Hake Recipes

Ideas for Hake Recipes

As we went to press*, the Marine Conservation Society gave Cape hake a rating of 2 (1 = fully sustainable; 5 = unsustainable), making it a reasonably good choice. European hake are not so sustainable. The fish is in season from about July to January.

Hake is not an attractive fish. At first sight it resembles a silvery trout, without the rainbow or pebbledash effect. Closer inspection reveals bulging eyes, vicious jaws and ragged fins. Trying to source an attractive photo for you, dear reader, The Taster was momentarily unnerved by various photographers’ attempts to render the fish less repellent by, for example, placing a cherry tomato between its razor fangs, or artfully coiling it to appear to be, rather painfully, biting its own tail. We advise against such tricks. Just chop it into steaks.

Hake Recipes
Our artist’s impression of the horrid sight that is a live hake

On the up side, hake is an excellent substitute for cod (for which the sustainability issues are so complex, it is simpler just to buy something else). As a firm white fish it is perfect for:

  • Goan fish curry: marinade in tamarind, garlic, chilli, ginger, coriander & turmeric; onion & tomato; and coconut milk
  • Alternatively, buy a fish rub from Dhaniya — they do the work for you
  • The MCS recommends poached hake with lemon juice
  • Battered hake with chips and peas also works. Whisky together 340g self-raising flour, a pinch of salt and 250ml cold beer. Dip pieces of hake in it before deep-frying in a very hot, mild vegetable oil
  • Fishcakes or fish fingers — just combine with egg, mix in herbs (parsley is the obvious one) to your own taste shape, roll in breadcrumbs and fry as above
  • With a crust — the Seafood Emporium Ramus suggests encrusting a thick hake fillet with chopped parsley, tomatoes, shallots, breadcrumbs, chilli, lemon and crabmeat; then serving with seasonal greens and shellfish mayonnaise. There is no way that this will not be utterly delicious; see the whole recipe HERE

A little cream, reduced Pinot Grigio and fish stock makes a delicious sauce for any white fish. To make it more interesting, throw in a few cockles or shrimps, or parsley and fresh coriander leaves, and serve with green veg, bread and butter.

WINE MATCH
Ramus recommends a cold, crisp Muscadet with their hake recipe.

watercress recipes healthy

Our wine buff, Richard J Smith of the Wine Schools of Cheshire & London, has not yet penned his thoughts for us on hake, but he has on haddock (a close match). For this, he suggests English wines made with the bacchus grape (which has been so instrumental in helping propel English wines up the rungs of glory in international wine competitions, recently). As with all grapes, (he says), bacchus tastes a little different depending on where it is grown. Foxhole Vineyard Bacchus 2015 from the Bolney Estate, Sussex, is “a cut above — in fact, the best English Bacchus I’ve tasted, not dissimilar to a classic Sancerre. It’s a few pounds more but you can see where the money is.” £16.99 from Bolney Wine Estate.

chef150The Taster hopes this page has given you a few ideas and useful links. For more ingredients, click HERE.

*This article was first published in The Taster magazine, Summer 2015. Richard’s notes on bacchus wines appeared in the Summer 2016 issue.

Hake Recipes The Taster

Food Adventure South Wales

Last Word: Adventure!

Food Adventure South WalesThe Taster publishes a regular final interview with a character in the foodie world; in our last issue, this was Carol Adams, founder of Food Adventure South Wales. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Carol spent many years traversing the globe before finally settling in the UK — but, never one to put her feet up, she soon got busy setting up her foodie experiences company: it now attracts visitors from the USA and Europe as well as the rest of the UK. Here’s her story:

“Food has always been a passion  in my life but never a career until now. I grew up in the Bronx, New York, but my original career (in finance and social regeneration) brought me to live and travel in many countries, from the US to France, Israel, West Africa and South America. I’ve always had hobbies around food: in the Bahamas, I was director of a wine & food society; in New Orleans, I organised culinary tours; and over here (earlier this year) I cooked gumbo on ITV’s cookery show Mel and Sue.

I always tried to get to know a country through its food. I loved going to markets; whenever I saw someone buying an ingredient I was curious about, I asked them how they cooked with it. This often led to invitations to come home and cook along with the family! — In this way, I developed extensive knowledge of various cuisines.

When I moved to Wales 10 years ago, I was astounded by the quality of the local food — but also by how little known it was. My husband, Mark, started a food blog (Corpulent Capers) about local restaurants, and persuaded me to start writing about food producers. If I discovered something I loved, I’d go to the producer’s farm or site to learn what made their produce so special.

The blogs were great successes. Mark and I became part of a virtual ‘food community’ and often, my readers would say ‘Oh, I’d love to go with you the next time you visit a producer’.  Thus the idea for Food Adventure was born.

Once I had the idea, I met with food producers, devised tours and set up the website.  In 2014, the first tour for paying guests was ‘A Wonderful Welsh Wine Adventure’. This was a full-day minibus tour of two vineyards in Monmouthshire with a five-course lunch. Up until this point I had no idea if any one would buy a ticket or not! You have no idea how much I celebrated when I sold the first ticket! People came from all over Wales, and also from Bristol. It was a success!

I invited the press and key partners to my official launch. We learnt about dairy farming and ethical rose veal at a Welsh dairy farm followed by a cooking demo and lunch at an award-winning tapas restaurant.

I’ve now used my knowledge of food in Wales to create many unique outings, and I have guests from as far away as London and the US. I offer ‘Tipple Adventures’ for those interested in drinks; or dining adventures for those who want to discover a great restaurant. People can learn skills, such as making bacon or preserves, from award-winning artisan producers; or more general cooking with top chefs, cooks — and myself! In our foraging adventures, farm visits and walks, people can discover beautiful scenery and historical places as well as great food. It has all been a great Adventure!”

To book a tour or class, see foodadventure.co.uk or, if you would like a more bespoke experience, ring Carol on 07542 689608.

Food Adventure South WalesCarol recently also started contributing ideas to The Taster’s seasonal notes (ideas for cooking using seasonal ingredients). To read the full seasonal notes in our printed magazine, subscribe here.

Food Magazine Advertising

Sales JobDo you know your apples from your oranges?

Do you enjoy selecting and eating good quality food, from seasonal veg and sustainable fish, to artisan treats or English & Welsh wines? Or creating the perfect kitchen, dinner table or outdoor-eating scenario?

We’re seeking advertising sales reps for The Taster food & drink magazine, who enjoy thinking and talking about food, and can identify and talk to the new breed of food producers. Our readers want to buy premium and ethical foods, and they’re interested in kitchen gadgets, kitchen decor & furniture, cookery courses, wine tastings and eating out. Meanwhile, thousands of foodpreneurs and artisans are starting up companies every year seeking to cater for such customers. We need you to bring these people together!

We’ll provide leads and ideas, if you’ll also bring some imagination and initiative to the table. Like most of us, you’ll work from home and your hours are your own. We don’t mind how many or how few adverts you sell, but we will pay a generous commission on those you do sell.

We’re a small but friendly team of foodies, excited about our magazine and about helping to champion new food businesses in the UK. Our circulation has doubled over the past two years and for the right person, further prospects are a real possibility.

To make a start, ring 020 7993 2234 in office hours or email your CV to editor@thetastermagazine.com and tell us why you’d like to join the party.

Food Magazine Advertising

Swede chicken broth

Swede chicken brothWe’ve called this deliciously savoury dish ‘Swede chicken broth’ because the humble swede is the key, not the poultry. A few dishes (mostly chicken and beef stews and similar) rely on this underrated root. If, like The Taster, you suffer from horrible flashbacks to mashed swede skule dinners, banish them now – Fear the Swede No More!

This is not precision cooking. Fresh grated ginger, growing parsley and garlic cloves are always good; but powdered ginger, dried parsley and garlic purée out of a tube are fine. The exact combination of veg is up to you. By all means add, say, celery or celeriac or more fresh herbs or whatever. Just one thing — do not omit the sherry. It’s quite important, and it’s not the same dish without it.

Serve without cream as a toothsome starter; or with cream, warm crusty bread and your best butter for a main course

Ingredients

♦ Roughly equal quantities of swede & carrot, half as much onion, other winter roots – Jerusalem artichokes, parsnip – but not a lot of potatoes, or it will start to be a different, more soupy sort of broth. At least one whole swede and two carrots per medium-sized potato

♦ Chicken stock. Good strong stuff and plenty of it – enough to submerge all the veg

♦ Flavourings – garlic, ginger, herbs (parsley and thyme are good), salt & pepper

♦ Medium (amontillado) sherry. Or Madeira or Marsala wine

♦ Butter and oil for frying

♦ OPTIONS: streaky bacon, mushrooms, cream to finish

Method

♦ Chop, slice and brown all the veg, garlic, ginger, herbs, mushrooms and bacon in the oil and butter, in a big flat frying pan, stockpot or saucepan. If you use a saucepan, stir the contents about to ensure they brown evenly

♦ While the veg is browning, heat or make up the chicken stock to boiling point

♦ Turn the heat under the veg down as low as possible. Pour the stock over, submerging the veg. Give it a few minutes, then season carefully, tasting spoonfuls between shakes of salt & pepper, until it tastes right (you need less salt if you add bacon)

♦ Simmer veeeeeeery gently – the surface should quiver, rather than bubble – for an hour. Add more stock or water if the veg breaks the surface. Towards the end, pour in a generous slug of sherry

♦ Ladle into bowls and *maybe* drizzle with cream – opinion is divided on whether it’s better with or without; we can see arguments on both sides. Bang the dinner gong and congratulate yourself on a job well done

See more seasonal recipes and ideas here

Christmas Present Solutions

Enjoy this selection of Foodie Christmas Presents, sampled and chosen by The Taster. If you make an order, please mention our name.

Fabulous tableware by new designers Black+Blum

Foodie Christmas PresentsOriginal and stylish items: glasses, candle holders, water bottles, cutlery and lots more. The Taster’s fave new designers. The last word in chic. Click on the pic for more. NB LAST ORDERS midnight tonight (Sunday 20th)

Foodie Christmas PresentsVery Chic Ginger Liqueur

For the spirit-lover in your life. This chic, scalloped bottle of French ginger liqueue (Domaine de Canton) is very impressive in reality (we assume the bottle would be quite small, but it enjoys a full-sized, satisfying wine-bottle volume). Cleverly reminiscent of pieces of raw ginger, the bottle itself is an attractive piece, and the contents festively delicious. A good after-dinner liqueur, it adds a spicy seasonal note to cocktails, chocolate or orange puddings, sushi, pork or Thai food. Order from thewhiskyexchange.com (use the search option to find “Domaine de Canton”) £32

Wine Tasting Classes

Foodie Christmas PresentsIf you want to give someone An Experience rather than More Stuff, our very own wine columnist, Richard J. Smith, runs wine classes and events across Cheshire. Richard is a delightful chap who will be sure to provide a friendly and amusing experience, along with lots of insider info and top wine tips. Book an event for a friend to attend or, if you suspect they’d rather choose an event themselves, you can give them a gift voucher for £25, £50, £75 or £100 to spend as they prefer. If you’re running out of time (aagh! Christmas countdown! etc) the vouchers can be sent as eVouchers, sent to the recipient immediately upon payment. See all details on wineschoolofcheshire

More experiences – smokehousing in Shropshire, breadmaking across the UK, or Food Adventures in South Wales

Foodie Christmas PresentsFoodie Christmas PresentsMake Sausages and Cider, or learn about smoking and curing, at Pool Cottage Smallholding; learn how to bake bread from basic loaves to Italian and French speciality with the Bread Angels; or gird your loins for a course in anything from wild foraging to Butchery & Beer days with Food Adventure

Marys Meals

Give a Foodie Charitable Gift
Foodie Christmas Present
Pic (c) Chris Watt
Tel 07887 554 193
www.chriswatt.com

If you want to give beyond friends and family this Christmas, consider Mary’s Meals. Technically, all the charity provides is lunches for schoolchildren in the developing world – but in reality, this means giving struggling, hungry boys and girls the motivation and energy needed to get to school, get an education and build better futures for themselves. A brilliantly simple idea that is cheap but fantastically effective, with benefits that go far beyond lunchtime

Highly Original Foodie Cookbook

Foodie Christmas PresentsAuthors Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine relate the tale of Antarctica’s first cleanup, carried out by 54 volunteers from five countries. In three months, they cleared the detritus of 30 years’ worth of previous expeditions. But while most of the volunteers were clearing rubbish, someone had to do the cooking. As the authors say, ‘The first thing that comes to mind about Antarctica is not likely the food. But if you are going there, it is the second.’ Trusler spent ‘many long, white nights’ devising menus with limited ingredients in a camp kitchen — with some success, if the 42 recipes given are anything to go by. The international nature of the project is evident in dishes from Great Wall [of China] dumplings to fondue, goulash and roast leg of lamb. Along with many original illustrations and photos, the book reproduces Shackleton’s hilarious — but impressive — advertisement for volunteers: ‘Men wanted for hazardous journey . . .’ (you’ll have to buy it yourself to get the punchline.) A handsome and unusual book, of interest to foodies, geographers and historians. £25 from publishers Harper Design 2015

Foodie Christmas PresentsChristmas Hampers

Three of The Taster’s friends are producing Christmas hampers this year. The joy of hampers is that if your family includes one or two large branches, instead of buying each individual a present, you can buy them one large hamper as a Joint Present for All. It’s actually sometimes cheaper than buying individual presents, and you can let them fight it out for the choicer items. Try Cornwall’s Etherington’s Farmshop (excellent value; traditional wicker hamper of Cornish goodies for just £25) and Low Sizergh Barn up in Cumbria (themed Christmas hampers include  the Ginger Lovers Hamper; Cumbrian Storecupboard Hamper, Chocolate Lovers Hamper,  etc) ranging from £25 to larger hampers at £90. If you order a hamper from Picnic Cornwall, the recipient may get a free copy of The Taster inside it (an excellent addition!); options include the Charcuterie Board Hamper, the Cheese Board Hamper and (of course) the Cream Tea Hamper.
NB have a crack at winning an Etherington’s Farmshop hamper (pictured above) by entering our Readers Survey Prize Draw  HERE

Seafood-Lovers Hamper (Yorkshire only)

Foodie Christmas PresentsAs above, a hamper makes a good joint gift and The Taster is very pleased to see Ramus Seafood Emporium, a really lovely company devoted to sustainable fish, offering such pleasing hampers, containing not only vouchers for delicious seafood but some very nice ceramics and utensils (oyster clamp, crustacean kit, moules pot) as well. Send a themed hamper to oyster (pictured), lobster or mussel lovers. Sadly it’s Click & Collect only but, if you can get to Ilkley or Harrogate, for the right person these are perfect presents.

Exceptionally Good-Value Handmade Pottery

Foodie Christmas PresentsHandmade, artisan chinaware, pottery & gifts at amazingly cheap prices. These two Continental cups or the handmade bowl below would not look overpriced in a Knightsbridge boutique at £20 each; shop savvy and get them for a mere fiver each at  Sun Pottery

Foodie Christmas Presents

For the Self-Sufficiency Enthusiast/Bear Grylls Type

For the self-sufficiency enthusiast: Foodie Christmas Presents an entire collection of 12 self-sufficiency books, from foraging to cheese-making and bee-keeping, some of which have been featured in The Taster — an amazing bargain for just £9.99 here. Titles include Grow Your Own, Herbs & Spices, Home Brewing and more

Foodie Christmas PresentsWine aerator

Domu produce this and similar gadgets, of interest to all wine-lovers. You pour the wine in the top, let it bubble down, and it really does transform some wines, especially cheaper reds, into something special

Foodie Christmas PresentsThe Best and Only Independent National Food & Drink Magazine in the UK Today

Be part of our world. Order a subscription today, let us know if it’s a gift & we’ll put a special message in. Every season your friend will be reminded of your thoughtful gift, as they receive another lovely new issue of The Taster. And remember: this is not just subscribing to any old food & drink mag — this is subscribing to a foodie magazine that is, unusually, NOT sponsored by a giant supermarket, television company or any other huge and faceless corporate entity. For example, you will never read a lovely article about Shopping Local in our magazine, only to be presented with an exhaustive list of the best out-of-town hypermarkets at which to purchase matching wines. A full year’s subs is currently just £10 — total bargain. Click to order

Upcycled Plates

We very much like these made-over vintage plates; see lots more unique sets by alijoedesigns
Foodie Christmas Presents

Foodie Christmas PresentsMake your own yoghurt

This yoghurt-maker was a nice surprise in more ways than one. First, it turns out that making a tub of yoghurt is as easy as making as a cup of tea! Second, the result has a fresh, delicate texture, often with a slight bubbliness at the top which reminded The Taster of the yoghurts of his youth, when they were presumably made with fewer additives. Third, the makers claim that the extreme freshness of the live culture makes it better for you, as many more of the microbes are alive than in yoghurts which have been sitting on the shelf for weeks. Certainly, there is a lightness and freshness to this yoghurt we found very appealing, and there is something about making it from scratch yourself which encourages experimentation and variation. Our top tip is to add lemon juice and a sprinkling of black pepper to the strawberry yoghurt – really good!
The yoghurt-maker & six packs of mix is currently on special offer at just £14 (down from £22) from Hansells.

 Foodie’s Map Of The World

Foodie Christmas Presents

Get The Taster’s own view of the world with this decorative and informative poster from The Taster. You never know, we might put something extra in with it, as well.


The Oxford Companion to Food

Foodie Christmas Presents At £40, this hefty volume is a substantial Christmas present for any serious foodie, gourmand or connoisseur who hasn’t already snapped up a copy. Funny and illuminating in equal measure, the original 1999 volume was an overnight success, winning prizes and accolades worldwide for its author, the late Alan Davidson. It contains over 3000 entries “on every possible food, its history, cultural significance, and culinary usage.” The  Taster finds it invaluable.

Tom Jaine recently updated this edition (2014).
Tom has produced numerous cookery books and often writes for The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Telegraph; and he has edited The Good Food Guide and presented BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme.

 Himalayan cooking slabs, rocks and ground salt

Foodie Christmas PresentsAmazing cookstones, slabs, small ‘rocks’ and ground salts, all made of Himalayan salt. The cooking slabs make really original gifts for foodies, while the bags of ready-to-use ground salt are excellent stocking fillers. Click on the pic for more – NB quote “TASTER25” for a very generous 25% off everything on the Saltan website.

Foodie Christmas Presents

Fabulous tableware by new designers Black+Blum

copper tealight holderOriginal and stylish items: glasses, candle holders, water bottles, cutlery and lots more. The Taster’s fave new designers. The last word in chic. Click on the pic for more

Himalayan cooking slabs, rocks and ground salt

Win Foodie PrizesAmazing cookstones, slabs, small ‘rocks’ and ground salts, all made of Himalayan salt. The cooking slabs make really original gifts for foodies, while the bags of ready-to-use ground salt are excellent stocking fillers. Click on the pic for more – NB quote “TASTER25” for a very generous 25% off everything on the Saltan website.

Foodie Christmas PresentMake your own yoghurt

This yoghurt-maker was a nice surprise in more ways than one. First, it turns out that making a tub of yoghurt is as easy as making as a cup of tea! Second, the result has a fresh, delicate texture, often with a slight bubbliness at the top which reminded The Taster of the yoghurts of his youth, when they were presumably made with fewer additives. Third, the makers claim that the extreme freshness of the live culture makes it better for you, as many more of the microbes are alive than in yoghurts which have been sitting on the shelf for weeks. Certainly, there is a lightness and freshness to this yoghurt we found very appealing, and there is something about making it from scratch yourself which encourages experimentation and variation. Our top tip is to add lemon juice and a sprinkling of black pepper to the strawberry yoghurt – really good!
The yoghurt-maker & six packs of mix is currently on special offer at just £14 (down from £22) from Hansells.

Wine Tasting Classes

Foodie Christmas PresentsIf you want to give someone An Experience rather than More Stuff, our very own wine columnist, Richard J. Smith, runs wine classes and events across Cheshire. Richard is a delightful chap who will be sure to provide a friendly and amusing experience, along with lots of insider info and top wine tips. Book an event for a friend to attend or, if you suspect they’d rather choose an event themselves, you can give them a gift voucher for £25, £50, £75 or £100 to spend as they prefer. If you’re running out of time (aagh! Christmas countdown! etc) the vouchers can be sent as eVouchers, sent to the recipient immediately upon payment. See all details on wineschoolofcheshire

More experiences – smokehousing in Shropshire, breadmaking across the UK, or Food Adventures in South Wales

Foodie Christmas PresentsFoodie Christmas PresentsMake Sausages and Cider, or learn about smoking and curing, at Pool Cottage Smallholding; learn how to bake bread from basic loaves to Italian and French speciality with the Bread Angels; or gird your loins for a course in anything from wild foraging to Butchery & Beer days with Food Adventure

Foodie Christmas Presents

Give a Foodie Charitable Gift
Foodie Christmas Present
Pic (c) Chris Watt
Tel 07887 554 193
www.chriswatt.com

If you want to give beyond friends and family this Christmas, consider Mary’s Meals. Technically, all the charity provides is lunches for schoolchildren in the developing world – but in reality, this means giving struggling, hungry boys and girls the motivation and energy needed to get to school, get an education and build better futures for themselves. A brilliantly simple idea that is cheap but fantastically effective, with benefits that go far beyond lunchtime

Highly Original Foodie Cookbook

Foodie Christmas PresentsAuthors Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine relate the tale of Antarctica’s first cleanup, carried out by 54 volunteers from five countries. In three months, they cleared the detritus of 30 years’ worth of previous expeditions. But while most of the volunteers were clearing rubbish, someone had to do the cooking. As the authors say, ‘The first thing that comes to mind about Antarctica is not likely the food. But if you are going there, it is the second.’ Trusler spent ‘many long, white nights’ devising menus with limited ingredients in a camp kitchen — with some success, if the 42 recipes given are anything to go by. The international nature of the project is evident in dishes from Great Wall [of China] dumplings to fondue, goulash and roast leg of lamb. Along with many original illustrations and photos, the book reproduces Shackleton’s hilarious — but impressive — advertisement for volunteers: ‘Men wanted for hazardous journey . . .’ (you’ll have to buy it yourself to get the punchline.) A handsome and unusual book, of interest to foodies, geographers and historians. £25 from publishers Harper Design 2015

Win A Christmas HamperChristmas Hampers

Two of The Taster’s friends are producing Christmas hampers this year. The joy of hampers is that if your family includes one or two large branches, instead of buying each individual a present, you can buy them one large hamper as a Joint Present for All. It’s actually sometimes cheaper than buying individual presents, and you can let them fight it out for the choicer items. Try Cornwall’s Etherington’s Farmshop (excellent value; traditional wicker hamper of Cornish goodies for just £25) and Low Sizergh Barn up in Cumbria (themed Christmas hampers include the Ginger Lovers Hamper; Cumbrian Storecupboard Hamper, Chocolate Lovers Hamper, etc) ranging from £25 to larger hampers at £90

NB have a crack at winning an Etherington’s Farmshop hamper by entering our Readers Survey Prize Draw  HERE

Foodie Christmas PresentsVery Chic Ginger Liqueur

For the spirit-lover in your life. This chic, scalloped bottle of French ginger liqueur (Domaine de Canton) is very impressive in reality (we assumed it would be quite a small bottle — but no, it’s a very satisfying size indeed!). Cleverly reminiscent of pieces of raw ginger, the bottle itself is an attractive piece, and the contents festively delicious. A good after-dinner liqueur, it adds a spicy seasonal note to cocktails, chocolate or orange puddings, sushi, pork or Thai food. Order at thewhiskyexchange.com (use the search option to find “Domaine de Canton”) £32

 

Exceptionally Good-Value Handmade Pottery

Foodie Christmas PresentsHandmade, artisan chinaware, pottery & gifts at amazingly cheap prices. These two Continental cups or the handmade bowl below would not look overpriced in a Knightsbridge boutique at £20 each; shop savvy and get them for a mere fiver each at  Sun Pottery

Sun Pottery

For the Self-Sufficiency Enthusiast/Bear Grylls Type

For the self-sufficiency enthusiast: Foraging 2 an entire collection of 12 self-sufficiency books, from foraging to cheese-making and bee-keeping, some of which have been featured in The Taster — an amazing bargain for just £9.99 here. Titles include Grow Your Own, Herbs & Spices, Home Brewing and more

Wine aeratorWine aerator

Domu produce this and similar gadgets, of interest to all wine-lovers. You pour the wine in the top, let it bubble down, and it really does transform some wines, especially cheaper reds, into something special

Foodie Christmas PresentsThe Best and Only Independent National Food & Drink Magazine in the UK Today

Be part of our world. Order a subscription today, let us know if it’s a gift & we’ll put a special message in. Every season your friend will be reminded of your thoughtful gift, as they receive another lovely new issue of The Taster. And remember: this is not just subscribing to any old food & drink mag — this is subscribing to a foodie magazine that is, unusually, NOT sponsored by a giant supermarket, television company or any other huge and faceless corporate entity. For example, you will never read a lovely article about Shopping Local in our magazine, only to be presented with an exhaustive list of the best out-of-town hypermarkets at which to purchase matching wines. A full year’s subs is currently just £10 — total bargain. Click to order

Upcycled Plates

We very much like these made-over vintage plates; see lots more unique sets by alijoedesigns
Plates by Stephen Dotsch wife

 
Foodie’s Map Of The World

A2 world map

Get The Taster’s own view of the world with this decorative and informative poster from The Taster. You never know, we might put something extra in with it, as well.

Foodie Stocking Fillers

The Taster has endeavoured to ensure that all the items on sale below are ethical, healthy, and exceedingly delicious. Please mention The Taster if you make an order after scrolling through the below

Sweet RevolutionHot Chocolate packets – and more

Dairy-free and made with just three ingredients: cacao, coconut milk and crystallised coconut nectar. The Taster particularly likes Sweet Revolution as the company uses cacao from small-scale farms, which helps the farmers themselves and helps protect the rainforests they live among.
Plus a whole range of ethical chocolate bars:
Foodie Stocking Fillers

Order from Sweetrevolution

O Come All Ye TastefulMillionaire’s (Pocket) Guide to Christmas

Excellent and amusing book with a great blend of the thrifty and luxurious. Roasties, mince pies, Perigord turkeys, potato snow, Christmas cheeses and Irish coffees. See Legend Press for details and to buy

NB Enter your name in our free giveaway before 20th December and you might get a free copy

Foodie stocking fillersFabulous nougat, panettone, Prosecco and other Italian treats

A box of three gourmet bars of nougat is a great present . . . or for thrift, you could split them up and wrap them individually . . . we tried these and they are genuinely the best nougat we’ve ever tried. Larger treats include Chocolate Panettone and a Christmas Prosecco. LAST ORDERS 20th December – see Vallebona

Foodie Stocking FillersHimalayan Salt Rocks

£2.99 for a generous-sized packet of satisfyingly chunky salt rocks; quote “Taster25” for 25% off and they’re just £2.24. Use to season food and/or add visual interest to your more special culinary presentations. See Saltan

Foodie Stocking FillersCoriander, Paprika, Parsley, and Chilli & Garlic salsa

We’ve tried these and can’t recommend them more as dips and as pasta sauces (delicious alternative to pesto). A gift pack of four (£20) is a decent under-the-tree present; you can of course split them up to make thoughtful stocking fillers. To make an order, ring the lovely Rosie Alvarez on 07876 532245 or email rosie@lasaucysalsa.com; see all details on LaSaucySalsa
Top tip: squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice over the coriander salsa. Takes it to another level!

Foodie Stocking FillersClever bag (for lunch and other things)

No zips, no buttons, no catches — there is something oddly delightful about this velcro-closing bag, designed for a very stylish lunchbox but, at £4, this is priced for a stocking filler (the lunchbox pictured is £17 – more suitable for under the tree, perhaps). See Black+Blum for many more original and interesting items

Foodie Stocking FillersNot A Peanut Butter

No peanuts – but every other type of nut, pounded and crushed into a delicious buttery substance that can be enjoyed on toast or in puddings, possibly even sandwiched between macaroons, or guiltily spooned down whole. Very pure – most of the butters are composed of literally nothing but the nuts themselves. Includes almond butter, hazel, coconut, pecan (deliciously dark and toasty), walnut and more. £10 for a gift set of four, and you can split them up to create four stocking fillers at £2.50 each. Quote “Taster-Nut” to get free p&p, courtesy of The Taster – order from NuturalWorld

Fresh-ground spices
Foodie Stocking Fillers

We love various spice kit companies but one that is, perhaps, particularly suitable for stocking fillers is Spice Kitchen. You get a sweet little fabric bag (made from recycled sari fabric, so very pretty) full of tiny packs of fresh-ground spices with handwritten labels, which you can combine as you like. As soon as you open the bag, the perfume is delightful; and the extreme freshness of the spices makes a huge difference to your cooking. All spices lose flavour over time, so it’s much better to buy a large selection of small fresh batches in this way, than a few giant jars which sit on the shelf for months.

Chutney, relish, jam, picalilli, marmalade!

Hembridge Organics

One of our distribution partners, Hembridge Organics, provide a nationwide mail order service to provide organic, award-winning jam, chutney, picalilli, relish, marmalade and honey. All these are made using ‘ugly vegetables,’ reducing waste and giving farmers a fair price for their produce, and everything except the Seville oranges is sourced locally. No chemicals, no animal setting agents — everything is natural, organic and delicious. They do sweet little wood-and-straw gift boxes, too. Order from Hembridge Organics

Wine aeratorWine aerator from Domu – a fantastic gadget. You pour the wine in the top, let it bubble down, and it really does transform some wines, especially cheaper reds, into something special

 

SHOP bhaji mango chutney Premium mango chutney: we’ve tried this, and it’s delicious; with exciting-looking black seeds and chunky bits. Complete list of ingredients is mango, sugar, vinegar, salt, ginger, garlic, spices, lemon zest & pectin; and a Great Taste winner to boot. A bargain at £2.99. Bhaji Man also does curry kits & packs which would make a nice gift for any foodie friend

 

 

Christmas Ice Cream Bombe

The Taster’s Christmas Ice Cream Bombe

Christmas Ice Cream BombeThis is The Taster’s biggest Top Tip for Christmas. The shape and colour make this Bombe a showstopping alternative to Christmas Pud: stick a bit of holly on top, and who’d know the difference? All the ingredients can be personalised, so your Bombe is as unique as you choose to make it. And because it is frozen, you can create it in advance and remain relaxed and unhurried on The Big Day.

Ingredients

1 litre ice cream (2 posh pots)
200g dark chocolate (2 posh bars)
1 kg Madeira cake, panettone or similar
125ml wine (1 small glass)
4 tablespoons raspberry jam
Pistachios, candied peel, glacé fruit etc

Method

Take the ice cream out of the freezer. While it is warming, line a bowl — first with clingfilm, and then with slices of cake. Pack them well together. Cut out little triangles to fill any gaps. Drizzle the wine over the cake, then use the back of a spoon to spread the jam all over it. Stir your fruits and nuts into the melty ice cream, and pour it into the bowl.
Tamp it all down well, clingfilm the top and freeze overnight.
Next day, melt the  chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir it, to make it smooth. Turn the bombe out onto a cakestand, and pour the chocolate evenly over it. Serve straight away, or return to the freezer.

Variations

Any cake that absorbs wine will do — Madeira, Panettone, plain sponge, Swiss roll. The wine could be Marsala, Madeira, vin santo, amaretto or medium sherry.
Raspberry jam seems to work best, but apricot would add a floral note.
For the ice cream, The Taster suggests vanilla, cookie dough, coffee or pistachio. Enrich it with anything you like. The chocolate too can vary. Fairtrade supplier Divine does dark chocolate & raspberry bars, which would tie in with the raspberry jam. See divinechocolate

Suggestions

Christmas Ice Cream Bombe1. Strawberry ice cream, whole strawbs, almonds & peach slices

2. Coffee & chocolate ice creams, chocolate-coated coffee beans, hazelnuts & white chocolate shell

3. As mentioned above – for a raspberry explosion, try using raspberry ripple ice cream, raspberry jam and Divine Chocolate’s dark chocolate & raspberry bar (pictured). The tangy raspberry pieces in the chocolate gives the shell a lumpy appearance which is not without its own charm.

4. Christmas cake ice cream, with fruit already in it — Simply Icecream does an award-winning version with winter spices and rum-soaked raisins, so half your work is done. See simplyicecream

This piece appeared, along with much other excellent and informative writing, in our 2015 Winter/Christmas issue of The Taster. We rely on our subscribers, as we’re a completely independent food & drink magazine; unlike many others, we are not sponsored by a supermarket, television company or any other corporate parent. We’ve been going for three years and it looks like we *can* do this :) – with the help of our subscribers. If you’ve enjoyed what we’ve written, please subscribe for yourself, or as a Christmas present for a foodie friend, BY CLICKING HERE. Many thanks!

Christmas Ice Cream Bombe

Copper Tealight Holder

Copper Tealight Holder and more

There’s a lovely sense of freedom and exuberance in this loopy tableware, which seems to bounce across the table, by innovative new designers Black+Blum. The tealight- holder in copper is especially stylish; there are equally eye-catching loops for condiments and flowers. Buy for friends or family — or hoard the lovely things for yourself! See more of the B+B range at their website Black+Blum

copper tealight holdercopper tealight holdercopper tealight holdercopper tealight holdercopper tealight holdercopper tealight holdercopper tealight holder

Win A Christmas Book

Win A Christmas Book

Christmas Book

Sorry, this offer is over now. But see more special offers here

This highly original guide to Christmas is stuffed with interesting fax – we really didn’t know Champagne used to be given away for free with French wool samples – rather amusing jokes, and excellent recipes (going to try making Potato Snow this afternoon). We have three copies to give away – just fill in the form below to be in with a chance of winning. The deadline is midnight, 19 December; we’ll pick three winners out of The Taster’s hat on the 20th and send the books out immediately after.

For more about the book, see Legend Times.

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