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!