Monday, 30 April 2012

Cookery Book Review - 'Eat Your Veg'

Arthur Potts Dawson – Eat Your Veg

Having been given this cookbook to peruse and review by Octopus publishing, I initially could not recall the chef to mind, until I opened the book and instantly remembered him from his series televised on Channel 4 – The Peoples Supermarket.  During the series he was very big on eating fresh and locally sourced fruit and vegetables, and this really comes through in the publication.  The book is not a rant on how we should eat more vegetables, but gives practical and exciting ways to cook with vegetables as a main course.  Personally I am only happy to eat with vegetables as a main dish if such recipes have been intelligently thought through....  By intelligent I mean that they are packed with flavour by combining ingredients with herbs/spices or use of seasonal ingredients simply that bring out their amazing flavour when they are at their best such as Jersey Royals/British Asparagus.  Flicking through the ingredients list for many of the recipes in this book, it is clear to see that Arthur has done this.  His time working at River CafĂ© really comes through in this book, with its vast array of seasonal, fresh produce.  I was excited to cook with vegetables. 

The book is practically divided into different sections of food types, and I had a fridge full of tomatoes, so I opened up the ‘fruits’ section, and decided to make baked tomato, garlic and red pepper crostini.  As you can see from my picture it came out just as in the book, which tells you the recipes are explained well, and that the images have not been photoshopped just to please the eye!  This was a simple dish but there are recipes and ingredients to please the more experienced cook too, so something for everyone.  Would I recommend this book?  Yes!  I would give it an 8 out of 10.  In one sentence I would describe it as a punchy vegetable based cookbook designed to challenge the British way of everyday eating!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Garage Lounge - No.1 Albert Buildings, Southsea

If you have failed to notice this new cafe that has opened in the last few weeks (March 7th to be exact), then perhaps you need to get out in the fresh air a little more!  Situated on the corner of Albert Road and Victoria Grove, it used to be the old old Allen Bros Tyre & Van Hire place.  I have been 3 times now with different friends who wanted to try it out, and so we find this cafe culture seems to be hitting Southsea furiously, with cafes popping up everywhere.

The owner Alex who is an architect by trade is from Portsmouth and has been looking for the right venue to open for business.  Himself and 3 of his friends transformed this site into the modern, stylish cafe we see before us.  He has worked in London, and is a  regular visitor to Brighton, and you certainly do get the feel that his cafe is oozing with the style found in both of these trendy cities. 

It is more than a cafe though.  It's a place to sit and relax with friends and take in the beautiful ambiance and the antique charm bursting from every corner.  With beautiful big airy windows when the sun is shining it truly is the place to be.

All food including cakes are made daily, and there is always something unusual to tempt you which faces you on the open counter as you walk in.  No detail has been left to chance, even the food is served up on wooden boards lined elegantly with paper. There is a good selection of teas to choose from too, I will vow to try as many as I can!

The Garage lounge is open daily until 11pm and I recall Alex saying he was opening for breakfasts too as early as 7/8am.  This is a great alternative to going to the pub on an evening, which seems to be our only other optionin the UK!  I hope more cafes will see that this is what people want, and will also jump on board.  I know of an ice cream parlour in Eastbourne of all places that does a roaring trade in the evening!

One thing to note is that you need to find a table, then go and choose your food, and place your order at the counter.  This is not obvious when you first walk in and may be a little confusing, but on your second visit you soon get the hang of it.  Pricing is reasonable too, and falls in line with most other  places in town.

What do you think of the Garage Lounge?