We’re delighted to announced our online shop is now open! We’ve launched it to offer a specially curated range of gift sets and hampers – featuring wonderful wines, spirits and fine foodstuffs – so you can enjoy a taste of El Gato Negro and Canto at home.

We’re taking part in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out Scheme’ in our Manchester King Street & Liverpool Exchange Flags restaurants from Mon 3 August

Ah, Creme Catalan. Such a simple, yet perfect combination of flavours and textures. Everyone seems to love shattering the topping and breaking into the delicate orange-scented delights below. I’ve always loved Crème brûlée but when I first visited Spain I had this and thought the orange zest in the Spanish version made a great thing even better. Our customers have always agreed and this has been our most popular dessert over the years.

Creme Catalan by chef Simon Shaw of El Gato Negro Tapas

Creme Catalan (Crema Catalana)

Serves 4
Ingredients

  • 5 medium egg yolks
  • 375g double cream
  • 200g full fat milk
  • 75g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • Extra caster sugar to finish

Method

Add the vanilla seeds and orange zest to the cream and in a pan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

Mix together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl. Add the milk in stages and stir to combine.

Pour mixture into 4 wide moulds or ramekins and cook in a bain-marie at 100°C until set. Refrigerate for 2 hours until chilled.

Sprinkle each with a fine, even layer of caster sugar and gently flame with a blowtorch* until golden, taking care not to burn the sugar. Return to the fridge for 5 min to set.

* If you don’t have a blowtorch you can always use a grill for the final stage, although it’s harder to get as crisp and glassy a finish on the sugar.

Shattered Creme Catalan by chef Simon Shaw of El Gato Negro Tapas

Chef Matt Healy on MasterChef: The Professionals

It’s our first Christmas in Manchester and as you’d expect, we’re really busy. The whole team has been working hard and the buzz in the building is incredible. When I’ve not been in the kitchen one thing I’ve been doing recently is catching up on MasterChef: The Professionals, and my neighbours have probably heard me shouting at the telly as I support my former colleague Matt Healy.

Matt’s a great guy… a very talented chef and I always knew he’d go far when he worked with me in our old restaurant in Yorkshire. Last time I saw him on TV was as my sous on Gordon Ramsey’s F Word back in 2009. We’re all a little bit more grey and seasoned than those days, but he was hungry and ambitious even back then and he’s worked really hard ever since to get to where he is now.

Simon Shaw and Matt Healy at the pass

Matt’s always stayed in contact, and dropped in to lend a hand just we were gearing up for opening in Manchester earlier this year. It was great to briefly share the pass with him again in a much bigger kitchen than we ever had in Ripponden!

I’m really proud of what he’s achieved in getting to the finals on MasterChef: The Professionals, and I was made up to see him acknowledge the influence I had on him… well done and thanks for the kind words chef. Watching him over the last month there’s no doubt in my mind that the pupil’s become a master in his own right.

Keep flying the flag for Yorkshire, keep championing great Spanish ingredients, and keep cooking like a champ – we’re proud of you and will all be cheering for you this week Matt!


Here’s a guest blog from Garry and Adam, highlighting the two bespoke cocktails we’re serving up for Halloween this year in our top floor bar, The Black Cat.

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Pumpkin Reviver

This is an autumnal spiced riff on the classic corpse reviver. It’s just the thing for reanimating lifeless bodies on All Hallow’s Eve!

  • Ingredients:
  • 50ml Pumpkin Bourbon
  • 15ml Maple Syrup
  • 1 Clove
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon Sugar
  • 30ml Half and half (half milk, half double cream)
  • 1 small pinch of 5 spice powder

Home Made Ingredients

To make your pumpkin bourbon, find a Tupperware, or other vessel. Take a packet of pumpkin seeds and some bourbon (although any dark spirit will do i.e. Scotch, Dark Rum, Brandy) place both in to your vessel and leave for 2 or 3 days. For added flavour, grind up the seeds.

To make cinnamon Sugar – get 3 parts sugar and mix with 1 part ground cinnamon (if you prefer to use sugar syrup, add 2 parts of the cinnamon sugar you have just made to 1 part of hot water and stir until sugar has dissolved).

Method

  1. Add all ingredients in to a Boston shaker, or coffee flask if you don’t possess bar kit
  2. Stir for about 30 seconds without ice in order to help the sugar dissolve
  3. Add as much ice as possible to your tin and give a good hard shake for about 10 seconds
  4. Strain the drink in to a stemmed glass, with a coupe being the best option (wine glass will do!)
  5. Finish off by serving it on a crisp, clean autumnal leaf that’s fallen straight off a tree, adding a minuscule pinch of cinnamon on top, accompanied by a fresh pear.
  6. This drink can also be served warm, just add all the ingredients to a pan, keep on low heat and stir until the drink is warm.  Serve in a teacup with the same garnishes.

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The Black Cat’s Eye

A distinctly dark and otherworldly-looking cocktail, this imagines our mascot as a witch’s familiar, and provides a very different take on some classic elements for Halloween!

Ingredients

  • 40ml Bushmill’s Black Bush Irish Whiskey
  • 20ml Lustau Sweet Vermouth
  • 25ml Pineapple and Fennel Shrub
  • 10ml Egg White
  • 2sp Squid Ink

Method

Dry & wet shake before fine straining into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Garnish

Garnish with blueberry powder.

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I used to make sabayon as a special in our old restaurant in Yorkshire: it was always popular with customers and sold out in a flash. Sabayons are great because they’re quick and easy desserts to make and you can can tailor them to whatever is in season. As a result they’re a bit of a chef’s secret weapon!

The start of September is one of my favourite times of the year: we’re spoiled with an abundance of great produce both in the shops and the hedgerows. This recipe takes advantage of the late summer / autumn fruits which you can easily buy right now. It’s also a great way of using up a little left-over white wine or fizz in the bottom of a bottle.

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Autumn fruit sabayon

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the fruit

  • 2 tangerines
  • 4 figs
  • 1 punnet blackberries
  • 2 pears
  • 1 punnet blueberries

For the sabayon

  • 4 medium egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 150ml white wine (dry is preferred, but this is a good way to use up any white or sparkling wine)
  • 150ml lightly whipped double cream
  • Spring of mint and icing sugar to garnish

Method

Wash and prepare fruit. Quarter the figs, halve the pears and segment the tangerines. Place to one side at room temperature.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and white wine in a metal bowl over a pan of boiling water until the mixture thickens to ribbon stage.

Remove from heat and whisk until cool. Fold in whipped cream, taking care not to over-whisk or the mix will revert to liquid. (Cook’s note: this mix will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days)

Place fruit in serving dish and gently top with the sabayon. Garnish with a sprig of mint, dust with icing sugar (optional) and serve.

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A classic El Gato Negro dish, marrying smoky rich Spanish flavours with a superlative English cider. A great riff on pork and apple!

Mini Catalan Chorizo in Aspall Cider

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g mini chorizo dulce (available from Brindisa & selected supermarkets) or good cooking chorizo
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 200ml Aspall cider (cyder)
  • 50ml sherry vinegar
  • 50g chicken gravy granules
  • 25g fresh flat leaf parsley

Method

Cut chorizo into 3cm pieces. Gently warm in a non-stick pan until the oil starts to come out of the sausage. Carefully remove chorizo from the pan, leaving the oil in place.

Add the sherry vinegar to the oil and reduce over low heat to make a syrup. Add the cider and reduce again. Add the chicken stock and reduce by half. Whisk in gravy granules to thicken.

Once the sauce is thick enough to coat to the back of a spoon, add the chorizo and cook for a further two min or until warmed through. Finish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!