Passion Fruit & White Chocolate Cake

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I found this recipe whilst browsing through my new recipe book – The Clandestine Cake Club. You can find the recipe on another blog here as well. I thought it look a refreshing change and something completely different that I hadn’t tried before, whilst still encompassing my favourite, chocolate.

It uses passion fruit curd in the sponge, as well as the filling and topping. The recipe explains how to make your own passionfruit curd, but I cheated and used the Passion Fruit Curd we had in the fridge from the The Bay Tree as its SO yummy.

I also increased the quantities of the icing as I didn’t think there would be enough to provide a decent amount of filling and topping. I also put some extra grated white chocolate over the top just for a bit of extra texture and visual appeal.

All in all I really loved this cake, it was moist and the passion fruit and chocolate combination seemed to work really well.

I think i may try it again using a different kind of curd, maybe try something a little off the wall!

Happy eating :)

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Review: Fiesta Del Asado

IMG_5611 Fiesta del Asado is an Argentine Restaurant just outside Birmingham City Centre, and is part of the Lasan Group, which is going from strength to strength in Birmingham. As you walk in, you are greeted by friendly staff and warm atmosphere with dark wood furniture, candlelit tables and inviting smell from the open fronted kitchen. IMG_5602 We were sat in a lovely quiet corner and ordered two glasses of Malbec whilst perusing the mouth-watering menu. The restaurant is a meat lovers paradise, and any steak aficionado will be spoilt for choice. Our waitress for the night was fantastic, had a great knowledge of the menu and the cuts of steak and made sure we were happy with what we were ordering. To start, the Pastel de Cangrejo caught my eye. I wanted to go for something that wasn’t too heavy and a crab cake sounded perfect. It was light and fluffy and had a real kick to it as well. The sweetcorn salsa that accompanied did a good job of being refreshing complimented it really well. My husband went for the Empanadas – filled with chicken and sweetcorn, they were packed with filling, not too greasy and went well with the slight smoky red pepper sauce that came alongside. IMG_5600 IMG_5601 For our mains, we both obviously went for steak, but had the polar opposite when it came to the cut.  Lee had the Asado de tiara – 16oz 4 bone cross cut beef rib; cooked on the bone. (£18.79) full of fat and flavour, while I went for the Bife de Angosto – 16oz single muscle taken from the loin. (£23.98) The steaks both come with salad and chimichurri (which is fantastic) and other sides can be ordered as extra. IMG_5605 IMG_5604 We tried the Papas fritas con perejil y ago (Fries with parsley and garlic), Papas criolla (Roasted potato tossed in paprika and oregano) and the Ensalada de tomate y cebolla, (Tomato and red onion salad with garlic oil) all £1.99 as well as the Malbec sauce and the Bernaise sauce. Needless to say this was FAR too much food and we struggled to finish the sides. IMG_5609 IMG_5608 IMG_5607 IMG_5606 The roasted potatoes were spicy and really well cooked – so light and fluffy on in the inside and just delicious when dunked in the Chimichurri. The steaks were cooked perfectly, and mine was by far the best steak I’ve had in a while. Lee’s Cross cut Beef Rib really was a sight to behold and I’m told tasted even better than it looked! I preferred the Bernaise sauce to the Malbec, which I felt could have done with being a bit thicker, but this is the tiniest of criticisms and I thought the whole meal was fantastic. I would thoroughly recommend Fiesta del Asado – great atmosphere and really friendly service and great food on top. http://fiestadelasado.co.uk   Disclosure: We were invited to dine at Fiesta Del Asado as guests of the restaurant. Our views as always are honest and our own.

Product Review: Yau’s Sauces

Yau-s-oriental-cooking-sauces-hits-the-UK_dnm_largeAt last Winters Good Food Show we picked up a couple of bottles of Yau’s sauces. The range was developed by Bonnie Yau who grew up in Vietnam. She started off her food career in specialist oriental shops and then opened her own takeaway, but with a slight twist on the usual Chinese. All her sauces are prided on being MSG free, gluten-free and low in fat, which makes a change from the gloopy sickly sweet sauces that can be the norm from a Chinese in the UK.  I for 1 really love Chinese and Vietnamese food, but recreating great sauces and dishes at home is not always a quick experience and often takes a while. This is great from time to time, but lets face it on occasion we all reach for that jar or bottle of ready-made sauce, whether it be for Chinese, a curry or a pasta sauce. In the Chinese market I’ve yet to find a range of sauces that I truly enjoy, particularly sweet and sour, which is a cliché I know, but I love the flavours.

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In Yau’s Sweet and Sour I believe I have found a really great sauce. Its sweet without being sickly and has the under currents of sour and salt that is needed. Its thick and coats the ingredients well without being sticky or gloopy. A real winner. I used the sauce making sweet and sour chicken with fresh chicken breast, fresh pineapple chunks, red and green pepper and onion chunks, stir fried off, and when cooked simply add the sauce, bring it up to temperature and serve!

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As well as the sweet and sour sauce we tried some of the Zum Dipping Sauce. This is intended as a marinade, dip or dressing rather than a sauce. This is so fresh and light and went perfectly with spring rolls, and I also dressed a Thai Style Salad with it and it was delicious. A really good balance of the Holy Grail combination of salt sweet sour and heat.

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I would really recommend trying some Yau’s sauces. Have a look at the product range here. They’re really handy to have in the cupboard for those days when you want someone else to do all the work for you!

http://www.bonnieyau.co.uk

Disclosure: We purchased these products ourselves, and just really liked them so wanted to write about them!

Review: Thai Brasserie, Sutton Coldfield

On my continuing quest to hunt our great local eateries, next stop was Thai Brasserie on Beeches Walk in Sutton Coldfield. I headed over with my friend L, back from university for a few days for a good catch up.

Both lovers of Thai food we were a bit spoilt for choice, the menu was jam packed with Thai favourites.

For starter I can rarely see past the Chicken satay, and a bad one often doesn’t bode well for the rest of the meal as you can see here. Luckily this satay was very good. Moist (hate that word!) chicken and a fiery delicious peanut sauce, although a little oily. L went for the Prawn Dumpling which she felt was perfectly cooked and particular praise to the accompanying sticky sweet soy dipping sauce, which I also tried and declared a hit! We also shared another of my all time favourites, a Yum salad with Beef. This version was excellently executed, super hot (just the way it should be) and full of crunchy fresh veg and herbs with tender beef.

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Mains wise, I strayed from my usual Stir fry type main course and opted for the Thai Red Curry with Chicken and some sticky rice. This was packed full of chicken and thai vegetables and was also very spicy, making my eyes water a little! I loved it ( although I got through two large glasses of water) but I think some might find it too spicy. L had the King Prawn Pad Thai, which looked superb with copious large plump prawns.

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Another great find in our local area, and there was me thinking there wasn’t any good Thai food in Brum, I’ve now found quite a few! Where’s your favourite Thai?

http://www.thaibrasseriesc.co.uk

 

Disclosure: We paid in full for our meal

 

How to…make Chipotle En Adobo

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Chipotle en Adobo is a rich, smoky, spicy Mexican sauce. It is great stirred through ketchups or mayonnaise, on pasta or stirred through other sauces, or even as a dip if you can take the heat. It is used in a lot of Mexican cooking and nothing beats making your own from scratch. This is how we make ours.

Makes about 2 jam jars full.

Ingredients:

  • 100g chipotle peppers
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small white onion – roughly chopped
  • 150ml water
  • 125ml white wine vinegar
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 30ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato pureé
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp oregano

Method:

  1. First of all pop all of the peppers in a saucepan and cover them with boiling water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes until softenedIMG_4295
  2. Drain and rinse of the excess seeds
  3. Put a third of the peppers in a blender, along with the onion, garlic, herbs and spices and salt and 100ml of the water
  4. Blend to a smooth paste
  5. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy based pan. Add the paste and fry off for 2 minutes
  6. Then add the tomato puree, rest of the water and the vinegars and continue to cook gently for another 5 minutesIMG_4297
  7. Add the rest of the chillis to the pan and cook gently, stirring occasionally for another 15 minutes
  8. Put the whole mixture back into the blender and blend to a smooth paste, or you can leave it a bit chunky, up to you.
  9. Store in sterilised jars and it will keep for several months (in the fridge once open use within a couple of weeks)

Happy eating :)

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Review: The Pear Tree Crêperie, Lichfield

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The Pear Tree Crêperie is a small café/restaurant within the Heart of the Country shopping village near Lichfield. I’ve been many a time over the years whilst having a mooch around the  shops there which includes some lovely little cook shops and foodie shops as well as some clothing, furniture and homewares.

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The space is set up to be like a typical French Crêperie, complete with red checked table cloths and it has a lovely relaxed and informal atmosphere. It can get very busy, and its best to book at the weekends to be sure of a table.

The menu has a long list of savoury galettes and sweet crêpes, along with some mixed salad items and my favourite, French Onion Soup. The galettes are made with buckwheat flour sea salt and water, hence the brown appearance whilst the crêpes are made from wheat flour, milk, eggs, sugar and fat. Both are made in the traditional Breton way from Brittany.

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On this occasion I went for a bowl of the aforementioned soup and a Goats Cheese, Tomato Coulis and Walnut Crêpe. Lee also had a bowl of the soup and had the Mushroom Stroganoff Crêpe. The crêpes are always packed with filling and not overcomplicated. They make for a really taste lunch or mid afternoon sweet or savoury treat.

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On this occasion we didn’t have room for a sweet one too, but I’ve previously had both the  simple lemon and sugar, as well as the more indulgent Profiterole Crêpe. Both are delicious.

If you’re ever in the area its well worth a look for lunch.

Heart of the Country Village,
Swinfen, Nr. Lichfield,
Staffordshire
WS14 9QR

http://www.peartreecreperie.co.uk

Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own

Brown and Green Delicatessen

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Just a quick post today to tell you all about a recent little discovery: Brown and Green Delicatessen. We discovered their fantastic shop on the Trentham Estate on a visit over Easter, and on further research actually discovered they have a few more dotted over England.

They pride themselves on bringing together local, ethical and artisan food and drink. Supporting local producers, caring about seasonality, finding new and distinctive produce and looking for high standards of animal welfare.

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The produce differs from store to store, and the range of goods they have in their shop on the trentham estate was staggering. Fresh fruit and veg, a butchery and deli coutner as well as tonnes of homemade chutneys, preserves and a whole host of other things. I enjoyed seeing some of out favourite local producers on their shelves, including Just Oils and The Kitchens’ Fine Food Co. Definetly one of the best Deli’s I have come across in recent times, a shame it’s a bit far away from us for that weekly shop!!

Have a sneak peek inside the store below!

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http://www.brown-and-green.co.uk

Brown and Green
Trentham Shopping Village
Stone Road
Trentham
Nr Stoke-on-Trent
Staffordshire
ST4 8AX