This Week in Food

Welcome to this week’s update on our pick of foodie news – don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments!

1. A new book entitled ‘What’s Cooking? Famous Designers on Food’ has revealed  the cooking secrets of 28 top designers including Vladimir Chaika, Helmut Schmidt, Wally Olins and Zandra Rhodes. The book allows the creative bunch to share their own foodie stories through sketches, photos and anecdotes – Mike Dempsey, for example, adds a dress code to his contribution of Welsh Rarebit – ‘Black horn-rimmed glasses, white Oxford button down shirt, slate-grey, single-breasted, all-wool Jaeger suit, knitted tie and black loafers’ – while Marion Deuchars’ recipe is less exact, as she says: “I vary the ingredients depending on what’s in the fridge”.

2. The secrets to saving time in the kitchen have been let loose! Okay, so there’s nothing earth-shattering in this list pulled together by Yahoo! but there are some handy hints from Simon Webb, recent winner of the British Culinary Federation’s prestigious Chef of the Year title:

  • Enlist the help of others
  • Prep and make sure you have everything you’ll need before you begin cooking
  • Buy the right kit, such as good-quality saucepans
  • Have herbs on hand to liven up a dish
  • Break up your work by doing as much in advance as possible
  • Keep it simple by using as few pans as you can – less washing up!
  • Do the work in advance – prepare portions of kitchen staples and freeze them
  • Keep a sense of perspective – enjoy your cooking, but don’t become a slave to the kitchen!

3. Eels, the slippery favourite, may be making a comeback. Once a working-class favourite, the critically endangered status of the eel (according to the Marine Conservation Society’s list of fish to avoid) has meant that it has all but disappeared from the nation’s menus. However, a body called The Sustainable Eel Group has been set up to devise a recovery plan that will change the ways that eels migrate and increase their adult population. Doing so will take years, but in the meantime the body has another solution – pay fishermen to catch elvers (baby eels) in tidal rivers and move them safely to waters where they can flourish.

Schoolchildren have also been enlisted to help and around 50 schools will be receiving tanks full of eels – sponsored by celebrity chefs such as Brian Turner, Mitch Tonks and Martin Wishart – which will be fed for 10 weeks until they’ve doubled in size. The eels will then be released into local inland rivers.

4. We know that cooking nourishes your body, but did you know that it could also sustain your brain? Research undertaken by the Alzheimer’s Society has shown that cleaning, washing up and cooking can help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, even in those over the age of 80! Eating a Mediterranean diet high in antioxidants and healthy oils has also been proven to keep you young in body and mind, so keep cooking up those Italian fish dishes as you age!

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