday 17th November at midday (12.00GMT). Hotel Chocolat will dispatch the calendar to the winner shortly after the 21st so that it can be enjoyed on the 1st of December

    Terms and conditions:
    One Winner will be selected via digital Randomiser shortly after closing date and announced on Twitter and on this page.
    Only one entry per category per person, (1 comment, 1 twitter, 1 facebook) all entries will be verified.
    This give-away is open to UK residents only.
    There is no cash alternative. 
    The prize will have to be claimed within 3 days so please make sure you check your account for notification.
    HC calendar retail at £12.50, my thanks to Hotel Chocolat for providing one complementary for the purpose of this post.

    Spiced Halloumi & Courgette Skewers

    Up to very recently, we used to have a "friends pre-Christmas "thing"" where small presents were exchanged, big dinner enjoyed by all. On one of these occasion J. aged 6 shyly came to me with a bunch of magic wands. "These are for you" she said, squinting at me and wiggling her nose in the process.

    I kept my wands for years, each rod of wood topped with a sparkling star either gold or silver. It's difficult to recall how many times, I wished for my wands to be magic, to sort out small problems. I don't think I would let magic sort out the bigger issues.

    Last week, as I was scouring the shelves looking for dinner inspiration, I spotted a packet of Santa Maria enchilada seasoning mix and skewers. Plain sticks of wood, no star, neither gold nor silver, as I picked one up, the halloumi packet floated in front of my eyes.

    Halloumi is  one of these ingredients which is easily overlooked. We are not really used to it and very often we don't know what to do with it.  It's a semi hard/ewe or goat/ cooking cheese from Cyprus. Springy more than chewy, it's also rather salted. So would I dare mixing Mexican spices and Cypriot cheese. Yes was the answer after all it was mid-week and I needed a speedy meal with a bit of magic.

    Spiced Halloumi & Courgettes Skewers
    1/2 packet of seasoning mix
    1 slab Halloumi diced
    1 courgette slices
    2 tbs oil
    Don't use salt that's provided by the cheese
    In a large bowl mix the oil and seasoning mix
    Add the halloumi and the courgettes
    Alternate one halloumi cube with one slice of courgette on a skewer (will take 4/5 pieces
    Grill for 10 minutes
    Serve with green salad or rice

    because it's nice to share I am entering this recipe in Maison Cupcake and Feeding Boys' monthly challenge


    Turkey Osso Buco

    This recipe is the kind of substitution recipe which is going to infuriate the purists: Osso Buco is an Italian recipe; the name means bone with a hole and the taste is partly provided by the bone marrow.
    I could say that this recipe has been adapted to suit our modern taste, as bone marrow is not regarded the same way as it once was, but that would be a lie.
    The truth is that, veal is difficult and expensive to source. At the time of shopping substitution made sense. I couldn't see myself axing through beef bones therefore I opted for leg of turkey .....and wait, the worse it to come.........
    Once home......I deboned it. This is the point where purists will throw their hands in the air and do a Milanese chef's impersonation complete with sound.
    Apart from that snicky substitution, a traditional Osso Buco recipe was followed to the letter....well almost. One of the important thing to remember with an Osso Buco is that it's essential to flour the meat so that it doesn't caramelise when browning. The flouring process will keep the dish as white, soft and tender as possible.
    Then, there is the white wine. When cooking with wine always use a wine you would choose to drink. When it comes to the vegetables, carrots, celery and onions are recommended, if you substitute any, best remember that the dish is going to slow cook therefore any vegetable which tend to "mush" is not a must. On the other hand omission bar the onions is perfectly OK.
    Turkey Osso Buco
    Olive oil enough to brown the turkey
    Flour to dust the pieces
    1 leg of Turkey will make 3/4 persons - deboned and chopped in pieces (or cut 4 pieces through the bone)
    50g butter
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 carrot, finely chopped
    1 celery stick, finely chopped
    1 head of garlic, cut horizontally
    1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
    4 sage leaves (can't be replaced by a tsp of thyme)
    200ml white wine
    200ml  chicken stock
    salt and pepper
    This dish is mostly slow cooked therefore will require a casserole with a lid adequate for oven cooking
    Preheat the oven to 170C/340F/Gas 4
    Place the turkey pieces in a plate and dust them with flour until well coated. heat the oil is the casserole and cook the pieces until they are sealed but not browned. Remove the turkey, add the butter and cook the onion, carrot and celery golden, then add the garlic, thyme or sage, season.
    Turn the heat up, add the wine and return the turkey pieces. Let it all bubble until the wine has reduced by half then add the stock bring to boil and place the casserole in the oven for 2 hours.
    The meat should be tender enough to cut with a fork. Serve on a bed of tagliatelle.
    Another substitution: due to the circumstances, I didn't have the opportunity to photograph the dish so instead I included a picture taken while visiting Kellybronze turkey farm.

    For more atypical recipes have a look at my Melon de Dinde (complete with video)

    What's New in the Kitchen #9 : New For Old

    Since, the last post in this series dates from May (#8 : "That's Weird"), a new one is long due. "New for Old" is all about the new generation of familiar products.
    Take Appletiser, a soft drink originating from South Africa and distributed by Coca-Cola. Probably, not the kind of beverage you and I are drinking routinely though we may have tried it on occasion. With no added preservatives, here comes the latest flavour: Apple 'n Pomegranate.
    I took a sample to our hide-away in the New Forest. It's a clean drink with a great flavour. If the devil is seating on your shoulder, make sure that she/he can't read the next sentence.
    Apple 'n Pomegranate Appletiser is a super base for cocktails. 750ml bottle RRP £2.49

    Here comes the box.  The Ryvita Company was established in 1925, this year it has undertook some radical changes and to go along with the new range, the company asked fashion designer Ben De Lisi to create a celebratory Tin. Available on line at 7.49RRP 
    If you are looking for a snack the Ryvita fruit-crunch is filling and very very tasty.
    If you were thinking of swapping your same-old, same-old breakfast cereals for a new brand, you could do much worse than picking Lizi's  low sugar granola.
    Most granolas are classified "high in sugar" often with 12g + per 100g (our recommended daily allowance is 90g) . Lizi's granola contains 1/3 of the sugar added to  conventional products. It's still crisp thanks to the black treacle.
    The problem is in the amount of fat which is  superior than granolas I compared it with.
    It could be that granola , in general, is not as healthy as we think.
    New Covent Garden Soups changes its flavours with the seasons. This is a dynamic company which doesn't hesitate to involve the public in its creative process.  Kale 'n Nutmeg is one of five great new varieties launching this month.

    I was sent a sample to try it out, it looks very healthy and there is a lot of Kale in this soup so no worries when it comes to "five a day". Kale is an acquired taste and I hope that this soup will be a crowd pleaser, I liked it but he made sure not to be at home when Kale 'n Nutmeg soup was on the menu.
    I had a bit of trouble with its texture, it's stringy however it made a very welcomed change and probably not a soup that I would make from scratch. Others in the new range include Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Seeds, Vegetable and Soupergrain, Mild Curried Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn 'n Chilli.
    disclaimer: I was sent a sample for each product reviewed in this post. Words are my own and I was not asked to write a positive review.

    Le Restaurant de Paul - Review -

    Paul is the biggest bakery in France. Today 4.6 million customers walk through the doors each month and it has a presence in 29 other countries across the world.
    Since opening its first bakery in London in 2000, the chain has been the object of a few criticisms. Forums talk about unhelpful service. I, for one find it difficult to reconcile "artisan bakery" with such a large company. But as the wise woman says the proof of the pud is in the eating.
    A few weeks ago, the family-run artisan bakery and patisserie opened its first London-based restaurant in the heart of Covent-Garden. When we visited, early one evening, last week, the place was packed with theatre goers, the waiters were welcoming and they were taking their time with each and everyone.
    We decided that the décor was very "troisieme empire", I am not certain either what that means other than here, murals, fitting and furniture are unmistakably vieille France, the atmosphere is very continental with tables close to one another and Gallic music in the background. 

    He liked his Pastis so much that he succumbed to another round. I wasn't a great fan of my Kir which was warm and too sweet.

    The small plates of charcuterie were generous and the ingredients high quality. Being so close to the bakery....I'll rephrase this: being in the bakery, a baker's basket of freshly made bread would have been more than welcome.
    The front of the house was working hard, theatre goers had gone and a new wave of punters were perusing the menu. Nevertheless our waiter took time to choose the correct wine to suit equally our main course. The wine list is succinct but sufficient and affordable, I started to understand why people patronised Paul's restaurant.
    All the main courses are French classics; Slow cooked duck leg, Saucisses de Toulouse, Coq au Vin........Loup de Mer and veal which doesn't appear very often on  restaurant menus; I opted for Blanquette de Veau which I particularly like. His steak was "delicious".
    Paul's chefs are dab hands at cooking simple home-made-style dishes and the quality of the ingredients is really good. Prices are reasonable, with the mains starting at £7.50 up to £13.50 the price of the entrecote and the small starters to share are maximum £4.00.
    I liked the food for its honesty and the service for its friendliness. I wish I hadn't glanced at the desert menu because from that moment my liking dwindled, beside the nice patisseries which I had already opted against, there it was, "The Bread".
    Yes, au restaurant de Paul, a basket of assorted bread cost £1.75. One could argue that the price is fair but this issue is my main pet-hate. If I've said it once I’ve said it a thousand times one million times, "Bread should be complimentary with meals".
    disclaimer : My thanks to Le restaurant de Paul for their hospitality and the complementary dinners which have been reviewed in this post. Words are my own. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. copyright for top image : Paul's website the others are my own
     Le Restaurant de PAUL
    29 Bedford St,
    London WC2E 9ED 
    Le Restaurant de Paul on Urbanspoon


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