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Food | The Guardian

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

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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Four easy Indian recipes | Asma Khan

Sat, 03 Nov 2018 07:00:05 GMT

Asma’s Indian Kitchen serves up some simple dishes, including beetroot raita, masala omelette and chicken drumstick kebabs

Prep 5 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 6

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Want to prep like a pro chef? It’s time to give your spice drawer a makeover

Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:14:38 GMT

Having a well-stocked larder is essential for any aspiring home cook, but what key herbs and spices should you always have to hand – and what combinations work best?

Open the menu at a fashionable restaurant and you will probably find a sprinkle of sumac or a touch of turmeric. While the adventurous 1970s cook would have doused a piece of cod in a parsley sauce, today’s might opt for a za’atar rub.

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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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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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Turmeric recipe: butternut squash with turmeric dressing

Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:17:12 GMT

This hearty taste-cousin of mustard will magically enhance a dressing to accompany an autumnal combination of butternut squash, kale, quinoa and celery

Like ginger, turmeric grows in clusters of rhizomes deep in the soil. These rhizomes are boiled then sun-dried and ground into a luminous deep yellow powder. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines have praised the benefits of turmeric for thousands of years.

Like a delicate flower, turmeric does not do well in excessive heat. It should be added to a medium hot oil and for a maximum of 30 seconds. Hotter or longer will result in unpleasant bitterness. Turmeric is a powerful dye and will stain any porous plate or container as efficiently as it colours your fingers.

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Röski, Liverpool: ‘Use any excuse to eat here’ – restaurant review

Sun, 11 Nov 2018 05:59:02 GMT

Chocolate soil, Marmite butter, tree trunk plates… It may sound odd, but Röski is note perfect

Röski, 16 Rodney Street, Liverpool L1 2TE (0151 7 088 698). A la carte £45 for three courses. Tasting menu £75. Wines from £23

Do you have a birthday coming up that needs celebrating? No? How about a wedding anniversary? Or your parents’ wedding anniversary? Doesn’t matter if they’re dead. An anniversary is an anniversary. It needs marking. You don’t have one of those? Perhaps a pet’s birthday? Or, I dunno, it’s happy Thursday. Just find something worth celebrating, even if it’s merely the gruelling business of being alive, and use it as the excuse to go and eat at Röski in Liverpool. You’ll thank me. More to the point, you’ll thank chef Anton Piotrowski.

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Beautiful big flavours at lovely small prices: Puglian primitivo

Sun, 11 Nov 2018 05:59:02 GMT

Enjoy the sweet power of these rich reds from southern Italy

Amanti del Vino Primitivo, Salento, Puglia, Italy 2017 (£6.95, Adnams; Tanners Wines) Few grape varieties have been subject to the level of scrutiny of its origins than Puglia’s primitivo has. Ampelographers – botanists who identify and classify grape vines – have spent years attempting to untangle its roots, discovering first that it was one and the same as that Californian speciality, zinfandel, and, more recently, that it has its roots somewhere in the Balkans where it is known variously as tribidrag, pribidrag, crljenak and kratosija. You won’t find many wines labelled with the latter in the UK, but Italian primitivo is arguably more popular here even than Californian zinfandel, thanks to its ability to provide big flavour for relatively small prices. Such is certainly the case with Amanti del Vino, a soft, juicy burst of dark plum and prune to glug with rich pasta sauces.

Notte Rossa Primitivo di Manduria, Puglia, Italy 2016 (£11, Marks & Spencer) Much of primitivo’s charm lies in its uninhibited warming fullness – like a time-travelling message in a bottle from sunnier climes when the nights have drawn in. There’s often a touch of sweetness (residual sugar will often top 10g per litre in primitivo; a classic dry red, by comparison, will have 1 to 2g). And there’s biggish alcohol, too, around 14%, and sometimes topping 15%. This means it can be sipped very happily as a port stand-in while you’re nibbling dark chocolate or, my personal preference, a hunk of tangy, salty, hard cheese such as parmesan. That would be my plan for M&S’s Notte Rossa, which is wonderfully deep and sweetly powerful with a lick of bitterness among the dark blackberry, plums and chocolate-dipped raisin flavours.

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Meera Sodha’s vegan Thai green curry recipe | The New Vegan

Sat, 10 Nov 2018 10:00:37 GMT

A comforting, fragrant mix of sweet-sour spice and soft, coconut undertones

For reasons unknown to me, Thai restaurants have long set up shop in some of my favourite pubs. As a result, and especially through my 20s and 30s, the Thai green curry has been with me through thick and thin – through birthdays and break-ups, it has helped to bolster proceedings and to soften blows. Its perfect balance of fresh green chilli heat and sweet, calm coconut has no other competitor for comfort, in my eyes. It’s about time, I suppose, that I got out of my comfort zone and made my own.

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Cocktail of the week: a green spice martini recipe | The Good Mixer

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 16:00:14 GMT

Like a martini, but no vermouth: just a kick of ginger and an intriguing whiff of curry leaf

The ginger juice adds a real kick to this. To make it, peel and grate a knob of fresh ginger, then squeeze with your hands (or tie in muslin and squeeze) to extract the liquid.

Serves 1

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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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Four aromatic dal recipes | Karam Sethi

Sat, 10 Nov 2018 07:00:37 GMT

Try these authentic vegetarian dal recipes either as a side dish, or as a main meal with rice or naan


Tempering is a cooking technique used across India and south Asia, in which spices are dry-toasted and/or fried in ghee or oil, and used to flavour curries and dals.

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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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England's growing wine industry – archive, 1 November 1969

Thu, 01 Nov 2018 05:30:04 GMT

1 November 1969: A Norfolk vineyard may well be the first to have been harvested in this part of East Anglia since the Middle Ages

Monday I harvested my first vintage. One hundred Riesling x Silvaner vines, planted three years ago on a sheltered site at my home in Norfolk, yielded 170lb of grapes. My smallest daughter, Henrietta, aged 4, had a high old time treading the grapes with her mother, to crush them ready for the press, and after pressing I found myself with 12 gallons of very palatable must, enough to produce nearly six dozen bottles of dry white wine.

Norfolk may be one of the last places where you would expect to find a vineyard, and my vintage may well be the first to have been harvested in this part of East Anglia since the Middle Ages; but I am sure that it is not the first. It is known that vines were grown in England by the Church as early as the seventh century, in order to obtain wine for Mass.

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Nigel Slater’s oysters with chorizo recipe

Sun, 11 Nov 2018 06:00:07 GMT

Paired with seafood, sausage meat makes a supper sing

You could probably measure my life in sausages. How I looked forward to the tiny chipolatas and baked beans from a can that my dad would leave in the bottom oven of the Aga for when I came home from school. The plump spiral of Cumberlands I cooked for breakfast every day of my time in the Lake District. The herby butcher’s sausages and rust-red chorizo, the crumbly Bury black puddings, and the soft, blissfully mousse-like Spanish morcilla. And no, I wouldn’t turn my nose at up at a Greggs sausage roll in an emergency.

Chorizo fat can be incredibly good when it is used, blisteringly hot, on a cool, freshly shucked oyster

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Ravinder Bhogal’s recipe for mussel, rice and sweetcorn soup

Wed, 07 Nov 2018 12:03:14 GMT

A cross between a chowder and a Chinese broth, this will brighten up the darkest winter days in only 15 minutes

My mussel and sweetcorn soup is a cross between a chowder and a Chinese soup. It mixes briny shellfish with sweetcorn like a chowder, but employs sesame oil, ginger and turmeric for an Asian twist. I add rice to give the broth some body. This recipe is especially good because it can be rustled up quickly to brighten the darkest winter days – especially with the convenience of frozen corn.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

3 tbsp neutral oil
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp turmeric
500g sweetcorn kernels
1 litre chicken stock
100g basmati rice
Sea salt
White pepper, freshly ground
Sesame oil
1kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
Coriander, freshly chopped

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How to make Christmas cake | Masterclass

Wed, 07 Nov 2018 11:59:32 GMT

A squidgy, zesty Christmas cake recipe to convince even the most diehard fruitcake denier

Christmas is coming, ready or not, so you may as well embrace the most wonderful time of the year and get baking. This deliciously squidgy, zesty recipe will convince all but the most diehard fruitcake denier. Like many of us, it only improves with age and the judicious application of small amounts of strong liquor.

Prep 45 min + soaking and maturing
Cook 90-110 min
Serves 10-12

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Restaurants run out of vegan chefs as Britons ditch meat and dairy

Sat, 03 Nov 2018 21:00:09 GMT

New courses in upmarket plant-based cooking launched to meet growing demand

Jackfruit burgers, soya kebabs, seitan fried “chicken” – it’s easier than ever to find appetising plant-based dishes in the UK. But as the number of people embracing a vegan diet grows, restaurants are scrambling to recruit enough chefs.

Now a new vegan cookery school which opened in London last week has launched a fast-track course to train more people in the art of plant-based cooking.

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Clam & Cork, Doncaster: ‘Doing lovely things’ – restaurant review

Sun, 28 Oct 2018 06:00:09 GMT

In the heart of the Doncaster market, a friendly stall selling the finest fish dishes

Clam & Cork, 2 Fish Market, Doncaster DN1 1NJ (07912 687581). All dishes £6.50-£11.95. Wines from £16

Twenty-five years ago, when my time was cheap and work scarce, I spent three days as a reporter in the old Bull Ring Market in Birmingham. The built, scuffed, graffiti-strewn, urine-splashed environment was due for demolition to make way for the glossy city centre that now occupies the space. Few were prepared to mourn the grey concrete sprawl, with its shadowed underpasses, but it housed a unique retail culture that deserved to be recorded before it went. I was sent to do the recording.

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Bloody beetroot burgers – why would anyone want them?

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 19:00:21 GMT

The urge to replicate animals’ body fluids in vegetarian options is very strange

I am quite concerned about the new bloody beetroot burger that Tesco is offering. Especially as recently I have learned to make a passable beetroot burger myself. The main issue is how to get the ruddy thing to stick together so that it’s not just fried red mush. Roasting cauliflower has also been a disaster. It intensifies the flavour, the recipes say. To which you can only reply: why would anyone want to do that?

I will soon be fending off calls from MasterChef, I imagine, but I am trying to increase my culinary repertoire.

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Anna Jones’ Sri Lankan curry recipe | The Modern Cook

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 12:00:15 GMT

Try this warming, fragrant and uplifting Sri Lankan blend of spices in this delicate potato and coconut curry

There’s always a jar of homemade curry powder or garam masala on the shelf above my cooker. It varies in its blend of spices, but those that make the most regular appearance are a turmeric mix, which I stir into frothed hot milk, a panch phoran – whole mustard, fenugreek and fennel seeds – to temper (toast and top) curries, and this Sri Lankan blend with roasted rice, black pepper and clove. It’s the one I come back to in colder months: it is warming, fragrant and uplifting all at once.

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Taste test: the best and worst vegan Christmas sandwiches

Wed, 07 Nov 2018 18:00:39 GMT

This year, M&S joins a growing number of high-street shops selling meat- and dairy-free Yuletide sarnies. From mock turkey to brussels sprout pesto, which make a festive feast?

With the number of vegan Britons quadrupling in the past four years, and one in three of us in the UK reducing the amount of meat we eat, the competition for our festive sandwiches is heating up. Marks & Spencer just released its first ever offering – with marinated fake meat – and most other high-street brands have got something in the mix. We tested seven for your lunchtime feasting.

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A cauliflower cumin and ginger recipe from Rachel Roddy | A Kitchen in Rome

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:00:13 GMT

An Indian fast-food canteen in Rome inspires a revival of Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe for cauliflower and cumin

A visit to the new Esquilino market inevitably ends with a second breakfast or early lunch at an Indian fast-food canteen called Janta. Not much larger than the lower deck of a bus, it has eight Formica tables, each one home to a springy napkin holder, a big jug of water and two smaller jugs, one of spearmint-green yoghurt sauce, the other dark, sweet tamarind. I’m not sure if it’s the done thing, but I swirl the two into a spiral dip for samosas and pakoras – clusters of vegetables dipped in chickpea flour batter and fried. The menu is a mix of Italian and English: riso (rice), biryani, veg curry, non-veg curry and pollo con curry di spezie indiane, all served on stainless-steel trays. Always busy, but somehow never feeling busy, Janta, like the market nearby, is multicultural: Rangpuri, Italian, English, Bengali and Mandarin all swirl into the 9X Music hits pulsing from the TV.

A piece of India and Bangladesh in central Rome, I love Janta. For its decor – on the one hand pure function, on the other as ornate as the wooden divider half-hiding the kitchen and the child-sized Ganesh by the till; for its warm, spiced air; and for the friendly, efficient waiter from Dakar. Mostly, I love it because mounds of basmati rice, spiced vegetables, strident lime pickle and cool yoghurt sauce are just what I want to eat when I come out of the market with bundles of coriander, a kilo of semolina and a hand-shaped ginger root.

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Cookbook star Ren Behan on the childhood dishes she loves to this day

Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:19:51 GMT

Cooking had to be done economically when Polish chef Ren Behan was growing up in Manchester, but as long as Mama had cinnamon in summer and marjoram in winter, a taste of home was never far away

My mother has a walk-in pantry cupboard at home, or rather, a larder as she calls it. Whenever I’m back, I take the opportunity to step inside. It’s almost like the wardrobe scene in The Chronicles of Narnia for me, because it takes me back instantly to being a child and to barely being tall enough to reach her high shelves.

The larder was always well stocked (one might say stock-piled) with canned foods, flours and grains and stock cubes, as well as with an exotic array of dried herbs and spices. As the youngest of five, I was always the first to be held responsible for any spillages in the larder. I remember my mum being justifiably cross once, when a jar of dill leapt off the shelf, leading to a sort of dill confetti party all over the larder floor. Of course, it wasn’t the dill I was after, but rather the chocolate sauce that, for some reason, was always part-hidden behind the spices.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s blue cheese recipes

Sat, 03 Nov 2018 09:30:02 GMT

Stilton, gorgonzola and dolcelatte add depth to my leek and potato cakes, swiss chard galettes and grilled red cabbage

I am under no illusion that I can turn a committed blue cheese hater into a fan of Penicillium roqueforti, the mould responsible for that funky flavour. But when cooked, what normally makes blue cheese so divisive is harnessed to add a complexity that isn’t about the cheese itself, but about giving the other components extra depth. The sweetness of slow-cooked red cabbage, the earthy creaminess of potato cakes and the grassy notes of chard pie are all improved by the power of a little modest mould.

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How we fell out of love with milk

Sun, 11 Nov 2018 08:00:05 GMT

Soya, almond, oat... Whether for health issues, animal welfare or the future of the planet, ‘alt-milks’ have never been more popular. Are we approaching dairy’s final days?

A couple of weeks ago, some eye-catching billboards began appearing around central and east London. Entire tunnels of the underground were plastered with the adverts; the sides of large buildings were covered. On one panel there was a carton (or, in some instances, three) of Oatly, an oat drink made by a cult Swedish company that favours stark graphics, a bluey-grey colour scheme, and which is a market leader – in a not uncompetitive field – in the tongue-in-cheek promotional messages known as “wackaging”. The adjacent panel, in large, wobbly type, read: “It’s like milk, but made for humans.”

Around the same time, during commercial breaks on Channel 4’s 4oD, there appeared a 15-second clip of a man in a field of oats, playing a tinny 1980s synthesiser and howling: “Wow, no cow!” That guy is Toni Petersson, the 50-year-old CEO of Oatly, and the song, you would not be entirely surprised to learn, is his own composition. “Listen, it’s absolutely terrible, right?” says Petersson, over the phone from Eugene, Oregon. “My creative directors wanted to make some commercials that I was part of. One of them included a song that they wrote, which was even worse. I had no idea; I thought it was going to be shown one time only.”

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s curry recipes

Sat, 10 Nov 2018 09:30:36 GMT

A mild and buttery squash curry, a richly spiced fish dish with lime salsa and my take on korma made with tofu and cauliflower

We’ve come to use the word ‘curry’ as an umbrella term for almost anything cooked in a spiced sauce. Some people object to this liberal use of the word (which derives from the Tamil ‘kari’, meaning sauce) to cover a vast range of dishes and see it as a gross mashup of various culinary traditions. But, to me, ‘curry’ is just a shorthand for a collection of dishes that I love. All of them make clever use of spice to create a nuanced concoction that is both complex and comforting. They are rich, filling and immensely satisfying, and are all best served on rice.

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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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Vietnamese chicken lemongrass curry | Thomasina Miers

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 12:37:33 GMT

Make a tub of this fragrant Vietnamese curry paste and whip it up again and again into a mouthwatering midweek dinner

There is something therapeutic about making a quick curry paste at home. Few things can beat the smell of freshly ground spices and aromatics – especially when they hit the hot metal of a wok. Now that ingredients such as tamarind, galangal and lemongrass are stocked at larger supermarkets, it is also an easy solution for a midweek dinner. This mouthwatering curry is easily made vegan if you swap the chicken for more pumpkin or another vegetable like halved brussels sprouts.

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Bake Off’s Liam Charles: Why I love my nan’s famous goat curry

Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:20:49 GMT

Childhood trips to the market with his nan taught Liam Charles more than he ever realised – and not least the benefits of a heavily seasoned slow, slow marinate

From what I can remember, I was 10 when I first experienced this dish of my nan’s (and yes, I talk about my nan, Cynthia, a lot!). I always spent every school holiday in the early years of my life at hers. With my overprotective mum at work, it became my home away from home.

It was almost like a ritual: I’d get to Nan’s around 9am, have a snack, binge-watch Tracy Beaker back to back for a couple hours, then we’d make our way to Ridley Road market in Hackney, London. From the top to the bottom of the market, the number of times Nan and my four-foot self would do the whole length was just insane. Little did I know though, that I was being taught loads along the way.

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Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for Yorkshire parkin | The New Vegan

Sat, 03 Nov 2018 10:00:07 GMT

A dark and sticky ginger cake with a lick of smokiness: just the thing for watching the fireworks

I went to school in Hull, and this time of year always smelled the best. Firework smoke from Bonfire Night would mix with the ever-present sweet, bready-smelling fug from the city’s bakeries. The culinary meeting of these two scents is the famous Yorkshire parkin: a dark and sticky ginger cake with a certain fire-licked flavour. It’s not a cake for a birthday, nor one for afternoon tea, but it’s perfect to eat tissue-wrapped from a pocket, or after the fireworks to make you feel warm and alive on a cold November night.

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Thomasina Miers’ recipe for sticky mushrooms with jasmine rice | The Simple Fix

Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:00:08 GMT

A midweek supper of Thai street food served up in minutes

During the week, I don’t have the time or energy to spend hours cooking. For those nights when we want food on the table fast, I regularly buy mushrooms. There is little as good as sauteed mushrooms on toast (think butter, garlic, parsley and creme fraiche), but here I thought I would try to recreate an exquisite plate of street food I had one late night in Bangkok. It is a real treat.

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Zela, London – restaurant review | Grace Dent

Fri, 02 Nov 2018 10:00:27 GMT

Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal and Enrique Iglesias invent an entirely new cuisine. But why?

You’d think that with everything the five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has on his plate right now, opening a restaurant would not be the priority. However, in recent months, the glitzy, spectacular Zela has taken root in the ground floor of the ME hotel in Aldwych, London.

You may remember that I visited Pep Guardiola’s three-storey, Catalonian molecular gastronomy experience, Tast, in Manchester a month or so back. Well, in a similar vein, yet stranger still, Ronaldo has joined with tennis star Rafael Nadal and crooner Enrique Iglesias to chuck so much money at a restaurant that they claim to have invented an entirely new cuisine. Zela, they say, is considered to be the first and best exponent of “Meppon” cuisine – an exquisite, original fusion of the best Mediterranean produce with Japanese techniques. Not since Lord Percy in Blackadder II invented the precious metal “green” have I enjoyed such bold, pioneering spirit. You want gnocchi with your miso halibut? You got it. How about almonds with your tuna tataki? Not a problem, friend. Pull up a chair, tie on a bib.These incredibly rich men – a footballer, a tennis player and a popstar – are reinventing the wheel, and we are truly honoured to be allowed behind the velvet rope to eat tiny plates of wagyu tataki with ponzu sauce at £28 a throw.

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Matt Preston's scorched and raw teriyaki poke recipe

Sat, 03 Nov 2018 21:09:06 GMT

In his latest cookbook, the Melbourne food critic turns international dishes into easy evening meals including this salmon bowl

Let’s be frank, the Hawaiians stole the poke (po-kay) bowl from the Japanese and their original “chirasushi”, or scattered sushi, just as they stole the macadamia nut from us.

So here I am stealing it back AND making it better by combining the freshness of raw fish with the smokiness of slightly scorched salmon pieces for a more interesting poke.

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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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Lounge on the Green, Carlisle - restaurant review | Grace Dent

Fri, 26 Oct 2018 09:00:06 GMT

Unpretentious but forward-reaching, which is a little scarce in Cumbria

The first fact you need to know about Lounge on the Green at Houghton, on the outskirts of Carlisle, is that it is very much in England. It’s a full eight miles from the “Welcome to Scotland” sign. “So, you’re being petty,” you may be thinking. “It’s basically a Scottish restaurant near Gretna Green, right?” To which I say, “You fundamentally misunderstand Border people.”

Carlisle is fiercely English. And no, this is not petty at all. We are still in deep umbrage with Gretna over Malcolm III’s invasion in 1061. Meanwhile, Gretna is still livid over multiple historical slights, not least of which is a period circa 1982 when Russ Abbot’s CU Jimmy character led to coachloads of English tourists at Gretna Services, bleating unintelligible faux-Scots and wearing ginger wigs attached to tartan bonnets.

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Cypriot farmers struggle to meet demand for halloumi

Sun, 11 Nov 2018 06:59:02 GMT

Shortage of sheep and goats in Cyprus coupled with growing taste for grilled cheese in China ‘threatens global supplies’

It’s on restaurant menus from London to New York and has become a barbecue favourite far and wide.

But, on the Mediterranean island where it has been made since medieval times, halloumi’s unprecedented global popularity has also begun to cause concern. Fears are being voiced that local dairy farmers soon won’t be able to keep up with demand.

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'Bleeding' vegan burger arrives on UK supermarket shelves

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 06:00:31 GMT

Vegan-friendly Beyond Burger oozing a beetroot juice-based meaty hue stocked at Tesco

A plant-based burger that “bleeds” – from cult US brand Beyond Meat – is to make its hotly-anticipated UK retail debut in Tesco on Monday after its launch was delayed by supply issues.

The Beyond Burger – the company’s flagship vegan-friendly product which sold out after its May 2016 launch in the US – will be stocked alongside conventional fresh meat patties in more than 350 branches of the UK’s largest supermarket.

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Nigel Slater’s sausages, shallots and grapes recipe

Sun, 04 Nov 2018 06:00:24 GMT

Warming, sticky recipes make Bonfire Night a cracker

Tomorrow’s night sky will be awash with neon green peonies and sapphire crowns, silver fountains and their accompanying screeches and bangs. No tree will be safe from the pastel sparks of a roman candle. All too noisy for this guy. Just give me the glowing embers of the bonfire, something good in a glass, and, of course, the food.

I rather like Bonfire Night food – filling, cheap and good-natured. I’m not sure cooking any of it on the bonfire really works. Baked potatoes explode, sausages scorch and everything else is covered in minute flakes of grey ash. Better, I think, to bring a little feast from a toasty kitchen into the cold night air; a tray of simple, hot and sticky fare for people to eat with one eye looking hopefully at the night sky, scared to miss a single, ridiculously expensive fizz or pop.

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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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Pop a few corks! Why Essex’s vineyards are the best for bubbly

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 16:09:40 GMT

With its south-facing slopes, warmer temperatures and low summer rainfall, the county is ideal to become Britain’s sparkling wine hot spot

Name: Essex bubbly.

Age: Let’s say 50.

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Salsify: Waitrose brings back 'forgotten' Victorian vegetable

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 15:08:07 GMT

Stocking of root vegetable popular with C19th cooks part of demand for traditional produce

A vegetable that was a staple on Victorian dinner tables is making a comeback, as Waitrose introduces salsify in 100 stores in the hope of inspiring UK consumers with a taste of the past.

Common in the 19th century but largely forgotten in British kitchen cupboards today, the root vegetable is being supplied by Albert Bartlett, the Scotland-based potato firm.

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Canto, Manchester: ‘Muted chaos reigned’ – restaurant review

Sun, 04 Nov 2018 06:00:24 GMT

This new Portuguese-themed place has an impressive pedigree, but the meal they served was bizarre, and it’s way too expensive

Canto, 16 Blossom Street, Manchester (0161 870 5904). Small plates £5-£11; desserts £6; wines from £21 a bottle

A few weeks ago my Guardian colleague Grace Dent wondered whether the pantomime of a lousy restaurant experience she’d had while reviewing in Berkshire was some kind of hidden camera gag set up by me. There were times during my meal at Canto in Manchester when I wondered whether she’d set the whole thing up as some kind of grudge match. Then again, I suspect even she couldn’t be faffed to stage something this tiresome.

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for milk buns | A Kitchen in Rome

Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:00:08 GMT

These slightly sweet, creamy buns demand to be eaten straight from the oven, split and filled with anything you fancy

Mum remembers her auntie May buying milk loaves from Hough’s Bakers and Confectioners on Moss Road in Stretford. I remember Great Aunt May in her bib apron, slicing bread in the kitchen of her sister’s (my granny’s) pub in Oldham. The white tin loaf was usually so fresh that the insides hadn’t firmed up, so May would stand it on one end, cut the crust off the other, then butter the end of the loaf. Dad says she then tucked the loaf under her arm like a newspaper and sawed off a ready-buttered slice, while Mum says she kept it end-up on the board and sliced like that. We have similar discussions about how May fried chips, and her stew with half a cow’s heel. Humdrum conversations that are full of important bits: May, who was always “our May”, is not just remembered, but seems alive when we talk about how she sliced bread.

I also remember May and Granny slicing oven-bottom cakes in the pub kitchen. These were not cakes at all, but saucer-sized bread buns with firm, flat bottoms because they were cooked at the bottom of the baker’s oven. They also had floury tops, which meant you got floury fingers, which you inevitably wiped on your trousers, so got floury trousers. At the pub, oven-bottom cakes were split and filled with bacon, flash-fried steaks or slices of cheese. As kids, my brother and sister and I would sit on high stools up at the bar, shuffling beer mats or rumpling beer towels, then squashing the two halves and the filling of our lunch together so the bacon with its fat, the hot beef or slices of cheese sank into the crumb. As we ate, the floury tops would stick to the roofs of our mouths, until we washed them down with lemonade.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s super-cheap recipes for students

Sat, 20 Oct 2018 08:30:01 GMT

How to make a three-course meal out of two tins of chickpeas and a few other store cupboard ingredients

If I remember anything from my days as a philosophy student, I’d say this is a valid syllogism: “All students are vegan. All vegans have a couple of tins of chickpeas in their cupboard. Therefore, all students have a couple of tins of chickpeas in their cupboard.” Now, despite those two premises being not terribly empirical, I have a feeling that, in 2018, this is not too far from the truth. So today I offer a three-course meal based on two tins of chickpeas, two tins of coconut cream and a bunch of other inexpensive ingredients. Whether you’re a student, a vegan or neither, there’s lots to enjoy.

Related: Yotam Ottolenghi’s chargrilled vegetable recipes

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