Saturday, 29 June 2013

the 10 most hated foods of the nation

Last month a poll was conducted ahead of an event taking place prior to the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, to drive global action to reduce hunger and malnutrition. A group of 2011 British adults were asked to list the foods they could not or would not eat. The majority of the entries that made the top ten most detested food items reads to me less of a culinary hit list and more of a fabulous tasting menu (albeit a slightly misguided one with the combination of ingredients). This list doesn’t just consist of food I like to eat, it consists of food I actively seek out on a menu and order over other options. This list comprises of some of the most sought after ingredients available to the culinary savvy, providing the centre piece to incredible dishes and dining memories. Allow me to extol the virtues of these fabulous morsels and perhaps help change the opinions of a nation.

10 - Marzipan
The smooth and thick paste like confection that is marzipan comes in at number ten with 26% of the vote. It is comprised of sugar, egg and ground almonds and is most commonly used as a base for the icing on a Christmas or wedding cake. Marzipan can indeed sometimes be too sweet and an aversion to melting teeth is understandable. But if it’s the almond flavour in general that is disliked by the nation, then this is an opinion I, and most of Italy, would find difficult to swallow. Both the riciarelli and amaretti biscuit are made with the same key ingredients of almonds, sugar and egg whites and are almost ubiquitous in their presence perched on the saucer of a strong coffee throughout Italy. If the flavour of sweet almond is something you’re not yet accustomed to, try knocking up a batch of these easy biscuits and start from there. Either that or pour yourself two fingers of Amaretto (Italian almond flavoured liqueur) and initiate yourself the ballsy way.
amaretti biscuits - a flavour of sweet almond similar to marzipan
8 - Olives
In at number eight are olives, the humble collection of green and black oval appetisers found at the start of restaurant meals across the land. According to the results, 33% of British adults would leave well alone and instead probably fill up on bread. Being half Turkish Cypriot, I don’t ever recall a time when I haven’t discreetly been popping out stones between pursed lips at a meal. If a Turkish meal doesn’t contain olives, then it’s not Turkish. Hell, it’s barely even a meal. And the same goes for other Mediterranean countries each with their own range of olive offerings – creamy and mild Spanish Manzanilla olives; firm, meaty, earthy and green Italian Cerignola olives; large black Greek Kalamata olives; and the list extends considerably further. It’s worth spending a little extra for olives that haven’t been brined beyond recognition as I suspect it’s the taste from this process that causes a lot of the hostility. Look for regional olives from a decent deli and give them another try, I implore you.

7 – Blue cheese
Blue cheese pongs its way in at number seven with 34% of the votes. But surely everyone salivates at the sight of mould inflected produce that smells of sockless hipster feet in loafers at the end of a hot day - no? Its presence on this list is not a surprise to me as our ingrained biological instinct is to have a natural aversion to blue food, especially if it is accompanied by a heavy and tangy bouquet. A developed palate is needed to enjoy the pungent pleasures of blue cheese but if the taste can be acquired, it is entirely worth it. Perhaps start with milder offerings such as Danish Blue or Gorgonzola until you’re ready to work your way to the middle ground of Stilton. Then one day you may even find yourself enjoying the potent pleasures of Roquefort. A little goes a long way - enjoy thin slithers perched on water biscuits followed by a sweet seedless grape chaser.

6 - Sushi
Sushi has made a splash at number six with what to me is an incomprehensible 37% of the votes. Forget polls, surveys, or the ‘cool foodie’ associations this far-eastern food item might have. Hands down, Japanese cuisine is in my top three favourite cuisines the world has to offer, and it’s one I could solely eat for the rest of my life (although the lack of dairy would hit me at some point). There are many components to it, with sushi (parcels of cooked rice with other ingredients such as egg, vegetables, cooked fish and raw fish) and sashimi (thinly sliced and spanking fresh raw seafood) being just a couple of these. There are few things more delightful than rigor fresh seafood, bright and firm, seasoned with soy and accompanied by the temporary but intense nose-busting hit of wasabi. A perfect example of fresh ingredients stealing the show with little if any interference. Never buy pre-packaged sushi from supermarkets. Do venture to a well-reviewed establishment and introduce yourself to sushi and sashimi the way it was intended. If you’re feeling particularly extravagant, pop over to Tokyo to enjoy a 15 minute slot of silent eating after a one month waiting list to sample a piece of 87 year old Jiro Ono’s offering – universally acknowledged as the best sushi chef on the planet. The privilege will set you back upwards of $300. But then his octopuses are massaged for 45 minutes prior to slaughter..

5 – Black pudding
If the thought of eating blood sausage turns your stomach, you are part of the 39% of the population with similar sentiments. Regardless of what deep-rooted experience or ingrained belief renders black pudding an issue for so many, if these qualms can be overcome there is a lot of deliciousness to be savoured. I recently indulged in a high-end Full English breakfast from Hawksmoor in Seven Dials, purveyors of some of the best meat on the market, and it was in fact the black pudding that was my favourite thing on the plate – a beautiful soft texture and wonderfully seasoned. Alternatively, seek out Spain’s equivalent (morcilla) and the presence of the smoky sweet heat from pimenton (Spanish paprika) may be enough to entice you. Source, slice and fry for a traditional tapa. Give it a go.

4 – Tofu
Tofu is such a quiet and unassuming ingredient that it’s difficult to see why a whopping 42% were adamant they would not eat it. Tofu is made from pressing the curds of soy milk into soft white blocks; granted it has the potential to be an uninspiring and bland slab of sponge. But it’s the properties of this sponge like form that can make it a winning staple; cook it with exciting and vibrant flavours and all of the seasoned goodness will be absorbed and permeate. Tofu is the blank canvas of the culinary world, ready to showcase any flavour you throw at it. Try the fried tofu with Chinese mushrooms noodle soup from Mama Lan in Clapham Common for an excellent example of them crispy, packed with flavour and swimming in a deep and spicy broth. 

fried tofu with Chinese mushrooms noodle soup - Mama Lan

3 – Anchovies
Do you like Worcestershire sauce staining the bubbling grilled cheese on your toast? Of course you do. I’ll bet you didn’t know anchovies are a key ingredient in it. 45% of those surveyed are against the idea of the small, salty, silver sea water fish. It seems the staples of the Spanish cuisine get a bit of a battering in this survey; the best tasting anchovies are the Engraulis Encrasicholus (EE) species found in the waters around western and northern Spain, Portugal and the Mediterranean Sea. Anchovies are as much of a seasoning as they are an ingredient. If the strong flavour from whole preserved fillets is too much to handle, try mashing some in a pestle and mortar along with grated garlic and olive oil. Heat this mixture in a pan until the fish flesh has disintegrated, then add cooked spaghetti and coat in the oily mixture on a low heat – serve immediately with parsley and lemon. I challenge anyone to not enjoy it in this format.

2 – Liver
As soon as I spot on a menu chicken liver parfait, pâté, mousse, or any other ‘way’ in which chicken livers can be treated, there is little point in me eyeballing the remaining offerings. These concoctions spread on crisp thin toast with a sprinkle of thyme are outstanding bites. I recall being overcome by an intense craving for chicken livers one lonely night in university halls. I promptly procured a tub, fried them until just tender, doused them in lemon and ate a whole plateful with crusty bread. The texture of gently fried chicken liver is soft, smooth and crumbly and the flavour is even better. Other liver such as calves can be richer and heavy with the taste of iron, so should the 46% who do not care for it wish to initiate themselves, start with the milder chicken offering. If gristle puts you off, visit a butcher and request they leave you with nothing but the glossy pink brown meat for you to apply heat to. Sensational simply with lemon.
my homemade chicken liver pâté - a staple around Christmas
1 – Oysters
The Marmite of the sea-swelling world, it’s no surprise they top the list with almost half (47%) of those questioned claiming they could not or would not eat them. Once dismissed as simple peasant fare, the oyster is now held in the highest regard as one of the finest tastes available for those able to appreciate it. My first two experiences with these bi-valved molluscs were underwhelming and mostly consisted of a gum line full of grit with a grimace. For an experience akin to churning torrents of the North Sea deluging your immediate dining vicinity and engulfing everything in its path with an invigorating saline slap across the chops, try the Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House in Borough Market. Juicy sweet meat, wonderful texture and as fresh as if the sea were through the back doors and the oysters had been plucked out just a few moments prior. Any qualms I previously had about oysters were atomically blasted out of existence on my first visit.  Forget tales of slimy flesh and stories of launching them down the gullet to avoid any real interaction with the meat.  Instead find a reputable establishment - eat them fresh, raw and naked.  Chew, savour, and delight over these alien looking wonders.
a dozen rocks from Wright Brothers Oyster & Porterhouse
9 – Liquorice The observant amongst you will notice the omission of the ninth listing further up the post. I thought I’d save this one until last, as it’s the soul entry I agree with. Yes you heard correctly, I agree with it. I am definitely part of the 28% of the population who listed it as a food they would not eat. The only flavour I have come across in my relatively far reaching tales of eating that I simply cannot endure is that of anise. Catch just a whiff of it and I feel my throat closing as it prepares its defences. A bag of liquorice All Sorts is my idea of hell and they look as horrific as they smell – black consumables with unnatural and luminescent pink, yellow and blue colouring. Who does this appeal to? Being Turkish, my dad is partial to the odd glass or two of Raki, the Turkish equivalent of the better known Greek Ouzo, a white aniseed liqueur mixed with a dash of water to turn it cloudy. As soon as the bottle cap is unscrewed I make my excuses and swiftly depart the scene. I once purchased a whole pot of glistening fresh olives from a deli counter only for them to be stealthily scattered with fennel seeds, too many to pick off individually - the (rather expensive) pot of olives was soon abandoned. The level of aniseed I can handle is that of dill (so, extremely mild), which incidentally, I absolutely love. So there we have it, my counter argument to the nation’s declarations of distaste. Liquorice aside, my conclusion is the whole country has gone mad and I’m the only sane person left. That, or society hasn’t give these items enough of a chance. It turns out that most of the time we decide what we like before we even bother to experience it, and this prejudice clouds our perception of what we actually encounter. So the moral of this story is cast your first impressions aside, as sometimes they’ll be wrong. Instead, embrace new experiences, textures and flavours and give yourself a good dozen goes before you write something off completely. I best join my dad in his next glass of Raki then. *barf*

Do you agree with these results? Do they contain any of your favourite foods? What are your most abhorred flavours? Do let me know your thoughts!
Afiyet olsun.

This article can also be found on the Your Local Guardian website.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

fino, fitzrovia - review

arroz negro - squid ink risotto 

Along with Japanese and Turkish, I’d say Spanish cuisine is right up there in my top three favourites. Quality cookery shows (namely A Cook’s Tour of Spain hosted by Thomasina Miers in 2008 and more recently Rick Stein’s Spain from 2011) have done wonders in opening my eyes to the regional nuances and the ingredient staples that make Spanish dishes so identifiable and exceptional. 

I recall watching with salivating jaw towards the floor under the influence of both amazement and excitement as I began to realise what I thought I knew about Spanish cuisine was barely the tip of the iceberg. Couple these shows with the immense presence of all 960 pages of ‘1080 recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega’ in my kitchen with its own gravitational pull and beautiful colour shots of traditional Spanish dishes from the country’s best-loved food authorities, and I was sold for life.

The Spaniards love their beans, vegetables, nuts, pork, seafood, garlic and cheese – what’s not to fall for? Dishes are often stained the fiery colours of the flag from the Spanish flavour signposts that are smoky red
 pimentón de la Vera (one of my favourite spices of all time – a separate post about it here) and the golden glows of saffron, along with sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. 

Here’s a shopping list of what you would find in a typical Spanish larder: chickpeas, chorizo, pancetta, cured ham, lentils, octopus, olives, pimentón, rice, salt cod, almonds, dried beans, fresh white anchovies, manzanilla olives, and so much more. It makes me want to jump on a plane yesterday.

chorizo iberico 

But here’s a joyous piece of news, there is no need. For
Fino situated on Charlotte Street presents London with the same quality, freshness and delight you would expect from dining in
 Castile–La Mancha itself, but with a modern twist and closer to home. 

Both Fino and Barrafina (the Soho sister restaurant) are run by brothers Sam and Eddie Hart with the former opening its doors in 2003 as one of the first restaurants in London to offer contemporary Spanish food. The kitchen is commandeered by Executive Head Chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho with roots in the Basque country, and the menu is fluid with seasonality dictating the provincial dishes that are made available. 

The focus on ingredients is centred around the best Spain has to offer alongside available local produce. Having been privy to nothing but glowing reports from friends and colleagues who have sampled it, I’m still trying to figure out why it’s taken me so long to visit. But visit I have, and visit I most certainly will again.

ham croquetas - outstanding

A wooden board layered with kimono silk thin chorizo iberico started off the proceedings, marbled fat disintegrating from the warmth of the tongue. A plate of pimientos (small green peppers) from Padrón crispy fried and sprinkled with coarse salt busied our fingers. Both the ham and cod croquetas were ordered. The latter delicious and sitting on a bed of sable squid ink, but the former were exceptional - light and crisp exteriors encasing velvet béchamel middles and savoury cubes of porky lardons. Unadulterated pleasures to consume. 

The octopus meat was soft and yielding, glistening burnt orange from the marriage between the pimentón and olive oil, and scattered with little piquant capers. Scallop ceviches were presented in their shells in individual portions and while small were soft and delicate, sour from lime, and topped with a sprinkling of chopped chives and a dusting of rust coloured pimentón.

pimientos de padrón 
squid croquetas 

scallop ceviche

scallop ceviche

A tortilla was ordered, almost to my lament. I’ve always viewed them as the fodder of the tapas world to help ensure the diner doesn’t leave hungry. I’m also not the world’s biggest spud fan, so uninspiring looking rounds of amalgamated potato and egg leave me at best taking no more than a mouthful and at worse, completely ignoring them on the menu. 

But praise be, this was not only the best I had ever eaten (not that much of an acclaim as I don’t eat them that often), but it was one of my favourite dishes from this already extraordinary spread. Perfectly formed, moist and soft, and packed to the rafters with flavour. It had a gooey middle and was topped with pungent alioli and diced chorizo. A real joy to eat and a lesson about culinary pre-conceptions learnt. I recall having a similar reaction to what turned out to be the best couscous I have ever eaten in Marrakesh, elevated to levels I didn’t know couscous could reach. You can read that here – scroll down to ‘The Last and Best Supper’.

chorizo & alioli tortilla - gold star 

Fingers of soft potato were wrapped in thin chorizo slices, christened ‘potato and chorizo chips’ and fried to a sensational crisp with the delicious burnished paprika oil staining the fingers and the plate. 

The nutty familiarity of the Manchego (hands down one of my favourite cheeses) was welcomed, slices glistening with a film of sweat from the heat of the spotlights. The arroz negro (black risotto) was served perfectly al dente, glossy and black from squid ink, and in a small copper pot topped with squid meat. It had come recommended from a chef on Twitter and they were spot on with the commendation.

potato and chorizo chips

I have found in previous engagements the fat in crispy pork belly to be too sickly to consume - not the case at Fino. The meat was soft, the fat delicate, and the crackling crisp without rendering it impenetrable. 

A single crème catalana was ordered for all three party members to share in addition to insides full to bursting. The subtle hints of citrus and pallid light orange flesh speckled with the black seeds of vanilla pods were exposed once the hard caramel top had been fractured with the collective tapping of our spoons.

crisp pork belly

creme catalana

The interiors leave quite a bit to be desired, with the high percentage of suited post-work clientele reflecting the generic corporate décor, akin to the breakfast room of a business hotel chain. 

And I really don’t like the lighting – the artificial glare from intense and hot spotlights over tables does nothing to frame the beautiful food delivered, or my ability to photograph it (the reflective pork belly picture is particularly poor - apologies). 

But front of house was faultless and consisted of a small army of petite and pretty Spaniards. And the food was dreamy - certainly the best tapas I’ve encountered. My next table here has already been reserved – I think that speaks for itself.

Liked lots – tortilla, squid ink risotto, ham croquetas, wine, service, value, changing menu, Spanish staff, location, being able to reserve
Liked less – décor, lighting
Good for – catching up with friends, romantic dinners, eating the best tapas in town, regular visits

My rating: 5/5

Afiyet olsun.

Fino on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

nutella milkshake with banana and coffee

Recall slices of the enduring and sickly sweet supercouple of banana and toffee in the form of banoffee pie from the birthday parties of your childhood. Or even your adulthood. It consists of a base, either pastry or biscuit topped with caramel (but ready made dulce de leche will speed up the assembly process), banana slices and coffee-flavoured cream. So while banana and coffee may initially sound unusual, you’ve likely revelled in its pleasure at some point previously.

Have you ever wondered how the inspired spread of Nutella came about? The crème de la crème of hazelnuts can be found in the Piedmont region of Italy with their exceptional quality and bittersweet richness. In the late-nineteenth century, cocoa was hard to come by in this region. To bulk out the chocolate being made here, hazelnuts were added which eventually led to the heaven sent creation that is Nutella, today outselling peanut butter. Although then it was originally sold as a solid loaf and called pasta gianduja. ‘Two whole hazelnuts in every spoon’ is not quite nutty enough for me so I’ve added more to this recipe. If Nutella is a little sweet for you, you could replace it with a couple of Ferrero Rochers and blitz those before everything else – not something I’ve tried but I’m sure it would work.

Walk through the streets of Paris, particularly on a wintry evening, and your olfactory bulb will register the wafting aromas from the numerous crepe stands just before you spot steam rising from them. Clock the chalked up flavour combinations available and you’ll notice Nutella and banana often at the top of the list.

I’ve taken the complimenting flavours from the above and thrown them together in a satisfying and indulgent start to the day – one for a Sunday morning I reckon.

This recipe was developed for the 
Good Food Channel website and can be found here:

Friday, 14 June 2013

yummy choo mauritian pop-up - review

aubergine bringele / shrimp croquettes / gateaux piment

The only Mauritian food I have the pleasure of devouring is cooked by my Mum – and hats off to it, it’s pretty good. No wait – it’s excellent (she might be reading this). All jokes aside, it is excellent. It’s a significant enough draw for me to have entertained fleeting thoughts throughout and post University of ‘maybe I could move back home?’. 

Such thoughts don’t pervade my mind anymore – I’m a bit past living with the parents now. But for Mum’s cooking, it’s almost feasible. I can genuinely smell the spices of her beef with cloves, achard, and butter bean curry as I type. Is there a word for that? According to Google yes. Phantosmia - the perception of a smell in the absence of any physical odours. Alas, there is no actual Mauritian curry where I’m sitting.

It’s not always feasible for me to drive the hour it takes to get to my parents unannounced and exclaim that I’m hungry for some prawn rougaille. Because if it was, my mum should be charging for the service. 

So when an opportunity arises to eat some home cooked Mauritian fare, I’m on the case immediately. And such an occasion presented itself in the form of a Mauritian pop-up supper club hosted by Selina Periampillai from Yummy Choo Eats. Here’s a little about the lovely lady herself:

'Selina Periampillai is a self-taught cook who hosts the popular 'Yummy Choo' supper club at her home in Croydon, specialising in Mauritian home cooked cuisine, and her website has become a ‘go to’ page for Mauritian inspired recipes and food reviews.  Specialising in cooking up colourful, moreish dishes with a tropical flair and unique flavours, Selina combines her passion and creative use of ingredients to transport guests to the sunshine island and leaves them wanting more!'

I’ll have some of that.

Rather than Selina’s home, this particular event was hosted at the Blue Mountain Cafe as part of the Pop Goes Sydenham programme seeing the town come alive with food events featuring local chefs, suppliers and produce. 

At a mere 25 minute drive from my work in Clapham and with ample parking, it was an ideal location for a week night meal. The venue was brightly coloured with room for around 20 guests at communal tables to accommodate the sharing platters and bowls. At front of house we had Belinda Lester doing a sterling job of greeting everyone warmly and swiftly planting welcomed lychee rum cocktails into our hands to help ease us into the format of the evening. 

Once all the guests arrived, Selina stepped out from the kitchen in chef whites and with a beaming smile to welcome all and provided a quick low-down of what to expect for the different courses.

The large platters delivered consisted of an array of appetising bite-sized typical Mauritian starters (or gajaks). These included aubergine bringele (aubergine slices coated in a light chickpea batter); well spiced and soft shrimp croquettes made from dried shrimp and potato; and crunchy gateaux piment – a typical street food made from split peas and chillis. 

To accompany these were some winning chutneys – coconut tamarind and mint along with a vibrant cotomili satini (coriander chutney). Both lent aromatic, light and refreshing qualities to the food – they were delightful.

coconut, tamarind and mint chutney / coriander chutney

There are few things that make the heart of a hungry diner sing more than being regaled with large bowl after large bowl of quality food leaving the kitchen and landing at your table, and so we were introduced to the mains. 

My first encounter with these dishes was in the form of wafting cinnamon aromas penetrating my olfactory bulb before I even caught sight of them. And what an introduction. The sauce for the cari poulet (chicken curry) was a beautiful brown reminding me of the curries my my mum makes housing tender morsels of meat, and the coconut and spinach dhal was thick and creamy from the coconut milk

The fish vindaye was not something I had sampled before and Selina revealed it’s often the most popular dish at her supper clubs - it’s easy to see why. Pickled mustard fish with chilli and onion – appetisingly chewy chunks of fish coated in a dry spiced sauce. Dozens upon dozens of freshly made and warm pooris along with very fragrant rice were passed around the tables to help mop up all the goodness remaining on plates. 

The prawns in the rougaille were soft and appealing, a texture that seems to pervade most cooked prawns I’ve experienced. However, I felt the rougaille sauce itself was a little too liquid – I have previously known it to be thicker and something that coats the meat within but this was more akin to a soup and therefore I felt the flavour was a little diluted. No doubt this is down to the permeations of recipes over time and from family to family; they will always have their own unique nuances and never be identical. And they shouldn’t be. 

fish vindaye - pickled mustard fish with chillies and onion

cari poulet - a family recipe chicken curry

coconut and spinach dhal

prawn rougaille

freshly made pooris

For the brave (Matt included), there were little bowls of piment confit dotted on all the tables -  hot bullet chillies with garlic and oil. When I say hot, I in no way mean that lightly. I had half a tiny one and stopped my brain melting by swiftly shoving coconut chutney in my mouth. Matt managed to consume a total of three with other big mouthfuls of food before getting hiccups and admitting defeat. 

It reminded me of the time my mum made achard (a Mauritian pickled vegetable salad) as part of a Christmas dinner. It contained both green beans and big fat hot chillies. She would always remove the chillies from the portion she dished out to me and I would put my full trust in her ability to differentiate them from the beans and successfully fish them all out. But this time, she missed one. I merely bit down (I didn’t even chew), immediately spat it out and what was to follow was probably the most violent reaction to a chilli I’ve ever had

My breathing was cut short and instinctive reaction put a tissue to my mouth, which I then used to dab my face now wet with streaming eyes. This then caused the whole side of my face to burn bright red of which a slathering of Vaseline was the only relief. Oh, and I temporarily lost my hearing. I hear something like 1 out of every 100 chillies are off the scale hotter than the rest of their species and you can consider yourself the subject of any Schadenfreude taking place at that dinner table if one ends up in your mouth. A painful Christmas evening for my face that was indeed.

piment confit - bullets of fire

Our trou normand consisted of little shots of pineapple and chilli sorbet inspired by the combination sold on the beaches of Mauritius to help cool off sweltering bodies. It did a perfect job in cleansing the palate and cooled off our sweltering mouths from those piment confit bullets of fire. 

For dessert, individual tropical plates of coconut sago drenched in a sticky but not too sweet spiced syrup sitting alongside a sweet mango and pomegranate salad. Sago is a starch extracted from the spongy centre of palm stems and seemed to behave quite like rice grains in a soft but packaged rice pudding  – yet another new and successful ingredient to check off my list of conquered consumables.

pineapple and chilli sorbet

coconut sago with spiced syrup / mango and pomegranate

The atmosphere was lively with sega music playing in the background and conversation flowing across parties and tables as we got to know our neighbours. For many, it was their first experience sampling the delights of Mauritian cuisine

I like to think of it as the Vietnamese of the South East Asian world; in a similar vein Mauritian food is lighter and more aromatic than the comparable but quite different food from the Asian sub-continent. 

After grafting hard in the kitchen with her mother present for assistance, Selina closed the evening by thanking everyone for coming and making her way round the tables to speak to each individually. It was a truly enjoyable few hours and I only wish I had brought some Tupper wear (if I could get away with it).

Selina frequently hosts supper clubs and pop-ups and there are probably few better ways to introduce yourself to this cuisine than by letting her cook it for you. To stay up to date with her upcoming events, follow her on Twitter (@yummychooeats) or keep an eye on her website

Selina, a sister from another mister, you’re doing us Mauritians proud.

My rating: 4/5

Afiyet olsun.

Monday, 10 June 2013

hazelnut chocolate pots with orange and rosemary

If I am presented with the dilemma of choosing between a sweet or savoury bite, I’ll select the savoury almost every time. And this includes popcorn – always salty, never sweet - not even a combination of the two (who’s with me?). 

I am almost completely lacking in the often referenced ‘sweet tooth’ – the sugar content in a small bowl of Crunchy Nut is usually more than adequate as a dessert for me (cereal for afters - try it). 

I simply cannot relate to drinking a can of Coca-Cola with limited edition tongue-fur, eating a bag of migraine manifesting Haribo, or snacking on the sugar block kid confectionery that is Dairy Milk clothed in its gaudy wrap – anything above my relatively low sugar threshold and I feel like my teeth are evaporating

However, contrary to what seems to be an anti-sugar disposition, I do actually like desserts. I even find that they quite often steal the show of a three course meal if done well. My idea of a good dessert is one that showcases the individual components and ingredients rather than concealing anything that could be half decent with a smothering of something sugar loaded.

I also really like chocolate. 

It’s important to be able to distinguish the difference between confectionery items such as Dairy Milk mentioned above (high in sugar, low on cocoa) and with real chocolate (high in cocoa, lower on sugar) – I’m referring to the latter. 

And so I present to you my humble offering of a small chocolate based dessert a little different from the norm. Chocolate, hazelnuts and orange are familiar friends, but to these I’ve added rosemary infused milk which I think brings a touch of cool and evergreen sophistication to the pots with its pine and floral notes. 

The only sweetness in this dish is from the milk chocolate (also known as plain chocolate) as there is no added sugar – when it comes to this ingredient get something that’s at least a third cocoa. Green and Blacks have a decent offering

If you’re even more extreme than I when it comes to the sweet stuff (hats off if so), then feel free to substitute with dark chocolate but be prepared for a bitter finish. Either way, your end result will be light little pots of goodness somewhere between a mousse and a chocolate pot.

This recipe was developed for the GoodFood Channel and can be found on their website here.

Afiyet olsun.

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