Tomato, jicama and pomegranate salad
Jicama, also known as the Mexican yam, is probably one of the most underutilised vegetables, in my opinion. Seriously refreshing, low in sodium and high in minerals and vitamins, it’s certainly a new “superfood” worth considering. Jicama are in season in late summer at the same time as tomatoes are at their best for making chunky, pico de gallo-style salsas.
These are the inspiration for this salad, which is also laced with pomegranate and avocado. It’s great on its own but also makes an excellent partner to many barbecued foods.
4 tomatoes, sliced
2 ripe avocados, sliced
200ml pomegranate mojo*
2 bunches breakfast radishes, finely sliced
2 red jalapenos or serrano chillies, finely sliced
100g salted ricotta, chopped
1 bunch purple basil leaves
1 bunch mint leaves
100g pomegranate seeds
Peel the jicama and, using a mandoline, thinly shave into slices. Layer the jicama, tomato and avocado slices over the surface of an attractive ceramic serving dish. Dress the salad with the pomegranate mojo and top with the radishes, sliced chillies and cheese. Scatter over the herbs and pomegranate seeds and serve.
Tip: serve this salad with a piece of grilled oily fish like mackerel or salmon for a super-healthy main dish packed with omega 3.
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100ml sherry vinegar
125ml olive oil
200ml pomegranate juice or molasses
2 tbsp sugar
40g sesame seeds, toasted
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
This is a signature sauce of Latin cooking, said to be the condiment of the Portuguese explorers who left their garlic scent throughout their travels. So many nations have now added their own accents and that’s the charm of this popular sauce. The sourness that interplays with the garlic is the key and I choose to add pomegranate for its striking and full zesty zing. This sauce can be used to dress raw sashimi-grade fish or to invigorate barbecued meats, soups or stews.
Place the cumin seeds in a small, dry frying pan and sprinkle with water to moisten. Cook over low heat, until the water evaporates and the seeds begin to dry-fry and become fragrant. Add the garlic and vinegar and cook for 30 seconds. Add 10 tablespoons of the oil and gently warm over low heat for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is cooked.
Transfer to a blender and process, gradually adding the remaining oil, the pomegranate juice or molasses and sugar. Stir in the sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Zesty chicken and sprout salad with fragrant seeds
Brightly coloured with zesty, earthy flavours, achiote paste is a must-have for your larder if you want to capture some of the unique regional flavours of Mexico. Here it’s used as a fast marinade for a minced chicken salad which is great served wrapped in lettuce leaves or in tortillas with guacamole, or accompanied with fried tortilla chips. There are now a great range of shoots and microgreens available from our local farms, which are bursting with sweet and delicate flavours. Add your favourite nuts and seeds to this zesty and healthy slaw.
800g coarsely minced (ground) chicken
2 tbsp achiote relish*
2 tbsp sesame oil
50g mix of sesame, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
½ tsp ground cumin
Sea salt to taste
100g finely shredded carrot
100g finely shredded green papaya
50g finely shredded young white or red cabbage
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 baby Lebanese (short) cucumber, finely sliced
5cm piece of fresh ginger, finely shredded
1 jalapeno, finely sliced
150g mix of alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts and snow pea shoots
100ml zesty lime dressing
1 orange, segmented
Assorted micro herbs, to garnish
Iceberg lettuce leaves or tortillas, to serve
Put the chicken and achiote relish in a bowl, mix together well and leave to marinate for 5 minutes. Heat half the sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken mixture and cook, stirring and breaking the meat down with a wooden spoon as you go, until sealed on all sides and cooked through (you may need to do this in batches). Transfer to a tray and set aside.
Food and drink news
Food and drink news
1/31 Wine prices could increase because of Brexit
Wine lovers across the UK might soon have to shell out close to a quarter more for their favourite tipple after Brexit, as a weaker pound and sluggish economy takes its toll, a new study shows
2/31 Chocolate may be good for the heart
A new study, published in the British Medical Journal: Heart, found that moderate chocolate intake can be positively associated with lessening the risk of the heart arrhythmia condition Atrial Fibrillation
3/31 Brits throw away 1.4 million bananas each year
British families are throwing away 1.4 million bananas that are perfectly good to eat every day at cost of £80m a year, new figures have shown
4/31 Rosemary sales spike over exam time
There has been a surge a surge in sales of the herb rosemary after a recent study found it helps improve memory. According to high street health food chain Holland & Barrett, sales of the herb have increased by 187 per cent compared to the same time last year
5/31 Gluten-free diets 'not recommended' for people without coeliac disease
Avoiding wheat, barley and rye in the belief that a gluten-free diet brings health benefits may do more harm than good, according to a team of US nutrition and medicine experts
6/31 Starbucks launches two new coffee-based drinks
Starbucks is launching two new coffee-based drinks in the UK, as it strives to tap into consumers’ growing appetite for healthy beverages. The Cold Brew Vanilla sweet cream and the Cappuccino Freddo, will both be available in stores throughout the UK from the start of May
7/31 Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Tiffin is making a permanent comeback after 80 years
The Cadbury Dairy Milk Tiffin, first produced in 1937, is making a permanent comeback to the UK. The raisin and biscuit-filled chocolate bar is being launched after a successful trial last summer saw 3 million chocolate treats – at the cost of £1.49 for each 95g bar- purchased by nostalgic customers
8/31 Pizza restaurant makes ‘world’s cheesiest’
'Scottie's Pizza Parlor' in Portland Oregon has created the world’s cheesiest pizza using a total of 101 different cheese varieties.
Facebook/Scottie's Pizza Parlor
9/31 A pizza joint in Portland Oregon has created the world’s cheesiest pizza using a total of 101 different cheese varieties. Why not eating before a workout could be better for your health
A study published in the American Journal of Physiology by researchers at the University of Bath found you might be likely to burn more fat if you have not eaten first
10/31 New York restaurant named best in the world
A New York restaurant where an average meal for two will cost $700 has been named the best in the world. Eleven Madison Park won the accolade for the first time after debuting on the list at number 50 in 2010. The restaurant was praised for a fun sense of fine-dining, “blurring the line between the kitchen and the dining room”
11/31 Why you crave bad food when you’re tired
Researchers at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University in Chicago recently presented their results of a study looking into the effects of sleep deprivation upon high-calorific food consumption. Researchers found that those who were sleep-deprived had “specifically enhanced” brain activity to the food smells compared to when they had a good night’s sleep
12/31 Drinking wine engages more of your brain than solving maths problems
Drinking wine is the ideal workout for your brain, engaging more parts of our grey matter than any other human behaviour, according to a leading neuroscientist. Dr Gordon Shepherd, from the Yale School of Medicine, said sniffing and analysing a wine before drinking it requires “exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body”
13/31 British dessert eating surges after people ditch healthy eating in February
: In heartening news for anyone feeling guilty about quitting their New Year diet, it seems lots of us have given in to our sweet tooths once again. New data from nationwide food-delivery service Deliveroo reveals there was a surge in Brits ordering desserts in February compared to the first month of 2017
14/31 US congress debates definition of milk alternatives
A new bill has been created that seeks to ban dairy alternatives from using the term ‘milk’. Titled the DAIRY PRIDE Act, the name is a tenuous acronym for ‘defending against imitations and replacements of yogurt, milk, and cheese to promote regular intake of dairy every day’. It argues that the dairy industry is struggling as a result of all the dairy-free alternatives on the market and the public are being duped too
15/31 Cadbury’s launches two new chocolate bars
UK confectionary giant Cadbury has launched two new chocolate bars, hoping to lure those with a sweet tooth and perhaps help combat some of the challenges it faces from rising commodity prices and a post-Brexit slump in the value of the pound.The company’s new products will be peanut butter and mint flavoured. They will be available in most major super markets as 120g bars, priced at £1.49, according to the company
16/31 You can now get a job as a professional chocolate eater
The company responsible for some of your favourite chocolate brands – think Cadbury, Milks, Prince and Oreo – have officially announced an opening to join their team as a professional chocolate taster. The successful candidate will help them to test, perfect and launch new products all over the world.
17/31 MSG additive used in Chinese food is actually good for you, scientist claims
For years, we’ve been told MSG (the sodium salt of glutamic acid) - often associated with cheap Chinese takeaways - is awful for our health and to be avoided at all costs. But one scientist argues it should be used as a “supersalt” and encourages adding it to food.
18/31 Lettuce prices are rising
Not only are lettuces becoming an increasingly rare commodity in supermarkets, but prices for the leafy vegetables seem to be rising too. According to the weekly report from the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a pair of Little Gem lettuces had an average market price of £0.86 in the week that ended on Friday, up from an average of £0.56 in the previous week – that’s an almost 54 per cent increase.
19/31 Food School
Kids celebrate Food School graduation with James Martin – a campaign launched by Asda to educate young people on where food comes from. New research has revealed that children across the UK just aren’t stepping up to the plate when it comes to simple facts about the food they eat – with almost half of children under eight not knowing that eggs come from chickens
20/31 ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant
To encourage more people to cook and eat together, IKEA has launched The Dining Club in Shoreditch – a fully immersive ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant . Members of the public can book to host a brunch, lunch or dinner party for up to 20 friends and family. Supported by their very own sous chef and maître de, the host and their guests will orchestrate an intimate dining experience where cooking together is celebrated and eating together is inspirational
Mikael Buck / IKEA
21/31 Ping Pong menu with a twist
Gatwick Airport has teamed up with London dim sum restaurant Ping Pong to create a limited edition menu with a distinctly British twist; including a Full English Bao and Beef Wellington Puff, to celebrate the launch of the airport’s new route to Hong Kong
22/31 Zizzi unveil the Ma’amgharita
Unique pizza art has been created by Zizzi in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. The pizza features the queen in an iconic pose illustrated with fresh and tasty Italian ingredients on a backdrop of the Union Jack
23/31 Blue potatoes make a comeback
Blue potatoes, once a staple part of British potato crops, are back on the menu thanks to a Cambridge scientist turned-organic farmer and Farmdrop, an online marketplace that lets people buy direct from local farms. Cambridge PhD graduate-turned farmer, Adrian Izzard has used traditional growing techniques at Wild Country Organics to produce the colourful spuds, packed with healthy cell-protecting anthocyanin, which had previously disappeared from UK plates when post-war farmers were pushed towards higher-yielding varieties
24/31 France plans to usurp Scotland as the home of the world's best whisky
France is planning to usurp Scotland’s reputation as the home of the world’s best whisky, fired by a growing national obsession with the drink. According to a study by retail consultants Bonial, the French drink more whisky than any other country – an average of 2.15 litres a year, compared to 1.8 litres in second-placed Uruguay and the US in third on 1.4 litres
Bloomberg via Getty Images
25/31 The price of an avocado is set to rise
Britain’s avocado lovers are facing a significant increase in the cost of their favourite salad food because the so-called superfood is becoming too popular. High demand from health-conscious consumers has led Peru to triple its avocado exports since 2010, with exports to the UK up 58% over the past year
26/31 Eating cereal may not be the healthiest way to start the day
The old saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so many of us do as we are told and grab a bowl of cereal before we head out the door. But an expert has warned that while many cereals boxes claim their contents are the perfect start to the day, many are packed full of sugar and carbohydrates with little nutritional value. Even some seemingly-health muesli cereals have a lot of added sugar in the form of honey, malt, molasses, dried fruit or “even fruit juice”
27/31 Crisps made with real ingredients
Michelin starred chef, Simon Rogan in action cooking a menu inspired by the provenance ingredients in the new Chef’s Signature range from Kettle Chips. Kettle Chips, the nation’s favourite premium crisp brand, has launched the new range of crisps with exciting new seasonings, made with the highest quality food ingredients rather than chemicals or artificial flavours
28/31 Japanese whisky crisis
Suntory’s chief blender Mr. Fukuyo San blends component whiskies to create Suntory Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, a blend of young and old single malts. Japan’s warm climate and varied seasons makes it perfect environment to age and blend whiskies, creating subtle, refined and complex expressions.The recent trend for Japanese whisky has put the spirit on the verge of a global shortage
29/31 Non-alcoholic cocktails are seriously chic
We are living through a new era of creative, non-alcoholic drinks that go way beyond a coke or sweet mocktail. The world is becoming more health conscious. There's the war on sugar, and teetotalism is on the rise, with more than one in five not drinking at all (especially young adults), according to The National Statistics for Adult Drinking Habits. This abstinence is even more pronounced in London, with almost one in three turning away from alcohol. An increasing number of mixologists are applying their talents to the creation of non-alcoholic drinks that taste as good as their boozy alternatives
30/31 'Heat map' shows which areas of Britain enjoy the spiciest curries
After Bradford was named the Curry Capital of Britain for the fifth year running, a map has been released showing which regions of Britain enjoy a spicy curry and which prefer the milder variants. According to the map developed by Hari Ghotra, Kent, Essex, West Yorkshire and Lancashire are the heat-handling kings of Britain, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all prefer milder curries. The data was collected by monitoring the location of social media posts that mentioned names of curries. These were then given a spice rating and were then collated to give each area a score out of 1000
31/31 Guinness to become vegan-friendly
Guinness is set to become vegan friendly for the first time in its 256-year history, as the company announced its plan to stop using fish bladders in its filters
Wipe the pan clean, add the rest of the sesame oil and set over medium heat. Add the mixed seeds and toast for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Season with the cumin and sea salt to taste.
Remove 1 tablespoon of the toasted seeds from the pan and set aside for garnish, then return the chicken to the pan and mix together well. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Combine the mince with the carrot, papaya, cabbage, onion, cucumber, ginger, jalapeno and mixed sprouts in a large bowl. Pour over the lime dressing and toss together.
To serve, divide the chicken and shredded vegetables among bowls. Top with the orange and avocado slices and sprinkle over the reserved toasted seeds. Garnish with micro herbs and serve with lettuce leaves or tortillas for wrapping.
Tip: try adding finely chopped roasted salted peanuts and finely sliced habanero chilli to this salad to give it a little extra savoury spiciness.
6 garlic cloves
50g achiote paste
1 large handful oregano leaves
60ml chardonnay vinegar or best-quality white wine vinegar
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
80ml fruity olive oil
Preheat an overhead grill to high heat. Place the jalapenos and garlic on a small tray and grill, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes, until soft, caramelised and charred black. Combine the charred jalapenos and garlic with the achiote paste, oregano leaves, vinegar, spices, salt and pepper in a small food processor and blend to make a coarse paste. Gradually pour in the oil, blending to make a smooth sauce. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Purple kale and chilli de agua tacos
Vibrant veggie street eats are a great way to start a dinner party fiesta. Chilli de agua, also known as bullhorn chillies, are sweet and subtle, great on the barbecue or in a quick stir-fry. Sure, kale is a rather overexposed superfood but it’s also one of our most versatile brassicas – prepared as a savoury stew inspired by Mexican rajas poblanos, it’s both comforting and nutritious. The impressive-looking crispy kale topping acts as a great sponge for the salty cheese.
1 bunch purple kale, stalks removed
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 large salad onion, finely sliced
1 bunch oregano leaves, chopped
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of ground allspice
2 jalapenos, finely sliced
6 assorted bullhorn chillies, cut into thin rounds
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
3 tbsp agave syrup
250ml adobo sauce
8-12 small homemade tortillas
175g salted ricotta or feta, chopped
Crispy kale spice mix
Olive oil spray
Pinch of salt
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of chilli powder
Pinch of smoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, add half the kale and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and refresh in ice-cold water for 2 minutes, then drain and squeeze dry. Roughly chop and refrigerate until required. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, herbs and spices and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the onions start to soften, then add the jalapenos and bullhorn chillies and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Pour over the sherry vinegar and agave syrup, bring to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes, or until reduced and syrupy. Add the cooked kale and adobo sauce and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste and leave to cool.
Add the remaining kale to a bowl, spray lightly with olive oil and toss together with the salt, garlic powder and spices. Arrange the kale on the prepared baking tray, leaving space between the individual leaves, and bake for 30 minutes until crisp, turning the tray around after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking. Heat a medium non-stick pan over high heat. Lightly spray with oil and briefly fry the tortillas to warm them. Stack the tortillas, wrap in a warm damp tea towel (dish towel) and set aside to keep warm.
To serve, place the tortillas onto serving plates and top with the kale and pepper stew. Scatter over the crispy kale leaves and cheese and serve immediately.
Tip: if you’re craving some more protein, add 250g of cooked pinto beans or cooked shredded chicken meat to the mixture.
‘Taqueria’ by Paul Wilson (Hardie Grant, £16.99). Photography by Chris MiddletonReuse content