Tuesday, 30 April 2013

GetFrisky


 The sun was shining in Edinburgh today, so what better way to enjoy the sun than with a froyo! Frisky opened earlier this year and it took me a while to try frozen yoghurt. I did not like the concept at first as I thought nothing could be better than ice cream. But I admit, I have been converted to a yoghurt loving freak. This is my absolute favourite place for a sugary treat. The amazing thing is it is fat free, uses raw cane sugar(best of all the sugars out there), pro-biotics and other lovely super foods so it isn't even that naughty. Which is great because it means you can eat lots of it :)
 My favourite at the moment is natural topped with passion fruit, lychees and mango or blueberries. The combination is just an explosion in my mouth. I love it! However, when I first tried natural I did not like it, so for a while mango was my favourite flavour. I would recommend this also, but nothing beats natural as you can go crazy with toppings. I am not a huge fan of the chocolate flavour, I'd rather have chocolate chips on top. It is quite pricey, so it is not an everyday treat, but the portions are large in comparison to what you get with an ice-cream serving, so you get your moneys worth.



It is an all round great place and the staff are super friendly - bonus! If you ever visit Edinburgh, I would definitely recommend this place. Its froyo is far better than the ones I have tried in London and I prefer the atmosphere. Also added amazingness, its open until 11pm, so any midnight craves can be pleasantly satisfied! So, go get frisky!

Here is the website for more info: http://www.friskyfroyo.com

                                             




Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Speltified

Bursting Blueberries
Yesterday I bought Spelt flour for the first time. Personally I find that regular flour bloats my tummy, so I am on the hunt for better alternatives. Many say rye is meant to be a good alternative but it was worse than normal bread - my flat mates and I looked pregnant for weeks after eating the stuff.  But back to spelt. I was excited to start baking with spelt this morning that I could not sleep. I had so many ideas running through my head this morning that I had to get up. I thought I'd keep things simple and start with easy concepts that I could later develop.

The first idea that came to me was pancakes. I have never actually made American style pancakes before I always used to make Crepes. But I thought today was the day this had to change. So I was flicking through recipes online to find ones with the least hassle. I came across one that seemed pretty simple and it was, but the actual taste that resulted was rather bland. So for next time I have conjured up some ideas that I will try (and I'll write down so you can try as well), as well as some last minute tweaks I made whilst eating that created a delightful treat.

Basic Ingredients:

- 1 cup of flour (any kind)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2 tbsp oil (veg or olive)

Adaptations for next time:

- Instead of sugar you could try mashing a banana, I think this gives more sweetness than sugar and is healthier too!

- Another thing I added to one batch, and would like to experiment more, is orange zest. Though I'd add orange juice as well, and go ahead with spices such as cinnamon (can also use other citrus fruits like lemon or lime)  

- Go crazy with anything you like, such as; nuts, dried fruit, real fruit, chocolate, spices, juices and anything else you could fit in a pancake.              

Method:

1) Put the stove on medium heat with a pan on it

2) Combine the 4 dry ingredients in a bowl

3) Then add the milk and oil

4) Mix until smooth

5) Now take a spoonful of mix onto the pan (about one small ladles worth)

6) When bubbles (as shown in the pic on the left) start to form or the edges stiffen, flip the pancake
7) And plate up!

Now this method is for a simple pancake mix, but I would recommend experimenting with different flavours! Some I did today were blueberry, cinnamon and raisin and cinnamon, raisin and orange. I liked the sweetness of the blueberry ones but the ones with orange had the most potential I thought. In fact a recipe I would like to try is with banana, orange, raisin and chocolate chip.

Because the initial pancakes were bland I got bored. So I went to the cupboard, got the chocolate (milk and white, though dark is healthier!) out and placed it on the pancakes and whacked them in the microwave to melt. I then added raspberries on top and OMG it was an oozing, melting, electric sensation on my tastebuds. I went crazy, chocolate mad and ended up eating the entire pancake batch with as many chocolate combinations as I could think of.

However, this is not healthy and I do not recommend as part of a daily routine. So, if you do like your chocolate I recommend getting small chunks or chocolate chips adding them in the batter so they melt with the fruit and spices to make an amalgamation of phenomenality to tantalise your tastebuds.

I don't think I will be having pancakes for breakfast for a while now, but I will continue this experimentation very soon! Go crazy with flavours, the more the better!

Breakfast fit for a princess
 My second Spelt attempt was in bread making and this was very, very simple and worth doing no matter what. Its so easy that it only takes 3 mins to prep! All you need is;

- 500g Spelt flour
- 10g fast action yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150g mixed seeds (whatever you fancy)
- 500 ml warm water

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 200C

2) Combine all the ingredients, adding the water last

3) Mix well until a dough forms

4) Dump into a greased loaf tin (I used a square one for variation)

5) Bake for an hour

6) Before serving warm for another 10 mins out of the tin

PLEASE NOTE: a big mistake I made was using greaseproof paper. It stuck to the bread and I couldn't get it off. All you need to do is flour the sides of the tin, because the bread actually pulls away from the sides of the tin.

Otherwise, I was very happy with the outcome and don't see why this shouldn't be a weekly occurrence. Its so simple and easy to make and not much can go wrong!

Spelt is a wonderful nutty grain and well worth a try! And if you like experimenting there's lots to get cracking with :)



Sunday, 21 April 2013

FatAthyDoesBrunch


My mum had a load of her university friends over today, and what was meant to be a brunch ended up as lunch, but I tried out a few new things that I wanted to share with you! I had a variety of ideas that I wanted to play around with, but due to time constraints and other factors I had to settle down.

Being Greek I felt it was about time I attempted to make Hummus. I have to say, its not in my blood, I definitely need to work on my chickpea skills.
To give me a start I used the instructions on the Tahini pot to make it, but I would not recommend doing this as it does not give you the right consistency or flavour! A rough outline of what I did is as follows:



Ingredients:
- 1 can of chickpeas
-115g Tahini
-A lot of Lemon Juice
- A lot of Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cumin
- Paprika
- 6 Garlic Cloves (Use more or less depending on what you like)

Method:

1) In a food processor blend the chickpeas and tahini

2) Add Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Seasoning and the Paprika and Cumin

3) Add approx. 3 tbsp tap water until you get the consistency you desire

4) Serve with a dash of paprika on the top, a swizzle of oil and a sprinkling of parsley (which I forgot to do - typical)

The second dip I made was a basil pesto. (I also made enough to work as a pasta sauce). Compared to my hummus this worked out very well and I shall definitely be making it again and trying weird adaptations to see what flavours can be enhanced.

Ingredients:
- 2 cups of fresh basil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts (+ extra to serve)
- 1/2 cup of cheese (Pecorino, or another sheep's milk cheese)
- Seasoning

Method:
- In a food processor blend all of the ingredients together until you have a nice thick paste

- Toast some pine nuts and mix through the pesto for an alternative texture

- Serve and garnish as desired :)

Basil Pesto Pasta
As well as being greek I am also half cypriot. So in order to stick to both my roots I thought I had to do something with Halloumi Cheese (Cypriots put this in EVERYTHING!).

Because I love Spain and all the foods it has to offer I decided to also use some chorizo to make a simple yet delicious halloumi and chorizo salad. All I did was dry fry the chorizo to release its fats in a frying pan. Then when it had gained a bit of colour I added cubed halloumi and a little seasoning. It is cooked once browned but not burnt. I tossed this over some fresh salad leaves and a little lemon juice. I would recommend to eat this immediately to get the full juiciness of the cheese and chorizo.





My next venture was Roasted Vegetables (Well

actually my mum put them together, I just stated what was to happen to them!) This is a really simple but yummy dish. All you do is chop up your desired vegetables, we used; peppers, garlic, aubergine, courgettes, red onion and baby vine tomatoes. Toss these with olive oil, balsamic, seasoning and a bit of thyme and fling in the oven for about 40 mins (make sure to cover the tray with aluminium foil to keep all the lovely flavours inside!) Just before serving I crumbled some goats cheese that helps accentuate the sweetness of the vegetables to make a wonderful harmony of flavours and colours!




Marinated baby artichokes
 The next part was the best part of 'brunch', dessert (although I guess technically you don't serve dessert at brunch, but we are far from conventional!)

Classic FatAthyFruitSalad


FatAthy's OJ


For this part we had a variety of cheeses, grapes, chocolates, ice cream, crackers and a couple of other things I attempted. The first is pictured here on the right. Caramelised Onion Jam. This is REALLY simple to make but one of my favourite things of all time and if you love cheese boards this makes a wonderful compliment. To make this all you need is a little oil, balsamic, honey/dark brown sugar and 3 onions (red or white - though I've tried both and red is definitely nicer!) To begin with heat 3 tbsp oil on a low heat. Place the chopped onion and slowly sautee for about 15-20 mins, until softened through completely. Then to caramelise add 3 tbsp of balsamic and honey (or sugar) for another 10 mins, still on a low heat. Serve immediately if you like it warm, for example on a burger. Or place in a clean jar and store in the fridge. This would also work as a fantastic topping on pastry with a little cheese crumbled on top. This is definitely worth a try!!!

Leonidas Truffles

 My final venture was a recipe by Raymond Blanc (But I tweaked it a little - mostly because we didn't have all the ingredients). This is a very nice light cake, perfect after a hoard of food.


oven explosion :D
 The link for the recipe is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemon_cake_29430
The only changes I made were I used brandy instead of dark rum and golden caster sugar instead of caster sugar (enhances the lemon flavour I think!)



Hope you enjoyed some of the things I had to show and that you get to try some out!



Thursday, 18 April 2013

BusyBee

Yesterday, myself and my sister went in search for Indigo.
Indigo is part of One Aldwych Place near the Strand and Covent Garden.
It is quite different to how I imagined from the reviews I'd read. 
I imagined it as a light airy place, very quiet and peaceful, but it was the complete opposite. Nonetheless, I kind of liked it! It had a vibrant atmosphere with lots of people, but I think next time I'd rather go for a drink there, unless I was in a large party then I'd definitely opt for dinner. 
I also think that lunch time has a very different atmosphere so I'll have to give it a try and let you know!

The actual restaurant is on the Mezzane level, but the bar is very visible from the balcony and is buzzing with people after work. If you are one of the busy bees of central London this is definitely worth a try. Furthermore, if you are after a lively, quick dinner (especially pre-theatre) this is a great place to try out, as the food and staff are fantastic. It is on the pricey side of things, but for central London it does not break the bank, with an average main costing between £16-25. However, they do have meal deals such as 2 courses for £19. 

However, I would not recommend this place if you are looking for something more discrete and personal. You can barely hear your own thoughts at the table, but on the plus side the food is nice and the staff are very accommodating and friendly.

Below I have pictured what myself and my sister ordered. 

Pork Belly with Crispy Asian Style noodles

Salad with avo, cucumber, spring onions and prawns.
 Actually this is another thing to mention that makes Indigo unique. If you are a salad lover (and a fussy one!) this is a great place to try. They have a 'Build your own salad' for £9/£16. You can choose from one meat/fish/veg option, 3 condiments, and finally a dressing. If you want to tailor your salad beyond what they have on the menu they are very willing to help achieve your every wish. A great place to try, buzzing, full of life and amazing decor.

 Here is the link if you want to find out more: http://www.onealdwych.com/food-drink/indigo.aspx

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

LittleItaly


1 Duke St Richmond TW9 1HP
If Italian food is your thing this is a must try. I was in Richmond today with my mum and sister contemplating where we wanted to have lunch. Luckily, we found this little gem situated on Duke Street. It is filled with colourful foods that you can not take your eyes off. I was struggling to choose what to eat. They have it all from pastas (using all sorts such as squid ink, fresh, even spelt!) to ciabattas, soups and wonderful salads. I felt like I had been transported to Italy. 


There is a little seating area upstairs with some nice Italian cookbooks to flick through while you wait. I ended up going for a mix antipasti salad with rocket, baby artichokes, tricolore salad (and I ate all the raw tomatoes for the first time in my life!), garlic prawns and an amazing aubergine/mellizana with tomato and mozzarella. I was in heaven. 


The staff are super friendly and they have a few shelves stocked with lots of goodies to take away :) This is also a great place if you are in a rush and want to take-away, they can accomodate all your needs. I'd say for the food quality it is fairly priced at an average of £10 for a meal. A small price to pay for a satisfied stomach. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

LunchtimeMadness


I went a bit crazy at lunch today, so I thought if any of you want any low fuss but ultra yummy recipes this is one to try! I started by making a simple salad of mixed herb leaves, parsley, spring onions, red onions, avocado and a little lemon juice. I then decided as I had worked out that a high protein lunch was in order. I first saut√©ed half a red onion in water and once softened added a little lemon juice. Then I added finely chopped red pepper, a few mushrooms and two cloves of garlic. Just before I was about to add the egg I put a tsp of olive oil, just to bring out a little of the flavours and added my new found food love, lemon pepper, and flung the eggs on top. I topped it off with a crumbling of goats cheese that melted swiftly into the gooey omelette. It came out a treat! If you are a foodie this is a must try!



Sunday, 14 April 2013

FatAthyTriesToBake

I love baking, but I also love experimenting. So sometimes my 'creations' are just disasters. A lot of my friends make fun of me for the array of ingredients I like to use. But since I have been home I have attempted some simple recipes, so I thought I'd share some with you.

My boyfriend (though I hate this word so from now on I shall refer to him as the Kretin) loves anything with banana. So I thought I'd try and show off my domestic skills (which are close to non existent) and bake a banana cake. It turned out alright I guess. Well I am assuming this from the fact that within 48
 hours it was gone. I tried a slight variety. As the mix I had made was quite a lot, I made a loaf as well as cupcakes. When I took the loaf out of the oven I pricked it all over and drizzled it with lemon juice. If you like citrus flavours I would definitely recommend this, but if you just want the banana flavour then I wouldn't. With the cupcakes, I left them be and they too were very nice but had a very different flavour. The recipe I used was as followed:

http://dessert.food.com/recipe/best-ever-banana-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting-67256

I just did it without the frosting!


My next endeavour was peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. I was in the mood for living up to my name and having a good sugary binge. And I found this recipe that actually was not too heavy compared to most cookies, but came out beautifully!

Ingredients:

- 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1/2 cup of whole wheat/grain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- As many chocolate chips as you can handle (milk, white, dark the lot!)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp crush walnuts (optional, the ones pictured are without)

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 165 C

2) Mix peanut butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl

3) Stir in the eggs one at a time until fully mixed

4) Add flour, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and oats

5) Stir in the CHOCOLATE!

6) Using a spoon scoop balls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet. (Top tip: If you wet your hands before handling the dough it won't stick to you!)

7) Press the dough balls down slightly and bake for 12-14 mins or until the tops are golden brown.

8) Indulge in the sweet, nutty, chocolatey delights :)







A few days later, I decided to stick to my promise and make my dad's childhood favourite - Marble Cake. This is a very simple cake and it is hard to go wrong, although I nearly burnt it! And there is something very satisfying when marbling the cake mix, watching it churn in different directions.

I made a very small one, so double or triple the ingredients as you please.

Ingredients:

- 100g caster sugar
- 100g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 100g self raising flour
- 1 - 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Method:

1) Set the oven to 180 C

2) Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract

4) Make a well in the centre and add the flour until just combined

5) Stir in the milk and then split the mixture equally between two bowls.

6) In one of the bowls stir in the cocoa powder

7) Alternatively add a scoop of vanilla and cocoa mix in a greased baking tray

8) Before putting in the oven slam the tray ona hard surface to remove air bubbles and then with a skewer allow your hand to create a marbled effect in the mix.

9) Bake for 20 - 25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean without any mix on it.

10) Plate up and eat up :)




My final attempt this week was for my sister. She demanded a form of milk chocolate chip cookies. Our dear grandma hand kindly given us a huge supply of Lacta chocolates (a greek brand), so I thought that instead of using chocolate chips I would use chocolate chunks :) Going large is the only way to do it! I found a recipe online and tailored it to my needs. Although they look good they did not taste as good as the peanut butter cookies, so I would like to trial a few more cookie recipes and then I shall post the best one I find. After all it is the best I am after!

LondonBites

This week was the first week of easter break, so what better way to begin than discovering the foodie delights London has to offer. There are some real gems that I shall be revisiting many times in the near future! 

- BOROUGH MARKET: The pictures below does not do it justice. This market is one of London's most popular and a must visit for foodies. Situated near London Bridge it is full of wonderful flavours, tasters and people eager to dig in. I have a real love for spanish food so this Paella was a real delight to bump into. I have never seen such a big dish, and it definitely congers up my ideas for future plating choices.
 If you love a wide variety of foods from different cultures this is a place to visit, from Thai food to classic British, they have stalls that can accustom many palettes. The crackling on the pork below speaks for itself!

                                                 


- DUKE'S HOTEL: After a wander through the market, the next stop was afternoon tea at Duke's. If you enjoy the baked sugary treats, perfectly cut sandwiches and the general ladies things, then this is a MUST. For London prices it is not hugely overpriced and if you like afternoon tea this is fantastic. Not only is everything freshly prepared, but if one plate doesn't fill you, you can ask for more until you can no longer walk.





 - MOMO's: This is a Moroccan themed restaurant situated just behind Regent's Street. I had been suggested it by a few friends and all I can give is praise for this place. If you like intricate design, an alternative atmosphere and amazingly flavoured food then this is without a doubt one of the best places for this. The place has a very chilled vibe with friendly staff and fantastic aromas. If shisha is your thing, you can enjoy it in the delicate front garden with a pot of fresh moroccan mint tea. I tried this tea for the first time here and I have to say it is now one of my favourite herbal teas. And I drink a lot! I would pretty much recommend anything on the menu, but particularly anything with aubergine or red peppers and any of the tagines. These excelled!


-HARVEY NICHOLS FIFTH FLOOR: When this name is seen, the first thought that comes to mind is high class, posh and perfection. (Or at least in my mind) However, I was very disappointed with the
 food I had there. Although what is pictured was very nice (Aubergines and Halloumi), the food was mediocre and at a very high price. If you are looking for a place to eat in Knightsbridge I would recommend staying away from the busy shopping centres and going to more discreet places. Two I would recommend are Ishbilia (http://www.ishbilia.com) an lovely lebanese place or Haandi's and Indian opposite Harrods.

- SCOOP (Covent Garden): I have a tendency to research for the best eateries and when searching covent garden this place came up repeatedly. Being a huge gelato fan I was very excited to pay this place a visit. When first entering the shop my jaw dropped at the beautiful array of swirls of fresh italian gelato. My mouth was watering at the sight of it. However, I was rather disappointed by it compared to the reviews I had read. The ice cream was good, but the atmosphere was a bit cold and there were not as many flavours as I had read there were. The portions are also tiny, although I guess this is good if you like small guilty pleasures, but I was ready to tuck into huge scoops of freshly churned italian ice cream. I would say this place should not be high on your list for London eateries, but worth a visit if you have time to kill.




- THE MINNOW (Weybridge): This is a small pub near the bank of the river and is definitely worth a visit. It is perfect on a summers day but also on a usual rainy London day when you want some good hearty comfort food. It is reasonably priced and the portions are huge so it is definite value for money. Pictured below is my starter of scallops with roasted veg, a real treat on a windy day! It went down very nicely with a couple of bottles of Crabbies :) (But be warned the alcohol was very expensive!)







- CHEZ BRUCE (Wandsworth): Sunday Lunch. The parents treated us today with a lovely Sunday
 Lunch at the sister restaurant of the Glasshouse. Having closely studied the menu before I arrived I was very excited to sample the food! For starter I had a warm onion tart with Lancashire cheese, chicory root and walnuts. The tart literally melted in my mouth. I died and went to heaven. Food heaven. For lunch I had the roast of the day, Chicken with lemon and thyme stuffing, artichoke, spinach gratin and potatoes. The spinach and the stuffing were the best parts of the dish. Lucky for me, my dad is a fussy eater and did not touch his stuffing so I got double helpings :) Was a great two courses but the best was still to come. Dessert. I am a fiend for desserts, I can never choose because I want everything on the menu. I had to think long and hard about what I was going to have and carefully planned to get something different to the others so I could sample as many as I could. In the end I went for white chocolate cocoa nib ice cream (as chocolate is my weak spot) and after sampling all the other desserts I was satisfied that mine was the best choice. Pictured on the right was my dad's dessert of hot chocolate pudding with praline parfait. Again lucky for me the ice cream was mine, and it was just as much of a delight as the white chocolate. If this was not enough, at the end of the meal we were brought a cup of freshly made deep chocolate truffles, that I gladly put away and asked for the rest in a doggy bag to devour at home. Very, very good meal and fantastic staff. Only thing I'd say is that it was quite crowded today and you did not feel fully at ease.



- LA LUNA DI LUCA (Richmond): This is one of my favourite little cafes in Richmond. It is run by a lovely italian lady and her son and she creates some of the best culinary delights I have had. She has begun these evenings whereby each month she will be inspired by a certain part of Italy and every Friday or Saturday you can book for £28 pp for a TEN COURSE MEAL. Warning: Food babies may occur. We went here last night and I had been excited to go to one of these evenings for a year. The evening began with a glass of complimentary prosecco and a wooden board with an impressive array of hams and olives. The journey of food then began with plates of cheese, chicory, asparagus, peppers, shellfish, pork, pestos and more. I found it hard to choose one picture to summarise the evening, but I thought the pork was the most impressive. It was slow cooked with fennel and had a fantastic crackling. If you love flavours, meat and a good time this is a MUST. If I was getting married tomorrow I would want her to cater!



I have written quite a lot, and maybe you got bored and never reached the end, or maybe you did and just flicked through the pictures (which is what I do on most blogs anyway!). But I hope I gave you an interesting insight into some of the wonders London has to offer and stay tuned for more culinary delights.