Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: Canton

Baking Bread With The One Mile Bakery

After my recent delivery from the One Mile Bakery (see my review for more details) I was excited to be invited to the first ever bread making class run at Elisabeth’s house in Pontcanna. After the success of the deliveries and having met Elisabeth, I was certain the classes were going to be great and I wasn’t disappointed.

I arrived to some familiar faces which made the day extra fun as I was baking with fab food bloggers Nicki (Cardiffbites), Bev (Eats for Wales) and Mark (Corpulent Capers). Elisabeth welcomed us and showed her into her kitchen where she quickly busied herself making us tea.

Four bloggers ready to start baking

The day was jam-packed with lunch included and although we made a lot of different bread, it was still relaxed and we managed to get time to chat and gossip. Elisabeth is an excellent teacher and her passion for bread shone through with plenty of sniffing, prodding and an unrivaled knowledge.

The class we attended An Introduction to Baking Bread and was designed to show us the key stages of baking and to allow us to understand the different types of bread as well as the key techniques involved. We made four loaves in the time we were there. Elisabeth started off by talking us through different flours. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never paid a great deal of attention to what type of flour I use which is probably why in the past my bread has been nothing to shout about but from now on, this will be a consideration.

Elisabeth explained the benefits of spelt flour for people who have problems digesting bread (i.e. me) so when we got to choose the flour for our first loaf, I naturally went for spelt. We all used different flour but followed the same process. It was much quicker and much easier than I expected and I felt that I really learnt a lot.

We learnt how to make a well in our flour in order to add the yeast and the water and how it should look when it has been left the rest.

After 15 minutes came the kneading before resting it. Elisabeth gave us lots of tips on how we know when the dough had been kneaded enough and timings. My loaf turned out much better than I had expected and I will definitely make this easy little number again at home.

While making the first loaf, waiting for the yeast to do its magic, we had a taste test to compare some well-known supermarket bread to Elisabeth’s loaf.There was obviously no contest but having looked at the ingredients in the shop bought bread, no wonder I can’t eat bread without getting ill! Vinegar? Not to mention the E numbers.

With the first loaf ‘resting’ it was time for some of Elisabeth’s apricot bread. Even without butter this was lovely (although of course I added lashings of butter!).

The second loaf was a simple rye variety. This one was even easier as it didn’t need kneading. Rye is apparently easier to digest than a wheat loaf as it has different gluten structures. It also has a stronger flavour so works well with spices. I chose to add some cumin and ground coriander which gave it a very unusual flavour but delicious!

The star of the show for me was the ridiculously yummy bacon, red onion and balsamic bread. I was dying to try this when it came out of the oven and as soon as I got home, this was the one I broke into. It was delicious, even if I do say so myself!

Last of all we made a round Pain de Campagne. This was a winner in my house and looked very professional thanks to Elisabeth’s floured circular bowls and some serious slashing! This was one of my favourites and I was amazed that we could make something that looked so professional in an Introduction to Baking Bread.

The class was so much fun and the setting was lovely. I felt so relaxed baking in Elisabeth’s kitchen. It felt like we were learning from a friend rather than from a teacher. For a nosy person like me, baking in the home is the best place for something like this. Not only does it make it more personal and informal but I got to have a peek at someone elses house! What a beautiful house it is too!

I highly recommend this class and would love to try out some of the other classes on offer. There are a list of classes on the One Mile Bakery website and for the amount of time and the amount of bread I went home with, not to mention Elisabeth’s excellent teaching, I think it is value for money and a great day out.

Advertisements

Cardamom Indian Restaurant- Once upon-a-time there was a fine dining restaurant…

I seem to have been invited to a string of Indian restaurants over the past few weeks of which I will be reviewing in turn. The first in line is Cardamom Indian Restaurant in Canton’s Victoria Park.

Having never been to Cardamom before, I was intrigued after reading the description on their website:

‘…the award-winning Indian restaurant, in the heart of Cardiff, continues to be instrumental in changing perceptions of the subcontinent’s cuisine. With its amazing service and prices there is no better that the Cardamom when it comes to Indian cuisine in Cardiff. The restaurant offers a sophisticated fine dining experience with effortlessly charming staff, discrete service and tantalising food that few can compete with.’

Reading this I got very excited. How had I overlooked this one? To top things off, it is named after one of my all-time favourite ingredients.

We visited Cardamom on a Wednesday evening which is a relatively quiet night in even the best restaurants. However, we were pleased to see that we would not be dining alone as there were four other parties already seated when we arrived. Staff were very welcoming and efficient in showing us to our seats. Before we had even looked at the menu our drinks orders were placed.

Taking in our surroundings, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The decor was a bit tired with veneer peeling off the tables and some faint curry stains. The painted walls looked as though they could have used a touch up but there were echoes of superior quality with classy spotlights and high backed chairs. The bar area was also very attractive but all in all, it just looked like it needed some TLC and didn’t scream ‘fine dining’ as described, although it was clear that it had once upon-a-time.

The menu was very substantial and offered some interesting dishes. For starters I chose an unusual Chicken and Pasta Balti and Mr V went for the Mas Biran (a fillet of fish rubbed with spicy paste and fresh dill, sizzled in mustard oil). My pasta dish worked surprisingly well. I was asked whether I would like it mild, medium or hot and I was pleased that it was hot like I had ordered. So often ‘hot’ seems to mean ‘a little above mild for the delicate Westerner’.

Although nice, my starter did seem rather out-of-place on the menu that boasts authentic dishes. As Cardamom is a more traditional establishment than a fusion restaurant it seemed like a strange addition. Mr V’s fish was very good. It was nicely cooked with a subtle flavour. Our starters came with some deliciously tasty mint and tamarind sauces which were both homemade.

For our mains we chose Lamb Anawaka (lamb tikka with ground spices, tomatoes and green peppers) and Snapper Fish Masala. The stand out dish of the night was the lamb. It was cooked beautifully and had real depth of flavour served with chunky mushrooms and peppers.

The tender snapper was well cooked but the sauce was a touch bland and very oily. The accompanying garlic naan was very good.

Presentation wise, the dishes were that of a standard Indian restaurant rather than a fine dining establishment. Our starters were on plain white plates that were adorned with colourless salad and a slice of lemon. It didn’t reflect fine dining but then again, neither did the prices which were more than reasonable. Our starters only cost £4.50 each and our mains were well priced too.

Moving onto dessert, I was pleased to see quite an extensive menu including a number of home-made dishes. We ordered a coconut samosa and a pastishapta which was a pancake filled with a coconut filling.

The desserts were definitely value for money as they were very substantial. However, the pancake filling was very dry not as sweet as I would expect a dessert to be. It came with cream but that did seem like a strange accompaniment.

All in all, we had very mixed feelings about Cardamom. It has won lots of awards and have some confident statements on their website so expectations were high and it just didn’t hit the mark. An article in the Guardian in 2005 spoke of well dressed crowds and a ‘chic eatery’ but this isn’t the impression we got. Much of the good press highlighted on their website and the awards were several years ago and it seems that Cardamom has lost its way a little.

As an Indian restaurant, it is very good but it is not what I would describe as ‘fine dining’ and this is what Cardamom claims to be. It may seem that I am being harsh but I review restaurants on what they profess to be and Cardamom claim to offer ‘a fine dining experience’. Had this not been the case and I would have awarded a green spoon for quality of food but if they are marketing themselves as fine dining, they just fall short.

My Last Mouthful was: Lamb Anawaka

Service-

Atmosphere and decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating- 

For more reviews of local food, competitions and news please take a look at the website- yourlastmouthful.com

One Mile Bakery- Great Concept With Food To Match

I try no end of good food thanks to Your Last Mouthful and it is not unusual for me to have a delivery of some kind of delicious produce, but I have never been delivered bread before and I am yet to come across a concept as brilliant as One Mile Bakery.

The brain-child of Elisabeth Mahoney, One Mile Bakery was born after two years of preparation and stems from a genuine passion for good, simple food made with local or homegrown, quality ingredients. The concept is simple, The One Mile Bakery delivers handmade bread, soups and preserves within a one-mile radius of its kitchen in Cardiff.  Everything is made using seasonal produce and traditionally milled organic flour, and delivered to local addresses in Pontcanna, Llandaff and Canton on foot or by bike.

Elisabeth arrived at my door with a rustic basket housing two loaves of bread, a jar of jam and a large container of soup, all bearing the One Mile Bakery logo. As we chatted and unpacked the goods, Elisabeth explained that instead of buying individual items, customers pay for a monthly subscription and receive a weekly delivery providing they are in the one mile proximity of her kitchen. There are many subscriptions to choose from but I was trying the bread, soup and jam subscription at £23.50 per month. This would mean a delivery of two loaves of bread and a container of soup per week and a jar of jam with the first batch of the month.

Now you should know that bread and butter is my weakness. I suffer from IBS so as I rule I avoid bread and try not to buy it but looking at the loaves on my kitchen table, this was going to be worth the pain!

Each week, customers receive a different type of loaf and soup depending on the produce available. My delivery consisted of Harira Soup, a Rye, Wheat and White Sourdough and a Multi-seeded and Honey Loaf with a jar Rhubarb, Strawberry, Vanilla and Elderflower Jam.

I’m ashamed to say that the minute Elisabeth walked out of the door I tucked into the bread. Starting with the sourdough, I covered it in lashings of butter and sank into my armchair while I drifted into my bread and butter heaven. The sourdough was beautifully soft inside with a lovely crunchy crust. The contrast between the bread and the crust was just right and I throughly enjoyed it. This lasted very well too. I still have some left 5 days later and it is still delicious toasted.

With dinner simmering away on the hob, I intended to just have a small piece of the Multi-seeded and Honey Loaf with some of the jam. Ten minutes later I had eaten half the loaf! I can honestly say this is some of the nicest bread I have ever tasted. It was just so deliciously soft and sweet. It had a real dense, spongy texture with a beautiful soft crust. I could eat it without butter and if you knew the extent of my bread and butter addiction that is saying something!

Not only was the bread delicious but it didn’t actually make me ill. Elisabeth said that it because everything is natural  and fermented for such a long time, it is easier to break down and digest. You don’t know how happy this makes me.

Not to be out done by the bread, the jam was also fantastic. I do love jam but it’s something I never really get around to finishing but on this occasion, it is nearly gone. This is definitely not your average strawberry jam. Strawberry was the dominant flavour in my jar but there were clear and complimentary undertones of rhubarb and vanilla. I’m afraid the elderflower was a bit lost but it was still beautiful nonetheless.

For me, the best thing about the jam was the texture. It was very thick and quite jelly-like which I really enjoyed although Mr V said that he would have prefered it to be softer. He didn’t dispute the delicious flavour though.

I managed to control myself and save the soup for lunch the next day. The container of soup provided two very generous helpings. If you’re not a big eater, I think it would have done three days with bread. The Harira soup came with herbs and lemon and some rose harissa that could be added according to taste. Packed full of noodles, chick peas and lentils, this was a very filling chunky soup, perfect on a rainy day.

I haven’t got a bad word to say about One Mile Bakery. The food is fantastic, the price is right and the concept is brilliant. The only problem is, I don’t live within the one mile radius. My house is on the market though and this could well become a deciding factor when choosing our new house!

Even though I totally buy into this concept, I think that what really sold it to me and would keep me coming back for more if I lived in the area is Elisabeth. One of the great things about having my website and blog is that I get to meet people who are so passionate about what they do and it is just so inspiring. One Mile Bakery has only been up and running a few weeks and already Elisabeth has been inundated with orders and I fully believe that it is not all about the food (although it is fantastic). For me the personal touch and the love that goes into something like this is just so important and Elisabeth certainly has this.

Elisabeth told me stories about her childhood and how she enjoyed cooking with her Mum who grew everything herself and the love for Italian food she developed from a childhood friend. Many of Elisabeth’s recipes have been handed down from her Mum and I love this as it is something that is so often lost these days as people stop cooking for themselves. Elisabeth has been able to take her Mum’s recipes and others that she has found along the way and tweak them to make them her own, creating simple but beautiful food.

Elisabeth doesn’t believe she is very creative when it comes to cooking but recognises the importance of good quality ingredients and wants people to experience the food she loves. Her creatively comes through with her business model. Creative or not, she certainly knows her stuff. Elisabeth is a food and travel writer when she isn’t baking and has even been a food critic in her time. With an extensive career in food, this seems like a logical step and one that I hope continues to develop as Elisabeth has lots of ideas for extending the product range and for cookery classes. I wish her every success.

My Last Mouthful was: The multi-seeded and Honey Loaf

Service-

Presentation-

Quality of product-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating

Tribe Tribe- A Whole New Experience!

I love to eat out and I love to try something different. While there are lots of restaurants serving exotic cuisine, most are Asian or European and although the food can be lovely, it is likely that we will be able to make a rough guess about what a dish will taste like from reading the menu or having tasted something similar before.

Enter Tribe Tribe!

Tribe Tribe in Canton is different as it serves up delicious West African dishes which are a totally new, but very welcome experience. I have not come across a restaurant like Tribe Tribe in Cardiff before and I was so excited to try the food.

When we approached Tribe Tribe it really stood out on Cowbridge Road East as it looked very bright and stylish compared to it’s neighbouring buildings. Once inside, we immediately felt at home as the place was very inviting with it’s warm red and orange interior, comfy sofas and simple dining tables. It had a really laid back feel about it and I felt totally at ease in my casual clothes.

The thing that I loved most about Tribe Tribe (delicious food aside) is that it is run by a young couple who are so friendly and welcoming. It isn’t often that you meet the owners of a restaurant when you go for a meal and it is even more unusual leaving feeling like you have got to know them quite well.

We were welcomed by Charlie (the owner)  and shown to a seat. The menu really excited me because I had no idea what anything was, it was going to be a totally new experience. This is where Charlie came in and she was brilliant as she sat with us and talked us through the menu, letting us know what was in each stew and how hot they would be. She even said that the food could be ordered to whatever level of spice we would like which is a very thoughtful touch.

Charlie’s husband is the chef and is Nigerian so the food was very authentic and really had that home cooked feel. It was fantastic! We had Shola Fish cooked in Nigerian spices with beautiful plantain and a spicy tomato dipping sauce (Ikeja). The fish was exceptional. It was cooked to perfection- moist and tender. We also had a chicken stew which was very tasty. The sauce had a tomato base and was cooked with dried fish. Fish was a very common ingredient but there were some dishes without fish and a good selection of vegetarian dishes too. On my next visit I want to try a stew with mixed meat (beef, tripe and cow foot). It’s so nice to see things like this on the menu.

For me Tribe Tribe is perfect. It has a great menu that is totally different from anywhere else I have been in Cardiff and is very good value for money too. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed which I love as an alternative to dressing for dinner and being on your best behaviour.  You can feel totally at ease no matter what you’re wearing and you can dig in and enjoy your food and have fun. I love this place so much I have booked a table for 8 next weekend as I want all my friends to try it!

Tribe Tribe Easter special!

Tribe Tribe in Canton have a great Easter offer, all weekend from Friday 22nd April until Sunday 24th April.

Indulge…a HUGE 3 course meal for a SMALL price of £9.95!!

Starter:  Moi Moi or Yam Chips

Main:  Jollof rice with Ikeja Sauce (& chicken for non vegetarians)

Dessert:  Choice of cake or icecream

Have a look at their website

 

%d bloggers like this: