“There’s a background of vanilla and tingly acidity from the passion fruit and lime”Luca Cappellari on his spicy cocktail
It's a cold time of year. But never fear, The Artful Diner knows one sure-fire way to pick yourself up when it’s miserable outside: fabulous food and heart-warming cocktails. Here are some top ideas from head chefs, from ingenious dinner party dishes and DIY tips to a spicy cocktail that’ll warm you up inside and out.
Back to basics
Hearty food is a guaranteed crowd pleaser in the chilly months. Robin Tarver from the Royal Exchange says two of his favourite winter pick-me-up recipes are simple and quite easy to make: honey and walnut flapjack (pictured above) and deep-fried pig’s trotter and ham hock.
Host a party like no other
Sure it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you should forgo indulgent events with friends and family. Alan Jones, head chef at Almeida, suggests planning a mid-winter dinner party with a fresh and wholesome menu. The best way to impress guests (while keeping their waistlines in check) is to feature a menu with uplifting dishes that are easy to make and packed with nutrients.
“Poached south-coast day-boat fish with a potage of oysters and fettuccine of aromatic vegetables has the wow factor and is perfect for a little dinner party,” says Alan. He recommends mixing up the fish you choose for this dish – for example, salmon, gurnard, cod or bass – and serving it with some warm crusty bread and a light, fresh white wine. It’s a tasty and healthy alternative that will balance out a more decadent treat for dessert.
See Alan’s poached fish with oysters recipe here.
A taste of Mexico
If you’re dreaming of a beach break to Mexico to escape the winter blues, try creating your own Latin American-style cocktail to help pick you up instead. Senior bartender at Le Pont de la Tour, Luca Cappellari, has created a special cocktail he likes to call La Mexicaine. It comes from the same family as the Collins (like Tom Collins), but instead of soda water you use ginger beer to top it up.
With its spicy pepper hint and soft herbal notes, the cocktail features Gran Centenario Plata tequila and is made with 100% agave azul. According to Luca, it leaves a lovely ginger flavour and heat in your throat.
“There’s a background of vanilla and tingly acidity from the passionfruit and lime,” he says. “The earthiness comes from the agave. Agave and ginger are natural companions, like a perfect marriage.”
See Luca’s La Mexicaine recipe here.
Other great pick-me-up ideas…
Try cooking with the following ingredients to help pick you up:
- Butternut squash
- Brazil nuts
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