Tag Archives: food news

This week’s food news | 21st May 2010

Well hello to all you dear people! It’s May and the sun is out and happiness reigns. This is what has been going on this week in the food world:

‘Draconian’ school food regulations counter-productive
Measures put in place to encourage healthy eating in schools are having the opposite effect, according to caterers. It appears that pupils are eschewing the healthy food on offer and nipping down the road to the chippie. You can lead a horse to water etc etc…

A sausage a day might kill you
The risk of heart disease and diabetes is greatly increased by regularly eating processed meat, say a Harvard University team. The lack of concrete evidence notwithstanding, the results suggest that it’s the salt and preservatives in processed meat that cause this anomaly. Unprocessed meat, such as steak, appeared to cause no added risk.

An end to 24-hour drinking?
The new home secretary Theresa May has called for an end to 24-hour licensing laws in an effort to curb excessive drinking. May blamed round-the-clock grogging for an increase in public disorder. I’d take a look at unemployment and general dissatisfaction with life first, love, but that’s just me.


Other food news this week:
* The cauliflower has suffered a fall from grace in recent years, according to studies.
* Welsh valley wins awards for its wine. British wine is one to watch, a wise fellow told me this week.
* It is believed that pizza in Naples is being cooked with wood made from coffins.
* Sales at Majestic wine are expected to increase after a decision to reduce minimum order from 12 to 6 bottles.
* American TV chef Juan-Carlos Cruz is accused of hiring homeless men to kill his wife.


Blog of the week
I was thrilled to discover Recipe Rifle and its general give-a-shit attitude towards cooking. Remember folks – it’s only food.

Recipe of the week
A very pretty blog indeed, and a recipe for macaroons from For The Love Of Food.

Shocker of the week
The mark up on popcorn in cinemas is in the region of 2,500%, reports Alex Renton. Say no to popcorn people!

Video of the week
Suggestions that chefs are highly strung appear unfounded. Yoi.


Filed under News

This week’s food news | 14th May 2010

Celeb foods under fire
Foods endorsed by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Ainsley ‘the pate’ Harriott have been criticized for their high levels of salt and fat. Knives were out at the News of the World this week, where the ‘shocking truth’ was ‘revealed’. This ‘revelation’ was that some of these products have even more fat than a big mac. For more information see the products’ labels.

Local food ‘could save NHS millions’
The NHS has discovered that serving patients meals sourced locally could save it millions, reports the Grocer. It found that a staggering £2.50 per meal was saved by using local produce. If the average household made such a realization we would all be richer, healthier, greener and happier.

KFC fined for cockroach supper
That bastion of health and safety and good eating, KFC, is in the doldrums after a hefty (conflict about figure) fine following the discovery of a cockroach munching on a chip. An environmental health officer visited the Leicester Square branch to find the little blighter feasting happily on KFC’s, let’s face it, sub-par fries. This was but the tip of the iceberg though, as offences at the ‘restaurant’ went, as you can read here.


Other food news this week:

* Experts are suggesting that eating nuts could help lower cholestrol. Read here.
* Bernard Matthews goes free range. Will naysayers say nay a little less? Probably not.
* UN lambaste child labour policies in fishing.
* Smirnoff remains most influential brand in global drinks industry.
* Questions of whether food allergies are on the rise remain unanswered. That’s not really news is it?


Blog of the week
* The Food Debate returns in aid of Action Against Hunger. Judge Katy Salter talks us through it.*

Recipe of the week
* We’re at the height of asparagus season, and while they are arguably at their best simply steamed or roasted, here is an excellent alternative from Steff Says.

Video of the week
An old classic, I was reminded of this humdinger from Not The Nine O’Clock News after reading Will Self’s life-changingly brilliant ‘Great Apes’. Read it. Seriously. You’ll never look at your fellow man the same again.

*I realise this looks like a plug for an event I’ve organised. It is, but it’s all in the name of charity. And jousting.


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This week’s food news | 23rd April 2010

Food inflation rises

After February’s drop in food inflation, this month the price of fruit has nudged food inflation up to a 6 month high, reports the Grocer. Quite how the eruption of Eyjafjallajokullasoiasdgonyeos will impact on this is unclear, with some suggesting a food shortage is likely and others observing that a relatively small proportion of our grub comes via air freight. Either way, best to avoid them Kenyan beans and buy British when you can.

Loyalty cards come under scrutiny

We’ve all been there. Months – nay – years of accumulating these mythical, intangible points. Finally the day arrives when you think to yourself ‘you know what, I’m just going to fly by the seat of my pants and ruddy well use my Nectar card points today’. And then you’re told you have 79p on it. A YouGov poll found that half of shoppers thought them a waste of time. What do you think?

Latest health scare – well-done meat a cancer risk

Research in Texas has found that eating well-done meat more than doubles the risk of bladder cancer. Though mainly referring to red meat, the study also suggested that even eating fried chicken or fish ‘significantly raised the odds of cancer’. How do you like your meat cooked?


Other food news this week:

* Christie’s auction house accused of selling ‘fake’ vintage wines, reports the Independent.

* BNP cause scandal at Unilever by using Marmite in an online political broadcast. Read more here.

* There’s been a rise in the use of ‘lazy’ foods such as ready-peeled carrots. Do you use them?

* Red Bull to blame, says Hull Asbo woman.


Blog of the week: Cheese and Biscuit’s review of The Fat Duck was refreshingly lacking in any bombast or verbosity.


Recipe of the week: A D-Lish looking midweek supper recipe of Old Bay seasoned crispy crumb chicken from A Glug of Oil.


Videos of the week: Two stunning and emotionally charged covers of Lady Gaga’s ubiquitous ballad ‘Poker Face’.

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This Week’s Food News | 2nd April 2010

Junk food compared with Class A drug

That could be a needle of drugs in his pudgy hand

Research recently carried out in Florida suggests that junk food may be addictive in the same way as heroin or cocaine. The three-year study analysed the brain activity in rats eating high-calorie foods such as burgers and cheesecake, and found similar results to those seen in humans with a drug addiction. Read more here. [South Park, with the unerring accuracy of a Rolex, portrayed Cartman snorting a line of KFC in what is possibly the funniest SP episode I’ve ever seen. Watch it here.]

“This is not an amusement park,” declares Sergeant-Major

Troops in Afghanistan have been banned from eating junk food. Branches of Pizza Hut, Subway and Burger King have been forced to close in Helmand by General Stanley McChrystal, a workaholic known as the ‘warrior monk’. For an interesting insight into the eating habits of various nations’ armies click here.

Forget granola – full English is the healthiest way to start the day

A healthy start?

It seemed like a lame attempt at an April fool, but it looks like scientists are genuinely suggesting that a fried breakfast is a healthy option. The study appears to show that breakfast programs the metabolism, and thus a fatty breakfast helps the body maximise energy usage. Convinced?

Other food news this week:

* Spanish wine industry in serious trouble. Click here to read more.

* Hospitals urged to chastise those with drink-related injuries. Click here for more.

* Lincolnshire lays claim to having the world’s hottest chilli. Read about it here.

* More junk food mania as Domino’s boom continues. Read more here and last year’s post on the subject here.


Blog post of the week

* Fiona Beckett writes a highly pertinent and evenhanded comparison of Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley and Gordon Ramsay’s newly reopened Petrus. Read it here.

Recipe of the week

Lamb is undoubtedly the Easter meat, and quite frankly I wish it was the Christmas meat too. Here’s a cracking recipe for roast lamb.

Puke of the week

I made the mistake of trying Dandelion and Burdock for the first time. It will also be the last.

And finally – the greatest episode of Come Dine With Me in the history of Christianity:

Click here to watch it in all its fist-chewingly awful splendour.


Filed under News

This week’s food news | And a recipe for Turkey Twizzlers | 19th March 2010

Marco Pierre White teams up with Bernard Matthews

This week MPW signed a deal with Bernard Matthews to promote their turkeys. The once Michelin-starred chef declared: “Ever since I was a boy I’ve been an admirer of turkey and particularly Bernard Matthews.” It’s the sort of sentence you have to read twice. The move has inevitably caused huge controversy in the food community, though frankly I think any reaction beyond a hearty chortle is probably an over-reaction. I made some turkey twizzlers to celebrate the latest saga in the increasingly barmy life of the great chef. You can read about my efforts at the bottom of this post.

Kitchen worker at public school attempts to poison the soup

A member of staff at Stowe School in Bucks was arrested after allegedly attempting to poison the soup. Parents were emailed by headmaster Anthony Wallersteiner on Tuesday to be informed of the incident. Dr. Wallersteiner assured concerned parents that no pupils had been harmed after one of the kitchen staff detected the pungent smell of bleach coming from a batch of carrot and coriander soup. Insert joke about school food here.

Other food news this week:

* Ban on fishing for the critically endangered bluefin tuna is rejected.

* Cinema food comes under fire for being so unhealthy. This is hardly going to curb the obesity epidemic, argues Lucy Jones.

* Gordon Brown kills two birds with one stone and does his canvassing over tea. What would you serve him? Would you be employing the Stowe cook to make his brew?

My favourite blog posts:

The Aga - friend or foe?

An entertaining and enlightening debate on the AGA between Oliver Thring and Ms Marmite Lover

They make good noises

Revere are a band making some very special music. You can read their blog here.

My favourite recipe:

The perfect dish for this interim between winter and full-on spring from Food Stories.

Funniest video:

The perils of eating greasy food whilst playing Wii:

Recipe | Turkey twizzlers

It seemed only right to mark MPW’s new partnership with Bernard Matthews by attempting to create a batch of their infamous turkey twizzlers. They weren’t half bad, though they had an odd, spongey texture. Having, I don’t think, ever eaten one myself, I had to rely on my brother’s descriptive ability to reproduce them. He said these came quite close. Unfortunately I’d run out of dextrose and stabilisers so I had to make do without.

Makes quite a lot of twizzlers. Too many if anything.

500g turkey mince

50g breadcrumbs

An egg

1 teaspoon English mustard powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 crushed garlic clove

1 teaspoon sugar

Flour, egg, breadcrumbs

Salt, pepper, vegetable oil

You will also need a selection of spoons.

– Put the turkey mince, breadcrumbs, egg, spices, herbs and garlic into a blender. Season with salt, pepper and sugar and whizz until a sort of uniform mush is formed. Kind of like this:

Hungry yet?

– Take a very small handful and roll into a long, thin, snake-like, shape. It’s like playdough, only less fun, and doesn’t taste as good. Coat the strip in flour, dip in beaten egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. This is the fun bit now. Carefully twist the twizzler around the handle of a spoon. Actually it’s not that fun. It’s a bit of a faff. But it’s all in the name of honouring Marco and that is the most important thing.

– Once you’ve fashioned an array of twizzlers and have stopped cursing the day Bernard Matthews was born, pop them on a tray or similar device and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes to ‘set’. Once set, remove the meaty coils from their shaping devices. They should look like this:

The removal from the spoon demands a deft yet assertive push

Heat a centimetre of vegetable oil over a medium high heat. Once nice and hot add the twizzlers. That said, if you’re going for the authentic, greasy school dinner then I recommend adding them when the oil isn’t quite hot enough. Fry for 2 minutes, turn, and fry for another couple of minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.


Filed under News, Recipes

This week’s food news | 12th March 2010

Crafty takeover

American food manufacturer Kraft has come under fire for reneging on its pledge not to close down the Cadbury’s factory in Somerdale. Having vowed to keep the plant near Bristol open, once the £11.5bn was completed in February Kraft said the factory would close by 2011, costing 400 jobs. The company at least appears to have the support of Lady Gaga as she plugs Miracle Whip in her latest video ‘Telephone‘.

EU approves GM spud

Last week the EU gave European farmers the green light to cultivate genetically modified potatoes. While the spud isn’t for human consumption, the legislation will undoubtedly once again stir the eternally simmering GM debate. With the world population set to reach 9 billion by 2050, how much longer can we oppose the ability of GM crops to produce the amount of food that will be required?

Food inflation falls to a three-year low

Food inflation in the UK fell to 1.3% in February, driven by a deflation in fresh produce. The report by the British Retail Consortium said that it was competition in the grocery market in particular that had kept prices down. This is good news for shoppers.

Other food news this week:

* Papaya is declared the new cancer-fighting super-fruit. I wonder what next week’s superfood will be…

* A sushi restaurant in Los Angeles is accused of selling whale meat.

* New legislation in New York would ban salt in restaurants.

* Sales of instant coffee have plummeted, while those of filter coffee have soared.

My favourite blog posts

* Food bloggers Helen Graves, EuWen Teh and Chris Pople get grilled on British food by Jay Rayner.

* Just Cook It’s delightful look at the alchemy of cooking tongue.

* Hugo Williams goes to Chennai to work at The Hindu Newspaper and gets flummoxed by the eating traditions.

My favourite recipe of the week:

Rose Cottage’s heavenly sounding rhubarb panna cotta

The week’s most tummy rumbling video:

If you are a meat-eater then this video will make you dribble. If you are a vegetarian it may well make you question that decision.

Click here for a chance to win a place at a steak tasting evening at Racine.

What has interested you in the news this week? How would you define British food? And just what will happen to New York restaurants if this ban goes through (for the record, I will eat my laptop if it does)?


Filed under News

This week’s food news

RIP Rose Gray

The week got off to a sombre start with news of the death of Rose Gray. Her impact on modern British cookery cannot be underestimated. Along with Ruth Rogers, she not only played a fundamental role in the growth of Italian cookery in the UK beyond pizza and pasta, but, more importantly, was a forerunner in the concept of local, seasonal cookery. She showed home cooks that you don’t need technical wizardry, nor clever gadgets to create a dish of beauty and taste. It’s an ethos that the likes of Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, both alumni of Gray’s River Cafe, live by today. True kitchen alchemy isn’t about foams and smears and chlorophyll and carrot wallpaper, but about taking something very simple and, with the minimum of flourishes, turning it into something special. We have Rose Gray to thank for always reminding us of this.

Raymond Blanc breaks his leg

On Monday Raymond Blanc, chef patron of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, took a tumble at his home and landed in the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, having broken his leg and ankle in five places. The chef, whose new TV show Raymond Blanc: Kitchen Secrets gives us an insight into how refined French cookery is perfectly doable in the home, seemed in good spirits as he blogged from his hospital bed. Garbed in a “very sexy robe (you know, the one which opens at the back)”, he joked that he had “two gorgeous nurses…holding my hands and singing lullabies”. We wish Raymond a full, speedy, and of course cossetted recovery.

The UK throws bananas

We’ve all been there. They sit in the fruit bowl like some grotesquely distorted claw, turning from yellow, to yellowish, to dappled brown, to black. And then to the bin. Well, it turns out bananas are the most wasted foodstuff in this country according to business intelligence company Retail Active, and that young men aged 25-35 in the South East are the biggest culprits. There is, however, one man doing his bit to make up for the bananas that fall by the wayside. Gordon Brown, reports the Daily Mail, eats up to nine bananas a day in an effort to wean himself off the Kitkats that he is so fond of. For those who aren’t such rabid fruitarians, there are two solutions to the banana wastage problem. If the fruits are turning and you fear for their over-ripeness, they freeze very well, and you can then make some lovely banana bread next time you’re baking. The other solution is simpler – if you’re not going to eat them, don’t buy them.

Jamie Oliver to be a dad again

Jamie Oliver appeared overjoyed when he announced on Thursday that he and his wife Jools were expecting their fourth child. The 34-year-old chef broke the news on Twitter, saying he was “very happy” that he was going to be a father again. But it’s not going to be easy for the wee infant – not only will it have three older sisters to contend with but, following Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, and Petal Blossom Rainbow, it will most probably have a daft name too.

Kavey Favelle wins the food debate

On Friday night Kavey ‘the cracker’ Favelle reigned victorious in the much-hyped Food Debate in the Westbridge Draft House. Fighting the battle for cheese, Favelle was a deserving champion. She celebrated by riding this unicorn off into the sunset. There will be a full report of the debate on Monday.

What other nuggets of news have interested you this week? What would you do to help stop food wastage? What do you think Jamie is going to call his fourth child?


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