Yesterday I had a look at the Toast website; like stepping into an indulgent shop where you know your senses are going to be softly stroked and where your shoulders always drop. It’s not just the clothes, but the styling, the photographs, the rich vein of history and timelessness that runs through every piece, the pride and the quality. I always look at their magazine, see what tasty morsels there are and low, behold, there was this article about the Head chef of Moro Hackney, Marianna Leivaditaki and her childhood in Crete. It’s a beautiful piece and well worth a read, speaking an exotic language of freedom and hard work, of dreams and ambition.
(All pics Toast)
Marianna has a new cook book out, which after reading the article has found a place on my wish list (if there is one, slight criticism, its over the cover – all this rich history and the designers hand over a school text book? But maybe that’s just me) The book is full of stories, pictures and glorious recipes – and once again, there’s a sense of authenticity, the thread of time and a real beating heart.
For me, it’s a chance to taste and re-live the magical time we had in Greece this year. Something to cherish as the season changes.
Laters, Kate x
The title is breakfast, but the truth is I am not a breakfast person – a cup of tea to wet the whistle and I’m good to go. Breakfast for me comes at 11 o’clock, but whilst I know the time I want it, it’s taken me a long time to discover what I want…
These things have made all the difference: Chia seeds. I remember having my first helping in a hyped up cafe where the portions were small, the prices were high and the vintage was new – in this country we like to charge extra for concepts, ideas and ambience, even when the ideas are copied.
It didn’t take long to find the recipe. Welcome to my fridge coconut milk.
To make one kilner jar – or any other storage vessel – fill a quarter with chia seeds, top to the top with coconut milk and give a good shake. Some recipes then add honey or other sweetness – personally, I don’t need this.
Which ends up something like this: Mum’s frogspawn. The benefit of which is nobody else touches it.
Twenty four hours in the fridge and it’s thick, gooey and swollen.
Perfect with muesli, a dash of coconut milk and fresh raspberries.
I would like to say this is on my desk now. But it’s not 11 o’clock.
Think of me then.
Laters, Kate x
I’m assuming it’s a reaction to the lockdown and the run on food at the start, over laid with a frisson of guilt that this whole thing is Mother Nature’s way of saying the greed has to stop, but my cooking habits are getting more frugal, but in the same way more inventive? A lunchtime staple is chicken marinated in garlic and lemon, cooked on a skillet. Except now I keep the lemon rinds and follow the advice above here, except I put them in the oven straight away on a moderate heat, wait 20 mins keeping an eye on them – you don’t want them to burn and turn bitter, then satisfyingly crush them to dust in my mortar and pestle. The resulting lemon dust is a citrus dream and I’ve used it in rice, on cakes, even on the chicken, anywhere for a burst of summer freshness.
(All pics Pinterest)
To wrap the grilled chicken, I make Chapatti’s, so simple: one cup of wholewheat flour, one cup of self raising, one teaspoon of salt, two tablespoons of oil, enough warm water to turn into a dough. Mix. Knead for 10 minutes – get the days frustrations out – divide into 8. Leave for minimum of 10 minutes. (I make at 11 when I do the family coffee/hot chocolate round, use at 12.30) Roll out as thin as you can. Place in bottom of skillet, no oil needed. Wait till it bubbles, turn, then on with the next one.
Fill with grilled chicken or halloumi or falafels or all three. Top with fresh salad and roasted vegetables. Drizzle with humus, tzatziki and red pepper tapenade.
Eat with joy.
Laters, Kate x
A hero: Admired for their courage, their stance against the odds, outstanding achievements and noble qualities; victor, winner, conqueror and lion heart.
We now live in a disposable culture where things are cheaper to replace than mend. Except there are a few companies who still regard service as part of their service…
Meet Dualit, a company started in the 1940s in a factory in Camberwell, London. It’s ethos is no frills, no gimmicks, no compromise and with it’s roots in commercial restaurants and hotels means you can add reliability and integrity to its list of credentials.
And the sleek retro looks with shiny chrome means aesthetics are another easy box to tick.
But it’s the simple, practical fact that all the parts of a Dualit toaster can be replaced that is the real clincher and thrill of this praise party: Buy once, buy well.
Sometimes the old ones are the best.
Laters, Kate x
There was this article I read last week that on initial skimming was talking my artisanal language – it’s message was make sure it’s the stuff you hold and use every day are your investment pieces because this is where quality and appreciation will sing. Except that’s when I had a lightbulb moment because it’s so not true – in fact, the real truth is the very opposite: We need the stuff we use every day to be simple and replaceable because their constant use means the chances of them being broken wracks up and who wants to shed tears on a daily basis? I know we have a white mismatched dinner service that I’m sure started off as a two bogoffs from Tesco. It’s been added to over the years, but it’s core has remained the same: mismatched but matched simplicity with a lack of drama when a piece inevitably breaks.
(From Argos £7.99 for 12 piece set)
I’ve been noticing this boomerang effect a lot lately, where you think one thing leads to a certain consequence when in fact, the opposite happens: Take the row over Facebook…the premise is we’re all connected. But in truth is it segregation with the tribes who share our views leading to intolerance, division and stress? It’s food for thought.
Maybe we need to be more careful where real value lies, but what I do know is taking a walk on the cheap side of the tracks means there’s so much more left in the kitty for the real stars to shine: The ones that get used every day but have no danger of being dropped..
Laters, Kate x
Sometimes the best designs are those frozen in time that create that link from nostalgia to modern day with the seamless flow of a painters brush.
Away from the noise and frenzied activity, Devol – more normally known for their exquisite kitchens – have been quietly honing their own beautiful ceramics range with the help of potter, Claire Fowler.
The range includes this nest of three lipped mixing bowls to rival – nay, supersede, Nigella’s original iconic offerings that are so hard to find now.
(All pics from Devol)
There are somethings in life that you know will just live long and prosper.
Laters, Kate x
Now for something totally different: This was something that we did with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and few months ago..except I couldn’t write about it then as we were all sworn to secrecy but now this particular experience has finished the secrecy is no longer needed and to be honest, somehow it feels appropriate to think back on something we brits are good at: obscure, ironic brilliance. This was a whacky, immersive dining experience set up by a Company called the Gingerliners in a warehouse in the Hoxton area of London where every course was in a different room, with a contrasting theme/story/setting..each more crazy than the last. (See the video above for the best interactive experience..or just enjoy the pictures)
It was a bit like being in a Harry Potter movie..you entered the first room on a sledge with four other people through a low tunnel to find your self in a rainforest complete with bird-girl on a swing and our starters in the trees…
The next room was run by a robot and her baby and our soup came from a suspended engine..
Have you ever been in one of these as an adult, drunk and drinking from a urine pouch??
Dessert was sorted by a dolly with a trolly on a plane, with accompanying dance and song. We left via a giant slide..convinced the whole thing had been some fantastical dream. It’s opening again in September (go to Gingerliners to get on their mailing list) with whole new rooms of experience – tickets are hard to get – they sell out FAST. But if you like your reality hot-wired, this is the place for you.
Laters, Kate x
Jack Monroe is my latest hero. I discovered her whilst painting the hall..the joy of decorating is having an ipad close to hand listening to iplayer doing it’s thing. Radio 4 made a drama from her life, basing it around her love of cooking and her relationship with her Grandmother: Two things that float my boat – it inspired me to seek out her cook book.
Jack started by writing, in her own time, a local political commentary blog. Then she had to give up her career when she became a single mum and her wage couldn’t extend to childcare. The only solution was benefits and a mere £10 a week for food for the two of them. Her blog ‘Cooking on a Bootstrap’ was a consequence of that constraint, written to share the recipes she magically managed to produce…which then turned into her own cookbook.
Being a single parent meant lack of time as well as a lack of resources translates into recipes that are both speedy and simple. There’s no frills or extravagant ingredients, instead she’s re-connected the umbilical cord highlighting that fantastic, nutritious food doesn’t need an overflowing handmade Devol larder and a certificate in corden bleu cookery.
(The vegetarian meals are awesome)
Jack believes that in order to tackle food poverty and a culture of convenience/microwave meals with dubious ingredients then cooking at home needs to be present on a less glossy, less sexy, less intimidating and more accessible way, which then has the rollover benefit of both spending less and reducing waste. Win win.
She makes you think about how you cook, why you cook..and how careless we are. The bottom line is we all need to care more.
I love her and I love her book.
Laters, Kate x