Honey & Co is a joy. There’s a really, really good reason why everyone wows about it and why it won the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013 Best Newcomer. Step inside and the place exudes passion and happiness. They call it love. “12 years in the making, [Honey & Co] is a labour of nothing but love and an extension of our home. The food we cook is the food we grew up on and also the food we grew to love, our moms’ and aunties’ food, the street food we always crave, the food we tried at our friends’ houses, sometimes, things we only heard about or imagined, and most of all, the things we miss from our childhood.”
The husband and wife team (who met working in an Italian restaurant in Tel Aviv) have serious credentials. They grew up in Israel and travelled to London. She worked as the Head of Pastry at Ottolenghi and then Executive Head Chef at Nopi and he as Head Chef at Ottolenghi. Their flavours are of Israel and the Middle East – think pistachios, honeyed hazelnuts, rose water, roasted fig, merguese sausage. There’s a casualness to the presentation but, in the small, whitewashed cafe, it works. And somehow even magnifies the brilliance of the food and the cooking.
I’ve been for breakfast a couple of times. The first time was over a year ago, when it was easy to get a seat(!) They didn’t have anything on the menu that was gluten-free and dairy-free but, without hesitation, they cooked something up. I was served a completely delicious, enticingly fragrant herb omelette.
Then I went again recently and had the Sabich – aubergine, tahini and egg. Oh my it was good. Creamy from the tahini and soft melting flavours from the roasted aubergine. A simple recipe that comes together deliciously.
Now I’ve had a taster with the Breakfasts, I need to go back for Lunch, Tea (to try the gluten-free cakes) and then Dinner (especially for the Flourless Chocolate Slice with Prunes in Whiskey & Salted Caramel)!
Honey & Co is at 25a Warren Street, London W1T 5LZ.
Yesterday, I woke up at 4am, pushed the curtains to one side, and took a quick look outside. It was one of those magical mornings, with whisps of morning mist, and all the signs that it was going to be a sunny day. I went back to sleep, thinking ‘I’ll make a picnic for lunch’. And, yep, the sun shone, the birds sang – and, at last, it was time for summery food!
This cake is an absolute joy to eat. It’s beautifully moist but holds together well. And it’s full of flavours from the pomegranates, almonds and pistachios. I made it with a very simple dairy-free yogurt and honey topping (but, of course, you can do a different frosting if you want a more conventional sugary one!)
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Makes 1 cake Preparation time 25 minutes Cooking time 40 minutes
- 150g/5½oz dairy-free margarine, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 2 pomegranates
- 175g/6oz/scant 1 cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 60g/2¼oz/scant ¼ cup rice flour
- 20g/¾oz/scant ⅓ cup gram flour
- 20g/¾oz/scant ⅓ cup maize flour
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 50g/1¾oz/½ cup ground almonds
- 100g/3½oz/⅔ cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
- 100g/3½oz dairy-free yogurt
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and lightly grease a deep 20cm/8in springform cake tins with dairy-free margarine. Halve the pomegranates and, holding each half over a large mixing bowl, bash the outer skin with a wooden spoon until all of the seeds fall into the bowl. You’ll need to bash the skin a few times before the seeds begin to fall out, but they will. And you might need to pick a few pieces of pith out of the bowl. Put a quarter of the pomegranate seeds into another dish and leave to one side, covered in cling film, to decorate the cake.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the dairy-free margarine and sugar together in another large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flours, gluten-free baking powder and xanthan gum into the mixture, add the ground almonds, and fold in. Add the pistachios and three-quarters of the pomegranate seeds and mix in gently. Make sure the mixture is well mixed but take care not to overmix it. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and level the surfaces with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for about 40 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.
- Mix together the yogurt and honey in a bowl until smooth. Spread the topping over the cake, cover with the remaining pomegranate seeds and serve. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days.
Cashew nut cheese is the classic vegan version of cheese. The subtle taste of the cashews, along with their soft texture when soaked, mean that they make a wonderfully creamy, soft cheese (and also cream). The mixture can then be flavoured – whether it’s with herbs, spices, or other ingredients to make delicious cheeses. I’ve used a recipe from Nicola Graimes’ new book New Vegetarian Kitchen, which I featured a few weeks ago and is full of inspirational and creative recipes for vegetarians, including this recipe for a trio of (dairy-free) cashew nut cheeses.
These cheeses are delicious just as they are, eaten with gluten-free bread or toast. But they’re also wonderful when added to a recipe. I made the herb one with rosemary instead of the suggested thyme, oregano or chives because I wanted to add it to a tomato-based pasta sauce I’d made to make it creamy, and wanted the strong rosemary flavour. The bland flavour of cashew nut cheese will work with a myriad of flavours, both subtle and strong – whatever you feel like trying!
Makes 3 different cheeses Preparation time 10 minutes
- 300g/10½oz/2 cups cashew nuts
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- a large pinch of smoked paprika
- 5 tbsp shelled pistachios, finely chopped
- 5 tbsp chopped mixed herbs, such as thyme, oregano and chives
- freshly ground black pepper
- Put the cashews in a bowl, cover with warm water and leave to soak for at least 2 hours, then drain and transfer the cashews to a food processor or blender. Add 185ml/6fl oz/¾ cup water and blend into a coarse paste. (For a softer ‘cheese’, add a little more water and blend into a coarse purée.) Add the salt and season with pepper.
- Divide the nut cheese into 3 equal portions. Stir the garlic, lemon juice and paprika into 1 portion and spoon it into a ramekin. Put the chopped pistachios on a plate. Using your hands, divide another portion of the nut cheese into teaspoon-sized balls, then roll each ball in the pistachios until evenly coated. Roll the last portion of the nut cheese into a log and roll it in the herbs to coat.
It’s the 2nd weekend of my detox and it’s all going well! I’ve just made a lovely recipe from Max Tomlinson’s book, Clean Up Your Diet. Doing a detox is tough – there’s no getting around that. But there are so many benefits, including the fact that you find that you really appreciate the tastes, textures and aromas of foods in their pure state. And this recipe is a great example of that. I used puy lentils, and their nutty taste combines with the delicious sweet tastes from the nutmeg, pistachios, pine nuts and sweetened onions. Then there’s just enough lemon juice to give the whole dish a wonderful tanginess – and also to stop you wanting to add any salt to the dish. And all finished off with a great fresh tomato sauce and sprinklings of fresh coriander.
This recipe shows how when you cook vegetables very gently, you can bring out their deep, often sweet, flavours. To caramelize the onions here, there’s no sugar – but instead you cook them gently in water first to soften them and then gently fry them.
I have to admit that I didn’t bother to remove the skins and seeds from the tomatoes – completely up to you whether you want to or not.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, seed-free
Preparation time 30 minutes Cooking time 1 hour Serves 2
140g/5oz/⅔ cup brown rice, rinsed
4 tbsp green lentils, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 litre/35fl oz/4½ cups water
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
450g/1lb ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tbsp unsalted pistachio nuts, lightly toasted
20 gratings nutmeg
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp lemon juice
2 pinches saffron threads
a small bunch coriander, to serve
- Put the rice, lentils, bay leaves and 900ml/30fl oz/scant 4 cups water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, until the rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, put the sliced onion, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 150ml/5fl oz/3⁄4 cup water in a frying pan over a medium to low heat and cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and sweet. Increase the heat to high and boil off any excess water, then cook the onions for about 8 minutes until brown and caramelized. Watch them carefully and stir frequently to prevent them burning.
- While the onion and rice are cooking, skin the tomatoes. Cut a cross in the top of each tomato and put them in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 10 seconds. Remove the tomatoes from the water using a slotted spoon, and peel off the skin when they are cool enough to handle. Discard the seeds and roughly chop the tomato flesh.
- Put the chopped onion and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat and cook for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the saffron and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened slightly but have not collapsed. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice.
- Drain the rice and remove the bay leaves. Stir in the pine nuts, pistachios, caramelized onions, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Divide the rice between two plates and spoon over the tomato sauce. Scatter over the coriander and serve.