Archive for February, 2009

Carbonara Classica

February 27, 2009

I love the simplicity and the authenticity of this dish.

There was war for the first few weeks when we first
added it to the menu.

Carbonara – where’s the cream!

There are many different stories to the origin of this
dish. My favourite tells the story of the ‘Carboni’
charcoal burners originally from Naples, who travelled
all over Italy at the beginning of the 19th Century to
make charcoal.

In open fires, they would boil the pasta, drain then
add a little of the pancetta, a little cheese and an egg
or two cracked open and mixed together and enjoy
around the camp fire after a hard days work.

All the ingredients would keep well in their saddle bags.

A hundred years later and where still enjoying it.



(Serves 2.)
150g pancetta affumicatta, cut
into cubes
2 organic eggs
200g spaghettini
75g pecorino romano
Freshly ground balck pepper
A small bunch of fresh parsley,
roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt for the waterI


Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add salt to taste. Add the spaghetti.
The rest takes less time than the pasta needs to cook!
In a large frying pan heat the oil then add the pancetta
and lightly fry.
In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs, add the grated
pecorino, parsley and several mills of black pepper.
Beat with a fork.
When the pasta is cooked, drain (leave it a little wet to
help release the flavour of the pancetta from the pan),
and add to the pan with the pancetta.
Mix well.
Immediately add pasta and pancetta to the egg mixture.
You musn’t transfer this back to the heat otherwise
you’ll cook the egg and end up with scrambled pasta!
Serve immediately with freshly grated pecorino.

NB This dish needs no added salt, the pancetta and pecorino should have enough flavour naturally ferment.
(Note: The idea for a new cheese was born. Today, most Italian
Pecorino Romano is made in Sardinia.
It’s produced from December to September, maturation varies from five to eight months.
It’s unique salty flavour is perfect for cooking.
For the best Pesto Genovese, use fresh basil, garlic, pine kernels, Pecorino Romano and extra virgin olive oil.)

Victor’s wine and food trip

February 27, 2009

Victor flew to Venice on Monday to meet his best pal, Michele, to taste new wines for us.

He told me it would be very hard work. Over 80 wines in 2 days to be tasted. Mission complete. (Such dedication!)

So now we’ll have some more great value new wines on the list by early Spring.

Venice done, next Milan to the fruit and veg market. This is my favourite place to visit. Unfortunately it was Victor’s turn to go. Vast market-halls packed with the very best fresh Italian fruit and vegetables from all over Italy. As usual, Victor was very hands-on, packing our pallet for this weeks delivery of our lovely pachino tomatoes, violet aubergines, peppers, artichokes, clementines and much much more.

Anyone that knows Victor knows how enthusiastic he gets and how he loves to talk to people. Well to cut a long story short. Guess what, he did strike up a conversation with someone, a deep one, and consequently, he missed the flight home. “Gate closed Signor Contini”.

VC Phone home: “Darling I was delayed in Milan, the traffic was terrible, I’ll just have to stay another night…….”

Not so fast Victor:

Thank goodness for BA! 6 hours and £350 later Victor’s home.


Who’s that customer?

February 21, 2009

(This will be a frequent feature here.

Short potted histories of Centotre regulars.

We’re kicking off with Ewan McIntosh of Channel 4.)

Ewan was a staunch regular of the Friday Coffee Morning’s at Centotre. (A casual, weekly meeting of Edinburgh’s marketing and social media elite. They’re easy to spot; there are so many Mac’s and iPhones on their table, it looks like there’s a mini-Apple store here in 103.)

However we’re not seeing quite as much of Ewan since he became Channel 4’s 4iP as Digital Commissioner for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It’s his job to help the Channel reinvent public service broadcasting through a £50m ($100m) pilot fund.

A well-respected blogger, industry keynote speaker and social media guru, Ewan is married, has a young daughter and lives in Sunny Leith.

Centotre’s carbon footprint.

February 3, 2009


We’re passionate about what we buy, who we buy from, how we prepare our dishes and our customers enjoyment of their experience at centotre.

But we’re equally passionate about what happens at the end of the line, after the last plate is cleared from your table.

So since we opened, in April 2004, we’ve recycled all our cardboard, newspapers, glass and believe it or not our used cooking oil.

On average each year we’ll recycle 1 ton of cardboard, 20,000 litres of glass, 6,000 of cooking oil.

We’re trying to find someone who would like to recycle our food waste.

We don’t have much, naturally, but we still have enough that could happily help with a compost heap. (Salad leaves, tomato stalks, fish heads, coffee grinds just to mention a few.)

If you’re interested please get in touch.