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Food | The Guardian

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

Simon Hopkinson’s Easter feast

Sun, 14 Apr 2019 10:00:46 GMT

Mimosas with cheese and sesame puffs, pot-roast shoulder of lamb and pistachio tarts – Simon Hopkinson’s recipes to celebrate the year’s best feast

Having been asked, most cordially, by the editor to furnish you with an Easter luncheon menu, I then asked that I might further be allowed to talk you through my thoughts and musings regarding the recipes, the dishes, rather than to simply plonk them among you. Please read them carefully, leisurely, enjoyably and ponder more the cookery, rather than the regimen. Also, Easter remains my favourite feast of the year: it is the first one; springtime beckons; miraculous rejuvenation. From a sombre Friday to a Happy Holiday Monday, there is scope for all kinds of kitchenalia – and for four whole days! Christmas? Go figure.
All the recipes serve four

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Kim-Joy’s recipe for pig-themed vegetarian mini-pies

Wed, 24 Apr 2019 11:00:19 GMT

These porcine pastries are, in fact, filled with meat-free sausage and caramelised onion – and very easy to make

The filling for these is really simple, with only two key ingredients. They are meat-free (although you could make them with meat), but do feature pigs. The hot-water-crust pastry follows very different rules from normal pastry – don’t be afraid to handle it a little more than you would shortcrust. Serve these with gravy, mash and greens – or just as picnic pies.

Prep time: 10 min for pastry, 25 min for filling, 15-20 min for shaping
Bake time: 35-45 min
Makes 12 mini-pies

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Thomasina Miers’ recipe for yoghurt and turmeric lamb | The simple fix

Mon, 15 Apr 2019 11:00:19 GMT

Fragrant, exotic slow-cooked spiced lamb with crispy onion rice: it’s perfect for a crowd

Easter, like Christmas, can be a magical time of year, with two bank holidays giving a good chunk of time to relax and hang out with friends and family. But for the cook, this can be stressful, with so many different tastes to cater for. I serve this fragrant, exotic lamb with a pile of steaming rice, asparagus and crisp onions, with the same spicing as the lamb for vegans and vegetarians. It should keep everyone happy.

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'I get a buzz every day' – how to turn your foodie passion into a business

Thu, 25 Apr 2019 10:00:09 GMT

Food entrepreneurs on the ecstasy of following their culinary dreams - and the 16-hour days necessary to be successful

For a keen cook, there’s nothing quite like a lavish compliment about the food you have made. Dangerously, for the passionate foodie, the admirer may go on to say you should be doing it for a living. That seed sown, they will go back to their sensible job while you are left with lingering thoughts of winning MasterChef, successfully pitching your amazing food product on Dragon’s Den, being stocked in Waitrose, and your cookbook outselling A Pinch of Nom. A hobby has morphed into a dream.

This happened to me seven years ago. After a decade of writing about food, interviewing chefs and working as a restaurant critic, a few people suggested I start cooking for a living. I launched One Mile Bakery, a microbakery based in my house, delivering bread, soup and preserves by bike within a mile of my kitchen, and teaching baking classes there. I did my research – which included reading several times that nine out of 10 food businesses fail – and did lots of the right things: keeping my day job for the first few months; paying for business mentoring; offering subscriptions for deliveries so there was no waste; delivering at teatime so I didn’t have to bake all night; and working at home to minimise overheads.

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Best vegan restaurants in the UK: readers’ travel tips

Thu, 08 Nov 2018 06:30:05 GMT

With influences ranging from Van Gogh to Asia, these vegan venues serve up arty as well as delicious food – on beaches, buses … and in an underpass

Bundobust is fast becoming a Leeds institution for food lovers of all persuasions. Everything is veggie, and a large proportion of the menu is vegan, with an easy vegan sharing menu for two a great way in. From the okra fries dusted in black salt and mango powder (genius) to the chole dal and masala dosa, its south Indian street food, craft beer and Asian-inspired cocktails are a winning combo. With dishes from £4-6.50 it’s also easy on the wallet, so you can try a bit of everything.
bundobust.com
Laura King

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Mollie’s, Oxfordshire: ‘Happy Eater meets the Crossroads motel’ – restaurant review

Fri, 12 Apr 2019 09:00:47 GMT

The latest venture from the Soho House group is an American-style diner with rooms, on the A420 near Swindon – yes, it’s all a bit weird

Mollie’s Motel & Diner on the A420 is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a soft, sweet burger bun. Why has Soho House opened a Happy Eater-meets-Crossroads motel 16 miles from Swindon, between Littleworth and Kingston Bagpuize? Are the beautiful people secretly drawn there? Are they lured by limestone, the only interesting thing that’s occurred in this postcode since the late Jurassic epoch? And what terrifying debt of honour did Declan Donnelly owe owner Nick Jones that he made the trip to Mollie’s for the opening party?

These questions and more have been on my lips since this attractive, 1950s Americana-themed building opened its doors in February, offering a short, fuss-free menu of burgers, loaded nachos, crinkle-cut fries and trays of rotisserie chicken. At breakfast, there are bacon baps and hash browns. There are fancy ketchups on the tables, Cowshed products in the bathrooms, a DJ playing quietly of a Saturday night and, like most things Jones chucks his weight behind, there is clearly a method in this madness.

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Anna Jones’ recipes for Easter pie and Portuguese custard tarts | The modern cook

Fri, 12 Apr 2019 11:00:53 GMT

Two seasonal dishes brought back from Easter trips abroad: a torta pasquale from Puglia and pasteis de nata from Portugal

A few years ago, I spent Easter in Puglia. Mornings were spent at the market, where the oranges were so fresh, the blossoms were still attached. There were early strawberries and stalls with towering piles of artichokes.

I love being away from home at learning about the food traditions of a different area. In Italy, there is a special sense of tradition: cakes and pastries made only at this time of year and shops selling nothing but Easter eggs. One Easter-only pie we ate was torta pasquale, packed full of greens and eggs. I saw it on many tables as we walked through the streets and it will grace my table this year. Another thing I have taken to making at Easter is pasteis de nata, or Portuguese custard tarts. They were apparently first made by the monks of Belém, who used the whites to starch their clothes and turned leftover yolks into these burnished, crisp-edged little wonders.

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Matt Healy The Foundry, Leeds: ‘Food to swear by’ – restaurant review

Sun, 21 Apr 2019 05:00:51 GMT

From cheese toasties to shredded cabbage, Matt Healy shows there is an art to keeping it simple

Matt Healy X The Foundry, 1 Saw Mill Yard, Leeds LS11 5WH (0113 245 0390). Snacks and small plates £3.50-£9. Large plates £18.50-£29.50. Desserts £7. Wines from £20

You wait ages for a toasted cheese sandwich to come along and then three turn up at once. The first was last week, courtesy of the Cheesy Toast Shack in St Andrews where flaked Arbroath Smokie danced off merrily with mature cheddar, amid the tight embrace of quality sourdough. The second was at Owt (“anything” in Yorkshire-ese, but then you knew that). It’s a compact, daytime food outlet inside the Kirkgate in Leeds, the Victorian covered hall from which I used to sustain myself as a student, on a carefully balanced diet of bacon baps.

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Meal-prep kits better for environment than a trip to the store, study finds

Tue, 23 Apr 2019 13:56:31 GMT

Kits often involve more packaging waste but factors such as the supply chain and portion size mean overall impact may be less

Meal-prep kits are often more environmentally friendly than the average trip to the grocery store, according to a University of Michigan study.

Researchers at the School of Environment and Sustainability found that, on average, while kits provided by companies like Blue Apron, Sun Basket and HelloFresh often do involve more packaging waste, the emissions for grocery store meals carried two kilograms more of carbon dioxide per meal than those of the meal-prep kits.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s dumpling recipes

Sat, 20 Apr 2019 08:30:18 GMT

Try rich aubergine and ricotta balls or gnocchi with miso butter as mains, and finish with spiced rum and currant dumplings in a caramel sauce

There are two types of dumplings and, like my two children (who are also rather dumplingy), I love them both equally. I adore the stuffed ones – the dim sums and pierogis of this world – for the contrast between the springy casing and soft, steamy inside.

The ball-shaped type – dumplings that are the same all the way through and puff up while they cook in a soup, stew or sauce – I admire for their light texture and complex, rich flavour. So my decision to feature the latter this week is in no way a sign of favouritism; it’s just that they also make wonderful puddings. And what better way to end a dumpling feast than on a sweet note?

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Georgia on my plate: a culinary journey in the Caucasus

Sun, 09 Dec 2018 11:00:14 GMT

No lesson in the complex art of Georgian cuisine is complete without a toast or two, says our writer on a tour of the country’s mountains and cities
Suzanne Moore in ‘mind-blowingly gorgeous Georgia’

“This is a crazy Georgian situation,” says Ketino Sujashvili, with a hint of theatrical relish, as a dozen different crises flare up in her kitchen all at once.

I’ve just arrived at Ketino’s guesthouse in Kazbegi, northern Georgia, for an informal cooking class – the plan is to make khinkali, the soupy minced-meat dumplings prized in this spectacular region of the High Caucasus mountains. It begins smoothly enough, with the women in Ketino’s kitchen creating a space for me at their table, clearly amused by this lanky Irishman eager to learn the secrets of Georgian cuisine.

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Shanghai Modern, London WC2: ‘Comfortingly reliable’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent

Fri, 26 Apr 2019 09:00:27 GMT

A decent Chinatown newcomer with a familiar menu featuring all the usual suspects, and a few surprises

Chinatown didn’t appear to be broken before the planners set out to fix it. Still, here we are, many years later, with the new Central Cross, a gleaming, 48,000 sq ft plaza just off Charing Cross Road.

Shanghai Modern is one of Central Cross’s first openings. It is yards from the former Dive Bar beneath the King’s Head pub, which at one stage was one of the West End’s most excellent subterranean hidey-holes. “Call the police, there’s a mad man around,” sang Neil Tennant, immortalising Gerrard Street’s melee: a glut of Cantonese, Sichuan and Hunan restaurants, plus a rolling cast of tipsy gays, Wag clubbers, glamour studio girls, OAP mahjong leagues and jobbing sari seamstresses.

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What is cultured butter and how do you make it? | Kitchen Aide

Fri, 26 Apr 2019 11:00:23 GMT

‘Cultured’ is just a swanky way of saying ‘going a bit sour’, and it’s so easy to make, you can almost do it by accident

Every modern British restaurant these days serves “cultured butter” with its bread. What is it, exactly? And how hard is to make at home?
Róisín, Richmond

As the name implies, cultured butter is essentially butter to which some form of live culture has been added. That could take the form of anything from buttermilk to yoghurt, and the process really couldn’t be simpler. “It will make you seem, and feel, very accomplished,” says Manchester restaurateur and former Guardian columnist Mary-Ellen McTague, “but it’s actually a piece of cake.”

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Wines that go well with chocolate

Sun, 21 Apr 2019 05:00:54 GMT

Nibbling the dark stuff is always a pleasure, but the right wine accompaniment makes it next-level gorgeous

M Chapoutier Bila Haut Banyuls, France 2016 50cl (£17.77, Connolly’s Wine) Chocolate-lovers scarcely need an accompaniment for their favourite food/drug. It delivers quite enough pleasure on its own. But I’m here to suggest even greater heights of bliss can be reached by sipping a sweet red wine while nibbling the dark stuff. One of the best sources for chocolate-friendly reds are the terraced vineyards that follow the Mediterranean coast in Banyus in the Roussillon. One particularly glossy example is made from grenache by the great Rhône wine producer Chapoutier. It has the power of alcohol (17.5% as it’s a fortified wine) and so much dark and succulent sweet blackberry fruit, with a touch of chocolate, too, in texture and taste, that it makes for a moreish like-with-like combination with any dark and fruity chocolate.

Fonseca Bin 27 Fine Reserve Port, Douro, Portugal NV (£12.99, Majestic; Virgin Wines) The highest cocoa-content chocolates – and the desserts you might make from them – are so dense and pleasingly bitter that they tend to overwhelm even the most powerful of unfortified red wines. That’s why fortified port, like banyuls, makes for such a good match. It’s a role it performs even better than its typecast Christmas role as partner for stilton (which I actually prefer to drink with white wines, sweet and dry). For me, it is younger ports, bottled and opened when the fruit is still vivid and vibrant, rather than the older, more mellow and mature styles that work best. There’s an uninhibited explosive dark cherry and black berry-fruited lusciousness to Fonseca’s Bin 27, for example, that is lovely on its own but next-level gorgeous with chocolate puddings.

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From lamb and aubergine koftas to mushroom bakes: Yotam Ottolenghi’s meatball recipes

Sat, 06 Apr 2019 08:30:45 GMT

Fresh, full of flavour and impossibly fluffy, these meatballs switch the ratio away from meat to vegetables

What makes a meatball a meatball? I struggle with the term because English, unlike some other languages, doesn’t have a satisfactory word for a veggie ‘meatball’. One definition, I suppose, is any kind of minced meat sphere that’s been bulked out with starch or vegetables to lighten things up and to add or absorb flavour. The solution would be to permit the word to cover instances where the ratio shifts away from meat, making balls that are almost dumpling-like: fresh, full of flavour and impossibly fluffy. And to let us still call them meatballs.

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Vegan £1 meals | Miguel Barclay

Sat, 20 Apr 2019 06:00:26 GMT

Buy a few basics, and each of these recipes – for Singapore noodles, tagliatelle, paella and a vibrant arrabbiata – should come in under a pound a head

Prep 5 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 1

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10 great-value restaurants on Latin America’s 50 best list

Wed, 14 Nov 2018 06:30:09 GMT

From a Buenos Aires spot where greens rule to a ‘house of pig’ in São Paulo, our writer offers a personal selection of affordable restaurants on Latin America’s latest 50 best list

Elaborate tasting menus and fine dining dominate the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list but it’s a different story with the Latin American edition of the awards. The top spot for 2018 did go to Lima’s Maido for the second year running (15-course menu £103), but further down the list there are plenty of restaurants offering great cooking at much more affordable prices. Here are 10 of the tastiest bargains around.

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Prue Leith: ‘I once thought I’d stabbed a chef in the manhood’

Sat, 13 Apr 2019 16:00:24 GMT

The Bake Off judge on working for sexist chefs, learning to love oysters and what she’ll be eating for her 80th birthday

My first taste memory is of our nanny in South Africa making white bread sandwiches with salad cream, which was potato mashed with a cheap mayonnaise thing with bits in it of – I suppose – pickled cucumber. I absolutely loved them. And on the beach, she would butter Marie biscuits on the flat side and sprinkle hundreds and thousands on them, one by one from the packet, until it was empty. I was always concerned how the packet would divide up among the people present. I’d feel extremely anxious that I’d have the extra one at the end; at least that I got as many as everyone else. I was very greedy. My brother calls me “Mersey Mouth”, referring to the Mersey Tunnel I suppose, which is huge and unreliable.

Aunt Kitty shot the milkman. My uncle Alan, Kitty’s husband, was headmaster at a very good state school but had a very dotty, scatty wife. Kitty was very beautiful but would have driven you mad, frankly. Anyway, she woke up one night and saw someone walking near the French windows at the bottom of the bed and she took her husband’s gun from the bedside drawer and there was the sound of gunfire, shattering of glass and the yelling of the poor milkman, who was just delivering. When Uncle Alan, beside her, woke up to all this noise, and asked why she hadn’t told him about a possible burglar, she replied: “I didn’t want to wake you.”

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Taste test: the high street's doughnuts, scones and muffins

Sun, 24 Feb 2019 11:00:22 GMT

Bake Off alumnus Liam Charles on honeycomb patterns in croissants (good) and luminous custard (bad)

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Seveni Bar and Restaurant, London: ‘As boisterous inside as it looks outside’ – review | Jay Rayner

Sun, 07 Apr 2019 05:00:18 GMT

With its fantastical decor and smoking BBQs, dining at Seveni calls for a sense of adventure

Seveni Bar and Restaurant, 82 Kennington Road, London SE11 6NL (020 3795 9921). Skewers £1.40 - £5.50. Starters £5.50 - £7.50. Main dishes £8.80 -£18. BBQ minimum spend £35

I come across the restaurants I review in many different ways: through sniffing the smoke-cured air in city streets, or stopping hopefully in front of menus in windows; through clicking bravely on links fired at me in emails and scanning press releases for words of promise. I came across Seveni, opposite the Imperial War Museum in south London, because I drove past it at night and it looked bonkers. It occupies a one-storey, many-sided space at the bottom of a neo-brutalist tower block like some geological outcrop. Through the plateglass windows can be glimpsed a low ceiling hung with twinkling, white Club Tropicana fairy lights. A series of hoses of the sort Noo-Noo had for a nose in Teletubbies appear to dangle from the edges of the ceiling.

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Kim Joy’s orange and stem ginger cat-themed mini-cakes

Wed, 17 Apr 2019 11:23:23 GMT

Feline groovy? Then you can bake these fun and simple iced cakes with ears and whiskers

These are simple, tasty and great fun to make. There will be some leftover candied orange, but you can use this to decorate other cakes, or just eat it (along with the leftover cake trimmings). Bonus!

Prep time: 10 min for cake, 15-20 min for candied orange, 10 min for buttercream, 5 min for icing, plus assembly/decorating time
Bake time: 20-30 min
Makes: 9

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Silky, fresh and succulent Riojas

Sun, 14 Apr 2019 05:00:40 GMT

The region is respected for its traditional ways, but some modernists are at work, too

La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva, Rioja, Spain 2009 (£29.08, Armit Wines) Rioja is a region with a reputation for sticking to traditions. In the popular imagination it is a place where the oak barrel rules. It’s dusty old bodegas stuffed to the gunnels with row after row of barricas, stacked like honeycomb, and filled with wines that taste of coconut and vanilla. This is the classic flavour imparted by years of ageing in American, as opposed to French, oak. In the wrong hands, this can lead to rather tired and joyless red wines – all mouth-drying oak and no fruit. But there are wineries, such as the consistently superb La Rioja Alta, where the mix of well-tended fruit and long, carefully monitored oak- and bottle-ageing makes for the uniquely savoury, leathery flavours and silky, soft texture found in wines such as Ardanza.

Miguel Merino Vitola Reserva, Rioja, Spain 2012 (£27.95, Davy’s Wine Merchants) If wineries such as La Rioja Alta and neighbour López de Heredia – both based in the nerve centre of Rioja, the Barrio de la Estación in Haro – are committed to winemaking ways that are in many respects unchanged since the late 19th century, the rest of the region has become much more diverse. After years of squabbling between self-styled modernists (who generally favoured shorter ageing in new French oak barrels) and traditionalists, the region as a whole has come to focus on the quality of the fruit and location of the vineyards. This was always the philosophy at the small, family-run bodega Miguel Merino, with wines such as the deep but finely balanced red Vitola showing off the distinctive lift and freshness of their vineyards in the beautiful village of Briones.

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Anna Jones’ quick broccoli recipes | The Modern Cook

Fri, 19 Apr 2019 11:00:06 GMT

Broccoli loves to soak up flavours: try it in these recipes for kimchi fried rice, and a salty-sour ponzu broccoli and nut salad

If I had to call it, broccoli would be my favourite vegetable (or at least a dead heat with potatoes). The way they soak up flavour is unmatched by any other vegetable. At this time of year, I cook mostly with purple sprouting broccoli, as it’s tasty and affordable. I love normal calabrese broccoli just as much: I love it cut thinly and cooked with garlic, chilli and olive oil until it becomes buttery, then tossed through pasta. This week, as I often do in my kitchen, I’ve taken it down a soy and chilli route, with kimchi fried rice, and a sunny yuzu lime-dressed broccoli.

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Nigel Slater’s cheese and bacon buns and candied peel loaf recipes

Sun, 14 Apr 2019 04:59:41 GMT

Savoury and sweet treats using softer, stickier doughs

I have under-proved doughs and over-proved them. Forgotten some and started baking others well before they were ready. In one case I let an over-enthusiastic batch spill over the side of the bowl and swell across the kitchen counter like an alien. But my main fault has always been making a dough too tight, one without enough liquid and that struggled to rise. I guess I needed to be in control.

I have recently started making softer doughs, using a little more water and getting a better rise and a softer texture

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What to do with a surfeit of egg whites – chocolate mousse, anyone? | Waste not

Sat, 13 Apr 2019 05:00:18 GMT

Many recipes ask for egg yolks, so the whites end up in meringues, but there are other delicious uses for them, from sorbets and mousses to cocktails

Recipes often call for one part of an egg, leaving the other equally valuable and nutritious part without a use. This is a common issue in restaurants, and can lead to huge amounts of waste if a kitchen doesn’t come up with a rescue recipe. But it needn’t be a problem: thankfully, there are as many lip-smacking ways to use the white albumen as there are the rich, yellow yolk, so you just need to plan to cook both.

This week, I’ll be looking at egg whites, and next week yolks. Whites can be whipped up into meringues, mixed into sorbets, turned into luscious cocktails, aerated to make the lightest mousse … I could go on.

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The Fishmarket, Edinburgh: ‘Seafood cookery of the first order’ – restaurant review

Sun, 14 Apr 2019 04:59:39 GMT

This new place down on the docks comes highly recommended, the chefs are expert, the fish impeccably sourced. Only one thing is wrong…

The Fishmarket, 23A Pier Place, Newhaven, Edinburgh EH6 4LP (0131 552 8262). Starters £7-£11. Mains £7-£36 (the latter for a whole lobster). Desserts £5. Wines from £17

There is, in my head, an alternative geography of Britain. It’s not built around the triumphalism of grand museums or cathedrals, but something much more encouraging: the places that have fed me well. If I imagine myself in York, I’m at a table in Skosh, spooning away at an egg filled with whipped egg whites and cream and toasted cheddar and a mushroom duxelles. In Manchester, I want to be at Albert’s Schloss, with the slow-roasted pork knuckle and the drag queens, probably in that order. In Gateshead, I want to be at Träkol, sucking the black-bean sauce off the sweetest of clams. The mental map is marked out in trails of knives and forks leading to plates piled with good taste.

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David Pritchard obituary

Fri, 18 Jan 2019 16:51:26 GMT

Producer who achieved television success with the celebrity chefs Keith Floyd and Rick Stein

David Pritchard, who has died aged 73, was the producer-director who recognised the latent potential of Keith Floyd and Rick Stein to become two of Britain’s most popular and identifiable television chefs. His methods were unconventional – what might be called laissez-faire television – in that he worked without script, with a single hand-held camera, while allowing his presenters’ characters to emerge naturally as they grew into the medium.

The process was most marked with Floyd, never less than in his first outing, when he was filmed talking, drinking and cooking on a bucking trawler in the middle of the Channel in 1985. “This is probably the worst programme ever to come out of Plymouth” was the snap judgment of some of Pritchard’s colleagues as they watched, horrified, a somewhat drunk Floyd cooking up a monkfish tail for sceptical fishermen. But Pritchard knew, or hoped he knew, better, as he succeeded in promoting his work from local television to the BBC’s national network.

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A glorious shambles: why Celebrity Bake Off now beats the original

Wed, 06 Mar 2019 09:56:02 GMT

Russell Brand made a biscuit vagina, and John Lithgow crafted a lumpy gingerbread Churchill – comic ineptitude that trumps GBBO’s self-seriousness any day

In the opening episode of Celebrity Bake Off last night, John Lithgow baked a 3D biscuit scene of himself as Winston Churchill in The Crown. The showstopper challenge was to bake something based on a performance they were proud of, and Lithgow said portraying Churchill was “the best time I’ve ever had acting”.

There’s something immensely pleasing about this. It may be the relentless positivity of Lithgow himself (who later did a splendid Yoda impersonation), or the fact that he depicted a drama that apparently set Netflix back £100m in gingerbread ingredients that can’t have cost more than £20. “Look at poor Winston,” he wailed as he took Churchill out of the oven. “He’s all lumpy.”

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for pecorino and almond biscuits | A kitchen in Rome

Mon, 15 Apr 2019 11:00:18 GMT

Made with pecorino romano for its slight sharpness, these moreish biscuits are perfect with bittersweet aperitivi

One of the more enjoyable things I’ve seen lately was a man splitting a wheel of pecorino romano. The tom-tom drum-sized round of sheep’s milk cheese, distinct in its black, waxed rind, was behind the glass cheese and cured meat counter at my local bakery, Passi; a warm, yeasty place below our flat I find hard not to enter, and even harder to leave.

To “aprire la forma” (or open it), he scored the cheese around its girth, inserting two almond-shaped knives (coltelli a mandorla) at intervals along the scored line, before levering them like a floor jack to break it open. Actually, cracked is probably a better word for the motion and sound as the nearly white cheese parted to reveal two craggy sides akin to a crystalline cheese moonscape. The hope is always that a piece will fall away from the newly cracked round to eat straight away – that’s if you like a strong, pungent cheese.

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Home-cured meats – off-the-scale delicious

Thu, 25 Apr 2019 07:00:44 GMT

Making your own bacon and salt beef gives you the chance to avoid the nitrates and nitrites of the industrially processed product – but can you keep it pink?

I discovered domestic curing in an absolutely stunning book, Salt, Sugar, Smoke by Diana Henry, where there’s a recipe for salt beef without which my adult life would have been immeasurably poorer. The beauty of home-curing is twofold. For some reason, it is off-the-scale delicious. Better still, you end up with tons of meat, more than you could ever justify buying in a shop.

But cured meats are steadily becoming infamous as a lurking cancer risk on the scale of tobacco. Meat, generally, wreaks havoc upon your colon (red meat is associated with cancer risk if you eat it in large amounts), and a meta-study in 2011 found that cured meats could increase your risk of colon cancer even if you just like the occasional slice of ham. And slices of ham, like cloves of garlic, are almost never consumed in ones. There is also evidence of a breast cancer risk. The World Health Organization places bacon in the same category as asbestos, alcohol and arsenic.

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Cocktail of the week: the Alcazar | The Good Mixer

Fri, 19 Apr 2019 15:00:08 GMT

Think manhattan, but with a Spanish flavour and a velvety, nutty finish

This is our take on a manhattan, using ingredients from Jerez in Spain. The technique of “washing” a spirit in beurre noisette gives a beautiful, velvety, nutty finish, but you can also make this with straight brandy.

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Recipes for Sunday roast leftovers | Nigel Slater

Sun, 21 Apr 2019 05:00:52 GMT

Roast chicken and lamb from Sunday lunch are the bones for supper on Monday

Once the table has been cleared and the dishwasher stacked, I collect the bones, tear off the remaining meat, and consider tomorrow’s dinner. I cherish the leftovers of Sunday lunch. The roasted bones, golden jelly and roasting juices left behind are as useful as the meat itself. It is easiest to separate everything while it is still slightly warm, before they end up in the fridge. Every bit will go towards a soup or an impromptu pasta sauce.

What the cooked bones lack in marrow content, they make up for with the sweet caramelised notes they pick up in the oven. A straightforward, no-frills blueprint for using up the remains of the day can be to make a stew with stock, celery, shallots and carrots, then stir in cooked beans and lastly some of the cold roast meat. You can freshen the dark juices with a spoonful of yogurt, mint leaves, sumac and orange zest. It is, I think, crucial to add the meat only at the end of cooking. It needs simply to warm.

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Anna Jones’ 30-minute recipes | The Modern Cook

Fri, 26 Apr 2019 11:00:24 GMT

Two recipes for the time-poor: a potato, leek and chickpea traybake with a quick romesco and herby polenta topped with asparagus and a poached egg

Almost every meal I cook these days comes in at under 30 minutes. A side effect of my impatience perhaps, but more likely it’s the reality of being one of a pair of working parents. Dinner is a quick, post-work family meal, or something cookable in the time it takes the other to do bathtime. Kids or not, we are all short on time to shop and cook. The potato traybake packs in lots of flavour for the time it takes to prepare, thanks to the quick romesco. The other is a spring favourite and a perfect way to make a meal of seasonal asparagus, though it’d be good with broccoli too. Now, I’d better get on with dinner.

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Leeks and Caerphilly on toast | Nigel Slater

Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:00:03 GMT

Elevate cheese on toast with the addition of sautéed leeks, and flirt with rarebit territory by using mustard and a Welsh cheese

Thinly slice 1 large leek, discarding any particularly thick, dark green leaves, and wash thoroughly. Put the sliced leek in a deep saucepan over a low heat with 30g of butter and cover with a lid. Let the leek cook in the butter for 10-15 minutes until they are softened. Don’t let it brown.

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How to cook moussaka – recipe | Felicity Cloake’s Masterclass

Wed, 24 Apr 2019 11:00:20 GMT

What better way to use up leftover lamb than in this gently spiced, moreish moussaka – the perfect spring supper

Moussaka is, I think, the perfect dish for April, a rare combination of southern sunshine and warming comfort. It’s also the ideal way to use up leftover lamb from the Easter roast. Most widely associated with Greece, it pops up in various forms from North Africa to the Balkans – sweetly spiced, rich and wobbly, and always utterly delicious.

Prep 15 min
Salt 30 min (optional)
Cook 1 hr 35 min
Serves 4, generously

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Rachel Roddy’s potato and mushroom bake recipe | A Kitchen in Rome

Sun, 21 Apr 2019 23:00:06 GMT

Some sage advice from a good friend results in this cheese-encrusted potato and savoury mushroom bake you can eat hot or cold

Carla Tomasi is one of the few people I call on the phone. She is also the person who, more than anyone, has taught me about cooking vegetables. There is a very good chance that she will have her hands in the soil of her marvellous vegetable garden when I call; her phone flips to voicemail, then she calls back. Today, it was the soil in the pots lining her covered veranda as the rain pummelled her thirsty garden near Ostia, about 30km outside Rome. The plants got some welcome rain, and I got a welcome recipe for her mushroom and potato bake, which I wrote on a Post-It note and stuck to my desk about a month ago; the fluorescent yellow answer just waiting for the perennial question: “What shall we have for dinner?”

Some recipes require precision, while others require generously defined principles and good advice – and this is always the case with Carla’s vegetable dishes, and in particular her potato and mushroom bake.

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Xier, W1: 'How I hope heaven will be’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent

Fri, 19 Apr 2019 09:00:10 GMT

A 10-course tasting menu of dreams, with a pudding selection for the afterlife

It is a badly kept secret among us coddled, gouty, 52-columns-a-year restaurant critics that we fear and avoid the lengthy, fine-dining tasting menu. No fact sends onlookers into more effervescent conniptions. But it’s not that we’re ungrateful for, say, our tiny amuse-bouches of blow-torched mallard lamella with a 12-hour Izumo Province nori reduction, or its delivery under cloche with all the rapidity of Julie Walters serving up two soups. No, it’s just that we have to do that kind of thing a lot, and it’s often done badly: too pompous, too many petals, too few carbs, not a lot of laughs.

But then, just as I’m questioning the entire point of modern haute cuisine, somewhere like Xier in Marylebone, central London, pops up and, like Michael Corleone in the Godfather, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in again. Xier lives upstairs at chef Carlo Scotto’s new dual project on Thayer Street, not far from Oxford Street. Scotto trained under Angela Hartnett. Downstairs is a more casual affair named XR, with an elegant, modern European menu majoring in British produce: linguine with prawns, lamb sliders, pulled beef cheek and mango pavlova. But let’s respectfully ignore XR and focus instead on Xier, the entirely different beast breathing dreamily upstairs.

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Where should you buy wine? | Fiona Beckett on wine

Fri, 19 Apr 2019 13:00:07 GMT

High-street specialists are drying up so here’s where to look for bargains and for quality – plus four good wine buys for Easter

Back in the early 90s, when I began writing about wine, almost every high street had a wine shop. Augustus Barnett, Victoria Wine, Peter Dominic, Threshers, Wine Rack ... one by one they disappeared, edged out by the more convenient, if not congenial supermarkets. Now, in what looks like the final death knell of the high-street chain, Oddbins is in administration (although my local branch is still trading) and Majestic is being rebranded as Naked Wines.

Does it matter? Well, yes, I think it does. Although both chains are a shadow of their former selves, they were – and still are, for the moment – shops you can wander into and buy an interesting bottle. Oddbins had got a bit spendy, maybe a bit niche. Though I liked the niche they occupied, there simply didn’t seem to be enough people in there any time I passed.

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‘Veggie discs’ to replace veggie burgers in EU crackdown on food labels

Thu, 04 Apr 2019 12:12:20 GMT

Vegetarian food producers must revise names if MEPs agree new rules to protect meat terms

Veggie burgers are for the chop, a Brussels committee has decreed, to be replaced by the less palatable-sounding “veggie discs”.

And it won’t be just bean or mushroom burgers condemned to the food bin of history. Vegan sausages, tofu steaks and soya escalopes could all be approaching their ultimate best-before date, after a vote in the European parliament on revisions to a food-labelling regulation.

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