Nature Queen's Blog

News from the world of Food and Beverages

Rachel Roddy’s cuttlefish pistachio polpette recipe | A Kitchen in Rome

Inspired by balmy harbourside evenings at a favourite Sicilan restaurant, these fritti marry firm but delicate cuttlefish with creamy pistachios and pine nuts, fragranced with herbs, then finished with a bold spritz of orange

One way to prepare for a meal at Sakalleo, a restaurant in the southern Sicilian town of Scoglitti, is to visit the docks at about 3.30pm to watch the second catch of the day – your dinner – being brought ashore. Having moored in the sickle-shaped marina, large boats load their catch on to smaller ones, which are then rowed, burdened with the crates, to a concrete jetty. There they are unloaded for l’asta del pesce – the fish auction – which takes place in a blue and whitewashed concrete building next to the dock.

Anyone can join the boisterous auction, although only some of the fish does, much of it already destined for local restaurants and other towns, most notably the blood-red prawns and black lobsters still thrashing furiously. What is to be auctioned is loaded on to low trolleys supervised by men in shorts and Adidas flipflops, who then sell whole plastic crates of kite-like skate, coral and white mullet, coils of spatola (silver scabbardfish) and mackerel with tiger stripes, to the best bidder.

Continue reading...

Nigel Slater’s steamed sweet potato and dal recipe

Aromatic spices marry crunchy lentils and tender tubers

Peel and finely chop 1 medium-sized onion. Warm 2 tbsp of groundnut oil in a shallow pan, add the chopped onion and cook it for about 10 minutes, until it is pale gold. As the onion is cooking, peel, roughly chop and stir in a clove of garlic.

Continue reading...

France warned of Christmas foie gras shortage

Stocks of controversial and seasonal goose and duck liver delicacy seriously hit for second year in a row by avian flu

Christmas would not be Noël in France without a fat goose liver on the festive table.

But farmers say stocks of foie gras – enjoyed over the festive period by an estimated 80% of France’s population – have been seriously hit by avian flu for the second year in a row.

Continue reading...

Beer goggles? Gordon Ramsay under fire over Korean TV advert

‘Bloody fresh,’ said the chef as he downed a glass of Cass, but critics say he is endorsing ‘maybe the worst beer in the world’

Gordon Ramsay routinely berates contestants – often in the most colourful terms – on his television shows for their poor sense of taste.

But this week it is the celebrity chef’s own tastebuds that are being called into question after he appeared in a TV advert promoting a South Korean beer that can politely be described as bland.

Continue reading...

Anna Jones’s recipes for baked onions and crispy shallots

Cheap, readily available and infinitely adaptable, onions are the starting point for a multitude of dishes. But buttered and baked or fried to a crisp, the humble onion is more than able to steal the show

Onions are arguably the stars of the kitchen. They are cheap, readily available and crucial for laying the foundations of so many dishes, across countless cooking cultures.

Few good dishes I cook start without an onion, and I love how they can be taken to both ends of the flavour spectrum, from bracingly pickled to sweetly slow-cooked, almost caramel in texture.

Continue reading...

Five of the best distilleries on the American Whiskey Trail

As sales of Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey have rocketed, so has interest in the terroir of the region, and distilleries – Jack Daniel’s and Wild Turkey included – have opened for tours

US whiskey has experienced dramatic growth over the last decade, propelled by an unslakable thirst for it from Europe, China and India. But while the spirits themselves – mostly bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye – have gained distinction worldwide, their places of origin remain somewhat mysterious. This has a lot to do with their terroirs, Kentucky and Tennessee – two southern states that are low on the destination list for many visiting Europeans. The fact that some counties in these states are dry and until recently wouldn’t allow their distilleries to offer tastings, has further complicated matters.

Continue reading...