64 Degrees Brighton – a review


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What better way to spend a Saturday lunchtime than with good company and ‘social dining’. sixty four degrees is a new restaurant from Michael Bremner located in Brighton’s busy South Lanes (taking over the premises of Tic Toc). The decor is hip and modern without being intimidating or pretentious with copper highlights accenting a dark interior.

The menu is based around tasting plates which you can either hog to yourself or share (side plates come as standard to get the sharing going).


We went for a selection of 7 savoury dishes between 3 of us. They all came theatrically displayed and the highlights were the cauliflower (with pomegranate on a beautiful bed of creamy puree), and the scallops with bacon and apple. Each dish arrived as it was ready drawing out the pleasure but without too much waiting around.


Feeling decadent we then splashed out on one of each of the puddings. The rum bear jelly came with lots of humour and a good background story as well as a strong kick of rum. The sweetie theme continued with the rhubarb and milk crisps (crafted in a vacuum apparently) reminding me of the milk bottle sweets of my childhood. The sticky toffee pud disappeared very quickly…


The service was perfect, friendly and chatty without being too much. Next time we would love to sit at The Pass and be right next to all the action in the open kitchen, just for some added drama.

Thoroughly recommended, especially if you like a taste of fine dining without a huge price tag, and in a very relaxed atmosphere.

54 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB


And for dinner tonight… raw food pizza

I might have been quiet on the blogging front, but have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen with my new Excalibur dehydrator. After my review sticking up for the little guy, aka the ¬£35 dehydrators, I decided to take the plunge and invest. Having used my first one so much I felt safe that it wouldn’t just collect dust…

So one of my favourites has been pizza bases, which with a nice big sheet to play with, I can make completely round with no hole in the middle (as with my old one). I have been using the recipe from Kate Magic. This comprises of sprouted buckwheat (which took about 3 days), whizzed up with sun dried tomatos, olive oil, tamari and a very healthy handful of basil.

I then spread this into satisfying rounds on 2 sheets of my new dehydrator:


After dehydrating for about 12 hours, the resulting pizza bases can be topped with all kinds of goodies including, for tonight’s dinner, tomatos and fresh pesto, and a truffle infused cashew ‘cheese’ sauce (cashews, nutritionists yeast, lemon juice, salt and truffle oil):


Yum ūüôā

Chris Bailey Pop Up restaurant @LuckyBeach – a review

I have totally got the Pop Up Restaurant bug and my latest foray was to Chef Chris Bailey’s Pop up at Lucky Beach down in the Arches on the Brighton seafront. His website promises:

“an obsession with great produce and seasonality. Food with interest, humour, texture, clarity but firstly flavour.”

The menu that follows packed a lot of punch on all accounts:

Chef Chris Bailey Menu 15.8.13

Chef Chris Bailey Menu 15.8.13

On arrival we were presented with Iced tomato gazpacho essence seasoned with vodka and sherry. This was delightfully fresh and tasted of the Mediterranean, and kept us happy while we perused the wine list.


This was shortly followed by a smorgasbord of a delectable treats to be shared with / fought over by our fellow diners:


Tasting highlights included the pork candy floss topping the whipped cod sitting on potato skins. The chicken wings were perfectly served on individual spoons with an unusual charcoal mayonnaise which also lent itself to the pickled cockles presented in a suitably retro dish.

The sour dough bread and freshly churned butter presented on a black pebble (thoroughly embracing the seaside theme) was a nice touch too:


The courgette flower that came next epitomised the taste of summer with a deliciously lemony goats curd filling:


The smoked mackerel brought some drama to the proceedings with the smoker placed right next to the tables, and provided a deliciously subtle smoky flavour to this twist on the more traditional battered fish and chips. The plum ketchup was a highlight and cut through the oiliness of the fish and the ‘batter bits’ perfectly:


The boudin blanc (aka white sausage) with trout caviar (a new experience for me) was accompanied by a deliciously umami, cognac sauce. The seaweed added further savoury notes.


My personal favourite then followed with a dramatic lobster claw served on purple potatoes and with a very fresh lettuce gazpacho. Wild pea flowers added further flavours and textures, as well as a feast for the eyes:


We were then onto the puddings, which started with a small but perfectly formed flourish of a single cherry stuffed with chocolate. This was a huge hit with the girls, and appropriate enthusiasm resulted in some left overs surreptitiously being left on the table! The meadow sweet air provided a wonderfully floral accompaniment.


Further drama ensued with the appearance of a pair of scissors being laid on each table inviting intrigue, followed by straws filled with sherbet powder. The duck egg custard with Pimms jelly then appeared, piled high with lots of goodies and was topped off with elderflower and gin foam at the table:


The invitation was to experiment with either sprinkling the sherbet over the pud or just to down it as a oner as per school days.

The final flourish before the evening’s entertainment ended (we were eating until 11.30pm) was a tray of freshly cooked doughnuts with a dipping sauce of lemon curd:


The evening was a total pleasure and given all the courses, at ¬£50 per head it felt like good value, especially combined with a seaside location and the sound of the sea as a background drop (later drowned out by A-Level result celebrations – but this is Brighton!). Nice touches included Chris personally greeting people as they arrived and also being available to talk about the food over the course of the night. Here is definitely a man who is passionate about food…

Details of future Pop Up events at Lucky Beach can be found here: http://luckybeach.co.uk/events.html.

Matthew Kenney’s Raw Chocolate Brigaderios


With friends coming to stay this weekend, I was looking for a recipe to truly impress even the most sceptical of traditional eaters that the world of raw may have something to offer. This totally indulgent chocolate truffle recipe (aka Brigaderios) from Matthew Kenney’s Everyday Raw Desserts certainly hit the spot and may well be a regular – rolling them in chocolate nibs gave a satisfying crunch ensuring that they were a little out of the ordinary. Taking only 20 minutes to whip up 24 of these beauties they come thoroughly recommended…

Digital Food Dryer and Dehydrator Review

Having read several raw food books and blogs (more than perhaps is healthy or I should admit!) it seems that there is consensus that the Excalibur Food Dehydrator is the market leader, with many suggesting that going for anything less is a waste of money.

Now at ¬£159.00 for the 4 tray starter model going up to ¬£300 for a 9 tray model with a timer (prices taken from www.ukjuicers.com) this is quite an investment, especially if you aren’t sure whether the¬†perceived¬†need for one is a passing fad or actually the holy grail of food production for many years to come.


I am going to make a case and stand up for the little guy. Doing a search on Amazon.co.uk for ‘dehydrators’ a range of models come up starting at ¬£35. Many of them have 20+ reviews of 4+ stars.

At Christmas when I was giving Santa Claus a hint about what I might like under the tree this Digital Food Dryer & Dehydrator Рwith Digital temperature control and timer seemed the best in terms of value and good reviews.

On opening a reassuringly large box on Christmas day, this is what was inside:


Made up of a heating element at the bottom with a dial from 30 – 90c (essentially all the temperatures your oven doesn’t do):


Topped with 5 stackable plastic trays with a lattice design which allows the warm air to circulate:dehydrator-tray 

The first thing that I made were ‘sun dried’ tomatoes as these are a great staple to brighten up many a salad and pasta dish.



After this I was completely won over, and have been giving jars of sun dried cherry tomatoes as presents ever since.

For crackers and more ‘wet’ batters that would fall through the holes I have cut disks out of greaseproof paper to fit inside each tray and have found that I can keep reusing these, making them a very cheap option.

The main downsides include:

  1. Limitation on shape – you can’t make one big round for a pizza base
  2. The air doesn’t circulate evenly so items on the lower trays dry quicker than those at the top. It therefore helps to shuffle the trays up every few hours.

This aside, my dehydrator has been well used over the last 7 months and has produced many goodies including raw carrot cake, onion bread, tacos, dried mango, dried apple and strawberry crisps, and warmed veggies for a thai curry. If you aren’t ready to make the plunge for the top of the range model, my recommendation is to still consider going for a cheaper model if you are serious about expanding your raw food repertoire. Any tips and suggestions very welcome…

Brighton Raw Food potluck supper in Preston Park

What better way to spend a hot summer’s Sunday evening but over a delicious spread of raw food goodness cooked up by the members of Brighton’s raw food lovers meet up group? Meeting by the Clocktower in Preston Park with rugs and crockery it was a great opportunity to get inspired and to try new dishes:

Raw food potluck supper

Raw food potluck supper

Specific inspiration include giving the Rawtarian’s stuffed mushrooms a go, making a mushroom tart, getting more experimental in using seaweed in salads, and also a strawberry cheese cake. A big thank you to Justine for organising and for all of the lovely people who came and offered friendly chat and great food.

If you are interesting in coming along to future events you can sign up at: http://www.meetup.com/Brightons-raw-food-lovers and even offer to host your own.

Pure Taste Paleo Pop Up restaurant near Haywards Heath

On Tuesday night (the night of the week which typically feels quieter than other nights for some reason) I treated my dad and step mum to a slap up Paleo-inspired meal at the Pure Taste Pop Up restaurant near Haywards Heath in Sussex. It was hosted at Jeremy’s, a notable restaurant in its own right, set in gorgeous grounds (not adequately captured in my photos):

Jeremy's Restaurant near Haywards Heath

Jeremy’s Restaurant near Haywards Heath

The Pure Taste pop up restaurant website describes the experience as:

“a monthly¬†pop-up restaurant in Sussex that specialises in gourmet gluten-free and paleo-friendly food (that’s dishes that are free from gluten, dairy, grains, legumes and refined sugar!).

Serving up a smorgasbord of devilishly delicious dishes, Pure Taste’s food is designed to make you feel as good as it tastes, creating a unique dining experience that can be enjoyed by everyone”

I had been told about the pop up at a raw food workshop and had found the website and been in touch with Holly to book a table. The menu was sent 3 weeks in advance and we emailed over our choices with a £10 deposit per head. Here are the delectable treats that we had to choose from. It is notable that everything was gluten-free, with many options also diary free:


3 weeks later, having forgotten what we had all ordered previously, we got off to a great start on arriving, being meet by a very friendly and professional waiter, and were given the option to sit outside in the stunning garden.

To settle rumbling tums, we were offered a choice of focaccia or paleo-herb breadsticks when the wine arrived. My expectations were low with regards the breadsticks but I was very pleasantly surprised as they were soft and packed full of flavour. This was followed by a surprise canapé of chicory filled with roasted peppers, walnuts and smokey chorizo.


For their starters my companions had opted for the salmon nori rolls, commenting on how they would never have noticed that the ‘rice’ was actually cauliflower. I had chosen the almond and garlic soup, given that it was pretty much raw. With a nasturtium flower in the centre surrounded by grape halves and dotted with oil, it truly was a work of art. It also tasted good – rich, creamy and satisfying, although perhaps not to everyone’s taste if you aren’t a fan of cold soups (fortunately I am!).



For mains, my step mum had gone for the pork medallions with honey and mustard sauce, which she pronounced delicious. My dad and I had opted for the sardines stuffed with preserved lemon and basil. These had a very Mediterranean feel and were tasty and filling. The cherry tomatoes were perfect and my only comment would have been that I would have liked more greens (but perhaps I would say that given my largely plant based disposition).



Desserts then followed, having ordered one of each. The blackcurrant sorbet that accompanied the cheesecake was a notable hit and we left with the recipe (which Holly kindly shared with us at the end of the evening). Again, the presentation was flamboyant and summery, perfect for the setting and time of year. I choose the chocolate and avocado mousse and throughly enjoyed its creamy texture and floral garnishes.



This was followed by a choice of tea or coffee (including a range of milks if required, and herbal teas well represented) and a pretty plate of petit fours.

Petit Fours

Petit Fours

This was a beautiful evening, that far exceeded my expectations and I would thoroughly recommend Pure Taste to anyone who is drawn to something a little unusual or who has specific allergies but still wants an interesting menu. Book well ahead of time though, it is rightfully getting very popular…

Raw Chocolate Workshop for Beginners with Sarah Barber

I had pleasure of attending Sarah Barber’s most recent workshop – Raw Chocolate for Beginners which came with the reassuring invitation to bring a tupperware container to take some goodies home at the end…

We started with a talk about everything chocolate – from what the beans look like to what sweeteners to use and the best equipment. We also got a chance to taste the raw bean which has an almost paper like coating around the bean which is then crushed to make the nibs.

Intro talk and equipment

Intro talk and equipment (moulds not essential – a tupperware container/lid can be used instead)

An introduction to ingredients

An introduction to ingredients

The first recipe had a cacao-butter base giving a warming background to the chocolate. This was useful to know in terms of playing with flavourings with this base – warmer ones may work better such as orange and spices.

Cacao butter based chocolate recipe

Cacao butter based chocolate recipe

The second recipe came with a coconut butter base, this time lending itself to cooler flavourings such as peppermint. We went for cacao nibs at the base of our heart shaped moulds with a peppermint oil and the result was divine (I have just finished eating one as I write this – all in the interests of research of course)…

Coconut butter based raw chocolate recipe

Coconut butter based raw chocolate recipe

We then moved on to a raw food caramac recipe made with cacao butter, lucuma and carob (amongst other things – including Sarah’s ‘secret mix’ which you will have to do the workshop to find out about!). I was fascinated to learn that many ‘superfoods’ such as Lucuma and Maca come from Peru and grow in extremely harsh environments (the theory being that they have developed great properties to survive as a result and these properties are then passed onto us). This time we went for a mulberry filling…

Raw caramac

Raw caramac

The morning was finished off with a batch of cacao fruit and nut truffles. These were whipped up in the food processor (with a bit of coaxing as the mixture can get a bit dense) and then rolled into balls and rolled in a choice of toppings including dried coconut, raw cacao and sesame seeds.

Cacao nut and fruit truffles

Cacao nut and fruit truffles

I also came away with some useful tips including:

  1. Keep everything at room temperature to prevent marks appearing on your chocolate.
  2. Don’t use a microwave to melt your chocolate (bad for many reasons!) – a porringer is best although a bowl over simmering water can work too.
  3. If you are feeling impatient you can set your chocolate in the freezer (although allowing it to set at room temperature reduces the chances of marks).
  4. The best way to move filled moulds is by using a chopping board underneath to keep everything flat.
  5. Be aware that substituting liquid sweeteners (agave etc) for powdered sweeteners can change the texture of your chocolate.
  6. Grate your cacao butter before melting to reduce the chance of over heating it.
  7. Chocolate made with a coconut base has a lower melting point and so needs to be kept in the fridge at all times.
  8. Give the filled mould a good couple of taps before leaving to set in order to release any air bubbles.
  9. Consider using coconut sugar as a good compromise between medium GI and a relatively natural source which hasn’t been over processed.
  10. Powder your sweeteners in a grinder to get them super fine helping to get a smoother texture in the end product. Also whizz the whole lot in the Vita-mix for the same reason…

It was a beautiful way to spend a beautiful sunny morning, and I am feeling super inspired to get creative with my raw sweets and branch out into some new recipes for raw chocolate.¬†Thank you Sarah for another great workshop…

You can find out about Pure People’s upcoming workshops at:¬†http://www.pure-people.co.uk/.

The search for the perfect raw carrot (cup)cakes

Raw food carrot cupcake

Raw food carrot cupcake

Carrot cake with a classic cream cheese frosting is one of my favourite foods in the whole world. So the search for a great raw food version is high on my radar. For my first attempt at carrot (cup)cakes I had a go at the recipe from ChoosingRaw.com.

Now the recipe does call for carrot pulp. And if you don’t have a juicer or a friend who is gifting you said pulp, the advice is to grate your carrots and then squeeze them so that most of their juice had come out. So I did this in my milk bag (turning it orange in the process) and produced about a 1/2 cup of juice. This clearly wasn’t enough…

After leaving my little cupcake friends in the fridge for 2 hours, in their little heart shaped cases, they were still, shall we say, a little moist. As someone who loves cake mixture this was kind of ok, but I didn’t think it would past muster with more traditional guests. So I popped them into the dehydrator for 10 hours at 40c.

Even after this, the inside was a little moister than I would have liked:

Texture of raw carrot cupcake

Texture of raw carrot cupcake

but it wasn’t a complete disaster… I still managed to wolf down 5 of these beauties over the course of the week, topped with the cashew nut frosting (which I added ALOT more lemon juice to, to get a more authentic taste)…

My search for the perfect carrot cake continues…