On The Menu: Food news and reviews


This week Samuel's been eating...meatballs

Over the last week I've eaten great spheres of pork, beef and lamb at Meatballs (formerly The Quality Chop House) on Farringdon Road, central London. Although the uncomfortable wooden seating has seemingly not changed much since 1870, the menu certainly has. It's gone all New Yorky.

There are three different types of ball on offer: beef and ricotta, Greek lamb, and pork and rosemary. You can opt for a three-ball portion on their own, or go for an "underneath" of mash, a good pearl barley risotto, spaghetti or a light brioche bun. The meat is all admirably sourced, organic and tender and well seasoned with herbs.

Everything is hearty and filling. The best thing, though, is the price. A portion of meatballs starts at £3.95 (£5.95 if you have them in brioche buns) and "underneaths" hover at around £3. Beats Ikea's canteen-like balls any day.(meatballs.co.uk)

A literary confection

The French chocolatier Frédéric Bau and the Grand Ecole du Chocolat – the keepers of the chocolatey flame in France – have got together to produce a recipe book-cum-paean to cocoa. Eight of the finest patisserie chefs in France have contributed recipes to Cooking with Chocolate, including Jean-Paul Hévin – famed for his cheese chocolates – and Frédéric Cassel, who focuses on "little delights among friends," his interesting description of mini bits of chocolate patisserie. A feast for the eyes, though a bit of a danger to the waistline.£29.95, amazon.co.uk

Hit me with your best shot

As Thomas Keller says, all we need in the kitchen are good knives and a pan. But there are things we just really, really want. Currently topping my wish list is the mypressi handheld espresso maker. Just add a spoonful of ground coffee and some hot water to its spherical head, pull a trigger in the handle and you get a single or double espresso (with crema) in seconds. It runs on gas cartridges – the same used in whipped-cream cans – so it’s totally portable. £119, creamsupplies.co.uk

No excuse for bottling it

Don't have an expense account? The chances are you'll have had an awkward exchange with a sommelier: "I wasn't thinking of...err...spending quite so much," etc. Now there's a way to avoid the embarrassment: Wine to Match. Created by master sommelier Jesse Becker, the app uses a series of algorithms to suggest the best wine to go with that guineafowl creation or Korean stir-fry. Just key in the main ingredients and the app delivers a mini wine list. Worth the £1.99 just so you can say firmly: "We'll have the rioja."winetomatch.com

A right royal winter warmer

How best to fight the onset of cold weather? Blankets? Extra jumper? Or a glass of King's Ginger? The zesty liqueur was created to perk up Edward VII in 1903 and has proved perfect for perking up 21st-century foodies. The 40-per-cent drink can also be mixed with bitter lemon and a splash of lemon juice.£19.95, kingsginger.com

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