Rum Punch

Rum Punch Fun and Caribbean Cuisine At Cottons Shoreditch

Shoreditch is an absolute foodie hotspot and whilst it has traditionally been seen as “Little Vietnam” given the number of high quality Vietnamese restaurants in the area it is great to see original restaurant that stand out in the area. Cottons is one such restaurant, the flagship restaurant is based in Camden and the second is in Notting Hill, with their third restaurant the pressure to remain authentic is intense given the impact that becoming a chain sometimes has on restaurant brands. Not to say that Cottons is necessarily becoming a chain so to speak but it is certainly become a recognisable brand, enhancing the brand awareness and accessibility of Caribbean cuisine to the mainstream (outside of The Notting Hill Carnival). Having only ever been to the Camden branch I was looking forward to sampling the menu at the exclusive food blogger Rum Masterclass and menu taster. Having grown up in Hackney I have been to numerous independent Caribbean restaurants and have many friends from across the Caribbean so I know what tastes good and what doesn’t when it comes to authenticity of taste. I was not disappointed by the food at Cottons at all, in fact it exceed expectations, as I discussed each dish with fellow foodies we were all impressed (our rum tasting session beforehand may have had something to do with our excitement too!). Cottons is a Pan-Caribbean restaurant, that is the dishes come from or are inspired by various countries from across The Caribbean so go there with an open mind and willing tastebuds.

We were treat to an excellent Angostura Rum Tasting masterclass in which we learnt about the history of the brand. It was a fascinating talk and gave us a great background into the rich cultural heritage of the brand and rum as a whole. I particularly enjoyed learning about the medicinal benefits of Bitters…I’ll let you do some research into what they are.

Here’s what we tasted:

  • Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • Angostura Orange Bitters
  • Amaro Di Angostura
  • Angostura Reserva Blanca
  • Angostura 5 Year Old
  • Angostura 7 Year Old
  • Angostura 1919
  • Angostura 1824

The food was absolutely delightful, we had a steady stream of the starters and mains from the menu so we had the chance to try pretty much everything. Some of the starter dishes include Salt fish fritters with Spiced Mango Chutney and Chilli Jam, Barbecued chicken pieces with Mango chilli salsa, Crayfish and Lobster Mac N Cheese and Caribbean fish goujons. I absolutely loved the mac an cheese and would definitely return to Cottons just for that.

The mains were show stoppers, especially the Seafood platters and mixed meat platters. Mains include curried mutton with  rice n peas, coleslaw and plantain, brown stew chicken with steamed rice and stir fried vegetables, Oxtail and bean stew with Steamed Rice, Trinidadian fish curry and Ital vegetable curry with dumplings.

The oxtail stew, curried mutton and fish curry stood out for me but I have to say that everything I tasted was absolutely wonderful, the flavours were balanced and everything was well seasoned. Some dishes could have been spicier but that’s because I’m a chilli friend.

Get down to the new addition to the Cottons restaurant family in Shoreditch, Curtain Road and tell your friends – it’s definitely worth it!

Hibisicus by Lope ariyo

Lopè Ariyo Brings Contemporary Nigerian Food To The World With Hibisicus

Who’s For Dinner is very pleased to feature the new cookbook by Lopè Ariyo. After helping to judge HarperCollins/Red Magazine’s “The Next Star of African Food” competition in 2016 it is great to see that Hibisicus has come to life! Despite having some of the most rich and vibrant flavours in the world, African cookery has so far taken a back seat in the British food scene. Lopè Ariyo is a 23 year old cooking talent, fresh out of university who wowed the judges with her modern approach to Nigerian cuisine. After winning the competition and landing herself a book deal, Lopè is set to take the cookery world by storm and her wonderful new cookbook Hibiscus was published on 1st June.

Hibisicus by Lope Ariyo Hibisicus by Lope Ariyo

Featuring a stunning collection of delicious Nigerian recipes, Lopè has used the cooking she grew up with and has added her own British twist, adding contemporary touches to Nigerian classics. The book tells the story of Lope’s childhood through the dishes – from her early love affair with plantains, the street food from Lagos, all the way up to her Uncle Yomi’s baked eggs dance. It is a beautifully designed book with stunning images that make Nigerian food look as good as it actually tastes! By combing European ingrediants with African flavours, Hibisicus will open up a new world of culinary delights to people from a variety of backgrounds. It is time for Nigerian food to shine on an international level and Lopè will help to make it happen.
Nigerian cuisine is all about sharing and bringing people closer together – this book will do just that, as well as introducing a whole new audience to a delicious and incredibly vibrant cuisine. It’s time to make Nigerian food just as prevalent as Chinese and Indian food in the wider foodie community! The recipes are easy to follow and reflect Lopè’s vibrant and warm natured personality, we know she’s set to be a star!

Make sure you order a copy online or in book stores.

Love Moin Moin: The Nigerian Ready Made Mix That Everyone Should Try

Review by Abiola Lawal

Love Moin Moin is a new ready made mix of a party favourite from the Real African Food Company. Moin Moin is a traditional savoury bean cake from Nigeria, consisting of black-eyed beans, peppers and spices it is popularly eaten with fried or jollof rice at parties or on it’s own as a delightful snack.
This prepared mix gives you the dry powder ingredients of black-eyed beans, peppers, and a range of spices without any of the hassle. Normally when cooking moin moin you must set aside at least 3 hours to sort the beans, soak them, and clean them of their skins before soaking them again to get the beans to the right consistency for grinding and this is all before blending and steaming the mix into the wonderful snack that is moin moin. It is a very time consuming task, as is most Nigerian food and for a lazy person like myself I jumped at the chance to cook one of my favourites without any of the hassle.
Love Moin Moin Love Moin Moin Love Moin Moin
The Love Moin Moin mix was the right pale orange colour that I expected and as soon as I opened the packet the familiar smell of beans and spices hit me, it smelt like the real thing! The instructions on the back gave options for steaming in a pot or in a microwave, being a traditionalist I chose the pot. The instructions advise that you add water and 1 tablespoon of oil to 100g of the mix and mix into a smooth paste. You can then place the puree/paste into a greased ramekin and set in a pot of water to steam for 30 minutes. I do not have a ramekin so I went down the old school route of folding foil into a well sealed packet, sorry no banana leaves this time, and placed the mixture into my foil packet and went ahead with steaming.
Love Moin Moin Love Moin Moin
After 30 minutes I checked if the foil was firm and it was so my moin moin was set! I opened and again the wonderfully familiar smell that always takes me back to Nigerian parties and wedding receptions hit me. I couldn’t believe that I could have moin moin in 30 minutes, but I actually did. And on first bite I was impressed the moin moin was well seasoned with the right balance of salt, pepper and spices, and the consistency was firm. My only negative is that the texture was not as smooth as I like but to be honest the amount of time this mix had saved me was worth it. Wanting to make sure that I was not dreaming I asked my mummy to taste and she gave it the thumbs up. Now my mum’s moin moin is always my favourite so for her to like it I knew it was good, she has since been asking me where can we buy it.
Love Moin Moin
I would definitely recommend this mix for parties or gatherings, or if you just want a quick snack without all of the hassle. It is easy to prepare, saves on washing up and is very tasty as well as being a great way for people who are unfamiliar with this West African favourite to try something new. It’s too easy not to give it a try!
A Pack of 3 sachets is £9.99 and is available to order online at
Who’s For Dinner was sent a sample to review, this is not a paid for feature.