A foodie goes to New York City –  there are several delicious things to eat. Too many, in fact. Do you know how they say ‘The sky’s the limit’? I guess it was born here.

Places that look like well-kept secrets, with hidden entry-ways and dark atmospheres, are always intriguing.  We met up with a local and went to Decibel. Finding the entrance is tricky, but look for a little ceramic flask drawing (what is known as a tokkuri) and climb down a couple of steps. Once inside, if you can get a crammed table in some dark corner, you’ll barely be able to see the menu, or each other. It gets quite loud at dinner time, but go with it. Just go. Go for the long list of sake and the tasty food. In fact you might feel quite comfortable with a glass of overflowing sake inside you. You might not be able to tell what’s in your dishes, but you’ll care less and less once you’re there. IMG_20150820_023447 IMG_20150820_023741I couldn’t quite get shots of the food, but here are a couple just so you can get a rough idea of the atmosphere. We had a seaweed salad, wasabi pork dumplings, some Japanese pancake of sorts (we couldn’t understand the flavours, but it was delicious), sausage, dried fish, warm tofu, and tuna sashimi accompanied by sake of course.


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If you’re new to marinating, read this simple guide to start understanding what is happening. You might also find this recipe (brining chicken breasts) interesting, in honour of the origin of the word ‘marinate’ meaning ‘from the sea’.

This time I went for a seemingly more complicated approach, which really is just as simple. For this recipe you will need enough milk to cover your meat completely, and a number of spices. I used 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon dried chili, 1 teaspoon dried garlic flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. You should vary the amounts according to taste, and use spices that you like, noting that some of the spices will be diluted in the milk. For chicken it will suffice to let the marinate do its work for about 2 hours in the fridge.

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For the beetroots: I used ready-to-eat beetroots which you can buy boiled and peeled, and extremely convenient. If using fresh, find how to prepare it here. Then chop into quarters, add a dash of olive oil and place in an oven dish with the chicken (you can add the marinade too as it will have plenty of time to boil in the oven).

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for about 40-50 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. The meat thermometer should read 165 F / 74 C for cooked chicken. Toss the beetroot half way through to ensure even roasting.

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IMG_20150724_175713This summer Costa Coffee launched their latest innovation; Shaken Iced Coffee, a trend gaining momentum in London, the birthplace of Costa, and one that is set to take the world by storm. I was lucky enough to be invited to the official launch last Friday 24th of July, when the Costa teamed up with the President of the Bartender’s Guild, Rodney Pisani at an event held at Costa Coffee at the Embassy Shopping Complex. Rodney explained to all of us why ice and coffee are the perfect combination. He explained the similarities that exist between shaking iced coffee and shaking cocktails, demonstrating how it enhances the coffee’s rich, smooth flavour while adding a new dimension to the drinking experience.

Now – I’m a coffee devotee and am constantly on the look-out for a great coffee. When it comes to iced-coffee, finding a good one is difficult in my opinion. They tend to taste like watered-down coffee with ice.. but not the one at Costa. I was thoroughly pleased. Not too sweet or icy or milky. Cooled me down following a short hike from the car to their outlet. Yes, finally an iced coffee that works!
Rodney said, “These iced coffees are some of the best I’ve ever tasted…the recipes and methods work really well to ensure consistency of taste and texture.” Yep. And here he is in action… Making iced coffee and iced cappuccino during the demonstration.
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Just like the range of hot coffees, these shaken coffees are made using Costa’s unique Mocha Italia blend of slow-roasted beans, giving people the option of enjoying their usual daily coffee fix shaken ice cold, the perfect refreshment for a hot summer’s day. Rachelle Tabone, Marketing Manager of Costa Coffee said, “They are the best for fuelling and cooling the walk to work or simply relaxing”.

Little did we know that we had been assigned teams so that we’d be asked to make one of these ourselves (note the layers). Well, we did make one, with the obvious messy result – but the others must have been worse because Rodney chose ours as the winning team YAY! Well, practice makes perfect. I might try that again, but in the meantime there’s always Costa.

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Shaken iced coffees are available at all Costa Coffee outlets now in five locations around the island including Malta International Airport, The Point; Sliema, The Embassy; Valletta, Bay Street & Balzan.