Deeson’s, Canterbury.

Deeson’s is amazing. We were looking for a nice restaurant in Canterbury and we found it. Some 500 strong reviews recommend Deeson’s as THE place to eat in Canterbury, when we couldn’t get a reservation for dinner we were devastated. Our commitment to fine dining is so strong that we took an early dinner, 5pm slot and we were not disappointed.

Deeson’s use local produce where possible and have ‘Taste of Kent‘ awards – we salivated at the thought.

Of course, we looked at the wine menu first and when we saw our favourite, Chapel Down‘s Flint Dry, we had to go for it. The rest of our menu choices came from there, having white wine, we decided to go white meat and fish…

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Toby started with a Seafood Platter. Mackeral pate, salmon mousse, deep fried scallop and whitebait. It was a feast for the eyes and the mouth.

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I went for the Broccoli Soup which was superb and presented in its own little saucepan.

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Main course – Toby went for the Sea Trout with Pak Choi and cockles, with a delicious buttery sauce.

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I went for roast chicken with a roast chicken pie, fondant potatoes, endives, chanterelle mushrooms and bacon sauce. It was superb! Usually chicken is a boring option but this was something else.

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For dessert;  a cheeseboard. A good range of British cheese and all arranged in a very interesting way. The brie was warm – they really take the care to get it right.

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I went for a mulled wine poached pear with honeycomb ice cream and a flapjack – it was sensational. It tasted like Christmas.

The ambience and service are superb. For four people dining, three courses each, wine and tea and coffee, the bill came to a reasonable £160 – £40 a head. We were all stuffed and satisfied and can’t recommend Deeson’s enough.

Key Lime Pie

Fruity and zesty deserts are my favourite. So, following a big mexican meal, I decided to try my hand at a Key Lime Pie, I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but it was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 200g ginger biscuits
  • 100g butter
  • Zest and juice of 4 limes
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Can of carnation condensed milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  2. Crush the biscuits until they resemble breadcrumbs
  3. Melt the butter and add this to the breadcrumbs, mix well and then put this at the bottom of your pie dish to make the biscuit base, bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool
  4. Put the sugar, lime zest, juice and yolks into a mixing bowl and mix well
  5. Add your condensed milk and continue to beat
  6. Pour the mix onto your biscuit base and bake for 20 minutes
  7. The pie should be set, with a slight wobble in the middle
  8. Allow to cool and decorate with lime slices or whipped double cream

It is so quick and easy, but so delicious. The pale green pie colour is beautiful too.

Ebly

So it is one of those unfortunate evenings when you do not have the time or energy to put together a culinary masterpiece, what do you do?

A recommendation is to give Ebly a go. This tasty stuff can easily fill out a meal of quick and easy food such as some roasted vegetables and meats.

We had it with some home made curry and simple veg. It is a brilliant alternative to rice and couscous and is perhaps even better when cold!

Ebly is fairly hard to come by and only a few Waitrose stores stock it, but if you ever see it around, get yourself a box and perhaps this will become a staple of your kitchen cupboards too!

Tomato Soup

So if like us you are feeling a bit distressed that the weather has taken a turn for the worse, then perhaps some tomato soup could warm you up. Tomato soup holds memories for me of being of school sick as a teenager, now I love how quick, easy and nutritious a bowl of homemade tomato soup is…

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 jar of passata or 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • 350ml vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Chop and fry your onion in olive oil until soft and slightly brown, add chopped garlic
  2. Add your chopped carrot and celery and fry all together until soft, add water if it gets too dry
  3. Once this is softened, add your passata or chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper
  4. Add vegetable stock and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, add some fresh basil
  5.  Whizz the soup and it is ready to eat, if it seems a little too thick, add some more water
  6. Season with salt and pepper, sometimes I even ass a little pesto. Ideally serve with homemade bread!

The Guildable Manor

Borough Market should be a favourite spot for any foodie, however one of the main problems you may face is what to buy for lunch! With so much on offer ranging from burgers, falafel wraps, Jamacian curries and beyond, one can be spoilt for choice…

Despite usually being put off by the large queue, we decided to queue up and try the grilled delights The Guildable Manor had to offer, and we were not disappointed. The Guildable Manor offer high quality baguettes and promise to use local and seasonal produce. Marinated halloumi, chicken, beef, lamb and game are all on offer and the homemade sauces are a delicious accompaniment, I love the harrisa, salsa verde and aioli.

At just £4.80 for a huge baguette (they are filled SO well), we think this is some of the best value for money food available at Borough Market and it is no wonder the place is so popular. We have tried the halloumi, chicken and lamb baguettes now and have been deeply satisfied afterwards and often end up craving more the next day.

So don’t be put off by the queue, it moves really quickly and just shows how good the food at the end is!

Cardamon Loaf

This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery ‘Cake Days’ cook book, a baking bible.

Ingredients

  • 190g unsalted butter
  • 190g plain flour
  • 15 cardamon pods split and crushed
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 30ml soured cream
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees
  2. Mix together the butter and sugar
  3. Add the eggs and mix
  4.  Add the flour and mix
  5. Add the crushed cardamon pods
  6. Add the vanilla essence
  7. Add the soured cream and mix
  8. Add the baking powder and mix
  9. Put in a greased loaf tin and bake for 60 minutes

This will smell amazing as it cooks. The flavour reminds me of Indian sweets, it is a very interesting flavour and the loaf has become a favourite in our house!

Duck Sandwich

Borough Market is one of my favourite foodie places to visit in London. It caters for almost any cuisine you can imagine, serving up both delicious food to take away and raw ingredients to make the most exotic of recipes at home.

Passing through regularly, it is always a good place to grab some lunch and pictured is the overwhelmingly popular Duck Sandwich from Le Marché du Quarter. The vendor of this fine food craft is located right at the back of the market and is easily found by following the masses of people coming from there with these things in hand. You had better be quick though as there have been times that I have missed out due to there being no duck left!

What you can expect if you are early enough is a delicious crispy/smooth duck sandwich garnished with rocket on a Ciabatta bun. For £5 you cant go far wrong with this and it goes down oh so well with a delicious pint of New Forest Cider who have a stand just round the corner.

Stained Glass Pasta

Pasta can be so dull and is often used as a bland meal filler. It can however be the main attraction as we found out a couple of weeks ago with an intense masterclass from a real Italian about how to make Stained Glass Pasta. The idea is simple, make your pasta using a traditional recipe and then create pasta sheets with it using a pasta maker. Make it as thin as you dare and then lay it out on a flour dusted surface. Place on half of the long thin sheets, various herbs (the greener the better, basil and coriander are great) and fold over. Run the sheets through the pasta maker again to seal in the beauty.

What you are left with is a clear understanding as to how this type of pasta gets its name.

Let the pasta dry for about half an hour and use as you would use any other fresh pasta sheets. In simpler dishes the flavours of the various herbs will come through, but in a more complex dish like a lasagna, the flavours will amply augment the existing flavours.

Herman The German Friendship Cake

This is how Herman came to us, in a jar and then decanted into a mixing bowl with a device Brunel himself would have been proud of. Herman is more of a concept than a food, the premise being that you share Herman with your friends. The best way to explain the idea is to look at the instructions below.

Our Herman came from a good friend who is also a total food nut and who was totally captured by the idea when it was shared with him. There is something about the lengthy process of raising Herman that gives the final product something quite special indeed.

Despite looking rather like a bucket of sick every time you ‘Stir well’ the end result is a true culmination of the labour of love put into Herman.

I can give my full recommendation that Herman The German Friendship Cake is a great thing to do with friends and family and a further recommendation that the final delicious and indeed, as the instructions say, enjoyed with ice cream when still warm is just amazing.

If you wan to start a new Herman, then this initial recipe is available at the Herman The German Friendship Cake website along with lots of other Herman related things.

Pho, the Perfect Hangover Cure

When we have been drinking in abundance (most weekends) and we wake up feeling we have been hit by a bus, we know there is one thing that can clear our muzzy heads, Pho noodle soups.

Pho Cafe is a Vietnamese London based chain restaurant offering a range of tasty and nutritious Vietnamese dishes. It feels cleansing, the perfect January detox food and amazingly soothing for any cold or hangover.

Despite being a carnivore, I often opt for the delicious vegetatian option at Pho. I like to start with veggie summer rolls and sweet chilli dipping sauce and then move on to a hot and spicy tofu and mushroom noodle soup.

Given that I am usually trying to get over the night before when visiting Pho, I find the flower teas both beautiful to look at and deliciously refreshing to drink. The prices are very reasonable, around £4 for a starter and £8 for a main.

The next time you feel you need to ‘clear your head’, you know where to go, PHO. Was the rhyme too much? I think so….