Wednesday, 30 May 2012

UK demand for Mexican Chillies is on the up

Sales of Mexican chillies have risen 20% since last year according to EHL, a UK ingredients business. They attribute the growth to the rising tolerance of the UK palate towards spicy food and current food trends favouring Latin American cuisine.

Mexican food is still the fastest growing cuisine in the UK and Peruvian is also seeing rapid growth.

People also seem to be increasingly aware of the provenance of their food, with growing interest in the origin of the chillies they are buying. Does this reflect a drive for greater authenticity?!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

MiCasa Burritos to open in Victoria Station

Leading food travle experts SSP UK has just opened MiCasa Burritos at London Victoria station. In addition to burritos, the outlet has several breakfast items on offer including bacon and egg burritos and fruit pots with ginger and lime.

Authentic drinks include Jarittos, Mexican beers and hot drinks made using Mexican cocoa and coffee beans.

Further outlets are expected to open later this year.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The rise of the green chile

When it comes to hot sauce, I've always been a huge fan of green tabasco. It's rich and tangy, and delivers just the right amount of heat and flavour without setting your mouth on fire.

While green tabasco is available in selected UK supermarkets (Tesco and Waitrose), you do have to hunt for it, an elusive cousin to it's original red counterpart. However, there appears to be a growing trend for the green stuff, with the launch of Discovery's ‘Green Jalapeño Relish’. The new squeezy condiment is expected to fuel sales in the DIY Mexican meal category, and reassure the UK market that not all Mexican food has to be ridiculously spicy.

Now on sale from Ocado and Sainsburys for RRP of £2.09 (300g).

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Benito's Hat coming to Kings Cross Station

Benito's Hat has just confirmed that they are taking a unit in Kings Cross Station, London. The station has undergone a lengthy redevelopment plan, with the reopening just a month away, on 19th March. This will be the fourth outlet in central London for Benito's Hat, who will be alongside other retail and eating opportunities in the station such as Accessorize, Caffe Nero, Boots, M&S Simply Food, Paperchase, Pret A Manger, T M Lewin, W H Smith, American Apparel, Fullers, Giraffe and Watermark.

Benito's Hat will be some 600 sq ft, including a seating area for customers who might have time to kill over a cocktail while waiting for a train.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Rick Bayless - recipe in The Observer

Photo Credit: Jasmined

The Observer is not the first place I'd look for a Rick Bayless recipe, but Sunday's copy featured his all-time favourite breakfast recipe, Huevos Motulenos, a mountain of cripsy tostadas, topped with beans, plaintain, ham, peas and eggs. Phew!

To follow the recipe, click on this link. But be warned, this is not a quick breakfast dish as it will take you a some time in the kitchen...and certainly not to be undertaken with a Saturday night hangover...unless someone else is cooking it!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tortilla set for Wimbledon opening....

Burritos are coming to SW19! Tortilla are opening their 8th restaurant on Wimbledon's Broadway next month. This will be their first premises to open following a £3.5 million investment from the private equity firm, Quilvest, with plans to expand the brand with another 25 sites across the UK over the next few years. Pretty impressive for a company that only started up five years' ago.

For more information, visit

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Hot Chocolate Fondants with a twist

When it comes to dessert, nothing beats a good chocolate fondant. Dense, chocolate sponge with a gooey liquid centre. It's the perfect dinner party dessert which you can prepare ahead. The only downside? It's all a matter of get that perfect centre, you need to know exactly how long to leave them in the oven. The solution? Practice makes perfect. What a shame.

To give this delicious pudding a Mexican makeover, I decided to spice things up with a shot of tequila and a little ancho last night. The dried poblano adds a hint of earthy spiciness and an added depth which lifts the richness of the fondant. These are incredibly easy to make and have that wow factor that makes everyone think you're a fabulous cook.

Makes 4 small (or 3 larger ones)

2 tsp cocoa for dusting
50g butter
50g dark chocolate, 70% minimum
60g sugar
1 egg
30ml tequila, preferably añejo or reposado (optional)
1 tsp ancho powder mixed into 50g plain flour

Butter the inside of the ramekins. Place a tsp of cocoa in one and hold it end to end with another and shake well to coat the insides. Repeat with the other two ramekins.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, whisk the egg and sugar together until light and fluffy. Carefully, fold in the chocolate mixture, the tequila, and then the flour mix. Once incorporated, divide the mixture among the ramekins and set aside (or chill) until ready to cook. At this point you can also freeze them; just add a couple of minutes to the cooking time.

Preheat the oven to 170°C (160 Fan). Cook for 12 minutes from room temperature. Run a knife around the edges of the ramekins and gently tip onto a warm plate. Serve with cream or ice cream.

Monday, 23 January 2012

WIll Ricker to launch Mexican-style eaterie

News of yet another central London Mexican eaterie! La Bodega Negra is due to open in Soho next month, a jiont venture between the London restaurateur Will Ricker (who owns the Great Eastern Dining Room, Cicada, XO and others) and NY dining scene hot shot, Serge Becker.

'Modern Mexican cuisine in a relaxed environment'; ceviche, tacos and tostados will feature amongst the food items, as well as other Latin American dishes from a wood-burning grill, accompanied (of course) by an extensive cocktail and tequila menu.

The venue (located on Old Compton and Moor Street) will consist of a a subterranean 100-seater restaurant (with private dining room) and bar, a road side taqueria, and all-day contemporary Mexican café....something for everyone.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Move over Mexican for your Latin American neighbours

The rapid spread of Mexican food in the last few years has helped pave the way for its fellow Latin American neighbours. 2012 food trends predict that both Peruvian and Brazilian food are going to be the next big thing, with several ventures opening up in the capital over the coming months.
Cabana, the Brazilian grill founded by veteran restaurateurs David Ponté and Jamie Barber, aims to do for Brazil what Wahaca has done for Mexico and already has sites in Westfield and St Giles.
Peruvian restaurants Ceviche (Frith Street) and Lima London (Fitzrovia) are both due to open this Spring. If fusion's more your kind of thing, the American chain Sushi Samba will be opening at the Heron Tower in the City, bringing together Brazilian and Peruvian with Japanese influences.

Click here to read an interview with Martin Morales, the founder of Ceviche.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Chipotle acquires another central London site

Chipotle is coming to Soho! The US food giant has just taken on the premises at 185 Wardour Street, with plans to open its third London restaurant.

According to the Acquisition team: "Chipotle is a fantastic brand with strong values centred around 'food with integrity'. It will be a real asset to the growing restaurant scene in Soho. This site is in a great corner location, ideal for Chipotle's requirements for quality sites in Central London."

Still a little way to go until their UK holdings match their US sites, in the region of 1000 restaurants!