Can we make up our minds on pictures & food?
OK this has been bugging me for a while.
What do you think when you walk past a restaurant with pictures of food in the window/on the menu? Tacky, right?
But would you use a cookbook without pictures? Much like a little kid, I ignore any recipe without photos. And would you buy food online without pictures? I think we could learn to love photos on menus.
I'm banging the drum for making pictures on menus cool again. The first classy restaurant to do it gets a pat on the back from the Nibble. (Not that they would ever know or care...)
This week's tip: Avocados and don'ts
from J Kenji López-Alt, New York Times bestselling author of The Food Lab
Is there anything worse than an unripe avocado? Well, probably - but I feel so duped when I get home from the store to find I've accidentally bought a bunch of flavourless green stones. Thankfully, I've got a tip for improving your chances of bagging the best avocados in the store.
Warning - this tip is not very covid secure and may make you look like an assh*le to other shoppers. BUT I never get the avocados on the top layer - I dig deeper to the third or fourth layer, and pick from those instead.
There's good science to this. Like many fruits, avocados produce ethylene gas; a hormone that triggers the ripening process. At the top layer, this gas escapes into the store. The avocados deeper down are trapped in lots of ethylene, making them the ripest of the lot.
This week's recipe: Nduja butter scallops
from Julius Roberts, chef heart-throb behind @telltalefood
If you're not already on the Nduja hype, then you need to educate yourself. It's a spicy, fatty Calabrian sausage which adds an umami kick to just about anything.
On its own, it can be a dangerous weapon that overpowers other flavours. That's why I love this recipe - the butter softens the Nduja and makes it a beautful accompaniment to, say, scallops! Makes for a show-stopping starter.
This recipe makes loads of butter - keep it in the fridge and swipe it on toast whenever peckish.
- 150g unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic
Tbsp Nduja (this stuff)
- 1 lemon
- Pinch salt
- 16 hand-dived scallops
- Handful chopped parsley
- 1/2 finely chopped shallot
- Some good sourdough bread
- Blend the butter, garlic, nduja, and zest of half a lemon.
- Whack your sourdough in the toaster.
- Add a tiny bit of oil to a frying pan, and fry the scallops for 60 seconds on high heat with a pinch of salt. Add juice of half a lemon.
- Flip the scallops, and add a big tbsp of Nduja butter. Cook for another 60 seconds.
- Finish the scallops with some chopped parsley and shallot.
- Plate up next to toasted sourdough, being sure to pour all that amazing melted butter over the top. Serve with a lemon wedge on the side.
Your questions answered
by Ruth Hansom, head chef of the incredible Princess of Shoreditch
"WTF do I do with oil after deep frying? I'm nearly 30 now, it's getting ridiculous that I lack this knowledge..." from Lauren
Lauren, I think we've all been there. Anyone who says they've never sneakily poured oil down their sink is either a saint or a liar.
If you don't already know - pouring oil down the sink is a big no-no. It will solidify as it cools, blocking up your neighbourhood drains and sewers.
The best thing to do is to keep oil containers after you've finished them. Then you can pour the oil (once it's cooled down!) back into the container, twist the cap, and bin it as normal!
If you don't have any watertight containers, put it into a tupperware and into the freezer. The oil will solidify and then you can scoop it into the bin.