On The Menu: Jaffa cakes; Reel Fish Tuna; M&S's truffle products; Donald Russell's upscale seasonal hamper; Hangover Cookbook
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 02 December 2011
This week I've been eating...jaffa cakes
No, not the little discs of gelatine, chocolate and sponge you get in the corner shop. These were homemade; made in the home of this newspaper's executive editor, in fact, to a recipe created by Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing, which is now available on the new recipe app Great British Chefs. Rather than tasting and looking like a flattened piece of sponge with added marmalade and chocolate, these were stout, dark and with a dense base created by leaving a raising agent out of the sponge mix. The marmalade centre was bitter and plump. They were like the better-fed, better-looking cousins of the standard version. I could've eaten them all afternoon.
But as skilled as the cook was – and as good as the finished product tasted – the recipe seemed to been created for those for whom one jaffa cake is "quite enough".
So try them out, but, if you're greedy like me, be sure to double the ingredients.
Reel good news
"Buy tuna, kill dolphins," environmentalists used to say. Not many of us would welcome the appellation "flipper killer", yet still we scoff a billion cans of the fish each year. Kudos to Reel Fish Tuna then, for introducing the most environmentally friendly tinned tuna on shop shelves. The cans contain only populous skipjack, which are caught using the pole-and-line method by Maldivian fishermen payed a proper wage for their catch. So flipper is happy, we get our sarnies and the fishermen get their money. Pass the tin opener.
Dig for victory
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called truffles "diamonds of the kitchen". And until recently they've been nearly as expensive and harder to come by. No longer, though. Truffle products can now be found in M&S's international range. First is a 7 per cent truffle taglioni pasta, which is quite mellow and goes particularly well with melted butter and parmesan. There's also truffle honey, which is a little overwhelming. But use it as glaze and you're in heaven.
£7.99; £4.99 marksandspencer.com
Donald Russell, supplier of meat to the Queen, is offering an upscale seasonal hamper. Its Christmas Menu Boxes offer five excellent courses: hors d'oeuvres are smoked salmon, Atlantic prawns or pigs-in-blankets, the centrepiece is a beef joint or whole salmon and dessert is Anton Mosimann's Christmas pudding. Couriered prices start at £44 for two people and peak at £119 for an eight-person blowout. Canapé-tastic Christmas Party boxes for 12 are £59. Pricey, but first class.
A clear head
There ain't no hangover like a cheap-champagne hangover. So steel yourself for the party season ahead with the Hangover Cookbook. It encourages the over-indulger to ditch the greasy fry-up and instead plump for the likes of tahini and tomato toast, Mexican ranch eggs. Triples all round then.
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