Friday, 16 March 2012

The Black Rat Winchester review

The Black Rat Restaurant
A former pub in Winchester, is now a one star Michelin restaurant that serve high quality food with locally produced ingredients.
 The Black Rat rooms are cosy with log fires and quirky antiques scattered around the alcoves and bookshelves.
Service is at best haphazard and some of the waiting staff clearly need retraining. On the plus side the food is superb with a spanish influence over a typical British menu.

Local Hare base in a celeriac puree 
This restaurant really is all about the food. A very strong menu and the day specials led to difficult choices.
The starters sound and taste wonderful and very well presented, the last time we picked Scallops with cured morcilla with lobster oil and red cress and Beetroot salad with goat cheese and pistacho crumble

Cornish Brill in a landcress emulsion 
For main courses we had Local Hare with pickled pear and truffle Gnocchi and Roasted Cornish Brill with white asparagus. Both were very well executed and delicious.
If the owners sort out the service issues and offer a better wine list then The Black Rat will deserve its Michelin status.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Some Food news

Easy eight a day
Five a day NHS planning tool
Five a day is the National Health Service (NHS) nutritional plant to encourage British to eat healthier based on the advice of the World Health Organization which recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Now the Oxford University has told that for fight heart diseases we need to consume 8 a day. Waitrose Nutritionist Nathalie Winn gives us some tips to reach the 8 a day fruits and vegetables.

* Add to you breakfast a fresh made glass of orange juice and add some frozen mixed berries to your porridge, Add a good tablespoon of dried mixed fruit to yoghurt.
* Slice a medium tomato and two slices of cucumber to your lunch sandwich.
* Have an apple or banana for mid-afternoon snack
* Add 3 heaped tablespoon of vegetables such mushrooms, peas or carrots to your dinners.

Pineberries. Photo my
Pineberries will be in season in exclusive supermarkets in a few weeks, the ancient variety named because they have a taste reminiscent to pineapple is the oldest strawberry variety, brought in the 18th century from Chile to France. The Pineberries were left behind because their scarce yielding and was a fragile plant. Now farmers are working hard to bring the pineberries to the supermarkets again selecting healthy cuttings.

Tell me which sandwich you like and I will tell who you are

Photo by FotoosVanRobin
Dr Elizabhet Jones carried out a study for bread maker Warburtons to match kinds of bread and filling with personality groups.

Ham salad on white bread = forward thinkers

Beef roll = impulsive
Cheese and pickle = braniacs
Egg mayo = home bodies
Tuna and Sweetcorn = high flyers
Prawns in brown bread = sensitive souls
Chicken salad wraps = extroverts


Monday, 12 March 2012

Spaghetti with salami meatballs vs Spanish Chorizo Pasta

I just love these two pastas  at any day of the week, I often have some leftover meatballs in the freezer sometimes  from other meatballs recipes or sometimes from   meatballs from a burger mix. A great alternative to meatballs is to add to the pasta some pieces of Spanish chorizo. and you will have the perfect comfort food dish all the week for all the family. Kids are  going to love it and also will be a good excuse to open that bottle of rioja or red Italian

Spaghetti with salami meatballs.

First start to cook one of the easy canned tomatoes sauces.

You need for up to 20 meatballs:  100g minced lamb – 100g minced beef – 100g Neapolitan spicy salami (finely chopped) – 100g breadcrumbs (homemade is the best) – 2 eggs – 6 tbsp. plain flour. Olive oil for fry (about 200ml) – Chopped basil to serve

 1. Mix in a big bowl the minced meats with the salami, breadcrumbs and 2 eggs. Season with a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. of ground black pepper. Mix all very well squeezing with your hands
2. Then in a plate sprinkle the flour.
3. Wet your hands with water and start to roll the meat mixture in marble sized balls (about 3-4g each) and deposit the meatballs in the dish with the flour. Lightly coat the meatballs in the flour, and shake any excess.  - Now you can freeze the meatballs that you wont need-

4. Heat the olive oil and start to fry the meatballs in batches, turning around frequently for brown all the sides, the cooking time in a medium heat will be about 3 minutes, but always check if the meatball has been cook through. Keep it warm.
5. Cook the spaghettis in a pan of boiling water following the packet instructions and checking that the pasta is al dente. When is ready drain
6. Three minutes before the pasta is ready, add the meatballs to the hot tomato sauce.
7. Serve the pasta in individual dishes and top with the tomato sauce and meatballs or mix everything in a serving dish scattering some chopped basil, put in the centre of the table and let everyone serve themselves.

Wine options

Antica Vigna Masseria  Biscardo 2007. From the "new" gastronomic area of Italy, this Puglia Wine is a rich weighty red blending Lambrusco and Negroamaro grapes, a perfect italian grape mix for a very italian dish.

Cavalleresco 2008. From Tuscany with love and plenty of cherry flavours with a nice acidity. The mid-depth scarlet colour is a perfect match for tomato and meat mix dishes.

Spanish Chorizo Pasta

You need:  60g pasta per serving -  200g spanish chorizo for cooking (chopped) – 2 shallots (finely chopped) – 2 ripe tomatoes (grated) – 200ml tomato passata – ¼ tsp mild spanish paprika – ½ tsp red chilli – 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped) –  Grated parmesan cheese and parsley to serve.

1. In a sauce pan of boiling salty water start to cook the pasta. When is ready drain
2. In a sauce pan at medium heat with 4 tbsp of olive oil add the shallots, the garlic and the chorizo. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often to avoid any browning in the vegetables.
3. Then stir in the grated ripe tomatoes, mix everything very well.
4. Finally put in the tomato passata and the Spanish paprika (pimenton), stir everything and let bubble for 2-3 minutes.
5. Your pasta should be almost ready, check if  pasta is al dente, remove from the heat, drain and add to the chorizo sauce pan. Mix everything very well
6. Serve in individual dishes and scatter over some chopped parsley and parmesan to taste

Wine options

Monsaterio de Santa Cruz 2010. This red from Catalonia is made from Monsatrell grapes and tempranillo, Has intense and spicy flavour, perfect match for this hearty pasta dish

Baron de Barbon 2009. Classic Tempranillo flavours with vanilla ans strawberry touches with enough character to enjoy with chorizo recipes