Rhubarb juice
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Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb juiceIf there is one thing guaranteed to grow in my garden, it’s rhubarb. Every winter I look at my root, wish I’d dug it up and separated it and assume the worse. Then, as the soil get a bit warmer around February/March, the little green and pink stalks poke through, and they won’t stop until summer. This rhubarb juice really makes the most of it.

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Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica Manchester
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Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta – Iberica Manchester

7 stars, 1 unforgettable meal 

Last week I had what I can safely say was one of the best meals of my life. And I had it right here in Manchester with Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta at Iberica.

Executive Chef of the group Nacho Manzano and his chef buddy Quique Dacosta have an eye watering seven Michelin stars between them and it really did show in this eight course extravaganza which was Spanish food like I’ve never had in my life.

The chefs have several restaurants between them, and each course was from, or inspired by, their own restaurants. The pics were taken on my phone in low light, but it was so good I decided to share them anyway. I’ve indicated with initials which dish came from which chef.

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterCrushed tomatoes (QD)
The meal started with this piece of magic. Tomato pressed into sheets like rice paper, served on top of a tomato mousse. It tasted like the smell of tomato plants in greenhouses in summer if that makes sense?

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterNacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterSea urchins (NM)
My first sea urchin. Gently cooked (because they are coming to the end of the season) with yoghurt and some subtle spices.

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterLemon fish (QD)
Served alongside the sea urchins because the chefs wanted them to be eaten immediately alongside each other. The foam was like the strongest lemon sherbet sweet you could ever imagine eating – it literally took my breath away! Underneath were chunks of fish in lemon juice. Really fresh and delicious.

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterNacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterSoft shell crab (NM)
I loved this. The shell in question was described as a seasoned wonton and I smashed through to the beautiful crab meat underneath.

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterNacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterCherry gazpacho with prawns (QD)
Is there a more beautiful dish than this? We poured the soup in the bowl and mixed in the prawns, fruit caviar and flowers.

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterHake salad (NM)
Just cooked fish, hollandaise and dried egg.

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterNacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterAshes rice (QD)
The dish that finished me. This had layer on layer of truffles, meaty stock, rice…it was so rich that I couldn’t finish it. Me, I know. I don’t know what to say except that I miss it!

Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta - Iberica ManchesterRoasted apples (NM)
Rosemary cream isn’t for me, but I did really like the cider clouds.

Not only was the food outstanding, was also ridiculously good value. The paired wine alone was worth the meal price as these weren’t the tiny sips you so often get with paired menus. Just ask my tipsy hubby! The staff were brilliant, and the chefs made the effort to come round and chat (with a translator for some bits!) to the tables. Oh and there was ham and cheese to take home which is always a bonus.

The event was the brain child of photographer and blogger Bacon on the Beech- check out his post here for amazing images of the chefs and food. I am hoping that there will be more special events like this to come because Nacho Manzano and Quique Dacosta were a brilliant partnership and I will reserve a table right now for anything that can come close.

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