Tuesday, December 24, 2013

CULINARY OBSESSIONS

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Like most cooks I tend to become incredibly obsessive about certain ingredients and at times, I must admit that I have a tendency to overuse them and throw into almost every recipe that I’m creating. Over the last couple of years I’ve fallen totally in love with Ras el Hanout, a prized Moroccan spice mixture that can contain up to 100 different spices and is traditionally used to flavour couscous, rice, meat and vegetable dishes; like garam masala, the mixture of spices in ras el hanout depends on the maker and the spices available, but may include cardamom, cayenne, aniseed, nutmeg, mace, ginger, galangal or even dried ground rosebuds.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

An Apple a day…


Fresh Apples rightly have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aid’s the immune system and helps reduce cholesterol. They are low in calories, prevent tooth decay and they are also rich in flavonoids, known for their antioxidant effects.

Apples have been around for over 4,000 years ever since the Iron Age and were first cultivated in Egypt. There are many mythological associations, with the apple in the Garden of Eden being the most

PEAR, APPLE & GINGER CRUMBLE

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Ingredients         serves 4

3 pears
3 granny smith apples
150g caster sugar
3tbsp water
A pinch of powdered ginger

FOR THE CRUMBLE
100g unsalted butter, chilled
100g plain flour, sifted
100g demerara sugar
80g ground almonds
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 190C/Gas mark 5.
Peel and core & chop the pears and apples.
Place in a medium-sized pan; add the sugar, water & ginger. Cook over a medium heat until the fruit starts to soften and releases its juices, about 10 mins. Spoon the mixture into 4 individual ovenproof ramekins, or 1 large baking dish.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

MOROCCAN SPICED PUMPKIN SOUP WITH POACHED COD & ARGAN OIL

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1kl pumpkin, peeled & diced
1 large potato, peeled & diced
1 medium onion, peeled & diced
800ml chicken stock
400ml milk
½ a stick of cinnamon 
juice of one lime
1tspn *ras el hanout
1tsp freshly grated ginger
1tbsp chopped coriander
 Seasoning

To Garnish:
3tbsp Argan Oil
Coriander leaves


Place the diced pumpkin, potato, ginger, onion and cinnamon in a large saucepan and cover with the chicken stock and milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

EAT THE SEASONS WITH LLAMPUGA


This week at Simply Fosh we have a really delicious, simple dish of “Llampuga” on our 3-course lunch menu. Sometimes known as dolphin fish or golden mackerel although it is probably more well known by its American (Hawaiian) name of Mahi Mahi, "Llampuga" has a slightly oily texture that I would describe somewhere as a cross between sea bass and tuna. Be careful when cooking as it tends to dry out quickly when overcooked, and it is best served a little pink in the middle.


The Mallorcan name of “llampuga” comes from the verb ‘llampegar’ (to flash, as in lightning), and the fishing season for this species coincides with the appearance of a few strong storms in late summer and some amazing lightening displays. Some say that the word ‘llampuga’ comes from the Latin lampare, which means shine, referring to the shiny golden colour of the fish; actually, in Spanish the ‘llampuga’ is also sometimes known by the name of “dorado”, which means ‘golden’. The fish are captured en nets called ‘llampugueres’ and they are long swimming, fast growing, migratory fish that originate in the Atlantic and immigrate to the Mediterranean when the water temperature is over 16 degrees. It’s one of those great-tasting seasonal fish that unfortunately have a very short season that runs from late august to the end of October.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

AUTUMN FRUIT


Autumn brings with it the arrival of quince, fresh figs and pomegranates. Most people seem to ignore these fruits but for any serious cook they can be an endless source of inspiration and I always look forward to having them in season.


Steeped in history and romance and almost in a class by itself, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility in many countries and a very popular fruit all over the mediterranean to the Middle East; the "Granada", as it is known in Spain, is a round fruit with a thick, leathery red skin.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

CHILLED TO PERFECTION Cool summer soups are a refreshing addition to warm-weather menus.

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 Just as the cauldron of hot soups, broths & stocks provide comfort and solace on a winter’s day; chilled soups are a refreshing respite from the heat of summer. As the great French Chef Auguste Escoffier said, “Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite", while Beethoven claimed” Only the pure of heart can make good soup". But in this sweltering heat, they have to be chilled right down and served iced cold.


The king of cold soups is gazpacho. In essence, they are wonderful thirst-quenching, liquid salads, made with fresh, raw vegetables and ripe tomatoes; and they are the perfect thing for long, hot summer days. Gazpacho has humble, peasant origins and was originally made by pounding bread, water and garlic in a pestle and mortar long before the arrival of the tomato and the discovery of the new world. In modern times, tomatoes, cucumbers and

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Seeing Red

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I would be lost in my kitchen without good salt and top quality olive oil. For me, these two magic ingredients instantly lift and bring so many other flavours to life. But there is one other ingredient that I’m practically addicted to and I favour over everything else...the “Gamba de Soller”!




Every time I wander around the market in Palma, I always find myself literally drooling over the stunningly fresh, locally caught red prawns from Soller. I don’t think it is possible to put anything finer in your mouth. With that intense, wild taste that just explodes when you bite into their firm flesh... I crave Majorcan prawns the way most pregnant women crave chocolate.



The best way to cook them is also the easiest. You just scatter a little sea salt over a very hot, flat grill and place the whole prawns on top. Let them sit for 20 seconds or so until they start to toast, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Wait another 20 seconds and scatter them with chopped parsley and crushed garlic. Turn them over, drizzle with a little more olive oil and finish cooking for another minute. You will be rewarded with an intoxicating aroma and one of the great taste sensations to be found anywhere in the world.

Monday, July 1, 2013

THE TASTE OF A MEDITERRANEAN SUMMER

Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes, grown in the Mediterranean sun, are the ultimate summer ingredient. Full of flavour, with a slightly aromatic scent, they are one of those magical ingredients, like high quality olive oil and lemons that make the others sing.
But not all that glitters is gold and good looks are often deceptive when you are buying tomatoes. If you can, pick them up and smell them as they should have an intoxicatingly pleasant aroma. Chances are if they smell of nothing they will probably taste of nothing. The stalk leaves should be fresh and green and the fruit should be firm with a bright, unflawed skin.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PLANNING TO PLEASE



At all three Fosh restaurants, we are about to change our menus for the summer season ahead. Planning a successful and manageable menu for a restaurant involves making a number of important decisions about both style & content.


Personally, I have never liked long and over complicated menus and I always prefer to narrow them down to a specific type of cuisine. Too many restaurateurs try and conjure up long-winded menus in the hope that they will appeal to just about everybody. I feel that those restaurants tend to lack any real personality and customers find the menus difficult to navigate. More importantly, chefs and waiters can also find these menus difficult to work with, making them unable to memorize all the dishes you offer, their ingredients and their preparation. You may also find yourself faced with food waste from the ingredients you stock for unpopular menu items. A small, well refined menu gives customers only your best offerings, cuts

Thursday, June 6, 2013

STRAWBERRY TIME

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STRAWBERRY TIME

Local Strawberries are in season right now and they are bursting with flavour.

I think these succulent, fragrant berries are as beautiful as they are flavourful.
When ripe, fresh strawberries contain a wonderful combination of fruity, caramel and spice flavours. When at the market, look for unblemished strawberries with bright-green hulls. Try to buy only local mallorcan strawberries where possible or buy freshly picked fruit from local farms, you'll be getting produce that's approaching the peak of ripeness in contrast to imported fruit, which is likely to have been picked early.
Strawberries are the quintessential summer treat. For better flavour, let strawberries come to room temperature before eating them: if possible, put them out to warm in the sun for a couple of hours to bring out their full taste and aroma. As with any other delicate berries, wash and handle them gently and as little as possible to avoid bruising them. Always wash strawberries before hulling them. Dip whole strawberries into melted dark chocolate and set aside until firm, then serve as a tasty canapé with Pink Champagne!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

THE SWEETEST THING


                  THE SWEETEST THING

Before peaches, plums and berries appear in markets, apricots arrive. Ancient Romans were so impressed by this fruit’s early ripening that they took to calling it praecocium, Latin for “precocious.” Most apricots are destined to be canned or dried, and their season is short, so get the fresh ones fast.

 A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are sour-sweet in flavour with a wonderfully fragrant character and a mixture of fresh and tropical tones. They are silky smooth with a soft, velvety skin that ranges from pale yellow to deep orange. Although an apricot's colour is not always a reliable guide to flavour,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ANCHOVY CURE

 
For most people anchovies are a love or hate ingredient. I have to admit that I love them! Like salt, anchovies are a natural flavour enhancer. They're rich in a compound called inosinate which, when combined with the glutamate you get in beef or lamb, emphasises the natural meatiness of those ingredients.
The very intelligent Romans knew this. Though the ancient Greeks probably invented garum, the liquor of salted anchovy (or mackerel) guts, dried in the sun, flavoured with herbs, decomposed by its own bacteria and then matured that became the chief condiment of Rome, seasoning almost every dish in the repertoire.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

“Life is like a pancake. No matter how flat or rough it is, it always has two sides…”

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Let’s face it…who doesn’t like pancakes? They have been popular in some shape or form the world over for centuries and Archaeological evidence suggests that pancakes are probably the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies dating back to 5th century B:C!



With their beautifully freckled surface, glistening straight from the pan, pancakes are delicious eaten simply with lemon juice and sugar, but they can be filled with a variety of sweet ingredients such as maple syrup, fruit, ice cream or chocolate sauce. They make a good base for savoury fillings too, such as fried mushrooms, cheese, spinach, seafood – anything goes really. Pancakes are made from a wide variety of flours and in a range of styles in many countries.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wild Asparagus time in Mallorca

 
Wild asparagus or “Ttrigueros” as they are known here in Spain, grow all over the Island of Mallorca in March and April. The locals spend hours scouring the fields and roadsides filling their baskets with them. In certain parts of Spain, the search for green asparagus is regarded almost as a sport, requiring sharp observation and a somewhat reckless spirit, as finding it is no easy task.
Growing wild throughout the Mediterranean, the Romans are believed to have been the first to domesticate asparagus. After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus was cultivated in their monastery gardens, along with medicinal herbs. Cultivated for more the 2000 years, asparagus will grow wherever it can find a good footing. Wild Asparagus loves secluded hedgerows and undisturbed country roads.

Monday, March 18, 2013

BRANDY FOR THE CHEF

Most of us like a glass of wine with dinner. It somehow makes a meal more civilized and enjoyable. Yet the real power of alcohol, especially for the cook, lies not in what it does at the table but what it does in the kitchen.


Like Salt, alcohol has the ability to bring out the flavour in food. Whether you’re cooking with wine, beer, or liquor, the alcohol in those beverages improves flavour perception in at least two important ways: by evaporation and by molecular bonding.

My favourite alcoholic beverage in the kitchen is brandy, a spirit distilled from wine that’s made from grapes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The spice of life


I recently returned from a fantastic trip to India and was lucky enough to spend a few days on a spice plantation. As a chef, it was incredibly inspiring to see exactly where all the spices that we use everyday actually from and how they are produced.
Cardamon Factory

Spices were among the first of many foods brought back to Europe from the east by Marco polo and encouraged the early voyages of Columbus and Vasco Da Gama, who succeeded in rounding the Cape of Good Hope and crossing the Indian Ocean to calicot on the coast of India.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

THE APPLIANCE OF SCIENCE

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For some time now, chefs have been portrayed as artists, and I must admit that it’s a title that doesn’t quite fit as far as I’m concerned. Sure enough, to present your food or paint a picture on a plate, an artistic streak helps, but it won’t make you a better cook or turn you into a culinary genius. With a large amount of common sense and a little understanding of kitchen science, you’re more likely to succeed.
Chefs that have the ability to be totally unique and original, whilst maintaining some kind of understanding with flavours and textures, might attain cult status and something close to true artistry, but they never forget taste. Taste has nothing to do with art and everything to do with science.


CHOCOLATE, BASIL, MANGO & POLLEN
What Einstein Told His Cook
Two of my favourite books are both about the science of food. I’ll never read them from cover-to-cover, but they are a great treasure trove of information on the history and science behind food, cooking techniques, ingredients, physiology and diet.
They have also given me a greater appreciation of what I'm doing in the kitchen. Does the alcohol really boil off when we cook with wine? Are smoked foods raw or cooked? Are green potatoes poisonous? Everything from milk, its components and why it curdles, to meat and how animals are slaughtered and why they are hung,

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pork on the wild side

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Pork on the wild side
This week saw the hardest part of my first stab of pig keeping when it came time to take them to the slaughterhouse.  I certainly found it difficult but I was comforted to know that they had lived well, eaten liked kings and hopefully, are going to have an unbelievably great flavour!

I also helped some friends with their traditional Spanish “Matanzas”. It isn’t recommended for the squeamish but takes place in a festive atmosphere, with everyone joining in to help and nothing goes to waste as just about every part of the animal is put to good use in the making of sausage-like "Embutidos" (charcuterie). Among these are Chorizo, Salchichon, Morcilla, Butifarra, Sobrasada and

Saturday, January 19, 2013

LIVELY UP YOURSELF...

I couldn’t imagine my kitchens without lemons; there is no other ingredient that can transform a dish in a single squeeze.
PRESERVED LEMONS

Although available all year round, Spanish lemons taste best when left to ripen on the tree and the months of January and February are the perfect time to enjoy their fabulous aroma.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

GASTRONOMIC LEGENDS

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With the coming of winter, I think it’s a good excuse to try out some amazing dishes that have become gastronomic legends. Esteemed, time-honoured recipes that have stood the test time and that are still as relevant today as they ever were.

Classic Chocolate Marquise from Misa Braseria

Dishes like Tournados Rossini, coq au vin, Cassoulet, French onion soup or the celebrated Soupe aux truffes Élysée V.G.E. This renowned Black Truffle Soup was invented in 1975 when Paul Bocuse sought to create the perfect dish to serve to the then French President, Valery Giscard d’Estaing at the Élysée Palace on the occasion of Chef Bocuse receiving the Legion of Honor.