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#figbarcookbookclub: Classic Koffmann: 50 years a Chef

#figbarcookbookclub: Classic Koffmann: 50 years a Chef

“The difference between good food and bad food is a pinch of salt.” Pierre Koffmann (and probably my favourite quote from this book). When I first began dating a chef (oh, hi there, husband), this was indeed the secret he taught me in the kitchen. Clearly, it’s the secret of many kitchens!

September’s Cookbook Club pick from our home shelves is the brilliant Classic Koffmann: 50 years a Chef by the incomparable Pierre Koffmann. These recipes are indeed delicious, easy to follow, and contain simple ingredients. In the opening, Chef Koffmann recommends gathering ingredients for home cooking “everywhere, except for meat or fish; for these need a butcher or fishmonger you trust.” And we’d have to agree. Here in Norwich we have an array of brilliant local producers that are easy to find (nod to the Norwich Market!), many that are family run and independent businesses who really know their stuff. Having these types of ingredients helps all of the recipes in this book truly shine. You can find 6 sections: 1) entrees (appetizers), 2) poultry, meat and game, 3) fish and seafood, 4) sides, 5) desserts, & 6) Chef’s Essentials. I think the chapter that gets the most use in our household is Chef’s essentials. There are lovely recipes for stocks, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, and beurre blanc alongside choux and puff pastry recipes that you know will work. This trust is an invaluable resource for the home cook ready to further experiment. Now, all you need to add is a pinch of salt.

We’ve made Creme Caramel and highlighted the recipe below. It’s SO PERFECT you’ll never need another creme caramel recipe in your life. Don’t be scared of it: the satisfaction of watching the caramel slide out from the ramekin onto the plate is worth it.

Creme Caramel


500ml milk

1 vanilla pod, split and scraped

3 egg yolks

2 eggs

80g caster sugar

For the caramel:

130g caster sugar

130ml water


Line a large roasting tin with newspaper and place four 10cm ramekins inside the tin- the newspaper prevents bubbles from forming in the caramel.

You need to start by making the caramel. Place the sugar and water in a large heavy-bottomed stainless-steel saucepan over a medium-high heat. Heat, until the caramel turns from a golden to a darker brown, then immediately remove from the heat and very carefully pour it into the bottom of the ramekins to create a layer about 3mm thick (you my have some left over caramel). Set aside at room temperature to cool and set.

Heat the oven to 130*C.

Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla pod and seeds, then remove it from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. Whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick, then pour the hot milk over this mixture, whisking constantly, until smooth. Pour the custard over the caramel in the ramekins, then pour some boiling water into the tin containing the ramekins so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer the tin to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until set- you can check this by inserting a small knife into the centre; if it comes out clean, the caramels are ready. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes.

To serve, simply turn each ramekin upside-down on to a plate- the caramels should slide out easily.

nb from Chef Jaime: You can experiment with this recipe by infusing the milk with different flavors (than the vanilla) like herbs or teabags.

Breakfast in Bed!

Breakfast in Bed!

Did you see the new Vanilla Magazine? It's a gorgeous collection of reasons to 'love your locals': fashion, beauty, homes, and (of course) food! Chef Jaime Garbutt features this month in their article 'Yes Chef!' with a recipe that will woo your honey or impress your mummy... Valentine's Day, Pancake Day, Mother's Day... we've got you covered! Breakfast in Bed anyone?

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Here's the rest of the recipe to complete the cake featured in Vanilla. It's time consuming, but so adorable! 

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

See Vanilla Magazine Feb/March 2018 pg. 82 for Recipe (available at Figbar if you need!) 


Maple Milk


1 Tbsp buttermilk

1 Tbsp maple syrup


Place buttermilk and maple syrup into a small bowl, whisk with a fork to emulsify. Set aside until required.


Maple Icing


100g unsalted butter

75g maple syrup

250g icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice


1)   In the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk butter and maple syrup together until well combined.

2)   Sift the icing sugar into the maple mix. On a low speed, incorporate the sugar into the maple mix. Add the lemon juice, and mix again

3)   Turn the speed to high and whisk for about 5 minutes until the icing is light and doubled in volume.

4)   With a spatula, decant the icing into a piping bag. Set aside.


Maple Candied Bacon


4-6 strips of good quality bacon

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar


1)   Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with aluminum foil.

2)   Place bacon strips in a single layer row on the tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until crispy.

3)   While the bacon is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and brown sugar until the brown sugar dissolves into the maple syrup. Set aside.

4)   Remove from the oven and, using a pastry brush, immediately coat the bacon pieces with the maple syrup mix. Flip the bacon and coat again. Use all of the mix.

5)   Set aside and allow to cool completely. Break the crispy bacon into small pieces. Set aside.


Vanilla Buttermilk American Pancakes

Makes about 25 bite-size pancakes


125g  plain flour

2 Tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt

240g buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

60g melted butter

1 tsp coconut oil, for frying


1)   In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

2)   Add buttermilk, vanilla extract, beaten egg, and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the mix to rest.

3)   In a non-stick frying pan over low heat, melt coconut oil.

4)   Using a dessert spoon, spoon small rounds of batter into the frying pan. 

5)   Once bubbles begin to form in the frying batter, flip the cakes over.  Cook until lightly browned on both sides. Making the perfect pancakes is an art form and may require some practice. Don’t panic if the first set is overdone, turn down the heat and go again.

6)   Place cooked pancakes on a plate to cool. Continue with steps 4-5 until all the batter is used. Set aside to use for decorating.


To Decorate:

On each cooled cake, pipe maple icing in small rounds to build a beehive shape base. Sprinkle candied bacon pieces atop of the icing, paying particular attention to the sides. Place 2-3 mini pancakes on the top of the icing, gently pressing to create a solid foundation. Add two small pats of butter and just before serving, if you feel particularly fancy, drizzle with a little maple syrup so it drips down the edges of the pancakes. 

#figbarathome : Adnams Earl Grey Lager Bread

#figbarathome : Adnams Earl Grey Lager Bread

The most winning combination I can think of? Beer and bread. There is some yeasty magic behind how beautifully the flour and beer bubble together that cannot be topped. You can make a simple beer bread with just 3 ingredients (beer, self-raising flour, and sugar), or you can exercise your right to experimenting by adding extra elements. This beer bread recipe below does that, twice. We've taken one of our favourite lagers from Adnams (Earl Grey Lager, which we also have our our menu at Figbar) and upped the ante by creating a beautiful little beer bread bundt with it (we only did that for the alliteration, any bread tin or cake tin will do). The brilliance of beer bread (sorry, I love alliteration!), is that you can create so many flavors just by changing the beer you use in your basic recipe. What I love about this particular recipe we are sharing here is that the honey prevents the sweetness from distracting from the beer.

If you have ever tried the Earl Grey Lager by Adnams, then you'll remember the tea that lingers on your palette. This bread barely hints at the strength of the tea, but instead lends itself to a slight acidity with lovely buttery tang. We've included a variation with the ingredients to give more of an earl grey kick, but do try it each way and see which you prefer.


Adnams Earl Grey Lager Bread


400g plain flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

80g honey (reduce to 75g if including optional ingredients)

1 x 330ml bottle Adnams Earl Grey lager

100g butter, melted

1tsp lemon juice (optional)

1 earl grey tea bag, contents only (optional)



1.     Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease a 6 hole bundt tin with butter (see n.b for other options of bread tin).

2.     In a large bowl, place flour, baking powder, salt, and honey (if using lemon juice and tea leaves, add them now too)

3.     Pour Earl Grey Lager directly over the other ingredients, and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix until all ingredients come together. Do not over mix.

4.     Pour half of the melted butter evenly into the bottoms of the bundt tin. Use a pastry brush to push the melted butter into all the crevises.

5.     Evenly split the dough into each hole in the bundt tin. (It will about double in size, so try not to overfill your particular tin).

6.     Evenly brush the remaining 50g butter along the top of the dough.

7.     Bake for 20-30 minutes until the bread is golden and a knife inserted to the middle comes out clean. (Fair warning here, this is the trickiest part of the entire recipe and does take a bit of practice. A toothpick can come out clean, but you’ll slice the bread only to find the texture doughy to eat. Next time, add 5 minutes to your cooking time. If you do find this, I recommend slicing the bread and popping it into the toaster and then slathering with butter. J).

8.     Serve immediately from oven (though it’s still good for days in the bread drawer and makes a killer sandwich bread).




A few notes:

* You can use any bread tin your have, you’ll just have to adjust the baking times. For example, a 9x5x3inch standard bread tin will take 40-50 minutes to cook properly. I made this recipe in a large bundt tin and it cooked in 35 minutes. If you feel unsure, set your timer for 20 minutes and then every 5 thereafter until the bread is done. The sheer amount of butter drenching the top of this bread helps keep the browning turn to burning.

* It may help to ‘melt’ your honey a bit in the microwave so it cooperates when mixing.

* Try this same recipe with any brand or style of beer and taste the results! It’s super fun experimenting with flavours and styles (ale vs. lager, pumpkin vs. clementine,  American craft vs. British craft, etc.), and also great to know you can have good bread quickly just with a can of beer on hand!


#fillourtable : Tofurei

#fillourtable : Tofurei

Ok, ok, so it's been almost a year (what?!) since we've posted here, and a LOT has happened, BUT I promise our lengthy absence from the blog will have been worth the wait because today I present to you our Christmas campaign to highlight and champion some brilliant lovely fabulous folks in our Norwich/Norfolk area: #fillourtable 

As you know, we here at Figbar have a big sharing table in the middle of our restaurant. It's central to our ethos- scootch up and make friends over a shared delicious experience. What you may not have known is that we stole that table directly from Chef Jaime's mum's kitchen! The table holds so many memories for our family, and we love that it now has shared memories for you and your families and friends.

With that in mind, we were thinking of our Christmas dinner and those ideal dinner parties that often become the focus of conversation- who would you invite? Why? and all those other party game questions that really get you thinking. So that's what we are doing for the whole of December in the lead up to Christmas. We're introducing you to some of our favorite people: restaurants, chefs, entrepreneurs, bloggers, managers, friends, and people of interest who we have come to know through this Figbar adventure. These lovely folks have agreed to take a seat at our table, answer a few questions, and allow us to highlight their brilliance over our social media in the lead up to a lovely hypothetical Christmas meal. 

First up, it's my great pleasure to begin with one of our neighbors on the Norwich Lanes- the incomparable Tofurei. We've been big fans of them since they opened shortly after we did, but we only truly became friends after being pitted against each other for the title of 'Best Newcomer' in the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards this year. Do you know that the EDP made all the category finalists sit at the same table for 3 hours before the awards started?! But what could have been awkward was instead one of the most fun evenings you could have with competitor... turned colleagues... turned support network.... turned friends. (3 hours is a long time, you guys!). And it's remained steadfast since!

So without further adieu... TOFUREI we are SO excited for you to be the first to arrive to #fillourtable 

Name: Tofurei - "a relaxing vegan coffee shop and grab'n'go. Showingcasing output from the UK's first shop based micro soya dairy and their unique deli-counter with soysages, burgers, as well as tofu."

About: Team tofurei are just 14 months old, and growing quickly.  We’re a diverse bunch ranging in age from 20 to 60 years old. We include natives of Norwich and Norfolk, Leeds & Mansfield but also naturalised citizens of 30 years residency. Our previous occupations range from animal sanctuary workers, barista’s, chefs & ‘kp’s’ to teaching assistants & teachers, ofsted inspector, the RAF and business analyst. We all share a passion for plant based food.

Where can we find you? 12 Pottergate, Norwich NR2 1DS @tofurei and @tofurei_norwich

#fillourtable Tofurei 

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

Well, it’s very generous of you not only to invite us, but also our guests so we hope it’s a big table:-) There are quite a few of us - with a lot of different ideas for who we’d also like to share the table with! A great meal deserves to be shared, especially with those who from necessity rather than choice might otherwise be alone, or unable to organise the feast we know you’ll provide. So one guest, suitably anonymous, would represent that group. It also deserves interesting and erudite conversation, and whilst everyone could contribute that, we’d also like David Attenborough & Jeremy Corbyn along to add an extra dimension - assuming that for practical reasons only the living can attend!


2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

A difficult one - we love food, and have a suitably diverse range of tastes. Some of us have very sweet tooth’s, but others love their savoury treats. The one thing we have in common is that our foods are all plant based. Probably predictably we love Soya for its versatility. We can use it to make drinks, & cereal accompaniments. It can give us tofu, which we can use for a really rich cheesecake, or tasty Cumberland style soysages and savoury burger patties - and we haven’t even yet got into smoked and fermented varieties. It’s also a great crop for our local farmers. Some of us are also partial to a nice cheese and we have some really interesting ones ones made using traditional techniques and cultures but applied to nuts. Finally a big shout out for cocoa and coffee beans. Where would we be without chocolate and coffee to finish a good meal!


3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

We’re a bit new to have our own tradition yet, so we draw on those from our backgrounds. Through all the hectic whirl of day to day life, the very busy weeks and noise of technology in our lives, we all enjoy finding one opportunity a week to share a meal together with those we live with. For that one meal, the only technology that may be allowed would be music - phones, TV and tablets definitely off..... and at least once a year we also like to extend that to the diaspora of those whom we are emotionally close to, but geographically distant.


4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

Collectively we can’t say other than the kindness that has supported team tofurei to come into existence, and is giving us the opportunity to do so much more next year. It also marks a tremendous act of faith, and vote of confidence in us.


5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Being thanked, ‘just for being there’.


6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

The value of a gift is so contextual - a £ is such a small sum to us, and in comparison to the costs of things in our society, so little. In other societies that value may be greater but even here there are people for whom the act itself would have a symbolic value far greater than its monetary value. If we correctly chose our anonymous dinner guest, then hopefully it would be them.


Thank you, Tofurei! We've loved getting to know you better! Now everyone go grab some of their delicious tofu!! 


Biscoff Mocha Granola Bar

Biscoff Mocha Granola Bar

For an afternoon pick-me-up, these granola bars can't be beat. The hit of coffee and chocolate coupled with the crunch of the cookie and the chew of the oats is just right. No bake and just 2 dishes- so clean up is a breeze. As with most granola bars, these will test your strength and you may end up with crumbles instead of bars. Don't despair! They are equally good on a spoon or crumbled over dark chocolate ice cream :-) If you want them to be kid-friendly, use decaf coffee grounds or omit the coffee completely. 

And, as a very happy accident, they are VEGAN! We hope you enjoy these delicious treats! 


Biscoff Mocha Granola Bars


30g toasted slivered almonds

2 tbsp finely ground roast coffee beans

120g old-fashioned rolled oats

70g crushed biscoff cookies (about 9 cookies)

30g crispy rice cereal

65 g good quality dark chocolate chunks

20g unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 tsp Maldon sea salt

180ml maple syrup

90ml light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup almond butter

2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil


1. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together almonds, ground coffee beans, oats, biscoff, cereal, chocolate, coconut, and salt. 

3. In a small pot over low heat, stir together the maple syrup, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, almond butter, and coconut oil until combined. 

4. Bring to a simmer being very careful not to burn the mixture. Remove from heat.

5. Immediately pour the syrup mix over the oat mix and fully coat. 

6. Pour the mixture into your lined pan and spread it out evenly. Place a second piece of parchment over top of the mix and, using all your weight, press down firmly onto each inch of the pan.  The harder you press, the better the bars will stick together.

7. Place the pan into the refrigerate for 1 hour until the bars are firmly set and easy to slice. 

8. Any that you don’t eat (these are pretty moorish, so you may not need this information :-)) store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.