Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Fasting leads to chocolate feasting!

Forty days may be a long time to be in the desert but with the shops already full of tempting treats it feels like an even longer time to be without chocolate. Since Pancake Day, dedicated cocoa abstainers seem to be everywhere, forfeiting their favourite bar, truffles, buttons and brownies for the lengthy days of Lent.

Continue reading at 30 Days of Food & Drink

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Terroirs Wine Bar & Restaurant

At first glance the grey facades of William IV Street in central London give no hint of the gem that is buried beneath the paving stones. Arriving in the packed pre-theatre hour we were led through the bustling upstairs bistro, down a non-descript staircase and into a quiet cellar of a room, suspecting that we had been dragged away from the fun of the top floor...

Read more at 30 Days of Food & Drink 2010

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Monday, 8 March 2010

Secret dining with the Saltoun Supper Club

Secret dining is more than just supper in somebody’s sitting room...

Getting to this secret eatery in South London is something of a treasure hunt in itself. It began with the excitement of securing a booking and continued as we were drip fed enticing nuggets of information as the date drew ever closer, until just a few hours before supper when the location was finally divulged. The adventure continued as we surreptitiously sidled down a quiet residential street wondering who else was in on our secret and what on earth would greet us when we got there.

Keep reading at 30 Days of Food and Drink

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Brittle biscotti is all that a biscuit should be. The real thing should be tooth crackingly crunchy leaving even the most delicate nibblers with a crumb filled plate behind them. The twice baked sticks are perfect coffee dunkers, quickly soaking up bitter black espresso and turning a spongy soft texture in the process; much more friendly to the gnashers.

In Italy they are dipped in Vin Santo as well as coffee, but this isn’t the only tipple you can serve them with. Amaretto liqueur, all sorts of desert wines and even fruity cassis or damson gin offset the sweet, nutty biscuits wonderfully.

Traditionally they are plain or made simply with almonds but there is plenty of scope to add your favourite flavours.

Chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio, raisins, vanilla, ginger, apricots or cranberries are just a few of the ingredients that a trawl of the books will produce.

This recipe is a festive one with plenty of cardamom, spices, nuts and fruit. If you want to personalise it stick to the quantities below but change the fruit, nuts and spices to suit your taste.
Being dried out in the oven for so long means they will last for up to three months in an air tight tin and wrapped in cellophane they’re perfect presents.

Plus they’re made without butter so you can nibble them with a clear conscience.


500g plain flour
500g caster sugar
3tsp baking powder
3tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 eggs (beaten)
1 tsp vanilla or almond essence
150g raw pistachios
150g raw unpeeled almonds
150g dried cranberries
150g dried apricots

Roughly chop all of the fruit and nuts. Sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices into a large bowl. Mix in half of the eggs and vanilla or almond essence and stir well. Gradually add the remaining eggs until you have a firm dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl (you may not need all of the eggs). If the dough is too wet and sticky add a little more flour. Kneed in the fruit and nuts and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide into six and roll each into a long sausage shape which is 3-4cm wide. Place on a baking tray and slightly flatten the cylinders allowing space in between them for rising. Bake at 150˚C for about 25 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for ten minutes and then slice each cylinder on the diagonal into 1cm strips. Lay the strips flat on a baking tray and bake again at 140˚C for 10 minutes, turn them over and bake for a further 10 minutes. The biscuits should be pale but not turn brown, the aim is to dry them out not cook them more.