Sunday, 30 June 2013

Book Launch for Sushi at Home by Yuki Gomi

I have already written about Yuki Gomi, Japanese cookery teacher and now cook book writer.  I recently wrote a book review of Yuki's book and recently Yuki held the formal book launch to mark the official launch of the book.

Yuki is such a lovely person and it was not surprising how many friends and contacts she had attending the launch. 

My friend Val came with me to the launch (or should I say Bal - the name Yuki wrote in Val's copy of her book as they don't have a 'V' in Japanese!). Val had never tasted sushi that didn't come from the supermarket before and thoroughly enjoyed it!

I was glad to have the opportunity to get my copy of Yuki's book signed as well.

The cocktails were made with Japanese sake also a vodka and citrus liqueur.

Yuki gave a very quick demonstration of an inside out sushi roll (recipe in the book) and there was lots of sushi and sashimi being passed around.

Yuki used a lot of ingredients in her classes from Clearspring and they were at the launch to tell us all about their range of organic products. 

Both Val and I had a lovely time at the book launch, thanks Yuki for inviting us. Good luck with the book!

Breakfast at Kippings

Breakfast at Kippings, maybe a nice film title? Or a great restaurant?

I was invited to Kippings Bistro & Wine bar in Wheathampstead a couple of miles from where I live in St Albans.  They have been open about 6 months now and even though I have driven past loads of times it never occurred to me to stop by.
I am however, very glad I did today. Mr R and I were up early and weeding on the allotment and brunch was our reward .

We were greeted by Patricia and introduced to her husband Barry and head chef Jack. They were all welcoming and very hospitable.

The decor is modern and uncluttered and the inside is small enough to be intimate but large enough not to feel claustrophobic.

There is a well stocked bar and a 'library' area which makes a lovely meeting place for coffee with friends, a quiet coffee and newspaper or magazine or just to catch up on tweets!

The library is a great place to relax with a friend over a coffee
or sit outside in the little sun garden with a cool drink.

Mr R and I both had the full English breakfast, I had my eggs scrambled and he had sunny side up. We both remarked that our eggs were perfectly cooked, the bacon thick and tender (not dry or overcooked) and the sausage and black pudding tasty.


Mr R is the king of brunch mushrooms but he certainly has a rival and chef Jack may steal the title!!
The toast was served on a piece of wood with more than enough butter (often you have to try to make a small amount reach both pieces of toast) and was unsalted with a few flakes of crunch sea salt sprinkled on top.

The coffee was lovely and smooth without any bitter taste which always pleases me.

We weren't rushed and were made to feel very welcome. Looking at the Menu board I think I will be back for dinner very soon!

Many thanks to Patricia and Barry at Kippings for a relaxed brunch. You can check out their website here, follow them on Twitter or phone (01582 833122) to make a reservation.

If you are in Hertfordshire or lower Bedfordshire take a trip to Kippings! 

Friday, 28 June 2013

This little Wiggie went to market!

I was invited to the launch meal of a new pop-up restaurant near to St Paul's Cathederal. It is called Wiggies.

Wiggies has taken up residence for six months upstairs in the Rising Sun pub in Carter Street EC4 in London. The theme is pork and all dishes contain some.

My friend Val came with me and upon arrival we were sat at a table for four and told we would be sharing the table. A lovely young couple joined us and after introductions we all chatted right through the meal.  We had a lovely cocktail made primarily of tequila and lime juice.

We were given a cocktail as we sat down. The starter was a Black Pudding Cappucino! Sounded weird but in fact was delicious!

Second was a ham hock terrine with crackling dusted butternut squash, crispy pigs ear and rhubarb relish. The terrine was so tasty and really tender.  The rhubarb relish was sweet and spicy.

Following on from that we were served a seared scallop with hot smoked pork belly and ham hock, asparagus and pea shoots. The pork belly was so delicately smoked and the scallops lovely and tender.
The final course was an apple and cardamom pork fat crumble galette with mango lassi sauce. This was my favourite (I am a pudding person really!). I kept dreaming of the taste and texture of this all the way home.
Each course was tastier than the one before it. I was eating slowly to make the pleasure last as long as possible! The atmosphere was vibrant and full of chatter, like a very big family gathering.

Thank you Wiggies for inviting me and Val to experience this lovely meal. I hope to return before your six months are up.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Today's coffee break is brought to you by ......

Today's coffee break is brought to you by .... Tesco RealFood.

As a result of our blogger evening last week we received a great goodie bag and for dessert last night I whipped up the double cream and topped some sliced Finest strawberries! So simple but so perfect!

Pure summer magic!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Laughing Cow - New Little Triangles!

Everyone remembers being little and getting home from school to a sandwich made from those little triangles of cheese with the face of a laughing cow!

Laughing Cow cheese is still going strong and have two new flavours out. There is 'Light' with Emmental, a creamy cheese with the flavour of the well known cheese with holes - Emmental and 'Light' with Blue Cheese.

There are 8 triangles in each box. They are great on crackers or even just 'peel-n-pop' as they are.
Look out for the two new varieties next time you are shopping.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Today's coffee break is brought to you by ..............

Today's coffee break is brought to you by ... Sabichi.  I received this melamine tray to introduce me to the new Lemongrass range of housewares by Sabichi.

The tray I was sent is melamine with two handles to make it easier to carry. It has the new Lemongrass design which belongs to a range including, plates & bowls, kitchen canisters, placemats and coasters.

The natural shades with a vibrant lime co-ordinate with any modern kitchen.

Thanks Sabichi for my tray.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

British Berry Bonanza - Thanks Tesco

There is no memory like picking wild fruit as a child and my mother making jam that afternoon. Every year when I buy fresh berries at the peak of their ripeness that memory comes flooding back and last night I was invited to Tesco's Hatfield store to an evening of berries, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberries. A virtual berry bonanza!

We were welcomed with a drink of fizz and chatted to each other and some Tesco staff before being seated and introduced to Tesco's world of berries.

A fascinating talk about how Tesco sources the berries we find on their shelves and the different types of each berry.  For instance each berry is on their shelves within 24 hours of picking to ensure we can buy them at their peak.

Berries are judged by aroma, texture and taste and appearance.  The strawberries (of which there are 35 varieties in the UK) are sorted into three categories; Finest (as in selection A) Everyday Value and Standard (as in selection C).  There is even a Berry Technologist in the company to make sure we get the best fruit!

We were tasting the three categories on their own and also with different toppings such as single cream, sugar, icing sugar, clotted cream (my favourite!), as well as unusual tastes like black pepper and balsamic vinegar! All providing a different taste experience.



My daughter Caroline, also a blogger attended the event with me as did smallest grandson but he slept through the whole thing!

And if all those berries wasn't enough to make our day there was a Summer Berry Tart with Lemon Cream made up for us to try and it was absolutely delicious (glad to say our goodie bag contained all we need to make this recipe up at home). You can make this lovely summery pudding too by clicking on the above link.

And for the future? Look out for some new berries due in our shops this year; Mac Black Raspberry, Kiwi Berries and Aronia Berries (great for jam).

Thanks Tesco for a berry lovely evening, a great goodie bag and gift card. All the photos, opinions and thoughts are my own.