February 2010 Archives

La Dolce Vita preview: Lunch at Theo Randall's

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Top Italian chef, Theo Randall is setting up a pop-up restaurant at food event La Dolce Vita, on 11-14 March 2010.

The event held at the Design Business Centre in Islington is in its sixth year and the four-day celebration of all things Italian promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Highlights of the show will include masterclasses with celebrity chefs, wine tasting and demonstrations by some of Italy's top artisan producers.

Last week, I was lucky enough to get a taster of Theo's food and any visitor to La Dolce Vita will be in for a treat.

First up was the buffalo mozzarella (picture aboved). It was served with grilled red peppers, spinach, marinated artichokes and Taggiasche olives.

Second course was a beautiful pasta dish of slowed-cooked veal, pancetta with truffles (below) 


The main course was slow-cooked lam shoulder with Taggiasche olives, anchoives, wet polenta and Cima Di Rape (below)


The lunch finished with Theo's Amalfi lemon tart...


If that has whet your appetite, we have 20 pairs of tickets to giveaway, courtesy of the La Dolce Vita organisers.

All you need to do to tell us what is your favourite Italian recipe, ingredient or restaurant and you will be entered into the prize draw. But hurry the closing date is midday Friday 5 March!


World's strongest beer war rages on

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bismarck.jpgEven hardened beer enthusiasts would probably struggle to name the world's strongest beer these days, given the number of claims to the title over the past few months.

Today sees the latest attempt to claim the crown, with the launch of Brew Dog's newest 'strongest' beer - the sensitively-named 'Sink the Bismarck'.

Why call it 'Sink the Bismarck'? Because it is a direct response to the German Schorschbräu brewing firm, which earlier this month claimed the 'strongest beer' crown with its Schorschbock beer. The 40% brew knocked Brew Dog's 32% Tactical Nuclear Penguin, which it launched in November last year, off its perch.

So how strong is 'Sink the Bismarck'? 41%, of course. And the Scottish brewers have produced a video blog explaining how the new beer was created. Although there's a strong possibility this isn't an accurate account.

'Sink the Bismarck' will only be sold online and will cost £40 a bottle.

Where will it all end? 42% probably...

How to make the perfect Martini cocktail

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Alessandro Palazzi, the bar manager at Dukes Bar in London's Dukes Hotel, demonstrates how to make the perfect 'Martinez cocktail'. And he ought to know. Dukes Bar was a favourite watering hole of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond and reputedly the place where came up with the famous "shaken, not stirred" line.

Palazzi, from Senigalia in Italy, has worked at The Ritz, Paris; The Milestone Hotel, London; and The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London. He has been at Dukes since 2001, where he worked under head barman Gilberto Preti. But he says that a great bar is not about showmen: "I am not crazy about the idea of celebrity barmen. The guest is the star, not us," he says.

Here is his recipe for the Martinez Cocktail, and below a video of him creating it:

Few drops of orange bitter
5ml of Martini Rosso
70ml of Sacred Gin from the freezer
Few drops of Maraschino
A maraschino cherry
Large wedge of lemon

All served in a frozen glass.