Wednesday, 8 December 2010

It’s official! Festive season is on…

When I spoke to Carol on Sunday morning, it felt like music to my ears when she said lunch at mine …. After Carla’s birthday cooking session on Saturday, the last thing on my mind was to start cooking again ….

When I got to Carol and Alex’s home I realized the festive season was officially on …. With the Xmas tree up and the Mulled wine perfuming the ambiance the only thing that could be missing was the turkey  to complete the Xmas spirit …. It didn’t take me long to figure out there was nothing missing, the smell coming from the oven gave it away … a huge and delicious turkey,  which I normally find a bit dry,  but this time it was moist and tender, coated with smoked bacon which gave it a really nice touch. It was served with perfect roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts and carrots... just what the doctor ordered !!! And to add to Alex’s  beautiful turkey, Carol made a vegetarian lasagna that everyone loved…
We were all impressed by Alex’s secret, specially because it was the first time he cooked a turkey, but being a good cook as he is, it couldn’t have been first time luck... Later it was revealed that he forgot the turkey’s neck inside, while it was cooking... Could it have been the secret ?!? ;-)

Big thanks to Alex and Carol for the lovely lunch.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Carla's Birthday Party - A Foodscape Event

Last Saturday, our friend Carla celebrated her birthday and asked us to provide canapés for her guests. We couldn’t resist such a tempting offer and naturally since Carla is the talented creator behind our Foodscape logo, we wanted to impress and had to come up with an original and creative menu.

It took many hours of brainstorming and preparation but with the music pumping in our kitchen, we managed to prepare 8 different dishes and 3 desserts, all based on the theme “The Americas”. From crab and mango wraps with a homemade spicy mayonnaise, to cod and shrimp ceviche and margarita cookies, everything went smoothly and we were very pleased with the results! Oh and the margarita cookies: to die for and certainly one of the most creative cookies to ever come out of our kitchen!

Everything we prepared was home-made, even the tapenade and burger buns. Mayos, dips, sauces, nothing came out of a can, all was made with lots of fresh secret ingredients and most importantly, lots and lots of love!

Music entertainment was provided by the talented DJ G.On while guests grooved to the beats. A great success overall, looking forward to the next party.
Happy birthday Carluski!!

Crab & Mango Tortilla Wrap

Tronquitos de Pepino - Cucumber cups with a spicy tuna mix

Tapenade and Sour Cream Crostinis

Mini Burgers with home made buns

Spicy Potato Chunks

Garlic & Pepper Prawns with Lime & Cilantro Base

Shrimp & Cod Ceviche

Margarita Cookies - Goodie bags for the guests

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Mini Burger buns

With Carla’s birthday party coming up, we had to find a recipe for the best mini burger buns … In one of our searches we found this recipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog With so many wonderful comments, we decided to try it at home and take it from there …

We followed the recipe by the book, no alterations whatsoever and they turned out fantastic. As soon as they came out of the oven we ate them with some butter... They were delicious: crispy on the outside, nice and fluffy on the inside with a slightly sweet touch at the end.

Everyone who commented (over 200 people) was absolutely right, this recipe is a winner. Now we are ready for our home made mini burgers!!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Broadway Market

Do take a trip to Broadway market on Saturdays… even during winter, you can still be entertained by the beautiful colors that surround you…
There are plenty of cute coffee shops, restaurants, pubs etc … So don’t be afraid to get cold, you can always warm yourself up with a nice cup of tea or stop for a pint in one of the many places found here… Just be warned, it can get really busy at the weekends, so it might be hard to find a place to sit down anywhere you go, bear in mind you may have to be a little patient but it’s worth the wait to enjoy the buzzing atmosphere.

Just outside the pub Cat & Mutton, there is the fudge stall… They look absolutely amazing and it’s a great Xmas present for the ones with a sweet tooth. 

For further details on Broadway Market and map location, check out their website :

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Spicy crumble for the cold days

Sunday morning, my favorite! I anticipate the sound of the coffee machine and the Aeroccino frother swirling the milk around to make a prefect cappuccino…The sun was shining, a rarity in London at this time of the year. Although the thermometer showed negative figures, I felt the inspiration coming... I stopped lazying around, got myself out of bed and started playing around in the kitchen…

Crumble had been on my mind for a while, so I decided to venture into a berry crumble with a slight innovation - cardamom. The result: a perfumed dessert with a spicy cinnamon touch. Perfect for fueling up and keeping warm!

Ingredients (serves 5)
150g plain flour, sieved with a pinch of salt
90g Muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
100g butter at room temperature

450g red berries
50g Muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 ground cardamom pods

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC
2. For the crumble, place flour and sugar in a bowl, then add the butter a few cubes at a time and rub into flour mixture. Keep rubbing until mixture looks like bread crumbs. Set to the side
3. For the filling, place berries in a separate bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour, cinnamon and cardamom. (To grind the cardamom, you can use a coffee grinder. If you don’t have one, cut the pods very finely with a knife, it works just as well). Gently stir all the ingredients together making sure you don’t break the fruits.
4. Grease 5 individual moulds and fill with the berries, then sprinkle the crumble mix on top.
5. Bake in the oven for approximately 25mins until golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling.
6. Serve with mascarpone or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Thanksgiving dinner, our alternative option...

This is an alternative suggestion to the traditional turkey dinner for busy people in the city… When you work full time, where do you find time to spend 6 hours in the kitchen preparing dinner on a weekday knowing that Thanksgiving is not a public holiday in the UK. Amani normally hosts a Thanksgiving dinner every year, it was hard to convince her to give up the turkey idea … but in the end she realized that cooking turkey on a Thursday night wasn’t going to happen … So instead we went for the simple but tasty option... Did anyone say CHEEEEEEEEEESE? In 15 mins of preparation you have a fabulous feast that not only looks great but tastes absolutely delicious!

Amani's mum brought a range of different cheeses from Paris, including some of our favorites: Comte, Camembert, Roquefort, Crotin de Chavignol, Epoisse, Cantal and fresh goat cheese...and the best baguettes in the WORLD ... no, I'm not exaggerating, the Pichard is to die for and their recipe is a well kept secret …. And to add to our delicious selection, Maria brought some Jamon Iberico from Madrid … yummy!

A massive thanks to Amani’s mum for bringing us a taste of France right here at home in London.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Can shopping be compared with simple comfort?

With the Xmas feeling spread throughout the streets, I can hardly resist the temptation of shopping… I’m easily distracted by beautiful lighting and colors, that somehow stops me from seeing the price tag. How do you walk around and resist the temptation of buying everything that shines at you???

So I carried on walking and decided to stop at the Verde&Company which is a very cute and cozy grocery store combined with a coffee shop, the products range from fruit compotes, jams, pastas, olive oil, some fresh fruits and vegetables, nice selection of continental European goodies, and the warm ambiance is an invitation for you to sit down and chat with the friendly staff ...  

Not saying you should turn to food as alternative to crazy shopping… We all need to watch our weight, especially with the festive season coming up, but there is nothing wrong with some comfort… When you are just about to spend a fortune on a stunning dress or a lovely winter coat that “you don’t have”…  Instead, I thought I would walk into a coffee shop and order the most glamorous coffee I could find…  I ended up ordering a cappuccino,  even thought of some Belgium chocolate… But in the process found myself being satisfied by a simple touch of comfort and coziness around me …

40 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 6AG.
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7247 1924  

Sunday, 21 November 2010

From classic to vintage ...

Following the tea theme, we move from the classic clean look of Kings' Road to the vintage feel of East London ...
Walking around brick lane and exploring the markets, I spotted this “tea rooms” and decided to check it out. As you walk into the room, you will find different feel and look to the ambiance as you move from one space to another, the vintage pieces are for sale , and just by looking at them it really makes you want to host a girlie afternoon tea ...Worth checking it out if you are looking for some old pieces


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Bellocq Tea Atelier

Hello Tea Lovers
Since Foodscape is London based, we thought a tea atelier would be the perfect shop to cover for our first story in this section.

Situated on King’s road, Bellocq is not just a beautiful organic tea shop. Tea blends are concocted directly on site and customers are invited to sample any tea they like. From the Noble Savage blend which has juniper berries, douglas fir tips and wild flowers to the White Nixon, a white peony blend with lavender and grapefruit notes, there is something for everyone. The Earl Grey is a definite winner: made with Ceylon black tea and pure Sicilian Bergamot essence, its natural fragrance and flavor will take your breath away.

A visit here is made all the more inviting by the presence of Micheal Shannon, one of the venture’s founders, as well as his friendly and knowledgeable team.

Bellocq Tea Atelier
141 King’s Road, London SW3 4PW
Tel: 0800 014 8119

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 is live ....

After a few weeks of work putting some of our ideas together and cooking like crazy, we're finally ready to share this blog with you ... Big thanks to all our friends who are just as excited as we are and helped us along the way. A special thanks to Carla for designing our logo and to Zuhair for the set up.

And to celebrate, why not another dinner with friends ?!? ... mid week feast ... I'll let Amani elaborate on the beautiful dishes  ...

Watch the space grow, much more to come ...

Hope you enjoy it and stay with us.
Lots of love, 
Fabs & Amani

Mid-week feast at home!

Last night’s dinner was Middle Eastern. The combination of vibrant colors and flavors always brings life to the table. We cooked Mujadara, a Lebanese dish with rice, lentils and caramelized onions. Then we cooked lamb chops marinated in a very special sauce – a recipe my sister taught me a few years back and that has been passed around from one continent to another. Enjoy!

Mujadara (serves 4-5)
1 cup of basmati rice
1 cup of green lentils
4 x large onions
2 x teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
4 x tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preparation :
1) Cook the lentils in water for 20 mins and set aside.
2) Peel the onions and chop finely lengthwise. Add the olive oil in a pan on high heat and toss in your onions, stirring occasionally to brown evenly. (This is where my version of Muajadara differs from the traditional one: usually the onions are cooked until crispy but I prefer them caramelized). Once the onions become translucent, lower your heat and cook very slowly for a further 20 mins or until dark brown and set aside.
3) Cook the rice in the same pan used for the onions. Add the cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper, then add the lentils and stir gently for a couple of minutes. Fill the pan with water (usually about 1cm above rice level) and cook on low heat for approximately 20 mins.
4) To serve, put the rice and lentils on a plate then sprinkle the onions all around.

Tip: you can serve this dish with natural yogurt on the side 

Alia's Lamb Chops
Ingredients (serves 5-6 people)
12-14 lamb chops
1 x large bunch of fresh coriander 
6 x garlic cloves
5 x tablespoons olive oil
4 x chillies (seeded)
the juice of x 2 limes
2 x teaspoons of ground cumin
1 x teaspoon paprika.

1) Mix all the ingredients in a blender - this makes the marinade. Pour over the lamb chops and marinate for a couple of hours.
2) In a hot pan, gently sear the lamb chops on the fat side to get a brown color. Once this is done, place all your chops in a tray and cook at 200C for 15-20 minutes depending how you like your meat cooked.

Thank you Alia, you made many happy taste buds over the years!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Greek Pasta & Green salad - Dinner with Olga

This is the perfect dinner if you want to opt for a vegetarian meal: Greek pasta with feta cheese, kalamata olives and fresh mint leaves, served with a green bean, mushroom and rocket leaves salad.
The first time I ever tasted Greek pasta was at Najla's house - my best friend and also a food lover! The combination of fresh mint with the olives and the feta is like a match made in heaven…This recipe has been passed on from one friend to another and is a major success every time it is served. Not only is it delicious but the color combination looks amazing. Thank you Najoul, you have satisfied countless  taste buds with this recipe since 2003…

Greek Pasta – Ingredients (serves 4)
400g penne
2 x cans chopped tomatoes
4 x crushed garlic cloves
4 x table spoons olive oil
100g Kalamata olives
150g feta cheese
Fresh mint leaves
¾ tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper

1) For the tomato sauce, pour the olive oil into a hot pan and add the chopped tomatoes.
2) Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic (sprinkle with salt to get a smooth texture) and add to the sauce.  
3) Add the Cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and leave to cook on high heat for 15 mins.
Lower to medium heat and reduce for a further 20 mins. Your sauce should not be too liquid; if water runs on the side of your pan then continue to cook until the texture thickens.
4) While the sauce is cooking pick the mint leaves from the stems. Pit the olives and chop grossly. Then crumble the feta and set all aside.
5) Cook the pasta al dente (cooking time varies, follow packaging instructions).
6) Once the pasta is cooked, mix in the tomato sauce, then sprinkle the mint, feta and olives on top. Finish with fresh ground pepper and serve with a glass of red wine!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Friday, 12 November 2010

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Garlic Tomato sauce

Here is yet another pumpkin recipe … well with a 5kg pumpkin we are still feeling the late effects of the Halloween frenzy
This is something for you to try when you are in the mood of playing in your kitchen, rolling the gnocchi can be a lot of fun but it can get quite messy to!

Pumpkin Gnocchi with garlic tomato sauce
serves 4 large – 6 small

Ingredients :
450 grams roasted pumpkin puree
olive oil and salt and herbs to roast the pumpkin
250 grams of potato puree
1 egg yolk lightly beaten
300 grams of plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of grated nutmeg
Salt and grounded black pepper
Tomato sauce:
1tin of chopped tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic pressed
1 medium onion finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
Parmesan cheese for topping followed by parsley or basil (optional)

Cut the pumpkin into strips and place them on a baking sheet. Toss them with a little olive oil, herbs and salt. Roast them at 180-200C for about 30 minutes or until tender. Let them cool for a few minutes until cold enough to handle. Meanwhile boil the potatoes in a sauce pan for 20 minutes or until tender

With both the pumpkin and potatoes cooked, start it with the potatoes as you need to puree it while it’s hot to be able to get a smooth and fluffy texture.  Put it in a large ball and use the fork or a potato masher, do the same with the pumpkin in a separate ball until it is soft and mix it all together.

Add the egg yolk and flour, salt, ground pepper and nutmeg. Mix with a fork. This should turn into a sticky dough.

Dust a wooden board or your work surface with flour. Coat your hands with flour. Take a medium ball and roll it into a long log that is about 1/2" thick in diameter. Cut this log into 1- 1 1/2" pieces. Roll each piece on your fork to create indentations and drop it on a baking sheet lined with lightly floured parchment. Repeat until you have cut all the dough.

Tip: don’t use too much flour to roll them as it will harden the mixture

To cook them bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi. They are done when they float to the surface.

In the meantime, for the tomato sauce, add garlic and onion in to a large sauce pan. Let them get golden brown. Add the tin of tomatoes and cayenne pepper let it simmer for 25 min.

Place the gnocchi on large plates add the tomato sauce on top . Serve it with parmesan and sprinkles of fresh parsley or basil.