Papadeli catering & hampers

Papadeli catering & hampers
Papadeli - delicious food in Bristol

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Lovely seasonal food and wine

Papadeli really comes into its own at Christmas - this is when all the delicious treats arrive. Yesterday we received a shipment of freshly made panettone - this year we have imported them direct and have decided to have a bit of fun packaging them ourselves. Daisy and Aimee, who are sisters, are fabulously talented in the visuals department (and most other departments if I am to be truthful..) and have welcomed the opportunity to flex some artistic muscle.

So, we're going to experiment with felt flowers (thanks to another great artist, Judy of Ambadesign), dried out orange slices (which are in the oven at this very minute), lots of sparkly bits and pom poms. Can't wait to see the finished article!

The next challenge is what to write in the shop window - am currently leaning towards:
"Put the Quality back into Christmas". I think people this year are going to be buying carefully and considering what they are getting - the feeling is that if we are going to buy something, it needs to look good, taste good and not be mass produced. That's what we offer at Papadeli. I think food will once again be one of the most popular gifts - our sign in the window last year said "Give gifts that get eaten" and I think people love this idea. No wasted trinkets ending up in junk shops, but a gift that can actually be enjoyed.

What would be my choice of gift? I am seriously enamoured by the Bodrato red box of pralines - stunningly iconic in its design. The pralines inside are divine the flavours are so true - the mint is fresh and the coffee like a mini shot of espresso. Or a box of Prestat Champagne truffles would never fail to delight me. For those with less of a sweet tooth, I think a small of selection of cheeses with Fine Cheese Company biscuits and fruit paste or chutney would work wonders - and what a lovely thought that you will be mentioned as they tuck into their Christmas cheeses.

We also do a selection of bespoke hampers which always impress. Many people choose to pick their own items and then we wrap it up and make it look beautiful. Hampers can be so uninteresting - and this way the contents are truly personal. What better gift than a hand selected range of quality foods that can delight over Christmas and beyond.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The food of Northern Italy Nov 6th 2009

Papadeli supper nights really are special nights. Quite hard to explain or describe... They're pretty unique - a gathering of up to 40 people who all love food and they all get together for an aperitif in the beautiful deli whilst mouthwatering canapes are handed round. I always marvel at how, by the end of this short aperitif time, everybody seems to know each other and the place is buzzing.
Then everyone sit down and just enjoy themselves. The only decisions that have to be made are what to drink next and how much to eat. The food just arrives. Beautifully made, with all the tastiest, best ingredients. The atmosphere really is lovely - I generally don't like that word but it does describe these evenings so well. Lots of chat, lots of laughter, lots of delight. The last one, British night, offered the most wonderful dishes local to here and further beyond.
The next is really exciting - we'll be looking at Northern Italy and tasting some of their delicious foods. Take a look at the menu and see what you think!

Canapes with a Prosecco Cocktail

Porcini ragu & Taleggio on polenta
Smoked eel with horseradish cream on crostini
Rabbit loin with a sausage & sage stuffing wrapped in speck

Boards of Prosciutto di San Danielle, Robiola, chestnuts with truffle honey, grissini & radicchio

Osso Buco made with British Veal, served with risotto Milanese
To follow
Panettone with a chocolate sauce and vanilla gelato
Pecorino with panforte and a glass of Vin Santo

It is really like a secret supper club and something must be tried!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

panettone puzzler

Having spent many years thinking panettone was an overrated bit of stuff that people felt they should eat at Christmas time, I can say with confidence now that I LOVE panettone. What has changed? I have become more adventurous in the world of the high rise, vanilla scented Italian treat and have left behind me those that were mass produced mountains of dryness. Gosh, I even think I have reached a climax with some of this year's samples - with the king of the cakes being the Loison cherry panettone. Made with real butter (you can taste it) it smells delightful - buttery, vanilla fragranced, fruity and well, cosy - if you can smell like that? It is moist, but not as a wet fruit cake can be, it is light - but not without substance... It takes me to a warm corner in a festive room and fills me with comfort. All that in a cake. Amazing.

What is challenging this year, is that with the EURO being so strong, and general prices being higher, we are finding it difficult to accept the prices - maybe we've been out of touch and refusing to face reality - but we're looking at £20 for a good panettone. I think as a centre piece for any Christmas table or tea, it will pay its way as the taste justifies the price. We have managed to persuade ourselves - but will we persuade our customers? I think so. I can imagine giving it to friends and family as a lovely gift that can be shared - and gifts like that, that give a warm feeling, are generally difficult to come by.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

best of british supper

British supper 25th Sepetember

Papadeli only opens in the evening once a month - and it usually takes the whole month to prepare for it. We select a region eg Sicily, Haute Savoie, Liguria and put together an absolute feast of the finest dishes from that area. We can seat up to 40 people, so it's pretty intimate - but totally unique in atmosphere and offering.

Guests sip a lavender cocktail or a glass of prosecco in the deli downstairs, whilst nibbling on various mini delights eg mini salad nicoise assembled on a new potato, tiny saffron & tomato tartlets, an espresso cup of wild gazpacho. Everybody ends up chatting to each other. A large number of guests return on a number of occasions and there is quite a gang of people who have met through the papadeli evenings.

There is a very short introduction about the feast that lies ahead, before everybody enthusiastically sits down and begins.

Best of British MENU £40

Nibbles with blackberry cocktail

Smoked haddock and pickled beetroot crostini

Cep and garlic soup

Oxford blue and butternut squash tartlet

Sit down dinner:

Rabbit terrine with piccalilli and grilled bread

Roast sirloin, with a little pot of braised oxtail with a red wine jus, horseradish mash, glazed bunched carrots and rainbow chard.

Blackberry and apple crumble with vanilla bean custard

British cheeses with black figs and walut bread.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

papadeli brownies

Papadeli Brownies

We make our Brownies slightly crunchy on the outside and moist and squidgey on the inside. They are made with high quality, high cocoa-content chocolate couverture which makes a huge difference to the taste and chocolateyness (and Papadeli sells it by the 100g).

Brownies go well with a big mug of tea or coffee, as a pudding with mascarpone or ice cream or decorate with little chocolate eggs for an Easter treat.


4oz nuts (brazils, pecans, almonds, pistachios, walnuts - whatever you can get your hands on)
4oz unsalted butter
4oz Montezuma dark chocolate couverture
2 free range eggs
8oz granulated sugar
2oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Line a 7x11 inch baking tray with greaseproof or baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180degreesC.
Chop the nuts into big rough chunks and roast them in the oven for 8 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. When melted, beat until smooth. Fold in the other ingredients until everything is covered in the gooey mixture.
Spread the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until it is slightly springy to the touch in the middle.
Allow the brownies to cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares or about 2x2inches. Serve when still warm if a pudding - the ice cream will melt beautifully!

papadeli goat's cheese & ratatouille tartlets

Goat's cheese and ratatouille tartlets

Simon can't make enough of these - demand always outstrips supply and he often ends up making them to order for the cafe, such is their popularity. They are so delicious and such a nice change from sandwiches, that people just go mad for them. Serve them with a green salad or just munch on their own.

Make enough shortcrust pastry to fill 16 shallow 10cm tartlet cases and bake blind.

The Roast Vegetables

You'll need
Cherry tomatoes
Pepper and salt
Salted capers (soaked and rinsed)
Fresh oregano

Fresh goat's cheese (Papadeli sells 5 day old goat's whole goat's cheeses which can be cut into four - ideal for this)

Chop all the veg up into large-ish chunks (the tartlets look so much prettier like this) and bake each vegetable separately in a hot oven (200C). Cover with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, plenty of salt and pepper and oregano.

Aubergine - 20 minutes
Cherry tomatoes - 5 minutes
Fennel - 10 minutes
Courgettes - 5 minutes (these need to be a bit crunchy)

When all the vegetables are roasted, mix together with the oregano and capers.

Assemble the veg into each tart case - a little of each - put a couple of whole cherry tomatoes in each as they look really attractive.

For the sauce

You'll need:
1 pint of double cream
4 free range eggs
2 yolks
Pepper and salt.

Mix the above altogether until a smooth creamy sauce. Pour over the veg to fill each case. Add a chunk of goat's cheese to each tartlet and bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

These delicious little tartlets can be eaten hot or cold.

Papadeli fishcakes

Papadeli fishcakes with dipping sauce

This is one of the simplest and tastiest fishcake recipes we know and they always prove to be hugely popular, especially with the dipping sauce. For a party, you can make them smaller and serve as canap├ęs. Delicious.

(for around 16 fish cakes)

5 de-seeded red chillies
1 finely chopped shallot
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 small piece finely chopped galangal (available from the Chinese Supermarket in Montpelier)
2 lime leaves (available at the above Chinese supermarket- they’re so much cheaper that the big supermarkets and you buy a big bag of them (instead of three stale leaves in a jar) and you can freeze them and use them in curries etc when you need them.
450g white fish fillets (it doesn’t matter which fish you use – coley, cod, haddock etc are all good)
15ml fish sauce (get it from the Chinese supermarket!!
60g green beans sliced really finely
oil to fry
Pinch of salt

Use a pestle and mortar to pound the chillies, shallots, garlic, galangal, lime leaves and salt into a fragrant paste.
Finely chop or blend the fish into a mince. Mix in the paste. Add the green beans and fish sauce. Knead the mixture with your hands.
Shape the mixture into small flat cakes (smaller that traditional British fishcakes). (No more than 5-6cm in diameter and 1 cm thick)
Heat the oil (do not let it get too hot) and cook the cakes until golden brown – takes about 2-3 minutes – don’t let the oil get too hot or the cakes will cook too quickly and get tough.



125ml rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 inch piece of cucumber with skin
1 small carrot
3 finely sliced shallots
1 medium chilli, finely sliced
1 tablespoon ground roasted peanuts

Boil the sugar and vinegar together until the sugar dissolves and leaves a thin syrup. Slice the cucumber, carrot and shallots into tiny pieces. Add these to the syrup along with the chilli.
Add the peanuts, stir and serve with the pancakes.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Papa likes to order lots of different pastas – because he’s found that there is a huge difference between commercial and hand made pastas. Artisan pastas, when cooked have a good flavour and a firm texture – it is not slimey or rubbery like many commercial pastas.

We have two main makes of pasta, which, in our opinion are the best you can get.

Rustichella d’abruzzo
Made in Abruzzo, Italy by artisan pasta maker Gianluigi Peduzzi,(bet he’s handsome), Rustichella d’abruzzo pasta is made using durum wheat and local spring water (sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?). He then dries the fresh pasta for 56 hours which brings out the natural flavour and texture of the wheat. Many commercial pastas are quick dried for around 6 hours, which really does affect the flavour and texture.
Even Heston Blumenthal (the chef/ scientist person) rates it as the best pasta in the world….

These pastas are not as expensive as you’d think (from £2.50 - they definitely merit a trial – maybe when you’ve got some guests to impress!!)

Sapori di casa pasta

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really liked fresh pasta – it can become a bit gloopy and stuck together – even a bit heavy. BUT – this pasta has to be tried – it is made with fresh free range eggs (most fresh egg pastas are made with powdered eggs), you cook it for just 2 or 3 minutes and the result is, I think BETTER than fresh pasta. It’s just delicious – the texture is smooth and firm and the flavour is just unbeatable.

Pasta has become such an ubiquitous meal that it has become a bit boring and samey - to change this, I'd definitely recommend trying one of these pastas to bring out the Italian passion for food in you.

Mustard fruits

Mostarda di Voghera

It can be intimidating walking into a delicatessen and whilst most of us can identify a number of speciality foods (we’ve seen the chorizo in Spain and the balsamic vinegar is almost a household item now); it can feel like you need a PhD in Unusual Fine Foods to understand exactly what the rows of exotic looking produce on the shelves are.

One of my absolute favourite “unusual” fine foods comes in a pretty jar with a foreign label and very little information about how to use it. You can see the whole candied fruits through the clear glass and they do look appealing – but what to do with them?

I’ll give you a bit of history first - “Mostarda di Voghera” are made by a small family business in Italy and were first written about in 1392 by Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti, in a romantic letter to a lady of the area. He enthused about the “mustard fruits” and how very delicious they were with cuts of his favourite meats.

So, it has a long history and was loved by a Duke – but what exactly are they? They come in many forms – some jars contain a mixture of candied fruits – whole pears, cherries, peaches, apricots; others are just whole mandarins – but what they all have in common is that they are immersed in a sweet syrup which is infused with mustard seed – giving the whole affair the most divine taste sensation you can imagine – whilst the fruit is sweet, there is a wonderful bite provided by the mustard seed.

I like to eat mostarda fruits with cheese mainly, but they also go beautifully with most meats, whether hot or cold. Try some on the side of your roast beef – it could revolutionise your roast! And not only do they taste superb, they look like jewels if laid out onto a white dish and never fail to make any dinner party all the more beautiful and delicious.

Go on, dare to try something different!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

bottarga - fancy some fish eggs?


Bottarga – like fish? You’ll love this!


I was staying with my then boyfriend on the beautiful island of Sardinia when I was first introduced to the fishy little bar all wrapped up like a precious jewel in foil – it was treated like a commodity back then , and still is not cheap.  His father unwrapped it carefully to reveal a chestnut coloured bar of what was later explained to me as “dried fish eggs”.  I was not immediately excited by this package, it must be said, but after tasting it, the wonderful, exotic “bottarga” has become a favourite food of mine.  People love it or hate it – my British chef husband (Sardinia was all a long time ago..) thinks it should be banned,  but I have always kept a soft spot in my heart for the beloved Bottarga.


The one I fell in love with is made from mullet eggs (although tuna bottarga is also widely available).  For hard core fish lovers, it can be sliced and eaten as an antipasto on bread – this is really fishy and really full on and not for the faint hearted.

However, there is a maybe more palatable way of eating it – it’s really easy and makes a deliciously different dish.


Cook some good quality pasta (my favourite is rustichella d’abruzzo because they dry it slowly and it retains its flavour and texture) – while it’s cooking, slice up some garlic – I like it in rustic slices, but some may prefer it in smaller chunks.

When the pasta’s ready, warm some extra virgin olive oil in a pan – when I say some, I mean, probably for 4 people a good three quarters of a tea cup – the oil will need to properly coat the pasta.  Throw in the garlic and cook it – but DON’T LET IT BURN as there is nothing worse than the bitterness of burnt garlic, and you’d HAVE to start all over again!


When the garlic is sizzling and a pale shade of brown (the oil should be well flavoured with the garlic by now) throw in the pasta – let it soak up the lovely garlic oil.  Dish up into bowls.  Get out your grater and this is where the bottarga comes in – just grate away, like a hunk of parmesan.  Maybe not too much for the uninitiated – I like it thick and plentiful.  Mix it up and EAT!

This whole meal takes about 10 – 12 minutes (depending on your pasta), takes no skill and after one mouthful, I’m instantly transported back to the white beaches of Sardinia…..