Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Raise funds for Haiti

From Luisa Welch Restaurant Guru blog:

FOOD LOVERS FUNDRAISER FOR HAITI
Sabrina Ghayour, who writes up the fab recipes for www.foodepedia.co.uk, has come come up with the idea of a fundraiser for Haiti. Within 48 hours, she got the venue (Le Bouchon Breton, Old Spitalfields Market, E1), two well known chefs already, and lots of people who have pledged to donate food for the six course banquet, wines, big prizes to auction and prizes for the raffle. She aims to raise as much money as quickly as possible to get more help to those affected. Please help her if you can. you can contact her on sabrina@foodepedia.co.uk Dont be shy!


Please help Sabrina raise essential funds for the victims of Haiti. Contact her on sabrina@foodepedia.co.uk. All help very much appreciated. Thank you.

Monday, 11 January 2010

A Trip to Gibralter



Gibraltar is only a short drive south from Malaga and although the highway is good there are no road signs to identify the State until you actually get there! The immigration routines were friendly informal and quick! As we drove into Gibralter we were required to drive across the State runway! Fortunately this road closes whenever a plane is about to land!




Gibraltar has a number of beaches where sun worshippers may enjoy themselves when not availing of the very attractive prices in local bars and restaurants.
We decided to drive up the rock as high as possible given the wonderful views one has from there both of Spain and Morocco! The monkeys are of course a big attraction in their own right. They are clever little thieves as I witnessed when one fellow made a quick entry through a rear car window, snatched a 10 pack of twix from a little girl and make his escape all under 5 seconds! He then proceeded to eat each twix in turn without sharing any with his own family!



The rock is very well organised for tourists with various stop off points to visit once you have paid your entry fee to the park/rock (£42 for a family of 3).




Our first stop was the old gun battery where we parked our vehicle now the gun was gone. From here one can look right across the mouth of the Mediterranean and one sees immediately why this was (and remains) such a strategic site for UK security purposes. Only 14 miles of sea separates Africa from Europe at this point and I understand it is possible to swim across if you are fit enough! The British and Spanish navies are kept busy keeping their respective bits of sea territory sacrosanct. Our next point of interest was the tunnels which played such an important role in the numerous sieges of the Rock but this was a little unpleasant as the rain kept dripping down the back of my neck owing to the previous 4 days of monsoon now seeping deep into the tunnels!




What was amazing despite the flooding was the cave which has an auditorium bigger than the Cottesloe Theatre London. With amazing formations of stalagmites and stalactites all lit up with colourful lighting, it must be a spectacular background for any performance. The cave was critically important to the local citizens during various sieges as a place to store reserves as well as withstand bombardment from land and sea.





Gibraltar has been a military base for the greater part of its history. This has given a military air to the town but there are major changes evident. There has been a significant increase in capital investment over the past ten years which has seen new luxury holiday apartments being developed in the dockland area with new shops and additional facilities for tourists. The old military barracks have been turned into an enormous Italian plaza where one can sit outside amid many restaurants and bars under the palm trees and enjoy the sunshine.




There is a new marine and restaurant area with delightful walks along seafront decking which reminded me of Sydney. The glorious warm sunshine enticed us out for a midwinter evening stroll. We soon came across an Irish Bar called very appropriately O'Reilly's where the staff were exceedingly friendly and courteous. We eat well there and I can recommend the Beef & Guinness ale pie (£7) On learning that I was one of the Clan, the Manager immediately offered me a free pint of Guinness! A nice personal gesture and one which surely bodes well for Gibraltar and its developing tourist industry.

Malaga Cathedral



Malaga´s cathedral was built between 1530 and 1780 on or near the site of a former mosque. While original plans had allowed for two towers, lack of funds resulted in the completion of only one, giving rise to the name by which the cathedral is affectionately referred to, La Manquita, loosely interpreted as "one armed woman"

We tried to visit this lady on Christmas Day having celebrated our feast the evening before as is the continental way! We left the car behind and took the very efficient train service from Fuengirola to Malaga. It was without exaggeration the wettest day I ever witnessed and we got soaked to the skin! What was worse was that the centre of Malaga was deserted and the Cathedral was all locked up! We could not even purchase an umbrella! We tried to take shelter in the lovely little street of the old town but the roofs, without gutters, poured torrential torrents of water down upon us! There was no escape until we found a single solitary taxi driver who took us directly back to the railway station and we headed home to Fuengirola as fast as we could! A Christmas Day I won't forget in a long time. A Danish punch was required to recover from the ordeal and we decided to take the car out on all future exploratory visits! This picture was taken a few days later inside the Cathedral which unless your attending a Mass, you must pay to gain entry. It is worth every euro to see inside this amazing Cathedral/Mosque.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Tapas Bar in Malaga - La Rebana




In Malaga for lunch we would recommend La Rebana tapas bar. Situated just a few metres from the cathedral at C/Molina Lario 4, La Rebana specialises in pat├ęs and cured meats, and the Serrano ham is a particular speciality. Other favourites such as scrambled eggs with ham and asparagus and wild mushrooms are also served at La Rebana. Very central and very busy, La Rebana has inviting dark wood interiors, and a friendly, yet hectic atmosphere. Resembling a bodega, La Rebana has a rustic feel to it and a fabulous bodega and extensive wine list. Tel: 95 260 8534

Malaga Castle

Spanish Bruschetta

SPANISH STYLE BRUSCHETTA

Serves 6 persons

* 12 slices of Italian or French style bread
* 1 clove garlic
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* 1 very ripe tomato cut in half
* Salt and pepper

Rub the bread with the whole clove of garlic to lightly flavor the bread.

Brush the bread with olive oil and place in the oven, during the final 5 minutes of cooking of the squid.

Remove the squid and the bread from the oven and then immediately rub the bread with the inside flesh of the tomato in order to make the toasted bread moist with the fresh ripe tomato juices. Enjoy with a nice glass of Rioja.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Andalucia Tapas Tour

Well we arrived safely in Fuengirola after a 5 hour drive through Spain. The weather varied a lot on route with one hour of sunshine followed by torrential rain and even hail storms at times. We were surprised by the poor standards of the highway as we drove through the urban sprawl of Madrid but as we reached the province of Malaga the roads suddenly opened up and improved which was just as well as they also got much busier. Spanish drivers do love to sit in the middle lane of the motorway at all costs and hate using their headlight in bad weather! Mile after mile of olive tree plantation reached out into the horizon and up every mountain south of Madrid. It must be a good place to buy olive oil I thought!
We reached our destination - Casa Mimosa high up in the mountains outside Fuengirola at 8pm. Thank God for our sat nav Tom Tom !! Our base for the next few weeks is a beautiful white cactus clad Andalucian villa positioned on three levels into the mountain. It is equipped with a delightful fruit garden and various sun terraces along with a swimming pool which has breathtaking views over the Mediterranean sea . Inside we have all the usual mod cons one would expect and am surprised to see a log fire in the lounge! It must get cold in the evenings after all!
The beautiful village of Mijas was only a short drive down the mountain and so having unpacked we headed for the tapas bars. High on the agenda was cold beers followed by tapas. It was strange to pass so many British bars (Churchill’s looked cosy but the Dragoon Bar had seen better days and customers!). We settled for Mijas bar, a classic Andalucian tapas bar in the middle of the village which was full of revellers enjoying the festive spirit - not so surprising given it was December 23rd! We sampled various delights which were all simply delicious and exceedingly good value at E1.50 each. They ranged from grilled razor mussels sprinkled with lemon juice, thin slices of the famous Iberian black pig ham (Jamon Iberico)served on bread and of course the Tortilla de Patatas which for me is mandatory when having a cold beer! It was soon time to call it a day despite the revelry building up around us, we took our leave and headed back up to our mountain retreat for the night. The rain had started again with a vengeance and this was rain I had never witnessed before. It was almost impossible to see the road and in the few minutes it took to park up the vehicle and enter the house we were all soaking wet! Just like last summer in Britttany I thought as I entered the land of Nod.
Next morning our wonderful hostess, Ani, had prepared breakfast on the terrace overlooking the pool and the sea. It had rained all night apparently but now the sun was up. The view seen for the first time in daylight was absolutely spectacular with the mountain valley below us, the sea sparkling beyond and the sunshine warming us as we feasted on a breakfast of toast, soft boiled eggs and good coffee. I tried the grapefruit from the garden which was delicious. Our first trip today will take us into Malaga to check out the Cathedral and Castle in the centre of the town.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Kerrouet Cooking School on TV

Well we did our first TV programme and how nice that it was about the Celtic nations! You can view the programme (only in the UK for now sorry) by going to the S4c website

The programme is called Tocym and you simply go to clic then catchup and them clik on the programme. Enjoy it!

Alex Jones learns to cook at French Dining School

video video video

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Kerrouet House on S4C TV

Just a reminder that you can watch our cooking school feature on S4C TV Digital on Wednesday 6th January 2010 at 20.20 GMT. To watch via computer simply go to www.sc4.co.uk/clic and then click on view live. Otherwise if your on freesat, freeview, Sky you can find S4C by using the codes on the website. We hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Tapas Tour in Andalucia

As northern Europe freezes in the coldest winter in decades, we are down in southern Spain enjoying the sunshine, sights and extraordinary cuisine of Andalucia. It's our first trip here and I am struck by the amazing mountains we passed as we drove down through the Basque region and Spain. Enormous mountain ranges divide up Spain all the way down to Malaga and there was me thinking central Spain was all flat!

We stayed in a delightful medieval village 40 Km south of Burgos called Covarrubias. This was the castle fortress home of the first Duke of Castile. The town has an amazing history going way back to neolithic times and including Celts and Romans as well as a rich medieval heritage. Even back in 1262 the town welcomed Princess Cristina of Norway and a statute of the royal visitor remains there to this day in her memory.

We arrived after 1000 km of driving from Brittany in midwinter when most hotels and restaurants are closed but were lucky to find the very agreeable Hotel Dona Sancha just outside the city walls! Log fires roared in the reception area and the rooms were enormous and comfortable. (www.hoteldonasancha.com)

Even more lucky we were to find one of the best ever tapas bars yet in Northern Spain which served that famous delicious Iberian black pig cured ham (Jamon Iberico). They also served enormous prawns (Gambas) simply grilled with lemon juice which were really tasty - we will certainly incorporate these into next year's cooking school. No tapas bar would be without tortilla and this was also exquisite with just the right amount of potato and onion and texture to delight the palate. A lovely bottle of the local Rioja wine was so good that we plan to check out the vinyards on the return trip.

We met a very friendly and culinary oriented lawyer from Madrid in the bar who was also on holiday. It seems the best restaurants and the cuisine to explore is to be found in Northern Spain and especially around St Sebastian. Basque cuisine is as old and as famous as Basque culture itself but we are heading south in the wrong direction! The Basque trip will wait another day but first a good night's sleep for tomorrow another 700 km of road awaits us!!