Nature Queen's Blog

News from the world of Food and Beverages

Rachel Roddy’s Neapolitan beef and onions recipe | A Kitchen in Rome

This rich braise was brought to Naples by sailors from Genoa, and provides both a sauce for pasta and a meat course to follow

In the middle of Benedetta Gargano’s flat in Naples is a white, oval table. The table once lived three streets away in the dining room of Benedetta’s maternal grandmother, Elisa, where the extended family would sit at least three times a week when they all gathered to eat. And eat they did: Elisa was, by all accounts, a fine Neapolitan cook, her polpette al pane (meatballs baked on bread), sartù di riso (moulded and stuffed rice), panzerotti fritti (filled, folded and deep-fried dough) were all particularly loved. Loved, too, were her two alternating Sunday dishes – ragù napoletano and la genovese – both of which provide a sauce for the pasta course and the meat for the second course.

It is la genovese I smell as I reach Elisa’s house on Via Tasso, a snake-like road that curves its way through the boisterous city, then rises with the hill of Posillipo to give spine-tingling views of the bay of Naples. The scent of beef and onions cooking slowly leaves no room for doubt as to which door is about to open.

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Tamal Ray’s grapefruit-glazed cheesecake recipe | The Sweet Spot

A smoothly sweet dessert spiked with spiced grapefruit to round off the perfect dinner

I’ve often pondered whether or not cheesecake really is a cake. Other than being sweet and round, it bears little resemblance to the golden sponges we’re more used to seeing. Perhaps, as a mix of dairy, sugar and eggs, it’s really just a very firmly set custard. Paired with the sharp sweetness of grapefruit in a spiced syrup, this would make the perfect end to a dinner party.

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Anna Jones’s rhubarb recipes | The modern cook

Not just for dessert, the just-sweet, slightly tart character of rhubarb works well with savoury dishes too

Forced rhubarb shows up exactly when we need it. These neon-pink stems, the colour of Brighton rock, are forced from the ground in dark sheds in Yorkshire and cheer me on in the kitchen until the first greens of spring. Rhubarb’s spiritual home is under a sweet rubble of brown sugar crumble, but it also has enough acidity to stand up to the richness of cheese or a crisp-edged roast potato, so today I’m putting it to work in a savoury tray bake. Recently, I’ve eaten this piquant pickle with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think pink.

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Nigel Slater’s seafood with bacon recipes

Classic surf and turf – each flavour boosts the power of the other

I have always liked what cured meat does to seafood. The fish seems to appreciate the saltiness of the bacon, as if pining for the sea. This week, my local fishmonger had a rather handsome hake. Well, handsome compared to, say, a monkfish. I bought four fine hake steaks. The Spanish eat a lot of hake – in fact half of all the hake consumed in Europe. Back in the kitchen I looked to them for inspiration and found it.

Fish seems to appreciate the saltiness of the bacon, as if pining for the sea

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Alice Hart’s summer minestrone soup recipe

For those who resolved to eat more vegetables in 2018, the British chef’s new vegetarian cookbook has plenty of tasty options

There might be a lot of chopping here, but this recipe is child’s play and the result is special enough to warrant the extra effort. The cream adds a certain silky richness but can be left out if you prefer. This is lovely served cool the next day.

Related: Alice Hart's silverbeet and brie mini muffins recipe

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