Monday, August 25, 2014

Semplice: Real Italian Food : Ingredients and Recipes by Dino Joannides

Those of you that are kind enough to visit my blog will have noticed that over the last couple of years I have not posted as much as I used to.

On the rare occasions that I did post the subject matter tended to be about Italian Food or ingredients.

The main reason for the above is that I have been working on a book about Italian Food and I am pleased to tell you that it will be published on October 2nd by Random House.

Semplice: Real Italian Food : Ingredients and Recipes  is now available for pre order from all the usual online ,  and bricks and mortar book shops.





For those in the UK you can pre order here , in North America here in other parts of the world it should also be available online and in good book shops.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it !





Tuesday, March 04, 2014

My top 100 Italian Wines


For me it is very difficult to contemplate Italian food without thinking of wine and specifically Italian wines. Naturally in a country where regional and local food is so important there are also in most cases wonderful wines being made that can suit most budgets and tastes.

Italy has been one of the top 2 wine producers by volume for many years but within that volume there is both exceptional quality and value to suit all budgets.

I would argue that with the possible exception of France, Italy provides the biggest choice in terms of winemaking styles made with indigenous and international grape varieties. These wines not only match regional and local cuisines but also can compliment cuisines raging from Chinese, Thai, and Persian to that of the Indian subcontinent.

I am often asked to recommend Italian wines and have even helped restaurateurs with their wine lists. In 2010 I put together a list of over 300 wines from around 100 winemakers for a food and wine shop that I co founded in London. We ran many wine events featuring the winemakers themselves who we either specifically invited or happened to be passing through London to visit distributors or participate in large wine events.

The general feedback was very positive, many customers were not aware of the variety of truly excellent wines available ranging in price from £8 to £900 plus per bottle. The reputation of Italian wines has improved to such an extent over the last forty years that they now produce some of the very best wines in the world.

I am often asked to recommend Italian wines and or winemakers producing wines in Italy. Below is a list of some of my personal favourite winemakers or estates covering most of Italy. The vast majority of these wines are available all over the world and most certainly in the UK, most of Europe and the USA




Abruzzo

Gran Sasso
Cantina Frentana
Emidio Pepe

Apulia

Tormaresca
A Mano
Alberto Longo

Basilicata

Tenuta del Portale
Cantine de Notaio
Elena Fucci

Calabria

Odoardi
Librandi
Statti

Campania

Fattoria Galardi
Mastroberardino
Benito Ferrara



Friuli Venezia Giulia

Livio Felluga
Miani
Le Vigne di Zamò
Princic Dario
Marco Felluga


Emilia-Romagna

Fattoria Zerbina
Podere La Berta


Lazio

Falesco
Trappolini
Marco Carpineti

Liguria

Lunae
Terrebianche
Azineda Agricola Maria Donata Bianchi

Lombardy

Ca ‘ del Bosco
Nino Negri


Marche

Fulvia Tombolini
Umani Ronchi
Fattoria San Lorenzo
Andrea Felici
Il Pollenza

Molise

Di Majo Lorante


Piedmont

Castello di Nievi
Ceretto
Damilano
Angelo Gaja
Poderi Aldo Conterno
Braida
Bruno Rocca
G.D Vajra
La Spinetta
Vietti
Prunotto
Pecchenino
Paolo Scavino
Michele Chiarlo


Sicily

Donafugata
Cos
Fazio




Sardinia

Agricola Punica
Cantina Mesa
Alberto Loi
AA Panevino
Tenuta Masone Manu


Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Tenuta San Leonardo
Tenuta J.  Hofstätter
Mezzacorona





Tuscany

Castello di Bolgheri
Casanova di Neri
Cabreo
Cecchi
Biondi Santi
Fontodi
Le Pupille
Le Macchiole
Tua Rita Suvereto
Tenuta San Guido
Tenuta dell ‘ Ornellaia
Tenuta Guado al Tasso ( Antinori)
Tenuta Sette Ponti
Valdicava
Isole e Olena
Argentiera


Umbria

Arnaldo Caprai
Castello della Sala ( Antinori)
Falesco
Paolo Bea

Valle d'Aosta

Les Crêtes
La Cave de Morgex

Veneto

Pieropan
Allegrini
Giuseppe Quintarelli
Inama
Tedeschi














Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Best of London 2013 : Best Restaurants and Food and Wine Shops in London 2013


Here is my list of best of London food shops , restaurants and wine establishments for 2013.

Best Restaurant(s) in London : Hedone , Dinner , Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital Road , The Greenhouse and The Ledbury

Best Sourcing and Ingredients : Hedone

Best Argentinian : Zoilo

Best Italian Restaurant (Southern) : L'Anima 

Best Italian Restaurant (Northern) : Alloro , Novikov , Locanda Locatelli

Best Pan Italian : Aspleys , River Cafe  , Tinello 

Best Trattoria : Mele e Pere

Best Casual Indian : Roti Chai

Best Indian (Modern) : Benares and Rasoi

Best Pakistani : Shezan & Saloos

Best Chinese : Hunan , Kai and Hutong

Best Dim Sum :  A Wong  and Royal China (Baker St)

Best Thai :  Heron

Best Fusion : Apero , Zuma and Moro

Best Japanese : Umu and Sake No Hana

Best Vietnamese : head to Paris or Vietnam

Best Lebanese/Syrian : Ishbilia , Knightsbridge and Meza , Tooting

Best Greek : None are rated

Best "Politiki Kouzina " Peckham Bazaar and Kazan

Best Turkish : Mangal Ocakbasi (Stoke Newington)

Best Sushi : Sushi Tetsu , Yashin Sushi

Best French : Hibiscus , Gauthier Soho , Club Gascon and The Greenhouse

Best Modern British/European : The Ledbury , Kitchen Table and The Clove Club

Best Spanish : Cambio de Tercio , Fino , Pizarro and Iberica

Best Tapas : Tendido Cedro , Barrafina and José

Best English : St John's 

Best Fish/Seafood : One - O - One , Knightsbridge 

Best Gastro Pub : Harwood Arms , Anchor and Hope , Great Queen St

Best Service : Galvin's Windows , Goodman Maddox St , Hedone , Fino , Bar Boulud and Cambio de Tercio

Best Sandwich : Fernandez and Wells and Kappacasein

Best Pub : The Ship (Wandsworth) , Hampshire Hog and Black Friar

Best Selection of Beer : Draft House and The Rake

Best Wine Bar : 40 Maltby St

Best Brasserie : Bob Bob Ricard , Brasserie Chavot 

Best Mavericks : Giaconda Dining Room , Brunswick House Café , Dock Kitchen and 40 Maltby St

Best French Bistro/Bourgeois Cooking : Brasserie Chavot , Racine , Bistro Bruno and Koffmann's

Best Burger :  Burger and Lobster , Goodman and  Elliot's

Best "joint" Burger :  Meat Market , Meat Liquor and Patty & Bun

Best Chain Burger : Byron

Best Steak : Gillrays and Goodman

Best Steak Restaurants : Gillrays, Hawksmoor , Sophie's and Goodman

Best Grill : The Dorchester Grill

Best Pizza : Franco Manca (Brixton) and Santa Maria

Best Street Food : Mr Falafel ( Shepherds Bush )

Best Value for money Wine List : Bob Bob Ricard

Best Value for Money Restaurants : Koya , Sophie's ,  Franco Manca and Mangal Ocakbasi

Best Newcomers in London 2013 : Bird of Smithfield , Five Fields , The Dairy , Aquashard , Hutong , A Wong , Peckham Bazaar , Casse Croûte , The Clove Club and Gymkhana

Best Bakery/Bread :  Hedone

Best Patisserie and Chocolatier : William Curley

Best Coffee : Prufork Coffee

Best Coffee Roaster : Square Mile

Best Cakes and Brownies : Bea's of Bloomsbury

Best Gelato :  Oddono's and La Gelatiera

Best Fishmonger : The Chelsea Fishmonger (Rex Goldsmith), Chelsea Green

Best Greengrocer : Andreas Veg , Chelsea

Best Cheese Shops : La Fromagerie , Rippon , Neal's Yard , Paxton & Whitfield and Beillevaire

Best Purveyor of French Charcuterie  : The Ham and Cheese Company

Best Purveyors of Italian Salumi : The ham and Cheese Company and L'Emporio Fine Foods

Best Purveyor of British Chacuterie : Cannon and Cannon

Best Wine Merchants Retail : Lea and Sandeman, Philglas and Swiggot , Market Row Wines  and Handford

Best Wine Merchants Wholesale : Liberty , Fortyfive 10  and Bibendum

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Best of London 2012

Here is my list of best of London food shops , restaurants and wine establishments for 2012.

Best Restaurant(s) in London : Hedone , Dinner , Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital Road , Alain Ducasse (Dorchester) and The Ledbury

Best Sourcing and Ingredients : Hedone

Best Argentinian : Zoilo

Best Italian Restaurant (Southern & Sardinian) : L'Anima , 11 Park Walk and Mennula

Best Italian Restaurant (Northern) : Alloro , Zafferano & Locanda Locatelli

Best Pan Italian : Aspleys , River Cafe & Babbo

Best Trattoria : Mele e Pere

Best Casual Indian : Roti Chai

Best Indian (Modern) : Benares and Rasoi

Best Pakistani : Shezan & Saloos

Best Chinese : Hunan and Kai

Best Dim Sum : Pearl Liang , A Wong and Royal China (Baker St)

Best Thai :  Heron

Best Fusion : Apero , Zuma and Moro

Best Japanese : Umu and Sake No Hana

Best Vietnamese : head to Paris or Vietnam

Best Lebanese/Syrian : Ishbilia , Knightsbridge and Meza , Tooting

Best Greek : Mazi

Best Turkish : Mangal Ocakbasi (Stoke Newington)

Best Sushi : Sushi Tetsu , Yashin Sushi

Best French : Hibiscus , Gauthier Soho , Club Gascon , Alain Ducasse (Dorchester)

Best Modern British/European : The Ledbury

Best Spanish : Cambio de Tercio , Fino , Pizarro and Iberica

Best Tapas : Tendido Cedro , Donostia , Barrafina and José

Best English : St John's

Best Fish/Seafood : One - O - One , Knightsbridge

Best Gastro Pub : Harwood Arms , Anchor & Hope , Great Queen St

Best Service : Galvin's Windows , Goodman Maddox St , Hedone , Fino , Bar Boulud , and Zafferano

Best Sandwich : Fernandez and Wells and Kappacasein

Best Pub : The Ship (Wandsworth) , Hampshire Hog and Black Friar

Best Selection of Beer : Draft House and The Rake

Best Wine Bar : 28-50

Best Brasserie : Bob Bob Ricard

Best Maverick : Giaconda Dining Room , Brunswick House Café and 40 Maltby St

Best French Bistro/Bourgeois Cooking : Bistro Bruno and Koffmann

Best Burger :  Burger and Lobster , Goodman and Elliot's

Best "joint" Burger :  Meat Market , Meat Liquor

Best Chain Burger : Byron

Best Steak : Gillray's and Goodman

Best Steak Restaurant : Gillray's, Hawksmoor , Sophie's and Goodman

Best Grill : The Dorchester Grill

Best Pizza : Franco Manca (Brixton) and Santa Maria

Best Street Food : Mr Falafel ( Shepherds Bush )

Best Value for money Wine List : Bob Bob Ricard

Best Value for Money Restaurants : Koya , Sophie's ,  Burger and Lobster and Mangal Ocakbasi

Best Newcomers in London 2012 : Apero , Mele e Pere and Bubbledogs/Kitchen Table

Best Bakery/Bread : St John's Bakery and Hedone

Best Patisserie and Chocolatier : William Curley

Best Coffee : Prufork Coffee

Best Coffee Roaster : Square Mile

Best Cakes and Brownies : Bea's of Bloomsbury

Best Gelato :  Oddono's and La Gelatiera

Best Fishmonger : The Chelsea Fishmonger (Rex Goldsmith), Chelsea Green

Best Greengrocer : Andreas Veg Chiswick and Chelsea

Best Cheese Shop : La Fromagerie , Rippon , Neal's Yard and Beillevaire

Best Wine Merchants Retail : Lea and Sandeman, Philglas and Swiggot , Market Row Wines  and Handford

Best Wine Merchants Wholesale : Liberty , Fortyfive 10  and Bibendum

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Recipe : The Real Spaghetti alla Carbonara ?



The story of the origin of this dish and its place in cucina Romana is essentially contested. There are several competing theories, but most are anecdotal or food mythology.

First, although often thought of as a typical Roman dish, the name is said to come from a dish made in the Appenine mountains of the Abruzzo by woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. They would cook the dish over a hardwood charcoal fire and use penne rather than spaghetti because it is easier to toss with the eggs and cheese.

Second, is more obvious , that given the meaning of "alla carbonara", coal worker’s style, that the dish was a dish eaten by coal workers or that the abundant use of coarsely ground black pepper resembles coal flakes.

Another story or myth is that food shortages after the liberation of Rome in 1944 were so severe that Allied troops distributed military rations consisting of powdered egg and bacon which the local populace used with water to season the easily stored dried pasta. This GI's invented the dish story is very popular with American tourists in Rome.

There is also a theory that in the province of Ciociaria, in the region of Lazio about halfway between Rome and Benevento, pasta was seasoned in a Neapolitan style with eggs, lard, and pecorino cheese. During the German occupation of Rome during the World War II, many middle class families dispersed from Rome into this region to escape the oppressiveness of the occupation and learned about this dish. After the war, Roman cuisine became very popular throughout Italy and this dish, now transformed into carbonara, became a prime example.

Another story suggests that the famous restaurant in the Campo d’Fiori in Rome, La Carbonara, was named after its speciality. Although the restaurant has been open since the early part of the twentieth century, and does in fact have carbonara on its menu, the restaurant when I spoke to them they denied any such connection .

A highly unlikely story told in Il nuovo cucchiaio d’argento ( The Silver Spoon) is that the dish was originally made with black squid ink and therefore acquired its name as it was as black as coal.

Thanks to Daniel Young and Katie Parla I recently had the pleasure of meeting the great Roman Chef Arcangelo Dandini in London and we discussed this dish , I was pleasantly surprised to find that we used exactly the same ingredients Pasta Secca (Spaghetoni in this case) Guanciale , Pecorino Romano and Egg Yolks. What I did learn were a few tips on technique and that the egg yolks should be fridge cold before use. Arcangelo actually wrote out his recipe for me on a paper napkin see above .

Anyway here is the recipe :

Use the best possible, bronze dye-extruded durum wheat dried pasta; my preference is for Pastificio dei Campi. The guanciale should first be sliced lengthways into 5mm thick slices, either by knife or slicing machine, then cut by knife into 20mm lardons that look like a lean meat sandwich with fat at each end. The pepper should not be ground or milled; briefly roast whole peppercorns in a pan for a couple of minutes then crush medium–fine in a mortar and pestle — this brings out the aroma and oils of the pepper to infuse the dish. Egg yolks from marigold-fed hens are a deep gold in colour and contribute colour to the finished dish — in the UK you could use the Italian imported eggs or Burford Brown eggs from Clarence Court.

For four servings:400g spaghettoni-size long pasta, such as Pastificio dei Campi Vermicelli
80g pecorino Romano (Brunelli if possible), finely grated
100g Lazio-produced artisan guanciale, cut into lardons 5x20mm
3g black peppercorns
 4 fridge-cold free-range egg yolks.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, well-salted water for around 7-8 minutes, until al dente. Drain, but keep back some of the pasta water for the sauce.

Meanwhile, fry the guanciale in a frying pan until crisp but not charred; there is no need to use any fat. Retain all the fat and the crisped lardons and let them cool a little.

Beat the egg yolks with one third of the grated pecorino and 1.5Tbs of cooled guanciale fat and juices.
Finish the dish in a large bowl. Tip in the pasta then add the guanciale with the remaining fat, then some pasta water, then beaten eggs, then pepper, then another third of the cheese, mixing in between each stage; by the end there should be a creamy emulsion forming on the sides and bottom of the bowl. The emulsion is created from the mixing of the starch in the pasta water with the cheese, eggs and fat.

Use the remaining cheese to sprinkle on each 100g portion.

Many people are tempted to use cream in this dish but it is totally unnecessary as the cream like emulsion that is created by the yolks, fat, cheese and pasta water is the whole purpose of this dish. In Italy when made properly this dish has the perfect ratio of ingredients and is not too wet or over sauced , each component of the dish is both distinctive and at the same time perfectly blended , the perfect synthesis ! Buon appetito

Sourcing tips
Pasta

The very best :

Pastificio dei Campi , Vermicelli
Pastificio Mascarelli Spaghetti

Great value and often superior quality :
Supermarket own brands are often better than some of the more expensive globally marketed Italian industrial brands and are often half the price – these often change and therefore need to be monitored but recently I tasted Morrisons and Tesco’s top of the range own brands made for them by a top Pasta maker in the Naples area. Both were bronze –dyed extruded and the quality was very impressive.

However it’s really worth getting the best even at £10 or 12 + per kg the very best pasta secca is only going to cost £1 per portion.
.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Staff Canteen

I wrote a post about Mark Morris's The Staff Canteen the UK's leading networking site for Chefs but also a very interesting case study for content marketers and curators. You can read the post here

Thursday, April 05, 2012

About Gary Vaynerchuk

I wrote a post about the phenomenon that is Gary Vaynerchuk on the Lingospot blog , you can read it here