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Mostly Food & Travel Journal

Balsajo Black Garlic

Black Garlic Ketchup by Hawkshead Relish

Cracker fruit drinks for the festive season

Crunchy Chicken (or Pork) with Yutaka Panko Breadcrumbs

Donald Russell – Burns Night Recipes

Donald Russell – Christmas Beef

Donald Russell – Christmas Innovation and Tradition

Donald Russell for a taste of the Med

Donald Russell for BBQ

Donald Russell for Frikadellen

Donald Russell for Guy Fawkes

Donald Russell Lamb Saddle stuffed with Spinach and Garlic

Donald Russell Rib Eye

Donald Russell Spiced Lamb Burgers with Chinese Steamed Buns

Donald Russell throws a Party

The Homemade Curing Kits from Ross and Ross

Honeybuns Cookies

I Sea Pasta

Japanese Curry – traditionally cubed

Stuffing by Mr. Crumb

Vinaigre – Sweet Taste of Success!

 

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Food Product Reviews

On this page:

Balsajo Black Garlic

Black Garlic Ketchup by Hawkshead Relish

Cracker fruit drinks for the festive season

Crunchy Chicken (or Pork) with Yutaka Panko Breadcrumbs

Donald Russell – Burns Night Recipes

Donald Russell – Christmas Beef

Donald Russell – Christmas Innovation and Tradition

Donald Russell for a taste of the Med

Donald Russell for BBQ

Donald Russell for Frikadellen

Donald Russell for Guy Fawkes

Donald Russell Lamb Saddle stuffed with Spinach and Garlic

Donald Russell Rib Eye

Donald Russell Spiced Lamb Burgers with Chinese Steamed Buns

Donald Russell throws a Party

The Homemade Curing Kits from Ross and Ross

Honeybuns Cookies

I Sea Pasta

Japanese Curry – traditionally cubed

Stuffing by Mr. Crumb

Vinaigre – Sweet Taste of Success!


Balsajo Black Garlic

Balsajo Black garlic isn’t a special variety of garlic – like black-leg chickens, etc. This is actually caramelised garlic and has long been used as an ingredient in Asian dishes. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic slowly for a few weeks. Over the heating period the garlic naturally darkens in colour and changes its pungent raw flavour to something more rounded and mellow. Its texture changes too: it becomes a savoury and dramatic-looking fudge to add richness to cooked dishes and it makes a delightful canapé.

Balsajo produces sweet Black Garlic in convenient tubs ready for use. They suggest serving it sliced on scrambled eggs, using it in a wild mushroom and black garlic risotto, or adding it to a Bolognese sauce. Mix chopped Black Garlic with butter and use as a spread, to be topped with a mild hard cheese.

Balsajo Black Garlic is a product which is bound to become popular with home cooks and restaurant chefs alike.

Learn more here.


food and travel reviews

Black Garlic Ketchup by Hawkshead Relish

black garlic Black garlic isn’t a special variety of garlic – like black-leg chickens, etc. This is actually caramelised garlic and has long been used as an ingredient in Asian dishes. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic slowly for a few weeks. Over the heating period the garlic naturally darkens in colour and changes its pungent raw flavour to something more rounded and mellow.

Black Garlic Ketchup by Hawkshead Relish is a rather unique condiment. It is truly black, making this a striking garnish for white meat or even some fish dishes. Black garlic bulbs are crushed and combined with fresh tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, along with spices and Anglesey Sea Salt. It’s rich and quite aromatic with a tang from the balsamic. It has lost the harsh edge of raw garlic but the ketchup imparts depth to any dish in or on which it is used. This would look and taste spectacular as a finishing flourish to grilled king prawns over white rice. Very dramatic.

Black Garlic Ketchup by Hawkshead Relish is gluten free, it contains added sugar, and is suitable for vegans.

Nutritional Info: Vegetarian, and 100% GMO-free.


food and travel reviews

Donald Russell Lamb Saddle stuffed with Spinach and Garlic

Donald Russell It’s Spring, and Easter is just around the corner. That’s a time for family lunches, and often lamb is the centrepiece!

Sunday lunch can be a pain. Family are gathering and they all want something seasonal and memorable. But complicated recipes and a long list of ingredients don’t do the home cook any favours. What’s needed is a ready-stuffed roast which is appropriate for the holiday.

Donald Russell Lamb Saddle stuffed with Spinach, Feta and Garlic will impress. It’s a definite Greek theme with the salty feta cheese seasoning the meat. It doesn’t melt and become gooey as would a cheddar cheese, but incorporates itself with the spinach into the stuffing, and allows for easy slicing.

Donald Russell Lamb Saddle is no trouble to cook. Just sear in a hot oven for fifteen minutes and then reduce the heat for the remainder of the cooking time. For best results allow the joint to rest – just cover with foil and a tea towel and allow it to stand for 20 minutes or so, while your side dishes continue to cook in the oven. Slice the lamb thinly and serve with roast potatoes and a platter of oven-roasted veggies such as a melange of sweet potatoes, red onions, carrots and parsnips.

Donald Russell Make Easter lunch memorable by serving this tender and flavourful stuffed lamb. It serves 4 hungry people and looks so tempting. It’s succulent, juicy, grass-fed UK lamb and is topped with a sprig of fresh rosemary. It’s fully deboned (except the foreshank bone) for easy carving. Serve slightly pink for best eating and for the sheer beauty of it! This roast will also make a wonderful addition to a Spring buffet!

Donald Russell foods never disappoint. They are ideal for entertaining without stress.

View this delicious roast here http://www.donaldrussell.com/lamb-saddle-stuffed-with-spinach-and-garlic-l805.html

Read more Donald Russell product reviews on this page.

food and travel reviews

I Sea Pasta

sea pasta It could be the latest superfood. But in fact seaweed has been a nutritious ingredient in some cultures for thousands of years.

We will doubtless think of Japanese cuisine when we consider eating seaweed. There is seaweed in dashi stock and the green wrapper around sushi is nori seaweed. But nearer home there is a country that also has a long tradition of eating seaweed: Ireland.

Seamore’s founder tasted this seaweed and mistook it for pasta. It’s the right shape and has a distinct ‘chew’ that one finds in the best of traditional pasta. He now presents seaweed, dried and in a pack. It looks just like a flavoured tagliatelle but is 100% wild, handpicked seaweed from Connemara, Ireland. Himanthalia elongata, the seaweed that the company uses for I sea pasta, is harvested between April and July. They only collect seaweed from small areas of a bay to preserve the natural ecosystem.

sea pasta This ‘pasta’ is unique: it doubles not only as an item that’s eaten in the same way as regular pasta with your favourite topping but also as a healthy vegetable that even kids will love to eat. It’s also a sustainable product so guilt-free in every regard.

Seamore seaweed pasta might be an unfamiliar ingredient but it’s not a challenge to cook. No special pots. No to-the-second timing. If you can make regular pasta you can easily make this. As it’s a sea vegetable there is the bonus that those with gluten issues can enjoy this pasta. It also makes a rather smart alternative to pasta for dinner party guests, with perhaps a shrimp sauce. Try with your favourite Bolognese sauce as a take on surf and turf. The possibilities are endless.

Learn more about Seamore products here

food and travel reviews

Burns Night Recipes from Donald Russell

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder in Mint & Rosemary

lamb shoulder mint rosemary Lamb might not be the obvious choice for a Burns Night dinner, but in fact sheep have played a big part in the Scottish culinary tradition. This lamb would make a great alternative to the more traditional haggis. One could perhaps enjoy both - haggis as a starter and lamb as a main course.

Donald Russell presents this sumptuously soft, tender, tasty lamb in a delicious mint and rosemary sauce. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savoury flavours, so it’s good on Burns Night or any time of year.

Fully matured, grass-fed UK lamb, meat so tender you can eat it with a spoon! So handy - heats straight from frozen.

Find Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder and more Donald Russell products here.

Traditional Scottish Stovies

Scottish Stovies Those who hail from south of the Border might not know what stovies are: think bubble and squeak, but minus the squeak. Stovies is a hearty plateful of meat, potatoes, onions and possibly some flavourful dripping from the Sunday roast - a great Monday night dinner.

Ingredients:

2 large onions, sliced

2 tbsp beef dripping from your roast (can use lard or olive oil if you don’t have dripping)

1 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced thickly

200ml leftover gravy, meat juices or rich reduced beef stock (ideally a combination, all supplied by your leftover roast dinner)

500g leftover cooked meat, cut into 2-3 cm chunks

Salt and black pepper

Oatcakes, pickled beetroot and milk, to serve

Method:

In a large, heavy bottomed pan with a lid, gently fry the onions in the fat until soft.

Layer over the raw potatoes and pour in the rich, beefy gravy-style liquid. Add in the meat, making sure you include all the sticky, savoury scrapings from the roasting pan!

Add enough cold water to come to a few centimetres below the level of the potatoes, and season well. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer.

Cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. The potatoes should be starting to fall apart into mash; it’s ready when you have a really hearty and comforting mix of half mash, half soft chunks.

Check the seasoning (it needs plenty) and serve hot.

For a real taste of Aberdeenshire, serve your stovies with sliced cold pickled beetroot, warmed Scottish oatcakes and a glass of very cold milk. Delicious!

‘Speyside’ Chicken Supremes

Chicken Supremes Donald Russell not only supply quality meat, but poultry, too. The chicken supremes are marvellously seasoned by the addition of traditional haggis. This makes an elegant presentation for the Chieftain of the Pudding Race, along with its appropriately Scottish whisky sauce.

Ingredients:

4 Free-range Corn-fed Chicken Supremes

1 Haggis Pudding, 250g

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp sunflower oil

For the whisky cream sauce:

1 bay leaf

200ml rich chicken stock

8 tbsp double cream

4 tsp wholegrain mustard

4 tbsp Scotch Whisky

1 pinch salt

Generous grind of black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 160°/Gas 4.

Take the Haggis Pudding out of its skin and slice into 4 quarters.

Butterfly each chicken fillet from the side and stuff with a quarter of the haggis, folding the chicken back into its original shape.

Heat the oil in a frying pan on the hob, season each stuffed supreme and sear for 3 minutes on each side, searing the skin side first and turning gently.

Transfer the supremes to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

In the meantime, deglaze the frying pan with the chicken stock and the bay leaf, simmering for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Remove cooked supremes from oven and allow to rest somewhere warm for 5 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Gently simmer to reduce to a creamy pouring consistency.

Serve up the stuffed supremes with the sauce, carrots and mash, and a wee dram of whisky.

Find Chicken Supremes and more Donald Russell products here.

food and travel reviews

The Homemade Curing Kits from Ross and Ross

ross and ross The name of the company sounds right out of a fictitious legal drama along the lines of Brocket, Pickle and Bung …or was that Camberwick Green? If the partners of this small but marvellously appointed company had followed the usual convention the name over the door would have been Bearman and Whitmill. They are in fact a brace of Rosses, being Ross Bearman and Ross Whitmill, so they chose the more casual and memorable Ross & Ross.

These chaps have worked in the fine food industry for over 15 years and for such noteworthy establishments as Le Petit Blanc, Malmaison, Paxton & Whitfield and Peach Pub Company. They both have a passion for British food, including charcuterie for which we are now becoming more recognised. They started the company in 2011.

Ross and Ross focus on wedding and event catering, and a range of Great British foodie gift boxes, launched in 2014. The Homemade Curing Kit for Salmon is a beautifully presented box which any lover of good food would appreciate. The kit contains everything you need to make your own smoky, gin or beetroot-cured salmon at home: it’s actually three gifts in one!

Ross and ross salmon Curing is a gentle, satisfying art and it doesn’t take long. There isn’t any special equipment apart from a can of beans (not included) for weighing down the curing fish. I used a can of peas and it worked just as well, making this a truly versatile recipe!

One receives a small brown cardboard box. The first thought will be ‘Great, this doesn’t look like socks or a Rudolph jumper.’ The box contains the three cures and assorted bags and gloves. All you have to do is buy the fish. Ross & Ross have worked closely with local Cotswolds Distillery on the gin cure, which is made to the recipe of their signature Cotswolds Gin. The smoky cure produces a more traditional full flavour that is well-balanced and delicious. It’s the salt and sugar in this pack that are actually smoked. The beetroot cure produces a salmon that makes a striking topper for canapes. The salmon has a deep red colour from the sweet beetroot which imparts its natural flavour. I would serve this with a tangy mayo.

This Homemade Curing Kit for Salmon is an absolute gem. It would make a great gift for the foodie man in your life but would be equally welcomed by ladies who love food and don’t need any more baking equipment. This kit is unique, well-presented and rather inspired!

Learn more here.

food and travel reviews

Crunchy Chicken (or Pork) with Yutaka Panko Breadcrumbs

by Chrissie Walker

It seems like anything fried in breadcrumbs is a winner with the whole family. The trick is to present moist meat with plenty of flavour and crunch. Yutaka Panko breadcrumbs certainly help with texture - sealing in those delicious juices and seasonings.

Here is a spicy coating to enhance the natural flavour of either chicken or pork. The quantities of the seasonings can be varied to suit the tastes of your family but this is a guide.

Yutaka

Ingredients:

1/2 pkt Yutaka Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp to 1 tbsp salt or to taste
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs such as Herbes de Provence
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp onion granules
60g plain flour
2 eggs
8 chicken thighs or 6 large pork chops
Oil for frying

panko

Method:

Combine the flour with all the herbs and spices and mix thoroughly. Spread on a plate.

Put the breadcrumbs on another plate.

Crack the eggs and put in a shallow soup plate, and lightly whisk.

Take each chicken thigh or chop and press firmly into the flour to coat well. Dip each of these into the beaten eggs and return to the flour for another coating. Return to the eggs and then into the breadcrumbs ensuring they are fully covered with the crunchy crumbs.

Heat a wide frying pan with enough oil to cover the bottom. Heat on a medium setting.

Place the coated meats in the oil but don’t over-fill the pan. Fry for several minutes without moving the meat. Check that the pieces are dark-golden brown before turning onto the other side. Cook for another 5 minutes, lowering the heat if the crumbs are starting to become too dark.

Oven bake:
Heat the oven to 180°C; place the meat on a non-stick baking tray. Gently brush with vegetable oil and bake for around 30 minutes.



food and travel reviews

Japanese Curry – traditionally cubed

japanese curry We might think that Japanese curry is a new invention. Perhaps Japanese tourists discovered the recipe for curry on recent trips to the Subcontinent. But, no! It’s a tradition adopted from the British Navy and has been popular for a century or so.

If one visits Japan and has the opportunity to stroll around a supermarket then it’s evident that Japanese curry has been whole-heartedly adopted. It comes in sachets and, just as often, cubes called curry roux. It’s there stacked on shelves in many varieties and is eaten with rice …with a spoon!

We don’t have to travel as far as Japan to enjoy a real Japanese curry, as Yutaka Japanese-Style Curry is now available in the UK. It can be used to top rice or breaded chicken or pork but many Japanese prefer the old-fashioned recipe of curry prepared with onion, carrot and potatoes. This makes a comforting and economic meal …and yes, it really is Japanese.

Ingredients:

1 large onion
1 medium carrot
2 medium potatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
800ml cold water
100g Yutaka Japanese-Style Curry

For serving: steamed white rice

japanese curry

Method:

Chop all the vegetables into small pieces.

Add the oil to a large saucepan.

Gently fry the vegetables on low heat until the onions are lightly browned and the potatoes and carrots are beginning to soften.

Add the cold water and bring to a boil.

Turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are thoroughly cooked and tender.

Add all the cubes of Yutaka Curry to the saucepan. Stir until the cubes are fully dissolved and the sauce thickens.

Pour the finished curry over cooked rice.

Chef’s tip: You can also make this curry successfully in a pressure cooker.

Open a printable recipe page here.

food and travel reviews

Christmas Beef from Donald Russell

Donald Russell So we might well be having a turkey for the big day. After all, there are the usual four of us, plus two sets of parents, Auntie Winn and Uncle Bruce, that cousin with the squint, Tim and Trudy from next door and their twins. Yes, a turkey will feed us all!

But in reality there are only a couple of us, and neither of us fancy eating leftover turkey till the spring bulbs are out. Why not have a meat which is more traditionally British than the American bird, and one which lends itself to all the usual festive trimmings, a joint which will equally feed a family or give delicious leftovers?

Donald Russell offers a Small Sirloin Roast for just a few discerning diners, or as an extra platter on the Yuletide table to give a choice to those who prefer red meat. Or a Large 5-Bone Rib will feed a crowd in magnificent fashion and makes a memorable centre-piece not only for Christmas Day but perhaps New Year! People will talk about that for the next twelve months, when your guests will hope that you will do it all again.

Donald Russell Donald Russell is a celebrated online butcher. Granted, they might not be the cheapest but they are arguably the best. Every product they offer is of outstanding and reliable quality and that’s just what you need on the big day. Their UK beef is grass-fed outdoors before being matured for a minimum of 21 days for tenderness. Their roasts are melting and delicious with outstanding flavour.

All beef joints come with full and accurate cooking instructions. Be sure to allow the meat to rest for the juiciest results. I pat the outside of the meat with freshly ground black pepper before it goes in the oven and, after the joint is cooked and removed from the pan, I make the gravy with those remaining juices along with a little red wine and some beef stock. Don’t forget to put out the English mustard and horseradish!

Learn more about Donald Russell here.

food and travel reviews

Donald Russell – Christmas Innovation and Tradition

It’s a worry. The most important meal of the year. A table surrounded by family and people we actually like. Sounds perfect, but many of those guests are not lovers of the traditional turkey. They might be folks who just don’t eat meat or they just might not find the big bird very appealing. So what to do to keep everybody happy?

Donald Russell

Donald Russell has a solution which is striking in its delicious simplicity and practicality. As an addition to your turkey dinner, you can also present a side of Kiln Roasted Salmon. This cured and slowly roasted Scottish Salmon is part of a long, local food tradition in the North East of Scotland. Known as ‘Bradan Rost’ or roasted salmon, it has been hand prepared less than 35 miles from Donald Russell, in Scotland’s oldest salmon smokehouse – standing since 1585!

 This fish has visual impact so makes an appropriate alternative to the usual turkey. The taste is outstanding and it works well with many of the traditional side dishes.  OK, miss the giblet gravy with this one, but instead do a simple and fast Hollandaise sauce in the blender. Takes just a few minutes of whizzing while you are occupied with clearing away the starter plates.

One’s immediate reaction will be ‘But I only have one oven and you are asking me to cook another main dish? Are you an idiot, dear celebrated food writer?’ No! This salmon just needs heating (although it can also be served cold for a celebratory evening buffet). Defrost in fridge overnight; remove packaging; wrap the side of salmon in foil; place in an oven already heated to 140°C for 10-15 minutes. It will cook in the empty oven (the turkey is already out and resting) while you are putting side dishes in, well, dishes. Perfect timing.
Store below -18°C (Supplied frozen)

Defrost in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours
Once defrosted do not re-freeze; store between 0-5°C in the fridge and use within 3 days.

Donald Russell But the finale of any Christmas feast must surely be the Pudding. It’s mentioned by Charles Dickens. In 1843, he wrote A Christmas Carol which included this description: “In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered – flushed, but smiling proudly – with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quarter of ignited brandy.” That must have been one heavy and rib-sticking pud.

Donald Russell has produced, in association with famed chef Anton Mosimann, a lighter and healthier version of this Dickensian favourite. It’s Mosimann’s Christmas Pudding! It’s gift quality, arriving swathed in red fabric, and once thawed it can be ready in a matter of minutes. Yes, you can steam it and it only takes an hour, but this pudding cooks in just a few minutes in the microwave. Who knew that Christmas Pudding could be a delicious convenience food!

Donald Russell It’s simple to serve and outstanding in both taste and texture. Just turn the pudding out on to a warm dish. Pour a little warm Brandy over the Pudding at the table. Dim the lights, set fire to the alcohol and let it burn with a blue flame. Garnish with brandy sauce, cream, or vanilla sauce. Memorable and very traditional.

Heats in the microwave in just 4 minutes
Supplied frozen: defrost in the fridge or at room temperature
Can be stored at room temperature for 1 week
For best results heat from room temperature.

For more information on Donald Russell visit here


food and travel reviews

Donald Russell throws a Party

It’s fast approaching! Those evenings with friends, those afternoons with extended family. Christmas starts early but it takes planning and work …or does it?

Donald Russell throws a Party Donald Russell has solutions for little worries that might tarnish your holiday glee. Yes, they are a celebrated provider of fine beef, but their ethos of quality extends to presenting foods for your party buffet and even desserts.

Chicken is popular with all ages and Donald Russell have introduced a bit of exotica. Their chicken skewers are made of flavourful thigh meat and it’s free-range. They offer three varieties: au natural which is a great skewer to serve with a variety of dips; there is the fresh and tangy lemon and cherry tomato flavour which works well with light salad; and the rich Mediterranean skewers with a more robust taste for those looking for a hearty nibble.

The skewers are, well, skewered with natural bamboo and look cheffy and attractive when piled on a platter along with dips. Bite the moist meat straight from the stick or pull off to enjoy the chicken in a bun or atop a mixed salad.

You won’t need to slave over the stove to bring these skewers to the table. Defrost in the fridge overnight. Remove skewers from packaging. Preheat a frying pan or griddle pan. Add a little oil to the pan or brush oil directly onto the skewers. Place skewers into the pan ensuring that they don’t overlap. Fry for 5 minutes without moving to allow a golden crust to develop. Turn and continue to cook for a further 5-6 minutes. Remove skewers from the pan and place on a rack. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes so the chicken remains juicy.
A selection box of chicken skewers contains: 8 Original Chicken Skewers, 4 Chicken Lemon and Cherry Tomato Skewers, 4 Mediterranean Chicken Skewers.

Donald Russell throws a Party But a party needs sweet treats and Donald Russell helps out in classy fashion on that front, too! Their Patisserie Selection is beautiful and offers a little something for every taste. Gone are the days of the predictable cakes from the chain supermarket – now there will be a display of small fancies to gladden the heart of even the most discerning visitor.

Each of the dozen individual temptations is expertly crafted and perfect in both taste and form. One could never make such a display at home, and they certainly have impact. They are ideal as a centrepiece for a buffet or as petits fours with coffee, and all you have to do is unwrap, defrost and arrange artistically on your favourite cake stand.

These miniature desserts are hand-crafted by Royal Warrant holder Didier’s Patisserie in London so you are assured of their culinary credentials. The box contains one of each variety: Caramel Mandeltorte (a traditional German delight), Chocolate Caramel Tart, Chocolate Tart, Croustillant, Lemon Tart (my personal favourite), Opera Cake, Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Tart, Orange and Chocolate Tart, Passion Fruit Tart, Sticky Toffee Tart, Success Tart, Vanilla Chouquette.

Donald Russell’s Patisserie Selection includes classic and traditional tarts as well as a bit of innovation. They would make a gorgeous gift for any lover of fine foods as they can be enjoyed one by one (just defrost as needed), with not a thought of sharing …unless I happen to be visiting.

Learn more about Donald Russell foods here.

food and travel reviews

Frikadellen by Donald Russell

Donald Russell Frikadellen are, in this case, pan-fried or even baked patties of minced meat and seasonings. Donald Russell has produced several versions which are hearty and substantial, and really quite versatile. They are described as a crispy burger but they are more than that.

But what actually are frikadellen?  They are a sizeable meatball and popular across northern Europe and as far away as South Africa, where they form part of the Afrikaner culinary repertoire, reflecting the Dutch origins of that group. Many variations of frikadellen can be found depending on availability of meat, but traditionally they are made of minced pork or beef (and sometimes with veal); chopped onions; eggs; breadcrumbs and seasoning. Donald Russell use gluten-free breadcrumbs, making this a meatball with universal appeal.

Yes, these frikadellen work well as a burger, fried for extra crispness, but they also make a substantial addition to a bowl of pasta, dressed simply with a tomato sauce. I use the beef version for that. The pork frikadellen are great baked, sliced and served with sautéed potatoes and perhaps some red cabbage for a truly Continental lunch. The flavourful lamb frikadellen is also delicious baked and sliced and served over couscous or rice, with a slightly spiced ratatouille topped with a snowy crumble of feta cheese.

Donald Russell Whilst these meatballs are warming and comforting for winter meals they also work as part of a buffet for the holiday season. Simply cook them and allow to cool. Slice the frikadellen and add to the cold-meat platter, and use as a sandwich filler along with condiments such as mustard, spicy mayo and your favourite chutney! Perfect with some warm rolls on the side.

Donald Russell frikadellen are made using quality grass-fed beef. They only use natural ingredients with nothing artificial added. They will be ready to eat in minutes and, conveniently, they can even be cooked straight from frozen, so they are ideal for a late unplanned dinner.

The Frikadellen Selection Box - Large contains 4 Crispy Beef Frikadellen, 4 Crispy Lamb Frikadellen, and 4 Crispy Pork Frikadellen.

Learn more about Donald Russell here

food and travel reviews

Stuffing by Mr. Crumb

Stuffing Mr CrumbMr. Crumb is a multi-award winning food company based in the village of Finea in Ireland, although the founder is actually a Mr. Bernard Coyle and he is the current Chairman. He was working as a salesman for a bakery company when he noticed a gap in the market for fresh breadcrumbs. It’s a key ingredient in bread sauce, puddings both sweet and savoury, as well as meatloaf – at least my meatloaf. Breadcrumbs are also a major part of traditional stuffing, so the soon-to-be Mr Crumb decided to cut out the middleman and make the actual stuffing, and has created several varieties.

Mr. Crumb products are processed in small batches, in a state-of-the-art facility, but all are either hand-cooked or hand-finished as appropriate. These are quality award-winning foods that will enhance your own carefully prepared meals.

I tried Apple and Apricot stuffing which is made with Mr. Crumb’s soft fresh breadcrumbs, real Irish butter and sautéed onions as a base. You can cook the stuffing either in a microwave or an oven, so they are ideal both to enliven reheated leftovers as well as to cook in the oven with the rest of your dinner.

These packs of stuffing are flavourful and moist with great tender texture - they taste home-made. I served Apple and Apricot stuffing with traditional roast chicken but they would also work well with roast pork or chops. I can also see them as an addition to a buffet of canapés with some well-flavoured sausage and a dipping sauce.

Stuffing Mr Crumb Deliciously striking. Mr. Crumb has other varieties available: Sage and Onion (my next Mr. Crumb review), Gluten-Free Sage and Onion, Organic Sage and Onion, Garlic and Herb, and Traditional Onion 500g XL Pack.

Who knew that one could make an inspiring company from bread – and broken bread at that! This is a real entrepreneurial success story of a company that actually produces something that people want. I look forward to trying more. This is traditional food at its best.
Learn more about Mr Crumb here.

food and travel reviews

Cracker fruit drinks for the festive season

Cracker Many people think that all fruit drinks are healthy. That’s really a matter of comparison and many of them have fruit in some form, for sure, but also piles of sugar which completely negate the fruity benefits for folks watching sweet intake. Go for the Cracker no-added-sugar range. The drinks are completely natural and free from any artificial sweeteners, with just Stevia for sweetness: this plant-based sugar substitute has up to 150 times the sweetness of sugar. The Cracker range is naturally lower in calories, averaging around 30% less calories per 100ml than 100% orange juice or the typical added-sugar juice drinks.

Perfect on its own or with a splash of rum, the new limited edition Apple, Mint and Lime flavour is less than 90 calories per serving. That’s got to be good news for those looking to make jugs of unique cocktails during the party season.  And feel noble: these drinks can constitute 1 of your 5 a day.

Pineapple, Coconut and Lime juice has pronounced fruit notes, with a hit of zesty lime and the exotic hint of coconut. This also can also be made into a modern and healthier version of a classic cocktail. Use 3 parts Pineapple, Coconut and Lime juice, to one part White rum and you have a Lite Pina Colada! Lots of flavour but without the heaviness of the original cocktail. Serve over plenty of ice for extra freshness.

Cracker, an independent company, has fresh-tasting products available in 1L packs and priced at £1.50 per litre.  The full range of these drinks can now be found in supermarkets across the UK including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda. They have inspired flavour combinations that are delicious alone but are also convenient cocktail bases, and with a long shelf life too, so it’s easy to stock up for the holidays!

Learn more about these drinks and visit Cracker Drinks here



food and travel reviews

Donald Russell for Guy Fawkes

Donald russell Well, that came around quick! Winter is making plans for its chilly arrival and all we can do is make the best of it. We have celebrations such as Halloween which now has its totally imported trick-or-treat, unknown to the UK until a couple of decades ago. But we have a home-grown event which is fun for all the family. That’s Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night on 5th November.

Traditionally this was a time for families and friends to get together and burn an effigy of a treason plotter, the aforementioned unfortunate Mr. Fawkes. Yes, a grisly pastime but one which, combined with cold night air and the smell of wood smoke, is guaranteed to give the viewers an appetite.

So everyone will be hungry, but I can bet that the peckish throng wouldn’t give the host a thank-you for a nice fresh salad, or a light bowl of yoghurt topped with some stripe of trending seed. This is a night for sustaining and delicious food, and hot, too. And how’s about trying something a bit different with nods both to kids and to those with perhaps more adventurous palates.

Pizza is always a favourite but it can be messy if one is juggling a sparkler in one hand and a savoury and floppy slice in the other. Donald Russell have the answer to that drippy dilemma. They have produced their Italian Mini Pizza Selection. ‘Barchetta’ means ‘little boat’ and these 7” oval pizzas are packed with tasty Italian toppings! The folded Mini Frustas are perfect hand food, too, and also have delicious fillings.

Packs contain 1 Mini Barchetta Prosciutto e Mascarpone, 1 Mini Barchetta Verdure, 1 Mini Frusta Margherita, and 1 Mini Frusta Prosciutto. The base of these tastes authentic, with great texture, and they cook from frozen in 12-14 minutes or in only 8-10 minutes from defrosted, so an ideal option for evenings of group entertaining.

So that’s the kids sorted; but the adults will likely be tempted by something more interesting than a hot dog. Donald Russell have a Scottish Pudding Taster - artisan-made, traditional Scottish puddings of the savoury kind. These foods are usually served for breakfast but they make a rather sophisticated alternative to a regular burger.
Each pack contains 1 Haggis Pudding, 1 Black Pudding, and 1 White Pudding. Each pudding is well seasoned and, when sliced in rounds, can be fried in hot oil till heated through and crispy round the edges. Choose small burger buns and fill with the puddings and their garnishes. Black pudding is delicious served with a slice of fried red apple. The haggis round is ideal topped with yellow and spicy piccalilli. Try the soft and comforting white pudding with rashers of crispy smoked bacon. Defrost the puddings before frying for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Eat while still piping hot.

Donald russell

Donald Russell are famed for their quality steaks, roasts and poultry but they don’t shy from supporting regional specialities. Yes, traditional food, but perhaps viewed in a more contemporary context these days.

Visit Donald Russell here.


food and travel reviews

Donald Russell Rib Eye

These steaks aren’t, perhaps, the cheapest but that isn’t a word which should be on the list of priorities when enquiring about fine meat. Ask about quality, flavour, succulence and provenance. Understand the value of those and you will appreciate Donald Russell products.

Donald Russell Rib Eye I am an unashamed fan of these meats and meals. I have been around the culinary block a time or two and I know there are plenty of purveyors out there with varying degrees of professional regard for their goods. Food is trendy, I am sorry to say. How can food be a fad? Surely what was good a generation ago should be just as much appreciated now. This company holds to old-fashioned values and a solid ethos of care.

Ribeye steak was dinner this week. It’s a favourite cut chez nous and chez many others too! It is sometimes referred to as ‘The Butcher’s Favourite’ as it was the cut saved to take home by the aforementioned retailer. It comes, unsurprisingly, from the rib section and is sometimes presented with the bone in, although Donald Russell offers the more usual version with no bones and thus the ‘eye’.

Ribeye is full of flavour and tender when cut across the grain. It comes from the lightly worked upper rib cage and has a marbling of fat which is so prized by lovers of the eye-wateringly expensive Wagyu beef. It’s true that fat is flavour so don’t dismiss this cut. The meat is from UK grass-fed beef and matured on the bone for a minimum of 28 days, and the steaks are trimmed by hand.

But how best to cook your steak? Here is what Donald Russell suggests:

Preheat your pan: make sure your griddle or frying pan is preheated to the highest temperature before you start to cook your steaks. It should be hot enough that you hear a sizzle when you place the meat into the pan. Using a pan which is not hot enough can cause toughness. Add a little olive oil to the pan. I would add that it’s also good to use a heavy pan for this job.

Cooking times:

   Rare: 1-2 minutes’ sear on each side plus 6 minutes resting time.

   Medium: 3 mins minutes’ sear on each side plus 4 minutes resting time.

   Well Done (but please don’t!): 4-5 mins minutes’ sear on each side plus 1 minute resting time.

ribeye steak Fry the steaks for the recommended time for rare, medium or well done. Cook one side first and then the other. Do not keep bothering the meat but let it crust before turning over, and use a spatula rather than sticking the steak with a knife or a fork, which will let juices escape.

Remove your steak from the pan and allow to rest: this is an important step in getting the best out of your meat. During resting the juices are redistributed throughout the whole steak and its full flavour and tenderness develops. Place the steaks on a rack so that the meat isn’t sitting in juices, cover loosely with foil and leave in a warm place (e.g. a 60°C oven with the fan turned off).

The next step is to slice the meat and I do this before serving as I think it makes a better presentation. Use a good razor-sharp and, importantly, unserrated knife to cut your steak into thinnish slices. Place on a hot serving plate. Learn more about these ribeye steaks here.

Just before serving I add a knob of butter to the pan and some slices of garlic. Fry over a moderate heat till the garlic is just turning golden. Pour these buttery juices over the meat when it’s plated.

But a steak is always best with garnishes. They need to enhance rather than dominate the meat, and Donald Russell have the answer to any side-dish dilemma. They have invented Alpine Fries which are actually potato rösti chips. These are chunky, crispy on the outside and fluffy under that crunch. Ready to cook from frozen they are a great partner to that steak, or even (voice hushes to a whisper) …as a late-night snack! 

Visit Donald Russell here.
food and travel reviews

Donald Russell for BBQ

Donald Russell for BBQ

Donald Russell for BBQ Well, it’s bound to really be summer soon, so we can plan and prepare for those days of al fresco dining. Key to the success of the event will be the meat, so visit Donald Russell as they will deliver your selection to the door - another worry out of the way.

Donald Russell has long had a reputation for providing the best of meat to some of the most prestigious of restaurants, but you can enjoy that quality too. Their meat for a barbecue is unbeatable and things like burgers and ribs are already seasoned or sauced so you are ready to go.

Impress your friends with Spiced Lamb Burgers. These are delicious and versatile, with seasoning that allows the cook to add garnishes to produce ‘ethnic’ burgers for every taste. How’s about a Greek Burger with a topping of Feta cheese and Tzatziki. This is fresh and light with great tang from the cheese.

Baby Back Ribs always make a spectacular presentation and Donald Russell have done all the work for you. These can be cooked in an oven while the burgers are occupying the outdoor grill. These ribs are moist and meaty with a sauce with is sticky and memorable. They are already marinated and have been slow cooked for 4 hours. My husband pronounces these the best he has ever tasted.

Donald Russell for BBQ Luganighetta Sausages can take up some space next to the burgers on the barbecue. They are a dense and well flavoured sausage made with both pork and beef, and seasoned with cinnamon and coriander. These are positively addictive when served on a bed of roast potatoes with peppers, onions and garlic, and these vegetables can be cooked in the oven which has already been heated for the aforementioned ribs!

Donald Russell assures success with its high-end products. There are plenty of pre-prepared BBQ meats on the market but it’s easy to taste the difference. It’s attention to gastronomic detail that will likely keep you returning to try other meats from the Donald Russell range.
Visit Donald Russell here


food and travel reviews

Donald Russell Spiced Lamb Burgers with Chinese Steamed Buns

At last the summer is here. We don’t have guaranteed good weather in the UK so when we have warm days we want to make the best of them. There is nothing better than a barbecue on those weekends when the weather cooperates. Sure, it’s a casual meal but one with meat as its focus, so it needs to be good.

Donald Russell has the most succulent ribs, sausages and burgers to make the most of those alfresco dining opportunities. These Chinese burgers take advantage of Donald Russell Spiced Lamb Burgers. That seasoning is well balanced and allows for all manner of extra condiments and flavours from around the world, and the meat is dense and hearty. The Asian theme is accentuated by the addition of kimchi and kimchi mayo, as well as the light and fluffy bun hot from the steamer. Cut the burgers in half and allow 2 of these Chinese burgers per serving along with toppings, for something that looks stylish and tastes divine.

Serves 4Donald Russel Lamb Burgers

Ingredients

4 Donald Russell Spiced Lamb Burgers

For the buns
300 g plain flour
1 tsp instant yeast or normal dry yeast
40 g sugar
1 tsp baking powder
160 ml water (approx)
2 tsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing

Yutaka Kimchi, mayonnaise, cucumber, spring onions for garnish

Method

In a big bowl mix the yeast with some lukewarm water and let it sit for a few minutes.

Add the flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and the rest of the water to the bowl. Stir the mixture until it comes together as a wet dough.

Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Pinch a small portion of dough and pull it between your fingers to see if it is stretchable. If it breaks up easily, continue to knead until you are able to stretch it without breaks.

Divide the dough into 8 small portions.  Shape each into a ball, and roll out to produce an oval about the length of your hand. Lightly brush half the top surface with oil and fold over to produce a ‘D’ shape.

Put each bun on a piece of silicone paper and leave it aside to rise for 40 minutes.

Steam over high heat for 20 minutes.

Eat right away with a stuffing of grilled Donald Russell Spiced Lamb Burgers, cooked on the barbecue or under the grill, then halved. They will be done to perfection after 4-5 minutes cooking on each side. These are substantial burgers with aromatic seasoning, but presenting them in halves on steamed buns looks delicate and exotic. Be warned – two of these buns might not be enough for some of your hungry guests! These are exceptional and go straight from the pack to the barbecue.

Garnish: For kimchi mayo mix some mayonnaise with some juices from the kimchi.
Top the burgers with a smear of mayo, and pieces of kimchi, spring onions and cucumber.

Printable recipe page here
(opens new window)

Visit Donald Russell here

Find Yutaka Kimchi and Japanese ingredients here

food and travel reviews

Donald Russell for a taste of the Med

I love cooking, I enjoy food, I salivate at the very prospect of a serving of delicious meat. Yes, I am an unashamed and practising carnivore - but I have standards.

All butchers are not created equal and I have learnt that to my cost over many decades of disappointing trial and expensive error. But then I hear of a company that provides meats and ready meals to the discerning – the very discerning.

Donald Russell Donald Russell is a Royal Warrant holder and Britain’s leading mail-order meat supplier. That sounded like a recommendation. They are based in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and so have local access to some of the finest meat and fish from these isles. And they are online! Yes, meat has stepped into the 21st century.

I am not saying that a company with an online platform is automatically going to be good but Donald Russell is. I was first impressed by their site. It’s accessible and comprehensive and surprisingly broad in coverage. They obviously have meat as their foundation but that’s all types of meat. Beef, lamb, pork, poultry and game are all listed. There are steaks, joints and also those oft-overlooked cuts which make such flavoursome meals. There are fish aplenty, ranging from wild white fish to smoked fish and everything in between. There are also desserts, baked goods and even ready-meals, so a one-stop-shop!

Donald Russell Donald Russell isn’t a new kid on the culinary block. It’s been around, for trade customers at least, since 1974. They supplied gourmet meats to fine-dining restaurants and hotels worldwide. Some of those are places of polished repute such as Simpson’s-in-the-Strand and Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Today they still supply many of their original customers along with Michelin-starred restaurants. You don’t have to visit a celebrity chef to try some of these excellent products, though: anyone can order.

I tried three of the new Mediterranean range. These are authentic Italian dishes, and indeed out of the hand-written family cookbook of ‘Nonna Dina’ who is the mother of Managing Director Tazio. She spent a couple of weeks working with Donald Russell’s kitchen to create dishes that taste home-made, at least if your home is in Italy!

Luganighetta Sausages were the first products I tried. These are the iconic spiral-shaped sausages and said to come originally from Lugano in Switzerland. Their natural casings are packed with both pork and beef, and seasoned with delicate cinnamon and coriander. These are dense and flavourful and can be cooked either on the BBQ or under a regular grill. They look impressive and they are gluten-free. Delicious when traditionally served with saffron risotto or with a green salad, crusty bread and a glass of red.

Donald Russell Pollo Ripieni is dinner-party fare and is a moist, boneless, stuffed free-range chicken roast. The birds are raised by the Loué farmers of France. The Northern Italian style stuffing contains lean turkey mince, creamy goat’s cheese, ceps and capers. That might sound a strange concoction but it’s outstanding. There is just enough cheese to season the lean mince and to give a slight tang. Turkey is often bland but the cheese, mushrooms and capers elevate this preparation. A truly Continental dish.

Those who would prefer a meat-free meal are not forgotten. Aubergine Parmigiana is a moreish dish of tender aubergine, layered with tomato sauce and creamy cheese sauce. The whole thing is finished with grated cheese and needs simply to be baked in the oven.  Nobody will feel short-changed when presented with this rich plateful. This is another dish that cries out for some good bread for dipping into those generous sauces. It’s quick to prepare, too, and can be on the table in just half an hour or so. You can finish up that bottle of red wine with this one.

Donald Russell has impeccable credentials. Quality and thoughtful preparation are the cornerstones of this company and I look forward to tasting more of their gastronomic innovations and fine meats.


Visit Donald Russell here

food and travel reviews

Honeybuns Cookies

I wrote a review a while ago (and here it is again for those who missed it) about Honeybuns cakes and the company.Honeybuns cookies Well, now I can add cookies to the list of products that it’s been my pleasure to sample.

They are all gluten-free and delectable. Being individually wrapped, they are ideal for summer outdoor eating. They are moist and almost a cake, and they actually taste of the ingredients, which sounds an obvious statement but there are lots of cookies out there that taste of nothing but refined sugar.

Almond and Salted Pistachio Cookie is 50% almonds and 14% pistachio. Those are high percentages of the good stuff.

Honeyed Apple Cookie has over 30% apple in various forms as well as real honey.

Triple Chocolate Tinker Cookies are perhaps the best chocolate cookies I have eaten. They contain a whopping 35% Belgian chocolate and you can tell it’s there. A box of these cookies would make an ideal gift for any chocolate lover and a change from a box of chocolates, and I very much hope my husband is reading this.

I am now off to apply for a job with Honeybuns as chief sampler.

Honeybuns and Cakes

This little company, Honeybuns, is another BBC Good Food Show find. The stand was a delight, the proprietor, Emma, is lovely, young and enthusiastic, and the cakes are to die for.

Emma says “I had a hare-brained scheme to pedal around Oxford delivering my home-made cakes to delis and cafes during the late 1990s. We’ve still got the bike leant up against our Bee Shack Cafe wall. Some visitors assume it’s just an attractive prop, but it truly is the original facilitator of the Honeybuns enterprise!

Now based at Naish Farm in beautiful Dorset, our growth has been organic and gentle. Everything is still made completely by hand without rushing and we take a holistic approach, considering our environment and community in everything we do.”

I have had the pleasure of tasting a selection of Honeybuns products. Many are gluten-free and all are moist and utterly delicious. It’s not only this humble writer who reckons these cakes are high-end. Honeybuns have a list of awards as long as your arm, culminating with the Blackmore Vale Media Taste of Dorset Awards 2008 - Most Inspirational Food Business, and The Great Taste Awards 2007 Gold*** Great Taste Award.

Heathcliffe Brownie, Cranberry and Pecan Flapjack, and Coppice Cake were my selections from the tin of Minis. Each of the individually-wrapped squares of cake was fresh, moist and had the texture of freshly baked and home-made goods. The Heathcliff Brownie has a subtle orange flavour which is admired even by those who don’t normally enjoy anything chocolatey (I had to hide the tin after I foolishly allowed my husband to try a brownie). The Cranberry and Pecan Flapjack has a lovely hint of maple syrup, and the Coppice Cake would be a marvellous afternoon tea-time treat, fruity and scrumptious.

The quality of these cakes is unbeatable and the packaging makes them ideal gifts. Emma offers a choice of attractive tins of cakes that would be brilliant presents for almost anyone of any age. Because the cakes are individually wrapped they stay fresh for quite a while but they can equally be frozen with no ill effects.

You can visit Honeybuns at www.honeybuns.co.uk where you will find an online shop as well as all kinds of nutritional information.

food and travel reviews

Vinaigre – Sweet Taste of Success!

It isn’t often I can say that there is a new food product that is truly interesting and inspiring. There you go: the first sentence and I have already lied to you – these are not new but hundreds or even thousands of years old, and there’s not one of them but three.

It’s Alan Coxon’s range of historic Vinegars. They cover centuries of culinary development and knowledge. Ancient Greek Vinaigre, Roman period Vinaigre and Mediaeval English Ale-Gar. (There are spice rubs from the same periods soon to follow.)

Let’s start with the packaging. It’s impressive to look at. Greek style glass amphorae or flasks which not only have immense shelf appeal (“Look Mum, that’s pretty!”) but also have a ‘feel’ that gives the prospective purchaser the expectation of a quality item, and they won’t be disappointed.

bottles of vinaigre I asked Alan who was responsible for the design of the bottles. “I myself designed the bottles as I wanted something that looked old but yet modern, a contradiction in terms. When I looked around for readymade bottles with a hint of historical relevance I felt they were all too archetypal, and I didn’t want something that looked too Asterix or Disney. I therefore drew a picture of what I wanted, obtained a glass blower to reproduce the ‘look’ and re-mortgaged the house!”

“I had my bottle made into a mould at a cost of £22000 and then had to order a million bottles to once again keep the cost down for the shopper. The original cost of the bottle to me was £21.00 (before distribution costs, stores mark up etc, etc.). Needless to say, I have managed to fight against the odds and now sell the product direct from my website for £5.99 + p&p.” [2008 prices]

How did you start to compile the recipes? Did it just take a lot of reading to discover threads and themes, or are there still ancient recipes out there?

“I started getting into food history about 15 years ago and whilst I was doing some research for a TV show, something just came over me. There is not one definitive book that gives you the answers, if there was it may have made life so much easier; having said that I would still have sought out a challenge somewhere along the line. The beauty about research is that you learn so many more things as you go. There are no definitive recipes, and many of the recipes you do find are in story form so it’s like putting a jigsaw together or solving a crime that took place centuries ago.”

Alan Coxon is selling his Ancient Greek Vinaigre to Athenians! Now that’s success and appreciation from people who would know what to look for. There’s lots of interest in Japan and some of the most celebrated chefs in Europe have praised this range as being not only unique but deserving of a place in any modern kitchen.

James Martin, TV celebrity chef of Ready Steady Cook fame, says: "Absolutely fantastic product, I’d like to sell the boxed set at my Winchester Deli.” Gennaro Contaldo - La Passione Restaurant - is equally enthusiastic: "I think that Alan Coxon’s historic range tastes sublime. The quality and flavour of the Ale-Gar is outstanding, I use it in my Guinea Fowl dish instead of Balsamic now. The Roman is great in my salads as a dressing, and the Greek I use in Marinades. Alan is truly a great chef, now he has some great products that I will continue to use."

I had expected three bottles of balsamic-ish / wine-ish / malt-ish sorts of vinegars but these are very different. Each one is surprisingly distinctive. They are not much like the articles that you would have already tried: there’s a host of flavoured vinegars out there but none with such complex characteristics or depth.

Ale-Gar

Alan Coxon’s Ale-Gar is produced from an original recipe once brewed in Mediaeval England. It’s hop-based rather than wine-based, with tones of warming spices. It’s memories of smoky firesides in winter, and rich foods.

Ale-Gar is the colour of a favourite Irish stout and is, of the three, the one which most readily replaces ordinary balsamic. It does have a very particular flavour that enhances red meat so well. We tasted this straight from the bottle on both bread and a grilled steak. It’s an instant and very up-market change from any Worcestershire sauce-based condiment.

Alan suggests that this would be great added to beef dishes such as a bolognaise sauce, beef and venison casseroles; drizzled over oysters; reduced and drizzled over strawberries, ice cream or with parmesan cheese. It is also great when used in marinades or simply used as a dipping sauce for crusty bread instead of a Balsamic.

Roman Vinaigre

Cinnamon is the predominant spice, but with hints of chamomile that gives a good balance of flavour. It has the most wonderful rich scent and a slight sweetness of honey. This would be a terrific glaze for roast pork or used to dress chopped red onion as a relish with an Indian meal. Outstanding!

The Roman Vinaigre is recommended as an addition to salad dressings; as a dip for crusty bread with a dash of olive oil; added to hot butter or egg-based sauces or as a marinade for pork or poultry.

Ancient Greek Vinaigre

This was the biggest surprise of the three. It’s light and floral with a clean acidity but also a sweet aftertaste. It’s exotic and very different. This spoke to me of rosewater-laced salads from Morocco. I mixed a little of this with crème fraiche to make a dressing for beetroot to go with other North African mezze and it was amazing, being both sweet and sour.

Alan says, “This Vinaigre lends itself well to replace rice wine vinegar in oriental stir-fries and soups, marinades, sweet and sour dishes, salad dressings and hot and cold sauces. It’s fruity, fresh and fragrant – naturally befitting any Greek Goddess.” Well, nice of you to say so, Alan! I’m not Greek but I did find this one particularly delicious.

Alan has said “I like to think of myself as an Indiana Jones of the food world, dressed in a leather hat (of which I have two!) and an Indiana Jones-style whip, or in my case a whisk!” ....It quite sets the female heart beating! But all joking aside, these vinegars revisit long-gone culinary traditions and allow us to replicate for ourselves the delicious flavours that truly add “a taste of the past for the kitchens of the future.”

All three vinegars in Alan Coxon’s Historic range should be available at all quality food outlets. Ask the store manager if you can’t find them. They are also available at foodbyalancoxon.com.


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