Poached Fresh Salmon, with newly harvested Jersey Royals and Asparagus were the simple but elegant and delicious main course for this Baby Shower.
Ask me for details!
We prepared a delicious curry banquet for 14 guests based around our popular Maharani Indian menu. Speak to Freddie for details.
As you may know, Freddie, our chef has been invited to cook for an Arabian State royal family during the Feast of Ramadan. A great privilege but on the other hand we have had to turn down a number of disappointed clients, both old and new who would have liked Freddie to cook for their special occasions.
On a lighter note, we recently had to come up with a simple meal using ingredients from a small supermarket on the island of Kalamos in the southern Ionian and which could be easily prepared and served on an 11mtrs sailing boat.
Spaghetti con Pollo dei Cacciatore
We gathered this recipe during a stay on the island of Ischia some years ago. It’s a typical robust southern Italian dish and was being prepared in front of us by the husband of the housekeeper to the farmhouse in which we were staying.
You choose if you prefer to serve the chicken pieces at the same time as the spaghetti and sauce or separately, as it was served to us.
Season and brown some chicken pieces in good olive oil. We like to use thighs and breast pieces but you can joint a whole chicken and add the carcase for extra flavour.
Meanwhile blanch, skin and remove the seeds from two of the best tomatoes you can find. Cut into pieces.
Add two finely chopped garlic cloves and a chopped medium onion to the pan with the chicken until they start to turn colour.
Add a little oregano and a glass of white wine.
Add the chopped fresh tomatoes together with a tin of chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 15 – 20 minutes.
Keep the sauce warm and serve the chicken with a little of the sauce and a small side salad.
Meanwhile, cook some spaghetti and serve with the remaining sauce.
” We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”Epicurus
Here’s a simple but delicious Tapas recipe, inspired by our trip to Madrid.
Revuelto de Espinacas, Gambas y Huevos. (Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Prawns.)
Ingredients: Spinach 500g – Olive Oil or Butter – 150g raw Prawns or Shrimps – 4 eggs, lightly beaten – salt
Wash Spinach well. Remove and discard coarse stems, wash well and drain. Add a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until done. Drain well and chop finely.
Heat butter or oil in a frying pan, add Prawns and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in Spinach and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Season beaten eggs with salt, pour into the frying pan together with the Spinach and Prawns, stirring frequently until eggs begin to set.
Serve with fried bread.
Some of our team took a short break from private catering and cheffing dinner parties, to visit Madrid.
The capital of Spain has so much to offer to tourists but we concentrated on visiting three of it’s many art galleries. The Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisa. The collections are breath taking and enormous. It would be quite impossible to see everything in such a short visit and so we concentrated on just three or four painters. Hieronymus Bosch in the Prado, Cubism in the Sofia where the famous Guernica painting is on display and Goya in the Thyssen.
Of course Madrid is also famous for Tapas and we were particularly impressed by the Mercado de San Miguel. This historic, wrought iron clad indoor market is nowadays a food lovers paradise and is one of the more fashionable places for Tapas and wines.
We really liked this Jamon stand. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between Serrano, Iberico and Iberico de Bellota, read on…..
Spanish Hams Explained
The types and qualities of Spanish hams are determined by the breed of the pig, how and where it was raised, and how it was processed.
These hams are protected by Denominación de Origin or the Consorcio del Jamón Serrano Español which ensure that the hams that bear their seal deliver the quality and flavors synonymous with the name.
Bellota grade Ibérico ham (Jamón Ibérico de Bellota)
The name comes from the breed. Ibérico pigs, which have spent the last three to four months of their lives eating rich, sweet acorns that have dropped from the ground from holm and cork trees in the meadows of a region called the dehesa. This period of grazing on the open range is called the montanera, and the pigs add about half their weight during this period.
The coveted hams they produce are unique in the world: beautiful nutty ham slices which glisten when they are served because 60% of their marbled fat contains healthy mono triglycerides (like olive oil) that melt at room temperature. Because of its quality, many connoisseurs have referred to Jamón Ibérico Bellota as the “Beluga caviar of hams.”
Recebo grade Ibérico ham
These are hams from Ibérico pigs who have have enjoyed a shorter free range acorn grazing period or added less than 50% to their weight during the montanera, and are subsequently fattened and brought to market weight with cereal feed.
Cebo grade Ibérico ham
These are hams from Ibérico pigs who were raised on a diet of cereal feeds.
Ibérico ham These are hams from Ibérico pigs, usually cross-bred with white pigs, which were raised on farms and fed cereal feeds, without a period of free range grazing.
The official breed and quality designations by the Spanish Government (in Spanish)
Teruel ham, Trevélez ham, Gran Serrano ham
These hams are from white or Duroc pigs, who were raised on farms and fed cereal feed, and then cured for more than one year at high altitudes in dry climates such as Teruel and Sierra Nevada.
Oro (gold) Serrano ham, Plata (silver) Serrano ham
Hams from white pigs, who were raised on farms and fed cereal feed, then cured for over 12 months anywhere in Spain.
Hams from white pigs, who were raised on farms (usually outside of Spain) and fed cereal feed raised, and then processed in Spain, and cured for less than 8 months.
Hams from Spain are commonly offered in the following cuts, whether made from Ibérico pigs or others.
Bone-in and Boneless Whole Hams (back legs)
Bone-in and Boneless Paletas (shoulders)
Lomos (cured pork loins)
Chorizos and Salchichónes (sausages)
So there you have it!
Themed dinner parties are popular with a number of our clients and when two members of the team decided to visit Bordeaux it gave us an ideal opportunity to explore trends in Bordelaise cooking and to meet some of the growers who produce some of the world’s finest wines. Bordeaux is a delightful and historic city boasting some extremely well preserved and presented Rococo architecture and a large university. At night the St. Pierre Quarter is alive with locals and students meeting up for aperitifs to be followed by a meal at any of the countless restaurants and bars which fill the streets there. Tapas are now very much in evidence. Not only in the Spanish restaurants which are popular in Bordeaux but also in many of the wine bars which are well represented throughout the city. Delicious plates of Charcuterie or Cheeses accompanied by artisan bread to be washed down with excellent wines at reasonable prices. Where else can you order a 2009 Margaux by the glass accompanied by Sottocenere – Italian cheese with dotted throughout with pieces of black truffle. Typical dishes from the region are duck confit, cote de Boeuf and Tarte aux Prune with Armagnac. Not to forget the local version of Profiteroles – canneles Bordelaise with their crusty exterior and soft vanilla and rum centres. For anyone wanting to learn about wine in general, the official Bordeaux l’ecole de Vin, runs tasting and informative courses lasting from two hours to a week. If you’re interested, click here. Although the visit only lasted four nights we were able to absorb some of the feel of the area to incorporate into our collection of French recipes which Personal Chef Francoise Fielding offers in our Private Catering service. In short, Bordeaux, with it’s long history of exporting wine to England, is well worth a visit. Next on our list – Madrid.
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