world according to sam

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. Mark Twain

Category: FOOD

Qbic Hotel … Whitechapel … Form an orderly Q

  

I don’t know what it is about these new boutique essentials hotel chains malingering around the nether regions of the alphabet … First Z and now Q(bic) but whatever the reasoning behind the names, the end results are impressive.

Dutch owned, the quirkily decorated rooms offer a budget stay on the cool East side of London.  Rooms are offered on three price/size bands. We opted for the cheapest … After all this was a stop off for a late night out in London followed by a hearty brunch at Dirty Burger/Chicken Shop. All we required was cleanliness, a comfortable bed and a decent shower.  Qbic delivers on all three … The buxom Mrs Mop presiding over our bed in the form of a large graphic is less daunting after a few cocktails and is an amusing welcome to the room on check-in. 
  
    
For an inexpensive overnight stay with a little more soul and tongue-in-cheek humour than your average Premier Inn, Qbic is a great find!

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Green Olive Tapenade 

  

250g Olives

1 Garlic Clove crushed

Juice from 1 lemon

3 Tbsp Capers

6 Anchovies (try Sainsburys in Garlic olive oil for extra flavour)

A glug of  olive oil 

Salt & Pepper to taste

A handful of flat leaf parsley
Traditionally Tapenade was made from black olives in the South of France but this is made from green olives – it’s personal choice! Also I can buy the large jars of Crespo green pitted olives in brine in Waitrose which makes it less costly if you want to make big batches for entertaining.  You can find variations on this recipe that include sun dried tomatoes, basil … It’s a Mediterranean dish served as a dip or spread on little rounds of bread or toast, also delicious cooked in with robust white fish like hake. 

Add all the ingredients to a blender and whizz until you get the desired texture … You will see mine is quite smooth but that’s because my Vitamix has no middle ground – it’s either unchopped or puree!!

I store my tapenade in the fridge in my old Bon Maman jam jars for up to a week     

Lemon 🍋 Sorbet – Sorbetti di Limone

img_6443I would love an ice cream maker but loathe kitchen worktops cluttered with electrical gadgetry so aside from my trusty Magimix (my mother had one of the first models that cost a then princely sum and lasted over 25 years and aside from replacing the plastic bowl still worked until it was discarded in a move to a new house) and of course my Vitamix ( the worlds most expensive blender that you can read about here) I have no room in my life for anything more (though I am VERY tempted to find out more about the Revolutionary Thermomix!)

So it is with the Magimix that I make my sorbet (the recipe is from their cookbook circa 1981). Sorbet is the perfect pudding for a dinner party especially if , like us, you are a fan of cheese and biscuits… Refreshing, not too filling or sweet … And without sounding too pretentious… ‘a palate cleanser’
So when I made my Limoncello a couple of weeks ago using the zest of the lemons, rather than wasting the rest of the lemons I juiced all six and made a sorbet for over the festive period.

TIP : this will last in the freezer unopened for a month or so but once you have opened and served from the container you should use within a week as ice crystals form. Also homemade sorbets tend to defrost more quickly that shop bought versions.

Recipe

6-8 Lemons juiced (and zest of one lemon)

175g Sugar

300ml Water

2 Egg Whites

Dissolve the sugar in the water, bringing to a steady boil to create a syrup 

Once sugar syrup is ready, leave to cool a little and then add Lemon juice and zest

Stir thoroughly and then pour into a plastic container and freeze. 

TIP : use a large but shallow plastic container to speed up the freezing process

When frozen, remove from freezer – break into pieces and place in Magimix (or other food processor) – whizz to a creamy texture.  In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold in the lemon mixture, return to a plastic container and freeze until solid.

 

For a Christmassy variation you can make an Orange or Clementine version (it’s an orange version pre-final freeze that’s pictured above)

 

 



Limoncello 🍋 Recipe

When life gives you lemons …. Grab some vodka and make Limoncello!

I love giving gifts of food I have made to friends and family at Christmas time and each year promise myself that I will make some Sloe Gin, but of course Sloe Gin needs to steep for about 12 weeks which means by the time the sloes are ripe there is insufficient time to prepare for Christmas.   Sloe Gin is the long game but Limoncello on the other hand is quick and easy and takes only a couple of weeks until it is drinkable. The recipe below has worked perfectly and mine is ready to bottle and give as gifts over the coming weeks.


Recipe
6 Unwaxed Lemons (avoid waxed lemons as you want the natural flavour of lemon)

1Litre Vodka (Supermarket own brand will do)

750g Caster Sugar

750ml Water
Zest the 6 lemons, avoiding the pith as this will make your Limoncello  bitter
Place the zest in the bottom of a 2 litre jar that you can seal tightly ( I used the Kilner jar from their Sloe Gin making set)
You may like to use the juice from the lemons to make a sorbet, a great dessert standby to keep in the freezer (for up to one month – recipe to follow)
Add the vodka and leave to steep for one week. Turn the jar each day.

At the end of one week, make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar and water in a pan. Bring to boiling point but do not allow the syrup to turn a caramel colour as this will spoil the look of your Limoncello.

When cool, add to your lemon vodka mix and leave for another week. Again turning each day.

When you are ready to bottle, strain through a fine sieve or muslin and pour into your bottles. Label and gift to those deserving friends on Santa’s Nice not Naughty list.

Add instructions to the labels as follows

Keep refrigerated 

This sweet lemony syrup is delicious over ice, in iced tea, in cocktails or drizzled over ice cream or sorbet!
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You can also add a recipe for a Limoncello Prosecco Cocktail

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6 sprigs Mint, fresh

1 measure Raspberries, frozen

1 measure Limoncello liqueur

3 measures Prosecco

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Serve chilled in a glass

SALUTI!

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