EVENT: Brighton restaurants take over Moshi Moshi for a vegetarian sushi night, 3rd October 2010

Love sushi but worry about shrinking fish stocks? Well for one night only, Terre a Terre alongside the Chilli Pickle, Sam’s of Brighton, L’Eglise, Due South, Coriander and Riddle & Finns will be turning Moshi Moshi into a vegetarian only sushi restaurant on the 3rd October at 7pm.

As part of the Brighton Food and Drink Festival, customers will vote for the best sushi on the night.

I can't wait to see what these restaurants produce but goodies to look out for will be Terre a Terre's famous Miso Pretty Maki (pictured above by Lisa Barber) and The Chilli Pickle's maki made with Nepalese Vegetable Chhoila Salad.

Best bit is that it is just £19.50 for all you can eat. Booking is essential.

For more information or to book, call Moshi Moshi on 01273 719195 or email info@moshibrighton.co.uk

DESIGN: IKEA Homemade is Best Cookbook

Having a house full of IKEA furniture doesn't make for a very unique interior. I see my Malm chest of drawers everywhere! But IKEA's spanking new baking book, Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade is Best) has originality in spades with the help of stylist Evelina Bratell and super snapper Carl Kleiner.

Recipes are shown both completed and as beautifully arranged ingredients. Gorgeous.

Mandelmusslor (almond shells)

Pepparkakor (gingerbread)

I believe this is only available in Sweden so far, but I would be willing to return to the Croydon yellow and blue nightmare (where I practically started a riot in the kitchen aisle as I still had one unit door and two handles missing after FIVE trips, finally locating them freaking 200 miles away in Cardiff*) for a copy of this if it is translated.

Photo credits: Carl Kleiner via Today and Tomorrow.
* Clearly I'm still not over this incident.

REVIEW: Terre a Terre pop up restaurant on Brighton Pier

It's always good to see a well-loved local restaurant taking part in a few extra curricular activities and adding to the increasingly interesting Brighton dining scene. As part of the fantastic Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival, Terre a Terre, a bit of a Brighton institution, hosted a pop up restaurant for one night only in the quintessential Brighton venue, the pier!

After a few goes on the 2p machines on the way through (I LOVE 2p machines*) we prepped our stomachs for a tongue-in-cheek menu of alternative seaside fayre. The thing is, with Terre a Terre being a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, there was no fish to be found on the menu. But in the typical fashion we have come to expect of them, twists, tweaks and play on words delivered an intriguing, inventive and camp menu.

We were greeted by a rum based cocktail with a stick of rock swizzler. This set the tone perfectly, bringing back the classic smells and treats of the seaside; candy floss, sweeties and tropical sun tan lotion.

As there were two starter and main options, one vegetarian, one vegan, Mr Graphic Foodie and I took one each to try the whole offering. The vegetarian Porn Cocktail (a take on the retro-classic prawn cocktail) arrived as buttery Seared Palm hearts with miso salt and picked quails eggs on top of a crunchy shredded salad with their "kicking ketchup". The texture of the Palm hearts was similar to very soft crustacean flesh and was rather nice indeed, with miso playing the fishy part. The kicking ketchup certainly delivered a welcome and promised acidic kick.

The vegan Pier Plate was less successful in texture, the lukewarm temperature not helping matters either. The mushroom marinière was a little grey and gloopy and the softness of the borlotti and artichoke bouillabaisse and saffron brandade with smoked tomato tapenade not offering enough of a contrast. The soda nori bread with samphire was delicious and I expect the idea was to eat all of this together but to me it all seemed very confused.

A TaT signature dish, Better Batter and Lemony Yemeni Relish, is a take on the Friday favourite battered fish and chips, the fish being replaced by halloumi. This was served with vodka-spiked plum tomatoes, bright fresh pea mint hash with pickled quails egg, sea salad tartar and chubby chips. This was a successful and obviously well practiced dish. The crisp batter does work really well with the teeth sinking, salty and moorish halloumi.

I did notice that most people had wisely opted for this choice but in the name of experimentation I ordered the vegan option, Eely Good, a jellied eel dish replaced with jellied aubergines (pic shown at the top). The crunchy salsify goujons were fantastic and I would have been more than happy with a plate of these with a pot of the Kicking Ketchup along for the ride. Unfortunately, this plate arrived practically cold and imagination doesn't have to run too deep to know that chilly jelly, squishy aubergines, near-liquid mash and cold green parsley liquor is not going to be a winning formula.

The wine options on the night was good and the £40/pp menu included a shared carafe of one of three choices. Chieti, being down the road from my family in Italy, made it a must and we were rewarded with a Sangiovese by the Terre di Chieti cellar. They also do a Gran Sasso Pecorino wine that is worth hunting out if you get a chance.

As with all good nights, the evening ended with Two Fat Tarts, one of which was a bolshy boozy cherry chocolate and the other a cheeky almond and apricot with a vanilla and chestnut honey syrup. We were back on track with pudding and both of these were divine.

Talking of divine, I appreciated the sack of Divine chocolate coins on the table which were a lovely touch.

Walking arm in arm along the pier and seafront home, this was a really fun and pleasant evening. Despite the little disappointments in some of the dishes which was made up by the dining experience, atmosphere and unique nature of the venue.



*The Graphic Foodie does not condone gambling in any way *cough*.

SHOPPING: Stuart Gardiner seasonal apron and tea towels

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Looky here at these beautiful tea towels (£10) and apron (£20) displaying seasonal British Fruit & Vegetables, Wild Foods, and Garden Flowers in handy monthly guides.

It's useful, beautiful and you WANT IT.

Available from the designer's dream that is www.counter-objects.co.uk

Rotten Apples magazine

If I said to someone "make me a magazine I would want to relish, cover to cover" then Rotten Apples would be the result.

We already have food magazines that, each month, list 10 super easy mid-week meals and 20 things to do with cucumbers - we have it in spades, but Rotten Apples is a different animal. It has a chihuahua standing on top of eight cheeseburgers on the cover for a start.

Heavy on design, art, illustration, graphics and photography, it is, in my opinion, one of the most original food magazines out there.

Essentially a food culture mag but not in a snobby, high-brow way but in a colour fueled, design rich and content varied way, its first edition has features on food artists (hence the dog on the cheeseburgers), pie aficionados, death row meals, travel, odes to bread, interviews, a nice spot on food-related films and probably the most original rendition of a recipe ever:

Beautifully designed, on lovely uncoated paper, Rotten Apples can be purchased direct from www.rottenapplesmag.com for £5.45 including postage.

SHOPPING: 30% off at Ros Shiers

The super-sweet, fabulous and talented illustrator Ros Shiers is offering all Graphic Foodie readers a whopping 30% off online. I have some of her tea towels that put all my others to shame. As well as some nice shoppers and T Shirts, now available are some wonderful archival Giclee prints on 315gsm acid free Museum Quality natural white textured watercolour paper.

How perfect would this Sugar and Spice print be in your kitchen? With the discount it's only £27.30 excluding postage - bargain!

Visit http://ros-shiers.com for other goodies and enter 31TODAY at the checkout for your 30% off discount. Ends 22nd September 2010.

RECIPE: Classic profiteroles

I was super impressed with these, letting out such a loud squeal when I opened the oven that Mr. Graphic Foodie came running down the stairs to see if I was ok and hadn't sustained an A&E worthy injury. I'll admit I'm out of my comfort zone with pastry. I'll dabble with it but I will never expect to come out with something amazing, which is strange given my naturally cold hands!

This base recipe was from the Meals in Heels book, which I am cooking from quite a bit at the moment. Admittedly, today it was hot so I was in my Birkenstocks, rather than my heels though! I know the book sounds a bit girly and fluffy, but it is a really super book for entertaining. Read my full review here. Since the review, I've tried around ten things from it without a duff meal (as yet) and it may even make it onto my "special" recipe book shelf, reserved for just 8 of my very favourites.

The idea of making profiteroles at home has always scared the pants off me, they look like they should be left to the professionals and the recipe sounded absolutely bonkers but it worked a treat. It is worth noting that they only take 20 odd minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook. Time well spent I say for a bite of retro heaven.

The original Meals in Heels book serves the profiteroles with a salted caramel sauce with marcona almond praline, which is far more interesting that the classic cream and chocolate version I made, but definitely one to try next time.

prep time 25 minutes cook time 30 minutes
makes about 36

185ml water
75 g unsalted butter
half tsp salt
100 g plain flour
3 medium eggs
250 ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
55g caster (superfine) sugar

Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 4). Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place the water, butter and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined. Place the pan over medium heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, making sure it’s completely incorporated before adding the next, and trying not to scramble them. Beat until the dough is glossy. Use 2 teaspoons to shape 3 cm rounds of the mixture onto the baking trays, making sure there is at least 3 cm between them. Bake for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar, until thick (soft peak). Split the profiteroles in half, filling the centre with the whipped cream. Serve up 3 per person with chocolate sauce.

I made so many I ended up having to pass over the remaining pile to neighbours over the garden fence!


What no dinner diary for a while? I have been eating I promise. Too much in fact!

This week I had most incredible meal at (I guess my favourite Brighton restaurant) The Chilli Pickle. It is always great, but this time it was magnificent. My starter of Pani Puri (top image) was so much fun. You pour the pea puree into the puffed crackers filled with crushed chickpea salad and pea sprouts, topped with a little tamarind chutney, then shove the lot in your mouth whole. I HATED coriander until this precise, exact moment. Now I have seen the light.

The main was even more spectacular. I had been tipped off by a couple of Brightonians that a tandoori venison (wild deer from Perth) was guesting. And what a dish it was. Mind bogglingly tender and everything worked so well, particularly the curried apples and the sweet and crunchy kashmiri rice. I really liked the cherry chutney and spiky chilli sauce accompaniments but couldn't bring myself to swamp the venison too much. I was almost delirious after this one. It's still on so catch it while you can.

Work has been cray-zee. We're moving studio at the moment so frantically boxing everything up whilst still juggling client work. I went through a little phase of having supermarket filled pasta in my freezer as a in-case-of-emergency. Being far more disappointed with it than not, I stopped. But then on a particularly heavy day a packet was sent to me. Perfect as I got in at 9 - EMERGENCY!

This is a brand new filled pasta from Giovanni Rana, apparently the number 1 seller of fresh pasta in Italy. I can't say I've ever seen a packet of this in my family's fridge when I go back to visit, but then they always make their own. Saying that, this was noticeably superior to own-brand. The pasta a better texture, the size ("Trattoria") far larger and more impressive and the filling better quality. This Goat's Cheese and Caramalised Onion version was tasty and it was nice to see the filling look like food and not some grey mush. Pop a drizzle of oil and a dinner in minutes few you have. I'll have a pack of this in the freezer again.

Lamb chops with butterbean mash....

...and a Frittata with a everything-left-in-the-fridge filling. Yeah, like I said, HEAVY week.

In other news, me and Betty (that's her above) have been hanging out quite a bit. We're trying to nail down a good focaccia recipe.

Getting there but a little way to go yet.

She was a godsend this weekend as our street had a party (ooh how Victorian!) and my arm would have fallen off without her! I'll post about the party later. My much anticipated Kitchen Aid Book that you get when you register your product finally arrived too - yay! Really looking forward to trying a few recipes - has anyone made anything from it?


Nothing makes my day like a nice piece of design. The objects that you use day-in-day-out, if well designed, can make all the difference. I actually originally wanted to be a product designer rather than a graphic one, so I still retain the appreciation for the little touches that make objects, tools and appliances truly special. I don't necessarily mean big aesthetic design statements, but more about tactile and functional choices and decisions that make the object a pleasure to use. And the tools we most commonly use everyday are those for the kitchen.

One of my favorite kitchen tools is my OXO Good Grips tong. I've had it years and it still works and looks as good as it did when I bought it. I love how it feels and its closing mechanism which I can open up one handed cowboy-style hitting it to my hip. Yee-haa! The simplicity of its design makes for a beautiful object too. I use it for absolutely everything, even to put tea towels away on my top shelf that I'm too short to reach!

I think what I love about this range overall is the quality, attention to detail and solutions to common usability problems. Originally designed by a chap called Sam Farber for his wife Betsey who had difficulty using normal kitchen tools due to arthritis, the OXO Good grips range launched in 1990 with 15 items. It now has 850 products to make our lives easier and adds around 50 items a year, each taking roughly 2 years to design. Their products have won over 150 awards for product design, packaging and branding. This brand ticks all of my boxes!

So already being a bit of a fan, it was a real pleasure to try out a few other pieces from the range. A key piece is the Salad Spinner which was recommended to me a while ago by a good handful of bloggers on Twitter as a kitchen must-have. The spin function is just genius.

A release mechanism pops the handle up and a single one-handed push starts the spinner. None of this crank handle, energetic, arm twisting business.

You just apply the black button brake to stop it.

The crystal clear bowl has also been designed to use at the table for serving. The handle then locks down again, making the spinner compact for storage. This truly is a flipping marvelous bit of kit. I notice they do a fancy stainless steel bowl version which is even nicer than the clear plastic one.

The next piece I loved was the POP container, a storage system with bells and whistles. I came home to find Mr Graphic Foodie (a bit of a nerd to be honest) mesmerised by this one in the kitchen. It kept him unusually quiet as he played with it for at least 15 minutes which got my vote. These containers have a clever push button mechanism to create an airtight seal.

My pet hate with food containers is the stomach turning gunky seal that sometimes build up. The seal here is so easy to clean. Raised arrows indicate a way to twist the base of the lid off and the parts and seal can be individually washed.

The plastic is heavy duty and the containers are stackable and available in quite a few sizes. I'll be buying a heap of these and finally chucking out the cheap crappy ones I have with warped, ill-fitting lids. The pop lids are really addictive though and you will find yourself opening and shutting them just for fun. Yes, really.

Most measuring jugs require bizarre acts of contortion. How many times have you found yourself bending down or twisting your neck just to read the flipping measurements on the side of a jug? Why do most jugs only start at 200ml? The Angled Measuring jug has the measurements printed inside the jug starting at 10ml so you can see it as you pour in.

How cool is that! There is also a little scoop above the handle that your thumb naturally rests in. Much lighter than standard glass jugs too.

Their smaller tools like the swivel peeler and grater work well and feel good to use. The grater cuts through citrus and Parmesan cleanly. I especially like the rubbery grip areas on these items.

All the boxes, stickers and leaflets that come with the Good Grips range have been well designed with just pure function in mind, yet presented clearly and beautifully.

OXO Good Grips are unrelenting in their pursuit to solve everything. Even things that you may not have realised you had a problem with. They design everyday hero things, much like the person who designed the little twist mechanism on old-school tins of shoe polish, the "I can't believe this hasn't been though of before" items. Even their logo is functional, having been designed to be read upside down or twisted on its side!

I'd really like to hear about your favourite kitchen tool. Let me know in the comments!

Thanks to OXO Good Grips for sending me a few pieces to try out.