Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Restaurant Review: Kipferl, Islington

There’s a little street in Islington called Camden Passage which has lots of lovely little cafes and shops, and sometimes a market selling everything from antiques to jewellery. I spent a work day with an agency we use not far from there and my colleague and I decided to go out for a quick lunch somewhere a bit different to what’s on offer near our usual base in the City. He spotted Kipferl, a Viennese café, and as we have both been to Vienna we were keen to try it.

Kipferl started out as a delicatessen, run by Austrian Christian Malnig, and has expanded to two full cafes (the other one in Kensington). It prides itself on being a proper Viennese coffeehouse, where you can sit with a coffee and read the newspaper for hours without being hassled to buy anything else. The man at the next table was working on his laptop (and eating lunch) but I overheard him say he pretty much rented that table to work at!

As well as proper Austrian cakes like Sachertorte there are both small and large dishes suitable for lunch and dinner (they also do breakfast). I was tempted by a Wienerschnitzel but decided I wanted a smaller dish at lunch, though still something Austrian. I chose the sausage and sauerkraut, which offered a choice of sausages – a pair of Wieners or Debreziners, or one cheese-stuffed Kaesekrainer, which sounded delicious – and it was. The sauerkraut was perfect – probably an acquired taste but having lived in Germany in my teens and 20s I love the taste of the pickled cabbage. It also came with some rye bread, which unfortunately I found very dry (I know it’s supposed to be but I’ve had much better), plus little pots of mustard and freshly grated horseradish, and some pickles. I’ve never had fresh horseradish, though I love horseradish sauce; on it’s own it is a bit strange and I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do with it – sprinkle it on the sausage, or eat it by itself?

My colleague had a similar dish but with the two Wiener sausages and salad instead of sauerkraut; they were each priced around £6-£7 and made a pretty filling lunch.

If you’re looking for something a bit different to the usual sandwich and want a friendly, relaxed café where you can while away the afternoon (though in our case we went straight back to work) then you could do far wurst.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Restaurant Review: Drake Manor Inn, Buckland Monachorum, Devon

Several years ago one of my closest friends moved to a tiny village in Devon - and I mean tiny. it doesn't have a single shop, but what it does have is a pub.

The Drake Manor Inn is the centre of the community; my friend worked there for a while and even got to know her husband there. 'The pub' as everyone calls it (it almost doesn't need a name) hosts the village New Year's Eve party, serves as the venue for community meetings (like the local cider makers club) , sells pints of milk as there is nowhere else nearby to get one if you've run out and even offers accommodation ( one room above the pub).

An English folk singer who I won't name as I don't think he'd appreciate it grew up there and his parents still live there, and he has been known to give impromptu performances in the pub.

I'd been to the pub a few times when visiting my friend and remembered the very low ceilings and the outdoor toilet (men's - thankfully the ladies is inside) but had never eaten there. This time I was visiting my friend and her new baby during the day so said I would treat us to lunch and she suggested the pub. I later found out that was the fourth time that week she had eaten lunch there!

I was impressed by the breadth of the menu and the sound of dishes like chicken with a spice rub; not as run of the mill as I had expected. In fact the pub prides itself on its food. I was going to have a baguette or the plough mans until my friend recommended the vegetarian lasagne - butternut squash, spinach and goats cheese. It came in a round dish piping hot from the oven on a plate with salad and garlic bread. The lasagne - homemade of course - was delicious. My friend had the same thing while my boyfriend, the world's most un adventurous eater, had a cheese burger. He had been expecting something snack sized as it was under the 'pub bites' section of the menu and only cost about £6 or £7, whereas the main meals part of the menu had a more expensive pulled pork burger. But his meal was huge!

The meal for three plus soft drinks came to £32- excellent value for money as we weren't even hungry by dinner time (though my mum, who we then went on to visit, cooked us dinner anyway).

If you remember to duck when you stand up, and can find somewhere to park, this is a great place to stop for lunch or go for a drink - it's the sort of place where everyone knows everyone else, but rather than strangers being eyed with suspicion, they are greeted, asked where they are from and drawn into the conversation. And you may be surprised at who you end up talking to - what were the chances that the man at the bar (who my friend knew as Geoff from down the road) was the now-retired West Country correspondent for - my former employer, the Daily Telegraph?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Make Edible Glue for Cake Decorating

Edible glue is an essential tool for any cake decorator. It's what you use to stick sugar flowers onto cakes; to fix arms and legs onto sugarpaste animals and to stick any sort of decorations onto fondant-covered cakes.

You can buy edible glue in little pots which can cost anywhere between £2-£3, or sometimes you can get them for £1 from a show like Cake International, which is coming up at the end of this month. I quite like this one from Culpitt, a reputable brand, which you can buy from Amazon from £2.05.

A little does go a fairly long way and the little pots usually come with a brush in the lid which is handy, but after a while they will dry up, and if you are doing a lot of cake decorating, it can get expensive.

So did you know that you can actually make your own edible glue very easily? Simply mix one part CMC powder to 20 parts water and that's it. You can get 100g of CMC powder for about £5 and that will last you a very long time - and you can also use the powder to make Mexican paste to use for modelling (explained if you click on the link).

It's best not to use the glue right away - you can if you need to, but it is quite runny, and benefits from a few hours to set a little. You can keep it in the fridge for quite a while; use a paintbrush or fine makeup brush to dip in to the glue and apply. It's as simple as that!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Salmon with Linguine and Leek Pesto

I was looking for a springtime pasta recipe and came across this recipe for salmon with linguine and ramp pesto. I'd never heard of ramp but according to Wikipedia the allium tricoccum is known as many things, including ramp, spring onion and wild leek. I don't think it's actually the American word for spring onion though as that's scallion. I had some leeks in my fridge and decided that would be close enough and I would give it a go!

I didn't have Asiago cheese (whatever that is) but did have parmesan in my fridge, and a packet of sliced almonds that needed using up. So I decided to throw the whole lot together and make my own springtime pasta!

To serve 3-4, you need:

1 leek, sliced

2 tbsp. oil

30g grated parmesan

30g flaked almonds

handful of fresh parsley

approx. 4-6 tbsp. oil

to serve: linguine

salmon fillet

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions and cook the salmon fillet in whichever manner you prefer - pan fry, poach, oven roast or even microwave. This is really just the recipe for the pesto...

Slice the leek and add to a large pan with 2 tbsp. oil. Heat until the leeks are softened but not browned.

Transfer to a food processor along with the parmesan, almonds and parsley, and pulse for a few seconds. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Toss through the cooked pasta and top with the salmon. Enjoy!

This had a different flavour (obviously) to pesto I'd had before but thanks to the parmesan and nuts it was still definitely a pesto, and I really enjoyed it.

I'm sending this to Credit Crunch Munch, hosted this month by Jo's Kitchen on behalf of Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at Fab Food 4 All. Parmesan isn't cheap but I'm sure a lot of people like me have half a packet hanging around to be used up, and as this recipe only used things I already had open in my fridge, hopefully it counts!

This recipe is a good way to sneak in some veg so I am sending this to the Extra Veg challenge, hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. The challenge was started by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy.

Leeks are in season so I am sending this to Simple and In Season, hosted by Ren Behan.

The recipe uses fresh parsley so I am sending it to Cooking with Herbs, hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage.

Finally I am sending this to Pasta Please, hosted by Family Friends Food on behalf of Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes as the challenge this month is for springtime pasta recipes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tinolang Manok with Malungay and Sotanghon

Tinolang Manok with Malungay and Sotanghon. One of my favorite version of tinola is with sotanghon. I have posted a couple of tinola dish before, Tinolang Manok with Sotanghon and Chicken with Ampalaya Tendrils and Sotanghon. The addition of sotanghon noodles in a tinola soup make the dish a complete meal, however it is still best eaten and enjoyable with a lot of rice. Malungay and green


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Chicken Arroz Caldo with Salted Egg

Chicken Arroz Caldo with Salted Egg. I have been always thinking of salted egg on my Lugaw every time I have an Arroz Caldo or Lugaw meal. Today I have a change to try one, Chicken Arroz Caldo with Salted Egg. Egg in toppings on a Lugaw or Porridge is not extraordinary. We Pinoy always have it in our lugaw in place of the meat ingredients, some Chinese porridge are topped with salted egg or


Monday, March 9, 2015

Pansit Miki with Patola

Pansit Miki with Patola. This recipe is an adaptation of my Pansit Miki with Upo dish. Patola is a versatile vegetables that can be used on a lot of Pinoy dishes. I love using patola on my misua and lomi soup dishes. This is the first time that I tried cooking miki with patola and it did turn out very good. Cooking Pansit Miki with Patola is fairly easy, there are no special step, and it is


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Pakbet with Bagnet, Pinakbet Ilokano

Pakbet with Bagnet, Pinakbet Ilokano. Pinakbet or Pakbet to Ilokanos is totally different from the Tagalog Pinakbet. The Ilocano Pakbet that I grew up is made up of mostly native vegetable ingredients like ampalaya and eggplant they are smaller in size. Other ingredients that are used are patani seeds and sweet potato or kamote this will add some sweetness. Cabbage is also added when in season. Instead of the using bagoong alamang, the Ilocano Pakbet uses generous amount of bagoong na isda extracts which make the dish on the salty side.

Cooking method is also totally different, Tagalog Pinakbet usualy cook by sautéing the ingredients with garlic, onion and tomato where the vegetables are stir cooked, making sure that the vegetables are just cook or half cooked. While the Ilokano Pakbet the ingredients are arrange in layers in the cooking pan, where vegetables that cook quicker are placed on top. The vegetables are the simmered with the bagoong solution at low heat, this will steam cook the vegetables until they shrivel and wilted or kebbet in Ilocano.

Here the recipe of my Pakbet with Bagnet, Pinakbet Ilokano.


1/4 kilo bagnet, cut into big cubes

4 small size ampalaya, seeded, quartered

4 small size eggplant, slit half

1 small head cabbage, quartered

2 small size sweet potato, kamote, quartered

1 bundle okra, trimmed

1 medium size onion, quartered

1 medium size tomato, quartered

2-3 thumb size ginger, sliced

1/2 cup bagoong na isda

3-4 green long chili

1/2 cup cooking oil

Cooking procedure:

In a sauce pan pour 2 cups of water and let boil. Add the bagoong diluted in 1 cup of warm water, pass thru a sieve to filter out the fish bones from the solution. Add in the ginger, reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and remove all scams that rises. Add in the cooking oil, kamote, and all the other vegetable ingredients. Leafy vegetables, onions and tomato on top. Cover and simmer at low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables shrivel and wilted and liquid has reduced to half. Top with bagnet and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot with a lot of rice.

Check out our other pinakbet recipes;

Pinakbet, Overseas Pinoy Version

Pakbet Ilocano



Red Sinigang na Maya-maya sa Miso

Red Sinigang na Maya-maya sa Miso. This is not new there are already similar recipe in the net. I just want to share our Pinoy version of the recipe. Sinigang sa Miso recipes are basically the same. The fish is first sautéed with garlic, onion, tomato and the main ingredient miso paste. In Metro Manila I have observed that there are at least 3 colors of miso paste that is from my favorite supermarket I am not too sure about the type of beans used. These are white, brown and yellow. In fact I have already made a post using the yellow miso paste, Sinigang na Panga ng Bariles Sa Miso. The broth color turned out to be really bright orange, I suspect it may be because of some food coloring used in the miso. But for our recipe today I used similar yellow miso paste and one small sachet of Pinoy style tomato sauce. The dish turned out great.

Here is the recipe of my version of Red Sinigang na Maya-maya sa Miso.


1 large medium size whole maya-maya, sliced to serving pieces

1 medium size onion, quartered

2 medium size tomato, quartered

1 cup miso, yellow

1/4 head garlic, chopped

1 bundle kangkong, trimmed

2 bundle mustasa, stem trimmed

100 grams unripe sampalok, tamarind fruit

4-6 pcs. long green chili

1 packet 250 grams Filipino style tomato sauce


cooking oil

Cooking procedure:

Ask the fish monger to slice/cut fish into serving pieces including the head. Wash fish thoroughly, drain and keep aside. In a saucepan, boil tamarind in 2 cups of water until soft, mash tamarind to extract juice and pulp. Set aside liquid, discard seeds and skin. In a large pot sauté garlic, miso, onion and tomato add in 8 to 10 cups of water and the tamarind juice, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the tomato sauce, fish head and simmer for 8 to10 minutes or until fish head is just cooked. Season with salt to taste. Add in vegetables and siling haba, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked. Serve hot with patis, kalamansi and sili dipping sauce.