Food & drink notes

Whiff of luxury; Espresso yourself; Spice it up; Shooting stars
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Whiff of luxury

At this time of year the Italian white truffle becomes available to those rich enough to afford it. "Even if you are a king," advises Giorgio Locatelli, "when you want white truffle you should wait until they are ripe in November." At some establishments, if you ask for it this early in the season, you could end up paying £4.50-£6 per gram for the privilege (it's £2,500 to £3,500 per kilo wholesale). To get a more affordable whiff of this delicacy, try the creamy sauce "Salsa con tartufi bianchi" made by Italian company Ellesse - granted, it contains only 6 per cent white truffle plus some Parmesan and cream, but for mere mortals it is at least an option.

£5 for a 90g jar, available online through Discerning Food ( www.discerningfood.co.uk)

Espresso yourself

Chic design outfit Freud have come up with a blisteringly stylish stove-top espresso maker that makes four cups of very decent coffee. When making espresso at home, the old and simple ways are often best, but the traditional "Vesuvio" type (a battered aluminium pot that you pop on to the stove which forces the boiling water through the coffee grounds) has always been functional rather than beautiful. This gleaming sculpture from Freud works in the same way but is very easy on the eye. It comes with a choice of handles to suit your kitchen - wooden, pink, blue, black or cream.

Wooden-handled version, £64.95; other colours, £59.95. They are available from Freud, 198 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1; www.freudliving.co.uk

Spice it up

A new book, Calcutta Kitchen, brings together something of a dream team: Simon Parkes, who lived in Calcutta and regularly features on Radio 4's Food Programme, and Udit Sarkhel, chef-patron of one of Britain's finest Indian restaurants, Sarkhel's in London. There are interesting vegetarian recipes, plenty of authentic fish and prawn dishes, plus chutneys, breads and street food - all simply and beautifully presented.

'Calcutta Kitchen' by Simon Parkes and Udit Sarkhel (Mitchell Beazley), £20

Shooting stars

Aconbury Sprouts is a specialist grower of sprouted seeds and organic bean sprouts. Based near Hereford, they sell everything from sprouted chick peas to a mixture of alfalfa and leek. Their Organic Sango Radish Sprouts - which took top prize at the Food & Drink Expo and silver at the Soil Association Awards - make a great addition to sandwiches and salads. But beware: they are seriously hot. As you wipe away a tear, console yourself with the knowledge that sprouting seeds are as fresh as food gets and highly nutritious.

Organic Sango Radish Sprouts, £1.29 for 115g bag, Fresh & Wild or www.goodnessdirect.co.uk

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