by Chrissy Iley
Ever since I heard Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy given the tag ‘the Antonio Banderas of cooking’ I was intrigued to meet him, which I did, strangely just after I’d met Banderas himself when we did an interview for Puss In Boots. Both of them sound like the sexy Spanish cat.
Allibhoy is only 28. He is somewhat of a cooking child prodigy. Began baking for his family at the age of five and cooking whole meals and in charge of the kitchen at home at the age of 10.
He went to study under chef Ferran Adrià of El Bulli, who is often considered the greatest chef in the world.
Allibhoy got the knowledge and training, but the thing that he already had was a natural culinary genius to make the simple exciting, the authentic available.
He is a mixologist of flavour and texture. He is executive chef at El Pirata detapas in Westbourne Grove and then he created Tapas Revolution, a more rustic traditional take. ‘It’s actually more Spanish,’ he smiles one of his lingering smiles.
So you can do your Christmas shopping at Westfield or Bluewater. Grab a sandwich called a bikini, which is triangles of ham and cheese, but delicious. Or a gorgeously warming paella and a multiple of delicious tiny things.
For me there’s nothing like shopping and chocolate. And the Tapas Revolution’s chocolate and orange pot (Cremoso de Chocolate y Naranja, £2.50) is amazing, moreish, satisfying, divine, and it’s a mini miracle. It has no sugar. It is made with dark Spanish chocolate and cream so if you are on a low sugar eating plan it isn’t even sinful, although it tastes devilish. It is practically Atkins and definitely Dukan. (recipe below) I can’t believe it’s only £2.50. It is premier class chocolate dessert.
It has crumbly Malden salt on the top, which makes the chocolate dance in your mouth. It has an orange zest for extra texture and piquancy. Even if you don’t want to shop it’s worth going – just for this.
I am also a fan of the coffee. Strong Spanish coffee made with evaporated milk. I like the contrast of the strong and the sweet and it reminds me of my grandmother.
You can find Tapas Revolution in Bluewater and Westfield Shopping Centres
Chocolate Ganache Recipe
· 5 gelatine leaves
· 100g (3 ½ oz) double cream
· 100g (3 ½ oz) milk
· 175g (6oz) 70% dark chocolate, broken up
· ¼ orange, zested
· A drizzle of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
· A pinch of Maldon salt
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for at least 10 minutes.
In a small pan over a medium heat, bring the double cream and milk nearly to boiling point.
Take the gelatine leaves out of the water and squeeze out the excess water.
Take the pan off the heat and mix the hot milk and double cream in with the chocolate, orange zest and gelatine leaves.
Use a spatula to combine the mixture, before whisking until the gelatine is completely dissolved.
Place in small pots or ramekins to chill in the fridge. After 4 hours it should be completely set.
To serve, dress with a drizzle of Spanish olive oil and a pinch of salt.