Your recipe Against Hunger Ibérica launches Tapas recipe competition for Action Against Hunger

Competition: 25 November – 8 January 2014

Final: 19 January 2015 | Tickets: £35

Authentic Spanish restaurant Ibérica is raising awareness and funds for humanitarian charity Action Against Hunger, by offering consumers the opportunity to have their very own tapas recipe included on Ibérica’s menu. The winner of the recipe competition will also jet off to Asturias, Spain, where they will visit Ibérica’s Executive Head Chef Nacho Manzano’s two Michelin starred Casa Marcial.

Calling All Budding Chefs

Foodies are invited to submit their own Spanish tapas recipe via Ibérica’s website. All entries must be received by 8 January 2015, with the five best recipes shortlisted and announced on 9 January 2015. The finalists will be invited to attend exclusive 1-on-1 masterclasses with Ibérica’s Group Head Chef César García, to develop their dishes and ensure that they can be rolled out in a restaurant kitchen. Competition entry page:

Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

The Tapas Showdown

On 19 January Ibérica Canary Wharf will host the competition finale, in which the 5 finalists will present their dishes to an impressive panel of judges: The London Evening Standard’s Comment Editor and wine critic Andrew Neather, Olive magazine Editor Christine Hayes, the founder of 3 Michelin starred DiverXO and casual dining StreetXO David Muñoz and Ibérica’s Executive Head Chef Nacho Manzano, who has two Michelin Stars for Casa Marcial and one Michelin Star for La Salgar, to his name.

Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire

Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire

Consumers will be invited to attend the event and be a part of the judging process, as they sample the final 5 dishes, along with a selection of Ibérica’s signature dishes, alongside the judges. There’ll also be a drinks reception and a raffle, with all money raised going to Action Against Hunger.

Tickets cost £35 and can be purchased at:

1st Prize: The winning dish will feature as a special on Ibérica’s menu from 15 February – 15 April 2015 and will be available at Ibérica Marylebone, Ibérica Farringdon and Ibérica Canary Wharf.

For the ultimate culinary experience, the winner will also fly to Asturias and visit Nacho Manzano’s two Michelin starred restaurant Cassia Marcial. They’ll also receive £300 to spend at Ibérica and the chance to record a professional video for Ibérica’s Recipe Club.

2nd Prize: £300 to spend at Ibérica and a private meal for friends and family cooked by César García at the finalist’s home.

3rd Prize: £300 to spend at Ibérica Restaurants.

 A Worthy Cause

One pound from the proceeds of each winning dish sold will be donated to help support Action Against Hunger’s lifesaving projects. Ibérica is proud to be partnering such a commendable cause, with the charity working to end world hunger.

Sumptuous Secret Supper Club with Malaysian Chef Norman Musa

A secret supper club is always going to be a cool concept and I love the anticipation of where you’ll be eating and what the dishes will be that evening. I tend to build these type of nights up with schoolgirl excitement, it’s my new take on Christmas now that I know ‘Santa’ won’t be coming down the chimney.

I couldn’t wait to arrive at the location, we were told the night before to meet at Hackney Wick station. Although it’s the other side of London for me, I was hoping it would be worth the slep across town. I know … I’m very lazy and have the Londonite mantra,’that I do not cross London at the weekend’ … however, with the promise of great Malaysian delights it didn’t take much persuasion.

We arrive to be greeted by Chef Norman’s excellent staff and a special little helper one of the staff’s sons, offering us a tray of amuse bouche Malayasian treats, all very cute. The venue is Chef Norman’s private residence when he’s in London and it looks directly out onto the Olympic Park, uber cool.

There were a few different groups of people but everybody takes a seat and we start to mix in together as the first dish of the evening arrives. The menu is extensive with 7 different dishes of Malaysian noodles, the first, dish 1 is a Glass Noodle salad with shredded chicken, chilli, spring onions and soy sauce served cold. It’s completely delicious, so good I’m hard-pressed not to eat more .. but with 6 more dishes to come I’d better pace myself, right?

Ning's Glass Noodles

Ning’s Glass Noodles

Malaysian Celebrity Chef Norman Musa

Malaysian Celebrity Chef Norman Musa

Next the ubiquitous spring rolls, ‘Popiah’ with glass noodles and shitake mushrooms, ok but not amazing, they quickly clear these two appetisers and start to bring the first of the Laksas. The apartment is a huge warehouse style open space – and we can happily watch Chef Norman chop, stir and talk through the dishes to his guests.

Coconut-based curry soup

Coconut-based curry soup

Bihun Goreng Satay with Chicken

Bihun Goreng Satay with Chicken

Dish 3 is a ‘Penang Assam Laksa’ Sour fish-based soup with thick rice noodles, shredded fish, finely sliced vegetables, cucumber, red chillies, pineapple, mint, lettuce and ginger and it’s soo very tasty. I tuck in and conversation stops around the table while we in-hale the delightful flavours. Moving swiftly on the dish gets taken away and dish 4 is placed in front of us, a coconut-based curry ‘Laksa Johor’, with toasted coconut, dried prawns, lemongrass, galangal, spices, vietnamese coriander, cucumber and freshly squeezed lime juice. I’m in food heaven so far.. some of my favourite ingredients in one dish!

My Secret Supper Buddies

My Secret Supper Buddies

Next on the menu dish 5 ‘Char Kuey Teow with Prawns’ this menu really is a marathon of noodles and laksas and I’m still trying to pace myself and not get too full too quickly, as I know the best is still to come. Thick rice noodles wok-fried with soy sauce, chilli sauce, beansprouts and King prawns – delish! I’m beginning to wilt but as dish 6 arrives I get my second wind, at the sight of some devine looking ‘Bihun Goreng Satay with chicken’ served in cool little takeaway boxes. This is a wok fried dish of vermicelli rice noodles cooked with Malay satay paste, egg, vegetables and chicken, a subtle taste with a peanut flavour it’s nice and light. Chef Norman talks us through the dish and the traditional Malayasian cooking style he uses, it’s good to know that he and his team are planning the launch of a new restaurant in London in 2014, Ning London. It will be launching off the back of these secret supper nights in London and their already successful venture in Manchester with Ning Manchester.

Our final Laksa of the evening dish 7 is a ‘Kari Laksa with chicken’ a coconut-based soup with vermicelli noodles, bean curd puffs, beansprouts and chicken. It a challenge but so tasty I just had to have seconds! Thankfully dessert dish 8 was light and cool – a ‘cendol’ which is a delicious sweet iced dessert made with lots of crushed ice in a glass, coconut milk, palm syrup and red beans with a ‘famous’ pandan-flavoured strands of green rice flour. Ah.. The End.

Cendol Iced Pandon Dessert

Cendol Iced Pandon Dessert

It’s all good and we roll home to South London with my girls – dreaming of the new Ning London and our next Laksa.

Breakfast at The Alice House, Queen’s Park, London


The Alice House

Alice House freshly baked Muffins

Alice House freshly baked Muffins

The Alice House

The Alice House, Queen's Park

The Alice House, Queen’s Park


A plate of delicious scrambled eggs with Smoked salmon and two plates of Eggs Benedict with Ham on one and Spinach were a welcome sight on yet another cold and wet London morning. A great shelter and welcome retreat from the rain

Breakfast for three including Lattes and service = £30.00 Opening hours 9.30 -00.30 Mon-Thurs Saturday until 1.30am, Sunday 9.30am -11.30pm


Meribel La Coeur de les trois Vallees….a skiers dream

Invited to ski by an instructor friend for a final weekend before the end of the season, in Meribel in Les trois Vallees, how could I resist… flight booked, transfer booked, bags packed.

Despite a slightly shaky start thanks to fog in London, I eventually rocked up in Meribel 24 hours later after being transferred from City Airport to Heathrow via Frankfurt to Geneva.. oh the joys of travel. I arrive into resort to beautiful blue sunny skies and head straight for the slopes, there is still plenty of snow and the pistes are extremely well kept.

This season has seen some of the best snow in recent years in Europe and the ski industry is booming at a time when perhaps economically it could be seeing more  challenging times. Skiers and snowboarders are however, thankfully choosing to take a winter snow sports holiday in there droves and tour operators such as Tui has taken the decision to extend the season by an extra week.

Méribel is a ski resort in the  Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps, situated near the town of Moutiers. Meribel has three neighbouring villages in the Les Allues commune: Meribel Centre, Meribel-Mottaret and Meribel Village which is in the heart of the 3 Valleys and interlinked to the largest ski area in the world. Situated at 1,400 km above sea level it was originally founded by a Scotsman Colonel Peter Lindsay in 1936 who was looking for a new winter sports area away from Austria and Germany as the Nazi regime began to grow.  Lindsay used specialised architects Paul Grillo and his partner Christian Durupt, as he wanted to maintain the Savoyard style and control the building development of the resort through his property company.

With so much alpine terrain to choose from it’s hard to decide where to go first, but my guide takes the lead and we head for some easy blue and red runs in La Sauliere. The slopes are fantastic and easy for beginners to navigate as well as intermediates. I even ventured down some mogul fields quite well given it was a while since I’d attempted them.

Meribel by J.M Gouedard.

The 3 Valley’s has some of the best terrain in the Alps, from skiing down through the alpine trees into La Tania and across the mountains to Courchevel it’s beautifully breathtaking. As we ski down towards Courchevel we see the Courchevel airport which was featured in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”, it’s the world’s 7th most dangerous airport due to the short runway only 525 m (1,722 ft) with a gradient of 18.5% and nosedive cliff tops. I can see why it’s dangerous! note to self not to use it, an unlikely possibility as it’s namely Oligarch’s arriving on their Private Lear Jets.

After a morning’s skiing and trying to keep up with L’Instructor and not look too silly (falls x 2, don’t think he noticed) we stopped for lunch. Dining on the slopes is always such a luxury, and “Le Blanchot”  did not fail to impress with its stunning mountain views and gastronomic menu choice. We opted for the more traditional French Savoie dishes of  “Chaud fromage en boite” with potatoes, delicious french bread and salad and a traditional “Savoie rosti”. There is also a skiers ‘ dish of the day’ and a two course ‘skiers menu’ a good way to enjoy “Le Blanchot” without blowing the budget. The service is very good and a great spot for people watching or catching a few rays.

Back in the village and Meribel is thriving, there were lots of people buzzing about, French and Brits out in force together and enjoying their afternoon. There are lots of bars and restaurants to choose from in the village, apres ski is big business here. We go for Barometer bar which is slightly more relaxed and just off the piste, the atmosphere is fun and everybody seems to be in a good mood.

For dinner we opted for “La Fromagerie”, a cheese shop by day and basement restaurant by night. It was absolutely charming in that very Gallic way, the half wheel of raclette was everything I had been dreaming of with lots of yummy cheese drizzled over gherkins and potatoes.. just goregous. My Seasonnaire was at pains to tell me that whatever I wore to dinner I would need to wash immediately afterwards from the overpowering smell of cheese. It was bad but not as bad as a ‘ Munster Cheese’ smell we had to endure on one car trip back from France, courtesy of my Father.

After a brief but amazing weekend in Meribel I can see why everybody has the ski bug it is just so much fun. I’m certainly planning my next trip out there for 2013/14 season.

Flight from : London City Airport – Geneva 1hr45 with Swiss Air/ British Airways/ Lufthansa

Transfer from: Geneva to Meribel – 3hr (threevalleetransfers –

British Ski & Snowboard School –