Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spaghetti a la Putanesca

Alistar Little recommended in one of his early books that you should always have the ingredients ready for this dish in you larder.
There are as my good friend Umberto once said as many recipes for this dish as puttanas in a certain streel in Naples !
Also there are several theories about the origins of the Putanesca sauce some involving the oldest profession and others not . Wikipedia covers most
Any way here is the one I follow and adore !

Serves 4

1/3 cup olive oil
10 anchovies -
8 whole garlic cloves
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 medium San Marzano tomatoes, chopped & seeded with juice, or one can San Marzano tomatoes
12 Kalamata olives, pitted & halved or chopped to taste
3 tsp capers, drained
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
400grams of Dried Spaghettini/Fedelinni or even Linguini, for example Di Martino or your favourite artisan brand , personally I always favour pasta di Gragnano and the Di Martino or Faella brands . The rougher exterior of Gragnano pasta seems to embrace sauces in a unique way. This sauce is better suited to long thin dried pasta (do not use fresh pasta) .

In skillet, heat olive oil. Add crushed red pepper flakes and anchovies (stiring and crushing into the oil) cook for 90 seconds then add chopped garlic . Cook until garlic begins to brown a bit and anchovies fall apart. . Add tomatoes, olives and capers. Simmer sauce 8-10 minutes.Add some of the pasta water to the skillett just before the pasta is ready to serve say half a cup.

Add a bit more chopped garlic, parsley and basil. Simmer a few minutes more. Serve on cooked ( al dente of course ) pasta and then 1/3 of a cup more pasta water when you mix everything up. (No Parmigiano Reggiano or any other cheese for that matter are required to this dish )

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Top 10 coffee shops in London

Top 10 coffee shops in London

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Nosh Bar London is Back and the Salt Beef is A1

The Nosh Bar was a well known salt beef bar at 39 Great Windmill Street, London, for over forty years, opening in 1944 by Phil Rabin and finally closing in the late eighties. It re-opened in 2009 after an absence of almost 20 years by the Jonas family.

I have to agree with food critic Dan Young who has specific domain expertise on Jewish Deli food "To describe the thick, moist, fat-glistening, hand-cut slices of cured salt beef as “tender” is to do their singularity an injustice."

Today I had not one but two Salt Beef Sandwiches on Rye for research purposes of course.

The meat was really outstanding ( sourced from Hensons ) as was the Rye Bread ( sourced from Gavins)

Carry on the good work lads and keep the quality up !

The Nosh Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 18, 2009

O'Shea's my new Number 1 Butcher in London

Dermot O'Shea is descended from eight generations of Irish butchers. In 1998, he and his sons and daughter opened a butcher's shop in Brussels, which quickly became one of the most popular amongst the cognoscenti in the city supplying a very demanding epicurean audience. In 2006 he and his two sons opened his second shop in Knightsbridge, London. Cathal now runs the Butcher concession in Selfridges Food Hall whilst Darragh runs the premium Knightbridge shop.

He sells high-quality meat, including an outstanding grass-fed, barley finished Black Angus beef from South West Ireland and Perthshire in Scotland that provides perfect conditions for this breed that produces not only excellent "prime" cuts like sirloin and fillet but superb Onglet, Bavette and stewing classics like Cheek and Shin.

Just looking at this fine Beef not only shows the marbling but that it has been hung from between 30 to 60 days .

The Knightsbridge store also has outstanding organic and free range pork (Landrace)from Childhay Manor (Dorset) as well as excellent British Lamb from Yorkshire, Shetland and Wales depending on the season.

The Rosé Veal is sublime (Irish) full flavoured unlike the majority of pale Dutch Veal mostly found in the better butchers in London. It is how Veal should be i.e. a young animal as opposed to the Dutch produce that is treated like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner.

The shop also produces excellent homemade pies, pasties, hams , gammon bacon and sausages. There is often a scrum at lunch for the famous homemade baguette sandwiches.

Darragh runs a very serious premium business focused on excellence in terms of selection, correctly hanging and maturing their meats as well as clearly identifying their provenance.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Dermott and Darragh and it's clear within minutes that they are true artisans and this is a business committed to promoting excellence in gastronomy. Seems like the O'Shea's not only know their meat but also are well traveled and understand how different nationalities cook theirs.

Unfortunately during these tough economic times many of our top London Butchers are lowering their standards by mixing up their offerings with inferior and cheaper meats with very dodgy provenance.

For me O'Shea is now the leader of the pack in London leaving Lidgates, Allen's of Mayfair, Harrods, and Ginger Pig etc behind. This has all been achieved in 3 years.

Until further notice I will single source all my meat from this establishment.

11 Montpelier St.
Tel: 0207 581 7771

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Not bad for a chain

Rossopomodoro is a successful chain of Italian Restaurants promoting Neaplolitan food. It has many branches all over Italy and has now launched in the UK .

The chain has wood fired ovens and make good Neapolitan style pizzas using quality ingredients.

There are also good pasta dishes and salads.

I tend not to like chains especially those that feature "Italian" food like Strada , Ask , Bella Italia etc but Rossopomodoro manages to produce simple and consistent food using good ingredients.

Rossopomodoro on Urbanspoon