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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…

"The Rolls Royce of Rice."

As a chef, I’m more than a little obsessive about finding the best ingredients for my kitchen; I also believe that we as cooks have a duty to really get to know and understand where those ingredients come from, how they are made and why they are so special.
One of the ingredients that I’m obsessing about right now is Acquerello rice. It’s organic, aged Italian carnaroli rice. That's right, aged! It is grown using a crop rotation system and is the only rice variety sown on the farm, to avoid the possibility of inadvertent hybridisation with other varieties. After the harvest, the grains of Acquerello carnaroli are aged from one to three years, a process which, by allowing the rice to “breathe”, optimising its qualities and characteristics. Aging renders starch, proteins and vitamins less water-soluble, improving the consistency of the grains and enabling them to absorb more cooking liquid. When cooked, the grains become bigger, firmer, do not

SPICED CHICKPEA & SPINACH PATTIES WITH HARRISA MAYONNAISE

Ingredientsserves 4
400g cooked chickpeas, drained 150g spinach, cleaned and chopped 1 tbsp ras el hanout 1 large egg yolk 2 tbsp Gram chickpea flour, plus extra for dusting Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

ROAST LEG OF LAMB WITH RAS EL HANOUT & Turkish spoon salad

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Serves: 4
RAS EL HANOUT
Don't be put off this recipe by the number of ingredients. The spice mix is simple to make…although you can buy it. It keeps well in a jar and can be used so many other dishes. It lends a wonderful aromatic flavour to the lamb.
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
16 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons turmeric

Mallorcan Gold

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Spanish Saffron has been grown in La Mancha for at least 1,000 years and the region is now world-famous for producing the planet’s most expensive spice. Until recently we had to import our saffron for the restaurant from the mainland but all that changed recently when the Mallorcan company “Especias Crespí” embarked on a new challenge to expand and diversify its offer. In 2016 they planted 20,000 plants in Vilafranca and in a few weeks time they will begin to harvest the second crop. But this is only the beginning, “especias Crespí” plans to plant up to 200,000 plants in four years in 4 hectares of land especially prepared for this crop. Their goal is to produce up to 25 kilos per year and the production will be one hundred percent ecological.

HAPPY BAKING

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“I adore the smell of a cake baking in the oven, its one of those heartwarming aromas that remind us of a better time and the comforts of home.”


“The secret ingredient in light-and-fluffy sponge cakes is air”


There is nothing quite as satisfying as serving up a generous wedge of home-baked cake, bread or a satisfyingly sweet pastry..and let’s be honest, its difficult to beat the taste of something that’s been baked at home, whether it’s a simple sponge, a banana cake or even warm freshly baked bread. Baking at home seems to be more and more popular these day’s and its easy to see why, it is relaxing, rewarding and great fun.

MEDITERRANEAN PEACHES

The markets are bursting with fresh fruits including luscious strawberries, stunning looking cherries, thirst quenching melons, the season’s first figs, awesome apricots, plums, nectarines and succulent peaches are all jostling for position on the local market stalls.

Although I absolutely adore all these fruits, for my money, nothing beats the succulence of sweet, aromatic Mediterranean peaches, bursting with flavour. 
They provide delicious eating but can also be used in so many different and interesting ways in the kitchen. They can be poached in sugar syrup with cinnamon, vanilla and cloves, roasted with cardamom or pan-fried and caramelised with brown sugar and almonds. Peaches also make perfect partners for champagne, cassis and calvados and they combine perfectly with ginger, lemons, oranges, strawberries and hazelnuts. Pan-fried foie gras or roast duck are amazingly good with glazed peaches and sweet and sour peach chutney can really liven up cold meats, pâté and salads.

HEALTHY SUMMER RECIPES

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I think it's a lot easier to eat a healthier diet in the summer because the season is packed with amazing fruits and vegetables that are just bursting with flavour.

When the sun is shining, lighter meals just seem far more appealing and the truth is you don’t need to starve yourself on a wacky fad diet if you want to look better in your shorts or swimsuit this summer either. The secret is to choose healthy foods and take in fewer calories than you burn and it's easier to make better food choices in summertime as heavy, high-calorie dishes are just too much to bear when the sun rises early and goes to bed late.
I’m obsessed with Mediterranean cookery and I try to incorporate a healthy balance and harmony into my recipes. The Mediterranean diet generally encapsulates most of the criteria

A Mediterranean Herb Garden

--> I couldn’t imagine my kitchen without fresh herbs. A simple dish can be transformed by using a few fresh herbs as they greatly enhance the taste, appearance and nutritional value of practically all the food we eat.

The word “herb” comes from the Latin herba, meaning grass or green plant. These days we associate herbs for their culinary and medicinal value. In the kitchen, bland food can be made exciting with the addition of herbs and they can also help to enhance and bring out the natural flavours of food in a similar way to salt, but it is important to use herbs correctly. Too many herbs can overpower and completely overshadow the natural flavour of food and too little in a dish will achieve nothing. The addition of herbs must be balanced to complement the natural flavours that are already in foods. They do deteriorate very quickly once they’ve been picked, so by growing a small selection of herbs, even in pots or a window box, they will always be on hand when you need t…

BACK TO LIFE

-->Paprika is one of those things that most of us take for granted, but its importance in Spain’s regional cookery cannot be overstated. It lends it’s deep, intense, sweet, spicy flavour to many of the country’s favourite dishes including “paella”, “habas a la Asturiana”, “sopa de ajo” as well as a multitude of “chorizos” and off course, local “sobrasada”. It is produced from cone-shaped peppers (capsicum annuum) that are ripened to redness and was introduced to Spain by natives of Hispaniola during Columbus’ second voyage to the New World in 1493. Hungarian scientist Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1937 for isolating vitamin C in paprika. He also discovered that, pound for pound, paprika is a richer source of the vitamin than citrus and the red spice quickly became an important ingredient in preserving meats and sausages.

How to cook the perfect steak

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Although it might seem a little out of sync in these days of political correctness gone mad, I have to admit that I like my steak oozing with blood…the type that might be described in an American steakhouse as “take a cow, rip off any horns, wipe it’s arse, and throw it on a grill for 2 minutes; or my personal favourite: a steak so rare, a good vet could bring it back to life!

MOROCCAN SPICED PUMPKIN SOUP WITH POACHED COD & ARGAN OIL

-->Ingredients:serves 6
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.

Seeing Red

--> I would be lost in my kitchen without good salt and top quality olive oil. For me, these two magic ingredients instantly lift and bring so many other flavours to life. But there is one other ingredient that I’m practically addicted to and I favour over everything else...the “Gamba de Soller”!



Every time I wander around the market in Palma, I always find myself literally drooling over the stunningly fresh, locally caught red prawns from Soller. I don’t think it is possible to put anything finer in your mouth. With that intense, wild taste that just explodes when you bite into their firm flesh... I crave Majorcan prawns the way most pregnant women crave chocolate.


The best way to cook them is also the easiest. You just scatter a little sea salt over a very hot, flat grill and place the whole prawns on top. Let them sit for 20 seconds or so until they start to toast, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Wait another 20 seconds and scatter them with chopped parsley and crushe…

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

EAT THE SEASONS….

Apples and pears are so versatile…while they are great to eat raw; they also make a delicious addition to baked goods, salads, sauces or stews.
Personally, from a cooks perspective, I prefer to use pears in my cooking. There are more than 3,000 varieties of pear cultivated all over the world, but it is thought that the wild pear originated in Asia and the ancient Greeks introduced them to Europe. They come in different shapes and sizes and vary in sweetness and texture and so can be used in different ways. Most cooks tend to prefer the Comice pear for their sweet, aromatic flavour and good texture,

BACK TO BASICS

AFTER THE FOAM HAS GONEI am amazed how many young chefs come into this business without knowing the very basics of cooking. I watched Andreas, the head chef at Fosh Food, make a perfect Veloute the other day and he was complaining about just the same thing.You see, once upon a time, you had to know how to make a good Béchamel sauce before going on to master your Velouté. It was one of those benchmark recipes of all good cooks and the base of countless other classic sauces such as Nantua, Soubise and Mornay. These day’s, most young chefs are more concerned about how much lecithin they have to put in their sauces to make their foam stand up for half an hour and a good Roux has practically become obsolete. This is a real shame as a well-made béchamel sauce is truly delicious, and for any home cook, it opens up an endless stream of classic dishes from Gratins, croquettes to lasagnes.The secret to a well made béchamel is to make your milk as flavoursome as possible. If you infuse your onio…