Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cauliflower with Garlic and Paprika

The Gourmet Fusion store is now selling Spanish at both its online store and its Solana Beach location.

Paprika is a source of vibrant color and flavor in cooking and is derived from a type of dried red pepper. The fresh pods from the mild Nora pepper are smoked over oak logs to develop the different aspects of the flavors. Peppers that are smoked over an oak fire develop into a rich and complex range of flavors which is much more powerful and pronounced than the sun-dried varieties.

The types of paprika we have available are sweet (dulce), hot (picante), and smoked (ahumado).

Pimenton Dulce: This lightly smoked variety is earthy and mild, and perfect for many dishes.

Pimenton Picante: This paprika is lightly smoked and blended with medium-hot varieties. It is slightly sweet to smokey in flavor, and will add a kick to your cooking.

Pimenton Ahumado: This is a rich and complex flavor with smokey overtones. This is the paprika that forms the basis of many Spanish meat and seafood dishes.

Our sweet and hot varieties of paprika are best used in sauces, vegetables, fish, eggs, and French Fries. Our smoked paprika works well in Paella, Fabada, beef and shellfish dishes, and for grilling.

The cauliflower recipe below is from the province of Murcia in Spain which is known for its wonderful vegetable gardens. We suggest using our sweet paprika in this .

Cauliflower with Garlic and Paprika (serves 6)
  • 2 lb small cauliflowers, cut into florets
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 or 3 thick slices coarse country bread, crusts removed (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Fill a bowl with water and add the cauliflower florets and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bread slices and fry, turning once, until crisp and golden on both sides, 3-5 minutes total. Remove from the pan, break into pieces, and place in a blender or food processor.
  3. Add the paprika to the oil remaining in the pan over low heat and cook for a minute or two to release its fragrance. Add the water and bring to a boil. Drain the cauliflower and add to the pan. Season with a little salt and cook, uncovered, until the cauliflower is tender, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, pine nuts and parsley to the blender or food processor and pulse until well crushed. When the cauliflower is tender, add about 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) of the cauliflower cooking water, pulse once, and then transfer the mixture to the frying pan. Stir to mix and cook for 5 minutes over low heat to blend the flavors.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a warmed serving bowl, and serve.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Latest Deglingos at Gourmet Fusion

The new have arrived at the Gourmet Fusion store. Just as crazios and cuteos as the rest of the gang, but with their own unique little quirks!

First of all there is MoLos the Lobster, the tough guy - well, not really, he's made of wonderfully soft, plush corduroy, with a funky red spotted trim. Next of the new characters is Lapinos the Bunny, the sporty one in the band. With his bunny teeth and little bob-tail, a real cutie!

Then we have Milkos the Cow, often referred to as Mad Cow, and finally Chikos the Hen, the snobby one in the bunch. Chikos is the only one not suitable for all ages - he is only suitable from three years upwards. But the rest are OK for everyone.

All are available online, together with the rest of the Deglingos in the Gourmet Fusion Store, or at the Solana Beach store in Leaping Lotus. They make great for the coming holiday season!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Now that the weather is starting to really feel like fall - even here in Southern California - the idea of making a hot drink at the end of a long day sounds like a great idea. With that in mind, the Gourmet Fusion store is introducing several new lines, including the I-pot range of teapots, shown here in the 17 ounce size.

I-Pot which stands for Infuser Pot, is a range of teapots that have a sleek modern design, yet the curved shape is slightly retro. They come in a host of colors ranging from subtle blues and greens, bright primaries of red, yellow and blue, and classic black and white. We are currently stocking the 17 ounce and 24 ounce size in both our online store and the Solana Beach store.

The brightly colored ceramic pot is lead free, and is dishwasher and microwave safe. The double walled stainless steel infuser that sits inside, and the flip top stainless steel lid are both removable for easy cleaning. The infuser is a large enough size to be ideal for use with both tea bags and loose leaf tea. These colorful pots are great for livening up a gloomy, rainy day in any kitchen, and make wonderful gifts!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Apple Pie

Now that fall is here, everyone's thoughts are turning to the coming holidays, cozy days spent lazing in front of a fireplace, spending time with family and friends and trying to keep out of the cold!

Growing up in , as I did, meant that you generally ate whatever was in season, and right about now were the "late" fruits such as as damsons, plums, gooseberries and, of course, apples.

Cooking apples were bought at the market as they were cheap and nearly always available and with them you could make , apple crumble, apple upside-down pudding or just plain old baked apples! So it's not surprising that as soon as fall arrives, my thoughts turn to baking apple pie. The below for Old English apple pie, with its filling of apple, dried fruit and spices makes the pastry "from scratch" which is more usual in England, but you can substitute your favorite pie crust mix if you prefer.

Ingredients for the Pastry
  • 8 oz (2 cups) all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water
Ingredients for the Filling
  • 1 1/2 lbs cooking apples, peeled cored and sliced (firm apples such as Pippin, Rome Beauty and Granny Smith)
  • 4 tablespoons dried sultanas or raisins
  • 6 oz (2/3 cup) light brown sugar
  • Finely grated rind and juice of half a lemon
To Finish
  • milk
  • caster sugar

  1. To prepare the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar. Add the butter in pieces and rub into the flour with the fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (you can use a food processor for this, if you prefer). Stir in enough cold water to hold the mixture together, then form into a smooth ball. Wrap in foil or greaseproof paper and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough in two and roll out one half on a floured board to a circle to fit the base of an 8-inch pie dish.
  3. Put the apples in a mixing bowl, then stir in the remaining filling ingredients. Spoon into the dough-lined pie dish. Roll out the remaining dough to a circle for the lid. Lay over the filling, pressing down and sealing the edge with water. Flute the edge with your fingers or crimp with the prongs of a fork. Brush with a little milk and dredge with caster sugar. Make a slit in the center of the pie for the steam to escape.
  4. Bake on a baking sheet in the center of a fairly hot oven (400 degF) for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to moderate (350 degF) and continue baking for 20 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

In England apple pie is usually served with custard sauce, or sweetened whipped cream. I have never seen the custard sauce in America, but it is usually made with a vanilla flavored powder (Bird's Custard Powder) to which hot milk and sugar are added and it makes a thick, yellow sauce which is delicious!

If you want to be really authentic and try this it can be purchased online at

A tangy cheddar is also good with apple pie, and the two are often served together in England.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gourmet Fusion at Leaping Lotus

Gourmet Fusion is excited about the opening of its new store at Leaping Lotus in Solana Beach's Design District on South Cedros.

If you haven't been to Leaping Lotus, it features many different merchants selling a wonderful array of products from all corners of the world which look great alongside our own international collection of kitchen and food products.

Gourmet Fusion will be selling all the favorites from its online store, such as our paella pan, its beautifully handcrafted ceramics from Spain, and our ever popular Union Jack mugs from England, but we have also included some new items and specialty food products in the Solana Beach location.

Our Spanish section includes creamy smooth milk and dark chocolate; olive oil pressed with rosemary or Seville oranges from Catalonia; the finest quality saffron, and three types of paprika to suit every taste.

In our Asian section you can find woks, rice and sushi makers, cooking utensils, and beautiful bamboo products, not to mention the many artisan crafted home decor items.

To our British section of teapots, mugs and English breakfast tea we have added delicious orange marmalade and lemon curd - yummy with toasted English muffins!

Of course, just for fun, the Deglingos, take pride of place at the front of the store, sitting mischievously below our Cattitude range of tea and coffee co-ordinates.

So next time you are in the San Diego area, be sure to stop by Gourmet Fusion store's new location at Leaping Lotus in Solana Beach and get a taste of something different.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Vegetarian Sweet Ginger Sauce Stir Fry

This heart-healthy recipe can be made in minutes once you have all the vegetables chopped up. You can use soba noodles that are low in sodium, or substitute wide whole wheat noodles which are also low in salt.

Vegetarian Sweet Ginger Sauce Stir Fry
(Serves 4 - 220 calories per serving)

Ingredients for the Sweet Ginger Sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce
Ingredients for the Stir Fry
  • 3 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 6 ounces water-packed light extra-firm tofu, frozen, prepared for cooking, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 scallions, white parts and 3 inches of the green, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2-i8inch slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1/4 pound snow peas
  • 1/2 red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces baby spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces mung bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  1. Combine all Sweet Ginger Sauce ingredients in a small pan, using chili sauce to taste. Heat to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Set aside.
  2. Cook the soba noodles 1 minute less than directed on the package, drain and set aside.
  3. Heat the sesame and peanut oils in a nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until hot.
  4. Stir int he tofu, scallions, garlic, carrots, snow peas, bell peppers and mushrooms.
  5. Stir fry for 2 minutes
  6. Lower the heat to medium; add the Sweet Ginger Sauce.
  7. Stir int he spinach, bean sprouts and reserved soba noodles.
  8. Cook just until the spinach wilts, then add the cilantro.
Serve immediately, garnished with lime wedges.