On The Menu: Carluccio's Lasagne; Fry's Vegetarian Mince; bee pollen; Dr Dre Beats
Samuel Muston is deputy editor & food editor of The Independent Magazine. He writes a weekly food column – On the Menu – which appears in The Independent on Friday and i on Monday. And also travel and general features. Follow him on Instagram at @smuston
Friday 10 August 2012
This week I've been eating... Carluccio's Lasagne
The past two weeks have been about the most persuasive argument for knee-based TV dinners we're likely to have. I mean, Mo Farah's gold or two hours sweating over the polenta pot? Usain Bolt cleaving the air or you chopping a carrot? There just isn't much competition, as with the chaps themselves.
Two weeks of microwave bings and rubbery ready meals then?
Not a bit, thanks to Carluccio's releasing its new pre-prepared Italian meals in time for the opening ceremony.
Best of a fine bunch is the lasagne. The first thing to know about it is that it's massive, seven layers deep, with a soffritto ragu of minced beef, pork and pancetta, crowned with parmesan, mozzarella and a lake of béchamel.
The second thing to know about it is that it was so nice I used a spoon to scrape off the last vestiges of it from the tin it comes in.
£6 ( serves 2), carluccios.com
This week I ate my own head. Well, sort of – I actually ate a bit of cake, unsolicited but not unwelcome, on whose smooth top had been printed a facsimile of my face. It remains one of the stranger things sent to me, ranking up there with the screen-printed A3 version of this column and a Cadbury's chocolate bar with my name printed across the front. A colleague remarked that it made me look like "a daytime-TV presenter," but that fault maybe lies with me rather than the cake, which was, incidentally, 6in wide and a chocolate sponge.
We may not be able to jump, run, cycle or wang a javelin like them, but we can eat the same dinner. Vegetarian athletes at the village have been treated to dishes made from Fry's Vegetarian Mince. Apparently the choice comes down to the fact that it is Kosher, Halaal, Shuddha (suitable for Hindus) and Hare Krishna-friendly, which surely must be some sort of record. But the real question is: what does it taste like? My verdict: well, as, er, soy-based, onion-free imitations of mince goes, it isn't too bad at all.
The Finnish Olympic team swore by it and it was reputed that Muhammed Ali used to use it, but who knew you could even eat bee pollen? Not me. The minuscule granules contain all 22 amino acids and are said to be a good short-term energy booster. Chef Mark Hix uses them as a sprinkle in some of his desserts. All well and good, but what I want to know is how do they persuade the bees to give it up?
Fit to drink
The Dr Dre Beats pop-up for the Olympics in London's Shoreditch House has drawn more off-duty Olympians than the village's condom dispenser. I've had occasion to visit, too, and have spied a trend: the Croatians seemed to like gin; the Brits, beer. But the Americans flew the Stars and Stripes, and seemed to want only Coca Cola.
Life & Style blogs
- 1 Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 4 Tesco scraps 'unexpected item in the bagging area' as self-checkouts switch to less 'frustrating' audio
- 5 Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
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