These days there are so many great little restaurants all over Mallorca where talented, young chefs have opened their own establishments in far-flung villages such as LLubi, Selva, Caimari, Orient, Llosesta and Mancor de la Vall as well as the Island's capital, Palma. They are the type of restaurant where you can really feel the passion and see and enjoy all the different styles and philosophies of each chef. They are not the faceless type of restaurant opened out of vanity by people who can't even boil an egg and have never even worked one day in our industry.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
RAS EL HANOUT
Don't be put off this recipe by the number of ingredients. The spice mix is simple to make…although you can buy it. It keeps well in a jar and can be used so many other dishes. It lends a wonderful aromatic flavour to the lamb.
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
16 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons turmeric
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
This week I received a little present from the Michelin starred chef, Ricard Camarena. Apparently he has spent the last few years developing a new product called “Letern” and he very kindly sent a nicely packaged bottle to all the Michelin starred chefs in Spain. Ricard Camarena has been using this anchovy essence for the last six years as a taste enhancer and as a substitute for salt in his stocks and broths, whether they contain fish, meat or vegetables. “Anchovy brine is my salt”, he states, “It’s the umami of the sea and has everything the sea contains: salt, iodine, oxide and the salting of fish over time”. I must admit that I liked it a lot and it has inspired me to make my own mix.
So what is umami and why are chefs obsessing over it?
So what is umami and why are chefs obsessing over it?
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Spanish Saffron has been grown in La Mancha for at least 1,000 years and the region is now world-famous for producing the planet’s most expensive spice. Until recently we had to import our saffron for the restaurant from the mainland but all that changed recently when the Mallorcan company “Especias Crespí” embarked on a new challenge to expand and diversify its offer. In 2016 they planted 20,000 plants in Vilafranca and in a few weeks time they will begin to harvest the second crop. But this is only the beginning, “especias Crespí” plans to plant up to 200,000 plants in four years in 4 hectares of land especially prepared for this crop. Their goal is to produce up to 25 kilos per year and the production will be one hundred percent ecological.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
“I adore the smell of a cake baking in the oven, its one of those heartwarming aromas that remind us of a better time and the comforts of home.”
“The secret ingredient in light-and-fluffy sponge cakes is air”
There is nothing quite as satisfying as serving up a generous wedge of home-baked cake, bread or a satisfyingly sweet pastry..and let’s be honest, its difficult to beat the taste of something that’s been baked at home, whether it’s a simple sponge, a banana cake or even warm freshly baked bread. Baking at home seems to be more and more popular these day’s and its easy to see why, it is relaxing, rewarding and great fun.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The markets are bursting with fresh fruits including luscious strawberries, stunning looking cherries, thirst quenching melons, the season’s first figs, awesome apricots, plums, nectarines and succulent peaches are all jostling for position on the local market stalls.
Although I absolutely adore all these fruits, for my money, nothing beats the succulence of sweet, aromatic Mediterranean peaches, bursting with flavour.
They provide delicious eating but can also be used in so many different and interesting ways in the kitchen. They can be poached in sugar syrup with cinnamon, vanilla and cloves, roasted with cardamom or pan-fried and caramelised with brown sugar and almonds. Peaches also make perfect partners for champagne, cassis and calvados and they combine perfectly with ginger, lemons, oranges, strawberries and hazelnuts. Pan-fried foie gras or roast duck are amazingly good with glazed peaches and sweet and sour peach chutney can really liven up cold meats, pâté and salads.
Monday, June 12, 2017
I think it's a lot easier to eat a healthier diet in the summer because the season is packed with amazing fruits and vegetables that are just bursting with flavour.
When the sun is shining, lighter meals just seem far more appealing and the truth is you don’t need to starve yourself on a wacky fad diet if you want to look better in your shorts or swimsuit this summer either. The secret is to choose healthy foods and take in fewer calories than you burn and it's easier to make better food choices in summertime as heavy, high-calorie dishes are just too much to bear when the sun rises early and goes to bed late.
I’m obsessed with Mediterranean cookery and I try to incorporate a healthy balance and harmony into my recipes. The Mediterranean diet generally encapsulates most of the criteria
Friday, June 9, 2017
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
If you have never tried cooking with Sumac, a decorative bush that grows wild throughout the Middle East and parts of Italy, you should seek it out and give it a try. I must admit that I love it and the dark purple-red berries are sold dried or ground and have a fruity, astringent taste. Sumac is used in the cooking of Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Ground sumac is rubbed into meats for grilling and is good with potatoes, beetroot, and in mixed bean salads. It can also be added to marinades, salad dressings, sauces and yogurt.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
As if anyone needed another reason to eat chocolate, recently published research showed that dark chocolate and cocoa may help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke, and provide other cardiovascular benefits, multiple studies have shown. Good quality dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids, believed to improve the flexibility of blood vessels. Unfortunately, it only counts if eaten in moderation!
Once known as ‘the food of the gods' in Aztec culture, the story of chocolate really began with the discovery of the Americas when Columbus returned in triumph and laid before the Spanish throne a treasure trove of strange and wonderful things.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Good salads are essential to help you stay cool and healthy during the hot summer months and they do not have to be boring and tasteless.
|SIMPLE SALAD DRESSING|
I was pleasantly surprised walking around my local supermarket the other day at the many different varieties of lettuce and salad leaves available. You don’t even have to go through the hassle of cleaning your lettuce as you can buy ready mixed salad leaves, full of different flavours, textures and colours all cleaned and ready to eat. All you need to do is drizzle the leaves with a little dressing at the last minute and tuck in.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
The taste and texture of fresh peas has almost been forgotten in these times of convenience and frozen foods. Most people can’t even remember the last time they tasted sweet, fresh peas straight from the pod and rely solely on the frozen or, worse still, the tinned ones that sit in a fowl-smelling, cloudy liquid. I’m a big fan of fresh peas and early spring is the best time to use them.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Miserable weather calls for desperate measures. It’s a time to indulge in heart-warming dishes designed to keep out the cold, simple recipes to revive flagging spirits and jaded palates. I must admit that I rarely cook at home, but when I do I love to throw everything into one pot and place it in the middle of the table for serving. It not only saves on the washing-up but it also helps to stimulate and heighten your senses so you can enjoy your meal even more. One-pot dishes are real comfort food at this time of the year, winter warmers that sooth the soul. The Spanish of a great variety of one pot dishes called “potajes”. This basically means stew or mixture/jumble, this is peasant, rustic food and each region throughout Spain has one or two specialties normally prepared with pulses.
Friday, January 20, 2017
I couldn’t imagine my kitchen without fresh herbs. A simple dish can be transformed by using a few fresh herbs as they greatly enhance the taste, appearance and nutritional value of practically all the food we eat.
The word “herb” comes from the Latin herba, meaning grass or green plant. These days we associate herbs for their culinary and medicinal value. In the kitchen, bland food can be made exciting with the addition of herbs and they can also help to enhance and bring out the natural flavours of food in a similar way to salt, but it is important to use herbs correctly. Too many herbs can overpower and completely overshadow the natural flavour of food and too little in a dish will achieve nothing. The addition of herbs must be balanced to complement the natural flavours that are already in foods. They do deteriorate very quickly once they’ve been picked, so by growing a small selection of herbs, even in pots or a window box, they will always be on hand when you need them. Early spring is the perfect time to organise your herb garden. For the restaurants,
Paprika is one of those things that most of us take for granted, but its importance in Spain’s regional cookery cannot be overstated. It lends it’s deep, intense, sweet, spicy flavour to many of the country’s favourite dishes including “paella”, “habas a la Asturiana”, “sopa de ajo” as well as a multitude of “chorizos” and off course, local “sobrasada”. It is produced from cone-shaped peppers (capsicum annuum) that are ripened to redness and was introduced to Spain by natives of Hispaniola during Columbus’ second voyage to the New World in 1493. Hungarian scientist Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1937 for isolating vitamin C in paprika. He also discovered that, pound for pound, paprika is a richer source of the vitamin than citrus and the red spice quickly became an important ingredient in preserving meats and sausages.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
We all know that in order to lead a healthy life we need to eat nutritious, wholesome food. So If you pledged to make healthier eating choices in your resolutions for the new year, picking up a few superfoods can make achieving your goals easy!
The term ‘superfood’ has become a popular buzzword in the language of food and health, but what are superfoods? Well it seems that there’s no official scientific definition of a superfood, but it’s generally accepted that superfoods contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. They can also be a source of antioxidants; substances that shield
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
I love the smell of the gently toasted spices and the way they fill the kitchen with the most amazing aroma. The sheer variety of flavours that they have to offer and can bring to a dish is endless, but seasoning with herbs and spices means complimenting your dishes, not overwhelming and hiding the true flavour of the food.
Mediterranean cooks have been blending spices for centuries and they were among the first of many foods brought back to Europe from the east by Marco polo. Spices encouraged the early voyages of Columbus and Vasco
“When we loose a flavour, a fragrance, we loose a recipe”
Most of us understand the importance of seasonality, freshness, colours and flavour in our cooking. As we become more educated about the food we eat we also see words like fresh, local, organic and artisan appearing everywhere on restaurant menus and food packaging. Although those words have never been more in fashion than they are right now, it’s often too easy to get lost in all the marketing jargon and slogans that we begin to forget what those wonderful words really mean. That is until you meet someone like Laura Buades.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Let’s face it we all do it…my resolutions are usually to eat less sugar, less fat, less salt and go vegetarian. We make these resolutions annually in an attempt to start afresh and turn over a healthy new leaf. I believe that the secret to a healthier lifestyle normally lies in the kitchen and if you are really serious about it, one of the answers is to become a better cook. So if you hoping to become a culinary wizard in your kitchen in 2017 here are my 7 essential food resolutions for the new year.
1.Get a knife that’s sharp and learn how to keep it that way.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Call me an old fashioned Neanderthal if you must, but every now and then I get a real craving for a rare steak. I think its still one of the purest carnivorous pleasures known to man.
Although it might seem a little out of sync in these days of political correctness gone mad, but I have to admit that I like my steak oozing with blood…the type that might be described in an American steakhouse as “take a cow, rip off any horns, wipe it’s arse, and throw it on a grill for 2 minutes; or my personal favourite: a steak so rare, a good vet could bring it back to life!
Friday, January 6, 2017
Forward-looking chefs are always on the look out for new and exciting ingredients to liven up their menus and sea vegetables are slowly becoming the next big thing. They are also a great idea if you need to introduce a salty sensation on the plate and impress your guests.
I have a confession to make. Some years ago I caused a major incident on an airplane and very nearly got kicked off for upsetting other passengers. Luckily for me, we were already 10,000 feet above the ground and there was no going back. No, I had not been drinking; no I didn’t get into a fight. I was traveling alone and I did not have a single conversation with anyone. It was my hand luggage that did all the talking!