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Friday, 30 November 2012

Diwali Banquet 2012

Bitten by the Instagram bug yet? Yeah, me too! (Although I also love Snapseed and Big Lens as well.) Everyone seems to be snapping their food these days - it's NOT JUST ME!! The great thing is it's instantaneous, take the photo with your phone or iPod and ta-da!

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Pecan praline chocolate fancies. Choc + cake = love!

This photo of my pecan praline chocolate fancies won me a ticket to the Diwali Banquet (Festival of Lights), held at Cinnamon Kitchen, London. The banquet is a gala dinner uniting 6 of the country's top Indian (including 1 Mauritian) chefs, in aid of Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organisation committed to ending child hunger.

For the competition, which was in aid of the annual Love Food Give Food appeal, you had to snap a picture of your food and upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #lovefoodgivefood and a hashtag of one of the three blogs where you read about the competition, in my case it was English Mum's post, hashtag #offthetable, saying what the photo meant to you. There were over 200 entries, so I was thrilled to hear that I was 1 of 3 winners. I decided to buy my husband a ticket so he could go too, it's a great charity to support.

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It wouldn't be right if I didn't share the amazing food that was served at the banquet with you. Indian food is one of my favourite cuisines - and this wasn't your average Indian take-away food, believe me! Beautifully presented, every dish had it's own unique flavours, served with Indian wines and beers, it was a delicious night.

This year, the chefs were Vivek Singh and Abdul Yaseen of the Cinnamon Club and Kitchen, Sriram Aylur of Michelin starred Quilon, this year's Masterchef winner, Shelina Permalloo, Head Chef at Benares Sameer Taneja and food writer and broadcaster Anjum Anand.  

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The evening started with a Champagne reception, sponsored by Taittinger, which was accompanied with canapes, from Abdul Yaseen.

Lamb mince kebab wrapped in roomali bread, corander chutney IMG_6026 ch R
Lamb mince kebab wrapped in roomali bread, corander chutney

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Grilled tilapia with coconut & mustard, red pepper relish

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Hunter style game fritters with mustard & green pea 'raita'

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Indo-Chinese chilli paneer

Then we sat down to a stunning 5 course main event:

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From Anjum Anand, Delicate yoghurt kebab

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From Sriram Aylur, Duo of black leg chicken - chicken sukke with lentil crust and coriander & curry leaf chicken

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The vegetarians had this instead of the chicken dish

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From Sameer Taneja, Sea bass ki kathi, Calcutta-inspired sea bass kathi, masala puff, peppers & free range eggs

Tandoor smoked Kentish lamb saddle with saffron sauce and anise pilau IMG_6079 ch R
From Vivek Singh, tandoor smoked Kentish lamb saddle with saffron sauce & anise pilau

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My husband had this mega prawn dish instead of the lamb

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Naan breads with sauce

Check out the dessert!

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From Shelina Permalloo, tropical tapioca with coconut,
rose & palm sugar

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From Dhruv Baker, petit fours, pistachio rose & cardamom mini madeleines, mukhwas shortbread hearts

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The chefs line up with Action Against Hunger's Executive Director, photo credited with thanks to ©ACF_UK S.Haunstein-Swan

 Live performance from Mitel Purohit and S-Funk IMG_6106 R
A live performance from Mitel Purohit & S-Funk 

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There was a silent auction and a raffle

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The evening was hosted by Hardeep Singh Kohli

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The Diwali Banquet raised an impressive £33,995 for Action Against Hunger!
Did you know that if you enter a food photo that you took on your phone into the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Food Sn-apping category, £2 will go to Action Against Hunger and you could win £5000?!

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2012 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Mexican Supper Club

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Margaritas de Sandia

When we lived in Tucson, Mexican restaurants could be found on most of the street corners, and the supermarkets sold ingredients that I had never seen before - I had no clue what to do with most of them! Coming back after nearly 6 years (now knowing how to make a decent taco!) I was pleased to see that Mexican food was beginning to become popular over here, and that some of the ingredients could also be found if you searched for them.
Ten years on, Mexican restaurants are popping up all over London (and the UK) and it's never been easier to find tortillas, salsas and other Mexican style products, just look in your local supermarket.

Therefore, I was quite pleased to be invited to a Mexican Supper Club with Discovery Foods and Benito's Hat, hosted by The London Foodie Luiz Hara, along with other food bloggers.

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Table setting

Head Chef, Felipe Fuentes Cruz IMG_5970 ch
Head Chef Felipe Fuentes Cruz making the tacos

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Guacamole y Salsas

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We started off with freshly pressed watermelon margaritas, which were accompanied with homemade tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa verde, salsa brava and soured cream.

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A lovely warm oregano sweetcorn appetizer followed.

Cheese and potato filled fried corn tacos 
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Taquitos Dorados de Papa con dos Quesos
Then we sat down to a starter of cheese and potato filled fried corn tacos, served with avocado salsa. This was my favourite dish and one I'm going to recreate at home.

Garlic and paprika shrimp tacos with 
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Tacos de Camarón
The main course was garlic and paprika shrimp tacos with chipotle mayonnaise, the prawns could easily be replaced with grilled vegetables if you are vegetarian.

Cinnamon fritters with real vanilla ice 
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A wonderful surprise was the dessert, a simple dish of cinnamon fritters with real vanilla ice cream and strawberries. Recipe below.

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All washed down with a Mexican beer

All the food was cooked by Benito's Hat's Head Chef, Felipe Fuentes Cruz, and the ingredients were supplied by Discovery Foods.

Buñuelos (Cinnamon Fritters)
Serves 2

4 Discovery flour tortillas
250ml/1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream to serve
Extra ground cinnamon to sprinkle over

Cut the tortillas into strips about 2cm wide.
Pour the vegetable oil into a saucepan and heat on medium until it is very hot but not smoking.
In batches, carefully slide the tortilla strips into the hot oil and fry for a minute or so until they are light brown, turning with tongs to prevent from burning.
Remove from the oil using the tongs and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat until all the strips have been fried.
Mix the sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon together and dust over the tortilla strips until well coated.
To serve, scoop some ice cream into two small ramekins or bowls and place onto a plate surrounded by the tortilla strips. Add a dusting of cinnamon and some strawberries.

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Some of the discovery products available

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R Preparing the tacos IMG_5984 
Preparing the cheese & potato filled tacos

With thanks to Discovery Foods, Benito's Hat, The London Foodie, and Wild Card PR for a lovely evening!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, all views are my own.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2012 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Christmas Ideas from Lakeland

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Here's a quick round up of what I thought were the best gifts and ideas from the Lakeland Christmas press show. 

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Cute ideas for Christmassy cake pops

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And to make those cake pops, a special tin!

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This must be my favourite thing I saw at the show, cookie cutters in the shape of tree ornaments

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Christmas cake idea, & to flavour the cake, Lakeland sell a large range of different flavoured extracts - I just wish they sold a coconut one!

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For the breadmaker, liking the look of the proving baskets

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I thought this sounded interesting - fruity, sweet, 'toast' made to compliment cheese

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Yes, that is a maple leaf shaped jar - full of pure Vermont maple syrup!

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Copper tri-ply pans, great for even heat distribution

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Into baking all things mini-sized? There's silicone bakeware to do it properly!

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Before you know it, summer will be here again.  Zoku Quick Pop Maker was the big hit this year

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Awww, gingerbread cookie jar...

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Colourful selection of cheese plates + knives

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Extremely sharp Edgeware graters - yes, got one given to me and it... is... SHARP (but grates beautifully!)

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Chocolate & chilli? You know the answer to that! ;)

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Yes! You can make soft cheese at home!!

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Lovely festive table setting. Mr...

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...& Mrs!

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More cute cookie cutters

And finally, it's Children in Need this Friday (16th Nov) so run to Lakeland to pick up your all important Pudsey bakeware!

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Disclaimer: I was not paid or asked to write this post, all views are my own.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2012 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.