As a food blogger it's always lovely when your inbox pings with an opportunity that's a bit different from the norm. An email from Toshiba offered just that. The chance to take part in a live cook along via Skype lead by Gousto Chef Alice Fever, linking up with fellow food bloggers across the UK all using the innovative new Toshiba Satellite Radius 11. I immediately replied in the affirmative. Thanks to blogging I've got to know some fantastic people across the country but have only ever spoken to most of them online. This was about to change as I'd be cooking alongside Jan at A Glug of Oil, Camilla at Fab Food 4 All, Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen and Helen at Fuss Free Favours.
The Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 arrived along with a box of ingredients from Gousto. The laptop was really easy to set up and navigate and I was quickly connected online. The Satellite Radius 11 was the perfect kitchen companion to cook with as it has a flexible hinge so can work as both a tablet and a laptop. There are 5 positions in which it can work laptop, tabletop, presentation, audience and tablet. The touchscreen enables you to quickly flip through recipes online and the size of the unit is smaller than your average cookbook. It seems to be the perfect combination of both laptop and tablet. Nice and compact but also a proper keyboard. For those who are keen on Tec Specs, the Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 measures up as follows
- 29.5 cm (11.6”) HD touchscreen
- Operating System: Windows 8.1
- Weight: 1.3 Kg
- Designed for mobility, delivering a smooth, seamless PC experience anywhere
- 500 GB hard drive for storage along with a responsive 32 GB of cloud storage
- Fast boot-up and online access
We were asked to have all our ingredients and equipment laid out before the cookoff kickoff time at 6pm. I was familiar with everything apart from the dried barberries. These are small dried sweet and sour Iranian berries with a sharp flavour and vibrant colour. It was a wee bit nerve wracking waiting for the minutes to tick past and watching Skype for an incoming video call from Gousto chef Alice. I will admit to tidying up my kitchen in preparation and applying a bit of lippy. I did however forget to put on an apron and that was the first thing that I spotted when we all connected up. All bar me were suitably attired in their pinnies! Introductions made and it was time to get cooking.
Reproduced with permission of Gousto
250g halloumi cheese
150g bulgur wheat
2 red onions
20g dried barberries
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
10g fresh mint
1 tbsp ras el hanout
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbsp Sugar
Boil a kettle. Add the bulgur to a pot with 275 ml of boiling water, cover with a lid over a medium-low heat. Simmer for 5-7 min or until almost all the water is absorbed. Remove and set aside with the lid on for 10 min, until dry and fluffy .
Meanwhile, put the barberries in a small bowl and add 100 ml of hot water, add 1 tbsp of sugar and mix well.
Peel the onions, cut them in half and slice finely. Chop the mint finely and grate the zest of the lemon. Cut the halloumi into thin slices (approx. 1cm thick)
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the halloumi. Combine half the ras el hanout with 1 tsp of black pepper for the spice mix. Coat the halloumi in the spice mix.
Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to a large pan on a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 4-5 min or until soft and lightly caramelised.
Add 3 tbsp of the barberry water to the bulgur wheat. Drain the barberries and add to the bulgur wheat. Combine the barberry bulgur with the mint, lemon zest, remaining ras el hanout, pomegranate molasses and 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Season to your taste with salt and pepper.
Push the onion to one side of the pan and add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the halloumi and cook for 1-2 min on each side or until golden all over.
Serve the bulgur wheat with the onion and halloumi. Enjoy!
Everything got a bit frantic when the cookalong started. Multitasking right left and centre, trying to watch the screen, prep the ingredients, follow the chat, keep up with everyone else, take photos and tweet! I was impressed with the microphone and webcam on the laptop but unfortunately gremlins meant that we lost connection along the way a couple of times. However we also all had a Gousto recipe card so could follow at our own pace if needs be or if technology played up. I'm a huge "squeaky cheese" fan so already knew that I would love the Halloumi dish. The end result was even better than I imagined. A super tasty fantastic mixture of flavours and textures. Very generous portion too. Plenty for 3 of us to share and I will definitely be making it again, providing I can track down some barberries.
I followed the recipe pretty much as is but used Scottish Rapeseed Oil as opposed to Olive Oil and didn't add nearly as much as the recipe states. I only used 1Tbsp in the pan at the start, didn't add any to the bulgar wheat or add extra to cook the Halloumi. The only other change was that I replaced pomegranate molasses with balsamic vinegar as the former was missing from my Gousto package. Unfortunately there were also missing ingredients for the other 2 recipes in the pack so I was unable to make them.
You can read about the #ToshibaCookalong from the perspective of the other participants on their blogs
Fab Food 4 All - Persian Halloumi and the #ToshibaCookalong
Farmersgirl Kitchen - Persian Halloumi and the Toshiba Cookalong
A Glug of Oil - Persian Halloumi Cookalong with Toshiba and Gousto
Fuss Free Flavours - Toshiba satellite radius 11 - The prefect travel and kitchen companion
I've now had my Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 for three weeks and it has taken up residence on the breakfast bar in my kitchen. My kids in particular love it and have taken very quickly to the laptop/touchscreen combination. Personally I find the keyboard a wee bit too small for everyday use and prolonged typing but it is a huge improvement on trying to work on a tablet alone. It is unbelievably compact for what it can do and also has a very sleek and stylish look about it. Will be perfect for working on the move and taking on holiday. Plus it's all set up for Skype so if anyone ever fancies having another cookalong with me give me a holler!
Disclosure : I was provided with a Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 and a Gousto Box for the purpose of this post. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post.