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Portobello Pecan Burger with Pumpkin Wedges – Original Recipe from Peace and Parsnips

THE MIGHTY ONE!!
In honour of Peace&Parsnips being released in the U.S. (31st May – wahooooo!) we’re going to share a few of our favourite #recipes with you lovely folk. Here’s a real whopper to get started with!
This is probably (almost definitely) my favourite burger. Its utterly packed with flavour and is actually quite sophisticated, not your average patty! Let’s face it, you can’t beat a burger in a sunny garden with a chilled cucumber mojito.
I don’t mess around with burgers, there is a whole chapter dedicated to them, along with sausages, chorizo etc, in Peace and Parsnips and they are all at least this size and tastiness;)
Enjoy!!:)

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Source: Portobello Pecan Burger with Pumpkin Wedges – Original Recipe from Peace and Parsnips

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The random schoolgirl invasion

Here’s a little story I wrote about my time in the Himalayas, cooking for 50 English schoolgirls in a remote Tibetan monastery. Its was quite a challenge, no shops, the cook has been arrested and the only market was a 5 hour jeep ride away. The odds were stacked against us!

Penguin Blog

On the way to the National Park

In this exclusive piece, author of Peace and Parsnips Lee Watson writes about cooking for 50 schoolgirls in a hostel in the Himalayas.

The Spiti Valley is one of the most remote places I have ever been. Purely Tibetan (although technically part of India) ancient Buddhist monasteries hang from sheer rock faces and pristine still lakes dot the desert landscape. Spiti is a trapped in a different time.

I based myself in the hostel of a small monastery, not there to cook, but to walk; exploring the high Himalayas. It was a dream. I had just returned from a few days of tough hiking. Sunning myself on the little terrace. I noticed a red dust cloud forming over the hill beside the monastery  a little strange (a solitary rambling yak herder was the norm). A wild group of donkeys came storming into view, followed closely by shouting local…

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Happy Birthday Blueberry Spelt Slices (and brownies and cookies…)

Hi everyone it’s Jane here!

I have snuck into the beach house kitchen blog to post this in complete secret…

So without further ado, a Big Beach House-y Happy Birthday to you Lee!

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I made some chocolate brownies, blueberry slices and some of Lee’s brazil nut and spelt chocolate chip cookies from ‘Peace and Parsnips’ for the special day! Lee is working today so they had to be gorgeous but transportable and that’s why I opted for the kind you can cut into squares and share around…. Roll on the 10 o’clock tea break down at the Retreat Centre!

Spelt chocolate chip cookies from 'Peace and Parsnips'

brazil nut choc chip cookies from ‘Peace and Parsnips’

Cooking these cakes was so much fun, and I had such a great time covering the kitchen in flour(!) while sieving and grooving to a very cool album… not so much fun clearing up, but I felt compelled to share with you the experience anyway and post some pictures so that you can be with us from afar!

I love baking, and I tend to start with a recipe from a cookbook and see what happens…. Sometimes I go way off-piste and create something totally new, other times I stick to the recipe religiously. Both are interesting and produce unexpected results…!

The blueberry slices recipe originally came from ‘The Vegan Baker’ by Dunja Gulin and I changed it in a couple of places, but gosh I recommend you try it! I munched on a quick slice with a cup of tea this afternoon (pure research you know, checking to see if they were cooked properly..!) and they were delicious!

Lee’s birthday blueberry spelt slices

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The bits

260g/2 cups unbleached spelt flour

65g/ ½ cup plain wholemeal / wholewheat flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

a few pinches of ground turmeric

250ml plain soya yoghurt

30ml soya milk

170g / 2/3 cup maple syrup

100g coconut oil

freshly squeezed juice and zest from one lemon

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 cups blueberries

Do it!

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together (that’s the flours, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla powder, cinnamon and turmeric).

Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (that’s everything apart from the fruit, because that goes on top). You may need to mash the coconut oil with a fork a little to get it to mix.

Mix them together really gently keeping the air inside the mixture, if it looks a little dry here you can add a tiny more soya milk.

Gently spoon into a baking pan (23cm x 30cm is best) and get it fairly level without squashing the mixture down (the aim is to keep the air in the mixture). Scatter the fresh blueberries over the top making sure there are gaps between to stop the cake going soggy.

Put the cake into pre-heated oven (180 degrees, gas 4 or 375 farenheit) for 30-35 minutes and when it comes out it should be golden on top.

Allow it to cool in the pan and once it is nearly cold gently lift onto a wire rack. When it has cooled completely you can cut it into squares. Mine were nice big squares and I got 16.

serve

Drizzled in maple syrup…Yummm!

Enjoy the pictures, and if you have a chance and would like to leave Lee a message that would be fabulous!

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Have a great Day,

Love Jane Xx

Ps Thanks Dunja for great recipe idea from your book 🙂 Love it!

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The joy of gathering nourishing weeds

Jane’s wonderful blog, this post is all about our edible plant foraging fiesta!

the moon and the womb...

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It has been a pleasure and delight to wear my thick gloves and walk along the local lanes hedgerows and our garden to pick nettles. Dark green vibrant beauties, tall, strong, fibrous and tough. Or to gather edible primrose flowers from the back garden in spring. Or elderflowers with their scented heads and beautiful tiny snowy flowers, that cover my fingers in yellow pollen and give me the gift of the joyous smell of early Summer. The dandelions are out in flower too. From the bathroom window I can see their bright heads, along with the golden buttercups dancing in the breeze in amongst the lush grass. One day out walking I discovered a huge clump of wild apple mint, with it’s furry soft leaves and fresh homely smell.

mint bushel

Hawthorn too is just starting to lose it’s pure white blossom petals to the wind (it has been a very late…

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HAPPY VEGETARIAN WEEK!

It’s my birthday today, I’m 35 years young and going strong.  It’s also the start of National Vegetarian Week  in Britain and in the Beach House Kitchen, we are doing some serious veg based celebrating.  Jane and I have thought about dressing up as life sized vegetables (Jane – a cauliflower, Me – a carrot) and wandering the streets of the village, chanting pro-veg slogans, but instead we had a cup of nettle tea and went for a stroll instead……..Anyway, great to see the ‘eat more veg’  message getting out there and a wonderful week to try those veggie dishes you’ve been putting off for an age.

I don’t have much time to post this week, but we have recipes coming out of our ears and are experimenting with many new ingredients and flavour combos.  Exciting times indeed.

The Observer Food Monthly was almost meat free this month.  The Observer being probably the best Sunday newspaper in Britain (if you’re into that kind of thing).  There are loads of great recipes and stories in this edition and even a devout French Chef creating menu’s where meat takes a back seat to veg.  Vegetables are the stars!  We always knew they’d get the limelight one day!  There’s even a section about pairing wines with vegetables, essential info there.

Its magic for us to see all this happening from half way up the hill, here in sunny Wales.  More veg is such a positive message and is really important to the way we eat, our general health and the well being of our wonderful planet.

VIVA VEGGIES!

Happy munching,

Lee and Janexxxxx

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WWOOFFing at ENCA Organic Farm, Acop, Philippines, 16th March 2011

A post all about WWOOFing (organic farming) in the Philippines, I spent some time there in 2011 and recommend this little slice of paradise to anyone.

Riding effortlessly on a large green turtle

I wake to the clear morning light of the dawn broken. The fresh breeze stirs many branches overhead. Giant black prehistoric looking ants patrol around my  clock. In the roof space above, around 6 young kittens begin to meow in unison, like hungry baby birds, they fancy some breakfast. Looking through the windows, without glass, I can see cypress, acacia, ipil-ipil, pine, papaya, calamansi and banana trees through the hazy vision of newly opened eyes. Mountain coffee beans and native rice dries on the clearing beside the bathroom, I fill my bucket from a hose laying in a flowery bush inhabited by many wasps. Spring water comes gushing out, flowing down the hill, gravity powered and crystal. A large black butterfly joins me inside the hut, flying without grace into walls, as I go about a quick bucket wash. The clouds are deep and ridged, billowing wider as they rise up. The sky is the brightest…

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Amazing looking beetroot bits here, sandwich, tzatziki and nutrition, all on the awesome Byzantine Flowers blog. As some of you will know, we are big beet fans in the BHK and its always nice to meet another beet nut! Cheers Yolandax

ByzantineFlowers

I love red beet root! My favorite way of eating this is by juicing it with other raw vegetables. After that, I love cooking both the root and beet leaves and make it as hot salad with Greek yogurt on top. One important thing to note, that in the U.S., beets are mainly genetically modified (GM), so be sure to purchase your beets Organic!

We are all familiar with the mediterranean cucumber tzatziki sauce! A great side for pita sandwiches, raw vegetable, fried zucchini patties, potatoes,  salads, gluten-free crackers, etc…

Now you can make tzatziki with an interesting twist, the color and flavor vibrant as it taste!

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Red Beet Tzatzik ~

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 grated organic beets – raw or cooked
  • 2 to 3 garlic finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • a handful of fresh dill
  • 2 cups of full fat…

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We love this (and many other) recipes on ‘Food to Glow’ and the fact that this food generally helps against cancer is a super bonus. Have a wee look.

food to glow


honey-miso broccoli and grain saladUntil yesterday this post was going to be the usual recipe with some nutrition facts thrown in. But today’s BBC headline story, “Processed Meat Early Death Link,” has rather shifted my focus. I won’t dwell too long on this issue (by my definition at least), but as many of you – including myself – eat some meat, the most recent large-scale research findings may prick up your ears.

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I absolutely love this dish and enjoyed it many times on the streets of Cairo. Emmy and I have a very strange connection, I crave a food and Emmy cooks it, in Seattle!!!! I would happily retire as a food blogger and just cook the recipes on Emmy Cooks.

Emmy Cooks

I recognize that early January is a time of year traditionally reserved for repentance and asceticism, but I’ve never been much good at either of those.  After many years of making my never-changing Annual New Year’s Resolution (yeah, I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours), this year I didn’t make one at all.

So while better women are perfecting their green smoothie technique or annoying the regulars at the gym, I’ve been getting over my fear of deep frying.Lentils and Rice with Fried OnionsAnd I’m so glad I did.  This dish is spectacular for a few reasons.  The flavors are deep and rich and sweet, beautifully spiced but not at all spicy.  You probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboard, but I bet it won’t cost you $2 if you have to restock anything for this recipe.  And the leftovers just get better and better as the days go by.

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Emmy’s recipes always make our mouths waterX

Emmy Cooks

The only thing I like better than a one-pot meal is a one-pan meal, where instead of continual fussing over the stove you can just toss your pan in the oven and then go about your business (mostly) until dinner is served.  This, as you may have guessed, is such a meal.Roasted Squash Salad with Tofu and Crispy Kale

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Beach House – On The Road

We’re on the road, zig zagging our way down Britain then France and Spain, in our trusty car ‘Hooty’. Expect more news and foodie words and pics soon, but with so much adventure afoot, blogging is taking a back seat.

We love you all and will see you soon.

Peace and Love,

Lee and Janexxxxxxx

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Shakshuka is a seriously good breakfast that we have been meaning to put on the BHK for a while. Here is Emmy’s version, via Yotam and yowzah is it a gourmet version. Sounds delicious, but we will struggle with the saffron element. Big YUMx

Emmy Cooks

A new dish has come into my life recently.  I mean, it’s an old dish, maybe very old, and maybe you’ve been eating it for breakfast or dinner all your life, but I’ve only gotten to know it in recent years.  And I’m a little obsessed.  It’s called shakshuka.

It’s a Tunisian dish, or an Israeli or a Libyan dish, depending on who you ask.  All I know is that I’ve been loving a version from my local bagel shop (which also inspired that caramelized onion hummus recipe).  Shakshuka is a mildly spicy stew of tomatoes and peppers, adorned with a poached egg.  In this recipe, adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, the eggs are poached right in the tomatoes and peppers, making for a one-pot meal of the most delicious sort.

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Khoresh Bademjan – Persian Aubergine Stew

The Dhaba – Spice Tray

Persian (or Iranian) food is a favourite of mine, but something I haven’t cooked for a long time.  It is similar to Indian food and the food of other areas in the Middle East; namely Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan.  Some would say that these countries food cultures are similar to Persian food, after all, they were there first!  Ancient Persia, Darius the Great and all, have always sparked my imagination.  I hope one day to visit (soon).

THE BEAUTY OF PERSIAN CUISINE

Persian food is beautifully spiced and rich.  It’s roots are of course ancient and the oldest Iranian cookbook was written in 927  and was called ‘Kār-nāmeh dar bāb-e tabbākhī va sanat-e ān’ or the “Manual on cooking and its craft”.  It offers an exhaustive insight into the complexity and importance of Persian food to the people and the culture.  This amazing food tradition has been passed down through the generations, normally from mother to daughter, meaning that the dishes served in Tehran today will not have varied greatly from the time of the ‘Kar-nameh’.  This all means that Persians take there food very seriously, authenticity is a must.

Persian food is captivating, I love the emphasis on fresh produce, in London I have seen Iranian housewives shopping down at the markets and they only accept the very freshest of ingredients (giving the stall holders plenty of lip if things aren’t up to scratch!)  Persian cuisine uses large amounts of fresh herbs, sometimes it seems they replace the use of vegetables!  Many of the recipes have such a deep rooted tradition, you feel like you are re-creating the dishes of the ancients, in your own kitchen.

A LITTLE HISTORY…….

Persian food has influenced the world of cooking, much more than we know, giving us delights such as ice cream and kebab.  Dare I say it, many of North Indian dishes are heavily derived from Persian cuisine.  In Mughal times especially, Persian cooks were in high demand in the courts of the ruling caste.  These trends filter down into the melting pot of India’s culinary traditions.

The whole vast area of the Middle East has been linked throughout history; cultures mingling and merging throughout the centuries.  Iran is a very fertile land with a wonderful array of produce; pistachios, spices, dried limes, fruits, pomegranate, green herbs, the flavours of rose and saffron, all spring to mind and the colours alone get my imagination flowing.

Persia

TEHRAN VIA LONDON

My first taste of Persia came in a London backstreet, a place where farsi filled the air and a smiling man made fresh flat breads in a stone oven.  The food was so fresh and the flavours striking.  I started to experiment with Iranian cooking and found a whole new range of flavours and ingredients to play with.  Dried limes for example are unique revelation!

Persian food is very traditional and each dish has set rules to follow, not something I am completely comfortable with, but the results are generally outstanding.  My best memories of these Iranian days were the rice (polo) cake that I made.  The sort of dish that is so easy and looks very unique, the rice takes the shape of the the pan and forms a nice golden crust.  You cut into it like a cake!  Served with a delicious Ghormeh Sabzi (Veg and Kidney Bean Stew – Iran’s National Dish) and you have something quite special to enjoy.

Although Persian main dishes revolve around meat and rice, I have found the creative combining of ingredients can easily be related to veggie foods.  There are also many vegan stews, salads etc that are popular in Iran, like this Khoresh Bademjan or Aubergine Stew, which traditionally would have a lump of meat in it.

AUBERGINE – ‘THE POTATO OF IRAN’

Aubergine (Egg plant to some) is a staple in Iran and is even known as the ‘potato of Iran’.  I love making stews, the gentle simmering nature, the way they fill the house with the homely smell of food.  The use of cinnamon here adds such a warming flavour to the dish and the lentils keep nice and firm, giving the stew a very hearty feel.

I know how passionate Iranians are about their food, so I felt it right to seek advice for this recipe and stumbled upon a top Iranian food blogger, Azita at Turmeric and Saffron.  Azita’s recipes are traditional and made with love and care, many handed down from her mother.  This to me is real heart and soul food, cooked with love and care and a cornerstone of family life and culture all over the world.  It is surprising how many of our memories of loved ones revolve around food (or maybe that’s just me!)  I have changed the recipe slightly, but kept the authentic flavours in tact.

Iran is such a vast and fascinating land, the dishes served will vary greatly in different regions, I’ll just have to go for a visit and try them all myself!  Hopefully you’ll see some holiday snaps on the B.H.K soon.  It’s great to be back in the Iranian cooking flow and I hope to be making much more Iranian food.

Salam and Happy CookingX

Yellow split peas

This makes a big pot full, good enough for four hungry mouths.

The Bits

3 large aubergines (peeled, sliced into large chunks and salted with 2 tablespoons of salt)

2 courgettes (chopped into large chunks)

4 medium tomatoes (peeled and chopped)

1 large onion (diced)

4 cloves of garlic (crushed and chopped)

3/4 cup yellow split peas (rinsed)

3 tablespoons sunflower oil for frying onions etc

1/2 cup (60ml) oil for frying aubergines

3 tbs tomato puree

3-4 cups of water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

sea salt and cracked pepper (to taste)

1 lime or to taste (juice) or 2-3 tablespoons sour grapes (ghooreh).

Do It

This is Persian food, meaning  a very particular way of preparing the dish.  Well worth the effort!

Leave your aubergines for 30 minutes with salt rubbed into them.  Then place the salted aubergines in a large container filled with water; put a heavy bowl or a heavy lid on top of the eggplants to hold them down for ten minutes, this will get rid of the bitterness. Remove aubergines from container and pat dry completely before frying.  (You can skip this step if you’re pushed for time).

Frying Aubergine

Fry the aubergines in 1/2 cup (60ml) of hot oil until brown on both sides, remove and then add the courgette and fry until golden. Place all on a plate lined with thick kitchen paper to drain some of the excess oil.

Using a knife, mark each tomato with a shallow X at the top, place them in a pot of boiling water for five minutes before pulling off the skin, then chop or slice them thinly or just chop the tomatoes skins on (for the time deprived).

In a large saucepan, heat the oil, add chopped onions, saute until translucent then add the garlic, stir well. Sprinkle in the turmeric, salt and pepper and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly. Cook until onions begin to caramelise.

Onions and spice – Rather nice!

Add dry split peas, fry for five minutes, this will keep the peas more firm in the khoresh.  Then add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and three cups of water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for an 35 mins on medium heat.

Add the fried aubergine and courgette to the mixture, adjust the seasoning and add more water if needed.

Cook for another 15 minutes, until all is nice and tender.  Add the lime juice or two tablespoons of sour grapes (ghooreh).  Let it sit for 10 minutes off the heat, with the lid on.  This allows the stew to cool a little, flavours can be impaired by really hot food.

Persian Aubergine Stew

Serve

With steaming rice, soya yoghurt (or whipped silken tofu) and a fresh salad shirazi.  This dish may also be served with sour grapes (ghooreh), which you can buy in many world food stores.

We Love It!

Jane and I can sit at our table in the Beach House, up in the clouds, and dream of exotic far off lands and ancient cultures…to the blue mosque of Isfahan and back before dessert…..traveling the world one plate at a time.  This stew is that good!

Foodie Fact

The aubergine (or brinjal or eggplant…) is native to India, this fruit comes in all shapes and sizes and is now grown around the world.  It is very low in calories and contains much soluble fibre.  The skin of aubergine is high in anti-oxidants and it is a good food to help high blood cholesterol and aids metabolism.

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Emmy gives us all some dressing inspiration here.

Emmy Cooks

It’s easy to get into a salad rut when summer is doing its thing in the garden and salad-making is so easy.  Greens, veggies, vinaigrette, boom, salad.  But a salad can be so much more, and just a few moments of effort invested in a good dressing can go a long way toward spicing things up.

I am not the maker-of-vinaigrette in our family (thank you, J!), so on the rare occasions when the salad dressing is my job I tend to branch out, if only a little, from the standard oil-vinegar-mustard combination. 

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Great information and easy to follow charts from the the shining light that is Dodhi (from Hawaii). Happinessx

Dodhisattva's Sacred Backyard

In order to assimilate and utilize our food for fuel proper food combining is a wonderful tool to guide us. When food is broken down into nutrients with ease in our stomach we can be sure that the digestive tract is able to easily break down food converting it into usable energy.  When proper food combining takes place we know that fats are broken down into fatty acids, carbohydrates are converted into Glucose or usable energy and protein transforms into amino acids. With these building blocks we can build lean, clean, strong bodies. They we are able to build muscle, hair, skin and bones and re-manufacture our own metabolic enzymes and hormones.
If you start to incorporate proper food combining you may notice weight loss, more energy, ease of digestion (no constipation, diarhea or gas/bloating) and an overall sense of well-being.

When foods are improperly combined this allows for food…

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A great article on all things going ‘raw’ and raw food. Plenty of info from an expert. Happiness, lee

ByzantineFlowers

Raw Food Diet – Should I Try the Raw Food Diet?

By Cathy Wong, About.com Guide June 27, 2012

Why Eat Raw Food?

The raw food diet is based on the belief that the most healthful food for the body is uncooked. Although most food is eaten raw, heating food is acceptable as long as the temperature stays below 104 to 118 degrees Fahrenheit (the cutoff temperature varies among those in the raw food community).

Cooking is thought to denature the enzymes naturally present in food. According to raw foodists, enyzymes are the life force of a food, helping us to digest food and absorb nutrients. If we overconsume cooked food, our bodies are forced to work harder by producing more enzymes. Over time, a lack of enzymes from food is thought to lead to digestive problems, nutrient deficiency, accelerated aging, and weight gain.

Cooking food can diminish its nutritional value. For…

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Waste not, want not for food lovers in Rio’s favelas

We are really looking at how we can cut down on our waste, both non-organic and organic. This clip is a real slice of inspiration. Stewed watermelon rind, who knew?!
world-latin-america-18284632

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Willie’s Cacao Chocolate Tasting Challenge

Our stash of Willie’s Chocolates

Ladies and Gentleman, we have arrived in chocolate heaven………

Willie’s World Class Cacao chocolate is the best we have ever tasted.  No mincing our words here, its the best.  Hands down.  The champagne of the chocosphere, you know it’s the best by its ‘bite’.  One crisp, crack and you instinctively know that good things are going to happen in your mouth.

No cheese, ho booze, no coffee, no sweat.  No chocolate, well that’s an existence you can count me out on.  As Willie says “Coffee is a poor mans cacao” and I tend to agree.

Yes, we are eating chocolate again, with great relish and delight.  We have thrown ourselves back into the world of those fabulous brown chunks with gusto and started right at the top with a Willie’s chocolate tasting session.  We lined up some lumps of quite amazing cacao and gave our taste buds a real treat.  For moments, we had died and gone to chocolate heaven.

Passion is infectious and Willie has it in giant spades.  I remember seeing him in Selfridges (big posh shop in London) being animated and charming about all things chocolate and the very finest cacao.  Willie has a mission in this life and its very chocolaty.  I liked him straight away, its rare to see anybody so consumed and charged by something, the fact that this something was chocolate, only made me warm to him more.

I then watched the documentary style TV programme that followed him to his hacienda and cacao farm in Venezuela where he seemed to be a one man army, defending us all against the abomination of substandard cacao.  Willie was so driven to succeed against all odds and many wild and wonderful set backs.  The story of this chocolate is to follow your dreams, no matter what gets in your way or what they may be.  Don’t waver and have faith.  In chocolate!  This definitely adds to the flavour!

Willie has scoured Latin America looking for the finest cacao trees to re-plant and discovered a small plantation, surrounded by coffee trees, that had not cross pollinated with the newer types of cacao trees (some of those high yield, low quality varieties that modern farming is dominated by).  He took them back to his hacienda and ended up planting 10,000 of them (told you he is driven!).

Cacao is great for us and Willie uses only the finest cacao and a little sugar and thats it.  No hidden nasties in there or chemicals at all.  He also sells the cacao pure, 100%, that is best used in cooking or hot chocolate (it is a little on the bitter side).

Willie

He brings all of these beans back to this little grey island and feeds them into his collection of old chocolate making machinery (slower than the modern machines, but better for taste).

Willie’s chocolate is not the cheapest, you wouldn’t expect it to be, but if you are looking for the best, I think its probably worth splashing out the extra .50p on something truly amazing!

If you don’t believe any of these claims, check out Willie’s brilliant website.  You’ll find a real feast for the eyes, it a stunner, you’ll also find many recipes for cooking with chocolate and not just desserts either.  Savoury dishes with the 100% cacao.  We’ll be giving some a go soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

My first taste of chocolate in a savoury dish was in Mexico, up a mountain somewhere south, lost and hungry.  It was actually raining as well.  A kind hearted lady opened her front room for us and begin to whip up something that looked like a chocolate and banana sauce, mixed with a casserole.  My first Mole Poblano and I will never forget it.  Dark and rich, with the bitterness of the chocolate, sweetness of banana and the potent chilli punch, it was a rare taste explosion.  A combination and sensation that cannot be repeated in any dish.

One of Willies farmers

Back to chocolate as we know and love it, here are Jane and I’s tasting notes for the chocolate frenzy/tasting:

Indonesian (Javan Light Breaking)

Lee – Love that crack and crunch, gorgeous (this was repeated many times during this tasting), light flavour, lighter than most chocolates with a lovely caramel-ness to it.  

Jane – Tastes like caramelised treacle, so, so smooootthhh.

YYYYYYYYuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

Venezuelan Gold (Hacienda las Trincheras)

Lee – Rich, really rich, wow,  a real full flavour that goes on and on…..more intense than the Indonesian and super velvety.  Gorgeous (again!)

Jane – More chocolaty, more flavour and complexity, super luxury chocolate, super rich.  

MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm  (eyes closed and slightly erotic noise).

Madagascar (Sambriano Superior)

Lee – Really, wow, very, very nice.  Thats amazing.  Very nice.  Fruity, a little blackcurranty and was that a raspberry!

Jane – Fruit, yes fruit, delicate flavour, no words (just noise of delight)

DELECTABLE……moving on….

Ginger Lime (Sierra Leone)

Lee – Reminds me of Christmas, I prefer the other, unadulterated stuff.  Still very, very fine and zesty.

Jane – A bit like ginger nuts!  Heavenly.

Peruvian (San Martin)

Both –  AMAZING CHOCOLATE!!!! (dumbstruck looks and lost for words……)   

(Due to intense chocolate overload, at this stage the tasting turned into a giant scoff/ farce and we lost track of which was chocolate went with which wrapper.  Meaning the other bars tasted all get a 9.96 out of 10 and a big thumbs up from us.)

Best Overall

Lee  – Has to be the Indonesian, maybe because it was first to be tasted.  I loved the sweet caramel flavours and the general lightness of the chocolate, something really different and not achieved completely naturally.  I would also like to visit Indonesia one day soon.

Jane – Venezuelan.  The richness, so, so dark and packed full of flavour.  The loveliest and purest flavour.  REAL chocolate.

This was only a small taster of the full range which you’ll find a doorway to here.

Enjoying Willie’s chocolate makes you part of a very special adventure; one mans dream, now boxed up by old clanking machines and available on supermarket shelves.  This is our kind of food success story.  Chocolate is important and Willie’s is chocolate at its most inspiring and delicious best.

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Desi chick is one of my favourite bloggers. Kolpona cuisine is a home for real Indian food and with plenty of innovation. This is one such dish that we will be trying in the Beach House very soon. Thanks Desi Chick for sharing your gift and beauty food!

Kolpona Cuisine

I need (and want) to lose 15 pounds by the end of June.  These 15 pounds have crept up on me like evil terrorists bent on a sneak attack.  My new policy is not to negotiate with terrorists!  I’m currently on my third round of P90X and my daughter Onjoli and her friend Katie are doing Insanity, both intense beachbody workouts.  I have promised to cook more innovative, high protein, low fat and tasty foods throughout the summer.  It’s a mother-daughter epic bonding extravaganza.  My husband, frightened by the prospect of eating salads and yogurt mentioned that he’d like to vote for food that is hearty and not “chick food”.  I have a lot of people to please, including myself.  I came up with this salad in my quest for “buffness” to go with my 10 minute Tilapia curry.  It was a wonderful dinner full of flavors, textures and…

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The beautiful poetry of food! Thank you always Silver PoetX

Silver Poetry

 

Next time you stand with an egg in your hand,

stop time and look.

Run your fingers over cool skin,

take in shape of the immaculate.

Hold it to your cheek, close your eyes, let it rest on your lips, taste it

Feel love clearly now.

When it comes time to crack the shell

tap with your ears,

and let the soft tapping in.

Let the sound of the shell cracking, resonate in your heart and in your soul.

Hear love’s words, do not miss a thing.

The message is for you.

Watch the contents fall,

into bowl or cup,

oh love,

the nourishing life source.

Do not sway from the moment,

this is your yellow and your soft white spilling.

Take time to revel in perfection.

See Love’s offering,

in pliable receptivity,

no regret,

in unbridled innocence.

With fingers or fork,

swirl through the centre of of…

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