January 29, 2015

Last night I had a night at Nama.

A dear foodie friend had been eager to try it, I had heard about it during the summer, in particular their breakfast pancakes that had been circulating instagram and after last night I will definitely be back for breakfast! 

Situated on Talbot road, Nama is all white washed walls and wooden floors. 

They serve a small but fantastic menu of raw goodies, a great selection of starters and nibbles, a fantastic spread of mains and delicious, delicious desserts.

This Place is a must, raw foodie or not Nama captures flavours and textures that will have you questioning your eating habits, and understanding the appeal of the ever growing raw food craze. 

You can book late from Thursdays through to Saturday, we booked early, our table was 6:30 but didn't feel too early as the small back room was soon heaving with regulars and other first raw foodies.

We browsed the menu...'Lasagne'...'Pizza.'..'Thai Curry'... while tucking into some sprouted crackers and fresh guacamole. 

Cool cucumber water is brought to your table... if you have never tried cucumber in your water. Do. it is really refreshing and you immediately feel healthy and hydrated. 

Spicy guac and tasty crackers, we were off to a good start. 

Before long out came our mains... Thai Curry and Green pizza.

The Thai  Coconut Curry...kohlrabi rice packed into a dome in the centre with cauliflower, courgette, red pepper, leeks in sweet chilli and a sweet coconut sauce.

Really delicious and packed full of flavour.

The Green pizza. A courgette and walnut base, fresh kale with avocado cream, sliced caper berries and a micro herb salad.

Full of flavour and surprisingly filling.

Next we decided to try out their 'Chocolate Submarine' a hot chocolate, where you choose your milk.

We both went for coconut which was tasty and yes 'hot' raw food can still be raw although there are certain rules.

Everything can be heated/cooked to 42C anything above and it is no longer raw. Out hot chocolates were warm and served with a big hunk of dark chocolate.

The desserts were the really treat of this meal...

Chocolate Ganache Tart...

and Mocha Cheese Cake. smooth, indulgent and all raw.

The base a mix of coconut, seeds and maple syrup was divine. Cocoa nibs, crumbs and sauce smeared underneath added to the uniqueness of these raw desserts.

Extra servings of coconut sugar for the hot chocolates was on hand.

On your way out you can't help but notice the goodies for sale. The fridge is also worth a look, next to the bar. You can buy fresh coconuts that they smash open for you.

 You will come away from this place desperate for a sprializer and itching to try out some raw recipes. I have certainly been inspired and will be working on a couple to share in February.

 Watch this space!

You can find them and book a table here...

January 04, 2015

Not only did I start the year with oysters, galette and fois gras, I also had a taster of another cultural delicacy frogs legs, and they are delicious!

We went for a festive lunch at a local restaurant in the town of Ambert. Having battled the snow on the roads and my decidedly inappropriate footware for the -11 temperatures we found ourselves sitting down with a nice aperitif at Les Copains in the centre of town, just opposite the famous Marie Ronde the circular town hall.

This beautiful town hall, each week turns into a treasure trove with delicious artisan food stalls under the arches for the market. One of the most popular being the Fourme d'Ambert stall selling a local blue cheese similar to stilton.  Queues for this local cheese are always round the block.

Our restaurant for the afternoon is fairly inconspicious from the outside.

But once in and seated you are treated fantastically. You can peruse the menu with a little aperitif. A local favourite is a sparkling wine with a little chestnut syurp, sweet and unusual.

An amuse bouche is brought round while you wait for your starter. This week it was mushroom soup with some warm homemade cheese pancetta bread, gooey cheese oozing out from the middle, surrounded by little hunks of crispy pancetta. Simple but perfect.

Then the starter came out. Everyone was particularly jealous with my Aunt's, which was a layered dish with an oyster, salad and local charcuterie.

Ravioli with girolles and a little puff alongside for my Uncle and Mum.

Dad and I went for frogs legs, keeping with something traditionally French!

I only managed to capture my main which was a lamb tagine with juicy soaked apricots, perfectly warming for a wintry day.

Served along side the mains, creamy potato dauphinoise. This again is a dish taken very seriously in the Auvergne, it is as tempting and delicious as it is calorific!

Next came the cheese course, all served on a plate made escpecialy to advertise the local cheeses. Fantastic branding and of course the best cheese.

Finally pudding arrived. I went for the layered Crepe Gateau, and I managed, somehow, to find room for every last scrap!

The others went for chocolate fondant...

Panacotta... and more Crepe Gateau. 

Finally, out came the petite fours - melt in mouth shortbread and cocoa dusted truffles.

A really perfect meal with a few local specialities thrown in.

With very full tummies we meandered our way around the quiet town and ventured home for an afternoon in front of the fire.

A perfect end to a holiday and a fabulously foodie start to 2015!

January 01, 2015

For the last week of 2014 we were graced with snow and some truly wintery weather. After a gluttonous christmas with a few days to recover the snow graced us with its presence and a hive of activity then insued, long walks in the crisp snow with glorious sunshine.

The little village of Bertignat, where my aunt and uncle have a beautiful house is high in the mountains in the Auvergne, surrounded by spectacular pine forests which become ever more beautiful when snow decides to fall.

We spent New Years day in the enchanted forest...

With the afternoon sunlight streaming through the trees it really was breathtaking.

Now back to the night before where foodie exictment ended 2014 on a high with some delicous food firsts which made up a typical French affair.

We started with Oysters...these are everywhere in the local supermarkets, piled high and brought in from all over the coast. You are supposed to eat your oysters within a week of them being in the sea. Ours were packed up on Christmas Eve, so we figured we would be safe.  

With a hint of lemon and a shake of tabasco, if you can stomach these creatures they are nice, although I will need a few more tasters before I will be ordering them in public!

After a decadent starter, an even more decadent second course... Seared Fois Gras with Caramlised Apples on lightly browned brioche. This was a recipe my Aunt and Uncle had one year when they were in Canada, paired with the tips given by Mimi Thorrison in her new cookbook that I got for Christmas we cooked up a storm.

We picked up our fresh brioche from the village bakery, if you don't have a little french patisserie on your doorstep as we were lucky enough to have, you can buy brioche from any supermarket, or bakers.

Slice it up and place evenly on a baking sheet.

Next prep your fois gras, slice it up into 1cm slices and coat in flour and salt and pepper.

Place everything to one side and get to work making your sticky apple compote to accompany. Chop your apples (about an apple per person will do) and place in a pan with 100g butter and 2/3 cup sugar.  Let the mix become sticky and caramelised, this takes about half an hour.

Next heat up a medium frying pan untill hot (dont worry about any oil, the fois gras is fatty enough)

While you wait prepare some side dishes, we went for some figs wrapped in some local charcuterie and drizzled with maple syrup.  Also place your brioche under the grill for about a minute, watch this carefully as it will turn at any moment.

Once your pan is hot place the fois gras into the pan and sear for 30 seconds each side.

Once seared place onto your toasted brioche and serve with your sticky apple compote.

For pudding we kept very traditional and went for a Galette. A puff pastry tart with a delcious creamy almond filling. There is a hidden figure inside and whoever finds it gets to wear the crown!

A wonderful end to the year and a beautiful start to the next.

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