After getting married in 2013, Leila and Philip Diakomanolis soon packed up their home in London and headed to Scotland with a plan. That plan was to find a property on Fife’s golden coast that had enough space to establish a diversified business in condiments manufacturing and food focused hospitality. Soon after finding a property in Crail last year, Leila and Philip set about making the most of the outstanding local produce, as well as their newly acquired fruit canes and orchard.
During her time working as a private chef in Notting Hill Gate, London, Leila found that by creating her own preserves she could layer complex flavours in a final dish faster and more effectively. By stocking up her larder with homemade curry pastes, ketchups, relishes, cordials, jams, as well as herb, spice and honey infused fruit vinegars, Leila always had flexible inspiration to create uniquely delicious menus for her clients. With Philip’s help sourcing high quality dried herbs and spices and growing some of their own, Leila began producing condiments on a larger scale and selling them to clients and friends.
Now settled in Crail, Leila and Philip have founded Leila’s Larder and The Global Ketchup Company, producing quality handmade fruit and vegetable ketchups and a seasonal range of internationally inspired preserves.
One of Leila’s early inventions, from her time in London, was Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup. Having always been an enormous fan of beetroot for its particularly restorative health benefits, vivid colour and delicious taste, Leila decided to develop her own beetroot ketchup.
Although it took a few attempts to get the balance and consistency right, Leila’s new ketchup quickly proved a hit with her clients and an invaluable addition to her own larder. As with any ketchup, the Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice ketchup is very flexible and can be used as a simple condiment for meat, cheese or fish, or it can be added to a salad dressing, used as a marinade or added to a soup, stew or stir fry for a kick. Here are two of Leila’s recipes for incorporating this delicious ketchup in two refreshing summer crowd pleasers.
Cucumber & Watercress Gazpacho swirled with Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup and topped with crumbled Scottish goat’s cheese
Serve 4-6 as a starter or 10 + people if serving as an appetiser in small glasses.
- 1 large or 2 medium, peeled cucumber(s)
- 1 large bunch of watercress
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander
- 2 slices of slightly stale bread (substitute with 1 avocado if gluten intolerant)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with a little sea salt
- ½ an inch square of peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 fresh green chilli (optional)
- The juice of 2 limes (approximate)
- 120ml of extra virgin olive oil (ideally the best you have in your cupboard as flavour is crucial)
- 2 tablespoons of clear runny honey (light and mild preferably or substitute honey with sugar)
- ½ a bottle of Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup
- 200g of Scottish goat’s cheese, or any mellow crumbly goat’s cheese or feta cheese
Break up the slices of stale bread into pieces and place in a small bowl. Drizzle bread with all the olive oil and the juice of 1 lime and set aside to soak up the juices and soften. Meanwhile place the peeled cucumber, watercress, coriander, fresh chilli, and prepared garlic and ginger into a food processor or blender and add the now softened bread with all residual juices. Add a good pinch of sea salt together with two tablespoon of clear honey and blend the mixture until smooth. Add a little water to thin the soup if desired and season with more sea salt, lime juice and honey as desired. Remember that as this soup is designed to be served cold, all seasonings are more muted in the cold state than in a warm or hot state so air on the side of punchy if in doubt. Transfer the soup to a container and chill well in the fridge or overnight. To serve, transfer the chilled soup into bowls (use shot or dessert glasses if serving as an appetiser) swirl a generous teaspoon of the Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup carefully on the top of each bowl and finish with a good quality crumbled Scottish goat’s cheese. The ketchup and the cheese make a big difference to the final flavour, so don’t be scared to be generous!
Serve the soup on a sunny summer’s day with some crusty fresh bread or on its own in small glasses as a crowd pleasing and attractive canapé.
Beetroot Ketchup Salmon Gravlax
You will need:
- ½ a medium-sized fresh salmon (one side) deboned but not skinned
- 1 bottle of Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt (optional)
- 1 very sharp knife and a little bit of patience!
Find a glass or ceramic oven dish large enough to lay down the salmon flat. Place the salmon in the dish skin-side down and sprinkle the surface of the fillet with the sea salt evenly. Then simply shake-up and empty the bottle of Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup onto the salmon and smooth all over with a spoon so that the ketchup is evenly distributed all over and around the salmon. Turn the salmon over in the dish so that it is now flesh-side down in the ketchup. Place some baking paper over the salmon and weigh it down with a plate and some tins from the cupboard you don’t need for a few days. Wrap the container up in cling film and place at the back of the fridge. Leave the salmon to cure for 3-5 days depending on how coloured and fragrant you want it, then remove the salmon from the marinade, scrape off the residual ketchup and carefully slice as thinly as you can with a good knife, against the grain at a 45 degree angle and away from the skin. Carefully stack your slices on a plate so that you can manoeuvre them elegantly on the final plate or piece of bread.
Slice a whole, small to medium sized loaf, of light rye bread and a cucumber (ideally thinly and on the diagonal), butter the bread lightly, and layer each slice of bread with the slices of cucumber and generous slices of the beetroot Gravlax. Add roughly scattered fresh coriander leaves with wedges of fresh lime and serve as a canapé or starter. For extra zing and flourish add small drops of Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup, and small dollops of sour cream around the final serving plate or plates.
Beetroot & Chinese Five Spice Ketchup will be available to buy at the Crail Food Festival 2015 alongside an array of seasonal offerings from Leila’s Larder and The Global Ketchup Company. For further product information please visit http://www.leilaslarder.co.uk/
Leila’s Larder Ltd: http://www.leilaslarder.co.uk/
The Global Ketchup Company Ltd: http://www.theglobalketchupcompany.co.uk
Meet Leila’s Larder at the Crail Food Festival 2015 on Saturday 13 June in the Food Emporium – tickets available 12 May 2015.