Tag Archives: friends

Wafer thin appetizers

We all enjoy a good carpaccio. But why not give these classic wafer thin appetizers a unique twist with fish, fruit or vegetables? Brimming with more variations on carpaccio than you could possibly imagine, this app will never leave you short of inspiration!

Discover your slicing skills with the Carpaccio Cookbook+. This app is packed with 80 mouthwatering recipes to enjoy with your friends, you can take your time with app- there’s more than enough to keep you busy!

You can browse through the recipes one by one or use one of the filters to quickly select your favorite type of food.

Unsure of the cooking methods? Just click the video button and find out for yourself by watching one of the easy to follow preparation videos. These have been added to some of our specially selected recipes.

Ready to get started? Use the cooking mode which presents all the information you need, so that touching the iPad when cooking is minimalized.

In the mood for some fun reading during cooking? Just flip through the amazing special topics or tips and tricks that are either connected to a chapter or even a specific recipe, so you can give them a twist!

Having a hard time planning a date with your friends? Use the FoodInvites to plan a gettogether with a friend, date or group of friends!


Summer evenings with friends!

Remember all those lovely, warm summer evenings spent with friends and family. Gathering around a large table with an abundance of delicious dishes. My summer favorites include all kinds of salads. Hot and cold, fruits and vegetables, there is only on condition and that is they have to be freshly made. No tins, bags or frozen foods, but fresh, crispy and full of vitamins! That’s why I’m sharing my favorite Food4Friends salad with you. Enjoy!

Avocado salad with oranges and cashews (serves 4): 

2 ripe avocados, thinly sliced
2 oranges
50 g (1.75 oz) cashews
2 eggs, hard boiled for 5 minutes, then peeled and mashed
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp nut oil
juice of 1 lemon
50 g (1.75 oz) mixed lettuce
4 tbs crème fraîche
salt and pepper

  1. Remove the peel and white pith from the oranges. Separate the segments, capturing the juice.
  2. Combine the vinegar, oil, lemon and orange juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the lettuce.
  3. Arrange the lettuce over the plates. Top with the crème fraîche and the slices of avocado and orange. Sprinkle with the nuts and hard boiled egg. Add a little salt to taste.

Sunny days and the Middle Eastern kitchen

We are only officially about four weeks into spring, and I already feel excited by the prospect of eating healthier, more colorful, and more interesting food. Winter has its charms, without a doubt; but I am bored with the endless array of heavy pasta sauces and uninspired meat and potato dishes- invariably followed by filling, artery clogging desserts. There was a time when I used to think that spring eating was all about salads, swapping chocolate for fruit and the occasional light pasta dish. But I always had the nagging feeling that I was somehow missing out on something- as though the warmer months meant eating as though I were on a forced diet. And unless drastic measures are called for, I have never been a fan of diets.

That was until circumstances conspired to remind me of all the Middle Eastern cuisine I’d been brought up on; I remember a kitchen constantly stocked with ingredients as colorful and diverse as fresh figs, olives, aubergines, juicy legs of lamb roasted with apricots, saffron rice and yoghurt with mint and cucumber. Tons of garlic was added to just about everything, and every meal without fail was finished off with a traditional glass of fresh mint tea, served in elegant, elongated tea glasses. My favorite midday treat was a whole chopped avocado with a bowl of tabouleh- bulgar wheat salad with finely chopped mint and parsley, onion, garlic and lemon juice. My mouth is watering just remembering it. So far, however, I can just imagine the response of the majority of readers: that all sounds lovely, but only if you know a thing or two about Middle Eastern cooking. But that’s the beauty of this cuisine: it relies heavily on fresh produce and spices, and as long as you have these then the rest takes care of itself. A weekly staple in my kitchen takes a great deal of inspiration from this principle: chicken marinated in cumin, chili powder and garlic along with a mound of salty, buttery couscous, fresh mint and a plate of roasted aubergines, red peppers and courgette. Spice the chicken, throw it in a pan, be patient enough to stir the couscous for 5 minutes with a knob of butter and roast the vegetables. Now what sounds difficult about that?

Middle Eastern cooking is strongly Mediterranean in flavor and influence, and is consequently one of the few cuisines which is both mouthwateringly tasty and incredibly nutritious at the same time. Watching your weight and bored of bland, low calorie meals and snacks? Then look no further. An unabashed foodie who couldn’t care less about their weight? The same applies to you. As most Middle Eastern food is quite rich (taste wise) it means you don’t need to pile it on your plate like there’s no tomorrow. Olives smothered in garlic or a piece of baklava followed by mint tea both make great snacks, and offer a slightly more interesting taste experience than a chemically processed yoghurt, or yet another muesli bar. Hang on a minute, some of you will be frowning- baklava is saturated with sugar and fat. What’s nutritious about that? Well, you’re right. In a way.

By definition baklava, like many Middle Eastern sweets, contains a lot of sugar. But no E numbers. No colorings. No artificial flavorings. I’d rather have one little square of something which I know has been freshly made that day by a real person, using identifiable ingredients such as honey, pistachio nuts and pastry, than a machine processed ‘muesli bar’ which contains a whole lot of hidden and very dubious sounding chemical additives. This applies to Middle Eastern cuisine as a whole. It relies on simplicity. But you do need to realize that (sometimes pricey) fresh herbs are a necessity and that chopping all those vegetables does take time. So whilst you do not need to be a culinary genius to master this style of cooking, you do need patience. You should also remember that the supermarket is generally quite unkind to consumers who wish to buy exclusively fresh, unprocessed ingredients. Go to your local Middle Eastern grocery store and you will marvel at the fresh baked bread, the shelves bursting with fresh fruit, herbs, and vegetables and the seemingly endless array of spices. You will also probably feel quite annoyed at having allowed your local supermarket to have ripped you off for so long. Support small businesses and get your shopping done for less!

So next time you’re feeling bored and uninspired, consider Middle Eastern cuisine as an option. It’s fresh, it’s affordable, it’s healthy and it’s ridiculously tasty. Better than all of these, it is so easy. I might even have to start pestering my colleagues to make this the subject of a future app… until then, I’ll go back to daydreaming about my mother’s roasted lamb and apricots.

Cookbooks: the ultimate status symbol

Cookbooks have become something of a status consumer product in recent years, not to be used, but rather, like expensive coffee table books, to be leafed through and admired. That, by the way, is why I am such a fan of Food4Friends: we create recipes for real people, to be used in real kitchens and with real, easily sourced ingredients!

Cookbooks are supposed to be functional. They are supposed to encourage experimentation, not to terrify amateur cooks out of their wits with endless lists of impossible to find ingredients and difficult to use equipment. This point was driven home to me last night in a most hilarious way: I was sitting on the sofa with my other half and we were giggling at Heston Blumenthal’s attempt to pursuade us that miniature whisks and milk foamers were an essential part of every cook’s inventory; same with truffles, caviar and home made fish stock. Is he serious? This is a man who built his entire career on the creation of dishes so bizarre that they resemble science experiments more than food. This all takes place at his renowned and wildly expensive restaurant The Fat Duck, which, we are led to believe, is just like your run of the mill suburban kitchen in every way, even down to the meat smoker. This is the man responsible for introducing snails to almost every trend-thirsty restaurant menu in the country. So whilst it made for entertaining viewing- much as reading his cookbook would make for mildly entertaining reading- I am not convinced in any way whatsoever that this is something I could ever achieve. I am not pessimistic by nature, nor lacking in self-esteem, but I am not about to spend an entire weekend crying into my catastrophic attempts at Champagne and Caviar Tartlets, and, to add insult to injury, then be forced to spend an hour scrubbing some new and hideously expensive piece of kitchen equipment which I am going to use again precisely never.

This does not go for all professional cooks. I am inexplicably biased towards Nigella: Jamie too. They have done an excellent job of making cooking glamorous again, and although their recipes sometimes blur the line between imaginative and overly fussy, they remain just in reach of the realms of possibility; within the boundaries of ‘I could make that’. This is important. They create beautiful and functional recipes at the same time, as time-consuming as they may be. But if I am going to be perfectly honest, sometimes I stare at my ever expanding cookbook collection and feel a certain amount of guilt. The guilt of years of neglect, of always complaining  I don’t know what to eat when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of recipes just waiting to be tried. Why? Because these are recipes that, though beautiful, always seem to be made up of at least ten steps. And I don’t mean to sound lazy here, but after a whole day’s work do I really have the energy to follow ten recipe steps, one of which includes making my own pastry? Does that really fall under the category of ‘easy’? Last night for some reason I decided I had had enough of all this, and pulled out a copy of 100 Pasta Sauces (all hail Food4Friends!). I selected a salmon and garden pea sauce and whipped it up for the two of us in about twenty minutes tops. Why can’t we see more of that in the majority of cookbooks on the market? Not to mention the huge expense of the latter: your average Nigella book will cost you dearly (about 25 euros on average). What you are paying for a lot of the time is, of course, the brand. The recipes in these books are inevitably alternated with quirky little stories about the wonderful lives of said cooks. Call me cynical, but whilst I adore these titles for their escapist qualities, when I have a hungry man to cook for and I’m so tired I can barely be bothered to put a pizza in the oven, am I really going to have the mental attitude and physical capacity required for Nigella’s Fish Pie? Or Jamie’s Leg of Lamb? Cue an emphatic and resounding NO.

I feel I must pay homage to the iPad at this point, for making it possible for humble foodies like ourselves to develop and publish affordable, beautiful and functional recipe collections for those who want to expand their culinary horizons but don’t know how. Cooking does not have to be complicated to be good. Somewhere along the line we confused these things, and ended up with books we can’t really afford and definitely can’t use. Well I for one have had enough. End the trend!

By Zeena Price

Freshly squeezed vitamin boost, anyone?

When the clocks go back, the sun starts beating mercilessly down on my single glazed bedroom window, and the terraces begin to fill up with smiling, wine-sipping students at 2 o’clock every afternoon, I know that Spring has announced itself once again. The season of fresh starts, of forming new and sensible habits, after what feels like the dark, depressed hibernation of winter is upon us. We are all familiar with the proverbial purchase of a year’s gym membership for this exact reason. Don’t do it. There’s a far easier, more sustainable, and less soul destroying way of being kind to yourself: and that is getting into the habit of making your own juices and smoothies.

I am aware of the appeal of certain cleverly marketed, wildly overpriced shop-bought versions. These products are so successful precisely because they have cottoned on to the anti ‘mindless consumerism’ movement; they are careful not to include any artificial flavors or preservatives, make impressive efforts with respect to environmental sustainability and persuade us that they are simply making our lives easier by boosting our vitamin intake and saving us time. All of this would be convincing enough but the real clincher for most of us is that they just look so… healthy. Practically all of us consume far less fruit than we should. It almost seems perverse not to buy this stuff. The genius thing about this is of course that in doing so they are persuading us to invest heavily in both time and money in something we could do at home. For free.

But if that isn’t enough to persuade you, I would urge you to consider the argument for variety. What these products cannot possibly offer us is the vast amount of choice found in the fruit and vegetable sections of our local markets and supermarkets. Aren’t you bored with the same three flavors week after week? Shopping for our own ingredients (and this is a theme to which I will return time and again, being very close to my heart) is an essential way of reconnecting with our food, the lack of which has reached epic proportions in most Western European countries. Convenience has killed off our interest, knowledge and creativity in preparing food, and without these our relationship with food has suffered. Food is much more than fuel for the body. So if you only have time for one kitchen ritual this week, then get yourself a blender and start preparing your own juices and smoothies. You’ll have upped your vitamin intake, learned something new and said no to Fruit For Lazy People all in one go.

Chocolate Challenge

Attention all chocolate lovers: we need your help! The task is simple: send us your favorite, most mouthwatering chocolate recipes, and we’ll give them a go. (It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it). We’ll photograph them lovingly and those which really excite us we’ll feature in our upcoming Chocolate app! We want to be inspired: simple, complex, raw, frozen, dark, milk, white, whipped into a mousse or baked into a brownie- use your imaginations and surprise us! We’re not fussy- but we do insist that any recipe used in the making of this app is truly divine. Only true chocoholics need apply! Everyone has their own unique take on the world’s favorite sweet treat. Why not show off yours? A good excuse to dream about chocolate, anyway…

Think you’re up to the challenge? Then send in your recipes to info@food4friends.com!

What makes the perfect brunch?

We all have our own ideas about what constitutes the perfect brunch. It’s hard to say who does this lovely tradition best, with the Americans, British and continental Europeans all turning out their own unique versions. Having sampled many a brunch from Copenhagen and London to New York, Sydney and Amsterdam, I have formed a few passionate opinions on the subject of brunch myself. To all you brunch skeptics out there, yes it is a real meal and no, a mere croissant or a fruit salad at 11AM doesn’t count. So what elements does this elusive part-breakfast part-lunch contain, then? And what differentiates brunch from a mid-morning snack?

Firstly, and very importantly, there is the setting. Even before getting to the menu, the right atmosphere is required. You can never go wrong with a warm, cosy, wood paneled cafe, with lots of inviting cushions and the faint tinkling of jazz in the background. Somewhere with personality, the very opposite of the soulless, sterile minimalism that seems to be the hallmark of ‘quality’ everywhere these days. Perhaps a few glamourous black and white prints on the wall, an eccentric owner and definitely somewhere both pet and child friendly. (This is something that the French and Danish do so enviably well and the English, for example, do so appallingly: providing top rate facilities for both children and pets almost everywhere without encouraging intrusiveness and bad behavior).

So if you are lucky enough to have stumbled upon the right establishment, this is a good start. If you arrive on a Saturday or Sunday morning, however, you will inevitably be confronted by endless crowds. Depending on the place, you’ll probably be able to enjoy a brunch menu on weekdays, too, often aimed at the new up and coming ‘business breakfast’ professionals or ladies who lunch. If this is an option for you, you’ll get all the enjoyment of a great brunch with none of the queues or general air of contented chaos which seems to be inimical to cafes on weekends the world over.

So finally, we get to the all important aspect: the food itself. First rule? Freshness and quality of ingredients. Some of the best brunches I have ever eaten have consisted of just two or three ingredients, but were so wonderfully fresh I simply didn’t need any more. Lots of something quite good is never going to be a substitute for a little bit of something excellent. A good rule for life in general, I find, but especially where food is concerned. Go to Copenhagen for a plate of melt-in-your-mouth smoked salmon, creamy scrambled eggs and a batch of organic, whole-wheat bread and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Or to New York for a stack of authentic blueberry pancakes. A good selection of pastries (and these really must be fresh baked to be enjoyed) or a sourdough loaf with raspberry jam are also welcome additions to any brunch spread. The same goes for a refreshing bowl of fruit salad. Where so many brunches go wrong, however, is in trying to combine all of these things at once and doing all of them quite well, rather than one or two fantastically. This is always a letdown, and invariably results in a lot of wasted food. Brunch is a little bit like a hotel breakfast buffet- we don’t do it very often so get far too over excited and overindulge terribly when we do. Get into the habit of brunching little but often, and you won’t regret it.

A fun and affordable way to do this, of course, is by experimenting at home on your nearest and dearest. I have never met a man (or woman, for that matter) who doesn’t love waking up to eggs benedict and a paper on a sunday morning. And there’s always the slight chance the favor will be returned… so try it this weekend and let us know how you get on! Happy brunching!

By Zeena