Posts from May 2011

Water Buffalo Milk, Ripe Tomatoes, Buffalo Milk Mozzarella Caprese Salad Recipe

On these first hot days, nothing beats a salad for lunch or a light dinner.

What's not to like with a Mozzarella and Tomato Salad?

What makes it better is if it's a Buffalo Milk Mozarella Caprese Salad?

Here's a tasty recipe for one from pages of Vegetables from an Italian Garden (Phaidon Press, May 2011)

Buffalo Milk Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


11 ounces buffalo milk mozzarella cheese
3-4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
basil leaves
olive oil, for drizzling



Drain the mozzarella and cut into 1/8 -inch-thick slices. Arrange the mozzarella and tomato slices alternately in concentric rings on a serving dish. Sprinkle with basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt. Keep in a cool place until ready to serve.

(* Recipe and photo reproduced by permission of Phaidon Press, all rights reserved)

The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Eat, Drink, Sleep Upstairs

Whether in New York, Paris or London, as Spring comes around, city dwellers get the itch to escape the city for the day or the whole week-end.

One of them is London Eater who took a break from the London hubbub to visit The Hand and Flowers in Marlow on the last Monday of May.

It was a Lunch outing only, he told me.

Adding to The Hand and Flowers charm and location is the fact that they offer accomodations for diners.


Four suites named Angus, Dexter, Charolais, Limousin keep the cattle theme.

Until today I was not familiar with Dexter Cattle which some say is 18% lower in cholesterol than other breeds.

Getting back to the accommodations they have real character with amenities like copper bath (below) in Limousin suite.


Tom and Beth Kerridge opened The Hand and Flowers in March 2005, the same month this site got started.

This culinary haven (check menu) is only 20 miles from London and can be reached both by car and train.


Perfect for a day trip.

(* All photos from The Hands and Flowers website)

5 Craft Beers of Pacific Northwest Paired with 5 Sweet to Spicy Recipes by Beer Goddess

It's been hot and sticky in New York area over past few days.

It calls for beer to go with some of the recipes I shared recently.

At Book Expo America, I was the lucky recipient of a copy of Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest (Timber Press, April 2011) by The Beer Goddess aka Lisa M. Morrison.

I thought she was the perfect person to ask for suggestions to pair 5 recipes from 5 cookbooks.

Here are The Beer Goddess 5 pairings:

- To start with Vegetable Curry Recipe from 'Homemade'.


Maritime Pacific Portage Bay Pilsener (Seattle) -- a northern European-style lager with a crisp, clean finish and enough hops to stand up to the spicy curry.

-Dessert please: Peach Coffee Cake Recipe from Maine Classics

Cannery Brewing Maple Stout (Penticton, BC) -- Dark coffee, maple and vanilla cream flavors in this beer will help to accentuate the peaches and brown sugar without being too cloying.

-Taste of Italy with Rabbit in Porchetta from 'Tuscany'


Cascade Apricot Ale (Portland, Ore.) -- Tart and highly carbonated to keep the fat from this dish in check, the apricots (more on the tart than sweet side) add a nice fruity balance to the dish.

-Off to Northern Europe and Newspaper Fish from 'Scandinavian Kitchen Cookbook'


Fort George 1811 Lager (Astoria, Ore.) -- brewed in honor of Astoria, Ore.'s bicentennial, this crisp, pre-prohibition-style lager honors the region's Scandinavian settlers -- perfect for this Scandinavian dish!

-Back to spicy to round up selection with Ultimate Sriracha Burger from 'Sriracha Cookbook'

Silver City Whoop Pass Double IPA (Silverdale, Wash.) -- A nice, well-balanced DIPA with hints of oranges and bready notes that would marry nicely with the spiciness in the burger.

Besides her new book and blog, Lisa is also the host of Beer O'Clock: the show for people who love great beer...

Thanks Lisa for jumping in with these 5 pairings on short notice.

Clodagh McKenna's Vegetable Curry Recipe from Homemade, Memorial Day Pick

I continue the Memorial Day week-end recipe marathon in the good hands of Irish cook and TV personality Clodagh McKenna.

Recipe i picked today is her Vegetable Curry from Homemade (Kyle Books, 2011).

Vegetable Curry

This vegetable curry is just bursting with flavor. You can add chicken or shrimp to the curry if you wish.

Serves 4

18oz potatoes, left whole if small and cut in half if big
scant 1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2in piece fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
1 eggplant, cut into wedges
18 green beans, cut into wedges
14oz canned chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons natural yogurt
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Half fill a saucepan with water, add the potatoes and place over high heat. When the water starts to
boil, reduce the heat, pour off half the liquid, and simmer until the potatoes are slightly tender.

Drain the potatoes, let cool, and cut into wedges.
Put a splash of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the potatoes, onions, garlic,
ginger, turmeric powder, and cumin seeds. Cook until the potatoes are golden, stirring all the time.
Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Pour the remaining olive oil into the pan and leave to heat up before adding the eggplant and green
beans. Cook for 5 minutes.
Return the spicy potato mixture to the pan and stir in the tomatoes, ground coriander, and yogurt.
Season with salt and pepper and let simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Serve with basmati rice.

Cook’s tip, curry secrets:

• You can add chicken to this curry; if you do, just omit the eggplant.

• If you can get your hands on fresh coriander seeds, then use these instead and stir them
in just before serving.

• This curry always tastes better the day after it’s made!l

(* Recipe reprinted by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved. Photo by Alberto Peroli)

End May with Good Deeds, 10th Anniversary Fundraising Fairy Fair, May 30th, UK

Tickets for the second day of Fairy Fair must be bought by 9 PM (London hours) so hurry up.

Organized by the Fairyland Trust, 2011 edition marks 10th Anniversary for Fundraising Fairy Fair (May 29-May 30).


What to expect:

"Once again set in the wooded grounds of Holt Hall, Norfolk, this magical family day out is not to be missed. New acts, nature and magical workshops, crafts, refreshments, games, music, walkabout entertainment, woodland trails, Trolls, Fairy Queen, Pirates and more."

What the Fairyland Trust aims to do is "to engage children, families and others in conservation, by appreciating the magic of nature."

Only people with tickets purchased in advance will be allowed in.

End May with good deeds.

Cheat a Bit with Gingersnap and Mascarpone Cheesecake Recipe from Take 5

What would a holiday week-end be without dessert?

Now you don't want anyone arguing over who got the largest serving.

In Take 5 Ingredients (Kyle Books, Spring 2011), British chef James Tanner saves everyone trouble with his Gingersnap and Marscapone Cheesecake recipe which calls for 4 individual cakes.

Gingersnap & Mascarpone Cheesecake

Gingersnaps are not just for dunking in a cup of tea!
Serves 4

2oz gingersnap cookies (about 7 cookies)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out, pod discarded
3/4lb mascarpone
2/3 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream


Place the gingersnaps in a food processor and process to the consistency of
fine breadcrumbs. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap.

Put the vanilla seeds, mascarpone, superfine sugar, and cream into a bowl
and whisk until smooth.

Place four 3 x 11/2-inch deep metal chef’s rings onto the lined baking sheet.
Pipe or spoon the mixture into the rings and smooth off with an offset spatula.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 4 hours until set.

Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the cheesecakes. Spread the cookie
crumbs onto a plate and dip the top and bottom of the cheesecakes into the
gingersnap crumbs. Heat the sides of the metal rings with a blowtorch or hot
cloth and slide the rings off. Transfer the cheesecakes to serving plates.

(*Recipe from Take 5 Ingredients by James Tanner, reproduced by permission of publisher Kyle Books, all rights reserved, Photo by Anders Schonnemann)

Montpelier Basement, A Bristol Supperclub Located in a Basement

Seeing Fiona Beckett sing their praise made me want to know a bit more about Montpelier Basement, a Supper Club or Speakeasy Restaurant if you prefer.

Besides a few details and photos on their Supper Club Fan Page part of Ning group organized by Ms Marmite Lover of Supper Club book fame.


Niamh of Eat Like A Girl visited them last December and she gives us a little background on this Bristol venture:

"Dan & Ellie run Montpelier Basement from their lovely basement flat in Bristol. Dan is the blogger behind Essex Eating (although he now lives in Bristol) and Ellie runs Bristol based Pear Cafe. A mini break from London to check it out, seemed like a fine idea. In its first month it scored a mention from Xanthe Clay in the Telegraph, and subsequently from Fiona Beckett. I was sure it wouldn’t disappoint."

Their most recent dinner took place this Saturday, May 28.

(* Photo of Elly and Dan courtesy of Fiona Beckett)

Vegetarian Lettuce and Mint Soup Recipe from Vegetables from an Italian Garden

So far Memorial Day week-end recipes have taken us from the Hamptons to Camping in the UK then we tasted Peaches of Maine and now here's a vegetarian soup from Vegetables from an Italian Garden (Phaidon Press, May 2011).

I wonder if this soup could be served cold as well (minus the croutons).

Lettuce and Mint Soup Recipe:

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 lettuce, shredded
4¼ cups vegetable stock
15 mint leaves
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper
croutons, to serve



Melt butter in a pan. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the lettuce and cook for a few minutes, then pour in the stock and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the mint leaves and remove the pan from the heat. Pour the soup into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to the pan, stir in the cream, and reheat gently but do not let boil. Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve with croutons.

(* Recipe from Vegetables from an Italian Garden by Phaidon Press (May 2011), reproduced by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved)

Sunday Lunch, Peach Coffee Cake Recipe from Maine Classics

Unless you have a lot of time on your hands this afternoon, it might be a challenge to add this cake to the dinner menu.

In any case it could prove to be the right coda to Sunday lunch with a cup of Java.

This Peach Coffee Cake was culled from MAINE CLASSICS (Running Press, Spring 2011) by Mark Gaier & Clark Frasier .

Peach Coffee Cake

People don’t think of Maine as a place where stone fruit grows, but there are actually very good peaches here and they are perfect with this coffee cake. Have it at breakfast or brunch, but try it for dessert with our Blueberry Crème Frâiche Ice Cream too.

Yield: 6 servings

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
Six peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Blend in the shortening. Remove 1/2 cup of this mixture and save for the topping.

Blend the buttermilk and baking soda in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients.

Layer the peaches at the bottom of a 9-inch pan. Pour the batter over the peaches. Melt the butter and drizzle on top. Add the 1/2 cup of reserved topping mixture to the brown sugar. Mix and sprinkle over the cake.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

(* Recipe from Maine Classics, reprinted by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved, Photo by Ron Maniville)

Outdoorsy Version of Bangers and Mash, Hot Dog Goulash Recipe from Camping Cookbook

I kicked off Memorial Day week-end with from Summer Corn and Scallop Salad dish from Savoring the Hamptons.

I continue serving a slate of Summer 2001 recipes with one for the outdoorsy types, a Hot Dog Goulash from The Camping Cookbook (Kyle Books) by Annie Bell

HOT DOG Goulash

For 4 people

A variation on the theme of the British classic “bangers and mash,” hot dogs are great camping material, as they don’t require any grilling or frying. This is real soul food, the sort of dish any ravenous crew would welcome at the end of an active day outdoors.

4 or 5 strips of uncooked bacon, chopped
3 large onions, peeled, halved and sliced
8 medium new potatoes, scrubbed or peeled
12 hot dogs
a couple of bay leaves
sea salt and black pepper
1 mug of chicken stock

Hot dog goulash

Heat a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, add the chopped bacon
and cook in the rendered fat until golden. Add the onions and continue
to cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized. Add the potatoes, hot dogs,
bay leaves and some seasoning and gently mix. Pour in the chicken stock
and gently simmer, covered, for 30–45 minutes, or until the potatoes are
tender and sitting in a rich gravy – but keep an eye on it towards the end
of the cooking to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.
Equipment Stove or tripod, saucepan or pot

(Recipe from The Camping Cookbook (Kyle Books) by Annie Bell, reporoduced by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved, Photo by Jonathan Bell)