food Tag

foraging in scotland, royal botanic garden, edinburgh
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Foraging for food in Scotland

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland With his knife out, my escort carefully kneels down amongst the trees. He looks around quickly to survey the surrounds then focuses his attention on the ground. The knife is raised, aimed and then goes straight in between some blades of grass. A quick battle with a pile of dirt ensues and then success. We have caught some food.Don’t get too excited, though. This was not an epic struggle of animals in the wild. The food we have managed to find is a small garlic-like onion buried just beneath the surface of the Scottish environment. But that’s the reality of having to forage for your own food.Before supermarkets, restaurants and home-delivered pizza, this is how humans would find their daily meals. There was a time when man did not tend the fields or trade in markets. Humans were semi-nomadic, they hunted for meat and they foraged...

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21 October
how to make tiramisu, tiramisu recipe, italian cooking
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Making tiramisu is as easy as… pie?

Tiramisu recipe After so much talk in the past few days of Italian cooking, with its pastas and pizzas and cheeses and prosciuttos, it’s definitely time to finish the week with something sweet.I can’t think of a dessert which is more Italian than a tiramisu (even though I always thought the name made it sound Japanese, right?).There has been a lot to say this week about the three-day cooking experience I did in a Tuscan villa with Eating Italy Food Tours. (If you like, you can read more about that here.) So, rather than give you an extended breakdown of how to make a tiramisu, let me make your eyes water with the pictures of the delicious desserty goodness taking shape.As it turns out, it’s actually not too hard to make. I’ve included the recipe at the end of this post so you can try it out for yourself.Enjoy!Tiramisu recipe Serves 10Ingredients500g...

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04 October
how to make ravioli, ravioli recipe, italian cooking
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How to make the best ravioli

A ravioli recipe At Italian restaurants, I always order ravioli when I’m feeling greedy. I look at the other suckers who just have pasta with one sauce and laugh. You see, I have effectively ordered two sauces… just one of them is trapped inside the little pasta packets. Oh, but I never let on what I’m doing. It’s my avaricious secret.So it was quite exciting to learn how to cook ravioli during a Tuscan cooking experience organised by Eating Italy Food Tours. It wasn’t actually as hard as I was expecting, although it was probably the most difficult dish I helped prepare. Still, it was also the tastiest, so it was certainly worth the effort.I will include the recipe and ingredient list at the bottom of this post, but let me talk you through it first of all, so it all makes sense.The first step is to make the dough. We...

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03 October
how to make tomato passata
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Tomato passata the traditional way

Recipe for making tomato passata It’s been done like this in Italy for generations. The tomato passata (the base for tomato sauce) is the core of so many recipes in this country and making it at home is the core of so much family cooking.There’s a good chance you’ve seen this in movies or read about it in books set in a romantic traditional Italy. The whole family gets together on a sunny day towards the end of summer and, like a well-oiled (extra virgin) machine, they make the passata in a production line that would rival any factory. Except, unlike a factory, there’s probably a bit more laughter and definitely more wine.In a villa in the hills above Siena, I am now a cog in that production line as part of a Tuscan cooking experience organised by Eating Italy Food Tours. From the garden to my stomach, we have the...

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02 October
gnocchi recipe, making gnocchi, Italian cooking school and recipes
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How to make gnocchi like an Italian

Recipe for gnocchi I’ve always been a bit confused by gnocchi. It’s not something I had ever cooked – just something I would occasionally eat at Italian restaurants. I never understood, though, where the potato was. Was the whole thing made of potato or was it inside some dough, like tiny ravioli?Well, now I have the answer. And not just the answer – a recipe based on a hands-on demonstration with an Italian cook in a Tuscan villa.I’ll copy out the simple recipe and ingredient list at the end of this story. First, though, I would like to take you through the process of making gnocchi in my own words.Firstly, we get the potatoes and boil them. Choosing the right kind of potatoes is a crucial step. My cooking teacher, Stefano Schieppati, puts it like this:“The important thing is to not have too moist potatoes. So, for example, the new baby...

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01 October
tuscan cooking, italian cooking school, tuscany, luxury villa
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Over a Tuscan stove

Tuscan cooking I try first with one hand and then with two. Either way, I can’t seem to roll the dough into the smooth even cylinders I’m aiming for. The more I try, the worse it gets.“Too much pressure”, I’m told by the Italian cook. Tell me about it! I feel like everyone is watching me as I literally make a mess of this meal. Although the ‘pressure’ he’s referring to is coming from my hands. I ease up a bit and the dough starts to resemble something a bit closer to the expected.It’s gnocchi that I’m trying to make. After mashing potatoes, mixing them with flour and kneading the combination into a big lump, I’m now at the crucial stage of turning the mass into small pieces to be cooked. Luckily there’s an expert at hand to give me some instruction (and probably fix my mistakes if all goes too...

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30 September
ramen museum, yokohama, japan, shin-yokohama raumen museum
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Worshipping at the altar of noodles

Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum I know how good it is. How much the first taste on my lips make me tingle, how my body warms with a glow as it goes down my throat, how the smell fills my nostrils so my stresses evaporate, how the sounds of the slurping feel like a Japanese angel choir is surrounding me. OK… that last one might be a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point – I love ramen.But even for someone who loves hot bowls of ramen as much as anyone, I find it a bit odd that Japan would have an entire museum dedicated to the noodles.In the city of Yokohama - an effective extension of Tokyo but a modern metropolis of its own - the museum opens its doors each day for the hungry and the curious. To step inside is to be transported back to Tokyo in 1958....

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10 September
sake, japanese rice wine, rice alcohol, japanese drinks, sake brewery
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30 Days of Japanese Food: Sake

Day 30: Sake What better way to finish a food series about Japanese food than with something all good feasts here are finished with – some sake! I know this isn’t technically a food but I hope you’ll forgive me this indulgence.Sake is a traditional form of Japanese alcohol, often called ‘rice wine’ although the process to make it is actually much more similar to beer production. Although it’s not exactly clear when it was first drunk in Japan (it’s hard to keep records after a few glasses), it’s thought to have originated in the eighth century.To learn a little bit more about sake, I went to the museum of the Hakutsuru Brewery near the city of Kobe. Its excellent exhibits show the history of the drink and how that’s evolved into the modern processes.It’s actually a much more complicated procedure than I realised. Briefly, the rice is washed first, then...

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30 April