Recipe: Tamarind compote

This delicious Mauritian tamarind sauce is the perfect accompaniment to pork and fish dishes. You can buy tamarind paste from specialist food shops and larger supermarkets.

Star anise

Star anise

Serves 4
Preparation time:
20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 600g tamarind paste
  • 300g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 1 small stick cinnamon

1. Put the tamarind in a bowl. Add 80cl lukewarm water and crush the tamarind with your hand to remove the seeds. Sieve the tamarind with the water to extract the juice.
2. In a saucepan, mix the tamarind juice with sugar. Add fennel seeds, star anise, dried chilli and cinnamon stick. Simmer for 45 minutes on low heat, stirring often and checking that the compote doesn’t burn.
3. Remove all spices and refrigerate for up to a week.

You can purchase the Prince Maurice recipe book that contains this recipe and over 50 more from our online store.

The most decadent dessert in the Indian Ocean

Constance Halaveli is a thoroughly luxurious offering floating amidst the turquoise beauty of the North Ari Atoll in the Maldives.

Water villa at Constance Halaveli

Luxurious water villa

Designed in the shape of a dhoni, the traditional Maldivian boat, Halaveli is a place so restful you’ll feel the stress of daily life seeping away as you enjoy the knockout food, exquisite surroundings and exemplary personal service.

All of this combines to make it the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or anniversary.

Our Pastry Team has been busy concocting a dessert to match such an event, and they’ve come up with this melt in your mouth creation – the most decadent dessert in the Indian Ocean.

 

It includes some truly indulgent ingredients:

 

 

Dessert from Constance Halaveli

Dessert decadence

  • Crystal champagne
  • blend of different Remi Martin cognacs, some vintages up to 100 year old
  • Valrhona chocolates
  • black winter truffles
  • 24 carat gold leaf
  • handmade sugar roses

The dessert can be ordered in advance for weddings, engagements, anniversaries or any other celebration you can think of. Visit our Constance Facebook photo album to see more photos of this delicious creation.

Sound tempting? Find out more about Constance Halaveli:

Top 5 most popular recipes on the Constance blog

Every Friday we publish a deliciously tempting recipe from the Constance kitchens, so you can serve up some 5-star style at home.

Chicken and prawn curry in coconut milk

Chicken and prawn curry in coconut milk

Here’s a round-up of the 5 most popular recipes we’ve published over the last few months. Hunker down this weekend and try your hand at one of these tasty treats.

1. Chicken and prawn curry in coconut milk
This Mauritian chicken and prawn curry is served in a spicy coconut sauce.

2. Lemon compote with star anise and vanilla
Very easy to make – this makes the perfect partner for seafood or duck.

3. Pan-roasted sea bass with mild spices
Served on a salad of warm spinach, asparagus and berries with an almond-green chilli vinaigrette. Scrumptious. 

Ultimate spare ribs

Ultimate spare ribs

4. Ultimate spare ribs
Stuart Blair, the executive chef at Moofushi, has brought back from his native Australia a very special recipe for spare ribs.

5. Spicy chicken legs – Mauritius style
Super-tasty finger food – just remember to make plenty.

Don’t forget – every Friday we publish more Constance recipes. And if you’ve missed others, you’ll find them all in the Culinary section.

Interview with Bruno Le Gac, Corporate Executive Chef at Constance Hotels

Bruno Le Gac is our Corporate Executive Chef at Constance Hotels Experience.

Bruno Le Gac

Bruno Le Gac

Bruno’s passion for his work stems from a great love of food, and his career has taken him around the globe.

1.    Why did you decide to become a chef?

Like many people, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I was a teenager. But I knew I wanted to be independent, earn my own money and enjoy freedom. I also loved to eat and go to restaurants with my parents.

One summer, I spent a month in a restaurant to earn a bit of cash. I was cleaning dishes, peeling vegetables, all that nice stuff…

One day during service time, the kitchen brigade was in such a rush that the chef called me. He put a kitchen hat on my head, tied an apron around my waist and showed me how to place the garnish on the plates.

Strangely enough, at the end of this particular day I knew what I wanted to do in life. I guess I was love struck by the job. I dropped conventional studies and started an apprenticeship. And I’ve never regretted my decision.

2. How did your career get going in the early days?

I started travelling at quite a young age, and I was only 20 when I got my first job abroad, in California. I chose not to come back to France, and instead decided to discover different countries and cultures.

3. What 5 things have influenced your success?

Delicious fresh food at Constance Hotels Experience

Delicious fresh food at Constance Hotels

A combination of factors have been key to the development of my career.

1. I’m lucky to have a fantastic wife. She’s always been very supportive, patient and she has also been able to put me back on track when needed.

2. Lots of work and dedication. A true passion for the job.

3. Self motivation. It’s important to wake up every morning and strive to do better than the day before.

4. I believe I’ve made the right career choices at the right time. One has to provoke his destiny and not wait for things to happen.

5. I’ve been lucky to meet and work with incredible people, who gave me their trust and support.

My current job is completely different from what I was doing before. But I love it even more – it opens so many doors. I’m having a blast!

4. What qualities do you think an aspiring chef needs to make it in the business?

Chefs working in a Constance Hotels kitchen

Chefs hard at work at Constance

 I’d say self motivation and a willingness to work hard, as well as a genuine passion for what you’re doing.

When I started you needed to get ready the first couple of years to wake up very early in the morning, work long hours, do more cleaning than cooking, cut your fingers, burn your arms, stink when you get back home and never say no to your chef.

Work, learn, remember, apply. Think fast, act fast. Then you’ll know if you’re made for the job or not.

Once all of these things are no longer a problem to you, you’ll start really enjoying what your job is and you’ll be on the right track.

After that, it’s all about finding your own style and ways of doing things.

Fortunately things are now very different and the working conditions in the kitchen are getting better and better. It will always remain a fascinating but fairly hard job.

5. How do you see food trends developing in the luxury hotel market?  

There’s a move to create more healthy options on the menu, more ‘custom made’ menus, lighter portions, luxury snacking for lunch. And more than ever: lighter, purer plates made out of quality products. High class modern pastry is also a big draw right now.

We’re going to see even more personality in the food. So called ‘hotel food’ is disappearing and this is good news. And there’ll be even more symbiosis between food, service and wine. Guests are looking for a global experience.

The mix of clientele is also changing. We need to anticipate and propose things that will surprise and delight our European guests but also Asian and Middle Eastern to name two.

6. What and where was the best meal you’ve ever had?

If I say ‘my Mum’s food’ it will sound very conventional! Let me think… I don’t have one best meal that stands out. Instead, I like to remember dozens of great food experiences that vary with the context, the place, the people I was with.

Here’s a window on some of the best food experiences I’ve had:

  • A ‘vuelve la vida’ seafood cocktail in Mercado 28 in Cancun, Mexico.
  • A salad of fresh heart of palmtree in Constance Belle Mare Plage,Mauritius.
  • A splendid and surprising langoustine and raw wagyu beef in a delicate broth at Relais Bernard Loiseau this summer.
  • A perfect spaghetti al pesto at La Merenda, a small restaurant in Nice.
  • A giant chili crab in a street food shack inSingapore.
  • A plate of freshly picked organic tomatoes from my mother-in-law’s garden, with lots of olive oil from Baux de Provence and sprinkled with salt flower.
  • A tray of Oysters in Cancale,Brittany.
  • And so many many more…

 My memory is full of incredible food souvenirs. I think you got it by now… I love food!

Favourite recipes from Constance
Want to create some of our chefs’ amazing dishes yourself at home? Every Friday, we post some of the most amazing, delicious and popular recipes online. You’ll find them in our culinary section.

Recipe: Black lentil soup with smoked pork belly and grilled scallops

Warm yourself up with this delicious lentil soup from the kitchens of the luxury 5* Le Prince Maurice.

Ginger root

Ginger adds extra warmth to the soup

Serves 4
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Soaking time for the lentils: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 250g cleaned scallops (without roes)
  • 15g butter

For the soup:

  • 200g black lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • 50g boucane (smoked pork belly)
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 2 curry leaves
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 5cl crème fraîche
  • salt and pepper

1. Soak the black lentils for 2 hours.
2. Peel and chop the onion and garlic separately. Grate the carrot. Finely dice the celery and carrot.
3. Cut the boucane in two pieces. Fry the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger and boucane in hot olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the drained black lentils, thyme, parsley and curry leaves. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper, and simmer for 1 hour on low heat.
4. Remove the boucane, blend and sieve the soup. Add the crème fraîche and correct seasoning.
5. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Grill them for 2 minutes on each side.
6. Using a hand blender, blend the soup with the butter. Serve hot with the scallops.

Choosing wine from the menu

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a total newbie to the world of wine, our Head Sommelier at Constance, Jérome Faure, is here to share his expert knowledge with you.

Jerome Faure
Jerome Faure

This week, Jérome takes a look at the difference between conventional and organic wines.

Conventional versus organic wine

A conventional wine is a wine produced from grapes grown using farming methods which include the use of chemical products.

Organic wine is made from grapes certified by a recognised body such as Ecocert, as organically farmed – AB (Agriculture Biologique) in the French system.

How wine is given organic certification

AB certification requires, above all, respect for a set of guidelines aimed at banning the use of all chemical products, such as pesticides, fungicides and fertilizer. At present there are no guidelines for how the wine itself is treated.

Gaining AB certification involves wine growers subjecting themselves to lengthy administrative procedures, which is why some growers are not interested in obtaining it. But at the same time, these growers may use few or no chemical products in their vineyards. So it’s possible to come across a wine without an AB label that is nonetheless made from organically grown grapes…

Choices, choices… which wine is best?

Red wine in glass
How to choose wine

You’ll find good wines among both conventional and organic types.

To oppose organic to conventional wine is simply to oppose certified to non-certified ones. As we’ve already said, many winegrowers are organic but uncertified, and others, even if not organic are very sparing in their use of chemicals.

Some go even further by working in accordance with biodynamics (the natural rhythms of cosmic forces), whether they’re certified or not.

If you’re dining in a restaurant, the best way to decide is to rely on the selections of a good sommelier.

The Constance Group takes great care in its choice of wines, and at Constance Ephelia in the Seychelles the wine list indicates which wines are certified organic or biodynamic.

Tell us what you think

Do you prefer organic over conventinal wine? Tell us what you think. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or use the comments section below.