Nigel Slater’s Jerusalem artichoke recipes

Jerusalem artichokes are a see-them, buy-them ingredient, and Nigel can’t get enough of their curious flavourI jumped on the Jerusalem artichokes the moment I spotted them at the greengrocers, without a thought about what I was going to do with them. (Or indeed mindful of the fact I had celeriac and swedes at home, too.) Like damsons, gooseberries and bunches of new white turnips, these are ingredients I buy at first sight, then think about how they will be cooked later.An artichoke roasts sweetly. I halve them lengthways, toss them in butter, chopped rosemary, lemon and bay, but they are even better cooked around the Sunday roast, where they get the opportunity to soak up the meat juices. A favourite winter way is to use up the goose fat on them, roasting with a paste of juniper berries, salt, rosemary and thyme crushed in a mortar. Tossed in a roasting tin with the fat, some finely sliced shallots and cooked for 40 minutes or so they are wonderful with sausages on a cold winter’s night. Continue...

Cupboard clearout: packed lunch ideas using food you’ve forgotten about

Use up any old tins, jars or packets of dried goods you’ve amassed over the years to spice up your sandwiches, cook a kitchari and streamline your salt collectionWhether it’s because you’re moving house or because you can’t open your cupboard doors without fear of a jar of black bean paste falling on your head, from time to time it feels good to go through your supplies and use stuff up. From the unappealing multicoloured pasta you picked up in Rome circa 1999, to that jar of green chilli peppers that are beginning to fade faster than your carpets, it’s time to put some of the stuff you have amassed over the years to work.• It might seem lavish, but home-curing fresh salmon is easy and surprisingly economical as a little goes a long way. What’s more, doing your own curing will use up that salt you bought on Île de Ré. Mix 1 part salt with 1½ parts sugar and rub liberally on your salmon. Sprinkle over some aromatics – black pepper, fennel seeds – and a splash of booze, such as gin. Pop in a sealable bag and put in the fridge, weighted down under something heavy, such as a casserole lid, for 2 days, turning regularly. Thinly slice and enjoy in a little gem salad with pumpkin seeds and a mustard dressing, or in rye-bread sandwiches with pickles and sliced boiled egg for a Scandi touch. Continue...

Kiwi fix: three great New Zealand wines | David Williams

They’re the masters of sauvignon, but what else can they do? Here are three bottles that display New Zealand’s strengthsSeresin Marama Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2013 (£20, Armit Wines) When, in the space of just a couple of decades, you’ve established one of the world’s most distinctive and successful wine styles from scratch, what comes next? That’s the question New Zealand’s winemakers have been asking for some time, now. It’s as if they’ve been waiting for enthusiasm for their pristine super-charged take on sauvignon blanc to wane. There’s still no sign of that yet. But, as an insurance policy for a time when the world has had enough of passion fruit and gooseberry bushes, the Kiwis have expanded their palette. Using oak barrels, rather than neutral stainless steel, is one way of doing that, adding, in Seresin’s restrained example, creamier textures and more savoury flavours as well as a satisfying grapefruit tang.Elephant Hill Syrah, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand 2013 (from £18.90, Field & Fawcett; Hedonism Wines) Tasting through a range of oak-influenced Kiwi sauvignons at a recent event in London, it was clear that not every producer has mastered an art that is associated with the barrel-fermented sauvignon-semillon blends of the Graves district of Bordeaux. Some were a little too heavy on the toast, flattening the variety’s natural exuberance. It takes a skilled winemaker, such as ex-Cloudy Bay man Kevin Judd, to use a little oak for a wine as balanced, nuanced and nervy as his Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2014 (£22, Majestic). Not that the Kiwis are pinning all their hopes on this one variety. Among the many...

A Wong: restaurant review | Jay Rayner

A custard bun might just be London’s best dessert, says Jay, when he visits A Wong. And it’s not just any bun… A Wong, 70 Wilton Road, London SW1 (020 7828 8931). Meal for two, including drinks and service: £80-£110I believe I have found the single best dessert available right now in London, or, for that matter, anywhere else. It’s a wonder of patisserie that manages to combine the luscious with both precision and finesse. If I was told I could eat one last sweet thing before swearing off them for life, I would choose this, and then sit mourning the end of all that is lovely and true. Of course you want details but dessert comes at the end of the meal, and that’s where you’ll find the description. I had to wait for it and so should you. Continue...

Mysteries of the Rhubarb Triangle, revealed by Martin Parr

The documentary photographer turns his lens on the master rhubarb growers of West YorkshireIn long dark barns across a small patch of West Yorkshire, a great agricultural tradition continues. This is the rhubarb triangle, a nine-square-mile area between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell. Here, from January to March, fuchsia-pink forced rhubarb, prized for its subtle flavour, is picked by hand, by candlelight, so that the delicate stems are not turned green and hard by photosynthesis.Rhubarb is native to Siberia and likes the cold, the rain and soil rich in nitrogen. All are found in abundance in Yorkshire. Cuttings are taken from mature plants two years earlier, then allowed to mature in fields before they are brought inside for forcing. Because the stems must be removed from the root, the work is still done by hand, a highly labour-intensive process. The centrepiece of the forcing season is the Wakefield Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival that runs from 19 to 21 February. Continue...