Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Made in Brasil Boteco, Camden - Restaurant Review

Wednesday evening. Hump day. It's time to head on down to Camden Town and chill in the Brazilian vibe of Made in Brasil Boteco. One of Camden's latest openings, a sister to the Made in Brasil beach shack style Brazilian restaurant on Inverness St, this favela-style cachacaria is perfect for an authentic taste of Rio.

Caipirinhas - classic and lychee. Mazzaropi and Floripa Martini
The cocktail list is awesome. Brazil's national spirit Cachaca, is mixed with sugar and muddled with fresh lime over ice to make a classic Caipirinha. There are many version of this classic on offer, including lychee, passionfruit, and a chilli raspberry caipirinha. The cocktail list doesn't just restrict itself to caipirinhas, but many other delicious and refreshing beverages including a Floripa Martini, and the Mazzaropi, both Brazilian, as well as all your usual cocktails from around the world.

Frango a passarinho, Camarao na morango, Beringela 'a parmegiana', Acarajé, Bolinho de arroz.
The petiscos were amazing. Already a Spanish tapas fan, now I find that the Portuguese or Brazilian version is every bit as good. If not better. (I didn't say that - Tapas, I still love you.) From the traditional street food dishes such as bolinhos (dumplings) and coxinha (chicken pastries) to creamed pumpkin prawns (served in the pumpkin skin) and the genius pasta-less aubergine lasagna, a few seemingly small dishes were more than enough for two of us. The problem being, we need to go back to try the rest!  

Cheesecake de maracuja, Pudim de leite

Desserts. A must. Even for non-dessert fans. The passionfruit cheesecake is really, really, REALLY superb. A Brazilian créme caramel also made the cut, all food beautifully washed down with a bottle of Vinho Verde. The wine list isn't long, I have to say, but with a Carnival (geddit?) of more than palatable cocktails, you won't even notice.

Brazilian music, eclectic decor and most helpful friendly staff, next time you're in Camden, go and taste the Caipirinhas.

48 Chalk Farm Road

020 7267 4868

Dinner for two with wine (AND cocktails!) ~£75

Read my review on behalf of Love Food Love Drink magazine here.

Made in Brasil Boteco on Urbanspoon Square Meal

Monday, 20 April 2015

Piñata Cake

Pinata Cake. So much fun! Not so much that you have to whack the cake with a stick, but when you slice it, out fall loads of sweeties! This worked really well for a little afternoon tea party, celebrating some birthdays. Some of the kids, I knew, weren't really cake eaters, so I thought this would be the perfect compromise - cake AND sweets...

Pinata Cake - before
 It didn't take long and was simpler to make than it looks. I used Annie Bell's Classic Tearoom Chocolate Victoria Sponge and was helped in the technique by I Should Be Mopping the Floor (which, to be fair, I should have done afterwards!). 
Pinata Cake - after
The kids' faces were so funny, full of surprise and ultimately delight! Well worth the effort.

Pinata Cake

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Fiery Goan Curry by The Spice Tailor

It is my privilege to be a member of the Guiding Panel for the Spice Tailor, which simply means that, once in a while, they'll send me a sample of one of their products. Yay! Nothing better on a night when all you want to do is eat, drink and relax. Now I'm a huge advocate of cooking from scratch, and Indian food is one of my favourites for making when I've got time and guests to impress. I usually scoff at people who say they've cooked a curry and then reveal they've just used a packet sauce or a jar. But the Spice Tailor is different. Yes, it's convenient, yes, it's out of a packet (or three), and yes, it's far too quick to be believable. But yet, it works. It's something I would serve to friends. And I'm not just saying that because it was free.

It comes with a little package of whole spices, I'm guessing there was a chilli, cardamom, curry leaves, black peppercorns, and cloves. First of all, these are fried for 30 seconds. Next, you chuck in your meat - I used chicken breast chunks. Browned for a few minutes, then I threw in some peppers and courgettes, followed by the base sauce. This, I trust, was made up of onions, and probably garlic, ginger, chillies, maybe vinegar, and some spices, with perhaps some tomato paste. A couple of minutes of simmering and then the main sauce is added - a mixture of tomatoes and more spices I reckon. Who knows? But the smell as you add the base sauce is wonderful and makes you feel as though you've made something special already. The packets are so easy to rip open (no scissors necessary) and add in, and it's so quick to finish off, with a sprinkle of fresh coriander and a shop-bought naan bread grilled for a few minutes with some honey and desiccated coconut.
A palate-warming taste explosion, indeed. With a name like 'Fiery' I would have expected it to be hotter, but that's probably just me and my chilli-addiction. I expect you could add more as you wish! I will definitely stock up on some Spice Tailor sauces - 'distinctive and intense' - and have them on hand for those evenings when you really need an authentic tasting, home-cooked curry. In literally 15 minutes. All you need to add is the meat and/or vegetables. Result!
Fiery Goan Curry

Friday, 10 April 2015

Marvel Avengers 10th Birthday Cake

 My boy is turning 10 this week. I say it every year, but really? How can it be?
His latest craze is Marvel and the Avengers et al., so it only took a bit of Pinning, and some Googling to come up with this montage of current characters. I won't pretend to know who they are (apart from Hulk and Spiderman of course), but there was a long list of 'em.
As ever, Nigella came through for the chocolate cake, and I was helped by a three-year-old to make the buttercream (inside) (thank you Rosie!) and by my own two for the name and the positioning.
Happy 10th Birthday, Joey. Love you. X
Marvel Avengers Cake
Happy 10th Birthday.

X-men/Wolverine, Hulk Smash, Joey POW!, Captain America's shield and the Avenger's, Ironman Mask, and Thor's Hammer.