Category Archives: Interviews with chefs & food brands

How to make the perfect Gin & Tonic… and how not to!



… and on that note, oooh will you look at the time, it’s four o’clock and Friday afternoon humn…? 😉


Making the most out of store cupboard olives – Top tips from Celeb Chef Omar Allibhoy


Olives from Spain has teamed up with celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy, as seen on This Morning and Gordon Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, to inspire us Brits to cook authentic Spanish dishes more often.  To help you experiment in the kitchen, Omar has kindly offered gastrogossip some top olive tips and a yummy recipe – enjoy!

Top tips from Omar Allibhoy on making the most of Spanish Olives:

  • Olives can be enjoyed at any time of the day
  • Use them to complement a glass of Sherry, a Dry Martini or any other dry cocktail
  • Have as a pre-dinner snack or an entrée
  • Olives are equally impressive served as part of a main meal in any hot dish – turkey, chicken, duck, rice, veal – as well as many other gastronomic specialities which are popular all around the world
  • Olives are a common salad ingredient because of their freshness and natural characteristics. They go especially well in Mediterranean-style salads with other flavoursome ingredients like tuna, onions, anchovies and capsicums
  • Cold meat selections are a favourite across the globe and olives are a great accompaniment because they bring out the flavour of the meats
  • Roasts / casseroles / tagines: These kinds of slow-cooked dishes are internationally popular and olives are frequently added to give them a touch of the Mediterranean!
  • Of course there are many other things that olives can be served with too, so why don’t you open a jar and experiment today!

Lubina a la sarten con aceitunas, piquillos y fino. (Pan fried sea bass with Spanish olives, piquillo peppers and dry Sherry wine)

4 pieces of seabass of 150g each.

1 tin of pitted purple Spanish olives

1 tin of piquillo pepers

1 handfull of Spanish Caperberries

100 ml of Spanish olive oil

4 garlic cloves

1 small glass of dry Fino wine

Some cracked black pepper

A pinch of salt

2 sprigs of flat parsley

Wash and pat dry your seabass fillets and put to one side to pan fry later. Open the tin of piquillo peppers, half them and remove any seeds. Drain the caperberries and olives put aside also.

Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves, fry over a medium heat until golden with half of the olive oil. Add the piquillo peppers and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the purple Spanish olives and caperberries and sauté again. Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of Fino wine. Let the alcohol burn and sprinkle a bit of finely chopped parsley. Taste the seasoning and alter if needed.

Preheat a non stick pan over a high heat and pour a bit of Spanish olive oil. Pan fry the seabass fillets skin side down until ¾ done, turn over, season the skin with some salt flakes and cook for one more minute.

Serve a bed of the Spanish olives accompaniment and place the seabass on the top, drizzle a bit of olive oil to finish off.

Follow Spanish Olives on Twitter for all the latest news and ideas on how to incorporate them into your cooking @Taste_of_Spain or find them on Facebook

Paramount opens to the public: interview with Pierre Condou


Standing tall above central London, Paramount really is a site to behold.

Open for two years now, the stylish roof top club, designed by Tom Dixon, has to date been for private members only but just recently it opened its doors to the public.  Offering a stylish venue for drinking, eating and generally enjoying life, and coupled with unparalleled views of the city, it’s a winner in my eyes.

Walking round the top floor bar looking across an amazing vista of London, with a glass of Prosecco in my hand, I certainly felt all the stresses of the busy day float away.   Unless you are there to see it first hand it’s hard to explain how breathtaking it is.   I overheard someone describing the view to a friend; “what a great place to propose”, which sums it up well I think.

The owner Pierre Condou, took a few moments to answer some questions.

Q: Why did you start off as ‘members only’ and why decide now to extend it to the public?

A: The concept for the club was thought of in 2004; the changes of the economic climate by the time we opened (2008) did not give the business the groundswell that was anticipated

Q: How did you manage to bag the venue with the best view in London?

A: Perseverance

Q: What’s your favourite dish on the menu?

A: I absolutely adore the Haddock chowder that Colin creates

Q: Is there a signature cocktail you enjoy?

A: Cosmopolitan- Amanda mixes an amazing one

Q: What’s your best view from the restaurant?

A: Dusk looking east from 33rd with a cosmopolitan in hand

Q: Are there any plans to replicate the restaurant anywhere else, if so where?

A: There is a kernel of an idea there but yet to be fleshed out

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: Making people happy and replete which I hope I do at Paramount

Q: If there was one thing you could change about the restaurant, what would it be?

A: The road works to be finalised

Q: Who do you view as your biggest competition and why?

A: We are unique in central London, so none perceived

I ate on the floor below in a separate room to the main restaurant which is available for private hire.  I ordered summer truffle and sweet pea risotto, with coddled hen egg, followed by sea bass with potato gnocchi, asparagus, samphire and caviar cream, and we all shared a plate of British and French cheeses and the summer bavarois with white chocolate and lime.

I can safely say I was full to the brim by the end of the evening.  If I am to be really critical I’d say we had to wait a bit too long for the food to arrive, and the prices listed on the menu were perhaps a little high – having said that, the waiters were charming, the food was tasty and beautifully presented, the flavours were well balanced, and I will certainly never forget that view; overall I enjoyed my evening immensely.

Centre Point, 101-103 New Oxford Street, Westminster, London. WC1A 1DD

Enquiries & Reservations: +44 (0)20 7420 2900

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