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Wild Asparagus time in Mallorca

Wild asparagus or “Ttrigueros” as they are known here in Spain, grow all over the Island of Mallorca in March and April.  The locals spend hours scouring the fields and roadsides filling their baskets with them. 
Growing wild throughout the Mediterranean, the Romans are believed to have been the first to domesticate asparagus. After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus was cultivated in their monastery gardens, along with medicinal herbs. Cultivated for more the 2000 years, asparagus will grow wherever it can find a good footing. Wild Asparagus loves secluded hedgerows and undisturbed country roads. When choosing asparagus, look for firm, brightly- coloured spears with tight, crisp tips. (Very large stalks tend to come from older plants and can be tough.). If the stalks bend without breaking it’s a good sign that they have definitely seen better days. Asparagus is usually boiled or steamed, but can be grilled or roasted for a different, slightly nutty flavour. There is a special aspa…

MARC FOSH RESTAURANT

An Apple a day…

Fresh Apples rightly have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aid’s the immune system and helps reduce cholesterol. They are low in calories, prevent tooth decay and they are also rich in flavonoids, known for their antioxidant effects.
Apples have been around for over 4,000 years ever since the Iron Age and were first cultivated in Egypt. There are many mythological associations, with the apple in the Garden of Eden being the most

PEAR, APPLE & GINGER CRUMBLE

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3 pears
3 granny smith apples
150g caster sugar
3tbsp water A pinch of powdered ginger
FOR THE CRUMBLE
100g unsalted butter, chilled
100g plain flour, sifted
100g demerara sugar
80g ground almonds
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 190C/Gas mark 5. Peel and core & chop the pears and apples. Place in a medium-sized pan; add the sugar, water & ginger. Cook over a medium heat until the fruit starts to soften and releases its juices, about 10 mins. Spoon the mixture into 4 individual ovenproof ramekins, or 1 large baking dish.

MOROCCAN SPICED PUMPKIN SOUP WITH POACHED COD & ARGAN OIL

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1klpumpkin, peeled & diced 1large potato, peeled & diced 1medium onion, peeled & diced 800mlchicken stock 400mlmilk ½ a stick of cinnamon
juice of one lime
1tspn*ras el hanout 1tspfreshly grated ginger 1tbspchopped coriander Seasoning
To Garnish: 3tbsp Argan Oil Coriander leaves

Place the diced pumpkin, potato, ginger, onion and cinnamon in a large saucepan and cover with the chicken stock and milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.

EAT THE SEASONS WITH LLAMPUGA

This week at Simply Fosh we have a really delicious, simple dish of “Llampuga” on our 3-course lunch menu. Sometimes known as dolphin fish or golden mackerel although it is probably more well known by its American (Hawaiian) name of Mahi Mahi, "Llampuga" has a slightly oily texture that I would describe somewhere as a cross between sea bass and tuna. Be careful when cooking as it tends to dry out quickly when overcooked, and it is best served a little pink in the middle.

The Mallorcan name of “llampuga” comes from the verb ‘llampegar’ (to flash, as in lightning), and the fishing season for this species coincides with the appearance of a few strong storms in late summer and some amazing lightening displays. Some say that the word ‘llampuga’ comes from the Latin lampare, which means shine, referring to the shiny golden colour of the fish; actually, in Spanish the ‘llampuga’ is also sometimes known by the name of “dorado”, which means ‘golden’. The fish are captured en nets call…

AUTUMN FRUIT

Autumn brings with it the arrival of quince, fresh figs and pomegranates. Most people seem to ignore these fruits but for any serious cook they can be an endless source of inspiration and I always look forward to having them in season.

Steeped in history and romance and almost in a class by itself, the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility in many countries and a very popular fruit all over the mediterranean to the Middle East; the "Granada", as it is known in Spain, is a round fruit with a thick, leathery red skin.

CHILLED TO PERFECTION Cool summer soups are a refreshing addition to warm-weather menus.

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Just as the cauldron of hot soups, broths & stocks provide comfort and solace on a winter’s day; chilled soups are a refreshing respite from the heat of summer. As the great French Chef Auguste Escoffier said, “Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite", while Beethoven claimed” Only the pure of heart can make good soup". But in this sweltering heat, they have to be chilled right down and served iced cold.

The king of cold soups is gazpacho. In essence, they are wonderful thirst-quenching, liquid salads, made with fresh, raw vegetables and ripe tomatoes; and they are the perfect thing for long, hot summer days. Gazpacho has humble, peasant origins and was originally made by pounding bread, water and garlic in a pestle and mortar long before the arrival of the tomato and the discovery of the new world. In modern times, tomatoes, cucumbers and

THE TASTE OF A MEDITERRANEAN SUMMER

Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes, grown in the Mediterranean sun, are the ultimate summer ingredient. Full of flavour, with a slightly aromatic scent, they are one of those magical ingredients, like high quality olive oil and lemons that make the others sing. But not all that glitters is gold and good looks are often deceptive when you are buying tomatoes. If you can, pick them up and smell them as they should have an intoxicatingly pleasant aroma. Chances are if they smell of nothing they will probably taste of nothing. The stalk leaves should be fresh and green and the fruit should be firm with a bright, unflawed skin.

PLANNING TO PLEASE

At all three Fosh restaurants, we are about to change our menus for the summer season ahead. Planning a successful and manageable menu for a restaurant involves making a number of important decisions about both style & content.

Personally, I have never liked long and over complicated menus and I always prefer to narrow them down to a specific type of cuisine. Too many restaurateurs try and conjure up long-winded menus in the hope that they will appeal to just about everybody. I feel that those restaurants tend to lack any real personality and customers find the menus difficult to navigate. More importantly, chefs and waiters can also find these menus difficult to work with, making them unable to memorize all the dishes you offer, their ingredients and their preparation. You may also find yourself faced with food waste from the ingredients you stock for unpopular menu items. A small, well refined menu gives customers only your best offerings, cuts

THE SWEETEST THING

                  THE SWEETEST THING

Before peaches, plums and berries appear in markets, apricots arrive. Ancient Romans were so impressed by this fruit’s early ripening that they took to calling it praecocium, Latin for “precocious.” Most apricots are destined to be canned or dried, and their season is short, so get the fresh ones fast.
 A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are sour-sweet in flavour with a wonderfully fragrant character and a mixture of fresh and tropical tones. They are silky smooth with a soft, velvety skin that ranges from pale yellow to deep orange. Although an apricot's colour is not always a reliable guide to flavour,

ANCHOVY CURE

For most people anchovies are a love or hate ingredient. I have to admit that I love them! Like salt, anchovies are a natural flavour enhancer. They're rich in a compound called inosinate which, when combined with the glutamate you get in beef or lamb, emphasises the natural meatiness of those ingredients. The very intelligent Romans knew this. Though the ancient Greeks probably invented garum, the liquor of salted anchovy (or mackerel) guts, dried in the sun, flavoured with herbs, decomposed by its own bacteria and then matured that became the chief condiment of Rome, seasoning almost every dish in the repertoire.

“Life is like a pancake. No matter how flat or rough it is, it always has two sides…”

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Let’s face it…who doesn’t like pancakes? They have been popular in some shape or form the world over for centuries and Archaeological evidence suggests that pancakes are probably the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies dating back to 5th century B:C!


With their beautifully freckled surface, glistening straight from the pan, pancakes are delicious eaten simply with lemon juice and sugar, but they can be filled with a variety of sweet ingredients such as maple syrup, fruit, ice cream or chocolate sauce. They make a good base for savoury fillings too, such as fried mushrooms, cheese, spinach, seafood – anything goes really. Pancakes are made from a wide variety of flours and in a range of styles in many countries.

BRANDY FOR THE CHEF

Most of us like a glass of wine with dinner. It somehow makes a meal more civilized and enjoyable. Yet the real power of alcohol, especially for the cook, lies not in what it does at the table but what it does in the kitchen.


Like Salt, alcohol has the ability to bring out the flavour in food. Whether you’re cooking with wine, beer, or liquor, the alcohol in those beverages improves flavour perception in at least two important ways: by evaporation and by molecular bonding.
My favourite alcoholic beverage in the kitchen is brandy, a spirit distilled from wine that’s made from grapes.

LIVELY UP YOURSELF...

I couldn’t imagine my kitchens without lemons; there is no other ingredient that can transform a dish in a single squeeze.
Although available all year round, Spanish lemons taste best when left to ripen on the tree and the months of January and February are the perfect time to enjoy their fabulous aroma.

GASTRONOMIC LEGENDS

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With the coming of winter, I think it’s a good excuse to try out some amazing dishes that have become gastronomic legends. Esteemed, time-honoured recipes that have stood the test time and that are still as relevant today as they ever were.
Dishes like Tournados Rossini, coq au vin, Cassoulet, French onion soup or the celebrated Soupe aux truffes Élysée V.G.E. This renowned Black Truffle Soup was invented in 1975 when Paul Bocuse sought to create the perfect dish to serve to the then French President, Valery Giscard d’Estaing at the Élysée Palace on the occasion of Chef Bocuse receiving the Legion of Honor.

Deep and crisp and even

I love the smell of the kitchen at Christmas and New Year. Heavy with the scent of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, sweet wine, golden syrup, orange peel and chocolate. Its so good it should be bottled and sold.
For me, the Christmas & New Year celebrations are the perfect time to prepare a few simple classics like chocolate truffles, biscotti and brandy snaps. I know brandy snaps can be a little fiddly, but once you have mastered the basics, they are really very easy to make. Just remember that once out of the oven the Brandy snap wafer is far too soft and delicate to curl, it needs to be left for about two to three minutes to start to firm up and become flexible. However, as the Brandy Snap wafer further cools it becomes hard and brittle, and within the next four to five minutes they become too brittle to curl, and they will break if you try. So there is only a small window of opportunity to curl them successfully. If they harden up, just pop them back the oven for a few moments and sta…

COOL AS A CUCUMBER

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Boring and bland? I don’t think so! Cucumbers are one of those special foods that have more uses than just culinary. A quick search turns up really useful things like firming up cellulite on skin, soothing dry, tired eyes, relieving sunburn and curing a hangover. I’m not sure if any of that is really true but what I do know for sure that in the kitchen, the wonderful crunchy texture and the refreshing cleanness of cucumber is a joy to work with, especially in summer as it is about 20% naturally cooler than other vegetables.

At their best, cucumbers have a bright, melony taste (cucumbers and melons are cousins) that is somewhere between fruity and vegetal, and they combine so well with an endless array of other ingredients from avocados, watermelon, tomatoes, melon and strawberries. Try simply slicing them

THE KING OF SPICES

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Pepper is a condiment that has been salt's partner on Western tables for hundreds of years. It adds a flavour of its own to dishes, as well as enhancing the taste of other ingredients.
The use of peppercorns is so common these days; it’s hard to believe it was once so valuable that it was used as currency. Sailors on the first ships to carry them were required to have their pockets sewn closed to prevent them from squirreling away any of the precious cargo. We may well take it for granted today, but the vast majority of savoury dishes include peppercorns in some form and they are ranked as the third most added ingredient to recipes, with water and salt leading the race.

SMALL PRICE, BIG FLAVOUR

Certain ingredients are so under-estimated that we seen to forget just how good they are when perfectly fresh and cooked with a little care and attention.
This week I wandered around the fish market and noticed that little by little, as we move into the high season, fresh fish prices are starting to escalate. It’s getting harder and harder to find a bargain, but there are a few exceptions that are big on flavour and come with a small price tag. One such ingredient is Mackerel. I know they sometimes get a bit of bad press, but for me they are always a real treat. Mackerel is a firmed fleshed, oily fish, very flavoursome and moist with a tender flesh. It has a distinctive silver-blue skin with dark bands and a