Monday, 22 February 2016

Sweet Potato Bread

To make this bread I used 475g of flour,50% strong white flour with 50% strong Canadian wholewheat flour, 250 ml water, yeast, salt and sugar but substituted 90g of flour for 90 g mashed sweet potato. This is less water than I would use if it was all flour.

Pecans, olives and halloumi cheese for the filling

Some of the dough was spread out flat and the filling put down the middle,

then rolled up and baked.

The rest of the dough was shaped like the one on the right inspired by the Madeiran breads in the previous post.
On the left is a slice of the filled loaf.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Madeiran Breads

The breads shown above are called Rosquilhas. They contain little chunks of sweet potato that has a taste like chestnut.
In January I visited a little artisan bakery near Santo da Serra in Madeira. The visit was arranged by the Porto Bay hotel Group and also included a visit to an artisan cheese maker (that's for another post) and a 3 course lunch at their charming little hotel Porto Bay Serra Golf. We climbed up and up on narrow roads and passed through some beautiful scenery, driven expertly by Bruno.

This is the baker who get up at crack of dawn to bake these delicious breads for us. 
Outside we could already smell the wood smoke and as we entered the house there was a welcoming smell of baking bread.
Sweet potatoes are grown in Madeira and are added to bread. The flesh is white unlike the orange colour of the ones we get in the UK.
 These artisan breads are cooked in wood fired ovens. They are available to buy from the market in Santo da Serra at the weekend.
They were all delicious. 

Marilia came with us from Porto Bay Serra Golf and told us about the breads.

                         with Portuguese chorizo

Below I have made bread with sweet potato before, and since this visit have made some more in the shape of the Rosquilhas shown above. I use about 1 part mashed sweet potato to 4 of flour.

I was given a sweet potato cutting from the garden at the Porto Mare hotel. The flesh of this type is firmer than the orange type we have in the UK
It survived the journey home and is growing on my window sill.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Jazz at Verdi

Benoit Veillefon and some of his Orchestra playing jazz at Verdi Italian Kitchen at the Royal Albert Hall. They raised the roof!

Pizza was followed by a very good coffee.


Outside the RAH the late afternoon sun illuminating the Albert Memorial.

The Royal College of Organists is next door to the RAH and intricately decorated with musicians and instruments.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


 OTTOLENGHI 's has 3 restaurants and 2 delis in London.
The one in Belgravia  is a deli takeaway with one communal table at the back for about 8.
It is in Motcomb Street, a short walk from Knightsbridge tube.
It is opposite Rococo Chocolates reviewed in my last post.

There is a splendid array of beautiful salads and breads, cooked meat and fish dishes and some impressive patisserie.
I was like a kid in a sweet shop looking at the goodies and eventually came away with about 6 different salads to take home,
colourful, unique and different delicious flavour combinations.

Also there are some interesting and unusual condiments for sale.

Well worth a visit.

Friday, 16 October 2015

The Secret Garden at Rococo Chocolates

We emerged from Ottolenghi's deli in London's Motcombe Street, laden with interesting salads. I spotted this photogenic shop over the road and remembered reading that it has a little walled tea garden at the back. 
Through the interesting shop and cafe, down some steps and there it was in the heart of Belgravia, a little secret oasis of a Moorish courtyard.

 An intense chocolate shot with a raspberry marshmallow,
both very good.

Mirrors make the space seem larger and give interesting perspectives.

A robin watched hopefully.

Mosaic tiled tables and beautiful floor tiles. 

Meanwhile back upstairs there was a group chocolate tasting event taking place.
I'll be back. I see on their website that they have dark chocolate  flavoured with rose or violet and for a warm summer's day ice cream.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Lunch at Arbutus

Lunch at Arbutus, Frith Street London.
We started with a lovely cocktail of Prosecco with St Germain liqueur with elderflower and mint.

Starter Citrus cured trout with smoked buttermilk

Elwey Valley lamb with roast aubergine and peanut.

Vanilla cheescake with peach slices and peach sorbet.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Nettles for Dinner

Nettle tops (Urtica dioica) foraged from the end of the garden. They are best picked before the flowers appear as they become coarser. Nettles are said to beat spinach and broccoli for vitamins and minerals. They were used as a tonic and various health benefits are claimed.

These were washed, drained then microwaved for 3 minutes and served with roast potatoes and chicken that had been marinaded with smoked garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Like spinach the nettles made quite a bit of green liquid. They tasted milder than spinach.
They didn't sting as the hot water inactivates that. There was a residual warm effect which may have been the nettles or the chilli and ginger with the chicken. Mr Raspberryandchipotle suspects the nettles.

For more information and recipes from Hugh Fearnly-Wittingstall click here