Wednesday, 22 July 2009

New Trend: Taralli and Prosecco at Spaghetti House

The latest trend to hit London restaurants is a new savoury snack: Taralli. Those lucky enough to have been invited to dinner at my place will have savoured these on many occasions, as I love them and always bring some back with me from Italy. Originating from Puglia, they are similar to pretzels but much nicer, and are simply made with the best OO flour and olive oil, no yest, then baked. Typical are taralli with wild fennel seeds, and the newest versions include chilli, but I like just the plain natural flavour.Spaghetti House (11 restaurants in London including the gorgeous one at Westfield) are now serving Taralli and Prosecco for £3.95. This is a great way of having a drink but not on an empty stomach, and it's much better for you. It's going to be a hit.I think you will fall in love with Taralli!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Paul Heathcote
One of the north's most high-profile chefs, Paul Heathcote opened his flagship Longridge Restaurant in 1990 and built it up to two-Michelin-star status. The Heathcotes group now extends to a dozen restaurants across Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Lancashire and Cheshire and includes his Olive Press chain of Italian restaurants and a flourishing outside catering business. Heathcotes took the award for best use of technology at this year’s Catey Awards. Paul has teamed up with Sugarvine to answer your cookery questions:Ask Paul Heathcote your question

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Giant Cup Cake in Covent Garden 16 July

Giant Cupcake in Covent Garden, 16 July. What is predicted to be the world's largest cupcake will be towering over visitors to The Covent Garden Real Food Market. Designed by Culinary Olympic winner Michelle Wibowo, the delicious, cream-covered mega-cupcake will measure 2 meters by 1.25 meters and will be able to feed around 2000 people. If you fancy a piece of cake, head down after 1pm where they'll be giving away free slices!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Great Competition to Win Meals for a Year

I found this great competition on the BBC Good Food website - then go to competitions. Win Spaghetti House meals for a year. That means that once a month two people can go and have a meal at one of 11 Spaghetti House in London, from Fitzrovia to Westfield, and then go back to their favourite one. Worth entering I would have thought! Love the new Olive Ascolane, this speciality from Le Marche region, basically huge green olives, stuffed with a meat mixture, then fried and served hot. So tasty, great with good glass of wine.

Friday, 10 July 2009

A Cheeky wine for the Weekend

Having just been to the Definitive Italian Wine Tasting, I have discovered so many new wines I dont know where to start. It's interesting to see how trends are developing in the wine world. A couple of years ago Pinot Grigio was all the rage. I predict that soon it will be the turn of Falanghina. Originally from Campania, where the volcanic soil contributes to the minerality of this autoctonos grape, Falanghina, both the name of the grape and the wine, is now found in the Abruzzi e Molise regions, as well as in the Lazio region - although the taste difference is quite noticeable. I like Falanghina DOC Rami di Majo Morante, from Molise. The 2007 vintage is particularly successful. Alessio di Majo strives to produce the best quality possible at a price that is extremely affordable to the consumer. TO ensure consistent high quality, he has hired renowned oenologist Riccardo Cottarella as a consultant. Falanghina is typically perfumed with just-cut lime aromas, it is medium bodied and delivers fresh peach and paricot flavours with good citrus spine. Find a bottle for the weekend in a good wine store, Oddbins will have a good one if not the one above, and try Waitrose too. Enjoy!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Horse & Groom Scoops Wiltshire Pub/Restaurant Award

I recently found this gorgeous place in Wiltshire, a proper 'pub' with great food, so I was not surprised to see that they had just won an award. Read this.

The Horse & Groom in Charlton, nr Malmesbury, Wiltshire has scooped the Wiltshire Pub/Restaurant award in the 2009 Wiltshire Life awards, celebrating the people that make Wiltshire great.

The awards, set up by the magazine to recognise excellence in several different categories to put this ‘magnificent county even more firmly on the map’, were presented by Malmesbury writer and broadcaster Penny Junor, perhaps best known for her writing on the royals. The grand surroundings of the Earl of Pembroke’s home, Wilton House, near Salisbury, provided the ideal setting for the presentations.

The Wiltshire Pub/Restaurant award went to The Horse & Groom because they judges said ‘they have a clear passion for food and drink’. ‘

The chef is Paul Nicholson. He was previously at the Michelin-starred Bath Priory Hotel. His food is seductive and includes Diver caught scallops, fresh linguini, hand picked Portland crab & Saffron fish sauce; Cornish lamb, roasted garlic mash and baby vegetables in a piquant wine & rosemary sauce; and Warm poached figs in puff pastry with honey mascarpone. A rare treat is the Charlton bar, with its flagstone floor and roaring log fires in winter, where lunch is surprisingly affordable and very good.

Solidly elegant, this striking 16th century coaching inn, built in Cotswold stone with a secret walled garden where to enjoy fine wines, epitomises what a good country pub should offer: a warm welcome to visitors and locals alike, relaxed, comfortable interiors, award-winning food and a picturesque rural location. It's also listed in the 2009 Michelin Eating Out in Pubs and in the Restaurant Guide, and it was the 2008 AA 'Pick of Pubs'. Not bad.

Tossed Serves Healthy Food to the Stars

Tossed is becoming a celebrity hot-spot. Just today, David Hasselhoff of Baywatch fame, who is currently in London, popped into Tossed St Martin's Lane WC2 to buy a freshly tossed main course salad meal. He is obviously looking after that Baywatch body!.

Not long ago, the car of business tycoon Sir Philip Greene pulled out outside Tossed St Martin's Lane, because his daughter demanded a Tossed salad.

Tossed St Martin's Lane also get regular breakfast orders from nearby Capital Radio DJ's - especially from Johnny and Lisa.

Also today former football manager and player Dennis Wise was at Tossed Westfield enjoying the food there.

Food is delicious at Tossed, really big portions, really tasty, and all dishes display the calorie content, as well as protein, fat, sugar, salt and carbohydrate content. Not that Tossed adds any salt or sugar to its dishes, and carbs are slow releasing for maximum energy. Great stuff.

Tossed Founder Gets Acorn Award

This is someone worth looking out for!

Vincent Mckevitt, founder of Tossed, the fast casual healthy eating group, has been recognised as one of the top 30 hospitality figures by Caterer & Hotelkeeper, the respected catering trade publication and the inceptor of the ‘Acorn Awards’.

Started in 1986 to recognise the 30 hospitality figures under the age of 30 that represent tomorrow’s leading lights, the Acorn Awards have spotted the likes of Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes and Marcus Wearing, all of whom rose to celebrity chef fame, yet in 23 years only 690 people have received an Acorn.

Over the past four years since founding Tossed in 2005, Mckevitt has opened seven units, created 100 jobs and has been picked as ‘the one to watch’ for hospitality in The Observer’s ‘Future 500’ list. After graduating with a first-class degree in business administration, Mckevitt spent time researching the salad bar market in California and New York before opening the first Tossed. On a mission to educate the world that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, the Acorn award is an accolade to his business acumen when he spotted a gap in the market for taking healthy eating on- the-go to a whole new level. Tossed specialises in freshly tossed-to-order salads, as well as wraps, soups and other healthy and nutritionally balanced, freshly prepared foods, with the emphasis on health and indulgence. By changing salads from their side dish status to that of ‘big and tasty’ main meals, low in fat, with no added salt, made with free range eggs and organic or farm-assured meats, packing in superfoods and protein, using low GI carbs and low in calories, Tossed has changed people’s perception of what healthy eating is all about. Fruit smoothies alone provide 100 percent of the daily fruit intake in one hit. And the price point defies the credit crunch anytime. Company ethics are impressive too.

On receiving his 2009 Acorn, Mckevitt said: ‘It is a great feeling to be recognised within the industry and to meet so many of the people who have shaped and are shaping the way we eat. I have put my all in building Tossed and I firmly believe that the concept will grow. I like healthy food at a decent price and this is what we offer’. The 2009 Acorns were presented at a ceremony held at luxury hotel operator Von Essen’s Lower Slaughter Manor, Gloucestershire. Bright stars from catering sectors to include airport catering, pubs, hotels food service and in-store restaurants were among the winners.

New Spaghetti House at Westfield London

The latest Spaghetti House is located in 'The Loft', directly above the bustling communal dining area overlooking 'The Atrium' and just below the cinema complex opening in late summer. The restaurant has a 'contemporary retro' style first seen at the flagship restaurant in Goodge Street W1 in 1955, an eye-catching high seating counter leads you into the main restaurant boasting an impressive 'temperature controlled' wine display, with a combination of red leather banquette, booth seating, iconic Italian images and a unique Italian music profile; our latest restaurant promises a stylish continental ambiance. Theatre is provided by the chefs in the open kitchen preparing famous pasta dishes to order whilst pizzas are served from the flame fired oven. The menu offers sharing appetisers, classic dishes using the Lavarini family recipes and many new updated regional dishes such as Scottadita d'agnello ai carciofi e limone grilled lamb cutlets & lemon marinated artichokes. The menu offers something for everyone. Families are welcomed with the 'Menu per Bambini' for children under 10 together with a children's activity book to keep them amused! Food is great. Worth giving it a try if you haven't done so already. You may wanto to check

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Great New Wine Found

I have just found a great new wine, Domaine La Bussole Pinot Noir Vin de Pays Doc, 2007. It comes from teh area which encompasses Languedoc and Roussillon. Pinot nois is a very elegant grape wherever it is grown and this one does not disappoint. It has a deep red colour and a fruity note, with ripe strawberries and secondary aromas of sous-bois and mint. It has a smooth but firm tanning. The importers are Cave du Pyrenees. The amazing thing is that it has all the elegance of a Pinot Noir, without the price tag. I have also found it on the wine list at Bradley's Restaurant, NW3.