Food Club March 2016

Is it really March already? Christmas and New Year have come and gone, and now it’s Mothers Day and Easter – copious amounts of food to be cooked, or entertaining to be done.

In Season
Lamb is at its best at this time of the year, and both history and religion make copious amounts of references to this.

In Greece, Easter is the biggest holiday of the year, and the majority of families would serve Souvlaki, and most Greeks would tend to roast a whole lamb on a spit (not a motorised one, but a hand-turned one) where all members of the family pitch in to turn the spit at regular intervals. ‘Souvla’  is actually the name of the large spit on which the lamb is rotated. Of course, our climate doesn’t normally allow for this, so try roasting a butterflied leg of lamb with a Mediterranean touch – lemon, garlic and a collection of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and parsley – truly delicious. Marinate the lamb overnight to fortify the flavours and add lemon and rosemary to your roast potatoes to keep the theme on track. Serve with ‘skordalia’, a delicious almond, lemon, mint and garlic accompaniment – sheer heaven.

Spring Cabbage, Chard, Asparagus, Endive and Fennel are also at their best to serve at this time of the year. Some braised fennel would be wonderful as an accompaniment to lamb Greek Style.

What’s Hot? 
Here we go again – quinoa is being removed from menus at a vast rate of knots, and being replaced by buckwheat. Chefs all over the country are using buckwheat as a substitute for quinoa, which seems to have been top of their lists for a long period of time. Buckwheat is gluten free, in spite of what the name suggests, and is one of the features of the latest, (dare we say it) fad diet, ‘The Sirt Diet’. Sainsburys and Waitrose are reporting rapid sales of this ‘pseudo-cereal’, since the publication of ‘The Sirt Food Diet Book’ last  month, which has been a best seller. Cookery writers and celebrity chefs such as Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Ella Woodward (‘Deliciously Ella’) are all including buckwheat in their recipes, due to its many uses in baking, risottos, porridge and salad. Give it a try – why not?

Product Review
Here at ‘Live to Eat’, we thought it would be interesting to review some kitchen products in our newsletter. Please let us know your thoughts on whether this should be a regular feature.
Blenders are a constant problem, so we decided to take a look at one of the most well known for smoothies, versus the newer, and once cheaper version on the market. Blenders sometimes don’t actually blend – how often have you shook it, stirred the ingredients round, reblended etc., and still ended up with a lumpy texture?

The Nutribullet hit the headlines with copious amounts of publicity around 2014 in the UK, and became ‘the must have’ for smoothies and other recipes. It was priced at around £100, which made it relatively expensive in comparison to other blenders.
The Nutri Ninja was conceived in 2015, at a cost of around 50% of the Nutribullet, which economy-wise was a better solution. But it didn’t  stop there. Here are our major observations:

  • The Ninja has 400w more worth of power – making it more efficient
  • The Ninja has sharper blades, which whilst more ‘dangerous’ actually is more efficient in blending.
  • If you are looking for a real ‘smooth’ smoothie, the Ninja is your better bet – smoothies are silkier and definitely smoother.
  • Fibrous items such as ginger or celery, blend really well in the Ninja and not so in the ‘bullet’.
  • Capacity is almost identical, so no difference in production.
  • The Ninja has 2 settings and a pulse button – the ‘bullet’ has only one.

Prices are constantly changing, and due to the performance of the Ninja, the Nutribullet has come done in price. Our recommendation is for the Ninja – more effective, better range of speeds and overall better performance. We are betting that the bullet comes down in price in the coming months, to cost less than its distant cousin, the Ninja.

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