OLIVE MAGAZINE - September Edtion

The September edition arrived while I was on vacation and so I have only now had time to get my head into it and see what delights Olive has to offer this month. From the cover photo of Coconut and lime roast chicken with coriander chutney (above), I am not inspired. If it's true that you 'first eat with your eyes', then this dish is going back to the kitchen! The blue plate looks more appetising. The editorial this month focuses on kitchen gadgets, directing readers to 'Lulu's kitchen kit' - today's 'must haves' to knock out everything from a Thai curry to a decent coffee. We have a mandoline, a dangerous beast for slicing wafer thin vegetables (below). Olive recommends a basic type at £20, sadly they fail to mention that if you have children around it needs to be locked up to save little fingers. I agree that a Mini Chopper, Scales and a Hand Mixer are necessities for any kitchen, but as for  full blown Coffee Maker, not really. There are some excellent instant coffees around these days, that forking out anything from £200 to £2000 for a coffee machine is not an essential. I'd say the same for an electric grinder. How much space do we have to have in today's kitchen for all these gismos? Not enough to cover every surface and fill every cupboard with a machine.

Early pages this month have some nice snippets on new products and ingredients, but once more the three restaurants in 'Table Hopping' are all in London! Maybe 'hopping' to the Olive team means 'hopping' in a taxi at lunchtime! Similarly across the page, 'Anywhere but London' features Shay Cooper at The Goring Hotel, and the Brasserie Gustave in Kensington. Do the Olive team need a map? These are both IN London! However, their reporter does manage to take the short journey into Kent to taste the Michelin starred Chapter One restaurant in Locksbottom, 'near London', as it's website directs.

As you might guess, I loved the short snippet on Italian tasting boxes and recommendations from Italian's Mary and Philip Contini on their Italian delicatessen products. Having just returned from an extended stay in the beautiful country, I am eager to get my hands on some authentic Italian food in the UK, instead of 'Jamie's' parmesan or 'Jamie's' prosciutto etc. now stocked everywhere. Edinburgh's Valvona and Crolla Deli looks an excellent source of true Italian food. And while on the subject of real food, 'In Season' this month, shows me how to use up the marrows, sweetcorn and tomatoes filling my allotment and greenhouse at the moment. There are inspiring recipes for a Tomato and cheese pie (above) and Coriander and spiced marrow curry, with more short ideas for using up the damsons falling from our trees. The Damson slice dessert looks delightful (below).

I was disappointed that Olive needs to feature how to cook a Herb-roasted chicken this month - very basic, but as a source for leftovers, there are some exciting chicken 'use-up' recipes, like Asian chicken salad and Tagliatelle with lemon chicken. Readers also get help in cooking the perfect risotto and the best ever chilli. There are some great dishes and recipes this month and for that, Olive is worth the subscription price. If you like fish, then 'Plenty More Fish' has Rick Stein providing six new and exclusive recipes. Clams with spring onions and coriander looks good (below), as does Grilled salmon with rice noodles, spring onions and beansprouts. Clearly Rick's Asian trips have inspired him.

Rio De Janeiro is the venue for September's 'Cook Like A Local', while The Polomar restaurant in Piccadilly, London provides the feature 'Do Try This At Home' and shows us how to cook the perfect deconstructed Mediterranean kebab. Meanwhile, 'Bitesize breaks' takes readers to classic cities adopting new ways with food - Rome, New York, San Sebastian, Copenhagen and Paris. It seems that these places are now foodie cites with a difference - street food in Rome and craft beer in Copenhagen, for example. An intriguing article! A weekender in Bath  and a postcard from Dublin are the UK and Ireland features of the 'Explore' pages with lots of suggestions on places to eat and to buy 'real food'. Sadly, I saw no mention of the 'Boxty House' (below) in the Dublin pages - they missed a gem here!

Finally, 'Making Your Own' focuses on Praline Ice Cream, always a favourite of mine (below). Step-by-step photos take you through the stages of manufacture. It looks yummy and cheap, which is more than I can say for the meals in Pro v Punter. Alas another London place -  Rivea in the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge, and pro Tom Parker-Bowles paid £155 for a meal for two and the Punter, Londoner Cath Wallen paid £162. They did score the meals at 52 out of 60, so maybe it was worth it, but hardly a 'normal' punters experience. Get into the real world, please, Olive!


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