Lunch in Brighton

During last week-end, we had a little road trip, part of which was half a day spend in Brighton, which in my book is always a good idea! It is so refreshing, energising, full of character and amazing places to eat and drink! As we spent most of the morning browsing ‘The Lanes’, for lunch we decided to try one of the eatery there too. It’s called ‘Fil Fil’ and they are popular with Falafels. However, we went for their other special: Fil Fil Mezze Plater (see pictures below). It was absolutely delicious, made with fresh ingredients to order in front of you, good size portion, with an efficient service, friendly atmosphere and a location as a bonus! Falafels were devine – crispy and almost nutty on outside and soft and nicely spiced in inside. The only criticism that the Baba Ganoush was a bit under seasoned but still pleasantly refreshing. The price for the sharing platter for two was £13.50, which is good value, as the portion size is not too stingy, but just a perfect amount. They also prepare a few types of smoothies, which was also delicious (we had ‘Ecuator Breeze’ with Mango, Pineapple, Coconut and Orange – was very refreshing – unfortunately I didn’t take a photo – was too thirsty :). We were extremely pleased with this place and we’d definitely come back there again.

Later on we tried for fist time ever (I know, Im so behind 🙂 Bubble Tea (I had Macha Tea with Tapioca & Mark had Almond Milk one) from Pearls which, to be honest didn’t rock our boat. We both liked the Macha one more, Almond one was a bit powdery and too sweet. May be we should try something else or it is for an acquire taste. 🙂

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Apple Fritters

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Whenever I cook these apple fritters (or back home they are called ‘Apple Coronas’), I always think of My Grandma, it always brings  a smile to my face and the happy memories. When it was an apple season, she would make them almost every day (obviously, by a popular demand) and it is a favourite of my grand dad too, so you had to be quick to get the best ones and they, normally, never reached the table and were eaten straight away, still hot, on their way from the pan to the plate, with chilled glass of fresh milk.

APPLE FRITTERS

Ingredients:

150g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

50g caster sugar

250ml buttermilk

1 egg

20g butter, melted & cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 apples, sliced into thin rings and remove the cores

icing sugar for dusting

Plus butter for frying

Method:

1. Mix together flour, soda, salt and sugar in a bawl and leave it aside. Then in a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients (buttermilk, melted butter, egg, vanilla extract. Then add wet mixture into dry one and stir just until it forms a batter, then leave it to sit for 5 minutes. Batter should be quite thick consistency in order to ‘stick’ to the apple slices eventually.

2. Slice the apples into rings, removing the cores carefully. Heat a non-stick pan with some butter over a moderate heat. Then dunk each slice into the batter and carefully place them onto the pan, leaving a bit space between them, as the fritters will spread a little. (Alternatively, you can spoon a little batter on a pan first, then place a slice of apple, then cover with drop of batter on top. Im sure by one way or another you will get the hang of it.) Give it a few minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. They won’t be even, but there is a charm in it. Perhaps that’s why they called ‘Coronas’, because they are golden colou with the bits sticking out every way 🙂 Also, keep an eye on a heat and the butter, otherwise they can burn quickly.

3. When the fritter are evenly cooked and golden brown, remove them on the plate and dust generously with the icing sugar. Continue making with the rest of the apples and batter the same way.

Rhubarb & Sour Cream Cake

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I still had plenty of rhubarb left after making the Lamb Meatballs the day before. But this time I definitely wanted something SWEET. When we were young, my Grandma baked this delicious Rhubarb Crumble Cake, which was my absolute favourite, but as Im still ‘mastering’ my yeast dough technique. I opted for an easier version, but still using another one of my favourite ingredients – sour cream! I am sure anyone who doesn’t like rhubarb will like this cake. It is not sour at all, it is just ‘hinting’ with rhubarb flavour, but because of the sour cream, the cake tastes so smooth, tender and creamy.

SOUR CREAM & RHUBARB CAKE

(based on a recipe by Belinda Jeffery)

Ingredients:

350g self-raising flour

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

60g butter, at room temperature

200 g brown sugar

1 large egg

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

250 ml sour cream

Approx 450g rhubarb, cut in chunks

150 caster sugar

25g flaked almonds for decoration on a top (optional)

Plus: cream, whipped cream or ice cream to serve

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix together flour, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

2. Put the butter and brown sugar in a separate bowl and beat together till the mixture will remind you of wet sand. Then add an egg and beat till mixture will become smooth and fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla extract, mix until combined.

3. Mix in the flour mixture, following by rhubarb. Mix everything, making sure that the rhubarb is completely coated in batter.

4. Once combined, transfer the mixture into prepared cake tin and spindle generously with the flaked almonds and caster sugar, if you wish. Bake it for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the wooden toothpick comes out clean. You can serve it warm or just wait until it is completely cool (I think when it is even better!) and drench it in a cream! 🙂

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Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb and Pomegranate

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When I saw this recipe on Helen Graves blog I couldn’t wait to try it. I love rhubarb in everything and thought the combination of the ingredients is quite unusual. I did tweak the recipe a little, for instance, I didn’t have Turkish pepper paste or Turkish chillies, so I already can not call the meatballs ‘Turkish’. I replaced the Turkish paste with Harissa paste instead, as well as adding fresh pomegranate as a topping at the end. With all the rest – I did follow exact recipe. As a result, I liked it but Mark didn’t, saying it was a little too sour for his ‘refined’ palette. I was a bit disappointed to begin with because I really thought that would be a great dish, but the problem was that this dish was a bit on a sour side. And it is great if you like it (like me), but if you have quite sensitive palette, maybe better to leave out.

I’d like to cook this dish again in future but I would definitely replace the rhubarb with, maybe, plums or apricots. But I leave it up to you, to make your own choice.

LAMB MEATBALLS WITH RHUBARB AND POMEGRANATE

Ingredients:

500g lean lamb mince

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Harissa paste

12- teaspoons mild chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 slices bread soaked in not too much of milk until completely wet, then squeeze the excess of water

oil & butter for frying

For the sauce:

2 sticks rhubarb (approx 300g)

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

generous splash white wine

1 tablespoon sugar

pistachios or fresh pomegranate to garnish (optional)

Method:

1. Make the meatballs by combining the lamb mince, onion, garlic, Harissa paste, chilli, cinnamon, bread and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix really well using your hands, then shape into 25 balls. In a frying pan, heat a splash of oil and knob of butter. Fry the balls in batches, about 5 or 6 at a time, until browned, then set aside. Drain the fat off into a bowl but keep it set aside.

2. De-glaze the pan with a good glug of the wine. Add the rhubarb,  pomegranate molasses, sugar and some salt. Add a generous splash of water, bring to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan with some of the drained fat, and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on. Serve with cous cous or bread, or rice, or as a pitta bread filler and yoghurt. Garnish with pistachios or pomegranate seeds.

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Anchovy & Chickpea Crostini

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Following on from my previous entry, I’d like to continue the ‘Chickpea’ topic. I have this gorgeous book I got from Mark on Venetian Cuisine, called Polpo which not only contents most amazing recipes but it looks absolutely wonderful from design point of you. I have to confess I haven’t cooked many recipes from it yet, purely because it is hard to get an access to such ingredients like cod cheeks or squid’s ink, or cotechino sausage. But one recipe from this book I used so many times, for many occasions and as humble as it is, it always causes a hit because of its tasty combination.

ANCHOVY AND CHICKPEA CROSTINI

Ingredients:

1 tin of chickpeas (about 400g)

10 anchovy fillets, plus some of their oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon tahini

handful chopped parsley

pepper

about 4 tablespoons good quality olive oil

1/2 French stick (or other bread), sliced and lightly toasted

Method:

1. Place everything but extra olive oil in a food processor and pulse few times until chunky paste. Add a bit more anchovy or olive oil if you need, adjust the seasoning, but please note, there is no need for salt as anchovy and its oil should be plenty).

2. You can serve it straight away or put it in a covered container and keep it in the fridge for up to a week (if you do so, do bring it to room temperature before serving). To eat, spread roughly onto lightly toasted slices of French stick. Garnish with parsley. Drizzle generously with olive oil to finish.

Beetroot Hummus

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I, probably, won’t surprise you with something you never heard about before. Hummus and its variations are very popular food these days. Let it be just a reminder to eat more of it.  It is one of the simplest, healthiest and most delicious summer food!

BEETROOT HUMMUS

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas (about 400g)

300g cooked beetroot

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon tahini

juice of half lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper to season

chopped parsley to garnish

Method:

Place all ingredient but parsley into food processor and pulse  few times to a coarse paste. Adjust the seasoning and add more olive oil, if you wish, to desired consistency. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve it with the warm toasted pittas or as a sandwich filler, or as a topping to anything you want 🙂