liaskitchen

Ten good eats in Berlin

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As far as cities go Berlin has got it sorted. Easy access and transport, great pedestrian and cycling routes, a bustling multicultural vibe, music, art, performance and delicious, good quality food from all over the globe. If you are planning to visit it, it comes highly recommended.

Before I tuck into your ten-course food adventure some non-food related destinations are worth a mention. Ballhaus Berlin one of Berlin’s many ballrooms (near the Museum of Natural History Ubahn stop) hosts the fantastic Omniversal Orkestra every Monday – don’t miss it if you are there. For a relaxing day I recommend a midday or evening visit to the Neukölln City baths for a swim and sauna in a beautifully opulent setting – the baths are open till 10pm. Next to it is an art space/café called Prachtwerk which showcases great art work on its vast walls, and offers good coffee and food, as well as events such as an open stage night. And finally, make time for bars which Berlin does in one of the best ways a city can – I recommend tracing down independent small bars such as Art + Weisse bar but also the ZigZag Jazz bar which offers amazing music from well known artist from around the world for a free entry.

Most of the places mentioned below are in the Kreuzberg-Neukölln areas where I would return to stay without hesitation because of their relaxed city vibe. The link through the bold text (name of the place) take you to a google map so that you can trace them easily. Enjoy your trip!

  1. Café Blume, Fontanestrasse 32, 12045, closest U-Bahn stop Boddinstrasse, http://cafe-blume-berlin.de/

Next to the Volks Hassenheide park, in fact next to one of its entrances, is Café Blume. Simple and unpretentious, with great sunshine on a springtime afternoon bathing its outdoor sitting area, this café offers delicious cakes as well as a satisfactory selection of food. I had the best vegan banana and peanut ‘cheesecake’ there. Then have a stroll to watch the beautiful Berlin sky sunset colours amongst the leafy trees in Hasseinheide park. Bliss… Recommended for families as it has a large indoor playing area.

  1. Zitröne, Diffenbach Strasse 56 (corner of Diffenbach and Grafestrasse), 10967, U-Bahn Stop SchonleinStrasse, http://www.zitrone-restaurant.de

Spacious, comfortable and elegant, Zitröne café offered us a relaxing space to eat, read and chat without a rush. With ample seating it is a good option for busy brunch days, although I can only imagine it being even more popular than the Thursday lunchtime when we came across it. The menu offerings are great and range from well-thought breakfast choices, to hearty omelettes, daily lunch and dinner specials and attractive pasta dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed the vegetarian Bauernomelette, a German specialty with potatoes, filled with vegetables and served with soft cheese, salad and warm baguette. Dan also enjoyed a German sausage and mash dish, with a thin sausage, creamy mash and sauerkraut. I definitely recommend the comfortable environment Zitrone has to offer, set in an old German building restored tastefully whilst retaining a fuss-free, classic elegance.

  1. Floor’s Cafe, Schonleinstrasse very close to the U-Bahn Stop SchonleinStrasse, https://www.facebook.com/floorsberlin

I have not been drinking coffee for a long while now but at Floor’s I broke my rule. They simply make a wicked and creamy cappuccino, which was a delight to sip. This small cafe is buzzing with calm and welcoming energy. We enjoyed delicious smoked salmon scrambled eggs served with nice bread. We also tasted another wonderful breakfast platter with a selection of cheeses and cured hams – a breakfast which seems to be quite the norm in Berlin on most menus. Their croissants where generously filled with chocolate spread and freshly baked. Aim for a spot by the window to watch the world go by on Schonleinstrasse, a passage to many destinations.

  1. The Sudanese Café, corner or Reuterstrasse (56) and Weserstrasse, U-Bahn Stop Hermanplatz

There are a lot of Sudanese places to eat at in Berlin, possible evidence of its growing Sudanese population perhaps? This eatery is simple with tasty and filling offerings, which are great value for money. Try one of the affordable kofte or chicken or veggie platters which come with falafel, grilled halloumi, salad and Arabic bread all drizzled with a delicious peanut butter and tahini sauce. Even cheaper are their falafel and haloumi sandwiches. We are so pleased Yoli took us there.

  1. Chay Village Vietnamese Vegatarian and Vegan Café, Niederbarnimstraße 10, 10249, closest U-Bahn Stop Samariterstrase (U1), but also in Kreuzberg Eisenacher Straße 40, 10781

This is another place that was recommended to us by our friend Gareth. We sought out the place in Friedrichstein because we wanted to walk around a different neighbourhood. Niederbarnimstraße where you can find Chay Village is full of eateries inspired by Asia (Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese) and there is a nice atmosphere there too. The food is absolutely wonderful. You feel it is healing and nurturing you with every bite you take. I tasted the Dau Phu Nam dish (No.30 on the menu) and its lemongrass and coconut notes were so well-balanced I did not want my dish to finish. The food is mostly vegan and it will change the mind of even the most hardcore carnivore. Just try it please. I really wish that we had a place like this in Cardiff. Authentic Vietnamese food that offers healthy eating that dazzles your taste buds!

  1. Berlin Food Markets

Mauerpark Sunday Market, Bernauer Straße 63, 10435, U-Bahn Station Eberwor. Strasse (U2)

The largest flea market in Berlin with the feel of a small festival is open every Sunday from 9am to 6pm. There are numerous food stalls and excellent choice which extends to delicious vegan offerings such as the mustard flavour vegan quiche we had from a South American food stall. There are also stalls offering Japanese, Uruguayan, British, Greek and so many other foods. And the flea market stalls are worth a visit too if you are in a shopping mood. Shop to the soundtrack of great music from the various buskers and performers.

The Turkish Market, Maybachufer street 1099 by the Landwehr Canal, closest U-Bahn stop Schönlein Strasse (U8)

This market is open 11am-8pm on Fridays and Tuesdays and it anything but just Turkish. There is a great range of food to eat and shop on offer as well as various shopping stalls with jewellery, clothes and antiques. On a sunny day it is heaving. Grab your food of choice and head to the riverside. It is also a great place to shop for a nice picnic or stay at home dinner with a selection of cheeses, wurzte and salumi and a nice bottle of Riesling wine.  

 Marheineke Markthalle, Marheineke Platz, 10961, closest U-Bahn stop Gneisen. Strasse (U7), http://meine-markthalle.de/

A more conventional, covered market hall with a fantastic selection of produce and much organic choice (which seems to be the norm in Berlin!). There is a great selection of eateries in periphery of the market stalls too (inside the building). It all seems good and interesting but I would discourage you from the Breton Gallette stall for the rudeness and unwillingness to replace one ingredient with another. The finished item was not that great either so I would recommend you spend your euros somewhere else.

Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstrasse 42/43, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg, closest U-Bahn stop Görlitzer (U1), https://markthalleneun.de/street-food-thursday/

Part of the hip street food market worldwide phenomenon this market will not disappoint you if you like that kind of thing as it throws a street food Thursday event with different food stall holders every week. It reminded my very much of a smaller version of the Papiroen Island market in Kopenhagen but it was too packed on the Thursday that we visited. The food offerings are very interesting and will cater for everyone’s taste but I personally preferred the smaller markets where I have more space to stand or even sit down. Apart from Thursdays the market canteen is also open for breakfast and lunch every day, with longer opening hours on Saturday and Sunday. Worth a visit.

  1. The Three Sisters restaurant at Künstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997, U-Bahn Stop Kottbuser TOR, Gorlitzer Bahnhoff (U1), http://3schwestern-berlin.de/ and for a visit to the art centre see http://www.kunstraumkreuzberg.de/

Inside this old nunnery, currently an exhibition/ artist studio/creative space, hides a wonderful restaurant with the best atmosphere of all the places we visited this time, called the Three Sisters (3 Schwestern). The lighting, the music, the temperature of this large old building are all faultless. The positive experience starts as soon as you walk in. The service was professional and immaculate. The menu offered us well-executed, authentic German cuisine with a modern twist in generous and tasty portions. I recommend going there with friends so you can share different dishes from the menu as we did. My favourite starters were the Homemade Leberkaes, a pork and sesame loaf and the Alpine onion tart, and the Hazelnut cheese tart. From the mains I was particularly impressed by the Pork Roast of organic “Havelland Apple Pig” with Bavarian Style Coleslaw and Bread Dumplings, which I could not finish due to its size (!) and the Beef main with capers and lemon butter. As we could not stomach much more we all shared the most wonderful Strudel we tried in Berlin with homemade real vanilla cream. This was our most expensive meal in Berlin at around 40 EUROS a person including a delightful bottle of Riesling. But I would return there tomorrow if I could and I think there is something everyone would enjoy on this menu. It did German cuisine very proud. The restaurant is very close to the Street Food market so you can go there if there is no place for you to stand or sit at the Street Food event. And it is at the end of Marianenstrasse which is full with interesting cafes and bars to also stop at. In the summer it hosts an open air cinema.

  1. PiuTrentaNove, Mockenstrasse 73A, 10965, http://www.piu39.de

Right across one of the entrances of Viktoria Park (on the top of which you have a wonderful view of Berlin to take in), and close to Meirheineke Markthalle, we found PiuTrentaNove. It was a sunny afternoon and we felt a bit peckish after another long walk. In true Italian fashion we parked ourselves in the sun facing the park, and ordered apperitivos and one of the most authentic, tasty pizza margeritas I have eaten outside southern Italy. The perfect crustiness of its thin rim, firm and perfect thickness of its main body topped with a generous but not heavy serving of melted mozzarella made it just perfect for me. There I made one of my favourite memories in Berlin, in the sun, with a perfect drink (in the way that only Italians know how to do it) and the perfect pizza. It was only when we peaked inside that we realised this is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Berlin and its pizza has been voted the best for many years. So if you are planning to eat there I would recommend you book a table.

  1. La Femme Breakfast & Lunch, Kottbusser Damm 77, 10967, U-Bahn Stop, Kottbusser Damm, http://www.lafemmebreakfast.de

The place is always packed with Turkish people enjoying one of the most impressive breakfast and lunch menus I have seen. There are over ten Turkish scrambled eggs options to choose from, savoury pastry pies, crumbly shortbread biscuits with nuts and warming Turkish tea. We savoured the delectable Menemen eggs with sucuk (a spicy Turkish sausage) and Simit (or Koulouri as we call in in the north of Greece, a sesame bread ring). I strongly recommend you make time for this. It will keep you going for at least your dinner and with many locations of this mini chain across Berlin you have no excuse to miss it. And you will join one of the strongest communities in Berlin, the Turkish, in one of its favourite pastimes.

  1. The Turkish bakeries on Kottbusser Damm and all around Neukolln

When we arrived the first thing that caught my eye was the availability of Koulouri (Simit), a sesame bread ring that is sold in the streets of Thessaloniki. Every other shop on KarlMarx Strasse and Kottbusse Damm seemed to be a Turkish bakery that offered Koulouri and savoury pastries. Then I noticed the abundance of Touloumpakia, mini deep-fried doughnuts with a crunchy exterior and a spongy interior dipped in thick syrup, another specialty sold in Thessaloniki. Testament to the hybridity of some of the Greek/Turkish cuisine one of the bakeries I stocked up on supplies for my return is called Senguloglu with a mystery Greek mobile phone number of the card. Delicious offerings that you should definitely not miss out on as there is so much good quality from those bakeries on offer. Save time to make your purchases before you have to go back to the airport. The savoury pies were so great to eat on the way back to Bristol and Cardiff.

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Back to the roots #1– Festive recipes: The Mixed Root Roast with Dukkah

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Photography by http://www.dangreenphotography.com
I am getting ready for Christmas, are you? Personally I don’t want to worry about getting the exact quantity of specific root vegetable for my Christmas dinner right – I rather like using what I have. So here is a recipe which is adaptable to any root vegetable at your disposal for your Christmas dinner. It is a moreish alternative to roast veggies you might have previously served at Christmas. And if you have already ordered a vegetable festive box from Riverside Market Garden you should have exactly what you need to make this dish which will complement your turkey, goose, pork or other roast of choice beautifully. I strongly recommend using a sprinkle of the delicious dukkah condiment, the recipe of which you can also find on Lia’s Kitchen website here.

Ingredients (feed 4-6 as part of a Christmas or other roast dinner)

  • 600g mixed root vegetable, coarsely chopped (use equal amounts of e.g. parsnip, carrot and Jerusalem artichokes or celeriac and or 200g of each)
  • 3 leeks, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp ajwain/carom seeds or dried oregano (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Dukkah mixture (optional- see recipe here https://liaskitchen.com/2015/12/12/the-wonderful-dukkah-condiment/)

 Preparation

  1. Peel or wash the root vegetable well with a brush and coarsely chop it together with leek.
  2. If using celeriac and Jerusalem artichokes place these in a bowl of acidulated water to avoid them turning brown, i.e. water with some lemon juice or vinegar.
  3. In a baking tray pour enough olive oil to line its wide base.
  4. Stir fry the vegetable and leek for 5 minutes after adding the salt and thyme.
  5. Add the sesame, adjwein or oregano (optional) and stir to make sure all veg is coated well in the oil.
  6. Roast for 40 minutes in a medium oven (180 centigrade) until the veg is cooked enough to pierce with a fork but does not fall apart.
  7. Sprinkle with the Dukkah mixture generously once you have removed from the oven. If you do not want to add the Dukkah season to taste adding a couple of pinches of salt.

Waste Not Cakes! Carrot & Banana sweetness and pumpkin & mushroom savoury delight

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This year our dream team consisting of Green City Events, Cynefin Cardiff and Lia’s Kitchen will be organising more food waste reduction events in Cardiff’s Roath/Penylan, Splott and Adamsdown areas. Our first Love Food Hate Waste Roadshow on 21 November 2015 kicked off a series of roadshows and workshops to follow in 2016. We cannot explain how much we believe in what we do so we hope that our enthusiasm and dedication is contagious. Now is a great time to think about reducing your food waste and to join the fight to help do something about this ever increasing problem.

At our November 2015 roadshow we provided advice and tips on how to use our imagination to cook with what we have at home. Our savoury and sweet cake samples inspired many of you to be creative in the kitchen. So here are the recipes below. Remember don’t be afraid to replace an ingredient you are missing with another. The cake recipes were inspired by ingredients most us of are likely to waste and seasonal, affordable ingredients such as squash.

The sweet cake recipe is based on a similar recipe shared with me by a dear friend Wendy Twell about ten years ago. Whilst the savoury cake is inspired by pumpkin and winter squash which is abundant at the moment – it is designed to help people not waste some of the larger pumpkins/squash they get hold off. For more inspiration on pumpkin see here.

Follow @greencityevens, @liaskitchen, @cynefincardiff for information on upcoming events.

Thanks to www.dangreenphotography.com and Luke From Cynefin for the snaps today.

Sweet Carrot & Banana Cake

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Ingredients (8-10 portions)

  • 1 carrot coarsely grated
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed with a fork
  • 100ml/g of fat (vegetable oil or melted butter)
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150 sugar (caster or light brown sugar or a mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g chopped nuts of your choice or roughly chopped chocolate
  • 1 tsp mixed spices of your choices (we recommend mixing half tsp ground cardamom, half tsp ground cinnamon powder, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg)

Preparation (1.5 hours)

  1. Grease and line a 20cm long bread tin or a 20cm round baking tray with flour.
  2. Mix the flour with the baking powder and the spices of your choice.
  3. Mash the bananas with a fork and grate the carrot in the same bowl.
  4. Add the banana and carrot and mix with the flour.
  5. Make a well in the middle and add the fat of your choice and eggs.
  6. Beat well until blended.
  7. Bake in a medium oven (170 centigrade) for 45-1hr or until a skewer pierced into the centre comes out clean.

Lia’s tips:

  • If you have one banana only add another carrot. If the mixture is tight add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to make it looser so that the cake is not dry.
  • Cool down the butter a little before you add to your mixture. Mix in before adding your eggs.
  • The cake keeps well in the fridge for about a week.
  • Have too much leftover cake? Why not eat some of it for breakfast with Greek yoghurt and honey. Or soak the drier slices win some coffee and marsala or other sweet wine, topping it with sweetened yoghurt and fruit for an alternative trifle desert which will impress all your guests.

Savoury pumpkin and mushroom cake

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Ingredients (8-10 portions)

  • 1 small-medium squash/pumpkin or up to 500g peeled squash/pumpkin
  • 1 onion
  • 300g mushrooms
  • 1 small bunch of sage (30g)
  • 300g cornmeal or polenta
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter melted
  • 50-100g cheddar cubed or grated
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 30g sugar
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Butter for frying

Preparation (1.5hr)

  1. Grease and line a square baking tray (25cm x 35cm) or a deep round baking tray (20-25cm diameter).
  2. Cut and peel the pumpkin or squash removing sweet. Then grate coarsely or pulse in a food processor for 2 minutes.
  3. Finely slice the onion, mix with the pumpkin, add two pinches of salt and stir fry in a little bit of olive oil for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice the mushrooms, add a pinch of salt and fry in a little butter until soft.
  5. Fry the whole sage leaves and their chopped stalk in a little butter until crispy.
  6. Mix the flours together with the baking powder.
  7. Add the sugar, fried veg, the butter, the cheese , the milk and the two beaten eggs and mix into a soft batter that is neither too tight not too runny.
  8. Season with more salt if needed and add the fried sage.
  9. Bake for 45min-1hr in a medium over (175 centigrade) or until a skewer pierced in the middle comes out clean.

Lia’s tips:

  • Raw pumpkin does not in my opinion freeze that well uncooked. Stir frying pumpkin or squash is a great way to preserve it. If you have too much cook it, cool it, freeze it and use in cakes, pies and stir fries later on in the year.
  • This recipe is adaptable to various and seasonal ingredients. You can use carrot and greens such as kale and spinach. Or add more mushrooms and less pumpkin. Ingredients such as carrot, pumpkin, courgette, aubergine are good for this cake because the keep this cake moist and soft.
  • Same with the cheese- why not use a mix of cheeses, or blue cheese or whatever you might have in your fridge.
  • You can replace the milk with yoghurt and a little bit of water.
  • If you don’t have sage tarragon is a great alternative and so is rosemary. And of course you can use dried herbs instead of fresh. 1-2 tsp should be enough for this recipe.
  • Polenta or fine cornmeal is a great ingredient to store in your pantry. Many shops on or around City road in Cardiff  sell big bags for very little money. It will come handy for many savoury or sweet cakes which you can use your leftovers. Introduce cornmeal to your life – it is a great ingredient to cook with! s
  • This cake keeps well in the fridge for about a week. It freezes well too.
  • For the summer version of this cake see here.

Practice what I preach…

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In the past couple of months I have worked with Green City Events and Cynefin Cardiff to deliver two cooking workshops and a roadshow to help the kind people of Roath to find ways to reduce their food waste.  We have done this in  the process of delivering the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign [1] in Cardiff supported by Wrap Cymru.

The week after our last cooking workshop on 21 February I decided to practice what I preach and took my own personal Love Food Hate Waste challenge. I pledged to shop very little food (apart from fresh essentials) and to eat what is already in my cupboards and freezer for the most part of the week.

The challenge was a great creative success and I saved around £30 as I only bought small quantities of milk, some cheese and some salad to complement the meals we made.

The meal I was most proud of that week was a Mexican spice inspired vegetable dish made from frozen cauliflower, quorn mince and spinach (all commonly kept in my freezer), the leftover greens that we did not use at the cooking workshop on 21 February, the final two spoons of yoghurt, a tin of black beans from my essentials’ pantry and the last cup of couscous from that bag that we have not eaten for ages. Not only did that dish give us dinner and lunch the next day, I actually froze a couple of portions in anticipation of the busy week that followed.

During my challenge I looked carefully through my cupboards and my freezer. For example, I thawed just over half a kilo of meatball mix that was leftover from one of our supper clubs and made a linguini ragú with which gave us a couple of meals for two and another frozen meal.

At the Love Food Hate Waste workshops we aimed to empower people to make personal and household changes to their food consumption and wastage. Lots of people seemed worried about getting a recipe right or that they couldn’t cook with random ingredients. So hopefully through making different mixed vegetable Ribollita soups with various herbs and whatever vegetable was available to us at the same workshop we empowered participants to be creative and daring in adapting recipes to what they have or can afford. Experimenting is the way!

I would definitely recommend Eat-What-You-Have weeks like mine as they will help you sort through your cupboards and freezer. Making shopping lists or using the online Love Food Hate Waste App on your smart phone can help you loads with shopping and meal planning. And if you fancy being inspired by seasonal ingredients or what is on offer, why not browse www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for ideas.

One of the most useful tips I could give you to save food and money is to be aware of what you already store in our cupboards before heading back to the shops. Also storing food correctly, e.g. labelling it, using airtight containers or keeping your fridge temperature low will make you yield more meals from what you buy. Using your freezer more and keeping it tidy is another step to help you achieve this by prepping food in advance, storing the right amount of frozen basics or storing extra portions from meals.

The whole process of this project has made me think long and hard about food waste and food poverty. According to the Trussell Trust the number of people using food banks has almost tripled since last year. And whilst this is because of the increase in the number of food banks set up, a noteworthy effort to help an increasing number of people in need, I cannot reconcile this fact with the amount of food still being wasted in the UK. It is estimated that we still throw away 7 million tons of food and drink a year. This is food is costing all of us £12.5bn each year.

Today I was reading about France’s Good Samaritans law which protects those helping someone in need or peril from being sued or accused if something goes wrong. It is important to protect public health and to minimise risk for people in the food sector. But I wonder, would the introduction of a ‘good Samaritan’ legal principle in the UK encourage all of us personally as well as larger corporations or small (food) businesses to do more to address food poverty or to donate food that we would have otherwise wasted?

Our next and last Love Food Hate Waste Roadshow is on 10 March at Cardiff University Students’ Union.

[1] Love Food Hate Waste is a campaign that has been running since 2007 and run by WRAP, a well-established not-for profit company that is responsible for a lot of good work in on resource efficiency and waste reduction across the UK.

 

Serradura with strawberries in port

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One of the easiest but tastiest desserts you will ever make. This Portuguese-origin dessert is ingenious and literally means sawdust, named after the finely ground rich tea biscuits used to make its layers. The combination with strawberries in port is a match made in heaven and I discovered it just in time for the strawberry season.

Ingredients
Feeds 4

250g thick cream
7-8 rich tea biscuit ground to fine dust
7 T condensed milk
1 t vanilla essence

220g sliced strawberries
50g caster sugar
1/2 t allspice or pimento berries ground
1 star anice pod
1/2 t vanilla extract
Small handful finely chopped basil , preferably Thai basil.
Enough port to cover the strawberries , about 50Ml

Preparation

Grind biscuits to fine dust in a blender.

Whip cream to soft peaks.

Add vanilla extract and condensed milk, mix and whip again to soft peaks.

Layer four small glasses or containers with biscuit dust, a layer of whipped cream, biscuit and cream. Make layers thin.

Place in the fridge.

Slice and chop the strawberries in half.

Finely chop and basil and add to the strawberries in a bowls or container that has a lid.

Add the sugar, spices and vanilla essence and mix.

Add enough port to the strawberries to just about cover them, mix and set aside.

Cover with lid and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

Lia’s tips:

About four hours is an ideal time to set the strawberries aside. The strawberries get soggier the longer you leave them.

A child’s non alcoholic version is delicious with maple syrup.

The first time around the cream whips really quickly so take care not to make it too stiff.

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Jacob’s Market Art and Dining Supper Club

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This time last week we were taking down our pop-up restaurant and packing Lia’s Kitchen for a return home after a successful art and dining fundraiser and one the happiest birthday’s of my life.  Thank you so much for overwhelming us with support, we were fully booked with a waiting list and a few spectacular late night reservation ‘wars’ took place for the last few places at our dinner table.

To all our guests  I have to say thank you, you made the atmosphere of the night so wonderful. Thank you to our lovely friends some of which travelled from London and Plymouth for this !!! But even though half the people there we had not met before and they did not know each other, when I walked in to greet everyone before we started eating I was welcomed by a relaxed and comfortable vibe. ‘How wonderful’, I thought, ‘it’s worked!’.

So that you know you have helped us raise enough dosh to cover all our expenses for setting up the pop-up restaurant and to contribute to the fundraising for the community art project in Ghana. There will be more events coming up and you can always purchase a Ghana print from Dan Green Photography to support the art project , see here. 

I am so moved and impressed that we have set up and delivered this event in our spare time.  Jacob’s Market opened their doors to us- thank you Liz, Ian and Mike (for your wonderful bar and cocktails)!  Dan Green set up and took an exhibition of prints and pasting of images from Ghana in 24 hours. Our friends worked so hard with us- Martin chopped and cooked tirelessly.  Becks was the best maitre’d with her calm assertiveness. Peanut and Dan rocked the floor and were fantastic hosts. Beth was a joy to work with and gelled wonderfully with the team shifting her attention where it was most needed. And my lovely Elpida, was a rock, washing, serving, tidying and being there to the bitter end.

Some people have asked me whether I am mad holding this event on the eve of my birthday. To this I happily respond that I probably am. But this was the best birthday ever because to see people coming together to support art and food ventures, to see them loving the food and the environment we set up in a white walled gallery is precious. And because I shared a sense of achievement so big with new faces and people I love.  I guess it is true that joy when shared is magnified by a million.

See you on 26 October at The Pot, Crwys Road, for the next one!

Beetroot Dip

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Beetroot …. its colour is vivid, its name is like an eclectic type of music to dance to, its taste earthy but versatile and adaptable.  Deeply influenced by Tom Robbins’ novel  ‘Jitterbug perfume’ I have developed this strong belief that beets help build physical, emotional and mental resilience, they feed warriors and lovers, they make you stronger, protect and empower you. I am besotted with this root veg!

This September the beetroot at the two farmers’ markets in Cardiff is gigantic, earthy but deliciously sweet. So make sure you grab some from the local stalls either at Roath or Riverside-don’t miss out on its autumnal delight.

Last weekend golden beetroot was the star guest ingredient of a sweet balsamic vinaigrette salad at our art and dining supper club. A few weeks ago, in the first few weeks of September, a beetroot and carrot soup with caraway seeds warmed us up when the weather suddenly turned cold. And only yesterday I concocted  a Moorish , colourful beetroot dip, which I urge you to try making without reservation. Enjoy the recipe below.

Ingredients
Enough for at least 8 starter portions

  • 500g mixed or red beetroots washed well but not peeled
  • 500gr Greek strained yoghurt
  • 200gr feta cheese
  • 30gr chives
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crashed
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • enough olive oil to make dip smooth (about 1/2 cup)
  • salt and pepper

Preparation
1hour

  1. Roast the beetroot in a hot oven until soft for around forty minutes.
  2. Whilst the beetroot are roasting prepare a paprika and chive yoghurt dip.
  3. Cream the feta cheese with one-third of the olive oil and the vinegar in a food processor (pulse) or in a deep bowl with a spoon.
  4. Add the chopped chives , the crashed garlic , the paprika and cayenne pepper . If added to a food processor pulse again.
  5. Smoothen the cheese base by adding all the Greek yoghurt.  Add another third of the olive oil and stir well.
  6. Remove from the food processor.
  7. Try a bit of the yoghurt base and adjust seasoning according to taste.
  8. After the beetroot is roasted and soft enough allow it to cool enough to peel the skin.
  9. Cream the beetroot in a food processor or chop and mash in a bowl with a fork.
  10. Add the yoghurt dip and as much oil as needs to make it blend well (you might not need any more).
  11. Taste and adjust the seasoning of required.
  12. Serve with carrots, celery or breads.

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