Saturday, May 30, 2009

Homegrown Strawberries

Hmmm... well, I mentioned that I'm excited to get back to my kitchen and to garden produce in France, as well as to the superb local strawberries. So it's of a bummer that the strawberries in my garden are ready right now! Hopefully there'll still be some late ones ripening by the time I get home, but in the meantime I'll have to make do with this juicy photo of a small proportion of the strawbs from my garden, and console myself with the fact that my kind friend who tends the garden is getting a well-deserved reward. (Photo courtesy of gardening friend.) I must plant some more varieties so that there are always strawberries whenever I arrive between May and September.

Juicy, fragrant, delicious, organic, homegrown strawberries.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Flavoured Coffee

I've just received some flavoured Colombian coffee samples from Cherizena ( They've recently launched their blueberry cream coffee, and I was dying to try it - love anything blueberry! They also sent vanilla nut flavour and their chocolate and raspberries flavour. All smell gorgeous, although the blueberry and vanilla ones smell slightly sickly, if only because I associate those aromas with very sweet syrups. But here's the beauty of these coffees; I really enjoy having syprups, such as hazelnut, in coffee - especially iced coffee - but I can't bare sugar in white coffee. The syrups are always so sweet, which ruins the whole effect for me, but with these flavoured coffees, you get the taste but don't have to endure sweetness. Brilliant!

The chocolate and raspberries variety smells the most delicious to me, but so far I have only tried the blueberry cream. It was a lovely drink in its own right; you can still enjoy the coffee itself, but the blueberry is satisfyingly strong and leaves a very nice taste in your mouth. You need to be in an indulgent blueberry coffee mood rather than an ordinary coffee mood to enjoy it fully, but I'll definitely be drinking this delight again. Mmm the kitchen smells damn good now, too! I can't wait to try the other flavours, but I've had rather a lot of caffeine already today.

Cherizena make their flavoured coffees simply by soaking robust Arabica Colombian coffee beans in flavour-infused oil, then leaving them to dry naturally. They also sell speciality and rare coffees, without the flavourings.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yey! Back to France!

...Well, only for 3 weeks (8th - 30th June), which will rush by, but I'm soooo looking forward to being back in my kitchen! Just the prospect of returning is making me all freshly inspired and enthused about cooking, concocting and just generally eating; homemade perfect pizzas cooked in my wood-fired oven, ridiculously rich homemade ice-creams, salads of lush home-grown or market produce and garden herbs, cool summer soups, scrambled village eggs, barbecued meat and fish and cephalopods and fruit and veg and breads, picnics and booze on the beach, croissants and pain au chocolat with coffee, steak tartare, fruits de mer, oozing little goat cheeses... and so on, and on... Ooh, and I'll make a strawberry tart with the wonderously juicy and fragrant local varieties that are in season! Actually, how the hell am I going to fit all of my French food fun into 3 weeks?

My kitchen in France

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Brighton; Kurdish Restaurant Reccommendation, Pomegranate

There are so many restaurants in Brighton, mostly with the same 'for-educated-foodies-but-not-fine-dining' aim, that it is difficult to decide which to try next, and a gamble that your chosen venue will achieve its aim. Here is one to try that you might miss, without a recommendation: Pomegranate, in Kemptown. It's in a side street (Manchester St), just near Harry Ramsden's on the sea front, and it's not only good, but interesting and exciting, too.

For starters, the very fresh garlic chilli prawns were juicy, perfectly cooked and genuinely very spicy and garlicky indeed. They were covered in chili oil and coriander in oil, richly seasoned, and served on top of a light flatbread. The flatbread soaked up the absolutely delicious oil and juices. Yesss! It was that elusive find; a chef who is not afraid of serving plenty of flavour or oil. My companion was so impressed, that he ordered a second plate of the spicy prawn dish to go with his main course.

Prawns with garlic and hot pepper

Next up was lamb kebabs for me, lamb chops for him. The kebab dish was one of the nicest things I've ever had in my mouth; plate-sized, puffy, soft flatbread, with chunks of tender griddled lamb, Pomegranate's 'special butter-yogurt sauce', HOT and fragrant chili oil in a pot, beautifully roasted Mediterranean vegetables, delicate salad (lovely, not-too-sweet honey dressing), and this buttery, salty erm.. stuff all over the bread and soaked into a little mound of rice. I would normally leave all the rice with a carby dish like this, but the butter sauce was so unbelievably delicious, that I had to keep going. I didn't want this dining experience to end, anyway. Plus, I kept having sneaky tastes of the prawns again, and then having to finish once more on the butter.

The generous portion of char-grilled chops came with a mellow lemon and oregano oil, dainty salads and rice. Both massive platefuls were big on presentation, but the portions were not over-sized - just generous and presented with a bit of refined and pretty drama.

Lamb kebabs

Everything was so goddamn tasty, running with flavour and mouthwatering juices, and perfectly balanced in every direction. All the dishes were clearly cooked to order, and everything was certainly made from scratch on the unassuming premises. I really wish I'd had room to taste the delightful-sounding stuffed figs, but hopefully another time. Even though I'm usually on a mission to keep trying new places, this is one place I have to go back to - my mouth waters at the thought.

The prawns were £6.50, the main courses about £12 - amazing value, considering the thought, skill, ingredients and effort that had gone into the food here, compared to other similarly-priced restaurants. I've just seen from Pomegranate's website (, that their ingredients are organic, and the chef (Hassan) is also the joint owner, which all helps.

The waitress (is that the owner/chef's partner, Zelal?) was friendly, attentive and discreet. The timing between courses was ideal. (UPDATE: That wasn't Zelal - we met her the next time we ate here, when she was our waitress - highly professional with a sparkling sense of humour.)

I'm utterly chuffed to have found this eating option! Thank-you, Pomegranate, for a special meal.