Food News & Reviews: pork belly; kitchen knives; soup club; Christmas hampers; blended whiskies

 

This week I've been eating...old spot pork belly

A pinkish slice, slightly sweet from the molasses reduction, as long as your forearm and 2cm wide with a top of ruler-like crackling which snapped with a poke of the knife. Undoubtedly the highlight of the changing weekly four courses (plus snack course) set £39 menu at the Young Turks neon-adorned pop-up above the Ten Bells pub in London's Spitalfields. Before that, after too long a wait on a chair that may have been used in The Spanish Inquisition, came a parsnip, oat and pheasant creation which looked beige but tasted divine – the creamy oats against the paper-thin parsnips slices created a pleasing texture contrast (the leitmotif of the Young Turk's cooking here). The first course – grilled leek, dried scallop and a chewy red seaweed – was interesting rather than particularly fine; the chewy seaweed squashing the other, daintier, flavours. Wine is gently priced, starting at around £20. theyoungturks.com; the pop-up runs until 29 January.

Cutting edge

On the face of it, collecting kitchen knives seems a pretty niche preoccupation, and that's to put it charitably. But when you see the knives sold by the Japanese Knife Company, it would be a hard foodie heart that didn't beat a little quicker. The hand-made Aogami knives, commissioned by the owner Jay Patel from fourth-generation makers in Japan, are the perfect meeting of form and function, light in the hand, made from ultra-hard high-carbon Tungsten steel and, if Patel is to believed, able to cut a tomato into 150 pieces.

From £99, japaneseknifecompany.com

Bowled over

We've had supper, pudding and even sausage clubs, so why not a soup club? That's the thinking behind Devon farmer and soup-maker extraordinaire Rod Hall's latest venture. The man behind Rod and Ben's soup has opened the barn at his Bickham Farm for monthly meetings where enthusiasts can thrash out those pressing soupy matters of the day, like is leek really a good match for celeriac in a winter soup? Rod will be on hand to ladle out the advice. rodandbens.com

Box clever

It's always been a mystery to me as to who actually buys Christmas hampers. Undoubtedly they have a certain pyrotechnic luxury but, really, how much stilton and pickled relish does one household need? Kudos to SeeWoo then for creating two affordable hampers. Rather than heavy English fare, they're packed with East-Asian treats, ranging from every day things like soy sauce to more exotic items like crushed yellow beans and Sau Tao noodles. Plus they even throw in a wok, for good measure. £49.95, seewoo.com

Mine's a double

Purists may sneer, but blended whiskies are increasingly making their presence felt at the top end of the whisky market. The new honey-hued Johnnie Walker Blue Label has a sophisticated fruity palate and an earthy nose. Worth a look if you're after an extra-special christmas present. Though be warned, it comes in at a cool £129. thewhiskyexchange.com

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on