Well it’s official. The autumn equinox has come and gone, and I’m already preparing myself for the chilly season ahead (chillis- check. Root veg- check). While there are talks of a possible Indian summer, I feel it’s time to reflect upon my (rather English) summer, having published very little on this blog over the last few months!
The Chilli Pickle, Brighton
I spent most of my summer in Plymouth, and have therefore little to say on the dining out front! My gastronomical high point of the summer has to be a visit to Brighton’s ‘The Chilli Pickle’, where I indulged in some modern yet authentic Indian cuisine, in a vibrant and trendy environment. A typical curry house it is not, don’t go there expecting a korma or a vindaloo. The chilli pickle is a lot more adventurous than that! Expect the likes of a locally-reared braised oxtail curry served with cumin pilau and cucumber onion raita, or maybe you would opt for the venison seekh kebab with caramelised onion, plum chutney and cumin all served up on a butter naan.
Tom ordered the tandoori platter!
As a seafood junky, I quickly ordered the ‘Moilly seafood’, which was a fragrant and medium-spiced curry of crab claws (tricky to tackle but so worth it!), juicy king prawns, tender scallops and a fish that was new to my repertoire, known as huss. The flavours of the broth were perfectly layered with a mixture of spice and sweetness, while the samphire in the broth seasoned every bite. The coconut milk created a creamy and delicate base, while the additions of ginger, cardamom and curry leaf added that kick Indian food is so renowned for!
The side that my dish arrived with was an interesting coconut rice steam cake, a texture and taste not too familiar for my palate. Although I appreciated its authenticity and novelty, I decided to gobble up my curry with some fluffy pilau rice we all shared! As a big group, we ended up ordering all the items under the ‘nibbles’ section of the menu, and I found myself addicted to the deep flavours of the original chutneys that came with the poppadoms!
On top of the great food and the stunning decor, the staff were helpful and attentive; the Chilli Pickle really does go that extra mile to fuse together the delicious flavours of India with the extravagant quirkiness of Brighton.
I’ve wanted to post this for a while now and I finally got round to doing it! I made these for my 21st birthday for everyone to enjoy before a night out. My lack of scientific knowledge did give these cakes an unexpected look, but I love the quirkiness of them and felt they really represented my personality!
For the base
· 225g butter (softened for 20 seconds in the microwave)
· 225g caster sugar
· 225g self-raising flour
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 4 eggs
· 4 tbsp milk
For the icing
· 175g unsalted butter (slitly softened)
· 350g icing sugar
· 1 tbsp condensed milk
· 1 tbsp condensed milk
· A drop of food colouring of your choice (my cakes were originally going to be pink but to my surprise turned orange when I added red colouring! woopsy)
This bit is entirely up to you! Be creative and let the cakes represent you! I used a combination of:
White, milk and dark chocolate chips, chocolate stars, coloured stars, edible glitter, edible silver balls, rainbow drops, sweets. You can also use desiccated coconut, nuts and jellied or dried fruits!
Preheat the oven to 180C. Place cupcake cases in muffin holders and set aside.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until fluffy before beating in the eggs. Add the flour and fold in the milk. Spoon the mixture into cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are looking lightly golden and well risen!
For the frosting, beat the softened butter in a bowl and gradually sift in the icing sugar. Beat together until well mixed and stir in the condensed milk and the colouring.
When the cakes have cooled, you can start decorating. Either put the cream in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe the icing onto the cakes or spread the icing on the cakes and decorate the tops with chocolate chips etc.! Or you can mix the two methods by spreading the icing evenly on the cake and piping the outside in small concentric circles!