Remeo Gelato: A Taste of Italy in London

I felt like I just won the jackpot when Remeo messaged me to say that I’d won five jars of their gelato in flavours of my choosing! While I’ve seen their gelato sold in shops (found in Waitrose, Ocado, Whole Foods) before, I’ve never tried them so this was a great chance to try out their flavours. They also have sorbets (mango and lemon) which I’m definitely going to try at some point in the future.

I was impressed with the quality of the packaging and the fact that you can reuse the jars! Hope Remeo won’t mind when I end up storing my homemade ice cream in them 😜

A big thank you to Remeo for choosing me as the winner – here are my thoughts on their gelatos…

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No.1 Caffe Espresso

Although I don’t drink coffee that much, I love the smell of freshly ground coffee beans and that same earthy aroma greeted me when I opened this jar of gelato.

I really liked the lovely balanced coffee flavour of this gelato, which apparently is made with 26% liquid espresso – it wasn’t too sweet and had just the right amount of bitterness.

The gelato itself was very smooth, although I slightly struggled to scoop it (even after leaving it outside the freezer for a couple of minutes).

Overall: 7/8 scoops

No.2 Vaniglia del Madagascar

This gelato had a very light vanilla flavour, tasting more like milk than vanilla, and was a bit too sweet for my liking. I personally prefer a creamier ice cream with a stronger vanilla flavour, but Remeo’s version is still delicious served with fresh summer berries!

Overall: 6/8 scoops

No.3 Dark Chocolate 72%

Chocolate desserts are my absolute favourite and this dark chocolate gelato didn’t disappoint 😃 Made with 72% dark chocolate, the gelato tasted incredibly velvety and rich.

Dark chocolate can be tricky to work with in ice creams and sorbets as sometimes end up leaving a slightly gritty texture or acidic aftertaste, but there were none of these issues in Remeo’s gelato!

Overall: 7/8 scoops

No.5 Pistacchio Siciliano

Another wonderfully smooth gelato with a delicate and nutty flavour. I’ve tried making pistachio in the past and it’s tough to get the balance of the nuttiness and creaminess right – like their vanilla gelato, Remeo keeps the flavours quite subtle but I think it works nicely for this pistachio gelato.

Overall: 6.5/8 scoops

No.6 Stracciatella di Bergamo

This beautiful gelato had a subtle and balanced milk flavour which wasn’t too overpowering. I loved the generous amount of chocolate shavings which wasn’t too sweet nor too bitter. The chocolate shards added a really satisfying crunchy texture to an otherwise very smooth and creamy gelato.

The gelato melted quite quickly, but this wasn’t a major issue as we scoffed down our scoops even faster! This was our favourite flavour and the first jar to be finished – would highly recommend this flavour to all gelato-lovers 😋

Overall: 8/8 scoops

Many thanks again to Remeo for supplying me with these delicious treats at the peak of the British heatwave. Really authentic Italian gelato (and as good as the scoops I’ve had in Rome, Florence and Venice), so I definitely recommend trying some of their flavours!

The Best Mince Pies to Try This Christmas

I love this time of the year in the build up to the holiday season. Even though the days are getting shorter, darker and colder, nothing warms me up more than seeing the sparkly lights and festive decorations, and enjoying a hot beverage. Winter is also a great reason to eat more – it’s cold and we’ve got huge coats on anyway..

I’m loving making slow-cooked chillies, beef stews and delicious ragus, but more importantly – the Christmas season has heralded the return of my favourite festive sweet, the mince pie! If it wasn’t obvious from the title of this post, I’ve been on the hunt for the best mince pies that London has to offer. But first, what exactly is a mince pie? It’s basically a fit-in-your-palm-sized buttery shortcrust pastry filled with mincemeat – a fruity, boozy, spiced mix of vine fruits and citrus peel (with no actual meat!).

I’ve sampled a range of mince pies from the supermarkets and high street cafes but will be updating this list as we get closer to Christmas – do let me know if there are any you think I’ve missed out and need to try!

1. Heston from Waitrose Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies with a Lemon Twist (£3.00 / 4 pies) – 9/10

This was probably the most unique mince pie that I tried, though I suppose it’s more of a tart than an actual pie! Waitrose also has a chocolate & ginger version which also looks really good (see below). I loved the crumble topping and the zesty lemon curd, which complemented the sweet mincemeat. The spiced pastry also tasted delicious. The only downside is that I wished there was more of the filling to balance against the pastry!

2. Sainsbury’s Deep Filled Mince Pies (£1.10 / 6 pies) – 7/10

Sainsbury’s is my go-to supermarket so I had to try out their classic mince pies and I was pleasantly satisfied. The pies are packed full of sultanas, raisins and currants and some orange peel. I didn’t find the filling to be overly sweet and was actually slightly tart. Overall, a good solid choice of mince pie and great value for money.

3. Marks & Spencer’s The Collection Mince Pies (£2.50 / 6 pies) – 8/10

These mince pies are beautifully decorated with a snowflake and star design. The mincemeat filling makes M&S’s version so good – it’s bursting with vine fruits, cherries and clementine, with a full brandy flavour and citrus notes. The citrus means that the filling doesn’t end up too sickly sweet. The pastry is also decent – very buttery, but I found it got a bit sticky in my mouth – not an issue when washed down with some milk though!

4. Iceland Luxury Mince Pies (£1.89 / 6 pies) – 8/10

This was voted as the nation’s favourite mince pie last year, so I had high hopes! The pastry on these mince pies were lovely – really buttery and almost crisp when warmed in the oven. Also has a delicious gooey filling with juicy fruits. Unexpected place to find such a tasty mince pie!

5. Starbucks Mince Pie (£1.69 / ea) – 6/10

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This was a pretty hefty mince pie (both in price, as compared to the options above, and also in size). The mince pie is very deep and was generous with the sultanas, currants and raisins. I found the filling too sweet though and with the heavy dusting of icing sugar, it was a bit too much on the whole. The pastry was also very crumbly. This probably wouldn’t be my first choice of a baked good in Starbucks but it’s still pretty tasty enjoyed with one of their Christmas coffees.

6. Konditor & Cook Mince Pie (£1.60 / ea) – 7.5/10

I love the cakes at K&C, so I had to give their famous mince pies a try too! These were smaller than I expected and I polished it off in a few bites! Their mince pies have a lovely handcrafted look and are tantalisingly golden brown. The filling is plump with raisins / sultanas but there isn’t a lot of it! All in all, a delicious mince pie with buttery pastry (yet not being too dry), but the price means that it’s more of a treat / good for a gift – K&C sell it in gift boxes of 6 for £10.

7. Waitrose’s All Butter Chocolate and Ginger Mince Pies (£2.00 / 4 pies) – 8/10

img_9532I’ve never tried a chocolate mince pie before and what a delicious revelation! When warmed in the oven, the crisp pastry and the soft filling have a gooey brownie-like texture, which is divine. The filling is laced with orange oil and ginger, giving the pie a lovely spicy and warming flavour. On the whole, the mince pie isn’t too sweet and the chocolate, orange and ginger flavours pair together really nicely. If you’re looking for a twist on the traditional mince pie, this one is highly recommended!

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas / holiday season, filled with lots of delicious food (already excited for all the Christmas cakes) & wishing everyone the best for 2018! 🙂

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Gianduja (Hazelnut & Milk Chocolate) Ice Cream

The combination of hazelnuts and milk chocolate is absolutely divine – so I was excited to find the recipe for gianduja gelato in David Lebovitz’s ice cream bible, The Perfect Scoop. Gianduja is an Italian chocolate that was created in the Piedmont region when cocoa was in short supply, so hazelnuts were added to the chocolate to give it more substance! Gianduja should be incredibly smooth, like a praline but using hazelnuts instead of almonds.

I know what you’re thinking – isn’t this basically Nutella? In fact, Nutella started off as a gianduja paste, which was then developed into the spread which has become so popular today (click here for an interesting blog post on the full history). While it’d be much easier to use a jar of the moreish chocolate-hazelnut spread to make my recipe, I didn’t want to risk my ice cream becoming too sweet, and I like a bit of a challenge! Apparently the best gianduja will contain up to 50% hazelnut, so I made sure to be generous with the nuts and to try to extract as much flavour from them as possible.

 

Making the hazelnut ice cream base involved: (1) toasting the hazelnuts to a delicious golden brown; (2) blitzing up the nuts into a fine crumb-paste; (3) mixing the paste into the milk and cream base; (4) resting the entire mixture for an hour or so to let the hazelnut flavour infuse into the milk and cream. The hazelnut paste is then sieved out and you’re left with an rich and aromatic ice cream base that is ready for the custard and milk chocolate.

 

This is a seriously tasty ice cream with a fantastic balance of flavours between the hazelnuts and the milk chocolate – neither ingredient overpowering the other. It does take more effort to make but I promise you it’s worth it!

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Eating the World: Mallorca

Holidays give you a dangerous taste of what life is like away from work… and our week in Mallorca was delicious. I don’t quite want to accept that I’ve come back to reality, so I’m writing this post to wallow reminisce.

We visited so many beautiful places – the dramatic Tramuntana mountain range and the little towns tucked away in the valleys, the hidden calas with the most turquoise waters I’ve ever seen, and the incredible Es Pontas, a gigantic natural rock arch with one of the most difficult deep water solo routes.

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Being on holiday was no doubt another excuse to eat as much as we physically could. We had so much tasty seafood paella, tapas and most importantly… ice cream! These were my three favourite flavours from the trip!

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1. Crema catalana

I found out that this is a popular Spanish dessert, kind of like a creme brûlée. The ice cream was wonderfully creamy and custard-y, but what made it special was the flecks of caramelised sugar throughout the ice cream – so good

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2. Tiramisu

We came across this brightly decked out gelateria in Valldemossa. This was our first stop along our mini road trip through Serra de Tramuntana and I absolutely loved this small town in the mountains! I had a lovely time browsing the shops selling Spanish wares (though admittedly it was all very touristy) and marvelling over the amazing views. 

This gelato was the perfect treat on this hot day, and I particularly liked the swirl of coffee / chocolate sauce. 

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3. Kinder bueno

This was a sweet after-dinner treat along the Pollença seaside (and I’m pretty sure this was our second ice cream of the day so we conservatively shared a scoop). 

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All in all, this was an wonderful getaway and I can’t wait to visit again. For now, I’m feeling semi-rejuvenated and will have to go back to exploring London for new and tasty ice creams! 

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

Even though it’s only August, it’s already getting cooler and the days are getting shorter here in the UK… but as if that would stop me from making more ice cream! I love ice cream in all seasons, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with more autumnal and winter flavours (mmm mince pie perhaps?). But for now, summer’s not quite over yet, so I’m taking advantage of the remaining sunshine and beautiful fresh fruits.

Raspberry ripple is a classic British flavour which wonderfully showcases the sweet and tangy berries. I love the balance between the velvety dairy ice cream and the fresh berry coulis – this ice cream also looks amazing with its lovely scarlet-purple swirls, and is sure to impress friends and family.

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Inspiration

London was going through an unbearable heatwave, so we decided to escape our furnace of a flat and head down to Bournemouth for a day. Turns out the rest of south-west England had the same idea, as the beaches were completely packed! It was such a lovely day, lounging under the sun and going for a paddle in the sea.

It might’ve been the heat, but I’m not exaggerating when I say I had one of the tastiest ice creams ever from a small beach-side hut. This scoop of raspberry ripple meringue had light ribbons of raspberry through it, with crunchy pieces of meringue swirled in as well.

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Creation

I’ve made raspberry ripple ice cream a few times now, and most recently I decided to make a version with not only raspberries, but also blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. This gave the coulis a deeper purple colour and a tangier flavour (so I probably should’ve added more sugar).

Summer berry coulis

  • 250 g mixed berries (frozen or fresh)
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  1. On a medium heat, gently cook the berries with the sugar and lemon juice. 
  2. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash any stubborn berries. 
  3. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture has reached a jam-like consistency. 
  4. Let the mixture cool, then blitz in a blender until smooth. 
  5. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. 
  6. The remaining coulis can now be used to swirl through ice cream, yogurts, oatmeal or as a topping for other desserts – enjoy!

The ice cream turned out really well, and it looks gorgeous too! It’s so delicious served on its own, or with a handful of fresh berries on the side.

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Tea & Biscuits Ice Cream

Tea is basically the lifeblood of the British people and since moving to the UK in 2012, I’ve adopted this national beverage as part of my regular diet as well. There’s something so comforting about a big mug of English breakfast tea, especially during the cold winter months (and the cold summer days in London, recently!). Yorkshire Tea is my personal favourite, and I enjoy my tea with a splash of milk and no sugar.

That being said, I’ve loved milk tea long before coming to England – in Hong Kong, milk tea is also a staple in cha chaan tengs (a typical fast food restaurant that serves a fusion of Chinese/Western cuisine – I’m getting nostalgic just thinking about them). Hong Kong-style milk tea is has a distinctively smooth and deep tea flavour and it’s so delicious whether served hot or over ice. It’s made using black tea, evaporated milk and sugar, but what makes the tea so incredibly smooth is that the tea leaves are strained using a sack-cloth back (kind of like a silk stocking, which is why it’s sometimes called ‘pantyhose’ tea!).

This ice cream recipe celebrates both versions of the humble milk tea, and I hope I’ve done it justice!

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Inspiration

Via Tokyo (Shop 1A-1B, G/F, Leishun Court, 106-126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay)

Via Tokyo is one of Hong Kong’s most popular dessert cafes, serving a range of Japanese desserts and in particular, the most indulgent soft serves. Their classic flavours include Matcha (this in itself is worth a separate post), Hokkaido milk and Hojicha, but for awhile they had an amazing Royal Milk Tea flavour, which inspired me to create this recipe!

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Creation

To take my milk tea flavoured ice cream to the next level, I decided to add some texture by crumbling one of my favourite biscuits into the mix – chocolate digestives! Not proud to admit that I devoured many packs of these biccies whilst at university (seriously, the chocolate caramel version is crack to me).

I used my usual custard base, but steeped several tea bags’ worth of Yorkshire Tea in the milk & cream mixture for an hour before adding the egg yolks and remaining sugar. To achieve the silky smooth texture, I passed the ice cream mix through a sieve a couple of times before churning it in the machine.

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I’m so happy with how this ice cream turned out in the end – there’s a lovely tea flavour, it’s not too sweet and the bits of chocolate biscuit make this dessert so addictive!

Let me know what your favourite tea and biscuit combination is in the comments below – unless you’re more of a coffee person… 😛 Thanks for making it all the way down this fairly long post – hope you liked it!

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Dark Chocolate Sorbet – Part 1

Inspiration

Not going to lie, I was a bit sceptical when I heard about this dairy-free dessert. I couldn’t imagine how a sorbet could have the rich texture of an ice cream!

Essentially, sorbet has a base of water / fruit and sugar; whereas ice cream has a base of milk, cream or a combination of both. Given the obvious difference between these ingredients – I was pleasantly surprised when I tried these dark chocolate sorbets from two great spots in London recently.

1. La Gelatiera (Stratford) – Extra dark chocolate with Calabrian chilli

IMG_8237I visited La Gelatiera’s lovely cafe in East Village with my sister and boyfriend after our 10K race at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The race was great fun, though exhausting, so seeing the signs pointing to GELATO drew me in instantly. I needed an energy boost and this sorbet did just that!

This was a velvety and luxurious dark chocolate sorbet which had the same richness as an ice cream. I was impressed by the deep flavour of the chocolate, and really liked the kick of chilli at the end of each bite (or lick). As a bonus, it’s also vegan.

The only issue I had with this was that I felt it left a slight residue on my tongue afterwards, but it could just have been the particular batch, as I’ve not had this issue with any of their other flavours in the past!

2. Udderlicious (Covent Garden) – Dark chocolate and sea salt

img_8294.jpgAs a complete coincidence, I also had this delicious duo of sorbets after a 10K race (the British 10K around Central London!). I feel like the run completely justifies having dessert before lunchtime!

I had a dark chocolate and sea salt sorbet and also a peach and raspberry daiquiri sorbet. Two contrasting flavours – the chocolate was very creamy while the peach and raspberry was light and fresh – but both were fantastic.

I’d highly recommend a trip to Udderlicious if you haven’t been before as they have some of the most delicious flavours London has ever seen (I really like their matcha & chocolate chip ice cream too).

I was so impressed by these two experiences that I had to give it a go myself – you won’t believe how easy it is to make as well!

Check out Part 2 of this post to see how my own dark chocolate sorbet turned out…!