British people lack confidence in the kitchen, with a quarter of us able to cook just three tried and trusted recipes, it has emerged. Researchers found that the fear of getting a recipe wrong and wasting ingredients leads us to stick to the same meals. A study of 2,000 adults also revealed that only four in 10 British people know more than nine recipes.
For the tequila and mezcal novice, knowing what to opt for can be a little confusing, but understand a few basics and you’ll soon be buying with confidence. Both drinks are made from the agave plant, but in order to be labelled a tequila a few restrictions are in place: it can only be produced from the blue agave and distilled in the Mexican state of Jalisco, or four other specific regions within Guanajanto, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Mezcal can be made from any one, or a combination of, around 30 agaves (including blue agave) and can come from anywhere in Mexico, although most production is centred in Oxacana.
Although the UK and particularly London has a rich history of gin production, some of the earliest reports claim that Holland or Italy could be it’s true birthplace. Spain is also well known to have a thirst for gin which they happily free pour into glorious copa goblets (our favourite glass for gin if truth be told). Packed full of exciting botanicals from across the continent, European gins feature a whole host of ingredients not found in their British equivalent.
While expert opinion is divided as to the scientific effect of soil which has seen volcanic activity, in terms of flavour there are some particularly alluring qualities to wines made from grapes grown in the mineral-rich, high ash soils around volcanoes. Mineral flavours, spicy notes, slight smokiness, high acidity, umami savouriness and rich earthy flavours tend to abound, giving both reds and whites rich and complex tastes that swirl with intrigue. While lovers of volcanic soil grapes have been knocking back the good stuff in restaurants and wine bars for a little while, there’s now finally a good selection for consumers to order online too.
You may have noticed an affliction developing among brewers, which we call ‘adjunctivitis’, and is the habit of putting ingredients other than malted barley, hops, yeast and water into their beers. Before hops became the brewing flavour of choice, all manner of wild herbs and spices went into ales (these hop-less drinks were known as ‘gruit’) while many established styles also contain extras – Belgian witbiers, for example feature orange and coriander seed while Trappist ales have regularly featured spices. For this list we’ve ignored the common fruit flavours and have instead sought beers with more unusual botanical ingredients.
Eating vegetarian is an art that needs to be constantly renewed with an array of new trends and flavours, but inspired by quality food and fresh products. All around the world, vegetarianism has settled in as a positive movement that offers not only a healthy way of living, but also its own way of life. This year’s Indybest vegetarian cookbooks list looks at how can we be inspired by the best vegetarian cuisine from around the world.
This country throws away an eye-watering 8.5 billion straws every year– enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall a thousand times over. Mark Hilton, head of sustainable business at leading environmental consultancy Eunomia, advises businesses on how to phase out single-use plastic items and what to offer instead. “The only real ‘need’ for a drinking straw comes from those with certain disabilities and children who are learning to drink from a cup,” he says.
With the sun sitting high in the sky and the mercury soaring, refreshing drinks are key. With ever more interesting launches looking to challenge these traditional bitter tipples for their crown, we’re taking a look at the best alternative aperitifs. Traditionally a drink consumed before a meal to stimulate the appetite, aperitifs have become an occasion in their own right in recent years, with the revival in fortunes of a number of long-established bitter spirit and liqueur brands.
To help in your choice of goal-cheering beverages we’ve selected a beer to represent every country in the tournament (providing they’re available to buy in the UK) and have picked two star performers from each group to qualify for the later stages. Egypt may be credited as the country to first master the art of brewing but we can’t get our hands on its current output – the biggest brewery is the Heineken-owned Al Ahram Brewery, with Stella Local its leading brand.
In fact, the only issue is that supply is struggling to meet the demand for it," reports Liz Sagues, author of A Celebration of English Wine. Other factors contributing to the success of UK wines are, she says, "a generally better understanding of where to locate vineyards. Vineyards are also becoming larger and more professionally run.
Whether it’s the drinkers, the makers or the shakers, the world of whisky has historically been heavily dominated by men. “We are slowly but surely drifting away from all the nonsensical stereotypes of who the whisky drinker is and how whisky should be drank, and this is where big opportunities for women will happen,” says Emily Chipperfield, whisky expert and trainer at Nuala Bar, London. “A comment I get all the time is ‘whiskey is too strong’.
You may be familiar with pinot noir, the classic red Burgundy grape that produces some of France’s most elegant and complex wines. Pointelle was a medieval engraving technique that blended multiple layers of precious metals into a multi-faceted design.
For a long time, the wine business has been heavily dominated by men, but over the years this has slowly started to change, with many women smashing the glass ceiling, and no doubt a few bottles along the way. Like any industry, this diversification has led to new ways of working, and the wines we get to enjoy today are all the better for it. Of course, that’s not to say any woman could make wines with such finesse – many of these inspirational women are highly skilled in a number of fields, juggling various careers (not to mention families) with their passion for wine.
In response, Barclaycard is trialling ‘Dine & Dash’ at high-street chain Prezzo, which enables diners to pay automatically and walk out straight after eating – bypassing the traditional bill-paying process. Nick Kerigan, managing director of future payments at Barclaycard, said: “Eating out is something we all look forward to, yet our research shows that waiting to pay is an increasing frustration. “Building on our experience in ‘invisible payments’, we wanted to create an innovative solution that removes any barriers to enjoying the meal, whilst also helping restaurants deliver great service and keep those diners coming back.
Sparkling red wine still has a hard time shaking off its reputation for being sweet, cheap and a bit naff. Suitably decadent, with dark ripe fruit and a touch of spiciness, we found it really comes into its own when paired with the right food.
Recipe boxes are designed to take the hard work out of cooking. For an average of $10 per serving, and in between 30-45 minutes, you can have a meal made fresh at home. A very easy recipe box, with recipes that truly come together start to finish in the prescribed time.
In this month’s instalment, we’ll explore the fun side of Bordeaux (perfect for this time of year), the Valentines treats you need to know and continue to unearth the very best of our drink world with bite-size tipple guides. Bordeaux: it’s a word that can often be daunting, but the fact of the matter is, it needn’t be. There’s a hell of a lot more to explore than the 20-year aged Bordeaux reds, it’s just about understanding what else is out there.
Sin-free booze has certainly been in the spotlight of late – be it vegan, low-alcohol or, with Fairtrade Fortnight (26 February – 11 March) just around the corner, ethically produced. “Zero dosage”, “brut nature” and “pas dose” will all contain less than 3g of residual sugar per litre, which leaves very little to hide behind in terms of flavour. Helen Stones from The Fizz Company, a wine importer and wholesaler, explains how these styles are able to shun the sugar: “At the end of the champagne-making process, sediment is removed, leaving a few missing millilitres in the bottle that must be topped up.
Bourbon is America’s native spirit and one of the countries most cherished nectars. This sumptuous tipple has become world famous for its distinct and robust flavor, made up over 51% corn and aged in newly charred oak barrels. 95% of the stuff is produced in Kentucky but the variations we sip are anything but the same.
You might have noticed the recently popularity of pink gins, but what is it (apart from the obvious) that makes them different to the regular stuff? If you’re a fan of standard gin, you’ll love the subtle flavour notes these pink varieties possess. Not to be confused with the cocktail by the same name (pink gin, made with Plymouth gin and a dash of Angostura bitters), these pink gins can be mixed with prosecco and even drunk neat with a chunk of ice.
Whether you’re new to veganism or a committed convert, a subscription box can be a very convenient way to ensure you have something ready to go the next time you get a bad case of the munchies. Some of the subscription boxes work out cheaper per month the longer users sign up for, so a 12-month subscription will be cheaper than a six-month one – but check the small print as offers vary. While many of the items in the boxes can be sourced individually, in some cases at a seemingly cheaper cost, for the time-poor vegan, the eclectic mix means someone else has done the hard work of sourcing a box, making the convenience factor well worth prioritising.
When selecting a kit, do make a note of what’s included and what fresh ingredients you’ll be expected to buy yourself. Once you’ve added the required warm water and stopper provided, there’s really very little to do but sit back and wait (although after 12 days you’ll need to turn the bottle upside down for a further 24 hours).
Sure, a toffee nut latte is like a hug in a mug, a gingerbread latte is the drink to get you in the festive spirit, and the eggnog latte is - well, the eggnog latte is pretty divisive really, but that’s another matter.