Saturday, April 28, 2012

Winner of the British and Natural Foods Giveaway!

As the final leg of my time in London, I decided to giveaway a great cookbook I found in Greenwich and three natural food bars that I picked up to change your perspective of British food. Before I did give away this particular cookbook (Entertaining with Friends by Simon Hope,) I must say I almost thought of keeping it for myself! There are some great British style recipes but what is so unique is that all of them are vegetarian or vegan! What’s more interesting is this cookbook is from the 1993 so it a lot of ways it is ahead of its time. Either way the recipes are delicious!

Here are some of my favorite that I hope to feature before I send this baby away:

‘Food for Friends’ Butterbean Mayonnaise (vegan friendly)

Sundried Tomato Sauce

Parsnip and Walnut Croquettes

And so many more…don’t let me wimp out!

I wish I could give this to everyone who entered but there must be one winner…

Through the winner is Little Miss Hungry at MassachusEATS!

If you haven’t been to her site yet, check it out for great recipes and reviews especially in you are from Massachusetts!

Thanks to everyone who entered and I hope you look for another giveaway from the Cuisiner soon! I hope you are look at the recipes I feature from this cookbook and let me know if you’ve tried them!



The College Cuisiner

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIAW #23: Election Day Eats

Election Day for the out-of-school-too-early college kid is an interesting mix of lazy even for me. As a state employee, my mother always gets Election Day off so at least we got to spend the day together. And of course mom, Dave, and I took the opportunity to peruse the various discount shops, Tuesday Morning, Gabriel Brothers, and the Christmas Tree Shoppes. The foodie in me had a victory today as we found a 7-piece Wolfgang Puck Spring form pan set! Yes! For the best cheesecakes you need a spring form pan and this box came with not only a circle pan, but a bunt insert, and separate square and oval spring form pans! This is so exciting! Cheesecake recipe to follow soon.

Not to mention the successes at Christmas Tree Shoppes with Green & Black Organic chocolate sample sets for only $3. One of the little ones usually costs $1 itself! Wine pairing anyone? I think I’ll have to revisit this for gifts.

Of course besides actually going out and voting, I browsed wedding blogs for inspiration (16 months and counting as of yesterday!) I also spent some time thinking/youtubing possible hairstyles for the military ball this Thursday (pictures to follow.) Overall, Mom and I enjoyed a pretty relaxing day.

Now for my eats:
I must say this was probably my most veggie-tastic day this month...challenge met. Then again, I always eat best at home!

As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW, it’s one of the best parts of my week!


Mixed crazy eggs with sautéed potatoes, onions, red and green peppers, toast
Virgin Bloody Mary (tomato juice with horseradish and lemon for an extra  dose of veggies)


Cold leftover pizza (hey, now considered a vegetable by the US government)
Mix salad with homemade vinaigrette and feta
Cut up jazz apple


Dove dark chocolate ice cream bar


Dirty rice with stewed tomatoes, black beans, green onions, and baked chicken
Steamed asparagus with brown butter

Mixed salad with cucumbers, black olives, and bleu cheese
Glass of red wine


Another glass of red wine
Two Green & Black’s mini dark chocolates: one ginger, one cherry



The College Cuisiner

P.S. Only one more day to enter my British Natural Foods Giveaway! Don’t delay, enter today! I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Philly: Silk City Diner

As it has only been a week since I got back to Philadelphia, I haven’t had many chances to get back into the restaurant scene. So when my mom came down for my History Honors Society induction last night, it seemed like a good opportunity to get back in the swing of things. John, Dave, Mackenzie, and of course Aaron joined us at Silk City Diner in Spring Garden/Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. Mackenzie and John recommended the remix diner and after taking a look at the amazing menu, I couldn’t think of any other choice.

When you walk in you quickly realized, this is not your average diner. It has the classic chrome metal structure, booths, and a bar, but that is probably the only things that make it a “diner” in the traditional sense.

The atmosphere is made complete with neon lighting, two full bars, and a very un-diner menu. First off they have a great drinks and cocktail menu that we explored while waiting for a table. It does get pretty crowded and due to limited seating, you may be waiting for a little while, but make sure you go hungry.

I started off with a jaded ruby martini consisting of Absolut ruby red, grapefruit juice, lime, and a sugar rim. This was not bitter but not overly sweet, instead it was just right.

While waiting we decided to order the edaname with sweet chili sauce and calamari.

The calamari was buttery and probably some of the best I have had in a long time. I love that they also fry up red peppers to dip in the aioli for an extra kick.

When we finally got to sit down, we all ordered another drink and one of the many varieties of food. I had the Asian spiced tuna burger on a brioche bun with greens and ginger aioli with their incredible potato fries with homemade cheese sauce. Yum yum. This was sushi grade but I ordered it medium which was perfect.

Kenzie and Aaron both ordered the chicken enchilada wrap off the daily specials. It looked good but I don’t think they were terribly impressed other than the sriracha aioli for their fries.

Dave and Mom split the buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes, bacon collard greens, jalapeño corn muffin and honey chili butter.

They also had a beet and arugula salad with goat cheese and pistachio honey. I was a little jealous.

John had a delicious looking Reuben sandwich with sauerkraut and Russian dressing.

I would have loved to try their tantalizing dessert menu but we were so stuffed we couldn’t bear another bit.

This is such a cool place. I would love to come here for their brunch or late night when they have live bands in their second room. They are open 7 days a week until late night. The prices are actually quite reasonable for a nice dinner: 5-7 for appetizers, 12-17 for entrees, 7-9 for drinks, 6 or so for desserts.

The menu had lots of great options with sides including homemade mac-n-cheese, onion rings, and mashed sweet potatoes. I would love to try their vegetarian tomato soup with basil oil and cheese puff or another one of their delicious cocktails. The only downfall is lack of parking and small amount of tables. I would love to come back in the summer when they have lots of outdoor seating in their multi-coloured beer garden. This is definitely one of the most unique restaurants in Philadelphia without going over the top like other places. If you are looking for a unique night out just outside center city Philadelphia, try Silk City Diner, you won’t be disappointed.


The College Cuisiner

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Post London: Victoria Sponge Cake

As I continue my London withdraw, I am trying to make all the British recipes I didn’t get to try in the tiny, overcrowded kitchen at my house in Notting Hill. Now that I am back stateside I have a lot more time to bake up everything I missed out on. During my time in England, Victoria Sponge has become one of my favourites. As I have said before, my London “diet” consisted of a crazy amount of walking and at least one piece of cake a day. When you live in England, this isn’t something new as tea time often includes a sweet. Victoria Sponge cake is by far one of the most classic examples of a teatime treat. It’s often overshadowed by fancier and showier puddings (that means desserts) but it remains my favorite.

Victoria Sponge cake is light yet decadent and perfect for an afternoon snack, a party, or just as dessert. It is best described as a sandwich cake with strawberry jam and whipped cream in the middle, some versions even use delicious lemon curd in place of jam. A lot of the by the slice versions I had in London used a white icing and strawberry jam to sandwich the two layers of this sponge cake. But if you want a really good Victoria Sponge, do yourself a favor and make homemade whipped cream. Whenever I make a “cheater” cake out of a box, I always make the icing like that this cake deserves a real whipped cream. I also add amaretto liqueur to my whipped cream which made all the difference!

As for the jam layer, I used a simple strawberry jam, but if you are feeling fancy try fresh strawberry slices, lemon curd (if you are joining us from the UK,) or perhaps another type of your favourite jam.

 My favourite is strawberry, so you can see why I like this cake so much!

Either way I hope you try this traditional teatime treat.

Victoria Sponge Cake: 8-10 servings
(Adapted from Eating for England)


1 cup butter, softened
 (Save the butter wrappers to butter the pan)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (you may need a bit extra)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:
strawberry jam
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. Disaronno or Amaretto liqueur
2 tbsp. fine sugar 

To serve:
powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350F. Brush two 8 inch cake tins with the butter wrappers. Line the bottom of the two cake tins with a circle of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla, until pale and creamy, using an electric whisk or a wooden spoon. Beat well to ensure you get lots of air into the mixture.

Beat in the eggs one at a time. You want to avoid the mixture curdling, so that it stays airy. If it does curdle, add a tbsp of flour.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a large metal spoon (this will cut into the mixture better than a wooden spoon). Be careful not to over-mix it. Pour the mixture equally between the two cake tins and level.

Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are well-risen, spring back when pressed gently with a finger and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and peel off the paper. Place onto a wire rack and let cool completely, about an hour.

While cakes are cooling, whip heavy whipping cream with fine sugar and amaretto with electric beaters until soft peaks form.

Once cakes are cooled, sandwich the cakes together with the jam and whipped cream. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Enjoy with a cup of earl gray tea and relax!


The College Cuisiner

p.s. You still have one week to enter my British Natural foods giveaway!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIAW #22: Stateside Coronation Chicken

Today is my first Wednesday back in the States, and I am still getting used to it. Of course, I have been cooking basically since I got off the plane, and here’s what I have been eating:


Tea brought back with skim milk and dash of sugar

Ruby red grapefruit with sugar (missed these, the one thing I couldn’t find easily in London.)

sandwich with slice of natural cheddar on a Kaiser roll


Doctored mac and cheese and leftover Coronation Chicken (Here’s Monday night’s dinner of the chicken)



Iced Coffee with a friend. (One food thing I really missed: COFFEE!)



Homemade Mezze plate provided partly by my first state-side Whole Foods Trip: Garlic hummus and feta, taboule salad, home Mediterenrean Salad mixed with quinoa, fresh arugula, leftover sliced grilled chicken, two pitas

Homemade Iced tea

As previously promised, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes from my time in London even though I am now back. Leave it to me to be off the plan late Saturday night and already be whipping up something Sunday and Monday.
But Coronation Chicken was too good to wait for. I first had this as a finger sandwich during afternoon tea, then when my Aunt Janet whipped in up for Easter Saturday, I was already hooked. As a history major/full time foodie I love when a particular dish I make also has a distinct history. Coronation chicken is not just a British style chicken salad for finger sandwiches or on top of salads. In fact, this dish was meant for royalty.

When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952, a dish was needed that could be made ahead of time for the banquet but something the people of the Commonwealth could also eat as they watched the live broadcast on their new television sets.

Coronation Chicken was born. With that has spawn a million versions from simple to complicated. But for the college student and easy-meal orientated American palate, this version is sure to please your palate and your wallet while remaining pretty simple to assemble. Some of the recipes include apricots but others, like mine have golden raisins. You can also use chutney while I used a mixed jam for convenience. Check out these links on different versions and a bit on the history of coronation chicken.

I love the curry that makes the chicken savory and the perfect spring picnic meal. I hope you give this a try before the Diamond Jubilee!

Coronation Chicken

Coronation Chicken Salad: 4 servings


2 grilled chicken breasts, shredded
¼-1/3 cup of low fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp. curry powder
½ tsp garlic salt
½ cup of golden raisins
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

2 tbsp. of mango chutney

Possible variations:
Optional: dash of cumin
Substitute apricots for raisins
Add toasted almonds

Use a fruity jam or quince paste in the absence of chutney
Add half crème fraice. Half mayonnaise
Use roasted or leftover chicken


In a medium bowl mix curry powder, garlic salt, and mayonnaise well.
Add shredded chicken and raisins with the dressing, coating evenly.

Add Worcestershire to taste and more mayonnaise if necessary. Cover and chill for about two hours so the salad is well mixed.

Serve in toasted roll, naan, or on an arugula salad.

Enjoy the deliciousness, whether it be your own tea time or just a deliciously different bagged lunch.


The College Cuisiner

p.s. Don’t forget to enter my British Natural foods giveaway! You have until Friday, April 27th to enter!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Post London: Curry Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes

I am officially back on the other side of the pond but I still find myself wanting to make British inspired recipes. Before I left I cleaned out my fridge and made a pretty good dinner. I wanted to make something delicious with my leftovers.

What I came up with was a mix of sautéed sweet potatoes, apples and quinoa to make something healthy and deliciously unique.This was a great dish the only thing that it missed was dried cranberries to add a little tartness to the sweet savory mix that is delicious with fish and naan bread. I suppose this is a mix of Indian and kind of Mediterranean flavor. I used the leftover garlic leaves but I recommend using fresh parsley for my readers in the States.

I love the availability of curry and fresh ingredients in England and it will be hard for me to get used to my less fresh food supply here in Philly. But I hope you will be able to make it your own and a delicious way to add some healthy super-foods like sweet potatoes and quinoa to your dinner!

Curry Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes: 2-3 servings


1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
½ of tart apple, chopped and sliced thinly
1 banana shallot, chopped (or small red onion)
¼ cup of dried cranberries
1/8 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup of quinoa
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. curry powder
Garlic salt
1 tbsp. butter


Cook quinoa according to these instructions and chill once cooked.

Boil sweet potatoes in salted water until mostly soft.

Drain the water and put the sweet potatoes aside.

In a large pan, melt butter and sautéed the garlic and shallot.

Once shallots begin to soften, add sweet potatoes and apples. Brown slightly and add wine.

Allow vegetables to absorb wine and add a dash of garlic salt.

Once absorbed and soft, allow the vegetable to slightly brown.

Take off heat and mix with quinoa and curry powder. Add fresh parsley and cranberries.

Allow to heat together in pan and slightly toast.

Transfer to plates and serve immediately!



The College Cuisiner

p.s. Don’t forget to enter my British Natural foods giveaway! You have until Friday, April 27th to enter!

Friday, April 13, 2012

London: British and Natural Foods Giveaway!

As promised, I am happy to announce my second giveaway here on The College Cuisiner.

Today is my last official day in London so I thought it would be appropriate to offer a healthy and natural British foodie package to all of my stateside readers.

Usually British food has the reputation for being tasteless, fattening, and kind of gross. This is not true! In fact food in Britain has hardly any preservatives or additives and is much more natural than American food. Food here goes bad in three days or less which is both good and bad for a college student who wants healthy food but is on a budget and does not want to buy it too often.

But not all my readers have that luxury so I am going to give a little taste of the British Isles. Too bad I can’t send back some Coronation Chicken salad! ( I will have to make/post this VERY soon.)

It all started when I found a great Vegetarian cookbook in a used bookstore in Greenwich. As soon as I saw it I thought it would be a great giveaway (even if I want to keep it for myself!)

But because I am a gracious foodie blogger I decided to share it with you. This week I hope to feature at least two of the recipes from this book to entice you even more to enter!

College Cuisiner Giveaway Package:

·         Entertaining With Friends: Vegetarian Recipes for all occasions by Simon Hope

·         Two Natural snack bars: Coco Love and Banana Bread

·         One Doves Farm Organic Apple & Sultana Flapjack bar

·         And a surprise item to be announced

Three Simple Rules:

·         To enter leave a comment telling me about your favorite natural food! (Honorary Kudos if it’s British.)

·         Like “The College Cuisiner” on Facebook for an extra entry!

·         Sorry only open to US and Canadian readers!

Entries for the giveaway will end on Thursday, April 26th at 5pm and I will announce the winner using a randomly generated code that Friday, April 27th!

Thanks for entering! Can’t wait to hear from you all!


The College Cuisiner

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIAW turns 21! Easter Weekend

This last week has been particularly hectic for me as my time here in London comes to an end. Last Wednesday after my final exam I had to rush to meet my mum, Mackenzie, and Jon who just arrived in London that morning. We have seen so much during their short trip and I was happy they got to see London as I have been lucky enough to these past few months.

Since then I have only checked my email twice and could obviously not blog thanks to no hotel internet and a ridiculously busy schedule. So do to that this will be a short-ish post.

On the upside we have seen quite a bit and eaten even more. Over the Easter holiday we visited with my Aunt Janet and Uncle Maurice in the village of Fairlight in Sussex County on the Southern coast of England. We stayed in an adorable little B&B right down the hill from their house and were served full English Breakfasts every day! (Mine without the bacon or sausage of course) From Saturday to Tuesday we were stuffed to the gills with delicious homemade meals, afternoon teas, and treats from my Aunt. This would have been the highlight of the trip if the company wasn’t so fabulous! (Which is was.)

To top it off, lots of fruits and veggies for the April WIAW challenge too!

Here are some of the amazing meals we were given over the Easter weekend:

Late Lunch

Coronation Chicken tea Sandwiches and Prawn Mayonnaise sandwiches

Smoked salmon and mushroom pates, bread, crackers

fresh strawberries, tomato salad, crisps, Spanish frittata


Poached Salmon in Watercress cream sauce

Potato cakes

Salad with pomegranate seeds and vinaigrette




Fish and Chips in Rye


Herb marinated chicken, crispy oven potatoes, roasted vegetables

Red cabbage and Cucumber salad

Mocha at the De Le Warr Art gallery and community centre


Penne Alla at Simply Italian in Rye

Tea Time

More fabulous food and tea of course.

Various elements of the weekends’ meals with the addition of fresh salads and a pecan apple tart.

We had such a lovely trip despite the awful rainy, windy, cold weather that my family has seemed to have brought with them to break up the two week heat wave in England. Thanks a lot! But the best bits are all do to my Aunt and Uncle who worked so hard to show us around and make us feel at home. Luckily the next time we will see them will be next summer for my wedding rather than the ten year gap that preceded this visit (and my time here this semester.)

A quick preview of some other highlights from my family’s visit:

Coach trip to Hampton Court, (Stonehenge again, ugh) and amazing Bath (for a split second!)

The Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour! Ahhh magical!!!



The busy schedule continues! I hope that Friday I can recap more of our visit, my recipe for curry quinoa and sweet potatoes, and announce my London giveaway! Come back Friday to see what I am giving away to one lucky reader! It’s pretty good if I do say myself!



The College Cuisiner