Valentine’s Cocktail: The Rose Of Valentino

Every year as Valentine’s Day nears, I can’t help but think of the history of this day dedicated to love.  There is a lot of debate regarding the origins, but my favorite is the legend of Italian bishop, Valentin of Terni.  Valentin of Terni was said to marry forbidden couples such as slaves and soldiers and after the ceremony he presented the newly wed couple with flowers. People believed that the couples married by Valentin were quite blessed.

Fittingly, the Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel Capella Bar team has created aValentine’s cocktail to celebrate the event.  Called “The Rose of Valentino” this is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday!  Of course, some of you are too far away to celebrate their Valentine’s Day with us, but fortunately I am able to bring the drink to you!

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The Rose of Valentino

Ingredients

2 cl Belsazar Rosé

2 cl Chambord

4 cl Kombucha

8 cl sparkling wine or Champagne

Served with a dried rose.

Preparation

Take a cocktail glass and fill it with ice cubes to chill it. Wait about one minute and empty the glass.  Now, measure the Belsazar Rosé, Chambord and Kombucha and pour in the glass. Finally, infuse the drink with sparkling wine or Champagne (whatever you or your Valentine prefers) and decorate it with a dried rose.

Now, toast to love this romantic season!

Das Beste am Weihnachtsmarkt: Gebrannte Mandeln

Der Winter ist mir die liebste Zeit im Jahr, weshalb ich versuche jeden Moment so gut wie möglich auszukosten. Die Weihnachtszeit bringt so viele Kindheitserinnerungen zurück – mit Freunden und Familie in Düsseldorf und auf der ganzen Welt. Meine absolute Lieblingsbeschäftigung ist das Besuchen der Weihnachtsmärkte.

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Allein in Düsseldorf haben wir 12 verschiedene Christkindlmärkte in der Stadt verteilt, die vom 19. November bis zum 23. Dezember geöffnet sind. Ich habe schon viele Märkte in Deutschland besucht und muss sagen, dass jeder einzelne auf eine andere Art besonders ist. Dennoch gibt es ein Merkmal, welches einen guten von einem überragenden Weihnachtsmarkt unterscheidet: Die Qualität der gebrannten Mandeln, welche an den kleinen Verkaufshäuschen angeboten werden.

Wusstet Ihr, dass die Herstellung von gebrannten Mandeln seit mehr als hundert Jahren Tradition hat? Auch heute noch hat jeder Mandelröster sein eigenes Rezept und Produktionsgeheimnis. Vielleicht sind dies nur kleine Unterschiede, dennoch können sie den endgültigen Geschmack der Mandeln beeinflussen.

In einem alten Kochbuch von 1870 habe ich ein sehr einfaches Rezept gefunden, bei dem man einfach nicht anders kann, als es auszuprobieren. Für das Rezept benötigt man nur 500g Zucker in Wasser gelöst, worin 500g Mandeln gekocht und gebraten werden. Danach werden die Mandeln mit Zimt bestreut und im heißen Ofen noch einmal geröstet, sodass sie ihren typischen Glanz bekommen.

Wenn Ihr den leckeren Geschmack und den unverkennbaren Duft von frisch gerösteten Mandeln genau so mögt wie ich, dann besucht doch in den nächsten Wochen mit mir gemeinsam die Weihnachtsmärkte in und um Düsseldorf. Natürlich helfen die Persönlichen Assistenten vom Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel auch gerne bei der Suche nach Eurem persönlichen Lieblings-Weihnachtsmarkt.

Wenn Ihr gerne gebrannte Mandeln außerhalb der Weihnachtszeit genießen möchtet, kann ich Euch die Düsseldorfer Mandelrösterei empfehlen. Hier könnt Ihr den Geschmack von Weihnachten ganze 365 Tage im Jahr erleben!

A Unique Chicken Satay Recipe

With Singapore’s 49th National Day just around the corner on 9 August 2014, I decided to catch up with Capella Singapore’s Junior Executive Sous Chef, Aaron Goh, to talk about local food. As proud Singaporeans, we love our food. Visitors to our country often comment that Singaporeans are seen eating all day long – it is true! We have 24-hour coffee shops and hawker stalls such as Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, Newtown Hawker Centre, Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre and more all around the country just to satiate our huge appetites!

Chef Aaron shared, during our conversation that he was working on a very Singaporean-inspired dish Tiger Beer Chicken Satay. Yes, you heard right! Chicken satay marinated in Singapore’s national beer, Tiger Beer.

It sounded too delicious, so I persuaded him to share the recipe with you in celebration of National Day!  And if you happen to be in Singapore for the holiday, make plans to join Aaron at the hotel and try it yourself.

Chef Aaron's Tiger Beer Chicken Satay

Chef Aaron’s Tiger Beer Chicken Satay

Tiger Beer Chicken Satay Recipe

Ingredients

4 chicken legs and thighs (preferred) or 4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
Bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 2 hours to avoid burning)
1 Bottle Tiger Beer

Spice Paste:

1tsp coriander powder
2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
6 shallots (peeled)
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
4 tbsp cooking oil
1tsp chili powder
2 tsp turmeric powder (kunyit)
4 tsp of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1tsp oyster sauce
1 cucumber (skin peeled and cut into small pieces)
1 small onion (quartered)

Method:

  1. Cut the chicken meat into small cubes and marinate in Tiger beer overnight.
  2. Grind the Spice Paste in a food processor.
  3. Add in a little water if needed.
  4. Marinate the chicken pieces with the spice paste for 10-12 hours.
  5. Thread the meat onto the bamboo skewers and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  6. Serve hot with the fresh cucumber pieces and onions.

Chef Rurik Salazar’s Tamales Nejos

February 2nd marked a very popular holiday in Mexico, Candlemas day, or Día de la Candelaria.  At Capella Ixtapa we honored Mexican traditions by serving tamales.  But these weren’t just any tamales!  These were Executive Chef Rurik Salazar’s special Tamales Nejos!

They were absolutely delicious and, while I had never made tamales before, I simply had to learn how.  Chef Rurik agreed to teach me, ensuring me the process was simpler than I thought.  Indeed he was right and now I am sharing the recipe with you:

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Tamales Nejos Recipe

Masa or Tamal dough

  • 8 Tbsp of Corn Flour
  • 1 Tbsp of Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • N/A Water
  • Ashes of a tortilla

Mix the corn flour with the vegetable shortening, add water slowly and whisk it up until gets spongy, seasoning with the salt and the tortilla ashes.

Duck Tamales Nejos

  • 1 square of a plantain leaf (15 cm x15 cm)
  • 1 Tbsp of shredded duck breast
  • 1 date

Heat up the plantain leaf until it gets soft in a pan on a low flame.  In the middle of the leaf put the tamal dough and stuff it with the shredded duck and the date.  Wrap it like a candy, and steam for 18 minutes.  Garnish with some green mole or any kind of salsa.

 

Buen provecho!

El Chef Rurik Salazar Nos Comparte Su Receta Para Tamales Nejos

Febrero 2 marca una de las fiestas mexicanas más populares, el Día de la Candelaria. En Capella Ixtapa hicimos honor a esta tradicional fiesta mexicana sirviendo tamales. Pero estos no eran tamales ordinarios! Eran Tamales Nejos, especialidad de nuestro Chef Ejecutivo Rurik Salazar!

Estaban deliciosos, y mientras que nunca he cocinado tamales antes, tenía que aprender como. El Chef Rurik accedió a enseñarme, asegurándome primero, que el proceso era más simple de lo que creía. Y de hecho tuvo razón, por lo cual aquí les comparto la receta a ustedes:

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Receta para preparar Tamales Nejos

Masa para tamales o nixtamal

  • 8 cucharadas soperas de harina de maíz
  • 1 cucharada de manteca vegetal o
  • 1 pizca de sal
  • Agua
  • Cenizas de tortillas

Mezclar el harina con la manteca, añadir agua lentamente y batir hasta que quede una masa esponjosa, sazonar con la sal y las cenizas de tortilla.

Tamales Nejos rellenos de pato

  • 1 cuadrado de hoja de plátano (15 cm x15 cm)
  • 1 cucharada de pechuga de pato deshebrada
  • 1 dátil

Calentar en un sartén a flama baja la hoja de plátano hasta que suavize. Al centro de la hoja poner la masa de tamal y rellenarla con el pato deshebrado y el dátil. Envolverla como si fuera un dulce, y cocinarla al vapor durante 18 minutos. Se puede agregar mole verde o cualquier tipo de salsa como guarnición.

 

Buen provecho!

Singapore’s National Day

Just around the corner is Singapore’s National Day!  Recognizing the day we gained independence, the holiday falls on the 9th of August and is day unity throughout our island nation.  This year we will be celebrating Singapore’s 47th Birthday.

People display their national pride with songs, flags and private celebrations.  But it is the much-anticipated National Day Parade that gets the most attention.

Floats are adorned with Singapore’s most beloved icons.  Military and civilian contingents march in unison and with passion.  There are even exhilarating air displays by fighter jets, as well as a fireworks spectacle.  The multi-ethnic performances, which incorporates traditional instruments and dance, reflects the harmonious mix of cultures that make Singapore unique.

This National Day, my family and I will be spending time at home enjoying local multi-cultural delicacies for lunch such as chicken rice, Satay (Malay barbeque meat skewers), chicken curry and a variety of Nyonya Kueh (Local desserts and cakes).  After that at about 6 pm, my family, along with the rest of Singapore, will tune in and watch the National Day Parade live on television. I am so excited!

The staff at Capella Singapore originate from various countries throughout the world, including France, Germany, Sweden, Holland, China, Philippines, Myanmar and India (just to name a few).  I love hearing about their excitement and anticipation of Singapore’s National Day festivities (some even plan to attend the parade live!).  It is this coming together that really captures the spirit of Singapore and its diverse inhabitants.