Monday, November 26, 2012

Hola BCN!

I really like this place. BCN is one of the Spanish restaurants that have popped up in HK over the past few months and it is one of those places that I feel has the most heart. It is a small space. The bar stools are a little uncomfortable for a whole dinner but the table bar is the centre stage of what goes on in the restaurant. Eating at this table bar is great, you get to watch some kitchen action and talk to Chef Edgar, who is personable and keeps the whole dining experience casual.

I don’t know Chef Edgar very well (actually not at all), I was just another diner for that evening, but he entertained my questions and small talk. He talked about how he ended up in Hong Kong and he laughed about how sometimes he wakes up and wonders how he ended up here. I know that feeling. It is a mix of feeling nostalgic and homesick and yet excited about the surprises and adventure that awaits you. Perhaps it was the mood I was in that evening but the food gave me a sense of Chef Edgar’s nostalgia through the authentic flavours and the quality ingredients that he sources and imports.

This was my delicioso mini Spanish feast.

The meal kicked off with what I call the Ham and Cheese platter  – Manchego cheese, chorizo, iberico jamon and pan con tomate.

Following was a series of small bites – the best was the croquette, a good crunchy shell and creamy insides with the undertones of iberico jamon

iberico croquette.vegetable stack with aioli.
foie gras and iberico ham crostini.bacalao with tomatoes and olives.

Tomato and melon gazpacho

The meal then took an interesting turn towards a very modern plate. Prawn carpaccio, thin sheets of prawn flesh topped with ingredients to enjoy it with, squid ink powder, pine nuts, olive oil and confit of tomato.

The high point at this meal for me was his paella. I’ve watched him cook it from my bar stool the entire night and the magic of it is in the rich brown stock that he cooks the rice in, that’s where the depth of flavour comes from. This is dished out from the paella pan into individual portions (maybe so we don’t fight) and topped with a perfectly cooked red shrimp. 

Suckling pig with sweet potato cream and a Spanish meat sauce.

The suckling pig is more like a suckling pig “sandwich” – two layers of tender meat, topped and bottomed by crispy suckling pig skin. Crisp and sumptuous, yum!

37 Peel Street
Central, HK
Tel: +852-28112851

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Harumi's Carrot and Tuna Salad

I wanted something really fast and simple for dinner today. So while milling around the supermarket Harumi’s Carrot and Tuna Salad came to mind. The mental cooking plan was simple, buy carrots and tuna, prep, microwave and eat. I’ll have dinner in 30 minutes. Perfect for a Monday evening! What I had failed to remember was that the last time I cooked this I had a mandolin at hand so getting the carrots into uniform julienne cuts was easy. This time I decided to practice my cleaver knife skills on my carrots and my carrot sticks turned out pretty decent but it took me a good twenty minutes or to hand cut my carrots ... so dinner still made it to the table but it took twice the time to make. Not such a fast dinner but still dead simple and delicious.

Carrot and Tuna Salad

Serves 4

3 medium carrots, peeled
½ red onion, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
1 tin of canned tuna, drained

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Soy sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice carrots thinly on a diagonal then stack three or four carrot slices and then slice lengthways to form long julienne cuts.
2. Mix julienne carrots, onion, garlic and oil in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave for 2-5 minutes, depending on your microwave, until the carrots are lightly cooked.
3. Mix dressing ingredients. Add the drained tuna and then dressing and mix well. Serve hot or cold.

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