Friday, 2 March 2012

Terroirs London

Terroirs Is part of a good quality littlegroup that serves some great dishes from Provence with a very interesting organic wine menu it is a short walk from the National Gallery.
The Terroirs wine menu includes wines from Nantes, Rhone, Alsace (Domain Matassa Roussillon) and even the Alps. The organic Bourguevil from Catherine & Pierre Breton is a real find with a really nice finish after the stinky blue cheese flavours from the beginning . Another good option is to try a very nice Pinot Noir from Jean –Francois Ganevat without sulphite and biodynamic production that will fill your palate with rich, juicy and sweet notes of ripe fruit.

Also for me was a total pleasure to find a rare Rioja wine, Gran Cerdo an outsider to the Rioja wine regulation, the taste of this almost unique organic Rioja will play with your taste and mind, but don’t expect classic rioja flavours here!

Cheese selection at Terroirs
Terroirs London offer as well very well done seasonal dishes or tasty French charcuterie, pates  or cheeses also seasonal to have with your wine wines, for me the pork pistachio terrine is divine.

More: National Gallery food paintings


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Basque Culinary Center

VAUMM arkitektura has designed the new Basque Culinary Centre. The new building needed to be built in a hilly landscape and the Vaumm studio came with a project full or art and reference to the gastronomy and also linked with the landscape. The building façade  looks like a pile of plates , meanwhile the building side closer to the neighbourhood houses have  a more human look.

The aim of the Basque Culinary Centre in San Sebastian is training and research, innovation and knowledge and technology transfer in the different areas of the Gastronomic Sciences. The International Advisory Members have chef such as Adriá, Hattori or Blumenthal. The Basque Culinary Centre has signed agreements with various restaurants at national level with which to collaborate and also have the sponsor of the best Basque and international gastronomic brands and the local government and where you can get a Degree in Gastronomy and Culinary Arts offer by the Mondragon University. Also the Basque Culinary Centre offer course for food enthusiasts


Vertical Farming

Vertical Farms are a relative a new concept in architecture, the original idea from the New York Columbia University teacher Dickson Despommier. The main idea is to create vertical farm buildings in the cities avoiding the waste of CO2 emission created by the transport of food to the city, another advantage of the Vertical Farms are, use of eco-friendly energy like wind energy or solar energy. The ability to produce food all the year around like in a greenhouse. The production will not suffer from countryside for drought or flooding. Lees water consumption and saving in production and transport.
The last year Loft London Farm Tower Awards have very interesting project to build over the Thames River even still looking a bit futuristic and they seem rather expensive.
Ground breaking ceremony in Linköping, Photo by Tommy Hvitfeldt

Anyway Sweden has taken note and is already building the first Vertical Farm in Linkoping and seem that will be ready in about over a year. The Plantagon Greenhouse dramatically change the way we produce ecological food. The Plantagon Greenhouse cut costs and environmental damage by eliminating transportation and delivering directly to consumers in city areas. The basic idea is to grow vegetables in pots in a vertical building. The pots are then put into trays, which are transported around the growing helix where the cultivation takes place.

The trays are equipped with a light sealed nutrient solution reservoir, and the pots are irrigated about three times per day using an ebb-and-flow technique. A capillary mat at the bottom of each tray protects the individual plants from drought. Excess nutrient solution is collected and reused after disinfestation.


Climate Protection Supermarket

The Love Architecture Studio has designed the first energy self-sufficient store that produces more energy than it uses.

Organic products and a healthy lifestyle are mega trends in our society and therefore in the food industry as well.
When building supermarkets, environmental friendliness and sustainability are becoming increasingly important. Economically and ecologically sustainable construction and operation minimize the ecological footprint and reduce the life-cycle cost of buildings.
The project has received a gold certification from the ÖGNI (Austrian Green Building Council). In fact, the site produces more energy than the store uses, making it Austria’s first energy self-sufficient supermarket.

The Spar supermarket  façade consists of galvanized sheet steel and wood. Due to their contrast, the two materials convey the different themes, while also creating additional excitement. The roof was designed as a fifth façade, with circular, hill-shaped green spaces.

In order to achieve the goal of a climate protection store, a wide variety of measures were necessary, which can be summarized in five large areas:

The highly-insulating building envelope minimizes both energy loss and energy input.

The building technology includes room ventilation, heat recovery and a sectional foundation slab for cooling and heating; lighting with LED technology and daylight control systems.

The use of sustainable, separable and reusable building materials, preferably solvent-free and non-toxic.

The micro climate at the site. This means the creation of as many green spaces as possible, including on the roof.

The energy generation. In addition, a photovoltaic power plant is located in the parking lot, and a hydropower turbine will be installed in the adjacent Mühlgang stream for energy generation. These features create more energy than the store uses.


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Juan Mari Arzak Formula One Food

The last year Formula One season the worst team so for in the competition was the Hispania Racing Team but seems that this year they are going to have a better season. For the  first time the team pass the “crash test”which means that they  will be in the last training season in Catalonia with all the rest of the formula one teams and presumably they are going to have a more competitive car.
Whatever happens in the racing, one thing is very sure for HRT, they are going to have one of the best chefs and their catering team behind them

Recipes for watch the Formula One with your mates

The acclaimed Spanish chef Juan Mari Arzak will be in charge through the catering company Arzak-Bokado of the food for the HRT Formula One team for the coming season.

Sorpionfish puding with fried noodles by Arzak. Photo by 
The Arzak-Bokado chefs will travel with the Hispania Racing Team through all the 2012 Formula One circuit, having  their base in their own HRT Motorhome (now in Caja Magica Madrid) for the European races and outside Europe the Arzak-Bokado will use the facilities of the different circuits.
Juan Marzi was the first chef in Spain to win three Michelin stars and has inspired several generations of chefs with cutting-edge food and now is the first chef of such status that will be in charge of the food of a F1 team.
The chef said that is a great opportunity to promote the Spanish gastronomy around the world and as well a great challenge to Arzak-Bokado catering team.

Juan Mari Arzak recipe of Crêpes with smoked salmon and yogurt sauce and oranges

Juan Mari Arzak Créps, with a Michelin Star touch and very easy to cook
You need for the crêpes:  2 eggs – 40g flour, 250ml milk – 3 tbsp of beer – 12g butter (softened)  – pinch of salt.

1. For the crêpes just mix very well all the ingredients in a blender and let rest aside for 30 minutes.
2. Then add some butter in a pan, add a dollop of the batter and cook  both sides until golden brown. When you are  finished set aside and keep warm. The size of the crêpes should be around 12 centimetres diameter.

You need for the filling: 4 slices of smoked salmon – 6 tbsp of cream – 50g cream cheese – 1 tsp of junipers (chopped)  – 1 fennel (chopped) – 1 sweet red pepper (finely chopped) – 1tsp of lemon juice.

1. In a bowl mix the cream with the lemon and add the salmon slices  finely chopped.
2. Then add to the mix the junipers, fennel and sweet red pepper

You need for the sauce:  36g of thick Greek yogurt – 1 orange (finely chopped) – 1tsp of sugar –

1. In a bowl mix very well the yogurt with the sugar and orange until you have a smooth sauce.

For the serving you need: 

1. Spread some filling over each crêpes and then make a roll.
2. Serve with the sauce in one side of each plate and sprinkle some chopped parsley.

Recipe translated from HogarUtil


5 tips to promote your Restaurant in Twitter

I think twitter must be the best social network for restaurants more or less because you can find out if your clients are already in your table and what they are saying.  And also is a good way to follow your clients and another restaurant in the area. Lately I have been following some great Chefs, but unfortunately they little speak about their restaurant, I receiving lot information about food and perhaps their style but not much about what is going on inside the restaurant.  I think with the following 5 tips for restaurant in Twitter you can make your restaurant more interesting to follow and also more interesting for the people to go more often to your table

Brighton Restaurants Review

KitchenVoyage 5 tips to promote your Restaurant in Twitter

1. Expand your tweets. Tweet every day and in an often and quality way can be a hard task. Maybe the best you can do is hiring somebody to write your tweets or a blog. But a good approach is to get involved your staff, from the room manager to the last kitchen assistant, they can produce very interesting tweets under a previously policy and target agreement.  For me will be nice to know for example what you waitress was tweeting in the lunchtime or from where came the oyster that your kitchen staff was preparing earlier
2. Listen to your clients and also make some benchmarking, choose a popular restaurant already in twitter and read their tweets, reply, subject and which ones are the most re-tweet and find out the best #hashtags for you restaurant style
3. Engage  with your clients. If one client tweets about your restaurant don’t just reply with a thank you. Maintain a little conversation with them, ask why they like your restaurant, which are the favourites dishes or find out more about your service or what your clients would like to improve, like more fish in the menu or gluten free dishes.
4. Create twitter lists and share. You should be creating twitter list with your clients, with another restaurant of same area or kind of food and list with locals and food blogger. Then share what they are saying and also you always will know what are they doing or thinking.
5. Tell good histories. Don’t just tweet the dish of the days , a restaurant is a great source of history, you have histories of all your staff, your clients and providers and how interesting is creating dishes for them


Monday, 27 February 2012

Traditional Spanish Pasta

Fideua packet by De Irene Exquisita
First to be clear, Spanish pasta doesn’t mean pasta with chorizo or ham. Actually what we can call like authentic Spanish pasta in whole Spain the variety is very scarce. Why? Well is very difficult to understand because in the roman times the Iberian peninsula was a wheat stock for the Roman Empire and later on the Moorish introduce the pasta almost at the same time than Sicily, but for some reason the pasta in Spain with the following exception has been a rarity and still today outside Catalonia or Valencia regions a rarity find a good pasta restaurant. Today pasta is more popular between the families and although a lot of Italian restaurants have opened still a big gap between both countries so if you are going to Spain avoid asking for Italian style pasta and go for the traditional Spanish pasta, the only one that the Spanish can cook and very well.

Catalan Cannelloni

Saint Stephan Catalan Cannelloni. Photo by
If Spain has a pasta region it must be Catalonia, and they have unique pasta adaptation, the Catalonian cannelloni, that also are the traditional dish for Saint Stephan (Catalonian Boxing Day). The tradition of eating cannelloni in Catalonia is quite new, started the last century when Italian, French and Swiss workers arrive to Catalonia.
I am just going to explain the Catalonian more traditional filling for the cannelloni tubes

Filling ingredients¹: 125g ground beef – 125g ground pork – 1 chicken or turkey breast (cubed) – 200g chicken livers (cut in small pieces) or 100g foie gras – 1 leek (sliced into thin rings) – 1 onion sliced - 2 ½ tbsp breadcrumbs. 4 tbsp. tbsp sun dried tomato pureé

1. In a medium deep wide pan with 3 tbsp. of olive oil fry the vegetables for 4 minutes then add the ground meat with the chicken and chicken livers.
2. When the meat is browned add the tomato puree, mix very well.
3. Remove from the heat and add the breadcrumbs. Season.

Filling ingredients²: 125g ground beef – 125g ground pork – 1 chicken or turkey breast (cubed) – 50g of ham – 50g foie gras – 1onion (sliced) 250ml chicken stock – 200 ml white dry wine – 3 tbsp sun dried tomato pureé.

1. In a medium deep wide pan with 3 tbsp. of olive oil fry the onion for 4 minutes then add the ground meat with the chicken until the meat is browned
2. Add the ham, and after 3 minutes add the wine and leave to reduce in a slow heat.
3. Finally add the foie gras with the tomato and the chicken stock. Half reduce and season.

Then you just fill the cannelloni tubes and top with béchamel sauce (white sauce) and heat in the oven for 20 minutes.

Fideuá with Clams

Fideua with clams. Photo by Victor
Fideuá is a kind of noodle pasta introduced in the Arabian times in the Iberian peninsula. Today is very popular in almost all Spain and the traditional fideuá is more or less a paella made with noodles. The only problem is that in England is not very easy to find those little short noodles that make the fideuá so special. Many British chef recommend to make it with vermicelli noodles. Honestly I tried but for me doesn’t work at all. You can buy it on Internet, but just is good to know that in Spanish supermarkets 1kg of fideuá just cost 1 €.

You need: 250g of fideuá (4 serves) – 300g monkfish fillet or other firm white (cubed) -200g clams (cleaned) – 80g green peas – 1 onion (chopped) 3 garlic cloves (chopped) - 2 tbsp sun dried tomato purée – 400g can of chopped tomato – 1tsp Spanish paprika – 300ml stock (fish or vegetable). Parsley and lemon in wedges to serve.

1. Heat 3 tbsp. of olive oil in a wide pans at least 8 cms deep. Stir in the garlic, onion with the tomato puree, sauté for 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to boil
2. Add the white fish and the paprika. Simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the pasta, green peas and clams. First read the pasta packet instruction but usually take 4-6 minutes same time to green peas and clams to open. Give everything a couple of stir very gentle.
4. Remove from the heat and let to rest for 2 minutes. Scatter over the parsley and lemon juice from one of the lemon wedges.

Seafood Fideuá

Seafood Fideua. Photo by webosfritos
You need: 250g of fideuá (4 serves) – 200g monkfish fillet or other firm white (cubed) -100g clams (cleaned) – 8 scampi or prawns - 8 rings of cuttle fish (or one cuttle fish cleaned and chopped) – 4 ripe tomatoes (chopped) 2 garlic cloves (chopped) - 300ml stock (fish or vegetable) - 1tsp Spanish paprika - pinch of saffron and 100ml extra olive oil

1. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a wide pans at least 8 cms deep, and sauté the fish. Set aside and then sauté the scampi or prawns with the calamari rings, set aside as well.
The same with the clams, sautee until they are open, (about 3 minutes). discard any open clams.
2. In the same pan stir in the garlic, when start to brown, add the chopped tomato and paprika, stir and quickly add the fish stew. Simmer for 4 minutes. (if the packet time said cook for 6 minutes)
3. Add a pinch of saffron and then the fideuá noodles, simmer at a medium heat for about 4 minutes.
4. Add the fish and the rest of seafood, and let simmer the last 2 minutes remaining.

 Fideua is popular served with extra lemon wedges on the sides of the pan or plates and also with ali-oli sauce. I like fideua al dente like the Italian pasta, but in Spain in every family the cooking time is to the taste of the chef. The same happen with the quantity of fish stock, some people like a bit more wet and another a bit more drier. If get too dry for your taste you always can add a splash of hot stock or plain hot water

Malaga Noodle Stew

Malga Noodle Soup by Chef Alberto Reina
You need: 100g fideuá - 200g cod fillet (cubed) – 200g clams (cleaned) – 1 green pepper (chopped) 1 small onion (chopped) 200g potatoes ( dice into small pieces) – 2 tomatoes (skinned and diced) – 1 garlic clove (chopped) – Saffron threads – 1ltr fish stock . Chives or parsley to serve

1. Heat in a deep pan at medium heat 4 tbsp. of olive oil and sauté the green pepper, garlic, onion and tomatoes for 6-8 minutes. Add the cod or another firm white fish and cook for 3 extra minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve apart
2. In the same pan, heat the stock with a few saffron threads and add the potatoes.
3. When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the vegetables, clams and noodles. Remove from the heat when the pasta is cooked and the clams open (4-5 min) Discard any closed clams.
4. Serve and scatter over some parsley or chopped chives.

In some places in Malaga they add to the stew 100g ground almonds with 200 ml of dry white wine. Stir in before you add the pasta and clams.