Saturday 17 October 2009

Ferran Adria

Last Monday I went to the Restaurant Show with Rafi and Daz, Sabor head chef and one of his team. Without a doubt the highlight for us was to listen to Ferran Adria, head chef of "El Bulli", which is widely considered the best restaurant in the world (voted as such by the judging panel of Restaurant magazine for the last three years). He was interviewd by the editor of Restaurant magazine, and was there to promote his new book A Day at El Bulli. With the first question the man was off like a rocket to share with us his passion.

There is no easy way to explain the food of Ferran Adria at El Bulli. You need to eat there and that's difficult because his 50 seat restaurant, a two hour drive north of Barcelona in Spain, only takes 8,000 people a year and two million apply for places. Most of us simply won't make it there, not even by having a personal plea to the man himself.

If you've ever wondered why so many restaurants now offer dozens of courses in degustation, it is Adria's influence. If you wonder why chefs are serving ingredients foraged from the seashore - or spices from Africa or flavours from
South America that you've never heard of - it is because he started searching for new ingredients and combinations.

It was Adria who first used seaweed extracts to make flavoured, wispy foams, or synthesized spheres of flavour - for instance olive oil balls that taste of the pure essence of olive and that look like olives themselves. He started cooking - or freezing really - in liquid nitrogen at -196°C. He started deconstructing dishes and presenting food as works of art.

Speaking in Spanish through a translator, which was great for me as I did not want to have anything lost in translation, he says that for him "creativity is not copying". What he is interested in is the food and making diners happy rather than business. That is the course he decided to follow in 1994, ten years after he joined El Bulli. It was then that he broke out of the mould of traditional French haute cuisine, established by great chefs such as Auguste Escoffier and Antoine Carême before him.

Ferran Adria's work is labour intensive. He says that in western developed countries it won't be economic to develop avant-garde, high-end cuisine. The manpower required is enormous. Adria has 70 people working in his restaurant to serve just 50 people each night. He said that El Bulli is not a profitable enterprise. It is supported by a range of spin-off businesses and consultancies that in his own words 'bought the freedom for him, to be able to do what he does at El Bulli.

Without a doubt he is the most inspiring person I have come across in the food industry and listening to his philosophy and experiences was a very enlightening experience.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Mercedes Sosa Tribute

Many of us at Sabor were sorry to hear, earlier this week, that Mercedes Sosa, the Argentine folk singer who became a powerful voice of resistance to authoritarian Latin American regimes, died on 4th October in Buenos Aires. A leading light of the "nueva canción" (new song) movement that pushed for social justice in the 1960s and '70s, Sosa was 74.

I grew up listening to her music, as students we always played our favorite songs. She possessed a deep, alto voice and a strong sense of conviction, and had a warm, engaging personality. These qualities helped to make her one of the few Latin American musicians who could, over five decades, command a wide international audience. Described as "the voice of Latin America", she was revered as a commentator on the political and social turmoil that afflicted the region.

Driven into exile in Europe in 1979, Sosa returned to Argentina in 1982 and enjoyed a career renaissance and enormous popularity that endured throughout her life. "La Negra," as she was known, always sang in Spanish. "Her undisputed talent, her honesty and her profound convictions leave a great legacy to future generations," her family said in a statement.

If you're not familiar with Mercedes' work already, do take a look at this video on youtube, an excellent performance of one of her most moving songs.

Thanks to life (Gracias a la Vida)
by Violeta Parra
(translated by Ron Adams, 10/07/09)

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me two bright eyes that, when I open them,
Can perfectly distinguish black from white
And in the distant sky with her starry backdrop,
And from within the multitudes, find the one I love.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me hearing that in all its wide ranging
Records night and day, the rattle of chains and canary songs,
Tyrant shouts, the roar of war, slander, misfortune’s storms,
And the tender, loving song.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me meaning and learning.
From them come the words I’m thinking and now confess:
"Mother," "Friend," "Brother"; and the light shining
On the road of the soul where love travels.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me the strength in my tired feet.
With them I have crossed cities and seas
Valleys and deserts, mountains and plains
To your house, down your street to your heart.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me the passion that shakes my soul
When I see the fruits of real human understanding,
When I see far beyond the bad to the good,
When I look deep into your clear eyes.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me so much laughter and so many tears.
With them I rescue happiness from the crush of pain—
The two materials that form my song,
And your song, that is my song too,
And everyone’s song, that is my special song.
Here’s to the life, which has given me so much.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Empanadas Paisas

Empanadas are one of the most traditional Latin-American dishes, with their origin in the north of Spain, introduced by the moors during their occupation of the Iberian peninsula. Today you can find empanadas in almost any high street in Latin America as one of our favourite street snacks. There are lots of types of empanadas, and different varieties are typical of different territories, both the filling and the pastry can be made with different ingredients. Beef, chicken, pork, or fish, which may or may not be mixed with vegetables, are all to be found. The empanada dough is generally made with wheat-flour, and can be either baked or fried, but in countries like Colombia and Ecuador, empanadas are made with cooked corn or cornmeal, which makes them a bit more crunchy. In the Caribbean the dough is sometimes made with a black bean puree. Empanadas are best served hot and are usually accompanied with a spicy salsa.

Depending on the size empanadas can be served as a canapé, starter, main course, or even dessert - obviously depending on the filling. Empanadas de Cambrai are a particular favourite in parts of Colombia, the pastry is made with cassava flour, and the empanada is filled with a sweet guava paste, rather like Spanish membrillo. Empanadas are a good party dish as they can be made in advance and fried or baked just before you serve them.

In this article I want to give you a recipe for the Empanadas Paisas, which are traditional from Antioquia and the coffee region of Colombia where I come from. As a child I knew that if my mother was making empanadas, we were expecting a visitor. We all learned the trade from our mother, but out of five brothers and sisters my sisters Nidia and Liliana are the empanada queens. Nidia, whose recipes I'm sharing with you, makes them using shredded beef, her empanadas are smaller, Liliana minces the beef and makes them bigger. This just goes to show, that even in the same family, the basis may be the same but the detail is very much a personal preference.

Empanadas Paisas (beef and potato patties)


  • 500 grams beef brisket
  • 20 grams each of spring and red onions, chopped
  • 10 grams cumin seedsSalt and pepper
  • 40 ml of vegetable oil
  • 500 ml of water
  • 125 grams each of chopped red onions and chopped spring onions
  • 4 small tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 400 grams (4 medium-sized) potatoes, boiled in their skins
  • 500 grams dry yellow corn or you can use cornmeal

Sauté the additional onions and spring onions in oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry an additional 3 or 4 minutes. Mix in the ground meat and meat stock and cook for about 10 minutes. Peel and mash the cooled, boiled potatoes and add them to the meat and vegetable mixture. Mix the salt, pepper and ground cumin seed into the meat and potato mixture. If you can find it, add triguisar which is a saffron mix you can get at the Latin markets for the seasoning.

Boil the dry yellow corn meal in sufficient water to cover the corn, for about halfan hour. The key to good dough is not to overcook the corn. Put the cooked corn through a grinder. Alternatively you can use cornmeal, follow the instructions on the packet, and make sure the cornmeal is cooked otherwise the dough is going to crumble.

To the ground corn adds salt. Knead the dough until it is thoroughly mixed and form a firm ball. Pick off small pieces and form into the size of small balls. Flatten each piece thin, with the help of a piece of plastic and a rolling pin. Put about 1 spoonful of the meat mixture in the centre of the flattened ball, depending on how big you would like to make them. Fold over and pinch edges together to close and form a pretty edge, using a cup, form a half moon, cut it, put them in the fridge, until you are ready to fry. Place in deep, hot vegetable oil and fry about 3 or 4 minutes until golden brown. Remove and put on paper towels in a colander. Serve immediately or reheat in a paper bag in the oven prior to using. The meat mixture can be made in advance and stored in the freezer, but the dough must be made fresh the day of use.

Makes about 60 empanadas

Served with Aji

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Recipe for Aji


Ají is a spicy tomato and coriander salsa, that is usually is served in any Colombian Restaurant, we enjoy scooping it up to crusty meat filled empanadas, yucas fritas, also spooned over grilled meats or fish. Ají is as important to Colombians as chimichurri is to the Argentineans. This is our Sabor version, which is influence by growing up in the coffee region of Colombia.


  • 300 ml of vinegar
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 2 hot red chili peppers
  • 2 medium red onions

Finely chop the onions and coriander. Blend the chili peppers with the vinegar. Mix everything together adding salt to taste. Cumin is sometimes added also.

Thursday 3 September 2009

Totó La Momposina

Our owner/manager and many of the staff and customers of Sabor are long-term fans of Totó La Momposina, and are thrilled that she's coming to London to perform at Cargo in Shoreditch on Wednesday 16th September. Totó La Momposina is a Colombian Singer who has dedicated herself to preserving the music of the Caribbean coast of Colombian, which is a heavily rhythmic hybrid of Spanish, native South American, and Afro-Cuban influences. As such it mirrors what happened during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Many rhythms were born from this fusion, of which gaita, cumbia, porro, chalupa and mapale are perhaps the most representative. Totó herself is often referred to as 'The Queen of Cumbia'. She mastered the different styles and rhythmic variations of the Colombian Caribbean so well that she was invited to perform at the 1982 Nobel Prize ceremony for eminent novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez - another native of the region.
La Momposina was born in the village of Talaigua, on the island of Mompos, located in the Magdalena River near Colombia's northern (Caribbean) coast. Not only was her family musical (her parents were fourth-generation musicians, her father a drummer, her mother a singer and dancer), but her village was blessed with the presence of Ramona Ruiz, a skilled, veteran cantadora (female peasant singer) who helped train La Momposina in her teenage years.
La Momposina traveled up and down the Colombian coast, learning as much music and dance as she could -- from village celebrations to the common, everyday songs sung as accompaniment to daily labor. During this extended research period, La Momposina was honing her vocal and performance skills as well, discovering a rich power in her voice that soon made her extremely popular locally. In 1968 sbe formed her own band, continuing to perform at smaller local functions but now also expanding her horizons in hopes of building a professional career. Word of her vocal prowess spread quickly, and by the '70s, she had begun making international appearances, touring Europe and most of the Western Hemisphere.
In 1982, after performing at the Nobel Prize ceremony for Garcia Marquez, she left to spend four years in Paris studying the history of dance at the Sorbonne. During this time, La Momposina recorded her first album, 1985's Totó La Momposina Y Sus Tambores. She returned to Colombia in 1987, reconnecting with her roots by touring in the more immediate region, and also traveled to Cuba for further musical study. In 1991, La Momposina was invited to join Peter Gabriel's WOMAD concert festival; she toured the world once again, and subsequently recorded a second album for Gabriel's Real World label. La Candela Viva was released in 1993 to much acclaim, and helped put La Momposina in great demand at music festivals around the world. The follow-up album, Carmelina, appeared in Europe in 1996. She continued to perform across the globe, now incorporating her grandchildren, as well as her children, into her large performing troupe and elaborate stage show. Her fourth album, Pacanto, was released in 2000.Her latest U.S. release, Carmelina, originally released in Europe in 1996, is a showcase of how tradition can stay vitally alive.
"The traditional music I sing is what's been in my own family for generations and generations," she explained. "These days a lot of people have forgotten about traditional music, especially in Colombia. They want what's now. But you have to remember the past."

Sunday 23 August 2009

The Colombian Exchange and Food Fusion

This is the second part of our occasional posts about the history of Latin American food. Check out the introductory article here. At Sabor Restaurant we're interested in all the possibilities of cooking inspired by Latin American ingredients and techniques.

When Columbus returned to the New World on his second voyage, he brought cuttings for such Old World favourites as wheat, chickpeas, onions, garlic, cauliflower, bean sprouts, beets, radishes, spinach, lettuce, melons, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, pears, apricots, almonds, sugar cane, cherries, and figs. The exchange had begun. Many of the Old World plants (which had their origins in Asia and Africa as well as in Europe) adapted quickly to their new home. Sugar cane, in particular, grew well, becoming one of the staples of the economies of the islands. He also brought cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens, which quickly multiplied, thanks to the rich grass and other vegetation.

In contrast to the North America explorers, who brought their wives with them, the Spaniards in the south didn't bring women from home and instead depended on Indian women to prepare their foods. These creative women used their own foods and techniques, as well as the foods the Spaniards brought, to create new dishes that would be acceptable to Europeans, thus giving birth to the creole cuisine of Latin America. The Indians quickly adopted European animal foods, and pigs and chickens became part of Indian households. Unfortunately, for many Indians the greater variety of foodstuffs did not represent an improvement in lifestyle. However the Spaniards introduced to the New World a wide range of new ingredients, techniques, and culinary customs, just as the Moors had done in Spain over the preceding centuries.

The first settlers came from Andalusia, and their heritage is still very strong in the Andean countries. They brought oranges and olives, spices such as cumin and saffron, and the use of nuts and olive oil in cooking, which they inherited from the Moors. Tapas were invented in Andalusia, and variations of them can be found in every Latin American country, including empanadas, pinchos (small shish kebabs), croquettes, and escabeches (pickled foods), to name just a few. On the other hand, the influence of the Basques, who settled in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, is reflected in the penchant there for using fruits in savoury dishes.

The Portuguese also were arriving in South America during this period, claiming and settling along the east coast. They started their exploration in the 1500's, not long after their rivals in Spain had discovered the continent. Their influence is seen most in Brazil, where the Portuguese language is spoken and Portuguese customs and foods blended with myriad other influences to shape the region. The Dutch and French settled in other parts of Latin America, but they were not major players in the region. The Portuguese experience was different from the Spanish. In the first place, the Portuguese had no problem adapting to the tropical climate, because they were more predisposed to the tropics than the Spaniards. They brought their own foods, too, including sugar cane, bacalhau (salt cod), olives, sausages, wine for cooking, and the widespread use of eggs, cloves, cinnamon, and sugar, which the Portuguese inherited from the Moors. They also brought dishes such as cozidos (stews), cuscuz (couscous), codfish cakes, and pork with clams.

The Portuguese soon realized that the forest was extremely important as a source of food and that the Indians living there would have to teach them how those foods were processed. The Tupi-Guarani Indians had been growing cassava for about 5,000 years in the Amazon forest of Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. This root was the bread of the natives in those areas, and the Portuguese quickly adopted it in all its forms, almost to the exclusion of the wheat they brought with them. They loved the freshly made cassava bread, and many believed it to be more nourishing and digestible than wheat bread. (Ironically, cassava is nutritionally inferior to wheat).

Cassava became the basis of the Portuguese diet, and today it is part of the daily diet of millions of people in Brazil. In some areas of Venezuela and Colombia, cassava bread is consumed more than cornbread or wheat bread. Later on, when Portuguese women started to arrive, Indian women taught them how to make all sorts of delicate confections with the cassava. They also taught them the process of fermentation, which was used to prepare some of their delicacies. For example, they prepared wonderful preserves and the carimii cakes that have nourished Brazilian children for generations. The natives of Amazonia contributed the famous fish pirarucu, which in northern Brazil is sometimes more important than salt cod or beef jerky. The turtle is another important food of the region, because of the variety of its uses. Brazilians use the meat, as well as the innards, in a number of unusual dishes. They also use turtle fat for cooking. Today turtles are raised in sizes that range from the size of a hand to three to four feet in diameter. The Indians had many uses for corn as well. Fresh corn was ground to make pamuna, which was wrapped in cornhusks. Today this dish is called pamonhas, and the corn is mixed with coconut and sugar and steamed like a tamal, a contribution of Brazil's African cooks. Another Indian specialty is canjica, originally called acanijic, which has become a national dish. It is made with cracked dried corn or fresh corn. coconut, sugar, and cinnamon. The Indians contributed the practice of using leaves to wrap foods for cooking and hot peppers to season foods, which the Mrican slaves embraced wholeheartedly.

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Elegant South American Wines

It is a generally held belief that all New World wines are powerful, full of fruit, and perhaps a little brash. Whilst there are certainly many examples which support this notion, it is far from being a universal truth. In South America, there are many vineyards planted in cool climate, mountainous regions, and these can be as subtle and delicate as any European wine.
A good example is the Julio Bouchon Carmenere Reserva. This has a solid gratifying core of fruit, but presents it with an elegance reminiscent of a fine St Emilion from Bordeaux. A cool mouthfeel and soft tannins combine to make this a wine one can readily enjoy in the summer. Although it has plenty of structure to stand up to pairing with food, it is a long way from the blockbuster red some might anticipate.
Another excellent example is the Bosca Chardonnay Finca Los Nobles from Argentina. This has a real minerality, and an abundance of citrus flavours to complement its’ depth of flavour, and surprising length. The closest comparison I can find is to a Chassagne Montrachet from Burgundy, and it is remarkable value in that company.
These are just two examples of wines which might just surprise with their complexity and sheer class. Many others can be found in the region, and on the Sabor wine list!

Friday 14 August 2009

Discovering Latin America - Charities 2009

Every year the good folks at Discovering Latin America choose two good causes in Latin America to be the beneficiaries of the cultural events organised by DLA for the forthcoming year. This year’s choices were made in July, and Kiya Peru have been selected as the charity to be supported by the 8th Discovering Latin America Film Festival, which takes place later this year, whilst the proceeds of the first Discovering Latin America Literature Festival will raise funds for Raleigh International in 2010. See below for more details.

Kiya Survivors - Peru

Kiya Survivors is a Peruvian charity building and working in educational centres catering for special-needs, abused and abandoned children. Kiya also offers support to young and violated women and families living in severe poverty.
The Mayor of Chinchero, Peru donated 2 buildings to Kiya Survivors to be used as a drop in centre in the village. The rooms are in a great location but are very run down and need doing up before we can commence work in them. The drop in centre will provide immediate onsite physiotherapy, speech therapy, early stimulation sessions including weekly baby massage, support from a social worker to help families with re-housing, water/electricity installation, health issues and getting work along with a psychologist to support children and families in abusive or difficult situations at home. Food and milk would also be provided along with vitamins and regular health checks including an anti-parasite programme.

Families living in severe poverty with children who have some form of special needs will also benefit of this project. Right now Kiya supports 20 families and hopes, with our funding,to support 50 families.

Raleigh - Costa Rica and Nicaragua

Raleigh is a youth and education charity working for sustainable development based permanently in Costa Rica & Nicaragua. The aim of this project is to build a primary school for the children of Ximiri in the Chirripó Indigenous Reserve in Costa Rica. The local development association has asked Raleigh International to help in the construction of the new school. The project has been approved but they have no funding to build it. The money will be used for materials and construction of the facilities.

Children who attend the school, local labourers during construction, teachers and parents for having facilities to support the education of children will be the direct beneficiaries of this project supported by DLA.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Alex Wilson’s Salsa Con Soul Orchestra, Ronnie Scotts, 3rd - 4th September

Our friends at London Salsa Scene tell us that one of our favourite musicians Alex Wilson has more shows coming up at Ronnie Scotts - here's what they have to say:
"Somewhere between London and Havana, volcanic activity has triggered the emergence of a new tropical island – Salsa Con Soul.
Catch the eruption as Alex Wilson (right) and his 12 piece Salsa Con Soul Orchestra let rip with their latest high energy fusion at three concerts at the legendary Ronnie Scotts in London's Soho, Thursday 3rd - Friday 4th September.
Salsa Con Soul is the latest destination on Alex Wilson's circumnavigation of world rhythms and beats. The UK's top Latin/jazz piano man/band leader and featured instrumentalists will deliver driving salsa dura, laced with deeply felt soul and gospel vocals, drenched in Latin flavas, beats and rhythms at three concerts (early and late concerts Friday 4th September - book the late one if you want to stay on).
This is an opportunity to hear some of the most authentic and tastiest salsa grooves you’ll hear anywhere in the world played live by the UK's No1 salsa crew and some of the finest salsa musicians around. Alex Wilson will play tracks from his 6th and latest album Salsa Con Soul (2008), his first totally dedicated to a genre he has made his own, salsa with soul, cranked up with bone aching gospel vocals. Expect to hear too some of Wilson's best known tunes - “Ain’t Nobody” & “Show Me” from his 5th album Inglaterra and “R&B Latino” from the eponymous album, with vocals from Aquilla Fearon, Niaomi Phillips & Elpidio Caicedo.
Wilson’s 5th album Inglaterra was his first to feature the fire water of Salsa Dura neat, with tracks like Show Me and Ain’t Nobody appearing on 10 compilation albums and burning up dance floors in salsa clubs across the UK. This was another ground-breaking album, featuring the first ever Brit-Reggaeton-Salsa track and the first fusion of Cuban rhythms with Bhangra beats. Wilson's 3rd album - R&B Latino - created a cocktail of Cuban rhythms and R&B to blow away the cobwebs on the dance floor.
With Salsa Con Soul, Alex Wilson has continued his relentless assault, only this time the burning yin fires of soul and gospel infuse the muscular, urgent yang drive of Cuban timba and hard salsa, creating a sensual, romantic vibe made for Ronnie's crepuscular hallows."
Ronnie Scott’s: 020 7439 0747 or visit: and and
Salsa Con Soul Orchestra line-up: Alex Wilson - Keyboards - (Courtney Pine, Jazz Jamaica); Aquilla Fearon - Vocals; Naomi Phillips - Vocals; Elpidio Caicedo - Vocals; Steve Dawson - Trumpet; Annette Brown - Trumpet; Trevor Mires - Trombone; Alistair White - Trombone; Javier Fioramonti - Bass; Emeris Solis - Congas; Dave Pattman - Timbales; Will Fry - Bongos

Thursday 23 July 2009

Latin American Food History Part One

One of our aspirations at Sabor Restaurant is to promote and to share the variety of Latin American food, and first of all we must celebrate the contribution made by the original inhabitants of the New World, the American Indians, or whatever you wish to call them, to the food of the contemporary world. The fifteenth century marked the beginning of the European Age of Discovery, and when Christopher Columbus embarked on his historic voyage in 1492, landing in Latin America by accident, they found not only new cultures but a large number of foods that were native to Latin America and which they brought back to Europe. These were ingredients, plants and animals that the original inhabitants gathered, domesticated and ate for many millennia before the European laid eyes on them, including corn or maize, chocolate, potatoes, beans, vanilla, tomatoes, chillies and pumpkins, which had never been seen before in Europe. This is to counter the accusation often made that the American Indians did not really make much of a contribution as far as the domestication of animals and plants is concerned as they loafed in their hammocks with tropical fruits dropping into their laps.

Inca agriculture, for example, was highly developed, because the Incas were great experimenters. They experimented with habitat, yield, hybrids, and growing time. They dried meat, potatoes, and other root vegetables to avoid famine. They knew how to extract the poison from bitter cassava (yucca) to make a meal. They also knew that planting corn, squash, and beans together would achieve optimum results, because corn provides shade and support for the delicate beans, squash provides ground cover for moisture retention and minimal soil erosion, and beans regenerate the soil, providing the nitrogen needed by the other plants. To enrich the soil further, the Incas used guano (seabird droppings), a nutrient-rich fertilizer. (The richest guano, found off the coast of Peru, helped replenish many depleted soils in Europe after the conquest.)

Corn, Cassava and Other Staples

The New World's most important contribution to the global larder was probably corn. For pre-Columbian communities corn played a very important role. The Aztecs had a god and goddess of corn, Centeotl and Chicomecoatl, whom they represented in their ceramics and paintings. They held festivals for planting and harvesting, and used corn in celebrations and for communal meals, in dishes such as tamales, and corn based drinks.

In the 15th century the Aztec and Inca Empires, building on earlier cultures, already had an ingenious agricultural system using elaborate terracing and irrigation to cultivate food on steep Andean slopes and in coastal river valleys. The Incas had tremendous respect for the earth, and their culture revolved around agriculture. Anything to do with farming was considered holy and religious, and they revered corn and quinoa as life-giving foods. At harvest time, they would hold thanksgiving festivals and spill a little of their first drink of chicha de jora (a fermented corn drink) on the ground for Pacha-Mama, or Mother Earth.

The Indians of the tropics made a bread from the bitter cassava (yucca), which is easy to grow and can be kept for a year or more. In fact, cassava played a major role in the conquest because it could be prepared in large quantities, it was cheap, and it kept well. The Portuguese took it to Africa, where it became a staple food. Cassava fed African slaves during the long journey to the New World. The Spaniards introduced cassava to the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and today it continues to be a major ingredient in the diets of peoples throughout the tropics.

Farther inland, in the cooler climates, other foods were discovered. Potatoes were a staple food among Andean peoples. They grew in temperate zones, at altitudes that ranged from sea level to 10,000 feet. Another great contribution to world cuisines was the tomato. At one time, Europeans and North Americans worried that it, too, might be poisonous. However, the tomato was accepted early on as a medicine to treat diarrhoea, liver and gallbladder disease, and digestive disorders. Today, the tomato enjoys tremendous popularity throughout the world. Hot peppers, beans, and squash, which along with corn were staples of the Indian diet, also have become staples of many societies around the world.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Verano con Sabor

It's been a while since we've sent out an update but meanwhile things haven't been standing still at Sabor. As always we've been working on new recipes in the kitchen, so that our menus can continually evolve. Our empanadas have always been popular, but now we offer a selection of three as a single starter: in addition to the traditional Antioqueña from Colombia, filled with beef and potato, we include a Caribbean version, cornmeal stuffed with mixed seafood, and a Bolivian salteña, a wheat patty stuffed with queso campesino, cheddar, mozzarella and smoked paprika. All accompanied by aji, a fresh relish of tomato, onion and jalapeño chilli.
A lot of our new dishes are inspired by the prospect of warmer weather, and this includes our pescado cartagenero, a delicious pan-fried fillet of sea bass served with arroz verde - coriander-infused rice and peas – and coconut milk tomato sauce. If you prefer stronger flavours however, our rabbit with chocolate sauce is making a come-back... To round off a meal you might enjoy our lulo parfait – lulo is also known as naranjilla in Ecuador, or 'little orange'. It has a sharp but fruity flavour somewhat like gooseberry, and we serve it with brevas colombianas, ripe green figs preserved in syrup. We think you'll like it!
Happy Hour
Cocktails are an important part of a good latin night out, and at Sabor we have always offered the latin classics (margarita, caipirinha, mojito, etc) as well as our own creations using some of the fruits which are unique to Latin America such us lulo and mora. To welcome the summer, starting immediately, we are having a happy hour every day from 5.00 – 7.00pm when you can get two cocktails for the price of one.
New Wine
The wines of Chile and Argentina are as bold and flavorful as the Latin food, but also these days increasingly complex and elegant. We had a massive tasting of new wines from all of our suppliers last month – it's a tough job but someone has to do it – and we've revamped our list considerably as a result.
To take just one example we have added a new Torrentes from Bodegas Colome. Torrentes is the white variety unique to Argentina, typically it has fresh aromas of grapefruit, roses and apricot, really good for a warm summer's evening. We also added some wines from Michel Rolland, possibly the best-known winemaker on the planet, who is producing tremendous wines out of Mendoza, Argentina. A stunning example on our list is the 2004 Val de Flores Malbec – complex on the nose with a great balance of jammy red fruit, floral peppery notes and mild spice. Who said South America doesn't produce great wine?
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If you enjoy these updates and are on Facebook or Twitter, then think about subscribing to our
Facebook page, or following our tweets. You'll get instant updates on what's going on here, and we also intend to offer special last minute "treats" that will be only be available for those who receive our tweets or Facebook updates. Don't get left behind and don't miss out! Sabor fans will be the first to know about fun freebie's that we offer from time to time. We also hope that we can use these updates to share information with you about all the great Latin concerts, films, and other shows going on in London all the time - and that you will share some updates with us.