A Mix of Classic and Contemporary – Gatti’s Italian Restaurant and Verve Clicquot Rich Champagne 

Written By Fadzai Mankola

This week “Who’s For Dinner?” had the pleasure of attending a dinner hosted by Gatti’s fine dining Italian Restaurant located at Citypoint in the heart of Moorgate.

It was a wonderful evening, full of discovery. Starting the evening off I was invited to sample the new Veuve Clicquot Rich champagne; which is included in their new 3 course set menus as well as the best of Gatti’s tasting menu. It was delicious! I was introduced to a whole new way of enjoying champagne. Retaining the essence of classic champagne and developing this to be served as a contemporary cocktail Verve Clicquot Rich is served as a cocktail. It absorbs and enhances the flavour of any accompaniments you pair with it. I tried it with cucumber as well as red and yellow peppers and it was delicious. Perfect for summer days.

Veuve Clicquot Rich champagne

The champagne tasting was followed by a sampling of one of the set menus. It was a gastronomical journey where classic Italian dishes were given a contemporary twist. For starters I had the grilled scallops with asparagus and crispy Parma ham. It was delicious! Beautifully put together with ginger, garlic and fresh chilli dressing.

Gatti’s Italian Restaurant Gattis Italian Restaurant dessert gattis

For the main course I couldn’t resist their iconic lobster linguine which I can firmly say IS a must order dish. I felt like I was eating in an agriturismos in Italy. The portion was very hearty the lobster cooked to perfection and the sauce was incredible.

Dessert was a trio of desserts; tiramisu chocolate mousse and passion fruit panna cotta. A nice ending to a beautiful meal.

This is definitely my new favourite Italian restaurant and the set menus are good value at £34.99.

http://gattisrestaurant.co.uk/

Lope Ariyo: Star of African Food and The Winner of The Red Magazine and HarperCollins Competition

Lope Ariyo is the next big star of African Food as she wins the amazing competition by Reg Magazine and HarperCollins which consists of a major big deal and national exposure. Her unique recipes which are a combination of eclectic Nigerian flavours and European influences. Her passion and enthusiasm were a hit with the judges (Who’s For Dinner’s very own Ronke Lawal being one of them) and her food on the day really was delicious.

Lope Ariyo

“Despite having been tasting dishes all day at the judging session we all found room to devour her perfect lamb curry, sweet and sticky hibiscus chicken and flaky, rich tilapia. Lopè feels like an exciting new face in food, someone who knows how to turn everyday ingredients into something extraordinary, and who has the drive to bring Nigerian-inspired food to a wider UK audience.” – Pip McCormac, lifestyle director of Red Magazine.

“We all thought Lopè’s food was exceptional and Lopè’s food writing is wonderful. We’re hugely looking forward to working with her to produce what we think will be a brilliant book”. – Grace Cheetham, publishing director at HarperCollins.

This is an exciting time for African cuisine to breakthrough and make an impact across The UK and ultimately the world. The PR drive behind this competition and Lope’s success means that food from across the continent will finally be given the exposure it deserves. Congratulations to Lope and well done to the team behind this competition.

Quotes taken from The Bookseller.

Ayamashe: The Nigerian Green Pepper Sauce That Will Spice Up Your Life

I bought  a jar of Hot Ayamashe at an event a month or so ago and just wanted to give a quick shout out to “Ayamashe” ready made sauces which is a great business idea, making this delicious traditional sauce accessible to the world. Ayamashe is sauce made from green peppers, green chillis, scotch bonnet, onions and palm oil. I love to make ayamashe from scratch but if anyone who has ever made it will tell you, the palm oil* bleaching process is a serious one, so make sure you have good ventilation before attempting it. Here is a recipe if you are interested in making your own homemade sauce: http://www.9jafoodie.com/ayamase-ofada-stewsauce/.

ayamashe sauce

If however you just want that ready to eat experience this is a great alternative – you can eat this with plain white rice or fried yam. Make sure you add meat or fish (or any alternatives if you are vegetarian). I purchased the hottest in the range at £3.99 which was still not hot enough for me but still very delicious. I love to see Nigerian food products breaking into the mainstream food market, Nigerian food has so much potential and I can only see great things in the future for this cuisine.

Order a jar today and make sure you read the story about the origins of Ayamashe sauce: http://ayamashee.com/

* Just a note that the palm oil used in West African cooking is made sustainable unlike the palm oil sourced from regions in Asia which causes damage to the environment and wildlife. It is very important to make this distinction as many people have tarnished palm oil globally when the palm oil produced in West Africa is different.