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Food | The Guardian

Latest Food news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Parsonage Grill, Oxford: ‘A lazy approach to cooking’ – restaurant review

Sun, 14 Oct 2018 05:00:14 GMT

This pricey but forgettable Oxford establishment is a lesson in disappointment

Parsonage Grill, 1-3 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN (01865 310 210). Starters £8-£13, mains £17-£33, desserts £6.50-£8.50, Wines from £24

Behold, the Oxford chattering classes at play. To my right is a senior gentleman, being talked at by a chap who must be at least two years his junior. So far, he has ranged across the deep valleyed landscape of human atrocity: from the Armenian genocide to the situation in Gaza, with minor digressions into what Aristotle might have thought on the matter. The more elderly of the two leans in, as if cursing his functioning hearing aids, and says: “Perhaps we could move the conversation on to something rather cheerier.”

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The Pointer, Brill, Buck: 'If this is the future of hospitality, count me out’ – restaurant review

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 09:00:26 GMT

A beautifully restored country pub is spoiled by underwhelming service and food to forget

Until recently, a “mini-break” spent in a “hotel” was the answer to many of life’s woes: exhaustion, ennui, existential dismay. Nowadays, modern types favour the “restaurant with rooms” – the new buzz term for dinner with an overnight stay. Plain, snoozy, old, functional hotels, with an abundance of staff, room service, reception desk, trouser presses, tear-stained Gideon bibles and a terrine of wobbly breakfast buffet sausages, are over. They’re also massively expensive to run. “But I liked the congealed scrambled eggs, and housekeeping trying to clean my room,” you might say. Tough titty, the hospitality world replies.

The Pointer at Brill is one of these places: somewhere to eat, then rest your head. It’s a gorgeously restored country pub with a separate building over the road with four tasteful, country-chic, modern rooms in muted shades with exposed beams. The pub has a ye olde worlde butcher’s shop attached to it, selling its own bespoke charcuterie, and even a quaint delivery van outside. The Pointer is very much part of the future of British hospitality. One checks in by shouting one’s arrival across a crowded bar.

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Roots: York has a new star attraction – restaurant review | Grace Dent

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 09:00:09 GMT

The posterboy for British hospitality has another surefire hit on his hands

For many children of the 80s, the city of York is synonymous with one attraction only: the Jorvik Viking Centre, a place where history came alive and where, after the bunfight queues to get in, one could trundle in a cart through staged scenes of ye olde animatronic Jorvik chick-keepers. Some of us knew it just from Blue Peter, but others dared to dream and visited on school trips.

My main memory is that the Jorvik piped in fake authentic dung smells, which, for a coachload of kids from Cumbria, was something of a busman’s holiday. But I am here to announce that York now has a fresh star attraction, one that’s also steeped in history. Roots was formerly The Bay Horse, a gargantuan boozer dating from 1893, which has been tastefully renovated in muted shades by chef Tommy Banks and the family-centric team behind The Black Swan at Oldstead. The Banks family’s first project is famed for being TripAdvisor’s “best restaurant in the world”, a rare example of TripAdvisor churning out the merest nod towards common sense.

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Anna Jones’ pancake recipes | The Modern Cook

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 11:00:10 GMT

A quick chickpea and carrot crepe makes a superb sandwich stand-in, and a potato, polenta and cheese pancake makes a moreishly crunchy light lunch

Pancakes are my obsession. From syrup-drenched stacks delivered by waitresses with name badges to farinata cooked with nonnas, I’ll eat pancakes at any time of day. The crisp edges and soft insides are a perfect pair of textures, and always make for a thrill when eaten at dinnertime. Not least these two. The first is a chickpea flour pancake, a staple in my family; the second is the result of an experiment to use up mashed potato.

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Cocktail of the week: Bramble

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 14:00:07 GMT

Inspired by the British pastime of brambling, this is a legacy of that legend of the bar scene, Dick Bradsell

A truly British cocktail and, unusually, one with an undisputed inventor: Dick Bradsell, who died in 2016, was a legend of the British bar scene. It was inspired by the British pastime of brambling, when the blackberry bushes that grow in hedgerows and wasteland come into fruit, before the season ends with the first hard frost.

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From tamari to tamago: four star bento boxes

Sat, 13 Oct 2018 06:00:27 GMT

Simple to prepare, these flavour-filled parcels of deliciousness reinvent the packed lunch

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Makes 1 bento

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The rise and fall of the TV chef | Tim Hayward

Sun, 19 Aug 2018 10:00:18 GMT

There may never be another Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay. Why would today’s young chefs be interested in working in food television?

For almost as long as there has been TV, there have been cooks on it – from 1940s original Philip Harben to the Sainted Delia – but it was around 1999 that TV producer Pat Llewellyn, in a blaze of genius, brought Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay to life on our screens, in sweaty whites and clogs, but repositioned as sexy. These weren’t TV presenters with some distant history of cooking or food writing, these were real chefs and we were going to share their lives and love them like rock stars.

Celebrity chefs with one foot in the kitchen and one on the studio floor became the dominant phenomenon of British media and for a couple of decades, the overwhelming ambition of many young cooks was to break into TV, while the image – mercurial, driven, invariably male, perfectionist, a Marco Pierre White filtered through his scion Ramsay – became a template. All that, though, is suddenly up for grabs. We’re witnessing a change in the peculiar relationship between chefs and celebrity.

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for stuffed courgettes

Mon, 24 Sep 2018 11:00:19 GMT

A filling of minced meat and rice brings a taste of the Middle East to Italy with a smattering of parsley, mint and lemon juice

Like finding the right word, or remembering a name that’s been on the tip of your tongue all afternoon, learning a good cooking trick or tip can be an a-ha moment so satisfying that you say it out loud. Learning to check cakes for doneness with a strand of spaghetti, for example, was, and years later still is, a proper a-ha! As are pressing an unpeeled clove of garlic with the heel of my hand so it splits and the skin comes away, rolling a lemon back and forth on the table so it gets juicy, tucking cold butter in a back pocket, or leaving a tapped hard-boiled egg in cold water for 30 seconds so the cracked shell comes away like a cloak. Even though these tricks are now common – banal, even, when there are YouTube videos documenting them, it doesn’t take away from the fact these are daily a-has as satisfying as getting 12 across or remembering who played that character in The Long Good Friday.

It’s a similar feeling when you discover that something you have previously done one way can be done in a quicker, easier way. With the rice-stuffed tomatoes I wrote about last year, for example – a summer standard on home tables and bakery counters in Rome – it turns out the rice doesn’t need to be pre-boiled, and instead can simply be mixed with olive oil, the pulp excavated from the tomatoes and some seasoning, then rested, before being spooned into the tomato shells. I have now done this dozens of times, but I still always think a-ha! as the rice cooks and swells (ideally, so much it dislodges the tomato lid). It is the same a-ha! when I make Claudia Roden’s stuffed courgettes from her book of Middle Eastern food, a fitting book to celebrate this week, I think, because it has been transporting me for decades now – and also because it was the Arabs who introduced rice to Sicily, Italy and, ultimately, the rest of Europe.

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Rovi, London: ‘Dainty piles of ferments and pickles in children’s picture book colours’ – restaurant review | Jay Rayner

Sun, 30 Sep 2018 05:00:46 GMT

The brilliant chef’s new Fitzrovia venue is a radical swerve – in a thrilling direction

59 Wells Street, London W1A 3AE (020 3963 8270). Small plates £6-£14.50, big plates £12.50-£20.50, desserts £6-£9, wines from £30

I remember the betrayal as if it were yesterday when, in truth, it was a Thursday evening in July 1981: Top of the Pops night. I had taken up position in front of the television, the loyal sentry, ready for the most important event since, well, whatever the last one was: the new Spandau Ballet single. I had thought To Cut a Long Story Short not merely a cracking electro dance tune, but a cultural artefact of great importance. It involved tartan worn unironically, raging drums and huge declarative vocals. Listening to it made me feel serious. Musclebound was even better. Grease me up and send me out on to the Mongolian plain. I had seen the future and its name was Spandau Ballet.

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Nigel Slater’s fishcake recipes

Sun, 07 Oct 2018 05:00:06 GMT

Dill and haddock and pea and prawn cakes accompanied by a herby and a chilli dip

It was a double fishcake day. A first batch that was light, fresh and spicy. A second to send us into a deep, satiated slumber. For the latter, I peeled potatoes, cooked them in boiling water and mashed them. Haddock was simmered with milk, parsley and bay leaves, its silver skin was removed and the pearly white flesh broken into fat flakes. I made a sauce from the seasoned milk, flecked with parsley and grated nutmeg. I stirred together the fish and potato and rolled it into balls, dipped them into beaten egg then rolled them in fine, fresh breadcrumbs and, lastly, fried them in deep oil. And then I washed up. Peelers and pots, dishes and mashers, plates and bowls and the dreaded pan in which I made the parsley sauce.

Haddock was simmered with milk, parsley and bay leaves, the pearly white flesh broken into fat flakes

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20 of Europe's best ice-cream parlours: readers’ travel tips

Thu, 09 Aug 2018 05:30:08 GMT

Unusual flavours, such as lemongrass, poppy seeds, and peppered raspberry, are among the treats discovered by readers in search of a holiday scoop

Legendary ice-cream shop La Martinière is on the quayside in Saint-Martin-de-Ré, and also has a quieter outpost at the far end of the island by the Baleines lighthouse. There are too many flavours to count: my three-year-old was bowled over by the simple vanilla, my husband by the local caramel fleur-de-sel (sea salt, for which the island is famous) and I couldn’t get enough of the Ferrero Rocher and the peppered raspberry. Eat in La Martinière’s garden reclining on the deckchairs, or stroll down to the lighthouse gardens and enjoy the view over the Atlantic as the waves crash onto the beach below.
17 quai de La Poithevinière/9 Allee du Phare, la-martiniere.fr
Jo Devine

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1251, London: ‘Bold, imaginative and fun’ – restaurant review

Sun, 07 Oct 2018 07:40:03 GMT

Part Scottish, part Jamaican, James Cochran’s brilliant cooking just needs a little more order

Book online only at 1251.co.uk. Snacks £3-£7.50, plates £9-£16, desserts £8-£10, wines from £17.95

How’s this for an irresistible offer? The website jamescochran.co.uk is offering you “a unique chance to participate in the extraordinary success of one talented chef”. Just sign up for one of the recipe plans and for as little as £25 a week your restaurant could be offering the famed James Cochran ® “Signature Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Marinaded in Buttermilk and Secret James Cochran ® Spice mix”. London Evening Standard critic Fay Maschler described it as “the best fried chicken” when she tried it at the restaurant James Cochran E3. You want in? Of course you do. Just one thing. While you may be participating in the success of one talented chef, the chef himself won’t be any longer.

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Rachel Roddy's recipe for marinated courgettes with mint and garlic | A Kitchen in Rome

Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:00:36 GMT

A rummage among dusty charity-shop bookshelves unearths a gem of a recipe for spicy-sour courgette suffused with the fresh taste of mint

For the past 10 years, some of my best cookbook purchases have been from Oxfam on London’s Marylebone High Street and the Mercatino dell’Usato in Monteverde in Rome. I visit both as often as possible, always feeling the same high on book-buying endorphins as I make a beeline for the cookery shelves.

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Gravity-defying dessert, $195 mac’n’cheese and Beyoncé’s guacamole: the tastiest food TV

Wed, 29 Aug 2018 14:17:21 GMT

There’s plenty to satisfy your food-based telly cravings in the week between Great British Bake Off episodes. Here’s our pick ...

While everyone was busy being distracted by all the prestige drama, streaming services have quietly built up a giant stockpile of food shows. With CNN’s Anthony Bourdain documentary not out for at least another year, and the next episode of the Great British Bake Off almost a whole week away, here’s a list of all the food shows you should be watching instead.

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Can you learn to cook like a chef by watching YouTube?

Wed, 01 Aug 2018 11:50:42 GMT

Tim Dowling is a quasi-competent cook. Can a week of online tutorials help take his straightfoward cuisine to restaurant standard?

Chef Lallalin Mahasrabphaisal cooks in one of Manchester’s most acclaimed restaurants, Siam Smiles. Previously located inside a Thai supermarket she owned, the cafe has now moved to new premises. While it was, and still is, a modest place, this paper’s reviewer called it “the most exciting thing to happen to me in Manchester since the days of the Haçienda.”

And yet Mahasrabphaisal, also known as Chef May, has no formal culinary training, experience, or , initially at least, any kind of yearning. She only took it up because the cafe’s chef quit and she wanted to keep the place going. She taught herself to cook by watching YouTube videos.

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Drink young and beautiful: wines that needn’t wait

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 13:00:06 GMT

Received wisdom says good wines improve with age, yet some are so delicious right now, there’s little point in waiting

A conventional wisdom that is imparted when you begin to learn about wine is that serious wines benefit from age. But I reckon that’s a tenet that needs re-examining.

The other week, for example, I went to a vertical tasting of wines by Felton Road, a New Zealand producer I love and whose products I (very occasionally) buy when I’m feeling particularly extravagant. Although these wines age impressively, they’re just so goddamn delicious when they’re young.

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Rachel Roddy’s autumn minestrone recipe | A Kitchen in Rome

Wed, 03 Oct 2018 12:56:57 GMT

This colourful minestrone, brimming with borlotti beans, is the perfect soup for bridging the seasons

Beans are energetic sorts. They are runners, climbers, crawlers or, in the case of borlotti, acrobatic in the way the older vines borlano (tumble) as they grow. My mum talks about the bean plants in her Dorset garden being vigorous and productive, and describes how they sometimes bolt, both beans and plant, making her full-of-beans grandchildren hopeful that they might have a stalk to climb and a giant to meet.

Lately, one of the stalls on Testaccio market has been getting crates of fresh beans in their pods, called il fagiolo rosso rampicante, from Cuneo in Piedmont. Rampicante means climbing. I can’t get the word rampant out of my head, though – unrestrained, unbridled beans, redheads turning heads and stealing attention. Under their gorgeous mottled pods, they have rusty red streaks on cream-coloured skin, like borlotti. In fact, the stallholder, Marco, refers to them as borlotti. Another stall has beans with a darker mottle called borlotti lingua di fuoco, tongue of fire, while across the market ever-reliable Filippo calls the beans he grows on his land, slap-bang between Rome and Naples, simply fagioli.

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How to cook the perfect pasta al pomodoro | Felicity Cloake

Wed, 03 Oct 2018 11:00:10 GMT

Felicity Cloake’s easy-to-follow recipe for the timeless Italian classic

Described as “the national dish of Italy” by Christopher Boswell, executive chef of the Rome Sustainable Food Project and enjoyed, according to restaurateur Lucio Galletto, “from the small islands south of Sicily to the mountain villages perched high in the Alps”, pasta al pomodoro has a lot going for it. It’s cheap to shop for, easy to prepare and utterly delicious to eat – and, being Italian, comes in more varieties than HJ Heinz could even dream of, which means there’s a pasta al pomodoro out there to suit every taste, from tomato-faced toddler to ravenous runner. But, as with many simple dishes, the devil is in the detail. So what’s the secret to success?

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Harry and Meghan’s wedding chef awarded two Michelin stars

Mon, 01 Oct 2018 19:04:48 GMT

Core restaurant by Clare Smyth wins double accolade in guide for Great Britain and Ireland

Clare Smyth, who catered for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s evening wedding reception, has been awarded two stars for her first solo venture, Core, in the 2019 Michelin guide for Great Britain and Ireland.

Related: Clare Smyth, world’s best female chef: ‘I’m not going to stand and shout at someone. It’s just not nice’

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Nigel Slater's warming autumn recipes

Mon, 17 Sep 2018 07:00:17 GMT

The change of seasons finds Nigel Slater contentedly back in a hot kitchen, preparing duck with figs, pot roast pork and apple and blackberry crumble

The light coming into the kitchen is golden once more and I couldn’t be happier. Each warm, sunny day is bookended by crisp mornings and cool evenings. There is a distinct change of climate at the stove, too: the jars of beans and lentils have come down from the larder shelf; there is meat cooking slowly on its bones; and there are proper puddings in the oven. As a cook, I’m in my element, but also as a shopper, with the best of both seasons at my fingertips. After just one too many salad days of a long, hot summer, this cook has never been happier to be back in the kitchen.

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How to make perfect Galician crêpes

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 10:26:17 GMT

Known as filloas, these Spanish-style pancakes make for an indulgent dessert ideal for sharing over a casual dinner

Pancakes shouldn’t be reserved for a yearly treat, especially when they’re enlivened with the Moorish flavours of sweet cinnamon, lemon zest and dark chocolate. Using extra-virgin Spanish olive oil and a sprinkling of salt will ensure a smoother, richer chocolate sauce. Serve these extra-special pancakes on a big platter with fresh berries, and watch them disappear.

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Anna Jones’ savoury grape recipes

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 11:00:06 GMT

Serve them with tarragon or roast them with goat’s cheese

There is a vine growing outside our front window, and by now it is heavy with dusky little wine grapes. We have spent a morning snipping two big baskets of small, tart bunches from it, some of which I have used to make a sort of grape paste to eat with cheese. The rest we’ve eaten roasted with fennel seeds to top soft cheese on toast, or in this salad inspired by one I ate at a dinner cooked in celebration of my friend Anja Dunk’s new book. Both reminded me of how pleasurable grapes can be when they are eaten in a savoury context.

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Nigel Slater’s drop scones recipes

Sun, 14 Oct 2018 05:00:13 GMT

These easy old-fashioned comfort food classics are guaranteed to make your kitchen cosier

The kitchen roof has been letting in water for some time now, and repairs need to begin before winter sets in. I particularly appreciate the long, thin room – more of a galley, really – when the rain beats down on the skylights or a layer of snow sits on the glass, muffling both sound and light. It is then, with a cake in the oven or a deep pan of thickening polenta on the stove, that the kitchen is at its most cosy.

This is the sort of baking no one does any more but probably should

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How to make a baked cheesecake – recipe | Felicity Cloake’s masterclass

Wed, 10 Oct 2018 11:00:46 GMT

How to make the New York version of this classic dessert – with a berry compote topping for a touch of panache

A favourite in ancient Rome, cheesecake is now more commonly associated with the new world, and specifically New York. That classic, dense, sour cream-spiked recipe relies on nothing other than vanilla and lemon for its flavour, though (whisper it) it’s also rather nice with some fresh fruit or shaved chocolate on top. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Prep 30 min
Cook 90 min + cooling
Serves 10-12

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Wine merchants that you can trust | David Williams

Sun, 07 Oct 2018 04:59:02 GMT

When it comes to tasting lesser-known wines, you have to rely on the good name of the importer. Here are three great wines from three reliable firms

Blank Bottle Moment of Silence, Wellington, South Africa 2017 (from £15.95, Swig) In music you have your Warp Records or ECM completists; in the world of books, it may be Fitzcarraldo Editions or Pushkin Press. These are labels that, for all the diversity of their output, have a certain consistency of house style, their names a shortcut to something great or at the very least interesting. The wine trade’s equivalents of the cult record label or publisher are the small importers who make their living form supplying restaurants and independent merchants (although many double up as retailers, too) – and seeking out their names in the small print on back-labels can be a time saving way of navigating the wall of wine. To take one example, the jaunty logo of West London-based Swig always raises my spirits. Among many other strengths, the company’s selection of new-wave South Africans – such as Blank Bottle’s gorgeous rich but tensile white – is second to none.

Château la Canorgue Côtes du Luberon, France 2015 (£15.50, Yapp Brothers) Swig is part of the Dirty Dozen, a group of 12 of the UK’s best small importers who each year put on a London tasting of some of their latest finds. At this year’s event, a small pick of many highlights included a lipsmacking, light, racy red Portuguese Triangle Senha Bairrada 2015 (£18.50, Bottle Apostle) from Iberian (among other things) specialists Indigo Wine; the deep, dark, suave blackberry-juicy Georgian Orgo Separavi 2016 (£19.99, Noel Young Wines) from Clark Foyster Wines; and the latest, berry-tangy vintage of cult Jura-inspired Californian red, Arnot Roberts North Coast Trousseau 2017, (£35, imported and sold by Roberson Wine). The Dirty Dozen members (listed at Dirty Dozen Tasting) are all worth seeking out, as are the six members of a rival grouping, The Bunch, who held their own London event the day after, with fine bottles such as Wiltshire-based Yapp Bros’ wild and spicy southern Rhône from Château La Canorgue.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s chargrilled vegetable recipes

Sat, 13 Oct 2018 08:30:28 GMT

Charring concentrates flavours – try this deliciously light parsnip bread, aromatic aubergine dip and grilled winter leaf salad

There is method behind the madness of charring vegetables so much that you are forced to open every window and door to avoid the dreaded fire alarm orchestra. On a cellular level, amino acids and sugars are rearranging themselves nicely; for non-scientists, that means flavours are concentrating, imparting complexity, bitterness, sweetness and deliciousness. This is why I tend to recommend roasting carrots (and any other veg, really), rather than boiling them. It’s also why today I can bunch together three such different recipes – a bread, a dip and a leafy salad – all joined together by the enchanting power of heat and smoke.

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Elena Arzak's guide to San Sebastián, Spain: 10 top tips

Wed, 15 Aug 2018 05:30:21 GMT

As Lonely Planet names the city’s pintxos the world’s best food experience, the renowned chef at Restaurant Arzak picks her culinary highlights – and the must-see sights

Bokado is a restaurant overlooking the stunning Bahía de la Concha. It’s great for dinner (the summer tasting menu costs €47pp and includes seared Iberian pork, langoustines and wild bonito) or for a drink on the terrace watching the sun set over the sea. The people behind Bokado also run the restaurant and cafe at the San Telmo museum and style themselves as “pioneers in miniature cuisine”, with dishes such as squid croquettes (€2), crispy octopus (€5) and steak skewers (€2). The museum is in the old town and is a must-see. It celebrates Basque heritage through archaeological finds and more than 6,000 paintings, sculptures and photographs, including the 11 Sert Canvases (housed in San Telmo church), which illustrate the most important events in Basque history.
Both at Plaza Zuloaga, +34 943 573 626, bokadosantelmo.com; santelmomuseoa.eus

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Plums past their best? Turn them into a compote – recipe | Waste Not

Sat, 13 Oct 2018 05:00:25 GMT

Preserve a seasonal glut of plums and they’ll last all winter

Plums are an abundant seasonal crop with many varieties worth exploring, among them damson, mirabelle, victoria and greengages. If you find yourself with too many plums, cook them up in a number of simple desserts, from crumble to upside-down cake. My favourite is also the easiest: griddle plum halves and serve with whipped ricotta. They’re also great in savoury salads, raw or grilled.

If the fruit is very ripe and soft, however, try preserving it in sugar instead. Jams, chutneys and compotes are a fine way to preserve any fruit glut – the sugar protects it – and they keep for ages. Compote is made by boiling whole pieces of fruit in a spiced sugar syrup; it can then be served as a pudding, or with yoghurt and granola for breakfast. Jam, on the other hand, is made by boiling fruit in its own juices with sugar and pectin, until it gels.

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Kombucha: can the fermented drink compete with beer at the bar?

Thu, 11 Oct 2018 09:00:02 GMT

The health beverage has already made the leap from health store to cafes – and now it’s on offer in pubs as an alternative to booze

When I was a child, homebrew meant the beer my grandad produced under his stairs. Come Christmas, my father and uncles would congregate there, holding up cloudy beer mugs to the light and nodding appreciatively.

Increasingly, however, home brewers are knocking out kombucha instead – a traditional, non-alcoholic drink made with fermented tea.

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Thomasina Miers’ recipe for roasted squash and farro salad

Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:00:36 GMT

Whatever seasonal pumpkin or squash you find, get creative with this simple and colourful dish

Cooking vegetables can be a thrifty way to get creative in the kitchen – particularly if shopping at your local market. When it comes to vegetables, farmers’ markets can be a cheaper option than the plastic-wrapped alternatives in larger retailers, and you can buy more interesting varieties, often straight from the grower. So whatever kind of pumpkin or squash you find, get experimenting with this fabulously easy and colourful recipe.

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Meera Sodha’s recipe for vegan cauliflower korma

Sat, 06 Oct 2018 09:00:17 GMT

A creamy, comforting take on the curry-house staple

My introduction to korma was in a curry house on Brick Lane, east London. I was 18. Until then, I had always seen korma as the curry for people who were scared of curries, but this one was different: delicate, creamy, and with the faintest hints of cardamom and pepper. With every dip of my naan, I became addicted. Fast-forward to today, and I’m now an out-and-out korma lover. I see it for what it is, not for what it isn’t, and love the subtleties, textures and nostalgic joy of this curry house staple.

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How to use up every last scrap of a fennel bulb

Sat, 06 Oct 2018 05:00:13 GMT

The British fennel season ends soon, so preserve it in a deliciously fragrant jam

Every part of the fennel bulb is edible, and the roots, bulb, shoots, fronds and seeds all carry the same intoxicating, aniseedy fragrance in varying intensities. Look for bulbs with stems and bushy tops intact; otherwise, choose ones with some stalks and a few fronds remaining. The fronds can be used like a herb: to elevate a salad, to add to salsa verde or to enhance your evening cocktail with a decorative leaf, thereby adding botanical aromas.

Tall, coral-like bushes of wild fennel populate our countryside and coastline, scenting trails with their seductive perfume, making it easy to identify and hard to resist. In late summer and early autumn, I’ll often pick a head of flowers or seeds to add to my evening meal, as well as to nibble on the way home.

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Four autumnal recipes inspired by Borough Market

Sat, 06 Oct 2018 06:00:16 GMT

One-pot golden chicken, malfatti with mushrooms and baked figs with ginger butter biscuits: the perfect comfort food for when the nights grow longer

Prep 15 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

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Three Sicilian wines that make you an offer you can’t refuse

Sun, 26 Aug 2018 10:08:36 GMT

Sicily, so close to mainland Italy, has a rich vinicultural heritage all its own

Morrisons The Best Nero d’Avola, Sicily, 2017 (£6, Morrisons)
With a culture infused with, among others, Greek, Roman, Norman, Muslim, Byzantine and Spanish influences, Sicily feels much further from mainland Italy than the couple of miles of the Messina Strait. Its wine culture, too, is very much its own. The second-largest wine-producing region in Italy (itself the world’s largest wine producer), it makes roughly the same amount as Portugal and double that of Greece and, like those two countries, has its own high-quality grape varieties. For reds, the most widely planted is nero d’avola, often used to flesh out blends on the island and (sometimes secretly) the mainland. Its stock has risen in the Sicilian wine renaissance of the past 20 years, however, making it a solo star of such darkly plummy reds as Morrisons’ bargain.

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Bianco, Sicily, 2017 (£22, Les Caves; Buon Vino)
While a lot of Sicilian wine (good and bad) is blended from grapes sourced in various locations, it’s when the wine comes from a single region that things get really interesting. One of the most intriguing extends from the town of Vittoria in the southeast of the island, home of the frappato variety, used to make pleasantly light, strawberry-and-cherry-scented red easy-drinkers such as Beccaria Frappato 2015 (£7.75, WoodWinters). For a truly ethereal expression of frappato – one that brings sage, rosemary and spice to the perfumed strawberries – try Arianna Occhipinti Frappato 2016 (£33.05, Les Caves), while the same winemaker’s white blend is a summer garden swirl of jasmine, with blood-orange pith, tang and refreshment.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Eritrean and Ethiopian recipes

Sat, 06 Oct 2018 08:30:17 GMT

An East African feast, including berbere lentils and vegetables, cucumber, coconut and lime salsa – and teff flatbreads to scoop it all up with

For years I’ve been trying to make injera, a pancake-like fermented bread that’s used in Ethiopia and Eritrea instead of cutlery. Its earthy acidity is the perfect complement to the region’s rich stews and soups. It took a private tutorial with Shewa Hagos of the Blue Nile cafe in Woolwich, south London, for me to realise (yet again) that some foods are best left in the hands of experts. Injera is an art that involves tending to a rather capricious mother batter on a regular basis, and relies on some serious experience (also, often reserved to mothers). Thankfully, injera can be bought online (from tobiateff.co.uk, for one), or serve today’s Ethiopian- and Eritrean-inspired dishes with any other bought-in flatbread, my own teff flatbread (see recipe below), or with rice or couscous.

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Roman style beans with pork rind recipe | A Kitchen in Rome

Mon, 08 Oct 2018 11:00:18 GMT

Centuries have taught working-class Romans to conjure up flavour and goodness from leftovers and offcuts, such as this traditional recipe for a rich stew of beans and pork

“If sweetbreads and oxtail aren’t your thing, then don’t come here.” They are my thing, so I put a ring around the entry for Trattoria Agustarello in Testaccio in my 2005 Lonely Planet Italy. It wasn’t until a month or so later that I made it there, by which time I knew a bit about Testaccio, its second-century hill of broken terracotta pots and its graveyard of dead poets, its contemporary history as the slaughterhouse district and its particular cooking. The butchers and vaccinari (cow men) who worked the slaughterhouse from the 1880s until the mid-1970s divided animals into prestigious cuts for the wealthy, leaving the lower classes and slaughterhouse workers the offcuts and offal, the quinto quarto, or fifth quarter.

The slaughterhouse may have closed in 1975 and habits are changing, but, in Testaccio, quinto quarto cooking is still alive, and nowhere more than in Trattoria Agustarello. There have been small adjustments to the half-open kitchen and the walls are now a sunny yellow, but apart from that, Agustarello feels much the same as it did the first time I went, 13 years ago.

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Easy does it: seven simple new Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Sat, 01 Sep 2018 06:00:48 GMT

These dishes from my latest book make cooking fun, relaxing and delicious

One person’s idea of cooking simply is the next person’s culinary nightmare. For me, it’s about being able to stop at my greengrocer on the way home, pick up a couple of things that look good and make something within 20 or 30 minutes of getting in. My husband, Karl, on the other hand, has a completely different idea. If we’re having friends over at the weekend, he’ll want to spend a good amount of time prepping and cooking as much as he can beforehand, so that very little needs to be done when our guests are here.

There are other approaches, too. Esme, who tests my recipes, prefers to be in the garden at weekends. Her idea of simple cooking is to put something in the oven on a Saturday morning and leave it simmering away, ready to be eaten four or five hours later. My colleague Tara, on the other hand, can’t relax without knowing that a meal is ready a full day before it’s due to be eaten: sauces are in the fridge, stews in the freezer, vegetables are blanched or roasted and ready.

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Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for chocolate and date mousse

Sat, 13 Oct 2018 09:00:28 GMT

A simple and satisfying chocolate pot topped with rosewater blackberries

This recipe is really all about a small act of reciprocity. I’ve just finished making a documentary about Ugandan Asians for BBC4. We filmed at an Indian grocery, and to say thank you to the shopkeeper, we bought lots of vegetables from him afterwards. I cooked and packed them into Tupperware for the BBC team to take home. When we were next filming, as a thank you to me they returned the pots filled with blackberries they’d picked that morning. Here’s what I made with them.

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