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Braised lamb shanks

Exploring techniques: Braising

Braising is its own special kind of magic. You take a cheaper, tougher cut of meat and you let it braise gently, bubbling away for several hours. And at the end, you have a thing transformed. All that sinew and connective tissue that would have made eating so difficult and unfulfilling has melted into a rich flavourful jus to go along with what’s become tender-as-you-like meat.

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Opus Restaurant, Birmingham

Opus Restaurant, Birmingham

I recently made the trip to Birmingham to carry out an interview for the podcast I do (it’s not about food, but rather broadly-defined change-makers). I figured that, since the interview was scheduled for the afternoon, I might as well see if I could dig out somewhere interesting to have lunch.

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Focaccia

Fabulous Focaccia

It was a sheer fluke that on the final day of my Tuscan holiday, I ended up watching the first episode of the new Netflix show Salt Fat Acid Heat. 

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Crespelle alla Fiorentina

Baked Tuscan pancakes

Having spent a week in Tuscany, I came back keen to spend a bit more time exploring the food culture and trying out a few things in the kitchen. 

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Goat stew with rice

Slow-cooked goat stew

At this year’s Aldeburgh Food Festival, one of the more interesting supplies I managed to get hold of was some diced goat meat. I’d eaten goat just the once - a rather extraordinarily expensive meal I had once in Dubai having gone to speak at some conference or another.

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Il Canto Del Maggio
Il Canto Del Maggio

Eating in Tuscany 2

As we entered the second half of the week in Tuscany, we really wanted to see a great food market, and get to the coast where the seafood would be fresh and abundant. 

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Florence, Italy

Eating in Tuscany

No recipes this week - I’m on holiday in Tuscany. You know, the kind of holiday where you spend two hours of every day doing work which, in this case, means writing food blogs and editing and producing podcasts. 

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Intensive agriculture
Image: soil-science.info

Is intensive farming best for the environment?

If you’re talking to anyone who actively campaigns on, or who even just cares about, sustainable food one principle is rarely argued - that standard approaches to food production are all wrong, and we need something else to make it better. Organic. Or Vegan. Or small-scale farming.

 

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Ivy Norwich
Photo: Ivy Norwich

The Ivy Norwich

I wouldn’t claim to be especially plugged in to the food scene in Norwich, but even I picked up the buzz that went around the city when the Ivy Norwich opened. 

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Gluten-free chocolate brownies

The best gluten-free chocolate brownies

These are wonderful moist hits of chocolatey goodness. The fact that they are gluten-free is almost incidental, since you’d be hard pushed to spot any difference between these and standard brownies.

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Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

Considering I don’t have any apple trees, I seem to have a creditable glut of apples going on right now.

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Singapore noodles

Singapore noodles

I’m not sure I can get away with describing these as Singapore Noodles, predominantly because I decided to cut the quantity of noodles by half. 

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