Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Breaking News: Keston Kitchen Calendars Make Mega Bucks.

A MASSIVE thank you to everyone who purchased a Keston Kitchen Calendar. The grand total that we raised for charity was...... (drum roll please).......


Yes, readers, one thousand of your hard earned British pounds.

We would like to say thank you to everyone who bought a calendar. We had a super fun time making them all, but the biggest pay off was handing over the whopper cheque to The Passage. We also had a tour of The Passage, to find out more about the amazing work they do for homeless people in London (food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, job advice.....).... a very worthwhile cause.

So I think all of you with a Keston calendar on the wall need to give yourselves a big pat on the back.

And, of course, the biggest thanks of all go to Pierre Maelzer, the photographic genius, and Nick Ritchie, our awesome designer.

1000 squid, bang on the nose - wowzers.

Thanks again everyone.

The Keston Ladies xxx

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Meat Easy

Last year, Charlotte reviewed the Meat Wagon on our blog. Charl's report made me more than a bit jealous that I had missed out on trying one of their now famous burgers that evening. Since then I had been keeping an eye on their website in the hopes that I would be able to find out the next time the wagon would be stationed nearby. Then, just before Christmas, the terrible news broke that the Meat Wagon van had been stolen!

I am sure any meat eating food fan in south London will be well aware by now that in the abscence of their mobile kitchen, the crew behind the Meat Wagon have set-up the Meat Easy which is above the Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross where they cook up the same fabulous burgers as they did in the wagon. The pop-up restaurant will be there until at least mid-March by when they will hopefully have raised enough money to get a new van and hit the road once more.

A couple of weeks ago, Julia and I made the trip to see what all the fuss is about. After reviews in the Metro and Timeout and several tales of interminable waiting times we got there as early as we could on a saturday to hopefully beat the crowds. We made our way round the back of the Goldsmiths Tavern, past a mountain of rubbish bags, up the metal stair case and into the Meat Easy, the advertised opening time is 6pm but we got there at 5.30pm and the doors were already open and people were tucking into food and drinks. We were handed tickets number 23 and 24 and didn't have to wait long before our numbers were called and we could place our order, we were happily munching our burgers by 6.30pm! I definitely wouldn't have minded a longer wait just sat on a comfy sofa, sipping drinks out of jam jars, listening to good tunes and absorbing the atmosphere. However by 6pm the place was pretty packed and I wouldn't have fancied standing up by the bar for too much of the evening.

The burgers were cooked perfectly, still slightly pink in the middle, the cheese was tasty and under the burger were plenty of crunchy gherkins. The grease pours over your hands as you devour it but luckily there are large rolls of kitchen towel on hand to wipe up the mess.

They have a few other things on the menu like chilli dogs and macaroni cheese but I think I would have to visit several more times before even considering straying away from choosing a burger.

I thought the prices were reasonable, given the decent quality ingredients. The cheese burgers were £6.00 each and sides (we had a portion of fries and onion rings between us) were £3.00 each. The cocktails being served up looked excellent but we did not try any (definitely next time!), our soft drinks were only £1.00 so the total came to £10.00 each!

My advice - go there and sample a burger while you know where to find them, and get there early!

Rachael x

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Apple Pureé with Syllabub

by Ceri x

January saw a 29th Birthday in the Keston household for Jules, as you may have seen by the previous cake post by Rachie (completely amazing rainbow cake). A Keston birthday is one that is traditionally celebrated with a slap up meal prepared by the other housemates, lots of fizzy wine and a lovely time all round.

Another tradition is that usually we will all usually take charge of a course each. Desserts are not usually my course of choice for the simple fact that I am much more of a savoury kind of girl. Charlotte made the decision that she would make a few dishes from the recent cookery book addition to the Kitchen which is Ottolenghi's 'Plenty'. The dishes that came from that book that evening were mouthwatering vegetarian delights, which I am sure Charlotte will be pleased to blog if of interest. Alternatively, I would very much urge that you buy the book. It is simply brilliant and there were a lot of happily full tummy's all round.

So on to the pudding. Jules is traditionally queen of this particular area so I felt the pressure was on. My first thought was that I was really keen to make a Tarte Tatin. Dissapointingly we didn't have the dish necessary and I wasn't able to shell out £70 for a new one. I then turned to the wonderful book, 'Spooning with Rosie' for ideas and found exactly what I was after.

Rosie is something of an inspiration to the Keston Kitchen. She is a fellow South London lass who set up her own Deli in Brixton around 5 years ago and has published the wonderful recipe book where I found this gem. The book and Deli are both well worh a visit and she is very much a lady after our own hearts. Apple Pureé with Syllabub was an indulgent yet light end to a wonderful meal. I was on a bit of a January health kick and despite the cream, it didn't feel too naughty. It's a relatively simple and tasty dessert which I would wholeheartedly recommend. Thanks Rosie. x

The Pureé
10 Apples
1 Lemon
200 ml water
1 cinnamon

Core and peel the apples and roughly chop into pieces. Place the apples in a large saucepan with the juice of the lemon, the water and the cinnamon stick. With the lid on, simmer on a medium heat for about 40 mins, stirring from time to time. When the water has mostly gone, and you are left with a pulpy pureé, turn off the heat and leave it to cool right down. This may take a couple of hours. I actually did this step the night before, as we had the birthday dinner on a weeknight, so I wanted to be prepared for the following day.

The Syllabub
3 Tablespoons medium sherry
1 Tablespoon dry vermouth
2 teaspoons rose water
3 tablespoons caster sugar
a little orange zest
200 ml double cream
freshly grated nutmeg

Measure the sherry, vermouth, rose water and sugar out into a small mixing bowl, followed by the orange zest. Thouroughly mix this all together and let it sit to dissolve the sugar and really infuse the scents. When the apple pureé is room temperature, you are ready to assemble. First decant the pureé into ramekins (I used wine glasses as I thought it looked pretty) and set these aside.
Measure out the double cream into a medium mixing bowl, and add the alcoholic syrup. Using a whisk, lightly beat for a few minutes. When the cream is softly forming peaks and is delicate to the touch, but not too stiff, your syllabub is perfect. Spoon this over the potted up pureé and grate a little nutmeg over it. Place in the fridge for half an hour until you are ready to serve up and enjoy the most wonderfully English sweet.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Dark Chocolate Orange Tart

Today is the 1st of February, which means that anyone who is in possession of a Keston Kitchen 2011 calendar will be turning the page to feast their eyes on the second recipe.
The recipe this month is a dark chocolate tart laced with orange, the recipe is also written below and as promised on the calendar, I have included full pastry making instructions.
I made the tart pictured on the weekend and to the delight of my work mates (and the disgust of my housemates) took it into the office on Monday to be devoured.
The quantities here actually make a bit more pastry than you need but you can trim of the excess to leave a neat edge and use the left overs to make another mini tart or anything else that you fancy.
When I was younger I was a REALLY fussy eater but pastry was always something that I liked helping my mum to make and also to eat. When we had to provide a recipe for the primary school cook book, I picked jam roly poly which is just jam spread on leftover shortcrust pastry, rolled up and baked along side the pie or tart you are making. They still taste pretty good!

Ingredients (enough for a 23cm/ 9 inch tart tin or 4-6 tartlet cases):

Sweet shortcrust pastry:
150g plain flour
30g icing sugar
75g unsalted butter cut into cubes
Zest of half an orange
1 egg yolk
A dribble of milk

Chocolate filling:
200g dark chocolate (I used 70%)
200ml double cream
50ml milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp of orange liqueur (Cointreau)
Zest of half an orange

Sieve the icing sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, add the cubed butter and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture looks like bread crumbs, add the beaten egg yolk and a few drops of milk until the crumbs clump together and you can form the pastry into a ball. Dust with flour, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Roll out the chilled pastry (either homemade or pre-bought) to the thickness of a pound coin and put into the greased tart tin/ tartlet tins, then chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes before baking, this helps reduce shrinking and cracking during cooking.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Line the tart(s) with greaseproof paper and bake blind using baking beads (or rice or dried chickpeas) for 10 minutes. Then remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry has just started to turn golden.

To make the filling, heat the cream and milk in a saucepan. Chop the chocolate into small bits and place in a heatproof bowl. When the cream is just about to boil, pour it over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Beat the egg in another bowl and then add the chocolate mixture a bit at a time, whisking as you go. Finally stir in the zest and Cointreau before pouring the mixture into the pre-baked pastry case(s).
Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes until the chocolate mixture has begun to set. Turn the oven off but leave the tart(s) inside to cool slowly for about 30 minutes. Remove and allow to completely cool. Just before serving, dust with icing sugar. I cut a heart shape out of greaseproof paper and used it to mask the centre before sieving over the icing sugar.

The tart is very dark and not too sweet, maybe serve a slice with some whipped cream or ice cream.
Happy baking!

Rachael x