November 10th, 2016

I bought a non-plastic kettle!

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Hihi everyone!

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This time, I’d like to show off my brand spanking new kitchen equipment!

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cocoandme_ottoni_fabbrica

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Ta-da~!!!!! :) :) :)

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It’s an ALL-STAINLESS-STEEL electric kettle by Ottoni Fabbrica, & it’s non-plastic!!!

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Ooh it makes me so happy! :) :) :)

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I do slightly fear that I may come across as a bit silly getting all excited over just a kettle…, lol, but you’ve gotta understand (!)
this is a cumulative result of me searching high & low for a non-plastic kettle for an age! Did you know that finding a kettle with absolutely zilch plastic parts is really hard?! You’d think that the stainless steel kettles out there on the market would be good enough, right?, but no…, they all have some sort of plastic part that would be in contact with the boiling water. For example the mesh lime scale filter by the spout – it has a plastic frame… And if the kettle has a a water level window on the side, that’s going to be made out of plastic too.

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cocoandme_ottoni_fabbrica_2

(Inside shot)

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cocoandme_ottoni_fabbrica_3

(The kettle by Ottoni Fabbrica has a stainless steel mesh filter on the spout side. The mesh is the same height as the kettle, & although it doesn’t look it, it is actually removable for washing!)

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You’re probably wondering what the fuss is all about, right? Well, I’m on a mission to get away from the plastics. This is because I worry about harmful cancerous chemicals entering mine & my family’s body. My personal concern is especially bisphenol A (BPA) that mimics the oestrogen hormone. Was it this that fed my hormone-receptive breast cancer…? Having had the first-hand experience of cancer, where ever I can, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

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“… considerable data indicate that exposure of humans to BPA is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, decreased birth weight at term, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive and sexual dysfunctions, altered immune system activity, metabolic problems and diabetes in adults, and cognitive and behavioral development in young children”

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Mind you, it’s not just bisphenol A (BPA) that’s bad…, yikes…:

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“Three plastics have been shown to leach toxic chemicals when heated, worn or put under pressure: polycarbonate, which leaches bisphenol A; polystyrene, which leaches styrene; and PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which break down into vinyl chloride and sometimes contains phthalates that can leach.”

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(Quoted from breast cancer fund)
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So, here’s my review about the use of an all-stainless kettle in general & specifically about the Ottoni Fabbrica kettle:

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Pros:

  • In general, an all-stainless kettle has no plastic parts touching the water. It’s strong material will likely last for a long time. Stainless also doesn’t impart or absorb flavors or smells.
  • The Ottoni Fabbrica kettle is considerably a lot quieter than the plastic kettle I had previously! And the design of the spout on the Ottoni Fabbrica kettle is really nice – it pours water beautifully. Also worth mentioning is the large opening on the top which makes putting the water in easier.

Cons:

  • In general, an all-stainless kettle is heavier than it’s plastic cousin. In my opinion, elderly people might find it cumbersome. It also gets pretty hot to the touch on the outside wall.
  • The Ottoni Fabbrica kettle is expensive compared to the standard price-point of it’s plastic cousin. The handle is still plastic (but atleast it’s not touching the water directly). I wish the handle was wooden…! It’ll really suit the rustic appearance of the kettle! Using wood will make these kettles truly plastic-free!

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By the way, as far as I know, this is the only all-stainless steel interior electric kettle that I know which is available to the UK market.

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The Ottoni Fabbrica kettles comes in two different shapes. To make the decision to choose harder, they have these in  an assortment of twenty colours & finishes to colour-match your kitchen! Below are the four that I liked the best: 


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Ottoni Fabbrica Italian Top Kettle “Alice Crema” 

The colour-combo of white & silver reminds me of my iPhone.
 

 

 

Ottoni Fabbrica Italian Top Kettle “Alice Nero”
I like simplicity, so this one below with the black handle was a possible candidate. It’s a classic look that you won’t get tired of.
 

Ottoni Fabbrica Italian Top Kettle “Alice Elegance”
Similarly, how about an all-black one like below?? Rather slick don’t you think? It oozes calm modernity. Oh choices, choices…! :)

 


Ottoni Fabbrica Italian Top Kettle “Fjord Satinato”
Below’s the one I went for. It’s over twenty pounds more expensive than the others… but I liked the shape of the spout, & I liked the brushed stainless steel surface. I think the somewhat retro/ vintage-y/ nostalgic appearance is rather charming!
 

 


_Hello, nice to meet you Mrs. Kettle, welcome to mine!_ :) :) :)

October 21st, 2014

Two pictures

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Two pictures to share with you:
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an alternative design for an apple galette. Chain link pattern on round puff pastry. Caramelised apple sauce. Tamami. www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me

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Sometime ago, I was playing around with an alternative design for an apple galette.

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The recipe goes something like this:

1. Peel Granny Smith apples & thinly slice with a mandolin.

2. The raw apple slices are too brittle to loop in to pattern, so blanche them for 1 minute, then dunk in cold water to stop it from cooking further. (This method also stops them from oxidising & turning brown!)

3. The chain design only works with similarly large slices, so to use up the unused end scraps of apple, make a caramelised apple mix which will go in-between the apple chain & the puff pastry base.

4. Use an apple corer to cut a circle in the centre of the apple slices, then loop them up to make a chain pattern.

5. Then assemble that on puff & caramel mix, & bake…

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… The recipe itself was a definite success, super moreish, the caramel layer really made it special together with the flakey puff pastry. But the chain design was too fiddly to say the least. Perhaps I’ll ditch the pattern idea & go for a more universal look after-all, like how others do it, layering the slices like roof tiles, so that I can share the recipe properly with you one day…?

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Gifts from Paris - Chocolon (chocolate covered macaron) from Sadaharu Aoki Paris and Mendiants Chocolate bar from Alain Ducasse. www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Coco and Me

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Last Saturday I had a surprise visit from Mrs.C & her husband Mr.E from Paris! :) :) :) It was a super happy moment. :) :) :) Smiles (Mrs. C), smiles (Mr.E), smiles (Me) !  It was really great to catch up on each other’s news! The extra surprise was that they’d brought with them a gift for me too! Wow… thank you… It was chocolate-coated macarons from my favourite Japanese patissier Sadaharu Aoki, & a mendiant chocolate bar from the one & only Alain Ducasse! I own cookbooks by both of these men* & absolutely respect them, so believe me when I say that these sweet things are highly valued by me & will be truly enjoyed, ~ slowly…, not a single crumb will be wronged by landing anywhere other than in my mouth.

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In fact, why not try one now as I write. Oooooh… (fingers dancing over the macarons), let’s see…, the…, yes, the mac with the red top. Ah! Raspberry! Or should I say ‘framboise’ since it’s from France. ~ (sigh) I needs me a trip to Paris again .Yep… (scoff), yep… (munch).

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* Here’s a confession ~ I’ve not counted (& I dare not want to ~ it’ll be a bad reality check of my spendings), but I think I have around 150 food-related books in my bookshelf… When I’m ‘in’ to something, I like to get ‘in’ to it knee-deep obviously. Lol… Recently I’m ‘in’ to dropping in to the local Oxfam Bookstore (a charity second-hand bookstore here in UK) to check their latest offerings. Last time I was in there, I bought a signed Raymond Blanc book from 1991 for £5. The pictures are a little dated, but every single one a fantastic, no-nonsense recipe. I’m learning a lot from it, currently cooking from the vegetable section. I also plan on making the pumpkin soup from this book for Halloween! ^^

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October 5th, 2011

Bunting for the stall

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Just recently I bought this bunting on ebay.

(continues…)

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - coco and me - bunting with woodland animals - small

(‘scuse the harsh shadows… midnight photography…)

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I was on the look out for bunting for ages so I was so happy when I finally found one I liked! I wanted a design that was not too twee or country-chic/ shabby-chic. And I didn’t want to go for the usual tricolour of red, white & blue that I’ve been seeing everywhere.

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This lovely handmade bunting is in an old & rare Cranston print fabric called Bank Holiday. Depicted are dressed up woodland animals enjoying themselves at a country fair.

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Currently on my stall I have a fair bit of ‘animal-theme’ going on! ^^

I have the bird design on the cheesecake & on the chocolate tart (pictures of those can be found here & here.) Then there are bunny shaped biscuits on the large cakes & tarts too (picture of the biscuit can be found here). I also have tiny yellow birds clipped on the cake racks! So having this new animal bunting is just the fitting addition, I think!

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - coco and me - broadway market - stall - animal bunting

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www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - coco and me - broadway market cake stall - Tamami

(The yellow blobs at the bottom of the picture are the bird clips…)

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Anyway, hope all is well everyone, & I do hope to write another recipe for here soon…!!

Warmest regards, Tamami xx

September 19th, 2010

Black Forest Gâteaux

Coco&Me - Black Forest Gateaux with recipe - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and MeThis wednesday I made a Black Forest Gâteaux.
Coco&Me - Black Forest Gateaux with recipe - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and MeI arranged the cherries on top to spell number 3, because I baked it to take to a 3 year old’s birthday party.
Coco&Me - Black Forest Gateaux with recipe - www.cocoandme.com - Coco and MeThe cake was constructed with Kirsch-syrup soaked chocolate genoise sponge layers with alternately piped kirsch chantilly cream & whipped chocolate cream. There are also lots of de-stoned black cherries (Kirsch-syrup soaked) hidden inbetween the layers.
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x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x
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Wh, what? Booze soaked cake for a children’s party?? – Don’t worry – it was for consumption by the mums only. (There was a separate cake for the children, baked by the mum.)
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Actually, I especially made it for the birthday girl’s mum ‘A’, who’d been handing down bags n’ bags full of girl clothes for my daughter S. Literally tonnes of it!! And good stuff too, from the likes of Petit Bateau & Polarn o. Pyret, as well as cute vintage finds. I hardly ever buy new clothes for my daughter other than a few key pieces & some underwear, & that’s all thanks to the generosity of ‘A’!
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Now, why Black Forest Gâteaux. – Well, here’s what it was. The one week prior to the party, my daughter S & myself were outside ‘A”s house, all dolled up, warm Tarte Tatins (there were two) tucked safely in the bottom netting of S’s pram. Just as I was going to ring the doorbell, ‘A’ opens her door. She welcomes us in with a slight puzzled look. Noticing how quiet her house was, I ask “Oh, am I the first to arrive?” – And just at that moment, it struck us both – Yes, I had gotten the dates wrong. The party was on the next week.
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Oh.my.gawd… shame on me. How-do-I-do-this? I’m a fool. ‘A’ insisted on inviting us in regardless. I decided to give the Tarte Tatin to ‘A’ anyway, & keep the other one for taking around to a different friend later. While our daughters played upstairs, we sat on her sofa with a mug of milky tea cupped in our hands. Our conversation was naturally (?) about sweet things (!) & about her new found admiration for M&S Black Forest Gâteaux (all butter, soft & chewy) dessert cookies. “They’re very good, Tamami…” ‘A’ wistfully expressed her review of it with a sigh of yearning. She also shared her realization of how we don’t ever come across a good Black Forest Gâteaux in London – … like, never! And she was so right!
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So, to cut the story short, I made another cake for the correct party date, but this time a Black Forest Gâteaux. Upon research on google images, I realized that the cake seriously suffers on the looks stakes, oooh so ugly & retro in a bad way! I boiled the culprit down to the chocolate flakes patted on to the sides together with all that cream with swirly piping. So I simply avoided that & just had fun with piping simple round blobs. I think it also ties in with everything-else (the sponge & the cherries) that are also round. The simplicity of the look (& flavour) needed the addition of whipped chocolate cream in to the equation, alternating it with the white chantilly cream to step it up.
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The cake went down well with the crowd at the party, & no slices were left after 10 minutes upon serving. But oh, I should also share with you a story of another clumsy slip-up. The birthday children (it was a joint birthday) were celebrating their FOURTH, not third birthday… Ooops…
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I really don’t know what is wrong with me lately. I’ve been making mistakes more than my usual fair. It’s all very minor incidents – like forgetting to take my cake knifes on Saturdays. One time I forgot to sift in the flour to THREE lemon drizzle cakes, & ended up with an oily souffle kind of thing which obviously didn’t make it’s appearance on the stall table. What a waste of ingredient, time & energy… Also, this week, my regular customers might perhaps have noticed that my ‘Luxury Brownies’ looks have changed. Yes, it was because I initially forgot to add the nuts in the batter. When I noticed this halfway through baking, I took the trays out to scatter the nuts on top instead. But guess what guys, it looks so much tastier now! And I realized that with this method, I now have control on the exact distribution of nuts per slice! A mistake turned to better results. Perhaps I shouldn’t feel so down about making mistakes afterall!
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On Friday, ‘A’ popped around with a packet of M&S Black Forest Gâteaux cookies as a thank you pressie to me for the cake. – Yes, the cookies are very good ‘A’… but with 120kcal PER cookie, I think it is e-v-i-l (says Tamami as she sadly reaches for the last cookie in the packet…) ^^

May 11th, 2009

Christine Ferber jams

www.cocoandme.com - Christine Ferber jams - Coco&Me

I bought 6 types of jams last weekend. They are made by the French Jam Queen – Christine Ferber. I’ve been a fan of hers for ages. My two books on her I treasure to bits. And oh boy, the jams…, it’s so heavenly I tell you, the jar we had last time was finished in no time – despite me fending off family members – getting seriously upset if they were to dip in their dirty butter knives, which could spoil it. (There is nothing more disheartening to see old toast crumbs & a smears of butter in your jam jar!)
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At 7€50 (around £6.70) for a 220g jar, it certainly is at the highest end of the market. But, its oh-so-loose texture that you’ve never ever encountered before & its bursting fresher-than-fresh fruitiness should convince you that it is one of those purchases that justifies itself, if you weigh out the price tag to the numerous happiness you will get out of it.

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The flavours I got this time are:

  • Gelée de cassis et groseilles d’Alsace (Jelly of blackcurrant & Alsatian red currents)
  • Framboises d’Alsace et kirsch (Alsatian Raspberry with kirsch liquor)
  • Rhubarbe d’Alsace, fraises d’Alsace et fleurs de sureau (Alsatian rhubarb with Alsatian strawberries & elder flowers)
  • Rhubarbe d’Alsace, ananas, mangues et fruits de la passion (Alsatian rhubarb, pineapple, mango & passion fruit)
  • Cassis d’Alsace (Alsatian blackcurrant)
  • Gelée de pommes d’Alsace à la cannelle (Jelly of Alsatian apples with cinnammon)

I was battling with the little French I know to take a wild guess at the flavours written on the jars in the shop – so it’s kind of news to me now that I’ve translated them! ^^ Now I know what they are!! Oooohh, which one shall be my first victim??
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www.cocoandme.com - Christine Ferber jams - Coco&Me

(She is also famous for her tarts!)

www.cocoandme.com - Christine Ferber jams - Coco&Me

(The cute packaging kills me.)

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During our Paris trip, we also went to a cafe/ tea room called Mamie Gâteaux (66 rue du Cherche-Midi 75006 PARIS). I have their Japanese recipe book & I always wanted to go there, so I was so happy to finally go! It was really nice. Loved the decor, the food, the atmosphere, everything. The hot chocolate came in a Café au Lait bowl with mini madeleine! Ahh, Le Paris!
www.cocoandme.com - Mamie Gateaux tea room/ cafe - Coco&Me

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