Have potatoes had their chips?

Sales of the humble spud are down 8%, with the Potato Council pointing the finger at our fondness for rice and fajitas. Do they still have a place at your table and how do you cook them?Tough times for potato farmers. Sales of the spud have dropped 8% in the last year quite a juicy loss in an industry worth about £2.3bn annually. I haven't done the maths, but it's a lot of potatoes. According to the Potato Council, our increasing fondness for rice and fajitas is to blame for this blight on a great industry and an ingredient that has formed the core source of sustenance on many dining tables for many years.Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called the potato "eminently tasteless" (nothing but "a protection against famine"), and it would be a wretched thing if that view were spreading. Potatoes are a symbol of everything that is wonderful about cooking a simple ingredient with the potential for great things. Consider the baked potato, that majestic creation. An oven, a liberal hand with the salt and an ample slice of butter are all you truly need. How you then proceed is much-debated (you could do far worse than try Nigel Slater's stuffed with chorizo and manchego), which just goes to show what an emotive thing a simple baked potato can be. Continue...

Let the child go wild: foraging on the edge of Europe – video

Today's children have less contact with nature than ever before. The digital world is so fascinating and absorbing that it sometimes comes at the cost of the real. Joanne O'Connell finds experiences for her children that keep them connected to the world beyond the monitor. They travel to the remote Island of South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, to learn to forage wild plants and shellfish from foraging expert and wild food cook Fiona Bird, author of The Forager's kitchen Continue...

Snowballs aren’t cakes, and that’s a cold hard fact

So a Scottish tax tribunal has ruled that the coconut-covered marshmallows have 'sufficient characteristics' to be considered cakes. Apart from, that is, a total lack of spongeThink a marshmallow covered in chocolate and coconut counts as a cake? Then balls snowballs, to be precise to you. Even if you're powerful and important. And especially if that power and import makes you a judge in the Scottish tax tribunal that, last week, was presented with a plate of "cakes" (including, incidentally, Jaffa Cakes) and asked to make a decision, worth £2.8m in tax rebates, about whether snowballs belonged there. About whether, in short, a snowball is a cake. Continue...

Australia’s largest truffle dug up in southern highlands of NSW

Black Périgord weighs in at 1.172kg, just shy of world record fungus found in FranceThe largest truffle found in Australia has been dug up and sold in the New South Wales southern highlands.Ted Smith, of Yelverton Truffles in Robertson, found the truffle when out hunting with his dog. The French black Périgord truffle weighed in at 1.172kg, just shy of the world record 1.3kg fungus found in France in 2012. Continue...