Cinnamon and Orange Palmiers


Christmas season sees many spiced recipes floating around and that usually includes cinnamon. So here is to keep with the festive season, cinnamon and orange spiced palmiers. These little rolled up snacks are so easy to make with minimal ingredients, even during stressful times of Christmas shopping or decorating your home, this recipe won't give you any fuss at all.


These palmiers are perfect as snacks for when guests arrive or to be had with your choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. It is also great as edible gifts. All you need to do is box these up and tie it with ribbons so it looks pretty and presentable. Jars or any lovely containers work well too.


Cinnamon and Orange Palmiers

Makes about 48 palmiers

Ingredients:

  • 1 ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 cup golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 orange

Method:

1.  Mix the sugar, ground cinnamon and orange zest in a bowl.
2.  Sprinkle the sugar mix on a clean flat surface.
3.  Remove the ready rolled puff pastry from the box, unroll and lay on top of the sugar mix overed surface.
4.  Roll both the ends lengthwise until they both meet in the middle.
5.  Another way of doing this is to fold both ends into the middle then fold again.
6.  Then tug the ends in so it forms a long rolled cylinder.
7.  Let the rolled puff pastry rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
8.  Remove from refrigerator and cut in about 1cm thick.
9.  Place these cut pieces flat on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 10-15 minutes.
10. When ready, let cool on a cooling rack.
11. Make some tea and enjoy those palmiers at its freshest.


Tips:

There will be leftovers of the cinnamon sugar mix and will be enough to make a second roll. So you can either keep the mix in a container and use it for later or use it up to make 2 rolls.

Happy Baking!!



The Jam Factory | Oxford

The Jam Factory is so close to the Oxford station, yet managed to stay slightly hidden away from sight. As its name suggested, this restaurant / cafe / gallery used to be Frank Cooper's Jam Factory known for their Oxford Marmalade which also holds a Royal Warrant. Although this building used to be a factory, it did not feel like a converted factory at all. It was bright and relaxing. 

Sunday roast and burger at The Jam Factory

The restaurant section

Pork roast with roast potatoes, parsnips, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding

The roast was indeed made for a giant sized human being. Not only was the pork roast a huge slab of meat, even the parsnips and potatoes were of unusually big chunks. And better yet, it came with a side of greens. I suggest sharing the roast as even for a big eater like me, I needed help. The pork was nice and moist with puffed Yorkshire pudding and well roasted parsnips but too bad the potatoes and crackling was lack in crispness. 

Burger and chips came with a truly delicious chutney

Toffee date bread and butter pudding with walnut ice cream was similar taste to the usual naughty Sunday sticky toffee pudding but less sticky with more of layered bread texture. It was less heavy which was great after such a giant portion of roast.

The cafe section

The cafe section has a different vibe to the restaurant as it was filled with people working on their laptops or reading, even chilling out with some tea and cakes. I really liked the cafe / gallery feel where art pieces were hung on the wall. All of them had price tags on as well for any interested buyers.


Smile..

The food was nice and for any hungry diner, the huge roast portions will be a plus. The overall ambience was bright and staff was friendly. Recommended for tea, to catchup and chill. Location is perfectly near the train station. 

Frown..

Roast portion was too big, it can be wasteful not to finish.

Will I return?

Yes, it is a relaxing place to be. I will surely be hanging out here if I live in Oxford.

The Jam Factory

Hollybush Row
27 Park End Street
OX1 1HU Oxford, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 244613 

The Jam Factory on Urbanspoon



Macadamia & Cranberry Dark Chocolate Bark


For those of you who already read yesterday's post about the Freeze-dried Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bark, this is a similar recipe. Only, this one has different toppings just to show you how flexible and easy it is to make. It truly takes only a few of your precious minutes. The best part is minimal washing up after, and they look pretty!



Macadamia & Cranberry Dark Chocolate Bark


Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • Macadamia nuts & dried cranberries (about 1 cup)

Method:

1.  Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bain-marie while stirring.
2.  Alternatively, you can also put the broken pieces of chocolate in a bolt and melt in the microwave.
3.  Pour melted chocolate on a baking tray or flat surface lined with parchment paper.
4.  Sprinkle the macadamia nuts and cranberries on top of the melted chocolate.
5.  Gently push the nuts and fruits down with your palm.
6.  Let the chocolate cool and harden then break them into large pieces.
7.  Wrap them nicely with some tissue paper and place in a box.
8.  Then tie a ribbon around the box and present as a gift.

Tip:

  • This recipe can be easily doubled or multiplied to make more.


Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bark


How does edible gift sound to you? This one is to impress your friends with little to no effort at all. All you need is some chocolate and toppings of your choice. You can go with the classic chocolate and nuts or chocolate with cranberries but you can also do better with some fancier ingredients like freeze dried fruits which I have used here. If you are not sure what that is, it is the same dried fruit used in Kellogg's Special K Cereal. Well, you don't have to pick out the fruits from the cereal box as you can get them online or from Waitrose.


Freeze dried fruits are great as they are dry but still maintain its vibrant colour, and is very crispy with intense flavour of the fruit. So in this recipe, it gives the lively colour and contrast along with some added texture.


Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bark


Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • freeze dried raspberries (about 1 cup)

Method:

1.  Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bain-marie while stirring.
2.  Alternatively, you can also put the broken pieces of chocolate in a bolt and melt in the microwave.
3.  Pour melted chocolate on a baking tray or flat surface lined with parchment paper.
4.  Sprinkle the raspberries on top of the melted chocolate and gently push them down with your palm.
5.  Let the chocolate cool and harden then break them into large pieces.
6.  Wrap them nicely with some tissue paper and place in a box.
7.  Then tie a ribbon around the box and present as a gift.

Tip:

  • This recipe can be easily doubled or multiplied to make more.


Have fun making them! Show me some pictures too if you like. 
    
   

Romantic dining at The Cherwell Boathouse | Oxford

The Cherwell Boathouse, located by the River Cherwell sandwiched between The Wolfson College and Oxford University Parks looks so charming and beautiful it makes you want to seat there all day. But winter time changes its river view of hand made punts in the water  with greenery along its side into a more romantic elegant charm. 

The Cherwell Boathouse from the outside

This graceful boathouse reflects its staff as well. Even with a busy evening at the restaurant this Christmas season, the receptionist was very kind on the phone to let us postpone to a later time than we initially booked. And when we arrived, they sat us on a nicer table by the window which had just freed up. 

The interior has wooden beams and some bare bricks, decorated with lights and Christmas decorations were done beautifully and elegantly.

The table setting of bright red daisies and candle was set very romantic. There was even Christmas crackers on the table for us.

Blue cheese and red wine poached pear tarte tatin

When ordering this starter, we were afraid the blue cheese might be too strong and would be over powering but it came out really good, only a light hint of blue cheese was evident. The pear was sweet and well poached, it was a fine line between a dessert and starter. We liked it.

Seared wood pigeon breast with celeriac puree, baby onions and wild mushroom.

The combination of this dish was earthy with the mushrooms, silky smooth purée and very tasty jus. And just to be fault finding, the breast was slightly over cooked. 

Saltimbocca of monkfish with white beans and vegetable ragout, red wine reduction

My plate of monkfish was very flavourful with the prosciutto and sage wrapped meaty monkfish along with its buttery vegetable ragout. It was so luscious, I can still remember the taste while writing this post.

Pan friend whole corning lemon sole with purple carrot, wilted spinach, new potatoes and caper butter sauce

This lemon sole was a nicely cooked plate with lots of vegetable, M liked it very much. Well, I thought my monkfish was a far more delicious plate but M disagreed. It did not matter, we both enjoyed our food so all's good.

Bûche de Noël (Yule log cake), the traditional French Christmas dessert was we thought slightly dense and dry but the chocolate butter cream and ganache had a very chocolatey punch, a real chocolate treat.

Warm apple and cinnamon sponge with calvados purée and apple ice cream

Dessert with mixture of warm and cold is really quite fun. The warm sponge was light with the ice cream and purée which eats really well with a little tartness and not too sweet.

 
Another part of the restaurant

In conclusion, I would recommend visiting Cherwell Boathouse especially for a celebration dinner. If you've been here recently, so share your experience in the comments section below.


Smile..

Great service in a charming and elegant ambience with good tasting food.

Frown..

It has been a lovely experience so there isn't anything to frown about.

Will I return?

Yes and hopefully it will be spring or summer when we return.

The Cherwell Boathouse

Bardwell Road
OX2 6XT Oxford, UK.

The Cherwell Boathouse on Urbanspoon
  

Nominated for Liebster Award


A big thank  you to Photographedye for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award. It has made my day!


What is the Liebster Award?


The word Liebster in German means 'sweetest', kindest', 'beloved', 'dearest', 'valued', 'pleasant', 'cute' and 'endearing'. The Liebster Award is passed from blogger to blogger. It's a way of encouraging them to continue what they're doing. By nominating bloggers, you in indicate that they are some of your personal favourites.


How it works:


If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award and YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster Award in which you:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2.  The nominated blogger must post 11 facts about themselves.
3.  They must then answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated them.
4.  Create 11 new questions for the nominated blogger to answer.
5.  Then nominate 5-11 bloggers who have a less than 1,000 followers. 
6.  Link to your chosen 11 bloggers in your blog post.
7.  Let them know you have nominated them.
8.  Don't nominate the blogger who nominated you.


11 random facts about myself:

1.  I just bought a new camera.
2.  I love musical box.
3.  I can't stop snacking at work. I was called the cookie monster.
4.  When I was little , I used to dance to the music in the mall while mum was shopping.
5.  I wanted to be a professional dancer when I was young.
6.  I would like to get a diploma in Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu.
7.  I would like to own a cafe one day.
8.  I have never been to America.
9.  Dirty Dancing is my favourite movie. I know, how typical of a girl.
10.  Sky diving is the craziest thing I have done so far. Paragliding is next.
11.  Norway is the most beautiful country I have been to.

11 questions asked by Photographedye:

1.  Favourite tech item?
      My new camera, the Olympus OM-D EM-5.
2.  Favourite city you have travelled to?
      Barcelona was my favourite, with a good combination of which things I appreciate.
3.  Which city would you like to travel to?
      I would like to travel to Iceland to see the Northern lights.
4.  Favourite thing to eat for breakfast?
      Pancakes with fresh fruits, cream and maple syrup.
5.  Favourite food?
      Penang Hokkien Mee (Penang style prawn broth noodle)
6.  Favourite drink?
      Thick, dark hot chocolate with whipped cream and a shot of Bailey's.
7.  Favourite restaurant?
      The Corner Room in London
8.  Chocolate or crisps?
      Chocolate without a doubt.
9.  Why did you start blogging?
      I started blogging to document my foodie and travel experience. It is also a convenient way to share it with friends and family back home.
10.  How do you get inspiration for your blog?
       I keep updated with what's new in the food world by reading magazines and blogs. Exploring London and travelling also keeps my ideas fresh. London is a very interesting and exciting city. 
11.  If you had one wish what would it be?
       To be able to work from anywhere I want at any given time, skipping the coldest of winters.


Blogs I nominate for the Liebster Award:

11 questions I have for the nominees:

1.  Dark, milk or white chocolate?
2.  Favourite restaurant?
3.  If you had to pick between starter or dessert for your meal, which will it be?
4.  Favourite food?
5.  Favourite flavour combination? (savoury or sweet)
6.  Favourite colour?
7.  Which is the most beautiful country you have been to?
8.  Where would you like to live in?
9.  Beach or countryside?
10.  What is your favourite music or band?
11.  Sky diving or Bungee jump?

Claude's Kitchen at Amuse Bouche | London

Claude Compton, a former chef of Petersham Nurseries and Club Gascon, of both I have heard good things about, has in the first quarter of this year launched his first solo venture, Claude's Kitchen. He is also the founder of street food company Green Goat Food. With such a good resume under his belt, it is only sensible to try it out. 

A champagne bar as you enter and a restaurant on the first floor, the first impression was pretty engaging. 

Interior of restarant

The interior has an inviting vibe and the staffs were very friendly which makes the evening casual and fun. As Claude likes to keep his food seasonal, the menu changes weekly starting every Tuesdays. Since we were there on a Tuesday, we were offered a reasonably priced two or three course fixed price menu where all we had to do was to provide feedback, with no sugar coating.

Cornish Mackerel with pickled cucumber

My starter of mackerel came with crispy skin and pickled cucumber both in a thin strip and a baton which ate well together. The cubes and beetroot turnip was nice but would be better with more seasoning, same for the beetroot sauce.

Walnut & Walnut whip

The walnut salad of whole walnuts with walnut mousse, chicory, dandelion and apple sour was scarce and the best thing about it was the walnut whip.

 Roast cod, burnt leek, chilli & tomato jam, Black treacle

Everything on this plate was tasty, with the chilli and tomato jam the highlight of this plate. The cod had crispy skin but was a tad overcooked. This was the better savoury dish we've tried so far. 

 Lamb chump, red onion, olive powder, smoked potato

When the lamp chump was served to us, the watercress was simply scattered over the lamb, hiding the main part of the dish, the lamb! But that wasn't an issue. Lucky the lamb itself was cooked well, nice and pink the way I like it. The mash was silky smooth and buttery but did not have the smoky taste promised in the menu. Still, it was good with the lamb. The figs and olive powder though, did not do much on the plate; it could do without.

Maldon salted caramel cloud

This dessert totally brought us to cloud nine, it was the highlight of our meal. The creamy salted cloud with that caramel dark chocolate smear was heaven on a plate, the raspberry shard and hazelnut gave it another dimension. I scraped the plate clean, and would have licked it shiny if I was at home. It was that good! What a happy ending.




Smile..

Fantastic dessert and a nice ambience. Our server was very friendly and smiled all the time. 
The menu changes weekly and starts on a Tuesday so they have a fixed price promotion on Tuesdays to get feedbacks from their diners.
The champagne bar would be a nice place for a bubbly catchup with some mates.

Frown..

Ups and downs with the food. There are some good elements and great tastes on some but definitely needs refinement.

Will I return?

It was a decent experience but not enough for a tube ride across town just for the food. I'll come back for the Champagne Bar and dessert though.

Amuse Bouse / Claude's Kitchen

51 Parsons Green Road
SW6 4JA London, United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0) 2073 718517

Closest station: Parsons Green (District line)

Amuse Bouche on Urbanspoon

Bottega Prelibato, simple Italian food made well | London


Discovering a little piece of Italy tucked in the Shoreditch triangle was a joy. Bottega Prelibato is a charming and cosy restaurant / deli with bare brick walls and warm lighting. Furnitures are all wooden and rustic. The menu here changes daily according to seasonality to make sure ingredients are fresh. When the server presents the black board written menu, she took her time to explain every single Italian ingredient on the menu to make sure we know what they were. She even brought a wooden board of many different shapes of home made fresh pasta to show us which was which. It was baffling to see so many types of pasta and its many different names.


 Roast chestnuts & potato with poached egg, porcini sauce and shaved black truffle

One of our starter, which even though looks small, was actually sufficient. I thought it was plated very beautifully and was a very earthy plate. The creamy, runny yolk from the poached egg brought the whole plate together.


Pancetta and gorgonzola risotto topped with mint and aubergine cream

The risotto was pretty filling for a starter, but was well delicious and worth the space in the tummy. We made a tiny mistake of ordering two portions of very filling pasta for main after this risotto so if you're ordering risotto for starter, a lighter main would be a better option.

Trofie liguri with crab meat, courgette and ground almonds

If you think the pasta was a giant portion, it was actually for the both of us though, still large. Since we both ordered the same pasta, the kitchen served them on a big oblong dish so we could both scoop it out like a sharing plate which felt quite homey. The pasta was slightly creamy and tasty but became heavy as we went along. We thought it lacked chunks of crab meat sprinkled on top instead of it mixed up and severed into tiny little pieces in the pasta. It would have been great, otherwise.

Overall, the food was well cooked and the ambience was lovely and very suitable for a romantic evening. I recommend making reservation though as we witnessed some unfortunate hungry diners being turned away due to restaurant being fully booked. It's popular!


Smile..

Authentic Italian food with fresh ingredients. The staff was very friendly and explained every single Italian ingredients on the menu to make sure we know what they are. It has an intimate atmosphere and is definitely a gem in the Shoreditch triangle.

Frown..

We could not stay any longer as they had another seating after us. Therefore there was no time for dessert, plus we were too full for it anyway.

Will I return?

Yes. Next time we'll leave room for dessert.

Bottega Prelibato

45 Rivington Street
EC2A 3QB London, UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7739 4995

Closest station: Shoreditch (overground)

Bottega Prelibato on Urbanspoon
  

Bistrotheque, the hidden restaurant | London



Bistrotheque was absolutely buzzing on a Sunday afternoon. For a pretty hidden restaurant in a converted warehouse with no sign or whatsoever on the entrance, it has definitely done something right to be so busy. The first time I was here long time ago, I remember walking up and down the street not knowing where the entrance was. Even after asking the very few people who walked pass, no one knew until I somehow followed my gut to find my way up. 

 

The lively restaurant has an open kitchen, a bar with seating surrounding it and a spacious dining area with hanging lights. 


It was nice that there was a grand piano in the dining area and the beautiful tunes the pianist played throughout the day, filled the room with grace. It certainly enhanced the dining experience. 

 
The menu

Even though we did not make any reservation and the restaurant was fully booked, we were swiftly showed to be seated by the bar which we did not mind at all. I actually liked it, as we get to see what goes on behind the scene and had direct view of the open kitchen. I have to report back that no apparent kitchen chaos has been spotted.

The Bloody Mary here was good and had a real kick with enough spice, unlike the killer Nasty Mary I had in Mumbai

Mini Cheeseburger

Believe it or not, both my male dining companions ordered the mini burger with chips on the side for brunch while I ordered a main of steak tartar with chips and salad! Men these days must be feeling the dieting pressure as well it seems. 

 Steak tartar with chips and salad

I was well pleased with my steak tartar which I was told is one of the most popular dish of the restaurant. Although I really enjoyed it, I thought it was quite a large portion for me as it got cloying after getting through about half of the plate. 

The Open Kitchen

After a few pleasant experience here, I am looking forward to their new restaurant, Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel in Shoreditch.

Smile..

I recommend their fixed price menu for early dinner as it is of good value. The live piano tunes really enhanced the Sunday lunch experience.

Frown..

My salad which was supposed to be served with the main course came 10 minutes later.

Will I return?

Well, I have.

Bistrotheque

23-27 Wadeson Street
E2 9DR London, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8983 7900

Closest station: Bethnal Green / Cambridge Heath

Bistrotheque on Urbanspoon